Richard Sheppard's blog

I'm reconsidering...

Having read some other blogs about blogging in the workplace, I'm having second thoughts about my view about being able to write what I want:

  1. If I'm writing on company time, and/or using company computing resources to compose, edit and manage my blog then perhaps the company does have an editorial right;
  2. If I have the urge to spread hate or racism (I'm telling you right now - I don't) the company would definitely have cause for concern.

There are plenty of other circumstances for which the company could have a right to intervene. Now I need to think about whether company blogs can be of any use, or have any impact on the bottom line. AW is keen from the point of view of generating traffic, and that the traffic would come due to the search engines picking up on words we use about products, and liberal sprinkling of links to the products on the site. I don't dispute that this would work. My concern is whether the possible damage to the credibility of what we're trying to achieve. There must be some middle ground between authenticity of blog entries and our desires to increase traffic. Surely quality content has primacy over short term goals. Especially those which can be overridden by new searching and indexing features evolving through time.

It's my blog and I'll write what I want to

I had a somewhat interesting time yesterday while demonstrating how I set up my blog and showing my colleagues how I enter new entries on my blog. It was a bit like trying to herding cats.

I didn't expect it to be anything else to be honest.

What I'm finding most interesting is the variation of understanding of my colleagues about blogging and their aspirations and goals (or lack of) in the blogosphere. Blogosphere is both a stupid word and yet way way more cool than the work cool, don't you think?

My goal in the blogosphere? It's all selfish, really. It's merely a way for me to express myself. I'm blogging for me first. You can always put a comment in and tell me I'm full of shit. I'm a big boy - I can take it. I'm also not concerned if my entries cause me to lose my job. If I can't exercise self-expression via the web due to company policies, I'm not working for the right company.

 

Dreamweaver Extensions from DMX Zone

At the end of last month, I purchased a the Mega Bundle Editor PHP set of Dreamweaver MX 2004 extensions from DMXZone.com - a site well known in the Dreamweaver extensions business. Two of my closest web dev colleagues swear by them for file uploading and general content management sections of web sites. Looking at my DMXZone account, I was reminded that I purchased the Pure PHP Image Bundle set of extensions in 2003. As a result, I was given a discount for the new set I purchased in May as it counted as an upgrade offer.

Yesterday, after demonstrating a page I had build with the Advanced HTML extension to AW, he pointed out that I had version 1 of the AdvHTML extension, that it was rubbish, and that I should have got version 2 instead - version 1 was soo old skool, that it should be considered "ye olde skoole". He even remembered a fact that I thought he would consider trivial - that version 1 didn't work with any Mac browsers!

So, I started looking into it in some detail, and it wasn't easy to understand the DMX Zone product range. To say, "it wasn't easy" is an understatement. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I purchased the PHP Mega Bundle version 1, which didn't have the AdvHTML extension. At first, I was indignant and considered writing a stiff letter. A letter so stiff, in fact, that it would need to be written on cardboard. Not only that, I was also going to send it.

Instead, I decided to fork out the extra £55 or so, as in the end, the only extension that was different in the new and improved Mega Bundle Editor PHP 2 was the AdvHTML extension, and considering the previous upgrade, I've still paid less than had I bought the new stuff altogether.

Struggling for ideas

Here is my day so far (it's only around 9.30 in the morning):

  • Woke up at 5 - gave in to the call of nature, then tried to go back to sleep
  • ...the bloody cat decided to try to crawl all over my head
  • ...woke up at 6, had breakfast and shower
  • ...got in such a hurry to get to the bus on time, I forgot my belt
  • ...kicked myself for not bringing home my umbrella from work last night
  • ...worked on my laptop in very cramped space on the train from Wolves to New Street
  • ...much more space after changing from New Street to Leamington
  • ...txt'd AW to see if I could get a lift from the station (see "left my umbrella at the office" above)
  • ...after much to-and-fro via txt, eventually speak with AW who agreed to pick me up
  • ...AW gets stuck in traffic on Northumberland Road which is annoying on many levels -
    1. the obvious, in that I was waiting in the cold and wet at the station
    2. I'd been telling him that Northumberland Road was a much more straightforward way to get to the office for weeks, and today was the first he'd tried it
    3. I'm expecting him to moan about it all day
  • ...took taxi to the office and sold the taxi driver on the idea of Emart as a great place to shop on the web
  • ...continued discussions with AW re: pros and cons of blogging, after he set his up last night

Sorry about too much detail. I finished a novel by Steve Martin on the train last night. A book called "The pleasure of my company" which I enjoyed very much. Written in the first person, it's about a guy that has a serious case of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and has to do far too much planning to leave his apartment. Very well written. And the inspiration for me to provide far too much detail in this posting. Are you still reading?

del.icio.us - Social Bookmarking, and why I keep coming back to it

Some months ago, while looking at blogs of different web designers and Apple developers, I found out about http://del.icio.us .

The concept of social bookmarking wasn't jaw-droppingly amazing, but it was compelling to me from the point of view that I could get to some of my favourite sites if I wasn't in front of *my* computer, where I had bookmarked specific sites. As with many new technologies and web sites, my enthusiasm waned within 24-48 hours.

In my new role at Emart however, I realised that my colleagues are likely to have much longer attention spans and that we could create a list of favourites, or a combination of favourites from everyone in the company, by using del.icio.us bookmarks. By revisiting del.icio.us social bookmarks, I've rediscovered the true use of the site, and also understand that my short attention span has a purpose. Perhaps it's not really a *short attention span* in the first place.

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