Blog Authority

In 2006, Mads Kristensen stated on his blog that Deflate was faster than GZip. In fact he found Deflate to be 41% faster than GZip. Recently Jeff Atwood wrote a post on his Coding Horror blog about this. He figured there was something wrong with this comparison. Both programs use similar algorithms. He determined he would not take this information for granted. So Jeff did a test. He found the programs to have comparable performance.

Jeff used random HTML files. He varied the file sizes for his tests. Jeff did realize that the Mads post was from two years ago. However he used this example to make a point. You should not trust what you read on the web, especially in blogs. He said that blogs posting incorrect information are dangerous. The real danger lies in developers believing what they read on the web. The real interesting part of Jeff’s post was the numerous comments from developers.

Not all blogs are created equal. Incorrect information posted on rarely read blogs does not do as much damage. In other words, blog authority matters. You really should not trust anything you read. A blog is just somebody’s ideas. It is not hard fact. It is unfortunate that programmers are gullible.

There may be some hope. There were a number of readers who commented that they did not believe in Jeff Atwood’s findings. This caveat holds true – reader beware. Blogs after all are really not that important. You can read blogs to look at different approaches. However you should verify all that you read. That’s the due diligence that us developers must perform.

The Future of Blogging

I read two articles/blogs about the future state of blogging. One was from Wired. The other was a response to the Wired article by Mark Evans. Both painted a somewhat bleak picture about the state of blogging. I take these outlooks seriously since I am very much into blogging myself.

The Wired article stated that blogging has been overrun with assorted marketing campaigns. There are very few real voices in the blogosphere. Blogs are becoming very impersonal these days. They are mostly professional sites that do best. It is hard for the little guy to get noticed. The true bloggers get a lot of aggravation like being insulted on their blogs. New formats are talking over. Twitter is the new Blogger.

Mark Evens responded to the Wired article. He is a guy that provides the Canadian perspective. He said that blogs showed up around 5 years ago. Now there are a total of over 175 million blogs out there. And by blogs, he means sites with text, links, and maybe an image or two. There is a very low barrier to entry. Hey. Most of my blogs are on free hosts. Even though the total number of blogs may be large, there were around 7 millions new blogs in the last 4 months. In other words, the popularity of blogging may be dwindling.

Is it true that Twitter and video logs are taking over? I know they are popular. However I continue to author a number of blogs. I also read a good deal of other people’s blogs. Perhaps it does not matter what other people are doing. One important side about blogging is that you do it if you like it. I also don’t care about others if people continue to visit and read my own blogs. It might be that blogs are not the hip thing to be doing. That is also fine with me. However I don’t think the sky is falling here.

Auto Blog

I enjoy writing posts to some of my blogs. However sometimes it is a real chore. I want to add some value and provide some pictures for a bunch my blogs. But who has the time? Hey. I am a computer programmer. Why don’t I write a program to do this for me automatically? I shall call this project “Auto Blog”.

At first I think that I will just write a program that mimics me. In other words, the program will start my web browser. Then it will type in my Blogger account and password. It will upload some pictures. And it will type away in the browser. This is almost like a virtual me. It also seems like it will be a lot of work. I might be able to handle writing a program that mimics what I would write. But it will take some time to make the web browser think the program is me typing away at the keyboard and clicking the mouse.

So I do a little research. There must be a way for my program to communicate directly with Blogger. I find that there is. Blogger has an API that programmers can use. It even does this via XML which I want to learn as a programmer. If you do not know what XML is, don’t worry about it. I start to dig into the details of how to make my program communicate with Blogger. Then I find a critical piece missing. There is no way to programmatically upload images.

Ouch. That was the whole point to my Auto Blog. I want to share a lot of images and post some commentary with them. I guess I will have to go back to the drawing board. In other words, I need to take the path where the program simulates me typing on my keyboard and clicking my mouse. This is the hard route. I figure that the good things in life do not come easy. This is a prime example of that principle. Go me.