Firefox Revisited

Awhile ago I praised Firefox.  It's a good browser.  But butter than IE?  As one of my old (old as in former, not age, Jules) used to say, "Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don't."  It seems to fit well with the whole Microsoft name calling, no?  (Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?)Even on my machines running IE6 (and not IE7) I have been using IE over Firefox much of the time.  I'm not against comparing one product to another --... [More]

Credit Card Minimum Payments

I just heard a news story on TV that reported the federal government is requiring credit card providers to double the minimum payments on outstanding balances from their consumers.First, this is a great thing.  Seriously -- how great would it be if credit card companies required payment in full from month to month?  We all have probably seen those charts that show how much money is actually spent if only minimum payments are made -- it's ridiculous.The best part of the story, though, was a reporte... [More]

My Own Virtual Earth

OK, it's far from my own rendition of MSN Virtual Earth, but you need to start somewhere.If you haven't played around yet with Virtual Earth (or -- check it out here), you need to.  This service is only going to get better, but what amazes me is how slick the experience is -- keeping in mind that this is done through a web browser.   Web geeks out there know how subtle (and difficult) pulling this off can be.   In some areas, the detail is astounding -- I even found one of ... [More]

Try Windows Vista now! (well, soon!)

Hi Friends and Family!Want to get your hands on Windows Vista and run the coolest operating system yet?  Want to get unlimited and free tech support, too?Join me in the Windows Friends and Family program.  You can get the next OS soon (probably late February to early March) and help make the next version that much better.  This isn't a technical program (meaning, even my mom can enroll).  But, there are a few catches:1) I have to know you (or know of you).  You can be a friend-of-a-... [More]

Microsoft and Philanthropy

It's the end of the year and time for reflection on the recent months -- it's also the holidays, where we can see the best (charity and kindness) and worst (mugging someone's X-BOX 360 and pushy people at stores) virtues surface.So as most people know, Bill and Melinda (and also Bono) were selected as Time's Persons of the Year.  This has been covered in a lot of blog posts and news stories so I won't get into how cool that is.  Bill's foundation (visit the site here) is worth reading up on. ... [More]

Testing Your IP Location

Check out my IP Location test page (found here).  If it's able to, it will plot your location on the map (though, it's possible some addresses can't be resolved right away -- if that happens, check back later).  The result will look something like this:Under the picture is a brief survey to gauge the accuracy of the result.  I expect Wireless/Cellular and Satellite providers may be wildly inaccurate, but I'm curious to see the results.  (Participation is optional and anonymous, and as us... [More]

Geographic Reporting, Part 3

In parts 1 and 2, we looked at capturing IP address information and retrieving a good-estimate latitude and longitude.  In this part, we'll plot that data on a map to create a nice looking demographic map of our visitors.  While we'll be doing this on a world map, the same principal can be applied to any map. The biggest problem with plotting latitude and longitude is that there is no linear equation to represent a spherical coordinate on a flat plane (x and y).  Most software (and the... [More]

Geographic Reporting, Part 2

In part 1 (read it here) I discussed the prerequisite data that we needed to act as a foundation for developing geographic-based reports.  In this part, I'll discuss how we map those IP addresses to geographic locations, and finally, in part 3, we'll plot the data on a map. When it comes to figuring out where a user is located, there's only two pieces of information we need: latitude and longitude.  Other data may be useful for other reports (like Country, Currency, etc., but all that could be de... [More]

Geographic Reporting, Part 1

I decided to break down the "How to Create a Geography Map of Your Website Visitors" into a few parts, since each is somewhat independent and because I tend to be longwinded. For a background on what I'm talking about here, read this post.  So, let’s get to the first part: gathering visitor data. This one should sound obvious and you may already be doing this. I’m not talking about resolving the user to a location just yet – that’s part 2. The one big element we need to capture is the IP address o... [More]

More Analytics

I love web analytics, and my interest was raised even further recently when I saw what Google Analytics can do.  From a development perspective it's challenging because there's quite a few obstacles to overcome: the two big ones are data storage and presentation.For anyone who has worked on a site with any reasonable amount of volume realizes that it's almost impossible to store all data for extended periods of time.  Most web analytic software maintains this detail information for ... [More]

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