Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Good Yet Simple Explanation On How Blog Works

Here I would like to share a simple explanation on how blogs really work by Roland Tanglao from www.streamlinewebco.com . It was first published in Mar 2004 but it is still very much applicable to this day. All the savvy and techie bloggers certainly understand all this very well. But for majority others and newbies, this guide should help to make all of us better bloggers.


Summary of How Blogs Work in 7 Easy Pieces

Joe Blogger writes something and publishes it to his blog.
Joe's Blog system updates his site's HTML, updates his RSS file and sends a 'ping' message to the 'Aggregation Ping Server' indicating that his site has updated.
Search engines like Google and RSS specific services like Feedster, Technorati and PubSub periodically ask the Aggregation Ping Server, "Which sites have updated?".
Since Joe's site sends pings and has an RSS file and is easy to update frequently, Joe's search engine rank is higher than a 'normal site'.
Techie Teresa uses a program called an RSS reader to subscribe to Joe's site. The RSS reader checks Joe's RSS file for updates periodically (usually once/hour or once per day) and notifies her of Joe's updates. Teresa no longer wastes time manually surfing Joe's site. She just checks her RSS reader.
As a result, Teresa's information flow is more efficient and she can monitor more sites in less time.
Joe Surfer (who is not related to Joe Blogger) still can access blogs the old fashioned, slow and less efficient way using his web browser and search engines.


And here he continued for those who would like to know more the ins and outs of it.


Notes (for those who care about details):

This is typically done today using a web browser and clicking on a button I have generically labeled "Publish".

It will vary depending on the system used. e.g. Blogware and MovableType uses the word "Save" instead of Publish, Radio uses "Post to Home Page", etc. Most blog systems also allow you to update your blog via email.

Blog systems automate the creation of web pages, linking together pages and archiving old pages and creating and updating the RSS file. So bloggers don't think in terms of 'pages' or HTML, they think in terms of posts (short chunks of writing such as 'once upon a time...' because the blog system takes care of creating HTML pages out of multiple posts. This allows bloggers to concentrate on writing rather than technical site creation. There are other syndication formats. RSS is just the most successful. Atom is a syndication format that is new and gaining momentum.RSS was popularized by blogging but there is no reason why non blog sites can't have RSS files. In fact a lot of non blog sites like the New York Times, the BBC, etc. have RSS files as well.The first aggregation ping server was weblogs.com. Now there are many more such as blo.gs

It's more complicated than this. I have glossed over the technical details but that's what happens from a high level.
Rather than waiting weeks or days, to re-index a site, search engines re-index blog sites much more often (sometimes within minutes for Feedster, Technorati and PubSub) since they know right away when the site has updated. This leads to a more accurate search results and a higher search engine rank. So Joe's search engine rank is higher simply because he sends the 'ping' message and updates an RSS file without Joe having to manually register his site on search engines or hire an overpriced search engine optimization firm.

We recommend Bloglines (free hosted solution like Hotmail for RSS), NetNewsWire (Mac) and FeedDemon (Windows) for your RSS reading needs but there are plenty more!
If you want to make more money or care about getting the latest knowledge first, then an RSS reader (despite their crudeness; RSS readers and blog systems are at about the 'Visicalc stage' of evolution to use a spreadsheet analogy, the Excel of blogs and RSS readers will emerge in the future!) is an essential tool in your toolbox.

Blogs are normal websites. The only 'magic sauce' is the RSS file and the pings and the fact that blog systems automate the tedium of archiving, constructing HTML pages and linking them together. Otherwise they are identical to any other website so even people who don't know about RSS can access them and use them.

Don't forget to mention what happens when Teresa blogs Joe's story! ...

The story of the blog post now continues in a most important direction, picking up from when either Theresa or Joe make use of what they had found:

8. Theresa, on reading Joe's post, wants to make her own point, agreeing, disagreeing or just extending the original. She highlights some salient quote and clicks a 'bookmarklet' in her browser.

9. A window opens with the message area already filled in with the quoted excerpt and a link to Joe's post; Theresa edits this to make her point about what she's quoting from Joe.

10. When she clicks POST, Theresa's blog contacts the ping server as did Joe's, and that process continues as above.

11. Theresa's blog software /also/ pings _Joe's_ blog software, leaving a note attached to Joe's original post that now shows a short summary and links back to Theresa, and usually sends an email to Joe to tell him someone has continued his posting.

12. Visitors to Joe's site now see the posting, any comments left by visitors to his site, /and/ any 'TrackBack' pings leading to other blogs commenting on this post of Joe's

13. Google, on finding Joe's page, finds links to Theresa, and finding Theresa's page, finds links to Joe, thereby increasing the PageRank score for both authors as related to the current topic.

In the /future/, Internet searching will become more sensitive to frame and context, so if Theresa and Joe Surfer both comment, whether by TrackBack or by old-fashioned comments, the semantically sensitive search indexing robot may conclude that Theresa, Joe Blogger and Joe Surfer are all somehow related by this topic, and they are. The search engines will find all such clusters of commentary and will build implicit birds of a feather relationships, strengthening the relationships the more these connections are repeated.

These items 8-14 are what I whimsically call the "semantic mycellia", the invisible interconnections _between_ weblogs, connections hidden beneath the surface that provide a very rich information resource out of the relationships between the visible websites.


Happy blogging everybody.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Parents Should Find Time To Be Alone

Whether as parents, we realize it or not, sometimes we feel so stressful and everything seems to be irritable. We cannot focus on anything specific, because our minds keep wondering about something that really affect us inside.

As a result, we may not give our full attentions to our love ones especially our children. We know that they deserve the best and our full support, but if our mind thinking of something else, their needs would not be fully attented to by us.

There's an interesting article by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., author of many interesting books including this one "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?". Basically, she explain why as parent we need time for ourselves and doing something we like or creative, so that we can give our full attention to our children's needs when we are with them. The article "Parenting Yourself When You Have Small Children" is very interesting to read.

There so much we can do, if we channel our focus and energy to doing it and start enjoying it.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Internet And Pro-Active Minds.

In the Offline World

-We always have limited knowledge of what we want to know.

-We always remain passive population.

-We always have limited ways to voice or express our thoughts and opinions.

-when we need something, we have to go out, drive a car, choose a shop, then pick-up anyone of the items displayed on the shelves. We may have limited knowledge of which one is the best or most suits our needs.

-when we watch TV even with cable network, we remain passive users. For example, when we disagree with an opinion at a TV Talk Show, most of the time we can only disagree with it in our minds. What are the chances of your call getting thru to give your views on Larry King Live!. Very, very slim.

Of course, for cable TV there might be over a hundred channels to choose from, but we are still not in control. If we need instant information like "I think I need to buy a new camcorder. Hmmm, which one is the best out there right now - a Sony, Panasonic or whatever?". Then if your 48 inch TV right in front of you does not have internet access, it can't help you very much.


Enter the Internet. Information At Your Fingertips.

Looking for a new camcorder or digital camera? No problem.
Just Key-In "Latest Camcorder" "Digital Camera Review" and then Google-it.
And you have a result of a whole bunch of brand new model of camcorders/digital cameras from different brandnames with a whole enchilada of features, gadgets and accessories available in the market right this very moment.

Then how can we be active population of the world that contribute our part for the goodness of mankind? How the can you benefit from the internet?

In the "Good Old Days" or shall I say the "Bad Old Days", if you have a bad day at the office, or at the DMV/Immigration Department, you couldn't help it but drop by your favorite bar or coffee shop to meet your regular buddies. You just need to share you bad day with them. After cursing your boss or everybody in the whole system for causing you your bad day, you feel a little relief especially if your buddies are with you and say something like "Yeah we know, been there, done that".
Actually, apart from feeling a little bit of relief you achieve nothing much out of this especially when you are expressing yourself to your buddies, you would be releasing a lot of "negative energies".

How can the internet help you in this situation?

Returning home from you bad day, you can go straight to your PC or just drop by a

Open your free blog account and start writing. Share you bad experience with the
whole world.

You start to think "Hey I could make money out of this".

So, instead of blaming everybody and releasing those "negative energies", you begin to share your experience and write more objectively.

You can put-up article like "How to go through, survive and remain in one piece, when its time for you to spend your day at the Immigration Department".

Blog it and ping it.

With this kind of good information shared by you, you could attract huge amount of traffic to your blog.

Not only are you sharing good information, you can also earn from those
Adsense Click-thrus from your visitors who will begin to fall in love with "The man who survive his day at the Immigration Department".

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Good Side Of Human Beings

Yesterday a long time close friend of mine (since my college years about 18 years ago) contacted me about his hope of building a decent home or safe haven for stray cats. He was my roommate back then and I knew he loved cats so much.

Whenever we went for drinks together, and he saw cat wondering around the cafeteria, he would do anything to get the attention of the cat. Or more accurate I should say, cats always found their way to come over to my friend and sit on his lap. He seemed like a magnet to cats. And yes, he was and still is absolutely irresistable to cats.

Now, when contacted me and informed me of his "mission" of building this mini park for stray cats, I know this is for real. Maybe I cannot do much to help him with his pursuant of this good cause, but the least I can do is spread the news around about it.

I quote from his blog "SIMPLE IDEA - simple execution, my target is just USD 200,000.00 to jump start this park or small ZOO which shall grow based upon visitor and donation once it is launch. I hope this is not that hard to acheivedComponent involved , 1. Land, 2. Food, 3. Time and Gas money to pick up the stray cats. 4. Shelter and your Name for ever embedded in the wooden plak across this zoo.I hope this can be accomplished".

He certainly welcome any suggestions, feedbacks and helps including monetary wise. I also hope you can spread around this message to all of us who love animals that are left strayed. And I certainly hope his blog can inspire others to start this kind of noble mission in your own community.