Archive for July, 2005

TalkDigger.com: Compares the number of inbound links to your site from nine search engines

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

Coming right on the back of Mary Hodder’s blog search comparison table is Talkdigger.com which is easier way for you to make comparisons between the results of nine search engines (both conventional and blog search engines are included). But you have to type very specific urls. The results from your url with “www.? and without “www.? will be very different.

Talk Digger: Check who is linking to you

UPDATE: There is now also Uptimebot.com which does the same thing. But they have a better explanation of the results and they include Alexa.com in the search too.

RSS2PDF.com - Read news from feeds on a printable document

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

I think the whole point behind converting a feed to a PDF file is to be able to print it out for reading in hard copy. But the PDF output generated by this free online tool looks so plain. I think the next step for RSS2PDF.com is to allow some customisation of the output — for example, changing of the font or the font size at the very least as well as choices of layouts.

RSS 2 PDF - Online RSS or Atom Newsfeed to PDF Generator

Howto: Customising the description metatag to the title of each post in Wordpress

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

Instead of having a set of standard metatags across all the pages of my blog, I wanted to customise the description metatag of each post to the title of the post and the keywords metatag to the categories of each post. I thought I saw a plugin that did this, but when I looked again, I couldn’t find it. Because I’m reading up on Wordpress Template Tags right now, it made sense for me to try do something different with them. So out comes the PHP for Dummies manual. I succeeded (partially) in my goal. If you check the description metatag of each post, they are all customised while the homepage has the standard blog name and description that’s set in the admin interface. But I failed in the categories as keywords because the category template tags don’t work outside of the Loop.

Here’s the code I used. Just copy the description metatag part and paste it between your head tag to achieve the result.

	<meta name=\"description\" content=\"<?php if ( is_single() ) {
		single_post_title('', true);
	} else {
		bloginfo('name'); echo \" - \"; bloginfo('description');
	}
	?>\" />

Howto: Generating a list of earlier posts in Wordpress

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

I had this feature in my earlier weblog. I had ten posts on the home page and I wanted to show in the sidebar a list of the ten posts that pre-dated the ones on the homepage. You can see the unstyled list on the sidebar right now. I used the get_posts function that comes in Wordpress. Although the_date function is supposed to work only within The Loop, somehow it works here. Here’s the code I used.

<ul id=\"earlierposts\">
<?php
$posts = get_posts('numberposts=10&offset=10&order=ASC');
foreach ($posts as $post) : start_wp();
?>
<?php
echo \"<li><a href=\"\";
the_permalink(); echo \"\">\";
the_title('', '', true);
the_date('j M','</a> <em>','</em></li>');
?>
<?php
endforeach;
?>
</ul>

A Comparison of How Some Blog Aggregation and RSS Search Tools Work

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Mary Hodder of Napsterization.org has produced an analysis of five popular blog content search services (Bloglines, Feedster, Technorati, Blogpulse, Pubsub). She examines what each of them searches, how they search, what sort of links they count and how long they keep those links counted. It gives us some idea of why the results from each of the search engines differs so greatly from the others. For example, Bloglines keeps all data on inbound links from Day One whereas Technorati keeps link data as long as it is on the front page of a blog, so their link count is much lower but much fresher.

Hodder has put her research into a table on a PDF file for easy reference. I’m sure many people will be using her table to produce more insights into the way each of these search engines work. I hope she’ll include Icerocket.com in that table when it becomes more popular.

Feed Digest : Mix, convert, and syndicate RSS and Atom feeds

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Feeddigest is finally released and it has all the features I’d been waiting for. It’s like RSSmix and Bloglines in one. You can combine feeds and there’s an interface where I can see and control all my mixes. There’s even a built-in online feed reader. When the statistics feature comes into play, Feedburner will have a competitor.

http://feeddigest.com/

Retailing: What’s working with online shopping

Friday, July 29th, 2005

The McKinsey Quarterly has a good article on tactics for online retailing. The article recommends a strategy of complementary online and offline tactics. Giving the examples of LL Bean and Ross-Simons, it calls the strategy a “triple play” — the online store drives traffic to the bricks and mortar store, while the bricks and mortar store acquires walk-in customers and a direct mail catalog offers traditional from-home purchasing from a hard-copy. In every which way, this strategy targets shopping behaviours and captures the market whichever way that the market likes to shop — with the convenience from the home or the human-contact of offline.

The McKinsey Quarterly: Retailing: What’s working online

Howto: Fake a Google Page Rank 10

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

SEO Black Hat has an interesting article on
how to give any website an outward appearance of PR 10. It does work (SEO Black Hat points out a PR10 demo site), but it’s a superficial PR10 that only website visitors are able to see.

  1. Add a permanent (301) redirect with htaccess or some other means on your website to a PR10 site (eg Google.com).
  2. Wait for a Google update to happen. After that, when your website visitors check the PR of your URL, they will see your website now “has” PR 10.
  3. When you have your “new PR”, add a condition to your permanent redirect that says only Googlebots get redirected while allowing your website visitors into your site. Voila! People can now visit your new PR10 website while Googlebots are still sent away.

As the author of SEO Black Hat also says, Google will not index your site while you are permanently redirecting. So as far as Google is concerned, your PR is the same as before the redirect (and it will probably be lower after the update because it can’t index any of the content on your site). You cannot pass on your “new PR” with outbound links. But your site visitors will get fooled and they won’t know any better (unless they try to Google your site).

Note: This works for Google. But it might also work for Yahoo search and other search engines like AskJeeves too. I’m just not sure if it does, but theoretically it ought to.

Gary McKinnon: Scapegoat or public enemy?

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

Cnet has an interesting story of Gary Mckinnon a London guy who managed to bypass the security of the Department of Defense as well as the NASA computers. And he got caught for it. But his story takes an interesting turn after that.

He makes the distinction between bypassing and hacking because he insists he merely found a “blank system level administrator password” and didn’t cause a breach to happen. Yet he is fighting an extradition order that accuses him of “hacking and causing damage to federal defense systems”. Causing damage is another point of contention. The U.S. Department of Justice have all but labelled him a terrorist and accuse him of willful destruction of irreplaceable information. But the way that Mckinnon tells it, that as he was leaving the system, the damage was accidental and that the damage was far less than what the Americans accuse him of. In other words, Mckinnon is being demonised and made a patsy for things he had nothing to do with. There’s more information on the Free Gary Mckinnon blog.

Movies We’ll Still Be Watching 50 Years Later

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

If you like movies, why not help to add to my list of Movies We’ll Still Be Watching 50 Years Later. It’s based on the Newsweek article Is Anybody Making Movies We’ll Actually Watch in 50 Years?.

A good test is first whether you want to rent the movie again several years later. Second, whether the movie was still enjoyable. So rent an old movie today!