I’ve spent a bit of time this weekend with software and servers.
Quite a bit of time with release candidate 2 of version 2 of ecto for Windows, the offline blog manager and editor which I’ve been testing over the past few weeks.
I’ve been giving the developers a bit of feedback in the ecto Windows beta forum. Lots of typing messages to post there. Yesterday I had a tricky concept to explain where writing it would have taken ages and would unlikely have enabled the developer to see what I was getting at. So I recorded a video using Camtasia Studio to show what I was getting at which seems to have done the trick. And another one this morning. If you’re testing ecto, you might find these helpful, too. Links in the thread on the forum.
A (moving) picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
This afternoon, I installed Mint on my server. This is a stats tool that will give me loads of useful info about who visits this blog, where they’re from, what they read, where they go, etc.
But just saying Mint is a stats tool doesn’t do it justice. That’s about the same as saying Cadbury’s is just a bar of chocolate.
Amazingly, I couldn’t find even a simple description on their website that concisely summarizes what Mint is and does (but there is an FAQ). Here’s a pretty good review that explains it all well. Mint doesn’t work on hosted blog services like TypePad or Blogger, by the way, only on a Linux server (see the requirements for details).
Google Analytics offers much of the same features as Mint, plus additional/different ones, and it’s free (you pay $30 for Mint). Yet I feel pretty good about supporting an independent developer. Plus Mint’s running directly off my own server. And there are some very neat add-ins called Peppers written by other independent developers. Quite a community out there.
Next up – install Gizmo. This is an internet phone service that I tried last year. Wasn’t too impressed then (and I’m still not convinced about it now) so I continued with Skype.
But if you’re a regular listener to the FIR podcasts, you might have noticed in the last couple of shows that the sound quality when I speak has been a bit iffy. Shel and I record each show over Skype, with me here in Europe and him over there in the USA doing the actual recording. We have no idea what’s causing the poor sound quality with Skype. Anyway, we’ve decided to try something else for Monday’s show. Likely to be Gizmo.
Time’s marching so I’d better get it installed…
Another good (and free!) stats service is provided by Performancing Metrics – and it is good for those with hosted blogs too. Just like Analytics, then, only without Google’s creepiness!
Right about Skype: have been experiencing similar ‘problems’. And about calling Cadbury’s a bar of chocolate: that would really be doing it too much justice. Sorry, Belgian chauvinism creeping up :-)
Agree with Dave. It works very well and has a lot of detail, for free…
I’ve heard Performancing Metrics is pretty good, Dave. But I gather you can only run it on a hosted service if you have access to your blog templates. So no good if you have WordPress.com, for instance, or TypePad less than Pro service level. Plus some issues with PM stats including your own visits to your blog.
Serge, let’s not start a chocolate war! I like Belgian chocolate. Heck, i like just about all chocolate. But there’s nothing quite like Cadbury’s. Sorry ;)
As for Skype, it’s almost impossible to figure out some of those call quality issues. We definitely have had some of those when recording FIR. Yet today I did two Skype calls, one a SkypeOut, and the call quality on both was excellent. But we’ll give Gizmo a go tomorrow.
Neville, good point. Didn’t think of that. D’oh.
On the Skype issue, I have noticed the odd strange ‘thud’ during some of your bits, Neville. Nothing to affect my listening experience though, I don’t think. And at least now I know how you record the show on two different continents!
Thanks, Erno. I don’t really know much about Performancing Metrics. Not a lot yet about Mint, either. But I’m pretty impressed with the Peppers for Mint that let you do an awful lot of things. I don’t think P.M. or others can do half of this.
So you noticed those thuds, Dave. Some weird thimgs with Skype recently when we record the show. Let’s see what Monday’s sounds like using Gizmo.