In Brief Technology

Smart blog test tool: Is My Blog Working?

If you’re looking to check the performance of your blog, check out Is My Blog Working?, a nifty site that examines your blog for functionality and performance troubles. I discovered it a year ago but I forgot the name of it until this evening, when I was testing a couple random optimizations I made to (most notably WP-SuperCache). It gives you all sorts of interesting tidbits about your server and blog software which might help you find any issues with performance that might be keeping folks away.

Speaking Technology

Tuesday coworking recap: HTML and CSS fundamentals

At Tuesday’s co-working session, I talked about a few of the basics of HTML and CSS (as best as I could within two hours, that is). One of the focal points of the session was the importance of laying a strong foundation for a well-built Web page via semantic HTML that strictly separates content from presentation. We also walked through building a quick-and-dirty page with HTML and CSS while keeping focused on the importance of semantics and standards.

In Brief

A great addition to my toolbox: ImageOptim

Recently, I happened upon ImageOptim, a lightweight and incredibly effective image optimizer for PNG, JPEG, and GIF images (runs on Mac OS X only — sorry, Windows friends). It provides a ridiculously simple frontend to several commandline optimization tools. I often find myself dropping image sizes on an average of 20% per file — pretty impressive for already small .pngs that I work with. If you’re a Web designer and have Mac OS X, I consider this tool a must-have for squishing down your images to the last byte.

Media Technology

WCBD’s Social Media Push

WCBD, Charleston’s NBC affiliate, is launching a huge push into social media today by getting a majority of its news staff on Twitter. This is huge — I can’t say I’ve seen too many news agencies place a majority of their staff out into the wild amongst the Twitter-using public. Everybody from the anchors to the photogs is on and listening. Just today I was having a converation with morning anchor Brad Franko during the A-Rod (A-Roid?) press conference. WCBD’s had a presence on Twitter for a while, starting with producer Raymond Owens. Raymond was the first of the television journalists — and among the first of the journalists in Charleston in general — to make news a conversation over Twitter. That struck me. I was particularly pleased when chief meteorologist Rob Fowler joined up later, and gradually more and more folks at the channel started to tweet. I still think one of the marvels of Twitter is how it brings the people together with the media; with media listening in on what people are talking about over Twitter, it helps them serve our interests that much more effectively.

So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a few things that WCBD — and other news organizations tempted to take the social media plunge — should give a shot.