All 16 entries tagged Blogging

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May 14, 2011

Moving to a new home…

Writing about web page

I got out of the blogging habit a little while ago, and despite several attempts I never quite managed to get things going again here. As a final attempt to get back into it I’ve set up a new Wordpress blog over here. Maybe having my own will be enough inspiration to keep going? There’s only one way to find out!

Anyway, the current plan is that there will be no more new content here. Please go and browse the new blog instead. A small amount of the content from here has been migrated over, when new articles reference old ones, but this blog will stay here as an archive for the foreseeable future.

May 17, 2005

GTD tiddlywiki

Writing about Interesting UI from Colin's blog

The realy clever thing about this is that it edits itself in place in the html file, which makes it possible to carry it around on a flash memory stick (a "wiki on a stick") and edit it anywhere you can find a PC running firefox (doesn't currently seem to work with IE - shame:-), which can be any PC because Firefox will run from the same flash memory stick.

I'm currently trying to use this as an organising tool, as it is intended, and find it works quite well. I'm not doing the whole GTD thing, but I'm ending up with something that looks quite similar. I seem to be using it as something like a cross between a blog and a wiki (a bliki?), and that feels quite natural. I said quite a while ago that I saw a lot of potential in using blogs and wikis together and this is reinforcing that feeling, although it may be that that right tool is actually a single combined one rather than two tools used together. Need to think about that some more…

Of course one major piece I'm missing is the ability to share content with others, and use it as a collaboration tool. A system like this, that was as easy for people to use to create and organise content, but networked and with appropriate user management and authorisation, could be immensely useful. PhPTiddlyWiki is part way there, but is missing the necessary user stuff. TiddlyWikiBuilder, anyone?

February 21, 2005

We get it…

Writing about web page

Just stumbled across this:

Amanda Etches-Johnson mentions a campus-wide blogging effort at The University of Warwick. Probably the nicest looking and content driven university weblog projects that I have seen in a while (although nothing beats UThink). The site is full of useful information, from an FAQ, to blogging ideas. Also, while checking out the University front page, I see an orange RSS button smack in the middle of it. This university gets it. Does yours?

December 17, 2004

Test cards

Writing about web page

Love the test card. Brilliant!

November 08, 2004

Trackback etiquette

Follow-up to Blogging and notes from Steve's blog

In the course of the experiment described here, I realiased I had done something a little surprising. I had created a follow-up entry that had more restricted access than the original. That got me wondering if this was "allowed". The original author might be irritated at not being able to read what others were writing about his/her entry. Readers of the original entry might be irritated at not being able to see the follow-ups. In this case I was the author of both entries, so the first doesn't apply but the second does.

I can certainly imagine me being irritated if somebody did this to one of my blog entries. But equally, I did what I did for good reason, and will probably do it again in the future.

I did wonder about putting the entry URL in the related web page field to retain the link but without creating a trackback. But for those that are able to read the second entry, the ability to see its existence in the trackback list of the first is important.

Is there a case for only counting as trackbacks entries you have permission to view? Just a thought…

Blogging and notes

Follow-up to Blog companions from Steve's blog

In the absence of a webnote like system that can be linked to blog entries, I've been using OneNote. This can't be linked either, but at least it is usable offline.

Last week I tried an experiment, keeping these sorts of notes in Blogbuilder instead. I had a programming problem that needed some investigation to find a workable solution. Normally, I record my progress in scribbled notes on a pad next to my keyboard. Lists of library functions to try, etc. Instead, I created a blog entry describing the problem, and then periodically added comments describing what I'd tried and whether or not it worked, what I was thinking of trying next, etc. This has given me a record of how I ended up at the final soution, which is useful in itself, and will be more useful in the future when I have to revisit this piece of code.

The technique became yet more useful because somebody else had to work on this too, and they could just read the blog to see what I'd been doing and why. They could, of course, add comments too, so we have a geniunely shared notebook for this particular problem.

So, for some of what I have been using OneNote and paper notepads for, this seems to (a) work, and (b) be an improvement (in that is is permanent and shared). All it needs is a suitable blog entry to attach the comments to. I guess that's easy enough to manage most of the time, although sometimes I do work the other way around – collect a set of notes and later tuun them into a blog entry. I'll need to think further about how best to manage such free-standing notes.

November 01, 2004


I've just spent a week away from here, and mostly away from home. For reasons that aren't relevant here, the only convenient way I had of getting online was via a CSD (9.6k) connection through my mobile. It has been a while since I've spent quite such a long time away from proper connectivity, except when I actively wanted to be offline. Mostly I was surprised at how well things worked over such a slow link (Blogbuilder included). But it did make me realise that the drive to move all note taking, document preparation, etc. into web-based applications (as discussed here ) would cause some difficulty in such circumstances.

For some types of data (PIM/PDA stuff, MS Office documents) there is well established technology for synchronising files onto laptops and handhelds (and in some cases, phones) that works pretty well. It is possible to arrange things so that you can carry most data with you to work on whenever it is convent, and can compose new stuff offline to be posted, published, whatever, when you are able to connect.

But that's not so easy with web content.

Composing a new blog entry offline is easy enough. If it has complicated markup, a stand alone textile renderer would be helpful (is there such a thing?) but not at all necessary. Referencing other blogs, especially for the purposes of summarisation, is more problematic. Composing wiki pages is similarly difficult if they reference, or are summaries of, other wiki pages or blog entries. Maybe the "blog export" function could help with this – allowing you to take an offline copy of a blog (or a piece of a blog?). I guess a simple "Save as…" will do in the meantime, if you know in advance what it is you will need.

The most difficult, though, is probably the webnote-like application. I still think this is an important first stage in building content for blogs and wikis, at least in some contexts, and that there is useful information to be gained from the links between notes, blogs and wikis and how they all combine to produce the final (or current version of a) product. But, making quick notes is something I'm most likely to want to do when away from my desk and away from my PC. Currently, such notes go into a Palm and are synced with Outlook at a suitable moment. It would be great to be able to sync with webnote, or something similar.

Maybe wi-fi/broadband will be sufficiently ubiquitous in the near future that this is a short term problem that isn't worth trying to solve? (It won't ever be available in the circumstance that inspired this entry, but that's elderly relatives for you.)

October 15, 2004

Blog companions

[This was written in the middle of the night while waiting for our 4 year old to settle down again after waking up with a sore throat and a temperature. Consequently, it might not be very well thought out! ]

I've written before (in comments on this entry) about the possible benfits of using blogs and wikis together to support collaborative working. I've now started looking at a third idea that seems to nicely complement these two. Much of the following discussion applies particularly to a collaborative working scenario, but would also

It all started when I got hold of a copy of Microsoft's OneNote.

Let's take a step back. Blogs are, by design, chronological, and therefore linear. They are very good at recording how things develop over time. Ideas, projects, products, people, etc. Sometimes, though, you need to pull all these developments together into a static snapshot. Because you've reached a conclusion and need to document it. Because you need to create a progress report for a project. Because you need to refocus the discussions.

This is where the wiki comes in. A wiki is essentially a simple web building tool. Simple in the sense of requiring no HTML or similar skills. Like Blogbuilder. Take Sitebuilder, remove the corporate look and feel and replace it with Blogbuilder-like skins, use the textile engine for markup, and throw in the informality of blogs. Anyway, wikis are great for holding static information, and for collaboratively building such static content. Linking wikis and blogs, so that wikis hold documents, in possibly many versions, and blogs hold the discussions about these documents and so the rationale for the changes between versions, and where each is linked to the other, seems a very powerful concept.

But, there's another way of working with information which fits easily into neither blogs nor wikis. When researching a topic you take notes, seemingly at random, of relevant pieces of information and organise them later. This is where OneNote comes in. It is designed for exactly this proces. Collecting bits of text typed or cut from the web or other documents, URLs, screen grabs, audio or video recordings, all organised a little, a lot, or not at all according to taste. All rearrangable afterwards. All searchable.

When I started using it, I found that much of what I put in OneNote eventually ended up in a blog entry or a Word document. Which is where this blog entry is heading. The idea of linking all three concepts seem astoundingly useful and powerful. Especially for group or team work where everybody has access to everything.

As far as I know, there currently isn't a web-based version of OneNote. Webnote is a very simplified version. It lacks almost any organisational features, but it is a start. The power, though, would come from the linking together of everything. Trackbacks from wiki pages to blog entries to notes, showing where all of the information came from, how it developed over time, and why.

Of course, this is all in my head. It is possible (likely?) that this wouldn't work at all the way I expect, and that if it were constructed it would turn out to be useless. There's only one way to find out. Unfortunately it involves lots of work:-(

October 13, 2004


Writing about web page

Looks like formatting in blog entry titles will shortly be following raw HTML in blog comments…

September 09, 2004

Special characters in blogs

It seems that getting the special blog formatting characters to actualy appear in a blog entry is not easy. I'm trying to construct an entry containing an example URL, a bit like this:


but both the text displayed and the URL you go to when you click on the link are wrong. What's displayed should have a tilde after the ampersand. It is there in the edit view, honest! It is also there in the link, but get's turned into "less-then sup greater-than" (hmm, something else difficult to put literally into a blog entry without turning it all into superscript:-), so clicking it doesn't work.

The below uses raw HTML for the link, and it behaves the same way:


This is an example entry to be referenced by a post in the blogbuilder forum

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