It's no secret that we are big ecto users at Foliovision. But we've found Ecto for Windows more trouble than its worth. We are not the only ones to think so.
Rather than continue to fight Ecto for Windows which is a bit overkill for what we need to do on our Windows computers we went looking for an alternative, preferably something more portable. The Firefox extension JustBlogIt seemed like just the trick.
Basic, but easy to use and open to multiple accounts - very important to cover our multiple weblogs.
JustBlogIt worked a treat with my legacy Typepad account (if you're asking I don't enjoy Typepad at all - tech support is terrible even on a premium account), but wouldn't work with our WordPress weblog, always returning a PHP fatal error.
I asked Jérémie to investigate and this is what he came up with:
In a mastermind group to which I belong someone asked whether it would be a good idea to use Paypal as a merchant service for e-commerce.
The gentleman wanted to sell touchscreen monitors at $1000 to $2000.
One thing I will say for Paypal, using their system for merchant payments is extremely easy. You just set up your buttons and your links and you can be taking donations in minutes.
For physical goods, Paypal is extremely buyer friendly, i.e. it would be difficult to prevent a customer from abusing a return policy. On the other hand for digital goods, Paypal is extremely seller (i.e. con artist) friendly. I recently made the mistake of purchasing some expensive marketing materials from a dubious seller. In the end, the product was never delivered.
With Paypal's system, there was no recourse. You fill in the complaint procedure (you have 45 days maximum) and then when you are done, they close the case.
Digital goods are not subject to Paypal guarantees.
But for physical goods, they are always on the side of the buyer (i.e. someone can order something and claim that it didn't arrive and all the burden of proof is on you). On expensive items like yours, I would be wary.
Which Help Desk to Use to Generate an Online Set of FAQ? This is another question I’ve answered lately privately. Kayako, Three Pillars Help Desk, Basecamp, Freshbooks – all candidates. My advice – pick any one system get to know it well and use it to the maximum.
Update 08 November 2010: We’ve actually finished our own
I’m on a professional WordPress mailing list and this interesting question came up:
I’m using WordPress 2.2 as a CMS to create a site for a client with a small business. My client wants a portfolio page (not necessrily a WP Page) with a list of thumbnails that will each link to its own “gallery” page which will include multiple photographs with some descriptions. My client is a non-programmer who will need to update and add to the portfolio page on her own.
I’ve been looking at WPG2 and wondering if this will accomplish my needs. I’ve seen you can put photos in posts, but can you link those post photos to a WP Page that contains more photos from that category in a gallery style (such as the embedded WPG2)? I will also need descriptions about those photos on that Page. I’ve looked at other sites that have WPG2 embedded within Pages, but their Pages don’t contain photo descriptions beyond the photo title.
Does WPG2 seem a good fit? Or is there another plugin that works better? Or will this not be possible?
Alas, Tracy, all of the galleries in WordPress stink. Both Gallery 1 and 2 are way too top heavy on their own. Mixing Gallery with WordPress would be a fatal PHP cocktail, capable of choking the most powerful server and confusing the most adroit programmer.
We needed to add four new workstations to our Foliovision office in Bratislava. In my experience working on quiet computers really increases the productivity, so originally we were considering laptops. After quite a bit of thinking and research we’ve made the decisions to base our computers on Intel’s Core 2 Duo chipsets, as they’re fast and cool (they run almost at half of the temperature of their AMD alternatives).
WHY DUAL CORE
I’ve found dual processors to be great for design and internet related tasks, as you can leave an upload running in the background while still working at full speed in a text editor or browser. If the Core 2 Duo is good enough for Apple, we decided it was the choice for us. Going with a budget chip would save you a $100 or $150 on the unit but at the cost of additional heat, noise and problems.
After doing up a budget for Intel Core 2 Duo laptops and desktops, we found laptops would have:
- smaller screens (1440×990 versus 1680×1050)
- smaller and slower hard drives (80 GB versus 200 GB)
- much higher price tag (25,000 SKK ~ $900 versus 17,000 SKK ~ $625, including Samsung 20” 205 monitors)
- would be much harder/more expensive to repair
We also thought long and hard about whether we needed or wanted to be moving our computers around. We already have three laptops in the company so we already have some portable units – if we need them. And we found that portability was a small concern. The guys didn’t feel like taking their work home for the weekend or to Switzerland for holiday. Why should they? Always having your work with you can be the bane of one’s life, costing peace of mind and whole relationships.
Using Organic Ranking Profits to Subside Paid Search Ads : SEO Book.com: I am not surprised to hear about Amazon…. A year ago, when someone sold on eBay and Amazon, they did about 70% eBay vs. Amazon in volume.
LinkAdage – PR6 Link on Great Non-Profit Website Auction 58744: This non-profit site has a bunch of very nice natural backlinks from other non-profit organizations. This is a very clean site and it is the first time they are selling links.
It turns out the situation is even more dire than one would think. Alexa Rank can be wildly wrong – by a factor of ten.
Short essay about what an idea is worth. The right idea could be worth $361 million per person – or nothing.
There are lots of ways to build incoming links.
For a small window of time (about six months until April of this year) sponsoring WordPress themes was a great way to get varied links from lots of different independent websites.
Of course these links wouldn't be going on top PR sites generally (custom themes) and you don't have control of the theme of the site.
On the other hand, you do have control over the anchor text, which is already not bad.
And previously it was quite inexpensive - you would pay about $40 or $50/link on a two sponsored link theme and around $70 to $100 for a single sponsored link theme.
Things have changed - most theme developers are pushing three sponsored links and are trying to get $100 or more per link.
With the inflation and feeding frenzy, a lot more lousy developers have thrown their hats into the ring, so there is an oversaturation of themes.
The developers all talk a good game of how they promote the theme on sites such as:
- http://www.themesbase.com (PR4)
- http://forums.digitalpoint.com (PR7)
- http://www.wpskins.org (PR4)
Unfortunately on all or most of these high PR authority sites, your sponsored link will be nowhere to seen. Just a link to download the theme and some jpegs of the theme.
The developers will also try to shout and scream about 450 downloads, 1037 downloads for past themes. But for link building number of downloads accomplishes nothing for you.
What you are interested in is the number of sites which use the theme and include the sponsored links. For the purposes of sponsored links, a single is much better as the end user is less likely to rip out the links. By the same token it would also be better if the links were discreetly nested and not in electric green (where they are likely to attract the attention of the site owner and his visitors and finally get ripped out). An exception could be made if your site is likely to go viral and has a very wide appeal. In that case, clicks from sponsored links might actually contribute to your business. For my regional websites, we are not looking for random clicks. It will never generate any business for my clients and the more discreet the sponsored links the better.
Like everybody in search we are having to get more involved in Social Bookmarking than we used to be.
Like most people in search, normally we don't have a lot of time for social bookmarking. It's a pretty busy year.
On this weblog, we've implemented Denis de Bernardy Bookmark Me plugin which gives direct access to 25 services (del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Reddit, Ask, BlinkList, blogmarks, Blogg-Buzz, Google, Ma.gnolia, muti, Netscape, ppnow, Rojo, Shadows, Simpy, Socializer, Spurl, StumbleUpon, Tailrank, Technorati, Windows Live, Wists, Yahoo!).
We've selected del.icio.us, Digg, Ma.gnolia, StumbleUpon and Technorati for now. I would really hate to see more than five icons at the bottom of my posts. Even that's a bit of a stretch. The PR drain would be terrible but Denis de Bernardy very sensibly allows us to automatically put no-follow tags on all bookmarking services with a single checkbox.
Announcing extended post on hacking WordPress template files. Step one – identifying the template files from the front end.
Some well-known SEOs are advocating using
Add nofollow on all of the links that point to other sites, unless you have agreed to a direct link for some reason.
This is the most narrow-minded tripe I’ve ever heard. Google will rank websites higher who don’t link to anyone else? Such a strategy makes a mockery of the whole essence of hypertext and the WWW (world wide web).
This school of thought has its origins with Leslie Rohde from his Optilink/Optispider cult days (circa 2002-2003). The clunky and overpriced Optilink has since been superceded by Brad Callen’s Link Proctor, later renamed SEO Elite. Aaron Wall has some free tools (alas some of them broken now – SEO Elite is more reliably updated) and there are lots of other pay tools out there now which track your backlinks.
What is valuable advice is not hoarding PR, but channeling Page Rank. I mean really – you don’t increase your wealth by putting your money under your mattress. You increase your wealth by reinvesting your money wisely. And the same thing applies to Page Rank on the internet.
Is it possible for the medium sized guys to make money?
Network Solutions, bought for $20 million in 2003, was just sold for $800 million three years later.
And amazingly enough, this deal was done by a Persian – Iranian American Jahm Najafi.
So do the Iranians know how to play a poker hand?
It certainly looks like yes. No wonder the Israelis want the Americans to bomb the Iranians to smithereens. Competition isn’t fun.
Anyway here’s Najafi’s story:
Philip Dow’s Journler
Philip Dow is the developer of the very well received Mac PIM (personal information manager) Journler about donationware. His application Journler had an open donation policy for personal use. Contribute whatever you like. A single commercial use license was/is $25.
Phil is going full-time as a developer now and is starting to feel the pain – lots of downloads and good press, but not a lot of revenue rolling in.
Out of 580 registered users, Phil had received an average donation of $17. That makes a total of about $9800. But in the end, Phil feels that some are abusing the donation system.
Some gentlemen search colleagues are thunderstruck by the acquisition of 24/7 Real Media by advertising holding company WPP for $649 million (a tidy sum it is – congratulations 24/7 – although I’ve always hated your technology). Raycam wonders why more ad agencies aren’t snapping up the smaller search houses.
It’s simple. All the assets go down the elevator every night (David Ogilvy is reputed the first to coin this phrase).