Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Wake Effect...

My personal blog -- Garden Pleasures... is a WordPress blog. This allows me to list my blog with the WordPress Topsites List. What's notable about this list is not my membership.. but who else belongs. Sites like:These sites have established readership. Even though the "List" is relatively small, just over ***75 members, we all benefit from the large audiences that some of the more popular sites command. When their readers click on their "WordPress Topsites" icon -- it provides the rest of us with some of their reach or audience share. This is the "Wake Effect".

This works... my referrals from this site are notable.

*Molly.com -- is featured on the Blogger.com homepage for her video based blogging workshops for the Blogger platform.

**Electric Venom -- is currently listed on Wonkette with a quote... This site is also listed on my forum under Blogging Articles.

***75 members -- the site administrator recently wiped the database by mistake. At the time of this erasure, there were about 300 members.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Forum Numbers...? Legal Notes...

As a re-joinder to my previous post I did want to note that it appears I do get a lot of visitors to the News, Software, & Java forums. Because of a recent post, Signatures..., dated December 17, 2004 I had over 1000 hits in a two day period to the FAQ.php file that is part of the forum application. A 1000 hits is a lot of hits in that time period.

I did not receive 1000 hits to my blog counters in the same time period. I also have never seen this many hits to this particular file -- I installed the forum late September 2004. The discussion in the Signatures... post about the BBCode is the link that accumulated so many hits to the FAQ.php file. To date I have a total of 2303 hits to this one file for the month of December. There has been only light accumulation for the last several days.

Part of the December Webalizer report is shown in the following illustration:

This is a cumulative report for December through 12/28/04 for the forums subdomain --> forums.qisoftware.com.

I repeat 1000 hits is a lot of hits in a two day period and I only clicked on it once or twice... I already know BBCode. The viewtopic.php file is the second highest file receiving hits for the forums subdomain... but I do frequently review topics in the forum.

Another one of those legal notes...

Business Resolutions...

My personal goals for the new year are discussed on the Garden Pleasures... blog <> here.

My business goals are long range and include making the News, Software, & Java forums board a thriving useful community. I am not sure how to accomplish this, but I think forums are so useful in so many ways that I am going to do all that I can to promote this board and the interchange of useful information.


If you have ideas on how I can make this board more useful or are interested in moderating one of the topic areas... send me an email at forums@qisoftware.com.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Site Finds...

I am always looking for interesting sites for my news service, Wired Pages (WP). WP does not provide descriptions or summaries for any of the sites listed. I started a new feature -- Site Finds... on my personal blog so that I could discuss in detail the sites I have or may be adding to this site.

I use the *category feature available on my personal blog to maintain these entries. Examples of current Site Finds... include:
Use this link --> Site Finds... to see all of the blog entries currently listed within this category. If you would like to suggest a site, leave a comment or email me --> QBlog Email

*Category -- a blog category provides a means to arrange your blog entries by a common theme... Not all blogging platforms provide for this feature. Two that do -- WordPress and Movable Type.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

News Feeds Disappearing?

Is it my imagination or are news sites making XML/RSS feeds less available? I planned to develop XML/RSS interfaces for the following sites:
  1. Dictionary - This Day In History
  2. Wall Street Journal - Column
But the XML/RSS feeds are no longer available. I thought the "This Day In History" interface could be a Blog-Addon and the Wall Street Column feed, available to whomever wanted one.

Do you think this could have anything to do with the number of bloggers adding news feeds to their blogs? Maybe news organizations are feeling the strain. I have even noticed that the familiar button is not used as often. Anyone else notice this problem?

While I am on the subject of news feeds, I use AP headline feeds on Wired Pages. About a month ago the headline feeds on the:

all stopped working. The only interface working is on the main page. I decided not to fix the headline feeds on the underlying pages until after the new year. These interfaces use headlines which are not part of an XML/RSS feed and therefore not related to the disappearance of XML feeds.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Java, Me & GUI...

My last post provided a partial résumé of sorts and I wanted to expand a bit on my software skills. I began developing Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) using the X-Windows platform and standards like MOTIF. I don't hear these terms bandied about a lot anymore but at one time were the cutting edge methods for GUI development. My C skills were honed in this environment for use on many platforms, including Unix and DEC.

C++ was used a lot in the early MS Windows development work and is still used today. It is also the foundation for a lot of the underlying Java framework.

When I spoke of my programming language knowledge, I felt it may have been unclear as to how I learned of GUI concepts which enabled me to only concern myself with issues such as pointers [or lack thereof in Java] and other Java environment issues. This is because I was already aware of GUI concepts. This knowledge was gained in the lower level development work I did with X-Windows, C and MOTIF...

Assembly Language is to Basic as X-Windows is to Java GUI Techniques
Assembly is a very low level programming language and Basic is a higher level programming language. The same comparison holds true for X-Windows and Java GUI Techniques. The higher level techniques are easier to learn.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Another Copyright Question...

Doing business as a small business owner raises many questions from a legal standpoint that heretofore I had not considered.

Case in Point:
When I was still RDT & Associates and had not formally set up my business entity, I downloaded a Java Calculator Applet and the source code from a site that provided for this type of interaction. The applet was a basic calculator that the author agreed could be modified hence his allowing others to download the source code along with the applet.

At the time I had done a lot of work in C, Fortran, and a myriad of other programming languages but had only lightly delved into the Java environment. I felt enhancing this Java calculator would give me a chance to play with some of the aspects of Java that I was unfamiliar with... The absence of pointers being one of these areas.

I added several functions to his basic calculator including:
  • Function
  • yx Function
  • % Function
  • Made the results text area right justified
The enhanced calculator that I developed is below, is active and can be used --

Your browser doesn't support Java applets.

This is the only Java applet, other than the menu I use on my news service, that does not carry my ©QiSoftware but because it is a published work -- is automatically copyrighted. I am so unclear as to how the law works in this area. With the basis for the new calculator being someone else's work -- what rights do I have to the enhanced version I created?

Today I provide custom Java software tools as part of my business product line. I have not used someone else's work in part or in whole for any of the programs that carry my ©QiSoftware and of course I feel free to offer these tools as part of my product line. I don't offer this calculator... and quite frankly, it is not as sophisticated as those that come as standard features on most operating systems available today. Its main use is to show what can be done with Java in the Internet environment or as a standalone program running on a desktop. A promotional tool...

My questions: If asked can I sell it as my enhanced original work? At what point does enhancement supersede the original foundation that may have existed? In this case, these are only hypothetical questions because I will never offer this tool as part of my product line.

Signatures...

I use signatures on most emails and forum posts. It is a great networking tool. You set the signature once and every time you post or email it is automatically attached to the bottom of your text message.

In most forums something called BBCode is employed to set signatures. [The signature is set in the user profile area of the forum.]

What is BBCode?
BBCode is a special implementation of HTML. Whether you can actually use BBCode in your posts on the forum is determined by the administrator. In addition, you can disable BBCode on a per post basis via the posting form. BBCode itself is similar in style to HTML: tags are enclosed in square braces [ and ] rather than < and > and it offers greater control over what and how something is displayed. Depending on the template you are using you may find adding BBCode to your posts is made much easier through a clickable interface above the message area on the posting form. Even with this you may find the following guide useful.

An example of BBCode follows:
[URL=http://blog.qisoftware.com/]QiSoftware Blog[/URL] :: [URL=http://qisoftware.com/qblog/]Personal blog[/URL] :: [URL=http://www.qisoftware.com/sol/]Solutions[/URL] :: [URL=http://wiredpages.qisoftware.com/]Wired Pages[/URL]

The above code translates into the signature shown in the following diagram:

The Q... is not part of the signature but shown here for illustrative purposes. For an actual example see this link --> Forum Post - Signature Example

For a complete description of BBCode see this link --> BBCode Description.

Email services define different methods to set signatures. Most emailers only want the link with no HTML, i.e., 'http://www.yourdomain.com/. Try this first. If it doesn't work try it with the <a href=... tag. When you have the signature set -- test it with self routing emails to ensure it looks correct.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Blog Update Notification... Pinging --

Because of problems with Blogger earlier, I manually installed my last post, on my server. How did I do this? I published the post to the blogspot server, then collected the files I needed, performed some minor editing and FTP'd to my server with an external program.

When I publish a new blog entry, I notice a little more traffic than usual on my server. I believe this is because Blogger notifies Weblogs.com with a ping. Because earlier, I did not publish in the normal manner, I had to manually notify tracking sites about the updates to my blog. This is known as pinging. This should not be confused with pinging a url to check for trouble. Here are some sites that track blog updates:
I know... another post about blogs...

Blogging, Blogging, Gone...

Of late I have become obsessed with Blogging... Who blogs, why they blog, how they blog.... you get my drift. From a business standpoint I can only develop so many software tools for the blogging community yet I seem to be obsessed with this phenomenon.

The two most recent entries in my personal blog, Garden Pleasures... were both filed under Blogging:
What's really amazing about this obsession of mine is that when I had to write... I hated it. No I don't think I am a writer. But in the course of doing business I have written my share of software requirement specs, user's guides, software product specifications, proposals, contact reports and internal memos that were required in my chosen career path. The writing was my least favorite part of my career before going solo. Now that I am on my own I find writing therapeutic and yes I seem to be obsessed. What's even more notable is that I have only been blogging since June...

I am going to find another topic to blog about... for both of my blogs...
I don't count my BlogSpot Demonstration Blog.

The new Java SDK has been released...

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

How Much Is That Blogger In The Window?

My last post was a one long gripe about business blogging and why I feel it's not being adequately covered by the "Internet Press".

I would like to report that two sites I found this morning shine a different light on Internet topics relating to business blogging. The first is a blog site launched by recruiting.com to help promote their business. The site is called Blogger-Jobs. See the Press Release for more on this new site.

The second is The Blog Consulting Company. You can hire someone to promote your company through blogging -- is the main point of this site. Some may find fault with "the hire a blogger to promote your business" -- concept. I think it is an interesting idea.

Can small business afford a full time blogger?

There's Money in Blogs...?

I read an interesting article yesterday, "Blog Bucks" in the A VC blog, that stated...
There's money in blogs, for sure, and I think the big bucks will be made in scalable platforms that leverage all that is happening in the blog world.

This article discussed/debated the various views on where money could be made blogging.

Business blogging is a relatively new concept. When I think of business blogging, I think of promoting my small business, networking or providing legal notice on business issues I want aired.

I provide software services -- for a fee so my primary goal is to derive income from this source. I think too much is made of blogging for dollars or ads that run on blogs. I am not sure why the debate... If you can command the ads and you want the ads you should run the ads. [To date I have been approached about one ad, BlogAds post. I started accepting ads October 1, 2004.] My focus has never been on what I can make from advertising, but how I can advertise my business... If I sell ad-space I consider it a bonus.

Where can money be made blogging? I believe there are two schools of thought here:
  1. Words can sell ad-space
  2. Blogs can promote and sell business products

Seasoned writers can make money selling their words and therefore ad-space if they have a topic worth reading about or a loyal following. I believe there are more small business owners that are business bloggers for the latter reason.

Many of the business blogging discussions I have happened on of late -- seem to center on selling ad-space and not on promoting business services and products. I hope this trend wanes. The concept of business blogging is very new. I would like more discussion on promoting ones own business and not the "sexier" discussion of selling someone else's products and services on your blog.

I am not in advertising. I believe there are a lot of lessons I could learn from those that are. But I feel that ad people, on the subject of blogs -- tend to think in terms of advertisers for blogs and not how to use a blog as an effective marketing tool. Has business blogging been around long enough to have accumulated enough lessons learned for anyone to be considered an expert in this area?

I read media reports and the same 2 or 3 blogs each day. One blog is more personal with a slightly political flavor. The other two are more business in nature but tend to adopt any non-business cause at the drop of a hat. I mention the first because of the amount of ad-space provided on this blog. What is business blogging? And how do I do it? Who do I want answering these questions? Small business owners successful at promoting their businesses through blogging.

Where is the money in blogging? Using effective means to promote ones own business... Your business may be selling your words. My business is selling software tools. I think what has me concerned -- business discussions where blogs are concerned -- sound as if they are coming from newspaper advertising departments and not from the lessons learned of small business owners.

Small business owners.. one of my lessons learned. Discuss your product in detail and add a search function to your blog or site so visitors can easily find the product that you have -- that they want. "Blogger Calendar" could be found all over the net and correctly referenced my business site, but when visitors found my site -- they couldn't find the mentioning articles. I added a site search function to correct this oversight. How did they hear of me in the first place? My forum posts and the signatures I add to everything I post outside of my own domain.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Net Loses...?

Why is it -- every time I note or discuss an Internet tool that either ranks or evaluates online properties, my online properties suddenly lose rank or value? I recently discussed two tools:
After each discussion, QiSoftware.com either lost ranking or value according to these assessment tools. I wonder who takes note of me? Why else would my meager gains suddenly drop? Probably just coincidence...

Sunday, December 12, 2004

New Blog Logo...

I have adopted a new logo for this blog... See above and below. What do you think?

QiSoftware <> business blog


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Google Alert Me!

When Google came out with their News Alert feature, I immediately signed up to receive updates on Java technology and JBuilder the IDE I use for Java development efforts. This was sometime ago. I recently signed up for more alerts with the following keywords:
  • Blogging
  • Blogs
  • QiSoftware
The first two keywords enable me to get the latest news on blogging. I am currently looking at any number of areas related to blogging because I think it can help to promote my business and provide a networking avenue. These news alerts also enable me to keep my BusinessBlogs Group, links area and Blogging Articles List -- up to date.

I requested any news on the keyword "QiSoftware" because I wanted to know if I was news worthy, or I should say my company and what would be returned. To my surprise I get about one alert a day relating to "QiSoftware". These alerts are mostly forum posts that I have at some point submitted to various Forums. One or two have provided a link back to a post from this blog.

There are any number of ways to get feedback on your online business endeavors. Forums are a good way to get noticed. Not only from the stand point of news alerts, but also search engine results. To see your news, click Google News Alerts and request an alert.

Monday, December 06, 2004

CreativeCommons License...

I am sure many of you have seen the CreativeCommons icon illustrated on some of your favorite blogs. I am not going to include the image here, because I don't subscribe to the CreativeCommons doctrine and don't want my readers to be confused. I do think the CreativeCommons License is a good idea.

What is the CreativeCommons License? There are two websites that I feel are useful in describing this mostly Internet created phenomenon:

Why am I not going to subscribe to this doctrine for my work? Because I am a software consultant and I feel very strongly that the Internet has created a climate that is counter productive to the legal sale of software tools for Internet use. I do believe that clearly delineating creative works as coming under a CreativeCommons License is important if the author of such work wishes to release his work under this doctrine. In other words... I believe the CreativeCommons License is a good idea, I simply will not use it with my work. All of my work is copyrighted when it is introduced, released, or published.

In the past -- the Internet expended a lot of resources on Research and Development (R&D) to achieve a certain usefulness with regard to tools and services that would make it an attractive "venue" in which to conduct business, shop, research, or have fun. Governments, corporations and individuals alike -- have donated a lot of time, effort, and tools to make the Internet what it is today. Some have had returns on their initial investments or were backed by government grants. Many others have not.

Today, the Internet has proven its success, and to continue to promote the idea of "free" in this arena, I believe is a mistake. This includes not only software, but words, graphics and any other creative tools and concepts that may appear in this arena and which are accessible by anyone with an Internet connectable device.

What about the Wired Pages news service and the news headline feeds I use on this site. Wired Pages is a news service and under US copyright law -- a limited amount of news, collected from other resources may be used to enable easy promotion and distribution of news. See this link --> What is Copyright Protection for a discussion on this topic.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Where Is That Data & How Much Can I Have?

Blogger is currently experiencing growing pains which almost all users have been affected by. I am looking at alternative ways to harvest data for use in add-on tools for this platform, which don't add to the current load. The Blogger ATOM API is one alternative, if the raw data provided is complete (sometimes only parts of the overall data are available via ATOM API access). Another is direct access to the raw data that is being stored for each blog.

The first question -- If Blogger is having problems accessing the many requests for data from it's many users why would the ATOM API be able to get around this bottleneck? The access to this information appears to be via www.blogger.com and not www.blogspot.com. Blogger is notorious for redirection -- so this is only important if the same bottlenecked servers are being used for the ATOM API access. The second question -- How complete is the raw data provided by Blogger for ATOM API access?

Have there been issues with surfers gaining access to any one blog stored on blogspot.com servers, because of demand? Is there anyway to gain direct access to data maintained on these servers (blogspot)? Of course, not every Blogger blog is maintained on blogspot.com servers. But for those that are -- this could be a valuable asset in developing and using Blogger add-ons and utilities.

The ideal solution: A separately maintained database for Blogger developers that allows access to up to date blog data but that is not being accessed by the blogging community in general. Is this impossible? I have no idea how Blogger stores raw blog data or perhaps more importantly where. This would be the data that users save and use in the publish process to build the separate blog html files. Does anyone know? Maybe they already have one?

The cost to Blogger to maintain this mirrored data site could be rather costly (if it does not already exist) and I don't think they would be to pleased with my request. However, this is my blog and that's what I want.

Why am I asking all these technical questions in my blog? Because my research is leading me nowhere. I would appreciate any feedback... Please disregard any hints of frustration. It is due to my lack of finding the Blogger blueprints...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Domain Assessment Tool --

Network Solutions offers a Value Assessment Tool which provides FREE estimates of Internet domain values based on the following criteria:
WORD RELEVANCE
This factor rates the search frequency in Internet search engines of word(s) contained in the domain name.

DOMAIN NAME LENGTH
Shorter domain names, from 2-7 characters, get a higher ranking because shorter domain names are usually easier to remember. Domains names longer than 20 characters tend to be more difficult to remember and use.

LIVE WEB SITE
This factor considers whether a domain name is currently pointing to a Web site. Based on historical sales, e-commerce sites tend to command the highest market value.

DOMAIN EXTENSION
The domain name extension (for example .com or .net) is a large factor in determining the value of the domain name. Based on historical sales, domain names with the .com extension tend to command the highest market values, followed by those ending in .net, .biz, .info, .org, and .us.

TRAFFIC RANKING
This factor considers the domain name’s traffic rankings to determine how many visitors go to that domain name each month. A domain name that has a highly-visited Web site is ranked higher than a domain name which has never been used.

Cut and paste the following line and replace YourDomain.com with your domain name [omit the quotes]:

"https://www.certifiedofferservice.com/CertifiedOffer/
offer/makeoffer.do?dom=YourDOMAIN.com
"

The page that is returned has a pull menu and a question similar to the one shown in the following image:


To get the assessment for your domain select the "No or Don't Know" option from the pull menu.

NOTE: It makes a difference if you enter www.qisoftware.com versus qisoftware.com. Use qisoftware.com. Discussion of this tool can also be found on the NS&J Forums here --> Forum Domain Assessment Link.

<> Revised 12.05.04

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

November Affiliate Report --

No sales for November. To date I have never sold anything through affiliate marketing. I had a total of 15 impressions and 3 click throughs for the month of November. Nine of the 15 impressions where received on the first of November. The 6 remaining impressions were received sometime after the first.

Affiliate marketing... numbers simply are not adding up.