Shirky: Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality

Clay Shirky wrote an interesting article a couple of years ago about why certain blogs are orders of magnitude more popular than others.  I thought you all might enjoy it.

I'd also recommend this one: 

By the way, for those of you reading this from outside the US, this Thursday is Thanksgiving.  This means, I'll be busy eating turkey instead of thinking about verification towards the end of this week!

Comments Anyone?

Lots of hits this week, though the only comments I received were those sent back privately to my posting on the Specman User's Group.  Is it possible that everyone reading my blog agreed with everything I had to say?  Not likely!  One reason people may not be posting comments is they may not want to share their email address (currently required for posting a comment).  Fair enough.  If you're active in the blogosphere you'll be aware of the big problem with comment spam.  Comment spam is just like regular email spam, but consists of people posting irrelevant comments to blogs in order to increase the ranking of their site on search engines (especially blog search engines like Technorati and Google Blog Search). 

The folks at Six Apart (makers of Movable Type, Typepad, and LiveJournal) have put in place two possible solutions.  First, post your comment and your email. The comments go in a queue and get posted as I approve them.  Unfortunately, no spam filters yet (though other blogging platforms have them) so if someone did decide to post a significant amount of spam I'd have to delete the comments one by one.  Another possibility is for anyone who wants to post on blogs to get a TypeKey account.  Once you have a TypeKey account, you can use it to post on many blogs and maintain complete control over how your contact information is used.  You can decide not to share your email address at all, share it only with the blog owner (so he or she can respond to your comment privately if needed), or to share it with everyone as part of your TypeKey profile.  Read the site for more info.  Either way, I'd love to hear from everyone reading the site - whether you agree or disagree with me.  Hey, I can take it!  If it gets too bad, I can always go have a lunchable...!

From China? You Can't Read This...

It's been an interesting week for Cool Verification.  This week was the first time I've shared the URL with the folks on the Specman Users Group.  I got a lot of interesting responses and a lot of hits from all over the world.  One place I didn't get any response from was China. It didn't really cross my mind until I got an email from someone who wasn't able to access the link and asked if I could send them the article via email.  Turns out they were trying to access the site from China, which apparently is blocking access to all sites hosted on TypePad.  Too much incendiary rhetoric about the differences between Object Oriented Programming and Aspect Oriented Programming I guess.  If you're from China and are able to access this site, let me know.

Blogs to Books – Get out and publish!

Yesterday evening I attended a presentation put on by the IEEE Computer Society and Engineering Management Society in Austin entitled Blogs to Books – Get out and publish!.  The presenter was Don Shafer, CTO of Athens Group and Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Computer Society Press.  Don is also a co-author of the book Quality Software Project Management (which incidentally, I won as a door prize!). The presentation focused on the importance of sharing technical knowledge with other working professionals and the means through which one could accomplish that goal.  I'll publish a link to the Power Point for the talk as soon as it is posted. UPDATE: Link to Don's slides.

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Feed Format Change

Many of you reading this blog do so through my RSS or Atom feeds.  For those of you who have no idea what that means, you might want to check out this Wikipedia article for more details (click on the RSS or Atom links for all the nitty-gritty info).  Previously I've been posting the entire articles to my feed as opposed to summaries which is the Movable Type default (I'm not using MT but close enough...).  Because of this the formatting from my web site doesn't appear when I read the blog in Thunderbird (including the comment section).  It should appear now in any new posts (and in some old posts if you download the feed from scratch).  If anyone has any preference let me know.  Otherwise, I'll try this for now.