Monday, May 11, 2009

Cloud of Hot Labels and other Gadgets/Widgets

[Updated 12 May] Please have a look at the new Hot Label Cloud just above the Dilbert comic in the right-hand column.

I added it to highlight the general areas we've been discussing. The cloud shows all Labels that have been applied to three or more Topics since Joel started the practice over a year ago. The bigger the item and the warmer the color, the more we've covered it in the Blog.

If you roll your cursor over any Label in the cloud, you will see how many Topics link to it. If you click the Label, you'll get the full text and images of all those Topics. (I've retained the old flat listing of all Labels at the bottom of the right-hand column so you can easily access all Labels.)

I think the "cloud" concept is an interesting one that gives an immediate visual idea of what is "hot". The concept can be used to indicate the words we use most often, the most reported news topics, etc.

[Updated 12 MAY] I've changed the layout a bit so a compacted Short List of HOT Comments appears at the very top. Click the colored text to jump to the Topic with that Comment. (I'd like it to jump right to the Comment but I can't get that to work yet.)

Next is a brand new 20 Most Recent Topics (Posts) widget. It lists the Topics in compact form. The little red arrow points to each Topic in turn and, at the top, you see Title, Author, and Date. If you roll your cursor over any Title, the little red arrow jumps to it. NEAT-O! (I got this widget from THANKS!)

Next is a detailed listing of the 20 Most Recent Comments. In the original version of this Topic I complained that the widgets sometimes did not work because the source code was on some remote computer that was busy. Well, the new widget I found has the source code right in my Blog so it is more reliable.

The Archive of All Posts (Topics) appears next. The Topics for the current month are all listed. If you click any of the little triangles (called "twisties") they will rotate and reveal all Topics posted for any given month and any year.

Please let me know if there are other Gadgets and Widgets you'd like to see added to make your experience here more satisfying. I'll add them if I can.

Ira Glickstein


JohnS said...

A very interesting report although it needs further analysis or discussion. For example, I note that most of the hot topics relate to current issues, which I find somewhat surprising for a philosophy blog. While I am surprised, I agree with that trend. The American society has changed greatly since the 1970s and we need discussions about current and future mores. Another thing I note is that some topics, sunspots and statistics for example, have not received many contributors. That is understandable because few of us have the knowledge to participate yet they are items of interest, at least my interest and I would like to see them continue. Is it possible to set up a grade system as I find on many web sites indicating how both lurkers and commentors rate the blog? If not, how can I express my opinion of these and other blogs that did not make the list so that they don’t fall by the way side for what may appear as a lack of interest?

Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks for your comment John.

As for figuring the level of interest in this Blog in general and specific Topic areas in particular, it is hard to do. Most readers are Lurkers who do not post comments.

I have been following the "Live Traffic Feed" on an almost daily basis. If you click on "Watch in Real Time" you get to see how they were attracted to the Blog.

For example, it appears you came to the Blog directly at 7:25:02AM today and left at 7:59:53AM after leaving your comment at 7:57AM. You are a regular and you know the Blog exists.

A couple hours earlier, someone arrived from Gdansk, Poland and he or she got here by searching for "sunspots gone" on (Google Poland).

Later this morning someone arrived from Brooklyn, searching for "a pound of dimes or a pound of quarters" on Google USA.

By watching that traffic, I have determined the Topic areas that appear to pull in the most traffic. Sunspots an NASA are popular, as is male-female mind stuff.

We've been getting about a dozen hits a day, most from new people who do not leave comments.

I wish I could get a "Lurker Topic Cloud" gadget or widget that would keep track of the Topic areas that attracted the most people. So far, I have not seen one.

Ira Glickstein