I have been weeding through my feed subscriptions. Seeing “links for” is an instant unsubscribe…

unsubscribed from my feedreader

TechCrunch and ValleyWag are two highly successful websites. Here are their recent stats for your reference.

It’s like a baseball pitcher in high school knowing that Nolan Ryan clocked a pitch 100.9 miles per hour.

TechCrunch’s January uniques: 2,647,027
ValleyWag’s January visits: 1,866,711 (stats)

Technorati Tags: , valleyway,

Define: Grok

February 17th, 2007

Coturnix today reminds me of one of my favorite words, Grok.

grok \GROCK\ verb

: to understand profoundly and intuitively

The discussion and extended definition can be found on Blog Around the Clock

My favorite new read-for-pure-pleasure blog is FastAndLoud. The author, FFF, approached me a few months ago with the idea. He wanted to express his politically-incorrect views on our modern culture in a freeform, blogish format.

(Of course, doesn’t everybody?)

However, we gave him a little piece of server space and he has never looked back. His articles were quickly burning up digg and shoutwire. Here’s a few that you’ve probably heard about already:

Now, he’s selling a ton of his wit-based swag. No fair! We are not even selling tech-recipes swag yet!

Check out his site and subscribe to his feed–you’ll either be amused or offended on a routine basis. Isn’t that all that we can really ask for?

Last night we finally figured out the vertical scrolling error. As the problem was mainly isolated to apple systems, I thought I would chat with the webkit guys to see if maybe it was a newly discovered bug with their rendering engine. On IRC, Mitzpettel took a look at the html/css and decided that it was actual bug with their rendering engine. A few minutes later, he figured out a work-around that I could use for the site. It was an amazing experience. If webkit had a browser for windows, I would try it out in a heartbeat.

Interestingly, webkit is based on the KHTML engine from KDE. This would explain why some non-Apple users were having problems with this bug as well. If you have one of these browsers and would like to test it out, I have created a barebones site demostrating this bug.

I do want to thank all of the users who reported the problem and continue to give us helpful feedback regarding the site.

IE7 First Thoughts and Fixes

February 1st, 2006

When IE7 beta was released earlier this week, several friends of mine were quick to download it. For the most part they liked it; however, they are slowly hitting me with new questions about this updated browser. In typical tech-recipes style, I have answered some of these questions in our new Internet Explorer 7.0 section.

So far I am moderately impressed. I like the tabs a bit better than in firefox. It takes a little time to get comfortable with any GUI change, but that’s not too painful. The RSS/XML support is nice. The widespread fears of CSS-rendering wasteland have been largely been put to rest although some CSS issues still exist.

Firefox’s plug-in system is amazing, and I hope something similar comes out for IE7. I don’t miss firefox as much as I miss some of the unique abilities that certain plug-ins give me.

If you have IE7 hints, tweaks, hacks, please post them. We love giving away gifts for such things. If you have an IE7 issue, we’ll try to help you through it.

Remember, if all else fails, just uninstall the IE7 beta and wait for the next version to roll out.

Tech-Recipes has had the privilege of being placed on the front page of digg and the shoutwire-related pages several times now. It is always a thrill and honor to experience the massive traffic effects of being highlighted on these sites. Our sites have generally tolerated the traffic very well, and many people have contacted me regarding these experiences. I have written about the unique nature of digg traffic in the past–Digg Effect: The Top 10 Things Webmasters Should Know. Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to contrast and compare the traffic effects of these two very popular sites.

1. The Shoutwire Effect can be as big as the Digg Effect. For many years now, people have feared the slashdot effect . This is basically the overwhelming deluge of traffic that a site gets when posted on the front page of slashdot. With the recent climb in popularity, the “digg effect” frequently knocks servers down as well. Shoutwire traffic (or at risk of coining a new term, the “shout effect”) will throw just as many hits onto a site as digg. However, this traffic is not as intense.

The digg effect peaks within a couple of hours. The shout effect plateaus over about half of a day. The net effect is about the same amount of traffic; however, since the shout traffic is more spread out, servers seem to tolerate it better. Overall bandwidth requirements are similar between the two.

2. Shoutwire traffic clicks rarely clicks on ads. So all you freaking scamming webmasters, quit posting your crap trying to make a quick buck! Just like digg, shoutwire traffic visits and leaves without clicking on ads. You are more likely to owe money paying for extra bandwidth than to actually make a profit on your post… so please stop!

3. Being on shoutwire can get you the same amount of traffic as being on digg. It is a common belief that being highlighted on digg will lead to much more traffic that being on shoutwire. In many cases this is not true. As mentioned above, the digg traffic is so dense and sudden, a server really feels the strain. However, the more steady shout traffic ends up yielding a similar amount of traffic. Here’s another way to look at it: digg has more users than shoutwire; however, an article on digg stays on the front page a shorter amount of time than shoutwire. Here are the stats from one of our tutorials that was on both digg and shoutwire:

shout versus digg traffic

4. While Digg is solo, Shoutwire is a multi-headed hydra. When digg is slamming your site, all the traffic is coming from digg. If you want to throttle it, it is easily done. However, shoutwire traffic comes from multiple sites: Shoutwire.com, torrentspy.com, ircspy.com, packetnews.com. In reality, most of the traffic really comes from shoutwire and torrentspy. From a theoretical SEO standpoint, being on multiple sites might be better.

5. Articles hitting the front page of shoutwire are more varied than those on digg. Digg users pride themselves on just promoting technology related articles. Shoutwire users have a tendency to promote interesting news of a much wider variety. Both sites hate the “blog bounce” which is when a user submits a link to his blog post which in turn just links to the main article. “Blog bounces” never get promoted to the main page on either site.

6. Shoutwire’s abuse protection is more robust than digg’s. Shoutwire prevents multiple shouts on an article from a single IP address. This prevents one user with multiple accounts from promoting the same article over and over. Likely, soon digg will improve its abuse protection as well, but for now, Shoutwire’s is more impressive.

7. Shoutwire traffic does not generate new users, comments, or posts. Just like digg, shoutwire brings “drive-by” traffic. They come, they look, they leave. In google analytics, this is called bounce traffic. They bounce in and out. When compared to traffic from search engines, users from these sites are much less likely to participate in the site’s community. If you think about it, this makes sense. People are visiting torrentspy and just surfing through the shoutwire links as they wait for their torrent to download. In contrast, google traffic are focused visitors who are actively searching for the information on your site.

Alexa bump from shoutwire traffic

8. Shoutwire visitors are more likely to use alexa than digg users. We have shown previously that digg does not greatly influence alexa ranking. In contrast, being highlighted on the shoutwire suite of sites seems to give you an alexa bump. This is likely because more shoutwire users than digg users use IE and the alexa plug-in.

Now, before you slam me, this is not placebo-controlled, double-blinded, scientific research here. I am comparing the characteristics from the shoutwire sites to digg. These were different articles posted at different times so there could be other variables in play. However, I believe this is one of the first comparisons between these two very cool and innovative sites.

Hopefully this information will help you as webmasters better prepare for getting your site on the shoutwire sites. Personally, I hope our research will stress to those self-promoting, spamming webmasters that sites such as shoutwire and digg will use up your bandwidth without increasing your ad-clicks.

Max DreamHost Discount

January 6th, 2006

We love our users, and we love dreamhost.

Now, I admit that tech-recipes is not on dreamhost… it is on mediatemple. However, we host several sister sites on dreamhost. This week, one of these sites, www.fastandloud.com, has been flooded with traffic from digg, shoutwire, and other popular blogs. Despite our small account on dreamhost, fastandloud has handled the traffic without flinching. We have been very, very impressed.

DreamHost recently upgraded their service to 20GB space and 1TB bandwidth. If you included that with their Ruby on Rails, wordpress, and one-click installs, DreamHost is a helluva deal. Now DreamHost allows people to make $97 on each referral. Forget that… we have generated a code that gives all of this money back to you. I’ll post a picture from our panel to prove it.

dreamhost discount

Why am I doing this? Because I have seen a bunch of people on digg trying to spam the site to get the referral bonus. By giving out a coupon that completely gives the new user the referral bonus, hopefully I will prevent more digg spam from occurring.

Goto DreamHost and sign-up with keyword techrecipes. Enjoy!

Flashback: Moan and Groan Page

November 26th, 2005

Translation: The Moan and Groan Page. Like all self-respecting computer users, you say to yourself that now is the time to rejuvenate your machine, which has aged very quickly. Before spending astronomical amounts of money for new equipment, it is a good ideas to have a quick look at this page. It is chock full of stories and tales of woe and disasters concerning hardware and software. The problems are arranged by order of brands and products, and you surely understand that this is a free technical assistance service. A kind of efficient S.O.S. for computers.

When I was in college many, many moons ago, I was angered over the huge amount of computer junk that was being released into the marketplace. I collected people’s horror stories and posted them on my web page. The entire site was manual and maintained with donated server space and users time. The site was a hit worldwide and I was interviewed by many of the PC magazines of the day. Many users used it to organize class action lawsuits. Some companies tried to help themselves by posting fixes and work arounds on our site; however, many others tried to sue the site to take it offline. Lawyers donated their time and kept the site up and legal.

The site eventually imploded due to its size and popularity. We had tried to keep different sections on the multiple different donated servers to distribute the load. At that time I had no means of editing the site dynamically, so I had to hardcode every section and every update. As I entered medical school, the site could be maintained no longer.

If I would have known MightyQ back then, I have no doubt that we would have been more successful than eopinions. Of course, if so, I would have never learned medicine either. Things happen for a reason.

I believe that we were one of the first online communities to support consumer’s rights. Companies hated to hear about us and that was a good thing. The internet was much different back then. No advertisements were allowed. The “commercialization of the internet” was a supposed evil apocalypse still on the horizon. However, as different as the internet was, people still came together to help each other. At that time webmasters donated web space, users donated time, and lawyers donated shields. Now, people on sites like ours and across the internet still spend their valuable time to help each other. Although the media may change, good people still do good things.

We should all be thankful for that.

Here’s your odd feeling of the day…

Kid goes onto somethingawful forums requesting advice on what type of shotgun shells he should get. The same kid turns out to go on a shooting rampage before committing sucide just a few days later

The members of somethingawful are now realizing that they gave advice to a murderer. Reading the forum now, you get a feeling how troubled this guy really was:

I have very poor english, Not everyone Is good at english you know.I can also tell whats wrong due to my english knowledge(full college prep) But have no clue how to fix it, I run into a brain stump.My names William Freund(check that old gas thread I made I think I left my drivers license on a pic there),Talking like boris Is fine for me.I already Know im not worthy off SA with my grammer and english but this is the firearms forum,And I think the buckshot that has dissapeared is a important problem…I would have bought a One of the secuirty sites camera appeartus and put it around the house…

My family have been serouslly injured by these gangs that come around and Nobody has ever seen them, we just assume there in a truck, get out and snipe pumpkins and run off. Check the orange county sheriff and you might find reports from last halloween off these guns.-There is no noise and no ammunition to be found besides a bunch off dark dust.thus no protection… besides the police warning to stay inside (Yes i know but its been a family tradition to give out candy)I do not want buckshot.

I want the best, Hevi-shot buckshot^^ I might as well make my own if I were to ever use the dreaded paper +paper wad blackpowder/old nitro smokeless shells.

Sometimes these troubled characters you meet in forums are really, honestly troubled characters.

Can you blame the guys on somethingawful? Of course not. Does it give you an errie feeling? Absolutely.