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Still Alive and Kicking

June 24th, 2012 . by Anup



I’ll be the first to admit … its been ages since I posted. You’ll be happy (or not) to know that I’m alive , well and kicking.  I’ve made quite a few discoveries on my travels and quests for ultimate programming knowledge. I’ve also come to realize that the topic is way too important and big for one site alone to cover.

This time around I’ve opted for the non impressive and much simpler method of typing words into WordPress way of doing things in this post but please do take a leap of faith and try the links. I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised. That being said a little bit onto what I think readers of ServingNiches would find useful –

http://www.codeacademy.com -> A completely interactive way to learn coding especially in Javascript. My advice would be to tackle this before dabbling in any of the javascript frameworks (client side or server side) you’re likely to come across these days.

http://www.codeschool.com  -> Similar to code Academy but more inclined towards Ruby, Rails, Html5, Node.js, Backbone,js etc. (Highly Recommended)

http://www.safaribooksonline.com -> Every programming book I’ve come across in my life is here , readable online. This is a mother of a resource. (Highly Recommended)

http://www.udacity.com -> Stanford’s FREE online Course site. Great for a variety of topics like Statistics(Quantitative Analysis, Big Data etc.) , however you want to call it. Although not as highly established as the other sources, it still is worth checking out.

I very highly suggest the ridiculous amount of content the above sites put at your disposal. Do check them out.

Smashing Newsletters You Must Know About

July 19th, 2011 . by Anup



Smashing Magazine recently put out  “Email Newsletters Worth Subscribing To” . The attention to detail and the graphics in those newsletters are simply superb. But that’s not why you’re reading about it here on serving niches. They also happen to be the leading publications in their particular industry. So enjoy and don’t forget to subscribe to them . They’re worth your time and really do deserve your attention.

I’m not going to mention all of them, just a few of my favourites. A link to the entire original list has been posted at the bottom of the post.

The List :

  Brain Pickings
Random Interesting stuff put in a very interesting and graphical way. Simply superb I say.“culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity quenchers  and separating the signal from the noise to bring you  things you didn’t know you were interested in until you  are.”
 Daily Good Morning
Quality motivational advice in your inbox every day of the  week. Seriously fun stuff to start off your day with. If you  have any intention of being happy, then this is a good  thing to have in your inbox.
   Newfangled
New fangled discusses web design , development,  business , culture and design.
   Springwise 
“Springwise brings you the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts that are ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investment and cooperation. It promises to inspire you instantly by getting the world’s most promising new business ideas and young ventures right in front of you. Choose between the daily newsletter, which features three exciting business ideas, or the weekly one, which rounds up the best of the week’s finds.”— Smashing MagazineAmazing stuff .
  Userfocus
Usability like design is one of those things people simply assume they know. There are conferences , workshops , countless books and experts with usability design in their job title and yet people assume there is nothing to know. This site discusses what’s hot in the world of Design.
   H&FJ Typography
All about typography. Simply amazing.
   Hacker Newsletter
This is not about security or penetration testing . Its about startups , technology , programming etc. Great Stuff.
   Javascript Weekly
All about Javascript. Stay on top of what’s happening in the javascript world by subscribing to this newsletter.

 

   wpMail.me
News , Articles , Themes and tutorials on WordPress. WordPress is growing in popularity fast and this helps you stay on top.

 

   Yoast
Yoast keeps you in the loop on various topics like SEO , WordPress Plugins, Theme development , Site speed etc. Run by the author of WordPress SEO Plugin.

 

   Django Weekly
Keeps you in the loop about Django. Django is a python based framework . If you haven’t already do check out the django framework.
   IBM Developer Works
You get to choose to receive info on a number topics. A number of top notch freebies that are well designed , structured and have brilliant content.
  Ruby Weekly
Save yourself hours of research on the Ruby programming language by subscribing to this newsletter. This is a sister publication of Javascript Weekly.
  Sitepoint
Sitepoint offers a number of newsletters. It covers everything from PHP, javascript to marketing and profiting from your online presence.
  Email Inspiration
One image to inspire your designs and get your creative juices flowing everyday. Can’t be explained really. Must be experienced.

The orginal document can be found here. Have fun and be inspired with these.

Accessibility , The Disabled And You

February 27th, 2011 . by Anup



I was devouring (not literally) one of Sitepoint’s books when I came across the Accessibility section. Accessibility and usability are very important. It is not simply about being politically correct anymore. Not everyone gets into trouble because they discriminate quite openly . Simple negligence or laziness in coding could end up in a lawsuit . You don’t want legal action been taken against you. Legal action is an expensive affair. Obviously this is something we’re all aware of . But this section really opened my eyes and really drove home this very important point.

The Very Important Point :

I’m paraphrasing here when I say this. The web breaks down so many barriers to communication. You can develop a relationship with a wheelchair bound blind customer just as easily as an able bodied person. We need to make sure we develop our sites and apps to accommodate disabled people . It has surpassed social conscience and good business practice. It is illegal to discriminate against disabled people in many jurisdictions. You leave yourself open to legal action if you fail to accommodate disabled people on your website.

Fret not. Accommodating disabled people will not take much effort.

One solution is to follow the WAI. The WAI stands for “Web Accessibility Initiative”.

The Web Accessibility Initiative – WAI

WAI (created by W3C, in 1997) is a set of guidelines intended for web developers, authors, and designers- about how to make the web content accessible to people with disabilities.

For more information on the WAI and how to apply them to your own site click here.

Resources worth reading:

http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/PWD-Use-Web/
http://www.w3schools.com/quality/quality_accessibility.asp

I also recommend books by Sitepoint.  They are written with best practices in mind.

Video Marketing And Fear Of Public Speaking

January 26th, 2011 . by Anup



V

ideo marketing is an efficient way to share content and reach people. A video on Youtube could get you considerable traffic for very little effort. But of course there is something that comes in the way. Fear of public speaking.

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

— Seinfield

Here is a cure for that. Check it out.

http://courses.sitepoint.com/fearless-public-speaking

Optimize Your Website Using YSlow

January 5th, 2011 . by Anup



Have a lot of people leaving your site too fast ? Your high bounce rates could be due to a slow loading website. People these days simply don’t wait for 5 or 10 seconds for a page to load.  A slow loading page affects everything else you do . You can say bye bye to those sales and leads. Therefore it is important that you optimize your websites. Lets forget usability or anything else that would affect sales. We’re going to concentrate on making your site more responsive i.e load faster. Want another reason ? Okay then .

Here’s something that happened to me a while back.Now serving niches is a relatively small site / blog. There are only a few 100 posts. You don’t exactly see it and expect it be heavy on the server.

As it turns out I had just deleted older posts which I thought were longer relevant and some I thought didn’t live up what we are trying to achieve here. Now as it turns out the blog was loading a bit faster after I had deleted a lot of older posts, atleast I thought so.  I felt content and logged out.

Next day I check my email and there’s an email from my hosting provider.

First I sit there and scratch my head thinking what on earth could they be emailing me about on this day of the week.

Turns out my small site was so slow loading and so heavy on resources and the server, it was starting to affect the other sites on the server. So they had to temporarily suspend my account and stop all traffic to it until I speed it up.

Needless to say I was shocked. Well okay first I was confused and then I was shocked. My teeny blog is causing problems ? So they agreed to let me in provided I fix stuff or lease out an entire server. Of course they weren’t exactly going to throw me out. There weren’t going to let in any traffic unless I had fixed the problem.

That is where YSlow came to the rescue. I ran it and well it gave me an F . But it also told me how to go about fixing the blog and site .

The next few blog posts are going to be all about Website and Blog Optimization. First we’ll begin with Yslow. We’re going to take it a bit further than that in later blog posts. But first YSlow.

Today is the simplest part . Installing Yslow and related Components.

You need to get the Firefox Browser first . Download the browser from http://mozilla.org and install .

Now you need the firefox browser and and add on called firebug. YSlow is  a plug in for Firebug. Firebug is pretty cool itself but its features are out of the scope of this blog post. Back to installing YSlow.

Go to http://www.getfirebug.com and install Firebug

Then go to https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/5369 to install YSlow

Once all these are installed , You are now ready to run Yslow. Restart your FireFox Browser.

You should see something like the picture below at the bottom right of your firefox browser.


Once you have restarted Firefox, open your website.

Go to “Tools > Firebug > Open Firebug”.

A split window should open . Click YSlow . Choose appropriate Ruleset. It doesn’t really matter .

It will analyse your website and give you a grade.

We’re going to work on improving that Grade in the next blog post.


To learn more about Firebug check out

http://www.packtpub.com/article/installation-and-getting-started-with-firebug

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