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Gary—new kid on the BLOG

Gary W. Priester

Blogs, from “Web logs,” have been around for several years and are a kind of online Internet diary in which the blogger adds entries daily for all to read. While many blogs are political, there are blogs for just about any topic you can think of.

I was intrigued by blogs after reading an article in a recent New York Times. The article focused on a handful of liberal bloggers who have become famous and who are attracting readers to their sites at the rate of thirty thousand per hour (that is a lot of traffic, by the way!). Many of these bloggers are earning $10,000 a month and more in advertising revenues. These people have created a new online news resource in which stories break and are updated as they happen, twenty-four hours a day. Howard Dean's phenomenal rise was accredited to a blog that put Dean on the map.

As someone who has many opinions and who devotes a lot of time and energy writing letters to the editor, I figured a personal blog might give me a place on the Internet where I could post my thoughts and opinions. So I surfed over to Google.com and did a search for blogs. At the top of the list was a link to www.Blogger.com, a site that offers free blog sites! I clicked the link and discovered that Blogger.com is owned by Google, and yes indeed, they are offering you and me the opportunity to have our own blog sites—all hosted on Google servers using Google software.

On the first page of the blogger site, I learned, "In simple terms, a BLOG is a web site, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top, so your visitors can read what's new. Then they [can] comment on it or link to it or email you." Sounded good to me. I went through the entire site and discovered that the offer was true. The only catch is that in the future Google may place ads on your site, which for a free site is not a big deal. So I followed the easy step-by-step instructions, named my site, pressed Accept, and was on my way to being a blogger.

My page is political, and unless you want to read a bunch of progressive ravings (I don't like liberal; the conservatives have sullied the term), I don't recommend you go there. I add new articles whenever the muse strikes, I can link to other sites and articles and upload photos if I feel so inclined. It's easy. And it’s immediate.

Your blog can be anything you want it to be. Personal. Political. Spiritual. Literary. It is entirely up to you. Getting people to your blog is another matter, though Google does catalog your posts and directs visitors to your site when certain articles match search criteria. And getting other Web sites and blogs to link to yours helps get your site listed in the search engines.

Blogs provide all of us the opportunity to put our ideas out there on the Web for the world to see. It is the next big information breakthrough after the adoption of the World Wide Web. Here are some links to some blog sites so you can see for yourself what blogs are all about. And like me, you can become the new kid on the blog.

 

Tech Corner—

Windows XP: four more years

Chris Porosky

In this time of political discourse and heated debates, many comparisons can be drawn to our own personal computer operating systems (OS) and the people who use them. The candidates in this race for the hard drives and desktops of the people are Microsoft's Windows XP, open-source Linux (Kernel 2.6), and Apple's Mac OS X.

Windows, with XP being the latest version, accounts for about 90 percent of the desktop OS market, making it the current incumbent candidate. The remaining two candidates each account for about 5 percent of the desktop market—a small percentage, but growing everyday. Fringe OS candidates like BSD and DOS are not viable choices with our winner-take-all system until we institute instant runoff or Condorcet voting, but that's another story. 

As XP's campaign manager, Microsoft left much to be desired with its antitrust trials and weekly security patches dominating the news in recent years. XP and its running mate, Internet Explorer, looked to be opening the door for Linux and Mac. Linux, with its relatively few exploits and its open-source-free price tag, seemed to be gaining on the front runner, and Mac, the perennial spoiler candidate, was holding steady as usual with its entrenchment in the school and artist communities. The people knew they could do better, but soon became disenchanted with the hardware compatibility and technical challenges with Linux and the proprietary hardware and relatively limited software with Mac.    

And then Microsoft dropped a much needed political bomb on August 10 with the official release of Service Pack 2, the most comprehensive OS update ever, and a free “extreme makeover” for XP. Now armed with a more secure kernel, improved firewall, and much-improved Internet Explorer security, XP moved from the thought realm of “can't we all get along” to “the best offense is a good defense,” helping only to widen the gap between it and its rivals. Microsoft will always have the big-corporation stigma but has made a bold move in winning over the public, by actually admitting it made a mistake and correcting it with the release of SP2 and automatic update improvements.

In these final days of the 2004 OS election, Linux and Mac can no longer quite say a vote for XP is a vote for “more of the same.” However, Microsoft still has a long road ahead in winning the peace with the public, even with SP2 and an ongoing security road map. Linux will continue to rally its open-source community. Mac will continue to rally its school and “be different” artist communities. But after all the votes are in, it will most likely be four more years for XP as the people's choice. This is actually a good thing for most users in the world, who just want an OS that works to help them be more productive and satisfied as they balance work, play, and family life.

No matter what OS is your choice, though, please remember to practice “safe computing.” This currently involves using some form of basic password management and antivirus, anti-spyware, and firewall controls. And of course, practicing a bit of self-restraint before immediately opening an attachment or installing a program goes a long way too. Please use the following URL for more security resources, a glossary, and other links related to this article: http://tinyurl.com/4cmcw

Chris Porosky (chris@rrnworks.com) is the owner of Red Road Networks, a managed IT-services provider for small business networks. He lives in Ranchos de Placitas with his loving wife and family. Some of his best friends are Mac users.

 

 

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