Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tracking Flash Movie Plays with Google Analytics

If you’re looking for a quick way to track when Flash movies (or anything else in <object> <embed> tags) are played – this works for me:

Quick overview: create a new div with an onClick action and put the Flash movie inside it.

Then in the movie’s <object> tag – add <param name="wmode" value="transparent" /> and in the <embed> tag add this attribute wmode="transparent"

The wmode declarations allow the click in the Flash movie to pass through to the enclosing div and trigger the onClick.

Like this:
<div onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'MovieName', 'PageName']);">
<param name="movie" value="" />
<param name="wmode" value="transparent" />
<embed wmode="transparent" ..." />

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

EFF: Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement

As you know – I’ve got a long bet on WiFi being the default transport for all our information exchange; voice, video, audio, email, web, everything. Everything.

Unfortunately – there’s an insidious group with a counter bet and planting FUD everywhere.

Thankfully, the EFF has declared the need and benefit for more open WiFi networks:

“…we’d all be better off if we all left our WiFi open, but we each benefit slightly if we close our WiFi. Our failure to work together prevents us from enjoying better, more widespread Internet access.”

“The best solution to this problem is to have WiFi routers which make it very easy to share a certain amount of bandwidth via an open network, but simultaneously provide an encrypted WPA2 network that gets priority over the open network. Some modern routers already support multiple networks like this, but we need a very simple, single-click or default setting to get the prioritization right.”

“If we want a future where anyone can watch high definition movies or make video calls from anywhere without wires, what we need is short-range networks with routers everywhere — like the one we’d have if everyone opened their WiFi.”

BTW – here’s my rule of thumb on protecting WiFi networks:
Don’t – it will inconvenience and irritate those you want to have access far more than those you don’t.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Monday, 25 April 2011

Link Rot

“The idea that authority is best transmitted by a coarse-grained gesture like linking is bankrupted by the sheer volume of gaming that is emerging.” – Steve Gillmor

Back in the early days of Cullect – I was trying to figure out a way to programmatically provide a meaningful excerpt of an article. In the end – I decided that any solution would just be trying to guess which words and phrases were meaningful to any given reader. It’s easier to not guess – and our brains are really good at scanning for interestingness. So, to give your internal scanning as much info as possible – Cullect displayed everything it could.

It feels like more publications are showing less; headline, link, maybe an 1 sentence excerpt. Twitter & Delicious being the worst offenders. Facebook, Pinboard, and other publishers (traditional & otherwise) are fast followers.

I’d like to see more publishers display more by default – not less. Most of them are already making editorial decisions on placement – let’s go all the way. If this really is the most important story of right now – why are any other stories even visible?

Thursday, 21 April 2011

How Do We Fix Typos with Social Media?

We all make mistakes that are overlooked before we hit publish.

I’m always thankful when you point out my typos and other mistakes. That’s one of the reasons my contact info is on every page.

Heck, wiki systems are even have error correction is baked into their DNA.

This morning I spotted a typo on a article.

While there’s sharing badges all over the page – there’s no obvious link to contact the author or anyone else at the BBC to remove the extra ‘a’ in this specific article. I can’t even tell who wrote the article.

Clicking the ’email’ and ‘printer’ icons obviously won’t help. Do I click the Facebook icon? The Twitter icon?

From this, it’s clear that ‘social media’ has transformed into a secondary broadcast distribution system – rather than a way to engage with readers to create a higher quality product.

I’m writing this here not to call out the BBC specifically – as the typo was fixed as I was writing this – but to raise a question about outsourcing the customer relationship to a distribution company.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Monday, 18 April 2011

“The future of the book is the blurb.”

and more McLuhanisms from Marshall McLuhan .com

“People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.”

“The road is our major architectural form.”

“We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”

“This information is top security. When you have read it, destroy yourself.”

“Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s questions.”

“Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs.”

“Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.”