Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Nobody cares

Except maybe Bozzetto and Cavitation. But I'm going to post this anyways. This is one of my "giving back to the blogosphere" posts, where I share my wisdom.

As many of you know, I prefer the Firefox browser to Internet Explorer. I'm not going to go into details of why, as this is not a plug for Firefox. However, for those of you who don't use Firefox, keep in mind it is the official browser of Me, CherkyB, and it is available via a big orange button on the right side of this page down below the monthly archive list. And I make big bucks if you decide to switch after getting it from my big orange button.

Big bucks that I have made only once. Thanks Rhonda.

Anyways, I switched to Firefox long before I became a (poorly) paid shill for it. Mainly because of the tabbed browsing that MS has now decided to kinda copy in IE7 (and that yahoo toolbar had available as an extension to IE6), and because its popup blocker worked better than IE6 + google toolbar + yahoo toolbar combined.

So I was chatting with Bozzetto about a week ago about how I was watching the UPS tracking page for my T-shirt delivery and hitting reload every couple seconds all day, and he was telling me how he liked this one feature of the Opera browser that automatically reloads the page and lets you know if there have been any changes. I said, "Hmm...I bet that feature is available as an add-on for Firefox."

I went browsing through the 5 bazillion add-on available. I came across this one called "Check4Change" that looked promising. I installed it and have been using it for almost a week now. It rocks!

It took me about a day to get the hang of it, but I now use it to track my AdSense total as well as to track my pageload activity at statcounter. It worked great for the UPS tracking, too.

Here are a couple of my "tricks of the trade". Maybe they are in the documentation, but I didn't really find any documentation.

First thing is that the default configuration is, to me, not particularly useful for pages that you expect to update more than once. If you poke around, you can discover that the default configuration is found under tools->add-ons->extensions-> Check4Change options. You're going to want to check the box for "don't stop monitoring after first change." That way, like it says, it'll keep monitoring after the page has changed until you tell it to stop. By default, it gives up after the first change.

I don't know why you'd want it to do that.

The second thing to figure out is what you want to monitor. C4C requires you to highlight something on the page, and then right click and tell it to check that for change. At first, I thought this was silly, so I highlighted the entire page and told it to watch that. Shortly thereafter, I figure out the deal.

A lot of pages have a timestamp on them that tells you the last time you refreshed the page. The UPS tracking website does it. So does statcounter. Every time you refresh the page, that time changes, and C4C reports a change. A lot of pages also have dynamic advertising that can change with every refresh. So you really want to figure out the minimum amount of stuff to highlight to accomplish your goal.

For AdSense, I highlight the "Total Earning" sum at the bottom of the table. For statcounter, I go to the "recent pageload activity" page, and I highlight the time of the top thing in the table. Both of those have worked very well for me.

This has been a great time saver for me, as I no longer have to fritter away countless hours checking my AdSense total over and over. When it changes, a window pops up to let me know, and it highlights the tab in the browser. Now I know for sure, for instance, that there's a pretty big time lag between when someone clicks on an ad and when the click is registered in the AdSense account, as statcounter tells me when there are people actively reading the site, and AdSense tells me when clicks show up, and they are rarely ever at the same time. Also, clicks seem to show up in bulk, like it'll go from 0 to 5 clicks all at once during a time when no one is at the site, and I know none of my readers ever clicks on five ads in one session as it triggers the fraud prevention algorithm over at AdSense and I don't get paid.

Anyways, give it a shot. I don't make any money at all off Check4Change. This is just a plug for something I like.


Rhonda said...

Wow you've got this down to a science!

Rob said...

of course we care...everything you write is absolutely the most important stuff....at least according to you ;-) !!

CherkyB said...

Rhonda, thank you for recognizing my genius.

Cavitation, you're just jealous. I bet you've already installed C4C.

Nava said...

We do care.

What were you saying?

CherkyB said...

I was saying how you should consider changing to Firefox so you can have it automatically alert you when you make money off the old blog.

JohnnyB said...

Maybe you should have a Firefox tips theme that you can hit once every couple three weeks or so.

I downloaded Firefox onto the work laptop, added Check4Change, and set it up like you said. Looks cool.

Of course, now I'll need to update statcounter, as it says no one's look at my page since December'06...

CherkyB said...

Well, your blog does kinda suck...

Nava said...

I saw today that you can set the URL in Firefox to be in purple.

Now, to me, that is the strongest argument of them all!!!