Converge Trip Report #2: Where's the business model going?

I spent Friday and Saturday in Greensboro, NC at the ConvergeSouth 2005 conference. I had a great time meeting fellow NC bloggers and attending talks on community building, blogging and journalism, collaboration, blog tools and podcasting. The next couple of posts will be my trip report, based on my notes and recollections. This is installment #2.

I didn't get much out of this session because it was completely focused on the business of journalism. That's not to say it wasn't interesting, it was, but there wasn't a whole lot of information that I could relate to or take away and use in my day-to-day work. The session leaders were Phil Meyers, Sybril Bennnet, Chris Nolan and Martin Heimann.

UNC journalism professor Phil Myers gave a fascinating summary of the old journalism business model, which was based around newspapers. His book, The Vanishing Newspaper, sounds interesting even for a non-journalist.

Sybril Bennett and Chris Nolan covered the new business model, which I admit, I don't totally understand. It seems to involve outsourcing the newsroom. Now that the "newsroom has left the building" due to both the advent of personal publishing tools and old media layoffs, you have to go out, track it down and pay it to write for you again. One way to do that is to use bloggers as stringers to get additional local coverage (Jeff Jarvis wrote about this). And bigger name bloggers can band together to sell ads across a network, to sell their writing to main-stream media outlets or just to get bought-out. Weblogs Inc., Gawker Media and Pajama Media were offered as an examples of this type of organization. Hmmm... $25 million dollars... on second thought, maybe I do understand.

Finally, Martin Heimann explained how his company can help you to internationalize and localize your websites. I guess I was completely lost at this point because I could not figure out how this relates to the new journalism business model. Seemed to me, this was, to use a journalistic term, "filler."

Tags: topic:{technorati}[ConvergeSouth], topic:{technorati}[Journalism], topic:{technorati}[Blogging]

Usually Google-stuff works

Not this time. I still haven't been able to get the new Google newsfeed reader to do anything useful.

Converge Trip Report #1: blogs and community building

I spent Friday and Saturday in Greensboro, NC at the ConvergeSouth 2005 conference. I had a great time meeting fellow NC bloggers and attending talks on community building, blogging and journalism, collaboration, blog tools and podcasting. The next couple of posts will be my trip report, based on my notes and recollections.

Day one of the conference focused on new journalism and the media. The first session I attended was Blogging and Community Building, which was led by David Hoggard, Ruby Sinreich and Bora Zivkovic. Ruby talked about Orange Politics, a local politics/community activism website which uses blog software (Wordpress), but is really more of a moderated community forum. Ruby is one of several site editors who have the ability to post new topics and moderate reader comments. She said that having well chosen topics and good moderation is very important, otherwise the flames can spin out of control.

Bora Zivkivic talked about the concept of a blog carnival, a concept originated by NC bloggers at Siflay Hraka. A blog carnival is a roaming blog anthology. A bunch of bloggers decide to participate in a carnival on a specific topic, they all submit their best posts on the topic and on carnival day the host of the carnival posts a summary that describes and links to all of the posts that were submitted. The next time the carnival is held, it's hosted by a different blogger. Everybody involved gets an increased flow of new readers, finds interesting new things to read and of course, some extra google juice from all the cross-linking. As of today, you can browse 108 individual carnivals at

You know, we didn't realize it at the time, but the Open Solaris launch was a blog carnival. Everybody involved did their best to come up with interesting and insightful posts on topics related to Open Solaris and on launch day we turned the front page into an aggregation of Open Solaris blogs; a sort of robotic blog carnival host. Within a day after the launch, Sun blogger Bryan Cantrell stepped up and starting doing the work of a real-live human blog carnival host with his posts Sifting through the blogs, More blog sifting and Yet more blog sifting. By the way, it was a great success; here's a good summary by Andy Lark.

Some of the other ideas for blog community building were community aggregators, meet-ups and blog teach-ins to help newbies get started with blogging. David Hoggard mentioned the Greensboro101 and NCBlogs aggregators and the value of face-to-face meet-ups in bringing a community together. Brian Russell brought up the idea of having teach-ins to help newbie bloggers get started, which has worked well for new bloggers in Greensboro and the Triangle areas.

Most of the ideas discussed in the session are pretty well known in the Java and Open Solaris communities. We've been using community aggregators (e.g.,,, etc.) and, of course, meet-ups (e.g. Java and now Open Solaris user group meetings) for some time now. We've discussed teach-ins for new bloggers at Sun, but we haven't followed through on that yet.

Near the end of the session, Dave Winer asked why we care about building communities, is it all about getting hits and flow, and what's the point? Based on the responses from the panel and the audience, I'd say the point of blog-based community building is to work towards the shared goals of a community whether that is to change local politics, share good writing, or build and support a great open source operating system.

Tags: topic:{technorati}[ConvergeSouth], topic:{technorati}[Blog Carnival], topic:{technorati}[Open Solaris], topic:{technorati}[Community Building] links [October 05, 2005]

Raleigh/Cary bloggers meetup

Tuesday 6:30PM at Cafe Cyclo in Cameron Village (via Josh).

October travel

Like Josh, I'm doing some travel and getting some schoolin' this month too. This Friday, I'm heading over to Greensboro, NC for the blogging-focused ConvergeSouth conference. I'm looking forward to meeting lots of interesting people and attending sessions on blogging and community building, where's the business model going, creating branding, collaboration and tools & the future. Next, I'm going up to NYC for BlogOn 2005 conference where I'll take part in a panel discussion with Scott Rafer of Wireless Ink and Scott Gatz of Yahoo!

Josh gets schooled

Congrats to Josh. He's been accepted to Startup School in Boston.

Alejandro has left the building

Alejandro Abdelnur: My belongings are in storage, they've been there since March, got a ticket for next week, a small backpack, a camera, a diving computer and about 4 months to spend in Southeast Asia.

It's sad for Sun to lose such a talented and motivated developer (Alejandro is one of the guys behind ROME, among other things), but it sure sounds like Alejandro has got his priorities in order. Good luck and safe travels!

Roller 2.0 user guide, first draft available

I updated the Roller User Guide for Roller 2.0 today. The new user interface and group blogging features are documented with plenty of screenshots. Comments, corrections and suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Netbeans 5.0 beta!

Netbeans5b logo

In case you live under a rock and haven't heard the news yet, Netbeans 5.0 beta is out. I'm downloading it now. I tried one of the q-builds a couple of weeks ago and was amazed by the new CVS integration. This time around I'm going to take the new Matisse GUI builder for a spin and see what it can do for my clunky little BlogClient.

users = developers

Quite an interesting interchange today between James Robertson, Scoble and others about the state of blog tech standards. Like many developers, James thinks the legacy specs RSS, MetaWeblog API, and OPML all suck and he's not afraid to say so. Legacy defender Scoble shoots back that he's a user and therefore he doesn't care about specs. Nevermind the fact that Scoble started the conversation by demanding that tools implement a specific spec, OPML. Anyhow, Winer joins in and says, it's a user vs. developer thing and Scoble set that mean developer man straight.

I think Scoble and Winer are right, it's about the users. When you create a data format or netwok protocol specification, your users are the developers who have to implement the spec. In the case of blog tech specs, the users think the specs suck. That's why the many incompatible variants of RSS are being replaced by Atom format and MetaWeblog API is being replaced by Atom protocol. links [September 27, 2005]

re: Atom 1.0 support in ROME

After getting some feedback from Alejandro Abdelur of the ROME project, I spent part of my weekend revising my Atom 1.0 patch. I sent my new patch to Alejandro and to the ROME dev list today. links [September 26, 2005] links [September 24, 2005]

RIFE adopting CDDL license

RIFE, a continuations-based web application framework for Java has decided to use the CDDL license. I like the way Geert puts it, CDDL: a copy-left license without ambiguities.

Geert Bevin: For the 1.1 release of RIFE, we have decided to dual license the framework and add CDDL as an option alongside the previous LGPL license.

The CDDL offers a copy-left open-source license that doesn't have any ambiguities regarding the terms 'linking' and 'executable', which make no sense in a Java application. There is no possible viral behavior that extends beyond RIFE itself. The CDDL protects us by requiring all source modifications to RIFE to be contributed back under the same license, but imposes no restrictions at all on the use of RIFE in a commercial application.

However, to be able to combine RIFE with a GPL license, a stronger copy-left license is required. In this case, the LGPL can be selected.


Cool. A blog about Raleigh. Via Wade Minter

Mildly historic moment

I don't want to brag of course, but it appears that Roller has the most complete Atom Protocol 04 implementation around. As Tim Bray notes, my server was the only one on the air for yesterday's Atom interopathon. We tested post, put and delete of entries and my implementation was a little brittle in places, but it held up. Roller's Atom implementation is in the sandbox and won't be included in Roller 2.0 because the protocol is not yet done. I'm hoping for Protocol 05 real soon now.

Why do I care so much about Atom Protocol? Simple. I can't finish my book without it.

Here's the mildly historic moment that Tim mentioned:

screenshot of an IRC chat session

re: Subversion at

Since I posted yesterday, I've learned that Subversion is in the works for If your new project can't wait for that, you can try Javalobby's new JavaForge service.

Subversion at

Matt wonders when will provide Subversion based source code control.

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