February 22, 2005

Tasmanian politician big notes himself with false first blog claim

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Tasmania State Member for Denison David Bartlett (ALP) has big-noted himself in a press release today stating that he is the first Australian politician to write a blog.

Despite a blog existing for some time written by Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett, and blogs for candidates in Western Australia including Graeme Keirath and Craig Carbone, David Bartlett still claims the mantle of first to the blogs in a press release on the Tasmanian Government website.

The release continues with Mr Bartlett stating the site was designed to increase public awareness of what politicians do, and to encourage people to become more active in civic affairs.

“Apart from details of my personal diary, visitors to the web-site will be able to link to speeches, media releases, press clippings and other information.Visitors to the site will be able to contact me directly via email with their feedback and thought. Over time, the site will be expanded to provide a forum for people to comment on issues of public importance. In this way, I hope to give Tasmanians another avenue for participating in our democracy and contributing to the flow of ideas about our future.” said Mr Bartlett.

How the site is different from a static webpage was not made clear. Visitors to the site will also note no real appearance of a proper blog format or layout.

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February 20, 2005

Happy ending for fired UK Blogger

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Joe Gordon, the blogger sacked by his bookshop employer in the UK last year after referring to management as bastards, has been headhunted by a Sci-fi Independent book chain, apparently because of his blog.

Comic book chain Forbidden Planet has hired Gorfon for a managerial role dealing with the online side of the business and book and graphic novel selection, including the writing of a corporate blog. The job also pays significantly more that his previous position.

Kenny Penman, one of the company’s founders and directors is reported to have said “I saw his blog and, while I think it’€™s probably ill-advised, in front of a potential audience of four billion, to refer to your employers as bastards, I couldn’€™t really see a problem with it.”

Whether the new position has specific contract clauses related to not saying nasty thing about your employer is unclear.

(via Scotsman)

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February 19, 2005

Bloglines down

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Bloglines PlumberWhilst not the end of the world as we know it, although pretty close to it, perenial blogosphere favourite Bloglines is down at the time of writing, with a promise of restoration of servicea at 11pm US PST Friday.

Whether the server issues are related to the recent purchase of Bloglines by Ask Jeeves is not known, but we join with many in the blogosphere to hope that it returns soon, although we note that we are unable to actually read what others are saying about the outage because, well… Bloglines is down.

Somebody does have a sense of humour at the site though with the graphic and message.

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Yes The Mac Blogging Challenge is serious

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Duncan Riley> I posted earlier today a Mac Blogging Challenge. I’m serious. So serious that what follows is the official media release I’ve lodged with PR Web. In the short time since the last post I’ve been surprised by the number of emails, many positive. If you are reading this from Slashdot, please post as a story, I’m not joking, make me a ginea pig. Here it is.

Leading Blog offers Mac Blogging Challenge

The Blog Herald, the web’s leading source of blogging news, has offered a challange to Apple Mac Suppliers: if Mac’s are superior to the popular Wintel model, prove it.

Duncan Riley, Editor of the Blog Herald, the web’s leading source of blog news today issued a unique challenge. If Mac’s are so good, prove it.

Mr Riley went on to say why: “In the past I’ve considered selling The Blog Herald, Why? To be honest its nearly always computer based. This week for example, Win XP on my maincomputer (I own 1 main computer, and between my partner and I, 2 laptops, both Win based on a WiFi network) kept playing up. Something about DHCP settings, and for the first night in 5 I can post from my main computer. Its beyond annoying, and I suspect the problem lies with the machine and its software, and therefore Microsoft.”

“I want to live in a world where I can always log on and it works. I don’t live in this world currently.”

Mr Riley laid out the challenge: “If Mac is so great, send me one; a mini Mac, with a PC Monitor adaptor and USB 2 4 port hub to fit my accessories.”

Not willing to take something for nothing, Mr Riley offered something in return. “The deal is I’ll give the supplier 1 year in advertising, format to be agreed, on The Blog Herald. Given the current rates I’m charging and selling it will be a bargain. I’ll also blog at duncanriley.com exclusively my experiences, as well as regular updates on the Blog Herald as to my Mac experience in relation to blogging.”

The challenge is a first for the blogosphere.

Mac suppliers have been given the challenge to prove their product, with advertising that will cover their costs several times over, irrespective of the outcome of the experience

Mac suppliers wishing to offer their wares for the challenge can contact The Blog Herald at [email protected], or +61 412844237 or Skype Duncanriley.

For further information visit http://www.blogherald.com/2005/02/18/the-mac-blogging-challenge/

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February 18, 2005

Mena exposed: “Look at me, Look at me”

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AP has run an extrondiany story which exposes the truth behind Six Apart and the origins of arguably one of the Blogospheres leading companies.

As many expected, it confirmed that Ben Trott is a humble bloke that is happy to program and plod along. Mena, on the other hand, is portrayed as the Star that wanted to shine: the first line of the post: “Like so many other 20-somethings hoping to mine the Internet gold rush of the late 1990s, Mena Trott was thrown for a humbling loop by the dot-com bust. Yet, she still craved stardom.”

Andrew Anker, Six Apart’s executive vice president of corporate development sums it up well in the AP piece: “Ben is shy and gets uncomfortable when people talk about him [however] Mena gets upset when everyone is not talking about her every day.”

Two words: Prima Dona.

Not content to just dominate her husband (poor Ben) she continues: “We realized pretty quickly that we wanted to influence the future of blogging,” she said. “We would have felt terrible if blogging became something big and we ended up only being a footnote.”

Realising that world domination can only be achieved in partnership with others, as history notes, the Trotts ended up selling a stake in the company to Joi Ito and other venture capitalists for $11.5 million.

Remarkably, current CEO Berkowitz refers to Mena Trott as “Queen”

Before the stream from the long number of Six Apart groupies and supporters, I’d note this: none of the above is made up: it comes from a legitimate journalist interviewing the players. Think twice about what you say.

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Hostway offers Blogging package

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Hostway Corporation, has announced the launch of SiteBlog, a blogging tool that’s free to the company’s new and existing customers.

According to Hostaway, SiteBlog provides an abundance of features that appeal to customers’ needs ranging from large corporations to personal diaries.

“We at Hostway are pleased to offer our customers the ability to add blogging to their Web sites for free,” says John Lee, Vice President of Marketing at Hostway Corporation. “With this easy and graphically appealing tool, our customers can communicate their message, whether business focused or personal opinion, in a more interactive, real-time medium.”

SiteBlog is now available at http://www.hostway.com/siteblog/ and allows Hostway customers to create and maintain an online journal, which can be linked from their regular Web sites. Customers may create unique profiles and choose from 12 changeable design themes to appeal to their specific tastes and blogging objectives.

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The Mac Blogging Challenge

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Duncan Riley> I often read how Mac’s are superior to Wintel PC’s. How Macs don’t get infected with viruses, and how Mac’s are easier to use.

I’ll even admit to reading Roland Tanglao often, a great Canadian, and Mac pundit as well.

So, for the thousands of readers of The Blog Herald, I have a challenge.

I’ve considered in the past selling The Blog Herald.

Why?

To be honest its nearly always computer based. This week for example, Win XP on my maincomputer (I own 1 main computer, and between my partner and I, 2 laptops, both Win based on a WiFi network) kept playing up. Something about DHCP settings, and for the first night in 5 I can post from my main computer. Its beyond annoying, and I suspect the problem lies with the machine and its software, and therefore Microsoft.

I want to live in a world where I can always log on and it works. I don’t live in this world currently.

So here is the challenge. If Mac is so great, send me one; a mini Mac, with a PC Monitor adaptor and USB 2 4 port hub to fit my accessories. The deal is I’ll give the supplier 1 year in advertising, format to be agreed, on The Blog Herald. Given the current rates I’m charging and selling it will be a bargain. I’ll also blog at duncanriley.com exclusively my experiences, as well as regular updates on the Blog Herald as to my Mac experience in relation to blogging.

Mac suppliers, you have the choice, I’m willing to make the ultimate change to promote you. I can be contacted at [email protected] or Skype duncanriley

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Is there to be a big blog spam summit?

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Jeremy Zawodny posts that there is going to be a “Web Spam Squashing” Summit next week on Thursday, Feb 24th, at the Yahoo! campus in Sunnyvale.

Apparently the team from Technorati is organizing the event and main goal is to get tool makers in a room to talk about web spam, share info, and brainstorm.

Participants so far include AOL, Google, MSG, Six Apart, Technorati, and Yahoo. Zawodny hopes that Feedster, WordPress, and Ask Jeeves/ Bloglines will also participate.

According to Zawodny, this is a technical working session, not a media event. Whilst a positive idea, you can only hope the media ban is constructive, and not for secretive reasons. It will be interesting if any one blogs it.

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Blogs as a public service

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Peggy Noonan has stepped up to the plate in the Wall Street Journal as a friend of blogs this week with a great piece “The Blogs Must Be Crazy, Or maybe the MSM is just suffering from freedom envy“.

In it, she argues that blogs are a public service and that whilst blogs won’t see an end to Mainstream Media, it certainly reduces MSM to being a player as opposed to being the source, in the news business.

A must read.

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Internet Under Surveillance

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A preparatory meeting for the World Summit on the Information Society began on 17 February in Geneva. Reporters Without Borders is there with a delegation of cyber-dissidents and bloggers in order to put a face to the repression against Internet users in some of the countries that will be parading at this conference, and in order to present five recommendations for online free expression.

The Reporters Without Borders delegation attending the preparatory meeting:

– Zouhair Yahyaoui (Tunisia, the country hosting the second stage of the WSIS) was imprisoned from 4 June 2002 to 18 November 2003 for making fun of President Ben Ali on his website, Tunezine.com. He received the Reporters Without Borders Cyber-Freedom Prize in June 2003.

– Ibrahim Lutfy (Maldives) was arrested in January 2002 for helping to produce Sandhaanu, an electronic newsletter about President Gayoom’s human rights violations. He escaped from prison in May 2003 and has since lived in Switzerland, where he has been granted political asylum.

– Cai Chongguo (China), a philosophy professor and political dissident, had to flee his country after the Tiananmen Square massacres. He has been given asylum in France, where he is studying the system of online censorship that has been introduced in China.

– Jay Bakht (Iran) is a founding member of Penlog, a group of Iranian bloggers. He lives in Britain, where he fights for the release of imprisoned bloggers and campaigns against the Iranian government’s Internet filtering policies.

Read the four cyber-dissidents’ accounts of their experiences on the site dedicated to this initiative: www.radionongrata.org

Reporters Without Borders’ five recommendations for online free expression

1. Any law about the flow of information online must be anchored in freedom of expression as defined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2. Internet users alone must decide what material they can and wish to access online. Automatic filtering of online content, by governments or private firms, is unacceptable.
Filters must only be installed by Internet users themselves and only on their personal connection. Any policy of higher-level (national or even local) filtering conflicts with the principle of the free flow of information.

3. A decision to shut down a website, even an illegal one, must not in any circumstances be taken by the site’s host or any other technical provider of Internet services. Only a judge can ban an online publication.
A technical service provider cannot therefore be held criminally or civilly responsible for any illegal material posted on a hosted website unless the service provider refuses to obey a ruling by an impartial and independent court.

4. A government’s civil or criminal powers are limited to content hosted on its territory or specifically aimed at the country’s Internet users.

5. The editors of online publications, including bloggers and those running personal sites, must have the same protection and be shown the same consideration as professional journalists since, like them, they exercise a basic freedom, that of freedom of expression.

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