January randomness

You know those times when you want to write about something, but you're just not really sure how to classify it? Today is one of those days. I want to round up and point out a few links, so this seems like a good way to do it.

Celebrity Status?

First up, there's an interesting site that I've been seeing in my referral logs. It's called Blogebrity, and from what I understand it treats blog writers as pseudo-celebrities, and even has what they call "The List," categorizing people in to various classes: A, B and C. I'm happy to say I made the cut for C-list.

Personally though, because of the low barrier of entry, I wouldn't place anything on the A-list that is hosted on services like Blogger. Blogebrity seems to place more emphasis on the clout of the writer instead, rather than distinctiveness of design.

To their credit, they do have some of the big-name web design people on there such as Dan Cederholm, Paul Scrivens, and Jeffrey Zeldman. However, conspicuously absent are people such as John Oxton, Veerle Pieters and the guys over at Particletree. Anyway, it's a novel idea and approach to blogging.

De-Lurking Week

According to the aforementioned Veerle Pieters, this is De-Lurking Week. She classifies a lurker as: "The term is used for people that read blogs or join chat rooms or newsgroups and don't participate in commenting." She brings up a good point, that people passively intake information, but rarely give feedback. I can be guilty of this myself, so I made a point to comment on her blog. I suggest you do so here, especially if you haven't before, so I can meet you.

Cool Innovations

Kevin Hale over at Particletree has posted an article on using Flash as an under-layer. If you've ever wondered how to have a slick animated Flash background, based on user input from the HTML foreground, this tutorial is for you. Coupled with improved handling of PHP and XML by Flash 8, I think this could have some huge implications, possibly as big as Ajax, but we'll see.

I'm looking into Flash a bit more lately, and recently wrote a book review of Flash 8 Essentials. Don't worry, I'm not giving up on web standards or CSS. Quite the contrary in fact, as I'm experimenting with new ways of controlling Flash with CSS. Most recently, I added a new way to view my portfolio, via a full-screen gallery.

Not too long ago, I wrote an article on controlling image sizing with Ems, and it seems that Ryan Werth has took my advice to heart. He has completely redesigned his site using Ems, even down to the article and portfolio images. It's a pretty good proof of concept, so go check it out. The only thing I'm not incredibly fond of is his use of JavaScript pop-up windows for exit links.

Dream-host, Really

Digg Effect: 20,000+ hits / 24 hours

traffic spike

The above chart was generated by Mint and depicts my visitor traffic for the past week. Last Thursday, I wrote a little article that landed on the front page of Digg.com. I'm not sure about their exact numbers, but Digg surely gets a several thousand hits an hour, many of which were passed along to my site.

Throughout this barrage of page views, I am happy to say that my server remained steadfast. It did not cost me a dime extra, because DreamHost now offers 1 Terabyte of bandwidth per month, even on the basic hosting package I have. For $7.95 per month, that's an unbeatable deal. Add to that unlimited domains and MySQL databases, and you've got a web developer's dream!

All puns aside, I have never been with a hosting company that I appreciate so much. Every time they offer promotional deals, they give the same benefits to all their existing customers free of charge. Their tech support is prompt and friendly, and have accommodated me even at their own expense.

They also have a great referral program. If you sign up with the promo-code SONSPRING, you save $50 off any plan. This helps support my site's costs.