Category Archives: weblog

Images for Blogging Sites

One of the main things that bloggers face every day is finding photos to accompany blog post that are free from copyright.

Sadly it is a jungle out there, and with millions of photos on the net you often have no way of tracking down the source, and even when you find a photo you think has been made available to the public domain it may in fact not be. My rule here has been, when in doubt don’t post it and to stay away from Google Image search.

Often times we get lucky and the PR firms will provide us with stock photos we can use, more often than not though we have to fend finding images on our own. Sometimes it is better to play it safe and not put any image up with an accompanying article. There are a number of sources for public domain images, but one has to be very careful and read the fine print on each image license to make sure that it can be used on a commercial website.

Over the coming weeks you will be seeing images on GNC coming from the folks at BigStock Photo, who have a huge library of stock images that can be licensed at a reasonable prices thus avoiding the concerns over using someones image incorrectly.

Image: Workgroup Image by BigStock

Is CNN Calling For Curbs On Free Speech?

On July 23, 2010, CNN anchors Kyra Phillips and John Roberts discussed on air the idea that bloggers should be somehow “held accountable” or perhaps regulated in some way. Here’s the video of that exchange.

It’s no secret that CNN and other so-called mainstream media outlets, both broadcast and print, have had for some time now an ongoing loss of viewers and readers. A number of traditional journalists from time to time have had and expressed an almost open hostility towards bloggers and the Internet. They perceive the Internet as a threat to their business models, and their vaunted self-appointed job as information “gatekeepers.”

If you look back over the past few years, almost every major story, particularly scandal stories, originated first on blogs. In many cases the mainstream media were dragged kicking and screaming into reporting stories. The clearly forged National Guard documents that ultimately ended up forcing CBS to fire evening news anchor Dan Rather comes to mind from a few years ago. Bloggers quickly picked up on the fact that the supposed National Guard documents had been typed up in the default template for Microsoft Word and then ran through a fax and/or copy machine a number of times to make the documents look dirty and/or old. The trouble was, Microsoft Word didn’t exist in 1973. If it weren’t for bloggers, this story would have likely never come to public light, and what is clearly a forgery and a made-up story would have passed into the public mind as the truth.

Should free speech be curbed? Should bloggers somehow be licensed or officially regulated in what is purportedly a free country? Should we be forced to get our news from “professional” or even “licensed” journalists?

I Guess It’s Not My Data…

So today I got a client’s new website up and running. They had a service that basically built their website for them, which really wasn’t working for them. I ended up changing the whole service.

Before I did, I looked for a way to get all the photos off the old server. They had no FTP, no file manager and no way to get the photos off their servers. I emailed the support asking for a copy of all the pictures. What I got back really knocked my socks off:

Thanks for your message.

Unfortunately we don’t have any more access to your images than you do.

If you don’t have those images still on your own computer, the best way to download them might be to add them to a Photo Album, then view the album and download each image.

Sorry for any inconvenience!

Software Support Technician

Granted, the material on the site can be reproduced, but that means a little more work on my end. I was not too happy to hear someone couldn’t give back the content that is not theirs.

It’s not like this was a Geocities account. The company payed $20 a month to store data on. I can’t believe they just said “no” like that.

I know not everyone wants to know how to build a website. It’s not always the easiest thing to do. I’m just glad the site wasn’t too complex. I would’ve had a field day with their tech.

Instead, I canceled the membership and put the site on a trusted server.

A New Kind Of Comment Spam

I and others have been noticing a new kind of blog spam. Essentially relevant comments, being written by real people but linking to spam sites. I have noticed an increased number of these types of comments.

It is apparent that the battle on the comment spam front is starting to use real people. It is very apparent when you load the linked URL, they either try to link it from their contact info or are trying to hide a hyperlink in a period or single word so that it is not so obvious when you view the comment thread.

They are being pretty smart about it because a recent spammer I caught had left 10 comments without any external links. I assume this was to build trust within the system before he startrf to drop external links.

Bots are relative easy to beat but if spammers are using real people to leave relevant comments linking to their spam sites this will be a bigger challenge.

Talking with other bloggers with higher page ranks they are seeing similar tactics. I am at the point where I will ban any external URL’s from being posted by commenters.


Why “I” choose Movable Type over WordPress

I can sum it up in one word “Security” I have never had a MT install exploited. Cannot say the same for WordPress. I missed one of their frequent security updates and my mom’s blog got exploited in less than 2 days after the security patch was issued by WP.

I also run all of my blogs from a single control panel. One MT install drives all of my sites. I have nearly 20 blogs all running from a single control panel try that with wordpress. Thus when their is a update I update a single installation and I am finished.

The Movable Type editor also simply works, when I use an external editor like Blogjet as I am now. I know that when I hit publish the the way I have typed it in the editor is going to be the way it is displayed on my blog.

WordPress is nearly impossible to work with in the templating department. But the MT templating is very simple and it is very easy to make changes, great for novices that want to have a website that looks like their own. I get sick of seeing all of the cookie cutter boring design that make up a large number of WordPress sites.

I run both MT and WP blogs, and I will say without reservation that while I have given MT grief in the past for some of the things they have and have not done.  I can say that the MT platform is much more stable and it handles heavy traffic loads a lot better than WordPress ever will. SixApart

Note: This may sound hypocritical but for people just starting a blog that only need a single website WordPress is a good choice. I have stated on this blog that I would only recommend wordpress and generally that is the recomendation I give people. But I do add my concerns as listed above. For me though, and the way “I” run this site MT remains my only viable choice.

Gizmodo should be banned from all Media Events!

Andy McCaskey and I just spent a week in Vegas working CES. We busted our butts did not get much sleep in fact from Monday to Thursday it was a whole 14 hours for me.

We spoke to hundreds of vendors and were well received by all. Every booth we went to we were welcomed with open arms.  The vendors gave us access to Program Managers, Engineers, Product Development Teams, CEO’s etc..

We were invited to dinner by several groups in no pitch events that were really nice.

But what I have just seen on Gizmodo makes me really mad. A number of us have worked hard for a number of years to build the trust and gain acceptance in this show. We have had to provide examples of our content from previous years to get access to separate events like Show Stoppers.

We came and we worked, we did not Party we worked like dogs and to find out that some Gizmodo staff sabotaged a vendors booth at CES makes me sick to my stomach.

What a bunch of Amateurs, you have been invited to the event, they have given you credentials, you have been allowed access to a special lounge for the event to do work from an then you pull a stunt like this.

I say ban Gizmodo from every event that they want to cover in 2008. Many of us have worked this show on our own dime, and do not need some punks causing bloggers to get a bad name. My expenses to CES were at least $4000.00 alone that I paid out of pocket. This act can set the good will of companies towards podcasters and bloggers back a long way.

Gizmodo you deserve any punishment that is dished out. I hope Motorola, CEA takes legal action against you! [Stupid Gizmodo]


Gawker Media is now Old Media

I had to laugh today when I read Gawker Media is going to pay performance bonuses to Bloggers on their network based on the traffic the drive to the site makes me really sit back and ask why?

Some of the Gawker Media blogs are top notch. They are probably read by a lot of people that are influential in the community. So why now are they worried about page views.

Is it that the revenue they are generating is solely reliant on the number of page views that they now have to push their editors to focus solely on driving page views.

Again folks my thoughts is that Audience numbers / Page Views are not important its the influences and engagement of those that do subscribe. It has been a long time since Gizmodo or Engadget have influenced a purchase of mine.

The reason is pretty simple I don’t feel that they are that objective. They say they are bloggers but to me their content is a breeding ground for content being feed to them by PR and marketing people. ValleyWag