Performancing Metrics

Archive for December, 2006

A Call For New Bloggers: Life, TV, Cars, Golf and AJAX!

Some great news today for all of you out there looking to get into blogging, Bloggy Network is on the hunt for some new blood, and so if you are interested in blogging about lifestyle hacks, a fan of the best televisions shows out there, a gearhead that can tell the difference between a 2001 and 2002 Porsche 911, a fan of teeing off and getting to the green, and a coder that knows what DHTML has basically evolved into, you should send us an e-mail with your details, a sample of your writing and some details on your passion.

These are paid positions within the Bloggy Network, so if you love lifestyle tips, television shows, cars, golf or AJAX, contact us today. If you are interested in a position we are not currently advertising, please feel free to send in your resume as we are always on the look out for great writers with a passion to succeed.

E-mail: Jumpbug[at]gmail.com with your details.

Categories: BloggingPro News

7 Reasons Why Personal Blogs Rock

Darren Rowse of Problogger.net has posted an article on his opinions on why personal blogs rock.

I don’t know if he still keeps a personal blog somewhere, but on all of his blogs he has shared his life and himself in personal ways, and so really understands what he is talking about. I also have a personal blog, and agree with just about everything he lists. I don’t get to write on it as much as I would like, but that’s a different story.

Here’s his list:

1. teach you the skills of blogging
2. familiarize you with the tools of blogging
3. help you work out how much time you have
4. help you work out if you can sustain blogging for the long term
5. give you a taste of blogging ‘culture’
6. help you define a niche
7. help you find a readership

He goes on to explain each point, and again, I suggest blogging to many people that I talk to, even if it is just on your own local machine or something, as it will allow you to deal with every point, except the last, and that is the key to getting bigger and better if you want to make it online.

Categories: Blogging Tips

Downtime at Gravatar. Should a New System be in Place?

Ia over at Stellify.net talks about the extended downtime that Gravatar, a popular system–especially among bloggers and blog commenters–for generating avatars, is experiencing.

stellify-suckage.png

Apparently, Ia suddenly saw strange postings of the text “Suckage!” on her blog’s comment threads, and thought the site was being attacked. Fortunately, it was just a “maintenance” message that the Gravatars2 WordPress plugin has been generating.

Gravatar has been down for quite sometime; that is, the site is currently closed to any new signups and it’s got error messages all over. This maintenance mode has been around for a long time now, which has me worried, even if it promises it won’t shut down.

She then goes on to wonder whether another Web app would rise up to take the place of Gravatar in this period of downtime.

First alternative would be avatars based on favicons–those small 16×16 images that are saved in your favorites folder beside the name of sites you bookmark (in FireFox, you see this on the tabs and right beside the URL in the browser’s address bar).

A favatar uses the favicon associated with the URL given instead of mapping an image to an email address. The problem with this method is not everyone likes to make favicons as much as they like to make avatars. I don’t!—because favicons by default are so small! 16 x 16 pixels is just not my cup of tea.

Next would be pavatars, or personal avatars. I’m not so familiar with this type of avatars, though (and I would think it’s going to add up to one’s bandwidth having to post from your own server–or perhaps you can use photo sites that allow hotlinking).

Like favicons, they are usually stored on one’s own server or image hosting account unlike gravatars stored on the Gravatar server … Of course, this is problematic for people with multiple personalities on the web. Or those that don’t have the authority to edit the home page HTML or save files to the home page folder.

I think that’s why gravatars became popular.

Ia offers a solution that might be easier for bloggers, particularly those of us who use WordPress: a plugin called Identikit, which supports gravatars, favatars and pavatars all in one package.

Personally, though, I would agree with Ia that using avatars to spice up one’s comment threads might come as whimsical. I would rather have my site load up clean, fast and without errors than welcome the possibility of freezing because the browser has to call an external site to load a graphic. Or worse, malicious comment-posters can post unfavorable images or even infected images (that can attack Windows metafile vulnerabilities that were popular before) as their avatars.

And yes, I recall that Gravatar-related plugins were among the Plugins to Avoid we recently wrote about.

So should a new popular avatar system be in place?

Categories: Blogging Tips, WordPress Tips

Sitting Up Straight: Not the Best

I sit on my computer chair for around thirteen hours a day, and it leans further back than the chairs I had in school and whatnot. I thought it was a malfunction of the chair, but even if it is, that malfunction could be saving my back in the long term.

Over on ScienceDaily there is an article that talks about how research has been done on the spine showing that sitting up straight at 90 degrees could do more harm to your back than leaning at around 135 degrees.

“A 135-degree body-thigh sitting posture was demonstrated to be the best biomechanical sitting position, as opposed to a 90-degree posture, which most people consider normal,” said Waseem Amir Bashir, M.B.Ch.B., F.R.C.R., author and clinical fellow in the Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta Hospital, Canada. “Sitting in a sound anatomic position is essential, since the strain put on the spine and its associated ligaments over time can lead to pain, deformity and chronic illness.”

It will be interesting to see if this change actually takes hold in popular society, but if nothing else, at least now you are informed. So lean back a little bit, it’s good for you.

Categories: General

WordPress Theme Viewer: Rights Update Finally

For those of you that have been frustrated lately at the WordPress Theme Viewer, as you couldn’t edit or upload your themes, the site has been updated.

Due to massive amounts of work I haven’t been able to update user rights before now – so everyone earlier have requested rights to upload themes, you should be able to now.

Great news for those using the site, but I think more constant and consistent updates are needed if the site is really going to stay the best place to get WordPress Themes.

Categories: WordPress Themes

WordPress Podcast: Episode 11 (The One With Me)

Over at WP-Community a new WordPress Podcast has been released, and this one and hopefully future ones will be near and dear to my heart as I have been added as a co-host for the show, and the first episode with Charles came out great (at least I think so).

We cover things like:

1. Automattic and KnowNow form a partnership to bring KnowNow WordPress Enterprise Edition (KWEE) to market.
2. According to a review in PC World Magazine, top-level bloggers are migrating to WordPress.
3. WordPress.com doesn’t allow PayPerPost posts.
4. Has the WordPress Codex become unmanagable?
5. Weblog Tools Collection announces a blogging essay competition.
6. David let’s Mac users in on an easy way to set up a testing server, Charles counters with XAMPP for Mac, Windows, Linux and Solaris.

Check out the podcast, and let me know what you think of my inclusion. Was it a good thing or a bad thing? Did I mess up Charles’ vibe? Also, keep watch as there will be an interview with Matt Mullenweg up sometime soon.

Categories: WordPress News

Interview with Matt Craven of Problogging Inc.

With the recent transition of The Blog Herald to a new company, I couldn’t let Matt off the hook without a few short questions, and thankfully he was willing to talk to me.

1. With the startling news of your sale of the Blog Herald, I think everyone is wondering “why!?”. It has been a keystone for blogging news for quite some time, and giving up that control must have been hard. Will we see your writings on a competing site about what is going on in the blogosphere?

Matt- I wrote a longish piece about “Reflections on my time at The Blog Herald” over at problogging.com tonight that gives some insight into this. But the short version is – we really were straining ourselves trying to maintain our existing (and growing!) consulting business while running a blog network. It became clear to us as we moved along that something was going to have to give – and that the blog network wasn’t the “core” of our business so to speak.

We set out to divest ourselves of some of our blog network – we would up selling almost all of it – including The Blog Herald.

2. Your recent change from BlogMedia to Problogging is now more or less complete, is it not? Can you tell me more about your goals and maybe a few details on who is Problogging Inc?

Matt- I would say that we’re now just about complete with our transition from BlogMedia, Inc. to Problogging, Inc. We have some minor things to wrap up but otherwise the move is complete.

Our initial plans revolve around establishing a solid blog over at Problogging along with some other service oriented products that we have in develop presently. Think about a talent management system for bloggers, designers, and others in this creative business of ours and I think that will give you an idea of where we’re headed.

I’m also planning on writing an eBook or two about our experiences this year with BlogMedia – we’ve learned some valuable lessons that I think will go a long way with helping some others.

3. Were the staff notified of the sale before it occurred, and did any of them express any sadness, frustration or were they excited? Will any of them be coming with you to Problogging?

Matt- Obviously the folks that are involved in Problogging, Inc. knew about this – because we work together when something like this is going on… but the bloggers were unaware – except for David Krug – but they were told a day before the news became public.

I think they’re both excited and a bit nervous to see how things will work out – but you’ll have to ask them ;)

4. In your time owning The Blog Herald, what was your favourite memory, and your biggest success?

Matt- My favorite memory was twofold. First, our coverage of WordCamp 2006 and the fact that we were the only major blog publication that covered the event. We smoked the competition and that pleased me all to hell.

Second, was the great posts that the writers came up with for 9/11. I’ll never forget reading their different perspectives on what that day meant to them.

5. When will we see some great audio content on PodHerald.com and what niches will you be covering on that site? Also, who will be working on that project? Will you be trying to be the next TWIT.tv audio network?

Matt- We released our first podcast on The Pod Herald tonight. We have some new intros and stuff in production so that we can bring back the same high quality podcast that we were doing previously over at The Blog Herald. I’m going to continue to cover the blogosphere and world of technology from The Pod Herald – hopefully more frequently than before.

And no, I won’t be doing anything like the TWIT.tv audio network.

Thanks again for taking the time to answer these questions. I am sure we will see you around and I am looking forward to watching Problogging and the projects that come from it.

Categories: Blogging News

Blog Herald Sold To Undisclosed Company

Matt Craven has let it be known that just ten months after acquiring the site from Duncan Riley, The Blog Herald‘s founder, they have closed a deal selling the site to an undisclosed buyer.

I am currently trying to get more details on the sale in a short impromptu interview with Matt Craven, owner of Problogging Inc, and the seller of the famed Blog Herald site.

It’s with a whole bag of mixed feelings that I find myself writing this post. Many of you have noticed over the last few months that we’ve been working on refocusing our company. Our core business has always been the consulting work that we’ve been doing since 1994 in one form or another. We also found ourselves not enjoying the blog network business as much as we used to do.. and with a hot market right now for existing blogs – it looked like a good time to divest ourselves of some of our sites.

This morning, for example, we finalized the sale of Blog Network Watch and BloggerJobs and a few other remaining blogs as well.

The well known online “cowboy” David Krug was enlisted to negotiate the sale, due to his expertise in buying and selling websites.

So far it seems like Matt will continue to write on The Blog Herald from time to time, but with him refocusing his efforts elsewhere, who knows how long that will last. Check out Matt’s new projects over at ProBlogging Inc’s website.

Categories: Blogging News

Banned From Blog Networks?

Duncan Riley, whom I consider to be one of the pillars of the blog network industry (which is quite young, if I may say), has recently left b5media, a blog network which he co-founded. Thing is, in the aftermath of his resignation, there were a lot of speculations on the details behind his leaving the network. He has clarified that he’s legally unable to share such details. However, there’s more.

Not surprisingly, I won’t be doing a blog network again, not only because I’ve probably got a dose of once bitten, twice shy, but because legally I can’t…

What I will say is that there is a legal reason to my silence, and as much as I wish I could come clean and speak the truth but I can’t go into the details.

I’ve had my share of signing NDA‘s and non-compete clauses, but this is intriguing. I think being banned from blog networks is just too much. Of course, Duncan can simply work around this by either: writing for independent blogs (and not those under a network); writing for a set of online publications that’s technically not a “blog network”; or writing under a pseudonym.

I’ll be watching for updates.

Categories: Blogging News

An Ethics Code for Bloggers?

I was browsing around on C|Net’s News.com and noticed a very interesting post talking about ethics and blogging. This is something that has become very heated over the past few years especially when there is an opportunity for either side, traditional media or new media, to strike at each other trying to make the other look unethical or at least not trustworthy.

With the line becoming very blurry, especially as more people get their news online, a U.K. official has made a pitch for a voluntary code of conduct for the blogosphere.

On the Internet, generally speaking, “there are no professional standards, there is no means of redress,” said Tim Toulmin, director of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), an independent body that enforces a set of standards for the U.K. newspaper and magazine industry. His statements were reported Tuesday by the BBC.

When people have complaints about perceived inaccuracy or discrimination by print publications (and their online versions) that pledge to abide by the code, they have the option of airing their gripes before the PCC. The organization then tries to negotiate a resolution, which could include the publication of a correction or apology or a private letter of apology from the editor at issue.

The idea behind extending such a code to Internet writers isn’t to get the government involved, Toulmin said. “We’re not in favour of regulating the internet,” he said.

It is really hard to control what is being said and done online, and much like sites that want to dabble in e-commerce need to be open and honest before they get a seal of approval in the form of an SSL certificate or whatnot, maybe blogs deserve to be analyzed and given some form of seal of approval that the information on a site is trustworthy, not trustworthy, unknown, or in a state of constant flux, thus warning people to not always believe what they read online.

I know many people are not going to agree with this, and it still leaves huge problems, but I think that something has to be done to help limit the spread of incorrect information, and I hope we can all agree on that.

Categories: Blogging News