Engadget /verbose

In a previous post I discussed how Engadget appears to be getting more verbose with its posts, making it slower to skim through, and less effecient for obtaining useful information.

This was an observational hunch, until now…

Today, Yuvi has posted a detailed analysis of Engadget from the beginning of Engadget’s existance, and guess what I found…

That’s growing as well. The average number of words per post is now 160, up from just a 100 in May 2004. More words, more posts, more people, more news.

Could that be 60% more verbosity?  Along with an increase of about 25% in the average number of posts per day, that’s twice as much information to read through from when they started, with 37.5%+ of post content being potentially redundant.

Bullet points!

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2 months and 80 entries of Blog fun…

Having been a blog reader for a few years, in the industry for 15 years, and a developer for 25 years, I finally decided to jump in to blogging 2 months ago.  This is my 80th post – woohoo.

A few things I’ve learnt in that 80 days…

1 If you want people to find your blog by searching with IT terms:

  • Post about the news at a specific event
  • Post several posts about the subject over the course of the day – and of course make them useful – this seems to be a good way to stay fresh on something like Technorati
  • Post a summary of highlights as soon as you can, aswell at the end of the event, including links to other people that have written about the event
  • Be sure to use a variety of tags
  • In each post for the day, put the link to your posts with that tag (or to your blog) to encourage readers to read your other posts (which will provide them access to posts you have not yet even written at that point!)
  • Posting from lunch time ET to early evening PT seems to get the most traction
  • Post in the comments of other people who are talking about the event – don’t be shy about including explit URLs if you have written something useful

2 Mutual linking is appreciated by practically everyone.  Referral tacking is bloody useful.

3 Use a rich desktop tool to blog, rather than a web interface which is usually contraining to some extent.

4 Reply to comments.  It is a pity that there’s no good unversal way to be notified of specific replies to one’s comments in the blogosphere.

5 Keep a ‘notepad’ of blogging ideas, because they can be easy to forget and it’s easy to run dry of ideas sometimes.

So with that said, here are some of the posts I’m thinking about soon:

  • The hidden cool kernel features of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008
  • Microsoft’s Universal Communication platform and gadgets
  • Does outsourcing to India work?
  • Popfly alpha review (now that I have a login)
  • If there’s something you’d like me to (attempt to) do a post on, put a comment on this post, and I’ll give it some thought.

What is Engadget?

Apparently, according to an Engadget post today, they got their Apple delay news wrong yesterday.

I think there are two things about Engadget that I’d like to comment on:

  • It’s acting like it is a reporter (which given today’s television news isn’t necessarily a claim I’d want to make), when I thnk it should go with an angle of being a group of geeky enthusiast bloggers.
  • It seems to have become increasingly verbose in each post – not many bullet point specs present – which makes it time consuming to read; more so than it should be.  I just want to see the facts (especially about product reveals and solid availability) rather than creative monologue/opinion.  I know this gives it style (and makes it ‘Engaging’), but it just feels like it’s getting in the way now.

What is Engadget – a review site, a rumour site, a technology commentary site, a gadget launch site?

The apparent statement that Engadget workers can’t have stocks in companies that are reported on is interesting. If Engadget has so much power (in a way that would seem to have precipitated this post today after their apparent mistake) that their commentary can affects markets (and potentially attract investigation), then perhaps it needs to be diluted or dis-integrated in some way.  Perhaps they should just go with the facts, and become more of a central gadget product/service release feed specifically sponsored by the manufacturers, perhaps with a (stock-clean) reviewing service as a separate entity. 

Except for the verbosity, I actually take Engadget as a decent news/rumour feeds for gadget enthusiasts.  I feel though that the line between news and rumour is somewhat for the reader to decide, rather than relying on potentially reported hearsay.  If I see something I like on there, I’m happy that they let me know, but I also go and look for the official product/service page, since without that, it’s not obvious how I can purchase something to add to my horde.

With power does come some responsibility, which one can choose either to deflect (perhaps with disclaimers, footnotes or just a clear standing) or absorb (possibly to build fame, credibility or loyalty) along with the consequences that comes with it.  What will Engadget become (if anything different) and how will it weigh the responsibilities?

In defence of, and wishes for, Channel9

It’s was the new Channel9 in one corner and old Channel9 in the other.

While looking for mix07 rumours I came across this very public personality battle between Robert Scoble and Rory Blyth. It runs through posts and responses over several pages, and happened at the end of March.

Robert is the former figurehead of Microsoft’s Channel9 team. Rory was brought on some time after Robert left.

While some misunderstanding seems to have got this started, it just carries on pointlessly.

Robert was the face (or laugh) synonyms with Channel9. He has a nervous disposition at times and yet can seem bullish and arrogant at others with a suitable ego. These are things that he has absolutely said about himself, and the fact that he will say them often is part of the personality he presents. These are also attributes that are associated with one variety of stereotypical geek IMHO. People like him, as do I.

Rory seems like a good non-Robert-like replacement with a fresh attitude on video. He made some very accurate comments in analysing Robert’s responses during the argument. His mastery of Robert’s personality will likely not change Robert of course. I like Rory too, but he’s now more of an ensemble cast with Charles Torre and Tim Sneath (who is great, but then again he’s British :-P). But then I haven’t had much time for Robert’s new PodTech videos either.

I think Channel9 is not as good since around the time of Robert’s departure. This may be a coincidence. I think there was some dilution that occured with the start of Ten as well. It certainly made me feel like there was too much to keep up with.

I think therefore that the real loser in this public battle was Channel9. It provides access to information for developers (perhaps without as much of a disclaimer as it should for potential feature/product vapourware/delay) that they unfortunately can’t easily find through the regular MSDN channel.

My wish is that Robert will not boast about knowing things about Microsoft that others outside of Microsoft don’t know and that Rory and the other Niners will provide a great service at Channel9 while integrating its content more fully into MSDN.

The last newspaper you’ll ever read…

…unless it needs to go in for repairs.

I’m going at this from a different angle than Robert Scoble.

As much as I’m a gadget and software nut, I recognise that there are still millions of people reading a news paper today, as even more tabloidish as they are on a Sunday.

My angle is about form-factor and consumer device adoption rather than recognising journalism through blogging, etc.

Electronic ink will come along and have a profound effect on the world. One day you (if you read newspapers in paper form today) will acquire a newspaper; it will feel like a newspaper (and you can have the sheet size you want) but it will be the last one you buy (more or less). Its contents will be replaced when the daily newspaper would normally be published. If you don’t have a computer, you’ll do this at the newsagent for a few pennies. It may need also have pages since one sheet or folder out may be enough if you can electronically flick through the pages.

When this happens, it will be adopted by the masses, because it will be an easy substitute and cost far less than a yearly paper subscription. Once the transition has occured then we’ll see the convergence of form-factor between newspaper and PDA like we have today between computer and phone.

I think this, more than the source of the news (which doesn’t necessarily concern the individual newspaper reader today), will affect journalism in a democratising way. This will largely be because the user will be in control of content but in a way that feels familiar.

Later models will animate (perhaps showing video and even maybe sound), have colour and possibly be interactive (at which point you can watch the text book go the same way).

Add wifi/wimax/’wifad’, along with wearable computing and you have a realistic view of the future on what you can expect to see people doing on the train/bus/car(!) within a decade.

So newspapers are not dead, but their form-factor and delivery will almost certainly change.

Hello world!

“Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!”

So off I go, after… years of procrastination, I’m now blogging. I was very keen on writing my own blog application but wordpress will do largely because of three reasons:

  • I’ve seen it evolve and handle Robert Scoble’s blog – not that I expect his traffic.
  • It has a programmatic interface along with manual import/export features should I every change my mind.
  • As much fun as it is to write something from scratch, I’d never get around to it and have more important things to work on.

See the about page to learn more about me.