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May 28, 2006

Google Sitemap again...

Okay, I though a bit more about this whole Google sitemap subject. Two things bugged me about the script I posted yesterday.

A: The script would always show the original creation date as the date of last modification, regardless of comments. Commments often hold important information - except when my graphical merchandiser makes them - , that Google should know about.

B: There was no way to assign Priorities. Some very old post would be just as important as the new index post.

The updated code below changes this. Comments aren't neglected anymore. Also, the blog front page gets scanned daily and has the highest priority(1.0). Then follow the ten most recent entries with a priority of 0.9, then the last "9999" posts with a priority of 0.5.

Again, simply build a new index template and copy and paste the below code. Save it as your-sitemap.xml. To let Google know about it open your browser and enter: + location of your sitemap

If you have a Google account you may use it to track your sitemap.

Have fun!

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <urlset xmlns="">


<loc><$MTBlogURL encode_xml="1"$></loc>


<MTEntries lastn="1">

<lastmod><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></lastmod>




<MTEntries lastn="10">


<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>

<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>






<MTEntries lastn="10" offset="10">


<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>

<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>






<MTEntries lastn="9999" offset="20">


<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>

<lastmod><MTIfNonZero tag="MTEntryCommentCount"><MTComments lastn="1"><$MTCommentDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTComments><MTElse><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S+00:00"$></MTElse></MTIfNonZero>







May 27, 2006

XML Sitemap for Movable Type Blog?

I have been showing off my new X10 blog to lots of friends, but today I made the mistake to show it to Jan, who is a good friend and former colleague, that now works in Dublin for Hewlett Packard.

Jan is what I call a typical German (no, he does NOT drink his beer warm, no German I know does! ) What is very true for him though was best said by my american brother in law once, he said:

"In Germany praise is the absence of criticism."

That's Jan! I could hear his brain working, trying to find the flaw in my blog. He couldn't critize the coding much, since I use a software, and the contents are a question of personal preference. Then it made "click" in his brain, he said: "How do you get Google to crawl all those generated pages?"

Our first thought was of course Google's Sitemaps, but how would that work without submitting a seperately hosted XML file somewhere, which would have to be updated everytime you create a new blog entry.

Content that he found a flaw, we exchanged a few more words and I went back to my Saturday morning. His comment left me no peace though, I started going through my blog templates. An hour later I called Jan again, because I had found the solution. I wanted to share it with all of you here:

How to automatically have your blog's sitemap updated:
Let me make it easy for you. Simply build a new index template and copy and paste the following code:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

<urlset xmlns="">


<loc><$MTBlogURL encode_xml="1"$></loc>



<MTEntries lastn="9999">


<loc><$MTEntryPermalink encode_xml="1"$></loc>

<lastmod><$MTEntryModifiedDate utc="1" format="%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%SZ"$></lastmod>




Save it in xml format and rebuild your index. That's it!

To let Google know about your map, open your browser and enter the following in the address field: + the URL-encoded location of your sitemap

For example:

If you have a Google account you can use it to track. See:

May 26, 2006

Social Bookmarking??? (Part II.)

Good Morning everyone!

As threatened here's "Social Bookmarking" (Part II.)...

Now that we talked a bit about what social bookmarking is, I'd like to introduce a few of the most popular providers. is a collection of favorites - yours and everyone else's. Use to:

- Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, restaurant reviews, and more on and access them from any computer on the web.

- Share favorites with friends, family, and colleagues.

- Discover new things. Everything on is someone's favorite - they've already done the work of finding it. Explore and enjoy.
Reddit is a source for what's new and popular on the web -- personalized for you. Your votes train a filter, so let reddit know what you liked and disliked, because you'll begin to be recommended links filtered to your tastes. All of the content on reddit is submitted and voted on by users like you.
Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.
Technorati is a pool of stories on what is happening on the real-time web. To find out what people are saying about any subject or website, just enter some text or a website address (URL) in the search box and and click the "Search" button.

May 24, 2006

Social Bookmarking??? (Part I.)

Hello fellow bloggers!

Today I'd like to steer your attention towards something that becomes more and more popular, and is commonly known as "Social Bookmarking".

Most of you are probably familiar with the standard bookmarking. The latest research suggests that there are approximately one gazillion websites out there (source: Wikipedia), but who can remember even only 1% of that?
Standard bookmarking is a nice and easy way to save our favorite web addresses and easily access them from within our browser.

One of the limitations of the standard bookmarking is that all your bookmarks are stored locally on only one computer. Have you ever lost all your bookmarks because you had to crash your PC? I went through that several times. Another classic: You hang out at your friend's house, really wanting to show him that funny website, but you can't because you don't find the web address, and your bookmarks are on your PC at home.

For these reasons (and more) some people started to save their bookmarks online. was the first in 1996 that offered an online bookmarking service. Soon online bookmarking became competitive and other providers like Backflip, Blink, Clip2, Hotlinks, Quiver, entered the market. Early in the game online bookmarks could be categorized, searched and shared with other users. The categorization reached a new level when people started "tagging" their bookmarks.

Tagging simply means that you can associate certain keywords with your bookmark. For for example, a "Home Automation" tag would be likely.

Now, in a social bookmarking system people store whole lists of bookmarks, tag them (categorize them by keywords), and them share them with other people. The advantage of such a system is huge!

Where before often machines (Search Engine Bots, etc) categorized online content, it is now users like you and me, who understand the content of the resource, as opposed to software which algorithmically attempts to determine the meaning of a resource.

Additionally, web users can get somewhat of an idea about the quality of a website, because naturally only the better websites get bookmarked a lot. This makes social bookmarking networks a real alternative to traditional search engines, that have much more complicated ways to determine the quality of a web resource. In fact, I believe social bookmarking will grow in an exorbitant manner for exactly this reason.
Think of it: Who knows better what you're interested in, than other users with the same interests?

I don't want to leave out some of the bugs of social bookmarking. The biggest bug being the uncontrolled tagging. I mean there is no standard set of keywords, so that people often use very different keywords for the same website. But with the providers growing, I am convinced it is only a question of time until these issues will be addressed.

Tomorrow in Social Bookmarking Part II., I'd like to tell you a bit more about those social bookmarking networks and their services.

Have Fun!

May 23, 2006

"C.M.S.P" (Coffee Maker Surveillance Program)

I know this might sound a little strange to some, but today we started to monitor our coffee maker here at X10! We implemented something I call "C.M.S.P", which stands for Coffee Maker Surveillance Program.

Here's the story...

A typicial morning at X10 before "C.M.S.P":

9:00h I arrive at X10 headquaters near Seattle. I am still a little tired, because after working on a computer at X10 for the day, I spend my evenings playing with my own computer. icon_eek.gif

9:02h I turn on my computer, while greeting my web team (if it is there! icon_razz.gif ).

9:03h Computer is booting up, time enough to grab my coffee mug and head for the office's kitchen.

9:04h I am in the kitchen, I close my eyes and mumble some prayer, but it's no use...the coffee maker is empty! AGAIN!

9:05h My eyes widen, by head turns to red color and I start thinking words not approbiate for this blog.

9:07h I make new coffee.

I tried it the nice way. I wrote emails to everybody asking to brew more coffee if you use the last one. A very simple thing, huh? But several email and threats later, still no change. I would still find empty coffee makers in the

morning. I had enough. icon_twisted.gif A few good people here now started a new initiave I call C.M.S.P, the Coffee Maker Surveillance Program. It works very simple, yet effective. Isn't that how most things in life work?

What did we do? We placed a wireless surveillance camera on top of the coffee maker


See our camera selection if you encountered similiar problems. We offer specials deals daily!

Just the best,

Marko icon_wink.gif

PS. Members of my beloved web team started their own blogs. Check them out:
Owen (Graphical Merchandiser)
Lyndsey (Copywriter)
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I promised to tell a bit more about myself. So here it is:

Hamburg, Germany.


The computer (2/86).

January 2006



FAVORITE X10 Product:
That changes everyday...right now it's the MiniTimer (MT10A).

X10 blue.

For now: "Don't Make Me Think", Steve Krug.

"What The Bleep Do We Know?" (Check it out, it's worth it!)


I'd like you to be done with it ten mintues ago... :)


(Above: Me, approx. 1980 with my loyal assistant Ernie. )

May 22, 2006

When web producers listen

Many web producers (and I can't exclude myself completely) think they know it all.
In fact, that might be true in a sense: They know too much!

Are you confused yet?

Let me give you an example. In order to improve X10 services to our customers, we run a very active online chat. We want to learn from our customers, so we try to promote the chat as best as we can. For that reason I implemented a Chat-PopUp window, giving our customers the opportunity to chat with one of our expert X10 representatives. Through the feedback pages and the forum, I learned that many users found this PopUp more disturbing than helpful. So, after a short trial period, I removed the PopUp from both my projects, and .

I want to thank everybody for their input and would like to encourage more people to give their feedback. Feel free to comment right here in this blog, or post in the


See you tomorrow,


I want your input!

Morning Everybody!

Just a quick note about my latest site:

I'd like to ask all of you to review the site and give me your input. I established a forum just for that:

Me and my team worked hard to bring X10 web sites to a new level. I would like to make it even better for you!

More from me a little later today. I am starting a big new project today...

May 18, 2006

Protecting The German Goods

Hi all.

Here’s the “Kraut” writing again. You may think, “Man, this guy is working late!”, but I am sitting home, drinking an ice cold beer on this beautiful summer evening. My choice of beer tonight is a Weinhardt’s Private Reserve, quite good beer I have to say. I believe the American beer situation has improved a lot since I first started visiting this country. Nothing beats self-brewed beer of course, but I got behind on my private little brewery for some weeks now.

I have quite a nice beer production setup in my garage, naturally fully automated. It not only switches the lights on as soon as I open the door, I even hooked up one of X10’s Protector Plus Home Security Systems to alarm me if someone gets the crazy idea to break into my brewery, uh, garage I mean. I still need a camera and some software to be able to check on it whenever, from wherever (I hope my boss reads this…cameras, alright?).
I could then hunt down possible thieves. Yeah, trust me, steal beer from a German and he’ll hunt you down!

When producing web sites the first thing one needs to do is to get to know the product. My first product was exactly that, a Protector Plus Security System. At first I thought, “What the heck am I going to do with it?”

Like many houses these days mine came with a security system. Of course, it's unmonitored. Who wants to pay $30 or more per month for some company to monitor the system? Still, at first, I tried to be good about using the preinstalled system anyway, but I could never remember the damn codes (there is one to activate it, and another one to deactivate!). In addition I had to rush myself, wife, and kids out of the house every morning, making sure the alarm wouldn’t go off, which it did frequently. Furthermore, my wife is very good at forgetting little things JUST after we are out of the house. So I had to rush back in, trying to remember the code, hopefully deactivate it, and then activate it again.

Well, then I started to play around with the Protector Plus system, which was a gift from my employer to get to know the product (Thank You!). I loved the remotes that came with it right from the beginning; now I could easily activate and deactivate the alarm (there even was an extra keychain remote for my wife). Setting it up was a breeze, took maybe 20 minutes.

The best of it though is that I have a supervised system now. I mean really, what does a monitoring company like ADT or Brinks do? Alarm goes off, they call, nobody answers, and they call authorities. My system calls up to four people, even cell phones, then the Protector Plus acts just like a two-way radio, you can actually hear what’s going on in the house (e.g. “Sorry honey, I forgot to push the button on the remote.”) . So, I avoid false alarm charges, I save those monitoring fees, and I know my beer is safe without having to remember any codes! I like X10!

I can’t go without linking to one of my sites. Seriously, compare for yourself. I and my team created some very honest comparison charts, telling the truth about monitored systems vs. Protector Plus. We’re Do-It-Yourselfers, right? Well, then monitor yourself!

Here’s the link:

For an in-depth ADT comparison go here:

If you’re wondering about Brinks check this out:

Here's a picture of the base system that I have:

Okay, that’s it from me for tonight. Try to enjoy this nice evening!


May 17, 2006

WARNING! (German Web Producer Writing…)

Read at your own risk. Reading may cause sudden home automation and/or home security enlightenment, due to German tell-it-like-it-is attitude. Cases of extreme money and/or time savings have been recorded. Marko’s Web log is not for everyone. If you have or had a predisposition to pay more, know less, or both, this web log is not for you. In case of accidental overdose, call Tamra from X10 Customer Support immediately!

If you read this, you made it through the disclaimer. Time to get serious; after all, I am German. So, how does a German end up writing a blog here?

Well, about 6 years ago I was crazy enough to fall in fall in love with an American woman. “Guess Who” tried to warn the world about them in 1970, but I have a tendency to try out everything myself. So, about two years ago we finally decided to get married and live in WA, united and without the constant knowledge that one of us would have to leave again. I immigrated into this beautiful country. The first year - that is how long it takes if you try to legally enter this country- I scouted out German bakeries and brewed beer in my garage; I finally received my Green Card (which is actually yellow) in December last year. Boy was I ready to work!

As a long-time web producer and internet fan since I can think (my first connection was through a V32 14.4 modem!), I had heard of X10 before. Long speech, short sense (German saying), I started working for X10 in January this year, producing two websites so far: and

Ever since, I hold a passion for home automation and security only topped by my passion for the internet. And what makes the internet the internet? You and me!
This is what this blog will be all about. You and me sharing the latest news, trends and insights about X10 products, X10 websites and more.

Auf Wiedersehen,