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Blog

Migrated from dasBlog to WordPress

After many good years of publishing via dasBlog I made the decision to jump ship and start using WordPress. dasBlog has been speedy, stable and very easy to style. It’s a great power user tool but I’m now at the point where I want the simplicity of a more mainstream product.

Following the lead of Shan and Mike I opted for WordPress and set about installing it this weekend. A quick web search turned up more than a few helpful pages on migrating content (Kavinda’s post is a good one stop shop). The key components to my migration from dasBlog v1.9 to WordPress v2.9.2 were:

  1. Getting the content out of DasBlog – DasBlog to BlogML exporter
  2. Getting the content into WordPress – BlogML import plug-in (Kavinda Munasinghe’s Version)
  3. Providing a permanent redirect from old links to new – Redirection Plug-in

I would not call the migration painless, but after a bit of tech-turbulence it all came together. I’m now up and running on WordPress and everything is running smoothly.

To share the love I’ve created a page with my tips for migrating from dasBlog to WordPress.

Categories
Blog

Yay, dasBlog 2.0!

I think it was pure voodo, but I have dasBlog 2.0 installed now.  I hope it sticks.


Now, off to copy all my content back, migrate my modified page layout, …

Categories
Blog

Turning lemons into lemonade

image

The web, the ultimate tool for the generation and dissemination of irony, hasn’t lost it’s touch.  A recent post by a Google employee intended to illustrate how advertising can be used for issue management created a bit of… you guessed it… an issue.  While I’m sure the movie was not a target but provided Lauren Turner with a great segue into a pertinent topic,  the blogstorm which resulted highlights an important point: when blogging on a corporate site… just how much can you say?

When we were ramping up to do the Windows Live Hotmail beta we knew that in addition to the private beta tester forum we wanted to have a public mechanism for putting out the good word about our new baby.  The Hotmail team blog was a “grassroots” effort, driven by the line-level employees and not by our PR department and, as a result, we needed to make it clear to the powers-that-be that we had our act together and weren’t going to post something which would prove embarrassing.  To smooth the way I wrote up a guide to communicating with the outside world which covered newsgroups, dealing with press calls and, of course, blogging. 

Personal blogs are just that, personal blogs.  Everyone puts the requisite disclaimer on their blog (“the opinions expressed here… blah blah blah”) but it’s pretty much accepted that unless you have a company logo emblazoned at the top of your page there is no other source for the drivel contained within.  There’s no need to set up regulations for your own blog.

If, however, you’re planning on starting a blog for your team, product or whatever you must set up some guidelines, there’s no way around it.  If your company already has a policy on blogging, start there, it will provide a great framework for your new rules.  There are also a ton of great blogging guidelines blog posts on the web.  In the fallout of the Google’s Sicko-gate Matt Cutts wrote a good Company Blogging 101 post with great tips for corporate bloggers.  The article well written and broken into easily digestible sections. If you blog on a site for your employer (or a site which is identified with a work project) I highly recommend you read Matt’s post and figure out how you can work the salient points into your own policy or mental framework.

So, back to my original question: how much can you say on a company-sponsored blog?  The answer: as much as you like… but you have to establish the bounds well in advance.  Corporate America is starting to realize the value of blogging as a tool for customer relations, PR, advertising and more but many companies are still quite shy when it comes to taking the plunge.  Creating a solid set of posting guidelines will keep your boss and PR firm happy (and keeping your team blog on the net will make your customers happy).

Link: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/company-blogging-101/

Categories
Blog

Blogging for the MTV generation

Web pages are complicated.  People want to share their life stories and pictures, but learning HTML is hard (ask Trina).  So the world of blogging was born. 

Blog software has made it very easy to set up and maintain your content, whether it be a running account of how all your cat’s hairballs look like past presidents, or something much, much less significant.  Blogs do, however, have the problem that they often get abandoned for great lengths of time (Dick’s blog comes to mind :D).

So, what’s today’s generation of zero-attention-span kids to do?  Sign up for twitter, of course.


follow Reeves at http://twitter.com

Twitter is, Don MacAskill appropriately called it, a service for microblogging.  It’s optimized for very short, simple posts.  It will even prompt you periodically via SMS or IM to find out what you’re doing.  After a quick setup you can add your mobile phone number and Twitter will send you an SMS every 24 hours if you haven’t updated (a reply to the SMS will post right to your twitter log).  You can also add twitter as an IM buddy if you’re using the right service.

It’s a fascinating little toy, with all the needed components to make it entertaining for all of about a week (friends lists, ease of use and cool little widgets to add to your other web pages).  For me, however, the signal to noise ratio is way too high to be useful.  There is a public timeline which is sure to get crowded with legitimate and illegitimate spam (when I checked there were two posts within minutes from BBC sports) and switching to a private timeline will require a set of friends as exhibitionistic as yourself.

Still… entertaining enough to play with for a while… though I won’t be able to afford to have the SMS notifications turned on (the closest local text is the UK).

Categories
Blog

Migrating content from Blogger to dasBlog

I started my first blog back in 2002 on Blogger but switched to using dasBlog in late 2003 when I was wanting more control of my site.  I’ve wanted to migrate the content over from the old site for a long time but never could find a tool to do the heaving lifting… until today when I discovered Nick Schweitzer’s “Coding Monkey” site.  Nick has clear instructions as well as a GUI tool to help switch from Blogger to dasBlog.  The process was quick and painless and his instructions were straight-forward.  If you’ve been looking to import your old Blogger content into dasBlog but weren’t sure how, check out Nick’s instructions.


Importer UI






It’s more for me than anyone else… but if you want to find my old posts, you can just click on the “Old Blog” topic on the right.

Categories
Blog Microsoft

Hello? Steve? Cancel the Joe Isuzu ad campaign.

CNN: the most trusted name in news?  Must be on the web, because television is loosing ground to the Internet as a trusted source for information.  From that I segue gracefully into… the Edelman trust barometer found Microsoft is the most trusted name in business.



The Edelman Trust Barometer found Microsoft Corporation the most trusted global company, followed by iconic companies in their home markets, including Toyota in Japan, Haier in China, Samsung in South Korea, and Petrobras in Brazil.


I think MS is a great place to work, and having the company get this type of recognition feels good (especially for someone who used to be a closet MS employee).  I realize that Edelman is a PR firm which counts MS as one of its biggest clients, but this was, after all, a survey.


While I led off with the fun part of the survey… for me this is the really interesting part:



In the U.S., trust in “a person like me” increased from 20% in 2003 to 68% today.


In other words, most people in the US find the average employee is a more trust-worthy spokesman than the CEO.  Any connection to the surge in blogging?  It’s pretty hard to preen cause from effect here but I, for one, am hugely thankful for the change in culture at Microsoft which made it possible for employees like me to feel comfortable blogging in relative freedom about our work.


I suppose that brings me back to the beginning… perhaps the trust in Microsoft will not be limited to a single survey or a fleeting one-year occurrence.  With any luck, as more people are able to get a glimpse of the people working at Microsoft and the pride they have in their work, the world will realize that for us it’s really about building cool software, not crushing your enemies and seeing them driven before you.  While our moniker of “the evil empire” is something I look on with amusement, it’s not a nickname I view with pride.





For a deeper dive on the topic of what can happen for company trust when the employees step out from behind the protective shadow of a company’s CEO and PR machine I recommend you check out Richard Edelman’s essay The Me2 Revolution on his blog.

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Blog Tech Web Weird

GoogleBlogTag is sooooo last micro-minute

Bengt, Steve and I spent a bunch of time posturing to figure out who could get their blog to the top of the Google search results for a made up word.  It’s a page rank game, how “popular” is your web site?

Bah, kid stuff.  Real men (real capitalist men) care about money.  Here’s the acid test: How much is your blog worth?


My blog is worth $15,242.58.
How much is your blog worth?

Thanks Tom for the pointer!

Categories
Blog Sites Tech Useful

Hey, I can see my house from here!

On Sunday most people got their first glimpse of MSN Virtual Earth (well, the PR started Sunday at any rate) and frankly… it’s pretty damn cool.  Imagine the useful features of Google earth… but in a web page… no software installer needed (unless, of course, you’re not running a modern browser, but then you’re probably on a 200 baud modem as well). 


The site is cool for what it is, but it gets better, the Virtual Earth team thought ahead and built in some cool functionality to allow people to create custom maps… so one of our architects did.  To the see the fruits of his handiwork go to the start preview, click the down arrow next to the “start preview” logo and select “MSN Bloggers Map” from the Popular Feeds/Staff picks section.  Voila, a list of MSN bloggers showing their office locations on a satellite picture. 


Think about how fantastic this is; we’ve made stalking accessible to the insanely lazy and clinically agoraphobic.

Categories
Blog

Back up again

Sorry if you received a reload of my entire post set, my blog software threw a cog this morning and a reinstall was required to get up and running again.

Categories
Blog Net Web Weird

The shrinking web

The reason the World Wide Web is called the World Wide Web is because it’s filled with interconnected links, allowing you to move from site to site.  Do you ever do that?


When I first started using the web, yes, I did click around from site to site, it was kind of neat.  Now, when I want some information I go to a search engine (typically Google, but I’ve just installed the MSN toolbar, but I digress), type in a search and go directly to the info I want.  I do very little “browsing” when on the web.  Two reasons:



  1. Many sites actively seek to keep you on their site
  2. The web is getting really, really big… wandering is not as interesting as it used to be, there’s just too much random crap.

The thing that has brought back interest in web surfing for me is the concept of the blog sphere.  A blog sphere is a subset of a subset of the web; it’s the blogs (one subset) I read (another sub set).  This narrowing of scope has made it much easier to navigate the web in an ad hoc fashion as I am no longer presented with the overwhelming scope of the web… I’m presented with the web as seen by people I think are interesting (who find interesting links, produce interesting content or are, simply, interesting).


All day today I’ve been listening to a new, free album I downloaded from Mercedes Benz (yes, the auto manufacturer).  Seeing as you don’t expect go looking for music on a car manufacturer’s site and I don’t own a Mercedes (or a Chrysler for that matter) it’s unlikely I would have happened upon this site on my own.  I found it because Paul left a comment on my blog, and he entered the URL for his blog.  Reading his blog I found the info on the Benz free music download.


Viewed as a whole, the web is full of a bunch of random crap.  Viewed through the filter of the people with whom I share a connection it becomes a whole lot more interesting.