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


Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

Yesterday it was kind of a hectic day at work so I hardly had any time to prepare some weblogging material for my external weblog but if there was a particular story that grabbed my attention big time it surely was the article on the World Street Journal about “Blogger Faces Lawsuit Over Comments Posted by Readers”, and which was also referenced in /.: “Blog Faces Lawsuit Over Reader Comments”. Good reads overall if you want to try to get a good overview of what is happening and what people are thinking on this controversial subject.

But if you really want to have a good insight of what is happening I can certainly recommend you take it from the source directly and check out Aaron’s weblog post “Wall Street Journal Mentions Recent Lawsuit”.

The whole situation is something that reminded me why it took me so long to get started with my own external weblog and why, in the end, I decided to go for elsua as my hosting service. Main reason is that I am in control of the whole content that goes into my weblog, whether they are main weblog posts or comments to weblog posts. All of them go through my scanning eyes, first, to make sure that they are very valuable feedback that could benefit us all but at the same time that they do not pose any threat not only for myself but for my potential readers. I know that this may sound a bit silly but from the very beginning I decided that I need to take things under control to the point where there would be a safe environment where everybody would feel welcome and still be themselves participating further.

However, that does not mean that every now and then we may eventually bump into those undesirable cyber-trolls that just want to harm more than help enrich the conversations and allow people to learn from their interactions. So that is why I decided back then to restrict the possibility of who would be adding comments to my weblog posts, which is why people, first, would need to register and, secondly, every single comment goes into an Awaiting Moderation view where I can rather approve, delete or flag them as spam. That way I can try my very best to avoid situations like the one Aaron may be facing over the next few months and I do seriously hope for the best because otherwise the rest of us webloggers will certainly have to think about it twice how much control our audiences would potentially have in order not to harm the weblogger, the comment webloggers and the readers. I know it is a tough decision and it is probably impacting the total readership from my weblog, but as I have already mentioned earlier on elsewhere, I am not maintaining a weblog over here just to increase my readership. I am actually writing in this weblog hoping that a good bunch of readers would find it interesting. If that is the case then I would have fulfilled its purpose but if not that is also just as fine. That is what it takes to democratise the Internet: a voice for everyone.

Over the next few weeks, maybe months, I will certainly be following up on Aaron‘s case to see how it develops and I do sincerely hope that there is an agreement reached soon enough between all parties where everybody wins. We shall see how that goes. Fingers crossed !

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The Unofficial List of IBM Bloggers

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

Elias, one of my IBM colleagues, has been busy the last couple of days building up an index of other IBMers who are maintaining an external weblog. The Unofficial List of IBM Bloggers is available over here, so if you are looking for information on what IBMers are doing out there in the Blogosphere, or if you are looking for a number of weblogs to subscribe yourself to from people talking about IBM related topics, amongst other things, then this Unofficial List of IBM Bloggers would probably be the best option out there.

You will also notice from that weblog post that another colleague of mine, Jean-Francois, has actually also collected a list of IBM webloggers that he is following. You can find that list over here and also you can download both lists as an OPML file that you can include in your favourite RSS Newsfeed reader. I am sure that as time goes by both lists would continue to grow up further so you may as well stay tuned to further updates and see how they continue to grow over time.

So, as you can see, a good bunch of lists on IBM Bloggers are getting together in the Blogosphere and, hopefully, they will grow further to try to bring us all together and have a much more active presence than what may have been happening so far. Thus stay tuned for further updates on each of these lists as they are bound to continue growing over the next couple of months. Way to go, folks ! Nice work !

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Best Definition of What Weblogging Is All About

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A colleague of mine from work forwarded to me during the week a cartoon that as soon as I saw it I just couldn’t help laughing because of how true the story actually is. As the title of this weblog indicates this is probably one of the best definitions of what weblogging is all about and since a picture is worth while a thousand words here you have got the cartoon without any further comments:

Pretty good, eh?

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Blogging on Business

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A few days ago I was reading the interesting interview that took place over at the Inner Circle Program for Information Technology Leaders on the topic of Blogging in Business where both Tim Bray and Simon Phipps were interviewed and I just couldn’t help making a couple of comments on what I thought about the actual interview itself. So here we go with them:

Regarding the question about what a weblog is, in principle, I would agree with their definition, except that I think they are missing one important factor: a time stamp for each of those weblog entries. That time stamp is what gives weblogs continuity and a specific flow and what differentiates them from other collaborative spaces like Wikis, for instance, where that time stamp is not that obvious, if not non-existent altogether.

Throughout the interview there were also some really nice gems that I wanted to share over here. I enjoyed them thoroughly and clearly they show what business weblogging is all about. Like this quote from Tim Bray:

“A successful blogger is not necessarily one who has tens of thousands of readers; there are lots of successful bloggers who only have a hundred readers. What’s important is that they are the right readers.

or later on this other quote by him as well:

As Simon said, what matters is whether you have the right readers, because if there is a community of interest that’s really sharing and interacting, that’s where your value comes.

Yes, I think this is spot on and why I got started myself with weblogging in the first place with my Intranet weblog, and now my external weblog. When I decided to go ahead with it I was not looking to have an audience in the thousands with hundreds of comments per weblog post and a whole bunch of other spam comments to deal with. I rather preferred to start slowly and then build up from there. So this is why as you can see there are a number of people who come and read from my weblog on a daily basis and although they may not be too many I still value each of them for dropping by because it clearly shows that some times it is actually much more rewarding to have a faithful audience than just one that comes and goes depending on the hype of the moment.

I hope that over time things will continue to develop in the same way and although the audience may grow a bit I am still fully committed to it as I was at the beginning and planning to continue that way. Why? Probably because without you I wouldn’t have been here in the first place, so I may just go ahead and appreciate what I have and leave for other folks to hunt for those huge readership numbers.

Regarding this other quote from Simon Phipps:

“Probably the most important thing for an enterprise is to create a policy”

I just couldn’t have agreed more with it and why I am really glad that IBM has got its own weblogging policy and guidelines, so that IBMers all over the place have got some good overview of what they can expect from weblogging and how they could engage with the Blogosphere, whether it is the Internet Blogosphere or the Intranet one.

Here is another interesting quote from Tim and that got me thinking for a little while on the subject:

“I worry a little bit since I think that there are some people who are coming under pretty severe pressure from their management and peers to blog. And I don’t think you should do it unless you want to do it.

Yes ! These comments are really spot on ! And why I think that a huge number of webloggers do give up after a few months of starting their weblogs because they just cannot keep up. They may have set up really high expectations and through time they become rather cumbersome to fulfil. This is why it is really important that whenever someone decides to start and maintain their own weblog that they set up some expectations, not only for themselves about what they would want to achieve with their weblog, but also setting some expectations for the readers out there so that both parties, weblogger and his / her readers, are happy with how the weblog is developing and coming through.

Once those expectations are set up there are greater chances of success than ever before and, even better, there is an understanding between the weblogger and his / her audience. So say, for instance, if I have set the expectation of creating a weblog post, or two, a day then my readers would know that every day they can read something on a particular topic that interests me, and as such we have got a mutual understanding when new content will be made available but to a pace that suits both me and you folks. And setting up that expectation, in my opinion, will be key for the success to any kind of weblog, whether it is a business or a personal weblog.

And, finally, one other quote from Simon Phipps:

You trust them to do it in front of the customers every day, you trust them to do it in front of the media, you trust them to do it in meetings. And you know you can trust them to do it on the Internet, too.

Yes ! Yes ! Yes ! That is what weblogging is all about. It is all about caring how you treat your relationships with your colleagues, your clients, your friends, and whoever else is reading off your weblog. And pretty much the same way you treat people in different media the same should apply to weblogging. In the end, it is all about common sense and trying to make the most out of the weblogging experience, not only for yourself but also for those out there reading your different posts.

Overall, I was pleased to see both Tim and Simon sharing their views as well on what weblogging should be like for any kind of business. Well done !

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Qumana vs. w.bloggar Comparison

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

A couple of days ago I wrote an extensive weblog entry on a relatively new weblogging tool that came out some time ago and that people who may be getting started with their own weblog would find it very interesting if they would want to publish content to their weblog with hardly any effort. That tool is Qumana and I thought that after a couple of days trying it out I would share a couple of comments about it and try to make a comparison between Qumana and w.bloggar.

Yes, I do realise that there are plenty of comparisons of them both out there but I just wanted to share with you folks what my take is with regards to each tool as far as 10 key weblogging items that I consider a must and that should be available to any weblogging tool out there.

Notice as well that I am doing this comparison with Qumana and w.bloggar since they are, to my knowledge, the only two freeware weblogging tools for Windows. There are other alternatives for other operating systems or shareware but I have left those out of this comparison. So with all that said here we go:

Key Features Qumana w.bloggar
Easy to Install & Setup Yes Yes
Use of Hyperlinks Yes, (Limited) Yes
Access to Previous Posts No Yes
Preview Posts Yes Yes
Keyboard Shortcuts Yes, (Limited) Yes
Integration Yes Yes
Save Drafts Yes Yes
Spell Check Yes Yes
Keep History No Yes
Tagging Yes No

So as you can see there may not be far too many differences between one tool and the other as far as some of what I would consider key features are concerned. However, there are a couple of them that actually make me still use w.bloggar over Qumana. Here you have a bit more detailed description on the reasons why.

Indeed, both tools are extremely easy to install and setup. Maybe Qumana is even easier since it can recognise the weblogging engine where your weblog may be sitting as opposed to w.bloggar where this data needs to be provided manually. However, setting your own weblog account with each of them would not take you more than 2 or 3 minutes.

With regards to the usage of Hyperlinks this is actually one of the key items for which I am sticking with w.bloggar. Apparently with Qumana every time you need to insert a hyperlink you need to click on the button or go through the menu, whereas with w.bloggar it is just a single key stroke (Ctrl + L) and off it goes. But it gets better, because if you have used already that hyperlink before it would remember it again and you would only need to key in the first few characters and it will populate the rest.

This, to me, is one of the key items regarding weblogging, that is, the ability to insert links, and as many as you possibly can, so this is a task that needs to be made very easy and accessible and right now w.bloggar beats Qumana big time.

As far as the access to previous posts feature is concerned, this is also one of the items where w.bloggar seems to be much more effective than Qumana. With the first weblogging tool mentioned you are able to retrieve any previous post to make some updates going from the last post, to the last ‘n’ posts or even by the Post ID.

This is a key feature since we are constantly updating weblog posts adding or correcting information in order to make them more accurate. So far, and from what I can see, this kind of updating weblog content by retrieving previous posts is something that I have not seen with Qumana. So a big plus for w.bloggar.

With regards to the feature or ability to preview posts this is something that both weblogging tools offer but I would rather prefer to use w.bloggar than Qumana, more than anything else because I like to see the HTML tags put in place while I am writing so that at the same time I am posting content I am also learning how it is all laid out. The WYSIWYG editor capabilities of Qumana are great for beginners or for folks who may not be quite comfortable with HTML but for all the others I would think w.bloggar would be much better. At least, it fits my needs.

People who know me would tell you I am a keyboard shortcut freak. I am always trying to find out or use shortcuts in order to speed up my typing and also to try to avoid using the mouse as much as I possibly can. And this is one of the reasons why I like w.bloggar. As far as keyboard shortcuts it has got a whole lot more combinations and different options than Qumana. Don’t take me wrong, the latter has got plenty of them available but when you compare them together w.bloggar has got plenty more. And that, to me, is what makes it the killer app.

One of the features I really like about Qumana was its integration with whatever else you would want yourself to get busy with. With the Qumana DropPad you are actually capable of dragging whatever the piece of text, or image directly into it and you can start weblogging about it. This is pretty similar to some of the stuff that w.bloggar does, although I must admit that Qumana‘s user interface is a lot more intuitive. So a big plus in here for that weblogging tool.

Then as far as saving drafts and spell check I am really glad to see that both applications actually offer those capabilities so that we can improve our own weblogging experience and make it as perfect as you would expect.

One of the other items that I actually consider quite important from any weblogging tool is the fact that I can keep the history of what I am weblogging about. So if I am using the same links, or the same piece of text or images I would like to be able to access them at all times. This is something that w.bloggar currently provides, whereas Qumana may not be as effective as you would expect. Also the latter does not seem to clear off that history whenever the weblog post gets posted so it requires an additional step from the weblogger to get rid of the already post text, whereas with w.bloggar it is gone as soon as you post it. That to me is equally important as being able to keep the history as it would allow you to speed up the process of sharing information.

Finally, here we go with one of my favourite features from Qumana and where w.bloggar hasn’t been up to the same level. And that is the option to tag your weblog post to then add those tags into Technorati. This is certainly very beneficial if you would want to get some exposure to your weblog post and from now on I think I am going to steal that idea and use it while posting content with w.bloggar.

So that would be it. I know that this may have been a rather long weblog post but then again I thought I would share with you folks why despite the great options and features that Qumana currently offers I still prefer to use w.bloggar to post content into my weblogs. However, I am not just going to ignore that other weblogging tool but will certainly be watching further on its different developments and see if those key areas where one of my favourite weblogging tools may be better than the other will be ironed out and therefore it may be a good time to revisit Qumana, once again. Will keep you all posted.

Technorati Tags : w.bloggar, Qumana

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Am I Part of the Weblogging Crowd?

(Migrated weblog post from LSR)

According to this particular news article: Blog readers younger, richer than average Web surfer, I may need to think about it twice and see if I would be part of the Blogosphere or not. And if you do not believe me, let’s have a look.

“blog visitors are also more active online, visiting almost twice as many Web pages as the average Internet user.”

Of course, this is what RSS was invented for, wasn’t it ? I mean, way before weblogs became really popular and all I don’t think I was checking more than 20 or 30 web sites a day to grab the information I was searching for. However, today with the news web sites and weblogs that I follow I have got several hundred of those resources coming to my RSS Newsfeed client on a daily basis. So, yes, we get to visit more web sites because we have gotten too much used to RSS.

“Blog visitors are disproportionately likely to be affluent, young and broadband-enabled,””

Hummm, affluent ? Really ? I doubt it, otherwise why would I still be working ? I think I need a new definition for that word, for sure. Young ? Another one I would need a definition for. I am not sure I would be considered young but then again I am going to take that since I guess there is a large Internet population above the 40s. And yes, I am broadband-enabled. But in these days, who isn’t ? I mean with all the different options available out there, ADSL, Cable, different Wi-FI AP, etc. etc. it is very difficult not to have it. I mean, even here, where I live, a small town, we have been having ADSL available for a while and very shortly they will increase the speed again, free of charge (Sometimes competition really pays off, huh ?).

“Blog visitors are 11 percent more likely than the average Internet user to have incomes of US$75,000 or more, and are 30 percent more likely to live in households headed by someone between the ages of 18 and 34, the study found.”

Goodness ! Without giving out too much detail… Wrong, in both cases. I wish it may have been true but in my case it is totally inaccurate.

“Regarding e-commerce behavior, blog visitors are 30 percent more likely to shop online than the average user.”

Probably but I am not sure if that is due to the fact that I read weblogs or that I am constantly connected to the Internet. Therefore I have grown a tendency to shop online as I find it much more comfortable than having to run to the store. Mind you though, that sometimes it would depend on the item to be bought.

“The most popular type of blog is the political one”

No, not for me. I hardly ever go to political weblogs. Ever since I got started with my online experience, a few years back, I consciously decided that there would be three subjects that I would never touch, nor discuss online. And politics is one of them.

So after having read that article I guess I am not the typical weblogger, at least, I am not part of that 2 million Internet users who have been part of the study. Maybe next time when they increase the sample population to the range of 10 million Internet users I may fall into the category of a typical weblogger, but so far I fail and big time, actually. Let’s see what would happen next time around.

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