SitePoint Podcast #167: Fireside Chat

Episode 167 of The SitePoint Podcast is now available! This week the panel is made up of only 2 of our 4 our regular hosts, Patrick O’Keefe (@ifroggy) and Stephan Segraves (@ssegraves).

Listen in Your Browser

Play this episode directly in your browser — just click the orange “play” button below:

Download this Episode

You can download this episode as a standalone MP3 file. Here’s the link:

Subscribe to the Podcast

The SitePoint Podcast is on iTunes! Add the SitePoint Podcast to your iTunes player. Or, if you don’t use iTunes, you can subscribe to the feed directly.

Episode Summary

The panel discuss topics such as the statistic that around 50% of popular websites link to Facebook, an online retailer introduces an Internet Explorer 7 tax and more.

Here are the main topics covered in this episode:

Browse the full list of links referenced in the show at http://delicious.com/sitepointpodcast/167.

Host Spotlights

Interview Transcript

Patrick: Hello, and welcome to the SitePoint Podcast. For another group show, or is it a group show? Joining me today is only one person, Stephan Segraves. Hey Stephan. How’s it going?

Stephan: It’s going alright Patrick. How are you?

Patrick: It’s going good, going good. I had some fun time with my family this past week.

Stephan: Good.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean, I was thinking, I think this is what they call the Core Two show. Only baseball fans and maybe Yankee fans would be familiar with the term Core Four, which was kind of a nickname given to Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, who were players that were on the Yankees at the same time. Each won championships, and stayed with the team for a long time. Stephan and I are the remaining two members form the initial podcast hosting lineup and also the only remaining members from the Dot Net Magazine award-winning podcast theater team. So, this is the Core Two show.

Stephan: I wouldn’t put us on the same level as the Yankees though.

Patrick: Sure, well, you know, there were some luminaries nominated that year such as Jeffery Zeldman, so that was a big win.

Stephan: Yeah, it was good.

Patrick: You know, and if we only have two of us then it’s just a more intimate chat. It’s like you and I and the listener at the fireplace, right?

Stephan: Fireside chat.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s just a fireside chat, us three just talking about a few news items. So that’s what we’re going to do today. So the first story that we’re going to tackle today is from Pingdom, it’s pingdom.com, and they have done a study of the top 1000 websites in the world, to measure the presence on those sites of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn, specifically how many of those sites use the official widgets provided by those services and how many just link and combine those numbers. They found that 24.3% of the top 10,000 websites in the world have some form of official Facebook integration on their homepage. That means some sort of widget script that Facebook provides on their website for webmaster, website owners, etc. to use, and links to the site, including those widgets, 49.3% have a link from Facebook on their homepage, whether it be a link or a widget. Meanwhile, Twitter comes in at 41.7%, Google+ at 21.5%
and LinkedIn at 3.9%. You know, when I first saw these numbers my initial thought was “Wow, Google+ has made a lot of headway”.

Stephan: Yeah.

Patrick: You know, I think people might bash them maybe a little bit, and I’ve seen people refer to it as a ghost town, but I know I personally get a lot of good out of Google+ and this shows that, you know, these large websites are really embracing Google+.

Stephan: Yeah, I mean, even Pingdom. You look at the Pingdom page that this article is on and they’ve got the widget, both on the article site and for the page at the top, like for the entire site. It’s kind of overwhelming a little bit when you think about it, but it makes sense and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even really notice the buttons anymore. So it’s good to see numbers.

Patrick: Right, that’s a good point. You know, you’ve got Google+ at 21.5%, and then interestingly they do divide it by the, you know, that’s the overall number of all links from the homepage as the top 10,000, but all of the usage of the official widgets, they break that down. Like I said, Facebook’s 24.3%, but Google actually is at 13.3% ahead of Twitter at 10% and Google+’s widgets aren’t, I wouldn’t describe them as easy to find on the website, you know? And Twitter offers these different follow buttons and different strains that you can provide on your website, and obviously has been around longer than Google+, but as far as using these widgets, the official code provided by the service, Google+ is 3.3% ahead of Twitter on the top 10,000 websites. I found that surprising.

Stephan: Do you think it’s partially because people like to use their own specific URL-shortener to share a link on Twitter? Like j.mp bit.ly type stuff and for Google+ they just use the Google short URL? Do you think that could be it, or at least part of it?

Patrick: Yeah, I think that might be part of it. I think it’s interesting to also consider, because I initially skipped over this myself is the thought that really any button can be the Twitter button. They can have the Tweet button that we know on blog posts, you can have the follow button I’m pretty sure from reading this post. So, yeah, it’s interesting that not more pages have that. But then again, maybe the top 10,000 websites in the world, there’s a lot of different kind of sites in there I would imagine. You know, there’s a lot of big businesses, a lot of Fortune 500′s that aren’t like a blog type homepage. They don’t have the news items with the share links right on their homepage perhaps. Maybe that’s why Twitter is maybe a little lacking in that area of the widgets specifically just because people are more likely to want to just share their presence on Twitter via just a simple link or a Twitter icon, a button, a graphic that they designed or they put in line with the other ones to make it look uniform and then linked directly to Twitter just by themselves manually.

Stephan: Yeah, yeah. That’s kind of what I do, so I can see that being an option, being a preference for sites not wanting to use the integration as much. I can see that.

Patrick: Yeah, I think about this on my own sites and I guess I probably have 100% saturation for these services and the official widgets, but yeah. I mean if the variety of buttons and options, and I guess just how you use it, I guess that all would come in to effect. The “like” button obviously is very popular and they found that 7.3% of the top 10,000 have the official like button on their site. One other thing I thought was worth talking about was LinkedIn. I mean, if you’re LinkedIn and you’re at the bottom of this list, 0.6% of top 10,000 use your widget. 3.9% link to you or use a widget. Is that depressing to you? Is that just disappointing, or are you in a totally different market and don’t really care?

Stephan: I think it’s one of those things you’re in a totally different market. Unless you’re linking from your resumé or your personal site that’s just about you and your business abilities, I don’t think it has any relevance really, especially after this week’s password fiasco.

Patrick: Right. It’s a good point because LinkedIn is sort of this more niche network for professional and even on my own sites I think of it that way as I only have LinkedIn on the blog about online community on my personal site, and that’s it as far as linking to LinkedIn. Because what do people care about LinkedIn if I’m writing about Bad Boy Records, or if they’re on my karate forums or something else? They just don’t. I’m not going to promote those sites on LinkedIn, because it just doesn’t make sense. On the next story I wanted to bring it home a little bit and talk about SitePoint’s new logo. Now, long term SitePoint designer Alex Walker wrote a detailed blog post on SitePoint.com explaining the process for changing SitePoint’s visual identity. They have a logo, they have a new one obviously now, but the one they had before that came out in early 2000, according to Alex, and now 10 years later they are looking for, you know, a bit of a facelift. Not being a designer myself I found it interesting to take a look at how an established brand like SitePoint which is pretty well staffed, it has a pretty good sized following online, and has been around for a long time, it’s an established brand with web developers, webmasters, and online businesspeople. And the steps that he took to kind of, and his team took, to go through all of these logo options and all of these design ideas, things that might be small to some people but really they are what make up the logo. Things like the position of the arrows, the spacing of the brackets in the SitePoint logo, how the negative space between the brackets could be used as a shape or if they should emphasize that or de-
emphasize that. It’s just a long process.

Stephan: Yeah, yeah, and it’s kind of cool to see how it’s progressed from the old arrow that was like a right-facing arrow. I went back to the way back machine.

Patrick: Right.

Stephan: And brought the old logo up and we’ve come from that to kind of the two arrows facing away from each other, and now this new incarnation is pretty cool and really interesting and I really like what they came up with for the new logo. Now they’ve just go to get the favicon updated.

Patrick: Right, and actually, you know what? It is updated on mine so maybe that’s a caché.

Stephan: That’s a cache. Yeah, it’s cache issue.

Patrick: Oh, a cache issue. Dang it, I’m gonna be made fun of again. So, yeah, I mean a lot of SitePoint visitors have been visiting the site for a long time and we are among those. You know, I was on staff, I’ve been on some sort of volunteer staff for SitePoint including the forums, the mentor adviser, and podcast host for, you know, over 10 years, and probably a member for 11 or 12 and I know you’re right there with me, perhaps even a little longer.

Stephan: Yeah, I can’t even remember back when I first started reading the forums. I know it was back when they were still on UBB, so it was a long time ago.

Patrick: Yeah, I mean, and we, Stephan pulled up a link to archive.org as he mentioned, we’ll include this in the show notes as well, and it is for May 10th of 2000. SitePoint, I want to say it was originally webmasters-resources.com, if I’m remembering that correctly. It was something like that, then they changed to SitePoint. They also had four sites at once where they broke out to e-commerce based, webmaster based, promotion based, dot com. I don’t know the order of those occurrences, but even know they’ve kind of re-embraced that strategy to have these spin-off sites for design with Build Mobile and Design Festival and Ruby Source and Cloud Spring, PHP Master and so on, so that’s been interesting to see. But the logo that you pointed out is it’s an orange circle, it’s kind of a digital arrow with a tail pointed to the right, SitePoint.com and he said that was back in 2000. I don’t know if they went directly from this to the one that they’ve had for about 10 years, I mean, they’re around, it’s pretty close to it, and I thinks that’s what the article speaks to. Here, yeah. Alex says “The first SitePoint logo was created for the site launch in 2000″ and the logo you probably know best, the one they’ve been using, was in 2002, so this is, I guess, the third SitePoint logo.

Stephan: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to believe that they’ve only gone through three logos as a web company.

Patrick: Yeah.

Stephan: In 11 years.

Patrick: And there’s no rule book on this, as far as like when to change a logo or when it needs to be refreshed. I mean, I guess it’s a feeling. It’s something that comes from usually inside the company, maybe judging some sort of sentiment outside the company that a facelift is needed and you see it time and time again, and sometimes it goes really badly, like it did with the Gap.

Stephan: Yeah, but it’s great though. I think the story behind it all and the idea of trying to keep some sense of the old logo in the new logo so that you don’t scare people off, you know, I think it’s great and I love all that they give you, all the renditions, all of the though processes they went through and it’s great. I really like it. I find stuff like this fascinating, reading designer’s thoughts.

Patrick: Yeah, I think even explaining it like this as Alex did is a way of helping people to embrace it, right? And you think SitePoint is a webcentric, web development, web designer community. So it’s a little different from The Gap, right? They’re introducing their new logo to web designers which can be more critical I would say, it could be more difficult, but it also can be easier if you open up the gates a little bit and explain, you know “This was our design process. This is what we went through. We went through five rounds or however many rounds it was of design”. He posted pictures of, like, they had the logos printed out, even an arrow was printed out so they could play with just the alignment of the arrows in the logo, and, yeah, I mean, it’s a really good thing to do on SitePoint. So, now, we’ve beat around the bush a bit, so what do you think of the new logo?

Stephan: I like it. I kinda don’t, I’m not really much a fan of the drop shadow, but that’s just a personal thing that’s in the arrow, but overall I like it. It still feels like SitePoint to me, which is the most important thing, right?

Patrick: Yeah, I mean, I’d agree with that. It’s a good update, like a refresh, which is a word I keep using, of their existing logo. So you go there, you see the placement of the arrows, it’s different, but the arrows are still there so you still make that connection, and I think it’s just a nice, clean, logo, so, then, you know, I’ve joked about SitePoint on here before. I’m not necessarily, even though this is the SitePoint podcast we don’t necessarily have to say all good things, but this is a nice logo. I like the direction of it, and congratulations to Alex and team on getting it done.

Stephan: Yeah, I think it’s interesting too, I should point out that the font that they went with is a nice font, and they went with a different color. That’s one thing that’s really subtly different. It’s black, or gray, and not the blue.

Patrick: Right. That’s a good point.

Stephan: Which is different, you know, it makes it stand out a little bit more. So anyway, good job guys. I really, really, really like it.

Patrick: And the fireside chat continues with a story from ReadWriteWeb by Brian Prophet and this story is about an Internet Explorer 7 tax and there is a store, kogan.com, hopefully I’m pronouncing that right, and it is an Australian electronics retailer. I’m not familiar with it myself, but that’s just from judging the site. They also sell in the UK as well I guess. It’s kogan.com and kogan.co.uk, and he made a blog post, he being Russell Kogan, the owner of kogan.com, introducing a new Internet Explorer 7 tax. So what it means is that this company is charging users of Internet Explorer 7 an extra tax, in their words, on top of whatever purchase they want to make in the store, of 6.8%, that’s .1% for every month since IE7 has been released. I looked around, I tried to see if this was a joke, you know. I mean, there’s a tongue-in-cheek nature to it, but I mean the tax itself, he shows a screenshot, it’s listed as a tax of 6.8% of a purchase of I don’t know how much it was, but there’s a $41 tax on whatever this screenshot example is, and it appears to be a real charge. Hopefully I’m not wrong in that claim. I did some Googling and some research. Though it is meant as tongue-in-cheek and he said he doesn’t think anyone will actually pay it, it does apparently exist. What do you think about this?

Stephan: I think it’s a bit ridiculous. I can understand his frustration, but what if someone just doesn’t want to install it, install a different browser or can’t because they’re on a work machine, then they’re going to have to pay 6.8% more on their purchase? People just won’t go buy it somewhere else. I don’t know. I can see why you would do something like this to make a statement, but at the same time I’m kind of, it kind of makes me scratch my head. On top of all of this, I’ll just say today I needed to do something that required me to complete a purchase online, and I couldn’t actually do it in Chrome. The website broke in Chrome. So I had to use Internet Explorer, and it worked.

Patrick: Right. It probably wasn’t version 7.

Stephan: No. It was 8.

Patrick: You know, and I wanted to, I was curious what you thought before I jaded the conversation with my “Why This is Bad”. But, I think your point is a good one. Like, I think that, so there’s a few issues here. First of all, I don’t, I’m not familiar with Australian law. I mean, this seems kind of strange to me, calling something a tax, and, I mean, I guess it’s OK. I’m sure they make money so I’m sure it’s been thoroughly vetted by their people, it does seem kind of strange to me in that regard, but two big reasons why it’s bad. First is, I think a lot of people, I think will probably accept that a lot of people who use IE7 use IE7 not out choice, but out of it simply being what they can use at work or elsewhere, and so this percentage of people that’s on IE7 it’s going to be, I would think to a substantial extent, people who can’t upgrade for some reason, and so you’re essentially telling people they’re going to pay extra. And the average person, like you said, is probably going to say “Forget that. I’m just gonna go elsewhere”, so what it becomes for you, first of all, you’re punishing people, right? Second of all, it’s a competitive disadvantage to you. You’ve effectively introduced a competitive disadvantage to your business. And I understand his point here that he has to pay developers and his web people extra money to make sure that their website is accommodating to IE7 and he wants to stop doing that and save money, so now he’s gonna pass that on to the customer I guess you could say. But, for every one of him there’s gonna be 100, 1,000, 5,000 other stores selling the same product that don’t do that. So, it definitely becomes a competitive disadvantage where, because it’s a good-sized company, from what I’m reading. They make a lot of money, so you have another large store who says “OK, we’re going to accept IE7″ and they could even make a press event about it, a press release saying they’re accommodating to IE7, they understand, they feel bad for those people, they have sympathy for the people that are stuck on IE7 and they want to make it easier for those people shop, and I think that might be a better story.

Stephan: You read the article and one of the quotes is “If we choose to make a pixel-perfect website in Internet Explorer 6 to 8 then we are doing up to 100% more work.” So, it’s not where they want to make it work to where it’s just functional, they want to make it pixel-perfect. And there’s a difference too in that thinking. If I wanted to make the website work in Chrome and look OK in IE7 I’m sure that not going to take 100% more work, but if I want to make them exactly the same to where every user gets the exact same experience, then of course, yeah, it’s going to take more work. Because they’re different browsers, and I think you’re still going to have to do that even with Safari and Chrome and Opera to get them all to work like that. You’re still going to have to do some level of more effort to get the websites to show up exactly the same, to get them to be pixel-
perfect.

Patrick: Right. And that quote is from Lea Verou, hopefully I’m saying that right, and she was interviewed on the SitePoint Podcast back in November by Louie Simoneau on episode 139 if you want to check that out. But, yeah, I mean, it’s interesting to me to take this kind of road, and there’s definitely a lot of press being generated by it, so I’m sure that it’s been official, but looking at the stat counter, Global Stats, which measure usage of browsers and specific versions on all sites that are measured by statcounter.com, they’re regularly referred to as far as market share statistics are concerned, IE7 is currently at 1.53% of all browser usage. This is through May 2012. That’s not a big deal. Is that really worth making a stink over? Do you think that the 1.7% that aren’t up to date are going to be somehow motivated by the fact that you’re not going to sell them a product without charging them 7% extra? I don’t know. I just checked also, since this main base of operations appears to be Australia, I wanted to check what the IE7 count was in Australia and it’s 1.33%, so it’s not like there’s some disparity there between the global numbers and the Australian numbers. They are, you know, pretty much the same.

Stephan: Yeah. And what kind of items do they sell you said?

Patrick: They sell electronics, home appliances, cameras, tablets, audio equipment, phones. I mean, they’re like an electronics store.

Stephan: OK, yeah. I mean, so, it’s surprising to me that they have such a large number of IE users that they had to come up with this.

Patrick: Right.

Stephan: And this tax is on their home page which makes me think more and more that it’s kind of a publicity thing.

Patrick: Oh yeah. I think, yeah, there’s no doubt that it is, but, you know, could you imagine Best Buy doing this or Amazon or name any, buy.com or any large internet retailer that sells electronics and Amazon moves a ton of electronics obviously, doing that sort of thing? No, in fact if they find that 1% of their users use a certain thing they’ll optimize for that 1%.

Stephan: Wow, I just don’t get it. I think it’s a bad move personally in the long term.

Patrick: Yeah, it’s a tricky thing. It’s almost like a statement that would be best served on a store that was focused at web designers, right?
Like a font shop or a web development book place, like SitePoint books.

Stephan: Yeah, yeah.

Patrick: Or someone who really sells hard designers and people who are like “Oh, yeah. I hate IE7. I hate IE7″, not a general consumer web store.

Stephan: Yeah, exactly. I think a more niche site would be better suited for this type of move. Definitely.

Patrick: Alright, so that brings the story portion of our show to an end, but we’ve got spotlights and since we only have the two of us, Stephan is going to take two spotlights this week.

Stephan: Yeah, so I’ll go with the first one, the more serious one, is an article in the Atlantic, about how history’s greatest inventions really happened. It’s about eight different inventions that we all have somehow used probably today in some way, and really how they weren’t invented by a single person, and how it was a growth of either knowledge or growth of history or a growth of something and how it all came together to become this invention that one person is known for. So they go through things like the telegraph, the telephone, the movie project, the airplane, and the television and some others and it’s just a great read and it makes you think that even though you may be doing something and you feel like you’re the only person out there that’s ever come up with something, there’s been probably someone else that’s come up with something similar and you’re just building on top of it. I think it’s kind of humbling.

Patrick: Yeah. I think that’s an interesting point and I guess that has particular applications kind of our web dev tech software where all of them talk about patents and all the lawsuits.

Stephan: Yeah, exactly. I think it’s just a good read for people who are writing code or doing something. You’re building on the blocks of someone else before you, even if you’re not inherently aware of it.

Patrick: Very cool, and I noticed that the title of this article is
“Forget Edison: This is How History’s Greatest Inventions Really Happened”. Is it just me or is Edison taking some heat lately? I don’t know if you caught, did you catch The Oatmeal comic about why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek to ever live and how Edison was basically a-

Stephan: A chump?

Patrick: Yeah, a money-grubbing jerk? Yeah, yeah. What did you think of all that?

Stephan: Which was funny too, and then there was this huge paper written on about how we shouldn’t write off, or how we shouldn’t worship Tesla, which is another great read.

Patrick: And what’s the second spotlight?

Stephan: Well, the second spotlight is more of an iPhone app tool fun thing to play with. I am going on a trip in July and I wrote a time lapse application for my calculator. I have a TI-83 or something and I wanted to do time lapse with it and so I wrote this application in basic and then plugged the calculator into my DSLR and took time lapse photos with it, but it’s just bulky and it’s a pain in the butt. So, there’s this application for your iPhone called Trigger Trap, and it’s a mobile application and it has a little plug that you plug into your phone and then it connects to your camera and it allows you to do things like time lapse, ease time lapse, HDR, just a bunch of different things, and I think it’s a really cool tool and I’ve just started playing with it so I’m just now getting a feel for it. But I’m really excited that now I can just carry only my phone and not have to lug a calculator halfway across the world.

Patrick: Very cool, and I noticed it is, the premium version is $9.99. There’s also a free version. Which one are you using?

Stephan: Right now I’m doing the free trial just to make sure it’s what I want and then I’m going to upgrade. I’m going to upgrade for sure because it does what I want to do, and the application allows you to take time lapse photos with your phone itself which is cool too.

Patrick: Very cool. And you’re going to do some, how many continents are we touching down on this summer?

Stephan: Just two, just going to Europe.

Patrick: Very cool. So my spotlight is going to be Brad Williams who, you know, was part of the initial team. Brad is going to get married on June 25th to April Helene and they’re going on a cruise ship and doing a big thing, but I just wanted to pass along our congratulations. I got an opportunity to hang out with Brad and April last fall in Philadelphia and it was a great time and they’re great people and wish them the best.

Stephan: Congrats Brad and April.

Patrick: And it’s all coming up gold for Brad. He’s also got, he just announced the second edition of Professional WordPress for APress, and it’s coming so he’s a multiple author now. That’s two book, and this will be the second edition of his second book I believe as well, so lots of things happening for Brad. The SitePoint Podcast was but a stepping stone. Well let’s go ahead around the table. It’s a big table with a lot of people around it, so this might take a while, but Stephan why don’t you go ahead?

Stephan: Yeah, I’m Stephan Segraves. You can find me on Twitter @ssegraves and I blog at badice.com.

Patrick: And I am Patrick O’Keefe, of the iFroggy Network. I blog at managingcommunities.com and you can find me on Twitter @ifroggy, and you can also follow our usual co-hosts, Louis Simoneau and Kevin Dees @rssaddict and @kevindees, and follow SitePoint at @sitepointdotcom. Visit us at sitepoint.com/podcast to leave comments on this show and to subscribe to receive every show automatically. You can also email at podcast@sitepoint.com with your questions for us. We’d love to read them out on the show and give you our advice. The SitePoint Podcast is produced by Karn Broad . Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week.

Audio Transcription by Speechpad.

Theme music by Mike Mella.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to let us know how we’re doing, or to continue the discussion, using the comments field below.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

No Reader comments

Comments on this post are closed.