Show 74: Marcus 2.0

This week: Is scrolling a bad thing, using frameworks to speed development, encouraging goodwill among your visitors and Marcus 2.0.

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First of all let me apologize for the somewhat sparse show notes this week. Things are particularly manic at the moment and so I don’t have the time. If somebody fancies doing a better job then email me with a better version and I’ll upload them here.

News and events

Google My Maps

Google deliver a body blow to the various Google Map mashups that help you plot your own points by releasing My Maps onto the world. Now if you want to build your own Google map you can do so simply by clicking on the My Maps link on the Google Maps homepage. You can then save the maps, email them or link to them from your site. However if you want to directly embed a map into your site then you will still need a third party service. Personally I recommend Map Builder.

What it takes to be a great web designer

I was relieved to discover this week that I don’t need to talented be a great web designer. An article on boxesandarrows points out that skills such as working quickly and attention to detail are just as important.

Setting up a web design business

Rich Quick (author of the Web Design Book), has posted an excellent article on how to go about setting up a web design business. Although not very detailed and specific to the UK it does provide an excellent starting point for anybody considering going freelance.

Machine Tagging

Machine tagging seems to be what all the cool kids are doing these days. Jeremy Keith talks about some of the ways he and Rich Rutter are using machine tags to enhance their websites. He is also kind enough to explain what the hell machine tags are!

Client corner: Generating goodwill

I have just got my new copy of Steve Krug’s book “Don’t make me think”. This updated version has loads of extra content including a chapter dedicated to creating brand goodwill using your website. In this week’s client corner we look at what Steve covers in this chapter and exactly how you can improve or damage peoples perception of your brand via your website.

Ask an expert: Server side frameworks

On this week’s ask an expert section, I ask Jonathan Snook about how frameworks can speed up the development process of server side applications. He talks about what frameworks are, their benefits and drawbacks and which framework is best.

Agony Uncle: Is scrolling bad?

I spotted an interesting post by Ronald on the boagworld forum asking whether scrolling is bad or not. In this week’s segment I attempt to expose some of the myths surrounding scrolling, why historically it has been perceived as an issue and what rules of thumb to use when working with scrolling.

Review: Adding RSS to your website

Its not uncommon to want to add an RSS feed onto your website. You might want to include your twitter posts on your blog or news stories on your corporate website. Whatever the reason it can be a pain to set up. One option to avoid this hassle is to use a service like Feed Digest. Not only does Feed Digest allow you to post RSS content to your site, it also allows you to work with multiple feeds, edit the format of the output and filter the content from the various feeds.

Again let me apologize for the lack of detail in the show notes this week. However, for those of you who cannot listen to the show you might want to view the script that I work from (PDF: 82kb).

  • hey! I’m reading Don’t Make Me Think at the moment, interesting read which has definitely got me thinking :-)
    Another good podcast but I notice no mention of your Apple TV. Is it right? did I hear correctly on .net podcast. Seems like you have the Apple bug Paul. Personally I wasn’t impressed with the reviews especially considering it offers so little for UK users but I’m hoping to hear your thoughts.

  • The reason I haven’t talked about the Apple TV is because I will look like an Idiot :( I got composite and component muddled up and so the damn thing doesn’t work with my old Sony TV! It’s getting sent back.

  • hi Paul ;)
    another great podcast today ;) missing Marcus – but loving the full concentration on content ;)
    Just thought I’d give people who are very new to FeedDigest-type services a link to a very basic and quick beginners tutorial I wrote a few weeks ago for my webdesign students – might come in handy :)
    (note: not 100% sure here – but from what we could tell when going through the setup – FeedDigest no longer offer the 5 feeds for free, instead there is a trial period)

  • Hi Paul,
    Regarding and your original FeedDigest life stream – I made a screencast last week showing how to do-it-yourself using Yahoo pipes and a touch of JavaScript (which also includes using favicons):
    The output is similar, but I think you’ve got more control over the output.

  • prisca: That is correct. We have done this to curb demand a little while we develop new things (without having to worry so much about increasing capacity every month). It seems like a good compromise though as we’re planning to open source some of our technology so that lower end users can get the majority of the features totally free, whereas we then just keep the high end clients who need direct support and the more powerful features. This should be a win win for everybody but is still a few months away.

  • Peter ;)
    thanks for the confirmation :) I think the trial is a great option – giving everyone a chance to try and your prices are so affordable anyway for such a great service ;)
    Going more open source does sound very exciting though as well ;) curious to see those developments taking place in the future.

  • @Remy, I actually used to use Feed Digest for this job and that gave me ultimate customization on output, but in the end istalkr was just more fun.

  • Hey! Loving the podcast. Seems to be the only informative one around at the moment, and isn’t completely mind numbing.
    Didnt you mention something in your podcst about a website that you could use, to allow you to understand how users use your site, by “burning” where they look; or did I dream that…
    Wow, hope that makes sense!
    Keep up the good work

  • @Swathes, Paul mentioned CrazyEgg which shows a heat map of where your users are focussing when on your site.. (I think!)