I don't know if you've noticed, but fluffing has been an ongoing issue in the Google Places for Business. Lots of businesses have lots of fake reviews.
On the other hand, some of our clients have tried to have clients post reviews for them. This has sometimes not worked out too well. If those reviewers don't have active Google Plus or Google Places for Business accounts, the reviews would disappear after a week or two.
Google is tightening the screws still further now. For once, I'm glad they are doing so. There is no place for fake reviews in Google Places for Business.
Here's the new drill.
For those doing comment marketing in 2013, you know how hard it is to make your comments stand out. Of all the hundreds of thousands of comments our clients' sites have received, the one which arrived this morning must rank as one of the very most amusing.
Many of our clients are in real estate. For some of them we've even built guides to all the condos in their city. We got some unexpected fan mail from one of the condo owners in a prestigious Yorkville Condo building:
Author : Maximum (IP: 188.8.131.52 , CPEbcc8100fb0de-CMbcc8100fb0db.cpe.net.cable.rogers.com)
E-mail : email@example.com
URL : http://www.maximum-escort.com
Whois : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=184.108.40.206
Comment: Get your dick sucked by my hookers at unit 809. Call (647) 989-9849 for a good time.
What's so astonishingly funny is that this is very effective and relevant comment marketing. Alas our client is a rather conservative top realtor and really cannot countenance such information on her site, no matter how relevant and topical.
The website is astonishing as well. Maximum appears to be employing some girls from around here. Miley looks pretty Czech to me. Along with a knockout body, she sports very flexible tastes.
I'm still flabbergasted. Is there really someone openly running a bordello out of 1121 Bay Street, unit 809?
Some of our clients have been asking me lately to reveal what is behind the mask of Foliovision in project management. Finally I have some answers for them. Here's an awesome new music video from Pepso (a.k.a. Peter Horvath) from the Site Promotion Department.
Egon and Pepso - Anger
Peter is one of the two singers who come in at the start. Of the two Peter is the guy in the field at 1.01.
Generally a great effort. Somehow remind me of Nicholas Cage's angst in Wild at Heart, Willem Dafoe's weird performance. The tune behind has a great base line. If you have good speakers, you can crank it. Props for releasing the hi-res version in good quality.
We hire lots of designers, many of them from the local technical university. I’m always surprised at how many of them have really crappy technical skills. It seems to go with the underlying meme in society that computers are for guys. Invariably, these designers are very concerned with doing creative work and being seen as creative.
Here’s how bad it can get. Our latest hire (with a Master’s Degree in technical design!) could not even do a scan properly. She handed back jaggy 700 px x 1000 px scans of 12 x 18 photos with bad black and white points.
Wake up ladies. Design is a craft. There is no more excuse for you not having first rate technical skills than for a carpenter not to be able to use a lathe properly.
Perhaps they could make the argument that they are more sculptors than wood workers. Did Rodin have to know how to use a lathe (actually Rodin worked mainly in bronze)?
On LinkedIn, have you seen the message?
Full profiles for 3rd-degree connections are available only to premium account holders.
The first couple of times I saw this I thought it had to be temporary glitch. At a time when everyone else is adding useful features, LinkedIn is taking them away.
Most of the time you cannot see what LinkedIn call 3rd degree connections. But not all of the time.
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Lots of our big clients woke up to a nasty surprise on Friday 21 September: Zero subscribers in Feedburner.
I've never been that great a fan of Feedburner. It's a largely unnecessary external service. But it's free and clients often come to us with Feedburner already implemented. Who are Foliovision to argue with them about a free service which usually works.
Why don't I like external services and especially free services?
- there's usually no customer support (Feedburner check)
- there are no service guarantees (Feedburner check)
- there are no promises for future service (Feedburner check)
- there is no one to appeal to: managers hide (Feedburner check)
- usually you are on a URL you don't control (Feedburner check)
I learned the hard way with four services:
We’ve suffered through two world wars with you, you didn’t pay the reparations we wanted for the first one, you’ll pay those reparations now.
WordPress cache plugins were in really sad shape by the summer of 2012. WordPress 3.3 and WordPress 3.4 have changed some important parts of these plugins and they started to collapse. The first one to go was W3 Total Cache (at WordPress.org) which has been getting about 50% broken ratings since last fall. After spending months learning how to use W3 Total Cache just right (it's a complicated beast), we had to pull it off all our sites. Fortunately the much simpler WP Super Cache (at WordPress.org) remained bullet proof.
This spring and summer WP Super Cache broke too. Garbage collection does not work reliably any more, leading to people getting served week old pages. Donncha first suggested it's impossible to make WP Super Cache work for all hosting out of the box. Strange as for more than five years WP Super Cache did just that. The real answer came a bit later. WP Super Cache is a free plugin and Donncha just doesn't have time anymore.
I have hardly any time to devote to this any more. One of the dangers of becoming a father I'm afraid.
We've struggled to get garbage collection working properly to keep our clients' sites cached but reliably up to date. For the moment garbage collection still won't run reliably on at least Informed Comment. As JuanCole.com is one of the most read political sites in the world, this is something which needed to be fixed right away. It turns out there is a third WordPress cache plugin out there, Hyper Cache (at WordPress.org). We know the author of this plugin Stefano Lissa from his Newsletter Pro plugin which we use for a few clients. Lissa's code is good, he can handle sophisticated tasks while keeping the code structured enough for external teams to find and repair bugs and he answers his email.
So while HyperCache is less well-known than the big two, it seemed worth a try. We think long and hard before changing horses on core functionality like caching as we have years of experience with our core plugins. Usually our philosophy is better the devil you know is better than the one you don't.
In addition, WP Super Cache has mod_rewrite capability which means no PHP has to run (and hence presumably no CPU) to serve cached pages. We put a high value on Super Cache's capability to bypass PHP processing. But to our surprise testing last year had shown to Hyper Cache to be a bit faster than WP Super Cache. Other testing had shown Hyper Cache competitive. What is also worth noting from the other two tests is that in a comparable environment W3 Total Cache is in no way superior to either WP Super Cache and Hyper Cache, just more complicated. Complicated is bad: KISS is the best development rule ever written.
We still didn't really believe these results and thought there must be something strange in the test environment. We wanted to test against a real site and a real server that had been online.
We still had a testbed server available with Informed Comment on it and no traffic. The nice thing about this test bed is that it is a very limited 768 MB VPS with bare bones Apache and mod_php on it. I.e. we knew that if we gave it a good effort we'd be able to saturate it with proper external testing from LoadImpact. Our main dedicated servers with nginx would cost hundreds of dollars per test instead of $15/test. Based on past testing, we far prefer real web traffic than synthetic benchmarks like ApacheBench.
Here's what we found with 500 concurrent connection test. First the results for WP Super Cache.
Now from the challenger HyperCache.
Basically the results are identical. Both plugins allow the post to be downloaded at a fairly constant 1.8 seconds per load.
I’ve just spent an hour helping a client get set up with secondary addresses in Gmail within Apple Mail. She’s tried and failed to get Apple Mail to work reliably enough for her taste on vanilla IMAP. Our own four full articles on the idiosyncracies of Apple Mail IMAP support her point:
- Apple Mail: Migrating from POP to IMAP Smoothly for Power Users
- Apple Mail, IMAP, IDLE and Smart Mailboxes don’t mix well, spike CPU
- Apple Mail: Getting rid of multiple draft messages in IMAP
- Apple Mail: Fixing Broken IMAP accounts after a server move
- Apple Mail IMAP: Sent Mail Showing up in wrong folder on second computer
Just as we got to the goal line, B. asked me about setting up Mail on the iPad to work with secondary addresses in Gmail.
Turns out that’s it’s pretty difficult:
We’ve written a lot about IMAP and Apple Mail. We still maintain IMAP is a blessing and essential for any user with more than one computer. Yet Apple Mail still has surprises for us.
In particular, you never know what folder it’s going to choose for sent mail. So it’s very easy to end up with your sent mail and your spam mail scattered across three different folders on as many computers.
There is a craftily hidden command which will let you sort this out ver quickly.