Posts Tagged: blogs

Comments are off, for now

Due to my ISP turning off my comment script this morning after some sort attack, I have turned off the comments on this blog. It may be a few days before they are turned back on, while I research some options as the comment system has also been giving folks trouble the last week
If you have something to say, please wait or Tweet me. Thank you for your patience.

Trying

Wed 07.13.11 – I am trying to reverse my blogging decline / slide into the morass of non-blogging. After five months sporadic, here and there a few times a week blogging, I endeavor to get back on the daily blogging habit, be it photos, text, or both.
So far so good this week. Remind me if I fall off the daily blogging wagon again…

SixApart, Fare The Well

In March of 2003, I heard Ben & Mena Trott talk about their blogging software that they started in 2001 after both lost their jobs in the DotCom Bust – Movable Type – and their new company named after the fact that their birthdays were only six days apart, SixApart, at SXSW 2003 and decided to try it out in April of 2003.
Seven years later I am still here, still blogging with Movable Type, still using it as a CMS for clients, and still hoping against bizarre hope that Movable Type and SixApart will continue to innovate in the blogging space. A silly hope now that WordPress has clearly won many hearts and minds, but I do like MT better for a variety of reasons.
Today TechCrunch leaked that SixApart had been bought out by VideoEgg for its advertising network and both would become a new entity known as Say Media.
Various bits of the blogosphere are a bit up in arms about this, although many SixApart / Movable Type veterans are warily watching what will happen next.
For a few months, I have been planning on moving my blog to a VPS, upgrading to MT5, and using HTML5 for templating. All of this planning would also include a major redesign to better integrate my mobile photo blogging with text blogging that I do.
Now these plans will be on hold. I will wait and see what is up. I don’t want to spend 40-80 hours on a major redesign and upgrade 7.4 years of blogging only to have the software be unsupported in a few months.
Just in case the new Say Media, formerly VideoEgg formerly SixApart, axes Movable Type, I went an purchased an Expression Engine license today, because I know EE already supports mobile blogging. Due to the complexity of a move and a whole new platform, as EE’s templating is rumored to be a pain, versus the free time I have to spend on such an endeavor right now, as well as loyalty to my favorite blogging engine, I will wait and see.
In the meantime, I would like to say a Big Thank You to all the SixApart employees, current & former, who over the last 7 years have made my blogging life happy: Ben & Mena Trott, Anil Dash, Mie Kennedy Yaginuma, Byrne Rese, Jay Allen, Tim Appnel, David Jacobs, Arvind Satyanarayan, Ginevra Kirkland, Beau Smith, and many others. As well as the whole community of Movable Type bloggers, developers, designers, and other enthusiasts who have weathered a great many storms together.
Thanks for a great 7 years, y’all rock.
**********
Update from 9/22/10 at 8:10am : Maarten Schenk at Movable Tips reports that Six Apart in Japan will continue with the development of Movable Type. MT is very popular in Japan and as Maarten reports it has been the most active hive of MT dev and innovation for sometime, so it makes sense that they will continue on. Go read: Movable Type and “Six Apart” live on… in Japan!
Update from 9/22/10 at 8:48am: A tweet from last night as I was writing this article:

I really wish @sixapart had sent an official announcement out to bloggers, devs, & customers before the tech press leaked the buyout.

Actually, this morning this is the part that makes me the most frustrated, is why didn’t SixApart send an email to licensees and the ProNet mailing list before letting this get leaked to press? If everything is alright, then longtime customers and developers should be the first to know so that the rumor engine doesn’t get started.
Update from 9/22/10 at 12:59pm: Today at 10:33am, David Jacobs, the VP for Services and Products at SixApart, sent an email to the ProNet mailing list entitled “The Future”. I won’t reprint it here, but basically he reiterates that SayMedia will be continuing to support and develop Typepad and Movable Type, which should have been sent before Michael Arrington scooped the story. Don’t say to me, “How could they have know that Tech Crunch would have printed in the night before the announcement?” Companies need to tell their own story first before the press hears it from their sources and tells it for them, particularly in the Echo Chamber that is known as San Francisco/Silicon Valley.

Single Subject or Brand Blogs vs. Generalist Blogs

Amongst bloggers in recent years there has been a decline in single author generalist blogs, be they professional or personal, and an increase in single subject blogs. Amongst tech bloggers, there has been a great deal of single brand blogs.
As a generalist semi-profession, semi-personal, semi-photography, semi-commentary blogger, I am always amazed when a person can keep a regular single subject blog up for longer than 2-3 years. Most of the personal bloggers I know have burnt out and then gotten reinvigorated by looking at different facets of their lives or by moving on to new passions. But what is a single subject blogger or even worse a single brand blogger to do when they are burnt out on that subject or brand?
Dan Carter of WorldofNokia.co.uk decided to close his blog this week. Dan writes:

“After what has been a up and down 2 years I am announcing that World Of Nokia will be closing it’s doors for the final time on 5th June 2010 when the site will no longer be updated.
Both myself and Christian would like to thank you all for your support shown since day one and for everyone who has helped build the site up with comments, links or advertising,
Seeing as this is the final post I thought it only right to explain the reason behind the closing of the site and to be brutal its the fact Nokia have stopped being as creative as they once were not that long ago. The N95 was a modern masterpiece with the exception of the poor battery life but since then there has been a total lack in creativity
Nearly every phone launched until the new C/X series was a small update of the phone it was surpassing which itself was only a few months old (just how many versions of the 5800 and N95 did we really need??)

Over the past 2 years just concentrating on Nokia, all the phones ended up feeling pretty much the same due to the tired Symbian OS which only now on the new Symbian 3 due out in September has some chance of doing well. In fact when talking to Christian tonight about the Nokia N8 he said
“its too far off for me and runs Symbian which is putting me off”

In response, I commented:

“Dan,
May I make a recommendation? Keep the domain name, you never know what the future will bring AND don’t just put your writing effort into someone else’s site, but get your own blog and write about what you love right now.
With your own blog about whatever, there is no pressure to blog about a certain brand or even about mobile, but whatever you love.
Good luck!
smiles, jen ;o)”

All commentary about personal branding aside, I do think if one is a passionate person and is interested in observing the world around one or creating a space online, then having a string of single subject blogs or writing for a string of group or contribution blogs may end up being frustrating both for the blogger and their readers.
I will advocate my 2nd Law of the Internet in this case – “Own your Own Stuff”.
I encourage anyone who has graduated from or wants to graduation from occasional posting blogger.com or wordpress.com to get their own domain, of which does not have to be in your name but can be an idea or conceptual name, and then set up a self-hosted blog in that domain and blog. Blog about whatever.
If this week you want to blog about mobile and Nokia or Apple, then blog about it. If next week or month or year, you are super passionate about Peruvian butterflies, then pay your domain registry & hosting and keep blogging be it about Apple, butterflies, politics, relationships, brands, travel, underpants, or whatever.
Put own your own creativity and consolidate it into one place, and if you must use tech tricks such as tags, categories, and .htaccess files to drive the SEO traffic to your new generalist blog.
Why? As a gift to your regular readers. People subscribe by RSS or Google Reader or Feedburner, etc, and they will want to keep reading you. Treat your regulars well, give them a consistent RSS or Atom feed.
Also as a gift to yourself. Allowing your own intellectual and creative curiosity to grow and flourish by the ability to explore new ideas over time rather than be limited to a single subject or brand.
Earlier this year, James Burland, a creative from the UK that I admire greatly did all but shutter his “Nokia Creative” blog to move on to his “iPad Creative” blog. While I love James’ various passions for creating on the devices he is most excited about right now, I would love to see him for the long term not commit to a single brand, even if it drives more traffic in terms of SEO, but instead have one central blog of James’ thoughts on how to create with [_______insert name of device_______]. Otherwise in 5 years’ time, where will some of his best pieces be?
Ok, my inner Micki Krimmel will now argue to me that none of this matters to the reader, they don’t care and technology will solve the problems of aggregation of all of our content for the reader to find over time. Someone else may argue that in 5 years time, James won’t care about the iPad but will think his blog about it is a quaint relic of a different time.
Be that as it may, one of the great breakthroughs of the internet age is that if we want to, we can all be creative producers, so why not set up our own channel that is not dependent on one idea, subject, or brand, but instead a channel / blog / site that allows one to grow in one’s passions and creativity over time and still allows the readers to consistently follow and participate.
Dan, I hope you set up your own space that allows you to blog about whatever suits your fancy right now without apologies and allows those of us who read your writing to continue to follow you, even if it is sporadic.

Ciao, bello

A Bit of Ernie and Brad

Fare thee well, Mr. Graham, you, your laughter, generosity, laughter, humor, and amusing t-shirts, will be sorely missed.
Thank you for your outreach to me along with Jish at SXSW Interactive 2003 when others weren’t so friendly. Thank you for all the lives you touched all over the blogosphere in last last decade plus. Thank you for being so willingly to be roped into (ha! leading) all sorts of adventures and misadventures.
Ciao, bello.
.

The Bloggies at SXSW 2009!

The Bloggies at SXSW 2009!

Yes, it is that time of year again, time for SXSW Interactive and the 2009 Weblog Awards!
The Bloggies are the web’s longest-running non-profit, reader voted blog awards. The votes are in and the Weblog Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, March 16th at 12:30pm (Central Time, GMT-5) at the SXSW Trade Show Day Stage.
Come join us in celebrating blogs and bloggers at SXSW Monday at lunch. If you can’t make in person to the Bloggies Award Ceremony, join us on IRC, #Bloggies on irc.freenode.net, for live coverage and chat. After the ceremony the winning blogs can be found at 2009.bloggies.com.
The 9th Annual Weblog Awards Ceremony will be brought to you this Monday by Ms. Jen and George Kelly, with big ideas & help from Glenda Sims, as well as all the fabulous presenters and bloggers. Extra big thanks to Nikolai Nolan for all his hard work on the Ninth Annual Weblog Awards web site and managing the whole voting process.
If you are going to SXSWi, please come join us on Monday 3/16 at 12:30pm at the Day Stage for the Bloggies!

Movable Type Tip: How to have Multiple Blogs on One RSS or Atom Feed

I have spent the last 4 plus days upgrading the Barflies.net from Movable Type 3.36 to Movable Type Open Source 4.2b with a complete update of templates, adding of a few new features (author archives) and a big back end information architecture re-org (only to be seen by contributors). In wanting to update the Barflies.net Movable Type install, I found myself trying to accomplish a few tasks that aren’t necessary in a one person blog.
One of the little things I wanted to do was to combine the RSS / Atom feeds from the main blog with the RSS / Atom Feed of the SoCal Calendar to make one feed for folks to subscribe to. When I Google searched this, I could not find any real answers, so I emailed the Six Apart Pronet list had a good simple, elegant answer from LaRosa Johnson within minutes:

“add blog_ids=”all” to the MTEntries tag of your Atom Feed and that should do it”

And I did, and it worked.
Now how did I do it? In my case, I didn’t want all the blogs on the Barflies.net MT install in the feed, only two. Barflies.net #15 and SoCal Calendar #30, so I set the blog_ids to blog_ids=”15,30″.
Everywhere in my RSS and Atom Feed templates that there was an instance of the mt:Entries tag, I added blog_ids=”15,30″, saved & published, and then tested the feeds. Happiness.
Here is an example of one the mt:Entries tag that that I altered in the Atom Feed:

<mt:Entries blog_ids=”15, 30″ lastn=”1″>

Thanks, LaRosa!

Violet Blue and Boing Boing, as well as KT and BlogHer

This week a big brouhaha burst out on the web about BoingBoing’s taking down any and all links / posts about Violet Blue the San Francisco sex columnist / blogger.
And the web commenting folks reacted. And reacted. And reacted.
Upon, first reading about this to do, I wondered why such a big brouhaha now – given that the about Violet Blue posts were removed a year ago at BoingBoing – when not a peep has been written about KT’s whole section of Blogher Editor posts from the last year or two being removed lock, stock, and barrel over at Blogher.com over the weekend of June 14-15, 2008.
Now, I don’t think that BlogHer is as highly ranked as BoingBoing, nor do they have the readership, nor do I think that KT was getting it on with one of the BlogHer management in a way that would feed salacious gossip, as Violet Blue was getting it (supposedly) with BoingBoing’s Xeni.
What I do know is that BoingBoing’s moderator, Teresa NielsenHayden, did address the issue today and that she is a by far more astute web moderator than just about anyone else out there.
What I also know is that BoingBoing has a better designed site that is easier to navigate both on the website and over time then the BlogHer site, which seems to be redesigned every year before the summer conference and get more unusable than the year before.
Furthermore, what I also know is that BlogHer had a prominent post on the top of the front page to allow readers comment on the new site redesign on Monday, June 16, 2008, but it had no mention of the departure of a good daily editorial BlogHer. And all the comments about the redesign of the site were only gushing, positive comments by other editors of the site. I was the first, and apparently the last, to make a few critiques of the redesign & its usability in the comments. The post announcing the redesign disappeared off the front page within the day.
How do I know that KT’s posts disappeared? I have BlogHer on my feed list, and day in and day out 365 days a year for at least the last year if not longer, including holidays, KT’s daily astrology post would be on the RSS / Atom feed, as well as on the BlogHer website as the editor post for the Astrology section. KT’s posts stopped on Fri. June 13, 2008 and have not reappeared in the feed since.
More telling a few days after the BlogHer redesign was announced and launched on Mon. June 16, 2008, all of KT’s posts were deleted from BlogHer.
Now I am not going to make a big to do about the why or wherefores, but what I would appreciate is some editorial / leadership transparency on the part of the BlogHer folks about KT’s departure. Whether this is in the style of Anil’s metafilter comment about how to deal with a split or TNH’s BoingBoing post today it doesn’t matter, what does matter to me for BlogHer’s credibility is that they acknowledge the departure (good, bad, neutral) of an editor and her daily column.
I don’t care if BlogHer chose to take down all of KT’s posts or if KT took down all of her own posts, nor do I care about why or the personal politics about the departure, just make an announcement. Say goodbye.
Why should BlogHer say goodbye? Well, BlogHer’s whole premise is an all inclusive community of women bloggers that values diversity, transparency, and honesty. Blogher, live up to your explicit and implicit values.
BlogHer, in the meantime, please please please please hire someone to re-architect your website, it is unusable and I am only viewing posts in my feed reader to be able to see if the content is worth while, as my reader sorts everything nicely. I am very sad to see last year’s design go, as it was the only one I enjoyed clicking through to and seeing the content on the site in, this year’s site is very vanilla corporate.
As a side note to wrap up this post, amusingly enough, I have noticed that Xeni’s sex posts have declined over the last few months. I do think Valley Wag may have hit the whole brouhaha on the head.