Netscape

Netscape Navigator 9 released

netscape navigatorGo download Netscape Navigator 9 now! The screen shot above shows one of my feature requests (click for huge version taken in Feb.). On a 1920×1200 monitor the maximized browser window is wide enough to display two full pages side-by-side. I asked the devs to remove the width limitation on the sidebar. They ended up building full browser controls into the sidebar. On the left is Google Reader showing Techmeme’s feed linking to Engadget and on the right is Engadget showing the full story. The default behavior is to open every clicked link in the sidebar in the main window, but that can be changed as well.

Now you can drop your RSS reader, Digg, Craigslist, anything where you expect to open a lot of new pages from one single page and browse without having to open a bunch of tabs. Lately I’ve been setting the sidebar just wide enough for a YouTube video and then sending videos there using the “Open in Sidebar” right-click menu so I can watch the video without having to stop surfing. Make sure you check out the other features like Linkpad, a place for dropping links you plan on looking at but don’t want to bookmark.

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Netscape

How to Stop Digg-cheating, Forever

dirty digger
That’s Slashdot’s title for this article about ways to improve the Digg algo; I’m not that hyperbolic. Unfortunately the “fix” is a description of almost an entirely different service (one commenter said it’s StumbleUpon). Someone else:

Summary of the article:

“I have devised a marvellous way to stop Digg-cheating, which this article summary is too short to contain.”

(aka: if it’s so simple, why does it take 19361 more bytes to explain it?)

I won’t get into the details of the solution because I think there’s a general misunderstanding of the problem. People using the services of User/Submitter don’t understand the limited benefits of hitting the front page of Digg. You get a burst of traffic for a short period, but without quality content those viewers won’t stick around. Even if you do manage to hit the frontpage the smart users will bury it asap. I think the only people paying U/S are the ones who believe their blackhat SEO.

Dumb people pay for votes; smart people guarantee they get buried anyway. Is the system really broken? I don’t think a dramatic redesign is going to fix the appearance of a problem—and the U/S guy isn’t fooling anyone by suggesting this is the fault of transparent voting.

I might be giving the Digg community too much credit though. Many don’t seem to understand when they’re getting baited: Take this story that has nothing to do with the hosting site.

There is some “legitimate” (as in functional) SEO going on out there though. These are the people adding their stories to the Netscape.com system and not caring if they if they hit the front page. The story still appears on a PageRank 9 site and is indexed by Google. That “credibility” does a lot more in the long run.

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Netscape

Blogger is broken by design

Desert bloom
Part of my daily work is removing spam submissions from Netscape.com. The majority of these are Members submitting multiple sites of the format something-something-something.blogspot.com (runner-up: *.info). The “content” on these pages is usually taken from free article sites like Articlesbase (nofollow). The articles are free to be republished as long as the reciprocal link at the bottom to the author’s website is intact. Free hosting + free content + Google Ads = Profit! The ads are context sensitive. Want to get insurance ads? Post insurance articles. You still need to get your site found though, so you submit it to a site with an astronomical PageRank like Netscape.com.

Why should I be the one that has to deal with this crap though? Can’t Google do something about it? Google has a vested interest in not doing anything about this. If they get a click on an ad, even if the site is crap content, they’re still making money. I wouldn’t be surprised if more clicks are on splog ads since the content is so awful—I often think “I could run a better splog network than this”. Google will not fix this problem and Blogger will continue to fill with shit sites.

If you run a legitimate Blogger blog, I suggest you get out now. WordPress.com has migration utilities to assist you and it isn’t full of garbage because you can’t run ads on their free version. If you’ve got a commercially viable blog, you should be paying for your hosting anyway. I try to do things right the first time which is why I intentionally didn’t go with a free service when I started this, my first blog. My hosting only cost me $3/mo. and the side-effect of having a unique URL is at least an air of legitimacy.

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Netscape

The lost office

lost office
I’ve been telecommuting as a professional blogger from the day I graduated from college. When I describe my work environment to both industry people and non they are amazed that we can build companies like Weblogs, Inc. and Netscape.com completely from remote employees. I try to avoid the phrase “virtual office” because it makes the work sound trivial.

While I wear our effectiveness as a badge of honor (seriously, we work 3 times harder than anyone else in the field), there is a limit. Until last October I had been working from Nebraska with a very limited tech community. I moved to Las Vegas partially to cover events in town, but mostly knowing that fellow bloggers and techies would be flying in year round. Even now I’m plotting my move to LA to be even closer to people I’ve worked with in the past. Although the internet has made location trivial, physical interaction is still necessary. Even though our development teams are remote they still meet approximately every 1.5 months to keep development on track and start major projects.

Twitter has taken on an interesting roll in our (at least my) expansive office. It’s the pulse. It’s a record of people’s minor achievements and an ongoing conversation that has all the feelings of working in an office; you hear conversations in your circle of friends and catch pieces of ones where they’re talking to other departments. For continuous partial attention people like me this feed, which some would call distraction, is exactly what is keeping me on track.

I was talking to a friend recently who mentioned the excitement and enthusiasm you feel when you attend a conference. Seeing everyone’s new cool project gets you excited about what you’re working on or for starting something new. Problem is: you get home and the day-to-day grabs hold and sucks out all of your enthusiasm. I think the constant reminder from Twitter of others achieving will actually enhance the community and make us all more successful.

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Motorcycles, Netscape

One year at Netscape

meet
A year ago was my first day of work at Netscape… sort of. I had recently moved back into Lincoln from Frosty’s couch in Grand Island. My apartment didn’t have internet yet, so I was going to commute to the coffee shop… except for the blizzard. So I spent my first day at my fulltime online job, offline reading through the welcome folder. My job has morphed quite a bit in the last year, but I still enjoy doing it. Most of that is due to our kickass dev team. Who else can build a competitive social bookmarking site, personal homepage, and browser in a year, but these rockstars?

Last night was 702sportbikes‘ largest weekly meet yet. At least 78 motorcycles showed up and 115 people at Hot Rod Grille. When I first started attending in January it was only 7 bikes (it was also 38degF). Here is a short clip from my digicam of the bikes rolling out for the ride.

Latest veggie dish cooked: Cajun Skillet Beans

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