Monthly Archives: January 2009

How to blog – for the shirker

I have been blogging for five years now. See this link for all my blogs: http://sites.google.com/site/soumitrisarchive/blogs-and-sites
(now that was a spruik! caught you!)

But seriously – are you a blogger who?

  1. feels guilty blogging.
  2. blogs when the family has gone to sleep.
  3. checks your email for comments on your blog first thing every morning.
  4. thinks blogging is not work – and so agrees its great fun.
  5. wishes the whole world stopped doing what they were doing and started off great conversations on your posts.

No hang on seriously what I want to tell you about is the greatest thing for bloggers since sliced bread. Welcome to SCRIBEFIRE – ta da!!!

Why?

  1. I only ‘write’ ever so often. I mostly post from my RSS feeds – and I often dont comment on the posts. I tell myself I am not lazy – just book marking an interesting story onto my blog.
  2. I often post videos.
  3. I rarely – nay never upload files to my blog. Not pictures and not documents.
  4. My blog is my collection – which will one day become a book – when they invent a free blog to book service (all the ones available are paid and you have to do too much code work anyway). And ofcourse the book will sell.
  5. My blg is my way to gather aroubd me a cosy group of oddballs like me who blog – in a similar fashion – and then come on to my facebook. People, of course, who I never want to meet – for I dont’ have time for ‘face time’ with people, I am raining kids remember?

And unlike pale Qumana – it doesnt say ‘hey posted from ScribeFire’ and let everyone know that I was a slacker. And anyway Qumana is gone from my computer – only online stuff for me. So give it a shot and discover it for yourself. When that is done come back and I will tell you of this other thing – the second best thing.

ScribeFire – Blog Editor

Easily update your blog through Firefox®

ScribeFire Blog Editor enables users to easily drag and drop formatted text from the web into their blog(s), post entries, take notes, and optimize their ad inventory directly through the Firefox browser.

Additionally Blog Editor enables you to:

* Categorize and tag your blog posts
* Upload images
* Set timestamps
* Save works-in-progress as notes
* Post an entry as a draft
* Share your posts on social websites
* Upload files via FTP

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Add Signatures to Gmail

If you have been following my posts this year you will already know that I have decided to complicate my life completely. What I did two weeks ago – to put a date to it and be scientific say ummm at 11 AM on 19th of January – was to say I was going to do cloud computing and only that. This meant:

  1. I give up using all the software on my computer – my mac Powerbook.
  2. I give up mail, addressbook, ical, and Groupwise (which is the Novell software that work loads onto my computer – which is not my computer, it is theirs)
  3. I give up word, excel and powerpoint (which I gave up years ago)
  4. I give up writeroom and shift to dark copy instead.
  5. I give up dreamweaver and flash (which I was crap at anyway).
  6. I gave up adium for chat – so msn, yahoo and gchat(is that what its called?) were gone.

Then I would delete these programs from my computer. But seriously you dont expect me to do that – no I did delete groupwise (hated that anyway – have you looked at help online in groupwise? it is seriously something subterrainean, awesomely arcane) – so I deleted all the software from my dock. But I did get rid of Adium (lovey icon).

Then I should mention what I had to do before I did all that deleting – I had to migrate everything online.

  1. Mail was easily done – as gmail (why would anyone want to use any other mail service). I then had gcal, and contacts in mail.
  2. The I added heaps of firefox add ons.

Which brings me to Blank Canvas.

  1. I have 5 email accounts. And wanted a different signature for each of them.
  2. Blank canvas helped me do that. Greasemonkey was a bit roundabout anyway.
  3. So now I had 5 signatures and five accounts. Though I had to choose the signature each time – it wouldn’t automatically recognize which signature I wanted for which account like Mail did. Still things were fine and people at work received email that looked it came from work-email and not from shonkey gmail (which I may have been sending from the beach!)
  4. But inexplicably the signatures vanished on monday. On leave were you – you naughty blank canvas.

Today is Friday – and guess what they are back – all the signatures. Just like that inexplicably.

(more on cloud computing over the weeks and months as my life goes al over the place. but guess what – when it cools down, I will ride the 15kms to work. Without the panniers and the laptop! As if – I am wedded to the damn machine. But no harm saying it. I tried.)

Blank Canvas Gmail Signatures :: Firefox Add-ons

Automatically inserts HTML signatures into your Gmail messages based on which address you are sending from. Supports up to four signatures for each address you have set up. Works for Compose Message and Reply/Forward.

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Alexa Rank

If you run a blog you are bound to be interested in how well your blog is doing. So I have a hit count of about 300-ish. Day before yesterday it was 408. Now you get the idea – I do check blog stats – I am a slave to them. My whole self worth varies day by day based upon what the blog stat says.

So you will see me moseying about trying to get a sense of something or the other that deals with number of visits, hits or feeds. Today I found myself at a site that was talking about Alexa (what was I doing here?) – and if this obsession is something you share with me you can take a look. This is all about how do you get to  place where you can start having ads in your blog or site.

The verdict was I cant – the Alexa ranking for my blog is 4 million. Which is normal. But curiously my web site (http://Soumitri.com) comes in at 14,000. And my Blip TV channel comes in at 2,219. This channel is the most neglected of all my web-things and its so popular. Should I stop writing into the blog and start making more AV and film presentations?

20 Quick Ways to Increase Your Alexa Rank

What is the Alexa Rank?

Put simply, the Alexa Rank is a ranking system which bases its ranking schema on the level of traffic each website receives from the number of people who visit a website with the Alexa toolbar installed.

See Alexa’s definition of the Alexa Traffic Rank:

The traffic rank is based on three months of aggregated historical traffic data from millions of Alexa Toolbar users and is a combined measure of page views and users (reach). As a first step, Alexa computes the reach and number of page views for all sites on the Web on a daily basis.

The main Alexa traffic rank is based on the geometric mean of these two quantities averaged over time (so that the rank of a site reflects both the number of users who visit that site as well as the number of pages on the site viewed by those users)

Why would you want to increase your Alexa rank?

Webmasters, advertisers and ad networks use your blog’s Alexa rank as a gauge to determine the worth of a link on your website. If you depend on link or site selling as a form of monetization you’ll definitely want to increase your Alexa rank, because it’ll increase your bargaining power when it comes to ad pricing.

ReviewMe, Text Link Ads and Sponsored Reviews are just three of the networks which base your ad selling strength on Alexa Ranks.

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Disease Management for Australia

Patient centered chronic care is a difficult one to set up and negotiate in Australia – a country with universal Medicare. Disease Management here is listed within the state’s agenda – but not separately funded.

Healthways – Investor Relations – News Release

Healthways International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY), today announced a five-year agreement to offer comprehensive Health and Care SupportSM solutions to The Hospitals Contribution Fund of Australia Limited (HCF), one of the largest private health insurers in Australia with over 1 million members. Healthways has successfully entered markets on three continents in the past 12 months, continuing evidence that the health care and productivity issues faced by U.S. health plans, employers and government payers are global issues.

Through the agreement, Healthways will provide proactive support to HCF members with chronic conditions to help slow the progression of their illness. All HCF members will have access to a comprehensive suite of Internet-based health and wellness resources, including customized health information, health risk assessments, health coaching and online, personal health records. Services will focus on prevention, education, behavior change and evidence-based medicine to drive adherence to proven standards of care, medications and physician care plans.

“This collaboration with Healthways allows HCF to implement best-in-class preventive and care management strategies that will keep our healthy members healthy, while improving health and reducing complications for those members with chronic conditions,” said Terry Smith, HCF Chief Executive Officer.

Also:

A report issued by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare further confirms that chronic diseases are a major health concern in Australia, placing great burden on individuals, communities and the health industry. More than one-fifth of hospital stays are due to common chronic disease, and $11 billion in national health expenditures are attributed to chronic disease.2

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A Violinist in the Metro

I gt this in an email – and then looked it up in google – and found it there. I am going to post this – and then I will get off the computer. I will go to the next froom and giv my wife a hug. I will then potter about in the kitchen – and make her something nice for lunch.

(but being the nut I am – I will also share this with twitter and facebook thru shareaholic. Just tarrying a bit! Now each of you when you read this. Stop – and pause to smell the roses!! Good on you.)

A Violinist in the Metro (Joshua Bell) – Urban Legends

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

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Laptops or mobile phones?

The OLPC versus the Mobile Phone – A False Dichotomy | MobileActive.org

The ongoing debate over the value of cheap and open laptops for users in developing countries as opposed to mobile phones continues, most recently with a post from Cory Doctorow in the Guardian UK. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, the most visible and audacious of the low-cost laptop projects, has been in the news recently for cutting half its staff and severely scaling back and refocusing its operations. OLPC had originally promised to promote economic development by distributing free computers to two billion children in developing countries.

Doctorow in the Guardian argues what we all believe in — that information technology is an essential ingredient to economic development. He notes:

Poverty and its associated problems – hunger, poor health, lack of education and disenfranchisement – are fundamentally information problems. Poverty is exacerbated by the high cost of discovering how your peers have solved their agricultural problems, of accessing government services, of communicating with distant relations who have gone to the city to earn on behalf of the family. Poverty and oppression thrive in situations where people can’t communicate cheaply and widely with one another about corruption, injustice and violence.

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There is No Delete Button on the Web

Now this has got me worried – what are all the things I have said that are floating around.

The Unforeseen Consequences of the Social Web – ReadWriteWeb

Interconnected on the Web

While it’s exciting to live in an ever connected and always on world, the flip side that we have to accept is that we also live in a world where information is becoming increasingly interlinked. Today it is relatively simple to follow footprints on the Web if we want to track both people and brands.

For instance, take a look at my public profile on Twitter and you’ll notice I can also be found on other sites: BlogWell, ReadWriteWeb and The Drill Down. Visit BlogWell and you’ll notice I can be found at WebMama and TechTalkRadio. Visit The Drill Down and you’ll see my contact information for Digg. While I occasionally use different user names on sites, I publicly declare my affiliations and unless you know me really well, or have reason to follow me across the Web, you may not realize the relationships I have or where I can be found online by visiting any one site.

While the information about me on the Web is not terribly exciting, I do leave a little bit of information on every site I visit. And therein lies the rub. Say something in passing on a social site and it may come back to haunt you.
There is No Delete Button on the Web

It is becoming increasingly difficult to remove content from the web. The Internet Archive and its Way Back Machine gives you a historical snapshot of a site within seconds. Google gives you cached pages displaying pages that may have been deleted for any number of reasons. Photo sharing sites that store images online combined with services like Twitpic that let you quickly upload pictures to social sites – all of these great social Web resources also leave your historical Web footprints open to dissection in the future.

And although the information you put out on the Web may seem insignificant today, you have to ask the question of whether it will be insignificant tomorrow, or in five years when you need to apply for college or seek new employment. Additionally, you have to ask yourself whether you’re just leaving more junk for the next generation to clean up.

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