Wednesday, January 31, 2007 celebrates its one-year blogiversary

One year ago was converted from a blog about a conference written only by Lisa, Jory and me to a full-fledged web community. Now, over 60 contributing editors post original content in more than 25 topics, and send the link love out to our thousands of members and their blogs. Those same members keep the conversations active in the comments, and start their own in the Forums.

Lisa has captured the growth of the community in this Happy Birthday Post. She also gives a little hint about a major BlogHer project: a site re-design.

Check it out.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

David Pogue with the smack-down on Microsoft and we bribe-able bloggers

David Pogues waxes snarkalicious here. Key excerpt:

Now, I realize it must be hard to send a shiny new laptop back to the mother ship just because it's the right thing to do. Still, I think very little of the bloggers who are keeping Microsoft's bribe laptops.

Clearly, they're exploiting the lawless, Brave New World of the blogsophere, where, since they're Not Quite Journalists, they don't feel constrained by any of those pesky journalistic ethics guidelines. Like the one that says, "You don't keep $2,200 gifts from the subject of your review. You might think you can still write an impartial review, but it's highly unlikely-and either way, nobody will believe it."

But Microsoft gets much of the blame, too. It deliberately exploited a weak spot in today's court of public opinion: how bloggers influence consumers, but generally don't have conflict-of-interest policies.

You know, David, I'd have a lot more respect for this column, and agree with it wholeheartedly if it contained any data whatsoever about what bloggers actually did in response to this offer. How many disclosed receiving the free laptop? How many sent it back? How many kept it.

I'm just saying "Hello kettle? You're black", only in your case it's not keeping an evaluation unit, it's making a sweeping implication without any back-up.

[Oh, and in case my readers are wondering, No, I still haven't received the laptop, and yes, I'm probably going to find a worth girls and technology charity to pass it on to. Option #2 (and the only other option I'm considering) is returning it with the shipping airbill I asked Microsoft to provide.]

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Update on the Edelman/Microsoft/Vista saga

I finally heard back from the Seattle Edelman rep who asked me if I wanted to try Vista on a laptop the would send. (back story is here.)

So, the bad news is that they ran out of the laptops, but the good news is that they're getting more...this time HP laptops (which should make my sister happy.) And if I agree to blog that I got such an item from Microsoft (which I believe I'm doing right now) then they will send me one...certainly hoping but not requiring that i write about it.

They are now saying that you can do one of the following with said laptop:
"Once you’re done with the laptop, you can send it back to us, give it away to one of your readers, donate it to your favorite charity, or keep it for further review purposes. And although it’s up to you, we also recommend that you post about what you intend to do with the laptop after you’re done with trying it out."
Now, I had asked about shipping information to send it back when I was done (and reiterated that question n my reply to Edelman today) but I confess I'm sort of getting sucked into the idea of giving it to a local charity.

Computers are almost always on the list of desired items for charities, and I give my piddly little $25 and $50 donations to so many charities, many of them local...wouldn't a computer make a much bigger impact?

What do you think? Returning it is of course the cleanest, most journalistic approach. Giving it to a charity sounds so much better, but is it really just me deciding the ends justify the means?

Opinions please?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

This month's Silicon Veggie: More Reader Recommendations

This time the recommendations are all about how to get over my unhealthy cheese obsession! Check it out.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My God, people, calm down!

Seriously. The blogosphere seems to delight in freaking out about things that are really, really not that important. I guess it's no surprise, given the blogosphere's relative youth, that it occasionally acts like a big ol' adolescent...creating drama where there really isn't that much!

The latest drama: over Google's year-end "Zeitgeist" list.

First: what is "zeitgeist"? Well, according to Wikipedia and, it basically means: "The Spirit of the Time."

Trying to capture the zeitgeist of a particular time means trying to capture what is unique and specific about that time.

Every year Google posts its year-end "Zeitgeist." Here is the 2006 Zeitgeist.

They don't explain much at that page about how the Zeitgeist is compiled, other than to say: "To compile these year-end lists and graphs, we compared frequent queries this year against 2005 to see what sorts of things were top of mind. ."

They expand on the explanation a bit more here on their corporate blog. And here.

Now, some folks are all upset that Google, well, actually I'm not sure exactly what they're so upset about. Liz Gannes over at GigaOM calls for "transparency and accuracy", saying the list means "next to nothing."

Um, sure, what made anyone think it was supposed to mean something? It's a fun year-end list, folks. it's not particularly actionable. It's only 10 words/phrases, without even numbers attached to it. What on earth were you planning to do with this list that is now hampered by the discovery about how they've compiled it?

More than that: I happen to like their explanation of what they're trying to accomplish just fine. I happen to agree that seeing that "dictionary" "maps" and "ebay" were still among the top 10 search terms every year would be interesting to no one. And it certainly would not reflect the year's "zeitgeist."

I mean, how dare they use a pretentious word and try to adhere to its actual pretentious meaning??!!

Google is the current whipping boy of the blogosphere and digerati, that's for sure. But this brouhaha really doesn't make sense to me.

What am I missing?

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