web technology is a way of life
So I thought I’d take a stab at using ping.fm to update my Twitter, LinkedIn, del.icio.us, GTalk and Facebook acounts when I post a new blog entry. I imagine I’ll need to hack my wp-mail.php like I did with TwitterUpdater so that I can still blog from my BlackBerry and have the updates ripple out.
I tested their service from within their own interface and it didn’t update del.icio.us and LinkedIn took about 10 minutes or so to update. We’ll have to see if it’s working fine from this basic blog post entry.
We officially launched a new version of our website for kb.com which is focused on the true core of any company, the people. Sure we have the typical statements about what we do and a portfolio of the work we’ve done, but the bulk of the site is a profile for every employee, here’s mine. Our team here worked very, very hard to get this up and running. The whole site is built on MODx as a CMS for the primary reason that it easily allows for pages to be content managed by anyone and rendered as XML, and that it has an extremely easy interface to hand code PHP (with what they call snippets) tp allow for all sorts of dynamic functionality from the server side. The front end is built with Adobe Flex in combination with jQuery which handles deep-linking, proper autosizing of the page, loading the SWF and all of the tracking.
The site required a lot of digging into MODx to filter and deliver all of the data to Flex. I made a number of snippets and modified quite a few, especially ListIndexer, to provide XML output that drove the front-end. In order to populate the site, I also made a number of custom SQL scripts (converted via Regular Expressions from an Excel document) that pushed content into many of the tables. The hardest part here was populating all of the template variables; which required figuring out the variable mappings. In the end the site has 6 sitemap files totalling in 400+ URLs all of which are deep-linkable.
I don’t think this site could have been put together without MODx, no other decent (and free opensource) CMS has the capabilites to handle XML output and simple server side scripting access.
Here’s what Sitonomy themselves lists for their own site:
|Infolinks|| Infolinks, Inc. is a provider of In-Text advertising that enables online content publishers to benefit from premium In-Text ads while keeping most of the
|AddThis||AddThis is the bookmarking and sharing button.|
|Google Analytics||Google Analytics is a free service that allows tracking and analysis of your blog visitors (where their come from and what they do on the site.|
|Statcounter||StatsCounter provides website statistics service that allows detailed real-time visitors tracking and analysis.|
|ASP.NET||ASP.NET is a web application framework owned and marketed by Microsoft.|
|Microsoft-IIS||Microsoft-IIS is a set of Internet-based services for servers using Microsoft Windows.|
It is a pretty common assumption that the Japanese build better technology. But when it comes to electronics nowadays much of the same tech is available here and there. But they tend to make more use of it in Japan than in the states. They use their cell phones to pay for mass transit and it even works at some stores too to pay for merchandise. They use the 2D barcode system for everything there, and every phone can easily take advantage. Th 2D barcode has been available in the US for a little while but is nowhere near as ubiquitous as in Japan (McDonalds has them on their sandwich wrappers; if you are ever in Japan you have to try the Ebi-Filet-O!) When it comes to phones they have such a wide array of options and colors, in America if you want more than one color for a phone you have to buy the subpar Motorola RAZR, other you can get something a little fancier and get it in black, black or black.
I just spent two weeks in Tokyo and was completely amazed at how far advanced they are in so many areas that are rather simple if you think about them. The Tokyo JR transit is lightyears ahead of what we have in New York. Granted somethings like transit are a combination of advanced technology and a good amount of respect from the commuters for others on the railways. This allows for trains that are 99% on time. Their trains have helpful monitors that tell you exactly when you will arrive at the upcoming stations, which side of the train the doors will open, and helpful info about which lines are having delays or issues. And to top it off they give all information on the monitors and the speaker system in Japanese and English.
No discussion on Japanese Technology should be without a proper bow to the heated toliet seat. First of all all bathroom technology in general is fantastic in Japan. They have digital temperature gauges for water heaters that allow for more precise heating. Having a shower at a set temp every day that was heated quickly and efficiently was very nice. The apartment we rented even allowed you to turn the water heater off when it was not needed so that you weren’t wasting any resources, and it heated quite fast when turned back on. Sure these technologies are available in America, but they aren’t common, they even have heated seat toilets and toilets with bidets in common restrooms, the airport, and it’s quite common in many homes.
Will America ever have cutting edge technology that makes life easier and more efficient? I certainly hope so.
Ever since the first web shops opened there were coupons. Every site wanted to attract customers so they gave out great coupons for first time visitors and since then the web has had many forums and websites filled with coupon codes that never work and infuriate bargain hunters. Yahoo! Deals just started recently, but I don’t think it is quite up to the par developed by other sites, particularly in the area of coupons.
Yahoo! Deals indicates when a coupon expires, but not it’s success rate. The expiration date may be incorrect or the coupon may not work for many people for various reasons. They offer a simple vote up or down option but no clear indicator of success.
RetailMeNot on the other hand has a great interface that provides a clear indicator of success in a visual format over time as seen by the green/red chart, and then they have a nice slider at the top that allows you to exclude coupons that fall below a certain success rate.
I do appreciate that both have the ability for users to interact without being signed in or created an account.
Yahoo! Deals does have other nice features but this particular area for coupons is lacking and RetailMeNot has clearly provided a much nicer user interaction.
Today Avinash Kaushik of Google and the author of Web Analytics: An Hour a Day spoke this week at Web 2.0 here in NY and today to a private audience at the kb+p offices. This was a great experience. He is a very inteligent and funny person, who really made analytics feel like more than dry numbers. He definately gave me a lot to think about and put a number of great ideas into my head for how to really let web analytics really produce results and improve the goals of the site.
There were three important things (among others) that I gained from his talk:
It is finally time for joelnagy.com to be updated. I haven’t changed things here for quite a while and want to use this space as a way for me to communicate my thoughts and ideas on web technology. I’ve been a web developer since 1995 and have worked on many web sites, web applications, and web technology software. Over the last 13 years I’ve developed for telecommunications, educational and advertising companies among others. Explore my linkedin.com profile to learn about who I am and where I’ve been. I currently work for dotglu an interactive marketing company that is part of kirshenbaum bond + partners which is a medium sized advertising company. I head up their web development department and work on projects for companies such as BMW, Diageo, Panasonic and NetJets.
Sometimes you are truly better off starting from scratch: There are definate reasos when code reuse is a bad idea
Brain Games: How video games are cerebral and useful
MultiSelect: convert a multiple option select easily into a single dynamic dropdown
Alternating Rows: apply alternating colours to a table with a theme or custom colour list
External Link: place a small image next to a link to pop and external link into a new window
Image Caption: floats an image nicely on the screen with caption applied to it
Link Thumbnail: creates simple web site previews of externally linked sites
Unobtrusive Sidenotes: creates a side floated representation of a sidenote/tangent in a paragraph