Tag - blogging

Blog as mobile personal database

How do you store stuff?

That’s a perennial problem – just look at the garages of North America. Or the closets. But the kind of stuff I’m talking about is data stuff. Information stuff.

That website that you can’t get into right now but would love to *someday.* The software that you just found that you’d love to invest a couple of hours in, just playing with it, can’t right now, but want to in the future.

I’ve used a lot of different methods over the years: folders and text files on my computer (complete waste of time, never seen again until you’re cleaning up your hard drive); PIM or calenadaring tools (outta sight, outta mind); stickie notes (very small half-life); hard-copy (get’s trashed when you get sick of the mess).

One I’m kind of sticking with is my blog.

It’s convenient, reasonably quick, accessible wherever I go, and searchable. I can back it up, archive it, and save it. Plus, others can see it too, speading the wealth.

Let’s see how long this one lasts.

THIS IS NOT A BLOG

Stop the insanity!

Blogs are hotter than heat right now, so apparently every new web venture is a blog. Like this one.

Now, I like cars, and I even like some of the articles on that site, but that is not a blog. What is a blog?

  • Mantra:
    An online Journal
  • Feed for all:
    Blog is short for weblog. A weblog is a journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or the Web site.
  • Toby Simkin:
    A frequent, chronological publication of personal thoughts and Web links.

What do most of these definitions have in common? They use the word journal, which implies it’s personal … something from one or a small group of people.

I checked out the blog entry on Wikipedia, and found some support for this position, but not enough to make me happy.

I guess the type of “blog” that I feel is not a blog is the over-commercialized advertising-ridden big-company-supported part–of-a-ring type of blog like Autoblog.

It’s not a blog. It’s a business.

New WordPress widget for Tiger

If you’re using OS X Tiger and you’re using WordPress for your blog, you need this.

wordpress post dashboard widget

It’s a Dashboard widget that posts to your blog. I downloaded it about 2 minutes ago, and I’m writing this post with it. Very cool, very easy, very quick.

Some things obviously could be added, like spellchecking, multiple categories, etc. etc. But overall, very nice for a brand-new still-in-beta piece of software.

What not to blog about

I happened to jump by Scoble’s blog, saw a feedmap of bloggers in his area, clicked on one of them, and found this unfortunate article.

Here’s a clue: if you’re unhappy at work and looking for a new job, don’t post about how you’re “letting things slide” at your current job. Even if you’re being laid off. Even if you’re working for Ebeneezer Scrooge, pre meeting-with-the-ghosts.

It’s just not the kind of thing a future boss wants to hear. And guess what: the first thing I do when I get an job application or resume is google the person’s name. If the person has a blog, prospective employers are going to see it.

And they’re not going to enjoy stuff like this:

Since my layoff notice, I have (unsurprisingly) let things slide here at the work I’m still paid for. I didn’t care much before and I don’t care at all now. I’ve been catching up rapidly on my reading of other blogs. I usually have at least one nap each day. I feel no compulsion to watch the clock when I’m out to lunch.* I hear about problems happening and I just pray that they keep the problems at bay until I’m gone. Yes, we’ve been running out of freezer space but don’t get desperate until June. Wait until June when I don’t have to fix your problem.

Business Blogging: Here come the ghosts

Blogs are wonderful animals, fresh and new, clean and sparkling, hi-tech but with a delightful aura of amateurism clinging to them. Right?

Hah!

Just as for years business books by the bigs of the corporate world have been written, co-written, and ghost-written by professional writers hired by the big names underwriting the biz bios, blogs are being invaded by the pros.

When I say “professional blogging,” I don’t necessarily mean people who earn money off their blogs, or even people who blog about their company. I mean the ad agencies and PR firms that are now starting to offer blogging services.

I suppose it was inevitable … as blogs have become the topic du jour of the chattering classes and the method de rigeur for grassroots marketers, we’re starting to see the astroturf sneak out.

Here come the ghosts – long live authentic voices!

Talkr: Cool idea, really bad reality

OK, so everything cool must be mispelled these days … like Flickr, and now Talkr.

The idea is super-cool: every text blog can now be a podcast.

The reality sucks hard. I checked it out – saw the link on del.icio.us, and they have a few blogs they do for free (yes, it’s a pay service – another knock against widespread adoption). I recognized the voice immediately … it’s one of the original Macintosh ‘speakable items’ voices that haven’t changed for about a decade.

The voice isn’t the worst part.

The most unfortunate thing about auto-generated computer voices is their complete lack of human-ish intonation … an understanding of what phrases and phonemes to group together … what to say fast … what to say slow … and so on.

Plus, who cares if it’s Jeffrey Zeldman’s blog when the voice is some impersonal CPU running in some anonymous hosting company’s racks?

Sorry, I’ll pass on this one.

What is a blog?

I just posted a piece over at The Linguist team’s blog that I rather like. It’s the introduction of our blog to the team, and part of the communication is: what the heck is a blog?

Especially this chunk:

A blog – short for web log – is a simple, easily updated website. It’s not corporate; it’s personal. It’s not formal; it’s blue jeans and an old T-shirt. It’s not PR; it’s people. It’s not the company line; it’s your line. It’s not insular; it’s connected to the whole world of information out there.

Blog as if your life depended on it? Whatever

So … Tom Peters isn’t blogging anymore?

Hugh over at Gaping Void points out that Tom, after recommending that people “blog as if their life depends on it,” isn’t blogging anymore.

Well, what a shock. Guess what: the web itself, and blogs in particular, are disruptive mediums. In other words, they’re tools that underdogs can use to gain a foothold. Sort of like a tailor from Savile Row. Or a disaffected adman from New York.

But Tom’s already at the top. He’s doesn’t have to claw and scratch and fight his way up. He’s got the books, the $20K, $50K, $75K speaking engagements.

What the heck does he need a blog for?

What are blogs?

A thought occurred to me today:

Blogs are to websites as the PC was to the mainframe.

OK, sure, fine, there’s a ton more to it, and lots more to be said.

But the beauty of a blog is, I don’t have to say it if I don’t want to. And guess what – I don’t!

Fantasy Blogs: not what you think

Never underestimate the power of the internet to surprise you. Or, rather, never underestimate the amazing, odd, weird, and wonderful things people actually invest time and energy and money into.

I just noticed Blogshares, the “Fantasy Blog Share Market.” Apparently, my blog is currently trading at around $3300 US, and trending upwards. Unfortunately, I currently only have 0.000078313 % market share.

Nowhere to go but up!

Who Says Apple Doesn’t Blog?

Wow.

While not quite on the level of a four-leaf clover, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or a dodo bird, I did find something extemely unusual today: an Apple employee blogger.

I found this rare species Macintoshus bloggoria while researching this post about Safari. And this guy actually says right up front that he works for Apple. Amazingly, he hasn’t been fired in something like two years. Steve must be having a bad week.

He’s Dave Hyatt, he blogs here, and introduces himself here.

Other than that, the Apple blogosphere is really, really thin.

Technorati and Google: What’s taking so long?

Technorati is the self-proclaimed finger on the pulse of the rapidly-growing blogosphere.

Anyone who’s anyone knows Technorati, in spite of the proliferation of me-to sites and services all over the place (to a greater or lesser extent these include: Daypop, Popdex, Feedster, Blogwise). And the info Technorati provides (or could be mined for) is great valuable stuff (examples: 1, 2, and 3).

There’s only one problem: Technorati is dead slow!

That’s a bigger problem that it appears when you consider that the blogosphere is doubling in size every 5 months or so. Which means that this is no ordinary scaling challenge where you build out infrastructure to handle known stable or slightly growing demand. The blogosphere is exploding, and Technorati is already slow – catching up to existing demand will be hard, and getting ahead of a very steep curve will be double plus un-easy … even with a really, really, really good new ops sysadmin.

I have no information whatsoever about any impending takeovers, but I’d have to imagine that Google could technically manage the challenges of enormous scaling problems better than anyone else on the planet. And you’d have to think that the kinds of things Technorati indexes, and the way they do it, would be of interest to Google.

I wonder if there will be a marriage of convenience in the offing at some point?

Can we get a blogging Cardinal?

In a few short days, the largest religious organization in the world will be choosing a new leader. I’m speaking about the Roman Catholic Church, of course.

The church is taking extreme pains to ensure privacy during the selection process, and probably rightly so. The dry facts are available just about anywhere.

But wouldn’t it be cool if there was a neo-techie cyber-Catholic cardinal among those voting for the new pope? I’d love to read a blow-by-blow account of choosing a new pontiff.

The humanity! the humanity! Commenting on WordPress blogs

I was just alerted by a certain friend that commenting on this blog is an exercise in frustration.

Apparently, WordPress updated how comments are handled in response to the comment spam problem, and now you must be logged in to post a comment. Which means you must be a member. Which, yes, as the inexorable train of logic continues ponderously down the tracks, means you must actually sign up for an account in order to receive the much-coveted privilege and honour of speaking your mind on this not-so-public forum.

Yee-haw.

The difficulty of posting on this site was compounded by the fact that when surfers actually tried to leave a comment, they were rebuffed by the afore-mentioned “You must be logged in to comment on this site” message … but no means to actually do so. Double yee-haw. I’ve not added some links to the comment page with login and sign-up options.

In searching down the problem, I ran across this informative post on the topic.

Don’t Steal My Content!

Googling for your blog name can be very interesting.

It turns up all kinds of wacky things … like this verbatim copy of one of my postings on Silicon Investor.

Months ago, I put together a series of article on Mac market share: the Mac Market Share Myth, the Mac Market Share Reality, and the Mac Market Share Solution. (It’s worth noting that the Mac Mini addresses many of the solutions proposed in the last article).

But the wierdness is that at least one of these articles is showing up verbatim on this Silicon Investor website.

I don’t mind people quoting and linking – quite the reverse. Even quoting small sections, with attribution but no link, is acceptable (although I want the link!). But grabbing the whole article and tossing it on a site is ridiculous. It looks like some poster just tossed it onto a forum, but still.

Not cool.

Even less cool is the fact that to protest it, I’d have to be a member of the site (see reporting TOU violations or requesting message deletions).

Improving AdSense revenue for your blog

I just saw this article on del.icio.us.

Very interesting – the keys apparently include:

  1. – keywords
  2. – targeting high-paying ads
  3. – user multiple ad services
  4. – good ad location
  5. – increase traffic by pinging multiple services
  6. – using Google search
  7. – and a couple other more obscure ones …

All these are fine and good, but first and foremost, a blog should be about topics you care about.

Check out the article, however. There’s more than one idea there that I intend to try ….

Writing compelling blog posts

I use WordPress 1.5, which happens to have a new feature, the dashboard, that displays a bunch of things including some (paid I am sure) links to posts on the art of blogging.

I followed this one: How to write compelling blog posts, only to find that the deep, insightful, amusing, and, uh, compelling article I expected contained a grand total of two (2), yes, two sentences.

Both of them are here:

Writing blog posts and comments on blogs is actually very simple. The basic guidelines: keep your copy lively, factual, tight, clear, short and search engine optimized.

Wow – there you have it … in 26 words.

And you know what, if you unpack them, it might just be a compelling blog post!

A new phase of the blogging journey: Google AdWords

I took the plunge, and, after updating the site software and look over the past few days, signed up for Google AdSense (displaying Google AdWords on my site).

The ads almost look like they fit in, but hopefully stand out enough to grab some attention … enough attention that someone might see something relevant and click on it.

Ahhh … now I sit back and wait for the millions to roll in!

(I wish.)

Part of the fun of having a blog is …

What do the following phrases have in common? (And yes, there is a common link.)

Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed, Thracians red-haired and with blue eyes; so also they conceive the spirits of the gods to be like themselves.

The contents of the world are not just there for the knowing but have to be grasped with suitable mental machinery.

Who can refute a sneer?

Science is built up with facts, as a house is with stones. But a collection of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.

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