Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Blogger Calendar... BlogSpot Users -- New Thoughts...

A recent e-mail has me researching for new ways to incorporate the "Blogger Calendar" into BlogSpot blogs. The current implementation for "BlogSpot" users can be test driven -- here.

New Proposal: [Reference -- Blogger Template Tags]

Insert a "dumb post" -- call it "Content Index" or whatever. Set archiving to daily. Set post pages on. Use the <ItemPage> ... </ItemPage> blogger tags for a conditional branch testing on "dumb post" name. If "dumb post" only write <BloggerArchives>... </BloggerArchives> [JavaScript Hack]. The
"Blogger Calendar" will use this information.

This will require the BlogSpot blog to be entirely republished each time a new entry or post is entered. Why? The post page with the "dumb name" will need to be updated to ensure the "Blogger Calendar" has updated date information for each new post entered. If only updating an earlier post, there will be no need to republish the entire blog.

Republishing the entire blog when daily archiving is set -- also updates the date archive page.

Questions:

  • How many BlogSpot users use post pages?
  • How many BlogSpot users use daily archiving?
  • How many BlogSpot users republish their entire blogs when new entries are posted?
  • How many BlogSpot users would be interested in having their blog templates slightly modified to accomodate the if branching [keep in mind the template will have to be modified to incorporate the "Blogger Calendar" applet.]


Over the past year, I have had quite a few inquires about the "Blogger Calendar" and lots of hits -- especially to certain blog posts... [You will remember "Dating Your Blog" -- I still get lots of hits to this post. Oddly enough my counters don't seem to reflect these numbers.]

Feedback from BlogSpot users interested in using the "Blogger Calendar" will be most appreciated.

Other than working directly with the Blogger programmers to incorporate the calendar -- this is one of the least invasive methodologies I have come up with for the end user. Working directly with the Blogger people would make it a virtually invisible integration for their users.

Why do I think the Java Applet/Servlet technology used by this calendar is worth it? Navigation of the calendar does not require page refreshing until the reader selects the dated blog post(s) s/he wishes to review. Here again your thoughts are welcome.

Logging new concepts....

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Weather Tool Usage [Clarification]...

After careful review of the agreement I have with Weather.com for use of the XML feed it does appear as if I can offer the "Weather Tool" application -- I demonstrate on my news service to other web site owners -- as long as the content restrictions Weather.com deems offensive -- are not in evidence.

The application is hosted on my domain [qisoftware.com] -- and can be integrated into other sites or web pages [not wireless or handheld devices]. The Web Application -- which I am calling the "Weather Tool" is what I can offer. The application utilizes Java Applet/Servlet technology. The fee will be for the use of Web Application and not the data feed, which I cannot offer in its raw or unaltered form or format. Color and appearance of the tool can be customized to meet individual specification.

[Reference Post] -- Yes, I was able to regain access to my account.

By the way -- Weather.com also offers custom web applications for a fee.

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Weather Tool & Feed... Legal Issues

In researching for this Q's Wire... post -- I tried logging onto my weather.com account and was unable get in. I scoured the net for information about the feed I signed up for several years ago, but found little. Before gaining access to the XML feed, I crafted a JavaScript hack to provide the US city gif files per user request [I like a lot of folks signed up for weather magnet -- which is still available]. I believe weather.com no longer offers the XML feed to programers, but I am not sure. My inability to login to my weather.com account does not affect the operation of the interface on my news service -- Wired Pages.

My authorization from weather.com for use of the XML feed currently only powers the interface I demonstrate on Wired Pages. I do not offer this program nor the use of the feed to clients [although I discuss the price on my main site -- at the time I thought I could sign up individuals and provide them with their own custom tool and authorization for use of the feed. I believe signup is no longer available]. My tool is now only meant to show tools that can be developed.

Because I have noticed security breaches on some of the accounts I maintain, I feel this note is necessary. I will contact weather.com directly to ensure that access to my feed authorization is only being initiated from the entry point I have described here.


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Saturday, August 27, 2005

Alexa's Response...

Those that link to me have little or no traffic, either.
So if I have no traffic how did these "small timers" [not my definition] -- find me? Blog Post Reference

And, two -- they ignore link farms and search engines. Why isn't a blogroll on a blog considered a link farm? A high premium is given to those bloggers with regard to ranking for a blogroll and the reciprocal links generated. No matter if no one clicks. It's the "links in" factor.

Case In Point:
I belong to the DC Bloggers list. Both of my qisoftware.com hosted blogs are listed. Is this a link farm? I see no difference in the sidebar of a blog with a blogroll and this list of bloggers -- but without the blog posts.

Also, search engines are very important in obtaining traffic. For Alexa to ignore or give search engine results a lower rating than some of these blogroll links in my opinion is a mistake. I can be associated with a term like "Blogger Calendar", which gives me page 1 results, either in the first or second slot position when queried.

Do you know how many people use Blogger and have seen other blogs with calendars?

Sorry Alexa, it is a mistake to ignore this.

By the way -- I see your spider in my statistics all the time...

Alexa response --
Thank you for contacting Alexa Internet.

Our Links In data come from our crawl of the Web. When you are aware of
links pointing to your site and we don't show them, there are a few
possible explanations. We might not have crawled and indexed the links
yet--we update them every two to three months (about the amount of time
it takes to complete a crawl and get the data indexed and live in the
Service). We also choose not to show links pointing in from link farms
or other such search engine placement mechanisms. Finally, if there are
links pointing in that exist on pages that have no traffic, we do not
show them either--we prefer to show links in that are actually being
clicked. Because there are many sites on the Web that show many more
links in to sites, our users appreciate our emphasizing quality over
quantity.

The best way to make sure Alexa knows about and will update your links
in is to actually follow those links to your site with the Alexa Toolbar
visible. We then know not only that the link exists, but that our users
are actually clicking it.

Please note: The Alexa Traffic Rank is in no way related to Links In.


Thank you for your interest in Alexa.

Best Regards,
Alexa Internet Customer Service


I could have gone on and on but decided not to... It's a gorgeous morning and I am going out to enjoy it.

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Friday, August 26, 2005

Q's MouseOver Popups...

JavaScript plus a little DHTML can be very powerful. Today I developed a popup "gizmo" which provides on the fly [mouseover] information for your site visitors. Demonstration of the tool is available on Q's Wire... -- lower left sidebar.

Here are some screen shots:


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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Technorati Tags...

My new favorite blogging thing -- Technorati Tags. You add keywords to your blog posts in the following manner:

<a href="http://technorati.com/tag/QiSoftware" rel="tag">QiSoftware</a>

Technorati will index the information -- for use with searches. Read more about Technorati Tags here. There are still a couple of glitches [picks up posts where no keywords exist... and sometimes it takes awhile to see the newly added post], but once these bugs are fixed, it will be a very powerful and useful tool.

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Updated: 9.1.05 -- replaced with version I maintain on backup disk.

Blogger Support: AdSense Under First Post

In response to a BloggerForum Post -- I created a JavaScript hack which enables Blogger users to place AdSense ads under the first post of their blog. See this link QiSoftware-Support BlogSpot for a demonstration.

Here are the updates you will need to make to your blog template.

This should work for the main page [home] and each post page of your blog. Keep in mind -- blogger templates are different so you may need to "experiment" with the location of the script inserts.

This is meant as a guide only. Always save a backup of your original template in case there is a problem.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Alexa Links In...

I have looked at several organizations that rank sites, including [as related to qisoftware.com]:

These sites seem to place a high premium on the number of sites that link in. I understand why this statistic is used, however I don't necessarily agree with the weighting factor -- it is given. Blog traffic exchange services, forum posts with [signatures], and the traffic generated by online chatting are negated by this rating methodology. All things that I use or have used [chatting not so much anymore] in the past, which has garnered a lot of traffic to my sites. The fact that I developed a blogging tool -- "Blogger Calendar" in the midst of the "Blogging Explosion" did not hurt either [a lot of curiosity] -- here's an example --> CoolClaw [England] -- this post links to my blogspot site, however I believe he found me via BlogExplosion which means through one of my hosted [qisoftware.com] blogs -- [Q's Wire..].

Never the less Alexa claims, I only have two links in. Not only that, two sites that don't even link to me anymore -- Atlanta CraigsList and Fresh BlogRoll are those listed. These sites represent dynamic lists that are ever changing. Alexa should be using an aggregated total derived from the number of links in to these three domains/sub-domains on my site:
  • qisoftware.com
  • blog.qisoftware.com
  • forums.qisoftware.com

Each domain/sub-domain listed above has more than two links in.

Today I sent Alexa an e-mail:

P.S. Really odd -- I found my BlogShares Profile last evening with activity showing for August 2005. Now that activity is gone and the last update is May 2005. The sites in this post -- 10 Blogs I Visit to Q's Wire... were listed... no more. Clayton... was trading me... hmmm? Wonder if they will re-update if they see this?

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Monday, August 22, 2005

Robots.txt -- Why This File Is Important

Search Engine crawlers can throw off web site statistics by falsely elevating the number of hits your site receives. The trained eye and ranking organizations have the ability to discern spider or bot hits versus actual visitor hits. In most cases the ranking organization will not only disregard these hits, but also penalize the site through ranking.

What helps in preventing spiders from abusing your site hit counters is the Robots.txt file. In most cases it is placed in the root directory of the domain. An example of the contents of this file [courtesy SitePro News] is shown on the left. The SitePro News article is worth a read --> Search Engine Spiders Lost Without Guidance.

The article also mentions a site that describes the uses and formulating of Robots.txt files --> Robotstxt.org

The robots.txt file in the blog.qisoftware.com sub-domain is here -->robots.txt file for blog sub-domain. I maintain a robots.txt file at this level to ensure this blog's statistics remain accurate. I also maintain robots.txt files on all of the other qisoftware.com sub-domains. There is also a robots.txt file in the root directory of my domain [qisoftware.com] which disallows crawlers and spiders from accessing specific data directories I maintain within that directory structure.

There are other precautions that can be used to ensure your site is not inundated with spiders and crawlers [yes I use other means in addition to those outlined here], however the robots.txt file is very important.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Business Filing...

I recently applied for something that required my business address. The indication was -- my business address was not on file. I find that rather odd, since my bank and a business partner of the organization I filed with, both know of my business address. I have had my current business address for over a year. Here is the Maryland Business Information link for QiSoftware:



I accept payment via Paypal as a Business client:
QiSoftware Payment

Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!
They have also verified the information. By the way, they also accept American Express. Please do not use the above button to send payment -- unless we have a contract or agreement. This is for verification purposes, only.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blogger Images...

Along with the new Word plugin, Blogger has also enabled upload of images for those users that publish to the BlogSpot [Blogger's] servers. See this link --> Blogger Images -- for instructions.

Because this blog resides on my domain [qisoftware.com], the Image Upload feature is not enabled when I am in post compose mode. The QiSoftware-Support blog which is maintained on the BlogSpot servers, does enable the Image Upload feature in post compose mode. Here is the image I uploaded and the corresponding post.

Cannot point back... hehe
Post: Image Upload Test


Very easy to use feature.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

E-Mails, Phone Calls, Oddities...

Recently, I have been putting out feelers for new projects. What's notable about this effort is not the rejections I have received, but the lack of any response whatsoever.

Since the onset of my career -- in the high-tech computing industry, I have never been without interested parties trying to obtain my services. As recently, as last month -- I was invited to join an invitation only (based on résumé qualifications) in-house networking event, but could not attend because of a scheduling conflict.

I thought the lack of responses may have been due to e-mail problems, but thought I would wait another week before investigating. Today, I decided to start promoting my social group -- Washington DC Bloggers . While putting together my template for the e-mails, I sent test e-mails to my news services account -- wiredpages@aol.com. I never received the e-mails.



I also have problems with my business account e-mail addresses (whatever@qisoftware.com) and phone calls. A recent post provided my business number via a SuperPages profile. I did not receive one phone call. During the same time period I also called several times. I did not receive all of the test calls. Not sure what the problem is.

Because of the popularity of Blogger.com, the Blogger Calendar has had a lot of notice. I should have more e-mails, if for no other reason -- curiosity. When I first started using Blogger, I scoured the Internet for a Blogger Calendar and that's why when I could not find one, I developed one.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Microsoft Word & Blogger

Have you heard the latest from Blogger Buzz? There is a new plugin for Microsoft Word which will enable users to publish, edit, and save as draft from within Word. Read the post --> Word Up.

Feedster's Top 500

Feedster, Inc has announced it will provide rankings for the top 500 blogs in the United States. Here is the link -> Feedster 500.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Gross Payments -vs- Earnings...

It strikes me as odd that the Federal Government can make public my earnings for any given year under the Freedom Of Information Act [FOIA], yet some contracts only allow "gross payments" as discussion options by participating members... What does gross payment mean?

Is there a difference between gross payment and actual earnings... when no time specification is defined? Some people make tax payments to the government in installments based on projected income for a specified period within the year. Would not one's earnings for the period be required to make the projection, whether or not one is actually paid? The Federal Government carries income earned over the current year so that it can be claimed as income for the next year??? I am not a tax attorney, but in most cases I would suggest no...

I really wish I had a ruling... Yes I know this post is a bit abstract, with reason. As you can see I still have not found a attorney. Comments are welcome...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

New Media -- Ageless...?

Who uses new media... (blogs, mp3s, etc.)? According to the latest findings by BIGresearch, under 35 more likely:



Thursday, August 11, 2005

Same Old Alexa...

Q's Wire... racked up over 500 hits between Tuesday, August 9, 2005 and Wednesday, August 10, 2005 and I was ill during most of that time (not online) and didn't even post a new entry. Alexa dropped my ranking by more than 50,000 points over that same time period. Alexa supposedly ranks the entire site -- qisoftware.com (and all of the sub-domains) and this is the most hits I've had on that one blog in awhile...

Of course another problem with Alexa... for some reason it calculates my business blog - sub-domain: blog.qisoftware.com, as getting a higher percentage of the hits than the main sub-domain where Q's Wire.. resides (qisoftware.com/qblog).... Q's Wire is much more popular and is also a participate in BlogExplosion, whereas this blog (my business blog) is not. This blog -- may be getting some help from search results of the term "Blogger Calendar", but that should make my rankings even better... Something is not right...

I am just getting back into the swing of things -- where my blogs and other online activities are concerned. I have been working on other projects. My site rankings should be rising, not falling. Interesting to note -- some things never change....

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How Popular Is Your Cell Phone Brand?

With so many cell phones on the market today -- do you every wonder which brand is the most popular? Here are the latest finds from IDC:



Sunday, August 07, 2005

Blog Searches - August 2005

I am always interested in search requests of this blog. The following image shows these requests -- for the period August 1 - 6 2005:



An ever popular request -- "Blogger Calendar" has a permanent link on the sidebar which is also provided here.

To search this blog use the pull menu, illustrated in the following diagram:



Note: the current default for the search pull is Google.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Default Email Address...

While perusing cPanel1 recently, I noticed a new function (don't know how long its been there) under the mail tab -- Default Address. I don't know about you, but I get a lot of email addressed to my domain (whatever@qisoftware.com), but not to a specific email address. This option allows one to discard or bounce email of this type, automatically.

Here are the instructions:



1cPanel -- the popular software package readily available to web-hosts -- allows domain owners to manage their hosted domains (or sub-domains) -- in my case qisoftware.com.

CPanel is a fully featured web-based control panel that allows you to manage your domain through a web interface. The idea is to transfer as much of the control and responsibility of managing your web site to you. You have the ability to manage all aspects of e-mail, files, backup, FTP, CGI scripts, and web site statistics.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Affiliate Programs -- July 2005

My major affiliate network recorded 6,481 impressions, 12 click-throughs, and no sales. AdSense provided $3.07 for the same time period.