Monthly Archives: March 2006

Is the big wide world really ready for blogs?

I've been pushing the agenda of RSS and other community web apps for some time in my organisation. That's what this blog has mostly been about – that journey. I see a lot of excitement for RSS with application both internally and externally, but I don't get the same enthusiasm for blogs. So it's quite interesting to see the discussion around Scoble's trip to Amazon – it's really getting into the nub of the question, "What are blogs about?" and "Is the bigger world out there ready for them?".

Clearly RSS is a 1-way stream, whereas blogs allow for a 2-way conversation, but RSS can carry your existing stream of data whereas setting up a blog is a whole new concept. The question has to be, "Are our existing communication channels working?" – if blogs can't add to that you can't do it. Microsoft has benefited hugely from allowing blogging in the way that it has. But it has some advantages over a lot of other business. One, it's in the IT industry, it's audience will understand what to do with the things. Two, there's a lot to gain by the two way conversation, letting people feel they can actually change the product that they will be getting. Three (probably related to two), they sell products not services. Four (perhaps), their brand couldn't really suffer a huge amount because of the amount of negative feeling that is out there already – it was a good gamble.

I work in the financial industry, anything that risks tarnishing the companies image just doesn't have any traction. The thought of allowing open, unmoderated comments would horrify the marketing folk – no matter how much they understand the relationship angle.

One day, I think the bulb will go on and I'll find an appliction for blogs – and I'll blog about it here. Right now, for external facing client communication, an open public blog isn't going to work.


RE: Spring Forward and Miss a Meeting (Joanna Glasner/Wired News)

These politicians who keep shifting time changes around don’t seem to have any regard for the chaos that causes in IT. Recently five Australian states changed the date on which daylight time change occurred and next year daylight time changes on different than normal dates in the US, I believe. We dealt with the AUS time change shift by communication, because the ramifications of some people not having the update and other having it were too great.

Spring Forward and Miss a Meeting  – When April 2 rolls around, most Americans will set clocks an hour forward, lament the prospect of less sleep, and take comfort in the promise of longer evening light.  —  In Indiana, however, IT workers will be awaiting potential disaster.

Source:   Wired News

Author:   Joanna Glasner


View discussion

[Via tech.memeorandum]

More annoyance with Windows Authentication

Having had the problem with trackbacks failing when using Windows Authentication (which will hopefully be fixed in the first point release of CS2 due in spring) I now find that Windows Authentication also causes the Weblogs API to break. As I use RSS Bandit I though it would be nice to just be able to post from there, so I installed w.bloggar. I was able to set this up fine to post to WordPress (I’m writing in w.bloggar now), I couldn’t get it to work with Community Server. So I turned off Windows Authentication in my sandbox, went in as admin to set the password for the user that was created to match my AD account and could then set up w.bloggar fine. Turn Windows Authentication back on and it won’t work – either times out or give a 401 (access denied) error. AARRRGGGHHHH!!!! I love and hate this module.

UPDATE: Got a quick response on the forum. Apparently it is w.bloggar that can’t handle Windows Authentication that is the issue.

Still, good for RSS Bandit – yet another great feature in this reader.

Technocrati tags: Community Server, RSS Bandit

Recent Changes RSS feed not working

I tried to subscribe to the RSS and ATOM feeds on the Recent Changes page in my (MediaWiki) wiki. Bandit gave the following error:

Refresh feed ‘Wikis\‘ failed with error: The XML declaration is unexpected. Line 2, position 3.

It turns out that there was a blank line at the bottom of my LDAPAuthentication.php script, which was added to the beginning of the feed. This meant that the >?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?> appeared on line 2, but it must be on line 1 or the XML is invalid. Apparently, blank spaces in LocalSettings.php can have the same effect.

Having fixed it, I now can’t recreate the error. I’m assuming this is because of caching, or because I haven’t changed anything in the wiki since fixing it.

Technocrati tags: Mediawiki, RSS

Something for a rainy day

This looks like a fun thing to try: WordPress on a stick.

Mediawiki and ImageMagick

Yeeouch, tried to install ImageMagick on one of the Mediawiki wikis this afternoon and it didn't want to play. There are several attempts at instructions from different people, each with some slight variation and none worked for us. If I, or one of my colleagues, gets it working I'll post here how we did it. If someone is reading this and has done it please let me know how.

My environment is IIS 6, MediaWiki 5.6, PHP5, MySQL 5, ImageMagick

Update: You don't need ImageMagick, just enable GD – see comments below.

Technocrati tags: Mediawiki, ImageMagick

Where February got me

January seemed to be going so well, March is truely with us, so how far did I manage to push RSS and blogs in February. Well, the server setup was pretty smooth. I moved from beta 3 to RC1 and then RTM. I purchased the standard server and windows authentication licences and have a place to host a blogging community. A few of us have been blogging away, but I’m waiting to demonstrate this to senior management before a proper launch.

I’ve had a meeting with some people who oversee development work about embedding RSS in applications (mostly internal ones) as an alternate alert mechanism to the current email one. I sent an email today to the guy who heads this up globally, so there is probably more to come this month on that one.

I am also checking out what the owners of business risk think of the blogging community. Although all content is internal there are still potential risks and I want their view. I hope this doesn’t develop into a stumbling block – again probably more this month.

We have a standard reader going through our test lab. RSS Bandit threw a nice curve ball a few days ago, but all is well.

I’ll be doing an update presentation to the group to whom I first presented on blogs, RSS and wikis about 6 months back. I’ll have a lot to report. I’m meeting, too, with internal communications to discuss RSS this week. Then next month I’ll be presenting to our marketing department.

It’s great to write this down, because when I started the post I thought I hadn’t got much done, but looking back I’m still pleased with the progress. I hope we can launch the blogosphere by April.

Technorati Tags: ,