A Simple Blogging Collaboration System

General
The Internet has obviously made global writing collaboration a relatively easy task. While I published my print magazine in the early- to mid-1990s, I drove all over the place, for each monthly issue, to meet with contributors and editors, and pick up mostly hand-written articles. Collaborating was a time-intensive process. (more…)
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Leveraging Your Writing And Blogging Efforts

General
It goes without saying that the Internet has changed the way the world works and behaves. Writing activities have also changed, even fragmented. There are writers who blog, but I don't always get the impression that all bloggers feel that they are writers. Most bloggers that I read (couple of hundred, at different frequencies) certainly do not employ time-honoured writing tricks to leverage the time that they spend researching a topic. The technique I'm referring to is re-writing your own content for different niches. I'm not talking about republishing, as there's always the debate about whether the search engines have a duplicate content penalty or not. What I'm talking about is doing one session of research and leveraging that into more than one article. Consider what a single post might…
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To Copy Or Not To Copy – Or Buddy Can You Spare Some Content?

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Jonathan Bailey has been doing a bang-up job writing about and fighting plagiarism on the Internet. If you are a writer, blogger, photographer, or artist, his website, Plagiarism Today, should be on your must-read list. (Although he has a greater focus on written works.) In a recent post, Jonathan talks about The New Plagiarism and how there's a gray area that some bloggers are treading into that comes very close to violating "fair use" guidelines when it comes to republishing other bloggers' content. The article is particularly focusing on blogs whose content heavily block-quotes other content, give link love and attribution, but do not necessarily add an equal or greater amount of fresh content. For example, a site might consist of posts where half the article is a large blockquote…
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Digital Vs Analog Cameras

General
The Journal News says that there is still an interest in traditional analog photography, and the ContraCosta Times writes that the Internet is helping people to access photographic supplies and discuss techniques. Personally, I still love analog SLR cameras. Especially a classic hard-body like the inexpensive but still high-quality Pentax K1000. It's a great starter or backup camera. I used to work with 2 Nikon cameras and a Pentax, plus a couple of inexpensive digitals (Olympus, Kodak). Aside from any environmental concerns, I love cutting my own rolls of film using a bulk loader, then working in the darkroom making magic. There's just something - tactility, I guess - about handling glossy film paper. Slides and negatives still provide far higher resolution pictures than the digital. It'll always be that…
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The Complete Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci – Free Ebook

General
If someone asked me to name the three people, living or dead, who have influenced my life the most, I would have to say Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo da Vinci - all three of whom are essentially inventors. But the renaissance man himself has influenced me the most. If he were alive today, I would beg him to let me be his protege. As a long-time aspiring renaissance man myself, I have studied all of da Vinci's paintings and drawings, including the scraps of sketches that he used as case studies before a commissioned painting. My love for da Vinci's works led me to spend 5 straight years in my university library, studying every book on the Old Master (European) painters that I could get may hands. I…
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History of Photography And The Shroud Of Turin

General
Dr. Robert Leggat has a website that discusses the history of photography. The site credits Sir John Herschel with coining the term photography. The article also mentions Paul de la Roche (1729-1774) and his work of fiction, Giphantie, which talks about capturing "images from nature, on a canvas". Interestingly, while Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) has a drawing of a Camera Obscura (apparently dated 1519), there is a theory that the Shroud of Turin might actually be the first photograph in history. (If you have an interest in the history of photography, Dr. Leggat's article mentions the many people that have had a direct or indirect hand in the resulting discovery of modern photography.) In fact, during "Da Vinci Code Week" (Mon May 8 - Fri May 12) on the History…
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Photography For Teaching And Therapy

General
While photography is typically thought of as a communication medium in and of itself, there are two other purposes I have used it effectively for. One is phototherapy and the other is for teaching. Chris wrote about phototherapy in his DSLR (digital SLR) blog, about how he de-stresses by taking his camera and going out to a park to shoot a few pics. I suppose part of it is the outdoors part, smell freshing air when you've been cooped up in the office at work or even at home. When I lived in Ottawa (Canada's capital) in early 1982, I used to go out regularly, early on Saturday or Sunday mornings to shoot the sun rising over the two graveyards near by. As it was winter, and Ottawa was nasty…
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Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

General
Nick Wilson on Performancing.com asked the other day when is a blog not a blog. I responded "guilty as charged", in regards to some of the non-blogs I have posing as blogs. A few days reflection brought me to the conclusion that the reason I am working on so many different weblog projects half-assed is that I'm afraid to commit to a single topic. And I still haven't decided what that is. I haven't been blogging "professionally" long enough, and more importantly, lucratively enough to make a decision yet. If you're in the same boat as far as writing online goes, Darren Rowse and Steve Rubel point out a tool that may help your writing in a number of ways. The tool is Google Trends. As Darren and Steve illustrate,…
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The Best American Fiction of 25 Years?

General
The New York Times asks what the best work of American fiction in the last 25 years is. The winner is Toni Morrison's Beloved, with runners-up writers Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, John Updike and Don DeLillo. Now consider that the people voting include "prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages." While I have read and enjoyed Updike and Morrison, and have McCarthy of my to-read list, I lean more towards American writers like erotic humorist Tom Robbins, offstream genius Thomas Pynchon, fascinating crime novelist Elmore Leonard, amongst others. Of slipstream, sci-fi or fantasy authors, Philip K. Dick is my favourite. However, the bulk of his work was written more than 25 years ago. On the other hand, Jack Womack, author of the colourful Elvissey and several other novels is…
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Protecting Your Copyrights

General
Copyright protection has been a hot issue lately, especially in the blogosphere. A category of software called "sitescrapers" exists solely to steal other people's content and quickly build a website. The intent is that search engines will index such scraped sites, and because of the volume of content, the site will rank high and thus grab more web traffic. Traffic of course translates into online advertising dollars. While the reality is some scraped sites are succeeding, search engine companies are constantly improving their indexing algorithms to avoid unfairly giving advantages to a "splog" (spam blog) and other scraped websites. In the meantime, however, many bloggers are complaining that their content is being lifted in its entirety (including the ads!), without permission. What can bloggers and other online writers do to…
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