Blogging and the Handwriting Challenged


My handwriting sucks. I’m sure of it. I sometimes can’t even read my own notes. It’s worse than doctors’ prescriptions. One of my elementary school teachers even likened it to chicken scratchings on the ground.

It all started when I was in preschool. Being the obsessive-compulsive kid I was, I always used a ruler to straighten the lines of my letters. I loved it when I wrote those I’s, T’s, X’s and other letters with straight lines. When there were curves, I even used the rounded edges of coins just to make ’em nice and round.

I had nice, straight lines, and nicely-shaped curves. But my teacher kept scolding me because I was always the last to finish writing works. And so I was forced to learn how to write without guides. And without these, my handwriting really deteriorated. My hand easily got tired, I had sweaty palms, and while I’m right-handed, I wear my watch on my right wrist, adding to the strain.

Meanwhile, I had my first experience with computers at ten, when we had our first PC-XT compatible at home. That really changed things, because I quickly became very adept at computing. I often topped my school’s computer classes. I typed the fastest. I encoded and finished programming works easily. [Read more…]

Are You a Non-Ad-Clicker?

Chris Garret recently wrote about the suggestion that clicking on ads would be like tipping a blogger. Consider the opposite. Are you the kind of blog reader who would go to great lengths just to avoid clicking ads?

I’m like this sometimes. And it’s not only because I’ve grown desensitized to ads (ad blindness). But it also stems from being overly-cautious. For one, clicking on bad links seems to be one of the popular ways of getting infected with malware. Because of this I try to avoid clicking emailed links. I usually copy the URL and paste. Or if it’s a service I use, I type the URL directly. And when browsing, I always check the URL on my status bar before clicking. If I find an AdSense ad interesting, I usually just type in the URL–if the URL is visible–on another tab to see what it’s all about. [Read more…]

Blogging Internships, Anyone?

NY Times blog Shifting Careers recently featured a story about a student interning at a blogger’s home office. High school student Sara Jane Berman was on-the-job for a few weeks at the home-office of NY Times columnist (and blogger) Marci Alboher and had described the experience as “different from a conventional internship.”

Instead of the stereotypical “gofer” work, such as photocopying, my job consisted of tasks such as thinking of questions for interviews, proof-reading Marci’s blog posts, and keeping an eye on her dog, Sinatra, during phone interviews.

On my first day I noticed that the line between work and home life was blurred, which may be expected from the author who coined the term “slash” as a type of career. I quickly learned that for working out of a home, versatility was essential. One minute I was answering the phone “Hello, Marci’s office” and next it was time to walk the dog or fix something for lunch.

[Read more…]

Blog Action Day 2008 Launches

Over at, the launch of the 2008 Blog Action Day has been announced.

August 15 2008, Blog Action Day has launched. In the next two months we hope to encourage thousands of bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to learn about poverty, and on October 15, take action. This might be through posting on the theme of poverty and educating your readers about the issues and actions they might take, it might be donating your day’s earnings – there are many ways you can get involved.

An annual non-profit event that aims to bring bloggers all over the world together in discussing a chosen theme, Blog Action Day for this year will focus on poverty. With the diverse backgrounds of bloggers, it is hoped that the issues at hand will be better discussed. And as a blogger, or as a blog reader, you can help in many ways. First, for a single day out of your daily schedule, you can post about poverty. Or perhaps you can donate a day’s earnings to your chosen charity. [Read more…] Launches

Overheard via Twitter and Donncha today: the British Prime Minister’s office has recently launched its official site, The site reportedly runs on WordPress, and the blog format was intentional on the design team’s part.

The site aims to bring interactivity to governance, by allowing readers to field questions and submit electronic petitions to the Prime Minister’s office.

Our new site aims to keep you up to date with all of the developments of the PM’s activities through news stories, videos, Flickr images and our Twitter channel.

There are also plenty of interactive features available, including the opportunity to post your video questions directly to the PM, submit e-petitions and take part in webchats with ministers.

Readers reported slow loading and a few errors during the first few hours of operation, but that was attributed to traffic spikes; the caching plugin supposedly did its job in optimizing for speed once the static files were in place.

2008 Should Be Year of the Ultraportable

I earlier wrote how ultraportable notebook computers can be a blogger’s best friend. I’ve been carrying my Asus Eee in my bag most anywhere I go, and I use it to do some work while waiting for the kids to finish their preschool classes, or when the wife goes grocery shopping. An ultraportable plus a public hotspot (or 3G connection via my mobile phone + Bluetooth) can do wonders.

It’s definitely a wonder how computer manufacturers these days have made these small gadgets so inexpensive and hence so ubiquitous with the gadget-crazy crowd. Sure, $100 PC was yesterday’s news, and the creators weren’t even able to meet the target price point (meant for students in developing economies). But what made ultraportables popular is their relatively low price point and availability to the general public. At about $300 to $400 each for a full-fledged portable computer, who wouldn’t bite? And so Asus had started a trend back in October of last year. This year, a lot of other manufacturers have followed suit with their potential Eee-killers (so to speak), which should make a lot of people happy, whether blogger or not.

There’s the HP 2133 Mini Note, touted as the “rich man’s Eee” with its classy styling and almost full-sized keyboard. This is one machine you wouldn’t be shy to take out of your bag at any high-end cafe. And according to reviews, the keyboard is a wonder to use. Perfect for posting lengthy blog entries, I think. The only gripe with the Mini Note is its use of the VIA C7 platform instead of an Intel one. Reviews say performance is not stellar, especially the editions that run Vista.

Acer has announced the Aspire One, and Dell has its upcoming Latitude E Series. MSI has its Wind, and even Asus had recently launched its EeePC 901 and the soon-to-launch 1000 series. These all run on the Intel Atom platform, which promises to give users five to seven hours use in between charges due to very low power consumption. That should be a big plus factor. None come close to the HP in terms of styling and design though–the keyboard is the HP’s killer feature.

There are a handful of other computer manufacturers who have showcased their own ultraportable offerings, whether these in the form of ultra-small computers or larger, but very slim and ultra light ones. Competition is tough, and it’s good in that computer makers are forced to price their offerings competitively.

With the influx of inexpensive ultraportable computers this year, there is no doubt that both professionals in the new media business and casual users alike would enjoy the wide array of mobility tools. And I think the term “ultraportable” should earn its place as one of the relevant words this year.

Blog Herald Commenting System Now Back Online

For the past few days we’ve been receiving complaints of comments being blocked or IPs, emails and domains being blacklisted from posting comments. Blame it on overactive spam filters or perhaps oversight on our part. Spam Karma 2 has been blocking most comments recently, and nothing has been able to get through, for some reason.

We have yet to check whether this is due to plugin incompatibilities or other reasons, but for the time being we’ve switched SK2 off. This could lead to some spam comments being published, but we’ll try our best to weed these out. What’s important is that valid comments get through, and on time.

At any rate, folks, we’re sorry for the inconvenience. Some of you have been very vigilant about this. Thank you for the reminders. After all, being the Blog Herald we’re supposed to be advocates of open communication through blogs. And it’s also in our comments policy not to pre-moderate or censor comments unless they’re blatantly spam or offensive.

Some of your comments may still be in the moderation threads. As Spam Karma uses a different moderation queue from WordPress’ own, and since the interface does not exactly make it very easy to recover the few valid comments from among the thousands of spam comments, it’s going to take a while. If you think you’d rather re-post your comments, please feel free to do so.

Again, on behalf of the editor and other contributors here at the Blog Herald, we express our sincere apologies.

Why Blogs Are Like Land

I haven’t been writing very actively on my blogs lately, being mostly working in the back-end of things (yes, Splashpress is an ever-growing network). With this I’ve come to realize that I can compare blogs to land or some other real estate property.

For one, land can sit idle, and so can blogs. I know some people who own land in the suburbs, but have not built any houses on these. They end up paying real property taxes every so often, but do not actually derive any direct benefit from the land, aside perhaps from being an asset in their balance sheets.

Blogs can sit idle, too. I actually have a handful of domains (not even blogs yet, but still domain names) that I plan to launch, but still don’t find time to do so. For the blogs that are already up and running, these mostly have just a few starting posts. And the “taxes” I pay here are in the form of hosting fees, and the fact that they sit on my server consuming a few megs of space each.

Land can be developed. One can build a house on a residential lot. You can spend up to a few millions here, depending on your budget or how lavish (or simple) you want your house to be. Or, you can go cheap, and fix things along the way.

Blogs, meanwhile, can be designed and launched. You can spend a few hundred to several thousand dollars on a custom design. Or, you can also run on freely-downloadable themes, and just customize as you go along. Your building blocks here would also be the blog content that you would have to post initially and regularly.

Land can also be developed for business or commercial purposes. If you own prime lots in the city you can perhaps build apartments or commercial buildings. These can then be leased out and you can earn from rent income. Blog, too, can be built for commercial purposes. The rent income here would be the revenues from advertising, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships.

I also know some folks who buy land, build houses and sell these for a profit. That’s real estate development for you. It’s the same with blogs–some enterprising bloggers actually build blogs and blog networks for the purpose of selling.

So the analogy here is all about space. Both land and blogs can become personal space or commercial spaces.

There is one essential difference though. Land is physical property, and that’s while it’s called real estate. Blogs are virtual estate. How we define and value blogs can evolve over time. But then, isn’t that how it is in the case of land, too? The fact that land is valuable and “real” has also evolved through time, and this has differed from society to society. At present, though, most would agree that there is real value to land, at least for the foreseeable future. For blogs, meanwhile, it’s not as definite.

How much do you value your blog? Do you treat your blog as your personal space? Or a commercial space, perhaps? And do you think that value and that treatment will be the same a year from now? How about five years? Ten?

C’N’C Costume National Launches Blog

As a new media practitioner, I’m always glad to see companies embracing the use of blogs and other new media not only to market their products and services, but more importantly to reach out to their audience and be part of the community. In this case, fashion and blogging are a good mix, as we can see with the recent launch of the C’N’C Costume National Blog, to complement its existing website. As a new media publication, the C’N’C blog serves more as a photoblog instead of a text-based blog, as the content is mostly photographs of fashion shows, events and C’N’C offerings.

Being a fashion-oriented blog, the C’N’C Costume National Blog does not only have photos of its own events and products, though. It also features what I think is more important in the industry C’N’C is in: the fashion scene around the world, particularly in C’N’C hometown of Italy.

The C’N’C blog also allows users to join the Costume National Community by signing up and signing in with their own accounts. Users can then leave comments to existing posts and photos, with their own gravatars displayed on the comment thread (and also on the front page).

Now that I’ve mentioend Italy being the hometown of C’N’C, perhaps it’s also good to mention that the site is available in English and Italian.

I’m not too fond of fashion shows, but whenever I chance upon runway shows I try to check out the latest trends. After all, being a (wannabe) photographer, fashion photography is one area I still haven’t explored and studied much. The C’N’C blog does feature the latest fashion shows and events, model castings, and other projects.

One comment I have with the blog though is its use of a horizontal-oriented layout, rather than the usual vertical approach of blogs. It’s a bit strange to navigate. But again, with the site consisting mostly of photos, this is an effective use of this kind of layout. Also, I’m not too comfortable with heavy use of dynamic HTML to display pages. It is indeed more interactive, and the animations are appealing. But in terms of accessibility, particularly to those with low bandwidth, and those with difficulty browsing such media-rich pages, the site may be difficult to browse.

Still, with the target audience of the blog being being the young, upscale crowd, a multimedia-rich approach is perhaps appropriate. If you are in any way interested in fashion, do pay the C’N’C blog a visit.

Disclaimer: This review was written upon request by C’N’C Costume National.

Are You An Aggressive Blogger?

Some time back, I watched a 1950’s Disney cartoon, Motor Mania (German-language YouTube video here; I couldn’t find one with English dubbing). In the cartoon, Goofy was depicted as the usual mild-mannered everyman, “Mr. Walker.” However, whenever he gets behind the wheel, he transforms into this crazy maniac driver, “Mr. Wheeler.” It’s a Dr. Jeckyll-and-Mr. Hyde kind of transformation. He speeds. He runs red lights. He honks at pedestrians. He’s basically an overly-agressive driver.

Whenever “Mr. Wheeler” steps off his auto, he’s Mr. Walker again, and gets subjected to abuse by motorists. But as soon as he’s back at the wheel, hello Mr. Wheeler.

The narrator said people tend to be like that. We become totally different individuals when we get behind the wheel. And referring to another documentary or article I read somewhere, we even become what we drive. For instance, SUV drivers may tend to be more aggressive. Drivers of compact cars tend to zoom in and out of tight spaces, but are also prone to be timid drivers, for instance, compared with those driving powerful sports cars. You know the drill. The bigger or faster the ride, the bigger your ego gets.

To tell you the truth, I’m sometimes like this, too. Hidden behind the “shield” that is my car, I tend to be a different person, for I know that other drivers cannot see my face behind tinted glass.

I do think this can be the case with blogging, too.

Whoever said you can be yourself when you blog? Sure, blogging can give you a voice. But are you sure that is actually your voice that comes out of your blog posts? I know of a few people who are in fact mild-mannered everymen, but turn into egotistical maniacs when they publish posts, bashing just about everything and everyone. When you meet them in person, you probably won’t be able to associate them with their blogs easily.

This makes me think which is which? In the analogy of Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler, is Mr. Walker the real person, and Mr. Wheeler the effect of the feeling of invincibility–and invisibility–that a car (or in this case, a blog) provides? Or is Mr. Walker just the façade that a person projects, but with Mr. Wheeler as the actual repressed persona coming out when the need calls for it?

Perhaps the better question to ask is are you who you blog as?

Then again, this might not necessarily be a bad thing. Blogs can be a façade one can use to project his or her alter-egos, to profess, express or explore passions that are otherwise difficult or impossible to do in real life. It only becomes harmful when there is real danger involved. Whenever Mr. Wheeler is at the wheel, he endangers other motorists, pedestrians, and even himself. With blogging, there is perhaps not much to worry about, aside from the usual Web-related security threats, and of course, the possibility of your making a fool of yourself both in the blogosphere and in real life.