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  • No ISSN for blogs ( in Germany )

    I started this project about two months ago, and being terribly curious, I decided to apply for an ISSN, the International Standard Serial Number. It is a number, similar to the ISBN for Books, that uniquely identificates periodically issued electronic or printed works.

    Being the one I am, I dropped the responsible organisation in Germany a line applying for one, and got one back. The essence is that Blogs in the EU don't get an ISSN. For your interest :-)

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  • The need for web-development certification

    Good day. I need to distract myself from trying to reanimate a Windows-PC. Quite frustrating and pretty unsuccessful so far, but let's see. Why a certification of the abilities of a web-developer? Well, there are plenty of good reasons. Let's get into them.

    First of all, everyone doing something seriously should be able to get a certificate on his or her field of work. If you're a professional, why bother taking a test and tell the world you made it? I'm getting your point here: a test only for the sake of a test isn't worth it, right.

    Web standards are a very serious matter. Of course, the average internet user doesn't bother if a page doesn't look cool or something, even flash-based pages impress. But when it comes to accessability, typography, usability, web standards try to give developers a good set of tools one can use to improve the overall experience of both the developer and the consumer. There is no direct impact of whether you're still using tables or already using divs to layout your content, but in the long run it will pay out, even if it's only that you made it to decrease your traffic costs.

    Another very important reason is that web-development and web-design is still terribly underpaid. Many of my friends are doing such things for .. almost nothing, while some well-established companies are building terrible html4 pages and getting a huge load of money for it. And that's where a certification would kick in. And by proving customers that you are indeed worth it, everyone with the real ability to build web-based stuff would certainly have the realistic chance to increase his or her income.

    In my opinion, this certification should be something free, a community should build it, I don't know how but I'd be glad to have such a thing.

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  • Still working on usabilitizing the Web: ideas, cont'd

    Hello, today I continue my list of ideas which would make the Web and Computers in General way more easier and safer to use. Although it won't change anything, I just want to make you think about it and let me know your opinion.

    I'm still a bit frustrated that there is nothing like a general file metadata format. While every OS nowadays has its own metadata-supplying filesystem, there doesn't seem to be a way to exchange that information or reuse it. Neither to publish it online, in a useful manner. I was thinking about a format that enables one to store almost arbitrary information in for a file. Album art, MD5-hashes, Author information, keywords. Anything that helps to categorize a file. Thus, a download would start by clicking on the metadata file, a nice screen would popup showing the file type, the supplied information, giving you the ability to get a quick overview about a file.

    This could help to prevent the download of malicious software etc.. And it would help to store files correctly without user interaction. As a teacher of mine noticed correctly, it's impossible to store and organize files in a useful way using the old-school directory-filename scheme, plus the good old 3-char extension, e.g. avi or txt. Something more sophisticated is needed, and would add a bit more usability to this web.

    This is once again just a rough idea, and I would love to hear your comments.

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  • Test drive Piwik Analytics Software

    Finally, I found the time to install Piwik, an open-source Google Analytics lookalike. I've chosen to maintain a solution besides analyzing server stats to track traffic. Why? By using a snippet that executes some code, it is ensured that most spiders are simply not counted, careless of how well they are disguised.

    Back to Piwik: the two main advantages over Googles solution are that you keep the data local and can do whatever you want with it, and for the curious, statistics are realtime.

    The installation went down without any problems, as expected. Unfortunately, another PHP software requiring MySQL, though Piwik uses DataObjects, so porting it to work with any other DBMS shouldn't be a big deal.

    The snippet to include is a bit larger than Google's one, Piwiks one is this:

    
    
    
    

    While Googles snippet looks something like this:

    
    

    Note that Google updated their snippet recently to include now a try-catch blog. Read the Analytics page for more info here. If you want to try out Piwik, just drop me a line and I'll give you an account here if you want.

    I'm quite curious on how the stats look like, I feel better to host them here than anywhere else, and I'll also post some comparison of the actual stat results. Stay tuned!

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  • A real open-source, usable, photoshop replacement?

    Good morning, folks! Now I'm back in germany, still busy getting used to all this luxury again, including my Ubuntu-desktop. I also have Windows installed, but for some reason i prefer Ubuntu. Anyway, I'm really missing a real, free and usable Photoshop replacement here. For me, GIMP is just a nice little tool enabling one of small edits, but not as sophisticated and well-designed as Photoshop. This is sad because it's still a big point for many web-doing people not to switch to an open system. And there are plenty of examples where open software can beat the original, look at Open Office.

    I'm convinced that there are enough people to start up a project dedicated to building a graphics suite, open, based on already existing tools. Have you heard of Scribus, a great publishing tool for Linux, free? Amazin software, and I dare to speculate that GIMPs codebase isn't bad, it's just some frontend stuff that is. By creating a cool team and spending some time on unifying the user interfaces among these, a great step towards permanent switching would be made.

    Still, what are you're experiences with GIMP or do you know any other, comparable tools?

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