Monthly Archives: January 2007

Australian Open Winner 2007: Roger Federer

Roger Federer holding the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after securing his third Australian Open Tennis titleRoger Federer wins the 2007 Australian Open 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-4 against Fernando Gonzalez, its deja vu. This years Australian Open would bring Roger Federer onto the centre court against the 10th seed Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. In their previous encounters, Federer has a 9-0 match statistic against Gonzalez, however the critics expected this match up to be very different given Fernando Gonzalez’s form coming into the Australian Open 2007 grand slam final.

The match started and as expected, Fernando Gonzalez came out guns blazing – freely hitting his massive forehand. Federer meanwhile was working on combating the Gonzalez power by moving him around the court and forcing him out of his comfort zone. During the first set, Federer was unable to find the form that destroyed Andy Roddick in the semi-finals and was struggling with the windy conditions. With the higher than normal unforced errors coming from Federer, it gave Gonzalez a strong chance in the first set andd it was highly contested; so highly in fact that at one point it looked as though Gonzalez was going to snatch the set from Federer. The first set went down to the wire, requiring a tie breaker to decide and Federer turned up the heat and stormed home 7-6(2).

After a hard hitting first set, Gonzalez required medical intervention before the second set started and received quite a lot of massage into his shoulder. Once the second set got underway, the games were going with serve as expected. It seemed that at least some of the bite was taken out of the Gonzalez game during the second set; whether it was a by product of requiring the massage or just a tired body from the grand slam. Federer took an early point on the Gonzalez serve late in the set and pounced. A few short moments later and Federer had secured the break of serve and in a matter of minutes the set was in Roger Federer’s hands.

The third set of the match followed in a similar fashion to the second. Roger Federer continued to turn up the heat, showing why he is the undisputed world number one player. Although the third set score doesn’t reflect it, the was a one sided affair with Federer firmly controlling the game.

After winning his way through to the Australian Open final, Roger Federer has been setting new standards and breaking quite a few records:

  • After a loss toward the end of last year, he is already on a 50+ match winning streak
  • At the end of the month, he will break the record for the longest time ever held in #1 in the world with an incredible 160 weeks straight
  • At the end of 2006, he had held the #1 title for three end of years running
  • He is equal fifth on the all time grand slam winners list
  • The first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win a grand slam without dropping a set
  • First man to win three grand slam titles at three different tournaments
  • First to make the final four in 11 consecutive grand slams

With statistics like that, it is no surprise that Roger Federer is the Australian Open winner for 2007; he has to be one of, if not the greatest person to play the game of tennis. Roger is now well on his way to hopefully picking up the elusive grand slam (all four grand slam titles in a calendar year). The one tournament he is yet to win is the French Open, however he made the semi-finals in 2005 and the final in 2006; maybe 2007 will be the year of the Fed Express.

WordPress 2.1 Plugin Compatibility

Since the recent release of WordPress 2.1, I thought I would proactively check all of my WordPress plugins for compatibility.

I was pleased to find out that through using the suggested plugin development practices that all of my plugins worked without changing anything. Whilst I was checking the source code for them over, I did squish a few small bugs at the same time; so there have been very minor upgrades to all of the WordPress plugins.

Happy blogging.

Google Duplicate Content Clarified

Apparently there are a lot of people that don’t understand what duplicate content is when publishing content online and/or when applied to search engine optimisation. The fine folk over at the Google Webmasters Blog have clarified some points but I’ll recap if you can’t be bothered in the jump.

Google define duplicate content as blocks of text replicated across multiple pages, either within the same domain or across multiple domains. The content does not need to be a direct copy, a similar but slightly different copy would also be considered duplicate content.

Google report that most duplicate content they encounter is served unintentionally. The most common culprits for duplicate content are alternate versions of the same page such as for printing or a mobile device. The other example they cited is an online store, listing the same item more than once on distinct URLs which are actually linked.

Fortunately, Google also advised what isn’t duplicate content. If you were to translate your page using the Google Translate service, then that wouldn’t be considered duplicate content. That does beg the question though, what if I personally translate an article into German, French and Spanish but it doesn’t match what Google translate produced; would that still be considered duplicate content?

What will Google do if they find duplicate content? In the vast majority of cases their preference is towards filtering the content, however they can/do also adjust their algorithms from time to time as well. If you’ve got two copies (normal, printer) available on your site and you aren’t blocking either one; Google will decided which one they think should be listed and not include the others. This is sub-optimal because you could find that Google chooses your printer version over your normal version, eck!

The Google Webmasters have also provided some helpful hints too:

  • Blocking is the most effective mechanism for a webmaster. If you know you’ve got duplicate content and you don’t want to have the wrong versions listed, then block certain copies using a robots.txt file or a noindex meta tag.
  • 301 redirects should be used if you’re restructuring your site. This item isn’t all that pertinent if you’re was a traditional static HTML site, where you would physically move files around on the server. It is however a good point if you’re using a content management system of some sort, where restructuring your site might actually leave the content on the old URL.
  • Link consistently, don’t link to /mypage, /mypage/ and /mypage/index.html – pick one method and stick to it.
  • Use top level domains to indicate regional content if you can. Google will have a better chance of knowing that .de represents a German version of your site over a de subdomain or /de/ in the URL. I wonder how Google handle it if you specifiy using meta tags that the page content is in German?
  • Syndicate carefully by making sure that the syndicated content provides a link back to your original content.
  • Don’t repeat yourself on common things like copyright or legal fluff, just provide a link to a page describing it in depth.
  • Preferred domain feature in Google Webmaster Tools is useful.
  • Don’t publish stubs such as pages on topic X with no actual content on them.
  • Understand your content management product, so you’re aware of what/how it does what it does.

I’d like to know a little more about using Google Translate and translating your content in general. I also think there has to be a nicer way to handle regional sites than simply getting the regional domain as well; for a lot of people that simply isn’t possible.

Testing Your Unit Tests

Someone in the Ruby community thought it was a good idea to write a piece of software that tested your unit tests.

Heckle runs your standard Ruby unit tests and reports as per normal. Heckle then alters a certain amount of your Ruby source code and then re-executes your unit tests, reporting on the subsequent run against the altered source code. If your unit tests don’t fail after Heckle has mutated your initial source code, then it proves that certain sections of your application either aren’t covered by tests at all or that they aren’t thorough enough.

I don’t know how many people would use a unit testing utility like Heckle, however anything that can be used to increase the robustness of your code is a good thing I think.

WordPress 2.1 Upgrade

This evening I went through the process of upgrading WordPress to the recently released 2.1 series.

As a force of habit, I follow the guidelines for upgrading WordPress. Depending on the site of your blog, following the guidelines can be a little time consuming; things like backing up your database an other important files. Regardless of that small inconvenience, I follow it through and I’ve not had a problem during any WordPress upgrades in the past. I’m sure that the day I don’t follow it through will be the same time that I encounter my first problem, so I’ll just keep following the guidelines and live a pain free life.

Once all the formalities of taking backups and unloading plugins was handled, the actual upgrade was painless and very fast. Once the new copy of WordPress was on the server, I went through and reactivated all of my plugins and made sure they were all still working with the new WordPress 2.1 source code and to my surprise, everything was functioning as expected.

If you’re looking to start a simple web site for yourself or a small company, I’d recommend giving WordPress a look for your content management solution. It really is an elegant and extensible platform for publishing that just works.