Rack Space down yet again.

After reading about this on Tech crunch, this geek is glad he’s not hosted with Rack Space. My time with media Temple may be short but I have yet to see one hiccup from their service. several large and prominent websites were taken down due to Rack Space failure. Which leaves just another blight on the eye of his company.

Some of these sites affected by this recent outage were 37 signals, the laughing squid, Tech crunch and the custom tumblr site.

From the TechCrunch Blog

The failure apparently originated in the company’s Dallas-area server farm. But unlike previous times, this does not appear to be a power issue, the company says. Some other sites that are currently affected include: 37signals, Brizzly, Scoble’s blog, all of the sites hosted by Laughing Squid, Tumblr custom domains, and many others.

This is another black eye for the company, though they are generally responsive with other issues we’ve had throughout our time with them. But until they can prove to be more reliable, we’ve decided to get a backup version of TechCrunch up and running at another datacenter, for when someone inevitably trips over a power cord at the Dallas Rackspace center again.

Let’s hope rack space can overcome these glitches and keep their network running to back up their claims of fanatical support.

Preparing a blog for Google News

It’s come to my attention that a fair amount of traffic can be had if your blog is approved for Google News. With that in mind this blog post will attempt to chronicle the steps necessary in order to to have your blog approved for Google news consumption. one important thing to keep in mind here is that news will not just index or accept any content.

Google is rather picky about what they except for syndication, they look at a few factors to determine which news sources to accept. After all if they were not picky Google News would be full of spam and junk and no one would be interested in what was there. Instead you must create a trustworthy and useful news resource.

Of course, not just any site will be accepted into Google News, it is recommend that you should be producing real news content on a daily basis. this should be done before you even consider submitting your site to the Google News service. We don’t want to see SEO shams competing to get past the editorial filters.

Okay, Now that that’s out of the way let’s take a look at the technical requirements:

  • You can help the Google crawler gather articles correctly by ensuring that each that displays articles full text has a unique URL that ever changes. Google will not include sites in Google News at this point multiple copies of the same articles at the same URL.
  • The URL for each article also should contain a unique number consisting of at least three digits.
  • Remember that Google cannot include sites for which the URL of your main page includes the date. URLs with dates in them often change. This prevents Google from crawling the site for new content, as Google is unable to detect the most current URL to be crawled.
  • Google’s automated bot works best when it is crawling with regular HTML links. Google is still unable to crawl image links or links embedded within JavaScript.

In addition to the technical requirements you must still make a case as to why your blog should be accepted. You could do this by providing relevant information about the site including the historical background, describing any awards site has received. In addition you wish to provide stats about the site.  You can also discuss who links to your site (especially popular sites). In addition make sure you have news related or mostly news related content.

Using Dragon naturally speaking.

This blog is focused around technology. One of the technologies that I’ve begun exploring lately is using voice recognition software for common tasks like typing documents and blogging. Since I’m such a horrible typist this should help me get a lot more work done in a shorter amount of time.

One of the obstacles to using voice recognition software successfully is being able to speak in a clear almost newscaster tone of voice for extended periods of time. This entire post will be created using Dragon naturally speaking version 10.1.

The whole reason behind me using a voice dictation software packages due to the amount of content writing we’ve been asked to do recently through our connections with digital point forums. When it comes to typing I am horrible if I take my time to proceed slowly, I can probably type 25 words per minute.

Dictation promises speeds of 120 words per minute. While I think that is a rather lofty goal speeds in excess of 60 minutes per word, this will make me extremely happy. If the software is able to handle voice recognition accurately.

At this point in this document I have corrected approximately 6 mistakes, I have stopped to gather my thoughts on four or five different occasions. Even with the corrections and the amount of time spent thinking about what to need to say this is certainly much faster than using the keyboard to type my thoughts into a blog or document.

I encountered some initial obstacles while trying to install Dragon naturally speaking, most of these obstacles were related to the 64-bit operating system I run under Windows 7. With a complicated product such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit operating systems and this geek’s point of view would be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

What used to be a chore has now turned into something I look forward to doing.I can now say that I’ve officially blogged without typing a single word. Everything in this post was dictated using Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 10.1. If you have the chance, I recommend that you give Dragon a shot it just may be what you are looking for, especially if you are like me, one who does not type well. You will be able to appreciate the relative simplicity with which you will be able to create blog posts, documents, tweets, IMs or to browse the web using just simple voice commands.

With Dragon open and running as a floating window there are many options available to you in which ever application you happen to be using. For example speaking command mode option allows you to enter a special mode where you may speak phrases such as search Google for a particular keyword. This will cause Dragon to launch your default browser, execute a Google search for your spoken keyword.

I tried using the search google for jobshouts. It worked flawlessly. I would love to hear from other bloggers that are using Dragon to put their thoughts into words. Leave me a comment if you fit this bill and let’s discuss this in greater detail.