RFC 6585 – Additional HTTP Status Codes

If you’ve missed it like I did, RFC 6885 has been published recently.  It introduces four additional status codes for the HTTP protocol.  The codes are:

  • 428 Precondition Required
  • 429 Too Many Requests
  • 431 Request Header Fields Too Large
  • 511 Network Authentication Required

Here is a blog post that gives a nice summary of purpose for each of the new status codes.

myGengo – human translation service that scales

Via this GigaOm blog post I came across an interesting service – myGengo.  I’ve had plenty of projects that dealt with multi-lingual issues, and professional, punctual translations were always a pain in the process.  So it is nice to see a company that uses, in my opinion, a very correct approach to the problem.

Right now, the translation market has two main segments: a high-end market dominated by full-time in-house translators, and a low-end market dominated by Google Translate. myGengo’s service aims to occupy the space in between the two markets by offering “human translation services at scale.”

Essentially, myGengo is like an oDesk built specifically for translation services. myGengo has assembled a group of more than 3,000 translators worldwide who work on a freelance basis through myGengo’s own dedicated software program. myGengo serves clients directly, and also has an API to let other startups include myGengo’s translation services in their apps. myGengo says it is targeted at people and businesses who occasionally need high-quality, fast translation services, but aren’t in the market to hire an in-house translator for the job.

0.5 USD cents per word, 1 to 16 hours per page (depending on the complexity of the document), human translation with pre-tested personnel, API integration – it sounds almost like a dream.  Of course, for now they only support a dozen or so languages, but given that they just received a $5.25 million Series A funding, I expect the service to expand quite a bit in the nearest future.

Upcoming WordPress 3.0 in detail

I know I’ve mentioned the awesomeness of the upcoming WordPress 3.0 release before.  But there is more to learn.  Dougal Campbell was running WordPress 3.0-beta for a few days and wrote a post describing the new features in detail.

Also, if you add a post thumbnail which is as big as (or bigger than) your defined header size, the image will be used as a custom header specific to that post or page.

Rebuilding mamchenkov.net – Step 3 – Targets

Once I installed the monitoring of goals and gathered some initial data, it was time to start with the changes.  One of the obvious problems from the previous step was that I actually didn’t have my targets on the site.  The action points were missing – no easy way to read movie reviews and no easy way to know that I want people to hire me.  So these were the first things to change.

If you have a look at the site now, you’ll notice that the main menu is re-organized. Most notably it features Movies and Hire me! items.  Movies will take you directly to the list of my movie reviews, which I also improved by filtering out generic movie-related posts.  Hire me! link will lead you to a page which briefly describes what I can do and suggests where to find more information and how to get in contact with me.  Neither one of these action points are in their final stage yet – more changes are coming.  I just needed to start somewhere, so here they are. I have, of course, updated my goal tracking  to use the reviews page and added the new “hire me” goal.

While I was at it, I decided to fix a few other minor things that annoyed me.  Here is what I have done so far:

  • Tags clean-up.  This is still work in progress, but I managed to get a large piece of this work out of the way.  I had almost 2,000 tags in my database and many of those were too generic, tagging a single post.  I renamed and re-organized quite a few of them and now I am left with approximately 1,500 tags.  There are a couple of hundred more that will go away shortly.  This re-organization will make tags more useful and will help visitors find related content easier.
  • Added ‘About me’ section on the front page.  After the main menu reorganization I thought that I had too much of me in there.  “Contact me”, “Hire me!”, “About me”.  So I moved the “About me” into a section and made appear only on the front page.
  • Fixed the RSS image.  The default RSS image from Studiopress theme read “Grab our RSS feed”, but since I am publishing alone on this site, the “our” bit wasn’t making any sense.  I just cropped the image to have the widely recognized RSS icon.
  • Changed search results to feature excerpts instead of full posts.  Full posts were on by default since the last time I edited the theme.  I don’t use search too much, so I didn’t notice how annoying it was.  I tried several ideas to make it better and the only one that actually remains now on the site is excerpts instead of full posts.
  • Changed the tag line from “You just stepped in a pile of posts” to “Thoughts on movies, technology, and everything else”.  I think this one is more focused and that it should help a bit for the search engine optimization.

I’ve also experimented quite a bit with split testing and Google Website Optimizer, but realized that it is too difficult to use for the changes that I am working on now and decided against it.  Later on, when I will test smaller changes, it will come handy though.

Rebuilding mamchenkov.net – Step 1 – Ideas

It’s that time of the year again, when I am looking for more inspiration, when ideas are brewing, and when I feel this uncontrollable urge to change the appearance of this blog.  However, this time I want to do more than that.  I don’t just want to get another theme.  I want much more than that.  In fact, I want so much that this time I am sure I won’t be able to do it in one big step over a weekend.  I want a re-make.  Re-birth.  A complete makeover.

I decided I will take it slowly. Because otherwise I’ll lose passion soon and the initiative will die.  I won’t work on it somewhere else in hopes of finishing and releasing it one day.  Because then it will drag forever.  I’ll do it step-by-step, I’ll do it publicly, and I’ll document the path.  Just so that I get a better understanding of what is involved and why I decided to make certain things a certain way, and for someone else to hopefully learn of this experience.  And there is another, hidden, you wish, hope.  That someone will watch me suffer and will step up and help.   Not begging yet, though.

So, step 1.  Ideas.  Here is what I want with the new site.

  1. Focus.  I started this blog a long time ago.  It was about everything.  Then it spawned a few niche blogs, which lived and died, and folded back in.  While there will always be something outside the main topics to blog about it, I want to focus this blog around my primary topics of interest.  Which are: technology and movies.  Technology as in programming, system administration, Open Source Software, web work, social media, etc.  Movies as in movie reviews, trailers, trivia, etc.  I’ll also often blog about my personal life, things that happen in Cyprus, this, and that.  But that shouldn’t be the primary focus.
  2. Goals.  This blog was always my personal place on the web.  It didn’t really have any goals. Probably, that’s because I didn’t have any goals on the web myself.  And now I do.  And I want this blog to reflect it.  So, what are my goals on the web now?  Earn money.  I don’t want to completely lose the personal touch of this blog, but I think it can make way more money than it does now.  And there are two ways it can earn me money: by finding me better jobs (either full-time office jobs or once off consulting gigs or anything in between), and by ads.
  3. Presentation.  There are more than 4,500 posts on this blog.  That’s a tonne of links, images, videos, and code snippets.  But all of it buried in the archives with no easy way of finding it.  I want to change the presentation so that posts of value swim up to the top.  Movie reviews come to mind.  They have poster images, and ratings.  They are tagged with actors and directors.  They have recommendations and comments.  But there is no easy way of getting to them.  I want to change that.
  4. Social web integration.  I spend a lot of time on the Web.  I have a number of profiles, accounts, streams, and portfolios all over the place.  I want to have better integration of this blog with my other places on the web, such as Flickr, delicious, Twitter, Google Buzz, Google Reader, and whatever else that might be at the time.
  5. Mobile.  More and more people are using mobile devices to browse the web.  I do more of the mobile browsing myself.  It’s a pity that I find browsing my own blog annoying when on the mobile.  This must be improved.

Now that I look at these ideas, written, in front of me, I already have a better understanding of all the changes that have to be done.   There is no magic theme or plugin that will just do all that for me.  And there probably isn’t even a combination of those.  It will take a number of trials and errors, some hand coding, some content fixing, some A/B testing, and some of something else to get there.

What have I done so far? I got some new ideas yesterday by installing a number of themes and playing around with them.  All of them was online and in real-time, so some of you were probably confused.  You’ll see more of that in the near future.  I’ve also slightly rearranged the categories – moved technology categories under a parent of Technology, removed Blogging category (which fits under Web Work anyway), and a few other minor changes.  I’ve installed some more plugins and added a few more rules to the ever-growing .htaccess file.  I won’t go into details now, since that’s something I’ll have to re-work soon anyway.

What’s next? My mind is busy working on the visual concept.  It doesn’t share thoughts with me yet, but I can feel the buzz.  I’ll give it some time.  In the meantime, I’ll fix and tune a few things around.  There is a lot of mess to clean and it will take a long time to clean it.  There is no reason to wait.  Also, to monitor the progress, I’ll need to tune my Google Analytics setup.  Goals, conversions, funnels, landing pages, blah, blah, blah.  I’ll share the details with you, once I have an idea what I am doing.

Stay tuned for more news from the fronts.  Here I come…