Some Google Secrets Exposed

From the Virtual Handshake:

Intellectual property law is really screwy sometimes. In order to legally protect your IP, you have to make it public (eventually)

The good to come from this is that some of Google’s ranking algorithm secrets have been revealed.

A few interesting points, including:

  • Length of domain registration (longer is better)
  • Speed with which links are acquired (slower is better)
  • Frequency and amount of updates (again, neither extreme is good)

Much is common sense (with the benefit of hindsight, of course) but it’s interesting that Google measures the speed at which you aquire inbound links. So any strategies involving aggressive link building may be best avoided. A longer-term plan might be best adopted, and this goes hand in hand with the frequency of updates. Looks like some things just can’t be rushed.

Food for thought, anyway.

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Spyware in Acrobat Reader

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

A company called Remote Approach is using a feature in Adobe’s PDF Reader to track how many times a PDF document has been accessed, according to a report in the Linux Weekly News.

For the feature to be used, a PDF had to be created, uploaded to the company’s server to be tagged, and then distributed, the report said.

The tracking failed when the PDF was viewed by other readers such as Xpdf and Kpdf, and version 5 of Adobe Reader.

However, when the document was opened using Adobe Reader 7, Remote Approach began logging the number of times it was viewed from the IP address of the computer on which it was opened.

The information is submitted over port 80 using HTTP – the standard port for web servers – which no home or office firewall would normally block.

The tracking was being done using JavaScript, support for which had been added as a default setting to Adobe Reader 7 for Linux and since version 6 in versions for other platforms.

This one seems harmless enough, but opens the door for more dangerous things – time to disable JavaScript in newer versions of Adobe Reader?

From bits to a comp

Ever since I saw the concept of the Page Description Diagram I liked the idea. A simple way of sorting out what a page has to do without any other distractions.

Actually putting one together is a bit harder than I first thought. Where do you start?

Then Ryan Singer from 37 Signals penned An Introduction to Using Patterns in Web Design. Bingo – someone has joined the dots for me!

  1. Make a list of your “bits”- everything on the page and anything that the visitor might have to do
  2. Group them where they share some commonality
  3. Prioritise them (Hey, the contents of a Page Description Diagram!)
  4. Design each chunk, and then put those chunks together (Hey, a wireframe!)
  5. Then design away (Hey, a comp!)

Following Ryan’s steps would make it difficult to end up with a comp that didn’t achieve what it was supposed to in terms of site goals.

Not impossible, mind you, but difficult.

Sort lists by dragging and dropping

Now this is pretty cool.

Most examples of list sorting I’ve seen involve little up and down arrows, and you have to click away and only move the item one step at a time.

Forget about that – drag and drop items on the list instead!

The example here uses cookies to store user preferences too, so you could probably enable this on yor website’s standard navigation and let users put the links they usethe most at the top, and the ones they don’t use much at the bottom. There are really dozens on applications you could use this. Check it out!