Blog moves

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The "Money-making Spamming RSS Tips Legal Podcast Blooper Flame Tags" Update

Today I continue my backlog-clearing series of link lists with ones about blogging and podcasting, including style, technicalities and legalities. If you blog or podcast and want to learn from others, I hope you'll enjoy some of these:

College Startup: Blog Revenue Part 2
How to make money from blogging
10 Ways To Lose RSS Subscribers |
To make money, you need readers. The best readers are subscribers. Take care of them. Surprisingly, this list doesn't include using summary feeds. I moved my RSS feed to a summary-only format a few months ago. Not to make money, but I know I write a lot and I didn't want to spam Planet Debian so much.
problog: spammers get smarter
Oh great. The comment spammers are using real commenter details that they read from websites.
RSS needs threading.
I disagree with Erich. He needs an item-per-thread RSS feed for his forums, dc:subject support and/or to get over the Newsgroup-hate. Different tools are better at different things.
RSS vs. Atom: What's the Big Deal?: ProBlogger Blog Tips
Atom doesn't thread either. I think I prefer RDF Site Summary (RSS 1) but I'm not so bothered about it.
An XSL to convert Atom 0.3 to RSS 1, which I must get around to using.
How to Write for Busy People: ProBlogger Blog Tips
On from the technical: some writing tips...
Vitaly Friedman | Blog: 20 Rules Of Smart And Successful Web-development
...some design process tips
Another one bites the dust
...and another weblog is removed because its author is threatened with being sued for reproducing copyright material. Really, watch your back.
hippygeek: Be Careful what you Blog
hippygeek has noticed the problem too Disclaimer..
Martyn Drake posts a disclaimer. I was disappointed/surprised when I needed to add one to my debian pages too.
Podcasting Legal Guide © 2006 Colette Vogele of Vogele & Associates, Mia Garlick of Creative Commons and Berkman Center Clinical Program in Cyberlaw. This Guide was produced as part of the Non-Residential Fellowship Program of the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School.
Podcasting is on the rise. You need to watch the legalities with that too. I expect we'll see some legal menaces of early adopters soon, if not already. Beware: this links to a wiki page.
Modern Communicator: The First Podcast: Mergers and Acquisitions
An interesting business podcast. Not sure whether it'll be a series or not. Interview with Miles Berry about Moodle
A podcast about the Moodle learning web application (aka courseware)
Steve Pavlina: "Five million women have just been told that I'm a sex expert"
Just because the story cracks me up. Any more blog bloopers? Flame wars .. flame bores..
email peeve
Top-posting... see the comments... Do all blogs top-post?
tom: tagging blogs and other text
Tagging isn't as good as it could be :: Tags :: cakephp
But some tags are useful for following events.

Tips to improve your blog

Why I fold my blog feed

Update: Eventually, there was a useful post about not folding blogs [Vitavonni] (since refined on Digital-Scurf Ramblings ) which addressed the first and third of the bullet points I made (topic split and text length). I was disappointed how many people (on planet debian in particular) seemed to jerk the knee on this and follow the crowd with simple "No" posts that added little useful to the debate. Blogging isn't a simple vote: you need to justify yourself to have most effect. Worst of all were the few who seemed not to notice how long this blog's feed has been folded - without complaint from anyone!

If you subscribe to the feed for this blog (RSS 1.0), you'll notice it contains a summary description rather than the full text. I do this for several reasons:

  1. My blog covers several topics, not all subscribers are interested in all of them and I don't want to split it yet;
  2. According to the web logs (and I know they're imperfect), a surprising number of my readers use tools which don't support full-text delivery well IMO, such as Firefox's live bookmarks;
  3. I prefer it in other blogs I read because it lets me choose whether to read the full text, rather than scroll down a lot;
  4. It's a little simpler for me to generate;
  5. It gives me a little more idea which topics are popular;

For a round-up of other arguments each way, see The latest Full vs Partial Feed Debate [ProBlogger Blog Tips]. This item was inspired by why i hate the fold [Joey's blog].

Want to better your blog?

It seems that new year 2006 is the time to do it. I've seen a few lists recently that I'd I recommend:

  1. First, from a few months ago, but very good: Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, October 17, 2005: Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes - I sometimes deliberately use mistake 4 (mystery links) for effect, I've only recently addressed mistake 5 (classic hits) and I'm still working on mistakes 7 (irregular frequency) and 8 (mixed topics)
  2. Find those too hard to start with? Try Performancing's Quick and Easy Blog Improvements (via Dave Briggs) - I feel I've only one of that list left to do.
  3. Lastly, a very new one: How to Build a High-Traffic Web Site (or Blog) by Steve Pavlina - if you just got your confidence back with the "quick and easy" changes, this one is a noble but ambitious list to stretch you again!

Remember my remarks about comment images and moving blogs on this page too, please. Happy hacking!

OtherWayUp listings

To be carried on OtherWayUp, my aggregator site, your blog should be:

Just now, I'm contemplating dropping Economics (no good feeds left) and downgrading/splitting Culture into Culture and Business Columns pages instead of a top-level page.

Planet Debian: bad colour, bad email

Planet Debian doesn't set the browser link colours for anything other than a:hover, so they're unreadable on some computers. To fix it, it needs

a:link,a:active { color: blue; }
a:visited { color: purple; }

in boxless.css, but the email link given on the page is invalid! Please, if you're going to obfuscate the email, make it obvious or don't make it a link.

My comment provoked an article from a fan who attacked strawmen. The article is All Rights Reserved, so here are just the responses:

Calling progenitors of interplanetary spam

It's been over a day (21 Jan now) and still all the livejournal users are spamming planet debian.

  1. Livejournal: you are nuts. Is it really so difficult to leave feeds and non-login-required content on the old addresses until it expires? Breaking links is really annoying. You're even changing the guid contents instead of setting isPermalink='false' on older entries, which rather defeats the purpose of guid. That's so braindead that you deserve a fork in the head! (and RSS 2.0 is silly anyway - let's use RDF Site Summary instead...)
  2. Planets: Why is it taking so long to get over this? Are livejournal moving users over slowly?
  3. Livejournal users: going to move to a stabler system yet? At least if you screw up wordpress or a blosxom-like system, you do it one user at a time.

NP: Carpenters

Seeing as Brett has made it a blog a grumble day:

It's a bit annoying when people move their blog feed without announcing it in the old one. Please don't break your links. Brownie points to David for doing it right (well, nearly... I continue with RDF, not the advertised RSS2).

Really, I don't care that much. I'm watching The Living Daylights, so it's all cool. Sort of odd to see the Brosnan Bond's CIA pal as the villan - Die Another Day was shown only last Wednesday.


How do you blog in more than one language? Variations on the same question arise at conversationblog and problogger. Anyone got any good suggestions or further links?

Annoying blog comment misfeatures: letter images

Just tried to leave a comment on Sasquach wears a yellow hat at - it has one of those annoying "type the letters from the distorted image" screens (which don't work well [w3c]). Even when I switch images on, I can't get the letters accepted. I don't know if it's a problem with the site or my eyes, but it's really annoying.

How not to do it: The blog of Alexis Sukrieh not only uses broken letter image tests just now, but sends rude error messages when you fail and has a broken trackback system that returns 403 Forbidden. If that's the Spam Karma 2 mentioned in the footer, I suspect someone will be reincarnated as flame-roasted tinned meat soon.

How not to do it (2): Just a blog: Benjamin Seidenberg's Blog: New Anti-Spam Measures uses a simple maths test, which should work, but it produced a rambling SQL error for me. I emailed it as requested and got an error back saying Command died with status 1: "/usr/share/doc/spamassassin/examples/" That may block all spam, but also blocks other mail, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Possible ways to do it: Indymedia Centre Tech recently reviewed available CAPTCHAs and alternatives.

Please, if your blog uses distorted letter images:

  1. Make sure they work
  2. Offer an email address or email form too
  3. Get a blooming clue about accessibility (and maybe hire me to teach you...)

...and don't rant about no-comment blogs [etbe] when your blog has stupid eyetests and returns 404 Not Found if someone asks for the audio alternative.

Comments are moderated (damn spammers) but almost anything sensible gets approved (albeit eventually). If you give a web address, I'll link it. I won't publish your email address unless you ask me to, but I'll email you a link when the comment is posted, or the reason why it's not posted.

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This is copyright 2006 MJ Ray. See fuller notice on front page.