Is GoogleMe a Reality?

How nice that rhymes. Anyway, there is talk about a new thing coming from Google, competition for Facebook, maybe. They say it will be called GoogleMe. Here is what I wrote in a comment about the idea for GoogleMe at Regular Geek.

Google is on the wrong path if they target LinkedIn as a style for GoogleMe. Facebook is the model they should use. LinkedIn is pretty stagnant as far as I am concerned. Meanwhile Facebook continues to grow no matter what is said about it’s security and privacy of information. It’s those damned game applications in my experience. I can’t ever login in there without having a dozen or so invitations to join and requests to send cows and etc. Most come from relatives I hardly see otherwise. Anyway, GoogleMe should be geared down to the masses rather than geared to the professional types who want to connect socially in a professional way. If they design GoogleMe for the casual user they could have a real winner and competetion for Facebook in reality.

TechCrunch posted about GoogleMe and I commented:

I don’t see Google going casual enough to attract the Facebook market. Facebook works for people who are not professionals but just connect socially, play addicting and useless games and collect things. It is out of Google’s usual market and not their style.

Also, I noticed there is a business already using GoogleMe as their name. As an interesting sidenote.

Mashable, Wired, and PC World have posts about GoogleMe too.

What do you think? How should GoogleMe work if they want to compete with Facebook? What would it take to knock Facebook off it’s throne or at least shake them up a good bit?

Ending Anonymous Comment Spam

At one point, not so long ago, I had comments turned off on this blog. Friends asked me to turn them on. Here we are, a few years later, and I’m thinking to turn them off again. Or, just shut down all the Anonymous comments at least. However, if I take off Anonymous then people who don’t have a blog at Google/ Blogger have to make an account in order to comment with their website being listed with their name. Unless Google/ Blogger has changed that since I last looked.

Anyway, I am tired of the time wasted on moderating comments versus any real people who leave a note. They have bots to spam my comments, I just have myself to moderate all the craptastic mess. So I am going for the middle road and just shutting off the Anonymous comments. If you don’t like it, thank the comment spammers.

Conquering Fear is an Art

The conquering of fear is the highest art.

This was quoted by a fictional character in a book (The Demon’s Daughter)  by Emma Holly. I think it’s a fabulous quote. I had a look for it on Google, to see if it was quoted by anyone else. I didn’t find it, at least not exactly the same. I know the basic idea is out there but I’ve never seen it phrased this way.

This is my dolly doodle for Doodle Week, this weekend – January 9th and 10th.

Hyperlocal, What is It?

I’ve seen the term hyperlocal come up three times lately. I decided to spend some time to find out what it is exactly and how it is being used.
Of course, Wikipedia comes up first in the results I get from Google. : Hyperlocal –

refers to the emergent ecology of data (including textual content), aggregators, publication mechanism and user interactions and behaviours which centre on a resident of a location and the business of being a resident. Hyperlocal content, often referred to as hyperlocal news, is characterized by three major elements. Firstly, it refers to entities and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area. Secondly, it is intended primarily for consumption by residents of that area. Thirdly, it is created by a resident of the location (but this last point is discussed because for example a photo can be hyperlocal but not locally produced).

Hyperlocal World – Developments in news, people and the first law of geography. – Tips and discussion for local bloggers.
Hyperlocal 101 – Tools and technique for the hyperlocal revolution.

Blog TO is a hyperlocal news blog from Toronto. It comes from a network, (site is not up).

Other hyperlocal blog networks:

Individual hyperlocal content blogs:

If hyperlocal blogging is interesting you take a look at TwitterLocal, which gives you a Twitter feed by location and LocalTweeps which is a directory built with zip codes. Also, look for blog directories based on regional locations, each blog you find there is a possible source of news and events locally. You may find other locals to post their perspectives, advertising, photos and news stories on your hyperlocal blog. Of course everything local is a marketing/ promotion resource for a hyperlocal blog. You don’t need to be in to top rank of international lists for blogs, keep your focus on local in every way.

The links for networks and especially those for individual hyperlocal blogs are just a few I found when I went looking. There are masses of sites once you know what to look for. Some don’t use the term hyperlocal, they may call themselves citizen journalists, or maybe cell journalists.

Short, Readable and Eye Catching

You’ve won a raffle and have been granted a free block of ad space on the front page of Google for one week. If you wanted traffic, you found it!

So what do you use the ad for: your home business, your personal blog. a friend’s online business or something you create on the spur of the moment?

Now write your ad. Make really efficient use of the word space you have. You only get 150 x 150, a bit bigger than an EntreCard ad. Your text or graphic has to be readable and eye catching.

Mad Science Grrl Does it Again

The computer is formatted again and I am back to reinstalling all the software again. Some I think I will leave off. I still have hopes of getting a new computer. Once the taxes are actually, finally done and I get some money back. Computers aren’t as pricey as they were last time I bought a new one. Maybe I don’t need to spend a thousand dollars on a new one this time. That would be nice.

Anyway, it’s nice using a clutter free computer. It’s running faster and the mysterious and aggravating slow downs are gone. Maybe not all of that was from Sympatico. I think at least part of it was Webshots so I am not going to load that again. I do think I will go to my backup disk and nab the fonts and some graphics which I saved.

One thing I forgot to save to the back up disk were my bookmarks. Most of them don’t matter, but a lot were sites I intended to go back to and have a better look at. The ones that I do wish I had saved were about local history and urban exploration. It’s a pain that they are gone cause each was a site I found by chance. I didn’t find it through Google or any other search.

Do other people reformat their hard drive now and then? Seems few do when I ask. I think it’s great. Like having a new computer, almost. This one is so old I can’t say it feels new this time around. A lot of new stuff won’t work with Windows ME now. Stupid of them. Not everyone wants to buy the latest Windows, it’s unfair that software makers try to force it. I can’t use Google Toolbar, the new one now. They made if for Windows XP and up. Idiots. One more strike against the almighty Google.

Anyway, tonight I am going to muck around with the computer. I only installed one game so far. I thought I would do the split hard drive thing and have Ubuntu here but I decided against it cause this is such an old computer now and it does have little things going wrong with it. But, I will keep it when I get the new one. That way I don’t need to split the hard drive of a new computer. I can keep this one for the old software and start the new one on Ubuntu and keep it that way. I’m looking forward to it.

Guardian Unlimited: Websites that Changed the World

An article about the mega sites.

Founded: Pierre Omidyar, 1995, US
What is it? Auction and shopping site

Founded: Jimmy Wales, 2001, US
What is it? Online encyclopaedia

Founded: Shawn Fanning, 1999, US
What is it? File sharing site

Founded: Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, 2005, US
What is it? Video sharing site

Founded: Evan Williams, 1999, US
What is it? Weblog publishing system

Founded: Steve and Julie Pankhurst, 1999, UK
What is it? School reunion site

Founded: Matt Drudge, 1994, US
What is it? News site

Founded: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, 2003, US
What is it? Social networking site

Founded: Jeff Bezos, 1994, US
What is it? Online retailer, primarily of books, CDs and DVDs

Founded: Rob Malda, 1997, US
What is it? Technology news website and internet forum

Founded: David Talbot, 1995, US
What is it? Online magazine and media company.

Founded: Craig Newmark, 1995, US
What is it? A centralised network of online urban communities, featuring free classified advertisements and forums.

Founded: Larry Page and Sergey Brin, 1998, US
What is it? Search engine and media corporation

Founded: David Filo and JerryYang, 1994, US
What is it? Internet portal and media corporation

Founded: Stelios
What is it?: Budget airline

So many sites are not here. Whether they were bought out or busted or just didn’t grow enough, there must be a million other sites which had good ideas that didn’t take off. I worked for several pioneer sites which are no longer around. I still volunteer at Dmoz (The Open Directory Project) which has been owned by Netscape and AOL and used by Google and assorted other big and small search engines and web directories. Yet, Dmoz didn’t make this list. It’s too far into the background I would guess. There, but unknown.

I sometimes still write for BackWash which had the concept of presenting the “Internet by personality”. I thought that idea had potential. It did really if you consider the popularity of weblogs. However, the site didn’t grow enough, not enough push to become known so it could rise above the pack. So now it is still there, kind of dwindling, but there like a dinosaur lurking, not ready to give up and yet not having the energy to push itself out into the world any more.

I worked for HerPlanet which was a network of sites for women. That one died off, sort of mysteriously. After years of sticking it out and beginning to build traffic and a following of readers the money supply just ran out. Dottie found a buyer who let her continue to run things, more or less. The new buyer killed HerPlanet. They just never did anything to get the sites back up and online. A year or so later (long after I knew HerPlanet was dead) the domains all became 404, one by one. It was sad. Now and then I check to see if anyone else has begun a site for those domains: or (which was the site I managed) and so on.

What sites do you think could have or should be on this list of world changing sites?

Writing Without Fluff

You can find a lot about cutting the fluff out of your writing. I know, I just searched Google for writing fluff. I did this because someone argued that there is too much gloom and reality on BackWash lately. So, I wondered if there was a guide to writing better fluff pieces. (Not so far in the search but I’m sure it’s out there, somewhere).

Anyway, life is full of drama, conflict and ugliness, sharp edges, people running with scissors, mean spirits and other assorted generally bad things. It balances out all the sparkly fluffy bits. The balance is called reality.

When you write, do you write reality or fluff? If you write fiction do you have one main conflict and focus only on that. Do you forget what it’s like to have a bad day, a day when it seems all the little things keep going wrong. Does your character live a cardboard life where she/ he has no headaches, other than the main one you’ve plotted out for them?

I think we need to trip our characters every now and then. It makes them human, keeps them real. It doesn’t have to tie into the main plot, not directly anyway. Give him a bad knee from some soccer game when he was a kid. Give her a fear of dogs from seeing her sister bitten. Or just have him skin his knee as he’s leaping all those tall buildings.

Don’t write fluff and expect us to swallow it. We know about conflict, we’ve lived it. Every day can’t be sunny and nice. Besides, if you admit it, isn’t it really those windy, blustery days you love the best? I do!