Posts relating to this site – changes and other adminny stuff. Yes, adminny is a word. Shut up.
Jan 25, 2011 Comments Off
When I started blogging at the beginning of 2000, most bloggers had a brand, which was very rarely their name, but was the name by which they became known. And so it continued over the next few years. Prolific. Plasticbag. Minor9th. Digitaltrickery. Dutchbint. Whereveryouare. Kitschbitch. TroubledDiva. Littleredboat. I was notsosoft, then a few years later this site was born – meish, a play on me(ish). Like me, but not quite.
Over the last few years especially, I’ve struggled to reconcile blogging Meg and working Meg. Blogging was always a thing which was nothing to do with my professional life, and even as my work became more and more about blogging (and social media, digital engagement, publishing, storytelling and so on), I somehow felt that I had to keep the two separate.
But that doesn’t really work anymore. My work and personal interests are so blurred now, it feels rather artificial to keep them apart.
So I’ve resolved to get back into the blogging groove this year. And because so much of what I want to write about seems to be about things that are pertinent to both my personal and professional worlds, I’ve started writing again over at megpickard.com, my sort of professional site, which for the last four years or so has just been a place for people to find me online and a list of upcoming/previous talks and the like.
So there we go. I’m moving some of the pertinent archives over, and future blogging is shifting from meish.org to megpickard.com – from me(ish) to me.
See you there, I hope.
Feb 27, 2010 12
I missed the actual tenth birthday of this blog/me blogging but I can’t let a milestone like that go unmarked, can I?
Originally started as a place to store and share links, this blog gradually became a place to playfully interact with the world, and over time that turned from introspection to exploration of the world, media, experiences and ideas. I don’t think I’m alone in that kind of journey with blogs.
I am immensely (unreasonably, perhaps even pathetically) proud of having been blogging for so long. I can say confidently that I was in at the beginning, when all this were fields. I was here before many of you young whippersnappers who have gone on to eclipse me, and blogging, and the web entirely in their success and influence. I don’t put my early involvement down to canny prescience about the way the web was turning so much as an inevitability given my proclivity for tinkering with web things, my early academic and personal interest in communicating online and my inability to shut up. Blogging and me; it was only a matter of time and technology before we found each other.
I was there. I remember the start, and the hype, popularisation, commercialisation and ubiquitisation which followed. I couldn’t possibly have known it at the time, but my blogging was to introduce me to dozens of interesting people, influence others to start doing it too, cause interesting opportunities (and worrying situations) to develop. Blogging has become part of what I am, what I do. I blog now for the same reasons I did in early 2000: because I can’t not tinker with and publish to the web.
Ten years ago, I was embarrassed to mention having a blog in polite company, because it was so difficult to understand – not just what but why. These days, even both my parents have blogs. It’s not a weird niche oddball geek thing anymore. It’s so normal it’s almost passé. Good.
Mar 1, 2009 5
I’ve been doing a little spring cleaning through a fog of sleepiness, with the following results:
- New design! Heavily based on Grid Focus theme, but borrowing header elements (principally, the way the Flickr images are displayed) from Derek Powazek’s excellent DePo clean. I hope it’s easier to read and navigate.
- Avatars! If you have a gravatar (or you’ve got an avatar with wordpress.com) then it should show up next to your comment, if you leave one.
- Registration! If you’re a regular reader, you can go here and register on this site, which gives you precisely NO perks and NO special exciting stuff, but may at some point in the future do something more interesting. In the meantime, why not?
- Sharing! While some would say that the web managed to function perfectly well without social bookmarking buttons on sites, I say why let a little innovation come between friends? At the bottom of every post you should now see a button which says “share..”, the clicking of which should make it easier than ever for you to syndicate any meish.org links onto twitter, facebook, your own blog, delicious and dozens of other social curation and creation sites which we never knew existed until now.
- Custom greetings based on referrer! Thanks to the clever WP Greet Box plugin, people arriving at specific posts here from Twitter, Delicious, search engines and the like are greeted by a special little hello. The rest of you shouldn’t get anything at all. Sorry. I can make you a cake if you want, though?
- Subscribe to comments! Exactly what it says on the tin! You can tick a box in the comment-submission place to be alerted when someone leaves a comment after yours on a particular thread. Never again will you need suffer a sleepless night of wondering whether anyone commented after you.
- Now with added duck! With over nine years of wibbling on this site, there’s no sensible way to navigate through the archives, so I figured we might as well have a daft way instead. Lightly caress the duck at the top right of each page to be taken to a random post from the archives. Hours of mindless time-wasting await you!
Phew. Time for a sit down and a cup of tea, I think.
Thoughts, comments, suggestions and chocolate biccies to the usual place, please.
May 7, 2008 18
Being a list of things which I’ve been meaning to write about here or elsewhere, but haven’t had a moment.
- New forms of storytelling
- The rise of the renaissance journalist
- Hotel life
- Why I don’t write much about work here
- Flickr video
- Personality blogs and the cult of the meme (pron: Me! Me!)
- On returning to Canada
- Agile development – the business/product owner’s perspective
- Being hobbled by technology
- Some new commandments for polite living
- Team operating agreements
Hopefully, by putting these out here in public I will be shamed into actually finishing one of these posts (currently on draft). Please feel entirely free to hassle me in the comments into actually completing one or any of these. It might just work.
In the meantime, here’s a picture of someone examining Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth at the Tate Modern.
Sometimes we all feel like we’re in danger of falling into a hole in the ground.
Feb 3, 2008 9
I’m chuffed to bits to announce the relaunch of the Anti-Valentine cards for silly season 2008.
There’s been a lot of work behind the scenes by the lovely P to make the card-sending functionality scale, which hopefully means that this year there’ll be no server drama (just the ginormous bandwidth bill, as usual).
You’ll notice, too, that I’ve revamped the card designs, so they’re clearer and bigger than before. The old designs had been cobbled together so long ago (2001!) that it was definitely time for a fresh coat of paint.
The keen-eyed among you may also spot that I’ve removed some of the old cards from the pack – there were some which were just mean, and while I still think certain people might benefit from a card saying “stop talking about your fucking wedding” (not you, though – you’re lovely), I don’t want to propagate people being mean or hurtful to each other via the internet. It’s not cool, and no-one thinks you’re cleverer for it.
Anyway, it’s up, as ever at http://meish.org/vd/ (though you’ll notice that this redirects to vd.meish.org – something to do with the way we’re serving the application this year, don’t worry about that) and since this site’s still waiting re-insertion into google, please link link link. Thank you!
(Oh, and if you want to link to it graphically, please steal the image above, or one of the smaller ones, below the fold!)
Read the rest of this entry »
Jan 21, 2008 21
I’d just like to dedicate a few words to the evil fucktards whose ceaseless web activity in pursuit of valuable cents of revenue causes misery and irritation to normal web creators and users through its clumsiness, intrusion and pervasiveness.
This one goes out to the crumulous nork-handlers who figured out that they could somehow break into my wordpress installation and invisibly place hundreds – no, thousands - of links to medication and (ahem) “enhancement” sites in the footer section of every page.
Because of them, every page on this site has now been removed from Google’s database. [Update: looks like it's back, but who knows how long that'll last] [Further Update: ...aaaaand I'm gone again]
This doesn’t just mean people won’t find my nine years of inane wittering – they can probably manage without, I’m sure – but it does mean that anyone using Google to look for, say, anti-valentine cards this February, which I wrote about only the other day, won’t find them here. They’ll be here alright, but they won’t be findable via Google.
Furthermore, and unrelated except in idiocy, I’d like to offer a few words to the skull-felching twuntbadgers who have, over the last few months but especially the last two weeks, been spoofing variations on my meish.org domain as a “sent from” address on spam for products and containing viruses and more. This has had the twin effect of
1) making mail from meish.org pretty much blacklisted all over the web, which
1a) has a knock on effect for sending out the VD cards, as you might imagine
2) causing me to have to deal with an average of 6000 bounced/out of office replies per day which
2a) meant that google actually stopped accepting mail for me at one point.
Of these effects, by for the most irritating is the first, because it basically means I can’t email anyone using the meish.org domain anymore.
So basically, due to the cent-hungry fucktitude of a growing army of hackers, SEO spammers, mail fraudsters and antisocial buffoons, this site is pretty much dead.
Thanks. Please die – quickly or slowly, I don’t mind which, as long as it results in your swift removal from the planet. You’re taking up space and wasting resources which are precious enough to begin with.
Meanwhile, I may move.
Jul 30, 2007 3
Although I’ve been doing a lot of tidying up of the archives (which you shouldn’t notice, if I’ve been doing it right), there comes a point with any site where the archives can no longer be navigated in any meaningful way, but rather, must be discovered.
Sure, there are the archives – which can be browsed by category and date – and the search box on the top right of every page is pretty nifty (and mostly accurate), but there are coming up for eight years of content here now, which means that it’s harder to make content findable unless you know what you’re looking for. This is mostly because while topics and dates are very handy classification foundations, the next steps they enable are just too big – there’s a lot posted in any particular month, and a lot in each category.
If I thought I was going to be able to devote proper time to it, then I’d think hard about tagging. But that’s going to be an almighty pain in the arse to do manually. Tagyu might have been the answer, enabling automagic tagging of content, but it’s been retired, and TagAssist is still just a gleam in someone’s eye for the moment. I’ve also thought about outsourcing the work to readers – a folksonomic approach might be interesting to consider: asking readers to suggest classifications or tags for posts – but it could get out of control very quickly.
So in the absence of any findability solutions for the moment, I decided to go the opposite direction: random discoverability.
A while ago I implemented a wordpress plugin which allowed visitors (and me) to jump to random blog entries and pages on this site. I forgot to actually do anything about it at the time (beyond clicking it a few times and going “Hey! Cool!”), so without further ado – and until someone invents the blog archive equivalent of a flying car – I invite you to take a Megical mystery tour – just click on the hypnotic button below to be sent to a far flung and random corner of this site. Your mileage may vary.
Jul 21, 2007 3
I’ve just added two long-overdue links to the navigation at the top of this (and every) page: you’ll now see a link to my scrapbook (on tumblr) and my photos (on flickr).
I’ve done this by making pages in WordPress, and using the Page Links To plugin, which allows me to auto redirect pages to external URIs. In this way, I’ve been able to bring my presence on these two external services – which I use all the time – to be part of the navigation on this site. Sweet!
Of course, what I *really* want is a tumblr plugin, or export function from tumblr which enables a days posts to be exported a la del.icio.us and posted in the main blog…
If you haven’t already, please do pop over to my scrapbook and check ouot some of the stuff I’ve stumbled across recently. It won’t tell you much about my state of mind at the moment, but it might provide you with a few idle clicks on a boring wet afternoon….
Jun 12, 2007 4
The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that I’ve also added a little link to Moreish – my tumblog, which can be found at http://megpickard.tumblr.com/, which is a different sort of collection of stuff altogether.
In the spirit of Humphrey Littleton introducing One Song To The Tune Of Another on ISHAC: if my wanderings around the web were a trip abroad, then….
…this blog would be the wordy What I did On My Summer Holiday post-return writeup, mixed up with various fieldnotes scrawled in the margins of whatever I’d been reading beside the pool.
My Flickr images would (natch) be my incredibly tedious slideshow which I would inflict on the neighbours at great length. My del.icio.us links would be like the post it notes I’d stuck into the back of the guidebook and scribbled in my moleskin as I traipsed about the foreign city.
My last.fm profile would recount
my soundtrack on my ipod as I climbed the steps to the castle and lazed on the balcony.
And my tumblog is the scrapbook I cobbled together out of found objects and contextless stuff from the journey – a tram ticket; a remembered scene; the wrapper of a candy bar with a silly name; a timetable; an overheard snippet of conversation in a taverna.
It’s a collection of found digital ephemera, 98% presented without context or explanation.
I wish there was a Tumblr WP plugin, though – or a way to sneak it in to my regular postings like with del.icio.us links.
Anyway, I wanted to point it out in case you hadn’t found it.
And here’s something I dug out this afternoon which I think is very cool indeed:
(Unrelated: I always want to pluralise sidebar to sidebÃ¤ren, like GummibÃ¤ren)
Jun 4, 2007 6
A while back, while searching for something else entirely, I saw a WP plugin in use on someone’s random site which welcomed visitors arriving via search engine referrals specifically, saying “Hello, you got here looking for…” which I thought was a neat (in the British sense) way of supporting & managing all those random one-off visitors who find there way in through searches for particular phrases or places, or names.
Of course, when I tried to look for the plugin itself, I couldn’t find it. Oh, the irony.
So in the background, I’ve been trying to write a snippet of code which would sniff out a referring search term and do the honours for me. Time’s not been on my side, though, so I haven’t finished it yet.
…and just as well, because partly inspired by Matt Haughey’s excellent article on the subject, I discovered via feedreader this morning that the lovely Pete Ashton had found a WP-Plugin to do not exactly the same thing, but similar, showing a welcome message (and serving ads to) first-time visitors, which disappears on subsequent visits. And the fact that it’s a plugin meant that it took approximately 3 minutes to install, including starting the FTP client and making a cup of tea (optional).
So, if you’re coming here for the first time (or the first time since I implemented the plugin this morning) then you’ll see an ad above the first post on the page. When you return to the page, it should be gone, via the magic of cookies. If you don’t have cookies set on your machine, then it will always remain, though, because it checks for the presence of the cookie before showing the message and ad.
And, before anyone accuses me of selling out, I implemented the ad in that spot as well because given that there’s over seven and a half years of content on this site, it appears in a lot of web search results for all sorts of things, and as a result (no pun intended) about half my daily visitors are transients, though some are converted and come back. Which is nice. Hello!