E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

October 2005

IBM Syndicated XML Feeds

Over the weekend I received an e-mail from someone who wanted to know if IBM had jumped into the Web Syndication bandwagon and started implementing RSS Newsfeeds in the different ibm.com external web sites. And after having replied to that e-mail I thought I would also share over here a couple of lines on the subject.

Yes, indeed, IBM has embraced Web Syndication for some time now and throughout the different ibm.com web sites you will find quite a few that are RSS enabled. Since I know it would be a bit too difficult to go through each of them to start subscribing to the ones that may interest you the most, I just thought you folks should be aware of this particular URL: IBM Syndicated XML Feeds, where you will find a comprehensive and extensive index of the different feeds currently available.

You will notice there that there are different categories, describing briefly each of the different feeds but also including the RSS feed so that if you are interested in adding them to your favourite feeds you would be able to do so right away. Thus go and have a look and see which ones you would think would be worth while subscribing to.

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Best RSS Search Engines and Directories to Submit to: The RSSTop55 Premium Is Out !

Exactly about a week ago I was weblogging about how after I was done with the migration of content from one weblog to another it was about time to drive some more weblog traffic to take place and right there I shared a couple of other weblog posts but also one of the best online resources I have found so far to help you promote your weblog and increase its readership by others. That was the weblog post created by Robin Good on  RSSTop55 – Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission.

Well, while I have been catching up with some of my RSS Newsfeeds I have just bumped into the following weblog post, also by Robin: Best RSS Search Engines And Directories To Submit to: The RSSTop55 Premium Is Out! Ok, I know what is the first thing you are going to say about it. It costs money. Yes, indeed ! But where else are you going to find such a vast amount of information and resources on how to promote your weblog? Where else are you going to find that job done for you within minutes ? I guess that it will be slightly difficult to go by without having to check out Robin’s guide.

I must say that I haven’t bought it yet, since I am quite content with the readership of my weblog at the moment, but if I would ever want to get busier with some heavy promoting then I will surely have a look and buy a copy of his work. Just going through the recent comments you can see that this comprehensive guide is a must-have for those folks who would want to continue spreading the message about their own weblog.

Either way, even though I may not have bought it yet, I bet it is a safe bet to acquire a copy and start learning a few tricks on how to promote your weblog, so if you are ever looking for a good reference you could use and for some little money, then Robin’s Best RSS Search Engines And Directories To Submit to: The RSSTop55 Premium Is Out! is one of the best options out there !

Thanks very much, Robin !, for putting together such a comprehensive approach towards weblog promotion out on the Internet. Great piece of work !

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Podcast : IBM and the Future of Banking

As I have already mentioned on the previous weblog post, I am sure as well that you already have seen it, and probably have listened to it as well, the latest IBM Podcast available from the IBM Investors web site . But just in case you may not have had a chance to take a look, there is, indeed, a new episode from the IBM and The Future of … Podcasting series. And this time around the subject of the Podcast is IBM and The Future of Banking. I was actually very curious to listen to it, more than anything else to find out if it would change my opinion about banks in general, so I did it. I listened to it. And, no, it didn’t change my opinion.

To start with, I am surprised to find out how many people do not feel comfortable, nor like, interacting with banks. Who does, right ? Apparently lots of people seem to have a reluctance to engage with them and according to the podcast this seems to be due to the fact that in general people feel banks’ customer service could improve a great deal. That is probably why at this point in time most of people’s banking experience has been through the Internet or whatever other IT device / gadget and will continue to do so, I would think. Having to wait on endless queues for hours and hours for some relatively simple paperwork can certainly put people off. So everyone is wondering when would they enter the 21st century.

With all that said, though, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. During the podcast it was mentioned that one of the key success factors from banks that they would continue to work on is that one of data driven personalisation, which will help change the customer interaction with their banks and eventually increase their customer satisfaction levels. Indeed, I certainly agree with that and I do seriously hope that banks do start getting the message that sometimes the customer comes first before even their own needs.

Either way, I certainly enjoy the podcast, once again, you can certainly see that these folks are natural at these things and every time it gets better and better. So if you haven’t listened to it I would suggest you spend a few minutes listening to it and see if it would change your opinion about your banking experience. It didn’t change mine but it may certainly change yours. Who knows.

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Podcast : IBM and the Future of Our Past

Now that I have finished with the migration of the contents from my previous weblog into elsua I think it is about time that I get to weblog about something that happened a little while ago and that I am sure you have seen it already. But just in case, here it goes: IBM Podcast: The Future of Our Past is now available for download. Yes, there is a new IBM Podcast available (Actually there are two of them but let’s just go one step at a time, folks. Next post will be related to the last IBM podcast available) and ready for download over at IBM Investor Relations and I must say that I listened to it a few days ago with some great interest, specially when I saw it in a local TV news station about the importance of such project for the entire human race in order to be able to answer the questions that so far haven’t found an answer. At least, not yet.

And I must say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is surely a very informative way of getting to know what is behind the scenes of the Genographic Project. More importantly it comes to discuss all the ins and outs of the project and, although initially I wasn’t really interested in joining up the effort, after listening to the Podcast I am seriously thinking about jumping in and join the rest of the thousands and thousands of people who have already participated in the project. Yes, it is that fascinating and will certainly trigger you wanting to know more about your own origins. Who would have thought that Dr. Spencer Wells ancestors were traceable back to England, then Northern Spain, Central Asia, Middle East and then Africa, back to where it all begun. Amazing !

At the end of the day the project is just about finding some more about our own history through our own DNA, trying to make a connection with other people across the globe. One of the other good things to know about, and this is something that Ajay Royyuru explains very clearly, is IBM’s commitment towards making that data secure and keeping it secure. That is why if you may have been a little bit reluctant in the past about not joining the initiative, you may want to listen to the podcast and see what it is mentioned on that same subject. The questions of where and when did we originate ? are really some of those questions you know you have been asking yourself all along, and although the Genographic Project may not provide you with all the answers it will certainly get things started. After all, and like it is mentioned in the Podcast itself, it is all motivated by an effort to understand diversity, global diversity, our global diversity. And through the use of genetics we may eventually make it in the end. It is all surely motivated by an effort to find out what is the best way of connecting with the community and help answer some of those questions. Thus why not ?

Again, if you have 10 spare minutes during the course of the day I highly recommend you have a look and listen to IBM’s podcast: The Future of Our Past. You will enjoy it. At least, I did.

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Today Is the Day When I Am Dumping Microsoft Office Suite for Good

Well, actually, that was a few days ago ! As mentioned already over at /. OpenOffice.org 2.0 has finally been released ! Just in case you may not have seen the announcement head over to OpenOffice.org to check out the final 2.0 release of one of those special pieces of software that can certainly change the way you handle documents in your computer forever. Arstechnica talks about the release with some interesting comments. And so does CNET on OpenOffice celebrates turning 2.0. Even WikiNews had a featured article about it not long ago.

I must say that I have been using OpenOffice 1.1.4 in my home computer for quite some time now and although there were some glitches here and there I was still able to make it through successfully and handle any kind of Office document. I have been weblogging about OpenOffice internally a few times already and although I didn’t have it installed in my work computer I have always been a big advocate of the suite, specially for home users. But things are about to get better now, because with the new release of OpenOffice you could certainly see that the professional look and feel of the application plus its integration with everything else is just state of the art.

Thus a few days back I made an important decision as far as what gets used on my work machine in order to handle my Office documents. And from now onwards I have decided to use OpenOffice and leave the Microsoft Office Suite alone for good ! Maybe you should think about it, too. Why not? I have been playing with v.2.0 for a bit over a week now and I must say that I love the experience. It loads a lot faster than previous versions, it has got all the bells and whistles you can imagine and it is as intuitive as it has always been, with the addition that the professional look and feel of handling Office documents is now much more natural. I love it ! Yes, I have made a tough decision, you may say, but it is one of those decisions that would help me become less dependent from Microsoft products; But now things have changed. The decision has been made and from this moment onwards OpenOffice is my default application suite to handle Office documents. How about you ?

Oh, you may be wondering what may be happening if you make the move, right? How much of a difference that would be from what you have been using already for years. Well, I can only say that you will hardly notice it. But even if you want to do some additional reading before you make the move I would strongly suggest you give a good read to this particular web site: Open Office 2.0 Kicks MS Office Around the Block. It will make you think and wonder why you didn’t make the move way before, but now that the release 2.0 is there, why not? Why not move into a piece of software that would make you even much more productive than before at the same time that you are one step closer towards embracing open source standards . So what is your excuse? Have you moved already towards OpenOffice? What are you waiting for ?

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Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes

I am sure, folks, that by know you have probably read, or been exposed to, this particular article from Jakob Nielsen : Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. What a fantastic read in order to improve your weblogging experience and make the best out of it ! What a good bunch of tips you can read over and over again and learn a trick or two on how you can get things going with your weblog!

Yes, indeed, if you remember, in the last couple of days I have been talking about How to Drive Weblog Traffic and 16 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog, however, if there isn’t any content, or if it is not good enough, it is not going to attract many people either, is it? At least, the folks that will stick around for a while, and those are the ones that we should be aiming for, right? So that is the main reason why I thought I would create a weblog post referencing Jakob’s article where you can find some really good tips on how to make your weblog content ever so much more professional and appealing to read and, while in the process, to attract more readers to your weblog posts. If that is what you would want to do.

For those folks who may want to have a look into the article but want to have an excerpt in advance here you have got the listing of those Top Ten Design Mistakes. And next to them you will find as well some commentary about how far my weblog elsua has been able to meet some of those tricks. Thus without any further delay here we go:

  • “No Author Biographies: Well, I do have one of those biographies. Have a look into the About section.
  • No Author Photo: I am actually sharing a recent picture of mine in two different places. The About section and in my Technorati profile.
  • Nondescript Posting Titles: This one has always been a tricky one and something that I am sure that you get to master in its due time and after having shared several hundred weblog posts. Thus work in progress on this tip.
  • Links Don’t Say Where They Go: I am not sure about you folks but I have always tried to put lots of care whenever I post, or cross-reference, links, specially if I would want people to stop and read about them; so when I read about this one in Jakob’s article I just couldn’t help nodding. Again, another work in progress, but I am hoping that things will improve as I get to create more weblog posts and continue with the good advice of linking in a proper way and not just linking for the sake of linking.
  • Classic Hits are Buried: This is one of those tips where after you read it you go something like “Goodness! Why didn’t I think about that before ? What a great tip!” So stay tuned because very shortly you will see a good selection of those weblog posts that would be considered ‘popular’ weblog posts here in my own weblog and based on the different weblog posts I have shared so far.
  • The Calendar is the Only Navigation: This is probably why I try to keep my category usage to a minimum and why indeed there is a calendar in my weblog to help people navigate through the different posts at different dates.
  • Irregular Publishing Frequency: As you well know by now I tend to post on a more or less regular basis, at least once or twice a day, in order to keep up with the momentum from my weblog so that readers have always got something to read, but like Jakob said there may be times where “you shouldn’t post when you have nothing to say” and that should be fine, too !
  • Mixing Topics: Indeed, I know it is not a good thing mixing topics, which is why you will not see that over here. As I mentioned already in the About section, there are a number of subjects areas around the world of Knowledge Management that I will be weblogging about and everything else will probably not be discussed over here. I am sure there would be plenty of other places where you could read about each of those topics and Technorati may be a good place to get you started.
  • Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss: This is one of those tips that makes people think about how far you can go with your own thoughts whenever you embark yourself in weblogging to a large audience and to all those folks who have asked me in the past about it I have always mentioned and advised the same thing over and over again; use some common sense and you should be fine. Pity is that not lots of people do actually do that and then it shows. 
  • Have a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service“: Yes ! That is one of the many reasons why elsua is up and running and moving into the next level. And so far it is going just the way I wanted in the first place.
  • Interesting enough to have a further read, right? Yes, I thought so, too. Thus go and have a look at the entire article on Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes and continue improving the quality of your weblogging. After all, it is not as difficult as what it may seem and the benefits will be tremendous ! At the end of the day, it will depend on you on what you would want to do with your weblogging experience or not. You decide.

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