Friday, April 29, 2005


I've been rather distracted for the past couple of days as I was getting ready for a trip and will be even more distracted for the next few days.  I just flew from Colorado back to New York City (home) and will be traveling on to Washington, D.C. this weekend.  I'll be finding my way back to New York by Wednesday or so.  I don't expect that I'll be doing much blogging during that period of time.
Meanwhile, Blogger is about the same, successfully publishing my email posts but also sending me cryptic bounceback messages that seem rather spurious since publication was successful.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Blogger bug: handling single quotes (apostrophes) in email posts

I had to manually edit my last post since Blogger wasn't able to handle true single quote (apostrophe) characters.  They came out as liittle squares:
... didn’t ...
Better to edit them in your email client software to be old-style ASCII single quotes:
... didn't ...
I do consider this to be a bug in Blogger.

What would be your top 5 qualities for a Pro Blogger to have?

I posted the following comment to a ProBlogger post that asked "What would be your top 5 qualities for a Pro Blogger to have?":

Be concise and to the point with minimal rambling.

Have a little wit, but not too much.

Be a little opinionated, but not too much.

Teach me something I didn't already know.

Introduce me to somebody I wouldn't have met otherwise.

Now if only I could meet those five qualities.

-- Jack Krupansky

No comments on this post

In case you hadn't noticed, Blogger has an option in the post editor to disable comments on specific blog posts. I've turned it off for this post just to demonstrate the feature.

Unfortunately, there is no way to control that option for an email post.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Status of my blogging cloud

As of today, my blog "cloud" is 188 hits in Google, but that's 100 displayed hits, and 990 total hits, compared to 188, 80, and 572 a week ago.
My strategy for raising these numbers is to continue to make quality comments on the blogs of others, as well as to post my own blog posts when I feel that I have something to say.

Blogger still okay and still silly

I haven't had any serious problems with Blogger today, but they are still sending me annoying bounceback messages on each email post that I send.  Everything still works fine, and I do appreciate the promptness with which the email posts are being processed, but it does bother me that they are still sending out such cryptic messages to poor users.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blogger okay but silly

I was just about to write that Blogger worked flawlessly today, but after getting the latest confirmation of a successful email post, I also got one of those cryptic bounceback email messages that says "I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be be delivered" when clearly the message had not only been delivered but also successfully processed (posted). That's a silly thing for Blogger to do, but since "all is well that ends well", I'm a relatively happy camper, at least for today.

One other thing... Blogger's cryptic message has a repeated word in it ("could not be be delivered"). They probably missed it because the first "be" is at the end of a line and the second "be" is at the beginning of the next line. Our minds have difficulty catching that particular form of error, but the spelling checker in good old Microsoft Outlook Express sure catches it. That's another advantage of email posting.

Note to Blogger: add a spelling checker to your blog post editor.

Another note to Blogger: Cleanup that cryptic bounceback message so a poor user can understand a) what it means, and b) what action to take.

-- Jack Krupansky

Is your web site or blog or business a noun or a verb?

[Originally posted on my Entrepreneurial Engineering blog.]
Here is more wisdom from marketing guru Seth Godin in a post entitled "Nouns and verbs":

People care much more about verbs than nouns. They care about things that move, that are happening, that change. They care about experiences and events and the way things make us feel.

Nouns just sit there, inanimate lumps. Verbs are about wants and desires and wishes.

Is your website a noun or a verb?

I would extend that thinking to blogs and even businesses.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Blogger seems to be holding up fairly well

I've been rather busy these last couple of days and not blogging as much as I'd like, but I would note that Blogger seems to be doing reasonably well with my email posts.

Monday, April 18, 2005

My comments on an RSS primer for clueless bosses

Here are my comments on the RSS primer posted by Nick Aster of SiliconValleyWatcher (entitled "Of course, you know what RSS is ... so here's an article for your clueless boss"):

I immediately read the essay after spotting the appealing title, but I was a little disappointed since the essay told only half the RSS story. It definitely does a good job of telling the reader about the merits of being a *user* of RSS feeds (the aggregation side of the equation), but says nothing about the case for being a *publisher* of RSS feeds (the syndication side of the equation). It also doesn't help to clear up the ongoing terminology confusion over the distinction between syndication and aggregation (publishing vs. subscribing).

We do have to be careful when we talk about "using" RSS feeds. "Using" should be a reference to "the user" (i.e., the reader or consumer). Feed publishers technically "use" RSS, but as a medium for publication. Even publishers also consume information, but we should be clear on the distinction between publishing a feed and "using" or consuming (subscribing to) a feed.

But otherwise it was a good essay.

Nick replied to my comments saying that he fully intended to do a two-part article, with the second part aimed specifically towards publishers.

Silly Blogger

File this under the "Amusing" category... Blogger sent me yet another cryptic bounceback message for my last email post, but processed the post successfully anyway.  What will they think of next.

An RSS primer for clueless bosses

Nick Aster of SiliconValleyWatcher has a primer for RSS entitled "Of course, you know what RSS is ... so here's an article for your clueless boss".  It's primarily focused on using an RSS feed aggregator to merge your many sources of information onto one screen, rather than on the business case for publishing RSS feeds.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

More on editing of the post containing a Blogmap

I took a chance and did some more editing of the post containing a Blogmap. The error message screen has a check box that says something like "Don't show any more errors for this post", which seems strange, but I set that option and published and everything was fine. Maybe its a bug and the error message shouldn't be displayed at all. Curious.

-- Jack Krupansky

Disallowed script tag was accepted anyway for Blogmap post

After I went through the trouble of making my last post and telling you how Blogger gave me an error message and wouldn't accept my edits to the post containing a Blogmap script tag, it turns out that Blogger had indeed accepted my edits, either when I clicked the "Publish Post" button or when I clicked the "Create" button to abandon the edits and create that intermediate post. So, my edited post with the Blogmap is in fact up and looks fine.

Still, I'm not so sure that a Blogmap has any value for my non-local readers.

-- Jack Krupansky

Blogging map in post only via email

Although I was able to email a psot to this blog that contains a Blogmap, Blogger gives me an error message (tag not allowed) when I edit that post and try to publish it. I suspect that the Blogger post editor disallows JavaScript code, but it was accepted via email.

Although the Blogmap seems to work and it is cute and clever and interesting, to me, I'm not sure how much value it has for any of my blog readers who are not near me. Incidentally, I'm in Boulder, Colorado right now even though I live in New York. That means that I have to manually update my location (or the location of my blog feed) when I travel or head home.

-- Jack Krupansky

Blogging map

I ran across something called feedmap or Blogmap that is designed to show a map of where your web feed is located and can give your readers a count and list of other bloggers near you that are also using feedmap/Blogmap. Just as an experiment, here's the feedmap for this blog:

If this works, maybe I'll add it to the right side of my blogs. We'll see.

It seems to work and it is cute and clever and interesting, to me, but I'm not sure how much value it has for any of my blog readers who are not near me. Incidentally, I'm in Boulder, Colorado right now even though I live in New York. That means that I have to manually update my location (or the location of my blog feed) when I travel or head home.

I first saw this Blogmap/feedmap feature on Robert Scoble's Scobleizer blog.

-- Jack Krupansky

Syndication and aggregation at the same time

The new Red Sox Bloggers blog is an example of a web page and web feed that simultaneously aggregates a number of other syndicated blog web feeds and syndicates them as a new blog web feed.

Just to remind people of the terminology, is the process of publishing your content in a . is the process of reading, filtering, and merging any number of . And, you can , to re-publish content that had already been published in other feeds.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, April 16, 2005

New search engine: Snap

I just ran across a new search engine called Snap, from Bill Gross' Idealab.  The most obvious cool feature is that as you type your search text in it automatically shows you all the top search terms that match what you've typed so far and then you can just click on the search item that you're interested in.  Besides convenience, this has the advantage that you are seeing things that you might not otherwise have seen (e.g., variations on your intended search).

Bloglines back, saving my subscription list

I filed a few suggestions with Bloglines, and by the time I was done, their service (database) was back up. So I immediately exported my feed subscription list, saved it to a file, and then imported it into NewsGator, my backup aggregator. Unfortunately, I am unable to figure out how to tell NG to mark all feeds as read, so I have to manually click on the 109 feeds that I'd added to Bloglines since the last time I synced the two "gators". Maybe we should call this the "gatorsphere".

Now that my personal "gatorsphere" is back up and in-sync, I'm a happy camper. Besides, even Blogger email posting seems to be working.

I am now subscribed to 209 feeds. You can check out my public feed subscription list yourself.

-- Jack Krupansky

Reason for keeping two aggregators in sync

I just discovered an excellent reason to use at least two aggregators and to keep your blog lists in sync as much as possible:  when one goes down (as Bloglines just did for a second time this weekend), you have a backup.  At a minimum, you should periodically and frequently export and save the OPML list of your blog subscriptions so that you can import them into another web feed aggregator.  Now, I'm waiting for Bloglines to come back up.

Beyond the blogosphere: syndisphere vs. aggresphere

Some people have suggested that we move beyond simply the to something called the , where is the dominant effect, rather than expecting that people will manually visit our blogs. Personally, I'm not sure why we're not talking about an , the world where is the dominant effect. Yes, it's a good thing that I publish or my blogs, but the real bang for the buck comes when people actually subscribe or my content. Maybe it's just a little confusion between these new oddball usages of the old terms syndication and aggregation. I believe that the syndisphere people are in fact focusing on aggregation, but they misunderstand the definitions of the terms. This seems to be a very common problem in the blogosphere.

To summarize, the syndisphere should be the world in which us bloggers do our creative and publishing work, and the aggresphere is the world in which users and aggregators do their aggregation, distribution, subscribing, and viewing (and filtering).

So, you the reader can decide for yourself, which term better describes the way you characterize the world of web feed subscriptions: or .

-- Jack Krupansky

Status of my cloud

As of Saturday morning, my "cloud" had expanded to 188 Google hits, with 80 nominal hits and 572 total hits.  The first number is what I get when I ask Google to search for my name in quotes ("Jack Krupansky") plus the word "blog".  The second number is the last result as I page through the results.  I have no idea why those two numbers are different.  The third number is the count when I click on the Google link labeled "repeat the search with the omitted results included."
So, compared to one week ago, my cloud numbers are 188 (vs. 161), 80 (vs. 72), and 572 (vs. 958).
Please note that many cloud "hits" are temporal and can disappear within a few days or even a single day.  For example, if I post a comment on someone's blog, the comment goes on the permalink post page and possibly on a "Recent Posts" list that may appear on a lot of pages for a short period of time (which happened to me last week).
Even with a lot of work, it's quite possible that my cloud might shrink over the coming week.  But as the weeks go by, I should start accumulating comments on blog permalink pages.
BTW, my last two email posts worked perfectly.  Let's go for 3-for-3.

Blogger feature request: post replies to comments as comments

On the one hand, Blogger is nice in that it emails me comments that have been posted to my blogs.  But on the other hand, Blogger won't let me reply to those email messages and automatically post the reply comment.  I have to manually click to go to the comment page, and then add the comment.  There is no good reason why blogging shouldn't be just as easy as email conversations.
A second problem here is that I can't send my reply comment directly back to the commenter.  I have to click a few times, and maybe they have an email address in their profile that I can then send a reply to.  It would be much better to have one reply stream that Blogger sends to both the blog and the commenter.  BTW, that's the way a Yahoo discussion forum works.

Another test of email posting

As my first post this weekend, I thought I'd try again to see if Blogger email posting is working consistently yet.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Scoop: U.S. Sentencing Commission announces sentencing guidelines for aggravated identity theft

It appears that I'm one of the first bloggers or even any media coverage on today's announcement of sentencing guidelines for "aggravated identity theft" by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. But, it would seem that nobody notices me, yet. How many people even know that there's something called the United States Sentencing Commission? Check out my post on my Base Technology blog.

-- Jack Krupansky

Google AdSense ads moved from left side to below blog title [Duplicate]

[This is a duplicate post. I originally posted it via email, but when Blogger hadn't published it within a couple of minutes, I manually posted it. I'm leaving it here so you can see the kinds of delays that occur for email posting.]

In response to a reader comment as well as some oddities I had myself noticed, I'm experimenting with moving the Google AdSense ads to a location below the blog title, where they seem to fit better. We'll see how this works.

And we'll see if Blogger will cooperate and let me email this post this morning.

-- Jack Krupansky

Google AdSense ads moved from left side to below blog title

In response to a reader comment as well as some oddities I had myself noticed, I'm experimenting with moving the Google AdSense ads to a location below the blog title, where they seem to fit better. We'll see how this works. So far, the ads look fairly decent and they don't mess up the page layout if the window is resized down.

And we'll see if Blogger will cooperate and let me email this post this morning.

Nope... Blogger did not promptly publish my email post. No big surprise there.

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Difficulty posting a comment on Engagdet

I read an interesting post on the Engadget blog entitled "Toshiba putting 4GB, 0.85-inch mini hard drive into mass production" and wanted to post a comment, but clicking on the "Add Your Comments" button simply gave me the dreaded "HTTP 500 - Internal server error" error message screen. I tried repeatedly, but no luck. I even waited an hour and tried again. Weblogs, Inc. periodically has difficulties with their systems. Oh well.

In any case, here's the comment I wanted to post:

The question is when somebody is going to come up with a Lego-style snap-together packaging and connectors so you can buy a bunch of these little suckers and "snap" as many together as you want to optimize capacity and size for your personal interests. Stack them, layer them, "necklace" them, use your imagination.

That's the key: letting users determine overall packaging arrangements rather than vendors dictating it.

BTW, I tried emailing this post to this blog three times, each giving a prompt bounce-back from Blogger, before finally posting it manually.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Mixed day with Blogger

Wednesday was neither a good nor bad day with Blogger. The good news is that I was actually able to email posts, but the bad news is that there were a combination of bounces and delayed posting of my emailed posts. This was rather frustrating. We'll see how Blogger does on Thursday.

I'm rather disappointed that very few people have subscribed to my blogs using Bloglines, but that's life. There's a lot of noise out there and some people are even cutting back on their blogging and blog reading. This may just be a phase the industry is going through and soon maybe the next wave of adopters will be coming through.

-- Jack Krupansky

More on syndication [Duplicate, delayed email post]

[This is one of the two email posts that didn't go through promptly. The other one bounced. I'm leaving this post so that you can see how Blogger works (or doesn't work). The proper post can be found here.]

As I've posted before, in the world of blogs, syndication is the act of publishing your content. But there's a little bit more to it. can also involve the simultaneous of content integrated with its republication as a distinct "". That's really the traditional meaning, as exemplified in this Harvard Business Review article entitled "Syndication: The Emerging Model for Business in the Internet Era."

-- Jack Krupansky

More on syndication

As I've posted before, in the world of blogs, syndication is the act of publishing your content. But there's a little bit more to it. can also involve the simultaneous of content integrated with its republication as a distinct "". That's really the traditional meaning, as exemplified in this Harvard Business Review article entitled "Syndication: The Emerging Model for Business in the Internet Era."

[BTW, I tried to email this post twice, but it neither got through, nor did I get an immediate bounce-back.]

-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Reasonably good luck with email posting

I've had reasonably good luck with email posting these past two days, with success more than 50% of the time.  And, when it does fail, it fails almost immediately with a bounceback message (albeit cryptically), so I can simply resend immediately and move on the other tasks.  That's not as good as I'd like to see, but is a definite improvement.  I'm glad that the guys at Blogger are making real improvements and I'm sure that eventually they will get email posting to the point of "carrier-grade" reliability.
So, today was a reasonably good day with Blogger.

Focusing on commenting on the blogs of others

I'm not doing much in the way of writing my own blog posts today, but rather I've focused on on the blogs of others. This has three benefits:
  1. It gets your name propagated around the "", increasing your "" or recognition.
  2. It increases the to your blogs since most forms allow you to specify a link URL that sits under your name.
  3. All but the largest tend to read their and frequently engage in email discussions with them (assuming you write an interesting comment), and this helps build your .
I've added some in the text there. I hope they're not too distracting.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, April 11, 2005

Use plus sign for spaces in Technorati tags

In my first post on Technorati tags, I mentioned that you needed to use %20 for any spaces between words of a tag.  That does work, but it's easier and more readable to use a plus sign (+).  Run your mouse over or and you can see the plus sign instead of the space.
[Second attempt to email this post.]

Update on Technorati tags

Yesterday was my first experience with . Actually, I had two experiences. The first was a success, but the second failed. Now, just five minutes ago the database was updated to include my second experiment from yesterday. So, now I'm doing a third experiment. Lets see how it goes. Click on some of the hyperlinked words on this post to see how they go off to .

My second experiment from yesterday had references to tags for , , , and .

See my recent posts on syndication and aggregation (tags: and ).

[This is the second attempt to email this post.]

-- Jack Krupansky

Better luck with email posting

I was just able to succeed with three out of four email posts. I've never had that much luck before. Blogger must have upgraded their systems today.

Actually, my first attempt with this post bounced, but it bounced promptly, so that alone is improvement. Now to try again. We're 3 out of 5.

[This post made it through on the second try, so we're 4 for 6, which is still much better than I've ever seen from Blogger.]

-- Jack Krupansky

What is the difference between syndication and aggregation?

Syndication is the act of publishing a web content feed (e.g., blog) whereas aggregation is analogous to subscribing to a published feed.

Put simply: / = publish / subscribe

-- Jack Krupansky

What is aggregation?

is the process of gathering the content of multiple syndicated blog feeds and presenting them in a form that is easier to read. Software that performs the aggregation process is frequently referred to as a . Aggregation is essentially the subscription to a set of published or .

-- Jack Krupansky

What is syndication?

is simply a fancy word for publishing your in a form known as a "feed" that other software can read, typically , , , or format. Usually the publication is done automatically by your , but you may have to add your own link or "orange" button to let people know where to find your "." Actually, most blog readers don't need to have the precise feed file name, but merely the URL of your blog itself and then the software can automatically find the feed file.

Note: The act of publishing your blog does two discrete operations: 1) create the syndicated blog feed file, and 2) create the normal HTML web page that you can directly read using only your browser.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Technorati tags

I had heard about Technorati's "tag" concept, but had mostly ignored it since my plate is rather full as it is. But then when I was working on my last post about a Sun blogger responding to negative media coverage, I noticed that a couple of simple words ( and ) were hyperlinked for no apparent reason. After I finished the post I looked closer and saw that the links went to, which I immediately suspected must relate to this whole Technorati tag "thing".

So, without even thinking about it, I had inadvertently become a participant in the Technorati tag culture, simply by copying some hyperlinked text into my blog post. Voila! Kinda cool. This is my kind of technology.

What happens is that if you ping Technorati with your blog, Technorati will add an entry for your blog post on each of its tag pages for the terms that you tag. This should increase your in-bound links to help you get a higher Google page ranking.

Here are some Technorati tags: , , , , , and .

Unfortunately, it's a little more complicated than simply hyperlinking a term to You need to go into "Edit HTML" mode and manually insert the text rel="tag" immediately before the first closing angle bracket of the hyperlink, since that's what Technorati looks for to detect a "tag". You also need to append a slash and your term at the end of since that points to the Technorati tag page for your term. And finally, if your term has a spaces in it, you need to enter the spaces as %20.

-- Jack Krupansky

Responding to negative media coverage via blogging

Here's an actual example of a big company responding to negative media coverage through blogging. Sun Microsystems has been struggling since the dot-com "bubble" burst five years ago. That's a given, everybody knows that. Electronic Business magazine came out with a negative article entitled "Correcting course or sailing in circles? Sun strives to find a direction in a changing world." A Sun employee (Jim Grisanzio, Community Manager for Open Solaris) has responded to the article in a blog post entitled "Sun Attacked on the High Seas." The response starts out:
Here's a new slam piece -- Correcting course or sailing in circles. It's filled with the required -- yet recycled -- and catch phrases and crafty key messages remnant of a PR FUD campaign designed for maximum negativity. But, like many of these articles lately, it's also so far over the top that it's really a caricature of itself. Some people have told me that I shouldn't point to blogs or articles like this (because I do it all the time), that I shouldn't draw attention to negative opinions. I disagree for a couple of reasons. First, it's fun. Second, we need to know what people are saying about us so we understand where we are doing ok and where we need to improve.

Personally, I'm not yet sure what the proper response to even an alleged "slam piece" is supposed to be. On the one hand, there is this hockey-team mentality that you need to respond in kind, if not worse. On the other end of the spectrum is the old Henry Ford II attitude of "Never complain, never explain." I lean toward the latter, but it usually is appropriate to at least correct factual errors. Trying to counter opinions and judgments and forecasts for the future is probably always a losing proposition, other that to indirectly counter bad press by putting out your own good press.

In any case, I think it does makes sense to always respond in a professional manner and with a calm, professional tone of voice. But, people are still struggling with blogging overall, so getting the voice right is a real challenge. In my opinion, Mr. Grisanzio needs to consider his tone a bit more carefully, unless he's trying to appeal to the rabid extremist wings of the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) crowd, in which case, he's being too mild. Bottom line: understand your audience and given them what they want.

-- Jack Krupansky

Test results for email posting

I emailed ten test posts for this blog to Blogger. Three of them were processed successfully by Blogger (#3, #4, and #10). The remaining seven came back to me as bounce-back messages with cryptic error messages from Blogger:
Command died with status 1: "IFS='
'&&exec /home/bloggermail/processmail2||exit 75 #bloggermail"
There's a lot more text to the message, but that's apparently the salient part. The initial part of the message is:

This is the Postfix program at host

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not be
be delivered to one or more recipients.

It's attached below.For further assistance, please send mail to <postmaster>

There was no clue given as to how to contact "<postmaster>". I suspect they mean

So, that's the state of Blogger email posting here on Sunday, April 10, 2005.

Oh, and it was a real pain to insert those angle brackets and vertical bars; you have to manually enter HTML entity names and codes, otherwise Blogger's post editor treats them as actual HTML code.

-- Jack Krupansky

Test email posting - test #10

I've received bounce-back message from Blogger for attempts #1, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 8, so far.
Attempt #10...
I'm simply checking whether email posting is working yet.

Test email posting - test #4

The third attempt went through like a snap, but the first two got lost.
A fourth attempt...
I'm simply checking whether email posting is working yet.

Test email posting - test #3

A third attempt...
I'm simply checking whether email posting is working yet.

33 Ways to Enhance Blog Credibility

BLOGthenticity has posted "33 Ways to Enhance Blog Credibility." As they say:
To succeed, a blog must have practical value for its readers, rich content, easy usability, and strong credibility. A blog can boost its credibility and win the trust of its readers by adhering to these basic guidelines.
My comments to their post were as follows:

Sigh… you’re making this sound like real work! But, I guess it is what it is.

I saw no mention of “fun”, nor “passion”. Writing passionately about what you’re passionate about is supposed to be a good thing to appeal to blog readers. And if you don’t enjoy posting to your blog, eventually that fun deficit will become apparent to your readers.

I would also add the word “authentic” — readers are attracted to someone who’s “real” and has some appealing personality, and not some phony, plastic, corporate droid.I think one of the goals of a good blog is to leave readers expectantly awaiting your next post.

The issue of hype is something I struggle with. I think a little friendly hype is perfectly okay. Excessive or deceptive hype is of course not okay. Where the line is will depend on your personality. Some people can do more “good” hype than others. Is all promotion “hype”? Technically, the answer is yes, but most people are actually amused by a little mild hype. The real bottom line is simply “Avoid offending your reader.” Of course, it’s probably impossible to write anything that doesn’t offend somebody.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Forrester Research: Blogging: Bubble Or Big Deal? When And How Businesses Should Use Blogs

There is a free research report (once your register) on business blogging available from Forrester Research entitled "Blogging: Bubble Or Big Deal? When And How Businesses Should Use Blogs." The executive summary is as follows:
Although Weblogs (blogs) are currently used by only a small number of online consumers, they've garnered a great deal of corporate attention because their readers and writers are highly influential. Forrester believes that blogging will grow in importance, and at a minimum, companies should monitor blogs to learn what is being said about their products and services. Companies that plan to create their own public blogs should already feel comfortable having a close, two-way relationship with users. In this document we recommend best practices, including a blogging code of ethics, and metrics that will show the impact of blogs on business goals.
It's a fairly decent and fairly detailed report, but there are many additional details that business bloggers need to master and blogging technology and practices are themselves dynamically moving targets.

-- Jack Krupansky

Unable to get listed in the big web directories

I've try to get my web sites and blogs listed in the Google Directory, the Open Directory Project, and the Yahoo directory, but have had no luck. No explicit rejections either, but absolutely no responses after over a month. Yahoo does have an "express" premium subscription service that guarantees 7-day service, but its beyond my budget.

My original web site (Base Technology) is in fact in the Yahoo directory, from way back in the 1990's. It's category is wrong, but I'd rather let sleeping dogs lie. But you may not have any luck clicking on my site since unfortunately today has been a very bad day for my web hosting service (FatCow), with all of their services, both hosting and email, completely down, for some unknown reason. And Google Gmail is still in-bound-only for use with Outlook Express.

-- Jack Krupansky

New book for Dummies: Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies

I'm not offering a recommendation on this new book, Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies, but I really just wanted to try to insert an Amazon book link in a post, including the cover graphic. Hopefully, here it is:

Buzz Marketing with Blogs For Dummies   (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))/Susannah  Gardner

I had to manually view the HTML source code for the web page where I found the book, edit the HTML a little and then go into "Edit HTML" in Blogger's post editor and then center the image. It's not terribly difficult, but it is a pain and quite error-prone.

Go ahead and click on it and see if my link works. Actually, if you go ahead and buy the book after clicking on my link, I should get a small cut of the price.

-- Jack Krupansky

Expanding your "cloud"

Your "cloud" is the extent of your presence on the internet. That includes works of your own, commentary by others, links from web sites and blogs, comments that you post on the blogs of others, etc. Eventually, your cloud will include some amount of media coverage.

My cloud is presently rather small. A Google search for my name in quotes ("Jack Krupansky") and the word "blog" currently returns only 161 hits. Actually, if I go to the last page of search results (which is really 71-72, not 161) and click on the "repeat the search with the omitted results included" link, it gives me 958 hits. Either way, that's not much of a presence at all. I actually do have a somewhat larger "cloud" if I exclude "blog" from the search, but I'm focused right now on expanding my new cloud, especially since my old cloud is rather stale.

Besides writing new blog posts of my own, I'm spending a fair amount of time reading and posting comments on the blogs of others, especially those that really interest me.

-- Jack Krupansky

Friday, April 08, 2005

Free graphics: Open Clip Art Library

If you would like to add some artistic graphics to your blog or web site, check out the new Open Clip Art Library. There are thousands of images from hundreds of artists around the world, all available at no charge. Here's a typical image:

-- Jack Krupansky

Are bloggers journalists?

This is a big question these days and has some significant legal implications as well: "Are bloggers journalists?". A post by Dan Bricklin led me to an essay by Christopher B. Daly, professor of journalism at Boston University, who has written an essay on a web page (but not a blog post) on the topic, entitled "Are Bloggers Journalists? Let's Ask Thomas Jefferson". It's certainly worth considering what factors were relevant to journalism back in the late 1700's, and how the situation has evolved since. Unfortunately, his essay doesn't give a truly definitive answer, but its points include:
  • It is clear that bloggers enjoy First Amendment rights, which are strongest at protecting opinions.
  • It is less clear that they should be entitled to the protections of all the other laws that have been passed since the Founding that affect journalists.
Part of the problem is that a lot of the laws regarding journalists have come about as the business of journalism has evolved dramatically since the time of Jefferson.

I think what's really needed is an open discussion of both free speech and freedom of the press, since in this age of the internet and blogging, it's not so clear that there is really that much of a distinction in cyberspace. Many blog posts are actually quite superior (relevant, informative, timely, and sometimes even more accurate) to much of the material that actually passes for "news" and journalism. Certainly not all, but a critical mass is building.

-- Jack Krupansky

Dave Taylor reporting on the blogging session at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder

Dave Taylor (of the Ask Dave Taylor! blog) has filed an excellent "citizen journalist" report of the session on blogging, entitled "Seven Million Bloggers Can't Be Wrong", at the recent Conference on World Affairs out here in Boulder, Colorado. The thing that I found most shocking in his report was that only one of the panelists was in fact a serious blogger. Rather than being a session with a view from the front lines, this was more of a view from "the enemy", with two traditional newspapers represented on the panel. Nonetheless, Dave's report is well worth reading.

BTW, don't forget to consider attending Dave's upcoming Blog Smart! seminar.

P.S. This is my second attempt to post this post. The first effort was lost in "Blogger space". Here goes...

-- Jack Krupansky

Be careful with long lines

I had to edit my recent post on that Java error message SEVEN times since the Java identifiers were so long that they wouldn't wrap properly on the screen. I'm not sure if the problem is in Internet Explorer or the cryptic CSS file that Blogger uses. In any case, without my manual breaking of the error message text onto separate lines, the white background behind the post extended significantly outside the rounded frame box for the post and caused the stuff on the right of the screen to be moved way down off the screen, past the end of the last post.

-- Jack Krupansky

Blogger lost my post

I was wrong... Blogger in fact did lose my next to last post (on Dave Taylor). I should have played with Blogger until I had verified that the post had "taken", but I was in a hurry and had a little too much faith in Blogger.

-- Jack Krupansky

Latest error from Blogger

I formulated my last post, about Dave Talyor and blogging at the Conference on World Affairs, clicked on "Publish Post", and received the following Java error message from Blogger: We're sorry but the
Blog you're requesting cannot be found
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(
at javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet.service(
at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.
at org.apache.catalina.core.ApplicationFilterChain.doFilter
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardWrapperValve.invoke
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContextValve.invoke
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.authenticator.AuthenticatorBase.invoke
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardHostValve.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.valves.ErrorDispatcherValve.invoke
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.valves.ErrorReportValve.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardEngineValve.invoke
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline$
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardPipeline.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.invoke(
at org.apache.coyote.tomcat4.CoyoteAdapter.service(
at org.apache.jk.server.JkCoyoteHandler.invoke(
at org.apache.jk.common.HandlerRequest.invoke(
at org.apache.jk.common.ChannelSocket.invoke(
at org.apache.jk.common.ChannelSocket.processConnection
at org.apache.jk.common.SocketConnection.runIt(
at org.apache.tomcat.util.threads.ThreadPool$ControlRunnable.

Why on earth do the "professionals" at Blogger think that I have any interest in such drivel?! Maybe they just have a weird sense of humor and maybe they know that I do to, but no user deserves to see such nonsense.

I clicked on the browser back button and now am composing this post. I do think my last post is in fact stored safely within Blogger, but the actual "publishing" process is where Blogger is having most of their problems.

-- Jack Krupansky

Yet another cryptic error from blogger

No sooner had I succesfully posted my last post, then I click on the Blogger icon in the upper left corner of my blog to get to the Blogger "dashboard" and I immediately get the "Ghost-White Screen of Death" from Blogger:
Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
I hit refresh (F5) and I'm back on track, but it's rather disheartening to see such incredibly poor human factors design. I think all web applications need a "middle end" so that probelms on the server can be handled in both a user-friendly and fail-soft manner. If all I had to do was hit F5, why couldn't Blogger have software to do that automatically on their end? Duh! Welcome to the world of software systems designed and implemented and deployed and maintained without one iota of professionalism or "adult supervision". But, that's the world we live in today, so we have to put up with it.

-- Jack Krupansky

Another day with Blogger

I'm just testing to see if even simply blogging is working today. Check... check... testing... 1...2...3. Seems okay.

Gmail still seems broken for sending via SMTP port 465 from Outlook Express.

-- Jack Krupansky

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Unbeliebably bad day with Blogger

Although I have managed to "sneak" a few posts into Blogger today, it has been unbelievably difficult. Tons of error messages, and lot and lots of retrying. Yeah I got in, but it was a true nightmare.

I still believe that these are merely teething pains and that Blogger will work through the mess in fairly short order, but for now it's truly horrible. We'll see how things are in a month.

Sending messages out through Gmail using Outlook SMTP was also a disaster. I finally gave up and used a normal email address to reply to a Gmail message.

The only good news is that I see that Blogger has a "Recover post" button in the post editor. I'm trying that right now.

-- Jack Krupansky

List of blog search engines

Guide to Ebook Marketing has produced a preliminary List of Blog Search Engines. Warning: This is a dated list: August 26, 2004. Their blog hasn't been updated since November 11, 2004.

I found the list in a post by Dylan Greene.

-- Jack Krupansky

CNET: Blogger v. Typepad

CNet has done a comparison of Blogger and Typepad entitled "Your own personal soapbox: two blogger services reviewed". I glanced at it briefly, but it didn't seem to have much of value, but you might have your own opinion.

I like Blogger because it's free and tied in with Google. Typepad seems to be a "preferred" approach by the people who "know".

The real bottom line is that the blogging landscape is still evolving and the winners of tomorrow may not even be on the scene yet.

-- Jack Krupansky

Cool hack from Microsoft: Dual Search

Andy Santo of Microsoft has constructed a cool web page that does a web search on both MSN and Google and shows the results in parallel on the same page. This is a great way to track how your blogs are building your "cloud" in the blogosphere and to see how the horse race between Google and MSN is shaping up.

-- Jack Krupansky

ClearContext: Thinking of Starting a Corporate Weblog?

There's an interesting post on the ClearContext corporate blog entitled "Thinking of Starting a Corporate Weblog?" Here's a summary of their results to date:

  • The weblog has been an excellent source to date for finding new customers. We consistently introduce new customers to ClearContext Inbox Manager via our interaction with other bloggers.
  • We have very quickly put the word out on new product developments. Within days of our blog post on our new release, most of our customers had upgraded and tried out our new features.
  • We have clearly communicated project direction and received direct feedback from our users. It was this feedback that defined many of the features implemented in our v1.1 release.
  • We have used the weblog to provide our customers with a variety of information about email productivity. We’ve posted email tips and techniques, email productivity information from around the web, and hosted a comprehensive email usage survey with help from a number of other bloggers.

BTW, I tried to email this post first, but Blogger was not cooperative this morning.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Descriptive blog titles

I just realized today that my software agent blog did not have a descriptive title. The subtitle or description was descriptive, but I just used the web site "brand" name (Agtivity) without giving poor readers a clue as to what the blog was about. Now, my software agents blog has the title "Agtivity In Pursuit of Software Agent Technology", which has the best of both worlds, a distinctive "brand" and a descriptive title.

The problem is that not every piece of blog-related software displays both your blog's title and it's description. So, you need to pack at least part of the description into your blog title.

-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Michael Hyatt: How to Start a Blog

Michael Hyatt has a concise post entitled "How to Start a Blog". Here are his eight points:
  1. Determine a theme.
  2. Select a service.
  3. Set up your blog.
  4. Write your first post.
  5. Consider using an offline blogging client.
  6. Add the bells and whistles.
  7. Publicize your blog.
  8. Write regularly.
Finally, Michael suggests that you be patient with yourself.

Please read his post for the expanded explanations of those points.

I'm not suggesting that his approach is the best, but I do recognize that each of us has our own worldview and mindset, so we each have to pick and poke at any number of different approaches until we "find our tribe".

-- Jack Krupansky

Ad click fraud

There was an interesting piece on The Register entitled "Google and Yahoo! accused of click fraud collusion". Advertisers pay Google, Yahoo, et al an amazing amount of money to place ads on these top web sites and search result pages (and blogs as well). Well actually, they don't say to place a lot of the ads, but they do pay when anybody clicks on them. This is the way it's supposed to work. Unfortunately, as the article notes:
Click fraud is a growing problem in the search industry. The practice has seen people - such as competitors or unhappy employees - click repeatedly on an ads to run up a bill for the advertiser. This can cost advertisers a lot of money and is difficult to track down.
There is no cost to me to have the ads displayed on my site or blog, but there would be an indirect cost or lost revenue by me if people abuse the "pay-per-click" ads to the extent that advertisers cut back on their ad budgets.

-- Jack Krupansky

Microsoft technical recruiting question: If you were a dog, what type of dog would you be?

Here's a great example of the kind of blog post that draws the reader in and almost forces them to participate in the discussion. The post by one of Microsoft's technical recruiters is entitled "If you were a dog, what type of dog would you be?". How can you not want to answer that question? You can go to the comment section of that post to read my reply.

-- Jack Krupansky

Make you richer? Better sex? Try a little scandal

I ran across one blog that has an eye-catching title graphic with a cartoon bubble with the text "Scoble says blogging will make us richer and improve our sex life...". Here's the graphic, although I can't be sure that it will still be there whenever you view this post:

It actually wasn't easy to get the URL for that graphic since it was embedded down in a .CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) file.

Unfortunately, I had to scale down the graphic (by 10%) to prevent Blogger's blog template from pushing the white post background "out of the box" onto the overall blog background.

This graphic illustrates one of the less-promoted techniques for building a loyal blog audience: create a little scandal. Unfortunately, this is a technique for which I have little expertise to offer.

-- Jack Krupansky

Stephen O'Grady: Blogs 101

There is an interesting post from Stepehn O'Grady entitled "How to Get Into Blogs, 101" that gives a fairly decent introduction of how to get started both authoring and coping with the mind-numbing blizzard of blogs to be read out there.

-- Jack Krupansky

Google Gmail SMTP working fine now

I was finally able to send a message via Google Gmail from Microsoft Outlook Express. It had been hanging with a progress message of "Securing". I did some Google searching for this problem and others have run into it too (big surprise there). Some people suggesting reseting the SMTP port number to 465 (it was already set that way for me). Given that the problem does eventually clear without any intervention on the part of the user, there is some opportunity for "myth-building" about techniques that "cure" the problem. Kind of like "cures for the common cold".

I had already tried exiting and restarting Outlook Express, but I did it again and Gmail finally accepted my outbound message.

-- Jack Krupansky

Another Gmail SMTP outage

I'm once again experiencing an inability to send an outbound Gmail message via SMTP from Microsoft Outlook Express. I'm sure it will start working again in a few minutes, but this kind of disruption prevents the kind of "fire and forget" operation that I've grown accustomed to.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, April 04, 2005

Occassional Gmail connection outages

This is the third time I've been unable to connect to Google Gmail in the past month to send a message from Microsoft Outlook Express. It's been "down" this time for about 10 minutes. I'm sure Gmail will be back shortly, but this is the same kind of occasional outage that AOL and MSN used to have years ago before they figured out how to properly put together their email systems.

Actually, Gmail just came back up just as I was about to hit "Send", but the outage is still notable.

And, as icing on this "cake", I tried emailing this post, but it didn't "take" within a few minutes, so now I'm manually posting it.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Latest email post failure

My latest test of emailing a post to this blog failed. The difference this time was that it failed immediately with a bounce-back message, rather than taking several hours.

-- Jack Krupansky

Blog Smart! - Professional Workshop on Business Blogging

Bill French's MyST Technology Partners is a sponsor of a Dave Taylor workshop entitled "Blog Smart! Professional Workshop on Business Blogging". The workshop topic I like best is:
How to create a cloud of influence in your industry
That is precisely the obstacle I'm bumping into right now.

You can also read Bill French's summary of the workshop.

-- Jack Krupansky

No longer improperly truncated blog

Thank you, Blogger. My blog is no longer being improperly truncated as it was just a few minutes ago. That was very wierd. The blog HTML is presently about 82K and only 37K was displayed during that brief window of time. I'll refrain from speculating about what may have been going on on Blogger's side of the fence.

-- Jack Krupansky

Improperly truncated blog

My apologies, but for some reason Blogger is unceremoniously chopping off the bottom and right side of this blog. It was displaying properly, but I hit control-N in Internet Explorer to open a new window and the bottom and right side (links) were all missing. I hit F5 (Refresh) a couple of times and even told Blogger to republish the entire blog, but still no luck. I examined the HTML source code from IE, and sure enough, the source code ends in the middle of a post. The source isn't huge or anything (37K), and it did display properly and then not properly without any changes on my part. My other Blogger blogs display without anyt problems.

-- Jack Krupansky

Community Server blogging software "platform"

I just noticed that MSDN (Microsoft Developers Network) has migrated at least some of their blogs to the Community Server blog hosting software. Community Server has this to say about themselves:
Community Server is a rich knowledge management and collaboration platform designed to meet the demands of the most rigorous collaborative needs. It is used by fortune 100 companies, small start-up businesses, schools, and individuals to better connect, share, and collaborate. Community Server is perfect for setting up a support system for products, reporting, and general information management by organizations or individuals.

In addition to support for blogging, Community Server supports discussion forums and photo galleries.

I have no other knowledge about this "platform" than what I've briefly gleaned from their web site, but it does look promising for any organization to wants something a bit more sophisticated than basic blogging.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Wikis for structured information

I've known about wikis for some time and have even done a little editing on the Wikipedia myself, but so far I haven't done any of my own wikis. The main feature of a Wiki is the concept of collaborative editing, where one of us authors an article and another person can then edit the article.

One of the primary differences between a blog and a wiki is that the blog has a simple chronological nature to it, whereas a wiki has a logical or conceptual structure.

I am working on a hyper-linked glossary for software agent technology, but presently it's all my own work and I'm thinking about how to make glossary entries machine readable at a finer level of detail, so a simple Wiki doesn't seem to add any real value there, at least right now.

And if you do want to create your own wiki, you have to keep an eye on it since there is already some degree of "wiki spam" going on. Of course there is blog comment spam as well.

-- Jack Krupansky

You've got errors!

Even manually posting from Blogger's web site is still somewhat problematic. I had to publish my last post three times before it finally took. The first two times I got cryptic error messages from Blogger. I would rather that the retries occur on their side of the fence and report success rather than me having to manually republish.

-- Jack Krupansky

RSS feeds for Blogger blogs, or Atom vs. RSS

Everybody's talking about RSS feeds, syndication, aggregation, XML, etc. Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't offer direct support for RSS feeds. It does offer Atom feeds, and it happens that most software than can handle RSS also can handle Atom. More specifically, due to the extreme popularity of Blogger as a blog hosting service, everybody really wants to support what feed file format Blogger supports, which happens to be Atom. I have no idea what the relative merits of RSS and Atom are, but as long as everybody supports Blogger feed files, I'm happy.

To find your Blogger blog's feed file, take the URL for your blog (e.g., and tack on "/atom.xml" (e.g., Note that some software, such as Bloglines, is smart enough to take just the blog URL and then actually figure out what feeds are supported by your blog hosting service.

-- Jack Krupansky

MSN Spaces blog

Microsoft is now offering free blog hosting throught MSN, calling it "MSN Spaces". Just for experimenting, I've created a "Jack Krupansky" blog. I'm not intending to do much if anything with it, but I did put links to my other blogs and web sites. I don't know if that will help my Google page ranking, but it's work a try.

Note: I happen to have an MSN dial-up account, but I think you can get an MSN Spaces account even without using MSN as your ISP. I think you do need an MS Passport id through.

Here's the RSS "feed" syndication for my MSN Spaces blog.

-- Jack Krupansky

Amazing email post finally bounced

Well, my "Amazing" email post finally bounced back this afternoon. I'll keep experimenting with email posts until Blogger finally gets them working properly, but for now I'll do most of my "important" posts directly through the Blogger web interface.

-- Jack Krupansky

Re: Amazing to see email posting work like a charm

[Note: I'm already email posted this post twice, to no avail. This is a manual post through Blogger. The first email post bounced with the usual cryptic message. The second is still floating out there somewhere. The original post was from Friday evening.]

How amazing... I actually managed to post via email to another blog of mine and it went through in a snap! Now all Blogger needs to do is do this consistently. I know that eventually they will, but now is a very trying time for us email bloggers. But for tonight I'm a happy blogger.

-- Jack Krupansky

Friday, April 01, 2005

Confusing order of email post publication

My last email post to this blog was published virtually instantly, including my receipt of the confirmation via Google Gmail.  Unfortunately, the previously email post from just a few minutes ago is still lost out there in Blogger space.  It would be nice to know that posts would be published in the order they are delivered to Blogger, but that presently is not the case.

Not so amazing

Despite the fact that I was able to post immediately to another blog, a post to this blog was not published immediately.  Let's see how long this one takes to get published.