Zemanta

I am learning a lot from the African blogs I am reading…

App+frica recently wrote about useful web applications for bloggers in developing countries.

In his list he mentions Zemanta:

Zemanta, which just scored a new round of funding from Union Square Ventures, is a huge time saving tool. It’s a browser-side plug-in that scans the context of your blog posts (even as you’re writing it) and offers up a ton of time saving shortcuts like related links, photos, wikipedia articles, blogposts and suggested tags. With the click of a few buttons it can help you format your post in a way that normally takes hours! For instance, if you’re writing an article about Google, Zemanta will find recent articles about Google from other blogs, photos, logos and more.

It works with all the major blog platforms including WordPress, Livetype, Blogger, Drupal and more. When I had an abundance of time (and internet) I would usually just do all those things myself but Zemanta speeds up that process significantly.

Zemanta analyzes your text and then searches the web to suggest related articles, photos, tags. For some texts, the results still need tweaking. But this is a cool tool and a sign of what’s coming.

Thanks App+frica for sharing. I hadn’t heard of it before. And I live in a so-called developed country.

Freeconomics

Interesting background article, for future reference:

We can start with a simple user question: why would we ever pay for anything that we could get for free? When anyone buys a version of something they could get for free, what are they purchasing?

From my study of the network economy I see roughly eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

In a real sense, these are eight things that are better than free. Eight uncopyable values. I call them "generatives." A generative value is a quality or attribute that must be generated, grown, cultivated, nurtured. A generative thing can not be copied, cloned, faked, replicated, counterfeited, or reproduced. It is generated uniquely, in place, over time. In the digital arena, generative qualities add value to free copies, and therefore are something that can be sold.

Source: Edge: BETTER THAN FREE By Kevin Kelly. Via Appfrica.

Useful Mac Tool: Skitch

It’s been one year and one month since I moved to Mac. And in line with the underlying concept of this post, I’d like to recommend a Mac OS tool which I find very useful:

Skitch

If you have a look at my Flickr stream, I tend to post a number of screenshots to collect ideas and illustrate blog posts. Skitch is great for this.

I found that Skitch is more intuitive than Apple’s Grab. By default Grab creates TIFFs, which I find more cumbersome to handle and an overkill for quick notes.

I like the Skitch annotation features (text, arrows, circles, squares). This helps to interact with external contractors much faster. And I can easily send the screenshot via Apple Mail.

I post to my Flickr account directamente without a detour to Flickr Uploader. And Skitch keeps a history of recent photos and screenshots, which I can easily drag to a desktop app like Powerpoint.

A productivity tool to consider!

The RSS Footer

One of my regular Google alerts currently points to a blog that is scraping entire sections of my content and displaying these on a Blogspot site.

I have reported the Blogspot site via this website:

Blogger Help

And I’m well aware of the fact that anything I publish on the world wide web is up for grabs. It’s a well-known fact. The minute you offer an RSS feeds, scrapers can easily pull your content and display it anywhere they like.

And you depend on the big search engine company to sort out the original from the copycats.

That’s why I like this tagline: “Make the scrapers work for you!”.

If you’re using WordPress, download the plugin and upload it to your plugin folder. Activate it in the Plugins view and then open Settings > RSS Footer to add a text and backlink:

chiperoni.ch › RSS Footer Configuration — WordPress

Click Update Settings.

Finally, ping Feedburner (if you’re using it) and you should see the changes show up in your feed.

If you’re using Blogger (and you understand German), see Mlle. A.’s excellent tutorial.

See also:
How to foil scrapers on your blog
The Lifecyle of a Blog Post

Where were you seven years ago?

When I was a kid, my mom told me that she’ll never forget where she was when she heard that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. She was at a train station waiting for a train to arrive, when suddenly the news spread that JFK had been killed.

I’ll never forget where I was when I heard about 9/11. I was at work in Lugano in an open-plan office, a typical Dilbert-like office setting. A work colleague came by and said something to the effect that the USA was being attacked. Various Internet news websites such as CNN or Yahoo were down. A colleague and I headed downstairs to the pub to see if we could find a TV. But somehow the satellite receiver wasn’t set up. So we headed back into the office.

On the second floor, somebody hooked up a PC, a TV reception card and an online projector. And everybody sat there watching.