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Essential Blogging

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the just-add-eggs dept.

Programming 147

Alexander Moskalyuk reviews below the new O'Reilly title Essential Blogging, which he points out is available not only for purchase through conventional purchase, but also with O'Reilly's Safari Online subscription, where it's available for a mere 1 point. Read on for his take on how useful Essential Blogging really is.

Blog, Blog, Blog.

Recent media infatuation with the blogging effect seems to be overwhelming. It seems that newspaper journalists have just discovered the ability to post and comment messages on the Internet, while most of the computer aficionados and heavy Internet users just shrug their shoulders when told about personal Web journals that link to other articles on the Web.

Blogging Essentials is mostly a generic guide to setting up and running your own Weblog using the software available out there. It doesn't require as much technical knowledge and Unix experience as Running Weblogs with Slash, and doesn't have a nice preface by CmdrTaco, but for a person who is determined to keep a daily journal available on the Internet, it would provide helpful reading material.

What's reviewed

Blogger, Radio Userland and MovableType are the primary products discussed in the book. Each of these packages has two chapters dedicated to it, one for beginners' introduction and one for description of advanced features. The main difference between these three products is in their hosting capabilities - Blogger wants you to keep the journal entries on its Web site and provides Web interface, Radio UserLand keeps the posts on its own server as well, while providing desktop interface, while MovableType assumes the user has a Web server on which to install the blogging software. Both Blogger and Radio UserLand allow for self-hosting, which is also covered in introductory chapters.

Another chapter is dedicated to server-based Blosxom, and in the review of desktop clients such blog utilities as BlogScript, BlogApp, BlogBuddy, W.Bloggar and Slug are covered.

What's good and what's bad

While the depth of covered material is surprisingly large for such a narrow topic, a lot of book pages are spent on displaying screenshots of the blogging software, and showing other people's blogs. The only thought that never left my mind while reading this book was "Who would buy it?" Why would you need 264 pages to explain you how to set up your own journal and run it? People who find satisfaction in running their own customized versions of online journals already know most of the material, and those who don't would probably opt in for easier Web-based interface like LiveJournal.

The book seems to be just a quick walk-through of the manuals, and if you consider that all of the reviewed products have pretty good help and FAQ sections, the need for such book decreases even more. I can hardly name anyone to whom I would recommend this book.

Table of contents can be viewed on publisher's Web site.


You can purchase Essential Blogging from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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147 comments

the state department took my teeth (-1)

TrollBurger (575126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228013)

three hundred dollars a day, twenty-one hundred dollars a week, bicycle tires, some fre-roes dropped outta the air, helicopters, aah i got hotdog stand, winter sports in the wintertime, summers sports in the summertime, have aah, kyack races down wisconsin avenue but the ice-rings at the old dear parking lot, aah eightyfour lundex mother, father marines on top of the mountain, got two dollars for a beer?

frist ps0t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228016)

eat it, bitches.

Oxymoronic title? (5, Funny)

Ratface (21117) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228056)

Isn't "Essential Blogging" an oxymoron? ;-)

Who would buy it? (3, Informative)

daoist (604285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228296)

> "Who would buy it?" Why would you need 264 pages to explain you how to set up your own journal and run it?

An organization that is looking at the different Blog options. They will use it for self-promotion/feel good stuff, and show how every day they do something that brings them closer to their goals, or looks good in the public eye.

xan

jonathon

Re:Oxymoronic title? (2, Insightful)

Lucas Membrane (524640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229279)

Sure, just like "Internet Security", but that one sells quite a few books, too. That's the whole object in publishing computer books, if the title looks like an oxymoron, someone will buy it because they don't know how to do it. Eg "Website Engineering", "Project Management", "Software Quality".

Get some PRIORITIES! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228058)

The worst terrorist attack in recorded history occurred nearly almost a year ago to the day, followed by a Holy War against Islam, and now Israel and the Palestinians as well as India and Pakistan are teetering on the brink of their own war, Argentina is in the midst of a financial crisis, America is considering launching attacks against Somalia and Iraq, and you people have the gall to be discussing blogging???? My *god*, people, GET SOME PRIORITIES!

The bodies of the thousands of innocent civilians who died (and will die) in these unprecedented events could give a good god damn about blogging, your childish Lego models, your nerf toy guns and whining about the lack of a "fun" workplace, your Everquest/Diablo/D&D fixation, the latest Cowboy Bebop rerun, or any of the other ways you are "getting on with your life" (here's a hint: watching Cowboy Bebop in your jammies and eating a bowl of Shreddies is *not* "getting on with your life"). The souls of the victims are watching in horror as you people squander your finite, precious time on this earth playing video games!

You people disgust me!

OXYMORON ALERT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228067)

Book Reviews: Essential Blogging?

There is nothing essential about blogging.

BLOGGING IS FOr the GAYS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228069)

that shit with HAMSTERS is FUCKING REVOLTING you CREEPY FAGOTS

Nice quotes (-1, Offtopic)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228076)

I guess one of the essentials of blogging is to use crappy MS windows software to write book reviews?

Re:Nice quotes (2)

WebMasterJoe (253077) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228363)

even if it is indicative of using MS Word, "smart quotes" (&#147 and &#148) are typographically correct, rather than the double-prime symbol (").

Re:Nice quotes (1)

Nurgled (63197) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228794)

0x201C : Left Double Quotation Mark
0x201D : Right Double Quotation Mark
0x2033 : Double Prime
0x0022 : Quotation Mark (")
(Unicode character codes)

The generic quotation mark character is used in cases where the other three symbols are not available (software which only accepts ASCII) or when the writer is lazy.

I personally always use the left and right curly quotation marks when I'm sure I'm typing into something which can accept them. Most people never conciously notice, but it makes parsing the quotation a lot easier I find. I also don't use or even own a copy of Microsoft Word.

Why? (4, Insightful)

Lechter (205925) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228090)

Yes, but does the book tell you why anyone out there would want to read a blog about your life? Or what to do with your life to make people interested in reading about it? (Short of getting your own personal stalker of course)

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228162)

Some people have family that like to read their blogs. Some people even have FRIENDS that like to read their blogs.

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228354)

Some people have friends and family who need to get out more.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228214)

Yes, but does the book tell you why anyone out there would want to read a blog about your life?

I agree. While I love Slashdot and Slashdot is essentially a blog, it's the new information and insightful comments that keep me coming back. Okay, I'll admit it, I've also got a morbid curiosity for reading -1 as well.

The critical mass of community Slashdot has - its main interesting feature, would be something difficult to recreate just by putting a blog online and hoping for the best. I'm sure there are some people that really get a kick out of finding out somebody on the Internet just got a new cat and his car is getting repainted, but that just isn't the level of intellectual stimulation that draws me to a web page.

Re:Why? (2, Interesting)

commonchaos (309500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228466)

Short of getting your own personal stalker of course

I was really bored one day and tried to see how much information I could get from a random weblog... it was frightening, not because of the information that I got, I got next to nothing. But becuase of the mind numbing nature of the weblog. My random subject was a teenage girl obsessed with boys, and booze. I'll tell you, you could write a program to make a random post for this girl. Her posts were basicly the same.

Point it, if you dont post addresses, or phone numbers, and stick to first names. Its pretty hard to get information based on the journal alone.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228916)

So you were just frustrated cause you couldn't find out where she lived?

Re:Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228515)

you mean you don't read K5? Not even the diary section? Its like teen-angst central over there!

Re:Why? (2)

liquidsin (398151) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229029)

Do you ever write poetry, or just random thoughts? Ever keep a journal? Does anyone besides you find it interesting? Does it really matter that 99.9% of the world doesn't care what I write on my blog? Have you ever noticed that 99.9% of the internet is boring anyways? Have I asked enough rhetorical questions?

I keep a blog. I probably get about 3 hits a week, but I don't care. It's there for me, like a journal, to record random thoughts. If someone stumbles onto it, reads it, and likes it, well then good for them. If not, I don't much care. I don't keep a journal for anyone's benefit but my own, and I'm sure most people who "blog" feel the same.

we have concensus (0, Offtopic)

endoboy (560088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228092)

first 3 posts feature prominent use of the word oxymoron...

Re:we have concensus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228167)

but you're just a prominent moron.

Re:we have concensus (3, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228243)

but you're just a prominent moron

You're only half right. I'm not prominent.

Re:we have bad speling (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228384)

The word you're looking for is consensus.

Ebay - 2004 ad (2, Funny)

NiftyNews (537829) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228149)

From Ebay item description, circa 2004:

"Hey, remember blogging? You know, before it was so overblown by the media that you stabbed your eardrums with an icepick just to keep all of the buzzwords out of your brain? Now you can own a worthless remind of those turbulent times...this book!

86 cents, seller pays shipping."

+1 Funny, put down the crack pipe and mod up! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228279)

I can imagine that book right there... Hmm, just gotta select a catagory.

Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Pogs
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Pokemon Cards
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Blogging Books
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Hanson CDs
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>New Kids on the Block
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Light Up Shoes
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Beanie Babies
Collectable Crap>Fads>Ended Fads>Dotcom Stock

Re:Ebay - 2004 ad (3, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228854)

Isn't the self-publishing the essential point of the web? Or does the geek community think "users" should stay in their place?

Let people write. No one's forcing you to click on that link.

Interesting (3, Interesting)

superdan2k (135614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228163)

I'm surprised there's no mention of LiveJournal [livejournal.com]. I got bit by the blogging bug back in May or so, and have found LJ to be a good place to keep up with everything [livejournal.com]. I keep in touch with friends and keep a running record of my life.

Yesterday, I was discussing Alzheimer's with my co-worker, Bob, who runs bland-o-rama.com [bland-o-rama.com]...we, like any techs, fear the loss of memory and our abilities. The factoid about nuns being highly resistant to Alzheimer's came up, and the running theory is b/c they are journaliing on a daily basis. Exercise for the memory system, I guess.

Personally, though, I'm just doing it because it's interesting to look back and see where I've been...and hopefully get a good idea of where I'm going. Plus I get to watch my friends that use LJ do the same thing.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228240)

Maybe you're already losing your memory?

"...those who don't would probably opt in for easier Web-based interface like LiveJournal..."

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228534)

they also didn't mention (that i could see) third party blogging tools, like ones that are standalone, and/or cross-platform. like tkblog 2.20, or blog v5.0...you have to wonder how much actual blogging research was done...

Upcoming O'Reilly Titles (4, Funny)

bpfinn (557273) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228164)

  • Essential Trolling
  • Essential Flaming
  • Essentials of (First) Posting
  • HOWTO Look Busy

Re:Upcoming O'Reilly Titles (2)

sporty (27564) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228353)

Essential Flogging for the developers dealing with management.

Re:Upcoming O'Reilly Titles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229777)

goatse.cx in a Nutshell.

O'Reilly's conundrum. (4, Insightful)

mwber (235552) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228169)

It seems like it'd be really helpful for a lot of the people that regularly blog to have a pretty non-technical introduction to it, but I'm not sure those same people would know anything about O'Reilly or read Slashdot.

Essential FOR blogging (5, Interesting)

reaper20 (23396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228178)

Mozilla users, check out Mozblog [mozdev.org]. It's a nifty XUL app that integrates into Mozilla. You can drag and drop links, post, and publish all from the little window without even having to visit blogger.com.

Re:Essential FOR blogging (2)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229051)

I was checking it out to, but I wonder since it supports ftp, why does it have to go through blogger.com at all? Why doesn't mozblog just upload the posts itself and store them locally.

I've been using the poorly named blog [tripod.com] for places where I have ftp access only.

Re:Essential FOR blogging (1)

tseng_mike (207554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229896)

The future version might well support post handling. Right now it deligate all those to the blog service providers. The new version I'm working on will store all your post, so it would be possible to add the capability of uploading pages in the future.

good book (-1)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228181)

Yeah, the title sucks, but essential blogging is useful if you want to set up a weblog or weblog site. I also recommend "running weblogs with SLASH", which covers just SLASH, if you're more interested in a site like that. If you want to just post to a weblog, all you need is some teen angst.

Anyhow, I recently was contracted to set up a web log for a local community center. We didn't call it a web-log, but it had streaming radio, journals, and news entries. This book saved a lot of time when I set up the Blosxom system. Especially the list of "gotchas" when using it with IIS (I recommended Apache 2.0, but they were partially funded by a MS grant, go figure).

Methinks... (3, Funny)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228194)

...that this book will wind up in that bin at every bookstore right next to AOL For Dummies, How to run OS/2, and Netscape 4.0 Complete.

Tell me this - does it have chapters on how to propagate your page with pictures of your cat? Or how to flash your tits so that they point to your wishlist?

Gratuitous Plug (3, Informative)

parliboy (233658) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228203)

Personally, I'll just wind up using Coranto [gweilo.org] when the time comes. I've used so it (and its predecessor NewsPro) for so many different sites over the years, that it just seems the natural course of things. It's flat-text, but since it's just my diary, who cares?

You need a book to learn how to whine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228209)

Blogging has become nothing more than a cybernation full of complaining, whining, self-important twits with too much time and too few HTML skills. The last thing we need is a book to instruct them on how to be even more annoying and petty with better HTML skills. If anything, O'Reilly, publish a book that shows these whiney twits how to turn off a computer, unplug the phone and experience REAL LIFE instead of the self-involved online world.

Re:You need a book to learn how to whine? (1)

DonkeyJimmy (599788) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228443)

shows these whiney twits how to turn off a computer, unplug the phone and experience REAL LIFE instead of the self-involved online world.

Yeah, totally!

Now that my slashdot break is over, back to my computer related job until I'm ready to go home and play warcraft 3 until I pass out. Maybe this weekend I'll watch The Net again just to make fun of how much it is unlike the real net. . . So this is troll.

Re:You need a book to learn how to whine? (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229350)

Ya man. It's 2002 and I still can't order a pizza online for delivery. What a crock that movie.

Can we get some straight troll pr0n fiction, plz? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228211)

n/t

New book from O'Reilly (3, Funny)

randomErr (172078) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228227)

Essential Computing Stuff

Chapter 1: Turn the damn thing on
Chapter 2: Read what is on screen. It will ussually tell you what to do
Chapter 3: It your computer, turn it off if you don't like what it does
Chapter 4: Trouble Shooting: Shoot anything that moves

Look, if your blogging you euther know what your doing or your going to contract with someone who does.

This seems more like a FAQ on SlashCode [slashcode.com] or a give away item at shows then an actual book.

New grammar from randomErr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228484)

If my blogging I either know what my doing ?

WTF ?

Re:New book from O'Reilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229111)

Perhaps you should review Essential English.

Re:New book from O'Reilly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229155)

Chapter 4: Trouble Shooting: Shoot anything that moves

No, that's not how it goes. "Trouble shooting: if there's trouble, shoot it."

Historical and Cultural Analysis (2, Interesting)

numatrix (242325) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228234)

I'd be much more interested in a novel that charted the historical and cultural development of the blog. I've never been too sucked in, but there is definitely a distinct and unique culture that has developed in the blogging scene. When someone [johnwb.com] is running for government office on a blogging platform, it says something. What, I'm not sure, but something.

Of course, it is easy to ridicule and mock the blogging scene, but an indepth look at it could be both honest about the shortcomings and faults, as well as the many lessons blogging has taught us. Google bombing [slashdot.org] anyone? And has anyone been more on the forefront of accessibility pages than blogs?

Maybe someone's already done this for some sort of masters thesis; if so, point out the links, I'd like to see some serious scholarship on the issue.

Re:Historical and Cultural Analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228360)

Yeah, a pretty dumb culture of backpatting and incoherent rambling. This is nothing new, just the scale is different this time around. It happens every few years as a new horde of morons discover Usenet. A whole new world opens up to these people and they believe it heralds the dawn of a new age or something. Merely impressionable sods that we had back in the days of Fido and BBSs as well.

Re:Historical and Cultural Analysis (2)

Tim Browse (9263) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228404)

Of course, it is easy to ridicule and mock the blogging scene

<Homer>Fun, too!</>

Tim

But when will blogs become books?.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228245)

Ok, So I know that blogs aren't diaries, but they are fairly close. So what I am wondering is, is this the first sign that some old world publishing type might be interested in publishing a traditioinal book form of a Blog?

Does anyone here know of any Blog that transcends its base origins enough to be worth using the trees it would take to make a book?

I am sure that I have seen references to Blogs in various TV shows, and no doubt the movie is on its way, but does anyone think we will ever see a book?

Re:But when will blogs become books?.... (1)

brisvegas (512930) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228378)

I don't know about blogs. I haven't rally seen one that I truly fell in love with yet. I prefer Everything - http://www.everything2.net/ thats gotta be the crack cocaine version of a blog.

I can't seem anyone making a book out of it though.

My bet would be that you will see the first blog book about a month and a half after the killing of some celebrity blogger by a stalker who found her (it is going to be a her, trust me on that one) via a blog.

Re:But when will blogs become books?.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228585)

Actually, I doubt if you have ever seen a TV show that specifically featured a blog or people blogging. Most likely it was a threaded discussion list, forums, newsgroups or something of the like are still much more common than the Blog methinks.

Blogs, even the ones that have communities that make comment on them are very differnt beasts than the style of beast mentioned above.

That's why I doubt that actual Blogs have featured on TV yet.

Essential Waterlogging (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228254)

With full-colour pictures and close-ups.

On the horizon.... (4, Funny)

Geeyzus (99967) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228264)

Other Slashdot book reviews on the horizon:
  • Windows for Dummies
  • Yahoo Messenger Unleashed
  • Hop On Pop
Mark

Re:On the horizon.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228394)

Hop On Pop

Maybe Taco won't misspell that...

*rimshot*

O-Reilly Safari (3, Informative)

stienman (51024) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228265)

I hadn't heard of the safari before. Looks like you subscribe to a number of points per month, then you can swap out books up to your point level once every month. If you get the $10/mo you get 5 points, which is five 1 point books per month. To purchase those books you'd pay about $150, so this subscription sounds good for those who only need a particular reference for a few months at a time, as well for those books that have little or no future reference value. It also allows for the fact that too many technologies change, evolve and disappear within 15 months.

Still, I like collecting books. I wonder if they'd give a discount on the sale of previously subscribed titles. Reading a book on the computer isn't as nice as holding it in one's hands, either, but overall it's as good a deal as leasing a car - obviously not for everyone - good for many.

-Adam

Re:O-Reilly Safari (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229572)

That's correct. For $10 per month you get monthly access to roughly 5 titles (very few books are priced at 2 points, there are also a few books in half-point range).

Safari sets the swap date, which is the date when you can check all your old books in, and choose the new ones. The swap date is 45 days from your original subscription day and then it's every 30 days. On those days you get 5 points to spend - you can either keep the current books, keep some of them, and choose some new ones, or choose 5 new titles for next month.

The pricing and library are attractive to those who have time on their hands and want to learn new technologies. If you're unemployed, or a student on vacation, or just have some free time, for $10 and a month's worth of time you can get five books on any skill you'd like to learn, Networking, Perl, MCSE, etc.

For reference value and for people who are generally busy and have no time to spend hours reading it's probably cheaper to buy the paper version of the book.

O'Reilly's New Business Plan (for dummies) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228271)

1) write pointless book with trademark animal on cover

2) ????

3) Profit!

What is a blog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228292)

What's this new "word" ?

Re:What is a blog? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228411)

It's a malformed abbreviation of weblog. See 'diary', etc.

Re:What is a blog? (0)

jedie (546466) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228516)

It's derived from "weblog"..
It's a site that has links to stories/funny pictures/flash movies or just journal entries by the webmaster

coolios [shrimpwars.be] one of my most favourite blogs

The Value of Blogging (5, Insightful)

hillct (230132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228298)

One of the first paragraphs of this review is perhaps the most telling:
Recent media infatuation with the blogging effect seems to be overwhelming. It seems that newspaper journalists have just discovered the ability to post and comment messages on the Internet, while most of the computer aficionados and heavy Internet users just shrug their shoulders when told about personal Web journals that link to other articles on the Web.
When considering the value of Blogging, you must see it for what it is. It's the natural extension of the 'Links Page' that every personal website has and were so prevelent even in the early days of the web in 1994 and 1995, that pages of personal bookmarks, outnumbered pages of actual meaningful content. That having been said, there are two distinct types of blogs. Those which simply act to point out a linked source of content the author finds to be of interest, and those which offer some sort of online punditry. Both types are of value in their own right, but blog readers will most likely favor one or the other type. Personally, I maintain a blogger based page for the simple purpose of having a portable bookmarking mechanism for my owwn convenience, since the demize of most of those .com ventures that sought to ptovide such a service supported by advertising.

With repect to this book, I would have to agree with the reviewer. Who would buy it? If you are familier with blogging, then you know what you need to know. If you are not, then you're more likely to buy a book entitled 'Websites for Beginners' or something. This book seems to be searching for a market where there most likely is none.

--CTH

Re:The Value of Blogging (2)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229018)

Who would buy it? Someone who wants to know which is the best tool to use. Too bad the review didn't tell us much about that.

Blogging is about writing, it isn't about computing. Tools like Blogger, Radio and Moveable Type allow more people to use their computer and the web without needing to learn how to write code.

Most of the posts are full of ridicule about people who write blogs. The irony of that coming from Slashdot is more than sweet.

What I really don't like about the default blogs.. (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228344)

is how they order the page so that the latest post is on the top of the page. So if you haven't been there for a while, you start reading from the bottom, scroll down, scroll down because the person wrote a lot, and then you have to scroll back up! More annoying is if the dates are sorted in reverse, but each blog that were written in a day are sorted normally according to time. scroll down, scroll down, scroll back up. Annoying. I don't think blogging sites have a feature to sort dates in the right order. Do like DNA Lounge [dnalounge.com] and do it right.

Re:What I really don't like about the default blog (1)

japhmi (225606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228539)

See, I completely disagree. I like to go to a page and just read whatever's on top to find out what's new. So, to each his or her own.

jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4228385)

the absolute idiocy of this cannot be voiced.

journalist and professor blogs useful (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228403)

The only blogs I've found useful over the long term are from good journalist and some professors. By definition a journalist is a professional writer. they'll have decent style and cut the trivia. I like college professor blogs where they accumulate their research results.

Get a diary, it lasts longer... (2)

JimPooley (150814) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228441)

Once upon a time people would buy diaries - books of blank paper, in which to pour out their thoughts, woes, tributes to their cats, bad goth poetry (is there any other?) etc. They'd then put the diaries under the mattress or in a drawer, and probably forget about it after a few weeks.
But now in this brave new world, people get blogs or livejournals, and witter pointlessly about things that nobody gives a fuck about but them. Tributes to their cat, goth poetry, brainless gibberish.

It's a horrible waste of technology...!

Re:Get a diary -- My kingdom for some mod points! (1)

Conspir8or (458285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229300)

I wish I had mod points, because you, sir, have encapsulated all of my misgivings about the "blog" life into one succinct and amusing post. If I were wearing a hat, it would be off to you.

Conspir8or

the point of blogging...? (2, Insightful)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228508)

isn't the point of blogging (assuming you're into it, which i am not) to express yourself and discover how to get people interested in your opinions (basically talk about sex and talk shit about people, afaik). essentially it's the path, not the destination.

would you buy a book "how to keep a journal"? this seems like it could be summarized in a one page list of "hints and tips"

Remember when your older sister... (3, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228522)

...kept a diary and how you had to sneak into her bedroom and search through the drawers to find it. And remember how she freaked out when she caught you and your mates reading about what she'd like to do behind the bike sheds with Bobby Jones.

Nowadays she'd be publishing it all over the web and anybody can read it.

Sure takes the fun out of life!

Bad review... (3, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228806)

...that tells us that the author doesn't think much of blogging to begin with, that the book has too many pictures for his tastes, and that he can't fathom why anyone would want to use the three highlighted tools in the first place.

How about installing and using the tools, per the book, and telling us how if the instructions work?

And, why the gratuitous plug for the Slash book? And why the implied slur of anyone who wants a blog but doesn't need, want, or have time to wade through Slash? He might as well have said "Why would anyone not smart enough to understand Perl code even pretend their smart enough to use these tools?"

Next time, I'd like to learn about the book, not the author. This "review" is just another example of geek bias and elitism.

Re:Bad review... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229497)

geek bias? on slashdot? no....

So you want to start a weblog... (2)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228913)

Get a webserver and the Python code on my site (see my homepage). It doesn't let the reader leave any comments, but that's the way it should be.

+1 (Shameless self-promotion)

I don't need this book... (2)

jonathan_atkinson (90571) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228923)

... because there are plenty of free hints/tips for writing 'effective' weblogs.

Write the Living Web [alistapart.com] by Mark Bernstein
How to Write a Better Weblog [alistapart.com] by Dennis A. Mahoney
How to be Soopafamous [alistapart.com] by W.K. Lang
A Case for Web Storytelling [alistapart.com] by Curt Cloninger

Those links are just for a quick scan at Alistapart [alistapart.com]. I'm sure a little more work and you could build up a huge directory of 'good weblogging' links (or just read Zeldman [zeldman.com]).

As for the blogging systems themselves, can the people who buy this book not deal with README files? I've used Blogger and MT in my weblogging time and both have had excellent online documentation or readme files respectively.

This seems to me like a book for people who really don't want to try to learn anything for themselves, and need it all presented for them. There is so much more to be gained by finding out stuff fo yourself [google.com].

--Jon

Tomorrow's historians (1)

Tsugumi (553059) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228926)

...are going to have a lot to wade through when they study the information age. Remembering my undergraduate days of wading through letters of the 16/17th century landed gentry, how the hell is anyone going to cope with the embarassment of riches that we are leaving behind?

They'll publish anything nowadays... (1)

Shamanin (561998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4228976)

Always averting "Something" for dummies books, I had to consider this title as I passed it on the clearance shelf; "Plastic Surgery for Dummies"

blogs... (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229206)

I do a blog helper application called QBoard, qboard.org which is a free version of the tagboards bloggers have been using for a while. I see A LOT of blogs that sign up for our little free product and I can say with certainty that 90% of them are complete and total crap that bring me back to the days of the "frame-craze" or the crazy colors with blinking text and animated images with background sounds (if I wanted your website to make noise I would lick my finger and drag it across my screen) .. I am waiting for the blog frenzy to die a little death and move to where it belongs, sites like livejournal etc.. Once journalist get over themselves and people realize that nobody really cares what their cd collection is like, the better. Well, in my opinion... but then I am a programmer and am so bored with blog-girls with webcams showing their tits and little boys who think they are pretty and design sites for only IE and Mozilla/Netscape be damned because they use some product that can't comply for us linux users. bahh

My simple blog is perl scripts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229377)

who needs blogging software when all you need are a couple of perl scripts?
what is the fuss about ?

NPR Covering Blogging on PI Right Now (2)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229503)

Go to NPR's Public Interest website [wamu.org] to listen live or to the archive in couple hour (they provide ram, wmv, and mp3 streams.)

Here's the description of today's show:
For years, Web loggers, or "bloggers," have used the Internet to express their viewpoint or document their lives. A Tech Tuesday look at how blogging has influenced the national debate since September 11th.


Rebecca Blood, editor of We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture [amazon.com] and author of The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog [amazon.com] (both from Perseus Books)

David Gallagher, freelance journalist specializing in Internet and technology news

John Foley, Executive Editor, InformationWeek

Eric Olsen, editor of BlogCritics.org; and editor of Blog Nation, an upcoming book that will compile the very best blogs from the aftermath of September 11th

Stop the Insanity! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4229590)

I fucking hate that word! "blog". That has to be in
the running for the most stupid sounding shortening
of a word there is. "blog" just makes me think
of a Mog, half-man, half-dog.

I'm my own best friend!

Response from the editor of Essential Blogging (5, Insightful)

gnat (1960) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229668)

Hi, I'm Nathan Torkington, the editor of Essential Blogging [oreilly.com]. 3/10. Wow, that stings :-) I'm not sure it's entirely justified, though.

The numeric rating really seems disproportionate, as the reviewer did have some good things to say:

  • "for a person who is determined to keep a daily journal available on the Internet, it would provide helpful reading material"
  • "the depth of covered material is surprisingly large for such a narrow topic"
The reviewer appears to think that people are either hackers, or will use LiveJournal (a system we didn't cover in depth in book). I take issue with that.

The primary audience for Essential Blogging is someone who is new to blogging. If you already use a blogging system like Movable Type, you'll learn something from the book (Ben and Mena, the authors of Movable Type, wrote a lot of new material for their chapters), but you are not the primary audience. We even say this in the preface, and the back cover pretty clearly states what's inside: "Essential Blogging helps you select the right blogging software for your needs and shows you how to get your blog up and running."

Someone new to blogging can read Chapter 1 to learn about the different aspects of a blogging system; the pros and cons of self-hosting vs hosted, desktop vs server; and ultimately decide which web journal system to use. Then they can read the chapters specific to their chosen system to get started, and return when they're ready to customize the appearance of their blog.

While working on the book, I kept my Dad in mind. He's technical, not stupid, and if he wanted to start a blog, what I want him to know about? The audience also explains the screenshots--if you're new to blogging, you don't to know what to expect nor what the possibilities are. Although it's hard for the reviewer to imagine there are people who haven't been hacking web sites and writing their own blogging systems since 1996, such people do exist.

But even people who already blog and are entrenched in a particular blogging system should check out the others. I'm a Movable Type user myself, but it was a real eye-opener to use Radio Userland for a while. The whole approach to software and blogging is different in Radio Userland, and it makes you look at your own setup in a new light. I'm not saying you need to buy Essential Blogging to do this, but such comparisons are a benefit of having multiple systems presented side-by-side in the one book.

About the only thing I agree with the reviewer wholeheartedly on is that it's a shame we don't cover LiveJournal more. When the book was being developed, I didn't see the geek interest in LiveJournal that I see now. Perhaps in the second edition we'll have chapters on LiveJournal.

So to conclude, I sure hope the old saying that there's no such thing as bad publicity is true. I hope the next book gets a real review (more than six paragraphs) by someone who reads the preface :-).

--Nat
(blogs on O'Reilly Network [oreillynet.com] and use.perl [perl.org], as well as several Movable Type installations for family, and a Blossom blog for work)

Book writing and neglect (1)

purpleman51 (190377) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229724)

I refuse to even look at this book. I was a big fan of MovableType since I began blogging. I even donated in their highest category. Then I ran into problems and Ben and Mena were too busy writing this book to help me out. So I switched and am now a satisfied and happy pMachine user.

Blogging rocks though!

Read it at Safari for a month (3, Informative)

acroyear (5882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4229776)

One option, since its one of those books you only need for a little while to select and set up your software, would be to "rent" the book online for a month from Safari [oreilly.com] at O'Reilly's website, then either unsubscribe from Safari or switch to a more interesting book later.
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