bookmark_borderWhat's in a name?

The price of fame, in blogland, appears to be nasty comments. At least that’s what some visitors, the minority it would seem, to Naked Blog take it to be. Peter rightly points out that it is his writing that is the key element of his site, but I’m not sure that the following statement is quite what he means.

“the medium would descend to a money-making racket, then I wouldn’t have championed it so vociferously over the aeons.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to second guess a Bloggies Lifetime Achievement nominee but there seems to be a growing view that you either blog for pleasure, for the aesthetic if you will, or you are a whore to the green mistress that rules us all. The more I think about it, the more I begin to wonder if that isn’t exactly what is going on at the moment.

On one side you have the hobbyist blog. The traditional, grass-roots publishing side of things where, largely (putting small amounts from adverts aside), the key element is the publishing of posts on whatever topic takes the author’s fancy.

Contrasting that you have the “pro” blog. Usually topic-focussed (specialised), and aiming to have a large readership to ensure the revenue generated by adverts is maximised. Includes blogs that rely solely on advertising or sponsorship to survive.

Too simplistic? Well have a look at a blog, any blog you like, and try and apply the ‘rules’ above. I warrant you’ll be able to decide which camp it belongs to pretty easily.

I’m not arguing for/against any blog, what you do with your blog is up to you dearest reader. I just think that, as blogs permeate further into the media and society in general, it’s better for those who blog (that’s us) to take a look at these things and offer some suggestions. What I think we really need is a new word.

I think both ‘sets’ of bloggers would benefit from a new term in the blog lexicon that offers us a way to categorise a blog along the simplistic lines I’ve mentioned above. We already have the term “blog” and I’d suggest that is kept for the hobbyist (although as we are the ones without the money I’m not entirely sure we get to decide!). So we need a new word for the professional blog.

Except we already have one, a quick search for problog brings plenty of results. However I think this is still missing a trick as it doesn’t account for the ‘non-corporate’ professional bloggers (Kottke, Dooce… umm… are there any others??) but I think I can live with that. There are always a few sites that bend the rules.

This site is, and will remain, a blog. A means to publish whatever zips across my radar. A way to keep in touch with a large number of interesting people whom I’ve never met. Something that keeps my interest. A hobby.

Well this has sparked an interesting set of topics, not to mention a couple of very well thought out emails. There are a few other comments over at mike’s place which add to the discussion as well.

To close this out I thought I’d post a copy of the comment I made over there (hey if he can do it..)

Kettle fish etc..

Having re-read my own post a few times, and thought about some comments, and emails as well, I can see why some would think I was saying that X is “more worthy” than Y. That wasn’t the intention.

My background is communications. A key part of that is the seemingly simple matter of using common terminology. GETTING simple terminology out of a complex topic, like blogging, is nigh on impossible.

So, you take the mix of ‘what is a blog’ and distill it down as far as possible. I still think you can categorise ANY blog as either PRO (for money) or PERSONAL (not for money).

You are right that blogs are just “websites with reverse-chronological dated posts”. Couldn’t agree more. So maybe I should have focussed on the author, the motivation behind the blog.

Do I think that one particular type of blog is “more worthy” than another? Define “worthy”. OK, I’m being argumentative… in short, no I don’t.

I read political blogs, web design blogs, blogs about people’s lives, blogs about people’s football teams, blogs about music, movies, books… etc etc.

They are all blogs. The motivation behind them may be different.

I THINK that’s the point I was trying to make (but I’m backtracking a bit).

The next question is WHY categorise at all?

Simple answer? Don’t. There is no need. It was just something I was thinking about (and that I thought might spark a few comments). I certainly wasn’t getting “all het up about it” or anything. Far too unhealthy an attitude if you ask me.

As mike (as usual) succinctly puts it “Live and let live. Peace and love.” Well said, that man, well said.


Blimey, it’s almost cold enough to freeze the testicles off a monkey made from a copper and zinc alloy!

Anyway, my fingers are just about warm enough to type so I have a question. How long should I wait for payment before re-listing an item on eBay?

The bidding ended 5 days ago, and I’ve contacted the buyer twice, once to say if they paid immediately they could have the item by the weekend, and again last night to enquire WHEN they would be paying… the second email was mainly to see if I get a response at all!

I didn’t include a ‘must be paid in x days’ note anywhere but in my limited experience with eBay I’ve never had anything take this long. Even cheques have appeared quicker.

What say you, oh wise denizens of the internet, should I re-list the item?

UPDATE: eBay’s Unpaid Item Process is what I’m after!


Blimey, it’s almost over ALREADY!

A few beers on Friday night, and after dragging myself away from the pub I came home to find the remnants of a curry Louise had ordered, bonus! Admittedly after a few pints of Guinness and a spot of curry, Saturday was a little… windy.

Thankfully by the time Saturday evening rolled around I was no longer in danger of making the shipping forecast – MALIN. NORTHWEST 4 INCREASING 7 OR GALE 8. SMELLY. – and enjoyed a great evening out to mark the 21st birthday of Louise’s cousin, Sharon (OK, not really. She’s 53… um… 41?… no wait… 36??). It’s always a good night out, as that side of the family are very easy going and always up for a laugh. Dinner at the Princess Rose was good and the food was excellent as usual, if a little slow coming out. Mind you we didn’t really notice that much as they did a grand job plying us with booze and it was easily the busiest I’ve ever seen it. Of course the round of free drinks helped as well!

The entire restaurant joined us as we sang Happy Birthday to Sharon before we headed off and after a brisk walk, it was bloody cold on Saturday night, arrived en masse in the pub. More drinks, daft stories – when told of the price of a round the world air ticket, Sharon’s sister enquired “How much does the return cost?” – and then back to my parents house where we bumped into my Dad as we all returned home around the same time (yes, that’s right, he was on his way back from another Burns Supper).

Today, washed the car, watched a little football, did a little work and sorted out the Lou Lou Creations website. Many thanks to IanD for pointing me in the direction of Lightbox, a site I’ve bookmarked and will be using again! And to Donalda (no website, yet?!!) for pointing out the obvious mistake (I left a deliberate error on one page to test the error handling and forgot to correct it!). Only thing left for the site is to get better photos of the cards but all in good time.

I also finished a little pre-design work for a new project which should be interesting, more on that later. Once I’m allowed to talk about it.

How was your weekend?

bookmark_borderiTunes Meme

Meme alert. Yes, always a sure sign that I’m too busy to be bothered actually putting some effort into posting here, it’s meme time. This one was stolen from Neil and has scared me a little, particularly the first set of stats. Who the hell needs that many tracks?*

How many total songs?
11,937 songs, equal to 35.3 days or 59.38 GB. And I’ve still got a few CDs left to rip, need a new hard drive first!

Sort by song title – first and last?
   First: ’39 by Queen (album track from A Night at the Opera) – a lovely banjo lead ditty about space travel.
   Last: Zuton Fever by The Zutons (album track from Who killed the Zutons?) – slightly narcissistic, no?

Sort by time – shortest and longest?
   Shortest: Reprise by Queen at 4 secs. However shortest actually track is probably Passive Manipulation by the White Stripes at 34 secs long (short).
   Longest: Beethoven’s 9th performed by BBC Philharmonic, 1 hr, 7 mins and 24 secs. Bizarrely the longest non-classical track (excluding mixes) is Reprise by Queen which runs to 22 mins and 33 secs. I’m thinking that’l

Sort by Album – first and last?
   First: ’64-’95 by Lemon Jelly
   Last: Zooropa by U2

Sort by Artist – first and last?
   First: !!! – or 10,000 Maniacs if yer fussy about your alphabetised lists
   Last: ZZ Top – of course!!!

Top five played songs?
   1. Future Proof by Massive Attack, from the album 100th Window
   2. She Will Have Her Way by Neil Finn, from the album Try Whistling This
   3. All I Need by Air, from the album Moon Safari
   4. Think Twice by Carl Craig, from the album Detroit Experiment
   5. Train by Goldfrapp, from the album Black Cherry

Find the following words. How many songs show up?
Figures in brackets are song titles only
   Sex: 66 (32)
   Death: 30 (14)
   Love: 657 (512)
   You: 1344 (997)
   Home: 102 (63)
   Boy: 319 (88)
   Girl: 178 (124)

Interesting. And I can highly recommend all the linked albums, blimey I’ve got great taste! Go on, show me yours.


* Ok, this has actually made me stop and think. I’ve slowly been ripping all my CDs to the PC, entire CDs, whether I like every track or not they are all there. I don’t delete tracks just because I don’t like them. I wonder, am I thinking of this the wrong way? Surely iTunes should only hold music that I will listen to and not be used to store hundreds of tracks that will never get played? And don’t even get me started on the perplexing issue that is duplicated tracks.

An example: The version of Fat Bottomed Girls on the album Queen Rocks! has been remastered from an old recording and sounds much better than either the original version from the album (Jazz) or the version from the Greatest Hits album. What I SHOULD do, is delete the two other versions I don’t listen to, but then I wouldn’t have the complete albums…

Is it just me? Is it an age thing where an ‘album’ is still a definitive piece of work that should be kept in it’s entirety or should I be switching to a new digital model where I can create my OWN albums, featuring versions of songs I like and ditching the rest? Ohh this could keep me up all night. What do YOU do?

bookmark_border4 Things

When in doubt, meme! (or in other words, I’ve been tagged by Ben at Binary Moon).

Four jobs that I’ve had

  • Training Squad – McDonalds
  • Technical Author – Dr.Solomons (McAfee)
  • Documentation Specialist – Tetra (Sage Group)
  • Technical Communications Manager (now Senior Tech Author) – current employer

Four movies I can watch over and over

Four places I have lived

  • Dumbarton
  • Aylesbury
  • Bothwell
  • Hamilton

Four TV shows I like to watch

  • 24 – new series starts on Sky One on Feb 12th!
  • Friends – ohhhh sue me. It’s easy to watch.
  • Frasier
  • [insert successful American show, probably from HBO] – House, Gray’s Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Sopranos etc etc

Four foods that I like

  • Potatos – boiled, mashed, roasted, chipped, steamed, sauteed…. and so on
  • Chicken – nothing beats a succulently grilled chicken breast… ok so it’s usually the accompanying sauce or side dish that makes the dish
  • Ice Cream – vanilla, double cream, Equi’s or Mackies. White not yellow like that Cornish stuff (which is nice too but not AS nice you see…)
  • Guinness – look it IS a food, end of discussion.

Four websites I visit daily

Four things I want to do before I die

  • Retire
  • Write a book
  • Learn to Scuba Dive
  • Run a half marathon (hey, I’m no masochist!)

Four places I would rather be right now

  • On a quiet beach in the sun
  • San Francisco
  • In the middle of nowhere, somewhere in Scotland
  • On a plane… anywhere

Four people I’m tagging

bookmark_borderHere's tae Rabbie

    Some hae meat and cannot eat.
    Some cannot eat that want it:
    But we hae meat and we can eat,
    Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Tonight we feasted on haggis, neaps and tatties in homage to the beloved scoundrel of Scotland George Galloway Robert Burns. It’s been a long time since I attend a Burns Supper, with all it’s traditions, songs and laughter they are great fun, so if you ever get an invite to you really should accept. These days they even allow the wummin to attend – previously they were men only affairs – although it’s fair to say that’s nothing to do Rabbie as he loved the ladies, fathering a few illegitimate children in his time, even whilst he was married (told you he was a scoundrel) – in fact his eldest child was greeted with the poem ‘Welcome to a Bastard Wean’.

    “Welcome! lily bonie, sweet, wee dochter,
    Tho’ ye come here a wee unsought for,
    And tho’ your comin’ I hae fought for,
    Baith kirk and queir;
    Yet, by my faith, ye’re no unwrought for
    That I shall swear!…
    Lord grant that thou may ay inherit
    Thy rnither’s person, grace, an’ merit,
    An’ thy poor, worthless daddie’s spirit,
    Without his failins,”

For those of you who’ve never tried haggis, I can confirm that it is delicious. The traditional ingredients are often said to compromise sheeps heart and liver, mixed with oatmeal and spices and cooked in a sheep’s stomach. These days the offal is usually replaced by a combination of lamb, beef and onion, and the casing is similar to that used in everyday sausages. Get one from a local butcher if you can.

    “His knife see rustic Labour dight,
    An cut you up wi ready slight,
    Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
    Like onie ditch;
    And then, O what a glorious sight,
    Warm-reekin, rich!”

If you are Scottish then you’ll know of Robert Burns as he was, at least in my day, part of the national curriculum. Who didn’t study Tam O’Shanter, the poem from which the Cutty Sark takes her name (and which was built and launched in my home town)?

    Her cutty sark, o Paisley harn,
    That while a lassie she had worn,
    In longitude tho sorely scanty,
    It was her best, and she was vauntie…
    Ah! little kend thy reverend grannie,
    That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
    Wi twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches),
    Wad ever grac’d a dance of witches!

My Dad is an active member of the Burns circuit in Scotland – recently retired president of the Dumbarton Burns Club no less – and tonight is attending the Dumfries Society dinner in the wonderfully named Howff Club where, I presume, he’ll be having a gander at the recently acquired second page of Holy Willie’s Prayer. Now I like haggis, but you have to admire my father’s devotion. He’ll be attending around 6 or 7 Burns Suppers over the next two weeks, literally singing for his supper at some of them.

    “O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi Meg –
    Thy pardon I sincerely beg –
    O, may’t ne’er be a livin plague
    To my dishonour!
    An I’ll ne’er lift a lawless leg
    Again upon her.”

So here’s to everyone celebrating tonight, may your past go before you and stand you in good stead. Slainte!

    “And there’s a hand my trusty fiere,
    And gie’s a hand o thine,
    And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught,
    For auld lang syne.”

With the exception of the extract from ‘Love-begotten Daughter’ the post follows the traditional Burns Supper speechs and songs. No, that was not by accident. For your further consumption:

  1. The Selkirk Grace
  2. Extract from Love-begotten Daughter
  3. Extract from “To a Haggis” (includes translation)
  4. Extract from Tam O’ Shanter (includes translation)
  5. Extract from Holy Willie’s Prayer
  6. Extract from Auld Lang Syne