Category Archives: Technology

Worrify.com is for sale at ebay

worrify.com is for saleBid on this site on Ebay.com:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/302092312601

Current registration (at google.com/domains) expires November 3, 2016

This auction is for the domain only. If you want to have/build a site you will need to have it hosted at an ISP.

I am happy to include transfer of the domain’s social media assets as well:

Digital Movie Browsing System

Yesterday I posted a thesis that related to music and religion, which was a blind spot on my map of interests. Today I found another topic I usually don’t think about: films online. Specifically the thesis of three students, Nazlena Mohamad Ali, Alan F. Smeaton, Hyowon Lee, at the Institute of Visual Informatics (IVI), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia showed up on my radar, titled, “Designing an Interface for a Digital Movie Browsing System in the Film Studies Domain“. The abstract of the ten page paper (available in full PDF) reads:

This article explains our work in designing an interface for a digital movie browsing system in the  specific application context of film studies. The development of  MOVIEBROWSER2  follows some  general design guidelines based on an earlier user study  with  film studies students at Dublin City University. These design guidelines have been used as an input to the MOVIEBROWSER2 system  design. The rationale for the interface design decisions has been elaborated. An experiment has been  carried out among film studies student, together with a one-semester trial deployment. The results show positive feedback and a better performance in the students’ essay outcome with higher perceived  satisfaction levels.

Using the WordPress menu for a sitemap page

Today I had to research how to use WordPress’ Menu system as the basis for a sitemap page. In the past I used the “HTML Page Sitemap” plugin to turn the site’s pages and their hierarchies into a sitemap page. Today however I had to find a solution for a site that uses the hierarchies of the menus, but not the parent/child and ordering system of the pages themselves.

Let me cut to the end and share the best solution I found. The WP Realtime Sitemap plugin does exactly what I wanted and much more. The key to make it work for the above scenario is to do the following on the plugin’s setting page (after installation and activation):

  • Under the “Display Settings” header only the “Show Menu” option should be ON
  • Under the “Order Settings” header the 1st order should be “Menu”

I need to mention two more links as they were part of my research.

  • Last April Jean Galea wrote the “The Ultimate Guide to WordPress 3 Menus.” The “Building a Sitemap” section of the doc gives instruction exactly what the heading suggests.  He gave credit for the original developer of the idea, including the shortcode: CosmosLabs.
  • I also found a code snippet from last May on Snipplr.com for the same purpose. I didn’t test it, but it looks functional.

 

Drupal’s Biblio module, aka Drupal Scholar

When I was setting up SocRelig.com, which is essentially a bibliograhy and a blog on a single scholarly topic, I considered using Drupal’s Biblio module. I knew that it was supposed to do exactly what I wanted, but at the time I wanted to learn how to use Views, so I didn’t utilize this resource. Let me quote the essential info about Biblio, so you would see too, why it makes sense:

This module allows users manage and display lists of scholarly publications.

Features include…

  • Import formats: PubMed, BibTex, RIS, MARC, EndNote tagged and XML.
  • Export formats: BibTex, EndNote tagged and XML.
  • Output styles: AMA, APA, Chicago, CSE, IEEE, MLA, Vancouver.

Screenshot of Drupal's Biblio module in useInstead, I brewed my own solution, that doesn’t have all these export and import format, so from a  scholarly perspective it may be less usable. If I want that site to be relevant and usable for the scholarly community, I will either have to add these features to my solution or use Biblio.

The prompt for this message was a presentation I just watched. At the 2011 November meeting of the Berkeley Drupal User Group Rochelle Terman of The Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley gave a presentation on the Biblio module. I couldn’t make it, but they recorded it using uStream. This was their first recording using this technology, so it is not perfect as the projected screen didn’t come through very sharp. Nevertheless it is still worth to watch/listen through the 69 minutes if you are interested in learning how to use this module.

WordPress Setup and Optimization Checklist

Sanctuary Media Group has an excellent WordPress Setup and
Optimization Checklist
.
However, some of the recommendations and links in it are slightly outdated. Below are my recommended updates, even though I am aware that within a few months these will be out of date too. I only mention those sections of the guide, where I have something to say. The rest I still recommend to follow as is.

Google Analytics

One of the tools they recommend for Google Analytics is “Ultimate Google Analytics.” That tool however hasn’t been worked since February 2008, which means that it is not officially compatible with WordPress versions later than 2.3.2. Considering that current version is 3.2.1 that’s not sufficient.

Fortunately the other recommended tool still works, even though the naming may have changed. The guide calls it “Yoast Google Analytics“, but it is easier to find it as “Google Analytics for WordPress.”

Webmaster Tools

The rcommended tool, Webmaster Tools Verification, works  great and is even better than advertised. The guide says it works with Google’s Webmaster Tools and Bing’s Webmaster Center, but now it works with Yahoo’s Site Explorer in addition to those.

Redirection

Redirection (at Urban Giraffe) is another useful tool, that works as advertised. I just wanted to add its URL at WordPress.com’s plugin directory as I find that those URLs come handier at a WP site setup, than the developer’s URL. At the same time I absolutely recognize though that the plugin developers deserve the credit, support and links too.

HTML Sitemap

The guide links to “Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress” by Dagon Design. However that works only with WordPress 2.8 or lower. I didn’t even find it in the official plugin directory, although I suspect that this plugin might have been it, before it became unavailable. Instead of that I use the HTML Page Sitemap by The WordPress Plugins Podcast. I found it pretty versatile and enjoyed playing with its options of what to include in the sitemap and how to sort the links there.

Akismet – Spam protection

The guide links to this page to get your API key, which is necessary for Akismet to work. (Akismet is a spam protection tool, that recognizes spams based on link and text analysis of the comments posted.) However the linked page on WordPress.com says “To obtain an API key, you simply need to register for a WordPress.com account at http://wordpress.com/signup.” If you follow this last link you will get to a page, where you have the option of setting up a blog at whatever.wordpress.com for free or for a yearly fee of $17-24 on your own domain. Strictly speaking to get your Akismet API key, you don’t need that. You could just go to Akismet’s site and get your API key right there for free: akismet.com/wordpress/ .

 Captcha

The guide’s recommended captcha tool, WP-reCAPTCHA, is currently not compatible with later versions of WordPress than 2.9.2. (Captcha is another anti-spam tool that makes it impossible or harder for bots to post spam comments.) Instead I recommend using SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam. You can finetune where to include and exclude the captcha and it works great with Akismet and most other plugins too.

Robots

The guide points to KB Robots.txt as a tool enabling you to edit your robots.txt file (which determines what search engines see and index.) That hasn’t been updated for 4 years and not compatible with WordPress after 2.5. Use PC Robots.txt instead.

Widgets

Don’t get disheartened that the article the guide links to  about widget enabling is four years old. Instead, if you are using WP 3 or higher scroll to the bottom and follow the instructions under the “Updated Code for WP3” heading.

SEO plugins

Minor detail, that can send you searching: the URLs of the plugins have hyphens now and not underscores, like in the guide. So the correct URLs are:

The guide also mentions Automatic SEO Links, at another incorrect URL. That’s another tool that hasn’t seen any updates for two and a half years. Unfortunately I don’t have a better recommendation for the features that provided.

Facebook and Sharebar

The “Facebook Comments for WordPress” and “FT-FacePress-II” plugins, mentioned in the guide, work with various version of WordPress 3+, but not guaranteed with the current one. Same applies to Sharebar. However I have hopes that all of these are still under development. They may even work with your WordPress installation, you can give them a try.

Social sharing

The guide recommends “Share This.” That is a fine tool, although in the past I’ve been using its competitor “AddThis” that I still recommend. Considering that the vast majority of searching is happening on Facebook, Twitter and now Google+, nowadays I am tempted to use the “Facebook, Twitter & Google+ Social Widgets” plugin, despite that it lacks the detailed reporting feature that the other two has. I also used a few times the “Sexy Bookmarks” plugin, a visually more pleasing tool.

There is plenty more you can and should do for a professional WordPress blog or site, but this post was intended only as an addendum, or errata if you wish, to the guide provided by Sanctuary Media Group.

Bay Area Drupal Camp 2011

Registration for the 2011 Bay Area Drupal Camp opened last night (instead of on the 5th as originally planned. By signing up in the middle of the night  I became the 36th registered user/attendee. The event will be at UC Berkeley October 21-23. It promises nothing less then “A culmination of the brightest Drupal minds in the technology hub of the world.” At this point there are no workshops listed and only 6 beginner and one intermediate sessions are scheduled, but there is plenty of time till September 12 to beef up the program.

End of a Barnes and Noble account

Last week I posted a note how my Amazon.com account ended. There I mentioned my attempt to set up a  Barnes and Noble account as a substitute. Well, that didn’t live long. I received this email from them today:

Dear Publisher,

Thank you for your continued support of the Barnes & Noble Affiliate Program. Barnes & Noble has made the decision to terminate their Affiliate Program with Google Affiliate Network effective Tuesday, August 9, 2011. An email from Barnes & Noble with additional details regarding the program transition will be sent shortly if you have not received communication yet. As part of that transition, please be sure to remove all Google Affiliate Network Barnes & Noble creative and/or links from your website by this date.

Barnes & Noble has a session based cookie duration so you will not receive commissions for any activity generated through your links after August 9th, 2011.

Thank you for your valuable participation in the program and for being a great affiliate partner. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Barnes & Noble.

Sincerely,

Barnes & Noble

I might sign up when they figure out how to do it without Google.

SEO Daily links: Google+ in 15 min, enhanced Google Image Search, PayWithaTweet

Today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Early in the day I received via email a clear little booklet from one source on “How to Spot Bad SEO Services.
    Later in the day another source asked me about my opinion about an SEO’s company. All I had to do was to point to sign #1: “Making Promises that are Too Good to be True”
  • Dr. Pete advised on how to do Google + in 15 minutes a day: think through your circle categories, flow with the stream, engage the people most likely to reply or reciprocate, be highly visible (you can repost +1 a lot in five minutes), give first-thenk ask (five minutes rule again), use trunk.ly to follow friends’ links.
    Some of these contradict each other: going with the flow assumes being online, so if you are active only for 15 minutes you’d miss a lot. He suggests letting go of the fear of missing something and using trunk.ly to catch up. What if others are not on it… Most engaging sentence for me in the piece: “Lurkers die lonely.
  • Matt McGee shared  Google’s announcement that their image search has now the option to search for images posted in the last seven days.
    I’ve been waiting for something like this. I wanted to limit my image search numerouos time based on time period posted, like you can in the general Google search, but couldn’t. This is a good start towards that.
  • Matt Gratt introduced me the PayWithaTweet service, that “enables web publishers to give visitors content in exchange for a Tweet or Facebook share.” He went further and gave advice on how to use it for SEO.
    Neat idea, but too many graphics as proofs in the article for easy reading. But it was not written for easy reading. :-)

SEO Daily links: shady reputation management, SEO for SMB, Visual.ly, bad landing pages

Today’s handy learning: AddThis, a social sharing tool, has great customization options (see my home page), but centering the buttons has to be done with extra CSS.

And now onto today’s SEO links with my comments in italics:

  • Blumenthals questions the ethics of business that deface Google Places listing with negative reviews and then offers the service of cleaning them.
    There are some great insight in the comments. E.g. “Google shutting down private Google profiles MAY help with this”. I also paid attention to “Jason” dental sites examples.
  • Cyrus Shepard’s wife created an infographics with the list of tips how to make blogs “killer” for SEO.
    The good news that this blog (my personal) implemented already half of them. I wondered how much time I should spend on optimizing my site, following the rest of the tips, considering that I don’t have any monetization option built in. But I decided it is a good playground when/if I have time to explore new ideas. So I might implement more of it. For professional blogs though these tips are essential.
  • Brian Austad summarized “What Small Business Clients Need to Know About Keywords and SEO“.
    Great and current introduction not just for me, who is starting up in the SEO business, but can serve as a reference point for clients who want to know more about what I do.
  • Greg Finn reported that Visual.ly (an infographics/ data visualization search engine) launched.
    This great news for people like me who have an ongoing interest in visualization. (Also for artists/experts who make infographics and can upload/share them centrally on this new site.)

How to link to a business on Google Maps/Places

I found that finding the “proper” URL of a business on Google Places, also known as Google Maps isn’t obvious, so put together this little tutorial. By “proper” I mean the simple (with no unnecessary information in the URL), unique identifier that will always take you to the right page as long as it exists or as long as Google doesn’t change its system.

1. Search Google for the business by its phone number, name or address.

2. Click the “maps” tab. The result might look like this:

Search results on Google Map for a phone number

3. Right click the business name and select “open link in new tab”.
Notes: Or you can open it in a new window if you wish.
If you are on a mac use command click to open in a new window.
If your results showing only the map and in left side bar, you can still click on the business name, but you might have t click first the drop icon to see it.

The resulting page might look like this:

A business' page in Googee Places

4. Notice the difference between the URLs of the two pages/screenshot. The first one has the search query (the phone number in our case) and a lot of other information in it. The second one starts with this “http://maps.google.com/maps/place?cid=” then a 20 digit number. Cut the rest of the URL off to get to the cleanest address for the business. If you use that shortened URL the page loaded will not identify what browser you used, where you came from or what search query you entered earlier.