May 31st, 2006 10:58:34 am pst by Sterling Camden
In response to Randy’s suggestions, TDavid offers some counter-balancing observations on monetizing your blog. Good advice, which I’ll keep in mind as I make changes to this site. His most sapient point: content is king. I don’t ever want this blog to become merely an advertising platform. That’s not why I blog.
I blog primarily for myself — to have a voice.
Secondarily, for the interest and entertainment of anybody who might be reading.
Farther down the list comes any profit that might make me able to do more of this and less of other things.
Yes, I’d like to make money at blogging. But never would I sell it out.
Posted in Blog Blog, Get Real | 7 Comments » RSS 2.0
May 30th, 2006 3:23:36 pm pst by Sterling Camden
I couldn’t resist Randy Charles Morin’s offer to provide some free advice about Adsense, so I e-mailed him. Randy responded with lots of good ideas. Now I’ve got to set aside some time to digest what he proposed and start acting on it. Naturally, this comes when I’m under a programming deadline — so I’ll get to it, um, soon. Watch this space.
Posted in Blog Blog | 3 Comments » RSS 2.0
May 30th, 2006 3:13:56 pm pst by Sterling Camden
Tim O’Reilly responds to the “Web 2.0 Conference” controversy with a well thought-out, balanced view of the matter. If I jumped out in front of the bandwagon, I apologize.
I still think we need to come up with a better term for the phenomena that are reshaping the web every day into something more social and more personal. Shel Israel suggests “social media”, which seems literally accurate but lacks visionary punch. Any ideas?
Posted in Too Oh! | No Comments » RSS 2.0
May 30th, 2006 2:44:38 pm pst by Sterling Camden
I got my beta invitation to try out Farecast, a new service that helps you plan flights (thanks TechCrunch). For the beta, they only provide info on flights from Seattle or Boston, but my home airport is Seattle so no problem there. This service does at least two things better than Expedia and Travelocity:
- After you get all results for your specified dates, you can easily narrow down the results by the number of stops, by airline and by departure or return time. Beside each of those criteria they display the price ranges included. As you click those options, the list of flights updates without refreshing the entire page (they didn’t mince on their offerings to the AJAX gods), so finding the best flight for your schedule is a much nicer experience than scrolling through eight and a half miles of results on one of the other services looking for the best schedule/fare combination.
- Farecast predicts whether the prices on the tickets you selected are likely to increase, decrease, or stay the same over the next seven days. This is their tag line feature (“Know When to Buy”), the source of their punnishing name, and what really sets them apart. No more wondering whether you should buy right away or wait for a last-minute special. You can even start off with a 30-day range of travel dates and they’ll graph the expected prices for flights on those dates.
On the down side,
- As Arrington noted, even though Farecast includes flights for Southwest, they aren’t allowed to include the prices for those flights. So, you still have to visit southwest.com separately to compare.
- You can’t book your selected flight directly on the Farecast web site. Instead, they link you to the airline’s web site. They tell you how this is an advantage while you’re sitting there waiting for the other site to load. Once you land there, you have to go though that site’s reservation pages all over again. So be sure to note the flight numbers before you make the jump. Not a smooth trip, people.
I will definitely use this service when planning flights. The two strengths noted above make that worthwhile. If Farecast can overcome the two weaknesses I mentioned, their competitors will have to respond with features to match their strengths, or start losing customers.
Posted in Too Oh! | No Comments » RSS 2.0
May 29th, 2006 4:16:04 pm pst by Sterling Camden
If you’re a blogger trying to get traffic flowing to your site, Randy Charles Morin is your friend. Link to him, and he will link back to you. And that generates lots of click-throughs to your site. Just check your referrer logs, or sign up for ReefeRSS to see where those clicks are coming from.
More than that, Randy often lends a helping hand to us newbies. Check out this post. Randy not only created a new free tool for checking on your Google sitemap, but he helped me analyze the results in his comments section. What a guy!
Posted in Blog Blog | 1 Comment » RSS 2.0
May 28th, 2006 11:44:41 am pst by Sterling Camden
UPDATE (2009-6-20): For a highly configurable widget that uses the tagging system built into WordPress, use this one.
On the advice of Alec Saunders, I enabled tagging in my blog using the Jerome’s Keywords plugin for WordPress 2.0. Then I went through my posts and got all Chris Pirillo on the tags.
Jerome’s Keywords plugin has a lot of nice features and good documentation. It even provides a great function for generating a tag cloud, where you can render tags differently depending on their use count without much trouble. However, it doesn’t provide a sidebar widget for that, and you can’t just plunk PHP code into a text widget, because it isn’t executed on the server. So, I decided to write a widget that would provide a tag cloud from the keywords. You can download it from Chip’s Tips. You can see it in action in the sidebar on the right, if you are reading this at my site. I found that using a maximum font size of 6 worked best for my theme. Your mileage may vary.
This was my first attempt at writing a sidebar widget for WordPress, and I must say I found it quite easy. Kudos to Matt and team for keeping the interface simple yet powerful, and for providing some good examples. It was so easy, I might get all widget-happy and write some more, until my sidebar gets to be about eighty miles long.
UPDATE: Besides recently adding caching, I also fixed a bug in the font class attribute.� If you downloaded this widget before 6/16/06, you might want to get a fresh copy.
Posted in Blog Blog, Coding...OK?, Wildly popular | 55 Comments » RSS 2.0
May 26th, 2006 4:12:12 pm pst by Sterling Camden
I usually keep about the same distance from anything resembling an MLM scheme that I give to bears and Jehovah’s Witnesses — but this affiliate program for JotSpot is so easy that even if I don’t make any money at it, nothing’s lost except a little real estate on my blog.
Thanks Randy Charles Morin
Posted in Blog Blog | No Comments » RSS 2.0
May 26th, 2006 1:24:25 pm pst by Sterling Camden
When I first started reading Scobleizer, I didn’t even like the guy. Maybe it was me, but I got the impression that he was trying real hard to show that Microsoft “gets it” at the same time he was talking up their products. He didn’t seem entirely genuine to me.
What Robert has written about his recent experiences makes it difficult to hold onto that view. Even his posts about Microsoft seem more frank now. You’re the real deal, Robert. I hope you find the answers you’re looking for, or at least get more comfortable with the questions.
Posted in Get a Grip, Get Real | 4 Comments » RSS 2.0
May 26th, 2006 12:36:43 pm pst by Sterling Camden
Follow up to yesterday’s post, O’Reilly’s organization has issued an apology to IT@cork and will allow them to use the term “Web 2.0 Conference” this year, but they still claim it as a legal trademark and intend to defend it going forward.
Comments on the post have been mostly negative, focusing on the notion that “Web 2.0″ has entered the online vocabulary as a general term for a web culture that enables collaboration and openness, and should therefore not be trademarked.
I applaud O’Reilly for softening their stance on IT@cork, but I tend to agree that trademarking the term “Web 2.0″ effectively kills it. But then again, I’ve never particularly liked the term. We can do better, and O’Reilly’s stance may require it.
Thanks Randy Charles Morin.
Posted in Get Outta Here | 2 Comments » RSS 2.0
May 26th, 2006 12:03:37 pm pst by Sterling Camden
Net neutrality took one move forward yesterday, but it still needs your help. If you’re a U.S. citizen, get over here now and write your Congresspeople!
Posted in Get Outta Here | No Comments » RSS 2.0