My head feels kinda funny – in that emotional Sangria way. I got a ‘speaking’ fee today and promptly ate and drank it away. I’m rich biotch! Wait… no, poor again. But this is a serious post. This morning I went to the Sri Lanka Press Institute and talked about Blogging. They had fast Internet and a lot of young journalists from Virakesari, Daily Mirror, Daily News, Young Asia TV, etc. Guy from the Daily Mirror was older, actually, and asked some conservative but good questions. I guess I’m somewhat evangelical about the blogging thing, but I sincerely believe that it’s an easy and powerful way towards democracy, free speech, and betterness. Here are the links that I showed.
* *Firefox* – I can’t design on or even use Internet Explorer anymore. I like to see 10 webpages at once and I can’t live without tabs. I also don’t have time to deal with pop-ups or all the filth that IE accumulates. Downloaded this first.
* Kottu is a quick glance at *Sri Lankan blogs*
* Technorati is cool for browsing the whole *blogosphere*
* *Firefox Live Bookmarks*: On Firefox any blog has an orange icon at the bottom right of the screen. Click that and it’ll add the RSS Feed to your bookmarks. This means that looking thru your bookmarks will show you the updates from all your favorite sites.
* *Feedreader*: This basically lets you read RSS Feeds on your desktop. For me it means that I can read about 50 sites without visiting them, I just get updates like email. I like having it on the desktop cause I can read archives even when the Net goes out.
* Then I set up a Blogger blog, which takes exactly 1 minute on a decent connection, from sign-up to first post. I still recommend this or Blogsome to people starting out. There are some ridiculously influential blogs on *Blogger*, so it’s not a cop-out
* For *photos* I still recommend Flickr. Aside from being the most innovative web application I’ve ever seen, Flickr just makes it damn easy and elegant to share and work with photos online. It also syncs in really well with blogs, in the settings you can actually tell it to post to your blog. I wish Blogger had this built in. I thought Google (Blogger’s owner) would buy Flickr and make me wet myself, but tacky Yahoo bought Flickr in the end.
* *Anonyminity*: I recommended pseudonyms so that people wouldn’t lose their jobs or get killed or anything. You can always switch to your real name, but I (for example) can’t go back. In Sri Lanka, especially, not being anonymous really limits your freedom. If I was 9 to 5 – especially within a media company – I would get a lot of shit, including fired.
By professional I just mean time and money. Not much. It’s not much harder and is much more rewarding, I think.
* GoDaddy is tacky and they’re always trying to add useless stuff to your order, but you can register a *domain name* for like Rs 900. I’ve been using the coupon codes DAVID and CANDY which bring it to Rs 800.
* You need a *server* (php/mySQL), and lately I recommend Textdrive. It’s run by bloggers and half the money will go to WordPress or whatever project you support. They’ll install WordPress of Textpattern for you as well. 1200/month.
* *Content Management System*: writing HTML for every page you do is like using DOS. Nobody does it no more. A CMS is basically Windows for your server, you can install it and then click fun icons for the rest of your life. I use a Blog CMS for everything cause it’s simpler and more robust. There are many CMS’s, which I won’t get into beyond saying
* Use *Wordpress*. WordPress is simple, elegant and almost infinitely scalable. This site, Kottu, and Sarvodaya all run on WordPress. It can run anything from a one-person blog to an entire newspaper. It is also easy, opensource, and the community is like an army of rabid tech support. I demonstrated how to FTP WordPress to a server and install it, but Textdrive or most cool hosts will install for you.
* *Plugins*: For almost any added feature I’ve ever imagined, someone has written a plugin. I wanted to syndicate possibly 100s of blogs for Kottu and there was a plugin for that. I wanted to embed Flickr Galleries into a blog seamlessly, and there’s a plugin. Can Google ‘whatyouneed + WordPress’ and find. Centralized sources are Plugins Database, Plugins Repository, and the Plugin Contest. Honestly, people write new and ground-breaking stuff everday so I follow the news at Blogging Pro more than anything.
Basically people are mean and you have to get a thick skin pretty quick. If you’re arrogant already then you’re good to go. Comment Spam is pretty well managed on WordPress 1.5 and Blogger (but not here). Most papers are inclined to close comments, which I think is cutting yourself off from free labor. Not that I have the energy to care what papers do. I said that I have no interest in Mainstream Media, but that there can be a symbiotic relationship with blogs.
I am hot, sleepy and thinking about a girl. Going to take a shower and try to wake up with more brain cells.