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Debunking Seo Myths And Old Webmaster’S Tales

Published on Aug. 6, 2010 at midnight by XC

Would you wear a tin foil hat if it thought it would help your page rank? I wouldn’t either, but you would be surprised what some people do in an effort to get more visitors to their web site. One of the most useful tags on Pro Webmasters is the SEO tag, we’re already working collaboratively to debunk or prove myths about search engine optimization. There are even several Google employees helping out by cautioning people to not try any crazy tricks to improve their ranking.

Who would have thought that the best way to attract visitors is to provide standards compliant semantically correct HTML documents that also offered interesting and useful content? I’ve known this for years, but it feels good to see my thoughts validated and endorsed by my peers.

If you have not already done so, check out Pro Webmasters. The questions are interesting, the community is friendly and the turn around to get an answer is often less than an hour. If your question has anything at all to do with maintaining or operating a web site, it is welcome there. Just try to ask questions that can be answered with facts and data vs opinion.

Category: Neat Things

Fun With Ohcount

Published on Feb. 18, 2010 at midnight by XC

I’m sure you have heard of Ohloh, the site that tracks progress and code/documentation contributions to free and open source software projects. What a lot of people (even today) don’t realize is that ohcount, the tool used to track the metrics of the projects is free software under the terms of the GPL v2 (only).

I first tried it well over a year ago, and realized today that I forgot to re-install it after upgrading my OS (using Ubuntu still, just the latest and greatest). It was pretty painless. You’ll need the following dependencies:

build-essential
ruby rake rubygems
libpcre3 libpcre3-dev
ragel swig gprof

Caveat – make sure you install gprof before attempting the build, otherwise nothing you do will get the parser to compile. The documentation does not mention a dependency on gprof, and its not one of those cases where you can keep trying the build while installing whatever comes up missing next.
Once you have it, as root copy ohcount to /usr/local/bin/ohcount, chmod 755 and viola, its available system wide. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a screen shot of what it produces (in the simplest form) when run inside a repository:

Ohcount Results - Click To Enlarge

As you can see, its very handy to have these metrics available when you want them. Sure, you could just register your project on Ohloh and get the same, but you might not want to do that for various reasons. It might just be a personal / hobby project that you don’t want to share with the world, a project for your company that you CAN’T share with the world, or maybe you just don’t want to wait for Ohloh to update again.

If its not obvious, its written mostly in ruby using SWIG for extensions. I wonder why more distributions don’t package it?

I like the nice overview it provides, especially the comment percentage and blank line count.

Category: Neat Things

Code Monkey Win!

Published on Aug. 12, 2008 at midnight by XC

If you have not heard Code Monkey, grab it here. The author of the song allows me to distribute the music that I like under a very permissive license, so we like him.

Category: Neat Things
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The .Ing Domain Has Landed

Published on July 24, 2008 at midnight by XC

If you are a user of OpenNIC, there’s a brand new top level domain available. You can register your own .ing domain completely free now at register.ing.

A while back, I was chatting with Tim Groeneveld who had recently been approved as a domain maintainer / registrar for OpenNIC. He asked me to come up with the coolest top level domain I could think of. After some thought, it hit me, .ing “think.ing , programm.ing, design.ing, sleep.ing” and even bej.ing came to mind.

I’m glad to see that the domain is off to a good start. Tim sent me a short script to dig my spell dictionary to list many possible .ing domains, I cleaned it up and sorted it in 4 column output. View the file here if you need inspiration to get your own.

The OpenNIC web site has very easy to follow instructions on how to manage your DNS settings so that you can resolve these extended domains. If you are a *nix / *bsd user you can also use your own name server.

Category: Neat Things

Echoreply Has Gone .Geek

Published on May 21, 2008 at midnight by XC

For more information on why ICANN really means ICANT, read the RegisterFly story. I’m in favor of democratic naming, so I support OpenNIC. I want top level domains that work, without supporting registrars who make millions pre-registering domains while making even more stealing domains out from under me.

DNS was never supposed to be a business, it was supposed to be a convenience.

Category: Neat Things

Mathematical Oddities

Published on March 9, 2008 at midnight by XC

Today I was in a book store, looking around for something neat to grab. I happened upon an interesting display, to the left was an abacus, to the right was a scientific calculator.

The abacus cost nearly four times as much as the calculator. Sometimes, life lets you chuckle. This was one of those times.

Category: Neat Things

Ghost Hunting

Published on Nov. 1, 2007 at midnight by XC

Every year at around this time, The Discovery channel (and others) run all kinds of interesting shows about paranormal researchers. Usually, I like my existing job (getting ghosts out of ‘machines’) just fine. There are very few other vocations that could lure me away from my comfy desk chair and fuzzy slippers, paranormal researching could be one of them.

I don’t know if I’m attracted to the over-all ‘mystique’ surrounding the occupation or the fact that you’re allowed to guess at everything every day and make up new words as you go. Abandoning accountability and reason also seems rather fun. I don’t think that ghost hunters make very much money, but neither do freelance system administrators
Maybe I just like playing with oscilloscopes and the other gadgets that ghost hunters bring when they do their investigations. I’ve been fascinated with the field since I first heard the words “Stay away from the light, Carol Ann!”
I’m a firm believer in (some) of the events that most would consider ‘paranormal’ by nature. ‘Paranormal’ does not infer ghostly visitors in its absolute meaning, it means simply ‘making ready to become normal’, in other words, something not normal that needs explanation prior to being normal. This makes poltergeists (and other paranormal events with clear physical manifestations) very interesting to your average physics geek.

I truly believe that we create poltergeists. I’m just not sure quite how we manage to accomplish this rather interesting feat.

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Happy Halloween

Published on Oct. 31, 2007 at midnight by XC

A rather delightful gentleman has contributed a wonderful rendition of “The Tell Tale Heart”, by Edgar Allen Poe.

Take a view if you want a little entertainment The narrator had a wonderful time making the 15 minute video, complete with neat sound effects, you’ll enjoy the view. See the video here.

Category: Neat Things