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  Backstaging.com : "Paul Chavez recently wrote inquiring what type of gear I use to put 5:15 together. Coincidentally, I had just finished laying down a walking tour of my neighborhood that mostly ended up being a tour of my mobile podcasting rig. I took the opportunity to edit it down from the original 2 hours of footage that I'd recorded (saving a ton of juicy bits for future episodes of 5:15) and render it down to a fairly succinct 28:31."

Doc Searls always said he prefers to answer his email in public - presumably because it means that you would only ever have to answer individual questions once each. In that spirit, I recently took the opportunity to answer some questions that were being sent my way about 5:15 as well as get my ball rolling over at Backstaging.com.
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John Keegan: The question is, how do we save Trackbacks? How can we tell if an incoming trackback is authentic? While there are many methods in use, they seem to rely on crude methods of content analysis. There is a better way: Analyze trackbacks as if they were email, using the same proven and available spam prevention tools available to email servers.”

John Keegan has come up with some excellent suggestions that outline how weblog publishing tools should implement the Trackback protocol. All excellent stuff that I’d love to see implemented in Blogware.

I can’t help but wondering how much of this is catch-up vs. solution. In other words, spammers continue to stay ahead of the technology curve with email, why will it be any different with Trackbacks? Not sure, but I’m hopeful anyways.

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  DigitalDomain: "Do you remember spell checkers and gramma checkers and on and on of little add-ins and plug-ins? Where are they? Inside Office the Black Hole of productivity software."

If you've been following Random Bytes for a while, you already know where I'm going with this particular rant: Microsoft Office should support Blogware.

Lee makes "Office the Black Hole of productivity software" sound like a bad place for blogging to end up. I think its a great place to end up if its handled the right way.

Of course, there's only a slim chance that it will be. Microsoft will screw this up because they'll shoot for the wrong sort of lockin. I can't really blame them for being short-sighted. They've got a lot of products that could benefit from being the default destination for weblog bound content. Really, this is about building products for your shareholders. This could be called Microsoftlock.

Doesn't make it a smart move for them though. Its always better to create the kind of lockin that you get from keeping your customers so damn happy with your products that they never *want* to leave. Building products for your customers. This should be called AppleLock.

If Microsoft built Office for their *customers* instead of their shareholders, they could probably wrap up online publishing in a *big* way. They would simply need to accept that they are great at writing publishing tools and crappy at writing server tools - at least server tools that give people warm fuzzies like MovableType and Flickr do. No one wants to use Sharepoint as the destination for their blog content - they want to use Blogware or Livejournal or Audioblog et al. And they don't want to use the crappy online weblog editors that I'm using to write this. We want feature rich content publishing MACHINES like Microsoft Word, Apple's Garageband or even Adobe's Premier. I'm currently typing this post into Blogware using a tiny little window, no spell-checker and the very strong chance that I'm going to click the wrong button and accidentally lose my post before I save it. This isn't a problem with Blogware, this is a problem with The Browser.

Wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to use The Browser to post stuff to your weblog? Wouldn't it be better if your existing applications just talked to Blogware?

I'm very much looking forward to seeing blog support in the Office Productivity Black Hole (or whatever Lee calls it!). I just hope Microsoft does the right thing for once.
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Anil Dash: “I'm not saying all people who have misgivings about nofollow are link spammers. I'm saying all link spammers have misgivings about nofollow. PageRank is not a contest. It's a calculation.”

Right on.

[Via Anil Dash]

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  You've definitely heard by now that Google is taking first steps to eliminate comment spam;

Google Blog If you're a blogger (or a blog reader), you're painfully familiar with people who try to raise their own websites' search engine rankings by submitting linked blog comments like "Visit my discount pharmaceuticals site." This is called comment spam, we don't like it either, and we've been testing a new tag that blocks it. From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel="nofollow") on hyperlinks, those links won't get any credit when we rank websites in our search results. This isn't a negative vote for the site where the comment was posted; it's just a way to make sure that spammers get no benefit from abusing public areas like blog comments, trackbacks, and referrer lists.

We Heart NoFollowBut what you haven't heard yet is where Tucows comes out on this initiative. Well, here's the skinny -

We love rel="nofollow".

Not only is this a great step forward to deal with some of the *problems* that bloggers face, but I'm pretty convinced that it also creates some opportunities for bloggers - and other content providers. I'm particularly intrigued by the notion, as Scoble points out, that this makes linking to another website frictionless.

In addition to the support that this proposition has gotten from the Blogware Team, I'm looking forward to exploring how we can leverage this to the benefit of customers using some of our other services.

Nice work Web! Its great to see the big movers supporting something of this importance with such unanimity.
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  What is it with those guys over at Bryght?

First, Roland, fueled by a link from Robert Scoble, scoops me on my own announcement that Tucows was about to release an OEM weblog management and provisioning platform - Blogware.

Now, Boris, scoops me on my own announcement that Tucows is doing similar work in the hosted aggregator space.

"Ross's new package for ISPs (Skydasher), which includes RSS-powered content blocks, is one step in this direction: run your own MyYahoo. #

...the media center component gets enclosures coming in from various RSS feeds, and sorts them into the appropriate section based on the type of media.

The UI, by the way, is a DHTML interface.#"

Now I'm not going to explicitly confirm - nor deny - any of the details that Boris posted, Skydasher has been a pretty open secret since the beginning of November. But I will say that the video that he got his hands on is from mid-November. It illustrates similar functionality to what I was showing to our partners at ISPCon and our friends at Bloggercon.

No matter.

I have at least one more Skydasher secret that no one knows about. Not even Joey. Or Darryl. This one is so secret that even the codename has a codename.

More soon.


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  RSS: "Yahoo sends emails to bloggers with RSS feeds saying, hey if you put this icon on your weblog you'll get more subscribers. It's true you will. Then Feedster says the same thing, and Bloglines, etc etc. ...all those logos, when will it end?"

Dave Winer has floated a very timely proposal to run a community subscription management server to help solve the problem. I was just about to implement "Yet Another Subscription Logo" and if this comes up to speed fast enough, I'm pretty sure that I can get this into Tucows "about to be announced but still secret" Skydasher project.

Given Dave's history running www.weblogs.com, audio.weblogs.com and other community servers, I can't think of a better steward to manage this resource in the interests of the community.

In other Skydasher related news, we'll be opening up our beta program shortly and we're looking for a large number of users to help us test things out. Better yet, we're also looking for different types of users to help us out. Selected beta testers matching a specific profiles will actually get paid to help us with these tests. Leave a comment here or drop me a note if you are interested in getting more information when we take the wraps off.
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