July 2007 Archives
July 31, 2007
And somebody claiming to be Andrew Gilligan has responded:
The programme did not say or imply that the Manchester story had been "discovered" by Dispatches or was an exclusive. Please get your facts right before you attack other people's.There's two interesting things here. Firstly, it's revealing that mainstream TV journalism thinks that covering three year old stories is OK. And secondly, it's very interesting that blogging is giving specialist journalists a more powerful voice when their mainstream colleagues bulldozer their way into their areas of expertise.
July 30, 2007
Why do some people randomly capitalise technology-related words they aren't very familiar with. Some examples include MAC for Apple's Mac computers and, pretty frequently, BLOG, from new bloggers.
It's common enough that there must be a root behind it somewhere.
* Ha! How often do you get to type something like that?
July 26, 2007
Well, after an hour or so's fiddling around, all seems well.
You should be seeing something like this:
Obviously, there's still quite a bit missing. Most of the widgets aren't on the page right now, and the blogroll won't reappear until MT-Blogroll is upgraded for MT4.
But for now, I'm pleased. Having a lovely WYSIWYG editor in MT is just a delight.
Hello. If you're reading this, One Man & His Blog is now running under the release candidate of Movable Type 4.
Now to find out what's broken...
A few major changes are coming to this blog over the next 24 hours.
It's possible everything (and I mean everything) will break. Hang on to your hats, and see you the other side…
Robin Hamman finds an interesting follow-up from one of the Virginia Tech Shootings witnesses that he originally contacted.
Well worth a read.
July 25, 2007
I realised the other day that I've been participating in online communities for over a decade, from telnet-based chat rooms via mailing lists to Facebook. Here, mainly for my own reference, are the major repeating themes I've seen over that time:
- Whatever you do, don't listen to the loudest voices in preference to the rest
- You can't avoid conflict in the community, and even splits, no matter how had you try to control who joins
- Calming voices are invaluable
- Controlling voices are deadly
- Conversations that drift off topic and into running jokes are the sign of a good community developing - but if it goes too far, it alienates newcomers
- Once your community starts forming groups to develop rules, it's dead
- The people with the most vested in the community are often the deadliest to it
- Communities that grow too large will fragment and, if you can't accommodate that, move elsewhere
- Beware: those who police other's behaviours, those who believe in one true way and those who hate change
- Communities, like people, have a life span. Once it's gone, it's gone
July 22, 2007
I think it's good to praise and well as complain so, in that spirit, I'd like to point out that Loïc is busy planning Le Web 3 2007 in public, both on his blog and over on Facebook. It seems only fair after what I posted about last year's event.
Loïc's just posted the idea pool he's drawing from at the moment and it looks… interesting. It doesn't feel like it's really addressing the problem of a very diverse group of attendees, which was one of the big issues last year, but that can't really be solved without moving to a multi-track conference, which is a more complicated undertaking. However, there's a good pool of speakers already, and a welcome move away from anodyne panels.
At least this year, nobody's going to be able to complain that they didn't really know what they were getting. (I can't help thinking that calling the conference Le Web 3 2007 rather than Le Web 4 suggests that, given enough time, all publicity is good publicity.)
I'm never slow to criticise Alexa, a site which provides web site ranking based on a toolbar that is only available to Internet Explorer users on a PC. Why, that's not going to distort the results at all, is it?
Fundamentally, I find the idea of people making decisions about their web sites based on the browsing habits of a small group of tech-savvy PC users just disturbing. Sure, you could argue that people who don't understand that there's an inherent problem with Alexa deserve everything they get. But it's usually the people who are making the transition to the web that fall into this traffic trap and end up making poor decisions based on poor information.
Well, they've finally addressed one of my major criticisms by releasing an Alexa toolbar for Firefox. The long climb back to being useful starts here...
Is a blog really a blog, if it isn't publishing some flavour of feed, be it Atom or RSS?
Or is it merely a web page with some blog-like characteristics?
July 19, 2007
1. We really need some way to incorporate comments directly into the RSS feed (and no, doing it separately Wordpress-style doesn't cut it).
2. If you have a large number of RSS feeds in your aggregator, they really need to be tended like a garden. The dead wood and decaying flowers need to be trimmed away to let new shoots flourish, and you need to mow the lawn regularly. 1909 items unread does not count as a well-mown RSS lawn.
Blogging's been a bit erratic around here of late for a number of reasons. High amongst those is that a lot of what I want to blog about is my job. Now, there's no inherent problem with that — my employers are pretty good about that sort of thing — but I am concerned that if I do blog a little too much about what's going on here, it'll look too much like, well, plugging. And too much plugging is, frankly, boring.
And yes, I do know that goes against the transparency ethos that lurks behind so much blogging. Blogging about the job is not just allowed, it's encouraged. It's joining in the conversation. It's the naked conversation.
This week games are good for you…
Hmmm. There must be better ways.
Gosh - imagine that. Lots of corporates jumped on a bandwagon without a clear plan of what it would do for them. And it failed. Shocking, I tell you, shocking.
Oh, my. The issue of measuring authority and success on the web just gets ever more complicated.
There's gold in them there blogs…
July 18, 2007
David Lacey, one of our many bloggers, was in sunny Sutton this afternoon, being treated to lunch by the Computer Weekly team. I was invited along and, not being one to refuse a free Italian meal, accepted.
Now, I must confess that I don't read the whole of RBI's blogging output. I'm no computer security boffin and so David's output is not, on the whole, in my area of expertise or even interest. However, the discussion over lunch, particularly around the personal and social factors around computer security, was fascinating. Straight after lunch I checked out some of David's posts and this post in particular:
Now we have a problem for employees, with a recent court ruling reported in The Register which suggests that employers might have grounds to demand ownership of their employees’ social networking information, if it has been prepared in the course of their employment. This particular ruling forced a UK journalist to hand over the contents of his contacts list to his employer after he had left the company. According to legal experts, the key determining factor is not where the data is stored but the set of circumstances under which it was created.
Ouch. Think about it: how much is your social networking activity purely work-related? My Twitter friends are about 60% work contacts. So the company could demand access to that. My Facebook? Mmmm. Only about 20% - but still significant.
If this judgement is extended in the way David theorises it could be, it could have very serious consequences indeed.
July 17, 2007
July 12, 2007
Yes, I'm still alive. Just horribly busy. Will resume posting as soon as I can.
July 10, 2007
Nielsen abandons the pageview
July 7, 2007
Dawn Butler (Lab - Brent South) and Sarah Teather (LD - Brent East) will be fighting it out for the re-drawn seat of Brent Central at the next election, but online the battle has already started. The conflict is taking place on their Wikipedia entries (Butler, Teather), and researchers and party supporters almost definitely involved.
If you look at the history pages for both entries, and you’ll see a user called Brent Central has been duelling with an anonymous user working in the House of Commons (the most common Parliamentary IP address is 188.8.131.52). The fight has been going since mid-June and involved more than 60 edits in under a month.
A nice piece of reporting from Recess Monkey, there. And it's very interesting that both sides seem to consider Wikipedia an important enough site that their representation there matters.
It's working its way into the political mainstream, isn't it?
July 6, 2007
What happens to a journalist when he gets distracted by new media Flim-Flam like video (as demonstrated in my last post)?
For shame, Mr Pogue. For shame.
I really can't decide if this piece of work by NYT journalist David Pogue is really clever and amusing, or just plain painful:
Still, experimentation is good and it beats most of the "queuing for the iPhone" videos
July 5, 2007
July 4, 2007
July 3, 2007
Today's entry in the really-not-very-surprising stakes:Google Sets Feedburner Pro Free!
FeedBurner, the Chicago-based feed management startup that was recently acquired by Google, has decided to offer its Pro services for free. Users can now get all the Pro stats and services for free.
Pretty much par for the course with a Google acquisition, but great news for those of us who use Feedburner to monitor our feeds.
Werewolves would win. They regenerate. Robots just get torn apart.
[via Tango in her Eyes)
Long, but worth watching
AOL has launched a new widget that will allow bloggers and website owners to interact with their users.
July 2, 2007
Busy day today but, while rushing from meeting to meeting, I passed the BBC's Bush House, and saw this poster reminding the world of the plight of Alan Johnston.
A man who has been captivity for over 100 days.
A man who faces daily threats to his life.
Why? Because he was doing his job. And that's something that people who dismiss journalism as part of the past forget. Not many bloggers are putting their lives in the line in this way.
That said, it's easy to forget about what it's enduring. While I've been carrying the badge the BBC have provided on my blog for months, it all seems a little unreal. It's easy to slightly dehumanise people on TV. They're a little remote from us. They're personalities. They're, in some indefinable way, different. And the situation Alan finds himself is so far removed from most of our experiences as to be difficult to really comprehend. But, while checking the Wikipedia page about him, I discovered something I didn't know. He went to the same school as me.
And that really brings things home to you. That man, who has been kidnapped, imprisoned and threatened, because he was trying to bring us news from the Middle East, played in the same grounds as me. Fell over on the same rugby pitches. In fact, was almost certainly taught by some of the same teachers.
And somehow, the knowledge that the man in those videos with the bombs strapped to his chest has a part of his childhood so close to mine brings it all closer. We were both kids in the same Scottish school once. But while I sit tapping on my MacBook in a comfy flat in Lewisham, he's locked up somewhere in the Middle East, possibly with bombs strapped around his chest.
There's a little hope in the offing. Let's hope it turns into something more significant.
July 1, 2007
It's a whole new model of drama…
Simon Collister has some interesting thoughts about the Federated Media business (that went largely undiscussed in the UK - which is interesting in its own right)