Smarterware.org has been live for two weeks now; it’s still positively fetal! Still, it’s been so much fun starting something brand new with free software and a cheap hosting plan and doing the whole thing myself from soup to nuts.
If you’re here, you should know about a few ways to get the most out of this site and let me know what you’d like to see as it grows up.
New Feature! User profiles. To leave a comment here, you’ve got to sign in after registering for an account (or you can use your Facebook credentials or OpenID). Going through that annoying step is worth it, though–once you do, you’ll have a profile page here with your web site, bio, and comment history listed. Check out what a profile looks like: here’s my profile, and here’s user drmelho. To enter your web site URL and bio, when you’re logged in, click the “Edit profile” link on the sidebar.
Facebook note: I’m still fighting with Facebook’s API’s to get user profile pictures working, and the sign-in process is sometimes a bit rocky. If you’re a Facebook user, I’d so appreciate any feedback about how it works (or doesn’t work) for you. I’m continuing to tweak and improve this.
Get new posts coming to you. I surely don’t expect you to stop here every day to check for a new post, so you can do a few things to get new updates coming to you. First, if you use a feed reader, subscribe to Smarterware’s feed. If you use Twitter, follow smarterware there to get new posts there. If there are other avenues you’d like to get new posts, let me know below.
Pace and expectations. So far I’ve been posting about once a weekday, which feels like molasses in winter after my former machine-gun pace over at Lifehacker. While I can’t make any promises, this may speed up or slow down further, depending how much I can’t stand to be silent in the course of a week. I’ve used this space to link to paid writing gigs I’m doing elsewhere, like over at Lifehacker. My hope is to mix things up as time goes on; in many ways Smarterware is where all the story pitches other editors deem too nerdy or not strong enough will get to see the light of day. If you want more or less of one thing or another, or if you’ve got specific story requests, please post ’em up in the comments here.
Syndication. If you’re a Lifehacker reader, you may notice some Smarterware content showing up there from time to time or vice versa. My weekly column on Lifehacker, which publishes on Wednesdays, is also called Smarterware. Once in awhile, Adam and crew may pull a post from here over to there when it fits (like yesterday’s post on Plex). Mostly this is all a giant experiment in cross-pollination; hopefully you’ll like it more than dislike it.
Metrics. One of my personal goals with Smarterware is to NOT obsess over pageviews, subscription numbers, and Technorati rank. So far that approach has served me well; it’s incredibly freeing and I highly recommend it. However, once in awhile I’ll do a community pulse check because this whole web thing is about the back-and-forth. For posterity’s sake, here are a few numbers after the first two weeks. Right now Smarterware’s got just under 5,000 feed subscribers (4,955 to be exact), 362 Twitter followers, 200 registered users with 149 published comments, and 0 spam comments.
On our first day, despite saying you wouldn’t find Digg badges here, the “why I switched to Android” post hit the Digg front page and peaked traffic at about 25k views (despite getting buried later). Since then daily traffic is about 4k pageviews a day–a number so high that it would’ve made me throw a block party before Lifehacker, and a number so low it would’ve sent me in a deep depression at Lifehacker. Right now, for Smarterware, it’s just right.
Thanks for reading and following along. Let me know how things are going here for you in the comments. (Be honest! But don’t hurt my feelings. Thanks.)