nchenga’s Web 2.0 roundup: Links and comments

How many online services did you sign up for, use once or twice, and then never return again?

In my case, that would be lots of ’em. Some of them are really popular services like Digg or Mister Wong, where I just haven’t found a personal use case, or I’ve got a substitute or workaround. While some of them have disappeared, like leze.de or gada.be.

Here’s an idea for a blog post which I’ll update as I go along and find more unused websites in the backwaters of my Internet history.

Sites I tried, but which I don’t use anymore:

  • Digg
  • Mister Wong (I keep forgetting the url and typing mrwong.de)
  • MyBlogLog (I wanted to un-subscribe, but I didn’t see the corresponding info, and now I’m too lazy and too busy. I don’t like the automatic delurking. Sometimes I want to lurk around for a while to get an opinion on the site…).
  • Stumbleupon (I tried this once or twice, got really frustrated by the navigation and the tool bar, and couldn’t find a way to un-subscribe and leave).
  • Web.de (changed the policy for their free email service to make it unusable, a clear goodbye from my side.)
  • Blog-city.com (the hosted blog service I first tried out when I started blogging in 2003, at the time it had long and frustrating upgrade cycles, the reason that I moved to my own installation of WordPress)
  • Blogger (I read some Blogger sites… but I hate it if I need to sign in into Blogger to leave a comment, I’ve got about 2 Blogger logins floating around and I just find it cumbersome).
  • Bloglines

Sites or services that I visit regularly:

  • Flickr
  • del.icio.us
  • Gmail, Gtalk…
  • Wikipedia
  • Technorati and blogsearch.google.com (mainly due to lack of alternatives, I think there’s lots of room for improvement in both)
  • Slug.ch and blogug.ch (for the Swiss perspective)
  • Youtube, Revver
  • Skype (I recently signed up for SkypeOut and used it to call Malawi, very good sound quality, comparable or lower pricing compared to telecom carriers)

On the content side of things, I read:

  • Scoble
  • Dooce (you’ve got to have at least one mummy blogger in your Webtwodotoh portfolio)
  • Metablog.ch (although recently this blog has slowed down a bit… I guess, Matthias has a lot of other duties)
  • Climb to the Stars
  • Gapingvoid (all time favorite)
  • Google News, and I’ve set up Google Alerts for a couple of keywords.
  • WordPress and WordPress.com (WordPress goodness hosted for you)
  • Lorelle on WordPress

My favorite RSS feed by far:

  • Dilbert

New explorations:

  • Twitter
  • Stickis
  • Vox.com (they offer a smooth integration into external sites like Flickr. Pretty cool!)
  • Jumpcut (downside: another Yahoo! company…)
  • Afrigator (Blog aggregator for African sites, I like their crocodile icon!)

Banntag

went walking up to Chrischona and noticed signposts labelled “Banntag” all along the way.

It seems this is a tradition in the Baselbiet region… an old custom associated with blessing of fields and checking of boundary stones.

See also:
Banntag (in German)

Blog resource links

Here are a couple of starting points:

Blog hosting

Three possibilities:

  1. Sign up with a hosted service such as WordPress.com, Typepad or Vox (fastest cos it takes all of 5 mins).
  2. Sign up with a webspace provider that already includes blog software in their package.
  3. Sign up with a webspace provider that offers PHP 4.x or later and MySQL and install WordPress on your own.

WordPress.org documentation:

Installing WordPress on your own server

The install documentation covers most setups. Installing a local copy using XAMPP or MAMP is useful especially during the design phase.

Other useful WordPress.org docs:

Importing content from other blogs.

Posting entries by email. As mentioned during the talk I set up a cronjob on my server, which checked at regular intervals if there was any email to post.

Templates galore:

As mentioned, setting up WordPress is fast, finding the right design theme will take a little bit longer… cos there are so many out there.

I like Scott’s collection of minimal designs.

My advice: get a theme which offers the structure you’re loooking for and then customize the CSS file.

Flickery goodness:

I cross-link to Flickr to add pictures to my blog, but you can also upload files and photos directamente into WordPress. Please note: you’ll need to resize for the web and your layout. I’m lazy: I use Flickr and Quickr Pickr.

You can also set up Flickr to post pics directly to your blog. Within Flickr, go to Your Account > Extending Flickr . Click edit in the section labelled Your Blogs and follow the instructions displayed.

Here’s an advanced user guide for Flickr, describing how you can post pics per email, etc.

On commenting:

All comments at this site land in the moderation queue and I check the queue once a day. I don’t always reply or write back immediately. As you’ll probably notice in the next few weeks, sometimes I don’t have the time. But if I do, I’ll usually reply online at the source – in my blog, if it’s a comment on my site, or if it’s a trackback, i’ll go see their post and add a comment in their blog.

I think the main point you need to get across is that you reserve the right to edit or delete comments. This is especially important if you’re moving into business blogging.

There’s the Lifehacker’s guide to commenting to refer to.

Commenting is a way to increase traffic and expand your network.

And remember to activate Akismet or other comment spam plugins.

RSS feeds:

Every WordPress blog offers a feed for entries and a feed for comments. At Chip this is:

http://www.chiperoni.ch/wordpress/feed/

http://www.chiperoni.ch/wordpress/comments/feed/

Again, there are numerous RSS feed readers. And your choice of reader will depend on your personal reading preferences. I use the newsfeeds reader included within Opera. Thunderbird also includes a feed reader per default. And there are numerous feed readers for FireFox. Please note: some media news feeds (e.g. BBC) send out entires every minute and will easily swamp you.

More high-level infos on the concept of RSS are available in this Wikipedia article.

Further background links:

The Corporate Weblog Manifesto by Scobleizer

Ten Tips For A Better Weblog

How To Blog And Not Lose Your Job

😉

Swiss weather in Swiss German

Stopped by at the Swiss TV blog for the very first time, and do you know what:

“es hudlet”, “es chuutet”, “es strääzt” oder “es chunnd ganz schöön cho schütte”

Looks like I’ll need to learn more Swiss German dialect to find out what kind of weather’s being forecast for tomorrow.

Just wondering if there’s another European country that has a similar language constellation. I mean, if we consider the German speaking part, there’s:

  • Standard High German – variant required to speak with Germans;
  • Swiss High German – often mistaken as being Mundart by German visitors. (Typical duh comment: Swiss German isn’t as difficult to understand as I thought it would be);
  • And then there’s the various regional dialects such as Basel-Deutsch, Bärn-Deutsch, Zuri-Deutsch. Basically every valley has its own language.

Swiss German has a lot of French loan words. New discovery of the week: couronne as in couronne de Paris. Never heard of the expression before, but Wikipedia had this description.

Agglo and quartier are regular expressions heard often in Basel.

(I know, I know. A very boring blog entry. Nothing new. But I did say “I’m blogging this” at the time 😉 )

A couple of interesting links:

My only hope is that the Swiss German weather will be sunnier than in High German…

new at chiperoni.ch: learning italian

3 years after my last italian classes in Lugano, i’ve enrolled for yet another italian language course for advanced learners. Today was the first lesson. And it looks like it’s going to be fast-moving and challenging. I’m introducing a new category at chiperoni.ch, learning Italian, in which I’ll post notes and useful links from time to time.

The course is based on the following books:

Grammar book: Corso Italia 2

Reading book: Lo scialle andaluso by Elsa Morante

If you have a copy of Corso Italia 2 or Lo scialle andaluso sitting in your shelf and gathering dust, please let me know.

On Microfinancing

zapped into this TV report on microfinancing:

Mikro-Kredite

Basically, microfinance provides loans and insurance to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans.

An alternative and maybe more effective way to fight poverty…

These two institutions were mentioned in the report:

OikoCredit

Procredit Holding

[update] Another similar institution is:

Opportunity International Bank of Malawi
see also Mike’s blog entry

freie sicht aufs mittelmeer

Here’s an interesting production playing at the Theater Basel.

The stage is the streets of Basel…
I saw an interview with Dani Levy, and I’m planning to go see the show.

[Update Saturday Oct 30] I managed to get hold of a ticket despite the fact that the show is sold out for the season. Sometimes it helps to voice your leisure plans at work…

The play starts in the courtyard of the city prison. Headphones and rain capes are distributed. And then the entire set, audience, sound and light engineers move from building to building in the St. Johann’s Quartier of Basel. Video and live scenes mix. And there’s an excellent use of the real setting. At times I felt I was witnessing real disputes as a passer-by, in other cases I felt I was watching a movie.

Highly recommended. A great show! Different but not too experimental. Plus you get to know another part of Basel…

See also: NZZ | Wikipedia