Category Archives: Meta-blog

Meta-blog

Posts about this Distributed Research Blog itself – Meta Blog Posts

Contents
Location Independent Again
Reclaim your lifestream feeds with SweetCron software
Blogging in February
Critique of this blog
Movable blog
Broken Comments
Comment

Posts about this Distributed Research Blog itself – Meta Blog Posts

Location Independent Again

So I’m trying to do some blogging and so on from a location away from home again. The mobile dongle is kind of working intermittently here by the harbour, and I haven’t tried driving to higher land in search of a stronger signal yet. I did find a pub with wi-fi in the next village and we tried that one afternoon. I couldn’t help thinking that it would be a bit of a shame if this becomes the future of pubs – people sitting down by themselves staring at laptops while nursing half a pint.

Another possibility for the future of pubs is as a local community service where you can go to collect your parcels and other deliveries.

pub

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Reclaim your lifestream feeds with SweetCron software

How significant is SweetCron for lifestreaming and Web2.0

Every now and then some new idea or process or thing pops up that isn’t a slow burn, it jumps out and says “Hey, this is the way to GO”. Friendfeed was one such, and further back WordPress, Flickr, MediaWiki, Furl etc etc. Today I was introduced to the latest and have to blog about it right away, it’s called sweetcron.

Bee Tweets about Sweetcron lifestream software

So this tweet from my friend Bee on Twitter caught my eye earlier this evening.

Twitter / Bee Kerouac: have just downloaded Sweetcron

“have just downloaded Sweetcron and installed it on my server to create my lifestream http://barbaradieu.com/lifestream/ …”

Intrigued I took a quick look and instantly understood that this was something important. A piece of opensource software called sweetcron that allows you to run your own lifestreaming site is exactly the missing piece to all of this blogging, microblogging, web-2.0-ing and friendfeeding messy business.

No longer is it necessary to leave all your own writing and other content scattered about on websites owned by other organisations large and small, where at the drop of a hat they might suddenly introduce lots of adverts, go selfishly no-follow like Wikipedia (and now Friendfeed too), start charging a membership fee or get taken over by google, yahoo or whoever.

Sweetcron is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)

I was delighted to see that the sweetcron software Bee installed to make the lifestream site is Free and Open Source, just like WordPress, so I determined to have a go myself straight away.

Google brings up the site which could have been guessed. Its by a developer called Yongfook who self proclaims to be an internet Z-list celebrity.

I put in my email address to join the public beta and received an email confirmation request. On reply I got the link to download the software, view documentation and join a googlegroup support list. Great, I like that.

Sweetcron - The Automated Lifestream Blog Software

Andy Roberts blog is born

Meanwhile I registered a new domain – andyrobertsblog.co.uk

I can’t believe that’s the first Andy Roberts domain I’ve ever bought, but the whole story about why it’s been problematic was documented 8 years ago on the Andy Roberts FAQ

Anyway, I pointed the new domain at my Hostgator account and within minutes the DNS had resolved and I was up and running. All that was left was to set up a mySQL database, upload the sweetcron software and edit a couple of config files to put the database and domain details in. Literally 5 minutes work if that.

Andy Roberts Sweetcron blog

I’ve reclaimed some of my own feeds already, and I can now add any others just as easily to my own site as to Friendfeed, Lifestream.fm, SecondBrain or SuperGlu etc.

What’s still missing in Sweetcron

Sweetcron is not yet a mature product, and there are some holes that need filling. One is perhaps to allow comments to be hosted alongside the items in the stream. At present it is suggested to use Discus for that.

Another is that the title tags in each permalink are duplicates for each element from a single feed. That’s not very clever but can probably be fixed in third party themes and plugins which will no doubt start to appear once the enormous advance that this sweetcron way of hosting lifestreams represents is more widely appreciated.

Should you set up a sweetcron lifestream blog?

Personal brands are often overlooked but have a habit of becoming important to whatever it is that you do, eventually.

Things are only going to get tougher for all of these Web2.0 applications companies, and in my opinion, whether you already have a self hosted personal blog or not, the sooner you get started and set up your own sweetcron lifestreaming blog on your own domain the better. Reclaim the feeds!

Sweetcron Video by Yongfook

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Blogging in February

I’m hearing some complaints about the “February Blues” and bloggers block which made me wonder whether there’s any truth in the idea that this month is more difficult for bloggers get inspiration than the rest of the year. february

Well a blog is by definition time-orientated so it’s easy to go back and look at previous posts all from the month of February, over the years. I was quite surprised at the result of this excercise, which is summarised below :

February 2007 (33 posts)

Wow, more than one post per day last year in February, but what was it all about?

But maybe February 2007 just happened to be an eventful month, so how about previous years?

February 2006 (15)

Half the volume, but double the intensity?

February 2005 (10)

For February 2005 we have to go back to a seperate blog to which were imported archives from my ultralab blog “have envelope, will push” which was taken offline. Then for the month of February we find a series of posts:

February 2004 (1)

For February 2004 I can only find one post, so I’m not sure what happened there. It’s on an old blogger blog, and concerns Gordon Pask, the cybernetician who developed ideas about learning called “conversational theory”.

February 2003 (0)

In February 2003 I didn’t have a blog, well not one that would be recognised as such nowadays, and you might have found me discussing LOGO in uk.schools.education-it

So there we have a round up of posts from previous Februaries, a month renowned for winter blues, longing for springtime and having to put up with the second or third sesonal headcold. Atishoo.

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Critique of this blog

Ning Group

I went to the better blog Ning group which is kind of a community of practice for some bloggers, and asked for a critique of my blog, from the point of view of a new reader. It’s one of the tasks in Darren Rowse‘s 31 day challenge. Then I hid under the duvet and waited to see what, if anything, might arise. Christine Martell responded with a screencast which is a great way to review any website.

Screencast

The screencast is hosted at screencast.com which means I can’t at present embed it here, so here’s an ordinary text link to go and listen to Christine as she explores this blog and remarks upon it, followed by my response below:

Response

Many thanks for the screencast Christine, you gave me several things to think about and work on there. That was a great way to communicate about a blog’s functionality and hopefully took up a bit less of your time than typing up a critique. You also hit the nail exactly on the head straight away by exposing the central problem that I’m grappling with – the combination of several seemingly unrelated themes or niches into one blog. The only thing that ties them altogether is the common author, myself. So I have diverse target audiences, apart from the very small audience that may be interested in me, friends and family so to speak. So I’m always trying to isolate the categories and pages into slices that can be consumed on their own. What I discovered from Google Analytics is that certain individual posts can gain an audience of their own, coming from the search engines and then moving onwards. This is in fact how I’ve started to derive a small income from the blog, to recoup expenses, through some individual posts in the archive. But a series of individual disconnected posts does not a blog make. Which is why I set myself the goal of increasing RSS subscriptions and joined in the current 31daystoabetterblog group, to see if I can bring it all together a bit more. One thing I’m considering is to see if I can provide a selection of RSS feeds for the main categories. That’s better than having separate blogs, although I do have some of those as well!

Action points from the critique:

  • Explain Social objects at the beginning of the jump-off page
  • Tweak the RSS “Full” panel ( built in to theme)
  • Explore moving the comments link ( also theme)
  • Keep grappling with the challenge of serving unrelated niches

Is it time to consider changing themes? Probably not in the middle of all this other activity.

Thanks again Christine for giving great feedback.

Oh, and I’ve also wondered about the feeling of being ‘watched’ and spotlighted by mybloglog as we surf around each other’s blogs, not at all anonymously. I suppose we are assumed to have taken that on board when we join that service. I’ve tried three of these type of things and ditched the other two. I also upgraded mybloglog for the better stats, which I find very useful in combination with Google Analytics.

Now over to other readers:

What did you think of Christine’s screencast and my response? Can you help me understand better some of the issues raised, or maybe add your own points please? I promise not to turn it into a blog all about blogging, there are enough of those already.

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Posted in Blogs and community, Meta-blog, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Movable blog

ED: This was the last post on “Have Envelope Will Push” an archive blog which has now been consolidated and deleted.

Well this blog was on the way out anyway, and the broken comments system gives it ‘A Final Push’ perhaps not in the way the retitling intended.

I wrote in the technology section of my draft Research Proposal :

*Professional public Blog.

The blog which I’ve been posting to for the last 20 months is reaching the end of its useful life, being powered by an out of date version of the once popular Movable Type 2.6 hosted at ultralab.

So from now on I may post the occasional announcment here, but if anybody might happen to be interested in keeping up with what I’m doing, you may want to change your subscriptions.

My new professional/research blog is at :

distributedresearch.net/blog

Comments feed:

Wiki Recent Changes:

My old Learning Journal is still on Blogger

(This one gets my posts from 43things dumped onto it) :

http://andyroberts.blogspot.com/

Feeburner feed (even noisier) :

others

Photos on Flickr RSS:

Goal Setting on 43things RSS:

See you around.

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Broken Comments

Comments on Ultralab Movable Type blogs are broken again.

“Your comment could not be submitted due to questionable content: Oh “

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Comment

Derek Pulvino wrote to me on Jun 4 re my entry How to join photos to make a panorama

“Tried to post this to your blog, but it wouldn’t let me. Anyhow, appreciate the info, that is until I got the sexcams and other such frilliness. 🙂

Anyhow, I often use panorama photos in my job. I do property survey work and like to use a panorama from time to time. Notice the same problems with angles and exposures. Well, tried out this advice after finding you via google and looks quite a bit better. Now to figure out the feathering tool on my grafix program.

Thanks again,

Derek P”

The problem with comment posting on this blog has been reported and should be fixed after tomorrow sometime, hopefully.

See also Jonathan’s blog

my gmail address is over there ———–>

Posted in Meta-blog | 2 Comments

Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about Meta-blog on the DARnet Blog