How to blog successfully

31 07 2010

You’ve probably blogged a couple of times before; maybe because your life or job depends on it, maybe you’re forced as it is a school requirement, or maybe you’re just blogging because it’s cool and everyone’s doing it. Well, whatever the reasons may possibly be, I hope this post will give you some useful insights about blogging and not just plain malarkey.
 
So sit down, relax, grab a cold beverage and share your thoughts with me.
 
Insights
Almost anyone can create their own blogs with various free blog publishing tools on the internet. Blogger for example, makes it simple to post text, photos, and videos without the need of any particular technical skill. Although creating it may seem simple, making it standout from the rest of the crowd is a battle. A successful blog is when it has loyal followers who read, interact and share the post that you have created on a regular basis (Langdon, 2010). The reason for their success is based on several ingenious practices that the bloggers themselves have implemented.
 
For example, the header of a blog is critical because it’s most likely the first thing a visitor would see. Another words, it’s the first impression of your blog. So it’s worth spending sometime to create something that will attract your audience (Knight, 2009).
 
According to Technorati.com in 2008, there were up to 133 million total blogs indexed since the company started (Kirkpatrick, 2008). That’s excluding other blog sites that are not recorded! So just imagine the competition involve in order to be discovered on a search engine. This all boils down to the importance of keeping a highly searched keyword as your blog title which is essential for attracting visitors.
 
Make use of other web 2.0 applications like Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and more. Linking your blogs to some of these social networking sites of your choice could potentially improve your blogs branding and therefore increase the number of visitors. Additionally, this has influenced a lot of businesses who are rapidly leveraging the technology which is also known as enterprise 2.0.
 
Here’s a short clip of how enterprise 2.0 could enhance your business:

Here are some excellent blogs that I’ve found interesting:
 
1. Sacha Chua
Sacha Chua Preview
It’s a very simple blog with clear icons which links to different categories of the blogs. The posts are mostly short, concise and very easy to read. It’s obvious that the writer is a passionate blogger who writes purely about her interests.
 
2. Tutorial9
tutorial9 preview
Tutorial9 is a very appealing and high detailed website that conveys its purpose clearly. All of the navigations are obvious tabs with icons included to catch the attention of the readers. It encourages the readers to explore more because it’s easy to navigate.
 
3. Home Design Find
home design find preview
The blog’s title clearly describes the whole idea to its readers and its eye-catching design makes it unique form other blogs. The images on the right provide a positive mood to targeted audiences and encourage them to explore if they are interested in the blog’s topic.
 
For more fascinating blog examples, visit Technorati.com that rates the top 100 blogs.
 
Personal blogging experience
Honestly, I don’t blog that often, but from my experience blogging has a lot of benefits. For instance, it provides the extra exposure to the public, wherein readers from all over the internet are able to interact with your blogs (e.g. comments). This would allow you to get different opinions that might improve your knowledge about a particular subject. In my opinion, blogging is a way of sharing my thoughts that may help others, it also allows me to express myself more confidently, and it allows me to record relevant moments of what I’ve been through.
 
Checkout the links below for more successful blogging tips:

  • 5 Elements to Start a Blog Successfully
  • How to Blog Successfully
  • Top Ten Blog Tips
  • Daily Blog Tips
  •  
     
     
    References

  • Knight, K. 2009. Blog Headers: 20 Great examples and best practices
  • Kirkpatrick, M. 2008. State of the Blogosphere 2008
  • Langdon, L. 2010. 50 Examples of Great Blog Engagement




  • Hello World

    26 07 2010

    This is only a test.
    This is only a test.
    This is only a test.
    This is only a test.
    This is only a test.
    5db62130dcb54a5ea53f342f50793087





    Lightweight Models and Cost Effective Scalability – YouTube

    8 05 2010

    Overview
     

    Web 1.0 to Web 2.0


    During the earlier stages of the web developments the information that you see was very static. Users’ were only able to read and view pictures from the webmasters’ site, which was also known as “Web 1.0”. However, in today’s era, the emergence of Web 2.0 has revolutionized the way we use and view online information. This development has attracted a lot of organizations to incorporate and take the advantage of its potential to leverage a cost effective business scalability, which is applied to business models as well as technology (Watson, 2010). In addition, organizations are being influenced and actively investigating in the innovative ideas to learn from major web players such as Amazon, eBay, Live, Google, Yahoo and many of the social networking websites.
     
    When applying web 2.0 in a business model there are two primary areas that online organizations focuses on; this is the improvement of the organizations efficiency and productivity, and its service to customers to improve revenue and customers satisfaction (Platt, 2010). A great example of this would be an application that we have all probably have heard and used — YouTube. It is an ideal application that demonstrates the use of scalability in an online organization. According to Watson (2010), the motto for web companies before was “get big fast”, now it’s “small is the new big”. To put it into scale and better clarification, YouTube has approximately 4.8 million users which was developed by a pre-google team of 2 system administrators, 2 software architects, 2 feature developers, 2 network engineers and 1 database administrator (NumberOfNet, 2010).
     
    YouTube’s business model basically revolves around its users. People in general love to be entertained and YouTube is very good at delivering that by allowing video uploads. It harnesses the collective intelligence of the users’ talents by allowing them to produce contents, which is used for generating revenue through online advertisement (Sain, 2010).
     
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    Like YouTube, there are several other online video sites out there which are trying to compete. Some of the top 5 video websites are; YouTube, MySpaceTV, Google Video, Yahoo! Video, and Veoh. However, YouTube has the largest market share standing at 75% among all its competitors. According to Kirkpatrick (2008), YouTube’s dominance in online video was bigger than Google’s dominance in search. This caused the nearest competitor, MySpaceTV to suffer a dramatic decrease in its market shares which fell from 44% to 9%.
     
    Critical and strategic implications
    Technology has assisted people in performing their tasks more efficiently and to get results more quickly. The internet has allowed us to do this by spreading information fast in many ways; you can upload your text, pictures and most all videos. YouTube has given that advantage to its users and many are making use of it by advertising their videos (e.g. commercials and trailers). It is also a way for businesses to save money by uploading their advertisement on YouTube because it’s free and accessible by the public. An old saying goes “A picture is worth a thousands words”, hence by having a video that shows multiple images you will be able to expand its meaning dramatically (Wong, 2010).
     
    Here’s a Beautiful Coca Cola Commercial:
    Other than that, the convenience of having an online video has allowed other organizations to look at it as a new mode of business communication. Since YouTube videos are easy to distribute companies are using them to reduce the training costs, and the costs of customer support. Instead of calling or physically meeting up with employees videos can be distributed within an organization. This is also another way for YouTube to improve its revenue. If the prices are reasonable – $5 or $10 for a few thousand views of a 20 second bit, people will pay. In addition, YouTube will be able to leverage this advantage over existing organizations as a video solution because it’s fun, easy, and appealing for people to use it (IC, 2006).
     
    Legal and ethical issues
    One of the biggest issues with YouTube is the copyright infringement of videos being uploaded. Its rapid growth and network effect has caught many consumers and marketers to use videos as an advertising solution. One of the main reasons why people love to use YouTube is the ability to watch previous television shows such as CSI or watch segmented documentaries from Discovery/National Geographic. However, YouTube never had the permission to actually air these recorded videos and they are making a lot of money off them for FREE! Furthermore, some of you might have experienced unavailable videos on YouTube that has been deleted due to copyright infringement. People are positing videos without the right to do so, leaving YouTube to clean up the mess before the video-sharing site finds itself involved in another legal mess (Jones, 2007).
     
    Future directions
    According to some analysts, YouTube has a promising future, but it might also face a dreadful unforeseen future like the original Napster. Either it’s going to be sued and will lose, or the company will be forced to take down much of the contents that users like. YouTube is hoping to convince the Universal Music Groups of the world in order to show a promising future for everyone to make money. As an example, companies like NBC have already begun to upload promotional clips to advertise their shows like Prison Break. In addition, YouTube has done an excellent job in providing great services to its users in order to maintain a strong traffic. The contents are very interesting, advertising is minimal, and the contents are readily available for a multitude of online devices (Bangeman, 2006).
     
     
    References

  • Bangeman, E. 2006. YouTube’s Future (or lack thereof) (accessed May 8, 2010)
  • IC. 2006. A YouTube Business Model in the Enterprise (accessed May 8, 2o1o)
  • Jones, A. 2007. YouTube’s Legal Issues Grow (accessed May 8, 2010)
  • Kirkpatrick, M. 2008. YouTube Continues to Destroy All Competitors in Declining Video Market (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • NumberOfNet. 2010. Number of YouTube Users (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Platt, M. 2010. The Architecture Journal: Web 2.0 in the Enterprise (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Sain, L. 2010. A look at YouTube’s business model (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Watson, J. 2010. Week Ten Lecture: Web 2.0 Application (accessed May 7, 2010)
  • Wong, R. 2010. The power of online video (accessed May 8, 2010)




  • Leveraging the Long Tail – Netflix

    1 05 2010

    Overview
     
    Long tail is a new strategy of doing business in today’s market. It’s a way of adapting to a more radical business approach with the use of the many wonders of the internet. Traditional businesses would concentrate to sell their most popular products and ignore the others, in order to reduce the costs of having an inventory. However, the same case does not apply with the use of the internet because it eliminates the costs of maintaining an inventory and the geography. Furthermore, businesses would really need to understand if the ignored products are a problem to the market. If it’s a big issue in the market and it’s what the customers are looking for, then catering those ignored products would be highly profitable (Kaw, 2009).
     
    Netflix is a good example that implements this long tail strategy because of its unique offer to its customers. For instance, there are various popular shows on TV that people would normally catch at a certain time (e.g. Heroes). Unfortunately, through time some of these shows will lose its popularity and might possibly be removed due to the lack of viewers. However, this is where Netflix comes in because loyal viewers would be able to rent shows like Heroes. They would also be able to view previous seasons or episodes that they have missed out. In addition, this allows loyal viewers to watch their shows in their own schedule and without commercials (Gutierrez, 2005).
     
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    Other than Netflix there are other similar companies, such as, Wal-Mart, LoveFilm, Movielink, and Blockbuster Video. One of Netflix’s biggest competitors is Blockbuster, which is also one of the world’s largest in-store video rentals. Although both of them are very similar in terms of their renting prices, they both still have their own unique features. Blockbuster’s Total Access and Netflix’s Streaming movies (E-consumerguide, 2007).
     
    Critical and strategic implications
    Netflix has an Application Programming Interface (API) which allows anyone to build their own Netflix-integrated applications for their own website, desktop, mobile devices or TV. Users are able download the application for free with a provided online forum. In addition, the Netflix API has allowed developers to help promote the company by creating mobile applications. There are currently applications that run on an Android platform; a Nokia app was recently released by Netflix. They are basically treating customers as co-developers in order to rapidly improve their application, which is also an effective debugging strategy (Wikipedia, 2010).
     
    According to Netflix, this will allow the developer community to:

  • Find new ways for their subscribers to enjoy movies whether or not they’re looking at our site.
  • Encourage innovation, especially around movie choosing and watching.
  • Build Netflix awareness by offering developers a new customer bounty of $16, through our partner Google.
  •  
    Legal and ethical issues
    Netflix has the capability to allow customers to stream TV shows online which is very convenient. However, there are some that abuses the system by using recording applications to capture the streaming video. Furthermore, in a worse case scenario, it will eventually get distributed to other users which will affect the movie industry and Netflix itself. In addition, there have also been complains regarding Netflix movie suggestions to individual customers. They seem to repeat the same movie recommendation even after the customers declare that they have zero interest in seeing the movie. This may seem like Netflix is stuffing customers with their own recommendations instead of analysing the most appropriate movie taste for each individual customers (Freeberg, 2006).
     
    Future directions
    In the near future, Netflix is focusing on expanding its streaming capabilities to a whole range of different devices. This would allow Netflix to not only stream on computers, but it would be able to cater for devices such as, Xbox 360, TiVo HD DVR, Roku Digital Video Player, and on LG and Samsung Blu-Ray players. For instance, the ability to watch Netflix streaming movies on an iPhone will dramatically make it convenient for movie lovers. The key to its growth for the future of video distribution lies on the increasing bandwidth in online access (Begun, 2009).
     
     
    References

  • Begun, D. A. 2009. The Future of Netflix is All About Streaming (accessed April 20, 2010)
  • E-consumerguide. 2007. Blockbuster Online VS Netflix (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Freeberg, D. 2006. What Netflix Needs To Learn From Pandora (accessed April 30, 2010)
  • Gutierrez, F. 2005. Let the Invisible Hand grab your Long Tail (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Kaw, P. 2009. 6 Ways to Leverage the Long Tail in Your Marketing (accessed April 29, 2010)
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Netflix API (accessed April 29, 2010)




  • Perpetual Beta – Google Maps

    25 04 2010

    Overview
    The wide availability of the internet has allowed developers to benefit from the users by treating us as co-developers. The idea of a perpetual beta application simply means that it is “unfinished” and it is also an ongoing process of frequent improvements and repairs. Newly discovered applications might be a wonderful idea that might be appealing to the market, but in order for it to be successful developers endeavor in fine-tuning their applications according to user expectations. This also ensures that end users are crystal clear on what they are using at the stage of development (Concursive Fusion, 2007).
     

    Google Maps is an ideal example of perpetual beta because it is constantly updating and improving seamlessly. This is what makes perpetual beta more attractive compared to the conventional software beta because the updates do not take you by surprise due to the much smaller changes. For instance, users are able to get to where they want in a more convenient way by getting precise directions to shops, restaurants, public transportations and more. The world is constantly changing, so it is important to update these changes as promptly as possible in order to maintain the reliability of information. Users have the privilege to write directly to Google for any edits or suggestions. There are also various Google applications that incorporates the map-based services, such as, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit, Google Latitude, Google Flu Shot Finder and various maps on third-party websites (e.g. Geo-tags) (Wikipedia, 2010).
     
    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications
    There are a various geographical map applications out there and like Google Maps they all share similar functions. It is one of the most well known map applications being utilized by not only computers, but other mobile devices (e.g. iPhone GPS). In addition, some of the various top competitors of Google Maps are, Feedmap, Geo IP Tool, Wayfaring, Yahoo Local, Flagr, Placeopedia, and Gvisit (Yadav, 2009).
     
    Critical and strategic implications
     
    The number of growing users has allowed Google Maps to expand and develop different geographical applications. In 2005, when the application was just released, users were only able to view streets in an aerial perspective. However, with the vast developments and improvements different functions have emerged, such as, street view, topographic view, traffic info, GPS integration, and 3D terrains of exotic monuments. In addition, Google has created Google Maps API for developers to implement the application into their websites with their own personalized data points to provide flexibility (Wikipedia, 2010).
     
    Legal and ethical issues
    In spite of the vast enhancements and developments, various legal and ethical issues have been raised. For instance, when the Street View functionality was released users were able to view streets within a 360-degree level imagery for various places around the world. These images are not in real time and they can be several years old, which is why Google has provided the ability for users to report for problems in order to maintain the accuracy of data.
     
    Another issue is the privacy of the images being utilized which might include objects or people that might be objectionable. Therefore, in order to respect and ensure an individual’s privacy, Google has made it easy for us to completely remove any images that might affect our privacy (e.g. pictures of ourselves, families, cars, or houses) (Weiss, 2009).
     
    Future directions
     
    Google Maps are growing rapidly and changing the way we view the world. We as users are able to view places in the world with just a few finger clicks. Today, earth is not the only geographical map application available for free. Google has other geographical applications with the help and support of NASA to develop, Google Moon, Google Mars, and Google Sky – they are taking their journey into Space (Lewis, 2005).
     
     
    References

  • Concursive Fusion. 2007. The Benefits of Beta Software (accessed April 22, 2010).
  • Chitu A. 2007. Perpetual Beta (accessed April 23, 2010).
  • Lewis, L. 2005. NASA Takes Google on Journey into Space (accessed April 24, 2010).
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Google Maps (accessed April 23, 2010).
  • Weiss, R. T. 2009. Personal Spy Gear (accessed April 25, 2010).
  • Yadav, H. 2009. Top 8 Online free map application to find any geographical location in the world (accessed April 23, 2010).




  • Software Above the Level of a Single Device – Live Mesh

    18 04 2010

    Overview
    Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, information and applications that are stored online or on a device are accessible in a vast amount of ways. Computers are no longer the only access device for internet applications. Other mobile devices are capable of interconnecting with each other and utilizing multiple resources seamlessly.

    Imagine, instead of configuring and editing applications on a phone with tiny screen, it would be more convenient to do so on a management console on your PC. Apple has cleverly made it simple for users to manage their iPhone on iTunes. It’s a richer way of managing all digital assets that are stored on devices, and making it accessible in many ways. And those assets are increasingly “above the level of a single device” (O’Reilly, 2007).


    As an example, Live Mesh is a data synchronization system from Microsoft that allows files, folders and other data to be shared and synchronized across multiple personal devices and up to 5GB on the web (Wikipedia, 2010). It has the ability to allow other people to connect in order to share resources and at the same time synchronize any changes seamlessly. FeedSync is the main technology that synchronizes the changes made in each device. Live Mesh is virtually an online operating system with multiple devices which encourages users to be at the centre (Udell, 2008).

    Comparison with other web 2.0 applications

    Like Live Mesh there are other similar applications out there; some of these applications are, Dropbox, Syncplicity, Live Sync and MobileMe. They all have a common purpose to share and access data with multiple devices through a “cloud” service with a rich level of functionality, robustness, and flexibility. However, unlike other applications, Live Mesh solves the problem of needing both applications to be online at the same time in order to synchronize changes. It solves the problem by allowing other applications to synchronize with the server (“the cloud”) along with other devices running on the same application (Hoffman, 2008).

    Critical and strategic implications
    Despite all the benefits and conveniences of Live Mesh there are possible implications concerning the safety and privacy of the data being stored in the so-called “cloud” service. The more popular an application may become, the more likely an attacker will abuse the system. Why wouldn’t they? In a worse case scenario, imagine a hacker taking advantage of valuable data such as, bank details, company documents, and personal information belonging to targeted individuals (GNUCitizen, 2008).

    On the other hand, could computing can offer additional security features because users won’t have to carry physical storage devices, such as Laptops, CD-ROMs, USBs or External Hard-Drives that can get lost or potentially stolen. Additionally, as long as the security is maintained and well implemented, storing data on a could service makes it easier to protect the data that is stored in multiple devices (Shinder, 2008). Along with this, Live Mesh uses HTTPS to encrypt traffic between the users and the server to prevent replay attacks.

    Legal and ethical issues
    The biggest concern of having an application like Live Mesh is the storage of the user’s data in the cloud and the resources required to maintain it. As users of the World Wide Web, we tend to question where our data might be stored and who might have access to it? Some may not even know where in the world their data is being stored (Shinder, 2008).

    According to economists, several governments have already imposed new laws for cloud providers to build data centres in every country where they do business. The implications of this may result in a major barrier for small to medium developing companies who want to be involved in the could-base infrastructure business (Giordano, 2008). Furthermore, in order to cater the exponential growth of users accessing these services, extra processing power and storage capacity are essential. Therefore, lands and massive buildings are required to house these technologies which consume an overwhelming amount of energy to maintain it (Could Nine Computing, 2010).

    Future directions
    Like any other “Could Computing” applications, Live Mesh is just another revelation of Microsoft’s development. Aaron Woodman, Director of Product Management for Windows Mobile, said “Live Mesh is important..But it’s more about plumbing. It’s not something we will put in front of consumers” (Foley, 2009). The future of Live Mesh is unpredictable; however to some extent many organizations are enjoying the idea of having the application to assist users in storing and sharing their files through a “cloud” system which may also act as a backup system (Oliver, 2008).

    References:

  • Could Nine Computing. 2010. Green Cloud (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Foley, M. J. 2009. When will Microsoft’s Live Mesh matter? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Giordano, G. 2008. More on cloud computing (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • GNUCitizen. 2008. Live Mesh – Good Or Bad Idea? (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Hoffman, K. 2008. MobileMe vs Live Mesh – Round 1. Net Developer’s Journal (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • O’Reilly, T. 2007. Software Above the Level of a Single Device. O’Reilly Media, Inc (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Oliver, D. 2008. What is Live Mesh? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Shinder, D. 2008. Microsoft Live Mesh: What are the Security Implications? (accessed April 18, 2010).
  • Udell. 2008. LiveMesh and FeedSync: software “above the level of a single device” (accessed April 17, 2010).
  • Wikipedia. 2010. Live Mesh (accessed April 16, 2010).




  • Rich User Experiences – Flickr

    28 03 2010

    A Rich User Experience (RUE) website is one of the architecture of participation in a web 2.0 site. It is basically a combination of GUI-style (Graphical User Interface) applications and multimedia content. It is a way of creating web-based software that works similar to a computer-based software program which is being developed dramatically in the World Wide Web. It allows users like us to not only retrieve information but, own the data on a website and exercise control over that particular application. In addition, applications are able to encourage users to add value and contribute ideas in order to improve it. Some of the characteristics of RUE include user participation, dynamic content, metadata, web standards and scalability. It provides an open and free environment where collective intelligence can be harnessed. Some of these applications are used in websites such as, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Blogspot, Flickr, and many social networking websites.

    One of the key components of making RUE website is by using AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML) which is a collection of web development techniques. As an example, mentioned in earlier posts, Flickr is a web application with an easy-to-use interface and social interaction with integrated sharing capabilities. It is an application used widely by bloggers to share photos in an interactive way (e.g. slideshow with next & previous control). The most significant and unique component of Flickr is the tagging capabilities. It is able to allow users to search photos that are tagged according to user’s topical search. Flicker was also able to develop their tagging capability into something more called tag clouds.

    web 2.0 map

    “Tag clouds are weighted lists that describe the content and use of a tag by the signification through an increased font size depending on the popularity.”

    With all this capabilities, the tagging and folksonomy makes Flickr one of the most central principles of web 2.0 in its value for user-driven added value and for community-based interaction.

    Furthermore, some of the advantages of RUE websites are:-
    • It does not require regular updates and patches.
    • It is accessible through a networked computer.
    • It is a platform dependant and,
    • Requires low development costs.

    However, the disadvantages are:-
    • The browsers “back” functionality and bookmarking may not work.
    • It is not indexed by search engines such as google, yahoo and more.
    • People who use screen readers and other specialist browsers may not be able to access the content.
    • Will not normally work if JavaScript is disabled.
    • Even more possibilities for errors, browser incompatibility or outdated flash.
     
     
    Resources:

  • http://www.jaxmag.com/itr/online_artikel/psecom,id,828,nodeid,147.html
  • http://www.upriss.org.uk/awt/lec7.pdf
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajax_%28programming%29
  • http://www.tstiles.com/dms/web20/richuser.html
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rich_Internet_application







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