Thoughts on technology, investing, marketing, and entrepreneurship.

Category: Blogs and Blogging

Using Blogs for Project Management

Cutting Through has an article (via on using blogs for project management. By improving communication and putting a human face on projects, the project owners are better able to keep all stakeholders in the loop thus minimizing issues as the project progresses. Using blogs for specific, more targeted business uses will likely fuel the growth of blogs in the enterprise.

New rock climbing blog site

One of my non-professional passions is climbing in all its forms. I’ve been an avid rock and ice climber for many years now and instead of cluttering this blog with talk of climbing, I’ve started a separate site just for climbing topics. Named All Climbing, and as the name suggests, this is a blog dedicated to climbing. From my preliminary research, there appears to be few, if any, blogs dedicated to climbing. So this new blog may be lonely for a while, but I doubt it will remain that way for long.

Beginner's Guide to Business Blogging

has just published Debbie Weilâ??s new . If you havenâ??t yet checked out ChangeThis, go there and explore right away. There are manifestos from the likes of , , , , , , Al Gore, and just to name a few.

Debbieâ??s guide is a good overview of blogging and the potential for blogs in business. For experienced bloggers, much of this you already know. For those new to blogging (especially business blogging) or for those trying to justify their use in corporate settings, this is a canâ??t miss reference.

Iâ??d advise visiting ChangeThis or Debbie’s site and downloading the guide as it’s free until January 25, 2005. After that itâ??s $29 from her website.

Spell checking via Firefox extension

The more I post to my blog, the more I miss a spell checker. To this point, I’ve found myself writing posts in Microsoft Word for the spell checking capability and then cutting and pasting to my blog. This isn’t exactly efficient. I’ve found I get in the habit of just typing along to keep the flow of my thoughts moving and leaving the typos for software to take care of. It’s not that I can’t spell, but why take the time in the middle of your thoughts to pause and correct typing error? Software should make your life easier, right? When searching for an ideal platform to run my blogs, this was my biggest gripe – no readily available spell checking.

So, it finally struck me to search looking around for alternatives. After some serious searching, I found a plug-in for Firefox called SpellBound. Apparently, IE has had something similar for a while (not that I knew about it either) in a plug-in called ieSpell. With my almost 100% reliance on Firefox over IE now, I was pleased to see an extension already there fulfilling a need.

The SpellBound extension for Firefox will check any form on a web page by simply right clicking and selecting the “Check Spelling” menu item. You do have to check each form individually, but this is a minor complaint for the functionality provided. SpellBound spell checks very well, but please remember this is not the same as spell checking in Word. There are minor bugs and words that are missed. The ability to add words to a dictionary does exist though and this assists tremendously in improving the spell checking accuracy.

RSS news readers

Iâ??m currently on a quest to find an RSS news feed reader. Iâ??ve simply been using Firefox to this point to manage my feeds, but Iâ??ve found Iâ??ve outgrown the basic functionality provided by the browser and its extensions. Iâ??ve just installed trial versions of FeedDemon and NewsGator Outlook version. Iâ??m debating whether to use a separate app or keep everything within Microsoft Outlook. As a heavy Outlook user, the integration makes sense. The problem is there are less of the really useful features included compared to the stand-alone applications. Specifically, I like the built-in browser functionality in FeedDemon as well as its watchlists and “news clipping” features.

FeedDemon is created by Nick Bradbury, the creator of TopStyle and Homesite. The usability of Homesite was outstanding, so I have high expectations for this product. After I pound on both these software products, Iâ??ll post a more detailed commentary.

I’ve also tried FeedReader, but it was woefully lacking features. If all you need is a basic feed reader (thatâ??s free), I guess this is a viable option. Iâ??d stick with using a browser over FeedReader though.

If anyone has suggestions on other great RSS feed readers, please let me know.

Blackberry 7100t from T-Mobile

Despite the recent legal troubles for , there seems to be no stopping the momentum of their product. Though its popularity has been primarily confined to the corporate world, RIMâ??s newest entry is targeted towards a somewhat new market for RIM. The new BlackBerry 7100 (7100t through BlackBerry in the US) appears to be aimed at either the consumer market or simply those looking for a scaled down smart phone that contains only the essentials.

The best way to describe the is that it is designed for people who want email and capabilities on their phone and not the other way around. Many of the other smart phones on the market appear that they were designed with the PDA functionality first and then the phone was added as an after thought â?? â??Hey, how can we cram a phone in here?â?

Where the BlackBerry 7100t excels is in its simplicity. Iâ??ve always loved the thought of a PDA â?? I owned and used Palm, Windows CE, Pocket PC, and now the BlackBerry OS. The issue with all the others was twofold. One, I never used any of the functionality beyond calendar, contacts, to do list, and basic notes. Second, as a separate device from my cell phone, I never actually had the PDA when I needed it. The cell phone was always in my pocket, the PDA on my desk. The BlackBerry 7100t, in addition to its much heralded email functionality, contains the above basic functionality (calendar, contacts, to do list, and notes) that synchs seamlessly with Microsoft Outlook. I now have all the functionality I actually use, always on my person.

After using the device exclusively now for almost two months (the 7100t was released in October, 2004), I have few complaints. The sound quality is not the best (though itâ??s quite good) and T-Mobileâ??s network is now as expansive as some of its competitors. That being said, if youâ??re looking for the basic PDA functionality with email in a phone, the BlackBerry 7100t is hard to beat.

As I use it more, Iâ??ll add some more thoughts on its uses and capabilities. One Iâ??m currently using now and will post more details in the future, is that the 7100t can easily be used as a modem via itâ??s USB sych/charger cable. With a reasonably priced unlimited mobile plan from T-Mobile, this feature alone could be worth the price of upgrading to the BlackBerry 7100t.