One Man and His Blog: January 2008 Archives

January 2008 Archives

January 31, 2008

Action Streams Go!

After a little work, I think I've got the new Movable Type Action Streams plugin up and working here.

If you look at the sidebar on the far right, you should see both a list of my most recent actions on other sites, and a list of my profiles on other sites, too.

links for 2008-01-31

January 30, 2008

Blogging News Round-Up: Prologue, Activity Streams & New Typepad

An interesting couple of days in blogging technology:

Back in Seesmic

I've got back into Seesmic now I have a webcam for my work PC. However, my presentation skills aren't always what they should be:

The service has been revamped somewhat since I last had a play, and the new view which compiles replies in the timeline makes it much easier to pick up interesting new conversations than it was before. It gets ever more interesting, for a service in Alpha.

Goodbye, Dreamhost

I shifted this blog off Dreamhost a while ago, and the rest of my web publishing activities are about to follow. Here's a hint as to why:

Dreamhost's Nightmare

links for 2008-01-30

January 29, 2008

Macheads: The Movie

This looks entertaining:

January 28, 2008

Wanted: Social Media Pusher

Tony "the spanner" MayfieldDon't you hate it when those Social Media Types get all cliquey? Yeah, me too.

Which is a shame, because that's exactly what I'm about to do. When the inestimable Antony Mayfield of iCrossing (nee Spannerworks) and the Open blog posted to Twitter about an unfortunately sinister portrait pic of him, well, I couldn't resist. Click the pic to see it in its awful glory.

HJi Does Serious Journalism

HJI makes an FHM appealWe only deal with the most classy, stimulating business content here at RBI blogging HQ.

From my lofty desk, overlooking stunning Sutton, glistening cosmopolitan metropolis of Surrey, I cast a careful eye over the blogging think meats we distribute through our official magazine blogs.

And what could please me more that the discovery that Hairdressers' Journal is helping find sexy hairdressers for a FHM photoshoot?

See? Quality journalism.

One Man & His Set Text

My, my. I'm on students' reading lists now.

Whatever will my lecturer wife make of that? :)

links for 2008-01-28

January 27, 2008


OK - that took a little longer than expected, but I think all is well. RSS subscribers - feel free to swing by and tell me what you think of the new look'n'feel...

January 26, 2008

Design Weirdness Ahead

I'll be playing with the blog's templates for up to the next 24 hours, so apologies if you visit and see something very odd indeed...

Update - 11pm: Still a few issues to resolve. More work needed tomorrow, I think.

MT Upgrade in Progress

I'm in the process of upgrading the Movable Type software that runs this blog. As I found out with my last Wordpress upgrade, things can go wrong - so if the site goes down for a while, my apologies in advance.

Update: Done, and without any problems. Am now exploring the new functionality...

January 23, 2008

Comments Busted


I appear to have broken commenting on here. 

Attempting to fix now. Will report back on progress…

Update: And fixed. Sorry about that.

When Aircraft Branding Goes Bad

Ank Air
They might want to consider moving the logo...

January 22, 2008

Valentine's Day is Coming…

Pink iPod Nano
Ah, you can tell that it's less than a month until that consumerist festival of enforced affection they call Valentine's Day: Apple have released a pink iPod Nano.

The only thing I find remarkable about this is that they actually feel that an additional colour for the line, with no change to the rest of the hardware, is worthy of a press release.

But they did, and they sent it, and now I've blogged about it.

So they win.


Technorati Oddness Explained

I though Technorati was behaving a little oddly a week or so back. Turns out they had some issues.

Just stumbled across the post while doing some research for an event tomorrow. Time to subscribe to the Technorati Blog.

January 16, 2008

links for 2008-01-16

January 15, 2008

Office Life: Canteen Culture

Canteen Culture
I gather some of my more new media readers enjoy these shots of office life, so I be publishing more of them…

Should Be Blogging Be Compulsory For Would-Be Journos?

I meant to link to a post on the Online Journalism Blog last week, discussing the issue of journalism graduates having blogs. I'm glad I didn't now, because the discussion in the comments has really added value to the debate.

I'm still firmly in the camp that, if you want to have a job in journalism now, you should be blogging before you graduate, and should continue afterwards. And I do believe that publishers who recruit people without that sort of commitment are just adding to their existing woes. But there are some really interesting alternative takes on the issue in there. 

Trade Press Blogger: Paul Conley

Here's a blogger about trade press issues I really should have stumbled across before now: Paul Conley


January 14, 2008

The Path to Journalistic Blogging: The Four Signs of the Hackopalypse

Something's been bothering me for a while. It's been wriggling around in my head as I go through the "what is blogging" spiel for the umpteenth time to one of our journalists. It irritates me late at night, when I should be thinking about more important things like phat lewts in Karazhan or Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. What should journalists be bringing to blogging that's different to the mainstream blogger? What should expect to see from a journalist blogger's blog?

I've been working on this a little. I've boiled it down to four factors that define journalism for me, and I'll explore each of the four in later posts. These four are my ideas about the core concepts behind journalism, when you step away from the format-specific monikers of "news", "features" or "opinion". Those headings have less and less meaning in the online world, because they're often defined by the amount of physical page space they occupy and their position in a publication. These aren't issues on a blog, so we have to think about the underlying principles in a  different way.

And here, in summary, are my answers for your delectation and delight:

  1. Inform - find out things that people don't want your readers to know - or that they don't know they want to know. This is good, fundamental investigative and agenda-setting journalism. Find out original stuff, and tell your readers about it. Don't just recycle press releases - or other people's blog posts.
  2. Explain - Give context and wider information about a story. Got a product story? Give context as to competing products or the need (or lack of it) for this one. Got a political story? Give the historic context and the likely motivations at a deeper level for it.
  3. Connect - This is the new one. Or the one that is changed out of all recognition. After all, journalists have always been connectors. We've talked to Group A, distilled the best and then published it for the edification of Group B. Now, we can cut some of that process out. Group A is already publishing to the web, on their own blogs. Know your readers, know what they're interested in. Point them to the best writing on the topic.
  4. Entertain - C'mon. You write for a living. You should be able to write well, not prosaically.
So, when you post anything to your website, ask yourself - which of these four does the post fulfil. If it manages all four, fantastic. If it manages two, great. One is OK, but don't do that too much... And if, from your reader's perspective, it does none of the above, why are you bothering?

(This would have been my post for the Carnival of Journalism, but Real Life got in the way, alas) It appears that kind Adrian has, in the way of long-suffering editors everywhere, allowed me to scrape into the Carnival, despite missing the deadline. "God Bless You, Guv," says I, tugging my forelock, ever so 'umbly.

January 11, 2008

WiFi in the Cupboard

The only way I've been able to get internet access for much of the past week:

WiFi in the cupboard

The apartment where Mum & I have been staying in Norwich while she undergoes chemotherapy has WiFi, via the coffee shop nearby. Sadly, the only place I could get a reliable, regular signal was the cupboard in her room.

Ah, well. Another five hours here at the hospital, and then back to her blissfully broadband and WiFi-enabled house…

January 10, 2008

Your Blogging Voice: A Test

Here's a thought. This way of describing one key element of blogging to journalists just popped into my head:

"Read the blog post. If you know the writer in person, can you hear them saying it? If not, they're not blogging yet."

Good? Bad? Indifferent?

One of the hardest things to do when teaching journalists to blog is to persuade them to write in their own voice, rather than the more neutral tone that's drummed into us. This seems to me to be a good thumbnail way of approaching it.

(This post inspired by Stephanie, because I could "hear" her while reading a post of hers.)

January 9, 2008

How I Use Feed Subscriptions: Part 1

cafe91feedreading.JPGDan recently asked how many RSS (or atom) feeds I subscribe to, and how I manage them.

Let's start with how many. Well, in my main subscription group, I have just shy of 400 feeds. I have two other subscription groups, but I'll come back to them in another post. Those feeds generate up to 1,000 post per day.

Yes. yes, I know. I have a problem. I'm an addict. So we'll gloss over that and move on to Dan's second question: How do I manage them?

(The rest is behind a cut to spare those whose eyes are glazing over already.)

Continue reading How I Use Feed Subscriptions: Part 1.

The Face of Norwich

Chapelfield Face

I've had only the briefest of access to WiFi today, so here's a quota photo from a walk this afternoon.

January 8, 2008

The Dangers of External Hosting

My Telegraph

Shane Richmond has posted a description of the problems inherent in using an external hosting provider, providing something of a counter to my earlier post about the failings of self-hosting publishers.

In short, the company that the Telegraph worked with to build My Telegraph went under last year, and they've frantically been running around trying to bring it all in house. They have my sympathies…

However, the good news buried in Shane's post is that James Higgis and others from the team that worked on the initial launch have launched a new company, called Resident Digital, and their blog is already proving interesting reading. I've subscribed and am reading with interest…

January 7, 2008

Light Posting This Week

I'm afraid that posting might be a bit patchy this week. I'm away with Mum for her week of hospital treatment and have only patchy access to WiFi in the nearby coffee shop. I'll get stuff up whenever I can. Mind you, given how good the coffee is, that might be more often than you might expect...

January 5, 2008

Time For Journalists To Get Crazy

Mindy McAdams has written a brilliant post over on Teaching Online Journalism. Anyone who is involved in modern journalism should read it:

So here’s an insane, heretical idea for change. The goal is to make everyone in your community start talking about your newspaper and your Web site. You want people asking all their friends and co-workers, “Did you read this morning?” and “Did you see on the Web site this afternoon?” You want a woman coming home from work to say to her stay-at-home dad/husband, “I have to show you this thing on the Beacon’s Web site!” You want her to say that even before she asks, “What’s for dinner, honey?”
That’s your goal. How do you get there?

And she has plenty of suggestions on how to remake journalism quickly

January 4, 2008

Tall Buildings and Popular IT Posts

Ah, dear. Nearly 7pm on a Friday evening and I'm still in the office. I really must get around to acquiring a life. However, I have just come across a couple of interesting bits in our blogs that I wanted to share with you.

Those of you who enjoyed this blog's days commenting on architecture (and, frankly, I'm thinking of you, Brian), will enjoy Contract Journal's Construction Projects World. Mark is posting loads of great images, like this one:

Hong Kong SkylineAnd James Garner, the web editor of Computer Weekly, has posted a list of the top 10 most popular posts on the IT mag's stable of blogs. It's no surprise to me that cheap technology and IT security issues top the list...


Our Works Christmas Outing

Hurrah! I've just won an internal video competition for the Business & Editorial Development teams here at RBI*. The competition was for the best Christmas Party video from one of the company's departments. Here's what I knocked up:

*it's possible that I was, in fact, the only entrant.

Publishers Need To Get A Grip On Hosting

Martin at Press Gazette has spotted something interesting: The Times website suffered under load this morning, and so visitors were directed to the Typepad-hosted blogs instead. Following The Telegraph's problems earlier in the week, this does beg the question: why don't more publishers take their hosting infrastructure as seriously as hosted service provider like Six Apart have to?

After all, availablity of sites is absolutely vital to most publishing businesses. There's a whole raft of technologies including Memcached that can be used to ease this sort of load pain, developed for high-volume traffic environments like blog hosting. 

links for 2008-01-04

January 3, 2008

JournalismDaily: Bloggy Hack Tracking

Journalism Daily widget
If you visit the home page of this blog, rather than just sucking up my fine journoblogging through your friendly, neighbourhood RSS reader, then you'll have noticed this little widget appearing in the top right. 

JournalismDaily is now using the SocialRank tech to track journalism blogs as a discreet category, which is actually quite interesting. I'm just ahead of Mr Stabe right now, but well behind the likes of Andy or Kevin & Suw

So please link to me, or leave some comments, or anything you can to help my rank increase. Why? Because my anaemic little ego needs feeding, dammit…

Facebook Owns Your Friendships

Robert Scoble
I've been Twittering about this all morning, after I spotted the story on Techcrunch UK, so it's about time I posted about it. That shy, retiring blogger known as Robert Scoble has managed to get himself booted from Facebook. His crime? Using a script to "scrape" out the friendship relationship he's stored in Facebook. (Those relationships are known as "the social graph" to techie types.)

Now, to be fair, he has violated the terms of service, as Paul Walsh points out on the BIMA blog. But it does point to a larger issue. Paul points out that "social media gurus" should be well aware that the relationship data you enter into Facebook is theirs, not yours. You can use it within Facebook but you can't export it out and use it elsewhere. 

This isn't an exclusive problem to Facebook, admittedly. I can't export the friendship relationships I've put into Vox, Flickr or Livejournal either. 
And Facebook et al almost certainly have good commercial reasons for that. In many way, the ability to input and use that data is the key selling point of the social network and they want to keep that unique to keep the users attached to the service.
Continue reading Facebook Owns Your Friendships.

links for 2008-01-03

January 2, 2008

Spammers invade Technorati

Talking of technology woes, I'm rather irritated that this fellow has "fave"d me on Technorati:

A spammer? Oh, I think so. I sent the Technorati folks a message about it a few days ago, but nothing has been done yet…

When Blogs Go Down

Torygraph Down

When I got into work this morning, there were a number of e-mails in my in-box about our Movable Type server being down. Luckily, it had been that way for just a few hours, only the posting interface was affected (ie pages were still readable) and the Web Services guys had already solved the problem. However, it brings me some comfort to know that we're not the only ones who hit these sorts of issues. I've been getting the above message from all of The Telegraph's blogs for the last hours or so…

JournoBlogging Quote of the Day


… I work at the intersection of social media and mainstream media (MSM) – actually, I believe this is where all journalists work these days, whether they're conscious, or approve of it or not …

Sing it, sister!

On a Feed Reading Orgy

Feed Readin' GuySo, last year I promised you my agenda for 2008, to appear yesterday. But then I shamelessly and blatantly abandoned you, reneged on my promise and spent the day with my lovely wife instead. Life trumps blogging, as people used to say all the time a few years ago and now never do.

Today, I've been in a blog-reading orgy. While others who have been doing the same have admitted failure (Stabe), I'm pushing to the very end, at which time I'll collapse back onto the bed and start smoking a virtual cigarette.

And you know what? There's been some great, great stuff written over the last few weeks. Maybe some time off gets everyone's blog juices really flowing…


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.