We couldn't go out on vacation quietly, so now the Gothamist sites have new favorites pages, with views of the most recommended and comment posts over "All Time", monthly, weekly, or daily. Check out Austinist, SFist, Gothamist, Parisist, or any of they other Gothamist affiliates.
We love this feature. Other recommend and reblogging sites have a similar views, but none quite as elegant, and of course none with the strong content and voice that the Gothamist sites have.
We're really grateful for the year we've had, for the good work we've been able to do, and for the opportunity to do some more next year.
We believe that the best reflection of our work is who our clients are and what they do. In that spirit, we'd like to point you to some of our favorite recent work. The Washington Post's On Faith discussions continue, and in fact they're featured on the front page today.
If you're looking for some last minute gift ideas, take a look at Ed Levine's wonderful guide to "the gift of Nosh," get some gadget tips from the Cranky Geeks, or preview Six Apart's next generation blogging products. Alternatively, the Daily Intelligencer offers a link to some charity ideas, and of course we'll be following Gothamist and her affiliate sites over the break as they continue to bring a fiercely local attitude and viewpoint to current happenings and culture.
…okay, I don’t really have a punchline for a joke like that. But you just might, after you’ve had a chance to win a two-week trip around the world to Paris, Tokyo, and San Francisco.
It’s the Vox World Tour: We’re giving away a trip to all three of the cities where Vox was born, so you can see all the neighborhoods that helped inspire the neighborhoods in Vox. Of course, Vox is about friends and family, so they can win too. Because if you win, the person who invited you into Vox wins the trip as well.
So get started — check out the other posts that Vox members have used to enter the giveaway. Then, sign in to Vox and write your own entry. Or if you’re not already a member, take our tour of Vox and see what it’s all about before you begin your own tour of the world.
It’s a simple idea that’s going to have a powerful impact: Just like your email address, your web address is a form of identification for you. OpenID is the name of the free, open system for using the URL of your blog or other website as an identity to sign in on sites across the web.
Our team here at Six Apart created the initial technology, but OpenID is gaining momentum across the web and we’re delighted to point out the successes that the community’s achieved even as the effort is just starting. First we should explain why you might be interested.
How does OpenID help everybody? Simple:
- With OpenID, your web address (URL) is your identity
- OpenID is free, and works with many sites across the web
- You can get a free OpenID identity by starting a free blog with LiveJournal or Vox, or by using your existing TypePad or TypeKey account. OpenID plugins for Movable Type are also available.
- When you sign into a site with OpenID, they don’t get access to your password
- And, as Brad Fitzpatrick said when introducing OpenID, it’s “actually decentralized and doesn’t entirely crumble if one company turns evil or goes out of business”. Yay!
Plus, there are benefits for developers. LinuxWorld described OpenID as one of its top 20 web APIs, but as a hacker, you can find your own reasons to add it to your list of APIs:
- OpenID is available for site developers to use free of charge
- There’s lots of open source sample code available, using standard Free licenses
- There are no patent annoyances or encumbrances on using OpenID
- All Six Apart tools can let you use your blog’s address as an OpenID, and we plan to add the ability to sign in with OpenID in the future. (LiveJournal offers this today.)
A lot of this is explained well in Simon Willison’s excellent post about OpenID. It seems as if much of the recent activity is a mark of success for the teams at sites like OpenID Enabled and I Want My OpenID, which have helped get stories like “The case for OpenID” covered by prominent outlets like Slashdot.
The truth is, as effective as that kind of outreach is, the best way to help OpenID succeed is to make great experiences for normal users of the web. Most people aren’t yet familiar with the idea of using a personal URL as an identity, or they might not care that sharing their password with other sites when logging in is insecure. But everyone understands the benefit of “I don’t want to remember another password.”
So perhaps the best place to show how far OpenID has come in just a few months is with some of the high-profile sites that support the system. In addition to LiveJournal, where OpenID was born, there’s Technorati’s support of OpenID for claiming your blog, and Ma.gnolia has enabled OpenID for sign-in as well.
Wanna try it out for yourself? Sign in to (or sign up for) Vox, and get your address, something like example
.vox.com. Then use that address to sign in on LiveJournal, Technorati, and Ma.gnolia. And then start thinking about how you could use that kind of functionality on the rest of sites you visit on the web.
In November Six Apart hosted a Movable Type Hackathon. The event was a great success with developers attending from all over the country, and a number of other developers participating throughout the week. One of those developers was Tim Appnel. Tim has been a member of Six Apart's Professional Network from the beginning, he is a long time plugin contributor and he is one of the more experienced Movable Type consultants out there. Tim flew in all the way from Connecticut to participate and we were honored to have him join us. What follows is another podcast in the ProNet podcast series that I recorded with Tim the day of the Hackathon.
Looking back over 2006 one of the things that really stands out for me personally is the opportunity I had to attend OSCON. I can think of a lot of conferences that lost their edge once they surpassed some invisible line in popularity and size. OSCON is not one of them.
Precious few of the sessions sucked, and a good handful were seriously helpful and meaningful. Of course my experience at OSCON this year was especially meaningful because I got to share it with so many fellow Six Aparters. In fact, Six Apart sent more employees to speak at OSCON than any other conference it attended in its history; and Six Apart had the largest number of sessions among all the other sponsors. OSCON was a tremendous success for us because we were able to educate so many people about all of the amazing software we contribute to the open source community than ever before.
But in looking back through ProNet's archives, I realize I never uploaded and shared with everyone the presentations that Anil, Brad, Junior, Artur, Ben and Miyagawa all gave. So before the year wraps up, I thought I would take that opportunity now.
- Read Ben Trott's presentation on Data::ObjectDriver - a relational object driver that doesn't suck. Data::ObjectDriver is a Perl module that abstracts developers away from the complexities of SQL, caching and partitioning - without requiring a million other perl modules, and is very extensible.
- Read Miyagawa's presentation on Plagger - a pluggable feed aggregator written in Perl that utilizes a mechanism inspired by the Unix "pipe" to daisy chain a series of Plagger Plugins together.
- While you can't recapture the experience of seeing Anil talk in person, you can at least read his keynote on "Trying to suck less."
- Artur and Brad's presentation on "LiveJournal's Secret Spin-offs" will be posted as soon as it is available (check back here for the link) - memcached, Perlbal, MogileFS and djabberd are all open source applications built by the LiveJournal team that are responsible for powering some of the largest web sites on the Internet.
Business 2.0's most recent cover story, How to Succeed in 2007, includes a lot of the sort of business advice you'd expect from a group of entrepreneurs and celebrities. There are the usual admonishments to "keep things simple" or "pay attention to your customers". But tucked in amongst the boring stuff is Fred Wilson's unusual recommendation: Build a blog that builds your business.
Though there's a short except on the Business 2.0 site, the longer version of Fred's piece on his own blog is well worth a read, even if you're familiar with the benefits of business blogging. Fred summarizes the reaction he's seen to his blog:
Many of my readers tell me that they love the diversity of the posts I do. They come for the technology and venture capital stuff but enjoy getting to know me through the other stuff. I think this is critical. Blogs need to be real and personal. Reading your blog needs to be like hanging out with you. I play music for my readers. I show them videos I like on YouTube. I tell them what I did over the weekend. And I tell them what I think is happening in the technology, Internet, and venture capital markets.
It seems to work. About 50,000 people each month come to my blog.
Fred does a wonderful job of talking about how a blog can build your business, and has useful digressions along the way that discuss how you might want to keep your personal and professional blogs separate, as well as providing some specific details about the measureable impact his blog has had.
But just as important to me is the personal story behind Fred starting his blog:
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started my blog. I met Mena Trott (founder of Six Apart which makes Movable Type blogging software and the hosted Typepad blogging service) at a party at Nick Denton’s apartment. She was in town to launch Typepad. I asked her what Typepad was. She told me I could set up a blog in about two minutes in Typepad. I was curious so I went home and did just that. I haven’t looked back since.
I was at that party, and it was just one of many times that I've had the chance to see someone like Mena, who cares about blogging, explain the potential of a blog to someone face-to-face. In this case, it became a big enough part of Fred Wilson's life and career that he's continued the spread to the word. Now Fred's the one talking to new people about starting a blog -- it'll be exciting to see whom he's inspired to start building their career using blogs.
Just a quick shout-out to Threadbared, the new book by TypePad bloggers Kimberly Wrenn and Mary Watkins, which is a hilarious satirical send-up of off-kilter sewing and crafting patterns from the ’40s to the ’80s and beyond. Dedicated to all the readers of Threadbared.com, the book is a direct result of the blog that the two Georgia natives started a year-and-a-half ago, which quickly spawned a healthy community of die-hard followers.
To celebrate the release of the book, we’ve made Threadbared our TypePad Book of the Month, an honor that’s gone previously to Steven Johnson’s The Ghost Map, Shari Caudron’s Who Are You People?, and Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail. (Find ‘em all in the handy TypePad Bookstore.) Since we think their story is such a great example of passionate writers finding their niche, we’ve done both an interview and a podcast with the authors, and, for a limited time, we’re offering a free copy of the book to new TypePad customers who sign up with the referral code “CRAFTASTIC.” Check TypePad.com for all the details.
We're proud to announce the arrival of Serious Eats, the brainchild of one of our favorite food writers, Ed Levine, as well as some of our other favorite bloggers. Serious Eats offers up unique video and text features in addition to a burgeoning Talk section where Serious Eaters can ask and answer culinary quandaries. I've already taken advantage of the feature to find the best burrito in NYC and good chinese delivery in Chelsea.
Serious Eats is built on Movable Type Enterprise with some custom plugins by Apperceptive for good measure. In addition to some old favorites (like Multiblog) and some new favorites (like RebuildQueue), one of our favorite features is the user profiles, which lists your posts, comments and comments that have appeared since you posted. Check out my own, megnut's, and David Jacobs' pages for starters.
This is a fantastic project and we're not just proud of the results, but we're also fans of the project and the Serious Eats team. We're also flattered that Six Apart has featured the site as part of their Blogs @ Work series. Okay, enough from us, on to the main course!
Since we've wrapped up our interview series with the winners of The Style Contest, we're spending time with each of the contest judges. Today we're speaking with Kathy Scoleri of Moxie Design Studios.
The folks here at Six Apart are always impressed with what a lone seventeen year old a half a world away manages to create in his spare time between classes. Arvind Satyanarayan, creator of movalog, is perhaps one of our most prolific developers and contributors to our Professional Network community.
Just this week he released his twelfth Movable Type plugin called Simply Threaded which was inspired by Vox's threaded commenting feature. Threaded comments in LiveJournal and Vox have proven to dramatically increase dialog between readers of a blog, and is an excellent tool in the workplace because it helps to turn a typical blog into a forum for knowledge sharing and idea exchange.
I encourage everyone to try out the new Movable Type plugin and to help Arvind out by downloading it and testing it out. Then leave a comment here to let us know what you think.