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Ramblings from the Marginalized » 2007 » October

October 2007


Social Media October 31st, 2007 by Stephen

Green Tea Rocks.

Back on September 19, 2007 Digg launched a new profile system. The idea was to put a little more social into the Digg system. Some people liked the changes while others did not.

A common thought at the time was that Digg made the changes to increase its Page View metric. This thought is based on the fact that links inside a users profile page were changed in such a way as to no longer allow "blind digging" of a user's submissions.

Many people focused on the "extra" click now required to get to a story. With the "Digg this" button removed from the profile page (and the story synopsis) anyone who went to your user profile page to see what you were up to would have to click on each story (going to the digg story page) before they could digg it or even get the story synopsis. This "extra click" methodology was seen by many top diggers as a way for Digg to quickly increase its Page View metric.

Digg Friends Submitted Page

If you look at the old Digg profile page you will see that you can quickly interact with a story without ever going to the story page on Digg. You need never go anywhere but a user's profile page to find content on Digg.

The old Digg profile page looks a lot like all of the category pages on Digg. If you go to any non-profile page on Digg you will see content presented in the same manner as was once done on the user profile pages. It is only the profile pages that have been redesigned in such a way as to increase Page Views.

This tells me that this was not done to increase Page Views even though it likely will. There is a bigger change at work here and something that many people did not catch on to.

New Digg Profile Page

As you can see with the new profile pages there is no ability to digg, bury, comment or even see the actual content until you click the link and go ot the story page on Digg.

By changing the user profile pages so that they link to the Digg story and not directly to the story content (off of Digg), Digg has removed one of the biggest reasons SEO types spam Digg: BACK LINKS.

In the past every person who dugg a story would generate a back link in their user profile page, sometimes several back links. Every digg and comment created a new link in the profile page. If a story received 1,051 diggs and 500 comments that story would receive in excess of 1,551 back links from Digg. I say excess because you still get multiple back links from Digg due to the various category, sub-category and other areas a story can appear on Digg.

By removing the back links in the user profile pages Digg has both increased potential Page Views (you need to click twice to get to content from a profile page) and decreased the amount of back links that Digg provides. There is now no reason for a spammer to submit crap to Digg in the hopes of getting some back links.

Why? Because when a story gets buried it provides no more links, anywhere on Digg!

Sploggers will still try to game Digg for traffic, they just can't game it for SEO anymore. I wonder if the change at Digg had something to do with Page Rank dropping on so many Tech and News sites?

Social Media October 30th, 2007 by Stephen
StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon is the wonderful browser plugin that allows you to discover new content almost at random. The service also allows you to network by adding friends with similar interests. Once you become a fan of someone content that they find interesting will be served to you. Becoming mutual friends allows you to send content to a person while including a personal note.

Personally, I love StumbleUpon and use it more than any other social networking platform out there. The ability to send content to my friends (with a note attached) is just great.

With all that said I also like stumbling through general content that my friends have not approved of. Some of that content is good while some of it is utter garbage. As a long-time stumbler let me help you out with the following tips:

    Stumbling Tips

  • If you are going to Stumble your own content make sure it is good - Everyone thinks their own stuff is the bee's knees, it's not. There is a lot of utter crap in the blogosphere. There is also a vast amount of crap that is nothing but rewritten crap from somewhere else. Unless you are either making news or providing original commentary on something please do not Stumble the article.

    If you read something cool on Kotaku and you are blogging about it, (but adding nothing to the discussion) don't Stumble it. If you are adding more to the discussion than the original source then you can feel free to Stumble it.

  • Make sure I see content when I visit the site - Too many blogs believe that shoving all of the advertising "above the fold" will result in more clicks. It will, but not the sort of click you want. When I come to a page that is all ads and the content requires scrolling down to reach I will thumb it down sight-unseen. I don't care what you are writing about, my time is like money and if I have to scroll down past a bunch of Google ads to get to it I will thumb you down and move along.

    Take a quick peek at the big news sites, do they do that? No, they shove their advertising all over the place but the content is above the fold.

  • Don't copy - This goes along with the first point. Nothing makes me thumb down a site faster than reading something that is just copied from somewhere else. I have no love for plagarism or lazy bloggers who just cut-and-paste a portion of an article and link back (or not) to the source. Please don't waste my time.

  • Do try to be different - LOLCats are becoming old hat but, if you create a LOLCat that brings new life to the system I will thumb you up. For example, the Schrödinger’s Cat LOLCat "I'm in your box, maybe" (original image) was great and got an instant thumbs up from me. All those people who took the image and pasted it in their blog? They all get a thumbs down for copying.

  • Spelling errors - Yes we all make mistakes sometimes but if you can not tell the difference between; there, their, and they're you should not be writing. Same goes for; begining, beginng, beginnign, etc... Please take a minute to run a spell check on your post.

That's about all I have for right now. Keep creating quality content and you too can gain thousands of hits a day via Stumbleupon. Create crap and you get nothing.

Military and Politics October 29th, 2007 by Danny Mc Guire

1. This is not a debate for the anti-war vs pro-war discussion
2. Please try to stay on topic.

One thing that has been bugging me for a while is the anti-war slogan, "support the troops by bringing them home." Let me start off by saying, as a former soldier, no one wants to be in a war zone. No one wants bullets whizzing over their head (better than through your head though) or artillery dropping left and right. However, a soldier's job is to kill people and break things.

When I hear people say, "support the troops by bringing them home," I can't help but think how misguided that statement is. Would you apply the same statement to police officers or fire fighters?

"Hey California fire fighter, those wild fires are real dangerous! I'll support you by telling you to go home and let that fire burn out."

"Hey New York City police officer, it's dangerous on those streets why don't you just hang out in the police station where you will be safe?"

Doesn't have quite the same feel to it does it? It sounds almost parental in the way it gives the impression you lack faith in the person and want to protect them rather than let them do their job.

I don't see how supporting the troops can be anything but arming and feeding them. This whole "support the troops by bringing them home" feels like a backhanded slap in the face to me. When I hear it I can't help but think that the speaker lacks any and all faith in the troops and considers them to be a bunch of kids that need protecting.

Well, am I right or wrong? Please add to the discussion and feel free to bring up other slogans used on both sides of the argument. Slogans only please.

Games October 29th, 2007 by Stephen

As can happen the sales data for September 2007 has been modified as more and more stores report their information. Because of this early reporting is often close but inaccurate.

It was widely reported that Xbox 360 console sales beat out the Wii in September based on massive sales of Halo 3. Now that sales numbers have settled we find that Microsoft was not able to knock the Wii off the top of the mountain.

VGChartz September Console Sales Update

Week of September 29, 2007

As you can clearly see in the graphic above (from VGChartz) the one week where Xbox 360 sales almost beat out the Wii, they did not. They missed the Wii sales figure by about 5K consoles. Yes, on the week of September 29, 2007 (one of Microsoft's best weeks for the Xbox 360) they did not surpass the Wii in sales.

This makes me wonder. Will we see a rush of reporting on this new piece of data or will people be left to think that the Xbox 360 did better than it actually did?

Don't forget that there is only one console that beats the Wii in week-to-week sales and that is the Nintendo DS.

DS is kicking ass
Games October 29th, 2007 by Stephen

Todays three games all share a hauntingly similar theme.

Simon’s Quest

Castlevania® II Simon's Quest (NES®, 1 player, Rated E for Everyone - Mild Fantasy Violence, 500 Wii Points): In this one-player adventure, you'll take on the role of Simon Belmont once again and duel to the death with Count Dracula. Grab your legendary whip, Vampire Killer, and roam freely through Transylvania on a quest to find the count's missing body parts-these are the key to breaking an evil curse. This quest won't be easy, though, for you must battle hideous fiends who stalk the land. In addition to the intense action and tight control the Castlevania series is known for, this sequel also introduced several unique game-play elements into the fold. Build experience the longer you play, buy weapons and items from merchants, or talk with villagers to get clues (some of which are false). Watch as day turns to night and then back again. Take a deep breath, steady your nerves, and help Simon end his curse and defeat the count once and for all.

Samuari Ghost

SAMURAI-GHOSTâ„¢ (TurboGrafx16, 1 player, Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older - Animated Blood and Violence, 600 Wii Points): This action platformer features a samurai ghost from the depths of the underworld. In a past war, Kagekiyo managed to defeat the shogun Yoritomo and his clan. However, their evil spirits were not completely destroyed, and now, in the world known as Dark Side, they seek the time of their rebirth. In order to shatter those ambitions, Kagekiyo must make his way across seven zones and head for "The Heart of the Darkside" where Yoritomo lies in wait. Use spirit weapons to power up your sword, or other items, such as candles to recover health, and defeat the endless hordes of enemies. Each zone is not only protected by a boss but also includes demons as well as real samurai from 12th-century Japan. Get ready for some intense one-on-one combat action.

Magician Lord

MAGICIAN LORD (NEOGEO, 1-2 players, Rated T for Teen - Blood and Fantasy Violence, 900 Wii Points): Released in 1990 and regarded as one of the NEOGEO's earliest signature games, this side-scrolling platformer mixes action with the mystical world of fantasy. A magician named Elta, last descendant of the famed Magician Lord, takes on an epic adventure to save the world from the evil Gul-Agieze. Elta must battle through eight stages, collecting the eight tomes of power that are key to defeating Gul-Agieze and his evil plans. By obtaining orbs in one of three colors (elements) that appear during the game, Elta's offensive powers and jumping abilities can be strengthened. The effect varies considerably depending on the combination of elements, though, and Elta can transform into six different forms: Waterman, Dragon Warrior, Shinobi, Samurai, Raijin or Poseidon. Can you help Elta to become the new Magician Lord?

Nintendo Wii Sport Bundle - With 5 Great Sports Games

All of these games can be purchased via the Shopping Channel on your Nintendo Wii. What? Don't have a Wii? Then follow this link and buy one!

Tech Deals October 28th, 2007 by Stephen
Massage Chair with HDTV

This deal is just too good not to pass on.

For a limited time, get the True Seating Concepts faux leather massaging recliner with ottoman (retail value $399.99) for free with your purchase of any Samsung HDTV 32" or larger at BestBuy.com. All you have to do is click the link below and follow the following instructions:

  • 1. Select a qualifying Samsung HDTV below.
  • 2. Select the massaging recliner with ottoman below.
  • 3. Click the Add Items to Cart button at the bottom of the page.

The lowest price HDTV you can select is a 32" 720P model for $799.99.

Free massage chair (shipping extra) with select Samsung HDTVs at BestBuy.com. Now through 11/3.

Internet October 28th, 2007 by Stephen

EMERYVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Art.com, Inc., an online retailer of posters, prints and framed art, operating websites including Art.com and Allposters.com, today issued the following notice to its customers alerting them that a criminal internet “hacker” recently broke through Art.com’s multiple security layers and illegally gained access to names and encrypted credit card account numbers for some transactions made on its websites from July through September. To date, the company is unaware of any unauthorized use of those credit card numbers or any attempted identity theft related to the intrusion.

Michael Heinstein, Chief Executive Officer of Art.com, Inc. stated: “We value our customers tremendously and understand how important security is to them. This is why we have acted to notify affected customers and credit card companies as quickly as possible after vigorously investigating this event. In addition, we quickly took additional steps to secure our sites against any future attacks of this type.”

Art.com, Inc. does not store information such as social security or driver’s license numbers in connection with customer purchase transactions, so customers have no reason to be concerned that such information was accessed. The company regrets any inconvenience this may cause its customers and is doing everything it can to ensure that nothing like this happens again.

Games October 26th, 2007 by Stephen
Nintendo Wii Sport Bundle - With 5 Great Sports Games

With Nintendo showing huge profits and market share dominance it comes as no surprise that there will not be a price cut on the Wii for the upcoming holiday season. what does surprise this writer is that a reporter actually asked if Nintendo was planning on a price cut!

Iwata said the company is still struggling to meet demand for the Wii and a price cut was out of the question. "We're still focusing on how to meet booming demand," Iwata said Friday. "We're absolutely not considering a price cut."

I guess some of the reporters present need to go back and take an economics 101 class! the reason Sony and Microsoft dropped the price on their consoles for the holiday season is because they need to drop the price to compete. Nintendo has no such problem, there problem lies on the supply side not the consumer side. Nintendo needs to make more Wiis!

Nintendo also announced an expansion of the Wii Shopping (Virtual Console) channel that will allow people to buy a game on their Wii and gift it to someone else.

"We think this will be a breakthrough in encouraging customers to spread news of fun games word of mouth," Iwata said. "We also hope to spur more users to connect their Wiis to the Internet," he said.

The only other service I am familiar with that offers gifting such as this would have to be Steam. That service works on Windows PCs and their current best seller is the "Orange Box" that is also sold for the Xbox 360.

I like the idea of gifting Virtual Console games to friends but, will they ever go so far as to allow me to "re-gift" a Virtual Console title I no longer play? Probably not.

[AP]

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