I Need to Blog More [en]

It’s been nagging at the back of my mind. Since before Going Solo Lausanne, actually — when I got so absorbed with the conference preparation that CTTS hardly saw 6 posts over the space of 4 weeks.

I need to blog more.

It became clear this morning, as a chat with [Suw](http://strange.corante.com/) led to a [long blog post in French](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/07/20/reflexions-freelance/) that I’d been putting off for… weeks, to be generous.

This isn’t the first time (by far) in my blogging career that I’ve been through a “dry” patch, and then one day realised that I had to get into the groove again. Life is cyclic. It’s not a stable line or curve that heads up and up or, God forbid, down and down. It’s ups and downs. Some days are better than others, some weeks are better than others. It’s the low moments in life that also make you enjoy the high ones (though I wouldn’t want you to think I’m advocating heading for “lows” just so you might have post-low “highs” — lows are just part of the colour of life, like the highs).

Some people have higher highs than others, and lower lows. Some people have more highs, some have more lows. We’re not equal — and in the matter of happiness in particular, I remember Alexander Kjerulf saying at Reboot last year that roughly 50% of our “happiness potential” is genetically determined.

So, pardon me the digression on the highs and lows, a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately due to my own ups and [downs](http://www.bcwomens.ca/Services/HealthServices/ReproductiveMentalHealth/MentalHealth/PMSPMDD.htm). Back to blogging.

With the [supposed return of the tired “blogging is dead” meme](http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/004603.html), which we long-time bloggers have seen poking its silly head up every year or two, oh, “blogging is so yesterday”, I once again sit down and wonder at what’s kept me going for over [eight years](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/07/13/eighth-blogversary/) now.

I know part of the answer: I’ve never been in the arms race — or at least, never very long. Arms race to first post, arms race to breaking news, arms race to most comments, arms race to more visitors, more visitors, yes, ad revenue, monetize, recognize. Oh, I want my share of recognition and limelight — I won’t pretend I’m above all that — and there are times when I feel a bit bitter when I feel I’m not getting as much attention as others who have louder mouths but not necessarily better things to say. What can I say: I’m only human, and I think one constant you’ll find amongst bloggers is that each in our own way, we’re all after some form or other of recognition. Some more badly than others, yes.

So, I need to blog more.

One of the things blogging did for me, many years ago, was put me in touch with other people who shared similar interests to mine. That is one thing blogging does well, and that it always will do.

It also provided a space for me to express myself in writing — forgive me for stating the obvious. I’ve always written, always had things to write, and blogging for me was a chance to really dive into it (actually, before that — this website existed before I signed up for a Blogger.com account many years ago).

Writing helps me think. Even though it may sound a bit lame to say so, it’s something I do that feels meaningful to me. It’s not something that puts money in the bank account (one of my important and ongoing preoccupations these days, to be honest), but it’s something that connects me to myself and to others.

Organising a conference as a one-woman endeavour can feel extremely isolating, even with a large network of advisors and supporters. But more than that, I’ve been a freelancer for two whole years now: working from home most of the time, travelling a lot, getting more and more involved in personal and professional relationships outside my hometown, and often in completely different timezones.

I don’t really have any colleagues I see regularly anymore. My client relationships are usually short-lived, given the nature of my work (lots of speaking engagements). I haven’t really had any clients in the last year that I saw regularly enough to build some kind of meaningful relationship with.

It’s not without a reason that I’ve become increasingly interested in [coworking](http://blog.coworking.info/), to the extent that I’m now working at setting up a space in the very building I’m living in (quite a coincidence actually, but a nice one for me, given I like typing away with [my cat](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/collections/72157600210295068/) purring next to me).

What does this have to do with blogging more?

My feeling of isolation isn’t only offline. It’s online too. It feels that I’ve been spending so much time “working” (ie, preparing conferences or worrying about how to earn some money) that I’ve taken a back seat in my online presence. It’s time I started driving again.

I don’t mean that in the sense “agressively fight for a place in front of the scene”. I’ve never been an A-lister and probably never will be. I just want to go back to writing more about stuff I find interesting. Hopefully, not only long rambling soul-searching posts like this one 😉

Twitter, FriendFeed, Tumblr, Feedly, Facebook and Seesmic are changing my life online. I haven’t finished figuring out in what way. But what I know is that my online ecosystem, particularly around my blog, is not what it was three years ago. I am in no way rejecting these “newer” tools in my life, but I do feel at times like I’ve been neglecting my first love.

My blog is also where I give. Over the course of my blogging career, I’ve writen posts which are still helpful or inspiring to those who read them, years after. The more you give, the more you get. Well, maye one reason I feel things are drying up a bit around me is that I’ve stopped giving as much as I used to. Oh, I know it’s not magical. I don’t believe in “balance of the universe” or anything. I do believe in human relationships and psychology, though. If you care about other people, there are more chances that they’ll care about you. That’s what makes us social animals.

Part of it, over the last years, has been the challenge of transitioning from passionate hobbyist to professional. Suddenly my online world/activities are not just where I give freely, but also where I try to earn a living. Such a transition is not easy. And I haven’t found any handbooks lying around.

I’m going to stop here, because I think that this post has already reached the limits of what even a faithful reader of friend can be expected to be subjected to without complaining.

To sum it up: for a variety of reasons I’ve tried to explore in this post, I want to blog more than I have these past months. I think it’ll make me feel better. Blogging is something I enjoy, and if the way I’m doing things doesn’t leave me time for that, then something is wrong with the way I’m doing things. I became a freelancer in this industry because I was passionate about blogging and all the “online stuff” hovering around it — and wanted to do more of it. Not less.

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Going Solo is Tomorrow! [en]

[fr] Going Solo, c'est demain! Une vidéo et deux-trois pensées d'organisatrice.

Gosh. If I learnt one thing in my life, it’s that day go by and dates end up being “tomorrow”, and even “today” at some point. [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is tomorrow — I have to pinch myself regularly to make sure I’m not dreaming.

You can still register online [until tonight](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/15/online-registration-closes-this-evening/). Come to the [Warm-Up Party](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=15939676267) this evening. I’m still wondering what to wear, worrying about a DHL package which reached Geneva yesterday morning but still hasn’t made it to my door, preparing to jot down some notes for what I’m going to say as the MC (and a panel moderator!) on the big day, wondering what “unpredictables” are going to crop up today (the last two days have been filled with them, big and small), remembering that I still have a bunch of Going Solo related photos to upload (maybe I’ll test the venue wifi with them)… Well, I’m busy.

And excited.

Thanks to all those of you who supported me these last months. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

Poster for Going Solo

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The Neighbour's Cat Won [en]

[fr] Morsure de chat. Pas mon chat: chat du voisin que j'ai acculĂ© (chez moi, pour le leur ramener) mĂȘme aprĂšs qu'il m'ait prĂ©venu Ă  grands coups de griffe qu'il Ă©tait trop paniquĂ© pour venir tranquillement. MoralitĂ©: les chats ont de longues dents pointues et ne se les lavent pas.

**Thanks to everybody for their sympathy and wishes of speedy recovery!**

The Neighbour's Cat Won

Not much typing. Cat bite. Details later. Nice cat. Not Bagha. Silly Steph.

Some details.

Friday Update:

Cat Bite Update

Infected. Another appointment tonight. I hope they don’t leave me in this huge splint too long. Can’t do anything!

**Friday night update:**

It Just Gets Better...

Left arm: infected cat bite. They have long sharp canines and don’t like being cornered in a strange place by a strange person. Splint that forbids any use of my hand — will stick around for at least another 2-3 days.

Right arm: catheter. I had 3 doses of antibiotic through IV over the last 24 hours, and am headed for at least that many over the week-end. There are only so many veins in the arm you can stick needles in.

Now, we hope the long canine didn’t go deep enough to infect the bone — or I’m looking at 4-6 weeks of treatment.

Fingers crossed, everybody, please.

**Video Update:** the story and more details.

How it happened:

The consequences:

**Sunday morning update: I can haz fingers!**

I Can Haz Fingerz!

Still got the catheter, though it hurts less now the tap is on the outside of my forearm.

Great improvement: fingers on my left hand! I can type somewhat! Things are taking a good turn. Thumb joint still very painful, so I’m a little worried it could be inflamed/infected — but gosh, does it feel good to have part of my hand back.

**Sunday evening news: good!**

**Monday update: shower!**

From now onwards, things are on the right track. I can remove my splint if I like, infection seems gone, but it’s still inflamed. So, I can type and do most of what one expects to do with two hands, just a bit slower and more painfully.

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A Quick Word About NotchUp (it's not Quechup) [en]

[fr] Si vous avez reçu une invitation NotchUp, pas de souci: ce n'est pas comme quechup. Il s'agit d'une vĂ©ritable invitation. En deux mots, NotchUp est un site de chasseurs de tĂȘtes, oĂč l'on met sa propre tĂȘte Ă  prix. Vous dĂ©cidez combien une entrprise dĂ©sirant vous interviewer doit vous payer (500$ par exemple).

Histoire que ça se propage, on nous promet 10% des gains que feront les gens qu'on invite (ça explique probablement les 8 invitations de la part de vos contacts LinkedIn, qui trainent dans votre boĂźte de rĂ©ception). Donc si vous voulez en ĂȘtre...

First, no worry. I really did select your name to send you the invite. And yes, the invite is poorly worded and looks [quechuppy](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/12/quechup-spammeurs/). They’re so beta you can’t change the wording of the e-mail, which is sad, because I think it makes them look bad.

Their site is very slow, and I’m wondering if this is because they underestimated how fast they would spread, with unlimited invites per user and “load your LinkedIn contacts” feature.

What’s NotchUp? I’d say it’s an electronic head-hunting service. With added bonus: you get paid when a company wants to interview you (talk about incentive). You sign up, import your LinkedIn profile or edit your details by hand, decide how much you want to be paid if a company wants to interview you, and there you go.

If you got an invite from me, it’s not necessarily that I assume that you’re desperately looking for a job. You might be like me, happy where you are, but willing to consider interesting offers (like when Google tried to recruit me last year). Or I might simply not know, and I took a guess.

NotchUp Beta

A little feedback, as this is a beta.

– the site is slow — if this is a scaling issue, fix it fast.
– it’s a pity there is no obvious way to send feedback, as it’s a beta.
– allowing people to edit the invitation mail would be a top-priority thing for me, as I think it’s damaging to them — I thought the first friend of mine who invited me had been Plaxo/Quechup scammed (sorry…) and hadn’t meant to send me the invite.
– [internationalization](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2219285344/), please. I don’t live in Springfield, Massachusetts. We don’t all have 5-digit zip codes (mine is 1004, so I cheated, and entered 01004).
– secure [security questions](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2218489085/) would be cool.
– I don’t fit in the [calculator template](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/2218505939/).
– it looks too good to be true: get money to be interviewed, get 10% of what the friends you brought into the system make over the next year by getting interviewed… how will NotchUp make their money? A little insight about the business model might help take it more seriously.
– **Edit:** please **don’t** make us give our LinkedIn password to import data. [Giving away passwords a bad thing to teach your users.](http://adactio.com/journal/1357) Encourage [responsible behaviour](http://www.disambiguity.com/design-ethics-encouraging-responsible-behaviour/) instead.

If you haven’t got an invite by now (it would be surprising!) and you want one, don’t hesitate to let me know, of course 😉

**Edit:** a few other reviews of NotchUp I found (pretty positive, I’d say)…

– [techradar: NotchUp: A brilliant Jobsearch Startup with an Idea that’ll change the Business Value Chain](http://techradar1.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/notchup-a-brilliant-jobsearch-startup-with-an-idea-thatll-change-the-business-value-chain/)
– [TechCrunch: Stealth Job Site NotchUp Makes Companies Pay To Interview You](http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/01/22/stealth-job-site-notchup-makes-companies-pay-to-interview-you/)
– [CheezHead: NotchUp Review](http://www.cheezhead.com/2008/01/23/notchup/)
– [CenterNetworks: There Are Great Ideas, There Are Poor Ideas, Then There’s NotchUp](http://www.centernetworks.com/notchup-pays-you-to-interview)
– [Gautam Ghosh: Will NotchUp catch up?](http://gauteg.blogspot.com/2008/01/will-notchup-catch-up.html)
– [poetticcode: Vote No For Aggressive Viral Marketing](http://poeticcode.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/vote-no-for-aggressive-viral-marketing/)

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Come to LIFT'08 [en]

[fr] Si vous ne pensiez pas aller Ă  LIFT dans deux semaines, j'aimerais vous encourager Ă  vous inscrire pour nous y rejoindre.

J'avoue qu'une des raisons que j'entends souvent de la part de gens qui me disent ne pas y aller, c'est le prix. Un peu plus qu'un iPhone, et moins qu'un vol à destination de San Francisco (à plus forte raison, meilleur marché également que deux grandes conférences technologiques ayant récemment eu lieu en Europe: Web2.0Expo et LeWeb3).

LIFT est un Ă©vĂ©nement extraordinaire. 3 journĂ©es dont une de workshops, la fondue, deux Ă©vĂ©nements supplĂ©mentaires gratuits (venture night et sustainable dev), ainsi que la fĂȘte -- et vous repartirez proprement "liftĂ©s". LIFT est une confĂ©rence qui change la vie des gens. Elle est au carrefour des questions de sociĂ©tĂ© et de la technologie, d'une pertinence incontestable par rapport aux problĂ©matiques de notre temps.

J'explique dans cet article plus en détail pourquoi je vous encourage absolument à venir à LIFT (il est encore temps). C'est un investissement qui sera largement récompensé. Quel que soit le domaine dans lequel vous travaillez, prendre 3 jours sur l'année pour s'informer à la source sur les problématiques de notre société liées à la technologie n'est pas un luxe.

The [LIFT Conference](http://liftconference.com) is taking place in just two weeks from now in Geneva.

If you’re free on those dates and haven’t considered attending, I’d like to encourage you to [register](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-registration) and come and join us. It’s really worthwhile. And if [the price tag](http://www.liftconference.com/pricing-students-etc-etc#comment-15) is making you hesitate, think again. Here’s what’s included in your registration fee for this three-day event:

– a full day of [workshops](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-workshops)
– [two days of conference](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday) (more about that below)
– nice buffet lunches (upgraded since last year!), [fondue](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#fondue) evening, open bar [party](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#fondue)
– [venture night](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-venture-night) and [sustainable dev](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-program-thursday-friday#wattwatt) sessions
– [lots of WiFi](http://www.liftconference.com/wifi-ugrade)

So, here we are. 850 CHF (that’s $781.50, 530.80€ or ÂŁ396.30 [as of today](http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi)) for three days. Even though it is a sizeable chunk of money for many people (I’m not talking about you lucky ones who get sent to great events like LIFT by their employers), it’s not that expensive, when you think of it (just a little perspective):

– an iPhone: 399€
– the MacBook Air: $1799
– LeWeb3 (Paris): over 1000€
– Web2.0Expo (Berlin): over 1000€
– a cheap flight to San Francisco: $800 (you spend only 2 days on the plane, and it’s way less fun)

Now, as that is out of the way, let’s get to the meat. Why is LIFT worth so much more than what you pay for it? I’d like to add my two cents to [what the organizers already say](http://www.liftconference.com/12-reasons-come-lift):

– **new speakers:** the LIFT team goes to great lengths to introduce speakers that you haven’t already heard at all the other conferences you go to. I’m told it’s becoming a habit for other conference organizers to do their “speaker shopping” at LIFT. (Insider scoop, from Laurent himself: Eric Favre, the inventor of Nespresso, is one of the latest confirmed additions to the speaker list.)
– **great talk quality:** heard of [TED Talks](http://www.ted.com/talks)? They gather the best speakers around the world, and last year, started including talks from partner conferences. [LIFT is one of the four events](http://blog.ted.com/2007/11/talks_from_part.php) they chose to select talks from.
– **at the crossroads of Life and Technology:** this, I think, I the top reason I really love LIFT. It’s about technology, but it’s also about people, society, and the world we live in. It lacks the dryness of the all-tech conference. It’s visionary. It blows your mind and lifts you up. It changed my life, and I’m not the only one.
– **non-commercial:** though I’m not against profit ([Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is, after all, a [commercial event](http://going-far.com/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/ “A little background.”)), the fact LIFT is a non-profit labour of love does reflect in the overall atmosphere and quality of the event. No pitches or sponsors on stage. It’s about ideas and about us. It’s friendly and welcoming and human.
– **more than the stage:** LIFT is about what happens during breaks, in corridors and doorways. Yes, the most value one gets out of an event is generally in networking. LIFT has however taken this awareness a step further, investing a lot in [LIFT+](http://www.liftconference.com/2007/lift+/), activities and exhibits that populate the “in-between” spaces.

I hope it’s obvious from what I’m describing: LIFT is truly an event beyond all others. It’s well-organized and touches topics which are over-important for understanding the world we live in: technology has taken an increasing place in our society (all societies, actually), and this is a chance for geeks and “humanists” both to take a few steps back and think about the “big picture”.

Still not 100% sure you want to [register](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-registration)?

If you’re used to the conference circuit: LIFT will be a welcome change from what you’re used to.
If you don’t usually go to conferences: if you go to one event this year, it should be LIFT. (Well, you should give Going Solo a go too, but it’s [a rather different kind of conference](http://going-solo.net/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/).)

If you are attending, it’s still time to spread a bit of [link love](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/) for LIFT — have you done it yet?

I’m looking forward to seeing you there. I’m part of the [electronic media crowd](http://www.liftconference.com/electronic-media-crowd), though, so if you see me [live-blogging](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/08/01/on-liveblogging/) like mad, don’t be [offended](http://blog.nicolamattina.it/?p=536) if I’m [not very chatty](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/06/too-many-people/).

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DĂ©sinformation en 20 secondes: Google Reader [fr]

[en] A brief note about the Google Reader Shared Items problem in a local free newspaper gives the impression that Google is sharing all subscribed feeds with our chat buddies. I can't stand by and watch this kind of stuff without reacting.

Lundi 31 dĂ©cembre 2007. Je suis dans le bus. Comme souvent lorsque je suis dans le bus, je feuillette le journal gratuit 20 minutes. J’arrive Ă  la page multimĂ©dia, que je lis gĂ©nĂ©ralement avec intĂ©rĂȘt, car elle me donne un point de repĂšre : qu’est-ce qui est « mainstream », qu’est-ce qui ne l’est pas ? Soudain, mes yeux tombent sur la dĂ©pĂȘche suivante, qui me fait littĂ©ralement bondir :

> **Google encore épinglé**

> Le moteur de recherche a mis en place une fonctionnalitĂ© intrustive qui partage automatiquement les listes de flux RSS de Google Reader avec les contacts Google Talk d’un membre. MalgrĂ© les protestations, Google refuse pour l’heure de modifier le systĂšme.

TrĂšs clairement, la personne qui a rĂ©digĂ© cette dĂ©pĂȘche n’a pas pris plus de 20 secondes pour vĂ©rifier ce qu’elle Ă©tait en train de raconter. Difficile de faire mieux en matiĂšre de dĂ©sinformation primaire.

Des explications ? Mais bien sĂ»r. [Je l’ai mĂȘme dĂ©jĂ  fait ici](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/26/granular-privacy-control-gpc/) (c’est un article en anglais, mais il y a un rĂ©sumĂ© en français assez complet).

À en croire 20 minutes, ce que fait Google Reader, c’est de partager sans autre forme de procĂšs toute la liste des flux RSS auxquels vous est abonnĂ©s avec vos partenaires de chat. Ça, ce serait effectivement scandaleux !

En rĂ©alitĂ©, Google ne met Ă  disposition de vos partenaires de chat **que** les articles, parmi tous ceux que vous recevez via vos flux RSS, que vous avez **expressĂ©ment** choisi de partager via vos [“Shared Items”](http://www.google.com/help/reader/sharing.html). En pratique, cela ressemble Ă  ça. Si vous voyez un article qui vous plaĂźt, vous cliquez simplement sur “Share”:

Google Reader Shared Items

Pas tout Ă  fait la mĂȘme chose !

Il reste bien entendu le problĂšme que cette « page publique » est accessible via une adresse compliquĂ©e, et donc pas si privĂ©e que ça… Mais c’est [un autre problĂšme](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/26/granular-privacy-control-gpc/).

Un cactus pour 20 minutes, donc, pour avoir contribué à la désinformation ambiante au sujet des technologies du Web.

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Browser Language Detection and Redirection [en]

[fr] Une explication de la méthode que j'ai suivie pour que http://stephanie-booth.com redirige le visiteur soit vers la version anglaise du site, soit la française, en fonction des préférences linguistiques définies dans son navigateur.

**Update, 29.12.2007: scroll to the bottom of this post for a more straightforward solution, using Multiviews.**

I’ve been working on [stephanie-booth.com](http://stephanie-booth.com) today. One of my objectives is the add an [English version](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/) to the previously [French-only site](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/).

I’m doing this by using two separate installations of WordPress. The content in both languages should be roughly equivalent, and I’ll write a WordPress plugin which allows to “automate” the process of linking back and forth from equivalent content in different languages.

What I did today is solve a problem I’ve been wanting to attack for some time now: use people’s browser settings to direct them to the “correct” language for the site. Here is what I learnt in the process, and how I did it. It’s certainly not the most elegant way to do things, so let me know if you have a better solution by using the comments below.

First, what I needed to know was that the browser language preferences are sent in the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header (HTTP header). First, I thought of [capturing the information through PHP](http://www.webdeveloper.com/forum/showpost.php?s=d989341270ceae8820a3bc1c6273dc9e&p=217863&postcount=2), but I discovered that Apache (logical, if you think of it) could handle it directly.

[This tutorial was useful in getting me started](http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/wa-apac.html), though I think it references an older version of Apache. Out of the horses mouth, [Apache content negotiation](http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.0/content-negotiation.html) had the final information I needed.

I’ll first explain the brief attempt I did with Multiviews (because it can come in handy) before going through the setup I currently have.

### Multiviews

In this example, you request a file, e.g. test.html which doesn’t physically exist, and Apache uses either test.html.en or test.html.fr depending on your language preferences. You’ll still see test.html in your browser bar, though.

To do this, add the line:

Options +Multiviews

to your .htaccess file. Create the files test.html.en and test.html.fr with sample text (“English” and “French” will do if you’re just trying it out).

Then, request the file test.html in your browser. You should see the test content of the file corresponding to your language settings appear. Change your browser language prefs and reload to see what happens.

This is pretty neat, but it forces you to open a file — and I wanted / to redirect either to /en/ or to /fr/.

It’s explained pretty well in [this tutorial I already linked to](http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/wa-apac.html), and [this page has some useful information](http://unix.org.ua/orelly/linux/apache/ch06_03.htm) too.

### Type maps

I used a type map and some PHP redirection magic to achieve my aim. A type map is not limited to languages, but this is what we’re going to use it for here. It’s a text file which you can name menu.var for example. In that case, you need to add the following line to your .htaccess so that the file is dealth with as a type map:

AddHandler type-map .var

Here is the content of my type-map, which I named menu.var:

URI: en.php
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Language: en, en-us, en-gb

URI: fr.php
Content-Type: text/html
Content-Language: fr, fr-ch, fr-qc

Based on my tests, I concluded that the value for URI in the type map cannot be a directory, so I used a little workaround. This means that if you load menu.var in the browser, Apache will serve either en.php or fr.php depending on the content-language the browser accepts, and these two PHP files redirect to the correct URL of the localized sites. Here is what en.php looks like:

And fr.php, logically:

Just in case somebody came by with a browser providing neither English nor French in the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE header, I added this line to my .htaccess to catch [any 406 errors (“not acceptable”)](http://www.checkupdown.com/status/E406.html):

ErrorDocument 406 /en.php

So, if something goes wrong, we’re redirected to the English version of the site.

The last thing that needs to be done is to have menu.var (the type map) load automatically when we go to stephanie-booth.com. I first tried by adding a DirectoryIndex directive to .htaccess, but that messed up the use of index.php as the normal index file. Here’s the line for safe-keeping, if you ever need it in other circumstances, or if you want to try:

DirectoryIndex menu.var

Anyway, I used another PHP workaround. I created an index.php file with the following content:

And there we are!

### Accepted language priority and regional flavours

In my browser settings, I’ve used en-GB and fr-CH to indicate that I prefer British English and Swiss French. Unfortunately, the header matching is strict. So if the order of your languages is “en-GB, fr-CH, fr, en” you will be shown the French page (en-GB and fr-CH are ignored, and fr comes before en). It’s all explained in the Apache documentation:

> The server will also attempt to match language-subsets when no other match can be found. For example, if a client requests documents with the language en-GB for British English, the server is not normally allowed by the HTTP/1.1 standard to match that against a document that is marked as simply en. (Note that it is almost surely a configuration error to include en-GB and not en in the Accept-Language header, since it is very unlikely that a reader understands British English, but doesn’t understand English in general. Unfortunately, many current clients have default configurations that resemble this.) However, if no other language match is possible and the server is about to return a “No Acceptable Variants” error or fallback to the LanguagePriority, the server will ignore the subset specification and match en-GB against en documents. Implicitly, Apache will add the parent language to the client’s acceptable language list with a very low quality value. But note that if the client requests “en-GB; q=0.9, fr; q=0.8”, and the server has documents designated “en” and “fr”, then the “fr” document will be returned. This is necessary to maintain compliance with the HTTP/1.1 specification and to work effectively with properly configured clients.

Apache, Content Negotiation

This means that I added regional language codes to the type map (“fr, fr-ch, fr-qc”) and also that I changed the order of my language preferences in Firefox, making sure that all variations of one language were grouped together, in the order in which I prefer them:

Language Prefs in Firefox

### Catching old (now invalid) URLs

There are lots of incoming links to pages of the French site, where it used to live — at the web root. For example, the contact page address used to be http://stephanie-booth.com/contact, but it is now http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/contact. I could write a whole list of permanent redirects in my .htaccess file, but this is simpler. I just copied and modified the rewrite rules that WordPress provides, to make sure that the correct blog installation does something useful with those old URLs (**bold** is my modification):

# BEGIN WordPress

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . **/fr**/index.php [L]

# END WordPress

In this way, as you can check, [http://stephanie-booth.com/contact](http://stephanie-booth.com/contact) is not broken.

### Next steps

My next mission is to write a small plugin which I will install on both WordPress sites (I’ve got to write it for a client too, so double benefit). This plugin will do the following:

– add a field to the write/edit post field in which to type the post slug of the correponding page/post in the other language *(e.g. “particuliers” in French will be “individuals” in English)
– add a link to each post pointing to the equivalent page in the other language

It’s pretty basic, but it beats manual links, and remains very simple. (I like simple.)

As I said, if you have a better (simpler!) way of doing all this, please send it my way.

### A simpler solution **[Added 29.12.2007]**

For each language, create a file named index.php.lg where “lg” is the language code. For French, you would create index.php.fr with the following content:

Repeat for each language available.

**Do not** put an index.php file in your root directory, just the index.php.lg files.

Add the two following lines to your .htaccess:

Options +Multiviews
ErrorDocument 406 /fr/

…assuming French is the default language you want your site to show up in if your visitor’s browser doesn’t accept any of the languages you provide your site in.

You’re done!

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Hashtags For My Followees [en]

[fr] En utilisant un diĂšze # devant un mot dans un message Twitter, on en fait un tag (un "hashtag", pour ĂȘtre prĂ©cis -- "hash" Ă©tant un nom du diĂšze). Le site hashtags.org indexe ces tags. Pour y retrouver vos tweets, suivez hashtags sur Twitter.

[Hashtags.org](http://hashtags.org/) popped up on my radar roughly a week ago, I’d say. I mentioned [hashtags](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/02/twitter-hashtags-a-quickie/) once already here. They’re a “user-generated” system for implementing tags into Twitter. (User-generated, here, does not mean the same as in the ugly “user-generated content (UCG)” everybody is talking about these days, but points to the fact that [hashtags were initiated by users](http://factoryjoe.com/blog/2007/08/25/groups-for-twitter-or-a-proposal-for-twitter-tag-channels/), not by the Twitter-makers — just like the @convention.)

So, what does hashtags.org do? Basically, it makes those hashtags visible. In September, Twitter introduced [tracking](http://blog.twitter.com/2007/09/tracking-twitter.html), which I realise now I haven’t mentioned here yet. Tracking allows you to “subscribe” to keywords. I personally chose to track “stephtara” and “@stephtara” so that any @replies would arrive directly on my phone as texts. I had the bad idea to track “fowa” during [the Future of Web Apps conference](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/05/my-notes-of-fowa-autumn-2007/). By break time I had 300 text messages in my inbox. Oopsie!

Hashtags.org allows you to view tweets labeled with a hashtag on a web page. Look at [#leweb3](http://hashtags.org/tag/leweb3/) for example, [#twitter](http://hashtags.org/tag/twitter/), or [#wordpress](http://hashtags.org/tag/wordpress/).

A few remarks:

– it’s not very populated yet, because you need to [follow @hashtags](http://twitter.com/hashtags) for them to track your tags; as of writing, only 132 people are — so start following!
– I’m getting 500 internal server errors when I try to look at a tag that doesn’t exist ([#lausanne](http://hashtags.org/tag/lausanne/), as of writing)
– once “everybody” starts using hashtags, it will be very useful to be able to narrow down a collection of tagged tweets to “my followees only”; imagine I’m at LeWeb3, and everybody is twittering about it: I’m not interested in getting the thousands of tweets, just those from the people I’m following
– for a long time, I’ve been a proponent of stickemtogether multi-word tags; recently, I’ve revised my ideas about them and come to realise that multi-word tags really need spaces in them, for better indexing; at the moment, you need to use “+” instead of spaces, like “#san+francisco” (unfortunately these don’t get indexed correctly, [another 500 error](http://hashtags.org/tag/san%2Bfrancisco/)); [Stowe suggests opening and closing hash](http://www.stoweboyd.com/message/2007/12/hashtagsorg.html) as an alternative, which is a bit hashy though it has its charm (“#san francisco#”).

In any case, nice to see such an initiative up and running!

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World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day (WoWiPAD) and Website Pro Day (WPD) [en]

[fr] En plus du Website Pro Day, je propose de tenir dĂ©but janvier le World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day, consacrĂ© Ă  rĂ©gler ces histoires de paperasses (j'ai des tas de quittances Ă  trier et Ă  envoyer Ă  ma comptable, par exemple) une fois pour toutes. On fait ça chacun chez soi, bien entendu, mais on est solidaires et on fait ça en mĂȘme temps. Ça motive!

Faites signe si vous ĂȘtes partants.

A couple of months ago, I came upon [Chris Messina](http://factoryjoe.com/blog/)’s [Finish your %#&*@ drafts](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/event/295393/) day. I thought: “what a great idea!”

Well, not the drafts thing (I have drafts in my WordPress installation right now for the first time in my life), but the “get people together to do something”. It’s not a new idea, of course. I’ve actually already used it to fight procrastination, with friends:

– oh, we’re both chatting when we should do washing up and other things. Let’s go and do it and then meet up on chat again to congratulate ourselves on doing it.
– hey, can I come and do my homework at your place?
– let’s meet up do our tax declaration together.

So, when my friend [Olivier](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/) mentioned in passing that his professional website needed some work done, I said “oh, me too! let’s do it together” and organised the [First Website Pro Day](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/10/31/une-journee-pour-bosser-sur-nos-sites-pro-website-pro-day/) (it’s bastardised gallicised English, don’t worry).

There were four of us (a fifth had to cancel at the last minute because of a sick child) and it was a great success for all those who participated. Not only did we make progress on the “professional online presence” front (I actually moved this blog over to my server back from DreamHost, a move which had been stalling all my efforts to do anything to [SB.com](http://stephanie-booth.com/)), but we also started talking about [building a local coworking community](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=2140) again.

Website Pro Day 1, Lausanne

We also decided that one day was not enough, and that we needed to organise (at least) another similar day: [Website Pro Day 2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/website-pro-day-deuxieme/) is set for December 28th.

Now, obviously, this kind of gathering is local. But wouldn’t it be great of other freelancers or small business owners, in other cities, also got together to work on their professional online presence on the same day? All you need is two people to begin with. Announce it, put it [on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=6369349379) or [upcoming](http://upcoming.yahoo.com/), whatever catches your fancy. I’ll mention it here, too.

Being a freelancer is cool, but it can sometimes be a bit lonely. That’s why ideas like [coworking](http://blog.coworking.info/) and [barcamp](http://barcamp.org/) are very important to us: it’s a chance to get together with “colleagues”. Well, it can also be done in a slightly less formal way, too. Just grab a few “colleagues”, and meet to get something done.

So, another of these “get-together” initiatives I’m launching is the **World Wide Paperwork and Administrivia Day**, which we’ll call WoWiPAD from now on. Unless you’re super-organised or are already a [GTD black belt](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done), you probably have piles of receipts to sort, papers to file, expenses to invoice, forms to fill in, and various administrative things that just pile up and don’t get done, because, let’s face it, it’s way more fun to be earning $$ doing exciting stuff with clients than spending the day drowning in stuffy papers alone at one’s desk.

Obviously, we can’t really gather in one physical space for the WoWiPAD. No, you are not welcome to come to my place with your drawers, piles of papers, stapler — in short, your whole office. But what we can do, though, is decide on a date to do things together. Yes, just knowing that we’re not in this “alone” can be very supportive.

Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or just a somebody with stacks of paperwork to deal with on your desk, leave a comment here or [sign up on Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=7437407283) if you’d like to participate in the WoWiPAD.

I’m going to suggest two dates, which I know are quite nearby — because I’m going to have to do this paperwork stuff soon anyway, or it’ll sprout legs and start running all over the place. The cat is enough trouble by itself, I have no need for paper pets.

As far as I’m concerned, Wednesday January 2nd would be good, as would Thursday 3rd (and even Friday 4th).

What about you?

**Update, Dec. 26th:** Date is officially Jan. 2nd, and the event has been rechristened WoWiPAD (much more pronounceable) — thanks to Greg for the suggestion.

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