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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

Blog changes

Miscellaneous blog changes:

  • Updated my picture. I heard that I looked too clean-cut in the old one.
  • Added the askimet plugin. My spam comment problem has gotten out of control. In the last few days I’ve gotten over 2000 spam comments. Cheers to Matt et. al. at Automattic for making this so easy.
  • Added explicit About and Disclaimer links — these were there all along, just buried.
  • A new, better, Digipede graphic.

If you wonder why I blog about these things: it is mostly so I can track changes in case a problem is introduced.


Change in my RSS feed

I have made a change in my RSS feed. Several months back I thought I would experiment with FeedBurner Item Stats. To get this feature to work, you turn on the Feed item link clicks (“clickthrough” tracking) feature.

This allows publishers to track clickthroughs from their RSS feed. This is accomplished by redirect-links added by FeedBurner. My permalink was replaced with a redirect that increments a counter and then redirects the user back to my site.


However, I recently noticed that some links to my posts were linking through the FeedBurner link and not directly to my own permalink. This greatly skews the per-item stats, because I cannot tell the difference between actual RSS click-throughs and other links. While this makes the stats less useful, a bigger problem is it seems to disable automatic trackbacking.

So, I turned it off. My feed is full-text anyway, so I don’t really care about clickthroughs.

If your news-reader caches posts (and therefore the item link), those redirected links will now link to my nicely-formatted FeedBurner RSS page. Not so perfect, but good enough.

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Geek Dinner Friday Night

A couple of weeks ago Robert Scoble announced a geek dinner on Friday, 12/30. He posted details here.

I won’t be able to make it to this one — have a beer for me. Or some cheesecake.


Blogs disconnected from the real world?

In his post, Off to go to Dublin, Disconnects between Blogosphere and Real World, Robert Scoble asks if there are disconnects between blogs and the real world.

He cites as an example the outpouring of enthusiasm for the Visual Studio / SQL Server / Biztalk launches and the lack of blogging about these products. I know I did it (VS drink menu, anyone?).

But Robert, there are easily hundreds of bloggers that have hyped up these launch events and blog about these products every single day.

Maybe these don’t appear on the general blogger “radar” because the vast majority of these Microsoft-focused bloggers are not tagging nor are they really interacting with the Web 2.0 blogosphere.

If I am right, Robert could do a great service to Microsoft and its Web 2.0 push by helping to better integrate the vast Microsoft blogging community with the rest of the blogosphere. For example, there are several siloed Microsoft-enthusiast blogger communities. Wouldn’t it be cool if those sites made it easy (or automatic) for their users to tag their blogs with Technorati tags? Couldn’t this increase the awareness of the general blogosphere about Microsoft and all their cool development tools?

Robert, what you think?

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My blog has a new look

My blog has a new look.

Now I know that this is not news, but I felt it worth noting just the same. The (major) changes are:

  • Added a Linkblog using Recent Links by Markku Seguerra. My linkblog has a separate feed: .
  • A new heading graphic with a shorter heading region.
  • Tweaked the <pre> sections to be more readable.
  • Began to implement post categories, though I have not gone back and categorized my old posts (yet). I used categorization in GeeksWithBlogs, but that didn’t port cleanly. My new categories are: .NET, Grid Computing, Miscellaneous, and Web 2.0.
  • And various other minor tweaks.

I hope these changes make my blog easier to read and use.



Hello World from

This is the third and, I hope, final destination for my blog. It started out as Mind From R. Wandering at Blogspot. Then over to GeeksWithBlogs as “Expert Texture”. Then here. I moved from Blogger in search of a community (after all, blogger is a bit too broad as communities go: everyone on the planet who blog. I moved here out of a desire for more control over my blog.

This is just a quick post to make sure Feedburner is picking up my new blog correctly.

No time to blog right now — we have a lot to do today to get ready for the Visual Studio 2005 / SQL Server 2005 launch in San Francisco on November 7th. Come by and see us at kiosk NC-12.



GeeksWithBlogs changes

I stopped posting over the last few days due to the service changes at GeeksWithBlogs.  They have decided to include advertisements on all of their hosted blogs and feeds.  I can understand their need:  the community is growing rapidly and it’s costing more money to support. 

I would have preferred it if we (as a part of this community) had been given a chance to comment on this change and even been given the option of ponying up some money.  My guess is that many members here would pay in advance for the service or even just donate money to keep it running free of ads.  (Jeff Julian implies that there may be options for an ad-free premium service in the future once they get their new blogging system in place.)

Instead, we received an e-mail on Sunday morning.  By Monday morning, my blog had an advertisement on it.  BTW: I don’t object to advertisements, I just object to having no control over the advertisements. 

This is kind of ironic for me as I have been trying to figure out how to get more control over my blog’s CSS template only to find that I now have less. 

In Jakob Nielsen’s article Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes, he says that you don’t want to let someone else control your blog.  He even sites this very issue as a reason (see issue #10).


Now what?  Well, I am evaluating other options.  And maybe I will move again.  If you are a subscriber, please make sure you have subscribed to — this will ensure that if I do make a move, you will come along.

Update:  One thing I forgot to say in this post:  I do appreciate the community that GeeksWithBlogs is building here.  I don’t actually expect service for free (and of course, that is what I have gotten and continue to get from GeeksWithBlogs).  And I do fully appreciate Jeff’s need to make this change.


Newsgator Outlook Edition trouble? Reinstall!

I have been using the Newsgator Outlook Edition for the past year and was pretty happy with it, but I just realized that it has been discarding posts somewhat arbitrarily.

For example, I had subscribed to the PDC Bloggers feed and hadn’t gotten a new post since the Wednesday of the conference.  With all of the feeds I was reading, I didn’t even notice.  Several other feeds have been behaving the same way.  Newsgator online was working fine, though.  Definitely not the feeds, just the reader.

A trip to the Newsgator support site clued me into “Shift-Refresh” as a way to force a refresh of a feed.  This didn’t work.  A service release (SR2) was released earlier in the month.  Upgrading didn’t make a difference.

Uninstalling and then re-installing did work.  Now I have (unfortunately) a whole lot of posts marked as unread.  It is a good think that Newsgator can sync your feeds from the web site.  Handy feature, really.


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