June 22, 2005

The blog has moved


The present version of this blog will not be updated in the future.


Please visit Fred On Something at his new address at http://fgiasson.com/blog/


I hope that you will enjoy the new format and the future things I will write on it,






11:19:55 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 18, 2005

28 things to check when searching for a blog system and a hosting service



There is a list of 28 things that I consider important when come the time to check for blogging software and a hosting service. This is the features I was searching for in prevision of the next upgrade of this blog. This list is not really intended to beginner bloggers because many technical features are in the list. However, the items in the list are present in no particular order. It is certainly not complete, then if you have others to add, leave them in the comment section or by email and I will take care to add them to the list.



Traditional blogging features


  1. Comment post. The system should give the ability to the readers to comment posts. It should optionally give the possibility to moderate these comments. I think that all blogging systems have the feature.
    1. Max adds that it would be nice if comments were displayed in a pop-up window instead of the bottom of the posts.
    2. Sudar adds that it would be nice to have a permalink for each comment. It is effectively really essential when come the time to track your comments!
    3. Sudar also adds that it would be really nice if each user that comments has the possibility to receive all comments on the post by email.
  2. Anti-spam for comments. The system should give some sort of anti-spam system for comments. Spam comments are becoming a real pain on the Blogsphere.
  3. Trackbacks. The system should give the possibility to other bloggers the to trackback posts.
  4. Anti-spam for trackbacks. The system should give some sort of control (anti-spam or moderation) on the trackbacks. I had many problems of spamming in my trackbacks and I unfortunately cannot do anything to delete them with Radio Userland.
  5. Search engine friendly. The title of the posts needs to be the name of the perma-link.
    1. Max adds that it is not only important for search engine, but also for your readers, because it make the perma-link "human readable".
  6. Import/Export. The system should give the possibility to import and export the posts, comments and trackbacks to other blogging platforms.
  7. Categories. The system should implement categorization. It should optionally implement sub categories. It could also be interesting to dynamically create the categories with tags defined on posts (it could be viewable as a tag cloud).
    1. Max specifies 2 important things that the category systems need to do: (1) post a single post in more than one category, and (2) create a web feed for each individual category.
  8. Archives. The system should implement a good archive system.
  9. Multiple-Blogs. The system should permit multiple-blogs. I should not be supposed to reinstall the software to create a new blog on the same host.
  10. Guest blogging. The system should permit to create profiles for more than one blogger.
  11. The source code should be accessible. The system should distribute his source code to give the possibility to the blogger to add/change features.
  12. Images. The system should give the possibility to the blogger to easily upload and add images to his posts.
  13. Search engine. The system should give the possibility to search within posts, and this on the entire blog including the archives.
  14. Full feed/Abstract feed. The system should create full and abstract feeds. Then the reader will have the possibility to choose which is best for him.
  15. Comment feed. The system should create a feed for the comments posted on the messages of the blog.
    1. Max reminds me something we already talked about some months ago: the possibility to add the comments directly into the posts' feed. It would be really interesting, because comments are an integral part of posts.
  16. Web interface. The system should give the possibility to post messages on a blog via a web interface.
  17. Post by email. The system should give the possibility to post messages on a blog via email.
  18. IP banning. The system should give the possibility to ban an IP address to the system.



Layout management


  1. Custom code. The system should allow the possibility to add custom code in the template, like JavaScript code.
  2. Template modification. The system should permit the total modification of the templates.
  3. Search engine friendly. The themes need to be search engine friendly.



Hosting service


  1. Unlimited bandwidth. The provider should not restrict the bandwidth of their hosted blogs.
  2. Technical support. The provider should give a premium service to all of his customers via phone or email.
  3. Availability of the source codes. The provider should give the rights to the blogger to change the code of the hosted blogging system.
  4. Domain name. The provider should give the possibility to map a domain name to the blog.
  5. Statistics. Sudar adds that it would be nice if a good statistic system is implemented on the host server. It is more than essential, because bloggers are addicted to all type of stats.
  6. Unlimited space for posts. The provider should give unlimited space for text posts. At least 1 gig should be available for photos and other documents.
  7. Low cost. The cost of such a service should be under 15$ per month.



Am I demanding? I do not think so considering the blogging systems available today and the cost of the storage space. The best blogging services are open-source, and 1 gig of storage space cost less than 1$. Why such services are so rare? I cannot understand...


Have I missed some feature? Do not forget to leave it in the comment section or by email; I will take care to add them to the list.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] [] []
1:42:43 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 17, 2005

The comment server has some problems

Update (18 june 2005):  Finally it seems that only the comments on this thread (Replace a generalist by a group of specialists) does not work. I alerted the technical support of Radio Userland without any results for now. So restart commenting, but if you experience new problems, please send me an email.

This is just a quick note to let you know that the comment serveur of Radio Userland is having some problems right now. If you try  to comment you will get a "403 Forbidden" page. I hope they will fix the problem soon. However, such problems will be past in some days or weeks. I get you in touch for this :)

Thank to SL for pointing me out the problem.

11:51:33 AM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 16, 2005

Take a special care of your email customer support service



You have a company that give customer support by email? Take care of your service or it could be worse for your company than not giving the service at all. You have to take care of these points; otherwise you will probably alienate your customers:


  • You need to answer really fast to your customers' requests. It needs to be a question of some hours maximum.
  • You always need to send the last email.
  • You need to answer to every question, no matter what it is, silly or not.


I talk with my experience of the last weeks. I am currently searching for place where to host my next domain name and blog. I need really specific features so I asked many, many questions to many, many hosting companies. For some of them I never received any email. From others it took days before having an answer. Finally everything goes fine for some of them except that my last question is still unanswered. The result? I never found the company I will do business with to host my blog.


I think that it is a paradox, I mean, I contacted many companies specialized in blog hosting and they virtually had all bad virtual (mail, forum, etc) customer service. How could blog hosting businesses survive on the market if their customer support is as bad? A possible answer could be that no good web hosting service exist, I mean, for an acceptable monthly price (under 15$/month).


The result of this inability to answer to my questions is deep. It alienated me to their services and it is sure that I will never ever try to do business with them again. No one of these companies will have my money.


So the conclusion is simple: if you are not willing to put the time in a service you give, do not give it at all, otherwise it could be worse for your business. Internet is young; it takes time to business to adapt their strategies to it. However, you have to know that customers are already adapted to this new way to buy goods and services. They now have expectations, so you have to answer them.


Technorati Tags: [] [] [] [] []
1:47:19 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 14, 2005

Replace a generalist by a group of specialists.

Why communication is becoming more and more important in today’s world



In the last centuries, scientist/philosophers had all their time to discuss, understand and observe their world. In the last 40 or 50 years, we explored space, created artificial life, developed planetary communication systems, discovered the power of the nuclear, etc.


In the past they had hundreds of years to muse on their discoveries and their impacts on their world. Today we only have 1, 2, 3 or 10 years if we are lucky. Our world has changed. This new complexity brings an astronomical quantity of information to analyze and to understand. The era of generalists is finished. The thing is that we also need to muse and think about these new discoveries, has our ancestors were doing.


The generalist that thought about every aspect and impacts of a problem will be replaced by a group of specialists, communicating and cooperating, asking themselves the same questions has the old generalist. The only difference is the quantity of information to analyze and the complexity of the problems. We do not have the choice; we are becoming scientific ants, helping each other to try to reach a specific goal: understanding our new world.


It is why communication is and will be so important. We will need to change our mentality toward our peers. We will need to develop new ways to see things. We will need to continue to develop new communication and information systems to help us in to reach our goal.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] []

3:49:44 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 13, 2005

Inspiration is a bitch






It comes and goes. I cannot grab it: it is like a ghost. My mind is like a haunted house where ghost of inspiration lives. Sometime you see it, but when you hunt it you never found it.

The last time I had such a lack of inspiration it was when I got sick. Last week-end I had a total lack of inspiration because all my time had been invested in a single project last week. It drained all my inspiration… and my will.


You are thinking: yeah, but he blogged a lot last week, did not he? Yeah, I do, but I emptied my ideas sheet. There is the problem. I grabbed and stroke all the ideas on it without adding new ones. It is why I say that the ghost is currently hiding somewhere. I need to stimulate my inspiration; I need to hunt and find that ghost. I am a ghost buster, am I not?


It is what I am doing with now; I hunt it by writing these sentences. It is a trick. Sometimes it works, other times it do not... any idea of how I could re-populate that sheet?


PS: I also had a lack of inspiration for my title: is it appropriate? I mean, I took the first thing that comes up in my mind and I wrote it... it was that one.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] []
4:21:34 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 10, 2005

Why do people read A-List bloggers?



Adam came up with a really interesting post about some A-List bloggers (Robert Scoble / Scobleizer, Dave Winer / Scripting.com and Steve Rubel / Micro Persuasion). He analyzed the content of their publications and tried to understand why people are reading them. This is not the first analyze done on the subject but it is an interesting one.


The main question is: "Why do people read these guys?"


"In fact I'd say they're acting more like radio DJ's (playing attractive mixes of someone else's original content), rather than artists."


"but for the most part, the A-listers in my industry are simple, useful link brokers"


If you take a look at his graphs, you can say that he could is right. However, I think that their success is a little more than this.


Why these guys become influent on the Blogsphere? I think that they are much more than just link brokers. I will give you a clue on why they are a little more than DJ's with something that Adam said in his post:


"I do check in with these rockstar blogs occasionally and have even met several of them in person"


They are social; they easily connect with people; they have a whole lot of contacts. The result is that they have daily breaking news to broadcast and they take the time to comment and describe how they view them. Another factor is that when they write their comments on something, they do it in few lines: it gives the time to people to read them.


Adam pointed out another factor that I think is really important: they are passionate. This passion is transmitted by their writings. This passion is contagious and it is a factor why they easily connect with other people.


In conclusion, they are passionate people that master the art of socialization. I think that it is enough to try to explain why they can influence the way people see the Blogsphere and the Internet. I do not think that this is a question of blogging, but much more a question of social and human skills.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] [] [] []
12:08:07 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 9, 2005

Using dynamic tags or static categories on your blogs?



Recently I was questioning myself about some uses of tagging systems. Then I found that tags could be interesting to use to handle some specific tasks. Yesterday I found another interesting use of tags.


Some days ago, IonZoft started a new service called TagCloud. What is a tag cloud? There is the tag cloud of my 25 last posts:



FredOnSomething's tag cloud



The service will analyze your feed and add the most important words, and their frequencies, as tags in a "cloud". The new service seems to work like a charm.


The simplicity of the system leads me to ask a question: should I use traditional static categories on my blog or should I use a dynamic tags cloud?


I think that the question is interesting. I know that some bloggers was questioning themselves about the real utility of categories. It is true that sometimes I do not know where to classify my posts.


What about using dynamically changing tags cloud instead of static categories? It could be interesting. Your "categories", the tags in the cloud, will always reflect the thoughts you were having while writing your posts. You do not need to bother yourself with questions like: in which category should I put this post?


No really, I think that this application of tags could be really interesting. It would be even more interesting of blog systems like Radio Userland would implement such a feature.


What do you think of this new service? Do you see other good applications of such a service? What is interesting is that you have nothing to tag, and nothing to do; all the analyzing is done by a Yahoo content analysis web service.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] [] [] []
12:17:24 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 8, 2005

Journal writing saw by Dilbert








I was waked up by this beautiful Dilbert comic strip this morning. This is a beautiful piece of sarcasm from Scott Adams.


Do I need to add anything? I do not think so.

11:51:15 AM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

June 6, 2005

Using blogs to manage tacit knowledge in enterprises?



There are 2 types of knowledge in enterprises: explicit and tacit. The explicit knowledge is easily explained, documented and verbalized. This type of knowledge is easily handled by today knowledge management systems.


However, what is a tacit knowledge? This type of knowledge is much more subtle and hard to define, grab and communicate. We can call it the savoir-faire, the know-how, of employees. Normally, the organizations do not know the presence of, or take care of, this knowledge before that a worker possessing a lot of tacit knowledge stops working for them.


The goal of an organization will be to try to identify, to collect, to classify, to verbalize and to diffuse all the tacit knowledge present in the enterprise.


These personal experiences, that create the tacit knowledge, are hard to grab. How could we try to diffuse them, and crystallize them into the organization, if we have difficulties to define them?


The problematic of enterprises is to:


  • Find the knowledge
  • Preserve it
  • Valorize it
  • Actualize it
  • Manage it


The real problem is not to perform these tasks on explicit knowledge, but on the tacit knowledge. How could we find, preserve, valorize, actualize and manage the personal experiences of our workers? How to handle this precise experience, that savoir-faire, which makes the tacit knowledge so critical for our enterprise?


A possible answer: Blogs


I will take a small development team of 5 or 10 people to do my demonstration.


A way to try to crystallize the tacit knowledge is to diffuse it into the enterprise. The problem is that tacit knowledge is not really the knowledge that you will find on the knowledge base of the MSDN library. The tacit knowledge, as we described it, is composing of personal experiences. However, personal experiences could be anything: past working experiences, scholar experiences, personal experiences, etc.


Then, how could we take on this type knowledge? Is there a way?


I think so. A solution would be to implement a blogging philosophy into the working group. Take into account that there are 2 or 3 old school developers into the development team with 7 or 8 fresh graduated university students. The 2 or 3 old schools developers have experience, savoir-faire, and this is that knowledge we need to transmit to the 7 or 8 others.


The best way to transmit the tacit knowledge is probably by informal interactions. It is exactly what is behind the blogging philosophy: a formal interaction between a blogger and his readers. So, think about it. You would give 2 or 3 paid hours to your employees to blog into the internal blog system of the enterprise.  You tell them: wrote what you want. Wrote about your past experiences, wrote about your family, wrote about the way you resolve problems, wrote about anything.


These informal communications will give critical information to the enterprise. First of all, the old school developers will diffuse their tacit knowledge to the fresh university graduated students; our first goal is then reached, or at worse partially solved. In addition, the managers will know how their employees think and are. It will help them to manage them more effectively and find if something goes wrong with one of them or a whole working team. Depending on the blogging system they will use, they will be able to find knowledge, preserve it, valorize it, actualize it and manage it.


It is how I think that blogs could help enterprises to grab and diffuse their tacit knowledge: by implementing the blogging philosophy into their enterprise, into their working teams.

Technorati Tags: [] [] [] [] [] []
5:07:49 PM        [comment []]    [trackback []]

© Copyright 2005 FredOnSomething.

Subscribe with Bloglines
Subscribe with MyMsn
Subscribe with MyMsn
Subscribe with MyMsn


Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.

June 2005
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30    
May   Jul

Google search