Standard Sitemaps From Google, Yahoo and Microsoft

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all agreed on a standard specification for sitemap files. Information about the new standard can be found over at sitemaps.org. If you’re not sure what a sitemap is, sitemaps.org has a nice explanation:

Sitemaps are an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their sites that are available for crawling. In its simplest form, a Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.


Fortunately for me, there’s really nothing I have to do to take advantage of this new spec. I’ve had a sitemap file for quite a while, and it gets updated dynamically with every new post I make. My sitemap xml file is quite large.

Joseph Scott brings up an important aspect of this new spec, pinging. Pinging basically means that when you make an update to your blog or site, you can ping Google/Yahoo/MSN to let them know you’ve made an update. That way they can crawl your site sooner to index your new content. Pretty neat.

Gay Cowboys With Sheep

I really like the new RSS “clips” found in Gmail. I added the Yahoo News most e-mailed feed and saw something about gay cowboys in a movie called “Brokeback Mountain“.

In “Brokeback Mountain”, two cowboys fall in love. OK, thats pretty far from the norm, but I can deal with that. The part that creeps me out is they “fall in love while wrangling sheep in Wyoming in 1963.”

Based on an Annie Proulx’s short story, “Brokeback Mountain” is about two cowboys who meet and fall in love while wrangling sheep in Wyoming in 1963. Their love lasts through two decades as they each get married to women and live “normal” lives.

“Moving and majestic,” said The New York Times; “An American masterpiece” said the New York Observer; “Unmissable and unforgettable” said Rolling Stone.

But The Wall Street Journal asked, “Is America ready for Marlboro men who love men?”


To answer that last question, probably, but should we have to be ready? It just seems like such an obvious attempt to generate hype. But that’s OK, I can’t get past the whole sheep rancher thing. There couldn’t have been a lot to do back then other than fuck some sheep and maybe even a dude here and there.

The story line sounds like it would make a better animated show on Comedy Central or Adult Swim than it does a movie.

Murtha Unaware of Consequences

Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) is calling for an immediate withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. All the talk about Iraq deadlines and withdrawal dates recently must have the white flag industry here in the U.S. in a frenzy.

Murtha isn’t just some generic liberal hippie douche bag speaking of what he doesn’t know. Murtha served as a Marine and he’s a combat veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam. He’s served our country more than most people ever will.

The comments by the Pennsylvania lawmaker, who has spent three decades in the House, hold particular weight because he is close to many military commanders and has enormous credibility with his colleagues on defense issues. He voted for the war in 2002, and remains the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.


Now, being such a highly respected member of the defense community, I’d expect him to put some thought into the consequences of our leaving Iraq immediately. Maybe he’s perfectly aware of possible consequences, but if he was I don’t think he’d have made that speech.

How would the troops serving in Iraq feel if we left immediately and in 3 months there’s another Saddam in place? Or even worse, one of the various radical muslim groups could take total control of the country. In either case, say buh-bye to the Kurds as an ethnic group.

Democrats will keep on pressuring the Bush administration to set deadlines until we’re totally out of Iraq. The entire world is in for a hell of a trip when democrats take control of congress and the white house again. I just hope they’re bright enough to realize what they’ve done shortly after they decide to let the islamo-nutjobs reign free. This isn’t a war in Iraq, it’s a war against an idea that growing numbers of muslims worldwide adhere to. That’s it, no way around it. I realize that it’ll take four or five different administrations before some democrats will acknowledge that.

I’m not sure we need to worry about these speeches encouraging the likes of Bin Laden and Zarqawi. I think we should worry more about this sort of thing getting really popular among Democrats and those who oppose the war on terror. Hopefully it won’t encourage the other lefties to really start whining and actually get something done in terms of some sort of troop pullout.

James Joyner of Outside The Beltway has a freakin huge post about Murtha’s speech. He’s got clips from major news outlets. He’s got clips from bloggers. Probably won’t get much better than his post if you’re looking for a roundup.

Professor Bainbridge thinks Iraq is a huge mistake and that leaving now would only compound that error. I can relate to that mentality somewhat though. I’ve come to the conclusion for myself though that going into Iraq was for the good of everyone. Waiting would have just provided more opportunity for attacks in the U.S. If we’re successful in establishing a totally self-contained, self-supported democracy in Iraq, it’ll be a key country in attacking radical muslim terrorists throughout the middle east.

Confederate Yankee has an update stating that Murtha said pretty much the same thing last year. Well, these statements are more likely to encourage a possibly damaging upheaval from Democrats. Maybe they’ll take a hostage. heh.

Brian over at Iowa Voice is noticing this theme too:

Seems like a theme of late, really. A so-called “party leader” comes out and says we must withdraw from Iraq “NOW!”, or face certain defeat. It must have been Representative John Murtha’s turn with the memo

Oh, and Mudville Gazette says the numbers Murtha used in his speech are misleading, sorta:

There have indeed been over 15,500 wounded. But of those, 8375 returned to duty within 72 hours – so although those wounds weren’t funny perhaps those wounds weren’t quite serious either. Still, 7347 troops have been wounded severely enough to require over 72 hours recuperation.

A lot of unscrupulous types who just want to pretend to “support the troops” ignore these facts in favor of the less correct (and more impressive) claim that 15,500 troops have been seriously wounded, or maimed, or mutilated. The real numbers are big enough – I just can’t understand why some feel the need to pad them.

Others currently blogging on this subject:
The Mahablog
Lorie Byrd @ Michelle Malkin
California Conservative
Don Surber
The Counterterrorism Blog
Blogs for Bush
Sister Toldjah
A Blog for All

Again, the key here is simply the fact that the war is against an idea, not Iraq or any specific geographic location.

Oh, in a related update, Dr. Rusty Shackleford is back to blogging. I think he doesn’t remember the nation being so “wobbly” a couple months ago. The amount of wobbly is the same, it’s just being screamed now, where it was shouted previously.

More on Google Analytics

I really like Google Analytics right off the bat. After getting to see some of the reports generated, I’m basically hooked. It just has an overall nice and pleasant way of showing what’s been happening on your site. I like the map, although I’d prefer an integrated Google Maps interface, instead of the Flash. But, there’s a lot of things that could really improve Google Analytics in my eyes.

Hopefully Google has some nice changes in store for Google Analytics, formerly Urchin, now that they’ve changed the name and have gone a totally different direction as far as marketing and product branding goes.

I don’t like the fact that the data used to generate the reports isn’t live. It took about 36 hours for any data to show up in my reports. And it took even longer for Analytics to realize I had installed the code on another site I had setup. I have no doubt they’re experiencing some pretty extreme server loads. Hopefully this is one of those things that will get better as the initial hype dies down. Google Reader was unusable for at least a couple days after it’s initial announcement. Performance got better after a couple days but didn’t improve enough for me to possibly use it as my every day feed reader.

One feature I’d really appreciate in Google Analytics would be the ability to export reports to PDF. I may have to try exporting one of the report pages to PDF in IE. I’m not sure if there’s a FireFox extension to create PDF’s from webpages.

Google Analytics

I’m sorta surprised to see Google offer a free web reporting tool before they have a free live web stats package. Especially a tool like Urchin/Google Analytics, it’s got to have serious potential to make money. Maybe I’m wrong though, maybe that’s why the previous owners sold it to Google.

It’s gonna be useful to me no matter what. I’m excited to hopefully try it out on a few sites that make use of AdWords. There’s a lot of features in Google Analytics that are specifically for conversion tracking from AdWords and I believe Overture. All that’s involved is tagging links used in your search marketing campaigns and then letting Google Analytics know about those tags. That’s only if you use a paid search service other than AdWords. Google AdWords accounts automatically share conversion data with Analytics, provided the accounts are properly linked. There’s even a URL builder to assist in building tagged links for ads.

Should be fun.

Google Analytics

So, I signed up for Google Analytics yesterday. Google Analytics is basically Urchin, but it’s free. Urchin was bought by Google a year ago or so, I’m not exactly sure. We were looking into using Urchin for our sites at work. Google is now offering Urchin for free under the name “Google Analytics”.

I’ve been waiting nearly 24 hours now and still no data is showing up for the sites I installed the code on. Hopefully Google set aside a server or network for current paying Urchin customers. Although it appears they didn’t as some paying Urchin customers are upset. Google Analytics performance yesterday was piss poor, probably due to the huge influx of traffic after the service announcement showed up on Slashdot.

Some others are still waiting on data to show up for their sites too. Luckily I just got Mint, so I’m not totally in the dark. I’ll give it a few more days. If there’s still no data by Thursday evening I’ll stop checking. Google Analytics says it’s still “waiting for data.”