Archive for February, 2008

I’ve been taking some time recently to learn Rails 2.0. Unfortunately, I’ve found it rather difficult getting started due to differences between 1.x and 2.0. It seems that most of the tutorials are based on the older versions. When moving to 2.0, it is very important that you find tutorials geared toward this specific version or you will run into problems right away. By far, the best resource to getting started has been Dan Benjamin’s guide to getting all of the applications up and running on OS X 10.4 and Ralph Edge’s tutorial for beginners. Ralph has also been very helpful in answering some questions that I’ve had. He’s very quick to reply in his blog.

I’ve also been trying to compile the best resources I come across on del.icio.us. For people who are interested, you can check them out at http://del.icio.us/cwills/rubyonrails.

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Ever since I first heard the rumors that iPhone update 1.1.4 would have flash support, I’ve been anxiously awaiting for it to come out. Unfortunately, 1.1.4 came out today without such support, at least not that I’ve been able to find. I guess I’ll continue to hope that it makes the next release. Oh, well.

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Blogging Made Simple

If you’ve ever been interested in starting a blog but we’re overwhelmed by where to start, you should check out Tumblr. Tumblr is what I would call a microblogging tool which falls somewhere between the more editorial style of WordPress and the IM style of Twitter. I recently decided to try it out and have been using it for more of a personal blog.

What I really love about Tumblr is its simplicity. They have narrowed down a post to seven topics; text, quotes, video, audio, chat, links, and photos. This quickly puts you in the proper mindset for what you’re posting and the related form simplifies the posting process. The design is easy to use and it doesn’t get in the way. If you have a thought that you want to share with the world, you can do so without much effort.

Finally, what intrigued me the most about Tumblr is the ability to post from my iPhone. This is something I’ve been looking to do through WordPress.com but haven’t had much luck. With Tumblr, I can easily post new topics through email and the nature of the microblogging format works perfectly for a mobile platform.

One area where I think Tumblr could use some work is in searching its user community . It appears that you can follow other people within the Tumblr network but I haven’t discovered a way to search based on topics. Right now, you need to know the URL, username, or email address of the person you would like to follow. I’m sure this is a feature that will be added or maybe I’ve overlooked it.

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…and to continue to beat on this same topic. Here’s some more data from crazyegg that relates to people clicking on the company logo on the home page. See here for more details.

Total clicks: 22 (less than 1% of total clicks analyzed)

  • 18 of these clicks were made in less than 20 seconds
  • 11 made in under 5 seconds
  • 8 made in under 3 seconds
  • 5 made in under 2 seconds
  • Only 4 of the clicks came after looking at the page for more than 20 seconds

These results are the opposite of what I would have expected. I would have thought that the people clicking on the corporate logo would have been people that were lost but over 33% clicked the link in less than 3 seconds. I know we’re all in pursuit of instant satisfaction but I would think it would take people longer than that to get frustrated and click on the logo. These statistics leave me even more perplexed then ever as to why people are drawn toward clicking there.

As for the total clicks, it’s a low number when you consider it in comparison to the roughly 400 clicks being analyzed but it
out numbers several content areas on the home page and some primary navigation elements as well. There has to be more here. Perhaps I need to run a second test and see if I receive similar results.

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A few days ago, I wrote about how I’ve noticed that a large number of people are clicking on our home page. The tool I used to discover this was crazyegg. If you’re looking for a tool that shows a heatmap of where people are going on a web page, this is an excellent tool. The home page I was looking at also used Google Analytics which shows the same statistics using the site overlay feature. The problem with Google Analytics is that you can’t easily see the small details. crazyegg excels at showing these details especially when you use their confetti overlay. This option places a small dot on each section of your web page where a visitor clicked. Using this option it became very obvious where the click activity was.

crazyegg can be used for free. They give 5000 visits per month which is good for analyzing one or two pages depending on your site traffic. I’ve found that you need to get somewhere in the 500 to 1000 click range to get some real meaningful data when looking at the heatmap and confetti overlays. crazyegg also tracks clicks for outbound links which Google Analytics can’t do right now. This makes it a nice complimentary analytics tool if you’re only using Google right now.

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I’ve always thought that the point of mass-advertising, in this case radio advertising, was the hope that you’d at least hit a few people who were in need of your product at that moment in time. Yesterday, I realized that that hope appears to be gone, at least when you’re advertising to me.

I’ve been looking for a new mattress for my daughter. She’ll soon be moving from her crib to her new “big girl” bed and I have no idea what kind of mattress to buy. How am I supposed to know what’s comfortable for my 22 month old? Anyway, I decide to head over to the mall to check out a few stores. On the way, I hear an advertisement on the radio for a mattress store. Perfect timing, right? Wrong, without even thinking about it, I change the station. It’s at that moment that I realize that here is an ad, perfectly timed for my situation, and I can’t be bothered to listen. Maybe I’ve become too cynical of radio advertising, but I’ve listened to so many advertisements that have no value to me that when I hear one that could be valuable, I still perceive it as a waste of my time. If there are other people out there like me, then mass-advertisers should be very scared.

It’s come to the point that advertising means nothing to me anymore. Maybe it’s entertaining for a few minutes, but rarely is there any value in it. When I watched the Super Bowl this year, I couldn’t help but think about how much money and time was wasted on putting these commercials together. Mass-advertising is too much of a one way street (me always giving my time for nothing in return) and it’s too late to fix the problem. I’m not paying attention anymore. I might be part of the minority but I’m guessing there are more than a few people out there just like me and it’s only matter of time before we’re the majority.

So now, back to my mattress search, anyone out there have any recommendations? I’m tired of trying to comparison shop when the same mattress goes by different names depending on what store you’re in. Can’t this industry standardize on models, types, naming conventions, etc. It’s enough to make your head spin…and maybe that’s the point.

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An awesome post by Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends. It’s loaded with great quotes from some of best minds in marketing.

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Is anyone else having problems with Firefox I have to say that with each new point release, I’m getting more and more disappointed with this browser. The .12 release has been the most unstable so far, crashing several times a day on my MacBook Pro. If it wasn’t for some of the great extensions I would have definitely moved on by now. I certainly hope FF3 is an approvement.

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Here’s a random thought as I study a heat map of our corporate home page. When people click on the company logo in the top left corner of the page, where do they expect to go? Where should this take them? Isn’t it universally understood that the corporate logo in the top left is the “home” link? I don’t have an answer just yet but some experimenting is in order.

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