Windows 8 Upgrade – A new beginning

Since the world is coming to an end this week, I bit the bullet and upgraded to Windows 8. The install was seamless as I opted for the download version. A couple of reboots and my machine had a new look and feel. Unless you want a completely new Windows experience, I would not recommend this upgrade. If you are adventurous and like new things it looks like its a pretty polished upgrade.

It it going to take me a bit to get use to the operating system. The user interface is very responsive and kind of intuitive. The worst part of the process, and I may have messed this up, is it took all of my old applications and put them in a Windows.old folder. I had to essentially re-install all of my applications. It did preserve all of my data (the My Documents folder) and all of my songs, pictures, etc. I find navigation a little strange right now but I am slowly getting use to it. I also have to figure out how to get my Lenovo W500 Fingerprint reader working as Lenovo does not have a Windows 8 driver for it yet. Outside of that little problem everything seems to be working great!

By the way, I agree with Joe, the Windows 8 Logo is a disaster.


Eclipse SWT ImageData to the rescue for image resizing!

A little side project I have here at work has taken a life on of its own. Most recently with the launch of the new Aurora storefront I once again enhanced an internal tool to automatically size product images to adhere to the size requirements for the store. I ended up using Eclipses SWT (The Standard Widget Toolkit) that comes with Eclipse to do this. What I wanted to share today was how easy this was using the SWT API’s.

Continue reading

How do your eCommerce key performance indicators compare to your industry?

I meet with a lot of clients and many of them know different aspects of their online presence “could” be better yet some do not know where to begin. A first sign is your conversion rate – exactly how many people are clicking the buy button after searching, browsing, or even adding an item to the cart? And further, how do I compare to my industry? Are they getting more items in the cart than me? Is their cart value higher than mine? I read this well written article this morning over at the Smarter Commerce Blog by guest author Chris Withers and he writes about Cyber Monday and the effect mobile devices like smart phones and iPads are having on the industry. What is your mobile story? Do you even have a mobile presence and if so, how does it compare in your industry?

Continue reading

Using the XPath API to figure out my stats

One major problem I have with base WordPress is while it does a good job giving you stats around views (the number of hits you get per post) it does not do a good job for post counts. In the previous post I had to create a chart that showed how many blog posts I wrote in the months and years past. I am sure there is a plugin out there for this so if you know of one please mention it in the comments!

Continue reading

Blogging – Quality versus Quantity

In the spirit of reading others posts about “how much they are blogging lately” I decided to look at my own statistics in this space. I will admit, in the past year or so I consciously decided to blog much more specific information to my job, programming, etc. and a lot less about personal stuff where as I decided to use other channels like Facebook to put more of my personal posts. One thing I have been consistently watching is “views per day”. I feel as long as I can keep a readership then that is good enough for me. I have also noticed a lot more hits from search engines and other sites mentioning my site in the past two years. With that approach, it clearly looks like less is more – if the quality is there. So now with the stats!

The first chart shows some monthly counts spanning the years my blog has kept stats. I had to put the views in thousands (K) so it wouldn’t skew the chart so much. As you can see, the average day pretty much reflects the number of posts in that month – so I guess if I did blog more the views would go up. However, if you look at the total views in K for each month it is pretty level at around 20K per month. I did notice that 2010 and 2011 were big years for views so it has actually skewed some of the numbers (see the annual chart) from reality.








The annual chart does show a steep decline from this year and the past two years, however, I still have 14 days left! Once again, notice how the number of posts have dropped considerably but the views in K and Average Views per day only dipped slightly. I think this is because of my first statement about getting more referrals and showing up in more searches.









Very Cool – “Google60 – Search Mad Men Style” – IBM Punch Cards

Google60 – Search Mad Men Style

Wow, this actually worked!  I searched “Bob Balfe”, and is it sad that I could actually read the punch card?

The WebSphere Commerce Ajax Framework

With the new Aurora store front comes many new and exciting features. One feature I really like is the way the store uses Ajax throughout the user interface. The WebSphere Commerce Ajax Framework is based on Dojo (check out the Dojo Ajax documentation here) and it does a great job in easing the use of Dojo in your store front. You can read more about the framework here in the InfoCenter.

But lets dive on the implementation just a little.

Continue reading