Google Sitemaps (Beta)

To let webmasters help Google index their site better there is Google Sitemaps. Sounds like a good idea.

So how does it work?
First you need to have a Google account (having a GMail account is probably enough).
Second you need to create a Sitemap file in the root of your site. This is an XML file that lists all your indexable pages. Google even provides a generator for this file.
Third you have to tell Google where your sitemap file can be found.
Last, wait to see what Google does with the sitemap file.

I’m still stuck at the the second stage. The generator from Google requires Python to run. Unfortunately I can’t. I don’t like to update the file mannualy so I’d like this to be automated. If anyone knows of a good solution to generate sitemaps automatically. I’d love to hear about it.

Update: It seems that Google Sitemaps will accept RSS 2.0 and Atom 0.3 feeds as well. So for now I’ve added those. And looking at my logs I see Google visit some links.

Pingback/Trackback testing tool

A person I know, that will remain anonymous, has problems receiving trackbacks. So looking around Google I found this site: Red Alt – Ping-o-Mation

What it basically does is:

This tool checks to see if your blog has recently pinged Ping-o-Matic, or has sent a trackback to RedAlt.

So what do I have to do? Simple:

First, test to see if outgoing trackbacks and pingbacks from your site to other sites work. To do this, create a new post on your blog. In that post, create a link to this URL: http://redalt.com/ping

So to make sure I place a link to http://redalt.com/ping that probably shows nothing, but makes sure a ‘ping’ is sent.

Furthermore:

In the Trackback field of your post editor, add the RedAlt Trackback URL: http://redalt.com/ping

Done. So here’s the post and hopefully my outgoing pings/trackbacks have worked. To see I need to go to the site and enter my URL.

Update: Check! My blog can send pings & trackbacks. 🙂 Now some more investigating…

Please ignore.

Viewing WAP sites with Firefox

Screenshot CitiWiz WAP site.In a follow up to my previous post about RSS2WAP I got curious. Is there a Firefox extension available that would enable me to view WAP sites? Well, yes there is!

The wmlbrowser extension makes Firefox a fully-fledged WAP-browser. (See screenshot of the CitiWiz WAP site to the right)

Although every mobile device will present the content visually different, this is a nice interpretation of what you can expect. Further pro’s in no particular order are:

  • Cut development time by serving up pages locally instead of uploading every change to your WAP site.
  • Develop in your favorite browser. 😉
  • Browse your site using a mouse instead of a quirky phone-keyboard.
  • No telco costs.
  • No slow connection.
  • No need to install a, buggy, third-party WAP-browser.
  • Browse *any* WAP-site there is. Ringtone anyone?

You can get the extension from Mozilla Update.

RSS2Wap: Turn your feeds into WML.

Over at www.fredscapes.nl Fred is plea-ing that webloggers should care more about mobile devices (Dutch only).
Although the number of mobile devices is rising and the technology for delivering content to those devices has been around for years, I still haven’t gotten any experience developing for mobile. Sure, my phone contains a WAP-browser. But the resolution of the screen, connection speed and, more importantly, the absurd pricing of mobile surfing have kept me from doing anything serious with WML.
But I’ll take it into account Fred! 😉

RSS2WAP icon Fred does have an interesting tip: RSS2WAP. This is a service that can take your feed and transform it into a WML-page. No messing around. Just take the URL of your feed and voila, your mobile visitors (if any) can see the your latest content on their phone or PDA.

For those interested: See my WAP-enabled feed here! (Not visible in IE and Firefox)

The zombies are here

Dawn of the DeadThe zombies are here and multiplying. Quick! Grab your baseball bat! Fortunately zombies are slow creatures muttering ‘Whoooooowhooooo’. They generaly have a lethargic look, look pale, miss limbs, … So they are easy to spot.

No they’re not. According to Cyphertrust, never heard of them before, their numbers are rising 170,000+ a day. Just take a look at their ZombieMeter. How’s that for a clone army… Palpatine eat our hart out! Quick math: 170k per day. How long to reach 600 million?

So you ask yourself, this isn’t about some sunday-afternoon-I’m-bored-let’s-watch-some-video stuff? You’re right. This is serious stuff. It makes me wonder what if I don’t already have a zombie-seed running around my laptop. Just waiting for the final signal from an obscure IRC channel to attack some helpless website that pissed somebody off. Or worse, sends thousands of emails claiming v!agra is the cure to everything.

‘Whooooowhoooo’

… what bothers me. I don’t get paid for being a zombie. 🙁