Software Testing and Talking

    April 16, 2006

I’ve spent a bit of time this weekend with software and servers.

Quite a bit of time with release candidate 2 of version 2 of ecto for Windows, the offline blog manager and editor which I’ve been testing over the past few weeks.

I’ve been giving the developers a bit of feedback in the ecto Windows beta forum. Lots of typing messages to post there. Yesterday I had a tricky concept to explain where writing it would have taken ages and would unlikely have enabled the developer to see what I was getting at. So I recorded a video using Camtasia Studio to show what I was getting at which seems to have done the trick. And another one this morning. If you’re testing ecto, you might find these helpful, too. Links in the thread on the forum.

A (moving) picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

This afternoon, I installed Mint on my server. This is a stats tool that will give me loads of useful info about who visits this blog, where they’re from, what they read, where they go, etc.

But just saying Mint is a stats tool doesn’t do it justice. That’s about the same as saying Cadbury’s is just a bar of chocolate.

Amazingly, I couldn’t find even a simple description on their website that concisely summarizes what Mint is and does (but there is an FAQ). Here’s a pretty good review that explains it all well. Mint doesn’t work on hosted blog services like TypePad or Blogger, by the way, only on a Linux server (see the requirements for details).

Google Analytics offers much of the same features as Mint, plus additional/different ones, and it’s free (you pay $30 for Mint). Yet I feel pretty good about supporting an independent developer. Plus Mint’s running directly off my own server. And there are some very neat add-ins called Peppers written by other independent developers. Quite a community out there.

Next up – install Gizmo. This is an internet phone service that I tried last year. Wasn’t too impressed then (and I’m still not convinced about it now) so I continued with Skype.

But if you’re a regular listener to the FIR podcasts, you might have noticed in the last couple of shows that the sound quality when I speak has been a bit iffy. Shel and I record each show over Skype, with me here in Europe and him over there in the USA doing the actual recording. We have no idea what’s causing the poor sound quality with Skype. Anyway, we’ve decided to try something else for Monday’s show. Likely to be Gizmo.

Time’s marching so I’d better get it installed

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Neville Hobson is the author of the popular blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: