Category Archives: Community


Orbit Tower blogging the Olympics and Paralympics
Delete WordPress Plugins with ManageWP
When will Google+ allow people to add their own feeds?
Facebook Scams
The Cooperative movement was born out a mixture of radical socialism and paternalist philanthropy
Yahoo! MyBlogLog Closing 24th May 2011
Blog Action Day 2010 – #BAD2010

Orbit Tower blogging the Olympics and Paralympics

Blogging the Orbit Tower during the Olympic Games and Paralympics

Orbit Tower Media Centre

Orbit Tower Media Centre

For the duration of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the run up to the Olympics and Paralympics I’ve been blogging daily over at The Orbit Tower  1 . It’s been quite fun and a little bit exciting at times such as one particular weekend when a post about the Yorkshire Medals Table went viral on Facebook and Twitter. I’d prepared the site beforehand for big surges in traffic and I’m pleased to say it held up really well.

I learned or rather re-learned the practice of rapid interaction spread over multiple channels feeding back into developing more content on the main site. Success breeds success in this respect, so it seemed to work better for me when I was concentrating on the same topic every day for an intense period rather than spreading myself out over multiple diverse areas of work.

Realtime Analytics

One new tool which came into play was the Google Analytics Realtime beta service. This shows how people are finding and navigating a site on a minute by minute basis, rising from a dozen or so at a time during the main period up to over 120 simultaneous visits during the peak. When you have that amount of traffic you can really see what the hungry visitors are trying to find at that particular juncture in the developing story.

Paralympics to come

It’s all quiet again now, almost, and there isn’t as yet any sign that the Paralympics are going to be anywhere near as high profile as we would like, but that may change once the TV coverage gets underway again on Channel 4. The actual number of Paralympic athletes themselves is 4,200 competitors from 147 nations taking part in 21 sports compared with 10,820 at the Olympics from 204 nations in 26 sports, so the amount of buzz generated by participants, coaches, trainers, entourage and families etc might be just under half, it all depends whether the inspirational trailers such as “Meet the Superhumans” really do deliver a brand new audience around the world and not just in the host country UK.

The US is a waste of time of course, with their NBC only scheduled to show a few short edited highlight programmes. They didn’t even show the whole of the epic Opening Ceremony from July, so we can forget about them.

The Orbit Tower

Searching for Orbit Tower Tickets

Searching for Orbit Tower Tickets

And what of the Orbit Tower? Well the ticketing has been a major complicating factor, restricting the number of people who could manage to navigate the obstacles to obtain the correct combination of orbit and olympic or park tickets to a mere trickle, but millions of people around the world caught sight of the sculpture on the Olympics coverage and many formed instant opinions about the artwork. I even quite like the way the very presence of the Orbit seems to cause a little bit of outrage in some people. They want to know what it’s for. What purpose does it have? And in that respect it is doing its job as a piece of art to make people question what a tower can be.

People who fell in love with the Olympic Park while they were there tended to learn to love the Orbit Tower a little bit as well. What will become of it after all the sport is long finished and forgotten, only time will tell.

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  1. Orbit Tower blog at []
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Delete WordPress Plugins with ManageWP

I’ve just been using ManageWP beta – the web utility for managing multiple WordPress installations – to delete an obsolete plugin from several of my older blogs.

The functionality to delete or deactivate plugins was a much requested feature that was added to the many useful operations that ManageWP can perform for you just a couple of weeks ago, and it really does make this web service indispensable for anybody with more than just a couple of WordPress installations. I was recommending before, but even more so now.

The plugin I wanted to deprecate in my installations was called Viper’s Video QuickTags, very handy in it’s day for embedding youtube videos withing blog posts, but that functionality was added into the core WordPress code several versions ago, which renders the plugin redundant for me.

Plugins and Themes

Plugins and Themes

With ManageWP I could select “plugins and themes” from the sidebar, then chose All Websites, tick plugins, active, and search by keyword: “viper”. That gave me a list of five blogs that still had the old plugin active. I could have deactivated the lot in one fell swoop just like that, but I wanted to make sure all my old posts with videos embedded would still work so, without even leaving the ManageWP dashboard, I went to each affected individual WordPress dashboard in turn, and searched through the posts for the string “[youtube”, that being the way the old plugin recognised source posts needing to have the embed code added. I then removed the shortcodes from each end of the video identifier leaving just the youtube url on one line by itself, which WordPress now interprets as a request to embed video inline. Once the legacy code was removed, I could then deactivate and delete the plugin, leaving me with a nice feeling of having tidied up a longstanding loose end.


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When will Google+ allow people to add their own feeds?

When if at all, will Google+ allow people to add their own RSS feeds?

Friendfeed took off when rooms were added, harnessing the power of the so-called social interest graph, but it started to lose appeal again when they allowed the automated inclusion of rss feeds into those rooms by the room owners, slowly drowning out the interesting and genuine conversations.

Facebook allows the automated inclusion of feeds via 3rd party apps, but between the Facebook users and Facebook themselves, they have managed to deprecate content from feeds so that original content and human shares take priority over feeds.

Now some Google+ users are clamouring for the ability to be able to add their own streams from elsewhere directly into their own circles, which would amount to the same mistake as Friendfeed made. But Google+ hasn’t even enabled some kind of groups, rooms or interests yet, either because they still don’t understand the dynamics of social networks, or because they are rolling out such features in waves, and this one hasn’t arrived yet.

Google’s record with groups isn’t a good one. They bought Dejanews, the web interface for usenet newsgroups, one of the original computer facilitated social networks, and did nothing much with it for nearly a decade.

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Facebook Scams

Dear FB Friends/Family:

You can’t find out who saw your profile. You won’t see what you’ll
look like in the future. You won’t know what that man saw when he
walked in on his daughter. There are no free IPads. And you can’t see
the video of Osama’s death… Not on Facebook. Please stop clicking
the spam links and exposing yourself and friends to virus risks.via posterous

Posted in Community, Epidemiology, Facebook, Randomness | Comments Off on Facebook Scams

The Cooperative movement was born out a mixture of radical socialism and paternalist philanthropy

The Cooperative movement was born out a mixture of radical socialism and paternalist philanthropy during a period of upheavals and change. It was a group called The Rochdale Pioneers who established the first successful co-operative in 1844, starting a revolution which is still going strong. Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society Ltd In theory the cooperative movement provides an alternative to capitalism by changing the relationship between the workers and the owners of business. In a workers coop the business is owned by the workers collectively, although it still has to operate in a capitalist marketplace. Not all coops are workers coops though. The coop retail service was a form which claimed to share the ownership of the enterprise with the customers rather than just the workers. Customers were paid a dividend, terminology deliberately derived from shareholders dividends, which was paid out periodically according the amount spent in the coop supermarket. This system degenerated into a stamps scheme, which ended up almost like green shield stamps and is mirrored today by the loyalty card schemes operated by distinctly non cooperative retail giants Sainsbury and Tesco.

The Cooperative Good for Everyone

There is much more to the Cooperative movement than the visible shops trying to compete on our high streets and retail parks though. Today in the UK, as well as The Co-operative Group with its six million members and 5,000 outlets across its family of businesses including food, financial services, travel, pharmacy and funerals, there are thousands of other co-operators who share the same heritage. The cooperative model is often the best way for rural communities to organise services such as broadband into areas where the big telecoms companies can’t be bothered to deliver. Alternative energy is another good example:

LR Coop Wind farm

The UK’s first community owned wind farm, Baywind Energy Co-operative was established in 1996. The project has always favoured local investors, that way the economic benefits of the wind farm are kept within the community it serves. In 1998 Baywind secured a loan from The Co-operative Bank to purchase two turbines for their Harlock Hill site. It has also received several grants from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub to develop new, co-operatively owned wind farms across the UK. Baywind now typically generates around 10,000MWh of electricity each year – enough to power around 30,000 homes. And along with educational visits throughout the year, it funds environmental books for local schools. There’s even a Coop Facebook page now,which you can ‘Like’ to get updates. The Co-operative Join the revolution Get involved

Sponsored Post

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Yahoo! MyBlogLog Closing 24th May 2011

It’s a shame, I found the stats facility in MyBlogLog a nice and quick alternative to Google Analytics.

We will officially discontinue Yahoo! MyBlogLog effective May 24, 2011.

  We recommend Yahoo! Pulse as a service for you to see all your social updates from your favorite networks in one place.

Andy Roberts - MyBlogLog

Andy Roberts - MyBlogLog

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Blog Action Day 2010 – #BAD2010

The topic for Blog Action Day 2010 is water, and I’m just going to link out to some other entries from here, this time.

In 2009 I wrote blog-action-day-when-the-waters-rise

In 2007, the first blog action day, I explained that individual-action-is-not-enough

So this year I entered another song, Mondura Dam which according to the composer, myself, is bang on topic. It’s over on the Andy Roberts Podcast blog: Mondura Dam – as long as we have water and a piece about how to make cider using much less water to make cider than beer

This has been a post for blog action day 2010 tagged #BAD10

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Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Community on the DARnet Blog