Saturday Jul 30, 2005

This is cool: 97% of my page hits from real people

I should wait to post this until tomorrow where I could say I have written my entry for the day, but I can't contain my excitement. Upon looking at the Referers stats for the number of page hits, I see today that only 3% of the hits are from gambling, credit, and other sites. On other days, the number of hits from the spam bots is closer to 25%. Sort of dampens my enthusiasm to watch my page hits creeping up, only to realize my popularity is due to sites that want me to gamble or refinance my house.

Thanks to Geertjan and Linda, life if full-duplex after all.

Now that I realize I am totaly out of balance, like what am I doing looking at my page stats on a Saturday night, I really have to leave to have some quality, quadrant IV vegetative TV time.

Thursday Jul 07, 2005

Sage with Firefox - Really Nice RSS Reader

For a free RSS reader for use with Firefox, you might want to check out Sage.The Sage Wiki page has a nice little Getting Started section.

After installing Sage, you can right-click on an RSS feed icon, select "Bookmark This Link...", and then add the feed to the Firefox Bookmarks ->Sage Feeds menu. Another way to select a feed is to display Sage in the Firefox left sidebar, display a page in Firefox that contains links to RSS feeds, and then click the Discover Feeds icon (the Magnifying Glass icon). Sage displays a list of site feeds, and you can add the feeds to the Sage window.

A screenshot of Sage in Firefox is shown below.

Sage window in Firefox sidebar

Tuesday Jul 05, 2005

RSS, Autodscovery Link, and Firefox Live Bookmarks

Reading the O'Reilly book Developing Feeds with RSS and Atom by Ben Hammersley today.

The book talked about how to identify sites that have available RSS feeds. You can add a link to the feed, indicated by the orange and white XML button RSS Badge. Roller does this when you specify the URL of the feed in the Newsfeed URL text entry field of the Bookmarks tab or include the #showRSSBadge() macro in your Weblog template. You can also add an autodiscovery link to the <Head> section of your Webpage template that other programs use to determine the location of the feed. For the Roller templates, add the #showRSSAutodiscoveryLink() to your Webpage template.

For example, when using Firefox to view the blogs, I noticed that my blog didn't have the Live Bookmarks icon RSS Icon in the lower-right corner of the Firefox browser window. Live Bookmarks is a Firefox feature that allows you to view the titles of RSS news and blog entries in the Bookmarks menu.

I added the Roller macro #showRSSAutodiscoveryLink() to my Weblog template, which expands to:

      <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"
       title="RSS" href="http://blogs.sun.com/roller/rss/dlindt" />

Now my blog displays the Live Bookmarks icon, so my blog entries can be added as Live Bookmarks to the Firefox Bookmarks menu.

Monday Jul 04, 2005

Thoughts About the blogs.sun.com Usage Statistics

From the June, 2005 blogs.sun.com usage statistics, 49% of the visitors by country are from the United States. The United Kingdom and Canada accounts for another 12% of the visitors. Rest of world accounts for the remaining 39% of visitors by country. Roughly 1/3 of the people come to blogs.sun.com using a search engine, another 1/3 come from other web sites, and the other most common method is to type the URL or use a bookmark.

I'd be curious about how these usage statistics compare to www.sun.com or developers.sun.com. How effective are we at communicating through blogs.sun.com, and how can we promote visibility of the site and communicate more effectively with developers in other countries?

I've had some discussions with people in other groups on whether blogging is effective communication, and on how we can organize and track the information in the blogs. Making the information more accessible to non-native English speakers, agreeing on a consistent set of content tags for some of the more popular topics, continuing to encourage communication and linkage between bloggers, growing the product communities, lots can be done.

We've given a lot of attention to blogs.sun.com at Sun over the last few months. A number of people who started blogs will do a few entries and that will be it. Others will continue blogging and capitalize on the benefits to blogging.

The success of our products and the willingness of developers to use our products is due in part to the quality of information describing our products and technologies. Information comes in many forms and from many people, not just tech pubs. As technical communicators, we need to show how we fit into an information model with multiple sources of information, formats, contributors, and points of access. The blogs are an opportunity to tell people what we do at Sun, how we contribute, and how we can help to make it easier to get information to developers.

Saturday Jul 02, 2005

blogs.sun.com User Group Meeting

Jonathan was one of the speakers at the blogs.sun.com user group meeting on the Sun Menlo Park campus last Thursday (June 30). Claire Giordano also talked about the role of blogging with the OpenSolaris launch on June 14.

Jonathan talked about extending the reach of communication with blogging, being able to communicate more directly with people without going through channels, and showing that Sun is an interesting place to work with interesting people working on interesting products. Entries talking about Sun culture, tools, and new bloggers catch his eye. Jonathan encouraged people to talk in an authentic voice, not a corporate voice.

Voice in blogs is an interesting point. I think it takes some time to find your voice. We are communicating in a public forum, and we really don't know the extent of our reach. Voice can range from the one extreme of saying things that probably shouldn't be said to anybody to the sterile corporate talk that people dismiss as disengenuous hype. Voice for me falls somewhere in between, and I'm trying to figure it out. You still need to communicate effectively, whether the communication occurs in a blog or at a project meeting.

Saturday Jun 18, 2005

Good-bye to that troublesome x2 Roller theme

Blogging is great, but the Roller themes are pretty challenging. My original blog used the x2 theme, and I have been having a number of problems getting the blog to format properly. The tipping point for dumping the theme and admitting defeat with respect to solving those pesky template issues came when I realized my blog was causing Internet Explorer to crash, and the pages were bogus in Safari. The pages looked ok in Firefox and Mozilla, but application crashes or the sidebar being at the bottom of the page is not conducive to a good user experience.

I did some benchmarking of other people's blogs on a lazy Saturday afternoon, and I came across Claire Giordano's blog. I found Claire's blog to be quite soothing to my template tattered psyche, so I decided to update my x2 theme to the Currency theme. The process is really more of a semi-sorta update to the new theme because the new theme only got applied to my Weblog page, and I couldn't find the magic trick to get the them applied to the About page. Lot's of cutting an pasting and twiddles and fiddles later, I now have my theme a bit more closely aligned with the Currency theme.

I still need to add some styles to my Weblog page to compensate for some font issues, but at least my blog displays on Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Mozilla.

So the next time you come across a blog you like, or an entry that gives you some satisfying information, give a word of thanks to that individual for taking their time and effort to make this information possible. People are working pretty hard to make blogs.sun.com useful for you. It is pretty neat that so many people are posting on blogs.sun.com.

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dlindt

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