The Latest Stat Tracking Services

As a web designer, I’m afforded one of the luxuries (read: addiction) of checking to see who visited my site, other sites that have linked to mine, and what search terms were used for search engines to refer traffic to the site. It’s always fascinating to see what other sites have to say about your site, or a particular topic you wrote about. Think of it as a mild ego boost, readily available at your command.

There are two new services that give you the power to track your stats; Mint from Shaun Inman, and Measure Map from the folks behind MovableType. They’re both a bit different, and don’t warrant a comparison. Mint costs $30 per site, and Measure Map, as far as I’m aware, is free. Mint is available now, while Measure Map is still in an alpha state and you need an invitation to try it out, which I did; hence this post.

Mint Screenshot

Mint is for the hardcore stat junkie, as it has everything you could possibly want to know, and then some, thanks to the extensions known as Peppers (get it, Peppermint?) It is easy to use, features a great design, and presents all the infromation in a fluid way. Thanks to further support from other people out there, you can easily install a Pepper that adds even more functionality. While $30 is a bit steep if you just want to track stats on a simple blog or website, it’s worth it for larger sites. Not to mention it supports Shaun Inman, who deserves the support.

Measure Map Screenshot

Measure Map, while not feature complete yet, is still quite nice. It features a simple, concise design that won’t confuse you. While the information could be presented better, it will be more user-friendly to those who haven’t jumped onto the stat tracking bandwagon yet. It also features some Flash goodness to give you a visual indication of how many people are using what browsers, what countries they’re from, and more. I can see Measure Map becoming a popular service, as long as they offer it for free.

Personally I plan on using both, as they complement each other, and well, I’m a stat junkie, too. Both are worth trying out.


Google Talk Released

Google TalkOnce again Google has done it again. They’ve released a stellar software that you can’t help but love. Google Talk hopes to compete against AOL’s AIM, MSN’s Messenger, Yahoo’s Messenger, Cerulean Studio’s Trillian, and GAIM. Essentially it’s an instant messaging software with quality VOIP capabilities so you can call someone up over the internet and chat via voice in case you don’t feel like typing. If you have a Gmail account (required right now for beta testing) it’ll notify you of new emails.

The UI is clean, snappy, and feels nice as you use it. No advertisement, no bloat, no useless features. It’s classic Google goodness. I’ve been using Trillian for years, but the feature creep bloat has me itching for something new, and Google Talk may just be the ticket. Here’s a review from DownloadSquad.


New AOL Explorer Browser

Just saw that AOL has just released their AOL Explorer browser for download. As a web designer, I’m surprised to see this out, especially since it’s just a Internet Explorer 6.0 shell. With IE7 beta just around the corner (August 3rd, last I heard), this makes the announcement unexciting and disheartening, as both a web surfer and a web designer.

I do have to admit the UI design is very slick (see screenshot), I really like it. The features it has are nice too, it’s just a shame that it is being held back by the inferior IE6 engine. AOL should’ve used the Firefox codebase, and slap on this UI on, and it would’ve been a lot more exciting, not to mention more secure.

Update: If you install the IE7 beta, you’ll find that AOL Explorer will use that, and since the UI on IE7 beta is horrible, it works out to use AOL Explorer as the shell, since its UI is a lot nicer and usable. Never thought I’d actually use an AOL product again, but Firefox is still my main browser, for obvious reasons.


For Those Using Ancient Software

There’s no reason why anyone should be using Internet Explorer these days, and the numerous articles from the mainstream press and security companies have been a testament to that.

Therefore, I’ve put up a message to anyone still using ancient software, namely those using Internet Explorer, and AOL, that they have a choice to easily upgrade their software. This message is only viewable if you’re using Internet Explorer. If you’re not seeing the message, congratulations, you’re not stuck in the Stone Age of the Internet.

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