WordCamp 2007: Matt Cutts, Whitehat SEO Tips for Bloggers [en]

*Here are my notes of [Matt’s session](http://2007.wordcamp.org/schedule/search-engine-optimization/). Might be inaccurate, blah blah blah. Oh, and RSI, so might be a bit short. Check out the [post on Matt’s blog](http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/speaking-at-wordcamp-later-today/) too.*

**Update, August 2007:** Matt wrote another blog post in which you’ll find [links to his Powerpoint presentation and the video of his talk](http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/whitehat-seo-tips-for-bloggers/).

WordCamp 2007 Matt Cutts

Google doesn’t hate your site. [Some guy](http://alexchiu.com) invented an immortality device (with magnetic rings). His site looks like the love-child of Geocities and MySpace. He claims to have been repressed by Google because of the immortality device. No! Instead, view the source of the page. Ugly things hidden in it! Hundreds of words in a tiny textarea! Hence, the penalty.

Good plugin: [SEO Title](http://www.netconcepts.com/seo-title-tag-plugin/) (swaps the name of your blog with the name of your post).

Don’t put your blog at the root of your domain:

– what if you want something besides a blog?
– people link to main page and main blog page, so you get some extra links that way.

Think about it.

Call your blog “blog” and not “wordpress” — you never know if you might switch.

What do SEOs know that bloggers might not?

**Keywords**

What might people be typing to search for your stuff? example… “[lol kittens](http://flickr.com/photos/tags/lolkittens)”! Don’t spam, but if you know what people are searching for, there are perfectly natural ways of slipping them in your posts. Use synonyms! *steph-note: it’s also better writing than repeating the same words over and over again.* Use this knowledge for good, not for evil!

Use category names which are good keywords. Dashes are best to separate words. Then underscores. No spaces is dreadful.

But wait! If everything is already in place, don’t completely mess up your urls to change. Leave the old stuff as it is, and make the new stuff better.

Use alt tags, or the blind guy at Google will get really angry. 3-4 relevant words. Keep it short.

Q: does having .php .html .asp in the URL make a difference?

A: nope. just avoid .exe 😉

Dynamic URLs are treated just as static URLs. However, keep the number of parameters low.

Should I do an audio podcast, or a video? Well, depends on how pretty you are. If you’re not sure, try hotornot.com.

**Usability**

Make sure your site is crawlable (WP: good).

Q Ben Metcalfe: what about duplicate content WP archives create? Supplementary results?

A: Not too bad, but WP does suffer a bit from the fact you can get to a post from 3-4 different ways. Will have WordPress wishlist at the end of the talk.

Make sure post creation dates are easy to find.

Q: Does Google care about the number of slashes in a URL? (Date in URL)

A: Google doesn’t care about link depth.

**Moving to a new IP**

1. Reduce your DNS time-to-live
2. Back up your site, bring it up on new IP.
3. Watch Googlebot and user traffic until they fetch the site from the new IP address.
4. Take down the old site.

*steph-note: heck, will be doing that soon.*

Q: for mobile/iPhone, different site, or different stylesheet?

A: if you can, different stylesheet.

A2 from public: use Alex King’s wp-mobile plugin

**Moving to new domain**

– use a 301 redirect

better:

– do 301 on one subdirectory and when that is ok do the rest
– write to everyone and ask them to update their links (useful!)
– standardize www or [no-www](http://no-www.org/) but don’t use both, also slash/no-slash

**Free Google tools**

– webmaster console
– feedburner (you can get feeds.mydomain.com rather than feeds.feedburner.com with MyBrand for free *steph-note need to do that!!* so you can leave feedburner…)
– custom search engine
– adsense
– google analytics

**Webmaster Console**

It’s at [google.com/webmasters](http://google.com/webmasters)

A famous web publisher used robots.txt to blog Google completely, then called in a panic “what’s the matter! Google is blocking me!”.

– test robots.txt before pushing live
– submit an authenticated spam report
– remove URLs (for emergencies, useful!)

You can see the backlinks — who’s linking to your site.

Q: can google analytics harm your search results? (?)

A: nope.

You can see crawl errors which can give you hints on making your 404 handling better. Also, tell Google what your preferred domain is (www or not).

“Get noticed, then get traffic from Google” rather than “Get traffic from Google, then get noticed” (*steph-note: yay, exactly the position I defended in a whitepaper on search optimisation for a client!*)

Ideas:

– PDF sign converter
– Lolcat builder
– iPhone app directory
– say Google fast
– sell your moustache on eBay — linkbait!
– free hugs campaign
– tutorials
– analysis
– hunting down wikipedia defaces
– liveblogging
– create controversy (like Dvorak!) — linkbait!
– mention Robert Scoble
– make lists (13 reasons why something rulez/sux0rs)
– …

Be creative! (Well, maybe we need to embrace the fact there are many ways to get attention, and linkbait is one…)

*steph-note: Matt is deadly funny… watch the video of the talk if it exists.*

If you get popular enough, people might want to hack you. You can make your wp-admin accessible only via a whitelist.

A to Q: Google doesn’t look at meta tags much.

Don’t worry about the algorithm too much, focus on compelling content.

If you’re buying/selling links, make sure they don’t affect search engines.

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Videos, Videos! And Kittens! [en]

[fr] Un nouvel épisode vidéo de Fresh Lime Soda, le podcast que je co-anime avec Suw Charman. On y parle de ce qu'on fait dans la vie, et surtout, de comment on le définit (mal!)

Aussi, vidéos de la Gay Pride ici à San Francisco, et de chatons. Oui, des chatons. Tout mimis.

Although [there is just one week left for me here](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/151809632), I’m still [in San Francisco](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600394601924/). When [Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com) was here a few weeks ago, we seized the occasion to record another (video!) episode of [Fresh Lime Soda](http://freshlimesoda.net). Our conversation takes [the episode I mention in my “What do you care about?” post](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/06/22/what-do-you-care-about/) and goes on from there, to examine how we define ourselves in our professional field, and a bunch of other things. Read [the shownotes on the original post](http://freshlimesoda.net/2007/07/16/fresh-lime-soda-episode-7-in-san-francisco/) and enjoy the video!

(If the feed/RSS reader doesn’t take care of it for you, you can [download the video from Viddler.com directly](http://www.viddler.com/show_movie!orgFile.action?movieToken=5bc3aa08).)

While we’re on the subject of videos, I’ve uploaded quite a few to [my Viddler account](http://viddler.com/steph) recently. (Oh, and yes, I still have a post in my drafts somewhere… a review of viddler, which I really like despite its bugs and greenness.) There are videos of [the Gay Pride](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/tags/sfpride) (and photos of the [Dyke March](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600459417123/) and [Parade](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600487653731/) of course!), the [iPhone Launch here in SF](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/tags/iphonelaunch), but most importantly, [really cute kittens playing](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/tags/blukittens). If you like kittens, you’ll enjoy the 5 minutes you’ll spend watching the videos. There are obviously [kitten photographs too](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600783421840/):

Blu's Kittens 7

Blu's Kittens 29

Blu's Kittens 24

And for those who missed the update, [the post announcing my talk at Google (on languages and the internet)](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/07/10/talk-languages-on-the-internet-at-google-tomorrow/) now contains a link to [the video of my talk](http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5004419583730327409&hl=en-GB), the (http://www.slideshare.net/sbooth/waiting-for-the-babel-fish), and my [handwritten presentation notes](http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunny/801234849/) (not that they’ll help you much…). All that!

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Talk: Languages on the Internet at Google [en]

[fr] Demain, je donne une conférence à Google sur le thème du traitement des langues sur internet.

Tomorrow 2pm I’ll be giving a talk at Google (thanks for the invitation, [Kevin](http://epeus.blogspot.com/)) about languages on the internet. It will be an updated version of the [“While We Wait For The Babel Fish” talk I gave at reboot](http://www.reboot.dk/artefact-773-en.html) a month or so ago. For details, click on the poster Kevin made:

Talking at Google: Languages on the Internet

**Update 11.07.2007:** here is the slideshow!

**Update 12.07.2007:** and here’s the video!

**Update 13.07.2007:** and here are my notes for the talk… click on the photo to decypher!

Waiting for the Babel Fish Notes (Google Talk)

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Notes From San Francisco [en]

So, roughly half-way through my five-week trip to San Francisco, what’s going on? I haven’t been blogging much lately, that’s for sure.

For once, I took some photographs from the plane. Unfortunately my camera batteries ran out just as we were coming down on San Francisco, and my spare ones were in the luggage compartment above my head. Oh, well.

Flying to San Francisco 31

I got some first-level questioning at immigration coming in. No, not the sort where they take you to a separate room, become much less friendly, and have boxes of rubber gloves on the counter. This is how it went:

– …And what is the duration of your stay?
– Five weeks.
– …And what do you do in… over in Switzerland?
– I’m a freelance… internet consultant. *OMG that sounds bad.* …I’m actually here to work on a book project. *Yeah I know I should never volunteer information.*
– What’s the book about?
– Er… teenagers and the internet.
– And…?
– Er… Well, the situation with teenagers and the internet, and what we’re doing about it in Switzerland.
– And what are you doing about it?
– Well, not enough!
– And? Come on, tell me more about it.
– Er… OK. *OMGOMG* Well, see, teenagers are really comfortable with computers and the internet, and so they’re chatting, blogging, etc. — they’re digital natives, see? — and parents, well, they’re clueless or terrified about the internet, and they don’t always understand what’s going on in their kids lives online, so basically, we have teenagers who are spending a lot of time online and sometimes getting into trouble and parents don’t know or don’t care about what they’re doing there, so we have this… chasm between generations and…
– Thank you. You can go.

The pick-up from the airport was wonderfully orchestrated and much appreciated. Being driven into town by somebody friendly rather than having to use unfamiliar public transportation really makes a difference. Thanks to all those involved (yes, it took that many people!)

Waiting on the Sidewalk

Then, through some freak breakdown of all modern forms of communication (partially documented on Twitter), I ended up waiting outside on the sidewalk for almost an hour while my kind host Tara waited for me inside her appartment. We worked it out finally, and I was introduced to my (nice and spacious) room before going to hang out at [Citizen Space](http://citizenspace.us/). A nice dinner out with Chris, Tara and Jimmy to end the day, and I happily collapsed in my bed at a respectable local hour. You will have taken note that I did not collapse at 4pm feeling like a zombie, thanks to having taken [melatonin](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin) on the plane. (It [doesn’t seem to work that well for Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/6/29/3057876.html), but it works perfectly on me, and I’m never traveling between continents without it again.)

The four next days went by in [a blur of Supernova madness](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/06/21/taking-photos-at-supernova/): too many people, too many sessions, food with ups and downs, parties with [cupcakes](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600415592611/) and others at the top of [skyscapers](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600430915725/). I took [lots of photographs](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/collections/72157600420716687/) and even [a video sequence that got some attention](http://www.viddler.com/explore/steph/videos/5/).

Supernova First Day 33

During the next week, I started settling down. Met and hung out with old friends, made new ones, unpacked my suitcases, went walking around in town, saw [Dykes on Bikes](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600459417123/), the [Gay Pride Parade](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600487653731/), and the [iPhone launch](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600579979445/), photographed [skyscrapers in the night](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/sets/72157600607158151/), ordered a new camera, got my MacBook (partly) repaired, and even [dropped in at Google to take notes of Suw’s talk there](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/06/27/suw-charman-at-google-does-social-software-have-fangs/).

All this, actually, is documented in [my Twitter stream](http://twitter.com/stephtara) — maybe I should add a whole lot of links? — be sure to keep an eye on it if you’re interested in a more day-by-day account of what I’m doing here.

Overall, things have been good. A small bout of homesickness a few days ago, but I’m feeling better now. I need to start focusing on the things I want to get done (blogging, writing, book, writing, fixing things for clients…) — holiday over now!

Downtown San Francisco By Night 9

I’ve been thinking about my “work career” a little, too. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing, but I’m not going to be doing “Blog 101” for ever — I can feel my interests shifting somewhat already. I’ve been interested in the “social tools at large” department for a long time, but unfortunately it seems to translated to “blogging” in most of the work I do, so I’d like to expand my horizons in that direction a little. I’ve had a couple of talks with people in startups recently, and I realize it’s a kind of environment I wouldn’t mind working in — at least part-time. We’ll see what happens.

I’m also realizing that there is more potential than I first thought around [the two main things I care about these days](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/06/22/what-do-you-care-about/): teenagers online and internet language issues. Hence, the book, and also a talk on the subject of languages on the internet which I’ll be giving at Google this coming Tuesday.

Also in the “work” department, two other things have been on my mind. First, the idea of opening up a coworking space in or around Lausanne ([Ollie is having the same kind of thought](http://b-spirit.com/blogollie/?p=2140) — we’re talking). Second, trying to find a solution so that I don’t have to do maintenance on my clients’ WordPress installations once all is rolling, or spend hours swimming in HTML, CSS and WordPress theme PHP template tags. Not that I don’t know how to do it or don’t enjoy it once in a while, but it’s really not the kind of work I want to spend my time doing. So, I’ve been starting to ask around for names of people who might do this kind of thing (for a reasonable fee), and even thinking of recruiting some students in Lausanne that I could coach/train so that they can do most of the work, and call me up only for major problems. So, see, I’ve been thinking.

Some people have been asking me if I was planning to move here. Indeed, 5 weeks in the city looks suspiciously like a scouting operation. Actually, traveling has an interesting side-effect for me: I tend to come back home thinking “gee, Lausanne is *such* a great place to live! I’m never moving!” Sure, I have some underlying personal issues which contribute to making me overly attached to my hometown, and I know that someday I might end up living elsewhere. But really, for the moment, I don’t think I’d want that.

And even though I’m told San Francisco is very “European” compared to the rest of the US (which I have yet to see) I can’t help seeing how “horribly American” it is. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this city and am enjoying my time here. I know that what I say can give wrong impressions (for example, people — especially Indians — read [the story of my year living in India](http://climbtothestars.org/logbook) and think that I hated the country; it’s not true, I really loved it, and can’t wait to go back). But I walk around San Francisco and see all the signs with rules and regulations and “stupid” warnings (like, God, the pineapple chunks I buy at Whole Foods haven’t been pasteurized and may contain harmful germs! or, don’t use the hairdryer in the bath tub!), the AT&T Park and other manifestations of what to me is “consumerism gone mad”, I hear about health care and [“you’re expected to sue” horror stories](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/06/23/sicko_barack_an.html), visa lotteries for non-renewal, the education system…

So, yes, I’m focusing on the negative. And Switzerland, even though it’s a wonderful country ;-), has its negatives too. Like many natives all over the world, I’ve developed a selective blindness to what is “wrong” in the land I come from, considering much of it “normal” as I have been brought up with it. I know that. But too much of what I see here makes my skin crawl. I’m really enjoying spending some weeks here, I love my friends, the food and the sunshine, but I don’t think I’d be happy living here.

Misty Skyscrapers in Downtown San Francisco 10

Well, this was one of these longer-than-expected posts, and it’s occupied most of my morning. My tasks for this afternoon are (in this order):

– one WordPress install for a client
– spending a little more time trying to see if there is hope for the aggravating Google Groups problem I bumped into, and if not, setting up a Yahoo! Group instead
– writing a post for [bub.blicio.us](http://bub.blicio.us) or working on my book — whichever I most feel like.

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Suw Charman at Google: Does Social Software Have Fangs? [en]

[fr] Mes notes de la conférence que mon amie Suw a donné chez Google aujourd'hui.

*Here are the notes I took of [Suw Charman](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog)’s talk. They’re not necessarily well-constructed, and may even contain inaccuracies. I did my best, though!*

It’s trickier than it seems when using blogs in business.

Will talk about using blogs and wikis internally. What can you do when things go a bit wrong?

Software is easy to install, so companies install it, some people start using it, but they’re not getting everything they can out of it.

Wikis are for collaboration, blogs are for publishing. Clear how the technology works, but not clear why some people don’t adopt social software internally for their work.

Suw Talks at Google

Reasons?

Low-level fear of social humiliation. How are they going to come across to their peers and bosses? Fear of making mistake. People don’t realise they’re afraid, they just feel a bit uncomfortable talking /publicly/ to their collegues. E-mail is different because it feels private, it’s 1-1 communication. You’re not exposing yourself as much. People become “shy” when you give them a very public place to work.

Also, some people aren’t comfortable in writing. Some are better talkers than writers, and are not comfortable writing in a semi-formal environment. E-mail is more informal. Blogs and wikis are perceived as requiring a higher level of writing skill. Again, people don’t admit to this.

This doesn’t happen in very open organisations, but often if permission isn’t explicitly given to use such tools, that will really get in the way. “Blogs as diaries”, etc — psychological mismatch. What the boss /thinks/ blogs are, and what they are used for in business.

Trust in the tool. “So you mean anybody can change my stuff?” for wikis. “Can I stop them?” Not comfortable trusting the content placed in such tools, and the tools themselves. “What if the tool loses everything?”

Will the tool still be around in one or two years? If we pour our data into this wiki, am I going to just lose everything if management pulls it down?

Many people just don’t see the point. See social software as something they need to do /in addition/ to what they’re already doing. Parallel with KM disasters.

Biggest problem: how to get people involved. Two basic routes: top-down, and bottom-up.

Top-down can work all right if you have a hierarchical company and control what people are doing. Will work while managers go “you have to use this, or…” but people will abandon it when pressure disappears.

Bottom-up. Trojan mouse. People start using stuff because they think it’s useful, and it spreads through the organisation. Grassroots can be very powerful in getting people to use this kind of software. Risk: incompatible software, duplication of efforts, managers closing things down.

Go for the middle way: support from above (yes, you can use that, we encourage you to use this) but rely on the “bottom”, people using the software to have it spread.

Adoption strategy:

1. Figure out who your users are, not globally, but as small groups with shared needs. You need to understand what these people do every day. Good place to start: look at how they’re using e-mail. E-mail is a very abused tool. CCing just to let you know stuff — we get a huge amount of e-mail for things we don’t really need. Or things like conversation often happen badly in e-mail: somebody missing from the CC list, or somebody replying to one instead of all. And you can’t just access somebody’s inbox. People send out attachments to half a dozen people, and they all send back with comments, need to merge. There are places where these things can be done better/quicker. Identify who is influential within your area — supernodes — who can help you spread adoption, push a tool from something that is used locally to something that is used business-wide.

2. How is this going to make their lives easier? Some use cases can be very small, not very impressive, but very practical. E.g. coming up with a presentation in a short time by using a wiki. Doing that by e-mail wouldn’t work, not in four hours. Another thing is meeting agendas. Put it on the wiki instead of sending out agendas in Powerpoint, Excel, Word… The minutes can go on the wiki too. Looking for places where conversations are fragmented => wiki. Blogs: look for people publishing stuff on a regular basis. Start with those simple use cases, then these practices will spread to other uses. People are bad at generalising from a high level (ie, wikis are for collaboration — d’uh?)

3. Help material on the wiki won’t help people who aren’t comfortable with it. Print it out! Or people are so used to hierarchy, that they recreate it in the wiki, even though it might not seem necessary. If this is the behaviour they feel comfortable with, then we’ll enable this. Come up with naming schemes to make this possible. Be very open to letting the people use these tools the way they want to: coffee rotation, sports page, etc.

4. At one point, requests for help etc. dropped. Critical mass had been reached. People were self-organising.

Top-down stuff: Suw’s more in favour of bottom-up, but often needs to be married to top-down.

Important thing: having managers who accept the tools. Some people can really get in the way of this kind of adoption project. Work around them in a way.

Managers who are the most successful in getting their people to use these tools are those who are the most active, who blog, use the wiki, encourage their people to use it. E.g. manager who would put everything on the wiki and send one-liner replies to e-mails containing questions about this with pointer to the wiki.

Use the tools regularly if possible. Easy to slip back into the old ways, but go back to using the tools.

Beware: adoption and usage is not the goal. Getting your job done is.

Q: what about privacy and secrecy?
A: easy to create little walled gardens in a wiki. also, everything that happens on a wiki is logged.

Need for wiki-gardners. Most of the problems are not technological, but cultural. How people react to the environment. Social vs. hierarchical organisation.

Tool recommendation: depends a lot on who is going to use it. E.g. MediaWiki sets business users running screaming, because it doesn’t look like Word. Happier with SocialText, maybe. What is the users’ comfort zone regarding tools? What about the existing IT infrastructure? Businessy users tend to like shiny stuff, branded, Word-like. More technical users tend to be happy with bland-looking things that might even be broken.

Q: external use cases for blogging?
A: “blogs are diaries” => scary for businesses. Some very mundane use cases: Disney used blogs to announce events (threw away their customer crappy tool). Personal knowledge management — “what have I been doing, what stuff do I need to find again?” Person who has to report on what he’s doing: blog about it, and let boss read. Competitive intelligence. What’s happening out there/in here. Also, “oh this is interesting!” — people blogging about social things, not business-related things. Actually good, allows people to get to know each other. *steph-note: I think Google understands that.* We tend to underestimate the importance of social relationships in business.

**Update, July 3rd: the video**

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Google Questions [en]

[fr] Comment Google détermine-t-il (1) le pays d'où provient un site et (2) la langue d'une page? Pourquoi les résultats d'une recherche en français sont-ils différents, selon qu'on utilise google.ch ou google.fr?

So, I’m writing up a document for a client about search engine placement. Not really an SEO thing, more a “good search engine placement results from popularity and success, not the opposite” thing. Like, (gosh, am I being eloquent right now,) setting objectives like “be in the first three results for this or that keyword combination is not very realistic.”

Anyway, I’m stuck in the part about limiting seach to one country or a language (which is a “big thing” if you live outside Anglophonia and ambition to reach the local population). I realise that the way Google manages these different searches is not quite clear to me.

**Location**

If you go to [google.ch](http://google.ch) you can choose to do a search for [“pages from Switzerland”](http://www.google.ch/search?hl=en&q=stephanie+booth&btnG=Google+Search&meta=cr%3DcountryCH) (I’m using my name as a search term example). Or with [google.fr](http://google.fr/), “[pages from France](http://www.google.fr/search?hl=en&q=stephanie+booth&btnG=Google+Search&meta=cr%3DcountryFR)” (language set to English both times so you can compare). My assumption (thanks [shastry](http://vinayshastry.blogspot.com)) is that they use server location for that. But is that all? (My server is in the US, so that explains why CTTS does not show up as a “Swiss” site.)

**Language**

If I select French as the search language, I get different results whether I use [google.ch](http://www.google.ch/search?hl=fr&q=stephanie+booth&btnG=Recherche+Google&meta=lr%3Dlang_fr) or [google.fr](http://www.google.fr/search?hl=fr&q=stephanie+booth&btnG=Rechercher&meta=lr%3Dlang_fr). I assume Google uses language detection — but why are the results different?

Thanks for any explanation which can help me see a bit more clearly.

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The Aggregator Lag [en]

[fr] A cause de Google Reader qui m'a servie une version "non rectifiée" de ce billet de danah, j'ai failli contribuer à propager des informations fausses, et ça m'énerve. Ça m'énerve surtout quand (en l'occurence) la technologie vient nous mettre des bâtons dans les roues.

This bugs me. It bugs me because it’s a situation where the technology which is normally supposed to assist us in communicating actually gets in the way of good communication. It’s even worse, actually: here, a technological issue could invite us to spread false information.

(Of course, there is a human issue behind this, but it’s not what I want to address here. Humans can make mistakes, and as long as they are honestly made, I think we should just accept that they happen.)

I just read danah’s last post in Google Reader and headed to [the Facebook group](http://berkeley.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2373716526) she was pointing to so I could get a little more information on the current situation.

Post in Google Reader

There, I found a message which indicated that [FaceBook had never sent the ArabLGTB group](http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=2373716526&topic=2614) the message they had received. It was, in fact, a fake.

"We have been fooled"

Well, I thought I’d better [comment about that on danah’s post](http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2007/04/30/globalization_o.html), so I headed over to her blog. There, to my surprise (happy surprise), I saw she had already updated her post.

Post on apophonia

The update just hadn’t made it to Google Reader.

So of course, there is nothing extraordinary going on here. This story is just another case of misinformation spread by good intentions (and I’m thinking mainly about all the people who blogged about this on their LiveJournals and will never know it was not true — or bother finding out). But I’m annoyed that I almost got caught in it too, and that I always forget that we can’t trust aggregators to serve us the latest version of a post.

Check, check, check. When in doubt, don’t blog. (That’s for me.)

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MindMeister: Google Docs-Style Mind Mapping [en]

[fr] MindMeister est un logiciel de mind-mapping (comme FreeMind ou Mind Manager) en ligne, à la Google Docs. J'ai des invitations si vous désirez essayer. On peut collaborer sur des documents à plusieurs et les publier sur le web.

A quickie before I head out to write more hopefully useful stuff for teenagers: my friend [Gabriel](http://iblog.ch) sent me an invitation to [MindMeister](http://www.mindmeister.com/), an [online mind-mapping service](http://www.mindmeister.com/home/about). Actually, I almost spammed it, but luckily had a closer look just in time.

Sign up is nice and easy, I was able to import a mindmap from [Freemind](http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) in three effortless clicks, and the whole interface is very Google Docs-like. If you like Google Docs and have use for mind mapping (you should!), then you’ll probably like MindMeister. It’s still a little green, of course, but trust me — this is screaming for an acquisition 🙂

You can of course collaborate on mind maps and share them with the public (I just did that with the [very ugly brainstorming](http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddcrwvm8_16d3fhsz) related to [my reboot talk proposal](http://www.reboot.dk/artefact-773-en.html)). They autosave, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work (like I almost did — [again!](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/9602221) — with this blog post). You can also [export to Mind Manager or FreeMind](http://mindmeister.com/home/show_news/5), of course (guys, you need to make your permalinks more visible in the blog; I had to go through the RSS feed to find that one).

Interested? It’s a closed beta, but I have invites. Just ask!

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Not All Switzerland Speaks German, Dammit! [en]

Here we go, yet another misguided attempt at localisation: [my MySpace page](http://myspace.com/stephtara) is [now in German](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/409678094/).

[MySpace](http://myspace.com) now joins [PayPal](http://paypal.ch), [eBay](http://ebay.ch), [Amazon](http://amazon.ch), [Google](http://google.ch) in defaulting to German for Swiss people.

[Switzerland](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland) is a multilingual country. The linguistic majority speaks Swiss-German (reasonably close to German but quite un-understandable for native German-speakers who have not been exposed to it). Second language in the country is French. Third is Italian, and fourth is… (no, not English) …[Romansh](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romansh).

You know how linguistic minorities are. [Touchy.](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/04/30/about-the-swiss-blog-awards-sbaw/) Oh yeah.

As a French speaker with rather less-than-functional German, I do find it quite irritating that these big “multinational” web services assume that I speak German because I’m Swiss. I’d rather have English, and so would many of my non-bilingual fellow-cititzens (particularly amongst web-going people, we tend to be better at English than German).

Yes, I’ve said that [English-only is a barrier to adoption](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/24/english-only-barrier-to-adoption/). But getting the language wrong is just as bad, if not worse (most people have come to accept the fact that English is the “default” language on the internet, even if they don’t understand it). If I want my Amazon books to be shipped here free of charge, I have to use [Amazon.de](http://amazon.de), which is in German, and doesn’t have a very wide choice of French books. [My wishlist](http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/wishlist/3ZN17IJ7B1XW/) is therefore on Amazon.de too, which maybe explains why I never get anything from it.

Paypal is almost worse. I can’t really suggest it to clients as a solution for “selling stuff over the internet”, because all it offers in its Swiss version is a choice between German (default) and English. You can’t sell [a book in French](http://lavoieetsesdegres.com/) with a payment interface in German or English.

So please, remember that country != language, and that there is a little place called Switzerland scrunched up in the middle of Europe, caught between France, Italy, Germany and Austria ([Liechtenstein](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liechtenstein) is even worse off than us I suppose), and that not everyone in that little country speaks German.

Thank you.

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Geeky Frustrations [en]

[fr] Quelques râlages (comme quoi je ne fais pas ça qu'en français) au sujet de certains outils que j'utilise quotidiennement.

Right, so, just so I can get it off my chest, here is a list of little things that bug me with the tools I use daily. If I save them for a “proper write-up” they probably will never be posted, so… here goes.

– Twitter: let me see a differential list of those I follow and those who follow me, both ways. I need to know who is following me that I’m not following (maybe I missed somebody out) and who I’m following but they’re not (to keep in mind they won’t see stuff I twitter).
– Twitter: let me tag my friends, or sort them into buddy groups. Then let me activate phone alerts for only certain groups. One-by-one management is just impossible with 100 or so friends.
– Adium: let me [turn off Gmail notifications](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/5560398). I have Google Notifier for that. I hate having to click “OK” on that window all the time.
– Google Reader: let me [drag’n drop](http://steph.wordpress.com/2007/02/17/dragn-drop-in-google-reader/) feeds from one folder to another.
– Facebook: let me import more than one RSS feed in my notes.
– Nokia 6280 and Macbook: please sync with each other *each time* I ask you to, not once out of three.
– Nokia 6280: gimme a “mark all as read” option for my text messages, please!
– Nokia 6280: I’d say something about the really crappy camera, but there isn’t much you can do about it now, can you.
– iPod: let me loop through all episodes of a podcast instead of having to go to the next episode manually.
– iTunes: let me mix playlists as a source for Party Shuffle (30% My Favorites, 30% Not Listened in Last week, 40% Artist I’m Obsessing Over These Days… for example)
– Google Reader and del.icio.us: find a way to allow me to automatically post Shared Items to del.icio.us too.
– Flickr: let me link to “My Favorite photos tagged …” so I can show my readers what I’ve found.
– **Added 18.02.07 0:10** [Google Ajax-y Homepage](http://padawan.info/web/google_goes_mashup.html): let me Share Google Reader items, not just star them.
– …

Certainly more, but these were those which were bugging me badly just now. Well, they’re off my chest, now I can go back to fretting about all the [stuff I need to get rid of](http://twitter.com/stephtara/statuses/5560379) in my flat and which is still lying around because I haven’t quite figured out the optimal way to dispose of it.

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