Feedburner Analytics

How to stop FeedBurner from uglifying your clean URLs

I’ve had to do this a few times in the past, so found myself googling it again this morning when I was updating some feeds…

If you use a Feedburner feed to allow others to receive posts from your blog or site, you may see URLs like this come through:

[box color=”gray”]http://mysite.com/post-title/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+myfeed

So what causes the nasty and very additions to the URL (the bit that starts with ?utm_source)?

Answer? Google Analytics within FeedBurner (remember that Feedburner is owned by Google)…

There is a positive, in that if you use Google Analytics, then this will allow you to customise your Feed to give you additional information on specific campaigns or traffic sources.  However for most content creators, even if they use Google Analytics, they won’t be making changes in this area.  For me as a Woopra Analytics and WordPress user, it just makes my site configuration look ugly.  For those with Domino Blogs, the extra information on the URL tends to cause nasty 404 errors.

Do how to fix?

Go to your Feedburner account, select the feed you wish to change, then Configure Stats (under the Optimize tab).  Finally, disable the checkbox marked ‘Track clicks as a traffic source in Google Analytics’.  You can leave ‘Item views’ and ‘Item link clicks’ checked if you wish:

Feedburner Analytics

Your feed URLs will now look like the much more elegant:

[box color=”gray”]http://mysite.com/post-title/[/box]

Much better!

Google Logo

Managing Macs at Google Scale

Google LogoGoogle has one of the largest managed fleets of Macintosh computers in the world. With tens of thousands of assets to manage and an ever-changing security landscape, the organization has had to develop many of its own tools to effectively maintain its fleet and keep its end-users safe and productive. Macintosh Operations is the internal team tasked with developing these tools and managing these machines globally.

Interesting deck and audio shared at the Lisa ’13 conference earlier this month by Clay Caviness and Edward Eigerman, discussing how Google manages its large estate of 43,000 OS X systems.  (Sadly it is not available on YouTube or Slideshare and cannot be embedded here.)


Why did Microsoft think this was a good idea?


It’s one thing to design a marketing campaign around attacking one of your competitors’ business practice (personally I don’t think that’s a great idea in itself), yet another to launch a range of merchandise advertising that campaign.

Does it make me think badly of Google?  Nope, along with what I believe is the vast majority of Google customers/users, I know the downside of using their products.  Its a value judgement I make every time I use them – is it worth giving away a degree of privacy to get these tools for free (or at very low cost in the case of our paid Apps subscriptions)?

Does it make me think badly of Microsoft?  Absolutely.  It seems to me to be a cheap shot from a company that is desperately short of its own innovation and fighting for its life.

As Steve Jobs once said… ‘The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste.’  This effort shows that more clearly than ever.

And another one bites the dust… Acqhires are not good for users.

So many recent acquisitions (or so called acqhires) have lead to the effective death of great third party solutions.

Here’s the latest:

We’re excited to let you know that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

You can view our public announcement here, but I wanted to reach out directly to make sure you were aware of the news.

We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to build products for all of our wonderful users who have supported us over the years. We can’t thank you enough.

We look forward to working on some new and exciting projects at Google!

I adore the Sparrow email clients, especially the Mac OS X version.  However, I’m guessing that Google wants to get the iOS one off the table, and to get the very talented working on messaging clients for Android. Very disappointed indeed.

Image:Frustrated by Google account restrictions (especially Apps vs Plus)?

Frustrated by Google account restrictions (especially Apps vs Plus)?

As anyone who follows me on Twitter will vouch, I have been getting increasingly narked with Google’s accounts recently!  As you may know, many of Google services do not support Google Apps (i.e. paid) accounts – most notably Google+.  Hence switching from Docs to Plus to Feedburner to Analytics has been a real trial, as multiple accounts are involved.  Add in the option to merge some data from one account to another having to use a temporary login account, and I’ve been close to throwing the towel in!

But… there is an answer.  An answer that I was not aware of and I think isn’t generally well known.  You can login to more than one Google account simultaneously in the same browser:

Google is rolling out a feature I mentioned in a previous post: signing in to multiple Google accounts simultaneously from the same browser. When you go to the Google accounts page, you might see a new option: “multiple sign-in”. If you don’t see the new feature, it will probably be enabled soon.

Image:Frustrated by Google account restrictions (especially Apps vs Plus)?

After clicking on the “change” link, Google informs that this is an advanced feature and that it will only work for Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Reader, Google Voice, App Engine and Google Code. When multiple sign-in is enabled, a drop-down is displayed next to your email address at the top of the page, so you can quickly switch to a new account.

“If you use multiple sign-in, the first account you sign in to will be your default account. If you visit other Google products that don’t support multiple accounts after you’ve signed in, you will automatically sign in to your default account for that product. If you sign out of any Google product while signed in to any account, you will be signed out of all your Google Accounts at once.”

Do this for each of your Google accounts as your browser seamlessly knows which ID to use, and if there is any confusion, gives you an option to change account on the fly:

Many thanks to Donnie Berkholz of Redmonk for passing on the tip!

Just as IBM readies LotusLive Symphony for launch, Google Docs ups the ante

When we launched the new Google Docs last April, one of the big changes was moving comments to the sidebar and letting people reply to comments. Today, we’re updating comments in Google Docs to facilitate rapid and seamless discussions and integrate with email in an intuitive way. Since there are a number of significant improvements, this update is only available for newly created documents for now.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zmOYziFKZw?rel=0&hd=1&w=560&h=349]

To start, we’ve improved the discussion flow by adding ownership and edit rights to individual comments. Each comment now has a timestamp and profile picture.

More >

My comments:
1) Google Docs really is an incredibly easy to use and powerful online editing environment – this just takes it to the next level for team editing.
2) LotusLive Symphony looked great at Lotusphere, and seemed set to rival Google Docs when it gets released.  But… when will this be?  Still no news on production release date.
3) Google Docs still has the freemium model on its side, I wonder whether IBM will compete with this, or stick to a fully paid model?

Use Google Docs? You might want to read this…

Received this in the mail today:

Google Apps: Important changes coming to published Google Docs

Hello Google Apps admin,

We wanted to let you know about some important changes around published documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

In a few weeks, documents, spreadsheets and presentations that have been explicitly published outside your organization and are linked to from a public website will be crawled and indexed, which means they can appear in search results you see on Google.com and other search engines. There is no change for documents published inside your organization or shared privately.

If you wish to prevent users from publishing documents to the public internet, we now offer an admin control in the Google Apps Control Panel that allows users to continue to ‘share documents outside the domain’ without allowing them to publish the files to the public Internet.  To change this setting, follow these steps:

– Login to your admin control panel
– Select Service Settings > Docs
– Un-check the option ‘Users can publish documents to the public internet’

If a user does not want their published Docs to be crawled, then the user must unpublish them by doing the following:

– Go to the ‘Share tab’
– For documents and spreadsheets, choose ‘Publish as web page’. For presentations choose ‘Publish/embed’
– Click on the button that says ‘Stop publishing’

For more details, please see this Help Center article: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=60781

This is a very exciting change as your published docs linked to from public websites will reach a much wider audience of people!

While there is a particular category of docs involved here – “documents, spreadsheets and presentations that have been explicitly published outside your organization and are linked to from a public website“, I believe that there will be a number of users that have done this for very specific reasons that will not have expected the contents of those files to then appear in Google searches.

If that’s you, then now might be a good time to go set those account preferences, or else to unlink the documents from your websites/blogs etc.

Google increases UK price for Google Apps Premier

Headline:  Google ups the cost of its SaaS offering by a massive 32% due to the weakness of the UK Pound!!

The backstory: Google Apps Premier is still only 33GBP per year 😉

We’re writing to let you know about a pricing change to Google Apps Premier Edition.

Google reviews prices on a quarterly basis, and the price of Google Apps Premier ($50 and 25GBP for UK customers) has remained unchanged for the last two years. Effective immediately, the price will change from 25GBP per user, per year to 33GBP per user, per year for all customers transacting in GBP. At renewal, you will be charged the new price of 33GBP per user, per year. The price of Google Apps Premier for USD and EUR will remain at the same price of $50 and €40 respectively, the current increase for GBP reflects the recent unprecedented changes in the dollar versus pound exchange rate.

We believe that Google Apps Premier continues to represent affordable innovation and excellent value for money for businesses of all sizes, compared to traditional desktop solutions. We are committed to continuous innovation and helping businesses like yours benefit from seamless introduction of new features such as Google Video for business, Google Sites and Google voice and video chat. We’re constantly working to build the most innovative products for our customers and look forward to introducing even more functionality to Google Apps Premier.

If you have any questions regarding this update, please don’t hesitate to contact us through the support tab in your Google Apps control panel

I like the tone of the email too – honest and straightfoward…