Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Spam Alert-subject line: Thanks (etc.)

spam alert--subject line: thanks (etc.) Posted by Hello

You Should HATE Spam! It's a Crime!

Spam is not funny. Don't be curious to read the horrid crap.

If you open a spam message, it will send a signal back to the spammer criminal, telling them that your email address is valid and active, then the scumbag will not only flood you with more junk, they will sell your email address to other spammers, virus mailers, and possibly cyber-terrorists.

Just opening a spam email can launch a destructive computer virus, according to my computer security advisors. Don't be stupid.

Here's a new twist on spam.

Are you getting messages in your inbox, from unknown senders, with...

subject: Thanks for [whatever]?

SOCIAL ENGINEERING = cyber deception

Using subject lines like "I love you" or "Your mother is trying to contact you" or "Mail Delivery Failure Notice" or "Thank You for That Info"...

...this is called "social engineering" by the security pros.

It means the con artists, spyware attachers, virus loaders, and cyber-vandals are using your NORMAL, natural inclinations and behaviors to trick you.

A normal, kind human being likes to think they're helping someone, even if they're not sure who the recipient is, nor what they did to help them. It makes us feel good to receive compliments, appreciation, respect, gratitude.

That's why the scumbag spammers are using "Thanks for [whatever]" in the subject lines. Understand?

Here are some more illustrations of possible Social Engineering ruses and ploys...

Who wouldn't open a message that had the subject line: "Your Dad is sick, in hospital".

Or: "The boss is getting ready to fire YOU"?

The New "THANK YOU" Scam

Now, the newest thing in spam is to use the subject line "Thank You for [whatever]"

Here's just the sender name and subject line I got a few days ago, I did NOT open it...

Sender: Carmel

Subject: Thank You Very Much, Netpreneur. Adv

Here's how I KNEW it was spam.

(1.) Carmel is an unknown sender

(2.) Netpreneur is an unknown name

(3.) Adv. is a stupid thing to add

(4.) I Googled the phrase "Thank You Very Much, Netpreneur.Adv" and sure enough, some web site in Germany had already posted a warning about this spam message.

Now today, I got another spam email, with "Thanks for your urgent assistance" as the subject line. Fools. I know a little bit about Social Engineering.

So, if you're tempted to open an email message from an unknown sender, at least do a search engine search on the sender name and the subject line.

Better yet, just delete the damn thing. Don't encourage spammers to continue to break the US law and violate netetiquette.

Thanks. (excuse the irony, heh)


UPDATE EDIT: Another new spam subject line is "AWARD NOTIFICATION".

From googling the phrase, I see that the fraud involved in such email is to trick you into filling out a form to provide private information, social security number, bank account numbers, whatever.

You think you've won some "award" from a lottery or a sweepstakes. But you are instructed to fill out a form. Another form of what's called "phishing".

Speaking of slimeball spammers, Publishers Clearing House is a big offender.

And guess what? I cannot sue them for lying to me and sending unwanted email. I contacted an internet law specialist attorney, and was told that consumers have no recourse against spammers. An individual cannot sue a spammer to punish them. What nonsense is this? This sucks.

I told PCH to stop sending me their stupid crap, and they said, "give us 20 days" or some similar message, and yet they lied and keep sending their junk to my inbox.

Publishers Clearing House has no moral standards when it comes to lying and forcing their BS sweepstakes garbage spam on consumers.

They were busted years ago for deceptive direct mail practices. Screw PCH. Boycott them.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Blogging Best Practices: 16 Tips

better blogging, pure and simple Posted by Hello

Hey there, blogger!

Are you following Dr. W. Edwards Deming's advice: pursuing Continual Improvement?

Are you absolutely sure your blog could not be enhanced, made better, tweaked, or fine-tuned? Be honest.

Why You Should HATE Your Blog!

Did that get your attention?

I like to say, in a deliberately confrontational, disturbing manner:

"HATE your blog, then improve it."

I've had bloggers say, "I don't hate my blog. I love my blog, that's what motivates me to make it excellent."

I say, "Baloney. Love, as defined by Freud, is the Overvaluation of the Object Choice."

That means: we all tend to over-estimate, exaggerate the good qualities, of what or whom we love. I think Freud's definition may apply more to what we call "infatuation" or "puppy love", but even in more mature cherishing, we must admit: we gloss over, downplay, and de-emphasize any negatives.

That's probably good in many cases. But, when it comes to our blogs and blogging practices, "loving my blog" can also blind us to things we could improve.

Don't gaze dreamily at your blog design, colors, layout, and text, thinking, "Oh my, what a wonderful work of art and brilliant writing. What awesome thinking is displayed here. I'm a genius and a scholar. My amazing personality and tastes shine through so vividly. Coolness to the furthest extreme."

Bah! That kind of attitude gets you NOWHERE.

I have never seen a blog that was perfect.

So let's go. Let's examine some points regarding how YOU could possibly IMPROVE your blog, and KEEP IMPROVING it on a regular, even daily, basis.

Better Blogging Check List:


First, is your blog ugly? Boring looking? Typical looking?

Upload photos to your posts. Get an art/photo program like JASC Paint Shop Pro or PhotoShop. Learn how to make artistic banners or images for your posts, like I do. Almost nobody does this, and I can't understand why.

Look at Dvorak Uncensored for a great use of images for EVERY post.

Consider a fresh new design template. Or go into your template code and fiddle with the colors and layout. Email me if you need help.


Are you encouraging visitors to comment? Are you actually asking them questions in your posts...or are just preaching sermons and sharing your personal junk?

Get off the pulpit and get a two-way conversation going. That's what makes blogs special.

(3.) LIST.

Are you presenting great information in a hard to assimilate fashion? Don't bury good tips and facts in dense paragraphs.

Break up those solid blocks of text into bite-sized chunks. It's called "copy chunking". Use bulleted, numbered, or asterisked lists.

Never give readers several points in one paragraph. Make those points easier to skim, scan, and absorb. List them.

(4.) LINK.

Are you embedding hypertext links within your post text? I used to put lots of links in my posts at Vaspers the Grate, but I was writing carefully researched articles, almost scholarly tomes.

Now I use fewer links in my posts, but I think I need to get back to heavy hypertexting. What do you think? Linking is how we stay connected to the blogosphere. It indicates humbleness, acknowledging other sources, expanding your readers' information pool.


You better be visiting other blogs...and posting comments on them. I think it's pathetic and wrong for any blogger to be a lurker, slinking around in the creepy shadows of the blogosphere.

You reap what you sow. Post comments and receive comments. It's that simple.

Add value to other blogs by posting intelligent remarks. You read a post at someone else's blog. It bores you. You move on to another post or another blog. Something you read irritates you. Puzzles you. Enlightens you. Makes you laugh. Increases your expertise.

Then why on earth would you be so selfish and shy as to run off without telling the blog author your opinion, or complimenting them, or challenging their dumb statement? Crawl out of your shell and yell.


At least strive to meet the goal of one post per day.

WARNING: If you post sluggishly, only a few times a month, or once a week, many visitors will think you don't care about your topic, or you've abandoned your blog.


Don't be stuffy. Crack jokes. Say things in a funny way once in a while. Make fun of yourself: this is a very important technique.

People LOVE it when someone practices self-parody or self-effacement. Poke fun at your faults and insufficiencies. This is a fast way to present a warm, humanizing presence in your blog.


Sincerely seek to provide honest, practical, helpful material to your readers. Be patient and kind to flamers.

Delete comment spam and abusive comments immediately. When I see comment spam or abusive comments sit in a blog for weeks, I delete the blog from my blog roll and never return. That's how serious I am about maintaining a clean, ethical, beneficial blog.

Speak in friendly terms. Write like you're composing an email to a lover, family member, best buddy, or someone you admire.


Cruise around the blogosphere. Link around like crazy. Bounce from one blog to another until you discover a cool blog you never knew about before.

Here's one I stumbled upon today:

echo ditto


If a blog is really newly created, or simply new to you, read it and post comments at it.

How can you possibly in good conscience read a plea, a question, a complaint, a cry for help or clarification, at another blog, and pass on by?

You reap what you sow. If you wish bigtime bloggers would help you, answer your email, visit and post comments at your blog, are you doing that for other blogs?


Can't think of anything valuable to post? No problem. Think of something you're interested in, or confused about. Type that word or phrase into your favorite search engine (mine is Google, but I'm an unabashed Googlephile).

Scan the search results. Only click on links that seem credible, serious, professional. Prefer the links that end in ".org" or ".edu" or ".gov"

Read some good posts on your topic. Make notes. Copy the URLs. Then write your post, summarizing or reacting to what you read. Be sure to link to your information sources.

Here are two links that inspired me for this post:

"Are Blogrolls Hurting Us?" by Terence Heath

About blogrolls creating a "caste system" of incestuous blogging, cliques, and suggestions on trimming blogrolls or being more active with them, visiting and commenting at those blogs you blogroll.


"Blog Resolutions for 2005" by Wayne Hurlbert

A fantastic collection (but wish it were a list) of tips on how to improve a blog. By a master of blogging, very smart and effective blogger. Amazing guy.



Go to Jakob Nielsen's Use It.com web site. Full of fascinating articles on increasing the usability of any web site or blog. By the foremost expert in the field, a former Sun Microsystems engineer. Buy all his books and study the principles. You'll have an edge that other bloggers will envy.


Learn about the basics of good web design. The most important aspect of any blog or web site is the first fast visual impression it makes on visitors.

Did you hear me? Sound extreme? Well, studies have been made by Consumer Reports WebWatch and Stanford University, among others, and the conclusion is that visitors leave a site within seconds if it looks sloppy, amateurish, ugly, sleazy, or unprofessional.


Learn how to write in general by reading classic novels and also authoritative books on writing skills.

I turn for writing inspiration to such classics as the Bible, Buddhist texts, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, Maurice Blanchot, Jacques Derrida, John Updike, Roland Barthes, Jerry Seinfeld, Mark Twain, James Thurber, Will Self, and many other novelists, business book authors, columnists, artists, philosophers, comedians, mystics, and short story authors.


Talk with other people about blogs. Both computer savvy people and those who know little about computers, internet, web sites, and blogs. This will energize you for future posts.

I talk to my physical therapist (for my frozen shoulder problem), my wife, my family, her family, my musician friends (I used to perform and record avant garde electronic music, still plan to continue when I get time), practically anybody I run into, just making small talk to be friendly.

No wonder no one calls or stops by anymore. I'm a blog fanatic, and it shows.


(15.) HTML.

Learn some HTML so you can fiddle with your template, add sidebar material, add widgets and add-ons, create your own "Read These First" or blogrolls or important notices (see any of my blogs for examples of this.) I need to learn a lot more.


How often do you go to blogs by Doc Searls, Cory Doctorow, Matt Mullenweg, Seth Godin, Darren Rouse, Neville Hobson, Steve Rubel, Dave Taylor, Amy Gahran, Robert May, Steven Parker, Buzz Bruggeman, David Weinberger, Evan Williams, Jorn Barger, Debbie Weil, and the many other blog experts and pioneers?

Blogroll these folks' blogs. Then interact with your blogroll by visiting these blogs. Make it a habit to check up on these experts, all of them, at least once a week.

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Monday, May 30, 2005

America: birth and death place of blogs

suppression of political blogging is just the beginning Posted by Hello

SAY GOODBYE to Blogging...

Blogging is about to be killed.

Bye bye blogging.

It was nice knowing you. (audible sigh)


Here it is, Memorial Day, and in a certain sense, I'm not feeling very patriotic.

(NOTE: Every time I post something controversial, I lose RSS subscribers, lurkers, and casual readers. So be it. I am what I am. Weed out the losers, fine with me. The sooner the better. I speak only to truth-seekers anyway.)

Why do I feel sad? Because United States legislation by the FEC (Federal Election Committee) is poised to destroy free speech blogging.

Free Speech Blogging means you say whatever you want, about anything you want, and link to anything you want...with no fees, no fines, no penalties, no jail time.

This is coming to an end rapidly. I think we all know why, if we pay attention to the devastation to MSM and politicians by bloggers.

THE DANGER TO BLOGGERS: If you just mention a political candidate, or link to their web site or blog, or engage in other loosely defined political activity on your blog, the FEC is getting ready to consider that blogging act a FINANCIAL DONATION. Sound crazy? Wake up. They're serious. Investigations, fines, etc. are headed our way. Soon.

Some may consider me extreme, paranoid, alarmist, or rash. But watch what's happening in the blogosphere and in the news media. Doom is on it's way, unless we fight back fast and hard.

This is our time to shine and to preserve Free Speech Blogging for coming generations as well as ourselves.

Even if you could care less about politics and politicians (I'm with you there), this attack is just the beginning of the end.

If we sit around and do nothing, like most people, we'll lose our rights to blog freely, independently, opinionatedly...about anything.

Certain forces want to license, regulate, regiment, or abolish blogs.


Center for Democracy & Technology

(Headline news on this issue is at:


Institute for Politics,
Democracy & the Internet

have set up a manifesto
to ward off this cataclysm.

Please read the manifesto
("The Principles"),
sign onto it,
and answer their survey
to be sent to the FEC.

Protect Online Political Speech (manifesto, "The Principles")

Protect Online Political Speech (sign up)


Educate the FEC About Blogging (survey)

I wouldn't ask you to do what I have not done, and I have signed onto the manifesto and I filled out the survey.

Thank you for your concern and ACTION.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Blog Taglines Experiment #1

which taglines do you like best? Posted by Hello

[An identical version of an article that is appearing simultaneously on my Vaspers The Grate blog.]

In a recent post, we examined together the post titles of selected blogs.

This time around, let's take a look at blog "taglines" or "descriptions".

Taglines are like slogans. You generally find taglines right under the title of the blog. Or some other prominent, upper region on the blog's main (index) page.

Sometimes it's not easy to determine what a blog's about just by the title. A tagline is usually used by the blogger to clarify the purpose or content of a blog.

Taglines can vary from a few words...to a lengthy paragraph or two.

SUGGESTION: I strongly urge every blogger to use a tagline on your blog. It can give your blog that little extra edge of clarification or intrigue that could prevent a first-time reader from leaving your site, due to not seeing any personal relevance.

Now...let the experiment begin.

Decide if the following taglines are accurate and compelling, i.e., cause you to want to go visit the corresponding blogs for which they act as sub-titles.

VOTE for YOUR Favorite Taglines:

Post a comment or email me
and let me know which
blog taglines you like best!


(in no particular order)

(1.) Codeye

"A Mister and Missus photoblog where you decide who makes dinner."

(2.) Blog of Leonid Mamchenkov

"You just stepped in a pile of posts."

(3.) Blog Sisters

"Where men can link, but they can't touch."

(4.) Dvorak Uncensored

"Personal weblog of columnist John C. Dvorak.
Inside information, backgrounders, the unprintable."

(5.) Radical Corporate Art

"Business-oriented motivational posters
with catchy captions and servile slogans."

(6.) The Deevy Report

"Weekly news and commentary on emerging workplace issues."

(7.) Working Smart

"The alternative to working hard!"

(8.) Naked Conversations (formerly: The Red Couch)

"How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers, a book by Shel Israel and Robert Scoble."

(9.) Blogspotting (Business Week blog)

"Where the worlds of business, media and blogs collide."

(10.) The Big Blog Company

"Oh wow, that's a big blog you've got there!"

(11.) Pro Blogger

"helping bloggers earn money"

(12.) The Intuitive Life Business Blog

"Leadership for the 21st century: online strategies and communications."

(13.) NevOn

"Neville Hobson's weblog: comment and opinion on business communication and technology."

(14.) The EGR (Entropy Gradient Reversals) Weblog

"where we write at night when we should be sleeping. and it shows."

(15.) Jefflundberg.com/blog

"no fuss, just the blog"

(16.) Dracula Blogged

"Bram Stoker's vampire novel, published by its own calendar."

(17.) Hello World

"Miscellaneous, by design."

(18.) Waiter Rant

"Do you want pomme frites with that?"

(19.) Crossroads Dispatches

"The generalist synthesist weblog - quite often about innovations in innovation and marketing. Juxtaposing the right brain and left. Yin and yang. Analytical and intuitive. Technical and visceral. Future and in-the-now. Intersection of technology, creativity, innovation, leadership, systems, beliefs, and worldviews. Eventually, on-the-road coverage from a world journey to the emerging creative class centers of the world."

(20.) HELLO, my name is blog

"Scott Ginsberg is an internationally recognized author, professional speaker, and 'that guy who always wears the nametag.' In this blog, Scott shares techniques, stories, and observations from his speeches, articles and books on how to become an UNFORGETTABLE communicator - one conversation at a time."

(21.) Ensight Business and Tech

"A business and technology blog written by a business and technology diehard. Made popular by being the first blog sold, the Google IPO, and Lemmings Online. Kept popular by viewers like you."

(22.) Fred On Everything

"Scurrilous commentary by Fred Reed. CAUTION: Parental Discretion Advised. Consult your psychiatrist."

(23.) Micropersuasion

"Steve Rubel blogs on how weblogs and citizen journalism are impacting public relations."

(24.) Chandrasutra

"everything speaks in its own way"

(25.) Corporate Blogging.Info

"Your Guide to Corporate Blogging"

(26.) Business Pundit

"Analysis on corporate strategy, economics, some occasional neuroscience, and anything else that interests me."

(27.) BlogWrite for CEOs

"Debbie Weil on how to write a thought leadership blog: tips, resources and blog coaching for CEOs and high-level execs."

(28.) What's Your Brand Mantra

"Musings on Branding, Marketing and the Ecology of Business"

(29.) Decent Marketing

"Decent (adj.) 1. Respectable, worthy. (Away with marketing that is interruptive, self-absorbed adn sometimes downright awful) 2. Kind. (Here's to marketers who really do put the customer first. Who try to create a relationship, to forge a mutually beneficial bond.) C'mon, fellow marketing people! Get tough. Get smart. Get nice. Get DECENT."

(30.) Don the Idea Guy's Brain Blog

"Brainstorms, Babblings, Rants, and Tantrums from Don the Idea Guy.

(31.) Diva Marketing

"An approach to marketing that's fun, bold and savvy...but always strategically aligned with your brand's objective."

(32.) Brand Autopsy

"administered by williams and moore"

(33.) Thinking by Peter Davidson

"Ideas and Commentary on Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Technology, and Culture"

(34.) MarketingVOX

"the voice of online marketing"

(35.) Chief Blogging Officer

"information archaeology
dig deeper"

(36.) re:invention

"a toolbox for women-led businesses"

(37.) Radiant Marketing Group

"putting the power of blogs to work for your business"

(38.) Fresh Inc. [Inc. Magazine Blog]

"The Resource for Growing Companies"

(39.) Wonderbranding for Women

"Marketing to Women"

(40.) Blog Business World

"Blogs in business, marketing, public relations, and search engine optimization for successful entrepreneurs."

(41.) Nick Usborne Excess Voice

"Looking for the best in online writing."

(42.) PR Thoughts

"Public Relations - PR Strategy - PR Practice - IT"

(43.) Church of the Customer

"All about word of mouth, customer evangelism, and citizen marketers."

(44.) B L Ochman's What's Next Blog

"Internet strategy, marketing, public relations, politics with news and commentary."

"from whatsnextonline.com"

(45.) Contentious

"News and musings on how we communicate in the online age."

(46.) Fast Company Blog

"How Smart People Work"

(47.) Boing Boing

"A directory of wonderful things."

(48.) SIMPLICITY (John Maeda)

"at the MIT Media Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts"

(49.) Peterme.com (Peter Merholz)

"Links, thoughts, and essays from Peter Merholz"

(50.) Kottke

"home of fine hypertext products"

(51.) JOHO the Blog

"David Weinberger's weblog. Let's just see how it goes."

(52.) Gaping Void

"Cartoons drawn on the back of business cards by Hugh Macleod"

(53.) Don't Blog

"Headlines from the Future of the Weblog Backlash (In Progress)"

(54.) Kurzweil AI.net

"Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence News"

(55.) John Battelle Search Blog

"memories can last forever...cherish them"

(56.) The Vision Thing

"Business. Process. Management."

(57.) Vaspers the Grate

"Web research. Web usability analysis. Blogology. Presented by Steven Streight. CONTACT: vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com"

(58.) Blog Core Values

"Blog ethics. Blog guidelines. Effective business blogging tips.
Blog Core Values = Authenticity. Passion. Transparency.
Credibility. Individualism. Creativity. Originality. Integrity.
I AM: Steven Streight. EMAIL: vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com"

(59.) Half Bakery

[A rotating variety of taglines, including the following...]

"I think, therefore I'm thinking"

"Birth of a Notion"

"I see bread people"

"Bite Me"

"You think: aha! We go: ha ha!"

"It's the thought that counts."

"Almost as great as sliced bread."

"Nice swing, no follow through."

"But wait! There's less!"

"You gonna finish that?"

"actual products may differ from illustration"

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

Now...it's your turn.

Which blogs do YOU think
have the best taglines?

Have any of these blogs
inspired you to improve
your tagline?

Post a comment, or email me YOUR opinion.

Thanks a lot!

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka Leopold the Told

Is the Blogosphere Turning Wimpy?

BlogPulse Trend Tracking of "harsh comments" Posted by Hello

[EDITED VERSION: I have modified this a bit to clarify some points. I find it difficult to properly convey these concepts and feelings, since they're based on a lot of experiences and observations that others, especially new bloggers, may not relate to. I've changed phrases like "this sickens me" to "this troubles me", for example.]

I've got a hunch that the blogosphere is getting soft, weak, passive, and timid.

I think bloggers are less willing to speak their minds bluntly. Less likely to be aggressively opinionated.

It often seems to me that the blogosphere is being dumbed down. It's less combative. Less argumentative. Contains fewer heated debates. Fewer opposing viewpoints to the consensus opinions on various issues.

This troubles me.

Blogs were originally pioneered by outspoken, brazen, hard-edged individuals who were also geeks, techies, what some referred to as "computer nurds". Guys who sported pocket protectors. (I used to use a plastic pocket protector myself, with a slide rule and 6 pens sticking out of it. My dad did, too. He was a laser expert engineer at Caterpillar.) I mean this with all respect and fondness.

The Early Bloggers were often outcasts to some degree.

They understood HTML. They could build their own web sites, home pages, and blogs. They communicated with each other. They had their own little world that was sort of esoteric and mysterious, with special words and practices.

"Normal" people made fun of the computer science students.

"Cool" and "hip" people shunned the internet, programming, and "geeks". Grunge and rap music was acceptable. Electronic music and data compilers were considered to be mainly for the fringe element.

Some of these tech devotees and Early Bloggers were persecuted and mocked.

So they had to become tough minded, stubborn, devoted, ready to defend themselves against antagonists.

It's not quite the same anymore.

BlogPulse Trend Tool graph on "flaming" Posted by Hello

Now conformists, conservative business people, and status quo-compliant individuals are getting into blogs.

Blogs are quickly becoming mainstream. This is not bad, but it does alter the overall tone and content of blogging in general.

Seth Godin got me going in this direction when he posted about how the general usefulness of the blogosphere declines as poorly written, irrelevant blogs accumulate within it. (I hope I'm doing justice in my paraphrase of his statement.)

And as the so-called "normal" people start reading and creating blogs, the blogosphere is starting to evolve into a more sedate, safe, easy-going realm.

Diplomacy, niceness, and politeness are beginning to replace strident expression of contrarian viewpoints.

I visit lots of business and marketing blogs and post comments at them. If someone says something that I disagree with, and I think a particular idea is detrimental or absurd, I sometimes challenge it.

I'm no perpetual lurker, slinking around silently in the blogospheric shadows. I post comments and email blog authors.

I may even point out contradictions, faulty logic, misrepresentations, or what I believe to be untruths.

Now the trend seems to be toward praising everybody, patting everybody on the back, kissing up to anyone who operates a blog or a business.

Some individuals within the new wave of bloggers seem to dread confrontation and conflict. I get the impression that they don't want to "offend" or "upset" or "criticize" anybody.

If I question why people are ecstatic about a certain book, or blog, or marketing strategy, it occasionally turns into a situation where I'm considered a trouble maker or an excessively critical person.

But I feel like I'm watching lemmings merrily follow each other into the ocean to drown in error or misplaced trust.

Luckily, I appreciate deconstructive, blunt criticism, as long as it's not vulgar or someone putting words in my mouth that I didn't say or imply.

Misinterpretation, jumping to conclusions, and inexact reading with distorted paraphrasing is very common.

Yet some of my greatest improvements in my blogs and my blogging practices are the result of someone being arrogantly abusive or unfairly judgmental toward me.

So...have you experienced a reluctance on the part of bloggers to closely examine certain aspects of a nearly universal meme...

...a viral concept that's spreading with little obstruction via blogs?

Have you ever encountered a blogger defending another blogger's ideas by saying "Mr. X is a friend of mine. I resent the fact that you are criticizing his ideas."

Have you ever detected a fundamental desire to pretend the blogosphere is a happy, peaceful utopia...where everyone loves and agrees with everyone else?

Am I correct in my assessment?

The graphs on "harsh comments" and "flaming", created with the Trend Tool over at Blog Pulse, seem to lend some support to my theory.

What do YOU think?

Express your honest reaction to what I'm trying awkwardly to describe here.

If you only visit and link to bloggers who are friends and allies, you may be sheltered from rebellion, iconoclasm, and controversies...

...thus, you may not really comprehend what it is I'm talking about.

But if you've "been around the block a few times", I'm fairly certain you can at least sympathize with some of my concerns, while maybe not agreeing with me completely.

My good friend Paul Woodhouse once stated that the reason some business bloggers want to make the blogosphere seem calm, united, and blissful is:

...they want to lure businesses and CEOs into starting blogs, so they can then charge these new bloggers fees for consulting work.

Believe it or not, I'm by no means the most cynical or skeptical business blogger in existence.



[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

How To Compose Hypertext Links

Don't use "click here"...ever! Posted by Hello

[NOTE: This is an identical version of an article that appeared about a year ago at my Vaspers the Grate blog. I re-publish it here for my Blog Core Values readers, due to its relevance.]

Hypertext links!

They take you to further elaborations and substantiating sources. They transport you to new, connected ideas. They fling you into strange, hopefully beneficial, environments.

And all you have to do is click on (select) them.



You're gone.


You're somewhere else.

To return to where you were before, usually all you have to do is click on the Back button of your browser.

Hypertext: text that slides you off one spot and carries you into another.

Linking strategies are based on how the mind operates by associating one thing with another. Actually, any thought could theoretically be linked to any other thought.

Good linking means connecting ideas in a way that's beneficial for users and relevant to the topic of discussion.

So, how do you compose them?

What text should be "linked verbiage"?

How do you decide what words and phrases should be make "clickable"?

(Actually the better term is "selectable," since some users don't use a mouse, but enter keyboard commands, voice activation, etc., to select an item.)

How to digitally convert regular text into functional hypertext is a separate topic.

In this blog site, for example, I just highlight the word or phrase, click on the Link Icon, a field appears in which I select the desired type of "hyperlink" (file, ftp, gopher, http, https, mailto, news, telnet, or wais), type in the URL for the link, click Okay or Cancel, and I'm good to go.

Guidelines for Composing Hypertext Links:

1. Write your regular text. DO NOT add keywords just to boost search engine rankings. Forget about SEO as you create your post.

2. Look at key words and phrases in your text.

3. Determine which key words and phrases should be clarified for your readers. Or what ideas your readers might want to pursue further.

Or which words and phrases carry vital information that users can skim and understand in a hurry.

4. Turn those key words and phrases, or those ideas, into hypertext links.

5. Try to keep phrases short, two or three words, if possible.

6. If you want people to find your blog or web site by typing key words and phrases into a Search Engine, your hypertext links must be made according to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles.

SEO can help your site appear at the top of the heap of Search Engine results when users seek web sites in your field of endeavor.

7. Search Engine spiders hunger for relevant content and lots of legitimate outbound links.

So make lots of links, and make sure the wording contained in the links is relevant to the content of your site.

But don't overdo it, because the Search Engine spiders don't like fraudulent attempts to trick them. If fact, they are repulsed by "keyword spamming," using a word or phrase repeatedly in a ridiculous manner, in a web site.

In this site, I turn words and phrases about "usability," "hypertext," "blogs," and other industry terms, into hypertext links.

8. Poor wording for links include: "click here" and "more." These words contain no relevant content for SEO spiders to devour. And you want your links to be scannable, so people can glance at your text and see what it's all about.

Examples of Good Linked Verbiage:

(1.) In the sentence:

Click here to learn how to improve web text scannability.

"improve web text scannability" could be the linked verbiage, and "click here", which formerly was the linked verbiage, should be deleted. Users typically know that blue, underlined text is selectable hypertext. Begin sentence with "Learn how to..."


Learn how to improve web text scannability.

(2.) In the sentence:

There are many more examples of linked verbiage that can guide your content writing.

"more examples of linked verbiage" could be the linked verbiage.


There are many more examples of linked verbiage that can guide your content writing.

(3.) In the list:

* podcasting


* blogrolls

* email comment notification

* trackback

* blog comment spam

...all the text of each asterisked item could be linked verbiage leading to definitions or clarifications.

Check Usability of Your Hypertext Links

Once you've converted key words and phrases of regular text into hypertext links, click on (select) each one of them, to make sure they work.

Never assume you typed in the URLs correctly.

Never assume the URLs will never be altered (by webmasters changing the archiving system, for example, though URLs as a rule should never be changed for any reason). Click on those links and see if they take you to the desired destination.

In the paragraph below, "Vannevar Bush" was a hypertext link that linked to an article in the online version of The Atlantic magazine.

That article by Vannevar Bush is no longer available to view, unless you pay for a subscription to The Atlantic. It used to be available for anyone to view. This would be considered "link rot": the link no longer works correctly, or leads to a page no longer available. So, I had to make a change in the link destination.

Now, the name Vannevar Bush is a hypertext link that links to an article in the Boxes & Arrows online magazine.

Vannevar Bush, the genius credited with envisioning the first modern, idea-networking computer (his "Memex" concept), called paths that lead to relevant data: "information trails."

Happy (Info) Trails To You.

Friday, May 27, 2005

7 Things That Happen When You Blog

...or: blog miracles that can occur. Posted by Hello

I don't know why anyone who benefits from reading blogs would NOT want to start a blog.

It's easy, cheap or free, and it's fun.

Of course, it can be hard work, too.

And blogging can sometimes be frustrating.

But if you see blogging as having a positive effect on your thinking, writing, and networking (connecting with other people) skills, to blog is mostly a joy.

Over at my original blog, Vaspers the Grate, I posted a "One Year Anniversary" announcement. In it, I listed many of the bloggers and book authors who have helped me. My, that list was long. And it dawned on me: I've made a lot of friends by blogging.

So let's look at 7 nice results of being a blogger.

7 Things That Happen
When You Blog

(1.) You feel like a part of the internet, the web, the blogosphere.

(2.) You improve your thinking, writing, and networking skills.

(3.) You express your ideas, personality, and feelings to a potentially global audience, thus opening up the possibility of making new friends from distant areas of the world.

(4.) You join the fellowship of bloggers, a sort of special society, where we encourage, scold, question, challenge, laugh and cry with each other.

(5.) You share your unique perspectives, insights, information, tastes, and sense of wonder with others.

(6.) You get interested in other blogs and meet other bloggers online, and sometimes in the real world, thus expanding your understanding of a new, revolutionary, and democratically empowering technology: the blog.

(7.) You begin to pick up on little HTML, web design, usability, credibility, and hyperlinking techniques as you fiddle with your blog, and see things at other blogs that you want to incorporate on your blog.

I hope I'm not boring anyone by stating the painfully obvious here.

But I just thought it might be nice to point out some blogging benefits that we may take for granted and not really appreciate as much as we could.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Step Outside the Box to Think Outside the Box

formula for differentiating your mind Posted by Hello

We need new thinking.

We need to keep up with lightning fast changes.

We need to be innovative.

Old ideas, old methods are no longer working.

Old habits, old attitudes are paralyzing us.

We need to destroy every trace of mediocrity in our lives, our relationships, our families, our nations, our world, our...business.

And our blogs.



How does Normal Mind
turn into
Extraordinary Mentality?

It's not hard.

Just start being different from what you are.

Start trying new things.

Have you ever read a whole book of poetry?

A long section of Jacques Derrida,

Hegel, Freud, Marx, the Bible,

Proust, Kafka, Buddist texts?

When were you last in a library?

An art museum?

A jazz concert?

A mosque, synagogue, temple, or church?

Visit a religious service that is not

your faith or denomination.

Don't worry, they won't convert you

to their religion.

But you may gain some insight,

some appreciation of something

beautiful you never realized

was to be found in that faith.

American Patriot, visit

the Amnesty International web site.

USA Hater, consider the funds

America has pumped into poor nations.

Atheist visit a church.

Churchy person attend a meeting

of some Reason, Skeptic, or Evolutionist

club or organization.

Travel Outside of Self.

Learn to Respect People Who Are

Devoted to Other Belief Systems.

Learn to Learn from Other Viewpoints.



Escape the Prison

of Self and Prejudice.

Nothing is more ugly than a fanatic

who despises people who express

different opinions and belief systems...

whether it be an fanatic atheist,

Marxist, capitalist, anarchist, Republican,

Democrat, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jain,

homosexual, heterosexual, asexual.

You don't have to agree with everything

another person believes and practices

to respect their right to be different.

I love how my favorite spiritual genius,

Jesus Christ, spoke of the "Good SAMARITAN"!

I'll bet you never heard any preacher

explain how the Samaritans were a cult.

A cult that was super deceptive

due to being very similar to the Orthodox

Hebrew religion that Jesus came to reform,

like Buddha came to reform Vedanta.

What would be our equivalent today of

a Good Samaritan, according to

evangelical Protestant churchians?

The Good Evolutionist?

The Good Jehovah's Witness?

The Good Mormon?

The Good Punk Rock Tattoo Artist?

The Good Liberal CEO?

The Good Secular Humanist?

The Good Homeless Bum?

The Good Usability Analyst?

The Good Fictional Character Blogger?

I think you see my point.

The Good [whatever is different

from what I think is orthodox,

normal, conformist, socially acceptable,

politically correct, ideologically right.]

Even if you sincerely believe there is

only One Truth, One Economic System,

One Web Design Practice, One Blog Purpose,

One Faith, One Philosophy, One Healthy Diet,

One Way to Dress, One Way to Be Sexual...

...you can always learn something

from others who have different ideas.

If only: more reasons why

you cannot believe the way they do.

No one is 100% right about Everything.

Atheists have faith in gravity.

Believers doubt their salvation.

Loosen up.


Exerience the Other.

You CANNOT have new ideas

if you cling maniacally

to old ideas, habits, attitudes.

To "think outside of the box"...

you MUST "get out of the box"!

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What Do You Mean by 9 Blog Core Values?

quick look at core values of blogging Posted by Hello

What is a blog core value?

Well, it's NOT a "rule"
all bloggers are
expected to obey.

Nobody could enforce
any such "rules" or "laws".

It's not "I can't do that
in my blog because it violates
a blog guideline, thus I'd
annoy or anger other bloggers."

A blog core value IS:
a quality and ethical
standard you seek to follow.


I challenged myself to explain
what I refer to as
the 9 core values of blogging

using just one sentence
for each value.

Here's what I came up with.

The 9 Core Values of Blogging:

(1.) Authenticity

You're real, honest, and sincere.

(2.) Passion

Your genuine enthusiasm inspires others.

(3.) Transparency

You're not hiding anything,
due to being secretly
criminal or unethical.

(4.) Credibility

You document claims with facts
from reputable sources.

(5.) Individualism

You aren't suppressing your personal
opinions to fit in with some group.

(6.) Creativity

You're always seeking ways to improve,
to more effectively communicate ideas,
and to delight readers with new twists.

(7.) Originality

You don't just quote or link to others,
but express your own ideas and research.

(8.) Relevance

You care about how your
information or self-expression
can benefit others.

(9.) Integrity

You refuse to deceive, manipulate,
exaggerate, exploit, or harm others.

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

Now it's YOUR turn.

I'm sure you can think of
even better one sentence
explanations of these values.

Are there valid exceptions
to these values?

Are there more values
I've forgotten to mention?

How important are core values
to your blogging activity?

Do you have your own personal
blog core values?

What are they?

Are they guides to your
daily personal life also?

Post a comment or email me your opinion.

I'd love to hear what YOU think.


[signed] Steven Streight

My New FREE Mobile Blog

sample poster from my Radical Corporate Art mobile blog Posted by Hello

Thanks to my dear friend and blogo-combat ally, Paul Woodhouse, of the Tinbasher blog and Butler Sheet Metal, I have a new blog as of yesterday.

I've taken Blog Core Values and Art Test Explosion, smashed them together in a particle accelerator, and the result is:

Radical Corporate Art

Busy Thumbs.com is FREE mobile blog software, hosting, and digital image uploading service. You can update your blog by text messaging or online. I like it a lot.

Check out my new site...and consider starting your own mobile blog.

It's easy and FREE.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka Leopold the Told

another sample poster from my Radical Corporate Art mobile blog Posted by Hello

Monday, May 23, 2005

Blog Post Titles Experiment #2

compare your post titles to these Posted by Hello

[Dedicated to Al Ries, Laura Ries, and Jack Trout, who have written expansively about the huge importance of names and titles.]

Here it is! My installment #2 in an ongoing, monthly examination of blog post titles.

I'm of the opinion that the title of your post is the most important text of the post.

If the post title is not good, many potential readers and RSS subscribers may just skip it. The post title is also vital for search engine optimization, and for grabbing the attention of blog surfers.

Give your blog posts the great, attention-getting titles they deserve!


I call this an "experiment". I guess it's probably more an "examination".

What I mean is, let's examine these post titles, and see which are most compelling, which titles sound the most interesting.

Then consider your own post title writing. Can you improve your post titles?

I'll do the hard, time-consuming work of assembling post titles every month. Then you can analyze them, deciding which ones are the best, learning what to do...and what not to do...based on these examples.

Judging ONLY by the post titles, which blogs would you want to visit?

Are there post titles that turn you off, that seem stupid, irrelevant?

Which blogs do you think probably contain, on a consistent basis, reputable and relevant content?

Have fun inspecting these post titles.

Who knows?

Maybe in the evaluation process, you'll discover a new blog to blogroll, visit, blog about, and post comments at!

IMHO, superior post titles =

* clear, cogent, coherent
* good preview of post content
* not "clever", not silly, not ambiguous
* relevant, meaningful, interesting
* compelling: arouses curiosity
* compelling: offers value, benefit

The purpose of a post title is to
give you some idea of what the post
content is...before you go to the
trouble of click/selecting it.

Blog readers are busy. In a hurry.

Don't write dumb, vague post titles.

Avoid writing post titles
that make no sense
until you read the post.

Learn to write post titles that
command attention
and generate interest.

Here are the titles of the 5 most recent posts of selected blogs, as of May 21, 2005 (Saturday). In no particular order.


The Deevy Report

1. Facilitating A "Conversation" Between Internal Stakeholders: Blogging Guidelines to Consider
2. Want to Sustain High Morale in Your Organization? Consider Using an Internal Blog
3. Why Do People in Organizations Resist Change?
4. Employees Who Feel Good About Themselves Produce Superior Results!
5. What To Do When Employee Morale is the Problem

Radical Corporate Art

1. New Business Mentality
2. Rules for Real Revolution
3. Mental Miracles
4. Confuse the Competition
5. New Rules for the Neo-Corporate Realm

Working Smart

1. Sometimes Life is Like Skiing
2. Recovering the Lost Art of Note-Taking
3. Why I Ditched My Tablet PC
4. What's in Your Carry-On?
5. How to Read Blogs

Doc Searls Weblog

1. The revolution will be televised after all
2. Linking without html
3. Last blog and testament
4. Read on
5. Blogging at the speed of not

Dvorak Uncensored


1. Slideshow of the Week Dept.
2. Motorola DVR Site Home
3. The Naked Truth, In Italy
4. Tech Trends--IDC: Worldwide Mobile Phone Sales Growth Will Slow
5. Old Tree Found. Hmmm. No, really!


1. Sharon ruins my reputation...calls me "incredibly nice"
2. Store Wars goes viral
3. Xbox Live guy tries to spy on Nintendo guy in plane, great writing ensues
4. That's one FAST Tablet PC
5. Susan links to Sean who links to Susan--all about SBS

[EDIT UPDATE: I forgot to include one of my favorite blogs. Here it is now: Corporate Blogging.Info]

Corporate Blogging.Info

1. Blogger Wish List
2. Quick Tip: Reading feeds on your mobile
3. Blog risk assessment teams
4. IBM Blogs "Truly Scary"
5. Traditional Media Rules


1. "2, 3, 4, 5. We don't want them oxidised."
2. Fetch me my pipe and slippers
3. If it ain't broke, just upgrade it!
4. It's what they would've wanted
5. Meet The Applegate

(Business Week blog)

1. Podcasting confession
2. End of the beat reporter
3. Blogs in research: help for a speech
4. RSS Consolidation
5. Bloglines Questions?

The Big Blog Company

1. Quote to remember
2. Battling the tabloids via blog
3. Quote to remember
4. U.S. online marketing forecast: $26 billion by 2010
5. More Creative Commons buzz


1. Upcoming geek extravaganza in London
2. Skype blogs to create community
3. Interview: Mike Wing, IBM--May 20, 2005
4. Cool video promotes podcasting feature
5. Blogging the IABC conference

Ad Rants

1. Blogging Jumps Shark, Becomes Trucker Hat
2. Hottie Gets $11K in eBay Body Ad Auction
3. Budweiser Taps JibJab for Online Promotional Content
4. Paris Hilton Promotes Jeff Bridges Hunger Organization
5. Burger King Hires Darth Vader for Viral

Seth's Blog

1. Telling a story with a picture
2. Michael Pollock is a Liar
3. Fundable...a next big thing?
4. Whatever happened to Change This?
5. Visualizing Your Story

Tom Peters!

1. TP Wire Service Launches
2. Call to Women Entrepreneurs
3. Event Slides: Warsaw
4. Stalled Mobility
5. Move Over, Jamie Foxx

Pro Blogger

1. Should New Blogs Have Ads?
2. Search Engine Optimization Secrets
3. Following Blogtalk Downunder
4. Jeff Jarvis-Pro Blogger
5. The importance of Title Tags in Search Engine Optimization


1. The dark night of blogger's block
2. Buzztracker's media epicentres
3. Schopenhauer's debate hacks
4. Lessig via Ali G
5. Goodbye garden

Robot Wisdom

1. Escalating controversy over Google Print
2. Usenet still a pirate's paradise
3. List of 100 must-see movies (omits David Lynch)
4. Botticelli "Portrait of a Youth" called forgery
5. Well-worth renting: "Veronica Guerin" (heroic journalist)

BlogWrite for CEOs

1. Ignore the blogosphere at peril to your brand
2. IBM's Employee Blogging Guidelines
3. RSS 101: "Really Simple" 5-Step Guide to Get Started
4. Why corporate blogging works, according to Hugh Macleod's Gaping Void
5. Why more CEOs aren't blogging (yet), according to USA Today

The Intuitive Life Business Blog

1. The commoditization of the hardware store, and of our future
2. Ubuntu Linux, Yellowdog Linux, and Mac OS X, all on one PowerBook?
3. Your Daily Art: A great example of leveraging blogging
4. Review: Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
5. The Seven Core Values of Innovation

Business Pundit

1. Interesting Business Strategy
2. Out of Town
3. Philosophy of Business: Marx's Theory of Worker Alienation and What That Means for Managers
4. The Church Business
5. How Can A City Promote Entrepreneurship?

Decent Marketing

1. A Rockin' Good Tooth Brushin' Time
2. Death, Taxes & Chuck E. Cheese
3. Inspiration Sans Cheese
4. they're losin' it! (sung to the McDonald's Theme Song)
5. Going Local: Farmers Trading Cards

Don the Idea Guy's Brain Blog

1. Audible.com uses RSS feeds to provide new release alerts
2. The Riddler Makes His Final Escape
3. Losing Your Links
4. Dolphin Death Ray
5. Audio Revisited

Naked Conversations (formerly: The Red Couch)

1. Ch 6 Consultants Who Get It
2. Chapter 7: Survival of the Publicists
3. Interview: Andrew Carlton
4. Interview: Toby Bloomberg
5. More Consultants Wanted

Diva Marketing

1. A Year to Remember
2. Successful eMail Campaigns
3. Biz Blog Profile Series: Stonyfield Farm--Stonyfield Farm Blog "Cow"munities
4. A New Way to Feed the Press
5. Playing with the Blog Pundits

Brand Autopsy

1. Delicious Library--A Tasty Application
2. All Marketers Are Liars
3. Starbuck Real Estate Learnings
4. According to Bloggers VII
5. Advertising on Times Square

Thinking by Peter D

1. Aluminum Obsession VI
2. LED Light-up Table
3. Camera Phone Life Hacks
4. Sentient Door Handles
5. "Bud Vase Features"


1. Ballmer to RSS Enthusiasts: Chill
2. Light Blogging Ahead
3. PR Pros Who Get It
4. H & K Urges PR Pros to Get Blogging
5. Blogopoly

What's Your Brand Mantra

1. Giveaways
2. Hammers, cont'd
3. It's not about the hammer
4. Countdown to next webinar
5. IFTF Update


1. Google Opens Portal to Confront Yahoo, MSN
2. Star Wars Online Ads a Powerful Force
3. Ask Jeeves Buys Excite Europe, Continues Expansion
4. Forrester: Search Important to Veteran Shoppers
5. NetRatings Files Patent-Infringement Case Against Coremetrics, Omniture

The Origin of Brands Blog

1. Finger Food
2. Jorge Cruise
3. Ries Brand Extension
4. GoDaddy looks like a winner
5. Can Martha make a comeback?

Chief Blogging Officer

1. Henry Ford goes to Atlantis--and beyond
2. beer-guzzling blogger moms feed babies booze!
3. great americans in rock & roll--1st in a series
4. top 40 radio
5. the academy: may we have the envelope please

Business Blog Consulting

1. What if Blogs Don't Change Your Business?
2. Announcing My Semi-Retirement From This Blog
3. Business Week: Blogs Will Change Your Business
4. The Decade in Online Advertising
5. Boeing Blog Gets Closer


1. RE: Our Saturday Feature--10 Tips for 10 Million Women (TM)
2. RE: But Daddy Said I Could!
3. RE: Tom Peters Launches TP Wire Service
4. RE: Activist Marketing 101. Right On, Brother!
5. RE: Our Saturday Feature--10 Tips for 10 Million Women (TM)

Small Business Blog

1. Intellectual Property, Patent Reform and Small Business
2. How the Internet Has Changed Small Business Forever
3. Marketing Strategy for Skeptics
4. Back With a Baby!
5. A New Generation of Tech Visionaries

Radiant Marketing Group

1. RMG Welcomes New Client, Fit Express
2. Bob Cargill's New Rags
3. Bloggerwear Looks Good on You!
4. Reflections on Biz Net Travel Blog
5. Are Blogs an Internet Bubble Waiting To Burst?

Fresh Inc. [Inc. Magazine Blog]

1. The Death Star, as apt metaphor for your network
2. Diary of a Startup--After the Deal
3. Small Business News Roundup
4. The Apprentice--Finale Party
5. Be Like Steve, Suns Owner Tells Grads

Wonderbranding for Women

1. Funny You Should Mention It...
2. Newspapers Part Deux
3. Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream
4. Women Using Newspapers to Line Canary Cage
5. Addition to the WonderBranding Team

Crossroads Dispatches

1. Why Women Blog
2. While I Value Christmas Letter Business Blogs, Here's Another Angle
3. What Grassroots Media Can Teach Marketing
4. Extraordinary Stories Everywhere, Rediscovering Our Awe
5. We're Ready for a New Sincerity

Blog Business World

1. Podcasts: How professional should they sound?
2. Bloggers as event speakers
3. Blogiversary at Diva Marketing
4. Affiliate programs: Promote your links
5. Carnival of the Vanities at Commonwealth Conservative

Nick Usborne Excess Voice

1. Review: Secrets of Writing for the Internet
2. Knock Me Down With a Feather
3. Writing for the Web #1--A Guide
4. Monday Copywriting Tip #42: How Much Do You Earn?
5. Agora Publishing: New date for Agora Model Seminar

PR Thoughts

1. Skype launched its blog!
2. Interview of Mike Wing, IBM
3. Proximity published results from a blog survey
4. A blog for the "Festival de Cannes"
5. Grokker: A new way to look at search

GM FastLane Blog

1. And Another Survey Says...
2. Survey Says: Top in Six Segments
3. The Game Plan...An Edited Version
4. Women and Wheels
5. Data Shows Traction on Key Vehicles

Church of the Customer


1. Thank goodness for small favors
2. JibJab's open source experiment
3. Wendy's square peg in a round idea
4. Salesforce.com's bet pays off
5. Article roundup

HELLO, my name is blog

1. Hey look, it's That Guy!
2. If you wear a nametag all the time, this shouldn't happen
3. The Gallery of Annoying Email Signatures
4. Once Again, Guinness Book Rejected My Submission for a World Record
5. How to Transform Your Car Into a Networking Tool

Ensight Business and Tech


1. XBox 360 vs PS3 Comparison
2. Goodbye Will
3. Will's Dead
4. Wow @ This Spam Message
5. New Consoles A-Go-Go

B L Ochman's What's Next Blog

1. Google Adwords Blog is Lame
2. Committee to Protect Bloggers Asks Media Strike for Jailed Iranian Blogger
3. Wall Street Journal Poll Has Confusing Choices
4. Ouchee, Blogging Light Day
5. Bloggers Unlock Kensington Laptop Lock Problem

Hello World

1. All hail the Ringtone Dancer
2. That's Mr. Engadget to you, punk
3. G5 Powerbook Launched!
4. Buy this disk...
5. When endorsements fail


1. Chiba, Japan Web Conference: Find Out What Happened
2. Come See Me Speak in Denver, June 9
3. Web Copywriting: New Free Guide
4. What's a Blog? Bag the Stereotypes
5. What Bloggers and Journalists Can Learn from Each Other (Part 4)

Fast Company Blog

1. Money No More
2. MBA No More
3. Open Source To-Do Lists?
4. God Is In The Details
5. DVD Rental Wars: Netflix 1, Wal-Mart 0

Boing Boing

1. Pop Surrealism Show in Pueblo, Colorado
2. Standing meerkats
3. Web Zen: animation zen
4. Fingerprint scanners coming to Illinois library
5. Automatically add light sabers to your video

Joi Ito

1. Wikipedia Stealth Disco article
2. Off to the California
3. Autoblogger
4. Dinner with Karl van Wolferen
5. Becoming boring


1. ww
2. weed
3. Fish Wish
4. Command Not Found
5. Lucky 13

Rich Marcello's Blog (HP)

1. Sockets and cores
2. Taking snapshots every five minutes
3. Four Questions
4. The World Cafe
5. What you see is not what you get

Peterme.com (Peter Merholz)

1. One Way to Enjoy the Da Vinci Code
2. Road Trip Winding Down
3. Merholz family blogging
4. Midwest road trip--May 11-20
5. A Post About Cities


1. WiMAX Trial in the UK
2. TDK Develops 100 GB Blu-ray Disc
3. "Secure" Netscape released with vulnerabilities
4. Microsoft may face EU fine process within weeks
5. AMD to launch dual-core Athlon 64 on May 31


1. Manhattan's Chinatown Pressured to Sell Out
2. Opportunity is working it's way out of Mars' "fine sand"
3. hello nintendo: Nintendo's Long Tail
4. Repeat After Me: giving your music away is good for your career
5. Nintendo builds free Wi-Fi network in Japan Archives

JOHO the Blog


1. Measure twice, cut once, backup three times
2. Globe editorial: Good until the last drop
3. Quicktime without the cruft
4. The NY Times world of pain
5. AKMA's good stuff


1. Citizen Journalists
2. Just In Case Versus Just In Time
3. Beyond Dolly Levi to Facilitating Public Relationships
4. If The Media Can Do It, So Can PR
5. It's The End of the World As They Knew It

Gaping Void

1. New Blog from Tom Peters
2. Our Grandparents had Laurel & Hardy
3. Jeff Jumps Ship
4. British Blogging
5. In London

Don't Blog

1. Blogged Out: Scoble, Hobson, Edelman, Rubel
2. Blogger Blocked at Border
3. Boss Bullies Blogger to Pull Post Promptly
4. Blog Politically and Go To Jail
5. Blogger Faces Class Action Suit By Commenters


1. Word Problems
2. Send Me Your Weak
3. The Mother Goose of Boutique Hotels
4. McD's Jumps Through Hoops (Morgan Spurlock, It's All Your Fault)
5. Dodge Muscles Its Way Back Into Starting Line Up

Kurzweil AI.net

1. Inert Cornell dots for tagging, imaging, and optical computing developed
2. UK firm claims breakthrough in fuel cell technology
3. Cloned human embryos deliver tailored stem cells
4. Photonic silicon chips operate at 1.5 gigabits per second
5. Robot swarms cloud danger

John Battelle Search Blog


1. Ask Buys Excite in Europe
2. Bloglines Blog Search A-Comin'
3. Given My Inclination...
4. Wikipedia and Search
5. "My" Google

AKMA's Random Thoughts

1. This Got By Us
2. Dream On
3. Guide to the Hitchhiker's
4. Total Quality Ministry
5. Power of Ideology

The Pez MP3 Project


1. Button, Button Who's Got the Button?
2. A Visit with PEZ
3. Fortune Mag Article
4. Peering into the Future
5. Beausage

Vaspers the Grate


1. Most Important Aspect of a Blog
2. A Crypto Blog Goes Normal Speak
3. Blog Content Writing & Astral Blogging
4. Blog Cop vs Blog Wimp
5. The Truth About Blogs

Blog Core Values

1. 7 Blog Illusions
2. Perfecting Your Blog: 5 Suggestions
3. 12 Tips on Writing Blog Post Titles
4. Only Purpose of a Business
5. Blogs vs Forged Documents

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

Now...it's your turn.

Which blogs do YOU think
have the best post titles?

Have any of these blogs
inspired you to improve
your post titles?

Post a comment, or email me YOUR opinion.

Thanks a lot!

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka Leopold the Told

Saturday, May 21, 2005

7 Blog Illusions

avoid these false visions of blogs Posted by Hello

There are some ideas

about blogs and blogging

that I consider to be false.




In error.

I suggest you avoid

falling for these

delusional mirages.


(1.) "A blog will drive traffic to your corporate or ecommerce web site."

Blogs are not that effective

in driving traffic to other sites.

True: they can drive traffic

to other sites...sometimes.

But web users don't really like

linking here, there, and everywhere,

when searching for good information.

Only a tiny fraction of blog readers

will bother to go visit

your other web sites, blogs, wikis.

Use your business blog to build

relationships with customers,

those who are visiting your blog.

Don't assume they'll also visit

your other sites...a vain hope.

Use your business blog to start

candid conversations with customers.

If your audience values and gains

benefit from your blog,

chances are, they'll be curious

to check out your other sites.

But if ALL you wish to do with a blog

is use it to drive traffic to your

corporate or ecommerce site...

...the blog is acting like spam.

(2.) "Blogs are fun to use as digital journals."

Blogs are not merely "fun".

Blogs can be dangerous.

If you put certain personal

or family details in a blog,

you can be exposing yourself

and your loved ones to

identity theft, stalkers,

child predators, etc.

You could also cause trouble

by revealing certain details

about family members, spouse,

friends, co-workers, lovers.

Use wisdom, discretion, and

sensitivity about what you

put in your blog.

(3.) "Blogs can generate income quickly."

I don't see blogs as vending machines.

People try desperately to commercialize

every new communications medium.

But when you sincerely care about people,

when you really want to connect

with your customers,

when you really seek a relationship

with your target audience...

...a blog can help.

To try to use a blog

to sell something

will repulse many readers.

Most blogs are used to

inform, entertain, provide

links to resources and news,

or build an online community

around shared interests,

ideological concerns,

and transformational activism.

(4.) "Blogs can be whatever you want them to be."

I think the 9 Blog Core Values

are a good guide to blog intent

and blog content.

Sure, anything can be anything.

A book can be full of meaningless scribbles.

A film can be several hours of staring at the

Empire State Building (Andy Warhol's "Empire").

A music CD can be 78 minutes of

silence, or dogs barking, or

screeching guitar feedback.

Similarly, you can do anything

with a blog, but I suggest you

try to discover how the most popular

and influential blogs got that way.

(5.) "Blogs are read by people from all over the world."

Many blogs are not read by anyone.

Many blogs receive no traffic,

no comments, no mention by other bloggers.

Many blogs, perhaps 50% or more,

are abandoned, not updated, dead,

after a short period of time.

You must work hard at


your blog.

A blog won't be read

just because it exists.

(6.) "I can have a successful blog, without spending a lot of time at other blogs in the blogosphere."

Some CEO, corporate, and business blogs

make this deadly mistake.

You must be a full-fledged blogger

to operate a credible blog.

I mean: you must not just post

material to your blog.

You also need to:

* read other blogs

* post comments at other blogs

* email other bloggers

* write posts about other blogs

* display a blogroll of other blogs
that you actually read and interact with

* go to blog conferences and events

* be a guest contributor at other blogs

...if you want to gain the attention,

respect, and praise of the blogosphere.

(7.) "My blog can be all about me, or my products."

This is a guaranteed path to failure.

Narcissistic blogs suck.

Blogs that provide no practical tips,

no actionable advice, no relevant info,

these blogs are doomed to disaster.

Sure, you can promote your products,

your consulting services, your expertise...

...but the best way to do that is to

discuss solutions to common problems

your audience has to deal with.

Ask your audience to post comments.

Encourage people to interact

with your blog: it's not a sermon pulpit.

A blog is an opportunity to

start a two-way communication

channel with customers, readers,

family, friends, fans, colleagues.

Focus your blog on THEIR needs,

THEIR interests, THEIR agendas.

Then they'll listen to your sales pitch

or ideological platform.

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello


Let me know what YOU think.

What do you think

are other Blog Illusions

we must avoid if we wish to succeed?

What's YOUR opinion?

Post a comment or email me.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka Leopold the Told

Friday, May 20, 2005

Perfecting Your Blog: 5 Suggestions

how to make your blog better Posted by Hello

Is your blog as good as it could possibly be?

If so, then make it impossibly better, now.

Blog enhancement

is an art

based on

detail obsession


visions of

benevolent grandeur.

I have a list of improvements

I'd like to make in all my blogs.

Who says blog posts

must have a text format

similar to print media?

Web users and blog readers

are in a big hurry

most of the time.

Web users skim, scan,

and skip online text.

You may have noticed

my deconstructionist

approach to


and to

text structure.

I want you to





of what I say. O V E

Notice how I formed the "L"

from "single word"

and added "ove"

to form L O V E.

All blogging must be

based on compassion

for all sentient beings.

From this benevolence

come the

(9) Blog Core Values.

One of the values

at the heart of blogging

is Creativity.

Creativity is NOT an option.

Creativity is a Blog Core Value.

Creativity is mandatory.

Creativity is the relieving

of a form of suffering

called "boredom".

Benevolence never sides

with boredom.

Two cures for boredom

are mindfulness

and surprise.

Pleasantly surprise readers

with little enhancements

here and there, now and then.

Look at every aspect

of your blog

with the eyes

of a new reader

and the eyes

of a jaded, long-time reader.

Suggestions for Possible
Ways to Perfect
Your Blog:

(1) Writing

Think harder about how you write.

Can you sound less arrogant?

More confident?

Can you break up long sentences

and long paragraphs

into shorter units?

Can you clarify an unclear statement?

Can you add new information?

Who is a terrific blog writer?

Can you use elements of their writing style,

and mix in your own unique personal style?

Imitate and Deviate Simultaneously.

(2) Editing

Feel free to improve

the writing of your posts,

after you've already

published them,

even months later.

Just try not to change the substance.

Try to keep the same basic content.

Just enhance it, tweak it, turn "you are"

into "you're", stuff like that.

(3.) Connectivity

Go back to older posts

and embed links in the text.

Start embedding more links

in current and future posts.

When you have an idea or fact

you want to post about,

do a search on the word or phrase.

Read, and consider linking to,

the best information you find.

(4.) Art/Photos/Illustrations/Cartoons

Consider adding, or beefing up your, visuals.

Can you upload photos to your blog?

Picasa/Hello is free from Blogger,

and after a period of avoiding it,

I learned how to upload images

when I wanted to add photos

to a client's blog.

Acquire image uploading software.

Learn how to use what you

already have...yeah, I'm talking to

you fellow Blogger Blogspotter.


I rarely see photos of bloggers

actually at their computers blogging.

I've been uploading my own orginal

digital artwork, but I plan to start

uploading photos soon.

(5) Special Features

What add-ons could you incorporate?

I know.

Some "free" add-ons plague you with

pop-up ad proliferation.

But some don't.

You don't want to clutter

your blog with gimmicks

or irrelevant widgets.

But there may be some

things you could add

to enhance your blog.

I recently added
to Blog Core Values:

* Feedburner

* Firefox button

* User Tracker (number of users
online at my blog)

* Feedroll RSS Viewer
for Lockergnome RSS/Atom tips

* Link List of Contributer Posts

Your turn.

I'll shut up now.

What do YOU think
are way to improve a blog?

What do blogs
need to do better?

do more of?

stop doing?

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com Posted by Hello

Post a comment


email me YOUR opinion.

vaspersthegrate [at] yahoo [dot] com



[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate aka Leopold the Told