Category Archives: Blogging

Arcane Thoughts: Tidbits from the web

I’m headed out on a road trip, so this will most likely be the only post this week. Just wanted to hit a few interesting tidbits I’ve found on the web this week.

If you haven’t been keeping up with .Net Rocks lately, you should (see the Arcane Links page). The last few shows have been some really good interviews with lots of super geeky, in depth technical content. The Kate Gregory show was really great (“It’s the speed of light. We’re screwed.”) The MLB show was really good on WCF and card space.

Want to see something disturbing? Thanks to Carl Franklin, I may never look at another chicken mcnugget again. http://www.alnyethelawyerguy.com/al_nye_the_lawyer_guy/2007/03/so_what_really_.html

There’s an interesting list of top 10 lists on Coding Horror. http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000822.html

One of my posts got quoted on the CBS blog report. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/19/blogophile/main2586598.shtml

And finally, someone I know just started her blog, go check it out: http://robin-newhorizons-bhm.blogspot.com

Have a good week!

Arcane

Arcane Thoughts: Ze Frank’s Web

Ze Frank has had me thinking about the role of creativity on the web. A lot. There’s a great deal of talk about Web 1.0 versus Web 2.0. Certainly there are some compelling new technologies that some might consider falling into the 2.0 field, such as AJAX.

I don’t think Web 2.0 can be defined by technology though. I think it’s more about the way people use the web. Web 1.0 became strongly driven by business. Sure, individuals had pages, but it was business who dominated Web 1.0.

With 2.0, it seems the individual has moved to the forefront. Blogs, podcasts, videocasts, twitter, all examples of the individual extending his or her creativity to the web. Not only does it give a place to host, but to communicate. An artist can get immediate feedback and interaction with their audience. A global, world wide audience.

In the interest of extending my own creative streak, I’m branching out, trying some of the new services. I’ve setup new twitter and tumblog accounts. Twitter, well I’m not sure why, to be honest I’m not 100% sold on the usefulness, but what the heck.

My tumblog will host my pictures. I’ve had a long interest in digital photography, and I’ll put some of my favorites here for you to enjoy.

http://twitter.com/arcanecode

http://arcanecode.tumblr.com/

Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting .Net magic here, but everyone has to find ways to be awesome. How about you?

Robert Scoble is a Space Alien and I’m Carrying His Love Child

[Picture of Tony Robbins] Self help guru and life trainer Anthony Robbins (http://www.anthonyrobbins.com/) talks about a principle he calls CANI, Constant And Never ending Improvement. As part of my process of continuous self improvement I was looking for advice on writing a better blog.

[Love Child] First let me set the record straight, I’m not really carrying Scoble’s love child. It can walk (well, slither) just fine on it’s own, thank you very much. And the space alien thing is just a rumor. Really. Any resemblance between the love child (above) and Scoble (below) is purely coincidental, antenna not withstanding.

[Robert Scoble - Space Alien??]In a recent post (http://scobleizer.com/2006/12/07/help-a-san-jose-mercury-news-columnist-blog/) Robert was giving some helpful hints to journalist Mike Cassidy (http://www.mercextra.com/blogs/cassidy/) on how to attract folks to his blog. Some really great tips, including using a catchy, controversial name for your entries. Oh, something like “Robert Scoble is a Space Alien and I’m Carrying His Love Child”.

In his advice, Mr. Scoble also suggests making the subtitle of your blog more meaningful, and focused on your target audience. This is good advice that I have implemented. You may notice in my header I’ve changed from “Computer Sorcery at it’s Best” to “Making Microsoft .Net Development Magical” which isn’t as catchy but does a much better job of describing the general theme of my blog. Of course this isn’t the first time Scoble has dispensed blogging advice, he has good information in his Naked Conversations work. (See http://redcouch.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/9_random_though.html ).

Robert’s not the only one in the family with good advice on blogging either. His lovely wife Maryam had a great post on her site titled 10 Ways To Write A Killer Blog: http://maryamie.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!9592F3DEF41537A3!2373.entry#comment )

Looking for other good advice, I found an excellent post from someone named Helen’s. Her post “Increasing Traffic To Your Blog” can be found at http://imhelendt.wordpress.com/2006/09/16/increasing-traffic-to-your-blog/ . Over at ProBlogger, they have created a whole page full of good articles called “Blogging for Beginners” (http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/blogging-for-beginners-2/). Even if you are not wanting to make money from your blog, there is still a lot of good info here.

Dennis Mahoney has some good advice on writing for the web in his post “How To Write A Better Weblog” (http://alistapart.com/articles/writebetter/ ). While his advice is aimed at the blogger, overall it is sound for any form of written communication.

I’d like to wrap this up with a little advice of my own. First and foremost, offer value. One of my goals is to offer readers a little something extra that they might not find elsewhere. Perhaps it’s through consolidating information, like I’ve done here, or providing details that I have not seen elsewhere in the blogosphere, like my Virtual PC Step by Step entry.

My next piece of advice would be to write nearly every day. Consistency is the key to creating an effective blog and attracting an audience. It’s very disheartening to find what looks like it could be a good blog, but seeing it only gets updated once a month. I create new entries every week day, generally taking the weekends off.

The number of entries you post in a day is up to you, and the nature of your blog. Since I like to teach and try to do that through my blog, I tend to post one new item a day. Mike Cassidy (see link above) has a news oriented blog, so he too would typically want to present one story a day unless there was breaking news of some kind. Robert Scoble, however, tends to produce many entries a day because his blog is a mixture of quick newsbites mixed with personal observations.

If writing every day seems a bit too much, then do a weekly blog, or do what I do write up your entries in advance and then post one a day. As I mentioned, consistency is the key.

Finally, even if you are not interested in writing your own blog, I would encourage you to read through some of the links I’ve included. It will help you in providing quality feedback in your comments, and I highly encourage you to leave comments! It’s very helpful to us bloggers to hear what’s on your mind, if you found our items useful, and what we can do to make it better.

Paid Blogging

Over on today’s blog post, Robert Scoble mentions some company that does pay per blogging. It’s an interesting concept. After all, folks like John C. Dvorak have been getting paid to talk about their opinions for years, they just do it in a magazine format or on TV. How would it be wrong for an average joe to get paid for his thoughts? Of course there ought to be a few basic rules.

First and foremost it should be disclosed there is payment going on, and who is coughing up the bucks. And second, it ought to be clear if that payment has an effect on the posting. That helps us to understand the difference between a true opinion piece like the afore mentioned Mr. Dvorak might write, and something that resembles a late night infomercial.

I can think of a lot of reasons why someone would not want to accept money for a blog, or certain situations why it might not be appropriate. On the other hand, I can think of some situations where it would be OK to get paid for their thoughts. After all, we we don’t own our thoughts, who does?

Oh, and just for the record, I ain’t making squat for this.