Tag: typepad

Can Zemanta help you write better blog posts?

Zemanta is a really cool Firefox plugin which scans the content of your blog post as you are writing it and suggests related content!

I first heard about Zemanta when I met Jure ÄŒuhalev, Zemanta’s Community Manager, at the BlogTalk 2008 conference here in Cork earlier this year. When Jure explained it to me I was intrigued and interested to try it out.

Subsequently I met AleÅ¡ Å petič, Zemanta’s Managing Director, at the Plugg conference. Having heard a lot about the plugin, I downloaded it to try it out and I have to say I am impressed, especially since the recent release of version 0.2.1.

The changelog for this release is:

– introduced WordPress 2.5 and new WordPress.com support
– introduced FireFox 3 Beta 5 support
– increased the number of suggestions to non-wikipedia sources
– tripled our index of related articles
– we also started adding our users to the articles index

In the screenshot below you can see that for the post about Microsoft’s Live Earth Zemanta suggested images including Microsoft logos and Virtual Earth screenshots. It found articles and blog posts about the new release of Live Earth and it suggested related Tags and Links (along the bottom). Zemanta also pays close attention to copyright, making sure that suggested content is licensed as Creative Commons or approved by stock providers, so you won’t get into trouble by using Zemanta’s service

Zemanta Firefox plugin

The fact that Zemanta is a Firefox plugin, as opposed to a WordPress plugin is quite clever as it means that it only needs to be installed once and it works across the multiple blog sites I write on. It works on WordPress, WordPress.com, Typepad and Blogger.

I know Zemanta is using some Semantic web technologies so I asked how the plugin works and received the following reply:

Following concepts come handy when trying to understand the engine: disambiguation, entity extraction, hierarchical classification, information retrieval, machine learning, cross-domain background knowledge.

That didn’t help me much but maybe it will be helpful for some!

The Zemanta plugin still needs a bit of work. When writing this post, for example, I had to save the post as a draft and open it again before Zemanta started suggesting content. However, it is very useful when you are writing a blog post to be able to see other sources of related material so I predict a bright future for Zemanta.

Are Six Apart losing it?

Six Apart are the US based company who make blog software TypePad, Movable Type, and Vox.

Loic Le Meur, is the Eurppean head of Six Apart. Loic was also the organiser of the recent Le Web 3 mess and has written a blog post (and emailed attendees) his side of what happened in Paris last week.

The post is one long non-apology and a textbook example of negationism.

For instance, in the post Loic mentions that there was a standing ovation for the politicians – there was, for Shimon Peres, when Loic himself asked the delegates to stand to show their appreciation. There was no standing ovation for either of the French presidential candidates. Why?

  1. They were foist on the audience at the last minute (at least we had 24 hours notice that Shimon Peres was coming)
  2. They addressed the audience in French (Shimon Peres addressed the audience in English)
  3. Unlike Shimon Peres, they demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the Internet (Sarkozy, yet again demonstrating the mental acuity of a brain damaged slug, even went so far as to say he wants to “control it”!)
  4. Unlike Peres, Sarkozy even refused to take questions from the audience

But it is not just Loic, Mena Trott was at Le Web 3 as well. Mena is the president of Six Apart and, as such she addressed the audience at Le Web.

Mena’s presentation was one of the shortest of all the talks. She got on stage, spoke for about five minutes, and rushed off again taking no questions.

Now, if blogging is supposed to be about conversations, here we have two principals of Six Apart doing old-school, top down, I know better than you and damned if I am going to listen to you or take your opinion into account.

Guys, if you want to seriously damage the reputation of your company, keep this up.
Shel hit the nail on the head when he said:

But if I went to a rock concert to discover the lead off group was a string octet playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I would be confused and disappointed. As so many of Le Web 3 attendee seem to have felt.

On the other hand, if you want people to continue to take you and your products seriously, learn (or re-learn) what blogging is all about. Engage, have conversations, ask people’s opinions instead of ramming your ideas down their unsuspecting throats. Then you will start to earn back all the trust you lost in Paris.

See also Ewan Spence’s excellent response to Loic’s post.

Sam Sethi's personal blog disabled by Loic?

Ben Metcalf is reporting that Sam Sethi’s Typepad personal blog has been disabled.

Typepad is the company Loic Le Meur works for and Sam recently wrote a post on Techcrunch UK critical of the Le Web conference organised by Loic.

This definitely sounds too incredible to be true – it will be interesting to see how this one is explained.

Sam says his account has been deleted on Twitter.

via Ewan

[UPDATE] – Ben left a comment below to say they haven’t disabled Sam’s account.