Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Bloggers are "People of the Year"

The latest issue of PC Magazine has named the founders of Blogger (Evan Williams, Meg Hourihan, and Paul Bausch) together with the founders of Six Apart (Mena G. Trott and Ben Trott) as People of the Year.

Although blogs have been around for awhile, PC Mag sees them as now being accepted into the mainstream:

Select bloggers were allowed the same access as traditional journalists at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, among them Patrick Belton at and Jeralyn Merritt at, powered by blog tools Blogger and Movable Type, respectively.

One interesting tidbit in the article from Technorati: a new blog is created every 5.8 seconds, some 15,000 per day.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Reviews of MSN Spaces

Interesting review of MSN Spaces at Blogger Herald:

Rank: .5/10

"Whilst some are saying that Microsoft will help grow the market, which is possible, this service will do little to provide the current and future bloggers with anything other mass produced, standardised rubbish..."

And from Joe Blade:

"So, MSN Spaces. They're not ugly -- not Netscape ugly -- but they all look basically the same. They offer no subtlety, no grace, and very little in the way of customisation -- just near-identical blogs with near-identical feature sets, stamped out on a production line. I've seen several reviews criticising this, but I don't see it as a problem. Like Livejournal before it, I see MSN Spaces offering a valuable function -- hoovering up a significant proportion of crap from the web, and sticking it all in an easily-avoidable area."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Comment spamming hits MT

Comment spamming, which is an epidemic problem with WordPress blogs, has gotten to be a major issue with Movable Type as well.

Since inbound links are supposed to increase a site's popularity, some low-lifes have discovered that if they flood blog site commenting with hundreds of links, their own popularity rises. Online gambling sites are especially guilty of this tactic.

It has gotten so bad with many MT sites that the blogmasters have had no choice but to disable their commenting.

"Over the past two weeks, five hosts have in some way disabled MT or MT comments because of the server load they were creating," writes MT blogger Reid Stott. "Not five little Mom & Pop hosts - at least three of them I’d consider serious to top-notch hosts." Other bloggers also reported web hosts disabling MT scripts. One said their host, XO Communications, disabled MT after seeing 100 active connections to mt-comments.cgi, suspecting a denial of service attack was underway. Netcraft

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Google Suggest beta

How cool is this? You start to type in a search term in the Google search window and a list of suggestions appears in a drop-down as you type. Next to each suggested site is the total hits for that site. As you type more, the list becomes more specific to your search words.

This is the new Google Suggest Beta. From their FAQ:

"That's pretty cool. How does it do that? Our algorithms use a wide range of information to predict the queries users are most likely to want to see. For example, Google Suggest uses data about the overall popularity of various searches to help rank the refinements it offers. An example of this type of popularity information can be found in the Google Zeitgeist. Google Suggest does not base its suggestions on your personal search history."

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea:

"Most of us receive our traffic from many dozens of keyword phrases - often time many hundreds or thousands. If this service would become popular you could find your traffic stunted as Google only shows a handful of terms. Many of those terms may not have occured to the searcher - and so they click them." --WebMaster

Monday, December 13, 2004

Audio and videos in blogs

Here's something we get asked pretty frequently: how can I post audio and/or video in my blogs?

Userplane has announce a free service for creating audio and video for blogs called AVBlogger.

"...the AV Blogger service automatically detects the presence of a webcam and microphone, making it easy for even non-technical users to create recordings of up to 10 minutes in length. The service displays a side-by-side record and playback interface, allowing users to compare old and new recordings. Each recording is streamed from Userplane servers, and can be copy-and-pasted into any web page."

Looks very interesting. To see a blog that is using the service, take a look at some of the links on their site. You will quickly see that things can be a bit slow or even buggy. In most cases, it looks like a problem with the way the feed is set up on the site, not with AVBlogger.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

MSN Spaces to compete with Blogger

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil MSN Spaces as early as this week. Spaces is geared to compete directly with Google's Blogger blog platform and BlogSpot blog hosting.

Spaces has been up and running in a beta version in Japan since August. (Japan Spaces)

Some industry watchers have said they consider Microsoft's move into blogging as a counteroffensive against MSN archrival Google. In 2003, Google purchased Pyra Labs, the San Francisco-based vendor behind the Blogger blog-authoring platform. --MS Watch