WordPress publishing tips – 2

By , October 12, 2007 5:39 pm

WordPress white T-shirt

Manual Highlight Posts

There are benefits to manage your highlight posts manually.

First, automated widgets that display popular posts base on certain criteria and may not cover all your needs. For example, you may want to attract traffic to a post with lower pageviews that it doesn’t appear when using plugins.

Next, if you do it by hand and announce so, readers will appreciate your hard works and the intimate readership is enhanced.

Lastly, you control everything about the list.

Use Images for posts

One tip is to use images for posts to create visual clues instead of all text links.

Manual Related Posts

“Related Posts” plugin works well. However, it works by detecting similar posts by using keywords including tags. It is not intelligent enough to understand that some story should continue the article you’re writing.

For instance, you’d written an article about Management and never once mentioned Leadership. Then, you write about Leadership to prove the differences and the supplementing between Leadership and Management and want to link to the previous Management article. The plugin then only displays related Leadership articles after the new article, without knowing your preference. Manually doing so may improve the reading flow of your blog.

Tell your readers exactly what they should be doing

Click here

Compare these 2 paragraphs:

1. My summary of the Enneagram, for example, summarizes my knowledge after reading most celebrated books on the topic.

2. My summary of the Enneagram, for example, summarizes my knowledge after reading most celebrated books on the topic. Click here to read the summary.

What have you noticed? Which do you think is more of a temptation of clicking?

Statistics has that clear instruction such as “Click here” increases clicking rate by roughly 8%. Do give internet users explicit and specific commands.

“Related Posts” vs. a Selling statement

Compare these 2 invitations:

1. Related Posts

Principles of leadership
Leadership today
The theory of leadership

2. Interested in this topic? You might enjoy another article I’d written named The differences between Leadership and Management and how they supplement each other. It further explores the points covered in this post.

Since it’s an invitation, make it an invitation.

Date

Show-off the date of your post. This gives reader more hints on the context of the story so comprehending the article can be easier.

For example, some readers may be surprised to read your post that praises Sony Walkman as the state-of-the-art portable music player while Apple’s iPod was dominating in 2006. If the date “1/2/1990” is included in the post, such confusion is avoidable.

***

Interested in this topic? You might enjoy other WordPress publishing tips. Click here to read the previous article.

Semantic Web – a Nightmare on Paradise?

By , September 15, 2007 4:07 am

The idea of Semantic Web is to bring Artificial Intelligence to the World Wide Web.

Basing on the current achievements of Web 2.0, including social networks, B2C and C2C e-commerce, new Web robots will be able to crawl the web and collect information: profiles, photographs, calendars, retail information and process it into a coherent picture of a person, place or thing.

Paradise…

It will enable service providers to give you more precise recommendations. For example, e-commerce websites recommend a list of items that you probably will buy, travel agents offer tours that would match your preferences, social networks introduce people you may want to know.

Sounds superb cool right?

Semantic Life Boat

…Or is it?

You may want to think twice.
Imagine. The web robots will know, then analysts of that website will know, then very soon the whole world will know, your name, your house, occupation, habits, romance history. They will analyze your data even more carefully than do you, and treasure and publish the information for a longer time than you might expect it to. Worse, your sun-bathe photo or even video may be open for the whole world to view and comment.

To make it worse, cri.me never leaves any new advance untouched. Imagine what will be done on you when you are revealed all over?

I call it Nightmare.

It’s high time we re-thought Privacy and considered the information we publish on the internet, before the next decade when what I described come in place.

More articles will be written in the “re-thinking” process.

Develop Foundation Skills, then Tools

By , September 15, 2007 3:06 am

Apart from motivationally writing for the web, I have been invited to universities as a motivational speaker to talk about the IT industry and IT occupations with IT students.

What question do you think is most frequently asked?

What programming languages and tools are currently used in your company?

It is not a surprising one because the same question has been asked much more frequently on technical forums and newsgroup and has caused so much debates on T-tool vs. U-tool and more heatedly, X-language vs. Y-language.

And my answer is

“It is nice that you are preparing the knowledge and skills that you think your potential employers will seek. However, skills and experience in a particular programming language is not the only technical skill employers seek in candidates. They’re also looking into the foundation technical knowledge, such as but not limited to: Object Orientation, Design skills, Software Methodologies, Data Structures and Algorithms, Database Design, Architecture, Computing Theory, that empower your programming skills. You may do programming with, let’s say, Java relatively well in some situations without the above knowledge, but if you are thrown into a more complex project to build a huge product, the risk is high.

One example. You spend two to four years in college polishing your skills in X language that you predict will (still) be hot in a few years when you graduate. When you do graduate and apply for jobs, if they say “Sorry, X is old. We’re needing Y people”, what will you do? Spend the same amount of time learning Y? No, it’s not the way it should work. Foundation knowledge is the root, languages and tools are leaves. Equip yourself with the foundation, and when technology changes (is IT a slow changing area that does not change every 6 month or so?), you can adapt more easily.

When you have mastered the foundation knowledge, and possessed significant experience in using programming languages, which IDE is not a bug big issue.

Besides, about recruitment, technical skills are not the only evaluation criterion. Think about soft skills and attitude too.”

I was thinking about my profession

The number of Business Analysts and System Analysts required in software companies is not that many compared to developers; in some smaller companies with less formal process definition, some developers take the Analyst role. If the need for Analysts were higher, this question could have been asked: “What modeling languages and tools are currently used in your company?”

The answer is simple: Unified Modeling Language. UML itself has been a well-established language for modeling. More of a reason why it has become so popular is due to the promotion of UML by RUP.

But once again, UML is a language. The case is not much different from that of programming languages. Knowing UML is not enough to perform all tasks Analysts do, Business Process Modeling for instance – and a new standardized set of notations named BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) is being proposed.

Underlying UML skills are Modeling skills. Modeling languages are used to present information in a more visual (and structural?) way. You need to know what model or diagram should be used to present what kind of information at what time in what situation to whom.

Model is one kind of information. In order to develop solid Modeling skills, Information Processing skills and Data Analysis skills need to be developed first or in parallel.

With all those skills at hand, you will be able to guess how shapes are categorized and may quickly locate the right notations you need in Modeling tools, no matter if it’s Rational Rose or Visio or Enterprise Architect or so on.

After you have created a good piece of model, you may want to present it to customers or other teams in your project. Presentation skills may help.

Modeling Skills

Side discussion: Model vs. Diagram

Throughout this article, I have used Models consistently, without mentioning diagrams. The may raise question since “UML diagram” is a very common terminology. The reason is because Analysts produce visualizations which are not diagrams too. Organization charts, map, prototype are just a few to name. ‘Model’ covers all of these, of course including diagrams. Also, one trivia is that the word may remind the fact that information systems actually model the real world.

Conclusion

So to conclude, foundation knowledge is required in any profession. Technology and tools change so quickly, but concepts do not as quickly. Build your internal strength should be the higher priority.

Job Seeking with Video Resume

By , September 13, 2007 2:25 am

Some post their HTML Resume online. Some post their PDF Resume online.

Some post their Video Resume online!

[gv data=”http://www.youtube.com/v/ci_wsXcR8JY”][/gv]

If there’s demand, there’s supply

Some examples of VR job-portal vendors may include:

Resume Video http://www.resumevideo.com/

Vault Career Information http://www.vault.com/membership/video-resume.jsp

How good is a VR

Firstly, a Video Resume (VR) saves recruiters’ time. Watching a 3-minute VR, which is usually done filming popular compulsory interview questions and answers, ahead of the appointment saves the time and efforts of going through these basic questions yet once again so that only more advanced and specific questions need to be asked and answered in the real interview.

Next, it creates an impression on the potential employer. Obviously, a VR maker is creative and knows how to exploit trendy technology for serious matter like application. Good! Exactly the two key points many employers are looking for.

Last but not least, the VR makes the applicant stand out from the crowds of documents and all.

Something to note

Creative doesn’t have to mean weird.

When posting the VR on popular video hosting websites such as YouTube, the owner must be aware that internet trolls, spammers and the envious are always lurking for preys. Bad comments, spam going through the email address that the applicant gives out, exposure to ridicule are just a few harassment to name. An advice is to know the technology well enough to prevent attacks and protect one’s self.

Full speed ahead, job seekers with VR!

Free & Open Source Enterprise Resource Planning Software

By , September 11, 2007 11:29 pm

ERP

ERP is free?

At first, I could believe that a highly complex software like that of ERP can be open or free.

However, it is a truth. Some communities are really committed to engage to this sophistication.

Now here it is: ERP comes open-source!

ERP is really free?

I like the way Adempiere depicts the complexion of costs:

“Information Is Free – U have to Know
People Are Not – U have to Pay
Contributors Are Priceless – U have to Be”

Open-source ERP, like any other open-source project, is not totally intended for larger enterprises seeking highly stable software and business partnership.

Open-source ERP makes it possible for SMEs to go in for Enterprise Resource Planning at a more affordable price. This is a wise step of initiators in that this kind of collaboration would benefit both parties.

  • Users get the software for free, and pay a relatively reasonable amount for supports and customization
  • Some R&D departments from these ‘purchasers’ even involve in developing the software, thus enlarging the community to people inside businesses
  • Some companies such as Compiere offer free packages and products with fee. This gives their customers more options

Personally I don’t think the “sense of open-source” including flexibility, community-knowledge, freedom and such is the most significant factor for enterprises to go for these products. They’re simply looking for a product that works with a more affordable price. Instead of doing separate accounting, financial management, CRM, SCM, HRM etc., they have the option to start doing ERP at an earlier stage.

It’s all about Open-source

People in Open-source community have their manifesto. Communities have gone from developing open Operating Systems to open File-Sharing, from Office to Browsers. There is no reason why they can’t be doing ERP now.

Entrepreneurship & OSS

ERP has “enterprise” in it. Correct! ERP OSS is not software for individuals, but for Organizations. Enterprises. And Enterprises do business.

An ERP, though require a tremendous technology commitment, is far less geeky than any other OSS ever developed. It’s business, which so unfortunately a number of geeks take a distance from afar.

Because ERP is developed to solve the problem of and boost business, ERP OSS requires entrepreneurship and business minds! That’s where the leading heads and consultants are called.

Development Prospects

People talk ERP. People use ERP. People do ERP. Everywhere is ERP.

Some sell ERP. Some give ERP for free.

It’s obvious, Open-source ERP is in a terribly good jumpstart to develop. If they can overcome some difficulties such as commitment, simplification of complexity and harmonization of business and technology, the future is bright for them.

And for SMEs too.

Some Open-source and Free Enterprise Resource Planning Vendors

Compiere http://www.compiere.com

Adempiere http://adempiere.red1.org

JFire https://www.jfire.org

Opentaps http://www.opentaps.org

OpenBlueLab http://www.openbluelab.org

OFBiz http://ofbiz.apache.org

SQL-Ledger http://www.sql-ledger.org

WebERP http://www.weberp.org

GNU Enterprise http://www.gnuenterprise.org

GNU Globe

How Good is an Online Article

By , September 10, 2007 8:28 pm

Article

As good as a book index

My summary of the Enneagram, for example, summarizes my knowledge after reading most celebrated books on the topic.

While a summary doesn’t generally provide thorough coverage as a book does, it gives readers an outline of the subject. When the reader have familiarized themselves with topics and terminologies, s/he then can focus on learning what needed.

As good as a trivia

This serious joke on a Marketer is generally considered trivial. However, a seemingly trivial matter, as it often comes from close observation of the world in another angle, may generate innovative ideas, help to spot niche markets or popup interesting surprises.

As good as a fiction

Some articles contain stories; stories tell lives. Articles that tell lives hold metaphors of human values.

This one is a positive guide to help better communication. But more than that, if you read and feel, imagine and think, you will be able to visualize another sophisticated side of the life of some people you have known.

Explore your friends the way you do fiction 🙂

As good as a well-established message

When I write about free software, my message is clear: “Use software legally!”

If you want to send a message, write about it and include deep thoughts. The quantity and quality of response you receive proportionate the efforts you spend.

Less is more

My advice for web surfers is not to read more, but to understand more deeply the contents of the articles. If you find yourself not understanding an article you find weirdly interesting, read it again; if you don’t have time to read that many for many times, surf less.

Many articles make up a book

I have read many in-depth blog posts and followed many discussions on Search Engine Optimization. Then just recently I got my hand on a well-written book on SEO. Much to my surprise, most knowledge and insights covered in the book can be found in FREE articles all over the net.

When to refrain from online articles

While valuing the benefits of reading online articles, I don’t encourage replacing reading books with skimming articles though. Articles are scattered, more well-off, many of which contain noises or non-relevant comments. To a beginner in a subject, reading a book cover-to-cover should still be favored, since being able to collect and synthesize scattered knowledge requires information finding and knowledge management skills together with relatively well-formed experience on the (similar) subject.

Another factor should be considered is that “many articles is equivalent a book” can be applied effectively in technology fields where cohesion is within its own logical structure. For social sciences and economics, it is less recommended as reading scattered bits of different schools is an easy way to enter confusion.

Google Free Services

By , September 10, 2007 8:23 pm

Google Tips

Have you known all Google Free services apart from Search and Email?

Have you utilized all Google search options?

Update yourself here

Top Free Image Hosting sites

By , September 7, 2007 1:33 am

Flickr vs Picasa vs Photobucket vs Imageshack

This chart only compares basic functionalities of free accounts of the 4 top image hosting sites. For more information, please click on their names to go to their FAQ pages.

  Flickr PicasaWeb Photobucket Imageshack

Limitation

Number of Photos 200 unlimited500 per Set unlimited unlimited
Capacity 1000Mb 1Gb 1Gb unlimited
Photo Size 5Mb 10Mb 1Mb 1.5Mb

Upload

Uploader Yes Yes No Yes
Number of Photos per upload 6 5 20 1
Upload from URL No No Yes Yes
Resize Yes Yes Partial Yes

Usability

Organization Tags & 3 Sets Sets Folders Tags
Ajax Yes Yes No No

Support Tim O'Reilly with a Blogger's Code of Conduct

By , September 4, 2007 4:52 am

Problems of the blogosphere

Anonymity

Anonymity on the web

Anonymity on the web makes people believe that they don’t have to be responsible for what they write. Therefore, many behave on the web in ways that they would not otherwise. Some sp.am, some attack other people, some abuse technology for their own goods while degrading other’s efforts.

sp.am

Comment sp.am

sp.ams in comments is another method of sending irrelevant, unwanted commercial messages to blogs.

Some sp.amme.rs use comment sp.am as a way to increase their websites’ PageRank by including URL to their website.

sp.am is often done by automated software.

SplogSpot

Splog

sp.am blogs, sometimes referred to by the neologism splogs, are artificially created weblog sites which the author uses to promote affiliated websites or to increase the search engine rankings of associated sites. The purpose of a splog can be to increase the PageRank or backlink portfolio of affiliate websites, to artificially inflate paid ad impressions from visitors, and/or use the blog as a link outlet to get new sites indexed. sp.am blogs are usually a type of scraper site, where content is often either Inauthentic Text or merely stolen (see blog scraping) from other websites. These blogs usually contain a high number of links to sites associated with the splog creator which are often disreputable or otherwise useless websites.

Stop Cyberbully

Cyber bullying

Cyber bullying is a type of harassment via electronic messages. Cyber bullying may also include threats, sexual remarks, pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech). Cyber bullies may publish personal contact information for their victims at websites. They may attempt to assume the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them.

Cyber bullying via blogs

Recently, Kathy Sierra, a web designer, was threatened by a commenter at her blog Headrush.

Other forms that blog cyber-bullying can take are the creation of fake blogs in the name of a victim which purport to be by the victim but which ridicule him or her. Such sites may use vulgarity, por.nogr.aphy and other forms of inflammatory discourse in an attempt to shame the victim.

Troll

Troll

Trolls can be existing members of a community that often contribute no useful information to the thread, but instead make argumentative posts in an attempt to discredit another person, concentrating almost exclusively on facts irrelevant to the point of the conversation, with the intent of provoking a reaction from others. The key element under attack by a troll is known only to the troll.

A troll’s main goal is usually to arouse anger and frustration among the message board’s other participants, and will write whatever it takes to achieve this end. One popular trolling strategy is the practice of Winning by Losing. While the victim is trying to put forward solid and convincing facts to prove his position, the troll’s only goal is to infuriate its prey. The troll takes (what it knows to be) a badly flawed, wholly illogical argument, and then vigorously defends it while mocking and insulting its prey. The troll looks like a complete fool, but this is all part of the plan. The victim becomes noticeably angry by trying to repeatedly explain the flaws of the troll’s argument. Provoking this anger was the troll’s one and only goal from the very beginning.

A concern troll is a pseudonym created by a user whose point of view is opposed to the one his/her sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view (for example, Democrats or fans of the Prius), and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals but with some “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.

Do not feed the troll Experienced participants in online forums know that the most effective way to discourage a troll is usually to ignore him or her, because responding encourages a true troll to continue disruptive posts — hence the often-seen warning “Please do not feed the troll”.

Illustration: Troll’s Brain and Memory

Dooce Logo

Dooce

To be “dooced” is to lose one’s job as a result of something one wrote on the internet.

This neologism is formed from the true story of Heather B. Armstrong’s website dooce.com in 2002.

Legal issues

Apart from being a web user, a member of communities, an author, you are also a citizen, and are bound to the law of your region and the Terms of Service of the blogging service you are using.

A behavior deemed acceptable in a community may violate the legal code of the place you’re residing. Be careful.

Tim O’Reilly calls for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct

Tim O’Reilly is calling for a Blogger’s Code of Conduct. Civility Enforced

Tim O’Reilly Draft Blogger’s Code of Conduct

Tim hopes that it would come through self-regulation.

It is still under development. The latest version of his draft contains 6 points.

I believe that his attempt, while will not solve all problems of the blogosphere, will address the issues and raise the awareness of bloggers worldwide so that we can eradicate the bad seeds together.

Facebook tries to solve Privacy problems

By , August 30, 2007 4:00 pm

Facebook Logo

My first good impression of Facebook is its care for Privacy.

In order to add friend, user must fill in the relationship with the recipient and the system verifies if the information matches. Correct me if I’m wrong, but many people who prefer this strictness in Privacy turn out to be diligent and thoughtful enough to savvy technology and social effects of the internet.

This solves a problem of many contemporary social networking sites such as MySpace: arbitrary networking leads to privacy abuse.

However, this in turn limits the ability to discover new sites and new people. Most of users’ Facebook networks likely come from already known sources. The chance to meet new people, or discover new sites is limited proportionally to the privacy limit.

My conclusion is that this variety of usability and website nature gives web-surfers more choices of services and more channels of connection.

The more choices the merrier.

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