Thursday, December 10

Search Engine Eptimization, part 3 - PR and linkbuilding

Hello. Remember in my last post how I talked about PageRank? Well here I'll tell you how to put that into practice, which links are best and give you some tips and tricks.
The importance of PR has declined in the past few years. Google still uses it to influence ranking, but much less than before. Some webmasters haven't realised this and chase it like goldust. Others know that PR is much less used now. But even those who know this, still use PR as a way of determining a sites worth. If a site has a PR of 6, it is deemed to be much better than one with PR5 or lower. This means that a link from a higher PR page has more value than one from a lower PR page. Although this will not overall affect your search engine ranking (NOT the same as PR) much, it will help your PR, which other webmasters will see as good. Webmasters will always try to get a higher PR link than a lower PR one, for obvious reasons - it will boost your PR. Ergo, the cycle repeats itself. Having a higher PR will enable you to get more link exchanges and backlinks from other site owners, therefore boosting your PR even more.
So how many links do I need to get to a certain PR? Well, this table shows the number of links from each PR needed to get to a certain pagerank. Hard to explain, but easy to understand once you've seen the table.



For PR3
For PR4
for PR5
for PR6
for PR7
for PR8











These are just estimates, they are not for sure. As you can see, the higher PR pages carry a huge weight. One PR10 link would bump your page up to PR8, from PR0 - basically non-existent. That's a pretty hefty shove.
The fact that only a few links will get you to the top of the PR ladder mean that links are very highly coveted. You'll see people paying up to, and over, £50, just for one link. These links help your PageRank tremendously but also your overall search engine ranking - this is what makes them so valuable.
These >PR3 links are very hard to obtain. You can buy them, ask someone for a link exchange (will only really work if your site is already a high enough PR for the other webmaster to be interested) or ask them to let you to write a blog post - something I'll talk about later in the series.
So overall, PageRank, although it has little effect on your overall search engine ranking, it will show other webmasters that your site is a quality piece of web real estate, and that a link exchange or a link from you would be very useful.
To check the PageRank of a page simply past the URL into this tool and it'll find it for you.

Check Page Rank of any web site pages instantly:

This free page rank checking tool is powered by Page Rank Checker service

PageRank is updated every few months so the tool above will probably not be accurate to the day, just the last PR update.
In the next installment in the series I'll be talking about on-page SEO (I'll try and alternate on- and off-page posts) and the importance of it. Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Saturday, November 28

Microsoft Office 2010 beta download

This is just a break from my SEO series. I was surfing a couple of days ago, and somehow found my way to the Microsoft site. On it, they said they were offering free downloads of the beta version of Microsoft Office 2010. I didn't download it then, but I was going to go back and find it. I found it again, and went through to the download page. Turns out you need a Microsoft ID, I guess these are just a normal user/password combo that you could easily get from their site. But I've got the link to the page that will link through to the download.
I must stress that this is a beta version only, meaning there could be a few bugs with it, although most people, it seems, find it quite usable. But the best thing is, it's valid (I think) until October 2010, giving you nearly a year to use it. This means you'll get a years free Office use, which I wouldn't say no to!
Click here to download Microsoft Office 2010 beta.
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Saturday, November 21

Search Engine Eptimization, part 2 - Basics of Links

Hello again! In this second part of my SEO series, I'm going to explain the basics of off-page SEO. As mentioned in my last post, off-page SEO is generally the process of building backlinks to your site and which links are better etc... Here I'll talk about the importance of different links and how to implement this knowledge. I've had to put in this and the previous post, just to set the scene for anyone new to search engine optimization (if you're fairly experienced, skip through for the tips and techniques).
I assume you all know what a backlink is (if not, check out article on backlinks). Many beginners think that to get lots of traffic and a good search engine ranking, you just need to post your link all over the net. This is not the case. Certain backlinks have more 'weight' - influence your ranking better - than others. So what factors determine how much weight a link carries?

The main factor is whether the link is nofollow or dofollow. Nofollow is basically the presence of the 'rel=nofollow' attribute, in the link tag, in the HTML of the page. Dofollow is the absence of this attribute. What a nofollow link does is tells any search engines not to count this link when calculating the website it points to's ranking. Obviously, then nofollow links are not much good unless they are placed in a place on a page that will draw traffic. So you want your links to be dofollow, but many blogs where you can comment or article sites to post articles on use nofollow. Check out this article on dofollow/nofollow links for information on why websites use the nofollow attribute.
Ok then, but how do I tell if a link is nofollow or dofollow? Well, you could sift through tons of HTML markup, but that's not much fun and takes a looonnnggg time. Or you could use a tool like NoDofollow (and add-on for Firefox). What it does is highlights links on a page a different colour depending on whether they are nofollow or dofollow. This way you can see if your favourite article site or blog uses nofollow on their article backlinks or post comments. If the site uses nofollow, I would recommend you put it to the bottom of the of the list of sites you want a backlink on. Don't disregard nofollow links completely - they will still bring valuable traffic if placed in a suitable place on a page, it's just that a dofollow link will do this and help your search engine ranking.
In my next post, I talk about the importance of PageRank (PR) and how to increase your PR, that's where I'll get on to the actual techniques of SEO.
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Tuesday, November 17

Search Engine Eptimization, part 1 - Introduction

Right then, I have finally got round to planning and writing some of that promised SEO series. What it will include is basically a set of posts centering around search engine optimization for websites/blogs, ie - link building, on page SEO and getting more targeted traffic. It will mainly be aimed at beginner webmasters but I'll put in a few tips that may also appeal to those more experienced SEO-ers; some little pieces that could help you with your site optimization.
In this first post of the series, I'm going to talk to you about what search engine optimization (SEO) is. SEO has been around since the first search engines started to crawl the web and index web pages (I'm going to assume you know what a search engine is!). Nowadays, many people think Google is the 'god' of the search engines. It seems all powerful with its hundreds of seperate branches ie - blogging, e-mail and I think Google even owns YouTube now. And it seems to most people that The Big G has been around since the dawn of time (or at least the start of computing and the Internet). But in fact, Google is one of the newest of the big search engines as it was only launched in 1998. But since then, Google has introduced a huge number of techniques to help them rank sites more effectively, leading to them becoming so successful. An example of these is PageRank. This technique counts the number of links to a page, as well as analyzing the quality of the link (more on that in my next post), to influence where it ranks in there results. Google is constantly changing how they determine where to rank websites. This means that people have had to find ways to make their website rank better - come up higher in search results - than their competition, and also adapt to these changes, thus getting more clicks and therefore traffic. This process of SEO has become a large industry and there are many companies offering it as a service, but the best way is to learn it for yourself, so you can have total control over your website.

First of all, there are two types of SEO. On page SEO and off page SEO. They are both pretty self explanatory - on page search engine optimization is changing aspects of your websites to influence how much the search engines 'like' them. On page has the benefit that it is very quick to do, and easy to start doing but harder once your reach an upper ceiling. Off page search engine optimization mainly involves garnering links to your pages from all over the web. This is great because it can also bring you traffic from these links, but many links are hard to get (especially high PR links).
I will explain about these two types of search engine optimization in more detail, in my next post and what you can do yourself to help your site rank higher. EDIT: Click for part 2 of my SEO series.
Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Saturday, November 7

Dofollow links

Hi! Since my last post ,which was quite a while ago, I've done some things to change it. You may have noticed I've changed the template - the other one was very bland whereas this template has a bit more variety. And probably the best change for you, I've made my blog commenting dofollow. Now if you're a web developer or the like, you will probably know what dofollow and nofollow links are. But for the layman I will explain what dofollow/nofollow is and how to change a blogspot blog, into dofollow.

Well then, dofollow technically doesn't exist. What it is, is when a link is posted it can contain an attribute that reads 'rel=nofollow'. This means that search engines will not factor this link in when they rank your pages, thus you get virtually no benefit from commenting on a nofollow blog because not many people will click on your comment URL. Sure, a nofollow link from a high traffic page, in a good position, will earn you traffic, but that link will not count for anything as the search engines see it. A dofollow link is basically one without this 'rel=nofollow' attribute. It is seen by search engines and they count this link when working out how to rank your site in their indexes (I'll talk about the importance of better/worse links and what they are, in that series I keep saying I'll; trust me I'll do it next post!). So commenting on a dofollow blog is useful.
There are drawbacks of a dofollow link though. If a lot of links are dofollow on a page, they get the link juice split between them. You can liken this link to the flow of water from a bucket with holes in it. The PageRank (PR)or link juice is the water, the holes represent dofollow links and the bucket is the homepage (or any other page for that matter). Out of these holes flows the water, thus leaving less water in the original bucket. If you stopper one of the holes (apply the nofollow attribute to it) then more water is left in the bucket. Having more holes in the bucket - links on the page - means that more water flows out, but less water  - PageRank - is passing out of each link. Basically, if a page has more links on it, these links will take some of the giver pages PR and each link gets less PR passed to it. Therefore a page with less dofollow links on it will pass more PR on to each link. But overall, dofollow is giving a bit back to the net.
How then, I hear you asking, do I make my blogspot blog's comments dofollow, so that people can benefit from it?

  1. Go to Blogger layout and click "Edit HTML".
  2. Check the box reading "Expand Widget Templates".
  3. Search for "NoFollow" using a word processor or other program. You will find at least two of them in your template's code.
  4. Remove "rel='nofollow'" from the tag that begins with
    "<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl'”

  5. The second nofollow is for trackback URLs. This displays links to blogs that link to your post. You may choose to keep this attribute or not. It's up to you.
  6. And that's it! Your blogspot blog has now been made dofollow. You can now submit to dofollow search engines to get more traffic!
For more information on nofollow and dofollow links and other aspects of SEO, check back for the series on search optimization that I will start in a few days. Thanks for reading, and if you enjoyed any of my posts, follow me on twitter!

Friday, October 30

.edu backlinks

Hello again. Now I know I said I'd write a series about the basics of SEO, but I just realised a great way to build quality backlinks. We all know the importance of backlinks, and the better the giver website the better the benefit. Websites with a high PR will give a better quality link than those with a low PR. Also sites with a domain ending in .org or (especially) .edu, give links that are like gold dust. Because they come from a certified authoratitive site, such as .edu site would have to be, they carry a lot of weight. Now to be honest, the only real way you'll get .edu backlinks is by commenting on blogs. But how do I find .edu blogs to comment on?
Well click here and replace the '???' with your search phrase. This will dig out a load of blogs that come from .edu domains, thus giving you great quality links.

Thursday, October 15

Top 15 ways of building backlinks

If you have a website or blog, you will know the importance of backlinks and SEO (search engine optimisation). They bring traffic to your site and, if it is a reputable site that is backlinking to you, your search engine ranking.
But for those who don't know, backlinking is the process of getting a link to your site placed on a webpage. Now that it is one their site, people who see it may click on it and land on your site. This is great because it brings more traffic and therefore (if you have monetised your site) more $$$. Backlinks also improve your search engine ranking. Search engine ranking is how much the search engines, ie - Google, Yahoo!, like your site. If it has lots of reputable backlinks, the website will appear high up on their search results for certain keywords. Obviously, being on the 1st page of Google results is great, but it takes a lot of work. Here's the top 15 ways to build backlinks:
  1. Submit site to directories. These are basically giant catalogues of web sites and, in many cases, offer high quality free backlinks. One of the best is the Open Directory Project.
  2. Article writing and submitting. You submit articles to article directories like these and they let you put your link at the bottom. This means your link is surrounded by keywords giving it more weight.
  3. Forums signatures. If you take part in forums, especially those related to your site, post a link in your signature. If you are respected on these forums, or post a helpful nugget of information, then people will click on these links.
  4. Blog posts. If you are blogging then always include a link back to your site. You can also interlink all your sites, especially if they are liked by the search engines. Some blogs also like a guest blogger - you could write and article and you'll get a free backlink from the site's owner in return.
  5. Link exchange. Aah! Ye olde link exchange. Used from the dawn of the Internet, you mail a site owner to see if you can exchange links with him. You post a link to him on your site, and he reciprocates this. Easy!
  6. Reviews. Ask for reviews of your website and you'll get a backlink from the reviewer.
  7. Contribute/create something for free. Anyone who uses this will see your link. These people already like you so they may click on it.
  8. Create a top 10 list. Top 10/15/50/100 lists are great pieces of linkbait. They will draw links from lots of sites if people know about them.
  9. Run a contest. If you run a contest on your site this will also attract plenty of backlinks.
  10. Host a collection of free tools. If, on your site, you have a ton of useful tools, then share them! These will attract links like there's no tomorrow.
  11. Interview experts. Try and get some interviews from experts in your niche. Chances are they will link to your interview and this will also drag in links.
  12. Get interviewed. On the flipside of number 11, if you know a lot about something, get interviewed about it. They'll let you have a link for your trouble so it's worth it.
  13. Social networking. Create a group on Facebook or MySpace. Not only will you get a link, but loads of people will see the page and click on it.
  14. Create quizzes. Again, just like top 10 lists, they are great for linkbait.
  15. Make an offer to buy Microsoft! If it breaks through the news, you'll get a LOT of traffic to your site. Beware though, this could land you in court if you don't check it VERY carefully beforehand.
Right then, that's the top 15 ways of building links. If you follow these you'll get tons of links in no time!
Following on from this, I may write a few posts on general SEO and setting up a new website. Until next time, see ya'. 

Monday, October 12

SSDs - Solid State Drives

Hello again! You may have heard of things called solid state drives or SSDs for short. Well basically these are drives that contain no moving parts in them, unlike a conventional hard drive. They are used in, primarily, USB flash drives because of their high read/write speed and their durability. SSDs are also starting to be used in netbooks where power and weight are at a premium. So what are the main advantages of SSDs?
Firstly Solid State Drives consume a lot less power than hard drives. Whereas a hard disk drive would require it's own power supply, a SDD can run off the computers internal supply. That is why they can be used in USB drives, because they need a minimal power supply.  This reduced power usage also lessens the heat output.
The greatest benefit of SSD Drives is what is provided as a result of how they work, because they contain no actual moving parts unlike an HDD. This means an SSD is perfect for any notebook or portable computer because they are robust enough to easily absorb several knocks and falls without suffering any serious damage or failure. Hard drives contain moving parts (the write head and the disks themselves) meaning that they are not so durable.
Furthermore solid state drives can read information faster as well as write faster. SSDs can do this because a hard disk drive uses a needle to locate the data and this takes time. The solid state drive doesn't need to this. This will mean that PCs utilising an SSD will start up much faster and the transfer of data will be significantly quicker.

But there are disadvantages to SSDs.
They are much more expensive than hard disk drives meaning that any device using them will have its price jacked up by this. But, like all technologies, this price will slowly come down, making the solid state drive more accessible to everyone.
Secondly, SSDs have a limited number of read/write processes. This means they have a finite number of times that they can be used. Everytime you access the drive, more read/write processes will take place, thus shaving a small amount of their remaining life.
Finally, SSD capacities are much lower than that of hard disk drives, thus limiting their application. Although this capacity is expected to increase rapidly, with drives of 1TB (1 terabyte=1000 gigabytes) already available for industrial applications.

Overall, it depends on what the SSD will be used for, whether it will be better suited to the job than an HDD or not. But the price is expected to go down and capacity and performance to go up meaning they could be a serious rival to the hard disk drives long standing reign. Watch out!

Monday, October 5

C Cleaner review

In this post I'm going to talk a bit about C Cleaner, a program that deletes internet history and the hidden bits of it that most people don't know exist.
First of all I'll explain exactly what it does. When you delete your internet history on any web browser, it appears to be deleted; and most people ie - an someone untrained in data recovery, couldn't find it again. But if you have sensitive information (I don't but obviously some people do) a trained IT professional, or computer forensics expert can find this again. Yes, there are people trained to find these kind of things. What C Cleaner does is delete this data hidden in places that don't normally get deleted.

Right, the actual program itself. What's it like? Well I find C Cleaner very useful. Even if I just want to make sure no-one finds out what present I'm buying them or whatever, it's good. People who work at companies might like it to delete their secret browsing habits.You can also use it to delete temporary files and unused file extensions to speed up your computer in general. I would highly recommend it to you.
But, just to make sure you know, no program, except military grade data destruction programs will completely erase data from a computers hard drive. What deleting does is basically tell the computer it can overwrite this data - it does not destroy it and it can be found still by people, even after something like C Cleaner is used, although C Cleaner makes it much harder. So if you've been looking for a program like this you should definitely give C Cleaner a go.

Thursday, October 1

Article publishing

Hello again! Since I last posted I've got a few articles up on article sites, and apparently I should link to them to get more traffic to them, to get more traffic to here, to them, to here etc...But anyway here they are.

Installing Linux
Netbooks - a short review
Ad placement

Anyway, what's the point in posting on article sites? I hear you say. Well quite a bit of point actually. Mainly for the fact that they increase your search engine ranking because it means you can have one-way backlinks pointing to your site, for free and from reputable sites. The more quality links you have to your site the better ranking you will have. Although some article sites use the 'nofollow' attribute on links - this means that these links will not help your SEO (search engine optimization). I think ArticlesBase does this which is quite selfish and defies half the point of you posting on there.
Secondly you will get traffic to your site directly from these articles. People who land on these articles from another place may read them, enjoy them and then click on your link, generating traffic. This means you get a large amount of targeted traffic.
Overall it is well worth submitting to these sites. These also help on the finer points of SEO, because your link is surrounded by related text and most likely the article site will have a high page rank (PR).
Some of the better article sites include:

Tuesday, September 22

Installing Linux - part 2

Right, then a week ago I said I'd write the second part of my "Installing Linux" tutorial and I said I'd do it in a couple of days. Kinda turned out to be a week, so sorry about that, but, to borrow a cliché, better late than never! So down to business, if you haven't already check out the first part of this tutorial then do so, and then read this one. This part will explain how to complete options 3 and 4 of the installation process. Just to remind you those are:

  1. USB drive containing distro. This means creating a flash disk with the distro for installation on it.
  2. USB drive containing download trigger. Option 4 means making a USB with a file on it that will trigger the download of the whole OS. Worst option, very time consuming and not reliable.
Using a USB containing the distro involves either using a ready made drive eg - one from a magazine/ordered etc... or using one created by yourself. The method of using one that has been made already is easier and just follow the process of using a CD in the last part. Creating a USB drive yourself sounds hard, but trust me, it's insanely easy when you know what to do. Firstly you will need a USB drive with at least 1GB of space on it (don't worry, most, if not all, of these methods will leave data intact on the drive that was there previously) and a program to help you make the boot disk.
The most reliable method I have found is to use PenDrive Linux. Their programs almost always work and you're up and running in about half an hour. Just find the instructions you need, follow them (probably downloading a file) and you're done. The downside to PDL is that they have a limited number of distros that they have covered, but most of the main ones have instructions on there. Also there is room for error, not much, but one small part is from the command prompt, so it is possible to mess up and wipe your whole system - not good! But this is very hard to do unless you have bad eyesight or cannot read English. Other than that it's brilliant. The boot up part is the same and that's it!
The second method I know is to use UNetbootin to create a boot disk. This works most of the time but is not entirely reliable. Just download it, select the distro to install, select the drive to install to and click "create USB". Rinse and repeat. It also has a "create using .iso image", so you can make it using a pre-downloaded .iso. There is one thing about it - the fact that sometimes the thing messes up and doesn't install the OS properly and misses out some important files. This is the reason UNetbootin is not my first choice.
Lastly, you can use the Fedora Live USB creator. This only works for Fedora though and so is no use for anything else. Works great with Fedora!
And now, option 4 - using a drive containing a download trigger. This is by far the worst option a) because it is very slow and time consuming - can take up to 11/2 hours to fully download b) needs an uninterrupted internet link - you will need a complete link for all this time. If, at any time, it is broken the download will stop and you will need to restart the whole process, although some distros allow you to resume after this. You can create one of these USB drives using UNetbootin. Just select the "netinstall" option when selecting the distro version. Like I have said over and over, this should only be used as a last resort as it really is slow and unstable.
Anyway though, good luck with these and enjoy your new OS.

Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for any damage done to your computer, be it hardware or software related, caused as a result of following this tutorial. You do this at YOUR OWN RISK!

Tuesday, September 15

Installing Linux

A week or so ago I said I'd write a short tutorial on installing a couple of Linux distros on your computer and I've decided I'd just show you the various ways for Ubuntu, because the other distros are very similar to install and there's tons of tutorials out there.
Anyway on with the how-to. There are a couple of ways to install Ubuntu:

  1. Live CD from Canonical (or the manufacturer of your chosen distro. This option uses a Live CD made by Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu. This is by far the easiest way to install a distro.
  2. Live CD created by you. Slightly more difficult than option 1, with more room for error but not that hard.
  3. USB drive containing distro. This means creating a flash disk with the distro for installation on it. (Will be covered in next post)
  4. USB drive containing download trigger. Option 4 means making a USB with a file on it that will trigger the download of the whole OS. Worst option, very time consuming and not reliable. (Will be covered in next post)

    Option 1 is by the easiest of them all. You just send off for a disk from Canonical (for Ubuntu), shove it in your CD drive on your computer/laptop, boot up and some options will come up. But before the options come up you must press F-, one of the F- keys along the top of your keyboard. This will depend on your machine, mine if F9. The computer will say, usually in the left hand bottom corner, something like 'Boot options F5' and you press that key, select the boot device (the CD) and away you go. You can choose to install the distro straight to your hard drive, or, and this is a very nifty, little idea, you can 'try before you buy'. This involves booting up the disk and checking out the distro to make sure that everything works with your machine and that sort of stuff.

    Option 2 is marginally harder than the above. What you will need is a blank CD, a CD creator drive, a CD burner program and of course the distro ISO. An ISO is basically the file that contains everything needed to run the OS on your computer. It is called an image and is usually around 650MB. You can find it by typing the distributions name into Google, bringing up their site and clicking on download. Right on to the creation. Start you CD burner program, such as Nero and click 'create CD-ROM ISO' or something along these lines. Then browse through to where you you saved the .iso file, for example Computer>Documents>Downloads, select it and click create. This will burn the disk and you just do the same as in option 1. It also gives you the option to test before you install it.
    I will cover options 3 and 4 in a later post in a couple of days time.
    Live CD Info

    Part 2 of the tutorial
    Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for any damage done to your computer, be it hardware or software related, caused as a result of following this tutorial. You do this at YOUR OWN RISK!

    Thursday, September 10

    Stupid hacker

    Take a look at this crazy conversation from some chatroom. This guy thinks he's so good at hacking but it backfires. Insane!

    Tuesday, September 8

    Introduction to Linux

    What does the word Linux bring to mind? A struggling, nerd sitting at his computer hacking his way into the Pentagon or something free and therefore rubbish and hard to use? Or perhaps you have never heard of it. Well basically what Linux is (there's a bit of technical mumbo-jumbo but I'll attempt to simplify as much as possible) is a thing called kernel. A kernel is what the operating system, for example Windows or Mac OSX or Ubuntu, uses to perform all the mundane tasks, such as hardware management, networking and basically keeping the OS running. The Linux kernel is what Linux distros or distributions use to do the above. A distro is basically an operating system based on the Linux kernel. Examples include among others, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu and Fedora. This may seem complicated but it isn't if you use this analogy - the kernel is like the engine of a car, it keeps it running.
    The operating system on top of this is like the dashboard and interior of the car, looking good and helping you drive. In case you're wondering the big penguin is the symbol for Linux - don't ask me why.
    But isn't any Linux distro just for nerds who spend all their time on computers? I here you ask. Well no, sure there are distros that are insanely hard to use, but for the most part they are fairly easy to use. To name a couple Ubuntu and Fedora are some of the easiest OSs out there. Some argue they're easier to use than Windows. You'll have to judge for yourself.
    So why should you choose Linux or technically a 'Linux based distribution' over Windows? Well the short answer is, why not? Seriously, if you've got an ounce of technical knowledge and can read words off a screen and click a mouse, then you can install and use Linux. Some points why to give it a go:

    • It's compatible with most things. Back in the early 2000s many Linux distros weren't compatible with anything. This is because, since Windows has such a large share of the OS market, that is what computer manufacturers design their products for. But now the distros have changed and are compatible with most pieces of hardware.
    • Choice. There are, literally, hundreds of distros to choose from. Depending on your needs you will pick a different distro. I'll mention a bit about choosing a distro in my next post. There is something suited to everyone out there. As well as this new updates and releases are released incredibly often - some every 4 or 5 months or so. So if you want to be up to date with the latest stuff this is great. To find a distro go to DistroWatch
    • And finally the price. Well, there isn't any. It's one thing in life where less is better. Linux distros are whats known of the open source. This means they are and always will be free. Also you can do what you want with them. Change them, sell them or reverse engineer them. It's, too borrow an opensource quote, free as in freedom, not free as in beer.

      So why not give Linux a go? There's tons of tutorials out there or check back here and I'll have posted up a tutorial on installing a few distros. Good luck on picking one!

      Sunday, September 6

      Any of them true?

      Here's a random list of some crazy 'facts'. See if you think any of them are true. Disclaimer - try these at your own risk!
      When placed in warm milk, raisins re-plump into grapes.
      The metal backs of iPods are made from recycled zippers.
      Eskimos don’t believe in bridges or tunnels.
      Every sixteen minutes, someone named Richard dies.
      Billy Bob Thornton’s grandfather was the first person to own a television.
      Dolphins kill more people annually than sharks and influenza combined.
      On a dare, former President Rutherford B. Hayes declared war on Chile for 17 minutes.
      The original title for Catcher in the Rye was Hey, Look, a Carousel!
      Professionals call the top socket on an electrical outlet the “Martha,” and the bottom socket the “Jasmine.”
      In the archives at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., there are two identical snowflakes preserved in a freezer.
      Three out of every ten nickels has been in someone’s mouth.
      If you hold one nostril closed for 72 hours, you will slowly lose the ability to see color. (Your sight will instantly return to normal when you release your nostril.)
      Wave a magnet at the lower left corner of a vending machine to receive a free soda.
      The glossy paper from the backs of stickers can be used to soothe sunburn.
      To be a train conductor, you have to cut off one of your own toes during a loyalty ritual.
      The Z in Jay-Z’s name stands for “Zeppidemus.”
      Jean shorts were invented three weeks prior to the invention of regular jeans.
      Whispering instead of talking on cell phones saves significant battery power.
      In Austria, the traditional Christmas colors are not red and greed, but purple and clear.
      Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “Baby Mama” in a satirical poem published in Poor Richard’s Almanac.
      If you take the first letter of each word in the Monopoly board game instruction manual, they spell out an X-rated sentence.
      The original name for the laptop computer was “Hinged Smart Slab.”
      The average person inhales 3 pounds of spider webs in his or her lifetime.
      When first introduced to the public, plastic laundry baskets cost $75 each.
      Winnie the Pooh started out as a non-fiction account of mental illness.
      Reading backwards for twenty minutes burns the same amount of calories as walking a half-mile.
      The Q in Q-tips stands for “quantum,” as the small bit of cotton on the tip contains more atoms than the entire human body.
      Revolving doors were first invented as a way to keep horses out of department stores.
      Peru and the moon weigh the same amount.
      Human beings and anteaters are the only animals that can snap their fingers.
      If you soak a baseball hat in coke, and then let it dry on someone’s head, over a 3-hour period the hat will shrink with skull-denting force, causing intense pain and irreparable damage.
      Clouds cannot travel south southwest.
      In sign language, there are 72 ways to say “drawbridge.”

      Ad placement

      Ok, so I said I'd write a bit about advert placement on webpages ie - AdSense or other context ads (although some of this you could use for banners as well). Here's two factors which affect the CTR or Click Through Rate. The page traffic - think a busy highstreet billboard gets seen more than a back alley poster. This is harder to change and cannot be done without considerable effort over time. Second, is where on the webpage the unit is - a poster right on a door that people use a lot will be seen way more than a poster stuck up inside a little cubbyhole where no-one goes.
      So here we'll focus on ad placement. Below is a diagram or heatmap put together by Google. The darker areas are the 'hotter' areas, the places where ads get more clicks. As you can see they are the left sidebar - this is often where people look straight away for a navigation bar. Just below the header is also quite popular. The left of the main content and above main content get the most heat. You'll find, although it differs on certain webpages because of layout, styling etc, that peoples eyes will follow roughly the same route around the page. And as shown on the diagram the left of the page and by the primary content are the best places for ads. Finally the area beneath the main content is great advertising real estate. This is because visitors read the main stuff then are looking for somewhere to click. An ad unit fills this space perfectly.
      As well as ad placement, ad styling is important as well. To go back to the previous analogy a poster that grabs attention yet pleasing to the eye is the most read. Now this is something that is unique to each site. The ad placement is fairly uniform for most sites but this isn't. You've got to fit them in with your site's colour scheme or make them loud and brash to catch peoples eye. You would think loud bright ads would get the most clicks but in fact it is actually those which blend in with the colour scheme the best which have the highest CTR.
      So remember all this when you're placing ads and you should see an increase in your overall CTR and therefore more of the moolah should come your way.

      Saturday, September 5

      Chitika - an AdSense alternative (or partner)?

      This is a service I've been using for a while now. It's called Chitika and is a system very much like Google's AdSense ie - it places contextual ads on your pages depending on the pages topic. For those of you who don't know about this, say your page is about flowers, if you place a contextual ad on there the ads will have something to do with flowers, or should - sometimes they go haywire and don't!
      But that's enough about that. Let's talk about Chitika. So yes you say, it's like AdSense, but there must be something different. And there is. The thing Chitika does is only show ads to visitors who come through to your site through a search engine. Meaning that everyone who sees your Chitika ad has come via a search engine and therefore has been looking for your site - they want to find it. But what happens when someone comes through a different entrance? Well you have a number of options. Chitika allows you to let the ad unit just fold away and disappear or turn into an AdSense ad or fill with a solid colour. Clever!
      Now your probably thinking, AdSense or Chitika? And I would say, if you only want to use one, use AdSense because more people see it and it generates more money than Chitika. If you can use both (and you can; AdSense's T's and C's indicates you can but people have checked and it is allowed) go for it! Chitika's ads look much better than AdSense units mainly because they have a small picture - this could increase the amount of people who get drawn to the ad, and click on it.
      I will say more about placing the ads on your page in my next post.

      Tuesday, August 25 bike
      For anyone who likes "Top 10 [insert random/disgusting thing here]" things, is for you. Basically they've got a bunch of top ten (or other numbers) lists. Some are semi-sen, and some are downright stupid. For example there's the 5 Most Badass Presidents of All Time, the 6 Bullsh*t Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes and (must be written by someone with too much time on their hands) 5 Mental Disorders That Only Occur in One Place on Earth
      . From the funny to the decidedly odd, Cracked has it all.
      One of my favourites is the article about the 15 Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped. Some of them you really won't believe.
      By the way, some of their articles contain strong language.

      Wednesday, August 12

      HP 2133 netbook review

      In my last post I wrote about the new phenomenon of netbooks. The tiny, little dinky laptops. Well here I'm going to review my HP 2133 netbook. It's a great little piece of kit! In my opinion, it's the best 'sub-notebook' in its price bracket. Anyway, on with the review.
      First we'll start with the booorrrriiiinnnnggg part - hp 2133 netbookspecifications. The range goes from 512MB of RAM up to 2GB of RAM. I know this sounds small compared to modern computers, but really for reasons I have explained in my last post and others that I will explain, 1GB is actually easily enough. The processor speed ranges from (I think) 1GHz to 1.6GHz, using a Via C-7 processor. You can buy it with 4GB of flash memory - not really enough except for work - or a 160GB hard drive which is more than enough. Supplied operating systems are Windows Vista - for the higher end ones and SUSE Linux for the cheaper ones (although SUSE 10 is now so out of date you need to upgrade to a different operating system. Anyway enough of sounding like an HP advert, here's the proper review.
      The look of this thing is amazing. It's is completely aluminium finished, giving it a classy, futuristic look - no tacky plastic to be found here like so many other netbooks. When closed it closes right up like an oyster, almost seamlessly, meaning it looks great open or closed.
      Next we'll talk about the actual stuff you use. The keyboard is great - it's '92% full size' and it shows. Many netbooks fall into the pitfall of having a keyboard. that feels squashed in, or having keys that feel to clicky or tacky. HP does none of this. Although this thing is tiny they still manage to fit in a big enough keyboard. It's perfect for tapping out essays and what-not. The touchpad on this thing is good as well. True, manhp 2133 netbook touchpady might say that the keys are weird being on either side of the track pad rather than below it. But seriously I prefer them this way, maybe because this is the only touchpad I use - I don't own another laptop so don't have much experience with traditional trackpads. It may be weird at first but actually feels much more comfortable than others. It is also helped by the addition of a side oriented scroll bar, allowing you to scroll down just by dragging your finger down the side of the pad. Finally included in this package is a 0.3 megapixel webcam, which is to be honest crap, 2 USB ports, an ethernet port, memory card slots and a monitor output.
      The 8.9 inch screen at 1280x768 pixels is another great piece of work. It's just right for viewing internet pages and other stuff. Other netbooks, because of the small size of these machines have terrible resolutions which stretch the picture weirdly but the 2133 has it just right. As mentioned before there is a VGA monitor output port but I have not used this at all so cannot comment on it.
      The battery on here though is pretty terrible - it's the only thing I don't like about it. It lasts roughly one and a half hours before needing a recharge. Many netbooks can go past two hours so this is a bit of a let down. Although you can buy a six-cell battery for about £45 which gives you much better battery life, but this is only needed if you require long battery life obviously.
      Finally this thing comes with with wireless Broadcom 802.11a/b/g connectivity, something which is pretty standard now in netbooks but works fine.
      Overall the HP is a great machine that I would recommend to anyone. With prices starting at around £180 for the basic model it's extremely affordable as well. So you don't need to save up that much. You may have noticed I haven't commented on the software on here - that's because you will change it because the OS that came with mine - SUSE Linux was terrible and out of date. I suggest you put on Ubuntu or another Linux distro (free by the way) to get it up to date. But yes, if you're looking for a new addition to you're computing family give the HP a look.
      Another review (if you need a second opinion).

      Tuesday, August 11


      You may or may not have heard of netbooks. Well, compared to proper laptops, they're basically what Lego is to proper bricks. They're smaller, lighter and much better looking. A netbooks main job is to surf the Internet, hence the name netbook.
      Although they usually come with a tiny set of specs, ie - less than 1GB of RAM, a slower processor, they will do all the everyday jobs you need. You can write your next essay, surf the net to check up on the news and listen to music. The only point where they fall down is that, since they have such a small memory, you can't do these all at once. Netbooks are like men - they can't multi-task. Unless it's a few easy tasks. Also they don't come with a disk drive meaning you can't use disks in them - so if you want any programs, you'll have to download them.
      But these sacrifices are not worthless. Oh no. The point for them all, inetbook vs notebooks that:
      1. They're unbelievably small and light - I'm talking just over a kilo, compared to some laptops that can weigh up to 3 times as much as this. A netbook's screen is around 9 inches compared to the 15 inches of a laptop - no innuendos please.
      2. Netbooks are dirt cheap (in electronics terms). I picked one up roughly six months ago for £219. You could buy two for the price of a laptop.
      3. Many get supplied with a version of Linux - a free alternative to Microsoft Windows. This means that, if you're willing to learn a new operating system, which really, is not hard at all, you can shave up to £70 of the price. And you have the option of putting on Windows if you want.
      Of course as mentioned before, you can't do memory intensive tasks on them. So if you want to listen to music while writing that essay, you can either chug along slowly using the computer for both, or turn on your CD player. You can't play games on them of course, except small, lightweight games.
      I will do write a review of my netbook - a HP 2133 - in a couple of days and will mention a bit more about Linux. Until then have have fun and keep blogging!