marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
In case you hadn't noticed, Joule is back. Thanks to everyone who sent encouraging messages when we were down, and everyone who offered to help.

We have switched to advertising using Project Wonderful, which is a rolling auction. You can bid if you like; currently it'll cost you a US penny to have your ad up for one day.

I may bring in a thing where in exchange for a donation of a certain size it will turn the ads off for your account.

Dreamwidth support is coming before the end of the month.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the current user interface for Joule, and how it can be improved. Currently, you have three things to enter, in a space that looks like this:
Show me the fans of on as a or .
You need to enter
  1. Your username. This is a text box.
  2. A site. This is a drop-down list containing all the sites we support. If you came to Joule from a particular site (say, Twitter), that site will be pre-selected. Otherwise LiveJournal will be pre-selected.
  3. You must press either the "chart" button or the "graph" button.
Let's call these "the controls". I would like to simplify them a bit. I wonder whether we should make any of these changes:
  1. "Graph" isn't much used (92% of all reports are charts), and it probably should be something you can select when you're looking at the chart rather than from the front page. So maybe there should just be a "go" or "OK" button on the front page that took you to the chart.
  2. I would like to have other options than "chart" or "graph", like a line graph showing the change in the number of your followers over all the time you've been using Joule. We could have this accessible in the same way as just discussed for the bar graph, so there wouldn't have to be three or more buttons to choose from.
  3. Perhaps the controls shouldn't be on the reports page because they clutter up the report, and it would be better just to have them on the the main page, and a link back to the main page on the other pages.
  4. Most people (93%) don't go to their page using the controls. I think what happens is that they use them the first time, and then bookmark the report page. So perhaps we can simplify further and we shouldn't have the sites box. Instead you'd just type your username and it would give you a list of charts you might be interested in. That takes a little longer for the first-time user, but perhaps it's a bit less alarming or confusing than all those controls.

Update: I have implemented 1, 3 and 4 as an experiment.  I would love to hear feedback either for or against it.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
If you have more than 100 follows or unfollows since the previous check, Joule displays "Many" instead of the names, and links to this post.  (This used to be "Hiccup".)  The three reasons for this are:
  1. We have to do a separate lookup in Twitter for every userid we haven't seen before, to get the icon and username.  For 5000 changes in a day, that slows page load times a lot.  This is still a problem.
  2. There is an old pre-Twitter assumption that 100 follows or unfollows means either that Joule broke, or that LJ broke when it sent us the names.  Clearly this is outdated.
  3. There isn't enough space in the chart for more than a few hundred names a day without making the page insanely long.
Carmen has suggested replacing "Hiccup" with a link to a sub-page which displays all the names for that day, possibly allowing paging through them to get around the first problem I mentioned.  I think this is a very useful idea.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I have created a Joule bot which sends you direct messages to tell you your stats every day. It is both @joulestats on Twitter and @joulestats on

All you have to do in either case is follow the bot. It will send you a DM every night, except when you have no changes that day. The icon for the DMs is a Joule lightbulb, but it's blue to differentiate it from the yellow bulb on the main Joule news accounts on Twitter and on

Doing this is equivalent to visiting the site, and will add a row to your history.

The bot will also attempt to follow you on because you can't send DMs on to people you don't follow. (You can on Twitter.) I think it's better if the bot doesn't automatically follow people on Twitter, though.

What each DM contains
  1. The number of people added and removed, like "+3-2" for three people added and two removed.
  2. As many names which have changed as fit. They have a "+" or a "-" in front of them. Priority is given to "-" because you get emailed to tell you when someone adds you.
  3. The word MORE if there are too many names to fit on the line. This doesn't actually happen very often.
  4. The URL of your chart page on Joule. I included this for two reasons. Firstly, it's the only way to see your changes if you get MORE. Secondly, I just like seeing visitors on the site; hit counts obviously dropped off a lot after we introduced RSS feeds, and I miss seeing you folks there!
It might be sensible, in the case where you would get MORE if the URL was included but not if it wasn't, to drop the URL. I think I will add this in the next version.

Known bug

Twitter and give us user IDs rather than names, so Joule has a separate step to convert IDs into names. Sometimes this step fails, in which case a name appears as +@? or -@? depending on whether it was added or removed. (On the site, they appear as (?? userid ??).) When I find out why this step occasionally fails, I will fix it. Suggestions are welcome.

Suggestions are also welcome as to how this whole subsystem can be improved.


In unrelated news, this will show you Joule in the Shavian alphabet, and this will set it back to ordinary English spelling.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Joule 3.5 has been released. Included in this release are:
  • Twitter support.
  • support.
  • Support for communities on LiveJournal.
  • Back-end rewrites of the comparison and internationalisation systems.
Not in this release:Comments and suggestions are, as always, very welcome.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I thought people might be amused to see the record of Joule through the ages in the Wayback Machine.
If all goes well, 3.5 (with Twitter and support) should launch on Saturday. Follow us on Twitter or on to keep up with the news.

New server

Apr. 20th, 2009 12:39 am
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
Joule has moved to its new server, and is quite a lot faster now. Let us know if you have any difficulties.

Things I will be fixing soon:
  • The new staging server (not that that makes any difference to most of you)
  • A better translation system (ditto)
  • Add the French translation (thanks to Gabriel de Perthuis!)
  • Twitter support.
marnanel: (Default)
[personal profile] marnanel
I've asked for the same access to Dreamwidth's data that Joule has for LiveJournal. When that's working, I'll add DW support to Joule.

You can track the progress of Dreamwidth support here, but I'll be posting to this community whenever there's news.
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