Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog: Act 1 Posted!

Picture 1

Joss Whedon‘s much anticipated Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog has released Act 1 today! The singing, the dialog, and the plot are all awesome. Felicia Day, Neal Patrick Harris, and Nathan Fillion did an awesome job. I can’t wait until Act 2 on Thursday!

Check out Act 1 at the Official Dr. Horrible site!

51% of College Humor Sold for ~$20mil

College Humor
I’m not really a fan of College Humor…don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it, I’m just not an avid viewer. It seems that some people are…in fact, some 6 million unique visitors a month are. The Gawker reports that InterActiveCorp took notice of the sheer number (read: success) of hits going to the beer-drinking-boob-posting-frat-boy blog site and made an offer. The result: College Humor has sold 51% of the site’s ownership to IAC – and if you find it hard believe it, simply check IAC’s list of businesses on its site. This ~$20 million+ move gives IAC a say in the way the lude blog is run…For the site’s success, one can hope the influence would be minimal.

All things considered, the creators of College Humor (who are also the creators of BustedTees…where I got my cool shirt) are doing quite well, as Gawker states:

CollegeHumor founders Josh Abramson and Ricky Van Veen will continue to oversee the Connected Ventures operations. The Company recently released the book The CollegeHumor Guide to College and is developing a film for Paramount Pictures. Through Connected Ventures they also operate a number of other successful online content and retail brands including BustedTees.com, a retail business aimed at the CollegeHumor.com demographic.

This is definately a blogging success story if I’ve ever seen it.

Pink Stang

Pink Stang

Alan Baker is getting a Mustang. Alan refuses to blog. PinkStang.com is his friends’ effort to create a blog on Alan Baker related topics in honor of him. PinkStang is simply an aggregation of blog posts tagged “Alan Baker”. This will give him a record of events relating to him on both a personal and professional level. w00t.

So…where did the name PinkStang come from?

Over Google Talk, Al’s status message mentioned the color his new Mustang would be, so being the tool that I am, I altered my status message to urge him to purchase a pink one. Others in our office soon chimed in and agreed that pink was the right plan. Sadly, Al wasn’t keen on the idea. This only fueled our fun.

In reaction to Al’s refusal to purchase a pink Mustang, Zach started shooting around a domain name for him: pinkstang.com. Everyone promptly changed their status messages to the sweet – though slightly dirty sounding – domain and by the end of the day everyone in the office made a decision. Purchasing PinkStang.com was the right plan. After a quick look on GoDaddy, we found that it was available, purchased it. Zach footed the bill and installed WordPress. I immediately went to work on creating the sweet pink Mustang and header graphic.

So whether Al wants to or not, he’s blogging :D

New Version Of Bsuite…w00t!

I was thrilled when Casey over at MaisonBisson posted about the release of Bsuite b2v6. After much prodding by me, Casey has separated tags from posts into their own tables. He and I sat down one evening and fleshed out the overall goal for the tagging structure…we butted heads on a few things but the end result is pretty snazzy. I’ve beta tested the tagging features and I’m fond of them…w00t! Because of all the optimizations, I quickly installed the update on the blogs I host:

Zach writes (and I agree with him hands down):

This is a fantastic plugin for WordPress which does a lot of heavy lifting and can help to better leverage the long tail of your content. Frankly I wouldn’t run WordPress without it. This bug fix release clears up a lot of little nagging problems […]

Flock

Flock Flock is awesome. For now I’ve made the switch from Firefox to Flock’s Beta v0.7. What is Flock? Well, Flock is the expert on themselves so here’s their description:

The web, and the way people engage online, has evolved dramatically over the past decade. We still see a lot of room for the browser to keep pace with everything that’s going on on the web. Providing a fast, safe and simple browsing experience is very important, but at Flock we are also trying to look more broadly at how the web browser can enrich users’ online experience.

For this release, and for at least the next year or so, we are primarily focused on supporting the social dimension of the web, and on bringing information closer to the user. Right now this includes a heavy emphasis on the photo experience (from upload through discovery to notification), RSS support, dramatic improvements to the search box (including a new take on favorites), and blogging.

Casey over at MaisonBisson posted about Flock back in October when the Flock preview first came out (v0.1 or something). I saw Casey’s post and decided to give Flock a whirl. I was mildly impressed and saw that Flock had potential. Its big problems at the time were related to memory leaks and sluggishness. That seems to be resolved and they’ve done wonders to their ‘features.’

Social Bookmarks

Beautiful. Flock lets you use Del.icio.us or Shadows as your bookmarking tool. So anything you bookmark can be accessed from anywhere you go (whether through Flock or at the bookmarking site). Your bookmarks can be tagged right from the browser as well as marked as public or private.

Social Images

Flock integrates with Flickr and Photobucket and a sexy manner. The browser literally becomes an uploading/browsing agent for images. They’ve a nice drag and drop interface with a photo bar that you can place above your tabs. Check it out:

Flock Flickr

Its slick, intuitive and has many Flickr features (I can’t speak for Photobucket as I do not have an account there).

Text & Misc. Images

Another sexy aspect of Flock is the ability to highlight and drag text and images URLs from anywhere and store them for later. Once you’ve placed something in that Text and Image bar you can browse, drag and drop the data into the browser or external applications. In addition to the dragging and dropping of the data, you can simply right-click the data and select the blog option.

Flock Text

Blogging

Flock being a Web 2.0 browser (as its being toted), it cannot forget blogging. You can set your browser up to post to your blog (using a WYSIWYG editor). You can post to blogs hosted by: WordPress, TypePad, Moveable Type, LiveJournal, Drupal, and Blogger. The blogging tool supports any blog that uses Moveable Type, Blogger, MetaWebLog, and Atom APIs. Snazzy tool, but I’m happy with the web-based editing of my blogs for now.

News

There’s a nice news aggregator as part of Flock. Looks decent…but I’ll stick to my own home-grown aggregator.

Searching

If you use the browser search tool, Flock goes a step further and as you type it’ll grab items from your history, favorites, and the top five searches from Yahoo!. Pretty sexy stuff. Be sure to add Blingo to your search list!

Extensions

Because Flock is based off of Firefox, many of the extension run for it! So you can still have the must haves. I definately wouldn’t be using Flock otherwise.

Summary

I like Flock for now. It looks promising, the features are nice and it looks pretty sexy too. Get it at Flock.com.

School Punishes Student For Blogging From Home

School 8 Schools across the country are cracking down on student computer use; blocking social sites and proxy servers. Many schools are perfectly within their right to prevent teenagers from frequenting sites like MySpace, Facebook and Xanga while using school hardware. In all actuality, there is no real need for students to be on such social sites at school when it could impede on studying and perhaps pose a danger to the student (internet predators).

Do schools try to reach to far? This article seems to think so, as there is another school – Plainfield School District in Illinois – attempting to reach into the homes of its students and lay the smack down.

A 17-year-old student who posted on his blog site that he was being bullied and threatened by the Plainfield School District will face an expulsion hearing this week, a local attorney said.

Back in November, Pope John XXIII Regional Highschool decided to stretch their rights a little far and reach into the home of their students, threatening suspension to anyone that failed to delete their accounts on various social networking sites. My post – School Bans Social Websites – discusses this school’s attempt at control and has been met with a huge onslaught of student irritation.

Students are generally unhappy with this type of control – as well as the simple blocking of sites that many schools are doing – and are reacting in the only way they can…with their voice. They comment on my blog expressing their opinions (I’ve had 119 comments on that blog post as of this posting and they are still rolling in), they complain on their social sites, they blog. The 17 in this article blogged the following on May 2 (without mentioning the school the student wrote):

“I feel threatened by you, I cant even have a public Web page with out you bullying me and telling me what has to be removed. Where is this freedom of speech that this government is sworn to uphold? … Did you ever stop to think this will start a community backlash? The kids at Columbine did what the did because they were bullied. … In my opinion you are the real threat here. None of us ever put in our xanga’s that they were going to kill or bring harm to any one. We voiced our opinions. You are the real threat here. you are depriving us of our right to learn. now stick that in your pipe and smoke it.”

What are the school districts thinking? It is the parents job to police student’s internet usage at home, NOT the school’s. It doesn’t matter if the school doesn’t like the sites students visit or if a student says something bad about his school…they may be kids but don’t they get some level of free speech? The article states:

Superintendent John Harper, who cannot comment on student cases, said the district will take action if it believes there is a safety issue. Meanwhile a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union said school districts must be careful not to discipline students on matters that occur outside school. The student’s attorney believes Plainfield School District is overstepping its boundaries.

“The district is going to take away the student’s education for exercising his freedom of speech,” said attorney Carl Buck. “I feel like they are trying to control his freedom of speech. … He is saying, ‘You can’t bully people and we have a right to object and you can’t throw people out of school for voicing their opinions.'”

Schools simply need to wake up and smell the coffee. Block social sites at school if its impeding on school work, but don’t threaten and punish the kids for doing things at home. Educate them on the dangers of the internet and educate the families on the need for some policing of internet usage at home. I want schools to teach my kids (when I have them), not parent them.

In closing, here’s a line from the article sums up my opinions:

“It is not a crime to write things on the Internet – though we find them offensive, troubling and disheartening, it is not a crime[.]”

Web Expressions – Blog Spotlights – week 3

Arinda Stokes has a very interesting article on her blog that I urge everyone to go to and comment on. It asks questions about picking a major and how to handle picking one even if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Emma White has an article that hits a little close to home with me and my past roommate experiences. Worth a read as many of you may be able to relate ;)

Kyle Widness wrote about the “Grandest thing in Life”. A pretty neat post regarding my home state and one of its many impressive landmarks!

Google Blog Search

I just read about this at my friend Cliff’s blog! It seems Google now provides a Blog Search tool! Yup, a Google search geared towards blog sites. Very groovy. Google states (and yes, I’m ripping off my friend’s story…but who cares :D I reach a different audience.)

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.

Cliff does say:

After tinkering with Google Blog Search for a bit, I have to say that it seems pretty good. It’s never quite clear how Google gathers their info and ranks their sites, although they do seem to lend quite a bit of weight to tags.

I’ve played with it a bit and I definately think its the right plan. Just one more thing to add to Google’s large list of services I use!

Web Expressions – Lab 1 – Blogs

Alrighty! Today we’re going to be setting up our blogs. Here are some Blogging Instructions to help you get started.

Today we meet in Memorial 213 and we’ll be:

  • Going over the above documentation
  • Setting up our Blogs
  • Posting a Blog Entry
  • Commenting on someone else’s Blog
  • Giving the instructor $2,000 just for fun.

The use of Blogs in our class:
I have discussed this a couple of times but have not yet been clear on exactly how we will be using your blogs this semester. Starting 9/12/2005 you will be required to make a minimum of 2 non-assignment related posts a week. You can post as many posts as you want every week but here’s the deal:

  • If you post diary-like posts, it must convey an issue you have encountered and dealt with; and/or it must contain your opinions on topics you have encountered.
  • In addition to your own blog posts, you will also be required to post your answers to assignments throughout the semester. These do not apply towards your 2 posts per week.
  • I will be grading your posts. Here are the grading specifics for your semester of blogging (I will grade your blogging over the semester, not each one individually):
    Points Subject
    20 Regular postings (at least two/week)
    10 Postings address clear topic and fit in the theme of the blog or (for journal blogs) are particularly insightful.
    10 Postings are well-written and organized
    10 Postings contain adequate links to supporting/clarifying websites.
    10 Initiative and Originality
    10 Blog entries are of potential interest to outside reader.
    10 Response to comments: Author has responded to comments adequately.
    10 Effective use of images and text formatting to create a visually appealing blog.
    10 EXTRA CREDIT: Blog has off-campus commenter. (non-friend or family member )
    Forfeit all points if in violation. Netiquette: postings do not violate any rules of good Internet conduct. See notes addressing netiquette. (Violations must be immediately cleared up to prevent blog account from being switched off)
    100 TOTAL (110 with extra credit)

Blog Topics:
Blogging may not come easy to everyone. It took a while for me to get the swing of things, but once I started going I keep finding odd things to post :) If you run into a mindblock and can’t think of anything, maybe this will start your mind thinking in the right direction:

Maybe try a PSU centered blog

  • PSU events: music, films, plays, speakers, plays
  • PSU sports: how did the(fill-in specific sport) team do?
    How can team x improve? Etc.
  • PSU politics: what issues are ranging on campus.
  • PSU life: what is like to be a PSU student?

Aim for a special interest blog

  • Gaming
  • Poetry
  • Art work
  • Crafts
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Literature
  • Horticulture
  • Outdoor pursuits (hiking, skiing, biking, etc)
  • Bird watching
  • Editorial blogs: reacting to issues in the media.
  • Place blog: What is life like in … Plymouth, NH, your home town?
  • Informational blog: how to do something (configure a firewall, build a canoe, fix a car, etc, travel for $25/day, etc)

(grading scale provided by Dr. Evelyn Stiller, Plymouth State University)