Why not Amazon blogs?

· Weblog Concepts

Richard Soderberg picks up on something Joi Ito posted that posited the idea of Amazon blogs, writing:

Amazon blogs would be a wonderful thing to watch, in the form of “25 most recent posts”; each post is a book review, with in-built Amazon linkage for easy wishlist access. As a side benefit, I’d be exposed to far more media content than I am today, with a lot more chance of being interested enough to purchase it – after all, it’s the opinions that make the most difference.

It’s true that TypePad’s quicklists with built-in Amazon affiliation linking (not to mention the model of Gizmodo) both show how Amazon blogs could work as a ready format for collaborative filtering.
In other words, people are already Amazon blogging so Amazon might as well get into the game.

Last Day of Seybold SF

· Weblog Concepts

Well, I realize that my tutorial from 1 PM to 4:30 PM today may be only for the diehards to stay at conferences through the final afternoon of the final day and risk their weekends to squeeze out some extra drops o’ learning. I’m hoping to put on a good show. I realized from Bill Humphries example that I can plug my Mac into the ethernet cable on the dias and then use my Airport card to turn my laptop into a software base station, broadcasting a wireless network signal into the room for my students. I think I’ll bring my Thinkpad and maybe set it up as a little kiosk so that if people didn’t bring a laptop or don’t have a wifi card they can take turns posting to the Still Blogging dummy weblog with blogger.
It looks like Scot Hacker may be attending my class as a ringer and for moral support. That should be cool. If the Internet access is flaky, then we’re in for 3.5 hours of me yakking. Fun for me (if not my throat), maybe less fun for the tired Friday afternoon conference attendee.
I’m going to ask the class to briefly introduce themselves and discuss why they came and what they’re hoping to learn today, and then fine-tune my li’l syllabus to meet the needs of the class. Here’s a partial list of the topics I’m prepared to discuss:

  • Weblog acronyms and jargon
  • Getting beyond the hype
  • Do weblogs matter?
  • What makes a blog a blog?
  • Anatomy of a weblog
  • Anatomy of a weblog entry
  • Permalinks (and not-so-permalinks)
  • Multiauthor blogs
  • Authentic voice
  • Why blog?
  • Professional blogging
  • What blogs are not
  • When not to blog
  • Choosing and setting up a blog tool
  • Design templates
  • Starting a blog
  • Naming your blog
  • Push-button publishing
  • Posting with a bookmarklet
  • Posting from an application
  • Posting from an aggregator
  • Designing a weblog
  • Templates are mostly HTML
  • Integrating a blog into an existing site
  • When to go public
  • Promoting your blog
  • Maximizing the impact of your weblog
  • Respect your readers
  • Encourage feedback
  • Knowledge capture and retrieval
  • Making a blog searchable
  • Stockpiling links
  • The Power of syndication
  • Syndication decisions
  • RSS resources
  • Tracking your own link cosmos
  • Creating a multiauthor blog
  • Blogs within blogs (sideblogs)
  • Category tricks
  • Mastering your domain
  • Further weblog reading

That’s just the map. I’m ready to go off-road at any point if that’s what the class wants.

Seybold: RSS and Blogs Intro (notes)

· Weblog Concepts

I came late
Missed Sam’s presentation (damn)
and some amount of
Tim Bray
note to self: get PPTs
(make index of all blog-related presentations at Seybold)
good overview of weblogging
as way of staying up on trends from leaders
interesting people: dave into mark
micropop culture niches (queer knitters)
Bill Humphries
his history
read Scripting news circa 1997
built custom weblog tool then and has been blogging since
how it works
add rss feeds to my.yahoo.com (full circle re my.netscape.com)
demos mt on screen
blogs about the moscone bomb
pastes (doesn’t use bookmark), but safari doesn’t cooperate… has to type it
simple window, just entry body (like i set up for my dad yesterday)
Says TypePad is by Mov(e)able Type (rather, Six Apart)
Kasia (Kaisa)
Mentions diaryland (doesn’t mention pitas)
but not Xanga
On your server:
Movable Type
good questions about anonymous comments
comments, comment spam, i nearly derail the stuff…
client/server example: Radio
example Zeldman’s The Daily Report
(drawback: archiving – no database)
note he writes his RSS by hand too.
making up summaries for each entries
Is this for you
What should you do
Are you in the business of providing informatiion
Should you have an aenterprise weblog
C level weblogs
-small companies (antarctica, UserLand)
exposes faces to the outside world
if you are going to do this you have to decide to not be afraid
a high wire without a safety net
updated, daily content?
[Really, daily required?]
what to syndicate:
Magazine: top stories
Enterprise intranet: new content
Everybody: bring buried content to the top
use standards (feedvalidator.org)
it only works if it’s fresh, thus editorial and production workflows simply aren’t going to work
Sam Ruby
i slightly disagree with that: don’t try to censor
(example: IBM)
Take responsibility for what you say…
“there are boundaries”
people have gotten fired
also hired
get known
googling up to the top
use common sense in what you publish
Dave Hyatt
explaining safari decisions (example of recent table in div issue, see also daring fireball)
a big win for apple
comment spam
referrer spam
google rank leeching
note to self: make sure I cover “promoting” a blog in my course.
letting other people put links on your site is risky
culture of trust, scaling issue
will trust-based community break down as scales up
or can technology fight a continuing arms race
blogging is an incredibly effective search engine optimizer
Ford doesn’t have as many inbound links as Sam Ruby
Sam: words used in ordinary conversation –
that’s what webloggers are getting pretty high on
“binary search” points to Tim
focus on a niche
sam: follow your bliss / airline / cat
tim: it tends to happen anyhow
C Level blog internal blog
anonymity such as a “suggestion box” in an intranet context?
(cautionary tale: anon.penet.fi -> fbi subpoena)
tim: risk of nutcases
policies, rules:
Prashad Kothari comment:
we use blogs internally
we enable anonymity but it’s not been used yet
Sam: eventually will only accept nonanonymous comments
lazyweb: responding could make someone create a new blog and use trackback
strength of blogging is conversational
unlike news and magazines
web has its aspect
Question: we have chat spaces and forums moderated by SMEs
i was thinking this technology would help me more on our public side
Sam says internal blogs are more than just chat room and forums
feedback loop
we know who’s reading which posts (how is that different?)
Lauren Wood (Textuality) host:
software updates would be the perfect application of an RSS feed
Tim: currently, news and blogs mostly, but this could be an awfully convenient way to do business:
stock ticker
bank acct
credit card
product releases
Unfortunately, I will the next session in this sequence as I am doing a half hour myself in the WOW booth from 2:30 to 3:00 PM today.
I expect to rewrite these notes into something coherent when I get a moment.

Should there be a standard way to give credit in a weblog entry?

· Weblog Concepts

A lot of smart people have been thinking about the data model of a weblog entry (going back to the weblog profile for RSS initiative that stalled out and partly led to the Pie process), and particularly what are the likely meanings of the link element, which can be (as originally invisioned) a link from a description to a full item, or (as Blogger’s link field and bookmarklets imply) a link to an external resource that the weblog entry comments on, or (as is commonly generated by Movable Type) a permalink for the entry, regardless of whether a summary, excerpt, or complete body text have been packed into the description field.
Those are the three most likely key links in a blog entry, and they are sometimes the same thing, especially when there is no external resource. Including links in an entry body doesn’t inherently populate the link feed, although in theory a blog tool could grab the first anchor href, if any, and use that as the default link, if not overriden. Instead, the default seems to be the permalink, with the option – in some tools – over overriding with an external-resource link.
During the RSS 2.0 process, a “b link” module was proposed by Mark Pilgrim, as a kind of “the blog I’m currently reading or recommending” and adopted into the spec by Dave Winer, but it didn’t really catch on, being a sort of off-the-cuff vanity item.
There’s another kind of link, however, that I think most of us have been overlooking, although its presence in the blog world is nerly ubiquitous, under a numer of different names. What I’m talking back is a link that credits the source of an item. Like many people in the blogosphere, I consider it good netiquette to include a link to the source of an item, particularly when the resource isn’t at the time generally available from many sources. Radio, for example, automatically captures that link when you post from its aggregator.
I think this “via link” or “hat tip” should be acknowledged as a well understood, if optional / conditional (only if there is a key source) field in the weblog data model. Not only is it “nice,” it would actually make it easier to trace the spread of ideas, a kind of reverse tracking-back.

Link archiving

· Weblog Concepts

O lazyweb, I have a request. I would like a automated spider to check the outgoing links from my blog on some regular basis and when and if any go dark, to find the most recent archived link at the Internet Wayback Machine and substitute it (thanks).
Speaking of the Wayback Machine, they’re beta-testing a full-text search called Recall (hat tip to jwz), which does some groovy memewatch-type graphing of related search results over time.

[peak near 1996-7]A search for “crumlish” approximates pretty accurately my diminishing memeshare as the Web continues to broaded beyond the literate geeks who made a plaything of it back in the day.

Incidentally, all the peaks on my personal graphs correspond to publication dates of my mass-market Internet primers, demonstrating both the relevance of traditional (“old”) media and the limited power of pontificating about the mechanics of a new medium. Self-reflection and media criticism continue to make sense as – if nothing else – a corrective, but handbooks for the knobs, widgets, cruft, and crome lose their appeal pretty quickly (even for their authors – trust me). That’s why I envy/admire David Pogue. Writing a kewl-new-stuff column for the Circuits section of the New York Times (what, you want people to send me cutting-edge gizmos to play with so I can help ex-Wired readers figure out what netx toy to buy? what’s the catch?) smells like a lot more fun than Press F7 for Dummies.
One other thing about the Wayback Project: Remember how after Google acquired Deja News, they put out a call for people with private USENET archives and asked them to donate to the collection? Shouldn’t the Internet Archive put out a similar request for archived or cached web pages from before 1996? I know I’m biased but I think the Web was a pretty cool place in 1994 and 1995 and the earliest Web sites are from 1991, aren’t they? Maybe they’re mostly scientific papers but they’re still part of the story. In this digital age there’s no excuse for failing to document ourselves. Then again, if nothing ever got lost or buried, archaeologists would be out of a job.
Hey, I think I saw Brewster Kahle’s name on the roster for Seybold SF, where I am right now, so maybe I’ll buttonhole the poor sod and make my plea.