Tag Archives: blog

The best sports website – SB Nation – gets a new design

SB Nation is the hidden gem you’ve never heard of. The 3-year old site has 316 blogs – one for every sports team – and is run by rabid fans, not paid writers. The one I follow – with about 200 other crazy UCLA fans – is Bruins Nation and it’s incredible. Calling it a blog isn’t right, it’s more of a website with many features. There are editor articles, fan articles, and fan shots – where you can share pictures, links, video, and quotes.

My two favorite elements of Bruins Nation are the analysis pieces from the editors – weekly grades after the game and a unit-by-unit breakdown of upcoming opponents – and the fan shots where I can find all those random, and awesome, links only true fans would find. A combination of dedicated, but volunteer, writers and fan contributions that make SB Nation a special place.

Today, the site is undergoing a major renovation – called SB Nation United or SB Nation 3.0 - with the goal of creating a common look across the site. New logos were created with the same size and format – though, each has its own team-defining illustration and colors. And a new article and front-page layout that finally brings the site into the modern internet era. The old one was very functional, but cluttered and hard-to-use.

Find your team in the SB Nation Directory, and here is the new look for SB Nation and Bruins Nation, and a few of the new logos.

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WordPress upgrades to ‘intelligent proofreading’ for spelling, grammar, and style suggestions

I have to say this is pretty amazing. The WordPress blogging platform now offers artificial intelligence for proofreading, and we’re not talking any old spell checker.

Here is what this “intelligent proofreading” covers:

  • Bias language
  • Clichés
  • Complex phrases
  • Diacritical marks
  • Double negatives
  • Hidden verbs
  • Jargon phrases
  • Passive voice
  • Phrases to avoid
  • Redundant phrases

 

I bet this already exist in MS Word or Apple Pages, but I’ve never seen this on the web. It is taking my editing to a whole new level…in color:

The proofreading feature checks spelling, misused words, grammar, and style. You can tell the type of error by its color.

  • Misused words and spelling errors are red
  • Grammar mistakes are green
  • Style suggestions are blue

 

For anyone who self-publishes on the web this is “just what the doctor ordered.” There is only so many times you can proofread your own content.

A little research shows that this feature is available using the JetPack plugin and comes from the technology After the Deadline which was purchased by WordPress.

 

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Kara Swisher turns the Yahoo! drama into a soap opera – and it’s too much fun!

Boy, have I got a soap opera for you. It’s a saga of tech nerdery and an old-school company trying to reinvent itself.

The story starts with Kara Swisher, of All Things D, who has gone gaga over the hiring of Marissa Mayer as Yahoo’s CEO. In the 37 days since the announcement (July 16, 2012) she has personally written 32 articles.

Each one with a title full of pizzazz and humorous photos (of mostly cats). The content is all serious and interesting to read as Marissa seems to be hitting all the right notes. But, the way Kara is playing it out is just too much fun.

Take a look at the titles below and you will see what I mean:

 

This Week in MarissYa: iPhones for All, Flickr Love and Management Musical Chairs

With Nearly 10 Percent Drop in Week After Alibaba Cash Switch, Yahoo Shareholders in “Marissery”

 

Mine! Mine! All Mine! Yahoo Says It Might Just Keep Those Alibaba Billions, Rather Than Giving the $ Back to Shareholders.

Mayer Will Extend Free Food to NYC Too, While “What Is Yahoo?” Question Is Hereby Banish’d

 

Here’s the Do-Not-Forward Mayer Memo Bidding Goodbye to Ross “The Hair” Levinsohn From Yahoo (His Farewell and SEC Docs, Too)

In Week Two, Marissa Mayer Googifies Yahoo: Free Food! Friday Afternoon All-Hands! New Work Spaces! Fab Swag!

 

“Yes, Keep Moving”: Marissa Mayer’s First Memo to Yahoos (Natch!)

 

How about a few hash tags for the drama:

#MarissYa – #Marissery – #Mine!Mine!Mine! – #freefood – #yahooglers – #RossTheHairLevinson – #googifies -#natch!

 

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How the hell did I end up here?

Today, I’ve been thinking about my career as a blogger, asking the question, “how the hell did I end up here?”

I never liked writing essays, stories, or pretty much anything on paper. My grades in English from high school through college were mediocre. Everything changed when I wrote that first blog.

You see I’m a talker, always have been since about age 5. I have this vivid memory of stuttering and being unable to speak my mind. Then my Dad was driving me somewhere, we passed the Delta Center (old name of the Salt Lake City Jazz NBA stadium), and my mind clicked. I was able to say whatever I wanted and instantly started gabbing.

I didn’t stop gabbing, and annoying everyone around me, until I found blogging. It was my perfect place to say whatever I wanted. I loved it.

Coincidentally, I don’t feel the need to talk anymore. It’s all left on the blog and my mind, and relationships, are free to be…well, normal.

At work, things progressed pretty smoothly. I was able to convince my bosses to let me start blogging. It was all about the mission and how to improve our work. They liked it, the community liked it, and I was on my way. The reputation I had built up carried me into my next few jobs where part of why they hired me was the blogging.

Then, finally, it was my job. I was hired to be a corporate blogger. It was a great gig and I was able to do what I loved and get paid for it. The next step occurred to me sometime during that job. Instead of blogging for somebody else, why not do it for myself?

A few months later, on July 1, 2011, I took the plunge. Full-time writing for my own site and my own business, and most especially with my own content.

Of course, this changed everything. I went from corporate sponsorship to advertising based. I had to learn how to write for the public at-large, instead of for a specific group of business people. The transition hasn’t been hard, but I can’t say I’ve found my groove. The main issue is determining how to stand out amongst the millions of websites out there.

Which is where I sit today, trying to find my voice and working on building some momentum for this blog. It feels weird to look-back on my progression like this. There is no way I would have imagined it ending up this way. I mean my job at the time I started blogging was a technical trainer for web 2.0. That’s a pretty solid 90-degree career turn.

I guess that means I don’t know how I got here. It just kinda happened. I’ve been following my obsession with blogging for seven years and have yet to stop. I wonder where it will take me next…

 

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List of engineering blogs from top companies – Twitter, Facebook, Airbnb, Linkedin, Foursquare, Tumblr

RC3. org - A list of engineering blogs

…technology trends of the past few years has been the emergence of engineering blogs. They are, mostly, a recruiting tool, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn a lot about how companies operating at varying levels of maturity and scale go about their business.

A few examples:

  • Building a recommendation engine, foursquare style explains the computational shortcuts you can take when you’re dealing with a lot of data.
  • Creating an interface for geofences is a look at how Flickr built an interesting feature.

 

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Happy 10th Birthday to Daring Fireball – a role model for this blog

Happy 10th birthday, John Gruber, of the curation blog, Daring Fireball. A role model of mine in both style and eccentricity. I hope to one day achieve your level of excellence and also prove to the world that being a blogger can provide a happy life for me and my family.

A fellow writer, Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic, also pays tribute to Daring Fireball:

This, from a 2008 interview, is still a better articulation of the joy of reading great sequential writing than you’ll regularly find:

Gruber: I’ve always enjoyed the way that with good columnists, it’s not just that their individual articles stand on their own, but that there’s something greater than the sum of the parts when you follow them as a regular reader.

And he can still better articulate what’s fun and compelling about link-sharing (which he’s been doing since before we deemed it curation) than anyone. From the same interview:

Gruber: There’s a certain pace and rhythm to what I’m going for [when I share links], a mix of the technical, the artful, the thoughtful, and the absurd. In the same way that I strive to achieve a certain voice in my prose, as a writer, I strive for a certain voice with regard to what I link to. No single item I post to the Linked List is all that important. It’s the mix, the gestalt of an entire day’s worth taken together, that matters to me.

 

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Google puts its self-driving cars to use as commuter vehicles

Technology is at its best when it makes people’s lives better, and that’s precisely what we’re going for with our self-driving car project. We’re using advanced computer science to try and make driving safer and more enjoyable.

Our vehicles, of which about a dozen are on the road at any given time, have now completed more than 300,000 miles of testing. They’ve covered a wide range of traffic conditions, and there hasn’t been a single accident under computer control.

We’re encouraged by this progress, but there’s still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter. As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter. One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed.

With each breakthrough we feel more optimistic about delivering this technology to people and dramatically improving their driving experience. We’ll see you on the road!

 

Source: Google - The self-driving car logs more miles on new wheels

 

 

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YouTube adds face blurring to videos – to protect anonymity of activists in troubled countries

As citizens continue to play a critical role in supplying news and human rights footage from around the world, YouTube is committed to creating even better tools to help them. According to the international human rights organization WITNESS’ Cameras Everywhere report, “No video-sharing site or hardware manufacturer currently offers users the option to blur faces or protect identity.”

YouTube is excited to be among the first.

Today we’re launching face blurring – a new tool that allows you to obscure faces within videos with the click of a button.

Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old’s basketball game without broadcasting the children’s faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube.

 

Keep reading: The Official YouTube Blog - Face blurring: when footage requires anonymity

 

 

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