On Sunday evening I finished writing an article I had been preparing for a couple of weeks. It was full of my own experience and careful research into the area of OS X optimization, I compiled in total 52 tips. Once publishing on Sunday I submitted the article to around 20 top Mac news sites thinking that a couple might pick them up. Luckily some did and by late Monday it found its way onto Digg.com, where it got promoted to the front page early Tuesday morning. I've never had an article on Digg so was quite surprised to find someone has submitted it and that it received over 1500 Diggs. The traffic increase had quite an effect on ImAFish so I'm going to try to evaluate whats happened.
The graph is from ImAFish's Google Analytics and shows unique visits. As you can see from the Graph the huge traffic spike on Tuesday, this is when the article made it to the front page of Digg. The flat line represents around 200-250 visits/day.
The table below shows total number of hits from the week for the various locations. What's interesting is how this balances out over the individual days - 20,000 off the Digg hits come on the Tuesday though the StumbleUpon traffic is spread quite evenly over the week. It will be interesting to see how this traffic will taper off over the coming days/weeks , one of my other popular articles still has a constant traffic stream even though it was written over a year ago. I thought it was also interesting to leave the 'average time on site' stats in as the StumbleUpon average is double what it is for all the others. I thought this may be because there are more comments nearer the end of the week for Stumble visitors to read however 99% of the lifehacker.com visits have been in at the end of the week. Why are StumbleUpon visitors spending twice as long on the site and viewing on average 2 pages? I'm not really surprised about the low pages/visit as being a Digg user myself I rarely look further around a site unless it's been Dugg a number of times in a short period making me more interested. The browser stats shouldn't be of any particular surprise considering it's a OS X based article so I was expecting a higher rate of Safari users than usual. 70% of the visitors used OS X, 27% Windows and 3% Linux. Over the week I used 35gig of bandwidth, mainly because I hosted all my own images for the article. Adverts My advertising revenue was better than usual however it did not increase at the same percent that the visits did. It's pretty well known that Digg users don't click adverts and I could have done more to optimise the adverts to be in better positions however my main goal of the article was not to milk it for revenue. On average for the week page click through rate has been at 0.19%, which is down considerably from usual.
I was quite surprised with my hosting in the fact that it didn't go down at all. I just have a normal shared hosting account. Its not unusual to see websites that have gone down because of the Digg effect and with the volume of hits I was getting I was expecting the worst. I'm not sure the exact reason on the server staying up but I know its not overloaded with accounts, is a reasonable speed and is run by some very good techies. My articles blog runs Wordpress 2.1 with the WP-Cache module installed which I can imagine also helped. Response The response to the article was in general very positive and its created quite a debate for some people, one person has even copied my list and written responses to all of them, its a bit patronising and he doesn't add anything useful to my article. Though I have to give credit to him for being able to spin my article into something that has also brought him traffic and for not censoring all the negative comments it has given him. Its been good to see a range of comments on ImAFish and I thank those people who made corrections or added to the original article.
Content Evaluation There are some parts of the article where I should have been more clear and this unfortunately led to some confusion for some people, in future I will have to make sure any points made are obvious. Overall though its been a very positive experience and a very interesting week, hopefully I can repeat it again with another article in the not so distant future. I'm off for a week to Egypt on holiday so will bring another holiday review the week after.
I started writing this as a blog post however as it continued in length it started to sound more like an article so here goes.... For doing IT support at work we had to learn Windows Vista and while we haven't had much interest yet it is inevitable that something will go wrong for us to fix. The majority of other reviews I've read online have not been particularly positive with many people commenting on the DRM restrictions and lack of anything ground breaking.
I wanted to see for myself and of course share it with the wonderful ImAFish fans. To save reinstalling I opted to use Virtual PC 2007, it made sense as it meant I could do XP and Vista support from one computer though it made it hard to see the performance differences. My rig is an Athlon 64 3000+ with 2GB Memory, I gave Virtual PC 1gig of memory and used Vista Business Upgrade. Installation seemed to take forever and wasn't helped by the fact I had to install XP first then install Vista. Three hours later and a couple of restarts I had a Vista desktop. At this point Vista was painfully slow to do anything , I managed to slowly install the Virtual PC additions and reboot the system. This vastly improved things however I tweaked the performance settings a bit more to give maximum performance. At this point i'm sure your all gagging for a screen shot so here we go Windows Vista... (click to enlarge)
As you can see from removing all of the high performance settings you get what looks like Windows 2000! This unfortunately made me lose the "wow" factor so I enabled "Use visual styles on windows and buttons" from the performance options.
This made Vista look like....
You probably recognise this from many of the other Vista screen shots. It's hard not to like the new theme, even without Aero its a lot more polished, smart and has an almost calming effect on what you do. Also in the screen shot is the new start menu, finally they have discarded those annoying nested menus that required pin-point mouse accuracy to follow. Start menu items now simply display below the folder title, more like files in Explorer view. Once you start doing anything you will notice lots of confirmation windows popping up, these tend to be incredibly annoying, I got 3 pop-up boxes just when trying to install Flash Player in IE7.
Fortunately these can be turned off in Control Panel > User Accounts > Turn User Account Control on or off. It will ask you to reboot but its well worth it. You will also need to turn off alerts in the Windows Security Centre to stop Vista from constantly reminding you that account control is disabled.
I tried a couple of common applications, Firefox and SmartFTP both worked fine and didn't look too misplaced within Vista, in fact IE7 looks more out of place with its annoying interface. The majority of Vista can be customised like XP and as you can see from my first screen shot its not hard to pull away the glossy interface though as I said before it is nice.
Most of your favourite tools will be in the same place such as msconfig and the command prompt though incidentally these are now run from the start search box. This can also be used for launching applications, if I was to type in 'Internet' it would launch Internet Explorer, or if I type in 'ass' it launched Remote Assistance. Search has been deeply improved, instead of it taking three minutes to search your hard drive its takes three seconds. Microsoft have redesigned control panel again but give you the option to go back to the classic view.
The majority of items within control panel are unchanged, though there are a few new additions such as the option to upgrade your copy of Vista online. The networking section has the most changes and is now branded under the Network and Sharing Center (even though I set my language to English they still cant spell centre right). At first this is a little confusing however it ends up being a nice way of organising various connections. The system tray now only shows one network icon for all your connections making it easier to forget if you keep a VPN connected by accident. The network map is also a nice tool as it shows other Vista computers and how they are connected. Useful stats such as IP address and computer name are also displayed.
Here you can see many more of the tools common in XP have not changed greatly for Vista. I could fill another four pages with Vista comments but its not really worth it, on the surface Vista is not hugely different. It's stable, has working applications and looks nice. If I brought a new PC having Vista would not put me off however I wouldn't upgrade my current desktop. Vista might be a lot different deep down but on the surface its not and for the price of
Google Pack is a collection of free software packaged together with one simple installer distributed by Google. The pack includes a mixture of software including some of Googles own products such as Picasa and Google Desktop, and other programs such as Adobe reader and Norton Antivirus 2005 SE. The pack revolves around the updater that acts a package manager for downloading programs and updates.
A full list of the programs available: Google Earth Google Desktop Picasa Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer Google Pack Screensaver Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbad Ad-Ware SE Personal Norton Antivirus 2005 Special Edition Adobe Reader 7 Google Talk Google Video Player RealPlayer GalleryPlayer HD Images When first launching Google Pack it will start downloading and installing software, you can however choose which programs you want. For instance I cancelled Google Desktop as it’s a bit intrusive on my desktop and start bar.
The Google website makes it easy to install programs as they are added to the pack.
Within the installed programs list it is easy to remove programs you don’t need.
Google Pack is a good collection of free software, it does a nice job of keeping them up to date and can integrate with your Google account. I found it especially useful when first installing a new PC as the software included with the pack is often what I find myself installing anyway.
The pack has plenty of room to expand in the future and I would like to see an audio manager, video player and maybe even an office suite such as Open Office. Currently Google Pack is Windows XP only.
Yesterday Apple released iTunes 7 with some funky new interface updates. We didn't get a movie store like in the US but we did get some ipod games! While i'm not sure that the games will turn the ipod into the next gameboy they are cheaply priced and does open the ipod up for a lot of new potential applications
Here are a few of the cool new improvements in iTunes.
The first one is the cover browser that lets you scroll through your music via the cover images:
The next view now shows the album art along with the tracks, I have then ordered it by album.
Finally the ipod connection interface has been updated and there are now more options for which media to sync to your ipod (without having to go into preferences).
Some great updates to iTunes well worth the download.
I get paranoid when it comes to data backup and anything that makes it easier and cheaper is always welcome. Currently I backup to external hard drive by simply syncing my home directory to the drive. This is great unless my house is burnt down or the drive is stolen and there is always the risk of it failing. I’ve looked into online backup but for any sort of reasonable space it will cost hundreds of £££ per year. Then Amazon launched s3, mainly meant as a development platform for web services it offered large amounts of cheap disk space and bandwidth. It didn’t take long for JungleDisk to start exploiting this as a data storage service.
As a price comparison each 1gig of data costs $.15 (8p)/month to store on S3 making it far cheaper then Xdrive, Box.net and .Mac (price comparison). Also unlike some other services JungleDisk allowed for unlimited storage. The client comes for Windows, Mac and Linux so it is easy to access your data and with it being online you can install the client as many machines as you want in order to access your data. JungleDisk currently makes no money from the service while they are developing it which does make u wonder how they intend to make it profitable in the future, I’m guessing either through charging for a premium client or somehow taking a cut of the disk space and bandwidth usage. I can see the service being popular but its uptake will be hampered because of slow Internet connections, while most of us in the UK can get between 8-10mb download our upload link has barely changed and still averages at 256kb. To upload 600mb of data it took 18hours, now just think if you say wanted to backup your mp3 collection and soon TV shows and films. Syncing to my external hard drive takes about 10minutes per week but a similar backup to S3 could take hours possibly even days. Online backup is affordable its just not quite accessible and it wont be until the ISPs start increasing upload bandwidth for ADSL and Cable users.
Did you know you can get automatic updates from ImAFish in your browser without even having to visit the site?
RSS feeds contain the latest posts from the various ImAFish services and you can easily subscribe to any or all of them within Firefox.
Not got Firefox? The safest and most secure browser on the Internet.
In order to put these feeds into Firefox do the following:
1. Click the menu Bookmarks then Manage Bookmarks
*The Bookmark Manager will open*
2. Click File then New Live Bookmark
3. Enter the address of the RSS feed you want to subscribe to by copying and pasting one of the following:
Extra (Beta) (Interesting news stories from around the web read more)
4. Drag your new live Bookmark to the Bookmark toolbar folder
*This will then display new posts in the Bookmarks bar in Firefox*
You can then close the Bookmark manager.
If the Bookmarks bar is not shown click View > Toolbars > Bookmark Bar.
Many other websites such as BBC news and the Guardian have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to in order to get automatic news so keep your eye out for the Orange RSS feed icon on websites.
Came accross this application earlier today for putting moustaches on your photos. Quite a pointless program but great fun.
It comes with a range of premade moustaches. Here are a range of examples from my great editing skills:
The program is OS X only and you can download it from www.notdustin.com/istache.
Any staches you do post them here to look at!
Digital photography has become so easy and cheap that if you’re like me I have hundreds if not thousands of photos on my computer. While Windows offers some basic photo viewing and editing options it doesn’t really allow you to touch up your photos to make them even better. One option is Google’s free photo editing program – Picasa 2 (
). When first installed it scans either your documents folder or hard drive for pictures. This can be annoying if you have graphics in your documents folder as you then have to remove them from Picasa. Unfortunately as many pictures and photos share the same file types it is very hard to distinguish them. Picasa allows you to do all the basic photo editing fixes such as removing red eye, straightening the photo, cropping and altering the colour/contrast.
As well as these there are more advanced options for tuning the light, highlights, shadows and temperatures as well as a range of effects including sepia, black & white and tint. Editing photos is simple in Picasa, I usually use Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Fireworks but these can be complicated especially with the range of options available for advanced users. While Photoshop gives you more control over the photo Picasa is easier for the average user.
Apart from the editing functions in Picasa, it makes a good photo viewer allowing you to zoom in and out of photos as well as setting up slideshows and timelines. Picasa is similar to iPhoto on OS X while I prefer the interface in iPhoto, Picasa is more responsive when moving through a large library. Picasa provides easy ways to share your photos as well as print them. There are also options for setting pictures as desktop and screensaver.
I found the batch operations to be very useful. With my cheap Kodak camera being able to correct the colour and contrast makes such a difference to the quality of my photos. If you don’t like any of the changes made by Picasa you can revert back to the original. Picasa will work with the majority of digital cameras and is available for Windows 2000/XP and now Linux. Overall Picasa is a feature rich program that is free and will cover all the basic needs for managing photos.
It seems myspace is in the tech news almost every week so I thought it was about time to see what the fuss was about. Unfortunately unlike many others I wont be using it to organise a mass suicide however it is quite a nice site to keep in contact with people and its "free"?.
Anyway you can check me out/add me/bug me on my appropriately named profile.
Google today launched Google Pages a free website creating tool similar to Geocities. The nice part is that the interface is really nice and simple, in a way it
Went to a talk to from Rob Hopkins from the BBC, he was talking about election night coverage and the amount of effort that goes into just the one night. Was quite interesting to see what goes into broadcasting for 13hours live and how the different parts of the show fitted together.
For some reason tonight I decided to sign up for Friends Reunited, I