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My Backpack

Backpack Logotype-SmallI’ve decided to test Backpack with their free service. My hope is that it will help me to be a little more organized in my blogging.

I’ve made my front home page public to show you a little of what it can do – I’ve not put anything special on the page so far, but you get the idea.

Of course there are other secret blogging business things lurking behind the scenes in the private areas (insert evil laugh here). Actually the only thing behind the scenes at the moment are a growing list of blog posts that I want to write on ProBlogger in the next few days which I emailed to the list as I thought of them. But I can already think of a number of uses for my BackPack which could assist me in my blogging.

The free version has ads on the public pages and doesn’t allow image or file uploads. It also only allows limited numbers of active reminders and pages – but it definitely gives a feel for the program. I’m really impressed by its simplicity, speed, smooth transitions and many potential applications.

A number of features I’d love to see incorporated would include:

  • SMS alerts to my mobile carrier in Australia (Telstra)
  • ability to email reminders
  • ability to respond to ‘reminder’ emails from within the email. ie if at the bottom of each email it had a link to ‘snooze’, ‘delete’, ‘edit’ etc. It does have one link to a page where all this can be done – but a one click option to delete would be cool (I’m lazy).
  • public editing of pages (I wouldn’t want this on any page – but I’d love to be able to offer a couple of pages to readers of this blog to be able to edit. Even if there was a ‘register’ option where the public could apply to be a contributer.
  • ability to change the look and feel of public pages

Of course these might be features I’ve just not yet found.

I’m particularly interested in how others are planning on using BackPack – especially in your blogging. Do you have any initial reactions on it that you’d like share?

Backpack from 37 Signals

37 Signals is launching their latest project – Backpack on Tuesday. Whilst the main site doesn’t seem to have gone live yet a number of previews of this new program have been written which you should check out. I been given a bit of an inside look at it by three readers of ProBlogger in the past 24 hours and I must say that I’m really impressed by it and am looking forward to trying it out for myself.

In short Backpack is a web based way of organizing your information that lets you organize it as you like. It lets you keep some private and allows you to share other bits of it. You can access it via email or via the web. It has blog-like characteristics but also reminds me of a wiki – dynamic stuff, yet simple.

I won’t explain it as well the people behind it so check out this Backpack Preview for the inside word. As I say – I don’t yet have my own Backpack but from what I’ve snuck a look at through others free tries it looks pretty nice.

Also check out business logs mini preview of BackPack.

Update: Backpack is now live.

Search Engine Marketing Tools

Three tools that you might like to use to analyze how well your blog is going are over at Marketleap. They are:

  • Search Engine Placement Check - gives you a ranking for a particular keyword in 7 search engines.
  • Search Engine Index Check - gives an indication of how well saturated your blog is in different search engines (or how many pages each SE has indexed for your blog).
  • Link Popularity Check - compares how many inbound links your blog has to other sites and blogs. You can enter a number of others to compare yours to and can see how it compares to other popular sites. This one is my favorite (this blog is more popular than coke.com!)

A Blogging Perspective OS X Tiger

Tigershipping20050429Last night I was in town and treated myself to the new OSX – Tiger. This afternoon I’ve installed it and have been playing around with it – asking myself how it will improve my blogging.

Here are a few initial reflections:

Dashboard – one of the main things that Apple have been selling this upgrade with is the new Dashboard feature which allows users to download desktop widgets. At the click of a button these widgets appear on your screen giving you up to date information on a variety of topics – ranging from stock prices, weather, world time, dictionary, calculator, wikipedia look up, mini rss reader. I’m going to enjoy this – I’ve already got an array of world time clocks which are going to be very handy as I think about posting times and talking with my many international blogging friends. Another useful widget that I’m going to enjoy is the ‘Translator’ that converts words and phrases between English and 10 languages (including Dutch and Germany – which I always am trying to translate as this blog is read by and linked to by many bloggers of writing in these languages). If there are any widget developers out there – I challenge/beg/suggest to you to please develop a widget for Adsense statistics (like the firefox plug in). Please?!?!

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Using Bloglines – a Tutorial

I was speaking with someone yesterday via MSN and they asked me about how I could possibly follow so many trains of thought to keep 20 blogs on such a variety of topics updated. My answer was quite simple – Bloglines and the RSS feeds that I track there are one of the keys to my success.

betterdays has a helpful tutorial on Using Bloglines (or How to keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) which should give beginner users of Bloglines some helpful tips on how to use it in keeping up with many sources of information at once. It goes right from the sign up stage through to subscribing to feeds through to integrating it with other services like Flickr and Feedster.

It’s not rocket science – but for those who don’t know where to start with Bloglines this is a great starting place and will teach you the basic skills you’ll need to get the most out of the tool.

Google is Updating Page Rank – Future Page Rank Tool

The word on the street from those who watch such things is that Google are currently doing a Page Rank update. These things tend to take a day or two to sort themselves out but there are a few tools that can help you work out what your page rank might end up at. Here is one such tool from SEO Chat. [Read more...]

Feedburner Changes Ahead

In the comments of my previous post on the FeedBurner service Duncan, a representative of Feedburner, left the following comment which has a few interesting revelations in it for Feedburner users about upcoming features.

Hi Darren, You can always tell if your FeedBurner feed is in synch and up to date just by clicking on the xml button on your site. We see your feed as having been in synch and up to date with no interruptions in our logs, and I thus suspect it was a reader that may have fallen out of synch on polling. Nonetheless, YOU should not have to guess at this stuff! One of the items on our to do list is to notify you via your personal FeedBurner feed when we see polling discrepancies or when your source feed is invalid (thus preventing us from making some transformations), etc. That way, we can be much more proactive about helping you stay up to speed on how your feed is “performing”. Always feel free to shoot us a feedback note if you have any questions. Oh, and coming in two weeks or less will be stats on how any commerce in your feed is performing. this stats table will be embedded in your feed’s daily stats page.

FeedBurner Review – Work Boxers

Scrivs has just posted a review of the RSS Feed Management tool Feedburner.

I’ve used it on two of my blogs for a few months now and have not really had any big problems with it. I love the stats feature which shows how many of your are accessing this site via RSS and am interested in how they seek to give those with feeds an income stream using Amazon (and for some Overture).

In terms of the Amazon ads that appear in my RSS feed – a number of you have asked how it performs – I can honestly say I have no idea. The weakness of this system is that there is no way of determining where Amazon sales come from or how many people even click on these ads. I’ve not noticed any real increase in Amazon sales since making the move.

Some people on Scriv’s post comment that they have timing out issues with Feedburner – I’m interested to hear if that is an issue with any of my readers. Feel free to add your experience of Feedburner below – either as a publisher or a feed reader.

Movable Type 3.16 Released

Six Apart has just released an upgrade to Movable Type – Movable Type 3.16.

The upgrade includes:

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