Sunday, 29 June 2008

Back to the subject of Blogger versus Wordpress - two very different software packages for blogs. For those of you still with me, I started a blog recently on Blogger and have now got a second on Wordpress. I write in my Blogger one and cut and paste into my Wordpress blog until I can make up my mind which one to go with. So what is my take now?

In favour of Wordpress
  1. The links from tags straight into a list of others' blogs is just great. Why write in isolation when you can join the blogsphere in one easy move?
  2. You just need to make a link to another bloggers' URL and a quote appears immediately as a comment.
  3. I got my first comment with two hours of starting my Wordpress blog.
  4. You ask a question of their service desk and they get back to you just fine!

Against Wordpress

  1. It looks lousy compared to Blogger.
  2. Lots of different templates but features do not translate from one to another ie Twitter feed.
  3. The CMS is so much less friendly that Blogger and difficult to understand.

But I have come to decision. I will close down my Blogger blog and stay with Wordpress. Why can there not be a package that is somewhere in between - firmly embedded in the blogosphere, good to look at AND easy to use. And why do both of them make it so difficult to cut and paste a screengrab from the web?

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Paul Way's opinion on Viewzi

My colleague Paul Way had some cool comments to make about Viewzi and Searchme which I repeat here:
" I think these new searches are very interesting although I don't know if there is an immediate message we should be taking from this. What I mean is that Viewzi is very, very cool looking. And if it seems slightly familiar to you, then you porably own a recent issue iPod which has a viewing mode called Cover Flow. Cover Flow just lists your album covers in a line and scrolls through them (exactly the way Viewzi does). So this is more about packaging than the actual substance. I will admit though that the Viewzi interface does segment thes things well and actually encourages more interaction (again, something that Apple has turned into an art form).
"Sites like Searchme and Viewzi are the new breed of what's called 'visual search'. What that means is that these search engines provide very visual search results. Viewzi, for example, breaks your search into 15 different 'views', which includes things like photos, video, mp3s adn weather. In that way, it's trying to segment for you and find what you're looking for (especially with regard to rich media). But it's hit and miss at this point, and you have to rely on the 15 views they provide. It's pretty certain the the evolution of this will take it to a more personal level, allowing you or I to create our own views based on our own preferences.
"at this stage, I think Viewzi and Searchme are great personal tools, especially for the very visually savvy (macusers, teens etc) . The one thing is emphasises is that search needs to become more personalised."

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The Guardian does blogging

Lively debate in today's Guardian Online. Roy Greenslade, who once was the most traditional of journalists and editors, argues for the value of blogging and discusses the threat to journalism of bloggers. It's a neat piece, nothing new, but will undoubetedly carry weight with other traditional journalists in a way that an article by a blogger would not do. The piece gains 28 comments....and counting.
One very strange thing about it, however, is that the comment facility by the Guardian does not link back to contributors' own blogs. Nor do articles have tags linked to any other blog list. Without either, Greenslade's "blog" is not much more than a colum with some comments at the end of it - not much more than the traditional approach to journalism ironically.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Twitter as business tool?

Heh, I got my first first business-to-business contact through Twitter today. I had become somewhat irritated at the slow rate of take-up by some of our teams for an amazing offer by a company owned by our own parent company. I vented by frustration in a Tweet last night. This afternoon, I received a request to "follow" me from a strange. But he looked somewhat familiar. When I agreed, I soon got a direct email from a sales person working for the company in London. He looks up his own company in Twitter's search facility each day. So that shows yer!

Viewzi: what about Searchme as well?

Excitement all round about Viewzi after I had picked up the thrilling review by Craig Stoltz. Everyone at my media company just loved the 15 different views for search. Rather eccentrically I repeatedly inserted "Maria Callas" into the search bar for my one-on-one demonstrations. But it worked. The contrast between videos, from YouTube or whatever, and the comparison of Amazon with ebay was amazing. Even for an old opera dame like that.
But it did not stop there. Soon we were also comparing Viewz with Searchme. It looks far less glamorous at first but picks up speed as your search progresses. In the end, it is as if your iPod screen had become your desktop. If Cinematically Correct thinks Viewz is "a rip-off of Apple’s Leopard operating system", he should look at Searchme.

PS Does anyone know how to pronounce Viewzi?

Monday, 23 June 2008

It's the economy, stupid!

So MySpace is going through a redesign.
"Dubbed 'MySpace 2.0' internally, the redesign will be completed over the next four months and a wide range of new features introduced, all intended to shed its reputation as a media platform for music-crazed teens and make it the prism through which all its users access the internet - from communication to sharing pictures, listening to music to watching TV," reports Owen Gibson, interviewing MySpace's Tom Anderson in today's Guardian newspaper.
Good on you, Tom, but what we civilians want is a piece of software that allows us to aggregate all our social networking profiles into one place. Now that would be an economical use of our time but not what any of them would go for.

Just how two faced can you get?

Striking staff at France's leading paper Le Monde are demanding that print becomes integrated with online as one way to save the paper from a wave of redundancies. Bizarrely the online offering, one of the few parts of the paper to make money, is controlled by a subsidiary.
"The first response has been to cut staff, when really what we need is a profound reflection on improving the relationship between the web and the paper, and the future of digital. That isn't happening," Michel Delberghe of the CFDT, the union representing journalists at the newspaper is reported as saying in an article in this morning's Guardian newspaper.
Why do I get the feeling that the journalists now demanding integration between paper and online are exactly the same people who a few years ago would have been arguing that the web was beyond their job's worth and insisting other people, in another office, did it?

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Watercooler moment

A colleague and myself were just catching up on Steve Ballmer's comments made earlier this month.
The Microsoft Chief Executive had visited the Washington Post and undergone some pretty intense questioning from the journalists. The prediction that made the headlines was that "Number one, there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form."
Ballmer put into words what most media companies dare not admit. I know ours is making those changes necessary to complete the journey. Those that don't? My colleague compared it to the record industry where those companies that did not respect the changes wrought by digital have been flattened. He suggested that digital would wreak a similar level of destruction for those that media companies that did not change. And fast.

Digital becomes ever so chic once more

Flickr, Twitter, Huffington Post have always been betrayed as glamorous and funky. But now even their remote ancestors, programming, gain equal status.
  1. Vanity Fair's An Oral History of the Internet - How the Web Was Won in its July issue - packets, browsers and protocols given the full VF treatment.
  2. Then BBC1's Fiona Bruce interviews Microsoft's Bill Gates for prime time television with Bill Gates: How a Geek Changed the World. Amazing anecdotes and a reenactment of the famous 1978 photo of all early founders.

Are we seeing the end of technophobia? Will it be as chic to know your hyperlinks from your widgets as knowing whether to be a part of LinkedIn rather than Facebook?

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Dr Who - as scary now as then

What is it about Russell T Davies, scriptwriter of Dr Who on BBC1? I remember cowering behind the couch for Dr Who as a child but today it has no less impact. "Turn Left", today's programme, was so dark and yet so realistic. He places the most absurd events in the most unusual of places. The programme was never so realistic in the past. And an excuse to use the BBC iPlayer - only six days left!

Getting my head round

I am still trying to get my head round It is the package with which I built this blog. It seemed so easy at first to put all the elements together. But two things disappoint so far.
  1. The picture loader looks easy but, I can now confirm, isn't.

  2. I am very envious of the tags on, another blogger software package.

Just take a look at Craig Stolz's regular Web 2.Oh..really? blog. Click through on any tag, for example, Obama or, even amusingly, his own blog and see just how visual it is. Now why can't do that?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

What will editors be in the digital age?

I have been asked to second-interview candidates for an editor's job today. Nothing unusual in that. I've edited three B2B papers and magazines over 14 years so there is some useful experience there! What makes this different is that the job is editor not of a magazine with a website attached but rather the editor of the website with quite separate editors for the associated magazines. A first for this company.
How do I see an editor's job like this developing? Well there is the usual role for an editor of being the identity of the brand, knowing the industry you are covering, having the contacts to break great stories and sometimes being hauled in to meet the advertisers. All very traditional there. But it is there that the similarity ends. Just take some of the practical differences which we know the web makes of editors such as daily if not hourly news meetings. 
But it is the sheer power of the editor's profile online that makes the potential so exciting. The editor of a stand-alone website has the potential to play the role of a or the most high-profile blogger in that industry while also enjoying all the added benefits of an often historic brand and the resources of other journalists. Few famous bloggers can boast of that.
Of course there is already a respected journalist who has taken the exclusively online path. John Byrne earned his reputation on US magazine Business Week. Recently he was made executive editor of Read what he had to say about how challenging but rewarding the step has been.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

From the very beginning

There is a sort of hierarchy as to what I can do in the digital age. I can send a Tweet from my mobile while crossing the road. I need only be sitting at my desk to accept a new friend on linkedin. It took all afternoon at home, recovering from a disgusting cold, to set up this blog. The technicals do not take up the time - blogspot is a truly easy package - but rather enough headspace to work out what elements make up a blog. You might read them but have you actually taken in the detail?
I have always been interested in Jeff Jarvis' column in the Media Guardian. Surrounded by cascades of copy about the BBC or consumer magazines, Jarvis often came across as the token New Media guru. But step into his digital identity at Buzz Machine and you get the true picture of the man. He has just left the US to travel to Paris and London. His mobile is not working - I like that - but he is still managing to rouse a rabble of bloggers on an issue of copyright with AP. And he has just made it into Vanity Fair's blogopticon.

Credit for getting me going, though, must also go to my colleague Rob Enslin and his exuberant blog. Living the dream feeds into a community of superfit cyclists who seem to spend every weekend doing a casual 200 km race over the South Downs. I just copied his use of blogspot but I can see that he has used the html tabs to make his site beautifully designed and much more individual. He does have programming experience.
Oh yes, and I have even signed up to have google ads on my blog. Now that's a very useful afternoon!