How to collect geographic website rankings from the internet?

Monday, December 17, 2007

The data for the social network sites by country visualisations was collected from the Alexa country rankings site. This is the only known available free source which provides this information for a reasonable number of countries. I wrote some perl scripts to automate the process and allow the same data to be collected in the future for comparison. (I can send the scripts to anyone who’s interested, just drop me an email). This is a brief description on how the data was collected:-

1. Extract the top websites in each country
The main ranking page for each country was first saved. The site ranking, site name and site description were extracted from the source html.

2. Identify the social networking sites
Most websites in Alexa have a brief description about the website. All the sites that had the word social in the text were saved in the social network definition file.

This process proved to be a good first guess at generating a list of social network sites. Some of the identified social networking sites (like badoo, yonja and perfspot) weren’t in the wikipedia list of social networking sites. As expected, the process also identified sites with the word social that aren’t SN sites. These sites were manually deleted.

After running the SN extract process and the results were analysed, some countries, especially non English speaking countries, had very low scores for the social networking sites that were originally identified. This was because these countries were in fact using social networking sites in their own language. This was most evident in Russian speaking countries using the website Vkontakte, which is very popular in Russian speaking countries.

Finally a few popular sites that weren’t identified from the above process were manually inserted from the Wikipedia list of social networking websites.

Why are QQ.com and Flickr not there?
The list of selected SN sites is by no means exhaustive and there are some popular sites that have social networking features embedded in them which make them almost SN sites. Qq.com the popular Chinese site, and Flikr are two prime examples. These sites were excluded from the list because they are not purely Social Networking sites, but they evolved from another website form (instant messaging and photo sharing in the case of Qq and flickr) into social networking sites.

This is the final list of sites that were used in the section process.

3.Retrieve the highest ranking website from the country rankings
The final extraction process selected the highest ranking SN site from the list along with the ranking and site name. The website address was used to match the websites to avoid any language problems with different character sets. The original idea was to include only SN sites that have a ranking between 1-20, however in order to populate the world map visualisation better this ranking restriction was omitted. In some cases there’s more than 1 SN site listed in the top 10 list which suggests that the distinction between the SN sites used in the country is not clear cut. Unfortunately in the world map visualisation it was difficult to split the country in 2 to show two different SN sites, therefore only the first ranking site in each case was considered.

4. Adding data from other sources
To help with the visualisation of the data collected data some additional data that wasn’t available in the original data source was required. The additional data was continent data, and the number of internet users in each country. At first I tried to look for this data from the new data search engine graphwise however the results returned were far from satisfactory. A google search later pointed me to the data sources that were finally used to get this information.
Continent Data
Internet Users Data

Check out this now ... and I'll see you tomorrow

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some more flash goodies, this time with the flash game Line Rider but beware this is ADDICTIVE. What you've got to do is to create a race track to guide the tobaggonist down a path. There's no hope I can explain how funny it can get. Just to give you a clue there are currently over 11,000 videos on google of Line Rider tracks.

line_rider.jpg

Via The ten most addictive online flash games ever made

Desktop wallpapers (with prize)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Check out these free fantastic wallpapers here.

wet_blueberries.jpg

If you guess which one is on my desktop I'll send you a prize.

Update (26/Jun): I will tell you if anybody guesses, and the first one to guess will get the prize. No guesses till now.

Update (27/Jun): Ladies and gentleman we've got a winner!!!! The correct answer was Yellow Mongoose!

yellow_mongoose.jpg

Receive wesbite updates in 2 easy steps

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The buttons below allow you to subscribe to this website and receive updates whenever a new message is posted in the site. This is like having a web e-mail inbox (like hotmail) but for website updates instead of e-mails. This option is very useful if you want to subscribe to more than one website because you don’t have to visit different website to check for updates. The programs that allow you to view website updates are called feed readers, because they read the website data feed (also called RSS feed).

You can setup a feed reader in 2 easy steps.

Step 1: If you have a gmail account then you can log into Google Reader with your gmail account. Otherwise create a google account in a few seconds.

Step 2: Once you have created the account click on the add to google image Google Reader or Homepageand select add to google reader.

You're done.

Now if you click “mindspill” in the left hand side part of google reader you can see the latest posts of the blog on the right hand side. Each time an update is made to the site the post is reflected here.

You can subscribe to any site that have these icons, XML RSS or Atom link or the google reader image.

Tip 24: Back to the past

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Have you ever heard the saying that once it's on the internet then it's recorded forever? Have you ever wondered how to find it though?

One of the potential answers is The Wayback Machine. This site achieves website and allows you to browse through the old content by searching for a URL. It claims to store 55 billions web pages from 1996 till a few months ago.

I've tried the following searches:-

Who was topping the blogosphere in 2002 (technorati)?
What were CNN's headlines on the 15th August 2000?
How did this blog look like in 2005?

Tip 23: Google Game - GoogleWhack

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Time for some nerdy fun; a Google game

To play Googlewhack you've got to create a google search of exactly two words (no quotes, no punctuation, no numbers) that exist in this dictionary and Google should only a single result (Results 1-1 of 1).

If you haven't got a clue where to start take a look at the Whack Stack

Rendering channels with different templates in Conversant

Friday, February 24, 2006

I need to render the different subsections of the new design using different stylesheets and different main page templates. Really the most important thing is the stylesheet, the main page template only changes the pointers to the appropriate messages to change the navigation and sidebar content. As highlighted by Seth in the support forums, the easiest way to solve this problem involves the following steps.

  1. Create a new folder where the individual channel pages are going to be saved.
  2. Set the folder properties to point to the desired main page template and stylesheet.
  3. Create a new message, set the message category as system and type the following code in the message:
    <!--#weblog.days pageId="[sitename]/[weblog name]" dayTemplate="[day template]" daysToDisplay="20" channel="[channel to render]"-->

    Example: <!--#weblog.days pageId="mindspill/index" dayTemplate="KiwiWeblogDay" daysToDisplay="20" channel="linux"-->
  4. Do not add the message to the index and save the message.
  5. Bind the message to a page in the previously created folder (e.g. tech_channel/linux) Note that the adminBox macro is required for the bind menu.
  6. Now the page template and the stylesheet properties of the page are the ones that were specified in the folder properties.
  7. Instead of displaying the default channel page (/index/channel/linux) you now link to the bound message (i.e. /tech_channel/linux)

Mindspill before and after

Friday, February 24, 2006

Before: Mindspill Before After: Mindspill After

New Blog Direction

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I've have now split the blog into three different parts.

  1. Personal Blog
  2. Technology Section
  3. Travel Section

This means that from now on the main blog isn't going to have any rants on how I spent my break squashing XHTML bugs or what a beautiful country Ecuador is. There are two boxes on the left hand side that show the latest posts in these respective categories so those inclined can still visit them.

I've moved these two sections out of the main section to increase the individuality of the distinct parts. I don't know whether this idea is going to work out for the long term but at least for the time being I'm going to try this experiment. If you have any feedback then it's more than welcome.

XHTML Validation

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is my first tech post that is not going to appear in the main page. Today I spent a rather unique lunch break, I decided to add XHTML, CSS, 508 and RSS validators to the site and had to face 51 XHTML Transitional validity issues. A break spent bug squashing. Removing these issues was really like squashing bugs fast and quick, I could almost hear the satisfactory crackling sound bugs make. I managed to trim down the bugs from 51 to 1 because I couldn't remove the noscript tag from the netstat javascript code. The rest of the validations (CSS, RSS 508) were no problem at all. I've also added a Creative Common's Licence to the blog. For links see footer.

Kiwi Pattern

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Revised the kiwi pattern to create version 1.01. This version includes the following changes.

  • Amended base template to validate against XHTML Transitional and ISO-8859-1
  • Modified some stylesheet styles
  • Created a print stylesheet to print out blog correctly
  • Created a full thread page to browse individual entries and replies in blog
  • Included blog reply template or login / signup when viewing a message. (Avoiding an extra click to reply)
  • Added BoundedMessage Template to make bounded message appear aligned properly. Might need to set Preferences ? Web Server ? Appearance ? Bound URL Template
  • Update message editing to pick any custom field used for weblog category.
  • Added metadata to template
  • Documentation Update

Pattern File: Kiwi Pattern File Version 1.01

Documentation: Kiwi Pattern File Version 1.01


Kiwi Pattern Version 1

Phew, I just finished the site update!!! Comments on the new design are welcome.

Thanks to the new pattern functionality of conversant I've managed to change over the site in record time, just importing the pattern and updating some messages. At the moment I'm too tired to write about the pattern but I'm going to upload it and some quick documentation. Hopefully I'll refine a bit tomorrow.

Pattern File: Kiwi Pattern File Version 1.0

Documentation: Kiwi Pattern File Version 1.0

Podcasts are cool

Sunday, June 12, 2005

This podcast thing got on my nerves so I decided to check out what the fuss is all about. First of all thankfully podcasts have nothing to do with iPod as the name suggests. This was the first misconception and barrier blocking me from checking out podcasts as I'm still one of those who are still immune to the iPod craze. The crudest definition of podcasts is that they are audio files (mp3/ogg etc) with audio shows (i.e. similar to radio shows). The difference between podcasts and radio is that they are not live so you can download them anytime you want. The other difference is that podcasts can be delivered automatically via RSS in a similar ways blogs are downloaded to news readers but this is just an additional benefit. Some software that does is iPodder and FeedDemon. For a much better description of what podcasts are you check out this post – Podcasting is not radio. These are some sites that can help you start listening to podcasts.

The role of Blogshares in categorising blogs

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Post submitted for the Blogshares Blogging Contest #4 in the Blogshares and Blogosphere category. User ID: 28218

Blogshares is promoted as an addictive game of buying and selling blogs, but at the heart of Blogshares there is a pulsating ever growing index of categorised blogs which forms the main data source for the game. Blogshares started out in early 2003 and since then its database contains 2,585,072 blogs 433,250 of which are categorised, since then it became the largest directory service and the second largest service to track blogs.

Service Name

Service Type

Blogs Tracked

Blogs Categorised

Technorati

Search Engine

10,473,778

N/A

Blogshares

Directory

2,585,072

433,250

Blogstreet

Directory

102,780

2,897

Blogwise

Directory

50,001

50,001

Etonweb Portal

Directory

28,139

28,139

Globe of Blogs

Directory

24,456

24,456

Blogs more than normal websites are usually read for pleasure and this means that readers need to find blogs that match their interests. There are several ways to do this but blog directories more than any other service provide the easiest and fastest way to find blogs in a particular area of interest. With the proliferation of blogs the problem is how to create a blog directory that categorises blogs fast enough to match the increasing number of created blogs.

In Blogshares, blogs are categorised as a by-product of playing the game. The creators of the system realised that people like getting rewarded for their work, so they encouraged players to categorise blogs in return for chips which are the most valuable token in the game. For 1 vote you get between B$125 million – B$1.5 billion worth of Blogshares dollars which makes it evident that the administrators care for the development and enlargement of their most valuable resource, the index. With this categorisation model the onus of categorising blogs is shifted from the few selected administrators to the players, making blog categorisation very fast. This approach of rewarding players for categorising worked perfectly for me. I started using Blogshares and Blogexplosion around the same time, but I only continued to categorise blogs in Blogshares. The reason as far as I am concerned is that in Blogshares I vote for chips, and in BlogExplosion I vote for zilch.

To implement the categorising mechanism each player may vote a blog into one or more categories, and each vote is assigned a value based on your level of expertise in the game. Every vote that a player submits is then moderated by other experienced players who approve or reject the validity of the first vote. Players also have the option to report erroneous blogs that have been submitted or else have been automatically picked up by the Blogshares bots that monitor services like weblogs.com .

I have spent some time to test the accuracy of few of the categories in the system. This was not meant to give an exhaustive quality check of the directory, but it can be used to highlight some aspects about the index. For the scope of this exercise I choose categories which are as unambiguous as possible so that I could easily judge whether a blog fits or not in the said category.

Category

VS

SKP

NA

NB

COR

INC

% COR

% CALL

Fantasy Baseball

7

0

0

1

7

0

100%

88%

Fantasy Football

15

2

2

1

14

1

93%

78%

Fantasy Baseball

14

0

2

0

14

0

100%

88%

Frogs

15

0

0

0

4

10.5

27%

27%

Cartography

8

1

0

0

8

0

100%

100%

Yoga

13

3

1

2

7

5.5

53%

43%

Totals

72

6

5

4

54

17

75%

66%

VS: Valid Sites – The number of sites that were considered for categorisation (correct + incorrect)
SKP: Skipped – Sites that were skipped because the content could not be deciphered (mainly blogs written in other languages)
NA: No Access – Blog does not exist or access denied because of passwords
NB: Not a blog – Content of the site did not match the definition of a blog.
COR: Correct – Site was a blog in the correct category
INC: Incorrect – The category of the blog was incorrect
%COR: Percentage Correct – Percentage correct from the number of valid sites
%CALL: Percentage Correct Overall – Percentage correct considering also invalid sites.
.5 vote - This means that the site had some content related to the category long ago but the amount of content is not representative of the category anymore

Overall the categorisation of the blogs was quite accurate apart from the frog category which had a very low accuracy of 27%. It was concluded that this low accuracy was due to an automatic categorisation routine that was run when Blogshares started, in order to start off some categories in the game. The reason for the low accuracy rate of the yoga category is due to the fact that the content related to yoga in the sites was not deemed sufficient to categorise the site in the yoga category. The fact that a vote in the Yoga category is worth the maximum amount of chips in the game might be the reason for a higher number of incorrect votes.

During the research there were two blogs Frog It and MJ Direct that were incorrectly categorised in their respective categories Frogs and Yoga. It turned out that during the time these blogs were categorised, there were indeed several posts related to Frogs and Yoga, however as the blog evolved further these two categories weren't given that much importance. This example highlights the dynamic nature of blogs and the importance of having an evolving categorisation system that allows a blog to be easily re-categorised. Blogshares makes it easy to correct the old categories and it also allows the players to vote the blog into the new categories that now apply to the blog.

From the categories used in the above exercise it is evident that Blogshares spans a wide range of categories. In fact Blogshares is the leading blogging service in the number of different categories that are used to categorise blogs and there is no other directory that comes anywhere close to the 2359 categories in the system.

Service

Different Categories

Blogshares

2359 pdf list of categories

Globe of Blogs

772

Etonweb Portal

367

Blogwise

187

Blog Catalogue

100

Blogarama

74

Blogexplosion

45

Blog search engine

42

Blogstreet

10

The Blogshares index caters is in constant evolution, with the help of the whole community that supports the system. Categories range from the most common, like Male and Female, language and country of origin to the more exotic like ASCII Art , Wild Animals and Vegetarianism . Although common categorisation data like the blogger's sex and blog language may seem of little value, they can be very useful as a research aid for blog studies ( 1 , 2 ). Blogs categorised under these categories are easily identifiable though Blogshares, which simplifies part of the data collection process involved in this type of research. Apart from this, data can be used directly for gathering information about bloggers like ratios between male and female bloggers (1 : 0.8 female : male), blogs by location and other similar statistics. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using Blogshares for research, and I hopefully plan to continue studying the possibilities of the system to aid in researching blogs.

The idea of making voting part of the Blogshares game is one of the main reasons for the system's success however it isn't without its share of problems. First of all blogs tend to have a diverse array of content, and determining whether a blog has enough content of a particular subject to warrant being categorised in that category can be a very subjective opinion. Unfortunately, when such a subjective task is delegated to a wide audience such as the web the consistency of the categorisation process is very likely to suffer. In this case Blogshares decided to trade off speed of categorisation with having a single point of reference to categorise blogs, which is a reasonable exchange considering the dynamic nature of the Blogshares game.

Being a game Blogshares has another disadvantage, which is that players may disregard the index and incorrectly categorise blogs in order to gain better results in the game. To solve this problem Blogshares has a specific disciplinary board called BSEC to deal with such cases however there can be other ways to stimulate players to play and add quality to the system. A possible idea to improve the quality of the index is to segment players into different groups according to their preferred speciality areas so that they will have a higher moderation vote value in blogs under their areas of expertise. This approach will limit having people categorise blogs incorrectly because of their lack of expertise in a particular field, although it can also be of a hindrance to the main game play. To counteract this, an industry specific ranking can be created so that players can start attaining rank within an industry according to the value they add to a particular category. This might be especially appealing for players who cannot compete to reach for the very top places but who could aim for lower objectives while gaining status and having fun.

Having a large amount of categories has its benefits however it runs into the risk of having synonym categories that can confuse the users. For example a personal blog apart from being defined in the personal category can be defined either as a diary, lifelog, journal or life which are very similar categories to each other. I understand that there are differences between the different categories but do all players recognise this difference? The decision to add similar categories is not straightforward with pros and cons on each side. In one case having more categories gives the possibility to distinguish between similar content, but on the other hand it may confuse users to vote blogs incorrectly. If the categories are so similar as in the above case, I for one would find it difficult to moderate a diary blog categorised as a journal incorrect.

Blogshares has got all the elements of a good game and a good directory service but there's a missing twinkle that's preventing it from being a 'real' directory service. The lack of search facilities and the accessibility of data within the categories make it less of a directory and more of a game. In order to make the data in Blogshares more accessible in the form of a blog directory, a service called quacktrack was created. This service uses the category data from Blogshares with different voting level thresholds to increase accuracy of blogs that fit in a category. Unfortunately, the popularity of quacktrack is nowhere near the popularity of Blogshares. I think one of the main reasons for this is the lack of a "quacktrack listed" icon for users to add it to their affiliate list in their blogs. I first got to know about Blogshares more than a year and a half ago by visiting other blogs but I only learned about quacktrack once I started playing Blogshares.

Given the popularity of Blogshares I think that enhancements to promote the system as a directory should be added to Blogshares. This can be done through a different view of a particular industry in a similar way the detailed statistics are displayed to view the market trends of an industry The directory page would then display the contents of the industry in a format that is more appropriate to a directory listing result. This can be done by first allowing access to all blogs within a category without imposing a limit, and secondly by ordering the blogs differently. Currently the order of the blogs in the industry view is by the total amount of incoming links however this is not always the best ordering, especially for industries that contain lots of blogs. The statistics within blogshares can be used to reorder the blogs by for example sorting by the number of incoming links from blogs within the same industry rather than all the blogs in the game.

There is no doubt that in the minds most users Blogshares is ultimately a game, nevertheless I feel that the directory service this system provides should not be underestimated. The tight integration between the game play and the categorisation of blogs made it possible for the system to expand its index at a very fast rate as dictated by the rate of growth of the blogosphere. For all this the praise must go to the creators and administrators of the system who managed to strike a balance between creating a valuable index that can be used both as a game and as a search tool.

Defining blogs with the help of Blogshares

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Post submitted for the Blogshares Blogging Contest #4 in the Blogshares and Blogosphere category. User ID: 28218

When trying to answer the question what is a blog mad trollie said "i seriously think it might be easier to define 'love' then 'blog'", and if you think about it he's not too far from the truth. Based on the way blogs are categorised in blogshares I'm going to try and define what is a blog by identifying the main characteristics, and also comparing blogs to similar websites.

General Characteristics

  • Chronological listing of posts - Posts must have a date of publication and they must be sorted preferably but not exclusively in descending order. This is the most important defining feature of a blog.
  • Layout of the site - The main page of a blog should contain 1 or more recent posts sorted by date. Usually in a blog the posts are the most prominent element with respect to the other content of the site. E.g. Common Blog Layouts
  • Each post must be attributed to a single author - A post can only be written and edited by one author.
  • The author's personal opinion - At least some posts in the blog are expected to have the author's personal opinion. Since blogs are personal sites they are expected to have some sort of opinion or bias.
  • Posting Frequency - The updating of the site can range from daily posts to weekly to monthly to yearly. There are no strict rules to posting frequency in blogging.
  • Text is not necessary - Blogs can be made of chronologically ordered photos instead of text. These types of blogs are generally referred to a photoblogs. E.g. Daily Dose of Imagery
  • Text must be created by humans - Sites generated automatically using content aggregators are not usually blogs E.g. Loopy News , however they can be useful blogging services E.g. Blogdex

Blogs can have …

  • RSS or ATOM Feeds - These are used to publish the content of the blog in an XML document so that newsreaders can automatically retrieve the blog's contents.
  • Calendar & Post Archives - Some blogs contain calendars to allow navigation to previous posts that are not still on the main page.
  • Categories - Since a blog can contain posts on different topics most blogging systems allow you to organise posts according to their content.
  • Comments - Most blogs allows users to add comments to posts but still do not allow anyone other than the original author to edit the posts.
  • Blogroll - A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs that the blog author finds of interest.
  • Hosting with a blogging service - Blog hosting services provide an easy setup to start blogging. Some of the most common hosting services are Blogger and MSN spaces .

Analogies to blogs in the real world

  • Diaries
  • Journals
  • Travel Journals
  • Photo albums (ordered by date)

Blog vs Other sites

News Blogs vs Newpaper / TV News sites
News sites and news blogs might be difficult to distinguish from each other. First of all most news sites and newspaper sites do not qualify as blogs . I identified the following reasons why:-
  • Ownership – The ownership of the news site's content is the newspaper organisation and not the person writing the article.
  • Layout – The layout of most news sites does not fit with the blog layout E.g. CNN , NY Times , The Times
  • Lack of personal opinion – News sites have got factual postings rather than personal postings.
  • Frequency of posting – A news site is obliged to report a piece of news as it happens therefore it has a very strict posting frequency contrasting with the lax posting frequency of blogging.

Blogs vs wikis
In a blog each different post is edited by a single person, in a wiki each article can be edited by several people and the authorship cannot be defined. Also, the layout of wiki posts are not usually sorted chronologically.

Blogs vs Forums
The difference between community blogs and forums may be difficult to pin point exactly because the content is similar. The major difference in this case is the site layout between the two systems. In a blog the posts are organised on the main page but in a forum the posts are scattered around different forum areas. Secondly, the postings in a forum are not ordered chronologically because a thread order can be governed by the date of the last reply in the thread. Thirdly, conceptually a blog is intended to pose one's opinion and a forum is more of a discussion area where users can debate issues and solve problems. Forum Example: Blogshares Forums vs Community Weblog Example: Watcher of Weasels

Blogs vs Link Farms
A link farm (e.g. Investing in Tax Liens ) can take the format of a blog with a number of links that point to the same site to enhance the site rankings. Such sites are considered spam and not blogs.

Blogs vs Blogging services
A blogging service such as Blogger and Blogdrive provides a service to the blogger rather than being a blog in itself.

Blogs vs Travelogues
As long as a travelogue is sorted in chronological order it can be considered a blog.

Blog vs Website update list
The main focal point of a blog are the ordered posts in the website. A generic website whose main focus is not the author's posts but contains a website update list is not considered to be a blog. E.g. ARC Museum updates

Defining Blogs by examples

The Agonist ( B$ Profile ) – This is good example of a blog news site. The posts are given prominence on the first page and they are ordered chronologically. The posts are attributed to a single author who adds his personal comments to the news and reports on different news according to his personal appeal rather than across the board as required by news sites.

Fark.com ( B$ Profile ) – The layout of fark.com is unconventional for a blog but this site is still a group blog as members can submit links to the blog. The posts are on the main page, content is not automatically generated and chronological ordering is present, thus making fark.com a valid blog. The site allows comments and borders a bit into the forum area but is still distinctly not a forum.

Loopy News ( B$ Profile ) – Despite being listed in blogshares this is not a blog. The site has got no chronological ordering and the contents are automatically collected. The author of the site also agrees that this is not a blog.

about.com ( B$ Profile ) and about.com sections – About.com is a topic of major controversy in the definition of a blog. I disagree that the parent site of about.com is a blog because it does not meet most of the major characteristics of a blog, such as chronological ordering, blog layout, comments and personal opinions. On the other hand about.com sections such as Camping ( B$ ) Saltwater Fishing ( B$ ), and Orlando ( B$ ) can be categorised as blogs since they meet most of the defining characteristics of blogs defined above even though this site layout is unconventional.

References

Blogshares

When is it a blog?

B$ Help – Advanced Voting Guide

What Makes a Weblog a Weblog?

Is this a blog? Linkfarms

What are the differences between Message Boards and Weblogs

Les Blogs Presentation

Technology Links

Thursday, May 26, 2005
Ajax: A new approach to web applications
Difference between Java developer and Java Architect
Gmail API– the reason for the speed behind GMail
RHCE Exam - I will need to study this very soon

Microfeeds

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I tried to post this comment on Eric Lunt’s blog in response to this post, but for some strange reason it was deemed to have questionable content.

Microfeeds can solve the problem of many users who cannot keep track of their replies to different posts on the web. Their full potential in this respect will materialise itself if they are adopted by discussion/bulletin board and blogging systems. When discussion groups serve individual posts using microfeeds we can go back to the good old newsgroup reader days, where you can keep track of all the interesting discussions in different discussion through a single program.

Ganis is back

Saturday, November 27, 2004

After two weeks wandering around in the cold and rain my black cat returned back home. I'm overjoyed! At the moment he's sleeping in my lap.

In the last weeks I've put my developer's hat back on and I'm eating and breathing Java. After a long dispute we were instructed to write an online leave application program where all employees must be able to apply for their leave online. This application was triggered after some very nice guy from another department wrote an Access application for his secretary and claimed that it can be extended for the whole company. As usual all previous priorities got mixed up badly.

In an effort to streamline my coding practices I wrote a brief document on coding standards and programming conventions that I should follow. The document is mainly a cut and paste of the relevant parts from the referenced sources.

Posting of a busy day

Friday, May 21, 2004
  • Javascript selective combo boxes - The best piece of work my brother did this week. I've been avoiding this function for ages now I can implement it.
  • Perl DBI - I was implementing using the Don't do this part before, now I found the reason for a couple of errors.
  • RSS Specification - A comprehensive, nicely formatted RSS specification
  • Hacknot - Worth reading software development blog. Current article "The top 10 elements of good software design"

Install Day

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Today was install day at work. There comes a period when I take intense pleasure installing programs. I installed Webmin and PHP with Oracle and MySql support on the live machine.

Webmin is a graphical (web based) administration tool for Linux. I'm sure Linux hardcore administrators and our ex-security guy wouldn't be proud users of such tools, but run them whenever nobody is looking. Although I believe in the power of the command line, I must admit that I was amazed by the power and features Webmin provides. Basically all aspects of the operating system can be controlled via a web interface from anywhere. Webmin is essentially a series of perl scripts. It also has its own http server which must be run on any non usable port (default is 10000). I am a little bit hesitant installing such a system on an actual web server accessible through internet since I'm not well versant in the security issues involved with the project. I intend to test it on the intranet though. Anybody who ever touched a Linux box should at least know that such facilities exist.

I had some interesting discussions today with my planet trotter pal. The topic at hand was language evolution. Even though I was always aware that language evolution existed, I never met the term before. This topic definitely deserves more research.

CSS hover links

Monday, May 3, 2004

The following abstract is taken from the w3.org consortium CSS specification

Selectors

"Note that the A:hover must be placed after the A:link and A:visited rules since otherwise the cascading rules will hide the color property of the A:hover rule." A similar concept applies to A:active and A:hover.

Googletainment

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Surprisingly enough I have been thinking about my blog far more than I thought I would on my first post. Initially I thought this was going a one of thing but I think I'm starting to like it - at least for how much one can like something after 3 days. I cannot deny that the comment made by Joycelyn was rather encouraging as it didn't ever occur to me that anyone was going to bother reading anything I write. It never happens at work so why should it happen at all.

Today I was trying out some new RSS software - NewsGator - and I came across a couple of articles about google (link2) and blogging. Apparently Google has been highly influenced by the blogging culture and some searches are eturning 'funny' results. For instance the search 'miserable failure' returns 'Biography of President George W. Bush' as a first result.

I'm amused by the reputation and culture Google has been making for itself on the web. Recently a new free e-mail service, Gmail, has been launched by the search engine giant giving 1GB of free storage for e-mails. Astounding!! Most probably, the best result of my morning Google quest however has been the explanation of the Page Rank Algorithm used by google to index web pages. I'll leave it as a bed time story however.

I've just arrived from a local sports pub and I'm not amused at all. Monaco have just thrashed Real Madrid (3-1), to the dismay of my better half. I'm infuriated with the stubborness of not wanting to get a decent central defender. Soon enough even Helguera and Carlos will be replaced by the likes of Van Nistelrooy of Shevchenko. Take a look at where Guti is playing!