Google Master Plan Video -- Speculations on the Hidden Purposes Behind Google's Information Collection

Destry Wion pointed out this video detailing Google's Master Plan to me. Really interesting presentation to watch. Google's simple motto is "Don't be evil," but as they achieve total human omniscience, won't it be tempting to start abusing that power? I hope they use it for good -- such as catching criminals and stopping terrorists, rather than empowering marketers. Google is still viewed as cool; if they abuse their power, they'll lose t...

Everything Is Miscellaneous -- The Problem with Classifying Information

I heard a good podcast on IT Conversations called "Everything Is Miscellaneous." Dr. Moira Gunn interviews David Weinburger, one of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto (which was the Web 2.0 manifesto). One of Weinburger's points is that traditional models of classification are breaking down. Information cannot be neatly categorized and shelved anymore. Everything is thrown into a giant box labeled Miscellaneous. His point is best expr...

Writing Style to Keep in Mind for Blog Posts -- Be Clearer Than Usual, State Main Point Up Front

I came across a good article on writing style for blog posts. Pro blogger Darren Rowse says, The average person only comprehends 60% of what they read. .... To ensure your reader ‘gets' what you're saying you need to make it clear by using some of the following techniques. - Use simple language. Avoid technical jargon. - Don't introduce too many ideas in one post. You can always add another post later. - Start your entry wi...

Punishing by Rewards -- Motivational Techniques That Don't Work

This podcast from Alexander Kjerulf, called "Why 'Motivation by Pizza' Doesn't Work," opened my eyes about the reasons behind motivation.  We were on the verge of implementing a member recognition/rewards program in our chapter when Clyde Parson sent me the link.  Kjerulf's podcast was so good I listened to it twice. In brief, Kjerulf says you can't motivate someone by offering a reward, whether the reward is a bonus or a pizza, or whethe...

Leadership Lesson: After Building Some Trust, Make Direct Invitations

I learned a great leadership lesson today. For a couple of weeks a few of us were complaining that no one wanted to do the STC competition this year because it's too much work. And so often in the chapter we feel short on volunteers. You have to twist people's arms to get them to do anything, it seems. Not really. Mark Hanigan e-mailed me saying, "I would bet that there are quite a few people who would volunteer to take on roles if you ca...

How Information Travels in the Blogosphere -- a funny anecdote

It's interesting to watch the global flow of information in the blogosphere. Tonight I attended a presentation by Char James-Tanny at our Suncoast chapter meeting and heard her tell a story about the Battle of Kruger video she saw from Rhonda Bracey's blog. A month ago, I invited technical communicators to post their blogs on the techwriterblogs.com wiki. Someone posted a link to Steve Borsch's blog, which I added to my feedreader. From B...

Making of the Oxford English Dictionary -- Recommended Podcast

In this episode from the Big Ideas podcast, Simon Winchester tells the fascinating story behind the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. (Here's the podcast feed.) Winchester narrates the story flawlessly in a classic English accent. The OED founders undertook the creation of a descriptive, rather than prescriptive, dictionary of the English language. Whereas Samuel Johnson, the first lexicographer, derived definitions for most words ...

How to Record Conference Calls -- Answering Reader's Question

Carolyn writes with the following question about recording conference calls: I'd like to have a conference call with the two speakers and interview them in much the same way as I've heard you do. I'd like that interview to be a podcast and am wondering what I need to do besides record the phone conversation. Recording is a free feature of http://www.freeconferencecall.com/; the only cost is your long distance charges if they apply. Howev...

Lip Dub Video Clip Captures Essence of the Web -- Spontaneity, Authenticity, Participation, Fun

Lip Dub, an amateur lip sync video of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta," is one of the most interesting videos I've seen. I want to analyze it a little, so put on your headphones or crank up your speakers and enjoy it first. Download Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger My 20-Minute Analysis of Lip Dub Why is this such an appealing, engaging video? And why does it capture the essence of the web? Spontaneity The most salient character...

Vista Help Emphasizes Concepts in Effort to Create Power Users

In this podcast from the Atlanta chapter, Rob Houser talks about Vista help, noting that topics in the help aren't just steps. They often have meaty conceptual explanations before the steps. This is a trend away from the heavily task-based help that has been standard in years past. For an example, look at this sample sample help topic from SharePoint 2007's help (excerpt on right). Look at all that conceptual stuff before you even get to ...

Who are you? A one-question survey to identify my readers

I hope you don't mind my asking for a little information about you. Nearly 400 people are subscribed readers to my blog. And others read it who aren't subscribed. Can you check the appropriate boxes in the one-question survey below so I can know you better? Update: Check out the results of the survey here.

How Scoble Reads 622 RSS Feeds -- Thoughts and Reactions

If you've not heard of Robert Scoble, he's one of the blog icons. He keeps up with 622 different RSS feeds, scanning for relevant information to pass on to readers. He is a human aggregator of information, picking out little gems here and there from a river of news. He's so thoroughly saturated online, just searching for Robert on Google returns his blog as the first result. Watch this video of Scoble describing how he follows 622 feeds. ...

Installing Multiple Versions of WordPress on the Same Account, But Masking Them to Appear as Different Domains

If you have a web host, like Blue Host, you can have different domains (called add-on domains) that point to different subdirectories within your host account. In this post I explain how to set this up. It's a bit confusing and I've never seen instructions on configuring this. Let's say I want to have two sites, one called johndoe.com and the other janedoe.com, and I only want to have one web host. The root domain of the web host could be...

Vista and Office 2007: Presentation by David McNamee from Microsoft

Listen here: David McNamee presented on Vista and Office 2007 to the Suncoast chapter in May 2007. This is a recording of his presentation. He talks about how the purpose of Vista and Office is to help you create, find, and share information more efficiently. Don't worry that you can't see Vista or Office 2007 in the podcast -- visualize it. He adds a lot of information about the concepts and philosophy behind the new ...

Google Maps Offers Mind-Blowing Street View -- It's Like Walking Around Virtually in a City

Google Maps now offers a street view to major cities on their maps. It's like there are 360 degree web cams set up all over major cities -- you can virtually explore them, cruising up and down streets. It's simply amazing. Check it out.The only disappointment is that more cities aren't available in the street view. I think right now it's limited to San Francisco, New York, Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami. Watch this video for a two-minute ex...