Friday, August 31, 2007

It's BLOG DAY 2007, a chance for us all to have a look at blogs which we would not normally read...

It was extremely difficult to try to pick out 5 bloggers, but here goes. #1 is the beautiful French rapper Gen-Si. Gen-Si the blog follows Gen-Si the artists' blossoming career. GEN-SI.NET C'est suivre jour après jour mon évolution dans l'industrie du disque, mes concerts, mes tournages de clip et la réalisation de mon 1er album. [...more][English (translation by Google)]

MySpace music profile for Gen-Si with tour dates, songs, videos, pictures, blogs, band information, downloads and more.

Gen-Si is a fantastic newcomer on the music scene, and hopefully one day i will get to meet her in person. For now, there is plenty of music and video to enjoy!

If I had to rebuild my blog from scratch, I would use One Man's Blog as a model, a standard to achieve. OMB is innovative and informative, with useful posts such as How I’d Hack Your Weak Passwords. While OMB may not be a brand spankin' new blog, it was new to me, thus it is here. And, like LaShawn Barber, John P. certainly knows how to attract commenters to his posts, something I haven't been able to master, despite my best efforts!






Jomiwi's blog Chimeric Day Dreams is top-heavy with great advice and information, like "Every day, no matter how bad the day begins, has the potential to be a great day. A great day is made up of great moments and happiness is achieved one moment at a time." and "The thing that makes responding to comments a pain for me, is that I have to click all these links and even in the admin panel, I hate going back and forth all the time. But think about your visitor, leaving comments can be a pain in the chooch too, so when some one goes out of their way to leave a comment on your blog, blogging etiquette instructs us to respond in kind not just to what they’ve said, but for the reason that they’ve taken the time to say it." Jon and his blog are true to his self-description: "Jon — Composer, Programmer & Speculative Thinker."


The design is very appealing, the blog is always a good read, and then... the music! It's Bettina Perroni's blog from Mexico, one that I've really come to enjoy over the last several weeks. The words, the pictures, the whole feel of Bettina's blog is akin to visiting the home of a dear friend who makes you feel very welcome and at ease. "I always live taking risks provided they can be measured, I love extreme sports and music, I am also a tireless traveller, altruistic, enthusiastic. I enjoy to cook, read about ethnic groups, play my guitar and love my familly and friends..." - Bettina





Last, but far from least, is Loomnie. Loomnie, like me, is a music lover. He also blogs Beautiful Africa Blog Carnival. Loomnie's topics span music, movies and current events, and there's never a dull moment of reading! "One of the greatest achievements of modern technology is to give us the facilities to become fully narcissistic. Or how else can one explain the expectation that someone might actually be interested in the mundane, everyday things that happen to us? The other explanation is that we are all simply bored, so bored that we love to read the simple and mundane things that happen to ordinary people." - Loomnie

Happy BLOG DAY 2007!

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 30 August 07

Tags: , eolas, links, microsoft, patents,

A relatively old interview with Tim O'Reilly from Wired News declares Web 2.0 is about ownership of data... and then there's Search Engine Land's article "The Impending Social Search Inflection Point" borderline con, IconBuilder, Put Your Content in My Pocket and SocialMedia Opens Self-Serve Facebook Advertising For All!
Here's the Larry Craig arrest audio, for the curious... and for the techno, Microsoft and Eolas settle, ending patent battle over plug-ins, ActiveX...

Mighty Afroditee is impressed by the quality of films being shown at the Caribbean Film Festival: "I was ecstatic when I received the schedule of events via email, as these opportunities so rarely come our way. I feel culturally starved. I am referring to the Caribbean Film Festival, now on at the Harquail Theatre, with offerings from Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Cayman, Trinidad, and St. Lucia."

Jordanian Hareega discusses the untimely deaths of ’seemingly healthy’ athletes (with VIDEO).

Hulu: What A Difference A Day Makes!

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MediaPost publications released this on Wednesday:

THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED JOINT VENTURE between News Corp. and NBC Universal that will stream full episodes of hit series such as "The Simpsons" and "My Name is Earl" finally has a name: Hulu.com. A beta version of the site went live Wednesday morning, inviting people to sign up to a private beta test of the new service. "Why Hulu?" writes the venture's CEO Jason Kilar on the site. "Objectively, Hulu is short, easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and rhymes with itself. Subjectively, Hulu strikes us as an inherently fun name, one that captures the spirit of the service we're building." [more]

MediaPost Publications released this on Thursday:

WHAT'S IN A HULU? IF all goes according to plan, a slew of network shows led by News Corp. and NBC Universal. The long-awaited name for the upcoming joint venture--which means nothing in any particular language--was finally announced Wednesday to an industrywide chorus of yawns and guffaws.

"The first thing I thought of was those little plastic hula girls people put on their dashboards," said Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner Research.

"Come on," pleaded Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. "It sounds like they figured that all the good company names were already taken."

Predictably, the blogosphere was no less critical. Hulu-related posts on the popular industry blog TechCrunch were remorseful at best. [more]

What do YOU think of Hulu?

Fire

Albany police announced today that they've solved the city's first murder this year: Nahjaliek McCall, 15, shot Shahied Oliver once in the chest during an Aug. 18 party at the Skyline Garden Apartment complex, police said. He was arraigned Wednesday night in City Court and sent to a Colonie detention center for minors.

I've included in this post (in case it 'disappears') the Times Union photograph of the front door to Oliver's apartment. With all that shootin' goin' on, I wouldn't want that propane tank anywhere near the front of my house, would you?

An interesting "companion article" (if you could call it that) - Students at three city elementary schools will be able to seek medical treatment right in their buildings. Hmmmm, let's see, those schools are in the toughest neighborhoods in town. Could this "medical attention" that will be needed be any way involved with possible stabbings or shootings? Now, there's a tough question someone might ask school officials!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 29 August 07

Blog of the Day: Ambiome!

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Ambiome (fr) cheerleads for the blogosphere: “Entre décembre 2004 et décembre 2006, le nombre de blogs dans le monde est passé de 5,4 à 63,1 millions selon Technorati. La blogosphère a donc vu sa taille multipliée par plus de 11 en 2 ans. En octobre, ce sont 100.000 nouveaux blogs qui sont créés par jour, et 55 % de blogs seraient actifs, c’est-à-dire mis à jour à un rythme d’au moins une fois tous les trois mois…We are a part of the Web, we are the BUZZ !!!

Speaking of BUZZ, check out Bloglines Beta. Fidel Castro is on Twitter. EFF has published the latest installment in its annual RIAA v. The People, "Four Years Later," which is a comprehensive, exhaustively researched and cited white-paper on the RIAA's campaign against music downloaders.

MySpace Fashion (Anastasia Goodstein asks "Is it me or is MySpace becoming more 'portal-like'?") Plus, TIME has an excellent short piece on why Facebook is the future.

MoTIC (fr) provides us with statistics on LiveJournal, which has been blocked in Morocco for over a year, as well as other blocked sites. 403 Access Denied Checker: this early alpha release is a useful piece of software that scans a large number of URLs and finds the ones that your country has banned!

Dan Gillmor is back with another excellent post: Minnesota’s New Daily “Paper”

"Ambiguous characters like Buddha, Homer and Shakespeare gain new perspectives, and the fathers of the mediatic guerrilla, like Monty Cantsin, see a new dawn; among them, grows the seed of the free and shareable knowledge which finds in the network its digital materiality and finally release, uncontrolled, the pure data flow..." thus bloggeth Neural.

Bahrain’s bloggers are bracing themselves for their 32nd Bloggers’ Gathering on September 1, announces Mahmood Al Yousif.

Alain Mabanckou regrets the lack of new works by Black Francophone writers at the 2007 “rentrée littéraire” in France.

Fidel's With Me...

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I've been saying all along that they'd make a great team...

HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is tipping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to team up and win the U.S. presidential election.

Clinton leads Obama in the race to be the Democratic nominee for the November 2008 election, and Castro said they would make a winning combination.

"The word today is that an apparently unbeatable ticket could be Hillary for president and Obama as her running mate," he wrote in an editorial column on U.S. presidents published on Tuesday by Cuba's Communist Party newspaper, Granma. [more]

Granma, now there's a cute name for a Commie rag!

TheNewsRoom blog calls this the Worst campaign endorsement ever... what do YOU think?

Two Years Later

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Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, killing over 1800 people and becoming one of the most destructive hurricanes in U.S. history. Inhabita takes note with ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA: Design for Disaster while also offering AMPHIBIOUS HOUSES FOR RISING WATER LEVELS. Climate change may carry a higher risk of flooding than was previously thought, the journal Nature reports.

Other Keyboards:

Health Insurance: Gotta Have It!

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Boy o boy, I wish America had listened when the Clintons (specifically Hillary) first put forth the idea of government-sponsored health insurance! It's really tough for those of us who have 33% of our take-home pay taken away in the form of premiums to the health insurers. Even though you may go through a year or two without having to make a visit to the doctor, it takes one mishap, one disaster, one serious illness to completely drain your bank account, forcing you to liquidate your assets and possibly seek shelter at a mission. The Governors of New York and California know that Mrs. Clinton was right!

The census report yesterday that documented a rise in the number of people without health insurance also reported an increase in median earnings. So at least there was some good news, right? Not quite:

Ward Stone: Lead Detective

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Ward Stone is a cool guy. He's with the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. Last fall I had the opportunity to chat with several of his students (he teaches at the College of St. Rose in Albany) and they all agreed there's nobody like Ward Stone! Ward has a 10-year old daughter whose jewelry collection triggered his natural scientific curiosity. He tested jewelry that had been given to her as gifts, finding some pieces that were "solid lead." Ward appeared at a press conference Tuesday at the LOB in Albany, as various advocacy groups used the study as a point of interest in their lobbying Governor Eliot Spitzer to sign a bill regulating lead in these types of products. Spitzer did not sign the bill.

Angry Chinese Blogger summed up the debate about the recall of dangerous toys, whether we are to blame the Chinese manufacturers, multinational toy companies, or consumers?

INTO THE WAR ZONE... Katie Couric to Report From Iraq, Syria

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NEW YORK (AP) - Katie Couric plans to leave Wednesday for an ambitious reporting trip to Iraq and Syria—the CBS anchor's first time in the war zone—in anticipation of a crucial military report on progress of the American effort.

Couric will anchor the "CBS Evening News" from Baghdad next Tuesday and Wednesday, then from Damascus on Thursday and Friday. The announcement comes just days after an Iraqi translator working for CBS was killed in Baghdad. CBS said Monday the translator had been found dead following his abduction just hours after leaving work at CBS News' Baghdad bureau.

The jury is out on Couric's junket to the Middle East. Michelle Malkin offers this bit of analysis, a mom's point of view, if you will:
Couric is coming under extra scrutiny because she is a single mom. She has two daughters, one in her teens and another a tweener. Is it reckless for her to leave her family and possibly risk her life to broadcast from Iraq? Some folks who think women have absolutely no place on the war front believe so. I don’t. I made the decision in January to embed with our troops in Baghdad for a short trip, leaving my husband and two young children (much younger than Couric’s), because I felt compelled and driven to see and experience what was happening on the ground for myself. My Hot Air colleague, Bryan Preston, who accompanied me, also left behind a young family. It was an invaluable experience for us. We were able to share unique video, photo essays, and blog reports with our audience, make contacts and friends, deepen our understanding of a complex battlespace, and express our appreciation for the troops. We would do it again in a heartbeat.

No one makes the decision to leave their family lightly. There are single moms, single dads, and married parents in the military who have to make these decisions for much, much longer periods of time and who make far, far greater sacrifices every day to protect and serve our country.


What's YOUR take?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 28 August 07

Blog of The Day: Susan Suarez - 14 Site Revisions To Attract And Retain Your Visitors
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For this post, I have links for you that will require your precious time. You might want to print some of them out and read them later or tomorrow, during your commute or perhaps before bedtime. First, the best post on any blog anywhere today, regarding the perhaps inevitable unification of Citizen Journalism with MainStreamMedia comes from Dan Gillmor's Center for Citizen Media blog. The post is entitled El Tiempo: Blogs and More: it's about metamorphosis at Colombia's national daily newspaper. [ PermalinkPrintEmail ] Here is an excerpt:

In addition to about 10 staff blogs, the paper has signed up about 200 citizens in a blog network covering a wide variety of topics. Comments are enabled on stories, and the forums are well-attended. All this attracts a fierce online debate, I’m told, including some angry postings that probably wouldn’t pass muster in most American papers. The politics of Colombia are beyond fierce; they are often literally deadly, and El Tiempo is in the middle of the debate.
Singapore bloggers are angry with one of their ISPs for revealing customer data to a company. The company was trying to find out people who had allegedly downloaded anime from the internet... Anime Pirate* responded to the post: "The best protest is to download more animes. If you download from ddl sites like da-anime.org, it's 100% safe. They can't catch u that way. lolz"

From Global Voices Sub-Saharan Africa section: Dr. Lucy Spelman blogs about the plight of Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda: “I’d just started out on a hike near Visoke with friends when I got a call from Elisabeth (the ORTPN vet tech) saying that a young female gorilla in Kwitonda group had been snared and was still attached to a tree.” There is also word from GV that two Congo Rangers are keeping a weekly journal at the BBC website: “This is fantastic exposure for the Gorilla Protection blog. It includes a summary of the weekly activities of the Rangers - and at the bottom there is a profile of both men.”

Now onto an MSM topic: Facebook!

As if in reaction to the discussions this weekend about Facebook and social sites killing off Google, the search giant has released a Facebook application. Built on Google’s AJAX Search API, the app lets you share your results with friends.

Ad Rants reported in July that 40 percent of Facebook’s audience, following the lifting of membership restrictions in September, is now over the age of 34.

While Facebook continues to cop a lot of negative press, a recent study looks at the brighter sides to the social networking site that everyone is talking about.

The study, published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, concluded that overall, Facebook had a lot to offer students as well as professionals, researchers, and the general population.

"The strong linkage between Facebook use and high school connections suggests how social networking sites help maintain relations as people move from one offline community to another," states the report.

Last week Facebook updated their developer platform to restrict some of the more egregious abuses of users by application developers - bait and switch profile advertisements and friend spamming.

Monday they announced additional changes. And Facebook also announced that they are changing the way applications are measured to show user engagement instead of just how many users have added an application.

Meantime, Facebook is ramping up efforts on a major new advertising plan that would let marketers tailor ads for the millions of Facebook customers who provide a mountain of information about themselves on the site, according to major advertisers and analysts briefed on the system.

Get your Facebook PROFILE CLEANER!

Dogfighters For Christ

Undated photo of Falcons quarterback Michael Vick from the Web site MediaTakeOut.com. The site alleges that Vick is holding a marijuana blunt.

"We all make mistakes. Dogfighting is a terrible thing and I reject it ... I found Jesus and turned my life over to God. I think that's the right thing to do as of right now." - Michael Vick

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OMG! Nice to have the Bethlehem guy handy when you need Him, isn't it? The Jesus defense. Will Christ call on St. Francis of Assisi to hear the appeal? Or am I being too harsh? Doesn't it seem to take a disruption in the flow of one's life to bring about a religious awakening? Sickness, a brush with death, the death of a loved one... did Michael Vick experience a life shaking event? Even Mother Teresa had doubts...


Michael Vick: “What I did was totally immature and so that means I need to grow up”

Monday, August 27, 2007

السؤال

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"How does one open doorways to understanding? Use the key of investigation." - unknown

After reading Why American Newspapers are Dying, Part MMCCDXVI by Dan Gillmor, and The forbidden Opus cartoons by Michelle Malkin, take a look at Bakkouz's comments on a new Arab-American comedy taking the world by storm...
If you haven’t seen the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour yet, then you most definitely must. its probably one of the funniest comedy standup routines you’ll ever see. These guys are really hilarious, they take up the issues of profiling in the U.S and being an American Muslim, and tackle issues like terrorism and prejudice, and life for people of Middle Eastern descent in the United States in the aftermath of 9/11.
Undercover Internet researcher Zombie has filed a new report on an important war on terror case that has flown under the radar, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. George W. Bush. Read it.

And, let's turn the blog clock back to January of this year:

Well, if this don't beat all, nothing does! Little Mosque On The Prairie is an unabashedly comedic look at a small Muslim community interacting with the denizens of a little prairie town. The sitcom reveals that although different, we are all surprisingly similar when it comes to family, love, the generation gaps and our attempts to balance our secular and religious lives while trying to understand those of others in the community. (Don't know if this link is still active, but go ahead and Google: I'm sure you'll find it...)

Little Mosque on the Prairie Season 1 Episode 1 CBC - 22 min - Jan 10, 2007

Starring Zaib Shaikh as Amaar, a young big-city lawyer who finds his true calling as an Imam and moves west to become the spiritual leader of the small Muslim community. Carlo Rota is Yasir, a contractor married to Sarah (Sheila McCarthy), a Muslim convert. Sitara Hewitt is Rayyan, their smart, outspoken devout daughter. Manoj Sood ss Baber the former Imam who harbours as many fears about western society as they do about his; Arlene Duncan is Fatima, who runs a diner; Derek McGrath is Reverend Magee; Debra McGrath as Mayor Popowicz; and Neil Crone as the inciting host of a local radio program. EVERY TV show should have an "inciting radio host" as a character!


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Wanda Nara

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NOTICIA! If you like this post, you'll love The 10 Hottest Blogging Babes

After awhile I would think people would grow tired of these "sex tapes" that find ways onto the information highway. A tip of the hat to the gal who started it all, Jayne Kennedy! And who can forget Singaporean Tammy Nyp, who ruled Technorati for a huge chunk o'months!

* A brief biography of Wanda Nara from Online Games

The latest video har starlet is Argentine model Wanda Nara. I shall turn all this over immediately to blogger fisherwy, who is always up on the latest, ah, you know...

When people almost forget Latino celebrities Noelia and Johanna Cardona's sex video scandal, Argentina Wanda (Wandita) Nara's amateur video was surfaced again! I think the Spanish-speaking internet communities in the Latin America are so crazy, they are somewhat keen on the celebrities' sex scandal! We did find a link to download Wanda Nara sex video, but it was not suitable to post here (there are abundant sexy bikini-clad Wanda Nara pictures videos on Google Video and Youtube).
via Technorati: The Secret of Sex Tape Controversies Revealed...and... so Who is Wanda Nara?





Rise, O Citizen Journalist!

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What’s going on at Global Voices Advocacy? LOTS...

"During the last six months, since the launch of Global Voices Advocacy, we have been trying to cover the increasingly serious threats to online speech occurring around the globe and the efforts to combat them. We’ve documented the arrest and detention of scores of bloggers and online authors and highlighted several anti-censorship campaigns, reports of Internet censorship, blocked blogs and websites. Our coverage so far has included stories on 25 nations, as well as exclusive interviews with activists and bloggers focused on free speech issues, in addition to an in-depth survey of online censorship cases that rarely receive media attention."

Advox: is the newsletter of Global Voices Advocacy blog. Advox is available free to charge to anyone who subscribes.

403 Access Denied Checker: this early alpha release is a useful piece of software that scans a large number of URLs and finds the ones that your country has banned.

Keso (China) commented on the recently passed “code of self-regulation of blog service”. More than a dozen of local blog service providers have signed the code which would demand real name registration of bloggers. The blogger doubted whether such “self-regulation” would really work… (zh)

Medallo Bloguero [ES], through the use of Custom Player, has placed a Video Channel on its page and features Colombia-related videos.

Ice, Ice Baby!

To help emergency personnel assist you when you are injured, consider listing ICE (an "In Case of Emergency" contact) on your cell phone contact list.

A British paramedic developed this very simple idea to help emergency personnel assist you when you are injured. Program an entry in your cell phone contacts list as "ICE" which includes the name and phone number of the person you want called should something happen to you.

Have more than one emergency contact? Label their information as ICE1, ICE2 and so on. Paramedics know what ICE means and look for it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ramblings

Video of the Week: Zack Kim’s wicked dual guitar H/T HotAir

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A few items on my agenda today including a trek over to Canal Street to stock up on pirate DVDs and knock-off clothing... I just downloaded M.I.A.'s "Jimmy" and burned it on videoCD for a friend.

During the week in researching information for a story I was writing about New York State's new music law, I discovered that in the 1950s the Coasters sold 500,000 copies of one of their first 45rpm hit singles. M.I.A.'s new CD "Kala" was released this week: her first CD "Arular" sold a mere 129,000 copies, yet she is hailed by critics as a "pioneering rap artist." Now, I'm not questioning that.

I find it fascinating that back in the 50s, a musical group whose members were then called "negroes" sold an amazing amount of records to an audience tuned in to the then-new "rock and roll" phenom. In some parts of the South, you were not allowed to buy any music by black artists (unless you knew where your local 'Canal Street' was!) Think of this: today's population in the U.S. dwarfs that of the 1950s and now there are GENERATIONS of music fans, including some still around who recall hearing the Coasters on the radio and begging Mom and Dad for 98 cents to purchase the Coasters' 45 of "Charlie Brown" or "Poison Ivy." Even with pirating and downloading, shouldn't the NUMBERS of BUYERS of "Arular" be much, much higher?
At the height of their popularity no group was received with more excitement than The "Searchin" Coasters. They released a long series of popular novelty tunes that kept the group near the top of the charts for years. The early days of rock can hardly be discussed without mentioning such tunes as "Charlie Brown," "Yakety Yak," and "Young Blood."

The popular broadway musical, "Smokey Joe's Cafe," takes it name from the first hit released by "The Robins," a group that later evolved into The Coasters.

On January 21, 1987, the Coasters were the first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They have appeared in 6 major movies and have amassed record sales of over 100 million.
M.I.A.'s "Arular" is probably going for anywhere from $10 to $20 in music stores. You get a clean fresh copy of the CD with cover art. Let's do a little price comparison: circa 1955, a bottle of Coke or Pepsi purchased from a vending machine was 10 cents. In 2007, it's $1 or $1.50 - 10 times no what it cost then. ONE hit song on a 45 back in 55 was 98 cents, almost $1. Today you get anywhere from 10 to 15 songs on a CD and it STILL costs about a dollar a song!

I don't think you can blame downloaders and copiers for declining music sales. In the late 1960s cassettes were out and many brands like SONY and Panasonic offered small, inexpensive units that had radios built in so you could just tape your hits (which many people did) - these units were based on the wildly popular mid-60's reel-to-reel SONY and Panasonic recorders, which also had built in AM / FM radios. They were about the size of a shoebox, but not as tall. The cassettes gave music REAL easy portability.

This weekend we are being bombarded by exposure to 17-year old George Hotz, the New Jersey Teen who posted a video on unlocking the iPhone. The hack, which Hotz posted Thursday to his blog, is complicated and requires skill with both soldering and software. It takes about two hours to perform. Although young George tells the media he doesn't want anyone using his video to sprout a cottage industry and perhaps make money off converting iPhones, the kid has no problem with SELLING HIS iPHONE TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER! Go figure!

A plan to provide Jordanian university students with affordable laptops is finally being implemented, announces Ahmad Humeid from Jordan.

Here's something different: Read a book (the unedited version of BET's very controversial animated music video meant to get kids...to read).

Jump Your Blog: Be Your Own Webmaster

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Don't be afraid of the term "webmaster" - it's just a word. If you're writing a serious blog, whether you're a politcal commentator, a technology writer, a diarist, a milblogger, newsblogger, photoblogger or perfume blogger, there's more to building a readership than sitting back and hoping a search engine brings people to your blog. Indeed, they will: but Joe or Mary who Googled your post about George Bush smoking bananas is NOT coming back to read your homepage--- ever! The bloggers you lured in with linkbait and memes and viral carnivals won't be back either, and could end up costing you points later on!

So, how does an aspiring blogger pull him or herself up by the bootstraps?

Rank - First, you MUST get this through your head: it's a BLOG, NOT a POPULARITY CONTEST! Then, go read Ethical Blogging!

If you are concerned about your page rank it's well worth running a free test with SEOmoz. By visiting http://www.seomoz.org/page-strength and entering your website URL you'll get a report showing ranking statistics with most of the major search engines and ranking sites such as Google, Alexa, Wikipedia etc. For a general SEO health check Sitening provide a speedy analysis of your website structure helping you to tweak a few elements for better performance. Visit: http://www.sitening.com/seo-tools/seo-analyzer/.

The Problem with Search Engine Optimisation is worth taking a look at...

Technorati is more on the "popularity contest" side of the ranking scheme, Alexa seems to be more "ratings" oriented. The following are the suggestions given by DoshDosh and others:

1. Install the Alexa toolbar or Firefox’s SearchStatus extension and set your blog as your homepage. This is the most basic step.

2. Put up an Alexa rank widget on your website.
3. Encourage others to use the Alexa toolbar.

4. Write or Blog about Alexa. Webmaster and bloggers love to hear about ways to increase their Alexa rank. They’ll link to you or visit your blog, which helps with your traffic rank. Check what this guy had experienced!

5. Show your URL in webmaster forums. Webmasters usually have the toolbar installed. I like doing this for a few reasons. You’ll get webmasters to visit your website and get some feedback in return. It’s also a good way to give back to the community.

6. Write content that is related to webmasters. (Like THIS very post, for example!) This can fall in the category of domaining and SEO, two fields in which most webmasters will have the Alexa toolbar installed. Promote your content on social networking websites and webmaster forums.

7. Use Alexa redirects on your website URL. Try this: http://redirect.alexa.com/redirect?http://dave-lucas.blogspot.com . Replace dave-lucas.blogspot.com with the URL for your website. Leave this redirected URL in blog comments as well as forum signatures. This redirect will count a unique IP address once a day so clicking it multiple times won’t help. I've noticed that many MyBlogLog members used Alexa redirects, until MBL decided it had had enough!

8. Post in Asian social networking websites or forums. Some have suggested that Asian (Korean or Hong Kong) web users are big Alexa toolbar fans.

9. Create a webmaster tools section on your website. This is a magnet for webmasters who will often visit your website to use the tools. I have set up a seperate website which features several tools: SmartPork.

10. Digg, Reddit, Stumble. This usually brings massive numbers of visitors to your website and the sheer amount will have a positive impact on your Alexa Rank. Of course, you’ll have to develop link worthy material.

11. Use PayperClick Campaigns. Buying advertisements on search engines such as Google or Exact Seek will help bring in Traffic. Doubly useful when your ad is about webmaster/tech related products/content.

12. Create an Alexa category on your blog (I just did, as an experiment) use it to include any articles or news about Alexa. This acts as a resource for webmasters while helping you rank in the search engines.

13. Optimize your popular posts. Got a popular post that consistently receives traffic from the search engines? Include a widget at the bottom of the post, call for Alexa signups or use Alexa redirection on your internal URLs.

RSS Feed - This is one of the most basic pieces of the blog puzzle which creates a stable group of visitors reading each of your daily postings. An RSS feed notifies your readers that you have created another article and made a new posting on your blog. The RSS feed will also help create a stream of income as more visitors mean a higher page ranking and better search placement.

Links - I can't tell you enough times, you should join MyBlogLog. You'll make friends, meet new blogs and bloggers and generate traffic for yourself! You'll be pleased! One strategy that can help you accomplish your blog traffic goals is to create a link bait post. A link bait post is a post that offers a lot of information to the readers of the blog. Basically the post can have anything of use to the niche you are in. For example, if you own a site that is all about blogging and gaining traffic, you can create a post about the top 20 blogs about blogging. Many people will bookmark the page and link to it because they want to return to it and see all the different recourses.

With link popularity being one of the major drivers of traffic a visit to http://www.mikes-marketing-tools.com/free-marketing-tools.html will provide you with a quick way to check popularity with Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Slow Loading Pages - Remember, a LOT of people in this world are STILL using dial-up! If your page stalls, freezes or screws up their browser, THEY WILL NEVER BE BACK! NEVER!
We all know that web surfers are impatient and when it comes to waiting for slow pages to load there can be no better way to send your surfer running to competitor sites. So with speed in mind it could be worth running your pages through SelfSEO's speed checker. Giving you options to add multiple domains or multiple pages it's easy to see if your site measures up to competitors. Point your browser to http://www.selfseo.com/website_speed_test.php and off you go. If speed does appear to be an issue then at least you'll know about it and can begin cleaning up your source code and optimising a few graphics here and there.

Blogging For Pay - Very few bloggers are going to be able to make a living via blogging. that doesn't mean you can't make money using Amazon and Google ads. There are also a variety of "pay per post" services and you could even install a "Tip Jar" and beg for coins. You simply have to find what works for YOU. Look at it this way: even if you make $50 a year on your Google ads, that's fifty bucks you can spend on YOU! While you want to concentrate on your CONTENT, that CONTENT could be what ultimately attracts a crowd of blogders who end up clicking thru on some of your ads!

Many many useful tips can be found at Behold the Expertise of the ProBlogger Community - 95 Reader Tips!


Download a free article marketing guide here: Secrets of Article Writing

Sources used for this post include Flixya, Banner, Paul Coupe

Varvel

vickvarvel2.jpg

First published in The Indianapolis Star on July 30th. Artist Gary Varvel has a great blog where he explains the thought process behind his editorial cartoons. "I got an email today from a mom wanting to know if I was going to draw about the Mattel Toy recall. She said she has appointments next week for her children to be tested for lead. I had already planned on tackling this subject, her email just reinforced the decision." It's called VarvBlog or VarvelBlog:.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Around The Blogosphere 24 August 07

Blog of the Day: The Web Files: Tips and advice on marketing and optimizing your website, as well as information about technology and web news, resources, building traffic and PR, plus how-to articles.

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What is the difference between blogging and journalism? Jean-Baptiste Rudelle has the answer, albeit in French, in his post "Quelle est la différence entre blogging et journalisme?"
Politics.bm thinks newspapers “have a responsibility to be more accurate” in their headlines.

Vutha is looking for ways to get his friends interested in blogging...

Anastasia Goodstein blogs Today's must-read: Teens In Pain Hear The 'Battle Cry'

Filip Bondy: This is the week when I finally realized I will never be Richard Williams. I will never be the architect of anybody's tennis career, that's for sure.

Geeks and Geekesses check out KennyP’s Technology Blog - it's News, Reviews, Internet, Computer, Gadgets, Cell Phone & Technology related... in Chinese! BTW, you can download Google's PinYin input method here.

It takes a village to raise an idea: “4 African bloggers from there have united on a project to make a difference. They aren’t just talking, they are doing something.”

Marzie happily blogs that she's just joined Pay Per Post:
I recently joined PayPerPost (PPP) as my very first attempt to earn money on the side by writing for advertisers on my blog. As a copywriter, I figured it’s about time I put my skills to good use by joining PPP and writing about other advertisers aside from my regular dose of clients.
A Chinese court in the southeastern province of Zhejiang jailed Chen Shuqing, an online author and a founding member of the banned China Democracy Party, for four years on charges of “inciting to subvert state power”. “It’s totally wrong to convict him … He was only expressing his political views. He should enjoy free speech.” his lawyer Li Jianqiang told Reuters.

We reiterate our appeal for the release of Chen and the 50 other cyber-dissidents and Internet users held in China,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Chinese Law Prof Blog gave an update on the Shi Tao’s case, a Chinese journalist arrested and imprisoned for 10 years because Yahoo provided the Chinese government Shi’s user information. The blogger pointed to a document that showed it was Yahoo (HK) not Yahoo (China) that provided the information. Soon after the document exposed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (CFA) started investigating on Yahoo’s 2006 testimony.

Flickr lover from inmediahk.net picked up the story on Yahoo Hong Kong’s direct involvement in Shi Tao’s case and commented that the company had violated the “One country Two system” principle as Hong Kong registered company should follow local law and protect its users accordingly (zh). He demanded the company to explain the case to the public openly.

The Observer from Jordan writes about a young couple, caught having sex on a phone camera which was later distributed, in a conservative society which shuns pre-marital sex.

Safe and sound…:)

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Good to hear that many of our blogging buddies South of the Border are okay after that huge hurricane! Bettina Perroni blogs that although there were some very tense moments, she was glad when the storm had passed:
"La unica radio que operaba dió información valiosa. Hablaba de mucho desastre y lo peor, que el mar estaba invadiendo la isla. Eso era lo peor que podía suceder y estaba sucediendo. Las dos carreteras que nos comunican con el resto del país fueron cerradas- ni para donde correr-. Tampoco había suministro de agua. Había gente en plena oscuridad viviendo momentos tormentosos. Sin duda, estábamos corriendo con mucha suerte al vivir en una zona alta, protegida y con varias lámparas de mano a disposición.

No quisiera que ustedes escucharan ese sonido de viento feroz, esa lluvia tan espesa que no dejaba ver absolutamente nada. Escuchar como volaban cosas, árboles que caían. Fueron momentos feos que se intensificaron cuando el huracán tomó fuerza al salir al Golfo de México." "The best thing: To listen to those familiar voices reporting that all are well, to receive messages of affection from friends, to see the sun again… the sun and the sea in calm."
Mexico has reopened two of its three main oil ports following Hurricane Dean, but officials say production remains suspended as they assess the storm's impact on the industry.

“It actually feels wrong to complain about the ‘agony’ of waiting 4 days to get back electricity just so that I can watch tv and surf the net. After all, there are people who survived the hurricane and are still trying to figure out where they are going to live.”

Steve’s Dominica sees signs that the island is returning to normal after Hurricane Dean.

CityGirl blogs about surviving Hurricane Dean in Jamaica.

Happy 8, Blogger!

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The greatest blogging platform in the whole wide world is 8 years old!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOGGER! Aside from revealing a "baby picture" which I've posted here, Blogger has added an iGoogle gadget for Blogs of Note AND an option on your post editor to ADD VIDEO! Hooray! Thanks, Blogger... thanks,Google... thanks Pete!

Vacation Dreams, Part One: Spain

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I'm putting together a list of places I'd like to visit on my next trek around the globe. From time to time I'll be plugging in the pieces as blogposts, and, hopefully when I'm done, I'll be able to unplug, re-arrange and create an actual travel schedule.

Vacation Dreams - who hasn't imagined a wonderful time away in a distant place? I'm tagging and bookmarking and sharing these vacation posts with all of you. After all, maybe YOU have been thinking about holiday in Spain, or France or Hawaii or who knows where!

Today I'm looking at Spain: specifically, Barcelona and Madrid.

NOTE:
Cheaperthanhotels offers last minute and year round accommodation at hotels , apartments and hostels in Spain at prices generally less than direct, with free inclusions and use of facilities.

Places to Stay:

Hotels in Madrid : http://www.cheaperthanhotels.co.uk/Spain/Madrid/

Hotels in Barcelona : http://www.cheaperthanhotels.co.uk/Spain/Barcelona/

Hoteles en Barcelona : http://www.hotelsespanol.com/Spain/Barcelona/

Barcelona (Catalan IPA: [bəɾsəˈlonə], Spanish IPA: [baɾθeˈlona]), is the capital and most populous city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain, with a population of 1,605,602 in 2006. It is located on the Mediterranean coast (41°23′N, 2°11′E), between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and is limited to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512 m).

Barcelona is a major economic centre, with one of Europe's principal Mediterranean ports, and its airport is the second largest in Spain. Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona became the capital of the Counts of Barcelona and the Crown of Aragon. Besieged several times during its history, Barcelona is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination and has a rich cultural heritage. Particularly renowned are architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

As the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona houses the seat of the Catalan government, known as the Generalitat de Catalunya; of particular note are the executive branch, the parliament and the Supreme Court of Catalonia. The city is also the capital of the county (comarca) of the Barcelonès.

Nightlife in Barcelona: Barcelona is widely considered one of Europe’s great party cities and deservedly so. Things may start slowly with some food and a few drinks after siesta finishes (at approximately 1700) but they soon gather pace and by 2300 the city is buzzing. Friday and Saturday nights are when the city is at its liveliest, although the drinking and dancing keeps going throughout the week. Bars are usually open until 0200 or 0300, while clubs and discos keep going until 0500 or 0600. The legal drinking age in Barcelona is 16 years and the price of tipple ranges from €1 for a small beer or glass of wine to €5 for something stronger, such as a rum and coke, depending also on the type of establishment.

Port Olímpic is particularly buzzing on summer nights, as is Port Vell, where the Maremagnum shopping complex bizarrely metamorphoses into a nefarious collage of cafés, bars and nightclubs, open late into the night. In the last few years, bars modernos with music and designer decor have been popular with a young ultra-hip clientele across the city. The trend is to dress quite smartly when going out in Barcelona.

Barcelona Photos

If you are in Barcelona, and you miss good, organic, tasty, heavy, whole food bread; There is a place you should go: BarcelonaReykjavik, Doctor Dhou 12. –In the Raval, not far from the MACBA square and from the Ramblas. [more from Softguide Barcelona Blog]

thebadrash.com is a blog by Tom Clarke in Barcelona, Catalonia, covering politics, music, film & opinion.

The city has developed its own website, complete with a mapquest-like "how to get to" page!

Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. Residents are called Madrileños. The city is located on the river Manzanares in the center of the country, between the autonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. Due to its economic output, standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial center of the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of the major Spanish companies, as well as the headquarters of three of the world's 100 largest companies. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political center of Spain.

As the capital of Spain, Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the huge Royal Palace of Madrid; the Teatro Real (Royal theatre) with its restored 1850 Opera House; the Buen Retiro park, founded in 1631; the imposing 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives; an archaeological museum of international reputation; and three superb art museums: Prado Museum, which hosts one of the finest art collections in the world, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.

Nightlife in Madrid:

Everything you’ve heard about traffic jams in the small hours and office workers heading straight to work from the clubs is true; the madrileños’ reputation as party fiends is more than justified, despite municipal meddling and earlier closing times. El terraceo (terrace-hopping) is the preferred nightlife activity during the city’s warmer months.

For straightforward drinking, the perennial favourites are Viva Madrid (C/Manuel Fernández y González 7, 91 429 36 40) and Los Gabrieles (C/Echegaray 17, 91 429 62 61), with their fabulous floor-to-ceiling tiling (and wall-to-wall tourists), and the dusty old tabernas around Los Austrias, with aproned barmen and vermut pulled from silver taps. For a younger, funkier atmosphere, Malasaña has it all, from cineaste’s delight Pepe Botella (C/San Andrés 12, 91 522 43 09) to the Iberian Friends set that is La Ida (C/Colón 11, 91 522 91 07, closed 1wk Aug).

For bar-hopping until 2am or thereabouts, C/Huertas, the Plaza Santa Ana and the streets around are unbeatable. Close by, you’ll also find the monster seven-floor Kapital (C/Atocha 125, 91 420 2906, www.grupo-kapital.com, closed Mon-Wed), with every kind of music and a rooftop bar for gazing at the stars, and the sassy techno den the Room (C/Arlabán 7, 91 523 86 54, Fridays only). A stone’s throw away is the eclectic Lavapiés, popular with the bohemian crowd. For traditional flamenco performances, Casa Patas (C/Cañizares 10, Lavapiés, 91 369 04 96, www.casapatas.com, closed Sun) is a highly prized, if pricey, establishment. For glitzy monster discos, explore the triangle between Sol, Callao and Gran Via. Joy Eslava (C/Arenal 11, 91 366 37 33, www.joy-esclava.com) is the granddaddy of them all. Nearby is the stylish Cool (C/Isabel la Católica 6, 91 542 34 39, closed Mon-Wed), where the crowd and the decor wrestle for aesthetic supremacy.

Chueca is the centre of Madrid’s gay scene, but it’s also the place to be for the determinedly hip. Though its hub is the Plaza de Chueca, itself thronging with terrazas in summer, close by are mixed bars such as Stars Café (C/Marqués de Valdeiglesias 5, 91 522 2712, closed Sun & 2wks Aug) or Liquid (C/Barquillo 8, 91 532 7428, closed Mon).

Just when you thought it was all over, it’s time to head to ‘los afters’, Sunday morning clubs that refuse to keep the Sabbath holy. Now officially illegal, they still thrive, but open and close with gay abandon – keep an eye out for flyers or ask around to find them.

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