January 30, 2005
Dabbling with Marqui
Marqui has opened up their communications management system to outsiders with 100 dabble mode accounts. I sent them an email requesting a test account since I thought it would be interesting to try it out on a system that doesn't get wiped out every night. From the way the below application process is described, they don't seem to be qualifying the requests. Will the first 100 people who ask for a test account receive one, no questions asked? More information is available on Marqui's website on a page described at the top as an interactive brochure. On the right side of the page (err, brochure), Janet Johnson's information is included but it looks like she forgot to indicate her phone number. It says "Click here to email me or give me a call at ". It also seems a little strange to put the link to her email on "click here" instead of just taking out those two words and putting the email link on "Email me." There's no title tag on the email link either.
I checked out the dabble mode website and now they are referring to CMS as "communications management suite" instead of "communications management system" that is used on their main website. It looks like they are also dabbling with what they want to refer to themselves as.
- Prospect sends e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and requests one.
- Alex captures their information and responds with userID and password(s)
- There are roles-based versions of the password so they can access Admin, Maestro, Composer and Writer levels
- Prospect goes to www.dabblemode.com to access their dabblemode site.
Today's Boston Globe Article about the WiFi Meetup I Organize
Today's (front page) print and online editions of The Boston Globe includes an article about Meetup.com by Robert Weisman. The article features two Boston Meetups he attended on January 12th: The WiFi Meetup that I organize and then later that night he checked out the Belly Dance Meetup.
I wish the Globe would use links throughout online articles or include a "related links" section at the end.
January 28, 2005
Nick Finck writes:
I want to be in a place where I am surrounded by the best and brightest people I can find. This is what motivates and allows me to succeed within my career, because to me success isnít measured in profits, stock options, or material wealth, itís measured by the people you have in your life.
January 27, 2005
MIThenge is happening this afternoon at MIT's Infinite Corridor.
As viewed from a stationary point on the earth, the path of the sun through the sky is roughly a circle which moves north and south as the seasons go by. In mid-November and in late January every year, the circular path crosses the axis of MIT's Infinite Corridor, which runs a distance of 825 feet (251 meters) from the main entrance on Massachusetts Avenue through Buildings 7, 3, 10, 4 and 8. When this happens, the setting sun can be seen from the far end of the corridor. By analogy with Stonehenge, this phenomenon is sometimes called "MIThenge". (The same cannot be seen at sunrise because the other end of the infinite corridor is blocked by Building 18.)
Current Work Related Projects: Progress!
I'm working on taking my 2005 aspirations seriously so towards the end of each month I'm going to post a summary of where I'm at and related thoughts. I'm not really expecting anyone else to find this particular fascinating. ;) (My RSS reader isn't showing up the "continue reading" link for some reason so if you're looking at this from your reader, too, you'll have to visit my site to see the rest of the entry.)
This month I moved into an office/studio in Somerville that I share with two other women: Wendy Constantine (art director and designer) and Jessica Finch (fine art and design). We sublease our space from Wooden Kiwi Productions. They are an entertainment production company. They build things like theater sets and dance floors. I found the space on Craig's List. I don't know what I'd do without that website.
I've been dabbling with freelance event planning and marketing since I left my last fulltime job as a web marketing specialist at SpeechWorks in October of 2001. This month has been significant because it's the first time in a while I've had enough paying client work to cover my main bills without having to pick up any temp admin jobs. Most of my time is spent working with Joshua Darden, a typeface designer in Brooklyn. I suppose the best "title" that fits what I do for his studio is office/business manager. I've also lined up a speaking gig for him at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March where he'll be moderating a panel about typography for the screen. And as I've noted numerous times, I'm also being paid by Marqui to blog about them once a week until the end of February. This project is giving me an opportunity to pay off debts I accumulated in 2004 when things were not quite so jolly.
And of course I want to get back to hosting more of my own events. I have a mailing list with about 700 subscribers that needs to be dusted off and promoted. I revived my Free Agent Boston dinner series on January 13th. I've been talking to a company in Kendall Square about providing space for a seminar series for Free Agent Boston. WhizSpark joined forces with my Exploit Boston! project and is sponsoring Exploit Boston! Radio until March. I need to spend more time thinking up ideas to work with them more on specific event ideas. Michael is working with me on Exploit Boston! and will be adding book-related events soon. I'd like to find one or two more conspirators so that events are added more quickly in other areas including art and culture.
Shimon Rura and I are working together on a semi-regular dinner for technologists, thinkers and afficionodos that we will be announcing soon.
One thing I need to add to my aspirations list is a specific reference to working with good people. Maybe another way of saying that is that I really don't have the time to work with egomaniacs. This means that sometimes I will have to pass up interesting opportunities; but in the end, I think my sanity and resolve will benefit.
Sometime this weekend I need to write a more substantial entry about my experience dabbling with Marqui's communication management system.
January 25, 2005
Digital Web Magazine's Coverage of Business Blog Summit 05 in Seattle
- BBS 05 Keynote
- BBS 05: Blog Business Models: What Strategies Make Money
- BBS 05: Building Traffic: Posting isn't Enough!
- BBS 05: The Entrepreneurial Blog: Monetizing Your Interests
- BBS 05: Picking a Platform: Blogging Engines Compared
- BBS: True Voice: The Art and Science of Blog Writing
- BBS 05: Good Blog Design: Speed, Accessibility, Transparency, and Clarity
- BBS 05: Corporate Blogging: Strategy and Policy
- BBS 05: Marketing Strategies and Tactics: PR and Beyond
- BBS 05: Dealing with Bloggers: Partnering and Defense Strategies
- BBS 05: Enhancing Internal Communications with Blogs, Wikis, and More
Those Wacky Professional Journalists
I have no idea how I missed this but I just stumbled across The Gobe and Mail article about Marqui's program to pay bloggers (including me) to write about the company. The article is dated 7 December 2004 on their website and includes a few tidbits about me in the opening paragraph. Marqui has the article archived on their website but without any links. (What's up with that, Marqui?) The odd thing is that no one from The Globe and Mail contacted me to verify details such as my full name. It's true that my name is listed on Marqui's website; but it seems odd that they wouldn't contact me directly.
Their description of this website is funny:
On her personal blog -- "The Life & Times of Sooz" -- Susan Kaup writes regularly about her friends, her Internet radio station and Boston's indie rock scene.
I think they confused the dinner parties and networking events I host as a "friends" thing. Which isn't really all that accurate.
On a somewhat related note, I set up a separate domain for my event planning and consulting work a while ago; but I haven't really done much with it yet. I'm thinking of just keeping everything at sooz.com and setting up a subdomain for the work related stuff. I like how Molly Holzschlag and Nick Finck have integrated all of their public-facing endeavors on each of their websites: weblog, consulting, etcetera.
Nearest Neighbor News Network
The Nearest Neighbor News Network is a collaborative filtering RSS aggregator recently created by Jacob Lee and Ben Hodes, students at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I submitted my feedburner feed for my site but it's noted as invalid in the NNNN system. Looks like that might be a bug to send their way. They've got a development blog documenting their adventure. [via SearchViews]
UPDATE: I tried to fill out a comment on their development blog but it didn't go through. I guess I'll try a trackback and then old fashioned email. This is a screen shot of the problem I had adding three feeds.
My First Word Press Blog
I finally set up a Word Press blog. It's a site that Michael and I are using for a 15-day road trip we're taking in mid-to-late April. I'm thinking about moving some of my other sites to Word Press, too. Though right now, I'm a little overwhelmed since I'm not all that savvy with PHP. Some things that seem so basic, like listing the category name at the top of each category page, are a huge challenge. At least for now. I can't seem to figure out where the template is to add this little tidbit.
January 24, 2005
Yahoo's Video Search
Yahoo added a tab for video search on their front page today. I did a search for "boston blizzard" to see if any citizen journalism reports came up but the only thing that turned up were hits for NECN, WHDH-TV and CNN. Are many video bloggers using Media RSS?
January 23, 2005
Johnny Carson, Nebraska and Wikipedia
I've been checking out Wikipedia a lot lately and really blown away with the amount of information that is compiled. They've got an informative page about Johnny Carson who died today. He grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska, about an hour northwest of my hometown Scribner, Nebraska. Wikipedia even has a page for Scribner! Too cool.
January 22, 2005
Peter Wood's Tag Glue Plugin for Movable Type and Technorati Tags
I mentioned to Peter Wood that I was trying to figure out how to get plus signs to show up when I combined the Movable Type category tag to automatically create a query and link to the Technorati tag for each category on the footer of my entries here and at Exploit Boston!. He made a nifty plugin called Tag Glue that does just that. Thanks, Peter! He said that it has only been tested with MT 3.14 so it may or may not work for older versions.
Here's what the code looks like
< a rel="tag" href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/<$MTCategoryLabel tag_glue="+"$>" title="check out the latest photos, weblog entries and Del.icio.us links related to <$MTCategoryLabel$>">(t)< /a >
Unfortunately I haven't seen many of my entries here or at Exploit Boston! showing up on the Technorati tags pages. I'm not sure what's up with that. It doesn't have anything to do with Peter's plugin since it wasn't working before either.
January 21, 2005
My New Camera Phone: Sharp TM150
I switched from SprintPCS to T-Mobile this week and bought a cameraphone. It's a Sharp TM150. It takes decent pictures since it's got a megapixel camera. I decided to not get any extra features other than the $2.99 picture messaging add-on because I probably don't need to be attached to the internet at all times. Instead of checking my email on the T I can now do something extraordinary: read a book! Crazy talk, indeed. The camera comes with a removable 32MB SD card to store images and short videos. That will definitely come in handy since the picture messaging add-on only covers twenty photo uploads. I picked up a little card reader (attaches to my keychain) to download photos and bypass the 25 cents per picture fee after those first twenty photos. Bigger memory cards are pretty cheap. I found a 512MB card for $45 at newegg.com. One thing the camera is missing is a flash.
I took the photo of one of my roommate's guinea pigs with the new phone using the macro (closeup) setting.
January 18, 2005
Sharing Another Birthday With A Bush Inauguration
As I've mentioned before, on Thursday I share my 32nd birthday with another Bush inauguration. Hopefully, this will be the last time I share it with a member of that family. If you're in the area, friends and conspirators will be getting together for food and drinks at ZuZu at 9:30 PM that night and then a new favorite band, Tom Thumb, plays a free show at 11:00 PM. They've got a couple tunes for download on their website. I particularly recommend "Gracie's Mine." We'll grab tables for however many people are there at 9:30; but if you want to let me know you will be joining us, send me an email.
January 17, 2005
Curious problem adding the auto-tagging nugget to entries
I combined Movable Type code with the new Technorati tag functionality so that each category on an entry had it's own link to that category's tag at Technorati. It works great on single words; but when it's a combination of two or more words, it's not working. Technorati's tag needs a ("+") plus sign between each word. I have no idea how to make this happen within the Movable Type code. Maybe I'll just use the Technorati Tags Bookmarklet that Matt at oddiophile.com created. I was just really hoping to be able to integrate it with the footer of each entry.
If you know how to make it work the way I was hoping it might, I'd love to hear what you'd suggest!
Here's the code I was originally using that breaks when there's more than a single word in the query.
href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/<$MTCategoryLabel$>" title="check out what other people are saying around the web about <$MTCategoryLabel$>">t
Update: OK, apparently it IS working afterall. Nevermind! ;)
Technorati + Flickr + Del.icio.us + Weblogs = !
I dabbled with Technorati's new "tags" functionality that combines the latest weblog entries with photos from flickr and links on Del.icio.us. It seemed like a nifty thing to use along with categories on Exploit Boston!'s event listings and announcements. Each entry's category has a little "t" next to it which opens up a results page at Technorati with the latest tidbits around the web about that category. I'm curious to see how long it takes for something to turn up there. The entries I added recently with the "Central Square" tag haven't turned up just yet.
Here's the code:href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/<$MTCategoryLabel$>" title="check out the latest photos, weblog entries and links around the web about <$MTCategoryLabel$>">t
January 16, 2005
It's a Good Thing
Saturday was an excellent mail day. My sister Amy sent me several new photos of my niece who is now eight months old and I also received my first payment from Marqui.
The Head Lemur (Alan Herrell), someone from the pre-blog web community, called yesterday from his world headquarters in Arizona about me attending Harvard's Blogging, Journalism and Credibility event that is coming up next weekend. It's very nice of him to put in a good word for me. We should have recorded our conversation. I think it's safe to say his writing style on his weblog matches his speaking style.
January 15, 2005
Doris "Granny D" Haddock's Latest Dispatch : Our Velvet Revolution
Doris "Granny D" Haddock will be celebrating her 95th birthday at the counter-inaugural events in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20th. She wrote an essay for the Democracy Week website that is incredible. It'd be nice to see her essay linked up around the web as much as all the blathering about the Dean campaign paying bloggers.Look at me: I am still alive, and I am looking at you, and you are alive. This is our world as much as anyone else's. We who are old enough or wise enough to see the edges of life can understand that we have a choice between fear and joy, and between victimization and service. All elections and other indications to the contrary, happy days are here again when we but say they are. We do not turn our hearts away from injustice or suffering, indeed we mend them as best we can with our joyful engagement and our courageous non-cooperation with the forces of fear and death. And no one can take away our joy, for even our suffering for justice and brotherhood is joyful.This is our Velvet Revolution, American style. We resist what we must and what we can, but our victory is not in defense, but in a cultural offensive made irresistible by the power of love and courage, pulling our people together, and our own lives together, over time.
January 14, 2005
The Not-So-Mysterious Z
About a day after I found Zephyr Teachout's new Zonkette weblog other websites started to link to her. I was checking in on my refer stats earlier and noticed my website has been visited by the State Department, NBC, the FDA and others searching for Zonkette.
Zephyr's "Financially Interested Blogging" blog entry has been linked up all over the web the past couple of days. She changed her name from "Z" to her real name on her blog recently, too.
It looks like Zephyr didn't want her blogspot blog to be found. Oops! The best way to not let something get out to the world wide web masses is to keep the words on our computers or behind a password protected directory. I found the Zonkette blog because it was linked on the "Z" name Zephyr used on the participants discussion thread on the "Blogging, Journalism and Credibility" event website.I certainly didn't expect it to be picked up by anyone (this is a temporary blog I was using (at the time) for links for the conference), and I'm mad that its been misused, but I think talking openly about this stuff is important.
Henry Copeland of Blog Ads wrote on his blog about the Wall Street Journal's article covering this "story" about the Dean campaign paying bloggers/consultants.Newsflash: there's a world of difference between people like Williams who hide payments that have an contracted goal of sweetening his public statements, and people like Moulitsas Zuniga and Armstrong who go out of their way to publicize financial relatonships that might impact their opinions.
Update 15 January: So, this is weird. I mentioned yesterday that I found Zephyr's new blog because she used it as the link for her initial "Z" in a comment she wrote on the participants list discussion thread for the "Blogging, Journalism and Credibility" conference. The comment doesn't seem to be there anymore.
Update 15 January Part II: Rebecca MacKinnon pointed out in a comment to this entry that there's one Zephyr comment on the conference blog but it's noted with her full name. That's not what I remembered seeing. Either I'm misremembering where I saw it or it was removed. That's what I get for not making note of specifically where I saw it.
January 13, 2005
WiFi and Belly Dancing
Last night a reporter and photographer from The Boston Globe sat in on the Boston WiFi Meetup that I help organize. I was impressed that they stayed for most of the event. Amusingly enough, they had to leave so they could get to the belly dance meetup at the Middle East in Central Square. We had a productive meeting at our gathering but I have a feeling the dancing may have been more entertaining.
January 11, 2005
Today's Productivity Distraction: New Apple Products
The new Mac Mini is much sexier than the old cube. And I'm pleased to see that Apple has released a smaller capacity music player called the iPod Shuffle. I bought an external hard drive a year ago when my old Dell notebook was about to die and as a place to store all my MP3s and high-res photos so I don't really have a need for another device with lots of storage space. Jeff Jarvis writes: "The entire point of the iPod is that it gives you control. Hell, the entire point of media that succeeds these days is that it gives you control." Losing control? Not really. I decide what music I put on there. It seems like it's particularly well suited for a themed playlist. Gizmodo has a reader-submitted review of the iPod Shuffle.
It looks like Zephyr Teachout, the former online organizer for the Howard Dean campaign may have a new weblog called Zonkette hosted at Blogspot.
January 10, 2005
Women tech/internet innovators in the Boston area?
I'm conspiring with someone on a project and one of the things we are working on is a list of people we'd like to invite to the first event. The list is 99% men. Are there any women in the Boston area who are tech/internet related innovators such as developers and founders of an interesting tech/internet application or website?
January 09, 2005
Harvard's Upcoming Conference: Blogging, Journalism and Credibility
Harvard's Shorenstein Center and Berkman Center are hosting an invite-only conference about blogging, journalism and credibility. Here's the list of invited participants (aka the usual suspects). The comment thread on that page is particularly interesting. Several people have pointed out there don't seem to be many independent/hobbyist/amateur webloggers on the list.
From The Head Lemur:Blogging is a tool, Journalism is an occupation, and Credibility is a goal. They are strange bedfellows.
Content Management System Spam
I usually ignore spam or don't see it at all if my filters pick it up. The other day I was organizing my inbox and came across an email with the subject line: "Content management comes to life in new demo." At first I thought it was an email from Marqui, the communications management system I'm being paid to write about until the end of February. Nope! It was spam from what appears to be one of their competitors: EMC²'s Documentum. Then I thought perhaps they sent this piece of spam to the bloggers writing for Marqui. Unlikely, but possible. Upon further inspection of the email header, I noticed that the spam was sent to an email address at sooz.com that I stopped using over a year ago. Looks like it was just some sort of random coincidence that I'm currently checking out a content management system.
The email tries to lure me over to the Documentum website to view a Flash demo of the product. I clicked the "See it now!" link and landed on a page that asked me to provide my first name, last name and email address to view the demo. First they spam me, and now they want my contact information just to view a demo? Marqui does not try to use their Flash demo as a lame lead generation tool. Since EMC² has already messed up their attempt to build some sort of relationship with me with spam, the least they could do is let me view the Flash demo without collecting additional contact information.
Here's a PDF of the spam I received. Similar to Marqui's "The Marketerís Guide to Optimizing Your Web Content for Search Engines", EMC² wants my contact information for a whitepaper linked in the spam about their content management "15-minute guide". Which is unfortunate on both of their parts. But I guess the consolation for Marqui is whether or not they spam to get this information. Either way, they should let the information speak for itself. If it's useful and relevant then they'll hear from the potential customer.
January 06, 2005
A bitter-girl 30
You might want to turn the sound down on your computer before clicking on the birthday link.
January 05, 2005
Photos of my new shared studio space
I posted a few photos on flickr of my new shared studio space. One thing I was looking forward to this Winter was not having to commute to an office job when the weather's bad. The added bonus of my new studio space (beyond the fact that I'm doing only freelance work - no temping!) is that it's a five minute bus ride away. Thank you, #80 bus!
January 04, 2005
Upcoming Events: Free Agent Dinner and Birthday Shindig
I've got a couple events coming up. Free Agent Dinner takes place on Thursday, January 13th at Polcari's in Kendall Square. Unfortunately, I'm stuck sharing January 20th (my birthday) with another George Bush inauguration. To ease the pain, I'm conspiring with True Grounds, my favorite cafe (also conveniently located in my Ball Square neighborhood) for a birthday soiree and game night. I'm using Whizspark's online event planning tools. I look forward to their enhancements which will offer more customization for the layout and links. The black background layout comes with red links which looks a little weird with the purple I'm using elsewhere on the page.
A third event at the end of January is in the works with my new studio compadres. More info about that, soon!
January 03, 2005
Other people's lists include:
- Understand more and criticize less
- Go to sleep at 10 or earlier every night for a week
- Floss everyday
- Witness the end of IE
- Break a guitar
- People watch at the airport
January 02, 2005
Stitch 'N Bitch at True Grounds
I'm at True Grounds doing some work on my computer surrounded by people attending the local gathering of Stitch 'n Bitch, including my roommate Julia. Kathy, one of her knitting conspirators was talking about a baby sweater she knitted with 49,000 stitches. Egads! It's very cute. Check out the photos and her comments about the process.
One of my 2005 aspirations included finding shared office space so I could work somewhere other than my apartment or local cafes at least a few days a week. I'll be sharing a studio on Medford Street in Somerville with Wendy Constantine and Jessica Finch. So far my New Year aspirations are going well! As long as we don't count not getting something posted to sooz.com yesterday.