Stairs are dangerous

Been a bit quiet on here the last week or so. Typing has been an absolute bitch, a one handed bitch to be precise. Just over a week ago I fractured my wrist, and yes it did and still does hurt. How did I do it? Nothing glamorous, I fell down the stairs! What a clutz. My cast or “pot” as people up north seem to call it will be on for another week. Then it’s back to hospital for more X-Rays…

Microsoft’s Gatineau Web Analytics now in beta

The beta test of Microsoft’s free analytics platform “Gatinueau”. You can now request an invite, although don’t hold your breath. Some people have been on the list since January. Invites have gone out to selected adCenter advertisers.

Some details on the basic features have been released they include:

  • Demographic segmentation
  • Custom taxonomies (i.e. site structure)
  • Outbound link tracking
  • Inbound referrals
  • Outbound link tracking
  • ROI reports
  • Goal analysis
  • Client system reports

You can read more about it on the Ian Thomas’ Blog, Ian’s the person responsible for bringing Gatineau to market.
Microsoft’s Gatineau has been in the alpha stage for around a year. Their analytics offering is based on technology developed by DeepMetrix, who Microsoft acquired in May 2006 in a bid to bring new analytics capabilities to adCenter. There’s some old alpha screenshots and a whole heap of comments about using Gatineau from back in July when it was covered on DaveN’s blog. Back then Dave described it as, and I quote “KICK ARSE AWESOME”.

Need to take your site down for more than 5 hours? Serve up a 503 Service Unavailable to Google

I was just reading my feeds and this post from Search Engine Roundtable caught my eye. If you’ve ever had to take your site down for some time, like more than 5 hours you will probably have worried about how search engine spiders may treat the down time.

A Google Groups thread has a response from Google’s Berghausen, a Google Webmaster Central representative. Berghausen recommends that you serve up “a ‘503 Service Unavailable’ with a ‘Retry-After’ header indicating when you expect your site to be back up.” That is, if you can serve up that server message while your site is down.

So what is the definition of a 503?

The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay. If known, the length of the delay MAY be indicated in a Retry-After header. If no Retry-After is given, the client SHOULD handle the response as it would for a 500 response.

Note: The existence of the 503 status code does not imply that a server must use it when becoming overloaded. Some servers may wish to simply refuse the connection.

Berhausen goes on to say that “Googlebot will not index your error page, and will come back looking for updates some time after the date specified in the ‘Return-After’ header.” This is a great undocumented feature of Google’s crawling ability.

Cool Workplaces

I’m currently involved in looking for a new office. I’ve always yearned for somewhere different from the boring, grey corporate, linear structure of many offices. I want somewhere colorful and little more playful, something with an edge. This is important for two main reasons. Firstly it creates a better environment for the people who have to work there. Happy people do good work and are more creative. Secondly it helps with staff retention and recruitment.

While Googling for inspiration I came across these cool workplaces. And you have to see the Redbull offices, I mean come on a slide to go between floors, are they serious?

Ian Cowley on all things web