October 18, 2007

Virtual world’s Entropia launches blog

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Entropia Universe, the virtual world platform for online entertainment, social networking and e-commerce using a real cash economy, launched its official blog EntropiaGateway.com to allow Entropia participants to share tips, tricks and stories, exchange information and learn about enhanced feature sets.

Managed by MindArk, guest bloggers will include key players and MindArk executives. Just in time for the E for All event in Los Angeles, EntropiaGateway.com will keep participants current with goings-on from the convention during the week as gamers and gaming media from all over the U.S. converge for the ultimate gathering for consumers.

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Are You Blogging Through Rose-Colored Glasses?

Twoflower didn’t just look at the world through rose-tinted spectacles, Rincewind knew – he looked at it through a rose-tinted brain, too, and heard it through rose-tinted ears.

Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic from the Discworld series.

As you write your blog, you are viewing the world through your lens, your filter, your perspective on the issue. Like Twoflower, is your view so narrow that you are blogging through your ears and brain as well as your eyes?
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October 17, 2007

PBS and Knight Foundation team up to launch Idea Lab Blog

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PBS and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced te launch of MediaShift Idea Lab Blog, a group blog featuring 36 wide-ranging innovators reinventing community news for the digital age.

Each Idea Lab blogger won a grant in the Knight News Challenge to help fund a startup idea or to blog on a topic related to reshaping community news. The writers will use the Idea Lab to explain their projects, share intelligence and interact with the online community. Knight Foundation’s News Challenge contest awards up to $5 million annually to individuals who innovate community news using digital technology.

Among Knight Foundation projects to be featured on Idea Lab:

– From MIT, an endeavor to create the “Center for Future Civic Media,” designed to build stronger communities through innovation in digital media applied to journalism.

– MTV will be putting a ‘Knight Mobile Youth Journalist’ in every state. These young people will create video news reports for distribution on cell phones. Viewers will rate the videos and those with the highest ratings will be broadcast on MTV.

– In New York, the “Gotham Gazette” will develop games to inform and engage players about key issues confronting New York City. The games report what solutions the players developed and relay those ideas to city officials.

– The “Playing the News” project is a news simulation environment letting citizens play through a complex, evolving news story through
interaction with the newsmakers.

– Seven academic ‘incubators’ will foster creative thinking about solutions to digital news problems. The schools are: Michigan State,
University of Kansas, Kansas State, Western Kentucky University, Ithaca College, University of Nevada-Las Vegas and St. Michael’s College.

Knight Foundation provided a grant to MediaShift to produce Idea Lab and to enhance the original MediaShift blog with audio, video and citizen
journalism projects. Idea Lab is produced by MediaShift and hosted by PBS.

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WordPress Wednesday News: WordCamps in Israel and Melbourne, Tag Troubles, Cell Blogging, WP-Cache and Comment troubles, and More

WordPress new tags feature brings hope and confusion, and new WordPress Plugins. WordCamp Israel sold out. WordCamp Melbourne filling fast. News soon on WordCamp Hamburg in January. Cell blogging options improve with WordPress. A few problems with WP-Cache and comment template files, and news, updates, and more news on WordPress.

WordPress News

WordCamp Israel Sold Out: WordCamp Israel is filled with a long waiting list for the October 25 day long conference. I’m going to be there, talking about blogging and WordPress, along with some of the best of the best of Israeli bloggers.

WordCamp Melbourne: Australia, is the next international spot for WordCamp Melbourne for November 17. There is now an Upcoming Events page which list WordCamp Melbourne will be at the Watermark Bar. They are still setting the schedule of speakers up for the afternoon long conference, but expect to see some fantastic speakers and programs.
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Bloggers face same censorship from repressive regimes as journalists, study suggests

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The latest annual study from Reporters Without Borders suggests that bloggers are now just as much at risk from censorship by repressive regimes as journalists and reporters in traditional media are.

They claim that many governments now realise that the Internet is a powerful force for promoting democracy and are finding ways of suppressing anyone who challenges their authority.

At the bottom of the world rankings for overall press freedom came the African nation of Eritrea:

“The privately-owned press has been banished by the authoritarian President Issaias Afeworki and the few journalists who dare to criticise the regime are thrown in prison. We know that four of them have died in detention and we have every reason to fear that others will suffer the same fate,” said the organisation in a statement.

Close behind came North Korea and Turkmenistan. China is also low down on the list (164th), having imprisoned fifty people based upon postings made online.

The report suggests that, at present, at least 64 people are imprisoned worldwide because of views they have expressed on the Internet. Eight of them are in Vietnam.

European countries performed well, with Iceland in first position, followed by Norway and Estonia. However, Russia languishes is 144th position, and is “not progressing” according to the report.

The US came in 48th position.

Of course, this report looks at how those in all areas of the media are treated, but it’s worth noting that bloggers are now very much on the radar.

Reporters Sans Frontieres article (via BBC News)

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Why With RSS Bigger is NOT Always Better

Yesterday on the Codswallop blog I wrote about the Google Reader RSS Revolt. In the article I mention that with RSS feed counts, bigger is not always better.

Crazy talk! We all want more RSS subscribers, right?

Actually, no. There is a good reason why you might not want a bigger RSS subscriber count …

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October 16, 2007

Tom Masters’ new book aimed at making blogging simple for “gray generation”

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A new book aims to take the pain out of setting up, writing, and maintaining a blog, particularly for the over 50s age group, an increasingly large proportion of the overall blogging population.

A recent study by the Pew Internet Project reports that 46% of bloggers are now over the age of 30 and 16% are 50 or older. “Blogging Quick & Easy” was written by 56-year-old Tom Masters to simply explain both the technical skills and discipline required to operate a successful blog.

Topics include an introduction to the blogging phenomenon, blog planning, blog creation, building readership, measuring success, and earning income, plus a number of appendices covering RSS, blog planning and metrics tools, search engines, blog platforms, and keyword research.

The book’s sole reviewer on Amazon writes:

This book, written in an easy, non-technical voice, breaks the art of blogging down into simple step by step instructions. It provides great resources and lots of useful information, including how to expand your reader base, and make your site more visually interesting. I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about creating their own blog, or wants to improve an existing one. Definitely a good buy.

Tom Masters is a consultant with over 30 years experience in technology management, product development and web marketing. He is the president of Book Publishers Northwest, and a frequent lecturer and speaker on blogging and social media. His special focus is book publishing based on new production technologies and innovative web marketing strategies.

“Bogging Quick & Easy” on Amazon

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NYTimes.com launches “The Board” editorial blog

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NYTimes.com announced that it has launched “The Board”, a blog written by members of The New York Times editorial board, providing commentary and background on each day’s editorials.

“We are excited about starting this blog for the editorial board. There’s so much that goes on during any particular day that we can’t get to on the editorial page, and so much we can add to our editorials by using the power of the Internet. We hope that our readers take up the invitation to join us in a dialog about the issues of the day — large, small and just plain strange,” Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of The New York Times, said.

The Board is a companion to the day’s in-print editorials, offering additional insight, reflection and context in both signed and unsigned posts. The Board will also feature commentary on topics that did not fit on the editorial page, postcards from board members who are traveling and written snapshots of discussions with special visitors.

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Who’s Talking About You and Your Blog

I haven’t made time recently to find out whose been talking about me and my blog. It’s one of those tasks easily put off. So I thought I’d take you along for the ride to show you how I keep track of whose been talking about me and my blog, and remind you to not put this important blog task off.

Google Blog Search

Google Blog Search helps you track what others are saying about your blog fairly easily. In the search form, use:

link:http://example.com/

This will result in a list of all the blogs indexed by Google’s Blog Search with a link to your blog. and uses Google Blog Search to track incoming links on the WordPress Dashboard panel, so you can click through to Google Blog Search incoming links to your blog through those links. Luckily, they are the few.

I checked and found a lot of interesting bloggers writing about me or my posts and went visiting to see what they had to say and leave a few comments along the way. I also found inspiration for some blog posts, posts in which I will reference and link back to them, saying something about them and their blogs, too.

For the most part, I found bloggers saying delightful things about my blog, and a lot of positive reinforcement that I’m still blogging down the right path. I also found some splogs and copyright thieves, so it pays to check these out frequently. I also found a few who didn’t have nice things to say about me, which is their right in this world of free speech.
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Rethinking the Blog as Database

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How do you look at your blog? Do you see it as a personal diary or maybe as a form of journalism? Do you ever think of your blogging as database form? This is the first post in a series of three on the blog as database on three different levels:

  1. The blog as database
  2. The blogosphere as database
  3. The web as database

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