Tag Archive for 'blogging'

Blogaversary 2012

Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Flickr, 500px. pinterest on the horizon. All that’s missing is a partridge in a pear tree, and sometimes that appears to be there as well. The world of online communication and connection is pretty different that it was nine years ago, when I slapped a bunch of Python scripts onto a server running in a closet in my house. For all the other forms that have emerged, blogging still has a warm place in my heart. I’ve used this blog to host long (some might say too long) and short form content over the years. I never really mastered the short form content, so it was easy for that to migrate off into Twitter land. Some of the more personal stuff that I used to write has also gone to Twitter, or to a lesser degree Facebook, but there hasn’t been a lot of time for that, so most of it has gone by the wayside. What remains is the much longer form content. Unfortunately, firing up Ecto and writing a few dozen paragraphs doesn’t come easily, and getting over some of that inertia is what’s kept more content from appearing here.

Despite my initial misgivings, I like Google Plus. I like the ability to write short to medium content, as well as really nice picture support. I like how easy it is for conversations to start. I’m probably going to put a little more energy into being there. Will there be a 10th anniversary blog post in January 2013? I’m not sure. I’d like there to be, and I plan to keep on posting, but at the same time, there are only so many hours in a day.

Blogaversary 2011

I’m not that good at remembering my Blogaversary — it’s been two years since I remembered last. You can thank the OmniGroup’s wonderful OmniFocus for reminding me in time this year. Almost everything that I wrote describing my 6 year blogaversary is still true today. In fact, I’m doing more traveling than I was when I wrote that. In the past much of my travel has been for conferences, but last year, I did a lot of traveling for other meetings. I’m expecting that I’ll be at fewer conferences this year than last year. I’ve started using Simon Willison’s excellent Lanyrd to manage my conference tracking. My list for this year will give you some hints about some of the stuff that I am looking at. One thing that is difference since I’ve been at Disney is that I am seeing lots of interesting stuff, but much of it is covered by Non Disclosure Agreements. Needless to say, I don’t write about any of that.   

Here’s to another year of blogging, tweeting, and whatever else is coming down the path.

Planets, planets, and more planets

Blog aggregators based on the planet software are a staple of open source projects these days. Nonetheless, there are little gotcha’s here and there.

Thom May and I have run the PlanetApache blog aggregator for Apache Software Foundation committers for some time now. It looks like that planet is finally going to move onto official ASF infrastructure where it belongs (in my opinion). If you want a preview, point your aggregator at planet.apache.org/committers. This planet is using Sam Ruby’s refactored planet code, which is known as Venus.

Over in Python land, there are two different and non-overlapping planets: http://planet.python.org/, and http://www.planetpython.org/, as a reader of both of these planets, I would love to see them consolidated so I could stop seeing the articles that are on both planets.

In any case, planets are a great way to get a sense of what is happening in the various communities. If your project doesn’t have one, you should think about starting one. If you have one, make sure it is working super smoothly.

Reflections on my sixth blogaversary

Today marks my sixth year of blogging. I’ve been doing this longer than I’ve worked at any single job, and in the fast moving technology business, six years seems like a long time to be doing anything. During this last year, I saw some very concrete benefits from all that effort. My blog, along with Twitter, was a major factor in helping me find a new job (I had several very good offers). After I arrived at Sun, I have periodically bumped into people (that I didn’t already know) who were readers. That has also been the case during my travels this year. I had the opportunity to attend some conferences that I have never attended before, and meet some readers that way as well.

My posting rate has decreased compared to the early years of the blog, when I was posting almost every day. I spent a lot of time travelling this year, much more than any other year. Travelling is really time consuming, so the amount of time for blogging has gone down. Some content that previously would have turned into a blog post is now going to Twitter instead. My kids are growing up fast, and they need more of my time, so there’s less time for blogging. And as the post before this one shows, I’ve been devoting a good portion of my remaining time to picture making.   

Last year I promised to be more active, and didn’t do so well. This year, I will try to have more technology content that is not trip related.

One thing that I have wanted to do is to have a photographic banner for the top of the blog. I’ve finally put one up there, and I’d be interested in people’s thoughts. It’s obviously not causing the level of angst that the original white on black WordPress theme caused.

Five years of blogging today

For several years now, I’ve missed my blogaversary, so I’m happy that I actually remembered this year. I’ve just finished my fifth year of blogging, although I slowed down a bit during 2007 for various reasons. The WordPress version of the blog only has 2007 on it, but the PyBlosxom version of my blog is still around (look in the sidebar for the link), and permalinks still work. As proof, here’s the very first post. I plan to be a little more active this year…

New blog theme winner – Gridlock K2

For now I’ve settled on a new theme for the blog, “Gridlock K2“. I’m running the latest RC(3) of K2 and there were some issues with the Gridlock style, some of which were also reported on the Gridlock K2 page, without resolution. Matthew Eernisse, our resident AJAX and CSS wizard for Chandler Server, was kind enough to take a look at the issues that I was having, most notably the sidebar being pushed to the bottom, and the menu rendering oddly. Matthew reduced hours of work to just a few minutes. In order to prevent anyone else from having to do that, here’s a pointer to the “fixed” gridlock.css for the Gridlock K2 style.

New Blog theme

I’m trying out a new blog theme. Let me know what you think.

Another victory for full feeds

During the bar conversation after the Saturday Seattle Strobist Seminar, a bunch of including James Duncan Davidson and Eric Soroos were talking to David Hobby about full feeds on the Strobist site. In particular, we pointed him to John Gruber’s experiment with full feeds on Daring Fireball (preliminary report on John’s experience). So I was very happy to read that David has decided to try a full feed for Strobist as well.

Since David wanted some more power user full feed info, here’s my take on David’s situation.

The argument for full feeds is that it allows a reader to be more efficient because they can digest more information per unit time. At least that is true for me. The other big benefit is that it allows people who want / need to read offline to do so. The question is, “Doesn’t reader efficiency come at the expense of the publisher”? My answer is, no, not if your content is good. In fact, if your content is good, reader efficiency works in your favor. If your content is good, then you as the publisher doen’t want me to have to break my workflow (by switching to a browser, browser tab, or NetNewsWire tab) to determine that the content is good. If I have to break the flow, there’s much less chance that I will do command-shift-P (in NetNewsWire) to pop the your post into Ecto where I can quote it as part of my post (which ought to generate some additional traffic for you). There’s less chance that I will hit command-1 to pop your post’s title and permalink into Twitterific, where it can get pumped into the realtime information junkie network. And there’s less chance that I will hit command-control-’ to pop your post’s permalink into Pukka where I can quickly tag it and stick it into del.icio.us, where it can be immortalized as important, seen by my del.icio.us network, and pumped into my blog and tumblog. In other words, you make it hard for people like me to help you. Now you might not care about that, and that’s a completely rational choice. But since just about everything in the blogosphere (after your good original content) is about getting flow (which doesn’t just mean inbound clicks) from other people, it seems like a short sighted thing to make it hard for flow to happen.

There are a few other dynamics which I think are relevant to Strobist, which don’t apply to all blogs.

1. Strobist is not just a blog, it is a source of reference materials. If you metered my accesses to the Strobist site, you would see that I access the site much more as a reference site than as a daily blog. I read the daily blogs, but since I am learning something that requires practice, trial and error, and so forth, I am always pulling up old posts (and those Lighting 101 and 102 pulldown menus) are a godsend for that. Which you have to go the site for. Dropping the 1 click that you would have gotten by forcing me to follow from the partial feed is just noise compared to the other volume

2. The advertisers on Strobist aren’t getting the value from the ads. If you make me go to Strobist in Firefox, Adblock pwns you. I never even see your ads. If you want to get value from Strobist, do something that works with what David is doing. Nonetheless, I’ve ordered several times from the Midwest Photo Exchange, not because they advertise on the site, but because they are doing something that works with what David is doing – so well that David actually writes about it. You might think you need an ad, but what you really need is to do something that will get David to write about you. Strobist is becoming a community, and the advertisers / sponsors of the site will get the most value by being a part of the community (see yesterday’s post on Nikon for tips). And that means more than just doing ads.

3. I was less vehement about full feeds that night (and I do love my full feeds) because I don’t think that David’s audience is an RSS enabled audience. The small sample size at the bar bore that out. So full vs partial doesn’t make that much difference, really. I’ve been reading the blogs of some wedding photographers because I think that maybe someday I might like to take a crack at that. But one thing I’ve noticed is that the word on Strobist is out. I see the techniques being mentioned. People see off camera flash pictures and want to know how to do that. And the answer that invariably comes back is Strobist (or occasionally, the OneLight). You can be sure that this is happening in real life, maybe even more so than on line. So the flow net for Strobist has expanded beyond the RSS savvy crowd and into the real world. No amount of full vs partial RSS feed is gonna change that.

But just in case, click here to convince David of the value of a full RSS feed. :-)

Good books is now a “page”

I’ve migrated my list of good books to a “page” in WordPress…

It’s white for now…

Since I switched the blog to WordPress, I’ve been getting a slow but steady stream of complaints about the white on black theme. I’m going to be experimenting with the colors of the theme, but for now, I’ve switched it to black on white. I like that less, but I understand the readability argument that some commenters have made. The black was particularly nice for photo posts, and I’m sorry to be losing that. If there are any Hemingway theme experts out there I’d be happy for some advice.

Comments and suggestions of all kinds welcome.