Welcome to the Netvouz blog
Netvouz - Online Social Bookmark Manager - Save, Tag and Share your bookmarks

This is the Netvouz blog. To visit the Netvouz social bookmarking service go to www.netvouz.com.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Up and down, and ... down

Just when all the DNS problems have been resolved we hear that our Internet Service Provider (ISP) is having some network problems. Arghh! Anyway, they are replacing hardware to resolve the problems and it should be fixed during the day (December 26).

Sorry for the inconvenience!


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

DNS problems

We are experiencing a DNS problem (three DNS servers are down!) which makes it difficult to reach the Netvouz web servers. We are working on resolving this, but please be patient as DNS updates can be slow. This problem affects both the Netvouz web site and our mail server.

Update Wednesday:
We have now resolved the problems and the DNS caches should have refreshed all over the world, so everyone should be able to access their favorite bookmarks on Netvouz as usual. Yehaaa!

We are, however, still experiencing a slight delay when logging on to your bookmarks page and we are working on resolving this final issue as well.

Sorry for the inconvenience.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Netvouz rated as a top 5 social bookmarking service

Once again Netvouz scores high in a social bookmarking service review! Reviews like that are always inspiring to read, and also provides good feedback on what users want.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Migration finished - and some minor fixes

After the migration of the runtime platform (i.e. server hardware and software) I did a few weeks ago I have today also made the final switch to my new development platform. What a relief. So now I have loads of new features and possibilities to leverage. It's gonna be an exciting couple of weeks/months ahead for me. And if you're lucky you may even see some visible changes to Netvouz as well!

According to Rackspace the Social Issues Research Centre has recently asked a number of people what they want from a web site. The most important factors was speed, uptime, and ease of navigation.

So what do you think about Netvouz? You think it's fast enough? Easy to navigate? Perhaps even intuitive? It would be interesting to see what your rating of Netvouz is. If you have 60 seconds to spare, please go to Rate your site at Rackspace and fill out the form and then post your results here. I got a 94% close to perfection, but I guess I'm pretty biased so my vote doesn't count!

Oh, almost forgot. I have fixed the Firefox import and export features and they should now handle tags perfectly. Thanks Egon!


Saturday, November 25, 2006

New URL syntax at Netvouz

We have a new syntax for the URLs here at Netvouz. Most people will not notice the change, but search engines like Google, Yahoo etc. will appreciate that it is easier for them to crawl Netvouz and gather the information they want. And some users may even appreciate our new, pretty URLs!

What we have done is we have reduced the number of parameters and instead included them directly in the path of the address. Here are some examples to explain the changes:

Browse by folder:
Now: http://www.netvouz.com/demo/folder/5873138918755759749/Newspapers
Was: http://www.netvouz.com/demo?category=5873138918755759749

As you can see we no longer use the "category" parameter but the category number is included in the path of the address, and the name of the folder is also included.

Browse by tag:
Now: http://www.netvouz.com/demo/tag/computers
Was: http://www.netvouz.com/demo?tags=computers

Just like the category parameter, the "tags" parameter is replaced by the "tag" token in the path. To use multiple tags, just add them like tag1+tag2+tag3.

Show a user's new (most recent) bookmarks:
Now: http://www.netvouz.com/demo/new
Was: http://www.netvouz.com/demo?page=new

Users using our Linkrolls for blogs or other kinds of feeds will appreciate that we are backward compatible with the old address syntax, so you do not need to change your blog templates, feed readers etc. immediately. However, we will drop the old syntax at some point in the future.

RSS, JavaScript and HTML feeds are still generated using the "feed" parameter, such as http://www.netvouz.com/demo/new?feed=rss, so there is no change.

Apart from this major change there's a number of small internal updates as well. As usual :-)


Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Big Bang Upgrade - Finally!

One may think Netvouz development has come to a complete standstill because there hasn't been any announcements about new features for some time. But nothing could be more wrong.

The last couple of months I have spent all my time migrating to a brand new server platform. And finally, today, I have done the final switch. Phew!!! (To be honest the switch actually took place a week ago but because of some "interesting" network problems Netvouz has been running on the backup servers for a week, so today we did the final switch to the production servers.)

The new platform is a complete rip-and-replace upgrade of both hardware and software. Everything except the Netvouz code and the database content (your bookmarks!) has been upgraded to brand new versions. The new platform provides us with a solid foundation with advanced capabilities we can leverage when we continue develop new features again. The future looks bright!

//Henrik, the happy developer and sys admin

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Follow the link. Not any more.

In accordance with the Google initiative to prevent comment spam we have now added the nofollow directive to all links on Netvouz. This change is in effect from today, 2006-10-26.

Another minor change is that we have also changed the titles and descriptions of our feeds (RSS, JavaScript, HTML) to make them shorter and more readable.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Calling for volunteers

As some of you know, Netvouz has been a one man show since it's inception in 2001. It has certainly been a lot of hard work but at the same time it's been great fun. Trust me, because Netvouz doesn't bring in any money, if it hadn't been fun, interesting, challenging, and educating I would have quit it long ago. But I haven't. And I won't.

However, with our current plans we (you do realize I often suffer from schizophrenia and talk about "we" and "us" when I talk about Netvouz, don't you ;-) feel it is time to see if there are any volunteers out there who would be interested in rolling up their sleeves and give a helping hand.

If you (or anyone you know) would like do help out you can do as much or as little work as you want (but I do appreciate a certain level of committment) and in several different areas, such as JavaScript, plugin development, marketing (I'm not doing much to market Netvouz, but despite that we have an increasing number of new users signing up every day), translations, search algorithms, graphics, Linux etc. etc.

So if you have a few hours to spare a little now and then, please contact me and we'll see how we can work together. I'd appreciate it.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

A little bit of this and that

The last month has been busy working out the details for the new hardware & software platform upgrade. It's slowly getting there so within a few weeks we should be ready to switch.

But in the mean time we've also fixed some minor bugs and made some small improvements:
* The XML import feature has been broken for a few weeks but it's working again.
* If you're logged on you can now get RSS/JavaScript/HTML feeds also for private bookmarks. Several users have requested this because they access their bookmarks as RSS feeds for example in Firefox.
* More spam protection. It's a pain and it takes time but unfortunately we need it.

And, again, thanks for all the positive feedback that you keep emailing us. It's inspiring!


Monday, August 28, 2006

It works!

As I wrote in the previous blog post I have changed the algorithm that selects which bookmarks make it onto the attractive Netvouz front page and new page. And after a few days of real life testing I'm please to say that it seems to work.

Every day spammers sign up and add new bookmarks but none of these have made it onto the front page. I'm not saying the current solution is bullet proof, but at least it's a lot better than previous versions, where the front page sometimes could be filled with spam bookmarks.

So hopefully we will not have to zap some 50 users a day, which has been the case during the summer.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Netvouz gets more spam protection

Today I made further internal changes to the way the Netvouz front page, new and popular pages work. They still look the same as before but, without revealing too many details, my hope is that there should now be less spam bookmarks and more proper content thanks to the new algorithm that decides which bookmarks make it onto the front page.

I have also done some other improvements to make Netvouz less attractive for spammers. One of them is that it is no longer possible to mark a bookmark as Intranet when you add or edit it. Amazing, but the Intranet feature was actually used by spammers to make their links stand out a bit from the rest. Intranet links are marked with a red text "Intranet link" which spammers obviously liked. I admit I was naive, but when I started working on Netvouz some 5+ years ago bookmark spam was not really a problem... ;-)

I still have some more aces up my sleeves but I want to see the effects of these relatively simple changes first.

So with these updates I hope I can return from my detour in my development plans and continue working on enhancing the site. I get continous feedback from users so there's plenty of improvements to come.


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Spammers go away!

After spending a month working in the US, I'm back in Sweden again. Home sweet home...

And today I have installed a new version of Netvouz with all the enhancements that has been developed during the last couple of weeks. So far so good.

However, because of some spamming attempts during the last two months I decided to take a slight detour in my development plans. So instead of delivering several new visible features that I had planned this release contains a great deal of internal improvements, improvements that you do not see but that is nevertheless important. These improvements will help protect Netvouz against those trying to use it as a "spamvertising" vehicle. It is not 100% yet, but it's a start.

But despite the focus on internal improvements, this release still brings some new features that you can take advantage of:
Open link behaviour - allows you to choose if your links should open in a new browser window (or tab if your browser supports tabs) or in the same window. You can choose different settings for normal links and for hotpicks.
Default privacy setting for new bookmarks - allows you to choose if new links should be made public or private by default. This setting is just the default, when adding new links you can always select public or private.

The settings are found in the Tools -> Settings menu.

Both these features are in response to user feedback, so keep the feedback coming! I appreciate it!


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Get together in Raleigh?


I'm spending a month in Raleigh, NC, USA, beginning this weekend. Anyone living in the area who care to get together for a beer? In that case drop me a note at info (at) netvouz (dot) com.

When I return to Sweden I'm gonna release a bunch of new features to Netvouz that I will work on during the coming month.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

Netvouz Duplicate Bookmarks Tool

Today Netvouz got another great tool to help your organize and maintain your bookmarks - the Duplicate Bookmarks Manager.

Log in and select Edit -> Duplicate bookmarks and you will see a list of all your duplicate bookmarks grouped by URL. Using the well-known editing features on Netvouz you can then edit the bookmarks, for example delete all but one in each duplicates group so you only have one copy of each left.

If you have very many duplicates that you want to get rid of the easiest way is to select Show -> 100 per page and then scroll to the bottom of the duplicates page and check the checkboxes for the bookmarks to delete, working your way up to the top of the page. Then when you reach the top hit the Delete button in the blue admin bar.

Soon I will also improve the submit/post bookmark dialog to deal with duplicates as well and then you will get notified if you already have the bookmark you are adding. But nevertheless the duplicates tool is important to clean up imported bookmarks, which very very often contain duplicates.

In addition to this new feature (which was prioritized because of user request) I have also added a bunch of other small fixes and improvements, most of which you actually never see. But nevertheless they're important.

Happy bookmarking!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Improper use of Netvouz

Sorry "harrybob" but 22499 bookmarks all pointing to identical web sites with thousands of Google Ads is simply not the way to use Netvouz. You have been kicked. And you're in good company with some other people who obviously don't understand how to use Netvouz. So please read the Terms Of Use again and then go elsewhere.


P.S. I'm grateful, though, that you helped me stress test the Netvouz import feature. It rocked! :-)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Network outage

8am CET: Due to a major failure at our Internet Service Provider (ISP) Netvouz is currently unavailable. They are working at resolving the problem and we will come online again as soon as they do.
10am CET: Problem resolved, we're online again :-)

CET = UTC+1 = EST+6


Saturday, May 27, 2006

System maintenance Saturday June 3

We are planning a few hours maintenance of Netvouz on Saturday June 3. We are going to rewire the internal network supporting Netvouz and because of that we will need to disconnect the servers a little now and then.

We will try to keep the system available as much as possible, but if you know you really really depend on your bookmarks you could export them to a local file (in Internet Explorer or Firefox HTML format) and access them from that file.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

It's B day! B like in Broken links

Today is the first day the new link validator scans some of Netvouz users' bookmarks a second time. This means that today is the first day that some of you have received a message about broken links. To fix 'em, just click the link in the message you see. If you haven't seen the message yet just be patient for another week.... I bet you will see it - most users have broken links.

My own bookmarks will get their second scan tomorrow or Thursday (it actually depends on how many new users sign up and what usernames they pick). Looking forward to it anyway ;-)


Monday, May 15, 2006

Bookmark spam attack

Today a user signed up and imported 9000 bookmarks. Normally I don't go crazy about that, but when I saw that all 9000 bookmarks all pointed to various locations on the same web site I took a closer look. And, yes, this was a bookmark spam attempt. Needless to say the user was kicked out, in less than 5 hours after signing up.

If you should happen to discover anything similar, please don't hesitate to contact me so I can kick 'em!


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Link validator and improved bookmark importing

Today is the release of some long awaited features! Look here:

Link Validator
The link validator scans your bookmarks for broken links once a week. If it finds links which do not work it marks them as possibly broken and if a link does not work during two validations (two weeks) it is marked as broken. If you have broken links you get a message about that when you visit your bookmarks page and you can then use the Broken Links Manager to fix them. Almost everyone has broken links of some kind, so just be patient and you'll get to see this new feature in action.

Broken Links Manager
The broken links manager divides your broken links into three categories depending on the link's status; confirmed broken (these are definitely broken - the web server even told us so), unreachable (we could not locate the site, it may be gone or may be on an intranet network) and doubtful (we could contact the site but the response we got was bad). Depending on what status the link has you can either delete all broken links with a single click or to display them and process them one by one. Full instructions are available in the broken links manager help.

Import/export to del.icio.us
I have also added support to import and export bookmarks from/to del.icio.us. Netvouz preserves all tags and descriptions (extended notes) on your del.icio.us bookmarks.

Import with merge folders option
If you import two bookmark files and they have folders with identical names you earlier ended up with two folders with that name. Now there's an option to merge these folders (and all bookmarks and sub-folders) when importing.

Blog post button configuration tool
Bloggers may appreciate the new configuration tool for the Netvouz blog post button (used to place a link/button on your blog so your visitors may bookmark your posts easily). The configurator automatically gives you the correct string to paste into your blog template, and it has several options for customizing the link.

I haven't really decided yet, but there may not be any major visible updates until beginning of August. The reason is I'm gonna beef up the infrastructure with some new hardware to cope with the increasing load and to provide even better uptime. Designing, implementing, testing and putting that stuff into production will take me some time. And there's also very nice weather at this time of year so... we'll see what happens!

If anyone has some features they really really would like me to prioritize - drop me an email and I'll see what I can do.


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Tagging survey from Baruch College

I have receieved an email from two faculty members at the Statistics and Computer Information Systems department of the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College in New York city. These professors are working on a project about tagging communities trying to understand the motivation for users to join and contribute to tagging web sites.

They have asked me to get as many Netvouz users as possible to take a survey to help them with their work. If you have some time to spare then take the survey here.

If you are not a Netvouz user, then please do not take the survey at this link.


Interview with the Netvouz developer

Interested in knowing more what's behind Netvouz? Then read the chat interview ;-)


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Netvouz rated as the best!

We may not be the biggest, but according to this social bookmarking services review Netvouz ends up being the number one, the most ideal social bookmarking service.



2006-04-10 update

After an email to the reviewer above to point out existing features Netvouz scored two additional "points" on this reviewers requirements list. The blog post is also updated with some new Netvouz screenshots. Take a look here.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

Clear, clean, close!

Today I added three more features to Netvouz (this was a quick release, huh?):

  • Clear cookies - if you're on a public computer (such as in a library) you may want to clear the Netvouz browser cookies before you leave to be 100% certain no one else can log on to your bookmarks. At least I want.

  • Clean account - let's you delete all bookmarks, folders and tags in one sweep. Use it when you have messed up your account and want to start over.

  • Close account - delete everything and close your Netvouz account. Why would anyone want to do that?
These three options are all in the Tools menu.

I also changed the color of the folder fold-out menu from boring gray to a fancier yellow :-) It gives much better contrast against the white background.

Next up are some major improvements to the Link Validator (which has been offline for way too long now) and the Broken Links Manager (which most of you have never seen). It's gonna be state of the art among all social bookmark managers! Looking forward? Well I do!


Saturday, April 01, 2006

Simplified bookmark management

Today I've installed a new version of Netvouz. It has taken some time, but now it's finally here. This new version makes it even easier to manage and organize your bookmarks and to move them between your folders. I don't know for sure, but I think Netvouz now may have the strongest features for managing bookmarks among all online bookmark managers. What do you think?

Here are the major new features:

  • When in edit mode there's now a new bookmark admin bar on the top (just below the Netvouz > username > ... navigator). This bar allows you to select bookmarks and then to batch edit them, delete them or move them to a new folder. If you select move there's a new fold-out menu with all your folders. Just select the target folder and the bookmarks you selected are moved to it. Public folders are shown in blue and private in green, just as usual. It really makes moving bookmarks around a breeze.

  • In edit move, above each bookmark are now icons to edit or delete the bookmark. I'm working on an enhanced version with a move to folder icon with a fold-out menu as well, but due to performance reasons I did not release it in this version.

  • Categories have been renamed folders!

  • When logging on the checkbox now says "Remember me" and is checked by default instead of "Do NOT remember me" (which was kind of awkward...)

  • Minor changes to the way folders are shown in the navigator bar.

  • Plus the usual 50 or so internal improvements that you never actually see....

Next release will include improvements to the fold-out menus, options to clean up an account and some other goodies.


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Status update 2006-02-28

Hi, just wanted to let you all know what's happening behind the curtains these days.

I'm currently working on significantly simplifying the administration of bookmarks. When in Edit mode there will be a set of icons next to each bookmark that lets you edit, delete or move the bookmark. On the top of the page will be icons to select all bookmarks and then the same set of icons which acts on all selected bookmarks. When hovering the move icon it will fold out a menu with all your categories/folders and you can just select a category/folder to move the bookmark to. Work is progressing well and if I wanted I could launch this new features in a few days. But I see a potential performance problem (read: it could be somewhat slow to load the page) so I'm holding it back for a while until I have a bullet proof design. I'm also looking into some Ajax technologies to make the user interface even snappier. Will see if that will be implemented or not.

I have also renamed the term "category" to "folder", which better describes what they are. In all browsers I have used it's called "folder", so I think it makes sense to use that term also on Netvouz. (Wonder where I got "category" from in the first place....)

So that's a glimpse of what's going on...

If you have any features you would like me to add, please do contact me and I will be willing to hear about them.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

New release 2006-02-11 - Netvouz menu system!

Today I've launched the first in a series of interface improvements to Netvouz which will be rolled out during the coming weeks. The first change is a menu system which makes navigating Netvouz much like using a regular PC/Mac application.

When you log on (the menu is only available to logged on users) to Netvouz you now have familiar menus such as File, Edit, View etc. All functions and options available on Netvouz is now accessible through these menus. This centralizes navigation and makes Netvouz even easier to navigate.

The menu is tested and works in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera.

Unfortunately, however, the Arrange Hotpicks and Arrange categories functions to not work perfectly in Opera. You need to re-select the item each time you want to move it up/down. This will be fixed in a future version.

If you have any feedback on this new feature, please let me know (either with a post here or a mail to Netvouz).


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Minor bug fix 2006-02-05

Just wanted to let everyone who has been trying to post a private bookmark using the Add2Netvouz button during the weekend know that.... now it works again. There was a small bug introduced a few days ago which prevented you from posting private bookmarks (public was ok), but that has been fixed now.

And in case you're wondering what's going on... I'm working on a new, much simplified and cooler, menuing system so you should easily find all the administrative functions Netvouz has.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

New release 2006-01-26 - Improved import function

This release is a very small release. This time the import bookmark has got some extra options; skip default bookmarks and skip empty categories. The first option skips bookmarks that come pre-installed with common browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox (links like Windows Media, Windows Marketplace, Firefox homepage etc.). The other option skips all categories that are either empty in the bookmark file you upload, or which becomes empty after factory bookmarks and duplicates with existing bookmarks in your Netvouz account have been removed.

That's all for now. Next up are some GUI changes; a menu system to easier find all the administrative tasks and then some improvements to blue bookmark admin form. Perhaps I'll add the capability to alert you if you already have a copy of the bookmark you are submitting as well.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Netvouz review on 3spots

Have you seen the positive review of Netvouz on 3spots ??

If not, do spend a few minutes there and read about what this user thinks about Netvouz. And this user is not just any average user. If you read her blog you see that she has been all over the social bookmarking globe, trying out pretty much all (social) bookmarking services. Finally (well, you should never say never...) she has switched to Netvouz. I'm flattered!


Sunday, January 22, 2006

New release 2006-01-22 - Link Validator (and some other enhancements)

  • This release brings the Netvouz Link Validator back in business again (it has been offline for quite a while now). This means that from now on all your links will be verified once a week to see if they are working.

    If the Link Validator discovers that a link is not working, it is marked as "possibly broken". If it is still not working on the next run (one week later) it is marked as "broken". If you have broken links (seriously broken, not just possibly broken) you get a message about that when you log on to your bookmarks page (or when you have submitted a link thru the Add2Netvouz button) and you can then go to the broken links administrator (only visible if you have broken links).

    The broken links administrator gives you basically three options for each broken link; delete it (if you know it's broken), mark it as valid (if the link validator incorrectly has reported the link broken), or mark it as intranet (links on an intranet are not accessible by the link validator and are therefore reported broken, by marking them as intranet you excluded them from future link validations). If you are not sure if a link is really broken or not (the Link Validator may, in some situations, actually report working links as broken) you can click the New window to open the link and see if it works.

    Just so you know, I expect a massive number of support mails in two weeks time when lots of users are thrown into the broken links administrator for the first time... Puh ;-)

  • This release also merges the two cookies Netvouz has used to keep you logged on into a single cookie. The new cookie does not store your password in the cookie itself (the older did, albeit in encrypted form), but rather a so called challenge string calculated using an algorithm based on some information in your account. This also increases your security, as not even a single bit of your password is stored on your computer. The only drawback is that because the old cookie is not used anymore you will have to log on once again.

  • When you have submitted bookmarks using the Add2Netvouz button, the last "success" page has been removed so there's one less click you need to make. If you have broken links, however, the page is still displayed and gives you an option to process your broken links.

  • When submitting a bookmark using the Add2Netvouz button and you have not entered any description or tags, a popup window asks if you really want to save the bookmark without that information. Some people may find this a bit annoying but it's really there to make the bookmarks on Netvouz more informative and easier to find, both for yourself and for others. So please, take a few seconds and enter a description and some good tags. The description can even be copied automatically from the page you are submitting and tags are retrieved from the description, so there's really no excuse not to do it...

  • Added some feeds that will be used for some cool stuff by the upcoming Netvouz plugin for Firefox.

Next up is some improvements to the Import bookmarks feature.

Update 2006-02-02 - Link Validator suspended
Because of some stability problems the link validator is temporarily suspended. The problems have already been fixed, but in order to be 100% sure the link validator will be offline for a few more days.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy New Year - new release 2006-01-08

If you wonder why I'm not posting so often in this blog it's because I spend all my time developing Netvouz, and here's the features added in this last release:

  • Allow bookmarks to be saved without tags. If you don't enter any tag the bookmark is automatically given a system:unfiled tag.

  • Search engine now also searches the tags (yes, it has only searched names/titles and descriptions until now, I apologize...).

  • Re-added the "copy bookmark" link, which unfortunately was lost in the previous release.

  • Added possibility to include bookmark tags in JavaScript and HTML feeds (perfect for bloggers).

  • Added a target parameter to the JavaScript and HTML feeds so you can open the links in a new window (use target=_blank) or any window name of your choice.

  • Rearranged the small windows (I call 'em "portlets") a bit to remove information that was not actually contributing to the page.

  • When searching for bookmarks a list of the most common tags for the bookmarks found (displayed) is now shown on the right.

  • Improved the visual appearance of the tag cloud.

  • Added a tag table that lists all your tags in alphabetic order (there will be an option to sort by frequency as well soon).

  • Added a one line of descriptive text on top of each page, which describes what you are actually seeing on pages like "new", "popular" etc.

  • Moved the blue admin form that is shown when in Edit mode to the top of the page instead of at the bottom. If you have many bookmarks you had to scroll all the way down to find it.
I think that was about it. In the next release will be some improvements to the import feature, RSS/JavaScript/HTML feeds for your tags (so you can display a tag cloud on your blog) and a bunch of "under-the-hood" improvements. So... if you don't hear from me in a week or two or three, you know why.

And to everyone who gives me feedback - I really appreciate it!