Oct 23 2012
It’s funny how idle chatter and espresso can turn into real ideas. We thought it would be a good idea to take a great brand like Stackhouse, make a rubber stamp of their logo, and just start stamping stuff. Is that a wall over there? Stamp it. Are you using that mouse pad? Stamp it. You have something on your forehead … STAMPED.
Let’s see where this takes us and what becomes of it. Have fun and be creative. Special thanks to our new friends at Acme Rubber Stamp in Deep Ellum for the excellent service and craftsmanship on the stamp.
Oct 6 2012
It’s the little things. A couple of months ago I was in Sydney for the first time. Funny how certain things leave an impression on me. Of course I have my photos of the Opera House and the busy streets between there an my hotel. But two months later my memories are more of a collection of senses. Aromas, temperatures, and attitudes.
Andy introduced me to this independent magazine called Dumbo Feather. He had an extra copy that he gave me. The morning of my flight home I awoke early to visit a cafe for my last flat white. With some time to kill I reached into my bag to find something to read.
Oct 2 2012
Last Friday, Chris posed a question to the team regarding the traffic numbers that various analytics tools provide: why do we trust the numbers so much, regardless of their source? This got me thinking… why do we put so much faith into the numbers we’re looking at? Are we applying the correct context to these metrics?
I did some further research into two different tools we leverage at RD2, Inc. (AWstats and Google Analytics) to provide a reason as to why the numbers don’t line up.
AWstats (Awwww, stats!)
AWstats is a product of the late 90s as a solution to address the concerns of “how many people are visiting my website?”; I can only assume web hosting during that time wasn’t nearly as cheap as it is today and ROI was an even bigger focus than it is now. Getting people to the website then was a big deal; today, getting traffic could be viewed as a relatively easier task (given the social media technologies at our disposal.) AWstats has been updated several times over the years, but its base function has remained the same: present the data in access log files in a way that makes sense to the layman (read: graphs and tables.) This is where the question, “So it’s like Google Analytics?” comes up and my response is along the lines of, “Ehh… in a way, but not really.” AWstats provides a more easily read representation of the server access logs… so what does that mean when talking “traffic” and “visits” and “page views”? Well to be quite honest, it means nothing without an understanding of how the tool works and appropriate context is applied to what is being viewed (we’ll get to this in a bit.) more…
Aug 30 2012
We have to think like we are a part of each others’ companies in order to innovate. With so many moving parts and user scenarios, it takes a tightly integrated set of teams and tremendous focus. Rusty Smith and the team at Tyler Technologies have become great partners through the years. We’re happy to see this new project rolling out. Look for more from Tyler Technologies on the CAD application in the near future!
Thanks Rusty for these great words. It’s been amazing to work with you and the team at Tyler.
Aug 30 2012
We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with Tyler Technologies for a few years now. What does Tyler Technologies do? Here’s what it says on their website:
Tyler Technologies is the largest company in the United States exclusively focused on providing integrated software and technology services to the public sector. We deliver an expansive portfolio of software solutions that span the breadth and depth of the mission-critical services for the public sector.
- Appraisal & Tax
- Courts & Justice
- ERP / Financial
- Land & Vital Records
So, what does all this mean? Tyler has some great relationships with local governments and they serve them by helping to make their jobs more effective by bringing them innovative solutions. In fact, Tyler has been doing some amazing things and has been fearless with respect to bringing emerging tech to schools, courtrooms, police departments, and many more public scenarios. This one in particular, Mobile CAD, is pretty incredible. more…
Aug 24 2012
When you’re Southwest Airlines and you’re running one of the most recognized and awarded corporate blogs, you take your website performance and updates seriously. As the main portal for news and culture, Southwest wanted to make sure their users were getting the best experience from their website. For RD2, this meant not only taking a microscopic look at the website and it’s servers, but also tweaking the design and layout functionality to improve the websites usability.
On the front-facing side of the website, RD2 added new endless scroll functionality to the website so that users don’t have to click to get to more content, updated and re-engineered the log in process to make it smoother and easier to connect your Blog Southwest account to other accounts like , and upgraded the social streams to give users new ways to connect and engage.
Behind the curtain, RD2 worked heavily to test and optimize the website to deliver content to the user faster than ever before. While a site like this runs on a custom-built server, RD2 took things several steps farther, utilizing multiple rounds of content compression, virtual and real-time caches, and a host of server level customization tweaks that now allow the website to support a new level of concurrent users. When load testing the SWA Employee Blog with similar server configurations, it was able to support enough virtual traffic to warrant a direct call from the hosting company to complain about an unprecedented slowdown across their entire network.
Below is a full list of the enhancements.
Note: As part of the new RD2 initiative to create our new framework, we are integrating many of the tips, tweaks, and magic spells that were learned into our standard operating procedure.
- Implemented infinite scrolling on blog roll & comments
- Turn off anonymous commenting
- Updated and styled Facebook Connect
- LUV Mail & SWA Star of the Month (read the LUV Mail post)
- Commenting: Set order Newest to Oldest
- Implemented “Featured Comments” and “LUV it” on Comments
- Add Foodspotting, Instagram, and Pinterest to the “More Ways To Go Nuts” global feature
- Removed Gowallas links and/or references from the “More Ways To Go Nuts” global feature and from within the user profile feature “Connect with Me”
- Reduce Social Stream Spamming
- Add Google+ to sharing
Aug 23 2012
One of my first projects here at RD2 was to migrate a site from ExpressionEngine over to WordPress. Part of that process involved making a hard decision:
“Do we migrate the content manually, create a custom database migration script, or is there a better way?”
It turned out that there was a much better way to accomplish what we were after. It was a little custom, but more importantly – it was reusable. The solution I came up with was to create a template within ExpressionEngine, that would output a WordPress XML / WXR import file. That sounds twisted, right?
Because we believe in open source and that it would truly be a disservice to the community of users and developers to keep this sort of thing to ourselves, we’ve decided to release this code snippet for everyone to use. Now thinking about migrating from ExpressionEngine to WordPress might not be such a challenge. You can tweak this to serve your own specific needs; I’ve set it up in a way that should cover enough ground for many use-cases. more…
Aug 22 2012
WordCamps have been going on for years across the globe, but where did they start? San Francisco 2006! Every year since then, San Francisco has hosted WordPress users and developers from across the world. I’ve never been to WordCamp San Francisco, or WCSF for short, but this year I decided I just couldn’t let it pass me up again. The decision to attend WCSF 2012 has turned out to have an profound effect on me..
Lesson Learned — You can only get two of these three: Features, Stability, On-time
Matt Mullenweg said this in his State of the Word 2012 keynote, and it really hit home for me. This is something that I’ve gotten wrong with my own project, the Pods Framework, of which I am the lead developer. I have spent two years developing the next major release, Pods 2.0, with features and stability as my primary focus. The problem with that? Time. It takes more time to get every single feature in, and instead of prioritizing and pushing less important features further into future releases, I focused on getting all of the features that I had wanted — all at once. more…