Oban’s Penseive

Blogging for Blogging’s Sake

Flagrant grammar mistakes that make you look stupid

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I came across this all to common list of grammar mistakes.. I’d bet that everyone has at least one of these that they’re secretly afraid they’ll misuse. I know I have to double check any time I use effect or affect. My worst thought is where and were. I mean, they don’t even sound the same!

I’m always disagreeing with people on the use of i.e. and e.g. I just looked it up and it turns out that I had it right and everyone else was wrong.

clipped from news.zdnet.co.uk

In general, we can slip up in a verbal conversation and get away with it. A colleague may be thinking, “Did she just say ‘irregardless’?”, but the words flow on, and our worst transgressions are carried away and with luck, forgotten.

That’s not the case with written communications. When we commit a grammatical crime in emails, discussion posts, reports, memos, and other professional documents, there’s no going back
#1: Loose for lose
#2: It’s for its (or god forbid, its’)
#3: They’re for their for there
#4: i.e. for e.g.
#5: Effect for affect
#6: You’re for your
#7: Different than for different from
#8 Lay for lie
#9: Then for than
#10: Could of, would of for could have, would have
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Written by oban89

March 15, 2007 at 18:39

Posted in Uncategorized

Content-O-Rama

I have spent way too much tim over the last couple of days obsessing over this blog. I have read and researched and bookmarked and clipped everything I could get my hands on related to the technical and design aspects of blogging. That parts fun to learn, but it distracts from the key, which is content. There is so much information about what makes a “good” blog – one that will be compelling and draw readers – that I pretty much lost sight of the reason I wanted to do this in the first place. So, yes, I’d like to have something that looks nice and is organized well, and maybe even has some sort of cohesive content that people will want to read, but that should be the long game. Right now I’ve got to go back to my original plan; that is to write about anything and everything I feel like for a while. After I’ve gotten over the writers block hurdle and once I’ve figured out what aspects of blogging I enjoy, I can decide on what direction I want to go.

I guess what I’m trying to say is caveat lector1. For now, this blog is going to resemble my desktop – a bunch of crap that may appear random, incomplete, or undeveloped, but that makes perfect sense to me.


1Am I the only one who gets discouraged when a rare bit of whit comes to mind to find out that there’s already a wikipedia article on it?

Written by oban89

March 3, 2007 at 12:25

Posted in Uncategorized

Blogging Just Got Easier with Clip The Web

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I just stumbled upon this plug-in for Firefox that allows you to quickly clip images, text, video and almost everything else you can think of.  There’s a basic editor included so you can post to your blog without having to navigate there through your browser.  The convenience does come with some limitations.  The clipping is posted in a full width box, even though just the logo was selected for clipping.

Still, this is so easy to use I think it will end up being my main source method of posting interesting things I find when I’m not actually on the hunt for a topic.

clipped from clipmarks.com

Written by oban89

March 1, 2007 at 1:30

Posted in Uncategorized

Get Better Customer Service By Having Amazon.com Call You

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I just came across a post in red chaos’ blog giving Amazon and E-bay’s 800 numbers. I see this every once in a while and had Amazon’s in my address book for a while. As an Amazon customer from the early days, I was always perplexed by their decision to move from world-class phone based customer service to a model that made the phone number next to impossible to find.

Amazon.com Click to CallThat’s why I was so happy when they reversed course last year with “Click to Call”. While signed into your Amazon account, you click a button that appears on every help page and immediately receive a call connecting you with an Amazon Customer Service agent. I was hesitant at first; I figured this was just a way for them to delay calling me. As it turns out, I was able to get to my issue quicker than if I dialed the 800 number. This is because a) you don’t have to go through any automated options on the phone (press 1 for this…), and b) you don’t have to jump through hoops to identify yourself. If you’re logged in when you click to call, the agent already has verified and can move to your problem a lot quicker.

I don’t know how long this service has been out, but I think its been at least six months. Posts like red chaos’ just show how far they have to go to earn back customer trust and have the reputation they once had of doing everything they could to do right by the customer.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 8:32

Posted in Amazon

43 Sites?

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43 ThingsI stopped by 43 Things today. It was depressing to see that it has been about 2 years since I’d been there, and I haven’t made much progress at all. They have, though. The family of sites now includes:

  1. 43 Things
  2. 43 Places
  3. 43 People
  4. All Consuming
  5. Lists of Bests

I didn’t have much time to poke around today, but looks like they are all at least loosely tied together through a unified login and german words to navigate to.. They do allow have your posts on their sites sent to your blog, so when you see me bitching about never getting around to becoming a professional poker player, you’ll know it’s probably coming from there.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 5:48

Posted in Amazon

Iran – More Popular Than Sex

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This was originally titled Iran – Almost as Popular as Sex based on a tag cloud I had seen on wordpress.com. By the time I had opened the application to take a screen shot, Iran had moved up in ranking. Yes, more people are blogging about Iran than sex.
Iran Tags

While the above may be nothing more indicative that the fact that when people think of sex, they aren’t necessarily using their computer time to write about it. It did remind me of an interesting article I read a while back about the popularity of blogging as a way to share political and social opinions that are restricted in print and broadcast media. The government does restrict websites and content they find objectionable, occasionally censoring a blog they don’t like. The shear number and popularity of blogging, however, would make it political suicide to shut the channels down completely. No less than 7 of the 20 most visited websites from Iran are blog hosts according to Alexa (the number may be more, I just can’t read persian in order to tell for sure). Contrast this to 1 of the top 20 accessed from the United States. Combined with social networking and file sharing sites, they account for over half of the top 20 traffic, double that of the US.

It’s interesting to me that a country westerners often think of as closed and restrictive, seems to have adopted the internet as a way to connect people in such a strong way. Of course, it’s not all that surprising in a country whose median age is 25.

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 5:04

Posted in Uncategorized

Blogging from the Browser

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This is the first try at another way of getting info into a blog – through browser plugin. I like the concept which is to be able to pull up a blog entry window whenever you see somthing you want to write about. I want to avoid becomming just a so and so said blog, but do need an easy way to bring in quotes and references.

I’m using Performancing, a plugin for Firefox. Here’s the features they like to highlight:

  • Full WYSIWYG and source editing
  • Save as Notes
  • Add all your various blog accounts
  • Technorati Support
  • Delicious integration
  • Trackback support
  • Draft support
  • Ping support
  • Image upload and FTP
  • Metrics stats

I’m really surprised that something built to be used from a browse doesn’t add much to it being there. For example, I copied the above list from the active window. I would have liked to have seen blockquote tags, but they’re not there. If you highlight the list in the editor and click the quote button, you still don’t get what you want. It places the opening and closing tags at the cursor insertion point not around highlighted text. Another odity is that there is no good way to add a link to the current website. Dragging the link into the editor does nothing. If you click the link button, the address is not prepopulated. In fact, you’ll have to remember to copy the url before clicking the button, as a popup window comes up and you won’t be able to copy from the browser while it is open.

Stopping testing now. 3 strikes and you’re out. Third strike you ask? You don’t know me very well.

powered by performancing firefox

Written by oban89

February 28, 2007 at 3:08

Posted in Uncategorized