Thursday, April 28, 2005

Changing Blogs

Thank you for visiting, or for subscribing to the feed from Blogging on the Free Web. Please continue to read my stuff at my new WordPress blog, Changing Way.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who Let the Blogs Out?

Biz Stone works for Google on Blogger. He's also the author of Who Let the Blogs Out? : A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs. It's part memoir, part history of blogging, part how-to-blog, part discussion of the impact of blogging in business, education, and other areas.

That sounds as though this might be a rather disjointed book, but it actually hangs together pretty well. Biz writes with clarity and enthusiasm. Here's a sample sentence (from p. 72). "Don't write about something you're not that interested in because you think people will want to read it, and don't curb your enthusiasm for fear you will sound crazy."

One of the problems with writing a book on blogging is that things happen so quickly that events may well overtake what you write. Biz confronts this head on in his Afterword, when he states that blogging is only the beginning of "the participatory web." Blogging has made the web as easily writable as it is readable, thus realizing Tim Berners-Lee's original vision. But other participatory web tools will follow blogging tools such as Blogger.

In sum, I recommend Biz's book, even though a lot has happened in the blogosphere since it was published last year.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Blogging Globally, Linking Locally

I've been using StatCounter for a few weeks now. Here are a few observations on the data I see. First, it's fun to see folks from many different countries linking to this blog.

Second, the post that has probably been most popular is a rather local one. It's the BlogMap post. Much of the traffic to it came via a post I made to Universal Hub. If you don't know where the hub of the universe is, you're obviously not from Boston. When I made those posts (the one to this blog, and the one to UH), my BlogMap told me that there were 25 nearby blogs. Within a few days, that number almost doubled. I felt like Johnny Mappleseed! I am aware that not all the additions to the map were due to me, but given the dozens of people who followed the link from UH to this blog, I suspect that many of them were. There are now 57 nearby blogs on the map, by the way.

Third, thanks to Colleen for linking to me from her Open Notebook. I am flattered to find this blog in the same link list as Halley's Comment and kottke.org. Colleen's blog is fun to read, and I feel that someone who does not discriminate against dandelions or ants is probably a good human being.

Friday, April 08, 2005

There's a Volvo in My Space

No, there isn't literally a Volvo in my parking space. But there's a Volvo ad on my MSN Space. I didn't put it there. This isn't a complaint, just a remark. Microsoft never promised me that the blog would be free of ads as well as free of charge. So the ads don't make me want to revise anything in my previous posts on MSN Spaces.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Blogger/TypePad @CNET

CNET reviews and compares Blogger and TypePad, coming down in favor of the latter. Here are the review summaries:
  • For a small monthly charge, you can create professional-looking blogs with Six Apart TypePad.com.
  • Beginners will love Blogger's ease of use and the fact that it's free. However, professionals should look elsewhere.
A look back through posts here will show that I prefer Blogger to TypePad, taking price into consideration, and that I may well soon be using WordPress in preference to either of them.

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Yahoo 360: More, but not much

I'm not overwhelmed by Yahoo 360. I don't hate it either, but I feel no compelling reason to use my 360 page, other than curiosity. It seems as though my friends there, who are mainly people who responded to my earlier post offering invites, feel the same way, since I see very little activity at their 360 sites.

This may not be as bad as it sounds for 360. I am working from a small sample. The target audience for a beta test may not overlap much with the target audience for 360. 360 seems to be aimed at people who want an easy-to-use one-stop website, where they can blog, post photos, connect with friends, etc.

Beta testers are probably more... well, like me. I like the idea of using different services, each of which does its job well while offering, or at least allowing, integration with other services. And yes, I am thinking of Flickr, and yes, Yahoo had better not screw it up.

And yes, I still have invites to 360, just in case the above ringing endorsement has got anyone curious.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Trackback Again

Wow, trackback (outgoing) is so easy when it's built into the blog publishing tool, as it is in WordPress. If Blogger would just give us trackback and categories... but that's an old song by now, and the purpose of this post isn't to sing that song yet again...

It's to test whether incoming trackback is working on my WordPress blog. In order to do that, I'll link to, and trackback from, the most recent post.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Way to WordPress

The title of this post is also the title of my new WordPress blog. I previously posted about my thoughts of moving from Blogger to WordPress. I'm giving WordPress a fairly significant try. But I'll do most of my posting here for the forseeable future. One reason for not switching right away is that my WordPress theme (think template, only better) is still very much under construction.

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Friday, April 01, 2005

WordPress Themes

Themes are a feature introduced into WordPress in V1.5. Alex King just posted the results of his theme design contest, which drew some 140 entries. The sidebar of the contest blog features a theme switch plugin: just click on the name of a theme, and you'll see the blog using that theme!

Almost Spring, my own favorite among the entries I had time to check out, won the "Global Appeal" prize. The "Grand Poobah" prize went to Connections, which I also like a lot. I have a weakness for pictures which, like the one at the top of Connections, prominently feature some kind of road or other route running from "front to back" of the shot.

I am impressed by WordPress not only because of the software itself, but because of the complementary resources available. Themes are just one type of resource. Another is documentation. The example most relevant to the current post is probably the Using Themes page of the WordPress Codex. It includes pointers to lists of themes. There are already over 200. (140 is just the number of contest entries, and not every theme was entered.)

But, even with all these available, some of us are thinking of developing our own themes. A very good resource here is the Visual Anatomy of a theme, which I found via this post at the WordPress Reference Center.

It's a pity that the news about WordPress isn't all good. This post at Waxy.org describes search engine spam at WordPress.org. I won't comment on this matter, except to say that... no, I really won't comment right now.

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