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Blogs Free services Highlights

Sign up for a better blog tracker with Measure Map

I got an alpha tester account with Measure Map this afternoon and was so impressed by the service that an hour into using it, I just had to get screenshots (posted after the link) and write about it. I signed up for the service in early October yet after reading this TechCrunch article.

Measure Map, according to its site, “helps you understand what people do at your blog.” It does the job of most free site counters and trackers out there and more. It tracks a lot of activities in your blog: inbound links, outbound links, number of people reading your posts and commenting on them. It even presents data on your most visited blog articles. It presents all these data in a beautiful Ajax interface.

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Free services Highlights Internet

Forget Windows Live, get a Goowy account

While looking at various other online services to update my “The network is my computer” post, I found a link to Goowy, a word play on GUI or graphical user interface. The free service is simply astounding and it makes Live.com look like the work of amateurs.

Goowy is a free online portal that simulates a desktop with a two-gigabyte @goowy.com email account, calendar, contacts database, an RSS reader and even games. The service, however, is still slow compared to Netvibes and Protopage but its interface is the most desktop-like among the services I have tried so far. (Screenshots after the link)

And when Goowy starts offering its planned virtual file storage and instant messaging, it will become the Google of online personal portals (unless Google buys it first.)

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Free services Highlights Internet LifeHacks Personal Wiki

The network is my computer

Early this year I experimented with having all my essential work related data online. I wanted things I needed for my section, my copy desk job and columns centralized on free online accounts and accessible anywhere.

I wanted to be able to work on things anywhere – office, home or an Internet cafe – if I wanted or needed to. I used several free services in my attempt to make the Internet my computer. I am listing the services below in the hope that if you know of a better one, you’d leave a note so that I can transfer to it.

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Blogs Highlights

Make your blog posts ‘taggable’

Many people now use online bookmarks to file sites they want to review later. Among the most popular services are del.icio.us, Furl, Spurl and Yahoo My Web 2.0.

Many of these services require you to install a tool bar or a shortcut tab in your browser in order to save bookmarks and tag these with keywords for organization. By putting shortcut buttons for tagging your posts in these services, you will encourage blog readers to file your article for reading and re-reading later.

To put these buttons in your WordPress blog, just copy the codes below and paste these into your theme’s template. I used to have these buttons display after the post titles in the index page but it looked too crowded and I decided in having it in the individual posts page. I placed the codes after the <?php the_title(); ?> part in the post template and before <?php the_content(); ?>. If you want to display these buttons after the article, then paste the code snippets after <?php the_content(); ?>

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Highlights Internet Personal

Protests in the time of Friendster and Google bombing

When you say protest action, the typical tibak or activist will tell you about methods in staging rallies, what to bring in gatherings etc. (in my time they told us to bring toothpaste and a hanky and to write the name of a lawyer and his phone number in our wrist). Online protests don’t seem to be part of the arsenal of political activists.

Critics of President Arroyo, for example, limit their actions to organizing assemblies, staging rallies and face-offs with riot police. But in a period when many of the youth spend a lot of time online, political activists would do well to take the campaign into social networks like Friendster or Multiply.

For those with websites, they can even google bomb the president’s page so that it will be the one displayed when you press I’m Feeling Lucky while searching for, let’s say, “liar” or “cheat” or “fake president.” US President Bush’s biography page was google bombed, that’s why it’s the page displayed when you search for “failure” and click on the I’m Feeling Lucky button.

The I’m Feeling Lucky or Sinuswerte Ako result for “liar” is a Japanese website with the word liar in its domain name. Still, the site only has 783 inbound links. If a thousand bloggers link liar to the President’s page, it will be the one displayed for the I’m Feeling Lucky result.

Malacañang, on the other hand, can fight back and ask sites of its supporters to link liar to the webpage of an opposition official or the website of an organization it particularly dislikes.

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Blogs Highlights Journalism

Institutional support for Pinoy journalists who blog

A broadcast station is reportedly due to issue corporate guidelines on blogging. Among other things, the guidelines bar its workers from blogging about work. On the other hand, another broadcast station is very supportive of the blogging efforts of its Malacañang reporter.

During last Saturday’s blogging conference organized by PCIJ, the institutional support for journalists who want to blog was a common item in media workers’ wishlist. Institutional support could come in the way of hosting the journalists’ blogs or helping them set it up.

Abe Olandres tech demo Blogging's effect on mainstream media Blogging Ethics Yvonne talks on the basics of blogging

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Blogs Highlights

See it, hear it, blog it

(Note: I wrote this article for Sun.Star Cebu during the Cebu Press Freedom Week. I am reprinting it here to continue the community conversation on the topic. I will be reprinting later my notes for this story.)

Manuel L. Quezon III knew Sept. 5 would be historic. It was the day the House of Representatives would vote on a committee report dismissing three impeachment complaints filed against President Arroyo.

He was up at 6 a.m. that day, cramming as much work as he could in the morning to clear his afternoon schedule, in time to cover the House vote for his personal site at www.quezon.ph.

Quezon covered the House session live in his weblog, posting his first entry at 4:06 p.m. and ending only at 4:03 a.m. when he collapsed in exhaustion. He continued in the early afternoon of Sept. 6.

His coverage wasn’t your regular news report. It was a recap of the events written by a historian, opinion writer, speechwriter and one of the country’s top bloggers:

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Blogs Highlights Personal

Still with Friendster, Multiply or Blogger? Get an i.ph blog

I’ve been offering to help officemates who wanted to start their own personal websites. A couple are already blogging using either Friendster or Multiply. While Friendster is backed by an excellent blogging platform – TypePad from MoveableType – the address it offers its users is so long you can’t recite it in one breath.

Superbalita reporter Joseph Tubilan was the first to approach me for help. I helped him open an account with Blogsome but he wanted more customization with the WordPress theme and I couldn’t find a way to FTP theme files to his Blogsome account.

I told him to open a PHP/MySQL account with www.100webspace.com. He opened one and I installed WordPress for him. 100Webspace, however, displays its banner ads on top of your pages and it sometimes gets in the way of the blog design.

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Highlights Open source Personal

Why open source makes sense for non-geeks like me

If you hold a gun to my head demanding that I write a PHP code to print “Hello World” without searching the web for hints, I’d be dead in a minute. I do not know how to program – in any computer language. If the technology world were J.K. Rowling’s universe, I’d be a squib.

And yet I was able to install and deploy various content management systems for my Cybercafe experiments, personal sites as well as sites of my friends. I was also able to deploy an online classroom for participants of both my and my wife’s lectures as well as classes under Newsletter Solutions. I was also able to deploy a newsroom intranet system (using a discarded PC) with a portal, an online news style guide and a searchable database of new sources.

I was able to do all that because I use open source scripts.

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Blogs Highlights Journalism

Improving your writing skills: Lessons learned online

The best way to improve your weblog is to improve your writing. No amount of search engine optimization and membership in blog rings can make people regularly read your site if the articles are poorly written. A newspaper editor once said: “the easiest thing for the reader to do is to quit reading.”

Some people are born with a gift for writing but for most of us, improving our writing skills is a tedious but rewarding process of continuous learning and rewriting.

Fortunately for us, there are a lot of good websites that offer tips on how to improve our writing skills. Here are some of the sites that I frequent. I hope a few bloggers find the list useful. If you know of other sites, leave the URL in the comments field.