Alternageek Technology Podcast Reviews Windows Vista

By StrangeWork.com: I recently submitted a request to the tech junkies over at the Alternageek Technology Podcast for a review of Windows Vista.

Alternageek Technology Podcast LogoBeing the awesome hosts that they are they decided to give Vista a review on their recent episode.

I won’t spoil the review for you, but will say it’s worth listening to! If you haven’t listened to their podcast before give it a shot. I always look forward to the new episode released every Tuesday. What other podcast can you request a review of something and listen to it within a matter of weeks?

About Alternageek Technology Podcast:

The Alternageek podcast covers a general scope of technology. We discuss Linux, Windows, Mac, Web 2.0, the Internet, software applications and gadgets. The show is targeted towards power users and technology enthusiasts. Linuxchic and TechMonkey host the weekly show that is released every Tuesday and runs approximately an hour.

Worky Work Busy Bee

By StrangeWork.com: I’m busy, if that wasn’t already obvious. I’m in the early stages of moving the entire Batteries.com warehouse from location A to location B, so as you can imagine things are pretty busy for me at work.

I’m also very busy working on SnapFoo.com and iHotties.net. We’ve been hard at work on big updates most recently with the launch of the SnapFoo Bebo Application.

I also have a couple big events coming up I’m preparing for. First I will be attending Startup Weekend Bloomington, which is the weekend of February 8th. Second is BarCamp Indianapolis on Saturday February 9th, where I will be giving a presentation on The Future of Mobile Web.

February is shaping up to be a busy month, but I would much rather be busy than bored!

WordPress Weekly Episode 3

By StrangeWork.com: WordPress Weekly Episode 3 is up on TalkShoe.com.

WordPress Weekly PodcastI wasn’t able to make the show this week, but Jeff and company did a great job covering a slew of hot WordPress topics.

The show notes have been posted with a list of topics covered on this weeks show. David Peralty, from bloggingpro.com, joined the panel this week and offered some great discussion.

WordPress Weekly is a valuable podcast for anyone interested in WordPress as a blogging platform.

Be sure to catch the show live Friday nights at 9pm EST on TalkShoe.com!

How To: Create Your First Wikipedia Article

By StrangeWork.com: Have you ever wanted to create a Wikipedia article, but weren’t entirely sure of the proper steps involved? Or maybe you’ve created an article in the past, but it keeps getting deleted by Wikipedia admins? In this article I am going to explain in detailed steps the correct way to create a Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia.org Logo

1. Create an Account – If you do not already have a Wikipedia.org account you need to create one. You can edit Wikipedia articles without having an account, but to create a new article you need an account.

2. Search for your Article – Search Wikipedia to verify the article you want to write does not already exist under a different title.

3. Create the Page – Once you have verified your article doesn’t already exist on Wikipedia you will need to create it! On the search results page you will see a bright red bold link that says:

Create the page including your references.

Click this link to get started!

TIP: Wikipedia is case-sensitive which means brad williams is not the same as Brad Williams. Be sure to search for your article in the CASE you want it displayed in.

4. Start Writing! – This is the part of the article writing process where the most confusion comes in, writing your article.

Start your article with this line: {{underconstruction}}

Wikipedia underconstruction tag banner

The underconstruction tag will add a banner (see above) at the top of your article stating the article is under construction. This alerts the admins that your article is a work in progress. This is commonly overlooked, but will keep your article safe from deletion while you work on it.

Next let’s add an Infobox to your article:

Example of Wikipedia Infobox An Infobox is a great way to sum up key information about your article. Not every article needs an Infobox. Wikipedia provides a set of Infobox templates ready to go for major categories. You can view that list here:

Wikipedia Infobox Templates

Select the category that best fits your articles topic. Here is an example of an Infobox I created for a Fraternity article:

{{Infobox Fraternity
|name= Delta Gamma Iota
|crest= [[Image:DeltaGammaIota_Crest.gif]]
|founded= [[1965]]
|birthplace= [[Vincennes, Indiana]]
|free_label = Founding Principles
|free = [[Diligence]] [[Integrity]] [[Brotherhood]]
|homepage= http://www.deltagammaiota.org
}}

Each template will have a list of available fields that you can utilize. Feel free to remove any fields you do not want displayed. Also notice these two lines from above:

|free_label = Founding Principles
|free = [[Diligence]] [[Integrity]] [[Brotherhood]]

This is a Free Label, which allows you to create any item you would like on your Infobox. Just fill out the name next to free_label and fill out the values next to free and your all set!

Now it’s time to write the substance of your article. Wikipedia is VERY strict on plagiarism and copyrighted materials. Your article needs to be unique. Wikipedia is also very strict about references. You need to have references for the facts that you are stating.

Adding References
Wikipedia states references are required for “direct quotes and for material that is challenged or likely to be challenged.” Any material that is challenged and for which no source is provided within a reasonable time (or immediately if it’s about a living person) may be removed by any editor.

There are two steps involved for creating references.

1. Place the <ref></ref> tags where you want a footnote reference number to appear in an article
2. Place {{reflist}} at the bottom of your article. This is where your references will be listed.

The following code:

was founded in 1965<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deltagammaiota.org/about.htm|title=Delta Gamma Iota Official Site| accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=deltagammaiota.org}}</ref>

Will create this reference:

Wikipedia Reference Example

So lets break this down:
|url=http://www.deltagammaiota.org/about.htm – the link to the web page you are referencing.
|title=Delta Gamma Iota Official Site – this is the title of your reference displayed in your references section
| accessdate=2008-01-21 – this is the date you retrieved the information.
|publisher=deltagammaiota.org – this is the original publisher of the information.

References are a required element of your article. 99.9% of articles written with no references will be deleted from Wikipedia.


Now lets discuss some common formatting options for your article.

  • Add italics by placing two apostophes (NOT one double quote) around the word(s) – e.g. ”hello there” will display as: hello world
  • Add bold by placing three apostrophes at each end of the word(s) e.g. ”’hello there”’ will display as: hello world
  • Add bold and italic by placing five apostrophes around the word(s) e.g. ””’hello there””’ will display as: hello world
  • Add an internal link (to another Wikipedia article) by placing the title of the article in double square brackets (make sure it’s spelled correctly) – e.g. [[Hello world]] will link to the article called Hello world
  • Add an external link (to somewhere else on the web,) by placing the entire URL within single square brackets (make sure it’s correct) – e.g. [http://www.strangework.com] (must have “http”) will link to the webpage at http://www.strangework.com
  • To indent a paragraph, put a colon (:) beginning the line (2 colons = double indent)
  • To do bullet points, put a star (*) at the start of each line
  • To do a numbered list, put a hash (#) at the start of each line

At anytime during your writing process you can click the “Show Preview” button to get a look at what you have done so far. This does NOT save your article, but does show a preview of what it will look like. When you are done editing your article click the “Save Page” button to save your article. The first time you save your article it will appear live on Wikipedia.org, so make sure you have a semi-working page built before the first save.

TIP Add the {{inuse}} tag anywhere in your article to let others know you are currently working on this article. This is typically only used for larger edits and more popular articles. Read more about {{inuse}}

5. Add a Category All Wikipedia articles must be placed in at least one relevant category. The easiest way to find categories for your article is to search for a page on a topic similar to yours, copy the category code and add it to the bottom of your new article.

Sample category code:

[[Category:Microsoft|]]

The category code is placed at the bottom of your article.

6. Clean-up your new Article – Once you are done with your new Wikipedia article remember to remove any temporary tags you might have added to your article including the {{underconstruction}} tag and the {{inuse}} tag.

Congratulations! You have just created your first Wikipedia article! Remember you can edit any page in Wikipedia. If you get stuck just find an article that has the feature you want and click the “edit this page” button at the top to see how they accomplished adding that feature.

Below is the entire code I used to create the Delta Gamma Iota article on Wikipedia for reference:

{{underconstruction}}

{{Infobox Fraternity
|letters= ?GI
|name= Delta Gamma Iota
|crest= [[Image:DeltaGammaIota_Crest.gif]]
|founded= [[1965]]
|birthplace= [[Vincennes, Indiana]]
|type= Social
|colors= Maroon and White
|flowers= Black Rose and Cala Lilly
|free_label = Founding Principles
|free = [[Diligence]] [[Integrity]] [[Brotherhood]]
|address=420 Shelby St.
|city= Vincennes
|state= Indiana
|country= USA
|homepage= http://www.deltagammaiota.org
}}

”’Delta Gamma Iota”’ (”’?GI”’) was founded in 1965<ref>{{cite web|url=http://www.deltagammaiota.org/about.htm|title=Delta Gamma Iota Official Site| accessdate=2008-01-21|publisher=deltagammaiota.org}}</ref> at [[Vincennes University]] in [[Vincennes, Indiana]]. The Beta Chapter was founded Nov 11th 1995 at [[Indiana University South Bend]]. The Gamma Chapter of Delta Gamma Iota was founded on February 7, 1998 at [[Ball State University]] in [[Muncie, Indiana]].
==References==
{{reflist}}

The Art and Science of JavaScript from SitePoint

By StrangeWork.com: I just received my latest book in the SitePoint collection, The Art & Science of JavaScript.

The Art & Science of JavaScript Book As always SitePoint has gathered some of the greatest minds in modern JavaScript to collaborate on an amazingly easy to follow book.

The Art & Science covers some great topics including Google Maps and Flickr mashups, building your own fully accessible 3D maze, draggable and sortable table columns, and much more!

SitePoint has always amazed me with the beautiful layout and design of their books. Code is easily readable in a fixed-width font with a blue background. The book also displays Tips, Notes, and Warning icons to help expand upon certain points.

This book is geared towards anyone who is familiar with JavaScript and wants to take their skills to the next level.

Bloomington Startup Weekend Starts February 8th

By StrangeWork.com: Startup Weekend is coming back to Indiana! This time making a stop at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

Startup Weekend Bloomington IndianaStartup Weekend Bloomington will take place on the weekend of February 8th-10th. This will mark the second Startup Weekend of the year. Tickets for the event are $20 and go towards covering event expenses.

I had the opportunity to attend Startup Weekend West Lafayette back in October of last year. I was only able to participate for one day, but had a great time working on ScrollTalk.com.

Unfortunately Startup Weekend is scheduled directly over BarCamp Indianapolis this year so I will not be able to attend on Saturday, but I am planning on participating Friday to again experience the madness that is Startup Weekend!

Rumor has it that Andrew Hyde, the founder of Startup Weekend, might make an appearance at BarCamp Indy on Saturday if he comes to town! Be sure to send him a few hundred emails to ensure he makes it!

SmallerIndiana.com: For Creative People and Innovative Ideas

By StrangeWork.com: Thanks to Noah on the BarCamp Indy site I found another great local networking group called SmallerIndiana.com. In their own words:

Smaller Indiana makes creative people and innovative ideas easier to find. This is the place for you to share your ideas and engage with Indiana’s most creative and inspired souls…working together to build community,culture and commerce.

At already 292 members, Smaller Indiana is becoming a great resource for local communication. Topics range from technology, commerce, marketing, community, and culture.

Smaller Indiana was started by Pat Coyle of the Indianapolis Colts. Anyone that knows Pat knows he likes to ask questions and make you think so be sure to join up and start participating in some great conversations today!

WordPress Weekly Podcast episode 2 Live Tonight!

By StrangeWork.com: Tonight we are recording the second episode of the WordPress Weekly Podcast LIVE on TalkShoe.com.

WordPress Weekly PodcastWe had a great time recording last weeks episode and expect an even better episode this week! This week we will have the same cast of Jeff from Jeffro2pt0, Ronald from The Reader Appreciation Project, and myself.

Jeff has posted a list of topics we plan on covering and I’m sure we will discuss a few topics not listed. If you’re interested in blogging, already a blogger, or a seasoned vet on the front lines of blogging than this podcast is for you! This show is for everyone with an interest in WordPress and blogging in general.

Be sure to join us for the live recording at 9pm ET tonight on TalkShoe.com!

BarCamp Indianapolis Set For February 9th

By StrangeWork.com: The BarCamp Indianapolis date has been set! It will happen on Saturday February 9th 2008 from 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the Unleavened Bread Cafe here in Indianapolis.

BarCamp Indianapolis
BarCamp is simply a tech conference ran by the attendees of the conference. Attendees are encouraged to give presentations/demos on their strengths.

The event is now listed on Upcoming. If you plan on attending get registered to help the organizers get a solid number of attendees to expect.

For more information visit the official site at barcampindy.org

Make sure you get registered and show your support for local tech gatherings in Indianapolis!

How To Increase Blog Traffic part 1: Google Webmaster Tools

By StrangeWork.com: I was asked by a couple friends of mine, Brooke and Toni, about how to get more traffic to their blogs. I decided to write a quick tutorial to help everyone learn a couple techniques I use to help rank higher in search engines.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools have been around for a while now, but many bloggers do not know how to utilize these tools to increase blog traffic. I use two quick and easy techniques, Sitemaps and Robots.txt, that I will discuss in this article.



Add Your Blog Sitemap

Step 1: Find Your Blog Sitemap

A blog sitemap is an XML feed of every link available on your blog. By default most blogging platforms, including WordPress, Blogger, and Moveable Type, have an RSS feed preinstalled on your blog. An RSS feed is a feed made using XML so there is no setup, it’s already there!

Examples for popular blog platforms:

WordPress – http://www.blogname.com/rss
Blogger – http://blogname.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
Moveable Type – http://www.blogname.com/atom.xml
Feed Burner – http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogname

Just replace blogname with the name of your site. Use the examples above to figure out what your feed URL is. You will need it in the next step.

Step 2: Load your blog sitemap in to Google Webmaster Tools

Visit the Google Webmaster Tools Home Page and login to your Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, register one real quick.

Once logged in to the Tools dashboard you will see a textbox at the top allowing you to add your blog:

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard Screenshot

Type your site URL in and click the “Add Site” button.

Next you will need to Verify your blog to Google. Click the “Verify your site” link and follow the instructions given by Google.

Once you have verified your blog click the “Sitemaps” menu item from the left hand side and click the “Add A Sitemap” link.

Select “Add General Web Sitemap” when asked to Choose Type. You will then see a text box to enter in your RSS feed URL like this:

Add Sitemap Tool

Enter your feed URL and click the “Add General Web Sitemap” button and your done! Once Google verifies your feed is in the proper format they will then crawl your feed daily to look for new links.

The benefit of providing Google with a sitemap is to help them improve how they crawl your blog. Over time you will start to notice an increase in search engine ranking which will result in more traffic.



Add Your Robots.txt File

Step 1: Update/create your robots.txt file

A robots.txt file is a small text file placed on your blogs web server that tells search engines what they are allowed, and not allowed, to index on your blog. Most blogs come with a robots.txt file preinstalled. Check to see if your blog has one by visiting the following URL on your blog:

http://www.blogname.com/robots.txt

Just replace blogname with the name of your site. We are going to create a new robots.txt file so it doesn’t matter if you do not currently have a robots.txt file on your blog.

Create a text file named robots.txt on your desktop. Enter the following code in to your newly created file:

User-agent: *
Disallow:
Sitemap: http://www.blogname.com/sitemap.xml

User-agent: * – indicates to all search engines they are allowed to crawl your site
Disallow: – incidates what URLs to exclude from being crawled by search engines. Since we are not entering a value to the right we are telling all search engines to crawl everything on your blog
Sitemap: http://www.blogname.com/sitemap.xml – indicates to the search engines where your sitemap is located. Use the sitemap link from the previous tip.

Save your file and upload to the root directory of your server. Google looks for a robots.txt file on your blog once a day. You can verify that Google finds your file by visiting the following Webmaster Tool section:

Dashboard > Tools > Analyze robots.txt

That’s it! Now all search engines will know where your sitemap is located from your robots.txt file. The major benefit of this is to help search engines find your new posts and links easier.

Google Webmaster Tools offer some really great statistics about how Google crawls and indexes your blog. Make sure you poke around in the other sections.

To install a true Google Sitemap be sure to check out the Google Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress.

I hope you find these tips helpful! Stay tuned for part 2.