My speaking schedule for late 2008

Every few months I like to give people an update on where I expect to be over the next few months. I apologize in advance if I have to decline other speaking invitations, but I’m genuinely trying to travel less and speak less these days to get a better work/life balance. Here are my tentative plans:

This week: In-laws are visiting, so I will be posting less and slower on email.

August 11-15, 2008: I’m planning to attend SIGGRAPH 2008 down in Los Angeles. I haven’t been in 8-9 years, so I want to see what I’ve missed in the computer graphics field and maybe catch up with a few folks from grad school.

August 18-22, 2008: I’ll be at SES San Jose on a keynote panel about the future of search with Robert Scoble, Danny Sullivan, Tim Westergren of Pandora and others. It should be a lot of fun. :)

Added: November 5-7, 2008: I spoke on a panel at the Web 2.0 summit on the subject of “Preventing Virtual Blight”.

November 11-14, 2008: Gotta be PubCon in Vegas! A family member has a birthday near the beginning of the conference, but I’ll be there in time for the traditional Search Engine Super Session.

January 19-21-ish, 2009: I don’t have all the details yet, but I’m planning to be in Washington D.C. for the presidential inauguration and maybe an inaugural ball.

February 3-7, 2009: I’ll be down in Long Beach, CA for TED 2009, just to soak up what TED is like as an attendee.

I’m skipping Black Hat and DEFCON, even though I wanted to see what they’re like. It looks like I’ll probably miss WordCamp because of SIGGRAPH. :(

By the way, if this sounds like a lot of stuff to you, just be glad you’re not watching as many conferences as Robert Scoble does on Upcoming:

Rober Scoble's schedule

Sheesh. :)

Twitter/Summize search flaky?

I’ve started to post more on my twitter account recently. Less than two weeks ago, Twitter bought Summize. Good for them; I like both companies. But http://search.twitter.com/search?q=wordpress+mattcutts should return this entry in Twitter’s search results. I don’t see it in Twitter’s search results:

No joy on a Twitter search

What’s the story, Twitter/Summize folks? I can’t escape the feeling that I would have found that entry on pre-acquisition Summize. Does anyone know more about when Twitter’s search has gaps?

Best WordPress Plugin for Related Posts?

On my “Matt Cutts” twitter account a few days ago I asked other folks which WordPress “Related Posts” plug-in they would recommend. It seems like “Related Posts” extensions go in and out of vogue every few years, so I wanted to hear what smart folks were using lately. The plugins that got recommended the most to me were:

I did a little digging on each of these. My criteria (in order) was: the easiest plugin to install, that appeared to be actively maintained, and ideally would give me lots of options. The first one I ended up trying was Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP), and mitcho has really done a fantastic job on it:

- It’s trivial to install.
- You don’t have to edit your WordPress template.
- The relevance is good: the suggested posts are related, and you can tweak thresholds and how things are computed if you want.

So I think I’m happy. Even the things that I might want down the road (show the date of posts, RSS feed support, and sentence-aware excerpts) are on the to-do list. But the plug-in is very usable even without any tweaking. I’ll include a screenshot of the options page in case you want to see what sort of flexibility you have:
Yet Another Related Page Plugin

Well done, mitcho! If you feel strongly that another Related Posts plugin is better, feel free to say so in the comments.

I love my pedometer

I’ve written about my Omron pedometer once before, but I wanted to mention it again because I like it so much. Recent research suggests that using a pedometer can lead to more walking and better health.

I’ve been carrying a pedometer for a little over a year now, and I’ve done almost four million steps since starting to use it:

Over 3M steps!

Just recently I finished a month where I did 10,000 steps or more every day. Once you start a streak of over 10K steps/day, it’s addictive to stay on the streak. In my opinion, a good pedometer is a secret weapon to get into better shape.

The only thing that would make this Omron pedometer perfect is if Omron would open or document their protocol so that Mac and Linux users could write their own pedometer software. At one point I started trying to reverse engineer the USB protocol myself using a program called SnoopyPro:

Snoopy Pro screenshot

But really, who has the time to sit down and reverse engineer a whole USB device from scratch these days? :( It would be better if Omron would just document their protocol so other people could write a Linux/Mac driver.

New Toolbar PageRanks coming

Hey folks, I wanted to let you know that new toolbar PageRank values should become visible over the next few days. I’m expecting that also in the next few days that we’ll be expiring some older penalties on websites.

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