Mark Evans Joins b5media as Vice President

Mark Evans, well known technology writer from the National Post in Canada, announced his resignation from his post at the Post (pun intended), and his intention to join the b5media team as Vice President of Operations. Of course, as a b5media staffer, this excites me and I look forward to working under my new boss.

Mark brings quite a bit of experience into play as well as name recognition throughout Canada. In addition to writing for the Post, he already is a b5er tracking emerging technologies in Canada at Maple Leaf Two.

Mark says of this move:

A little more than two years ago, I wrote a column suggesting blogs were little more than online diaries for love-sick teenage girls. I was wrong. Dead wrong. As readers of my blog(s) have discovered, I’ve embraced blogs as an exciting way to deliver content and have a “conversation” (a word my friend, Shel Israel, frequently uses) with a lots of people that I would have otherwise never met. These are not only bloggers who have become friends such as Rob Hyndman, Stuart MacDonald, Mathew Ingram, Mike McDerment, Om Malik and Alec Saunders but readers of my blog who have enthusiastically and generously shared their ideas and insights.

I guess we’ve all come a long way.

VIP Blogging has launched a new service that I recall talking to Matt Mullenweg about during WordCamp. He mentioned back then that folks like Scoble are sitting on top of the servers and that Automattic was thinking about letting other select bloggers do so as well.

Well, the day is here and has launched VIP Hosting. A few select high-profile, high-traffic bloggers will be allowed to jump on their robust infrastructure for a “Powered by WordPress” link, a few template hooks for stats and $250/mo.

I might mention that Automattic developer, Andy Skelton, is dying to get Dan Rather blogging on so Dan, if you’re listening, is a better solution for you than HDNet.

WordPress Democracy Plugin Exploit (and a New Version)

Matt told me to cross post this when I went live with this story. Earlier this evening, I released the details of a cross site scripting exploit in the super popular Democracy 1.2 plugin. Read about the exploit here.

There is a new version of Democracy availabe tonight as well as a response. It also addresses the SEO problem that Blog Republic posted last week.

Bloglines Improves Mobile

Bloglines users may have started noticing this message plastered across the service upon login. Bloglines Mobile has gotten some love from Skweezer.

For those of us who rely on and love Bloglines Mobile while on the go, here’s another reason to dig it. Bloglines has now integrated Skweezer technology to optimize web pages for your personal handheld mobile device’s viewing pleasure.

When you click on a link while reading a blog post in Bloglines Mobile, Skweezer will compress and reformat the content so you get it faster and better looking on your small screen. As you surf, the content will continue to be skweezed. Hints & bonus features:

* Click on the “Hide Images” link at the bottom of the page and skweezed content will load even faster.
* At the bottom of the skweezed page, you’ll find links back to the feed you were reading and a link back to your feed list.
* If you run across any pages that are not in your native tongue, Skweezer will translate to more than a dozen languages.

So if you’ve been wary of venturing beyond your Bloglines Mobile on your fancy new Blackberry (or Treo or other smartphone), free yourself from those inhibitions and click away!

Robyn DeuPree
Senior Product Manager, Bloglines

I don’t personally use Bloglines Mobile. I find any web use on my cell phone tedious and limit my use of mobile web to checking in on my Gmail on occasion. But I’d be blind to think that mobile is not a fast-growing trend. More people than ever use Blackberries and Treos who might find this enhancement useful.

Anyone check it out yet?

How to Get Under a Commenters Skin

As a defacto Part II to Thord’s entry about responding to angry commenters, let me pass along my method of responding to commenters in a way to get under their skin. I’ll admit, certain topics and people DO manage to reverse this method and has the reverse effect – me getting irritated, feisty, argumentative and indeed defeating my ownself. But for the vast majority of situations where a commenter is contrary and just needs to be taught a lesson, this works well for me.

See, everyone has their own position from which they speak. Most people, whether intentionally or without knowing, tend to obfuscate that position with arguments, comments and statements that are insignificant to their argument. I come from a family that is strong in “foundations” – that is, we have a way of seeing through the fluff and seeing the root cause of an issue or an argument. We recognize the place from which the person is coming from. My dad is a pro at this. I’ve got the same thing, with far fewer years of experience. His experience comes from being a minister and counseling with people who have messed up lives and screwed up heads. Mine comes from watching him and learning, and practicing the same thing in my own conversations at work, blogging and by just taking a keen interest in what makes people tick.

How Do People Blur Their Position?

In the blogging world, you’re more likely to find contrarians in areas of politics, religions, cultural differences, etc. So in that context, how does a position obfuscation work? Take this conversation as an example:
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Just in case you needed a reason to NOT attend SXSW ’07

SXSW is a big thing I realize. Media magnet. Mecca for all things, emm, whatever. But in case you were looking for a reason to not attend this event, let me give you reason #1 (of course the only one that matters).

Dan Rather is keynoting.

Yes, you heard it right. The posterchild for being dooced by blogs is now touting how, and I quote, “emerging technology is shaping the news”.

Well, if anyone can be a posterchild for such a topic, Dan Rather is it. The only reason the Web 2.0 crowd is embracing this goon is because of Mark Cuban’s dollars. He had no credibility when he left CBS, what makes an HDNet deal give him any more credibility now?

Hat tip: Mark Jaiquith

MySpace Politics

Only three weeks ago, I wondered about how long it would take before MySpace was tapped as “The. Ultimate. Political. Advertisement.” I figured someone was doing it but I had no idea who. Until last night. On the eve of the Maryland primaries, I discovered Janet Owens, Democratic candidate for State Comptroller has a MySpace page. Just like Howard Dean had the blog. Like someone (can’t remember who) was using YouTube.
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The Day that Will Live on in Infamy II: Revisited

I’m just coming back from a vacation and had not begun to really think in terms of blogging again, when I received an email from Matt. No tech on Monday. Only 9/11-related posts. Well, that’s easy, I thought.

September 11th hit very close to home for me, both geographically and emotionally. I worked in a government facility outside of Baltimore, a mere 50 miles from the Pentagon. That morning, as I drove into work, I observed a crystal blue sky, a faint early-fall crispness in the air and a usually easy commute into work. I had gotten back from a weekend at the Ocean just days before and really wasn’t feeling very worker-like.

That morning, I settled into my make-shift mini-cubicle that had been erected for me. There was no other space so this was my home at work. I began to sift through my emails for the morning. Around 8:15, my coworker Mark made his regular early morning jaunt down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee and a bagel.

About 8:50, he came back into the data center where I worked and shouted out to me, “Hey Aaron… Do you see anything on the internet about a plane hitting the World Trade Center?” I had not, since I had not even opened a browser that morning. Initially, I thought that some small aircraft had flown off course and hit the tower. Not by any stretch ‘normal’, but that kind of thing does happen occassionally.
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Interesting Local Events in Baltimore

Why does this interest anyone but me? It probably doesn’t, but yet who knows who will read these things and be tantalized to explore further into the database of events. is so underutilized outside of the Bay Area and it’s a shame. Several events I’ve heard about locally here in Baltimore could recieve better visibility if the mainstream caught on to some of the Web 2.0 tools.

  • The Flickr Show at Hampdenfest – September 16. A localized big event, Hampdenfest, which celebrates all things Baltimore in the same fashion that Artscape dominates the local Baltimore art scene, Flickr photographers will be sharing their Baltimore photography for all to see.
  • Balticon 41 – May 25-28, 2007. Though well in advance, this interesting science fiction festival attracts all kinds of bizarrities and is a central icon in the odd Baltimore landscape every year.
  • The Underground Online Seminar – March, 2007. I’m told that the man putting this thing on, Yanik Silver, is really very good though I can’t for the life of me figure out how much this event costs. It is being hosted in Washington, D.C.
  • New Technology Seminar with Khoi Vinh – September 21. Khoi is, of course, the director of design for and runs his own blog at

So what can you find interesting in or other events happening in your locality?