Against Splitting The Bill [en]

[fr] Partager "également" la note à la fin d'un repas partagé est inévitablement injuste: ceux qui ont consommé moins paient toujours pour ceux qui ont consommé plus. Ceci est facilement une source de tensions lorsque vient le moment fatidique si tous les convives n'ont pas des habitudes de consommation (viande, alcool) et des budgets similaires.

Il y a eu un peu de tension à ce sujet lors de mon repas d'anniversaire hier soir, malgré ma tentative d'utiliser le "système de la banque" de mon ami Stowe Boyd. J'aurais dû prévenir les convives à l'avance, et le ferai à l'avenir. L'idée de la "banque" est simple: chacun regarde la note, décide ce qu'il est juste qu'il paie par rapport à ce qu'il a consommé, et donne l'argent à une personne (l'organisateur, souvent) qui joue le rôle de la banque. La banque paie le tout via carte de crédit et ne vérifie pas les sommes qui lui sont données. Pour ceux qui s'inquiéteraient, la banque perd rarement -- l'absence de contrôle encourage les convives à faire leurs additions de façon responsable, et dans le doute, à payer plutôt large que court.

Ce billet explique pourquoi je suis en général opposée au système injuste du partage arithmétique (sauf en certaines circonstances) et les avantages que je trouve au système bancaire, en réponse à un billet de Tara Hunt (par ailleurs ma généreuse hôtesse durant mon séjour à San Francisco), qui regrette qu'on ait pas simplement "partagé l'addition". Les commentaires en réponse à son billet sont presque tous en défense du "partage arithmétique", d'où mon assez longue explication.

***Update:** do also read [Stowe’s clarifying response to Tara’s post](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/07/tara-hunt-on-be.html) while you’re at it.*

*Another long comment which turned into a post. This is a response to [Tara’s post about the awkward “paying the bill” moment at my birthday dinner party](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/07/08/the-dinner-party-individual-vs-collective/) yesterday.*

I’d like to chime in here, as the “Birthday Girl” in the story and a strong opponent of splitting the bill.

First, my apologies to [everyone present at the dinner party](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/174582/) for whom the “settling the bill” moment left a bad aftertaste. You can imagine it wasn’t my intention, and this is the first time I’ve seen a party not wanting to go with “Stowe’s banking system”. I’ve learnt from last evening that it’s important to announce how the bill will be dealt with in the invitation, and will do this in future. I think this is a good thing to do whatever the “system” the party organiser would like to adopt — at least things are clear from the start.

And in this case, particularly as you were kind enough to pitch in for my share — which I greatly appreciate — I guess I should have just kept my feelings to myself about how the bill was being dealt with. Again, I’m sorry if my comments contributed to making it a sour experience for you.

I’m surprised, reading this post and the comments, to see so many people who consider “splitting evenly” to be a just solution. By definition, it’s always unfair — those who consumed less pay for those who consumed more. As a person who doesn’t drink (or hardly), has been on some kind of a budget most of her adult life, and spent many years being the sole “eternal student” amongst friends who were earning a decent living, I’ve done my share of “paying for others” — and I can tell you it doesn’t even out in the end.

Yes, more than once I’ve spoken up and refused to pay for twice the amount of what I’d ordered had cost, sure, but it’s really unpleasant to have to do that. And (comments in this thread confirm this) do that, and you’re sure to be labeled “cheap” by people present. Not to mention that when people know the bill will be split, they stop paying any attention to the price of what they order (or the number of drinks), as “it all evens out in the end”.

As for Royal’s comment:

But if someone has to watch their cash that closely they should not be going out to dinner anyway.

If you can’t afford to spend without looking, then you shouldn’t go out and have fun with your friends? I disagree, and actually find your comment about this distasteful. More than once, I’ve chosen to accept an invitation to eat out rather than stay in, knowing that I could afford it if I was reasonable. And I have many friends who have exactly this kind of budget issue.

Back to the “bank” system, which I feel has not been well understood in this conversation, what is wrong with paying for what you have ordered, or more precisely, what you consider fair to pay for what you’ve had? Counting pennies brings grief, I can see everybody agrees with that. I agree too. Look at the bill, consider what you’ve ordered, what you’ve eaten, and decide how much you contribute. Is that complicated?

It relies upon people being honest, but so does splitting the bill evenly. Shared appetizers or drinks? Look at how much was ordered, guesstimate how much you ate/drink (e.g. I ate more than 1/13 of the shared appetizers and I drink a lot of water, so had I been paying, I would have paid at least a whole bottle of water and an appetizer and a half). It’s a solution that allows people with different eating/drinking habits and different budgets to share a party together with no grumble. Dividing equally works well when the party is homogeneous — but honestly, I can’t often make that assumption about my guests. Sometimes I don’t know them well enough to know if they eat meat or drink or not, or what their financial situation is like. And I’d rather people not feel uncomfortable about having to raise issues like that at bill paying time, which is why I went for Stowe’s bank system.

In your post, and in a few comments, I hear concern for what the poor “bank” is going to be left paying in the end. Stowe says in his post that he has not usually been left paying a huge tab. I was also concerned about this when I first heard about this system, and he has also told me this in person — the bank rarely loses. I guess he’ll give details directly if he feels it’s useful.

For me, this is not so much about community vs. individual as about coming up with a solution which is as fair as possible, while minimizing the hassle. The lack of control is the key here — the Bank doesn’t check if people have paid correctly, which also tends to responsabilize people more. There’s no “boss” checking behind you to make sure you added up right, like when everybody pays “their share” but the total has to add up in the end. That’s where the party usually ends up 50$ short or 75$ long — and then what do we do?

People should be able to go and party together regardless of their drinking habits, diet preferences, or financial situation — without being made to feel uncomfortable about going against the “egalitarian we-pay-for-the-community splitting system”.

Are there any cultural issues at stake here? Maybe it’s more acceptable in Europe to care about how much you spend than in the USA, even though on the political scale, quite a few European countries (including mine) lean much further “left” (into “community solidarity”) than the USA?

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Flickr: Open Up Tagging Your Photos to the Community, Please [en]

[fr] Permettez à tous les membres de Flickr de taguer vos photos. Moins de travail pour vous et de meilleurs tags pour vos photos!

Tagging one’s photos precisely on Flickr can be a bit of a drag, especially when you upload [over 200 conference photographs](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/reboot9) full of people you don’t necessarily know. Personally, I go through my photos once before uploading them, and the last thing I want to do when I’ve uploaded them is go through them *again* to add tags.

However, I find myself looking at other people’s photos with interest, and it doesn’t take much effort to quickly add a tag or a name while I’m doing that.

Tagging a Photo

Unfortunately, many Flickr users open up tagging only to their contacts (the default, IIRC). My account was like that for a long time. When I [met Derek Powazek in Lausanne](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600211444307/), he told me he had opened up tagging to everybody on Flickr, and that people really participated. I decided to try, and it works. **And** you do retain control in case somebody does something stupid (happened to me… maybe once?)

People are Tagging My Photos!

(I could show you pages and pages and pages like that for [my Reboot photos](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600294706591/).)

So, please, do us a favour (and do me a favour, if you’re taking photographs of me and not [tagging them stephaniebooth](http://flickr.com/photos/tags/stephaniebooth/ “Most of them by me, see?”)).

Go to your [Photo Privacy Preferences page](http://flickr.com/account/prefs/photoprivacy/?from=privacy) (this link will take you there if you’re already logged in to Flickr) and make sure it looks something like this:

Open Up Your Tags To The Community

Then, add tags like [needstags](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/needstags) or [needsnames](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/needsnames) to encourage people to help out. And pass the word around to your friends…

Thanks!

**Update, Friday 21st**

I just realised this is not retroactive. So it only applies to the new photos you upload. If you want to change those permissions on your previously uploaded photos (which I recommend!), you need to [go through the organiser](http://flickr.com/photos/organize/). I’m not sure there is a way to do them all in one go.

Flickr: changing photo permissions

Flickr: change photo permissions

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Reboot9 — Ted Rheingold: Learning from Dogs and Cats [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Dogster-Catster case study.

Home page of Dogster: web designers like Ted hate it (it’s a mess) but the dog people love it — they just click on the dogs.

Ted Rheingold

People copy-paste and personalise their cat/dog pages.

Forums: not as good as the best forums out there, but made to reflect the interests of people using the site. 5000 forum postings a day. People can organise events. Groups. Looks kinda crappy but the users don’t care.

Catster videos, commenting. Endless features. 1500 new members a day. (Ted shows a bunch of numbers… dizzy. 60’000 diaries/blogs.)

Lessons learnt that Ted wants to share, after 4 years.

– pick partners wisely, you’ll be married for 2-10 years. Need to talk about stuff like having kids with your partners! Partnership failures sink young businesses. *steph-note: eek! other points on slide but didn’t get them.*
– bootstrapping is good, keeping expenses manageable means you live longer, less financial constraints means more control.
– customer service is everything, from day one. Answer every e-mail, IM, phone call, resolve every problem. Without happy customers your site is just a pile of fancy server code. It’s free market research!
– develop within your impact horizon — your product must have an impact on your community within this time frame. For Catster/Dogster: 1st year, 3-4 weeks; 2nd year: 6-8 weeks; 3rd year: 2-3 months; 4th year: 2-3 months, ideally 1 month. Can’t guess that much in advance. 10 one-month features instead of 2 six-month features. More chance of one being popular.
– how do you make your money? Sponsors and direct ad buys (really hard! integrated ad campaigns); ad networks, premium memberships, virtual gifts. Bring in advertisers by encouraging them to be part of the community. They write up their stuff (less marketing goop). If you have to revert to advertising, it kind of means people aren’t that interested in the community. Ted would like to get ads and sponsors off the site altogether.

Paying members: more to be “part of the club” rather than have more features.

Circle of trust: Dogster, Community, Advertisers. Picky with advertisers. Introduce the advertiser to the community.

*steph-note: [Bagha Byne](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/collections/72157600210295068/), my cat, has [his own Catster page](http://www.catster.com/cats/519249), of course.*

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Dannie Jost — Blogging is not about blogging [en]

[fr] Bloguer, c'est une histoire d'expression personnelle. Une discussion lors de la rencontre BlogCamp à Zürich.

*Notes from blogcamp.ch presentation. May be inaccurate.*

*(steph-note: it’s a discussion, so a bit hard for me to blog — particularly as I’m participating.)*

Dannie Jost -- Blogging is not about blogging

Why do people blog? Different reasons. Asking the audience. [Blogging isn’t about blogging](http://uncondition.blogspot.com/2007/03/tomorrow-barcampswitzerland.html), it’s about expressing yourself. It’s about personal expression.

Blogging is about communication.

It’s a evolution (from a communication point of view, the biggest since the printing press): **instantaneous** access to a **global** readership. Being *heard* is a different bag of beans.

Another element of revolution: community. A single blogger with hot news means nothing and achieves nothing, before the network comes into play to make the news float to the top.

Blogging: technology (easy!!) and culture (more complicated) *steph-note: exactly what I try to explain to my clients…*

Shift of power. For Dannie, it hasn’t really happened yet, except some small cases. cf. phase transformations in chem/physics. My comment: the shift has already started happening, it’s not because it hasn’t impacted events the mainstream press reports on much that it doesn’t mean it’s having much impact.

Ideas//crystals.

Self-organisation.

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You Should Twitter [en]

[fr] A découvrir absolument, Twitter, un service au croisement du moblogging et de la messagerie instantanée. Inscrivez-vous et essayez! Je vois du potentiel ici pour les adolescents, dans le sens où ça permet de s'envoyer des SMS sans devoir donner à l'autre son numéro de mobile.

[Twitter](http://twitter.com) is a cross between moblogging and instant messaging. You can send messages by SMS or by IM and they are displayed on [your page](http://twitter.com/stephtara “Here’s mine.”).

In addition to that, [people who have chosen to “follow” you](http://twitter.com/followers “My followers (!)”) get updates by IM or SMS. It’s easy to add/remove a person from those you are following using the [mobile lingo](http://twitter.com/help/lingo).

I see great things for this product once they implement groups and allow some granularity regarding privacy (ie, stuff only for my friends, stuff only for my family, stuff only for my co-workers, public stuff, stuff for my girlsfriends). I already see the potential of Twitter as an SMS anonymizer (think teenagers and dating sites).

Go and [grab an account](http://twitter.com/account/create), register your cell number (if it works with a Swiss phone number, it should work with anything!) and start [twittering](http://twitter.com/public_timeline “All the public twitters.”)! You can even try to [ping Technorati with your new TwitterBlog](http://twitter.com/kevinmarks/statuses/978133). But can you claim it, [Mr. Marks](http://epeus.blogspot.com)?

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Blogs du Monde sous WordPress multi-utilisateurs [fr]

[en] Le Monde, a very well-respected French journal, has just migrated its blogging platform to WordPress. Great news! Might make it easier to convince my clients that WPMU is a great product.

J’ai un train de retard (20 jours) et j’ai un peu honte, mais la nouvelle est assez importante à mes yeux pour que je la relaye tout de même: [les blogs du Monde passent sous WordPress](http://faq.blog.lemonde.fr/2006/11/01/migration/).

Après une étude comparative du marché des plate-formes de blogs qui a durée trois mois, Le Monde a choisi WordPress, qui offre plus de liberté dans le développement qu’une plate-forme “commerciale” comme TypePad (ce qu’ils utilisaient avant). (L’enjeu n’est pas “gratuit” ou “lucratif”, mais une question de licence, un logiciel libre comme WordPress pouvant être modifié à souhait par quiconque.)

A écouter, la très intéressante [interview de Stéphane Mazzorato par Tristan Mendès France](http://blog.mendes-france.com/2006/11/11/le-monde-met-ses-blogs-au-libre-interview/) au sujet du choix de la plate-forme et des avantages qu’ils y trouvent.

Cette nouvelle me réjouit. Lorsque je propose WordPress comme solution à des clients qui cherchent une plate-forme de blogs, la tentation est souvent grande de faire appel à un produit développé par une entreprise (comme [TypePad](http://typepad.fr) ou [Kaywa](http://kaywa.ch), plutôt qu’un *truc à disposition gratuitement sur internet*. Ça fait plus sérieux.

Je pense que la raison principale pour choisir une plate-forme libre est très bien expliquée par Stéphane Mazzorato: la possibilité de faire évoluer le produit à sa convenance, et d’offrir ainsi des nouvelles fonctionnalités à ses utilisateurs sans que cela dépende d’une organisation externe.

En tous, cas, bienvenue à [LeMonde.fr](http://www.lemonde.fr/web/blogs/0,39-0,48-0,0.html) dans la grande communauté des développeurs WordPress!

Info trouvée par hasard [chez Matt](http://photomatt.net/2006/10/30/le-monde/).

Le blog de Matt me rappelle par ailleurs que [About.com tourne également sous WordPress](http://photomatt.net/2005/12/07/about-switching/) (c’est un des top 50 sites sur le web).

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U-Blog, Six Apart, and Their Angry Bloggers [en]

This very long post is, for the first time in English, a pretty complete account of what has been going on with U-blog and Loïc Le Meur in the French blogosphere for some time now. With the acquisition of Ublog by Six Apart, these problems are bound to take another dimension for the English-speaking blogosphere.

[fr] Ce très long billet expose en anglais l'histoire de U-blog et des problèmes s'y rapportant. J'ai déjà écrit à ce sujet en français (lire également les commentaires) -- pour une fois que la "barrière linguistique" empêche les anglophones de savoir certaines choses, plutôt que le contraire!

So, why on earth are U-bloggers so angry?

I’m often concerned that the language divide makes non-English-speaking people miss out on a whole lot of interesting stuff. These past few days, I’ve been concerned that the language divide may be preventing English-speaking people from knowing about certain things. U-bloggers are angry, and they also have the sympathy of others in the franco-blogosphere, but all that is happening in French.

How aware is Six Apart that they have a bunch of angry french customers, who were encouraged to sign up for a paying version before the end of last year under promise of new features, which weren’t developed and seemingly never will? Edit 06.01.05: see note.

Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? I always think that history explains a lot. Many of the dates here are taken from Laurent’s short history of the franco-blogosphere, a work in progress. Other information comes from my regular trips around the blogosphere and my conversations with people — in particularly, here, with Stéphane, the creator of the U-blog weblogging platform. This is the story to the best of my knowledge. If there are any factual mistakes, I’ll be glad to correct them.

In November 2002, Stéphane Le Solliec starts working on a blogging platform he calls Meta-blog. A few months later, in December, U-blog (the new name for the platform) already has a few hundreds of users.

The interface is good, U-blog is pretty zippy, and it has a great community. Also, it’s French. Setting aside any primal xenophobia or anti-americanism, a great product designed in your language by a fellow countryman is not the same thing as another great product translated and adapted from English. (Ask somebody who lives in a country where most of the important stuff is “imported” from the German-speaking part…) And let’s face it, one does like to support a local product, whether one is French, Swiss, or American. I actually considered U-blog the best hosted solution for French-speakers, at some point, and recommended it to a few friends, who started weblogs. Joueb.com is a native French weblogging platform which has been around for far longer than U-blog, but for some reason it isn’t quite as popular.

About a year later, Stéphane is thinking about abandoning the platform. He’s doing it on his free time, he has a baby, and U-blog takes up a lot of time. He stalls development, and stops allowing the creation of new free blogs. (It will again be possible to create free blogs a few weeks later.) Existing free blogs remain in place, but lose visibility (pinging and home page) compared to paying blogs. (Paying U-blog customers pay 1€ per month.)

Around that time, Loïc, whose interest in weblogs has been sparked by meeting Joi at the World Economic Forum, and who has unsuccessfully approached the founder of Joueb.com, Stéphane Gigandet (yes! another Stéphane!), gets in touch with Stéphane Le Solliec in September (2003). As a result, he acquires the platform and user-base, and founds the company Ublog.com. Loïc really wants Stéphane to stay on board, and he does, before leaving a couple of months later (company-life isn’t really his cup of tea).

Loïc does a great job getting the French press (and later, politicians) interested in weblogs. He calls up journalists, educates them, and before long Loïc, fondateur de Ublog regularly appears in articles about weblogging. Inevitably, he starts appearing as “the guy who introduced weblogs in France”, and the expression “founder of Ublog” entertains a confusion between the blogging platform and the company (“founder” being at times replaced by “creator”). Loïc founded the company, but he in no way created the blogging platform U-blog.

You can imagine that the U-bloggers, who already weren’t very excited about having been “bought” (particularly by a guy who had the bad taste to start blogging in English), didn’t really like seeing Loïc shine so bright and Stéphane slowly fade into oblivion. Some long-standing French-speaking webloggers external to U-blog will start keeping a suspicious eye on this newcomer that so many are talking about, and who seems to be (God forbid!) making weblogs into a business (complete with press pack).

End October, when Stéphane announces the changes at Ublog following the association with Loïc, the following structure is presented (as an aside, the fact that this page seems to have been taken down doesn’t make Ublog look good. If it’s a mistake, they should put it back up again):

Free U-blog
The basic offer, with an advertising banner.
U-blog Plus
The paying offer, with a few more bells and whistles than the free one (ping, home page listing) and lots of exciting new features (for 4€ per month instead of the actual 1€)
U-blog Pro
More advanced, with own domain name, multi-author, etc… to be defined

In a smart move, existing U-bloggers were given the chance to sign up for the second offer for 1€ instead of 4€ for the coming year, starting January 1st (date at which the new tariff would become active). It sounded attractive, and quite a few went for it. The future seemed bright, with promise of dynamic future development, despite the complaints about the increase in pricing (but which did not impact existing users that much).

During the next months, some new features are introduced. More are announced.

In March, Six Apart and Ublog SA sign an exclusive representation agreement in Europe. An announcement is made in the U-blog newsletter. April 29th, TypePad arrives on U-blog. The official Ublog weblog will publish another four or five brief posts related to TypePad before going quiet.

One can wonder: what sense does it make for a blogging platform like U-blog to sign an agreement with another, similar, hosted blogging platform like TypePad? Was the U-blog platform not good enough? Will development be stalled on the “old” platform, will it be abandoned? Overall, U-bloggers are worried and unhappy (I could add more, but those are two good starting-points and seem to sum it up pretty well). They are now offered three possibilities (as often, what is said in the comments is much more interesting than the post itself):

Free U-blog
The basic offer, same as before.
U-blog Plus
The paying offer for those who already have it, same as before, but no new features.
TypePad
A more advanced platform, where the active development will take place. Approx. 15€, but discount prices for current U-bloggers.

In short, all new development efforts seem to be going towards TypePad, and U-blog Plus will stop evolving, unlike what had been promised end of October. Reactions are aggressive (we all know that end-users are not kind when they complain). When U-bloggers ask about the new features that had been promised to those of them with paying accounts, they are told that the features are on TypePad. Loïc, who has already ruffled a few feathers by demanding that a popular blogger remove a post about him, under threat of lawsuit, does not distinguish himself in the area of good customer relations. (In particular, his comment regarding the contents of Aurora’s weblog (bondage and S&M), in the middle of a thread about U-blog and TypePad, didn’t look very good.) U-bloggers (particularly the paying ones) feel a bit cheated.

There is no question for me that Loïc is being given a harder time than he deserves, but it is pretty clear that he is not doing a very good job communicating with his unhappy customers.

TypePad.fr does not seem to be a howling success. I have heard complaints of people who find it slow (slower than U-blog, in particular) and not intuitive. Jean-Luc Raymond, the blogger who runs MediaTIC, publishes a critical post about TypePad.fr. Now, JLR isn’t the blogger I respect the most. He doesn’t always verify his sources, and has been known to remove embarrassing comments and posts with little ceremony. However, if his article on TypePad is over the top (as I suspect it might), it would in my opinion deserve more precise refutation than this dismissive comment of Loïc’s.

So, what is going on today? Basically, a continuation of what was already going wrong. Now that Six Apart has bought Ublog, the U-blog platform and communitydefinitely seem doomed.

No official announcement of the transaction has been made on the U-blog site (as I mentioned, the official “corporate” weblog is dead). Loïc’s answer to my post raising the point is that U-bloggers who want information can contact him on his blog. Worse, in my opinion, Loïc withheld the announcement on his blog until it was published by the media. So in the franco-blogosphere, we learnt about it through the press rather than through Loïc’s weblog (the de facto official source of information for U-blog, as the company site has not been communicating anything these last months).

Aurora goes to war, and other U-bloggers are following suit. One can disapprove of their virulence, but calling them “Aurora’s fan-club” (in the comments to my post) does not get anybody anywhere, and mocking Aurora’s sexual preferences in response to her criticisms is distasteful, and unbecoming of the Director for Europe, Africa and the Middle-East and Executive VP of Six Apart.

Loïc may have a squeaky-clean image in the anglo-blogosphere, but it is far from being the case in the franco-blogosphere, particularly when you start digging around in comment threads. I find it especially disturbing that there seems to be a discrepancy in attitude between Loïc’s discourse on his weblog and his comments on other people’s weblogs.

I personally do not think Loïc is a bad person, or has bad intentions. He’s interested in “the business side of weblogs” (and in that we differ), and that of course will make him unsympathetic to some, but I do believe he is genuinely interested in what he’s doing. However, I think he does not understand his customers very well, and does not communicate with them well either. His ambition as a businessman, excited by the challenge of managing an American company, leader in its domain, does at times seem to overshadow his concern about his end-users well-being.

This has been a long post. If you’ve read it, thank you. If you’ve just skimmed it, let me briefly come back on my main points:

  • U-bloggers have been promised features for their pay-version, which will not come.
  • The acquisition of Ublog by Six Apart seems to point to a near death of the old blogging platform, and more dramatically for its users, of the very strong community built around it. (Typepad doesn’t really have this “community” thing to it.)
  • Ublog (and now, Six Apart Europe) is demonstrating pretty poor communication with its unhappy users

Update, 24.07.04: a brief update after some comments I’ve received about this article.

  • I have now learnt that Six Apart did know about the problems at Ublog (since before the acquisition).
  • Although I considered it a possibility that they might not know, my main motivation for writing this article was that there was more to the Ublog story than what the English blogosphere in general was getting.
  • Of course, not all U-bloggers are unhappy. We’re talking about a bunch of very vocal and very angry people, not about the whole community. But in my opinion, the fact they are a minority does not mean they should not be taken seriously.

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Delicious! A Great Bookmarks Manager [en]

Delicious is an online bookmark manager. It makes it very easy to add and categorize bookmarks, as well as share them with other users. You can also extract your bookmarks from delicious and integrate them in your blog to create a linklog. When I say ‘easy’, I really mean it!

Now, why on earth didn’t I start using delicious ages ago, when I first stumbled upon it? Maybe it didn’t look pretty enough, and didn’t flaunt its features loudly enough for me?

A couple of days ago I paid delicious another visit. See, somebody on #joiito mentioned my Keeping the Flat Clean post, and I suddenly found there was a bunch of people from delicious visiting that article. I thought: “My, people are actually using this thing!” and signed up for an account.

So… what does delicious do? It allows you to easily add pages you visit to your bookmarks, using intelligent bookmarklets (two clicks and no typing to add a link if you want to be minimalist). This is already easier than what I have to do to add links to my LinkBall.

You can categorize your bookmarks very easily by typing words in the “tag” field of the bookmarklet. No need to define categories — delicious takes care of it all for you. You can then view your bookmarks by category or (and this is where it gets interesting) all the bookmarks marked with a same tag. Each bookmark in your list is one-click editable, and each bookmark in somebody else’s list is one-click copyable. For each link, you can also view a list of all the users who have bookmarked it.

Does it stop there? No. All the bookmark lists (by user or by tag) are available in RSS and can be subscribed to within delicious. As a user, you have an Inbox which aggregates the feeds you have subscribed to. You may subscribe to a “user feed” or a “tag (category) feed”. On top of that, bookmark lists are available in plain html, and many users have contributed various hacks which can help you integrate your bookmarks with your weblog. (Update 02.06.04: one thing you shouldn’t do, though, is simply include that HTML feed with a PHP include or an iframe, as this will cause the delicious server to be hit each time somebody views your page.)

If you aren’t a user of delicious yet, you need to go and register right now.

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