How to Monitor Your Flickr Album

The best way to keep tabs on who is linking to your Flickr photo album is through Technorati, the blog-tracking service. But it’s not as straightforward as it could be, so here’s a guide, based almost entirely on that provided by the Technology Evangelist Ed Kohler, for which I offer grateful thanks.

Setting up the Technorati end

Sign up for Technorati if you don’t already have an account.

Go to Technorati’s start claim page, and click on the Blogs tab:

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Scroll to the bottom of the page to the Claim a Blog section and paste in your Flickr.com page into the URL box:

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Click on the Begin Claim button:

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You’ll be taken through a four step process, the next stage of which is to choose your “claim method”. Use the Post Claim method if you’re offered more than one, by clicking on the blue link, as per below:

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In the next screen follow the instructions by selecting the prepared code in the light green box:

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Setting up the Flickr end

This is where it gets trickier: open a second browser window, go to your Flickr account and choose a recent photo that’s public. Choose the “Edit title, description, and tags” link on the right hand side:

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In the description box of the photo delete all existing descriptions (copy them if you like to a text file — you can always paste them back later.)

Copy the code from the Technorati box into the Description field of your Flickr photo, deleting all the stuff that isn’t the link:

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(Removing both other descriptions and the HTML code seems to be important. Without it, it might not work.)

Save changes to the photo:

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Wrapping it Up

Now go back to the Technorati page you were on before and click on the button “Release the Spiders!” This will instruct Technorati to go look at your Flickr page and look for the code:

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When this is complete you should receive a message on the Technorati page saying it’s successfully added your Flickr page to your list of monitored blogs. If it’s unsuccessful, go back to the Flickr image and check

  • the photo is public 
  • you’ve removed all other Description text 
  • you’ve removed the HTML from the link

and try releasing the spiders again.

Monitoring your Flickr photos

So how do you actually keep tabs on the Technorati page?

Once your Flickr page is “claimed” it should appear on your Technorati page (http://technorati.com/people/technorati/[YOURNAME]). Click on the green Authority button below the link to your Flickr page:

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You should see a list of those blogs and websites linking to your photos:

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Either bookmark this page, or else subscribe to its RSS feed. Either way, you should now be able to keep tabs on who’s linking to your Flickr photos.

A New Image for Your Email Address

John Graham-Cumming, author of Bayesian spam filter POPFile, points me to a neat tool he’s created which will turn an email address into an image that may spare you some spam from bots scouring web pages for email addresses:

This site converts a text-based email address (such as me@example.com) and creates an image that can be inserted on a web site. The image contains the email address and is easily read by a human, but is intended to fool web crawlers that search for email addresses.

I can’t guarantee that this is foolproof, but Project Honeypot reports that image obfuscation of an email address is very effective (they say 100%) against web crawlers.

Enter your email address in the box and the server returns a string of gobbledygook which contains the email address (padded with a large amount of random data to avoid a dictionary attack) encrypted using a key known only to the server. When the image is loaded into the web page the server decrypts the email address and creates the image. (The email address is not stored by the server; it resides only in the HTML on your website.)

 Here’s what mine looks like:


Made using jeaig

If you need to put a contact address on your webpage or blog, but hate the amount of spam you’re getting, it’s worth a try.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Crash Maps

Another intriguing use of Google Earth: to map statistical likelihood of car crashes, from Ohio State University. Interesting stuff, though it doesn’t explore what I think is the key factor in crashes: unpredictability. In a place like the UK everyone follows strict rules (supposedly), so any deviation is unpredictable and therefore likely to cause an accident. In a place like Indonesia the only predictable element is that drivers won’t be predictable, so other drivers allow for odd behavior. Statistically, there should be many more crashes in a place like Jakarta than there are. Why? Because everyone knows other drivers will do weird things, and so they’re ready for them.

What makes this model novel is that scientists have now combined the statistical software with Google Earth–a program that offers an interactive map of the entire globe–to map the results as color-coded lines. Google Earth is able to perform this function because it reads the output from the statistical model in KML files; much as a Web browser reads HTML files, the KML files tell the program where on the planet to draw lines or place images, explains Holloman.

What Goes Around…

I’m belatedly playing with Microsoft’s new Windows Live Writer. I like it, but then I’ve always been a fan of blog writing tools. Here’s a list of them I started keeping, although I’m pretty sure it’s out of date by now.

But does it not strike you as somewhat strange that we’ve gotten to this point? I mean, those blog writing tools were available nearly three years ago, doing pretty much what Windows Live Writer does now — WYSIWYG authoring, HTML source code editing, Web preview mode, adding photos, compatibility with different blog services, some weird formatting and error messages, etc etc. In fact the only thing it’s got the others don’t have, map publishing, doesn’t yet work. Oh, it’s free. But otherwise Dmitry Chestnykh of BlogJet seems to have a point when he claims Microsoft has ripped off his software.

So is this where Web 2.0 has taken us? All the way back to a small software tool that lets us write our blog postings offline so we can upload them later?

What Goes Around…

I’m belatedly playing with Microsoft’s new Windows Live Writer. I like it, but then I’ve always been a fan of blog writing tools. Here’s a list of them I started keeping, although I’m pretty sure it’s out of date by now.

But does it not strike you as somewhat strange that we’ve gotten to this point? I mean, those blog writing tools were available nearly three years ago, doing pretty much what Windows Live Writer does now — WYSIWYG authoring, HTML source code editing, Web preview mode, adding photos, compatibility with different blog services, some weird formatting and error messages, etc etc. In fact the only thing it’s got the others don’t have, map publishing, doesn’t yet work. Oh, it’s free. But otherwise Dmitry Chestnykh of BlogJet seems to have a point when he says Microsoft has ripped off his software.

So is this where Web 2.0 has taken us? All the way back to a small software tool that lets us write our blog postings offline so we can upload them later?