Archive for July, 2008
Read an article from Yahoo’s internet section regarding China’s censorship of websites for the duration of the olympic season.Â China’s internet lawÂ includes even foreign journalists, teams and even tourists… they would all find it a little hard to open what once was just accessible sites.
OpenNetÂ InitiativesÂ published a study on China’s internet censorship lawÂ based on the 2004-2005 period.Â While access was restricted to basically blocking topics that are political by nature, sensitive and controversial, it has evolved to include many other topics a little less trivial.
“China’s Internet filtering regime is the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world. Compared to similar efforts in other states, China’s filtering regime is pervasive, sophisticated, and effective. It comprises multiple levels of legal regulation and technical control. It involves numerous state agencies and thousands of public and private personnel. It censors content transmitted through multiple methods, including Web pages, Web logs, on-line discussion forums, university bulletin board systems, and e-mail messages. Our testing found efforts to prevent access to a wide range of sensitive materials, from pornography to religious material to political dissent. Chinese citizens seeking access to Web sites containing content related to Taiwanese and Tibetan independence, Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama, the Tiananmen Square incident, opposition political parties, or a variety of anti-Communist movements will frequently find themselves blocked. While it is difficult to describe this widespread filtering with precision, our research documents a system that imposes strong controls on its citizens’ ability to view Internet content. ” – from OpenNet
What I am curious of right now is how this will all work with a worldwide media event.Â Traditional media is one thing, the blogging media is another.Â Tourist flocking the games will surely be a little frustrated that they may be restricted to visit their own blogs to post their time in China.Â That is, IF their blogs have phrases or keywords that the Chinese government deem as “controversial”.
I would be interested to find out the impact to the blogging world.Â I would probably venture a “free the blogs” campaign in the offing?Â Who knows, it is likely to happen.
You can see more info on China’s internet policy here, here and here.
A recent Wisdump commentary describes how marketing campaigns are asking people to search using keywords rather than type specific URLs.
I am sure you have at least one friend or loved one who has not grasped the concept of URLs and remains highly dependent on Google for finding their way around the web. If youâ€™ll take a closer look at their web browsers, youâ€™ll see why it really isnâ€™t their fault.
The very nature of URLs seems to be another major stumbling block. Ordinary people donâ€™t understand the use of a â€œwwwâ€ and a â€œ.comâ€, or that the â€œ@â€ symbol is used only in e-mail addresses. They donâ€™t know how to share websites through URLs eitherâ€”unless thereâ€™s a button with explicit instructions that tell them how.
Add to that the explosion of all the domain suffixes like .me, .travel, and even .xxx. Not to mention all the malicious parties that wish to take advantage of their ignoranceâ€”stealing and spoofing personal information through misspelled URLs, search keywords, and deceptive e-mails.
For me, the analogy would be this. Using URLs to go to webpages is like giving an exact, specific street address. Like Number 5 Main Avenue, Gotham City, or the like. Going to a website via a search engine would be like giving landmarks and asking people to look for signages. It’s like telling a friend to go to Main Avenue, look for the big brown building across City Hall, with the green revolving door. At the ground floor of that building would be your shop, which is right next to the florist’s.
Complicated, eh? My point is that I agree with Ia’s commentary that this would involve some search optimization on the part of the website owner. What if the florist closed shop? What if the building administrator painted the revolving door red? Then your friend would have a hard time finding you. Two years from now, the building might even be grey or blue-colored.
Accessing sites via search engines works this way, too. Today you might be number one for the keyword blogging pro on Google. Tomorrow, we may not be.
Another analogy would be the use of telephone numbers. You can call or SMS me on my exact, specific phone number, complete with country code, area code and number. You can also search for me by calling a directory service or 411, but that doesn’t always work the way I would want it to. The phone company might have several people named “Angelo Racoma.” Or I might not be listed at all. And of course, some people would rather be able to contact me directly.
So are URLs here to stay? Of course they are. It’s just perhaps that a lot of people are increasingly finding it convenient to just key in a phrase or keyword onto that ubiquitous search box at the top of the browser window. No more keying in WWW or .COM. Even that causes confusion, with the multitude of top-level domains.
In the future, URLs might just take a backseat, with more and more people doing searches than directly keying in web addresses. I can liken this to AOL and Compuserve. Remember the old times, when companies asked you to key in AOL keywords to access their portals, rather than URLs?
Not really sure if you’ve noticed the persistent “image caption” feature that WordPress 2.6 has developed.Â I was happily blogging this past week when I’ve noticed that some of the images I posted vis a vis the blog posts have defaulted to a “nil” caption.Â I do love this improvement, but was a little “blind sided” as there was no announcement regarding it until now, well I read it just now, hee hee. So I had a bunch of images with “nil” captions in them.Â Had to manually remove it to blank (thankful they allow blanks).
It has gathered about 185 varied responses from “that stinks!” to “oh ok, it would take getting used to”.Â But nonetheless I think it is best practice to put captions to photos to make your blog posts a little friendlier and much understandable.
To add a caption to an image, press the image media icon just above the editor buttons:
In the same pop-up window, you can see there are other image fields to complete like “title”, “description”, “link URL”, “alignment” and “size”.
Problogger wrote a short post regarding the importance of blog images:
- to enhance posts by giving a visual point of interest
- to engage people to read (imagine talking about a celebrity minus the juicy photos!)
- to emphasize the message
- giving your blog a more personal touch
From experience, my family blog (sorry, no URLs for privacy) gathered more hits and lesser bounce rates (from Google Analytics) WHEN I include a set of photos.Â When I posted that I posed with a python around my neck, guess which album they clicked through and browsed often.Â Or when I held a croc in my hands like so…
I RSS read my boss’ personal blog and when I saw a blog pic of him trying a spaghetti noodle up his nose I stayed on and watched the video even! haha.. that was a laugh.
So any crocs in your area that needs taming???
If you’ve been on the Web long enough, you would’ve probably heard about domain squatting, which is basically a third party registering the domain of some entity with legal rights to that name or trademark. The intent is to either resell the name at exorbitant prices, or put up malicious websites or sites that are commercial in nature (but not owned by the trademark owner).
Domain squatting or cybersquatting is big business, and the legal implications are not always as simple as black and white. There are intellectual property laws that apply, or even dispute resolution policies, but jurisdiction is not always clear. So it’s usually common sense for businesses, trademark name owners and even individuals to register ahead their desired domain names, to avoid potential conflict.
Now, with URL redirection services becoming popular (such as with Twitter and other microblogging services, which allow only limited characters per post), redirection URL squatting can also be a problem. While previously tinyurl and most other redirection services only offered random or sequential extensions, nowadays you can customize the few characters that come after tinyurl.com/ . And with such customization comes the potential for abuse.
LouisGray.com reports of URL redirection abuse. tinyurl.com/dell has been redirected to a porn site. tinyurl.com/amazon, meanwhile has been redirected to an affiliate site, with the intent of the owner earning affiliate commissions from Amazon sales. Sure, the latter may be a grey area bordering on the legitimate, but the use of the /amazon extension might be questionable.
So if you intend to protect your tinyurl “name” then now’s the time to register.
Performancing.com has launched its advertising network, Performancing Ads. I’ve been playing around with the system for much of the latter part of development, and I can say I’m impressed. It’s simple and intuitive enough for anyone to easily use and understand, and yet you have the essentials of a good ad server, network and marketplace.
You can check out Ryan Caldwell’s Performancing post on 10 reasons why you should try Performancing Ads. A recent post by Darren Rowse on problogger.net threshes out some details, and David Peralty gives his opinion on the upsides and downsides of Perf Ads on XFEP. Jeff Chandler has a collection of links and reviews over at performancing.com.
Personally I really like the fact that you can book your own ads into your own sites. This means you can practically use Perf Ads as your ad server, or at least to fill in for those times when ad sales are slow.
Perf ads supports both image ads and text links, so you have the best of both worlds: image ads for brand marketing, and links for search optimization and to get a message across. Performancing also promises early, synchronized payout, and will pay out 60% of revenues. Perf Ads also has an affiliate program, where members can earn $10 credit from every successful referral, and 5% residual commissions from each sale by referrals.
Disclosure: Blogging Pro and Performancing are both owned by Splashpress Media
When I blog I literally have a lot of IE or FireFox tabs open.Â These tabs would normally be my info sources, a few research items, a dictionary tab, the search engine, my online bank access, paypal page… the works.Â You guessed I’m too multi-tasked a person to be limited to just one tab!
Fortunately, and I’m still on my blogging tools roll, we have a FireFox add-on to make your tabs world a little less awkward, specially if you’re too quick to press the ctrl-w button to close a tab you’re using.Â Instead of doing the standard step to hit your browsers history-today window… check this out.
Undo Closed Tabs Button 3.0.3 was recently updated June 20, 2008.
Click the image one time to undo the last closed tab. Three times to open the last three closed tabs and so on. Click the drop down arrow to see the list of last previously closed tabs and select which one you would like to undo.
If you find yourself blogging too often while in the office, hey, this works as a quick hide-the-blog-tab from the boss.Â Just don’t you dare rat on me when he finds out where you got the tip ayt? :)Â Kidding.
You might want to check out Tab Mix Plus if this is too basic for you.Â
Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager.
A version for Firefox 3 is found here:http://tmp.garyr.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7031
If you’re on the lookout for a place to collaborate on your next social media application, then zembly might be the solution. Dubbed “a grand experiment in social programming” zembly lets users collaborate on building software for various social media applications, web apps and even mobile phones like Facebook, meebo, Google docs and the iPhone.
zembly is the place to create social applications, together.
With zembly, you easily create and host social applications of all shapes and sizes, targeting the most popular social platforms on the web. Using just your browser and your creativity, and working collaboratively with others, you create and publish Facebook apps, OpenSocial apps, meebo apps, iPhone apps, Google Gadgets, embeddable widgets, and other social applications.
Our team brings deep experience in building Internet-scale web applications, growing large open-source communities, and pioneering innovative software development tools and techniques.
zembly is currently in private beta, but you can ask for an invite by emailing [email protected]
You may be interested to update or build-up your Firefox browsers with IE Tab 1.5.20080618 .Â It’s a valuable tool for those who apart from writing posts, well, tend to go “under the hood” as well.Â Well, we all would like to know how our blogs look in either Mozilla & IE.Â I’ve had my fair share of side-stepping from IE to Mozilla.Â Horrors if I forget to check! Ugghh… not a nice feeling to get caught blind-sided with a client call saying “Why is my blog so damn ugly today!”. :)Â Oh my!
Recently updated last June 2008.Â Tried to download and install… and wadayaknow, it took me less than 10 sec to get this baby in my FireFox (after a FireFox re-start).
Hmmm… let me re-start FireFox right now… hold on….
(after 4 minutes)
Isn’t it too cute of Mozilla to save all my open tabs and give me the option upon Mozilla reboot to re-load all the tab URLs again.Â Thanks for that.
OK, after the reboot I was soooo looking for The way to invoke/switch any of my current open tabs from the Mozilla engine to the IE engine.Â Took me a little more time to figure out that to do so you must click on the small browser icon at the lower right area of the status bar.Â Yes, that Mozilla icon… click it and it will turn that tab to be viewed thru IE’s engine.
Yeah… you figured it right,Â right-brained me wouldn’t just dare read the FAQs first!
Sitting back, relaxing, sipping a cup of coffee, hopping from one blog site to another.Â Great way to spend a lazy afternoon.Â While some would pull out their blackberries to check email, or their iPhone 3Gs to play with them a little more… ah, I’m set with my Asus EEE PC, a wifi nearby, and a Sinatra CD playing.
Admitting there are blogs I hate and blogs I love.Â Such is my online life.Â What I hate I still visit for that slim chance of finding a diamond of a post… in the rough.Â Those I love… ah too many.
I’m in a little retrospect mood today… allow me to rest with all the WordPress news to talk about ME for a while.Â I’ve been in radio broadcasting for the past 15 years.Â While my degree says I should be in the IT industry, I somehow have managed to specialize in media, radio and the internet.Â Now I’m not really sure which path I took that led me to do part-time blogging work, but I like it.Â I’d agree with posts here at bloggingpro.com that it is HARD to make this your main job.Â From this post it is near impossible to produce 2,000 posts/month… I guess.
Anyway, let me shift gear here and say that media/radio and blogging do have their similarities.Â Being from both worlds now, these things just stick out.Â Â An importantÂ similar thing I’ve learned through my media/radio years isÂ content is king.Â A well written script is not about the reporter… it’s about the subject… the news item.Â Media icons like Larry King, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, Barbara WaltersÂ etc. would have that uncanny/supernatural way of making themselves invisible in an interview… it’s the subject that is highlighted… it’s them on the spotlight.Â In the end, the readers/viewers know more about the subject, better informed.Â A well written blog post is the same.
Whatever it is one blogs about, remember “Content is King”.Â At the end of the day, your readers must say “Hey, I’ve learned something new from you today” or “Now I see that clearly now, thanks”.Â It is hard work, and hey there maybe a real chance you wouldn’t hit the quota posts you need… but still, you have better served your readers when you put in more.Â You’d be a sought-after blogger who made real sense.Â
I so love this quote right now…
“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing.:Â ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela
WordPress has recently released an open source app for managing WordPress-powered blogs via the iPhone. Dubbed WordPress for iPhone, the application can manage both WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WP blogs.
Introducing the first Open Source app that lets you write posts, upload photos, and edit your WordPress blog from your iPhone or iPod Touch. With support for both WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress (2.5.1 or higher), users of all experience levels can get going in seconds.
I don’t have an iPhone, so I cannot check it out for myself, though. Has anyone tried this new app? I use a Nokia E51 running Symbian Series 60 version 3. While there are various standalone applications that I can use to manage my WordPress-powered blogs, I usually prefer to just open the admin panel using the built-in browser. Somehow I feel it’s faster that way. I wonder which gives the better user experience in managing blogs–the WP app, or the iPhone’s built in Safari browser.