Amy\’s Grab Bag, Oct. 27

I’m finally back home in Colorado after two weeks on the east coast. While playing catch-up, I checked the CONTENTIOUS to-do folder of my Furl archive (that’s all the stuff I’ve saved to blog about). Wow, there’s a whopping 93 items in there! Guess it’s time for another grab bag posting to starting clearing these out of the way.

TOP OF THIS LIST: Write Right: Polishing Your E-Learning Prose, by Laura Francis, Learning Circuits, April 2001: This article isn’t new, but it’s incredibly practical. I’m sad to say that the e-learning field truly needs all the content-quality help it can get!

Read the rest of this list. Once again I’m organizing these items by topic….


  1. Popular Demand: More Strategy, Less Tech Stuff, by Fredrik WackÃ¥, Corporate Blogging Blog, Oct. 6: In a recent course he gave on writing for the web, Fredrik explained blogging. The audience got the concept, but it seems that they’re far more interested in the practical “so what” of blogging strategy than the technology of blogging.
  2. Fake blogs, true buzz, by Dennis Nishi, Chicago Tribune, Oct. 9. Man, I wish I’d blogged this when it first came out, because it’s no longer publicly accessible for free on the Tribune’s site. Good thing I Furled it, so at least I have my own copy. You can buy a copy from the Chicago Tribune archives. Anyway, we all knew this was coming: Fake blogs, designed to get a buzz going or sway public opinion. Sleazy, but inevitable.
  3. Washington Post, Reader’s Choice Awards: Best Blogs: Politics and Elections. It’s a great list.


  1. Learn how to implement an effective web style guide, by Gerry McGovern, New Thinking, May 17.


  1. Designing Courses: Instructional Design for Online Learning: This is an extensive and incredibly practical collection of articles, many of which concern content and editorial considerations for online courses.


  1. BloggerCon: This is an unusual and intriguing conference series that I’d really like to attend sometime. The third BloggerCon is happening Nov. 6, 2004, 8am-6pm, at Stanford Law School ( Standford, CA). The focus is on discussion, and it aims to overcome the standard panel/audience dualism. Sounds cool.
  2. Web 2.0 Conference Coverage: This conference was held Oct. 5-7 in San Francisco, and by all accounts it was an intense brainfood feeding frenzy. Speakers included Mitch Kapor (Lotus Development Corp.), Jerry Yang (Yahoo), Jeff Bezos (, and lots of average geeks too.


  1. Chilling Speech: Where Are Big Media?, by Dan Gillmor, We the Media, Oct. 10: A poignant comment on the recent FBI seizure of servers hosting sites run by the Independent Media Center (UK). More on this from, Oct. 21.
  2. News Media vs. Journalism, by Tim Porter, First Draft, Sept. 29. Excerpt: “The ‘news media,’ singular, is an ever-growing, ill-defined collection of broadcasters, scribblers, shouters, saints and sinners, many operating purely out of self-interest, that, collectively, demands public attention and, individually, competes amongst itself for it, but is increasingly distrusted despite – or perhaps because of – all efforts to win public confidence. ‘Journalism’ is a subset of that clamor, something committed more or less intentionally and falling at various times on all points of the scale that extends from rubbish (some) to mediocrity (a lot) to excellence (a few). We need less ‘news media’ and more journalism – and only the journalists can make that happen…”
  3. Letters Editors Flummoxed Over Weed-Like ‘Astroturf’ Growth, by Mark Glaser, Online Journalism Review, Aug. 24. Excerpt: “Thanks to spiffy online tools, people can send multiple letters to editors – sometimes with the same, PR-generated copy. The embarrassment of separate astroturf form letters promoting Bush and “Fahrenheit 9/11″ has editors steamed and searching for an online solution.”
  4. Journalism Is Itself a Religion, by Jay Rosen, PressThink, Jan. 7. Excerpt: “The newsroom is a nest of believers if we include believers in journalism itself. There is a religion of the press. There is also a priesthood. And there can be a crisis of faith.”


  1. Podcasting and the future of everything, by Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, Oct. 4: As I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently gotten very into podcasting, which is nothing more than audio programming that you can download from the web, via webfeed enclosures, store on your portable MP3 player (iPod, whatever), and take with you. I’ll explain it all better later after I sort through the technology and the hype more. But if you’re already clued in to podcasting, don’t miss this thoughtful article. (Thanks to New Media Hack for this link.)
  2. FeedsterTV: “Rich media” webfeeds, including some podcasts. That’s how I found Random Bytes.


  1. Monthly Bill Fatigue, by Christopher Stern, Washington Post, Oct. 10. Excerpt: “Economists and academics are beginning to grow concerned about Americans’ willingness to cede a regular chunk of their monthly paychecks to new conveniences and services, saying it is taking a serious bite out of discretionary spending, a key driver of the nation’s economy. They also worry that new services are contributing to a growing divide between consumers who have the means to secure special treatment, such as access to free-rolling highway lanes, while others are stuck in bumper-to-bumper standstills.”


  1. Can’t Find On Google: This bulletin board-style resource (the brainchild of Wayne Radinsky), is inherently spotty but very cool. Have you ever tried to find something via Google but simply couldn’t get the results you needed? This is the place where you can post what you were looking for and which queries you tried in Google. Others can respond with additional help or insight that may help you find what you want. (Thanks to Larry Larsen for this link.)
  2. Newzie: Yes another fun toy I haven’t had time to play with. It’s a webfeed reader with a couple of cool special features: “informative visualization” and “reader preferences.” (Thanks to Fr@’s BlogThis’s for this link.)


  1. RSS Syndication Made Simple, Really, by Steve Rubel, MicroPersuasion, Oct. 6: This is a boiled-down version of a great how-to webinar that Steve gave recently for the Public Relations Society of America.
  2. Webfeeds for (not quite) everything, Cutting Through, Oct. 4: Tim Duckett explains how demonstrates how NOT to deploy webfeeds. Sometimes it’s just chaos.
  3. Should All Sites Syndicate?, by Zachary Rodgers, ClickZ, Oct. 4: Not particularly earth-shattering or newsy, but a good overview with plenty of perspectives to consider.
  4. Whither Winer’s webfeed newbie forum? Back on May 28 I noted that Dave Winer, one of the highest-profile creators of the RSS standard (the most popular flavor of webfeed) had launched At the time I was very happy to see this, since webfeed newbies really do need a lot of guidance. This medium isn’t yet as easy as it needs to be to become truly widespread. However, that site appears to currently be dead – the last posting to the blog there was July 21. I know Dave’s a busy guy, but I’m sad to see this lapse. Could someone else maybe take that over? It’s a shame to let it drop.