Stefan Hayden

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Well Google Analytics is out and now every other stat counter is doomed. Right? Who can stand up to google? I refuse to believe any of this is true and that Google’s entrance in to stats will make little impact with Mint or Measure Map.

Who has made the claim that google will crush all and have actually used Analytics? Wow it’s complicated. There are so many menus and half the time I have no idea what the graph is even representing. A large portion of the interface is also devoted to adwords campaigns and detailed study of how people move though your website. More then 50% of Analytics is devoted to stat tracking that 90% of the people using it for free will have little use for.

Is google making a mistake? No of course not. Google is just not trying to get me to use their software. What they are really looking for is a way for people to get more out of adwords and spend more money with google. This will be good for corporate or high volume websites that advertise through adwords but few others. Google is going after the fortune 500 companies who will dump tons of money in to adwords. That is who their site is optimised for.

Now lets look at Mint and Measure Map. Who are they optimised for? While I have not used Mint there are some very glaring things that show it might not be for everyone. For one it only works in Firefox and Safari. Second it’s biggest focus is on referrers and how people came to your site and less on what they did when they actually got there. That alone shows that this is not a stat tracker for every one and Sean Inman has always been forward about that. He’s not trying to compete with Google. His market is the small web site owner who wants to know hoe people are coming to his site. Google offers the same functionality but it’s berried in adwords specific jargon and other tracking that most sites have no need for.

Measure Map is so easy to understand

Measure Map is even another step down. It’s stats in it’s most simplistic form. It gives you exactly what you want to know and no more. Even my grandmother would understand the stats that Measure Map is putting out. Another things no one is pointing out is that Measure Map is blog specific. If you don’t have a blog you can’t even use Measure Map. This is not a site wide solution and there is no reason to be. I’ve only used it for a couple of days and I’m amazed how such a clean and simple interface can display so much information. Websites like this help remind me that graphic artists like Sean Inman, Jeffrey Veen, and myself need to be more involved in web startups.

I actually plan of dropping Analytics in the near future. It’s not giving me anything I can’t get anywhere else. Measure Map has shown me data in a way I have not seen before and has helped me see my blog in a new light. Google’s Analytics will be bigger then Mint or Measure Map but they will not own the market. Mint and Measure Map provide uniquely distinct stats in a way google can’t and in that light they have already won.

measuremap, mint, seaninman, jeffreyveen, analytics, google, stats, counter, blog

aiga_design_conference_2005.gifIt’s hard to say what I would not give to have a laptop at the conference now. Not that I’m trying to keep up with Kottke but there are actually a good number of people blogging and there’s not way I’m going to be able to read them all. Not getting home till 11:30 I blog for the benefit of AIGA which I hope to help drag it kicking and screaming in to the blogosphere.

I’d like to say high to all the folks from Kottke and UnBeige who have been doing much better coverage then I have. I suppose working the conference does have it’s downsides. For other blogs present at AIGA look at this handy list:

  1. Kottke
  2. UnBeige
  3. Reverse Innovation
  4. Speak Up
  5. PeterMe
  6. Open the Window

UnBeige actually has a number of great posts about the blog focus session (the only panel about the web) that included Jen Bekman, Michael Bierut, Jason Kottke, and Armin Vit. I was sad that after the main stage presentation there was not much to do backstage but I was glad I got to go to the focus sessions.

I had a chance to meet Jason Kottke earlier in the day (the lone laptop in the sea that is the main stage audience). People have different strategies for meeting celebrities and mine is simple. Get in, say hi, compliment their past work, thank them and then move on. You don’t want to be clingy. Jason doesn’t need some groupie talking his ear off. You know…. just plant the seed of friendship and move on. Don’t kill it with too much attention.

I was a little late to the blog session since I was running DJ Spooky, aka Paul Miller, around the convention center. I’m not a big fan of text messaging (at least not with my phone) but I let Paul text all he wanted since he was having a hard day. I was hoping by the title “To blog or not to blog: What’s the question?” that it would have been more about encouraging the audience to blog, Instead it was more of a over view of what all four of them did. And even then it was a brief overview and I wish they had deeper in to how blogging is changing things. I need to remember, baby steps for AIGA. It needs to learn what the internet is before it can figure out what blogging is. I don’t know about all of the audience but a number of them did seem to have a good grasp of what was going on and tried to push the conversation deeper.

Today was very smooth backstage. The band upstairs knew what was going on and so did the sketch artist and the integration between them and intros and exits were wonderful. I was very relived to see everything working after the 1st day where everything just felt jerky. I don’t know if it seemed that way out in the crowd but I doubt it. Everything always seems worse from backstage. It’s just too easy to see the mistakes as they happen.

aigadc2005, aiga, graphic design, boston, kottke, DJSpooky, PaulMiller, JenBekman, MichaelBierut, ArminVit

For any interested I’m going to be doing a series of Boston podcast reviews over at the Bostonist. After moving up to boston and being O so bored for the first week or so I feel confident that I am a podcast expert. With podcasting being so new there is a real lack of reviews. While ranking systems at Podcast Alley, iTunes, and our lovable friends over at Odeo help they can’t be the only way to find good new content.

podcasts, boston, bostonist, reviews

FeedLounge launched it’s alpha version (is that really a launch?) just days ago and it’s already generating a lot of buzz. From the sound of it I’m already preparing to make the switch. Reading others talk about rss I’m always surprised by the number of people who use desktop rss readers. As a college student (just graduated) I almost can not imagine that. Living in a world where I was up in campus life or the art labs for hours (or days) on end with out my rss reader handy is a painful thought. For these reason whenever I have been given a choice between desktop and web solutions I always chose web. Bloglines has served me in the way hotmail did the job in the 90s. Bloted, clumsey (ewww frames), hard to find help. I found the Bloglines’ help forum once and have never been able to find my way back to it since. I had hoped a quick redesign would have happened once Ask Jeeves bought it as several of google’s purchases seem to have undergone.

Bloglines was my first love and really introduced me to rss. I will never forget bloglines but I’ve been ready for a new rss relationship for a while now. I knew some one somewhere was working on a better solution and I think FeedLounge will be it.

A blogging milestone happened in the art department today as I helped Jen, Katie, Christina, and even Mattyo setup a wordpress blog through Dreamhost as you can see from the right side links bar. If this community of TCNJ blogging stays active it will be a great resource for both current and future art graduates from TCNJ.

Blogging will only get bigger and hopefully this will be the first step toward a very vibrant and living community at TCNJ that I hope to cultivate and build.

Memes really don’t seem to spread through the web design communities very much. Where’s Dunstan might be an exception to the rule only because it originated in the community and was encouraged. Not to be left out like I was for sxsw here’s my contribution, which is following the trend of a bit more abstract, as lead by Derek.

It was Mike who best talked about how, “The web community gets along remarkably well in person.” And really sold me on going to sxsw and even made Matt start planning his flights and hotel reservations. Mike hit it out of the park making sxsw sound like the most exiting place on earth and didn’t really think anyone could make it sound any better.

Not surprisingly Eris brought another dimension to it, something that was mentioned everywhere but never said flat out. It’s the camaraderie is evident everywhere and I seems best summed up in an exchange between Eris and Ben Brown that ended with, “Well here, hold on…..[as he pulls out two books and hands them to me] ….enjoy.”

It seem that sxsw is really the place where you realize that these blogs are people. You can just give away books because Eris is at Erisfree.com and she’s not going anywhere. If she never mails the book back you know exactly where to find her and ask for the book back.

This is more then a web design community but more of a small town mentality reminiscent of my current obsession, Gilmore Girls, though I still making my way through the season one dvd. Every one knows everyone’s name, word travels fast about anything, and people feel fine lending things out.

After installing Movable Type for my web design 2 class here at TCNJ, I was a bit surprised at the effort it took to install it. Not hard but certainly took some care and editing of the config file. The documentation was clearly not as clear as it could be and was very long.

We installed it just before the switch over to Moveable Type 3 and the subsequent price change / fall out with MT supporters. Seeing the death of MT on the horizon I also thought I would look for another solution. A quick search for Moveable Type comparison brought up a good number of posts by people also looking to get off of the MT ship. I had hear a lot of good things about the Expression Engine (which I keep typing Emotion Engine like the PS2 chip set) but that also works on a play plan.

It became obvious very quickly that WordPress was the best option. Going in there were two downsides compared to MT. MT makes it easy to set up multiple blogs with one install of MT while WP only allows one blog per install. MT’s template system is also a bit more intuitive. WP uses a lot of php includes and can break all your templates to about 14 different files.

I had no need to create multiple blogs with one install and so that problem evaporated away. The templates remained a downside but I figured it couldn’t be too bad.

The install process compared to MT was amazing. WordPress press only needs 4 lines changed and it is clearly documented what needs to change. After those lines are changed you just upload to the directory you want your blog in and load the setup page. The set up page is two pages. Two pages! At the end of the second page it apologized for not being harder. It was an amazing install.

The templates are kind of a bitch. I didn’t know enough about them to start from scratch but editing 5 or 6 files just to make the main page look like your webpage is very annoying, but it’s obvious that it’s a very powerful system that allows for quick updates in the future.

Over all I’m very happy with how the WordPress experience is going. I definitely will recommend WordPress to Ricardo for the web design 2 class next time.

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