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Posts Tagged ‘local’

Cambridge Reporter Revisited

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

It seems that my foray into community publishing in 2008 has garnered some interest on the Twitter… There is some confusion, understandably, about who was doing what when and under what when.

I may do an in-depth post sometime on the whole experience, but for now I’ll offer a simple timeline to clear the air:

(I’m doing this from memory, so I may revise these a bit after publishing)

June 2008: I launch CambridgeReporter.ca. it’s a community-driven site where anyone can submit stories and opinion. It’s intended to be more news than opinion – similar to NowPublic.com but on a smaller scale.

October 2008: TorStar sends me a friendly email about how they still own the Reporter name and they’d appreciate it if I could stop using it. Important to note that in Sept 2008 TorStar did not own any of the relevant URLs, but in October, CambridgeReporter.com suddenly appeared with syndicated content from the K-W Record. Update: Rabble.ca did a story about this here: http://www.rabble.ca/news/cease-and-desist-i-dont-think-so

Later in October 2008: CambridgeReporter.ca becomes CambridgeVoice.ca.

Spring 2009: The Cambridge Voice becomes The Cambridge Advocate under new ownership. (I’m totally drawing a blank on the timing here, so I’ll update after a little research)

There it is – my best recollection of the events surrounding my involvement with the Cambridge Reporter.

On the Twitter, there’s already talk about trying again to create a community-driven local news & opinion website. Stay tuned.

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Working alone, together.

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Not an ideal working environment...

Not an ideal working environment…

Guess where I spent most of my day today? The public library. Why? Well, long story short, the weather made commuting to the office a silly thing to attempt so I was stuck in town with nowhere to work.

I essentially have three options in this situation: 1) work from home, 2) work from a cafe, 3) work from the library

The first option is really not an option since there are 4 pre-schoolers there and no “home office”. Option #2 is my usual habit – but you can only drink so much overpriced coffee in a day. So today was #3 – no pressure to leave , but still less than ideal.

The biggest problem with each of these options (even #1) is isolation. Humans are social creatures and require social interaction, within the context of their work, to be creative.

So what to do? I’ve been intrigued by the concept of coworking for some time. The idea of being able to work on my own but in an office full of people I know is very attractive!

I have this feeling that we’re reaching a critical mass in Cambridge that could support some kind of cooperative working environment. In talking with a few folks today and yesterday, I’m sure I’m not alone in that belief.

So let’s do it. Let’s incorporate a non-profit to create a cooperative working space for professionals in Cambridge that need a place to hang their hat from 9 to 5 but have no use for a full office of their own.

Who’s with me?

UPDATE: a few of us are throwing around ideas on Twitter. Use the #galtcowork hashtag to particpate!

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Excluding Search Engines from Geo-Targetting Techniques

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

I’ve spent the last few days transforming MainStWeb.com into a true local search engine, powered by the Praized API and, overall, I’m pretty pleased with the result.

One of the custom things I’ve added is IP-based geolocation. This means that every visitor gets a custom home-page based on their IP address. Very cool because it makes the site instantly relevant no matter where in North America you happen to be.

My only concern is that Google happens to be in Mountain View, California. Obviously, I don’t want MainStWeb’s indexed pages to be skewed towards Mountain View. Obvious fix is to programatically exclude search engines from the geo-targetting algo.

Except that I also know that Google frowns upon efforts to present a different experience to the GoogleBot than to real people.

So what to do? Would the search engine exclusion be considered acceptable in the eyes of Matt Cutts, et al?

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Undocumented RSS Feed at Eventful

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

I was messing around with local event feeds today and ended up at eventful.com. While there, I discovered something interesting.

The default feed for events in a specific city is an atom feed and it includes the event title and a short description. BUT! If you replace ‘atom’ in the URL with ‘rss’ you get much, much more content. I didn’t look very hard but this didn’t seem to be a documented feed. An RSS easter egg, so to speak.

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