Smarterware System Update and New Feature

February 24, 2009

Work in progress 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.)

So far it is great. By any chance are you working on an article about your setup for hosting Smarterware in a similar vein to the one you linked to about your PC and Mac setup.

Russell McLean [+6]
Feb 24 09 at 2:50 pm

By any chance are you working on an article about your setup for hosting Smarterware in a similar vein to the one you linked to about your PC and Mac setup?

Honestly I’m using a pretty standard setup–Dreamhost, WordPress, and a bevy of plug-ins–if folks are interested in the detailed list of what plug-ins, I can definitely put that together.

Gina Trapani [+195]
Feb 24 09 at 2:54 pm

So far I really like the site. I followed you from LH and I have learned so much and really enjoy your writing style. I am excited to see where this grows to as to further differentiates itself from your work on LH.

Feb 24 09 at 2:58 pm

Zero spam? Yay Akismet. :)

I was able to use the Facebook login with no issues at all, and I’d also like to hear about your WordPress setup.

A suggestion: It’d be great if there was a place in profiles to add a Twitter username.

Jeff Harbert [+4]
Feb 24 09 at 3:06 pm

Here’s some Facebook Connect feedback. I just tried to sign in using the button at the bottom of the comments on this post and it just redirected me to the homepage (this is while I was already signed into Facebook).

Signing in using the button on the page that the Login link in the side bar points to did work however (also while I’m already signed into Facebook).

After signing out of Facebook entirely, the button at the bottom of this post created the appropriate Facebook Connect pop-up, asking me for my username and password.

Hope that helps, and congratulations on the success you are already seeing on this great new site.

Ted Avery [+3]
Feb 24 09 at 3:34 pm

Great work so far Gina. I’ve been a dedicated Lifehacker reader for years and I love your new site. Keep the good posts coming. I would also like to see an article about your WordPress configuration.

ZLoether [+17]
Feb 24 09 at 3:39 pm

I was already signed in to Facebook and signing on here was pretty quick and error free.

Michael Kizer [+1]
Feb 24 09 at 3:56 pm

Great job Gina. You are off to a great start. I love the blog and look forward to future articles.

Feb 24 09 at 3:57 pm

hmmm… just before I hit the Post Comment button I noticed that this page said I was signed in as Gina Trapani (whoever that is ;-) , but I went ahead and hit the button anyway…it seemed to work OK.

Michael Kizer [+1]
Feb 24 09 at 3:58 pm

Gina: Luck to you on this but luck is only 1% of your success equation. This looks great!

Feb 24 09 at 4:56 pm

Great site and great work, Gina. I’m a big fan of LH and your work there. Heard about the new site on your recent TWiT appearance. I will definitely be following your work here.

Feb 24 09 at 5:55 pm

The facebook plugin works well and so does the profile editing feature.

The suggestion to know your wordpress setup is of interest to me as well.

I’m using Expression Engine, but have never compared it to wordpress.

havanese [+1]
Feb 24 09 at 7:38 pm

*sneaks in from Lifehacker to register here ^__^*

It is great to see you have a new website up Gina. ^__^

I like what you have already been doing with the site and am definitely looking forward to seeing your future posts. ^__^

Asian Angel
Feb 24 09 at 8:30 pm

It seems that the plugin you’re using for OpenID logins uses deprecated call-by-reference – so a user logging in through OpenID gets a page full of errors. Why don’t you add allow call-by-reference from your .htaccess file to suppress this error?

Ah, and email subscriptions would be nice. :)

Ankur Banerjee
Feb 24 09 at 11:47 pm

I really enjoy the more down to earth and personal touch of Smarterware. At Lifehacker, I browse the headlines and read what sounds interesting. Here, everything seems worth reading. Keep up the good work!

By the way, Facebook appears to work fine for me.

Curtis Hollibaugh [+4]
Feb 25 09 at 12:31 am

Okay, time to put my vanity in check.

Was the link to my profile generated by IP address so only I saw my profile link?

drmelho [+28]
Feb 25 09 at 8:29 am

We’re with you Gina. You can do no wrong in my book. Hey, would you consider going a how to for facebook connnect and comments?
I think there are a ton of people who could use your special expertise in making the Connect, Comment modjo work.

Laurent Courtines [+1]
Feb 25 09 at 9:24 am

As someone who is teaching himself how to use WordPress (and who has spent the afternoon trying to figure out why my old theme ate my sidebars when I updated yesterday…) I’ll echo those earlier comments asking for info on your setup!

Thanks for lifehacker and great to see you here!

kristowson [+2]
Feb 25 09 at 2:27 pm

Comments are closed. Thanks for reading!