March 2008 Archives

Share This!

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Not a fan of Digg? Wish you could give visitors more options to share your thoughts without registering with each community run news service? Looking for a simple tool that let's you know what your site visitors are recommending to their friends? Well then I've got the tool for you, ShareThis!

ShareThis is a web widget from Nextumi, Inc. that allows one's content to be instantly 'shareable' with users of various web services with the minimal amount of work by the site owner. As a bonus the ShareThis widget can provide tracking and reporting information such that one can see what site content is being shared.

For zoomshare users this means being able to let users view, vote and/or share your work with other potential visitors without the need to be a user of each individual web service. So if someone thinks your recent blog posting is Digg worthy, they can submit your posting to Digg, right from within your posting, without you having to provide all the necessary Digg links.

Getting Started
The first step to using ShareThis is to register as a publisher. Once registered the next step is to customize your widget, choosing how visitors can share your content and with whom.

Share This Config
Configuring ShareThis

For example, you can allow visitors to share your content only by email. Or you can limit them to just Facebook and MySpace. One can also choose the basic color scheme for the widget in order to better match one's site template.

Once configured one copies the resulting widget code and pastes it into a free form web page or blog post as desired.

<script type="text/javascript" src= &style=rotate&publisher=23441421-9d3a-4d4c-8746-a097a0f4b702 &headerbg=%235c5c5c&inactivebg=%237a7a7a&inactivefg=%23FFFFFF &linkfg=%230000FF></script>

ShareThis code for pdw @ zoomshare

Which results in the following button which visitors can click on to reveal the ShareThis Widget:

Nice right? Well it gets even better. As an assist the good folks at Nextumi have also added some basic reporting features. As such you get not only get an idea of who's visiting your site, but what they are sharing with their friends and what service their friends are using.

ShareThis Config
Reviewing Share This Traffic

Check it out and be sure to share this with your friends, I think you'll all enjoy this little tool as much as I do.

To the Books He Leaves Behind, Sir Arthur C. Clarke 1917-2008

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Part III: The Analogy

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This is the continuation of a story begun in "The Move" and "On Two Hours Sleep" in which our heroes battle nefarious network gremlins in order to save zoomshare from imploding under its own weight.

The analogy has become a cliché in a certain genres of television. It is usually found in the second or third act of a Science Fiction or Police Procedural episode. In the scene the wickedly smart boy genius engineer or weird but likable lab technician explains to our hero some important, albeit technically laced, piece of information on which the plot moves on.

Yet, for some unexplained reason the knowledge and experience of 20+ years of service has momentarily escaped the ship's caption or police detective. Seeing that their technobabble explanation has dazed and confused our hero, the boy genius launches into an analogy, to explain, in a non-technically way, what they just said, which of course in turn clues in the story's audience. The dialog usually goes something like this:

Boy Genius: "Sir, if we change the matter - antimatter mix ratio in our flux capacitor we might be able to generate enough energy to create a wormhole in the space/time continuum which will get us home in 10 minutes instead of 10,000 years."

Ship's Caption: Puzzled Look

Boy Genius: "Sir, if you think of this apple as space/time" picks up an apple from the Caption's desk and continues "and we are here on the surface" points to near side of apple "and home is here" points to far side of apple "normally we would have to travel the curvature of space/time, the surface of this apple, a long distance to travel at less that light speed, to get home. But, if we can safely overload our engines we might be able to create a hole in space/time, like a worm creating a hole in this apple, and burrow our way, cutting the distance we have to travel by a factor of several billion."

Ship's Caption: Contemplates the situation and his options, then rises from his desk to take action "Make it so!"

Our Analogy
The Internet is like a highway, a large bi-directional superhighway. Hmm, that imagery hasn't been used in a few years. Ok, um, the Internet is like a series of tubes. Wait no that isn't right, it's like a pipe. Yeah, an internet connection is like a pipe, a broadband connection is like a big fat pipe, like the water main into one's home feeding water into smaller pipes that deliver it unto the proper appliance within one's home.

But in the case of zoomshare one of connecting pipe's had a pin-size leak. When the "water pressure", network traffic, was low some droplets of water, network packets, escaped via the leak. Annoying, but manageable. However, when the pressure was turned up the leak started to turn into a flood, more than half of the network packets never made it to their destination.

Alas, analogies eventually breakdown since the logical inferences between the two items is never 100% exact. For example our water main to broadband connection analogy; unlike a water main a network connection is bi-directional. More importantly, dropped network packets, in small or large quantities don't leave virtual puddles like water can. If you have a pipe dripping water you might not notice or care. But if you have a pipe leaking a large quantity of water, you will notice; in lack of water pressure as well as a large amount of water and water damage that will need taking care of.

So, if we cannot hope to look for a puddle of network packets, then the question becomes can we measure our "water pressure" at different points along the way to our servers to determine where the drop in pressure, the leak might be?

Don't Miss the Exciting Conclusion in: "All Really is Well"

About the Author

Paul is a technologist and all around nice guy for technology oriented organizations and parties. Besides maintaining this blog and website you can follow Paul's particular pontifications on the Life Universe and Everything on Twitter.


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