Are you Permissive with your Work?

For the A – Z Blogging Challenge… P is for Permission.

Someone emailed me today to ask if they could use one of my photos for commercial art they are going to sell. I have given permission for some of my photos to be used for art, for personal use. I really don’t think it is fair to use the work of someone else to make money which you keep for yourself. In that case you are just selling someone’s work and claiming it as your own. Basically. I think that’s asking too much. Some people do allow full use, give their permission for people to make use of their art, software, etc in any way. I’m not fully open source/ open content in that way. How do you feel about the issue of permission, commercial selling and open source content?

Creative Commons (Canada)

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that develops, supports, and stewards legal and technical infrastructure that maximizes digital creativity, sharing, and innovation.

Is Your Computer Running Like Glue?

Sitting here, waiting to have my computer back from whatever crappy script some site is forcing it to run, I’ve been thinking how long it’s been since I saw the stores selling computer RAM. We’ve come to the point where it is cheaper to just replace the whole computer rather than trying to speed it up with adding hardware. Seems pretty backwards, wasteful too. No wonder outdated computers are such an issue. They way software grows so easily and so quickly and hardware (the stuff we have to buy ourselves) can’t keep pace.

Why don’t sites use less software, less scripts and crap that make them not just slow to load but freeze up and even crash? After all the years we’ve had the Internet isn’t it time they brightened up about this issue? Or, do they only make sites to be seen and used by people who just bought their computer a month ago and the rest of us are too far out of it to be of any consequence?

If you went on strike against the sites that cause your computer to slow down and freeze how many would you stop visiting, how many would be big and popular sites like Facebook (one major pain in the butt with all the bloated apps). You could easily find out which are the main culprits of your slowdowns. Just get rid of some plugins on your web browser, or set them off for a day. It would be a revealing experience. Browsers come pre-plugged now. That wasn’t always the case. I remember having to install and upgrade plugins regularly. Now they just become part of the browser update and people who are new online likely don’t even know about all the background plugins they are running. Or not running, or not running very well, as the case may be.

Any thoughts on this? Are you getting tired of having your computer, just a year old, seem to be running like an old race horse, ready to be retired into glue?

The Women of WordPress

This is a list of women involved in developing, promoting or designing with WordPress blog software. If you should be on the list and are not, let me know. These are more than web designers, they develop software/ scripts to run with WordPress, they write guides for WordPress users and they promote the WordPress community.

Added later:
WP Chick – Kim Doyal

No Reply At All

One more small thing that annoys me… people who put out an email asking me a question (like why I’m not using their network/ service) and then use a noreply@whatever.com as an email address.

Do you see the problem with this? Have you experienced this yourself? Doesn’t this feel like an irritating sales call you’d be happy to hang up on?

Please, if you are asking someone to give you a response, let them give you a response. Or, just don’t ask in the first place!

Today I had a reminder email from an online service which offers to store your computer files on the web (basically). I had to register on the site in order to find out more about it. (I would have rejected it right there but it was a link a friend had sent me). I could not see any real use for the service, plus they wanted me to download software in order to use the service. I didn’t want to download anything. I don’t know what it is they are having me download or understand the need for a download to use an online service. That was a week ago.

Today the reminder email came. They told me what they can do for me and gave me another link to the download for their software. I began to send a reply email, telling them I don’t have a need for their service, then I noticed the address my reply would be sent to: no-reply@xxxx.com. So my time sending them an email would be wasted. They don’t want to hear anything from me, just get me to download their stuff.

Would you trust them at this point? Pretty one way relationship they are setting up, I give and they take. Would you trust your files to a company that works this way? I’d explain to them why I have set their email address into my spam file, but… why bother?

Do you Have a Modicum?

I spent the morning looking at jobs posted today, because I need one that pays real money, nice and reliable. The word ‘modicum’ came up in two different job postings. Neither were for particularly professional or swanky jobs. It was interesting to see it used this way.

Usually job postings just say “Some experience required.” These said “Experience: a modicum”. The woman I was reading job postings with did not know what the word meant. I don’t know where I knew it from, but I did know it’s basic meaning. She thought it could be some new kind of software she hadn’t heard of yet. In the way it was used, it could have been software, or something else.

According to my large Funk and Wagnalls Canadian College Dictionary… a modicum is a moderate or small amount. Nice to know I remembered it right.

Do you keep track of words you don’t know when you come upon one? It’s a nice feeling to be the local hero when you alone know what some oddity of a word means.

Is HTML 5 Real?

I found a link to HTML5 demos through Twitter. I lost track of the original link to whoever posted it on Twitter.

The post says:

So you’ve heard all rumors about HTML5 would take over Adobe Flash. While most web community argues that it’s possible or not, you must be wandering what makes HTML5 so powerful that even giant company Apple wants to use it to replace Flash.

So, does this mean HTML5 is all about making graphical presentations and not about new and useful code which can be used in other ways? This is what I would like to know. Sure, I’d like to see less Flash and other things which have been run on plugins for years, but – is there a practical use for HTML 5? I don’t see fancy visuals as something we really need more of. (However pretty or fascinating, they can only add so much to the content).

Wikipedia says:

HTML5 is currently being developed as the next major revision of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. HTML5 is the proposed next standard for HTML 4.01, XHTML 1.0 and DOM Level 2 HTML. It aims to reduce the need for proprietary plug-in-based rich internet application (RIA) technologies such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight[citation needed]. In common usage, HTML5 may also refer to the additional use of CSS3, as both technologies are under development in parallel.

So it looks like HTML 5 is going to be the new standard for HTML. Won’t that cause a lot of change in software and the publishing of new books. How quick will you be to find out about changes to HTML code? I think I will let it work itself out in software before I start looking into it very much. After all, it’s been quite a while since I last typed in any HTML beyond the basics like adding a link to something. I am still interested to read about the changes and I will be really glad to have websites that can load without hanging on plugins.

For more information and resources:

For Web Directory Builders

Have you ever thought about building your own web directory? Maybe you just want to sort out all the links you’ve had stuck in bookmarks forever or maybe you want to share the great links you have found about a  personal hobby/ interest with the world.

Creating a directory is easier with software to help you build and maintain it. You can just keep a live bookmark list online, like a portal. But, it is fun to put your links out there and see what comes back when people have the option to add their own links. Of course, you will need to moderate any incoming links. (We all know about spam and spammers).

I want to start with a web directory for Canadian rural and urban exploration sites. I know it will grow from there, I already have the stash of links to do it. But, I am keeping it simple while I work with the software and get the hang of things. Luckily, I am already experienced at editing a web directory. I was an editor at the Open Directory Project for about ten years and I am currently editing the Best of the Web directory (though not getting nearly enough time in there to earn anything from my work yet).

Anyway, a directory is a fun project. Some people will add in the feature to charge anyone a fee for being listed in the directory. To me, that messes with the integrity of the directory. If you only list paying links you will be missing a lot of good sites. Also, the sites who pay to be listed are not likely the very best sources for information on the topic. Often it is still the sites which are a labour of love which have the most information, the best resources and the real time put into maintaining them. I never fully trust any site that looks like an ad farm. I think they are more interested in marketing, money making and SEO than building a great resource.

Some links of interest to anyone building their own directory:

Directory Blogger

Talk Directories

Web Directory List

Directories Blog

triPHP Directory Discussion

Fixed my WordPress List Formatting Glitch

I’ve made a few list posts, mostly bullet style. The problem was the formatting, all my points were crammed together in a solid block of text. It made the post kind of unsightly and not very easy (or desirable) to read. If I tried to add a space it would try to make it my next bullet. So the choice was to leave it as a block of text or have extra bullets between each point. Neither was a great option. So, this morning I began looking for a way to fix it.

It turned out the problem was my Thesis theme. I spent the morning trying to find a solution to fix it with a WordPress plugin (thinking it must be a common problem and a glitch they had overlooked in the last update) and then realized I was looking at the wrong software. Once I started looking into Thesis I made progress. Here is the code I added to my custom CSS in Thesis. It worked! The margin-bottom is now set to leave a 1em space between each point.

How To Build Your Own Web Directory

Once upon a time I was an editor in the great Dmoz (Open Directory Project) web directory. I stayed there about ten years as an active editor. Now I am editing in the BOTW directory. I still like adding sites, caring for and maintaining a list for a topic I am passionate about. However, it is nice to do so without anyone else making up the rules. So, I guess that is how I started the idea of beginning my own web directory. Not a huge project like Dmoz or BOTW. I am just going to pick topics I like: rural exploration, urban exploration, historical places, maybe other things like arts and crafts too. Time will tell. The plan is to begin with rural exploration in Ontario, then rural exploration in Canada. I plan to start each smaller section one at a time, until it builds up.

I started making a list of sites using a Blogspot blog. Then I moved it to Movable Type on a domain I picked out. But neither of these options was working well as a software for building and keeping a list. Both were cumbersome and messy to work with in this way. I looked at other ideas for link management but didn’t find anything except bookmark lists. Then I found two plugins that would work with WordPress for building a web directory (Directory Press and Web Directory WordPress Plugin) versus a directory of links. There is a difference!

I ended up loading the plugins to have a look at them but the software I am actually going to try using for the web directory are IndexScript and SKALINKS, both are freeware. Two different web directory software packages. I will let you know how it goes as I get it figured out on my web host and domain. They both look fine in the demos available on their sites.

As I was looking for software I found a few links about building a web directory. They are all geared to people setting it up for getting paid submissions. That isn’t my plan. I will allow submissions but I’m not asking for money. If submissions are free then I don’t have to feel I owe anyone a link. I can choose to list them or not based on the content of the site rather than the content they add to my bank account. I think it works better that way.

Associated Content: Monetize Your Website by Creating a Paid Web Directory

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Blog: Some Advice Before Creating a Web Directory

SEO Blog: Web Directories – Worth Doing Well

Intelliants: How to Make Your Directory Popular

Intelliants: How to Monetize your Directory

Intelliants: Niche or General Directory? Which to Choose?

Keeping Up With Events Online

What do you need for an online event? A lot!

BlogWorld New Media Expo 2009 has a post about what you can do to follow and (sort of) participate in the event if you can’t make it to Las Vegas this October. Five things on the list, do you have access to them all? Would you be able to use them yourself to keep track of an event or to promote and report on your own event as it happens?

1.Twitter – Tweeting has become as popular as Facebook but it’s much simpler and cleaner. I think of it as Facebook stripped down to the bare bones as just a simple way to communicate with others.

2. Blogs – No link here as blogs are everywhere, there is no one blog I would link to. But if something is going on you can be sure you will find it reported in blogs all over the world and in all kinds of topics/ niches. You can even try to get bloggers to link to your event and make a report about what they find if they are attending themselves.

3. PodcastsPodcasts are like the old ham radio, but online. You need to find software or something online that works for you, but you can have a live report, a play-by-play on everything as it happens. Look for podcasters to report the event before, during and after even if you make your own podcast. The more voices the merrier. Have a look at BlogTalkRadio.

4. Flickr – Podcasts are the sound but Flickr has the visual, with commentary on the photos or video feeds. Not everyone is keen on video posts to Flickr so you might consider that as you work out how you will post. Others will post their photos too.

5. YouTube – Famous for home made movies. In the end, it’s a combination of the podcasts and Flickr posts, the sound and the fury.

Do you know how to use the sites and software above? If not you should find out, even if you aren’t creating or hosting an event. It’s important to keep up with the popular media.