Monday, February 28, 2005

Screenshots & Resolution...

Quite often I use screenshots in my blog posts. My recent posts to this blog and Q's Wire... about the "Blogger Calendar" use a Safari Macintosh (Mac) screenshot of the calendar interface.

In most cases I use the Mac to create these screenshots because the resolution on the Mac is much greater than that of the other monitors at my disposal. This accounts for the dissimilar appearance of the actual tools versus some of my screenshots.

Note: I added the "current day" highlight feature to the program after I took that screenshot.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Blogger Calendar -- News 02.25.05

Installed the "Blogger Calendar" on Q's Wire..., lower right sidebar. I am still working on appearance issues, but most of the bugs have been dealt with.

The WordPress calendar features the load month button -- illustrated in the above diagram with the "^". On this blog [QiSoftware Business Blog], the load month feature is the selection of the first of each month. The calendar can be customized to meet individual specifications, however some restrictions apply based on your blogging platform.

For more information about the Blogger Calendar see these articles:
  1. QiSoftware Solutions Page
  2. Blogger Calendar Price
  3. Blogger Calendar Enhancements
  4. QiSoftware Blogspot Calendar Demonstration
  5. BloggerForum.com Post Discussion of Planned Implementation
  6. BloggerForum Post 2 Forum thread on Blogger Calendar after completetion.
  7. Calendar FAQs
  8. Calendar Usage -- Dating Your Blog
  9. News, Software, & Java Forum Post Notification of Blogging Tool or Add On...
  10. and of course each page of this blog displays the calendar --

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Mystery Solved, Sort Of...

As I reported earlier (see here), I could not figure out why I was getting so many hits from the Macintosh Internet Explorer (MacIE) platform. Well as it turns out, it may have been my browser that caused the problem. My WordPress blog, which I began mid November 2004, uses the following HTML tag:

<style type="text/css" media="screen">

For whatever reason, the media specification of "screen" causes the MacIE browser to request the imported CSS file, over and over with no actual request from the operator. Bandwidth was not expended because a return code of 304 (Not Modified) was issued a proportionate amount of times relative to the number of overall hits. I update Q's Wire... often, so its not surprising that a browser window on my desktop would contain a web-page from the blog.

What's really odd -- this anomaly doesn't show up until the beginning of January, and I did not insert that specification into my blog's template. Now you may suggest that it is because my visitors are requesting more pages... It's not. That's why I initially, missed it. The browser is the key. I only recently noticed the browser status message constantly requesting the css file. I normally have too many windows on my desktop.

Mystery solved, sort of. What's not explained -- "Why this is not a problem before January 2005"? The excessive number of MacIE hits are not showing up before then (web-stats corroborate this), and I have always -- updated Q's Wire... often. What further compounds this problem -- I submitted Q's Wire... to Blog Explosion in late January, and have had a lot of traffic since.

BTW: Removing the "media=screen" specification had immediate results. I have not seen the phantom status message since. The server requests for the css file -- were so routine, all I had to do was bring the window in and out of focus and the message would appear. The requests were also issued if the browser was sitting idly. This fix worked. Update 2.23.05 - Still working the problem.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Business Blogs

Do You Yahoo?




Saturday, February 19, 2005

Domain Under Siege...

I have had odd happenings with my domain -- qisoftware.com, as I have been reporting. To recap:
  1. I was besieged by one IP address that appeared to be abusing bandwidth on the blog.qisoftware.com sub-domain. (Used 1 gig of bandwidth in a two day period)
  2. I have too many hits from Macintosh platform browsers, which also happens to be the browser I use to surf the web. [I develop on a Windows Platform]
  3. Trackback spam (WordPress blog) -- that makes it appear as if referrers from "poker" sites are providing a great many referrals to my site. Because this spam is a new way to get listed through the Trackback interface on the blog, it makes my referral report go on forever. It is a simple matter to delete the trackbacks, but I cannot delete the fraudulent referrals.

All of this began around the same time. I know that other WordPress and Movable Type bloggers have been experiencing the new phenomena of Trackback spam, but I find it odd that all of these issues began on my domain around the same time. These issues coupled with the Yahoo account problem, have made it a busy month.

Note: The WordPress Trackback spam is easily deleted with my recently implemented spam hack, discussed in this post -->WordPress Spam Hack, it is just odd how the domain statistics are being reported for these spam attacks.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Browser Statistics...

Well my latest survey, "What is your Operating Platform?" seems small and inept with the latest findings as reported by W3Schools, specifically their Browser Statistics page. I hesitate to say that I have known about this site for sometime and never noticed the link on the main page. Touché... Here are in part -- their latest findings:



So why would my web-stats suddenly reflect an increase in Macintosh users? Well, one explanation maybe that I visit Macintosh Chat rooms, but I have always done this so I am not sure. You will also note a slight increase in the number of Macintosh users based on their [W3Schools] findings, but this is not correlative to my data, because I have seen a very large increase of Mac users.

I will leave my survey up, to see if it corroborates the findings of those reported by W3Schools.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Code Tricks... #02 Technorati Search & Blogger Categories

I have found the Technorati Searchlet Tool to be a very useful. Many Blogger.com users have requested away to create categories. Here is one option:
  1. Label your post the Category name, i.e., Code Tricks... plus whatever makes this post unique within the category. Let's call the Code Tricks part of the post name -- the Category Pre-Definer.
  2. Post your new blog entry.
  3. Ensure that Technorati sees your new post, if not -- use this link --> Technorati ping to manually submit your post -- you will need your post url or permalink.
  4. You will also need to enable your Post Pages if this setting is not already enabled:
    1. Login to your Blogger.com account.
    2. Select the Change Settings link on the Dashboard.
    3. Select the Archiving Tab on the resulting page.
    4. Enable Post Pages with the drop down menu.

Once your new category post is recognized by Technorati you can then search for all entries with the Category name or Pre-Definer. In the above example, this would be -- Code Tricks.

Here is an example of the Technorati Search Box for this blog -- which is using the Blogger.com platform:


Technorati search

Go ahead, search for Code Tricks...

By the way -- I am a member of Technorati/QiSoftware, but before I became a member -- I could find my blog entries in their search results. It is a simple process to join and they will provide the Searchlet HTML for your blog. Even if you decide, not to use this option to categorize your Blogger.com entries -- the Technorati Searchlet as a search engine for your blog -- is worth a look.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Domain Access Problems...

Recently, the forums.qisoftware.com ( NS&J Forums) sub-domain -- has logged a lot of error messages and denied visitors access to requested resources. I believe these errors are occurring because the server is busy. If you are patient and try again the server should provide access to the forums or any other requested resource.

I have set only one IP address to a restrict access mode, and it is very unlikely this address is yours, however, I am seeing a lot of other IPs receiveng the same error message which as previously stated -- appears to be a server busy issue.

If the problem persists, please let me know --> qbug@qisoftware.com.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Operating Systems & Browsers...

It has been my contention that Macintosh users are multiplying. I first noticed this trend in December -- based in part, on my own website statistics. In January, I introduced a survey which attempts to measure this trend:

See sidebar for poll.

In late, January I joined BlogExplosion (Q's Wire... submitted) where another useful statistic is compiled -- user browser preferences.



These numbers don't distinguish between a Mac IE browser and a Windows IE browser but are still useful in my analysis. I hope that you will take part in my survey.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Blog ReMix...

I have added extensive changes to both this blog and my personal blog, Q's Wire...

First let me discuss the enhancements to this blog. For those of you who use Blogger as your blogging platform, I have come up with a solution that allows me a great deal of latitude in changing links on my sidebar. Basically, I have made different areas of the sidebar separate modules defined with JavaScript files. This modular approach has the following benefits:
  • I can now change most things on the sidebar without having to rebuild my entire blog.
  • Alleviates some of the strain on Blogger.com, which makes it a lot easy to publisher.

If you are going to attempt something like this for your Blogger blog, remember to save the original template until you are satisfied with your new approach. The big drawback to this approach -- you must have a place to store your separate modularized JavaScript files. I maintain this blog on my qisoftware.com domain space, so that is where I store my separate files.

Q's Wire..., my personal blog is a PHP driven WordPress blog with a MySQL database at its core. I recently developed a new hack, that highlights the Site Finds... category submissions. A WordPress hack is defined as:
(n) 1. Code that is written to provide extra functionality to an existing program. Webopedia
This hack can be adapted for use with any Wordpress category. I use it on a separate page, however it can also be used on your main blog page -- anywhere outside of the main posting area.

If you would like to learn more about the software and techniques outlined here, send me an email or leave a comment on this blog.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Affiliate Impressions...

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that each month I report on my affiliate program activities. I often provide the definition of an Impression as defined by the manager of my program as:
Impressions: Number of times, in the date range selected, that your links for this merchant have appeared in visitors' browsers.

What I have learned recently is very interesting and noted here for the legal ramifications. Impressions -- more clearly put -- are the number of times a graphic advertisement is provided by the affiliate manager (I use one program rather than deal with each individual retail outlet). The graphic ads are never on the publisher's (me in this case) server but the server of the affiliate manager. This definition paraphrases another forum member's response to my query.

Why is this so interesting? Because until February 1, 2005 I have never used graphic ads on any of my sites other than the one time I used a sports graphic ad (around the time of the NCAA Final Four Championships last year for about a week), on my sports page. Now I have another on Q's Wire...

So why would I have well over 200 impressions (this number is very low because I am not including the impressions for Maryland Wired, which stopped publishing mid November 2004)? These impressions are not from the sport's ad I previously mentioned. I joined the affiliate program late March 2004.

From February 1st through the 8th, 2005 -- I have received 733 impressions from the affiliate ad I placed on Q's Wire... No sales, and the two click throughs, I myself submitted to ensure the link was working. Who, how, and why would someone use my site ads? It is too many to be a mistake...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Service Disruptions...

Over the past 4 days I have incurred two odd service disruptions that have yet to be explained and began at the same time.
  1. I started receiving an inordinate amount of hits to the sub-domain that houses this blog -- http://blog.qisoftware.com/.
  2. I lost the ability to chat with one of my Yahoo accounts.

I have been working the problems:

Problem (1): I have placed a deny IP to the server that is issuing the attacks and have an abuse action logged with the attacking IP's service provider.

Problem (2): I am still waiting on a response from Yahoo. The only thing I can come up with -- I made someone angry by not using Instant Messenger (IM). I never use IM -- not any IM client for any reason. I do more observing in chat rooms than chatting so it cannot be that I offended anyone and if it were offensive enough to warrent disruption of my chat service there should be a log file indicating the offense.

The denial of service attacks had the potential of becoming a really big problem in as far as bandwidth usage, but I caught it almost as soon as it began so it should not be an issue for domain ranking services. It pays to check your numbers every night.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Blog Fixes...

Sorry to those of you who may have tried to access the Browser Links button on the sidebar and were presented with the incorrect pop-up file. Everything is working now.

In addition, I made several adjustments that should go mostly unnoticed, but make it easier to locate different areas of this blog. I have not yet incorporated the adjustments to all pages, but I will eventually.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Wired Pages Known Issues...

I have not re-released the entire Wired Pages site in awhile, but I have released patches for broken links and other problems. I have an area on the NS&J Forums where you can report bugs, broken links, or other problems here --> Wired Pages Issues.

My numbers indicate that I am getting a steady stream of visitors to the site -- some due to my recent association with BlogExplosion -- (Wired Pages is also listed on Q's Wire...). I would like to remind everyone that the site hosts several useful tools including:



With the next release, I hope to fix all broken links and incorporate suggestions for new features. Either leave a comment here or on the Wired Pages Issues forum.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

January 2005 - Affiliate Report

My January 2005 affiliate report claims no sales, no click-throughs, and 2 impressions. Both impressions were reported on January 31, 2005. In reviewing forum posts this morning, from other affiliates using the same program -- it appears that most are having problems with reporting.

You may notice that some of my links to online merchants are no longer available. These merchants have discontinued their participation in the affiliate program or I have chosen to remove the merchant from my shopping links area. As I previously mentioned, only a small percentage of the links found on any of my sites are affiliates and most are there for audience convenience or because I think the site very useful.