Monitive – 1 year on

Last year the founder of Monitive.com, Lucian Daniliuc, contacted me, asking if we wanted to run a competition to giveaway 10 Monitive licenses; I accepted and we launched our first ever competition.

I was also given a Monitive account, and have been using it for a year now. In this post I am going to review my experience of the service after a years use.

Latency

One of the main things I use Monitive for is to monitor site response times. Latency is very important, and can have a huge effect on traffic, as the longer people have to wait, the more people you loose before the page loads.

With superfast broadband, many of us are becoming incredibly impatient, and if something isn’t responding, we might ditch a site in a matter of milliseconds.

Before using Monitive, I had no idea how long Technology Bloggers took to respond. Monitive allows me to see on a daily basis how long the blog takes to respond, in multiple locations, all around the world. I know that if you live in Liechtenstein or Ireland, the blog on average seems to take around half a second (500 ms) to respond. In the UK it’s about 0.6 seconds, whereas in the USA, it takes just over a second.

This lets me ask the site’s host why the latency varies so much, and ask them what they can do to improve global response times.

Response times Technology Bloggers - April 2012 to April 2013

A chart showing the average global response times of Technology Bloggers.

Uptime

Whilst response time is important, it has no value if your site is offline. Monitive is accessing Technology Bloggers every 5 minutes from hundreds of locations around the world, to ensure that the site is live and accessible. If the blog goes offline for more than 3 minutes, I am sent an email. These are my personal settings, you can make checks/notifications more/less frequent, and can get notified via SMS and Twitter.

Quite disappointingly I report that Technology Bloggers went offline 23 times in the last 30 days. During this period, you couldn’t access the site for more than 10 minutes on 6 occasions. If I wasn’t using Monitive, I would only have spotted one or two of these outages myself. I can now report these to the site’s host, and ask why the site has gone offline so many times.

Uptime graph 2013

A chart of the uptime and downtime Technology Bloggers experienced in April/May 2013.

Unless you pay for load balancing, to mirror your site on various servers across the world, and effectively distribute traffic, to ensure 100% uptime, you should expect some downtime. It is expected that most sites will have some go down at some point, however how frequently this happens, and how long they remain offline for is something to consider.

We have a 99.9% uptime guarantee on the blog, yet this year so far, uptime has been 99.85%, meaning around five hours of downtime has occurred this year already.

Improvements

One thing I don’t like about the service is that it doesn’t allow on demand checks. I think it would be very useful to be able to check the status (including response time) of a site at a desired location, whenever you want; but as of yet, this can’t be done.

As I have set Monitive to check the blog every 5 minutes, and then notify me after 3 minutes of downtime, it can be a while before the system updates. For example, if the site is checked at 13:00 and at 13:01 I check and the site is down, it wont be checked again until 13:05, and I wont be notified until 13:08. In such a situation, being able to check the current status, could be useful.

Chadrack

One of the winners of our Monitive competition was Chadrack Irobogo. I asked him what he thought of the service.

“I can say, it was great because throughout the period I was able to know what was going on with my site. Before then, I really did not know anything about site monitoring. It was during the use of this program I learned when my blog was either down or up. And all of these was done without my doing anything. Unfortunately, I cant really give any details about the program. Only thing I can say is, it is really good.”

I agree with Chadrack on his point about the service being an eye opener to downtime. I really didn’t understand how often sites go down, even if only for very short periods of time.

Like Chadrack, Monitive is the first commercial website monitoring service I have used, so I don’t know how Monitive compares to its competitors. I am however suitable impressed by their services to want to keep using them.

If you are interested in Monitive’s services, do check out their uptime monitoring website. I have found website monitoring very useful, and am thankful to Monitive for my license, and for giving us prizes for our competition last year.

Technology Bloggers community awards 2012

Slightly later than last year (I was on holiday in Italy over New Year this year), I am now going to announce the winners of Technology Bloggers community awards!

This is the second year of community awards, and this year, the awards were democratic. I gave you (the community), the opportunity to suggest awards and nominations, and then you voted on who you wanted to win each of the six awards.

This year each award had 4 nominees, meaning that there were 24 nominations; which were filled by 13 different people.

You have voted, and the results are now in. Here are this years winners.

Top Commenter

Nominees:

  • Lillie Ammann
  • Peter Lee
  • David Jamieson
  • Neil Duncan

Runner Up

Lillie AmmannThe runner up for this years top commenter community award is Lillie Ammann! Congratulations for Lillie for her nomination, she doesn’t comment very often but when she does, it is always kind words and useful feedback :-) You can find out more about Lillie by visiting her blog.

Winner

Peter LeeWith 57% of the vote, the clear winner of this years top commenter award is Peter Lee! My thanks go out to Peter for his fantastic contribution to the blog. Peter commented on the blog around 60 times in 2012, which is quite a lot! Never were his comments bland or meaningless though, they always added value to the article, which is a credit to Peter and the community. Peter has a website which you can visit called Computer How To Guide.

Top Writer (Contributor)

Nominees:

  • Alan Tay
  • Hayley Anderson
  • Nick Sotos
  • Chadrack Irobogo

Runner Up

Hayley AndersonHayley Anderson took 29% of the community vote, putting her in second place. Hayley likes to write about nanotechnology, a very interesting industry which is advancing all the time. Hayley maintains a website herself, which is about Microscopes.

Winner

Alan TayThe winner of the top contributor category of the community awards 2012 is Alan Tay! So far Alan has contributed 7 articles to the blog, and displays many of the characteristics of a good writer. Alan often replies to people who comment on his articles, and generally writes thoughtful and useful material. Alan is a specialist in IT Security, which he blogs about on his own site too.

Top Writer (Author+)

Nominees:

  • Christopher Roberts
  • Jonny Hankins
  • Steve August
  • Ron Fletcher

Runner Up

Jonny HankinsIn a very respectable second place is Jonny Hankins. Author and innovation and responsibility researcher for the Bassetti Foundation, who currently resides in Boston (USA), Jonny has been a great author this year. His posts have inspired, amazed and amused, making him a true credit to the blog. Check out more of his work by visiting the Bassetti Foundation website.

Winner

Christopher RobertsIt is with the utmost pride that I announce that the winner of the top author award 2012 is me – Christopher Roberts! It was a close fought contest between me and Jonny and myself, with 37.5% and 62.5% of the vote respectively – I am honoured to have won. Personally I feel that Jonny’s posts are often better than mine, but I shall acknowledge to the public vote and declare myself the winner. Thank you everyone :-)

Rising Star

Nominees:

  • Steve August
  • Jonny Hankins
  • David Jamieson
  • Chadrack Irobogo

Runner Up

Steve AugustWith 25% of the vote Steve August is the runner up for this award. Steve is relatively new to the community, and yet in the 5 months of 2012 that he was part of the community, he posted 7 app reviews – his preferred area of writing. Steve also contributes to Alpha Digits where you can read more of his work.

Winner

Jonny Hankins63% of the vote saw Jonny Hankins take the 2012 community award for rising star! My heartfelt congratulations go to Jonny for his fantastic contribution to the blog. With 59 posts and a series under his belt already, who knows where 2013 will take his ever progressing blogging career!

Most Friendly Member of the Community

Nominees:

  • Tammi Kibler
  • Peter Lee
  • Lillie Ammann
  • Chadrack Irobogo

Runner Up

Lillie AmmannLillie Ammann was also nominated for this category, and took 25% of the vote, making her the runner up for this award 2012. Again, well done Lillie for the nomination and votes, you are a truly valued member of the community.

Winner
Peter LeePeter Lee took his second award this year by winning the most friendly member of the community award. Huge congratulations to Peter, as willing two awards is quite something! I look forward to your participation in 2013 :-)

Top All Rounder

Nominees:

  • Christopher Roberts
  • Jonny Hankins
  • Alan Tay
  • Chadrack Irobogo

Runner Up

Jonny HankinsNow for the big one, the top all rounder. In the past I have referred to this as “Technology Bloggers ultimate award” as it is for someone who is an example an outstanding community member, which is why it is very deservingly that Jonny Hankins was nominated for this award, which he claimed runner up status for. One community award and runner up for another two, not a bad 2012 Jonny!

Winner
Christopher RobertsI am truly humbled to have received 91% of the vote for this award. I love this blog and the people who make it as great as it is, which is probably why I put so much time and effort into posting content, moderating comments, tweaking things and generally just doing my best to make it a fantastic site to visit. Again, I would like to thank everyone who voted for me, I am truly grateful.

Well that’s 2012’s awards over, 6 categories, with 7 unique winners and runners up, democratically chosen by you: the readers of the blog.

2012 Community Award Winners

2012 was a brilliant year for us, and our visitor numbers prove it. Here is a sneak peak at some traffic stats that I wouldn’t usually publicly release.

Technology Bloggers Traffic

The number of visits the blog has had (per month) since it started on April the 13th 2011.

Happy New Year everyone, here’s to 2013!

Community awards nominations 2012

In around three weeks time I hope to reveal the winners of Technology Bloggers 2012 community awards.

To do that, there are a few things that need to happen, one of which is for you (the community) to vote as to who you feel deserves each award.

The aim of the awards is to recognise key and valued members of the community, and to celebrate the brilliant personalities that make up our blog.

Here is a quote from my article on the awards last year:

“…at the end of the year, we shall celebrate the people who have helped make this blog the huge success it is today.”

Last week I asked for your award suggestions and comments, and from the response I received, I am assuming that everyone pretty much liked the awards we had last year, so we are going to stick with them.

So, without further ado, let the voting commence!

Below you can find the 6 awards that are up for grabs, and the nominations for each award. Read the description of the award, consider the candidates and then cast your vote as to who you feel should be claimed victor.

Top Commenter

Who do you feel posts the most valuable and interesting comments, which you always enjoy reading?


Lillie Ammann's AvatarPeter Lee's AvatarDavid Jamieson's AvatarNeil Duncan's Avatar

Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Top Commenter


Top Writer (Contributor)

Which writer do you feel has made the most valuable contribution to the blog in the last year. Who’s articles do you love to read?


Alan Tay's AvatarHayley Anderson's AvatarNick Sotos's AvatarChadrack Irobogo's Avatar

Links to writers archive pages: Alan, Hayley, Nick and Chadrack.
Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Top Contributor


Top Writer (Author+)

Who has been your favourite author (including those of editor and admin status) this year?


Christopher Roberts AvatarJonny Hankins AvatarSteve August's AvatarRon Fletcher's Avatar

Links to writers archive pages: Christopher, Jonny, Steve and Ron.
Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Top Author


Rising Star

Who do you feel has great potential and in the future will become an ever more important member of the community?


Steve August's AvatarJonny Hankins AvatarDavid Jamieson's AvatarChadrack Irobogo's Avatar

Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Rising Star


Most Friendly Member of the Community

Who do you feel deserves this years award for conducting themselves in the most friendly, and supportive way they can?


Tammi Kibler's AvatarPeter Lee's AvatarLillie Ammann's AvatarChadrack's Avatar

Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Most Friendly Member of the Community


Top All Rounder

As I said last year, this is Technology Bloggers ultimate award! Who do you feel is the bet all round community member?


Christopher Roberts AvatarJonny Hankins AvatarAlan Tay's AvatarChadrack Irobogo's Avatar

Technology Bloggers Community Awards 2012 - Top All Rounder


I will be adding voting widgets to the sidebar to make sure that we get a reasonable level of votes in.

Voting closes on the 30th of December 2012. The winners will be announced in the community awards article hopefully on December the 31st, or soon after.

Congratulations to all nominated, happy voting!

My 7 Links – An interesting blogging idea

The other day I got an email from one of our commenters, Peter (from Computer How to Guide) in which he said that I had been nominated to continue his ‘7 Links Challenge‘.

After reading Peter’s article, I did a bit of digging and managed to find out what the 7 Link Challenge is, and who started it off.

The 7 Link Challenge (or My 7 Links as it is called by its founder) is where a blogger writes about seven articles they have written, and then nominates other (usually five) bloggers to do the same.

It is an interesting idea with three obvious intentions: firstly to create awareness of ‘posts gone by’ (old posts which have sunk into the archives); secondly to create a flow of PageRank, or ‘link juice’ between a whole host of different blogs, ultimately pushing everyone up the rankings – in theory; and thirdly to drive more traffic to different sites, by bloggers raising awareness of other blogs that they read or contribute for.

The goal of the challenge is

“To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.”

I think Technology Bloggers could benefit from such a post, and I would like to dig back into the archives and find my seven articles, so I am going to give it a shot!

The seven categories bloggers are suppose to find an article for are: your most beautiful post; your most popular post; your most controversial post; your most helpful post; a post whose success surprised you; a post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved; and the post that you are most proud of. I am only going to do this for my posts, so other authors with sufficient posts can do this too :-)

My 7 LinksOkay, here goes…

My most ‘beautiful’ post

A bit of an odd name, but I guess this means a post you feel is brilliantly crafted/well written.

The thing is, if I don’t think an article is brilliant, I won’t post it, therefore I love all my posts almost equally. How can I choose my favourite? I don’t think I can, so I am not going to – no one post stands out for me. Check out all my posts in my writer archive to see which ones I like :-)

My most popular post

This one was an easy one to pick, I just had to see which posts had been read the most, and which had the most comments.

That post was: Is your computer damaging your eyes? The post has had hundreds of views, 37 comments to date, and users spend on average over four minutes on the page, making it the overall most popular post that I have written.

My most controversial post

I hate to sound like I am chickening out again, but I am really not sure what to pick! I try to make sure that most of my posts stir up a bit of a debate, but again, no one really stands out for me. Do you think I have a most controversial post?

My most helpful post

I like to think that all my posts are helpful, either by updating you on the latest tech news, by reviewing a product, or by telling you how to do something.

The post that should be crowned my most helpful post really depends on who you are. If you are a blog owner who wanted to find out how to claim your blog with Technorati then that article was probably the most useful to you, again, if you were interested in new radiotelescopes, The world’s most powerful radio telescope is now functioning! is probably of more use to you. What do you think my most helpful article is?

The post which I was surprised by its success

There are a few posts which I was surprised with, either because they didn’t really get the response I thought they would, or because I was pleasantly surprised by the response.

I have chosen an article which pleasantly surprised me, as I shouted out to the community, and the community responded! That post was: Why would you turn comments off? you can read the follow up post here: Why you would turn off comments.

The post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

At the beginning of last month I posted an article entitled Are you doing your bit for the blog? and I really hoped that it would receive similar community attention to what the ‘Why would you turn comments off?’ article did, but it didn’t, and that somewhat disappointed me :-(

The post that I am most proud of

Looking through all my old posts, this one jumped out at me straight away, as I remember how stunned and please I was when I wrote it. There was no other post that I could be more proud of (yet) than this one.

What was it? This: Look what WE have achieved! after just two weeks the blog was doing so well, and I was just so pleased and proud of my creation :-)

My nominations

Okay, time for me to challenge some people to find their seven articles. My nominations are:

  • Jonny – One of our fantastic authors
  • James – One of our friends from Windows Talk
  • Ari – Someone whose blog I have been following for many years now
  • Chadrack – A good friend of mine in the blogosphere
  • Lillie – Someone who has provided me with encouragement on many projects
  • You – If you have a blog, I challenge you too!

If you want to find out more about My 7 Links, click the link and it will take you to what I believe to site of the founder of the challenge.