Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Blog Identification Security

This is a follow up to Doug's Post titled Bloggers Anonymous.
It is clear that there is no real anonymity when blogging. However while recognising this fact it is important not to allow information that could be used to steal your identity be made available for the public to find.
Specific items that I would never reveal on a blog site (or any website) include:
Date of Birth
Mother's maiden name
Father's or mother's place of birth.
My place of birth.
Credit card or banking details
Full name if possible
Passport or drivers licence number
Maiden name (for a woman)

Obviously some of this information may be readily available due to the nature of your blog. For example if you blog about your parents or even yourself, then your place of birth and their maiden names may be readily available. However, without being paranoid, try and limit how much you expose - especially in one place.
The more disparate the pieces of information are the less likely identity theft by a stranger will occur. Virtually nothing will stop a determined individual stealing your identity. However at least make it hard for the casual person to access this information. As with sexually transmitted diseases the best way to avoid them is abstinence. In this case abstain from publishing this sort of information.

Links relating to reducing the chance of identity theft:
Bullet Proof Your Business
ABA Creative Web Services
Privacy Notes
Attorney General of Texas
The United States Federal Credit Union

Some more interesting reading regarding online banking security by Jeremy Wagstaff.

Monday, March 28, 2005


Great news!
I have been picked up by Robin Good from to have my content syndicated.
Watch this space for further news.
Thanks to Darren from ProBlogger for setting me on the right path.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Bloggers Anonymous

Blogging can be addictive. The exhibitionist in a blogger comes out as we blab our deepest thoughts, feelings and actions to the entire world of strangers, friends and family. All these thoughts are easily found through a Google ego search.

Anoniminity on the Internet is hard to come by. Your computer is identified by an IP address and these addresses are recorded in statistics logs and ISP billing/access logs. A programming varible used by languages such as ColdFusion, PHP and Active Server Pages is called CGI.REMOTE_ADDR and each webserver you visit holds your IP address in that variable so even the most beginner programmer can print it on the screen or make decisions based on that address. Your identity is safe. For most people this IP address changes regularly and it gives no access to your personal information and no access to your computer.

How does the IP address impact you then? If you access a website and post a message and someone had the legal right to track you down that person or agency could request the server logs of the website where you posted the message. Using the time that the message was posted and the IP address that agency could then contact your ISP and use their billing logs to figure out who was connected through that IP address at the time of the post. Even if you go to the library to post through a publically accessible terminal the library would have used your library card to give you access to the terminal and that access is logged.

But that is not the kind of anoniminity we began discussing. If you post to your blog using a code name isn't it anonymous to the average user? I content that it is not. Eventually you are going to post something that you want someone else, like your wife, to read. Once you've let them see that you have a blog it is no longer anonymous. Tell a secret to one person and it so no longer a secret. Now that person might not be keeping an anonymous blog and links back to you. Suddenly everyone in the world can search straight to you via your wife.

Let's say you never tell anyone. The postings and stories you tell eventually will identify you. We all have unique lives. At some time someone is going to run across your blog by searching for something unique to you and put two and two together. "Hey Bob! I read a blog today about a guy that won the xyz championship while wearing blue boxers. Aren't you the only person that has ever done that?"

As you post remember that you are publishing into the public's eye. If you want to write something private and anonymous perhaps it should go in a paper diary that stays in a safe.

Blogger tells us How Not To Get Fired and everyone should be familiar with the famous story of a MS Employee Fired Because of Blog.

djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and consult's as Superior Internet Designs

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

What is PageRank and why is Google's ranking important?

PageRank™, named for Google's Larry Page who helped Sergey Brin develop the system at Stanford University, is an exclusive technology of Google which evaluates the popularity of your Website's pages by rating it between 0 and 10 with zero being little to no links to your site and 10 being Google (super, ultra, heavily linked).

Google shows PageRank for each visited site on its freely available Google Toolbar. For Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape® 7.x users Google encourages installing the open-source Googlebar (not sure if this one shows page rank). There is also an extension for FireFox called Google Pankrank Status which will display the pagerank for the website you are visiting in your browser's status bar.

If you are adverse to installing a toolbar or extension to get the pagerank, some sites such as MyPageRank will report the ranking for you.

Why is PageRank important? Pagerank partly determines your placement in Google's results. Google's technology overview assures "human tampering with our results extremely difficult" and "no one can buy a higher PageRank." MyNippon on eBusiness blog advises to concentrate on good content and good products.

PageRank is heavily biased in favor of already popular web pages by making them even more popular (since they get found more often, they get linked more often). So what happens is that some websites continue to have low PageRank even if they have better content and new pages (with excellent content) may never be found in a search.
MyNippon further recommends marketing your website. Companies like Superior Internet Designs can be contracted for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Some companies such as Adagio Teas view PankRank so important that they give away free product to increase their pagerank. Be aware that if you post your link to Adagio Teas in a post rather than in a permantently viewable part of your page they will only send you 1 tea. Read about Cathy's experience, Catawampus, and Zero Boss.

Mark Maughan viewed PageRank so importantly that he sued Google. (a clearer picture)

Peter Surna in June of 2003 showed us the numbers behind Google's PageRank and decried PageRank as useless unless you are writing an Internet search engine.

I close leaving the importance of PageRank for you to decide. I know two things. One, the higher my pagerank the more tea I'll receive; and two, this post helped several people's pagerank (create links whenever you can!).
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and he consults as Superior Internet Designs

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Blogging with your eyes opened

Its amazing what happens when you blog with your eyes open. Contributing writer djuggler from Reality Me just found out today (after prompting from me to look) that there is a litle toolbar above the place where you write your blog post. This contains a hyperlink tool, bold and italic formatting, blockqotes, a spell checker and image insertion tool.
Additionally in the settings you can turn on more tools by turning on the wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editor.

Expect the quality of his already amazing blog to increase as he avails himself of these little features.

What caused hits when?

Boing Boing discusses blogosphere traffic spikes. The original story requires a login and Boing Boing suggests username "boingboingdotnet" password "boingboing" or you can go to Bug Me Not for a login.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Google Adsense License Agreement Change

Google has updated their license agreement.

If you would like to see the license agreement before logging into your Adsense account and having to accept it, click to view.

Google Adsense now supports direct deposits

If you do not want to wait for a check from the Google Adsense program then you can sign up to participate in the EFT Beta. EFT is currently offered in 15 countries:

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United States
Electronic Funds Transfer means you don't have to run to the bank after waiting 2-3 weeks for a check to arrive in the mail.

Addicted to blogging?

You tell me - I counted today - I have 33 blogs in my dasboard. Admittedly there's a few there I don't contribute to as I have just helped the person set them up and tweaked settings for them. I also have 3 drupal sites I manage so far with 2-3 more coming in the near future.
However the traffic is building. the clicks on google ads are increasing and money is being made. The more I develop, and the more I can find co-contributors for - the more I will make.

Are you interesting in writing for the Spy Journal sites? Do you have an idea for the hints and tips site that we could do together? Let me know by email or in the comments and we can talk turkey.

Monday, March 14, 2005

How to get rich from your blog

The internetslacker writes this satire on How To Get Rich & Famous From Your "Job-Blog" Thanks to Bacon and Eh's for the link!

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Blogging is good for your career

Many mainstream news agencies have reported on the dangers of blogging and how it could get you fired. Do you personally know anyone, other than Dooce, that has been fired for blogging?

We have written about the potential negative consequences of blogging in "Queen of Sky Blogger got sacked" Nov 9, 2004; " Expect Your Blog To Be Read" Jan 4, 2005; " Blogging either for or about a company" Jan 8, 2005; and " Careful what you post - don't lose your job!" Feb 16, 2005. I am very excited that Boing Boing points out this article by Tim Bray explains why blogging is good for your career.

Tim Bray says "blogging is a career-booster" and gives these 10 reasons:

  1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.
  2. You have to get noticed to get hired.
  3. It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”
  4. No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.
  5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.
  6. Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.
  7. Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.
  8. If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.
  9. If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.
  10. It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.
Tim Bray continues by boldly stating "I’m increasingly convinced that it’s a good idea to let your employees blog" and suggests that your company read his posts about The Sun's Policy and how they got it. I like his closing statement regarding mainstream media's fascination with bloggers being fired: "If I were cynical and paranoid, I’d suspect that the media running these stories were frightened of something."
djuggler's personal blog is Reality Me and consults as Superior Internet Designs.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Traps for 'big name' bloggers or when you shoot your mouth off

Robert Scoble - whose blog I read and enjoy - is Microsoft's Uber Blogger and Evangelist. However he landed himself in spomehot water when he stated categorically that [emphasis his] "Sorry, if you do a marketing site and you don't have an RSS feed today you should be fired. I'll say it again. You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed."

Well Michael Gartenberg from Jupiter Research very nicely disagrees. His explanation is well thought out and rational, the opposite of most of Scobles blog posts that are passionate and creative.

The moral is to either be careful what you say on your site; think through the results and impacts of what you say (just as in real life) or post in the heat of passion, but be prepared to face the consequences.

Thanks to the Business Blog Consulting for the tip on the comments.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Blog round up

Bunch of blogs and websites I have read recently:
Kinky Friedman
Real Live Preacher
The Main Point
Virtual Doug

Friday, March 04, 2005

New Drupal Site

I have made another website with Drupal.
Still under construction the Millerfamily Web site was set up in less than two hours including the additional modules added to the database and the photo gallery added. Yet to do is tweak the taxonomy (categories) and then a face lift - attack the css file and and add a banner across the top. This I will do when I have time...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Humorously Describe Your Blog

Blog threat levels are a fun way to "warn" people about your style of blogging.

Many fun blog additions such as the Blog Threat Level exist. Enjoy using them but be wary of cluttering your blog with too many such add-ons as a cluttered layout is hard to read and distracting. Also, too many references to other sites and too much graphical content could cause significant slow downs on your load time. You may have a lightning fast broadband connection but many people still dial up to the Internet. Don't lose readership to slow load times.