February 27, 2009

Phase 1 of The Blog Herald Design Upgrade

You might’ve noticed that things are looking a bit different here today. If not, then you’re probably reading in your RSS reader (please visit the site) or need to clear your web browser cache (Ctrl+F5 in Windows or Cmd+R in OS X usually does it).

So what’s new in this upgrade?

  • Three headline posts on the front page.
  • Popular series graphic pushed to the right of the headlines.
  • Wider content columns, perhaps not ideal for reading (fine-tuning will follow), but great for images.
  • Sidebar cleanup.
  • The hot topic tag listings have moved from top left, to the sidebar.

read more

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Surviving Online Shame

Filed as Guides with 6 comments

As we know the internet has a long memory. We also know that bad news travels fast, and embarrassing news travels even faster. There is a really dangerous aspect to the internet when both these factors combine to form a perfect storm of shame.

We are only human so inevitably will goof at some point. How can we avoid the worst? read more

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Political blogging to be recognised by Orwell Prize

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Britain’s prestigious political writing award, the Orwell Prize, will include blogs for the first time.

There are 83 eligible entries.

The BBC has some interesting interviews about blogging, its role in politics, and what Orwell may himself have made of it all. read more

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February 26, 2009

WordPress News: WordPress Wins at Irish Blogger Awards, WordPress Events Everywhere, WordPress for PowerPoint, Flash Security Issue, Feedburner Deadline

March is WordPress month with more WordCamps and WordPress Meetups than ever. Will April beat it? Lester Chan makes a WordPress PowerPoint Template for presentations. WordPress wins the Best Irish Blogs Awards. FeedBurner transfer deadline is this weekend. Adobe Flash security vulnerability found, impacting many Plugins and WordPress blogs. And a lot more WordPress news coming your way.

WordPress News

The Best Bloggers in Ireland Use WordPress: Donncha O’Caoimh attended the Best Irish Blogs awards and reports that WordPress powers the best Irish blogs. Cathal Garvey created a comparison chart that found and represented 66% of the nominees, followed by Blogspot, then Movable Type. Has another country done similar comparisons?

WordPress PowerPoint Presentation Template: In anticipation of presenting a WordPress program at Blogout’09 in Singapore, Lester Chan went looking for a WordPress style template for Powerpoint. He couldn’t find one. So he created the WordPress PowerPoint Template that uses the official WordPress Logos and Graphics and looks very WordPress 2.7. He offers it free for anyone else searching as he did. Thanks, Lester! read more

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Year of Original Content: FairShare Helps Track Content Theft

FairShare logoIn honor of my declaring war on content theft with the Year of Original Content,” FairShare is offering a limited number of free registrations for readers to try their copyright infringement tracking system currently in private beta testing.

Jonathan Bailey recently reviewed FairShare and said:

FairShare, unlike Attributor’s current business service, is targeted at bloggers and Webmasters who want to track how their content is being used and where, but do not require advanced tools and filtering. It works with Creative Commons licenses and tracks where content reappears, how much is used, if the content is linked and if the site displays any advertisements.

Though the service carries with it many different limitations, for bloggers that can not afford or don’t have the time to use a more advanced system, it is likely a very good choice.

FairShare creates a feed based upon your blog’s URL that is matched against the sites that FairShare monitors and tracks across the web, comparing the content against the original by checking the number of words copied, whether or not the matching site links back, if there are ads on the site, and other copyright violations in accordance with your selected Creative Commons license. FairShare supports all six v3.0 Creative Commons licenses. read more

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Apple restricts press from live blogging shareholders meeting

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In an age of blogging and tweeting, it’s hard to keep a secret.

Though Apple made it quite clear that its latest shareholders meeting was not to be live-blogged, it didn’t stop a couple of shareholders pushing out updates.

According to CNBC, Apple refused to allow journalists to carry in communications devices, thus making live reaction impossible. However, it did manage to run a live-blog of sorts based on the pings of “Cheddarmuff” and “idannyb”. read more

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Google Threatened by Twitter?

TwitterThere’s some buzz on how Google might feel threatened by Twitter, because of the microblogging service’s search functionality. John Battelle makes the argument, putting Twitter in the same sentence as YouTube and points out that the latter has more search queries than Yahoo.

What’s the most important and quickly growing form of search on the web today? Real time, conversational search. And who’s the YouTube of real time search? Yep. Twitter. It’s an asset Google cannot afford to not own, and also, one they most likely do not have the ability (or brand permission) to build on their own. (Remember, Google tried to build its own YouTube – Google Video – and it failed to get traction. A service like Twitter is community driven, and Google has never been really great at that part of the media business).

True. However, I’m wondering how well the reasoning fares here. Google did buy Jaiku, just to let it go after doing more or less nothing to it, other than crippling the development and effectually destroying the, in some ways superior, service’s chances to compete with Twitter. So why didn’t they give Jaiku a serious shot then? read more

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Why Did Obama Abandon Twitter?

The word “did” should be in italics in the title above. The question was originally asked by NYTimes.com blog Gadgetwise, and it is indeed a valid one. Twitter was one of several ways that Barack Obama managed to show the Americans that he was a modern guy ready to tackle the modern problems, and to get his message across. But after being sworn into office, the Twitter account got quiet.

Why?

Maybe it’s a case of having to use more traditional channels, and the White House press office just don’t want Twitter in the fray. Or maybe it’s a matter of silly rules – the president can’t just use a service like that for competitive reasons, or whatever. To me, it sounds like he got what he wanted from Twitter, and now it’s time to get to work. If that is the case it is a faulty reasoning since his voters (i.e. followers) is his work.

Why do you think Obama stopped twittering?

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February 25, 2009

Blog Writing: What Do You Do When a Blog Goes Bye-Bye?

Ah, a day in the life of a blogger and computer geek. It began with an attack from two ten year old emil viruses and ended with the star blog of the article I was working on disappearing.

Blogging can be easy and fun, but if you do it for a living, it has its ups and downs, good days and bad. In my ongoing series on called “Blog Struggles,” I share some of the hardships associated with blogging, from the early days to present. Today, it was a bad day. Two weeks of research down the drain.

I’ve been working for two long hard weeks on an article about an open source program with the focus on an excellent community fan blog. Just before hitting the Publish button, I visited the site to verify some information.

The site I’d visited so often in the past ten days greeted me with a big white page and a note that the site had been “discontinued” without further explanation or link to an alternate resource.

site discontinued notice

Poof. Gone. Bye-bye. read more

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British MPs informing but not engaging with constituents: research

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Perhaps vilifying the British government’s planned recruitment of a director of digital engagement, a recent study by the Hansard Society suggests that MPs are only using the Internet to inform their constituents rather than engaging with them.

The research suggests that, while 92% of MPs use email and 83% have a personal web site, just under a quarter use any form of social networking tools, and just one in ten blog. Many of these blogging MPs don’t enable reader comments. read more

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