RSS & Traffic

December 23, 2004

Richard MacManus has a great analysis of several recent revelations regarding traffic, RSS, BlogLines and contextual advertising.

“more people are reading Boing Boing via Bloglines than via any other single method (including landing on Boing Boing’s site via Google or indeed all the search engines combined). At least, that’s what I take from Mark’s claim that “Bloglines audience share is 2.7x larger than Google’s in the number of overall impressions.””

The upshot of all of this is that RSS-based traffic is becoming exceedingly valuable, and that as BlogLines adds contextual advertising, it may become a substantial competitor to using Google AdWords or Overture as a source of pay-per-click traffic.

Ditching Smartphones?

December 17, 2004

The Bluetooth Weblog is wondering how many of us agree that overly smart phones have negligable value.

Slate’s Paul Boutin says that instead of shelling out over $600 for a Treo smartphone, why not just get a cheap cellphone like the Nokia 6600? His reasoning is that how many of the Treo’s “wonders” will you really use, such as the QWERTY keyboard and fast wireless connection? Plus, Boutin says you can add a number of features to the Nokia without having to spend a bundle of money to do it.

What I want (at the moment) in a phone is pretty simple: let me get rid of carrying both a phone and a PDA, and use it in a pinch for wireless connectivity from my notebook.

From a functional standpoint, this means I want:

  • GPRS and something faster (EDGE, whatever), available both on the device and from my notebook via Bluetooth.
  • Functional mail reader, with at least a prayer of being able to reply (even if it’s hunting and pecking an on-screen keyboard with a stylus.)
  • A web browser that’s at least marginally usable in a pinch.
  • 802.11 (g, preferably, so I don’t slow everything else down) support for the above two items, that can be used to speed things up if it’s available.
  • A screen big enough (in both width and resolution) to make reading e-books comfortable.
  • A version of Mobipocket Reader.
  • Wireless iSync to my address book and calendar (bluetooth or wi-fi).

Beyond that, I could care less whether it’s Palm, Windows Mobile/Phone, Series 60, or something else entirely.

I want one device that provides me with phone service, mail service, and a good e-book reader (the latter two being 99% of what I do with a PDA, and I use both a lot) for when it’s the only device I’m carrying, and I want it to be able to get at least usable connectivity for my notebook I’m carrying that.

My old 3650 isn’t -that- far off.  Add Edge/EvDO/3G whatever support and a bigger screen, and I could get by with it for a good long while.  It has scads of battery life, gets good reception where most other people’s phones crap out, and syncs via iSync.  Unfortunately, reading mail or e-books on it is a line-at-a-time affair, and sound quality is mediocre.

Ultimately, a phone could replace my iPod too, and I’d be happy.  Perhaps the new Apple / Motorola deal may eventually do that, but it’ll be awhile before we know.

Emergency (Lack of) Broadcast System

December 16, 2004

“President Bush has ordered plans for temporarily disabling the U.S. network of global positioning satellites during a national crisis to prevent terrorists from using the navigational technology, the White House said Wednesday. more (

So will we follow that up by requiring that all maps be printed on flashpaper with a small incendiary reciever attached?

It might be just the holiday curmudgeon in me, but I think if you wanted to shut off something meaningful during a national emergency, it’d be all of the news outlets spending 1 hour a day with real news, and 23 hours a day with stuff that kinda looks and sounds like news, but isn’t actually. 

Maybe require them to air canceled sitcoms from the 70s, 80s and 90s for 44 minutes each hour for the duration of the emergency—with any luck, the terrorists might glance at a set, catch 5 minutes of “Inside Herman’s Head” or “Joanie Loves Chachi” and decide to blow their own brains out rather than risk seeing any more…

Read more

In New York, no one can hear you scream…

December 16, 2004

This is just wrong, on so many levels.  I love it.

Alien Loves Predator: In New York, no one can hear you scream…
(if you’re allergic to rough language, adult storylines or cartoons made with photoshopped action figures, you probably don’t want to click there)

(via Warren Ellis’s ever-excellent die puny humans)

Emperor Norton to get His due?

December 16, 2004

I have to say, this makes my whole day—apparently the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has approved a resolution to name the new span of the Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton. (via MeFi)

Only fitting, since His Highness ordered it done 64 years before it was actually completed (the tube he decreed was finished 100 years afterwards).

WHEREAS, we issued our decree ordering the citizens of San Francisco and Oakland to appropriate funds for the survey of a suspension bridge from Oakland Point via Goat Island; also for a tunnel; and to ascertain which is the best project; and whereas the said citizens have hitherto neglected to notice our said decree; and whereas we are determined our authority shall be fully respected; now, therefore, we do hereby command the arrest by the army of both the Boards of City Fathers if they persist in neglecting our decrees.

Given under our royal hand and seal at San Francisco, this 17th day of September, 1872.

“Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse. Only a handful understood Albert Einstein. And nobody understood Emperor Norton.” – Principia Discordia

Treo 650 – Now with “Rough” Wi-Fi

December 16, 2004

Rough indeed—you can only use wi-fi when it’s running, and you have to hard reset to get your phone back.  But it’s a start.

I’m starting to get interested again… Somebody wake me when a GSM version is finally out (hell will freeze over before I ever become a Sprint customer again, and I don’t want to invest in insulated underwear…), and if they have the kinks ironed out of the wi-fi, I could get very interested in this…

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Pay-Per-Click Engine Reviews

December 13, 2004

PayPerClickAnalyst purports to be an independent review of pay-per-click search engines. Interesting collection of prospects, including a few I’d not run across.

E-Mail Addresses & Web Pages

December 13, 2004

It used to be a common sight to find e-mail addresses on small business web pages. Unfortunately, putting an unprotected e-mail address on a web page anymore is tantamount to erecting a giant billboard reading “Please Spam Me!”. Address harvesting robots trawl the ‘net relentlessly, looking for anything that resembles an e-mail address. When they find an address, it is added to spam mailing lists and sold to all of those people who like to send you e-mail about your mortgage and your sex life.

But you still need to have a way to have visitors to your site contact you.

Fortunately, there are a couple of good alternatives.

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Listing Your Site On Open Directory

December 13, 2004

Most people are familiar with with the Yahoo Directory. Although Yahoo has recently removed their directory from their front page (in favor of promoting some of their other two bazillion projects), for a long time the hierarchical directory was one of the most familiar sites on the web. A listing on the Yahoo directory can still send a respectable amount of traffic, but their change to paid inclusion has made getting listed an expensive proposition.

The Open Directory Project (aka “DMOZ”) represents an excellent free alternative to paying for a Yahoo listing. An “open source” community-edited service, Open Directory has grown larger than Yahoo’s aging offering. Since many “portal sites” and “start pages” include the Open Directory listings as their own Yahoo-like service, a good listing on the Open Directory can often directly send more qualified traffic than an equivalent listing on Yahoo’s directory. There is indirect value to be had as well — most search engines add “weight” to a site as a result of it being listed in the Open Directory, causing it to appear higher in search result rankings. This sends even more qualified traffic.

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Traffic and the Average Website

December 9, 2004

How can we categorize traffic for the average small business web site? It’s pretty simple, actually — the average small business web site doesn’t get any traffic to speak of.

Looking at the statistics for November, 2004 for a typical site, we find that it got 774 page views — that’s about 26 per day.

Of those 774, 92 were from “robots” — automated processes run by search engines to update their index, and by spammers looking for e-mail addresses (which is why you never put a “live” e-mail address on a web site).

Of the remaining 682 page views, 119 belonged to the site owner. That leaves 563, or fewer than 19 a day.

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