Friday, 13 November 2009

A blog by any other name ...

We have decided to take the plunge and open up the iProfessionals group even more. Since it doesn't seem to be possible to let anyone read the Yahoo group without also letting them post graffiti willy-nilly, and also to give us more flexibility, we are moving over to Google's Blogger system.

The new iProfessionals URL is theiprofessionals.blogspot.com/ although we will run the two in parallel for a while and copy recent posts over to the Blogger version ... and keep the archive intact.

Initially I have set the comments to be open to anyone who is logged in to Google, either with a Google account or an OpenID. So please feel free to chip in to any discussions.

If any of you would like to contribute new postings then I will happily add you to the blog authors list ... just drop me an email at andy@atsf.co.uk. You don't have to have anything to say now, this is some forward planning.

Why is it theiprofessionals and not just iprofessionals? That one is already taken. You should check it out.

We won't make Technorati's top 100 blogs list just yet.

What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction? You can still set up an email notification if you want and you can even get an RSS feed of the posts and discussions. Going for Google's existing system was a pragmatic decision and I have already used Blogger for my Infrared 100 centenary site and am using Google Analytics and Adsense on some of my own web pages.

(Funny story: I put Adsense ... contextual advertising... onto my page about the BBC Domesday Project and initially it put up adverts for glass domes! It has since settled down to surprisingly relevant things like data backup and storage but I was rather amused by that first stab. It reminded me of a parsing system I once used which thought that Andes ... as in the mountain range ... was the plural of the word and.)

I am all in favour of using existing and even shared services if they're appropriate. You see this happening a lot in the consumer world, notably with even professional photographers using either Flikr or SmugMug rather than building (or having built) portfolio sites of their own. Are these the kinds of things that you should recommend to your clients? Well yes, if they do the job and the client's brand or reputation isn't diminished by it.

A client of mine is experimenting with one of the social networking recommendation systems called ShareThis which gives an easy way to flag pages on things like Twitter, Delicious, Stumbledupon and even Blogger. It's too early to tell whether this will increase traffic but it does add an extra option for analytics to your pages.

And then there is SideWiki. It's not a wiki ... more a Post-It note ... but it is on the side. Have you come across this yet?

Never mind what you may want to scribble on your web pages, this lets anyone scribble on them. You'll need IE or Firefox to try it out.

Info: www.google.com/sidewiki/intl/en/learnmore.html

You can take this one of two ways: it is encouraging grafitti (back to that again) or it provides a way for experts to add insight to existing pages. More likely something in between. As a publisher (how grand that sounds) you can launch a pre-emptive strike by adding your own sidenote to your own pages, as I have done on the home page of Invisible Light.

It raises an interesting issue as well. I think that until now the content of a web page has had a well-defined publisher, but who is the publisher of a web page plus its SideWiki? Can they be joint if they have no real connection with each other? If the web page publisher does not activate SideWiki they may not even know that comments are being posted.

And finally ...

Getting examples is often difficult, especially understandable legal ones. I recently came across a web site called Chilling Effects whuch describes itself thus: "Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities ... [and] encourages respect for intellectual property law, while frowning on its misuse to "chill" legitimate activity."

Obviously this collaboration between the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a group of law schools is based on US law (especially the First Amendment bit) but it still makes interesting reading and is an example of how legalese can be translated into people-speak.

www.chillingeffects.org

For example ... legal issues around web linking: (http://www.chillingeffects.org/linking/faq.cgi) In this you will see that Chilling Effects' comments about inlining of images and framing do not seem to concur with Graham Smith's notion (in 'Internet Law and Regulation') of an 'Implied Licence'. When lawyers disagree, treasuries tremble!

Your thoughts on the iProfessionals blog please.

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