Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Zero Intelligence zeros in

Here's a blog I like: Zero Intelligence. The tagline is close to my heart --"Fighting school board tyranny inanity since 2004".

I think good blogs address a niche that needs to be addressed. In this case, we have a blog that reports and comments on the stupid school board tricks we all have to suffer through around the country. It seems that school administrators lack a certain amount of common sense. No, I take that back. They totally lack common sense: "Zero tolerance" that causes a girl to be expelled for having aspirin in her purse. A boy disciplined for drawing pictures of the Trade Center ("The pictures were too violent," moaned the teachers).

The latest flap is over wearing pink. Don't ask. Just go to and read on.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Will MSN have a blog search engine before Google?

It's interesting that even though Blogger is owned by Google, Google does not have a blog search engine. If you want to use Google to search just blogs, you have to throw in some complicated filters. Even then, the results are extremely spotty.

From the Seattle Times:

"MSN said it would also offer MSN Blogbot, a tool for users to search Web logs. Known informally as "blogs," these online diaries cover topics from cocktail recipes to celebrity plastic surgery.

Google does not have a blog search service, even though last year it bought Blogger, one of the most well-known blogging software programs on the Internet."

Friday, March 26, 2004

Blogger Forum #3 blog resource

Alexa's listing of Weblogs -->> Resources has Blogger Forum in the #3 position.

"The 5 most visited sites in all 'Resources' categories, updated daily!"

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Journalist accused of being blogger

"I'm shocked. To be accused of being a whore is one thing, but to be accused of being a weblogger is actionable."

This is all part of the ongoing joke as to the real identity of prostitute blogger Belle de Jour. An expert tried to use Google to search for patterns to find the real identity of Belle. One trail lead to Andrew Orloski, based on patterns the expert claimed indicated a male writer.

I prefer to think that Belle de Jour is real. We have discussed the site before and have had some contact with Belle. According to Belle in a March 23 blog:

"Wasn't it Tallulah Bankhead who said only good girls keep diaries and bad girls haven't the time? I'm setting out to prove her wrong."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Mozilla 1.7 beta released

Looks like the new Mozilla release is even faster than the previous releases. If you're a Mozilla fan, give it a try. If you aren't, then maybe you should be.

To find out more, take a look at this discussion at OutFront.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Technorati has new look

Technorati has undergone a new look. More than the looks, there seems to be a new "direction" the site is taking. If you aren't familiar with Technorati, it keeps tracks of links, or as their tagline says: "Want to know what's being said, right now, about every Weblog or Web page that has something worth talking about?"

Everything is faster (badly needed). Where the links coming in for the searched site used to say "links" coming in and "blogs" coming in, now there is a single line. For example, Blogger Forum now says " has 194 links from 176 sources."

Does this indicate a desire to not be perceived as primarily a blog utility?

Another new feature (or one I haven't noticed before) is the "Get conversations" icon. This pulls in other links that are discussing the displayed link. All very interesting and, as always, well worth a visit.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Who blogs?

Males (63%), between the ages of 21 and 30 (46.3%), who are caucasian (78.6%), with a college degree or higher (90.1%), and have been blogging for more than a year (67%).

Most bloggers characterize their sites as "personal ramblings" and the large majority (83%) don't ask permission from companies before talking about the company or the company's products.

Want to find out where you fit in the blogoshphere? Take a look at the Expectations of Privacy and Accountability survey.

Scoble's advice to corporate bloggers

Scoble has some interesting points for corporate bloggers who are thinking about blogging their company or products. Here's just one of his twenty points:

Use a human voice. Don't get corporate lawyers and PR professionals to cleanse your speech. We can tell, believe me. Plus, you'll be too slow. If you're the last one to post, the joke is on you!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Google goes local

Google has launched its local service in beta. Basically, the local search service finds things based on the locality you enter. For example, if you enter "movies" as your search term and then your zip code as the locality, you will get local theaters and video rental stores.

Quite an interesting concept. Try it out HERE.

Phone in your blog

It looks like Nokia is realizing the popularity of blogging. In the extremely competitive phone business, being able to take photos with you cell phone is not enough. Now the move is to take the photo and then blog it directly to your blog site from your phone:

The greatest potential for Lifeblog, however, is in the promise held by the little "b" in "blog." In spite of the name, the first version of the software does not include a blog interface.

"Maybe log would have made more sense," said Keith Nowak, spokesman for Nokia. But he does see Lifeblog as a useful tool for bloggers, helping them to organize their words and pictures. "You can look, day by day, here's what I did, here's what I saw."

Nowak sees actual weblogging as a possible future direction for Lifeblog. "It's a possibility," he says. "The interest is there."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Sun leans towards RSS

Sun Microsystems apparently is beginning to notice things like blogging and content syndication. According to a CNET News interview with Tim Bray (XML guru newly signed on with Sun):

"There are some VIPs (very important persons) in Sun who are very, very hot on the whole area of blogging and syndication," Bray said. "There's a vision of next-generation technology around the intersection of RSS, XML and advanced search technologies."

"There's a corporate feeling that [Java Desktop System] isn't a first-class citizen on blogging and syndication, and it should be,"

Bray sees Java Desktop System (which includes Linux) as a likely candidate for RSS. That's an interesting thought: RSS as part of the Linux core, perhaps? It's also interesting that Atom apparently isn't even in the running at Sun.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Portuguese and the Google translator

I ran across an article today referring to Portugal's most famous blogger of all time--I just had to take a look. The site is O meu pipi and has an extremely large following in Brazil. For those who did not do well in geography, Brazil is the largest Portuguese speaking country in the world.

Not being able to speak Portuguese, this was a perfect chance to try out Google's "translate to English" on the Google toolbar. So, once translated we find out the tagline for "My Pipi:"

"Blog to step on the risk of the bad taste, but without exceeding." Ah, the weakness of computer language translation rears it's ugly head:

I glimpsed my partner. I scared myself and I thought: Pipi, what it is this, shovel? Then you are to break this sopeira to the canzana or it she is you to make it a pin? Not, a canzana was same.

Ok, I'll pass on what that means. But I did discover that the Google translator did a very good job on the "F" word which appears very frequently on the site.

RSS and Atom merged into one format?

Atom versus RSS and RSS versus Atom. Does it make a difference as long as you have a newsfeed for your site?

The future of syndication is confused at the moment with Blogger supporting only Atom and with most newsreaders at this point in time only supporting RSS. That's why it's interesting that Dave Winer, the main force behind RSS as the "one and only" syndication system is now suggesting that RSS and Atom merge.

After discussing the importance of RSS and recent successes of RSS, Winer states that RSS is in a position of strength to make an offer:

So from this strength, I've outlined a plan to merge RSS and Atom, much the same way we merged UserLand's format with Netscape's format in 1999. By making this offer to the Atom people I'm giving them a chance to get out of conflict with RSS. I think it's something users can support. I hope they get together and make a serious counter. Why shouldn't they?

The plan itself can be found HERE.

It would be nice to have a single format, but I don't see it ever happening. I don't want to get into the egos involved on both sides, nor is it necessary to get into the technical issues. Let's just say it would be something like the VHS and Beta people getting together in the 70's to combine the best of both formats into one format that would be backward compatible with Beta.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Are you a blogaholic?

Take the Are you a Blogaholic quiz to see if you're slipping into blogaholism. Answer such questions as "Will you feel guilty to your readers if you blog less than usual?"

Thursday, March 11, 2004

International aspect of blogging

I was looking at a Korean newspaper article that was discussing the Iraqi bloggers. The article itself was interesting: about how Koreans are pretty Web-savvy and blogging is quite prevalent. I especially like the author's Korean equivalent of what we call the "cheese sandwich" blog (blogs that bore you with very personal information): the "I had kimchi for breakfast " blog.

However, there's a larger picture here. The very fact that the author (Conor Purcell) is writing an article for the Korea Herald about Asian and Iraqi bloggers just shows how international and border-free blogging has become. As Conor points out, bloggers all share certain characteristics, not the least of which is the Narcissus factor:

All agreed the future of blogging is going to be more personal. As Harrison explains, "Journals and diaries used to be a very private thing that you kept under lock and key. Now, journals and diaries are online in the form of blogs and the writers are begging others to read them. There is a bit of Narcissus in all of us."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Utility for picking colors

Here's a great utility for Blogmeisters: ColorCache. You can link to the site from the Blogger Forum Downloads page.

This cool utility is free for non-commercial users (and a bargain at $30 for commercial users). It allows you to easily pick and choose colors, add colors to a custom palette, change the hue and saturation of colors, and so on. In other words, it's perfect for bloggers who want to change template colors and are tired of having to experiment, re-publish, and start over again trying to find that perfect color combination.

See a color on a site you like? Just use the color dropper to add the color to your palette. Want to find some complimentary colors for your selections? Just use the analogous and complimentary tool.

Thanks to Lockergnome for pointing this gem out.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Is Squarespace what bloggers want?

Blogging used to be all about innovation. That's why it's always nice to see someone trying to take the basic blogging scenario and make it, well, more innovative. Here's what was innovative four years ago: you have a thought; you jot it down; you click a button and it is published to the Web for everyone to see.

Has much changed since then? Not really. Anthony Casalena will maybe be the one to move things forward. In December he started Squarespace while he was a student at the University of Maryland. Casalena believes that people want to be able to handle their blogging without programming but also be able to 1) have discussion boards included; 2) have hosting included; 3) track visitors and search engine requests without third party services; 4) have multiple pages with different topics for different audiences; and 5) be able to syndicate to the world without having to know anything about RSS vs. Atom.

Simplicity is also a key to where Casalena wants to go with blogging. Blogging is essentially simple, and Blogger really makes it almost as simple as it can get with what is available right now. But if blogging is so simple, why do people have to come to Blogger Forum to get answers to the how, why and what of blogging. How does this sound:

"Publishing a photo online should be as easy as dragging a picture onto your browser window," said Casalena. "Squarespace makes this possible."

Ok, now we're talking. Why shouldn't it be just that simple to get a photo into a blog? If that doesn't get you, how about this:

Casalena threw HTML editors and file transfer protocol (FTP) software out the window. "You can change the look, the organization, or the order of your site, and still -- the system keeps track of all your content and puts everything in its proper place," Casalena explained. "It remembers this blog entry goes into this category, this photo goes with that Web album, or that text goes with this discussion."--cms~wire

You might want to take a look at what Casalena is doing with Squarespace. I have a feeling this is the direction blogging needs to go. Will a college student with some good, no, some great ideas be successful against all the big competition? That's another question.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Blogging's two dirty secrets

When I first saw this in, I thought it was rather obvious: the two dirty secrets about blogging are, 1) it's a lot of work, and 2) not many people read your blog.

These are the observations of the author of Random Bytes, which Frank Catalano is shutting down after a year. Frank says about secret #1:

Just because you put a Web log in front of the hundreds of millions of people with Web access worldwide doesn't mean that most, many or even some of them will read it. Hell, they may never know about it.

It's a shame he's closing it down, because he writes some pretty good stuff. It's just part of the large problem of too much information out there to possibly sift through. Whoever comes up with a way to sift the Internet (not search it) will make a fortune. Anyway, here's a couple more observations from Frank:

In most cases, blogging is nothing more than a very public form of self-important self-abuse.

The late Robert Heinlein once observed, through one of his more outspoken science-fiction novel characters, that someone who reads his poetry in public probably has other bad habits, too. Today, that someone would also be a blogger.


Micah Holmquist at Press Action has an interesting read on warblogging --blogs that advocate/support/justify war.

With 11 tips on how you can get your blog noticed by warbloggers like Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan, the story sums up:

Warbloggers love to hear how the people of some town are enjoying freedom and can now hold some traditional festival or religious celebration. It doesn't matter if they have heard of the practice before or not. What matters is that it gives them another reason to justify the war. Follow each of these 11 steps and you will find yourself being showered with all sorts of affection from warbloggers. That's my guarantee.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Blogging: hot or not?

Take a look at the article on blogging, and more importantly the comments that follow.

The bottom line of the article:
"I don't get blogs. Blogs have their place in the world, but let's not make a mountain out of a molehill with them." --Christopher

Some responses:
"Sure most blogs might be just boring online diaries, but the fact that the average non-net savvy joe/jane can do it with minimal effort is worth getting excited about."

"I personally hate that everyone (and their grandma) is blogging crap daily using the exact same template as everyone else. That's what happens when those people use the same service online. Get a new freak'n template, or make your own PHP-based driven blog. Woohoo!"

"I love blogs. A great example was from a blogger (forget site sorry) in Iraq before & after the US invasion. The power to present unedited views and opinions is very important & useful. Watch what has happened in media & is starting to happen on the internet. The media companies either buy out anyone presenting contradictory views or buy a little "influence" with advertising dollars. I think blogging will become more popular as a result."

Hey, Christopher --guess what? Your article with updated comments by viewers is, in essence, a blog.