Blogs making a Difference

Mercury News has a piece about how 2004’s EA Spouse story has actually made changes in EA’s company policy along with other companies.

I love reading stories like these. The once voiceless now have a voice that the globe can listen to through weblogs.

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Noindex and comments restored

Google, MSN, Yahoo, and Six Apart all have formed an initiative to combat weblog comment spam.

By adding the attribute rel=”noindex” to your links there will no longer be a major incentive to spammers.

It’s great to see the big dogs get together to help everyone.

Speaking of weblog comments, Ross brought it to my attention that my comments have been down. They work now. I’m not sure what the problem was, but I restored the old template.

Blog the Blogging Bloggers

Just like a lot of the ‘older’ mainstream bloggers, I get a very strange feeling when I hear the people on NPR say ‘blog’.

It’s even better when I read about the word blog being used on CBS, ABC, and NBC news broadcasts.

Major providers have caught on to the blogging phenomenon. Google owns Blogger, AOL has AOL Journals, MSN has the new MSN Spaces, Lycos’ Tripod does blogs, Yahoo is investing in blogs, but the more staggering part is the corporate blogging world.

Blogs@MSDN and Planet Sun both have plunged the user right into the middle of what’s going on at these huge companies. CEOs are starting to blog, too.

The best part about corporate blogging? Human Resources blogs. HR blogs are excellent utilities if you’re wanting to get a job at any of these companies. Have a question? Leave a comment – they’re bound to read it.

Back to the ‘little guy’ big audience concept of blogging – Jason Kottke seems to be getting some legal guff over posting the Ken Jennings JEOPARDY! audio clip before it aired. I’ll be keeping my eyes on this situation.

Microsoft Releases MSN Spaces

Microsoft released MSN Spaces which is in direct competition with services like LiveJournal, Blogger, and TypePad.

THE GOOD

Microsoft is embracing blogging as a communication medium.

MSN Messenger integration sounds extremely cool. We’ll see if any of my contacts start using it. Users can not only post to MSN Spaces via Messenger, but it’s also a faux newsreader. Mouseover your contact’s online/offline screen name and see when their ‘Space’ was last updated and the last X posts’ titles.

The C9 Spaces Video Demo also shows some amazing integration with music playlists and photos.

THE BAD

It’s sad to see MS(Microsoft) playing catch-up to the rest of the world, but a lot of us don’t realize what has to go on at MS for a product to be released.

In the C9 interview Michael Connolly and Jim Horne mentioned that MSN Spaces is in TWENTY-SIX LANGUAGES. Not to mention the forced load handling and scalability that their products require.

Personally, I do not think Spaces will be anything huge. You’ll have the typical MSN drone user which knows nothing better than to MSN for everything. Most users I know go for the best/easiest to use product – not what the provider jams down their throat.

THE UGLY

I’m just opposed to Internet Explorer in general. Spaces makes use of some beefy DHTML that is only supported in IE(Internet Explorer). I think that was a mistake because most of the bloggers they’re relying on to create a buzz about the product will blast it’s IE reliance.

We can start comparing them to AOL Journals in about 3 months.

BlogSpam Prevention

Earlier this month I posted about the spam problem on my site and a lot of other blogs—mainstream and not so mainstream.

Here’s my tips for prevention so far:

  • mt-comments.cgi is no longer flagged as the comment script location in mt.cfg – search for CommentScript and change it to something else. Don’t forget to rename your comments file in your MT directory.
  • MTCloseComments closes comments on entries that are ‘x’ days old. TBB is set at 21 days.
  • MT 3.x has TypeKey integration for comment approval. It also has a much improved interface for removing spam…
  • MT-DSBL this basically prevents comments that have originated from what’s called an open proxy.
  • MT-BlackList 2.0 after much resistance on my part, I’ve decided to give this plugin another try.

This looks like it will be successful enough for the time being. As much as I hate the idea of registered comments, it’s going to turn into a necessity. Go ahead and sign up for a TypeKey account. They’re free and easy.

Not So Evil Empire

Now that my soul belongs to Google (read: email, maybe half of my web surfing including news) I’ve found myself sometimes wondering why my tech side is now dependent on the giant.

They have definitely won me over with their GMail system – efficient, simplistic, and crazy storage. They’ve won over the market with their uncanny ability to be a “media” firm and produce a profit.

This week they rolled out a new Blogger system, complete with impeccable quality user experience/design and standardized code under the hood.

If the one of the smartest and most productive tech companies in the world’s assets are essentially valid XHTML 1.0 STRICT (with probably 10 minimal errors that look like they’re left over from their server) – Google’s team followed current standards.

So, all they’re really doing is being “good”. Sure, they innovate. Sure, their server farms are probably distributed computing masterpieces…but the underlying principle that keeps me on the bandwagon is that I can trust Google.

I’m not saying Google is perfect – I’m not saying blogger is perfect (I won’t ditch MT that easily) – PageRank is flawed (what algorithm isn’t?). GMail actively discriminates against the blind. Blogger is not geared towards me (BTW, I wonder what this will do to TypePad). I’m just saying that my benefits as a super picky user outweigh the drawbacks.

Worse than Linkrot

Blogrot.

What is linkrot?

When your website links to a site that is down.

What is blogrot?

When your website links to a blog that doesn’t update anymore.

So long, former members of my sidebar. I wish you updated.