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Category: Blogging

June 12, 2008

Test post from blogit

I'm trying out blogit.typepad.com. It seems nice, though the setup process requires you to know and type your Atom API URL - using the iPhone keyboard, as you can't login to the site with Firefox.

December 5, 2007

"We screwed up" (again) blog

I was entertained by the blog of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He only seems to hit the blogging keyboard when he has something to apologize for (three of the four entries fit this mold). Here are the two most recent entries, posted over a year apart:

Thoughts on Beacon:

About a month ago, we released a new feature called Beacon to try to help people share information with their friends about things they do on the web. We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users. I'd like to discuss what we have learned and how we have improved Beacon...

Open Letter:

We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feed and Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream of information about your social world. Instead, we did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control of them. I'd like to try to correct those errors now...

November 10, 2007

Upgraded to MT4

I've been a bit lazy in transitioning to MT4 -- I've been happy with the site and haven't really wanted to tackle any possible upgrade issues. But the iMT plugin -- MovableType for the iPhone -- is pretty darn appealing. I'm also testing whether or not I can move some of my Flickr content back onto this site, so it's best to start at the leading edge.

Update: the fancy new interface of MT4 is definitely causing some bugs... (the textbox in the entry didn't load, the page is jumping up and down because I clicked on a menu, etc...)

October 30, 2006

kwc.org now on MovableType 3.3

I've upgraded kwc.org to use MovableType 3.3 (this is a prelude to upgrade movabletypo). MT 3.3 adds two new major features in my opinion: built-in tagging and widgets. The latter should make it a lot easier for MovableTypers to maintain their blogs, as widgets allow you to update sidepanel content without having to edit your templates, which is a major pain of old MT. I haven't given that a try yet, though -- I've been busy trying to tag my old entries. So far I've tagged 100 entries. Only 2200 left to go...

This is all a prelude to a major kwc.org site redesign. I'm jealous that meta finally found the time. Mine will be more oriented towards finally bringing kwc.org into the MovableType 3.x world, as my templates were designed with the entirely different MT 2.x-isms that require many hacks to get them to do all the customized behaviors like books covers and selective ads that I like.

July 10, 2006

Vox is great, no more crap

My first 'review' of Vox was titled, "Vox: It's great! It's crap!", which wasn't really a review of Vox as much as an meta review of the Vox beta program, which had these odd Starter-level stalker accounts that you had to wait through. Well, SixApart started pumping out the full-level invites soon thereafter and now my Vox neighborhood is looking a lot more like my LiveJournal neighborhood; this has given much more opportunity to truly sample Vox.

I like it a lot. The Flickr, YouTube, and Amazon integration surpass what I have tried to achieve with a various MovableType plugins over time, and, as this integration is builtin, no troubles about thirdparty developer abandonment of plugins. The Vox-style gives photos, video, and products equal footing with your blog entries, which elevates it to the level of a media-management system, rather than just the blog-management system that MovableType and LiveJournal are -- I don't have a TypePad account to compare. I see it as a more multimedia-aware LiveJournal, and it also should inherit another useful trait of LiveJournal: no spam. Spam continues to be the bane of the MovableType platform, though hopefully MT 3.3 will offer more protection on this front.

MovableType remains the platform of choice if you need a customizable publishing platform. I have a great deal of control over page layout, site layout, and content that isn't possible with Vox or LJ, but neither of those latter sites is supposed to compete: they are meant to be effective through simplicity, and that they are.

I have three Vox full invites for anyone that wishes to try.

July 7, 2006

Reality Vlog Drama

rocketboomAmanda Congdon leaves Rocketboom. Or was she fired? Andrew Baron, 51% owner of Rocketboom, claims Congdon was leaving for other opportunities in LA. Amanda, 49% owner of Rocketboom, claims she was moving to LA to work on Rocketboom and is now stuck living in her parents' home in Connecticut. And there is fighting over whether or not Amanda owns that 49%. At the heart of it all seems to be who is in control of the actual production of Rocketboom. Watch Amanda Congdon's farewell video. The New York Times writes about it all.

Whether or not you like Rocketboom, it was a leading pioneer in the video blogging space with 250,000 daily readers, a partnership with TiVo (the very first TiVoCast), and a creative business model that sold ads on eBay for as much as $40,000 (and more recently reported ad deals of $80,000). They also were pioneers of the medium, honing an HD editing setup that reportedly only cost them $20 an episode and utilitizing features of QuickTime like chapters and links to create a more Web-like feel to the video. They weren't inventors of the space: much like the content of their show they were part of an overall experimentation within the space that learned from each other, but they were pioneers.

Baron claims to be continuing Rocketboom (sans-Congdon) starting next week, but this seems to me to be a fatal misunderstanding of the medium by Baron -- odd given how much he helped shape it. Rocketboom is not like NBC Nightly News, where you hand over the anchor position. It's more like Larry King Live without a CNN, because stick Amanda Congdon in front of a camera, post the result anywhere online, and you have the next Rocketboom. There is much that goes on behind the camera, but to Internet viewers who have no trouble updating their browser links, the brand goes where Congdon goes, even if the production and nascent business development do not. Jason Calcanis of Weblogs Inc has already offered Congdon a position at Netscape for whatever salary she wants whereever she wants, and there are certainly plenty of other offers eager to pickup Rocketboom's 250,000 strong audience.

June 16, 2006

Vox: It's great! It's crap!

davextreme has posted his early review of the Vox service, and seeing as I got my invite from him I thought I should follow with a review of my own. I agree with what davextreme says -- Vox looks great, has great features, but I won't say more because I can't actually use them yet as I'm still stuck in a "Starter level" account. So, instead I'll talk about how "starter level" accounts + a brand new service is a crack-smoking way to run a beta.

A "Starter level" account only lets you leave comments and add friends. Vox doesn't have many users with full accounts and most of them are prominent bloggers and SixApart employees. Put the two together and you get a beta experience that consists of adding a bunch of SixApart employees to your neighborhood and watching them have a conversation about their family tree -- you can comment if you like. As a beta user, it just feels creepy.

If Vox wanted to impress me, it would have to demonstrate that it is as capable as LiveJournal in building and supporting communities. The only impression right now is that it's a great tool for being a wallflower in the SixApart corporate community. Wait to give out "starter level" accounts when people can at least lurk in their own communities.

June 12, 2006

Vox (thanks davextreme)

davextreme passed along one of his invites to Vox for me to try out. I've been curious to try out Vox, which would appear to be SixApart's mind-meld of LiveJournal's community features with TypePad aesthetics. I was a bit confused when I first logged in as apparently I'm only "starter level" right now, which means that I can't actually blog. I searched page after page fruitlessly for a link to post a new blog entry until I figured this little tidbit out, but now that I get it I guess I'll let the account gather some Vox-karma so that I can really test it out.

Note to Vox team: the notion that www.vox.com/home is my 'home' and not kwc.vox.com seems counter-intuitive, especially when your "Hi kwc" link takes me to http://kwc.vox.com/profile/

April 6, 2006

Splogs suck, but they're smart

A couple weeks ago I posted about how blogging about mesothelioma could get you big bucks from Google Adsense. Lo and behold, that post has shown up on a spam blog for mesothelioma. spam blogs often use computer programs to grab entries from around the Web that contain the keyword they are trying to spam and then post excerpts in an imitation of an actual blog. At least mesothelioma is more profitable than the spam blog about squirrels that I found linking to this entry.

February 15, 2006

Tracking this site, hello MeasureMap, goodbye mybloglog

Update: I'm no longer using MeasureMap, which seems to be abandonware now that Google bought them

If you read your status bar carefully, you've probably noticed that this site is instrumented up the wazoo with various trackers. I've been using mybloglog, Google Analytics (Urchin), and awstats in combination to maintain this site. I also occassionally use stats from Google Sitemap and Feedburner, though more out of curiousity.

  • Google Analytics: where people are going and how well I'm retaining them
  • mybloglog: what links people are interested in
  • awstats: historical data and bandwidth data from my Web server logs.
  • Feedburner: what RSS readers people are using, how many people are subscribed, and what recent posts are popular
  • Google Sitemap: what search terms pull up kwc.org, what search terms people actually click on to visit kwc.org

When my server suddenly starts bogging down, as it did during Valentine's Day due to this puzzle, Google Analytics and/or awstats can usually point the finger. When I try something new with a MythBusters episode summary, mybloglog can often tell me if visitors are actually interested in that part of the summary, though only if that data makes it into the top ten links summary that mybloglog reports.*

I've found something I think is much better than mybloglog. MeasureMap does what mybloglog does, but much, much more. It will tell you what % of your posts are being visited, it does a better job of telling you where visitors came from, and it provides data far beyond the top ten that mybloglog gives you for free. It's also visually much more appealing and without some of the display and data bugs I've encountered with mybloglog.

I've had an invite for MeasureMap since December, but I forgot about it when I went on vacation and was only recently reminded of it again with the news that MeasureMap was bought by Google, just as the purchase of Urchin got me on Google Analytics. Most of my traffic comes via Google searches, so it may be appropriate that Google properties are responsible for most of my site tracking. Where's the competition?

* Paid versions of mybloglog give you data beyond the top ten

February 14, 2006

co.mments.com

co.mments appears to be exactly what bp and I were hoping for back when we made our own RSS comment bookmarklets for our blogs. Unless you're using a service like LiveJournal, participating in a conversation on a blog can be very cumbersome as there is no standard way to get notified when you leave a comment elsewhere. co.mments gives you a bookmarklet that you click when you leave a comment and an RSS feed you can subscribe to. I have no idea how well it works, especially with highly variable MovableType blogs, but I'll be testing it out over the next week.

co.mments is similar in purpose to cocomment, but co.mments (if it works) is slightly closer to the use pattern I've been looking for.

Update: co.mments appears to work on newer MovableType blogs (i.e. 3.x templates) but not with older (e.g. kwc.org/blog) installs.

Update: assaf of co.mments quickly added support for older MovableType blogs -- thanks assaf!

June 27, 2005

Help a poor MIT grad student graduate

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Cameron Marlow -- creator of blogdex -- is trying to finish up his Ph.D.

MIT is a hellhole, so help him escape by taking the survey.

June 17, 2005

Arguments to avoid

A contributor to wikipedia was silly enough to get into an argument over the definition of 'weblog'... with the person who coined the term (Jorn Barger/robotwisdom) -- not that the person who created the term should own it, but if you do find yourself in such a debate, you're probably better off retreating rather than losing the respect of your peers. This is certainly a candidate for Lamest edit wars ever.

  • 17:49, 12 Jun 2005 Robotwisdom (rv stevie's ego-delusions)
  • 17:34, 12 Jun 2005 Stevietheman (rv back to factual version)
  • 17:15, 12 Jun 2005 Robotwisdom (rv because stevie is wrong)
  • 16:59, 12 Jun 2005 Stevietheman (rv to last edit by Stevietheman; with minor edits)
  • 12:31, 12 Jun 2005 Tverbeek (stopped opening paragraph from going down the rabbit hole)

  • Talk:Weblog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

April 20, 2005

Technorati Spam

E-mail spam. Comment spam. I've even received spam in my Web server referrer logs -- i.e. spammers will visit your Web site and claim to have been referred to you by a spam site; if you happen to publish a list of sites that are linking to you, the spammer's site gets on the list.

The newest, strangest type of spam I'm now getting is Technorati spam. Technorati is a site that gives you a list blogs linking to your blog -- they call this your "cosmos." This can be a useful feature, because you can find out when some random stranger writes something about an entry of yours. The last thing I expected, though I should have, was that spammers would subvert this for their purposes.

Well, they have -- there are now spam blogs out there that will link to your blog, I presume for the purpose of getting noticed by Technorati. If I now search for a cosmos of my site, I have to wade through dozens of spam sites among the results. I presume that the hope of these sites is that I will embed a technorati widget on my blog that lists my cosmos, generating Google juice for their sites.

This seems like such a low yield spamming attack -- they have to link to thousands and thousands of blogs, polluting the cosmos of all of these sites, all in the hopes that some of those blogs happen to use Technorati cosmos (and won't take it down once they notice the spam results). Only in the short term does this seem to have any viability, with the long term result being that Technorati either counteracts it, or becomes more and more irrelevant. Mostly, I find this a depressing statement on the economics of spamming that spammers find this a profitable form of attack.

disclaimer: I could be wrong in my interpretation of this spam -- there may be some purpose other than gaming Technorati, but I'm finding it difficult to come up with other reasons as to why a spammer would link to my blog, unless they somehow expected to trick my site into linking back to them.

March 1, 2005

Friendster adds blogs

rcp showed me that Friendster added free/paid blogs today (powered by TypePad) as well as photo album upload. All of this only reinforces my view that Friendster is just a glorified homepage-hosting service (Geocities++), but I'm glad to see that TypePad is getting some love. My hope is that people realize that Friendster isn't very different from a service like LJ and Blogger, except that the latter two are open, and the era of closed, training-wheel, rigid, turgid social network sites will come to an end (so I can cancel my semi-secret Friendster snooping account). Then again, AOL is still around, and, of course, LJ and Blogger still lack the network navigation/search capabilities of Friendster/Orkut/etc...

February 22, 2005

kottke

Wikipedia contributors are voting whether or not to delete his entry, and the Daily Show features a segment mocking the media/blogger relationship, I guess it's about time that someone like Jason Kottke goes 'pro' as a blogger.

I don't know if I care as much about the promotion of blogging to the title of 'profession' as much as I wish that more sites offered the opportunity, NPR-style, to contribute $$$ (like MozillaZine, for example). Perhaps it's more important for a design-aware site like kottke to stay ad-free, but part of me grimaces whenever I visit BoingBoing and see the site plastered in ads (unless it's a site like Daily Kos or Eschaton that is promoting their political causes).

When you do the math, I spend $25 on a hardcover that lasts me three train trips. $30 for a site I read everyday and steal design cues from is a bargain.

I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

February 4, 2005

Pets, blog-style

rabbit(this is mainly for honeyfields) "Blog Pet" is a little rabbit that sits in the sidebar of your blog. If the Japanese translation is anywhere near correct, it reads your daily entries and "learns" new words from them, which it then repeats back to you. It will also try to find articles related to your postings and even collects visitor statistics. Here is an adorable screenshot of the blog pet learning to say "Master!"

Blog Pet

February 2, 2005

On the aggregation of personal feeds

I've been entertained by a conversation that's been bouncing around the blogsphere the past couple days. On the 31st, I finally gave into feedburner and consolidated my feeds. A day later, Haughey posted a complaint about daily links polluting feeds, which lead to Dave Shea offering a more specific commentary relating to del.icio.us/Flickr/feedburner, which finally lead to this plasticbag post on hybridization of RSS feeds. In summary/general consensus: daily links within blog feeds can be annoying because in your RSS reader you can't distinguish between "kwc wrote a new blog entry" and "kwc added a new link to del.icio.us." For more entertaining authors than myself, the anticipation of an new entry is followed by a feeling of letdown when all you discover is a link.

(I would like to think that it was my act of adding a hybridized feed that led to this conversation, but feedburner tells me that no one is actually subscribed to my combined feeds, so commonsense and empirical evidence demonstrate otherwise.)

My own thoughts on this issue are that I personally don't find consolidated feeds (links + blog posts) useful. I would rather subscribe to someone's feeds individually. When I am searching out new, interesting links, my friends' sites are usually the last place I would look because I believe the process of searching out fresh links is more of a critical mass effort, one that is better suited to large sites like BoingBoing/waxy/kottke. Conversely, while I appreciate it when I see personal photos spliced into my friend's blogs, I find it rather annoying that Haughey's feed includes his Flickr photos; while I appreciate his links and his blog entries, the last thing I want to do is see his personal photos from his daily life (no offense, but I just don't know the guy -- it feels too voyeuristic).

I think every site should offer a consolidated feed (with separate, individual feeds as well), not because it the best way of reading a person's daily production, but because it is useful to be able to point to a single source as the aggregated representation of your digital identity. The single source including daily links acts as a sort of "Director's Commentary" for a DVD, providing the interspersing the source material and the creative product -- what made the cut, what didn't, what's in the pipeline. But, although I love most of the movies in my collection, I bet that I've listened to less than 10% of the commentaries.

January 5, 2005

LJ and MT, long lost lovers, reunited at last?

The big rumor in blogland right now is that Six Apart (makers of MovableType, the software featured here an on movabletypo) are buying/have bought LiveJournal. This, naturally, is already starting to raise mixed opinions. I, for one, am happy for the news, for purely selfish reasons. Movabletypo is an attempt to replicate LiveJournal's strongest feature: community -- but it comes nowhere close to what LJ accomplishes, and that is why I am glad Six Apart is buying LJ.

I have no idea what Six Apart will actually do with their new addition, but I hope it will revolve around fixing the fundamental flaw with MovableType/TypeKey-based blogs, which is that it is a great tool for building pulpits, but a terrible tool for building communities.

I also hope to get rid of this nonsense that I have to create a separate LJ "syndicated feed" separate from my LJ user account in order for this blog to be displayed within LJ. I hope this acquisition means that they will erase the distinction between the two so that LJ people can add this blog as a friend, leave comments, etc... and not feel that they have left the LJ community to do so.

Perhaps this will also be the way to add community features to MovableType -- instead of trying to make MovableType a tool that you can build communities on top of, allow LiveJournal to integrate MovableType users into it's communities (i.e. making LJ the platform on which communities are built).

August 2, 2004

Cool bloglines feature

The new citations feature that I have just recently noticed on Bloglines makes it even more useful than Technorati in finding entries linking to your blog. It's improvements over Technorati include: * speed (though this is probably due to the # of users on it) * the ability to customize your search to search inside or outside your bloglines subscriptions, which makes it much easier to find the random strangers who are linking to your blog. * includes LiveJournal entries. * seems to preserve entries much longer than Technorati, so you can find much older links.

Of course, it doesn't have the same level of API openness that Technorati has, and despite the inclusion of LiveJournal blogs, Technorati seems to carry some blogs that Bloglines does not, which makes their search results complementary, rather than competitive.

Citations search

July 7, 2004

Another day, another blog

Bloglines has updated their service with a major new feature: clip blogs. Bloglines is an online service that lets you subscribe to RSS feeds and view them within a browser window. It is currently my feed reader of choice, as it works from any computer with a browser and Internet access, and the interface offers the features I want in a feed reader. With the new clip blogs features you can click on an entry to publish it to your clip blog while you are reading your feeds. Here's mine:

http://www.bloglines.com/blog/kwc

For many people, I imagine this is a simple and easy way to start sharing links and get involved in the blogging world. It's integration with the feed reader is also nice, as it creates a simple workflow between finding the links and publishing them.

I still think that MovableType bookmarklets are easier-to-use because they work outside of the feed reader. Also, the current bloglines service doesn't make it very easy to quote the original entry (unless I'm missing something). Most people don't have easy access to a MovableType installation, though, and Bloglines is a good feed reader that is also completely free. Personally, I'm still waiting for the service that makes it easy to do remaindered links posts into my blog ala kottke.org (perhaps a future MT plugin?).

June 25, 2004

Tip: Adding an Amazon wishlist to your blog

Want to add your wishlist to your blog? Adam Kalsey has a cool little script that's easy to add to your site, once you figure out your wishlist ID.

NOTE: It will only list the name of the items on your wishlist. There are more sophisticated ways of including your wishlist that will include images of the items (using MovableType and the MTAmazon plugin), but using this tool is simpler and works on non-MovableType pages. Instructions are in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Tip: Adding an Amazon wishlist to your blog" »

April 9, 2004

Live from Iraq

There is a journal at LJ under the username of ginmar that you all should check out. If it is real, then it could fundamentally change the notion of battlefield reporting (among many other things). If it's not, then it's one of the most detailed hoaxes ever. I'm not directly linking to it, as that may be counterproductive at this point in time, though thousands are already reading it.

Update: here's a direct link. Now that really highly-ranked sites are linking to it theres not much point in not contributing a technorati point.

January 29, 2004

Blogger, finally

Blogger (aka blogspot) is finally allowing sites to publish their RSS feeds. This makes it a lot easier to find out when people on blogspot have added a journal entry.

Unfortunately, they only publish in Atom, which I don't support yet, but now I guess I have a reason. First, though, blogspot folks need to follow the directions below to turn on their feeds:
BLOGGER - Knowledge Base - What is Atom?

July 24, 2003

Interesting blog layout

Saw this innovative DHTML layout Got FoO - Office 2K3 Style. The most impressive thing to me was the responsiveness of the UI. Apparently it's all driven by Javascript RPC, which I wasn't aware even existed. Warning: the "personal" category is not worksafe.
(via Marc's Voice)

June 24, 2003

Moblogging

In preparation for my next phone (which I'm thinking will be a phonecam), here's a link to TextAmerica, which is a free service for posting photos to the Web from your mobile phone.

June 10, 2003

Intro to Blogs

I did an intro presenation to blogging, but I find humor to be a much better guide: blogging parody. Use this as a companion as you blog-hop.

May 30, 2003

Badges

ButtonMaker and Steal These Buttons are awesome. I think I'm about to go badge-crazy with my site. Beware the badges.

Here's my first badge (needs a little tweaking):
badge.half-asian.png

Update:
Here are some alternates:
50% asian 50% asian half asian 1/2 asian

May 25, 2003

Blogging growth links

Some interesting links, mostly having to do with the growth of bloggin:

- Graph of Weblogs reported on Weblogs.com vs. time

- Wired article on search results being overrun by blogs

- Another (slightly less interesting) analysis of blog growth numbers

- For Amanda: An analysis of Pollock + chaos + fractals. The fractal bit I find less interesting because anything approaching true randomness is going to be inherently fractal.