The Online World Isn’t Perfect


It would be really nice if everything that you do with technology worked, worked well the first time, and never had a problem.  Of course, you can add those wishes to the hundreds of others that you might have.  It doesn’t always work that way.

For some, it’s the end of the world.  For the hesitant user who you’ve finally convinced that doing something is good, a hiccup in the process can often be the excuse that’s needed to bail out.  After all, it can sure be frustrating.  The sophisticated user might slap their monitor and then move to fix the problem or just move on to something else.

A couple of examples have arisen in the past little while.

Posterous will turn off on April 30

The Posterous blogging platform has been a very easy platform to curate and share photos and others have made it their primary blogging platform.  I would equate it to Tumblr in its functionality and appearance.  Posting has been a slice when you install the bookmark tool or use Shareaholic.  But, it’s going to close.

One Approach:
Get mad.  Get frustrated.  Shut down.  After all, you’ve put so much work into your Posterous presence and now it’s gone.  See, I told you the internet doesn’t work.

Another Approach:
OK, I’ve got until April 30 to do something about this.  What can I do?  First of all, you have until April 30 to enjoy your efforts.  Unless you do something, it will ultimately close and all your work is gone.  Nobody wants that so read the entire post and you’ll see that Posterous gives you instructions about how to get your content out of Posterous so that you don’t lost everything.

Or, read and follow the instructions elsewhere

OK, so WordPress is the answer?

It’s not perfect either.  Check out this story from yesterday.

WordPress.com goes down, taking millions of blogs (and us) with it
That’s interesting.  This blog is hosted by WordPress.com.  I didn’t even know that there was an interruption in the service.  But, I suppose that it could be that you were affected.  I hope now.  Fortunately, WordPress seems to have recovered nicely.  All is good as I work on this post.

That does it.  I’m moving my blog.
Well, you could over react.  There are many other very good blogging sites – Jux, Blogger, Tumblr.  They’ll never have problem.  (tongue in cheek)

That does it.  I’m going to host my own.
That’s always an option.  After all, the WordPress code is free to download and install.  It absolutely is and thousands of people use their own WordPress instance daily.  That only requires that you purchase hosting space, install and maintain your code and do your own backups.

The best approach?  I think that it’s pretty clear that there are many alternatives and that’s the joy and the power of being online.  Despite the small moments of frustration and inconvenience, the stats lie heavily in favour of stableness and continuity.  You just need to calm down, take it easy, make intelligent and informed decisions and then move on.  After all, there are a lot of smart people working behind the scenes and they really are aiming for 100% uptime.

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With a Little Help From My Friends


I don’t dwell on blog statistics.  I’m not into blogging for numbers but it’s nice to know that my hobby is read by others.  I normally get 1-200 visitors to the blogsite daily and there’s about another 100 that get the updates via email.  I’m very happy with every post that I make; they’re what I’m thinking about or playing with at the time.  It keeps me curious about things.

On Friday, I had been playing around with inklewriter and thought that it would be nice to share with you and so wrote a post to be announced at 5am on Saturday morning.  It was like any other post – announced on Twitter and Facebook in the early morning so that you can ignore it if you wish or if you want, you can go looking for it and take a read.

It was with some surprise that I noticed over the weekend that some online friends had re-tweeted the announcement of the post.  I thought that was awfully nice; I know that I like to share good reads with others.  So, thanks to Alfred Thompson, Ron Millar, Kyle Pace, the Couros boys, Tom Barrett and also a whole lot of others that I hadn’t seen in my Twitter timeline before but I hope to now since I’ve followed them.  It was kind of you.  After their messages, I noticed that their message was retweeted by their followers and it continued to happen over the weekend.  In among this, I noticed a few messages posted from Flipboard and Zite.  Obviously, those services had read the blog and were good enough to add it to the big stream of things and users decided to share.

But how much?

Just before writing this post, I had the urge to log into the blog and clear out the spam.  It just seems to be a never ending collection of nonsense and I go in every 3 or 4 days just to clear things out.  If you’re a WordPress user, you know that the first thing you get when you log into the Dashboard is a lot of statistics.  In this case, I did a double take.

There was a real spike on Saturday, the 25th.  It was more than double the regular number of visitors that I get on a daily basis.

If you look backwards, you’ll see that the number of visitors is pretty regular.  So, why the big difference on the 25th?  Well, it’s the day after the 24th.

I know that it’s probably not a spike because of the interest of the post from that day.  I rambled on about provincial Twitter hashtags which might be of interest to a few Canadians.  All that I can attribute it to is the network of the friends who had noticed the inklewriter post and shared it with others.

It seems to me that there’s a couple of things to learn from this.

  • If you read a post you like, promote it.  Personally, I use Shareaholic but most blogs have a Share or Twitter button.  How else will others know what you found?
  • If you’re blogging with your class, share the statistics with them and speculate why some days are better than others.  Talk about your authentic mathematics!
  • If you’re a blogger, keep at it.  There are days when you might just create a post that generates a great deal of interest.

Thank you so much to all of the readers of the blog.  Your interest generates a renewed enthusiasm for me for this hobby.  I just hope that the extra readers on the 25th make their way back.

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Playing with Cortex


 

It was an afternoon for software exploration.  A Chrome extension by the name of Cortex had caught my attention recently.  It’s motto is “Share Fast”.  I like to share – let me check it out.

The Cortexapp just takes a couple of seconds to download and install itself.  Using the application is very easy.  Just click and hold your mouse button for a second and up pops a wheel of some of your social services.

Slide your cursor to the pop-up box that appears next.  At this point, you’ll be able to type some text to give an explanation of what you’re sharing – usually, it’s just the title of the article.  Press enter and Cortex shortens the URL of the resource and posts it.  It’s as simple as that.

Now, of course, connections to your social services do need to be set up.  When you first install the application on your computer, you’ll be prompted to go to the various services and grant them posting rights to your account.  It’s necessary for all the services that you’ll be using.  Going around the dial, you can see Gmail, Instapaper, Tumblr, Posterous, Facebook, Twitter or All of the Above.

The application performs as promised and is quick and easy.  Currently, I use Shareaholic for this sort of thing.  In this iteration of Cortex, I see a gap in services.  Yes, I do like to share to Twitter, but for my own records, I’ll tuck it away into Diigo.  Or, I’ll use a reference to WordPress for a possible blog post.  As I scan up and down Shareaholic, I see a great deal of services that I know that others use.

I wonder if that’s the direction that Cortex will head.  A bigger selection of services would be nice.  If all that you’re doing those is a quick share to Twitter, Facebook, or any of the other supported services, give it a try.  It really works as quickly as promised.

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