March 29, 2005

Blogging delivers modelling contract

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A new story that gives hope to all aspiring models who run blogs, with word that Singaporean blogger behind XiaXue has landed a modelling contract due to her blogging activities.

Back in December, Wendy was shopping at a store and ran into local fashion label LocalBrand’s founder Turodrique Fuad. The two got into a conversation about blogs and naturally one thing led to another and…..Wendy is now the face of LocalBrand.

And who says blogging is just for unattractive geeks!

(via Adrants)

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March 28, 2005

Feminist Mormon uses blog to spread message

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Duncan Riley> Yes, its been a slow Easter weekend, so news of a Feminist Mormon who’s spreading the good word that feminism is not just about growing hairy legs and spitting on men but can actually be useful when you’re 1 of 6 or 7 wives struck me as a fine example of the diversity a number of insular A list bloggers state that the blogosphere so desperately lacks.

But before you start flaming me for taking the piss over a religion that runs the state (Utah) that is trying to censors blogs, I say good will to all men, women, and even mormons this easter, and peace be with you!

Rocky Mountain News reports that Lisa Butterworth is the very image of Mormon devotion: She lives in Boise, Idaho, with her husband and their three children younger than 4, faithfully attending church and teaching at Sunday school. But beneath the subservient , religious veneer is a top rating television series in the making, because Lisa has a secret: she writes a blogspot blog called Feminist Mormon Housewives.

None the less Lisa champions the American can-do spirit in a country where new types and strains of religion are seemingly created every 7 seconds: “I was getting really frustrated at church because I couldn’t talk about a lot of things that were bothering me about history, about feminism,” said Butterworth, 30, who started the blog last August with four friends. “I wasn’t interested in bashing the church; I wanted to find something that could be faithful, liberal and feminist. I didn’t find that, so I created it.”

The blog also preaches tolerance, with this post: “In the last few years, for the first time in my life I have formed close friendships with a couple of non-Mormon women. I was thinking about this yesterday and it gave me flashbacks to my youthful idiocy. Back when being around non-members made me feel uncomfortable and slightly dirty”.

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March 26, 2005

Blogger bounced from Disneyland

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A blogger has been banned from Disney Land for giving “unathorised tours”.

“Disney Blogger” Jim Hill told AP,“They were being so serious, so Disney, so polite and professional – but at the same time treating it as if it was a nuclear bomb threat in their park it was laughable,” he said Friday, recalling his encounter last week with park security at Disney Land in Anaheim, Calif.

Hill said that he had been providing walking tours in person of Disneyworld two or three times a year for several years, charging $25 per person. He vowed to continue via MP3.

“I can do it now from the comfort of my home in the woods,” said Hill, who lives in New Boston.

Hill says Disney officials shut down his tours after three women who thought they were signing up for an official tour ended up in his tour group.

Hill claims that Disney is trying to silence him. According to AP, “In the 25 years that I have been writing & telling stories about the Walt Disney Company, this is the first time ever that Mickey has made an effort to gag me. And – to be honest – it wasn’t a very pleasant experience,” Hill wrote.

AP reports that Disneyland spokesman Bob Tucker responded in a statement: “Only qualified Disneyland Resort cast members are authorized to provide tours of Disneyland. Since Mr. Hill’s tour was not authorized he was asked to leave the property.”

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March 25, 2005

RSS Alerts go mobile

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Santa Cruz Tech and PubSub have announced the launch of FeedBeep, an Internet-driven service providing real-time RSS alerts to Short Message Service (SMS) enabled phones and mobile devices.

PubSub currently monitors more than nine million Internet sources and currently provides a notification service to users.

FeedBeep utilizes PubSub’s search technology to monitor RSS feeds and the blogosphere using keyword search. FeedBeep then forwards important events in the form of alerts to subscribers’ cellular phones or other SMS-enabled mobile devices. Using PubSub, FeedBeep delivers instant access to important news.

“FeedBeep and PubSub now provide the final link between people and the Internet’s wealth of information,” said Robert Wyman, CTO and co-founder, PubSub Concepts. “PubSub’s relationship with FeedBeep allows users to receive the critical information they want when ever and wherever they want it, either at their computer or on the move. With access to instant information updates in blogs, news releases or other critical alerts, people are empowered to respond using the very latest and most relevant information.”

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Boing Boing under attack

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2005 Bloggies Blog of the Year award winner Boing Boing is under attack on two front today, both distinctly related to their status as a blogging favourite.

In the blogoshpere, GlassDog takes BoingBoing to task over its status as a “widely popular geek site” when its obviously pulling in large profits whilst trying to maintain its status as a leader amongst “indie” media. GlassDog even goes as far to say that the site, which first posted that it was adding advertising to cover the cost of increasing hosting demands, is misleading in its purpose and should come clean on the advertising issue.

The mainstream media, or in particular Rob O’Neill at Melbourne’s The Age newspaper, (sub required) points out that BoingBoing winning the best weblog award at the Bloggies is “one in the eye for media critics” as Boing Boing is run by professional journalists and writes: “Hell, these guys even write for The New York Times.”

Both articles provide interesting conundrums in relation to where mainstream media starts and ends, and also in a similar vain where the line between amateur and professional starts and stops. In some ways both only further go to demonstrate that in its maturity, the blogosphere is slowly becoming mainstream itself.

(in part via Radio Free Blogistan)

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Blog burnout spreading

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6 weeks after conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that he was resting the Daily Dish, blog burnout appears to be spreading with an announcement from Microsoft uber-blogger Robert Scoble that he is giving up his well regarded link blog due to family considerations. The decision by Scoble has also seen other high profile bloggers pondering the time blogging is taking up each day with Neville Hobson writing: “[blogging] takes up a lot of time! If you run a blog as a labour of love, you will face a crunch sooner or later as you try and juggle your love with the others things you do, professionally and personally, that enable you to earn your crust and actually have a life.”

There is little doubt that as more blogs enter the blogosphere and the long tail becomes even longer that the fight for relevance and market will see more top bloggers suffer burnout as corporate blogging continues to have the upper hand over what has previously been the domain of amateurs and hobbyists.

(via Steve Rubel)

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March 24, 2005

FEC backing down on blog attack

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The US Federal Election Commission has revealed that it plans to back down on its attempts to regulate political blogs.

The agency, which was reported to be considering regulating US political blogs, has been under fire from all quarters over a policy that could have stifled free speech and debate in the blogosphere.

According to the Washington Post, a FEC “notice of proposed rulemaking,” indicates that the Commisioners are focusing much of their attention on whether to apply federal contribution limits on online political advertising campaigns and that the commissioners are leaning against imposing restrictions on blogs.

“I think that we’re trying to use this document as some sort of broad hint that, at least at this stage, we don’t plan to regulate the vast majority of what individuals do [online] and the vast majority of what bloggers do…It is designed to give people a pretty clear signal that the FEC never did have any intent to overregulate citizens who want to use Internet technology for communicating in the area of politics,” FEC Chairman Scott E. Thomas (D) told the Washington Times, despite being one of 3 Democrat members of the Committee who voted against a Republican motion to continue the previous exclusion provision provided under US campaign laws to the internet and blogs.

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Real Estate tycoons targeted with new Blog service

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Residential property owners and managers are being targeted through a new blog service BuildingBlogz.com.

NetImpax, a Georgetown-based, “web creative and interactive consultancy” is targeting the new service property owners and managers as a method in which they can instantly communicate with their tenants and to inform them of building announcements and issues including construction projects, new policies and employees, security concerns and other residential property news.

To quote NetImpax: “BuildingBlogz.com will change the way real estate rulers and their denizens coexist and communicate…On multiple levels. Using our extensive knowledge of business, real estate, blogging, and marketing, we have developed a valuable business and consumer network that benefits both real estate property owners and managers and the millions of tenants they house and serve.”

The company is offering a blog design package and hosting of time $1,400 USD upfront and $49 per month for hosting the blog.

Although not disclosed on the site, the blogs are powered by SixApart’s TypePad blogging service.

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It’s time to stand up for Google

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Duncan Riley> Is Google bashing the new cool? I could have easily substituted the opening quote as the headline here but I’d rather make a positive statement, despite some failings, Google is still one of the good guys, and it’s time to stand up for Google.

Many of you who don’t follow political blogs may be wondering what I’m talking about, well in short form here it is: Political blogs, in particular leading conservative blogs and bloggers has stirred up a storm in a tea cup over the inclusion of a “Nazi” website as a source for Google’s News service (since removed) mainly on the grounds that their blogs had not.

Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not defending, attacking or otherwise looking to get involved in a political argument here over the content of any of the sites, but the attack by many of these leading conservative political blogs seems to be based more on envy at being excluded from the service whilst ignoring the bleeding obvious fact as to why a Nazi site can get listed and they cant: they do not report news in a fashion that fits Google News in terms of textual format, whilst National Vanguard did.
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EFF Appeals Ruling in Apple v Bloggers case

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed an appeal in the Apple v Bloggers case on the grounds that the ruling has broad implications for the rights of reporters to protect the confidentiality of their sources.

In its request for an appeal, EFF argues that the First Amendment cannot be so easily waived and states that many important news leaks, such as those revealing the dangers of cigarette smoking, can be claimed to be trade secrets by the companies seeking to stop them. EFF further contends that Apple must also demonstrate that it has done an exhaustive search elsewhere for the information it seeks before targeting journalists with court orders and that there is no evidence that Apple has done such an exhaustive search.

“The California courts have a long history of supporting and protecting the freedom of the press,” said EFF Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “The Court of Appeal will now get the opportunity to correct a ruling that endangers all journalists.”

“The Superior Court’s ruling exalted statutory trade secret protection over constitutional rights, misapplied the test for when the constitutional reporter’s privilege may be overcome, and ignored the Stored Communications Act altogether,” said Kevin Bankston, EFF staff attorney and Bruce J. Ennis Fellow.

(source: media release)

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