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September 15, 2004

 
Indiatimes doesn't quite get blogging yet. While it's great that they've been linking to several of their blogs off their heavily-visited home page, the blogs (quality-of-writing arguments aside) remain anonymous, with most having only a post or two. IMO this is the wrong way to boot a thriving weblog community. Here are some of the things I'd be thinking about if I was running O3.

First: encourage readers to identify -- anonymous weblogs are about as interesting as random Usenet posts. Many users may wish to remain pseudo-anonymous, this is perfectly okay if like Belle de Jour they make clear who they are and what they're writing about. Of course, many of Indiatimes' visitors are net neophytes and unfamiliar with online etiquette, but this problem is likely to go away with time. Second: comment spam is a huge turn-off to would-be bloggers, so help them understand how they can crack down on comment spam. For example, the user who wrote this post hasn't posted again yet -- not surprising given the virulent reaction and comment spam he got. Third: use a "quiet period" to let bloggers "find their voice" and actually fill up those pages with something, instead of linking first-post weblogs from the front page merely because they have catchy titles.

That said, I think it's great that larger numbers of Indian netizens are getting their feet wet with blogs. In a country whose citizens have been talked down to for far too long (by just about anyone with authority, including their elders and rulers) blogs provide an excellent way to reverse the flow.

 

September 14, 2004

 
Firefox's support for feeds via Live Bookmarks is great, but it's support for the RSS 2.0 spec is wobbly, to say the least. For example, as of now (version 1.0PR), feeds without a link subelement within item will not load, with a message "Live Bookmark feed failed to load" that's as unhelpful to the user as it is to the feed author who's trying to figure out what's going wrong.

This bug makes it impossible to use Firefox to subscribe to heavily-subscribed feeds like, for example, the Scripting News feed. The Firefox community really needs to expand their testcases for this feature if it's to not look half-assed when 1.0 ships for real.

 

September 07, 2004

 
Packetyzer is a Windows-based packet analyzer based on Ethereal that's much easier to use.

 

September 01, 2004

 
Speaking of of girlie men... Detail from a potrait of King Louis XIV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701.

 


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