Google Blog Search

I’ve been saying for a long time that the world needs a good blog search engine, and Erich points out that the people who do search engines best have finally stepped up to the plate and come out with one. Google has just released the first beta (I know… Google has everything in beta) of its blog search.

My favorite blog search engines up to this point have been Mnongo and Technorati. Both are quite good, although competing with Google on the search engine front has proven difficult even for the largest and most powerful technology players. After tinkering with Google Blog Search for a bit, I have to say that it seems pretty good. It’s never quite clear how Google gathers their info and ranks their sites, although they do seem to lend quite a bit of weight to tags.

Here is what Google has to say about it:

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.

Blogs are really quite powerful tools, and I’m glad to see that the world is taking them more and more seriously every day.

Bloggers Run Condoleeza Rice out of NYC

All over the net, people are talking about how the Bush Administration’s failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina might prove to be the downfall of his administration. Based on his failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and the Gulf Coast, it is certainly clear Bush and his Neo-Conservative followers have become damaged goods, and some are even calling for him to “resign in shame“.

While reading Zach’s story “Is Katrina Bush’s Waterloo?” I found a link to a New York Times story that reports how bloggers, demanding answers about the Bush administration’s failure to act, chased Condoleeza Rice out of the city where she had been shopping for shoes and enjoying plays rather than responding to the death and devastation in New Orleans.

It would be one thing if President Bush and his inner circle – Dick Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming; Condi Rice was shoe shopping at Ferragamo’s on Fifth Avenue and attended “Spamalot” before bloggers chased her back to Washington; and Andy Card was off in Maine – lacked empathy but could get the job done. But it is a chilling lack of empathy combined with a stunning lack of efficiency that could make this administration implode.

Everywhere we look, this government has failed us. During his time in office, Bush has staged a war built on lies against an imagined enemy, perpetuated a fear of terrorism in order to exert social control, and eroded our civil rights, while padding the pockets of his executive campaign contributers. There can be no doubt that this administration is corrupt and incompetent, and I, for one, do feel he should resign.

Open Source Radio

last week I listened to “Open Source” on NPR for the first time and I must say, I tuned in with a great deal of anticipation and excitement! “Open Source” is a radio show that uses blogs and internet sources as fodder, bringing the fast-paced independent reporting of the blogosphere to more traditional media outlets. This kind of “Old Media” meets “New Media” is exactly the kind of thing I feel will salvage what is left of unbiased reporting in mainstream journalism, and I was thrilled to hear about the show.

The show “Iraq’s First Fourth Estate” covered Iraqi Director Haydar Daffar’s new documentary film entitled “The Dreams of Sparrows” which was released on May 26th 2005. The film deals with the challenges of rebuilding Iraq, and the effects of long-term combat, violence and strife on the people of that country. The movie appears to be very well made, and extremely effective in delivering its message. You can read more about the documentary, view the trailer, or purchase it on DVD at Harbinger Productions.

In general, I like “Open Source”, but what I did not like is Host Chris Lydon’s propensity to interrupt his guests. For example, while interviewing Director Haydar Daffar from a Baghdad rooftop, with marginal cell phone reception he repeatedly asked “Are you still with us?”, interspursed with as many as three rapid-fire questions at a time. Daffar was dealing with a three to four second voice delay, a terrible phone signal, and a somewhat limited ability to speak English, while trying his best to answer quickly delivered, ambiguous questions like: “What were you looking for?”, “What did you find?”, and “What were the rules?”

Daffar had no chance of answering these questions, and it very much detracted from what was otherwise a very interesting and well put together show. “Open Source” has a great deal of potential, and I think it is exactly the direction in which traditional media should be headed. If Chris Lydon settles down a bit and lets his guests speak without interruption, “Open Source” may very well mark a turning point in how we all consume media.

Downing Street Memo picks up traction

Not to revisit recent topics, but I must say that I really am amazed that the mainstream press has finally started talking about the Downing Street Memo. More than two months after the memo was leaked, the so-called “liberal” media has finally gotten around to covering it, albeit not with much enthusiasm.

Not that they came to it on their own, mind you. Bloggers have bee covering it since it came out and congress has taken note with many House and Senate Republicans demanding an explanation from the White House. Democracy For America even has a petition with more than a half a million signatures calling for an independent investigation, yet somehow, up to now, the major news sources have fallen silent.

When bloggers, and the United States Congress cover a political scandal like the Downing Street Memo long before the major news sources we are supposed to be trusting for independent, objective reporting, we have to start asking ourselves about the integrity of our Nation’s media. We are living in a time when multinational conglomerates control both our politicians and our news sources. They used their money to finance the campaigns of their pocketed politicians, and their news channels to ensure the public maintains a favorable opinion of them. While voters maintain an illusion of the electoral final say, the truth is a disturbing flourish of Orwellian smoke and mirrors.

Sign the petition! >
Read the Memo! >

What’s up with the new CMS?

There are quite a few reasons I decided to move away from PhPNuke, but the biggest of the all was the fact that it is simply FULL of security holes. Day after day I read about SQL injection vulnerabilities that would allow a user to gain administrative access to the site, and go at it with a hatchet. I was simply tired of always worrying that someone would hack my site and leave me with a big headache.

I was also getting increasingly frustrated by the fact that PhPNuke never supported pingbacks, trackbacks, or xmlrpc. I read something months ago about someone developing trackbacks for PhPNuke, but it would seem he went the way of Jimmy Hoffa, and nobody ever heard from him again. As time went on, it was becoming more and more clear that PhPNuke needed to be abandoned for a better product, and the only question that remained was which product to chose.

I’ve always liked Mambo, but while it is much more secure than PhPNuke, it still lacks pingbacks, trackbacks and xmlrpc. Drupal is a very nice product that does everything I wanted it to do and more. There is even a script that will migrate all the users and data from PhPNuke into Drupal, but in the end, I was just not happy with the look and feel of the site under Drupal.

Casey over at maisonbisson.com had recently moved his site from P Machine to Word Press, so once I confirmed that it had Gallery2 Integration I decided to take a look to see what he liked so much about it. He had written a really cool statistics plugin called bstats, and overall the CSM presented things very cleanly. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the software. It does everything I want it to, and it’s quite nice to have the option of managing my stories through xmlrpc with Ecto.

Casey Bisson’s bstats plugin > 
Word Press Gallery2 integration >

 

Howard Dean Speaks for me!

I’m getting a little sick and tired of hearing supposed Democrats wine and complain about how Howard Dean in not speaking for them. Dean mentions that Republicans are mostly a “White, Christian” party; a statement that is entirely backed up by scientific data, and these cowards get scared and start knifing him in the back again.

Maybe it’s true. These fair weather Democrats have clearly bought into the Republican lies and rhetoric, and are now feeling guilty about their own political party and convictions. In that case, Howard Dean, a person who is willing to stand up for his beliefs and the values of his party, is most certainly not speaking for them, or anyone else who lacks the backbone to speak out against those in power.

I have a message for these wavering politicians. Howard Dean speaks for me, and he speaks for a lot of other people that would still be cynical and uninterested in government had it not been for his empowering message! Not only is he the first politician I have ever campaigned for, he is also the first political candidate to whom I’ve made a campaign contribution. If the Democratic party is to form a cohesive unit with a single, powerful message, we need Howard Dean at the helm.

So join me in demanding that these “Democrats” stop knifing the leader of our party in the back. By doing this, they are not only weakening their own credibility, they are destroying our chances of taking our country back from the Neo-Conservitive radicals in power.

Sign the “Howard Dean Speaks for me petition > 
Cheney’s runs his mouth again >

 

Whipped Magazine… Not real, but a funny mockup

Every now and then someone gets a crazy idea, and turns it into reality with Photoshop. I have absolutely no clue where this came from, as it was forwarded to me via e-mail from a friend, but it would seem that someone out there decided that the time had come for a magazine (or at least a fake magazine cover) for men who "do not make the decisions". I especially like “10 NEW WAYS to sleep on the couch” and “avoid confrontation; how to keep her happy without getting yelled at”.

Whiped Magazine

Whiped Magazine