Enjoying my KickoffLabs Blogging

There’s only so much time in the day.  If you follow this blog and your wondering what happened… It’s mostly that my effort’s been going into getting KickoffLabs ready to launch.  I’ve been doing two posts there  a week.  This is harder than it sounds without a writing staff. 

So, if your one of the people that enjoys my blogging (which may be a count of zero after finding out my wife stopped reading) then head on over to the KickoffLabs blog and subscribe there.

TelliTip 21: Migrate from dasBlog to GraffitiCMS with 1.1

GraffitiOne of the many improvements to make it’s way into Graffiti 1.1 is the support for migrating content from dasBlog into GraffitiCMS.  Omar posted about this the other day.


To find this simply use the migrator tool by logging into the control panel, clicking site options, then utilities, then migrator.  Pick dasBlog and import away.  

Omar has also written a handy 301 redirector plugin for Graffiti that will ensure your old link still function.

One tip about migrating content is that you should be sure to create the categories you want to migrate posts into before you begin the migration process.

TelliTip 17: Exposing trackbacks on your content in GraffitiCMS

GraffitiIf you are using the Blog Extensions plug-in for Graffiti you may start seeing comments on your site that are not being published. This is likely because the theme you choose did not support showing trackbacks by default since they weren’t part of the core GraffitiCMS app.   Kudo’s goes to Jeff, who did an outstanding job explaining how to enable all of the cool functionality of the blog extensions here.  This post will borrow from that to show you how to enable trackbacks/pingbacks showing in a theme that did not support them.

  1. Log into your control panel as an admin.
  2. Go to the theme customization with Presentation > Themes > Personalize on your current theme.
  3. Click on the post.view file to open it.
  4. I recommend saving your existing copying the current post.view content into a new next file as a back-up at this point.
  5. Insert the following code where you want trackbacks to appear and save.  NOTE: I’m using the Skittlish theme so your CSS mileage may vary.  The basic concept would be to borrow as much as you can from your theme’s comment section.

<!–Loop through trackbacks –>
#foreach($trackback in $trackbacks)
<!–denote as a comment list with your CSS and title –>
    <div id="commentslist">
    <h3 class="content">Trackbacks </h3>
    <li class="comment  by-guest">
    <p class="meta"><strong><cite>
    <!–Insert Trackback Title & Link –>
    <a href="$trackback.WebSite" title="$trackback.Name">$trackback.Name</a></strong><br>
    <!– insert date/time posted –>
    <em>Posted on  $trackback.Published.ToString("M.dd.yyyy") at $trackback.Published.ToString("h:mm tt")</em>
    <!– Insert trackback body –>
    <div class="body">
    <!– Insert check to see if you have rights to delete trackback –>
    [<a href="javascript:void(0);" onclick="Comments.deleteComment(‘$urls.AdminAjax’, $trackback.Id,’comment-$trackback.Id’,’comment-body-$trackback.Id’); return false">Delete Pingback</a>]

#end <!– end loop –>

Of, if you like the way my site looks, you can download my theme here: SkittlishTrackbacks.zip

Announcing Graffiti Beta 2 : Graffiti CMS

We Telligenti have let Beta 2 of Graffiti out the door today.  For those of you that don’t know Graffiti is a hybrid CMS & Blogging engine. Perfect for individuals or small businesses that want to manage both relatively static and dynamic content pages.  The article below gives a full list of improvements, but my personal recommendations would be to download it for…

Tools for controlling sort order – We’ve added some drag-and-drop tools to make it really easy to create/define your own custom sort order for content. This is especially important when using Graffiti as a CMS.

Versioning support added for Themes – We’ve added version support for themes, so now you can make changes, review them and easily revert back to what you used to have.

Announcing Graffiti Beta 2 : Graffiti CMS

A Great Sell, Sox Opening Letter to Schilling in 2003

It’s pretty cool to have someone as outspoken and transparent as Curt Schilling blogging about his baseball accomplishments. For me his blog has been inspirational and educational when it comes to my hobby of playing baseball. 

The post I’m linking to here is a repost of the letter the Sox sent to him in 2003 to open the negotiations that landed him in Boston… and therefore landed the Red Sox a world series victory. 

What’s impressive here is what a great sales job they did. The letter remained classy while at the same time tugging on all the right buttons I’d imagine to get someone like him to come to your team.  If nothing else it paints a great picture of a well run organization.

…It is clear that the Schillings and the Diamondbacks have formed a partnership. From afar, we have admired Curt’s accomplishments in an Arizona uniform and the incredible impact the whole family has had in the Phoenix community. We have the utmost respect for your roots here, and also for the full no-trade clause you negotiated into your current contract. In short, we know you don’t have to do this.

Why, then, did we leave our own families behind and fly here today? Well, we think that the Schillings and the Red Sox might just be another great fit – a perfect marriage – and we hope that we can demonstrate why…

2003 Sox opening letter. « 38 Pitches

I should stop complaining. I love Google Reader

But today I realized that taking it offline means that it will only sync recently updated feeds. I was hoping to use my flight from Dallas to Seattle to read some items that have been sitting in there for a while, but it only seems to like syncing recent items.  You’ll notice the cut-off when you go offline and see your unread item count change.

Despite this little flaw I can’t imaging anyone living without their service these days. How’s that for a compliment sandwich? 🙂

What I’m Reading and Writing – Testing a WLW Plugin

 image I have a shared items feed from google reader, but I've been struggling with how to share that content more broadly through my main blog feed.  I didn't like mirroring my shared items since it felt like content stealing and I share more than I write, but at the other extreme I don't generally like blog posts that are links without commentary. 

Today, while at the CSDC, I wrote a simple Live Writer Plugin that pulls feed items from RSS or Atom and can clip a summary. I'll release it later this week, but for now I'll leave it as a tease and just tell you that this post was created with it. 🙂 Let me know what you think of the formatting as I'll be adjusting things during the week.

Via EngadgetDebunk: new Zunes will not have text messaging, but Microsoft's Zune Social community site will
We've gotten a small flood of emails from readers today concerned with a certain page found in last night's leaked Zune support training manuals.

I'm personally hoping to see them leapfrog Apple with the whole "Social" concept. They have a real powerful opportunity even if it's not yet enabled in the client.  I know one person who would agree with me.

Via All FacebookTim O’Reilly at Graphing Social Patterns
Dave McClure just posted the video of Tim O’Reilly’s keynote at the Graphing Social Patterns conference.

Another step towards creating rich visualizations of data that's pretty much public.  I picked this post because the video was timely with what I'd been thinking earlier in the week.

Via Penny ArcadeNews: Dunder Mifflin Spokane
Gabe: I'm pretty frustrated with the Dunder Mifflin Infinity ARG. The site functionality is just trash. The biggest offense is the piece of *** forum they've got. It's the one way for the whole branch to talk together and it's absolute crap.

That just about summed up my experience. I'm still waiting to be hired.

Via MSDN BlogsRising Above the Email Swarm
In todays age of receiving dozens to 100s of e-mails a day, quickly processing these is critical. 

This post both sums up what I've been attempting for e-mail triage and also ads a few great suggestions. I highly recommend it.

Via TechmemeiTunes Plus DRM-free tracks expanding, dropping to 99 cents (Jacqui Cheng/Infinite Loop)
iTunes Plus DRM-free tracks expanding, dropping to 99 cents

I don't need an iPhone. I'm not jealous of people with those things. I don't pretend to swipe my finders across my blackjack screen. I can hold out… at least until the 16gb versions come out. 🙂

Via Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies Team Blog

Announcing the Community Kit for SharePoint: Internet/Extranet Edition Forms-Based Authentication solution!
As many of you know, one of the best new features in WSS 3.0 (and consequently MOSS 2007) is the way it leverage's ASP.NET 2.0 to support for forms-based authentication or FBA along with the ability to support multiple authentication providers.

 Announcing Community Kit for SharePoint: Virtual Earth Maps on SharePoint
Microsoft's Virtual Earth technology powers the maps on Live Search and many other web-based applications, but many people have wondered how to get VE maps to work on SharePoint.

Announcing Community Kit for SharePoint: Windows Live Authentication!
Ever since the Windows Live ID Web Authentication SDK was announced a couple of months ago, many people have asked when there would be a solution for WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007 to authenticate Windows Live ID users.

Some big releases for a cool codeplex project.

Note: Below here I made the titles non-bold. Let me know what you like better.

Via VentureBeatYuMe, Blinkx latest video ad companies to make splash
With all the video content online, the video advertising market is booming.

How many ad networks can surve?

Via Digging My Blog – Dan HounshellProfessional Community Server Themes
I had the pleasure of working on a great project earlier this year with two very talented co-workers: Wyatt Preul and Ben Tiedt.

This book was anxiously awaited at the CSDC. I don't think the preview copies showed up in time, but I know there are going to be some people, for which, this becomes thier bible.

Via SimpableDitch Confirmations
James Avery wrote a post, "Modals or No more popups" inquiring about modal solutions.

I'm going to try and keep this plugin both configurable, but fast and decision free for the users.  I'll see how it goes. 

Via Seth's BlogThe truth about Radiohead
1.2 million albums sold, $8 each, no middleman, one week: Radiohead Kicks the Middleman to the Curb.

This answers a lingering question I had after hearing about this promotion. How much money did they make per album. I guess, since they don't have a label, that $8 goes much more directly to them as well.


Via Read/WriteWebMicrosoft's "Me Too" Strategy: Can the Tortoise Beat the Hare?
Microsoft has lifted the lid this week on a number of products that compete to various degrees with popular Google services.

There is a lot of truth to the theory held by one of my former co-workers that Microsoft as been very successful by never being first, learning from the mistakes of others, and being either a cheaper or better second.

Via Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4LifeSocial Networking Site Platforms: How Developers Should Evaluate the MySpace platform (and others)
I’ve been reading recently that a number of social networking sites are rushing to launch [or re-launch] a widgets platform given the success of the Facebook platform.

I tend to agree.

Via Seth's BlogThe wikipedia gap
I wonder who the first teacher was who said to his class, "Okay, we have ball point pens now. No need to use class time to learn how to use a fountain pen."

I always hated the teachers that wouldn't let us use the advanced functions of our TI-85's.  It saved time and made me smarter. Same with a resource like wikipedia. What people are going to have to learn is how to better quickly evaluate the degree of tint and accuracy to the information they are looking at.

Ok, I think the first test post went well. I found at least 10 things I want to make better with this plugin before I share it with any other users. 


Offline Google Reader

Here is a little glitch I ran into with Google Reader. I’m hopeful someone on that team picks this up, but maybe I’m giving their bug/idea search too much credit.

The problem is that Google reader isn’t always ready to go offline.  Before my most recent flight to Dallas I installed Gears and tested switching between "go online" and "go offline" modes. At home it seemed to work great, but the system allowed for some human error that would be easy to fix.

The error is that I forgot to "go offline" before I left.  Then, when I opened my browser it failed to load the Google reader page. Maybe there is some trick I’m missing, but I thought the point of gears was the blur the line between a thin and think clients on the web.  Ideally, Google reader would be constantly downloading my items in the background so that it’s ready whenever my Internet connection fails. It shouldn’t require any planning or foresight on my part. Today it was a plane ride that I knew about, but tomorrow it could just be a "Comcastic" outage.

Fixing The Problem with Niche Communities and Sub-Groups

In the next release Community Server will support "Groups".  I love the feature, but it could create a new problem for community site managers.  How do you manage the creation and population of these sub-communities on your site? 

I tend to agree with Sean and believe that Facebook does a terrible job of this.  And it’s surprising to me because of the way they manage some of the groups functionality.  For example:

Several Telligenti have submitted a request to create a private e-mail based group ala the @Microsoft.com group for folks at Telligent. We don’t get any reply to our request. No follow-up, explanation, or guidance on how to proceed. Facebook is clearly protective about allowing more .com groups on their site outside of the big guys.

The counter example to this controlled growth is found in their general groups functionality where anyone can create, join, and manage their own group.  I think about the only value here, from my experience, is the often humerous group titles that show up in your news feed when a friend joins a group like "When I was your age Pluto was a planet".  After that initial set-up nothing generally happens in the group.  So what’s missing?

What’s missing is one part crticial mass and one part being drawn back into groups like you are drawn back to your facebook profile. Group specific events rarely show up in your news feed and that means you don’t tend to go back.  That problem is easy to solve, but what about the critical mass question.

Lets say, for the sake of argument, that I’m a Red Sox fan.  Lets search for a group to join.  there are over 500 results in the group category of search results. The first page of results is a scattered mess with indistinguishable groups that range between 7 to 5000+ members.  Which group should I join?  Facebook, or any other site that allows groups needs to solve the problem and there are several ways to do it.

1. Allow groups to be sponsored and show them on top. 

This may sound like selling out, but there is value to this. The Red Sox would probably pay Facebook handsomely to sponsor a group. Their official fan groups would be on top of the search results, fans could connect to the Red Sox more closely, and it would probably get critical mass to of people to create interesting discussions and content quickly. 

2. Stop letting people create stupid groups or just delete them.

Or at least put some sort of gates around it. Your group inactive for weeks on end.. it gets deleted unless you do something. The "controlled growth" clearly worked well for facebook as the opened from college to college and from corp to corp… why not use that same request methodology here?

3. Strongly suggest merging groups or joining an alternative.

There is plenty of meta-data available to a social site like Facebook that would allow them to create good recommendations of alternative groups to join if you want to create a public group. The group creation page should show people existing groups that match your request at every step of they way.  This could head off the creation of the the 500th Red Sox group.  Once you do create your group how about comparing the properties of that group with other similar public groups and suggesting a group merger?

4. Improve Search Result Ranking.

I’m not sure how Facebook decided to rank the search results, but it’s clearly not by members or activity since there are several very active large groups on pages 3-10 of the search results of my Red Sox example. There are also dead groups on page 1.  People are going to pick a group on the first page… make it the right set. It would be really simple to rank groups by size. People are drawn to a crowd and the problem might solve itself.

So my advice to community managers it to be careful about how you allocate your niche community groups. It can be a powerful feature for both public and private sets of people, but niche doesn’t have to mean zero activity.

Importing your blog into Facebook

Someone asked me today how people where reading my blog on Facebook and if I had to dual-post to my Community Server blog and my facebook account  Well, you don’t.  You can import your blog RSS feed into facebook. Here’s how:

You can import your blog’s RSS feed into facebook as a “note”. Go to your profile on Facebook, drop down new “more” applications from the left sidebar menu.  Choose notes.

On the right hand side you should see an option to import notes or "import a blog". Then you’ll see options for adding an RSS feed. Paste the link to your RSS feed there.  Then, after you blog facebook reads the feed, imports the notes, and notifies your friends.  Cool stuff.