Friday, August 27, 2010

Google Realtime Search: Useful?

Official Google Blog: Google Realtime Search: a new home with new tools

This appears to be one of those projects that involve a lot of work and resources, but result in very little gain. I don't see the usefulness of Google Realtime for anything beyond checking for possible news information that hasn't been reported in the major media yet. For example, I may want to read about the incident that caused train delays today. At the moment, I am using Twitter search for this purpose and it seems to do what I want.

Monday, August 2, 2010

4 Hours to Create Email Account

One of my clients asked me to create a new email account for them. Their site is hosted on Network Solutions. In the past, this was not a problem at all. I just log into the account management system and the whole process is finished in under a minute. It is no longer so simple. I don't know when they changed it. They now have a notice stating that changes can take up to 4 hours. The email account that I created is still inaccessible a half hour later. This is unacceptable and I have not seen this problem with any other host.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DNS Issues

This is one type of failure that I had not been expecting. My sites have been down a few times, but it was always either the webhost failing or the webhost's ISP. I experienced a DNS-only failure today. I am reconsidering my reliance on I used them because they are inexpensive and give me the advanced controls that many others charge extra for. I thought it was a safe bargain, because I failed to realize the vulnerability of a DNS failure. Things have suddenly become a lot more expensive.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Changing URLs

I recently removed the hyphen on blog-stalk, changing the URL to At the moment, the old URL still has a decent search engine rank, but the new URL has a very low rank. I submitted a change of address request via Google Webmaster Tools, but this hasn't helped in any obvious way yet.

Related to this, I was experimenting with different URL structures for SEO. Google indexed my site several times while I was experimenting with different options. This has resulted in many indexed pages that have invalid links. My sitemap file has been updated, and the site seems to have been indexed again, but the bad version of the links is still in the database and the proper version is not. The URL removal tool seems to no longer exist, but help files still refer to it.

Changing Focus

I have decided to expand this blog to focus on more than just one project. This is going to be about all my web projects, and just what is involved in being a web developer, designer, and administrator.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

New Design

After a whole year, I finally redesigned blog-stalk. I was reluctant to do it, but I was making significant improvements to the code while developing a new site with the same code base, and I wanted some of those enhancements on blog-stalk. Although I like the new look more, I was primarily hesitant to revise blog-stalk's look, because I knew that there would be some resistance from members, and I wanted more diversity when showing my portfolio to clients. Having two nearly identical sites really counts as one when clients look at my work.

I released a screen shot several days ago, and I was surprised by the positive responses. I did not get a single complaint until the actual update was released. Two members objected. They claim that it strains their eyes. I'm not really sure if it's their monitor settings, or if they are just trying to justify a purely psychological reaction by claiming a physiological basis. The majority of members liked the revised look. I compromised a bit by lowering the contrast, but now everything looks dull to me. For the new site that I am working on, I am retaining the high contrast.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CMS Garbage

While developing my latest site, I was reminded of why I had to code blog-stalk entirely from scratch. Joomla is garbage and Drupal is only borderline practical for what I wanted. If they had worked better, I might not have needed to do so much coding. It was a good learning experience. I may some day make my own CMS based on the blog-stalk code base.