Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Mendicant Bug Podcast

Posted: 12 July 2009 in Uncategorized
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Thanks to (via @johndcook), this blog now has a podcast powered by speech synthesis.  Not having heard any decent speech synthesis for open domain text (maybe I’m behind the times here), I was pretty impressed with it.  John had a post with a quote from The Agony and the Ecstasy and Odiogo got it pretty close to right in terms of pronunciation and intonation.  Hopefully it will turn out as well for my blog.  Let me know if you give it a listen.

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Since I started blogging almost a year and a half ago, I have been following many blogs. I managed to find some blogs dealing with computational linguistics and natural language processing, but they were few and far between. Since then, I’ve discovered quite a few NLP people that have entered the blagoblag. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the many that I follow.

Many of these bloggers post sporadically and even then only post about CL/NLP occasionally. I’ve tried to organize the list into those who post exclusively on CL/NLP (at least as far as I have followed them) and those who post sporadically on CL/NLP. I would fall into the latter, since I frequently blog about my dogs, regular computer science-y and programming stuff, and other rants. P.S. I group Information Retrieval in with CL/NLP here, but only the blogs I actually read. I’m sure there’s a bazillion I don’t.

If I’ve missed one+, please let me know. I’m always on the lookout. Ditto if you think I’ve miscategorized someone.  I’ve excluded a few that haven’t posted in a while.

Top posts of 2008

Posted: 31 December 2008 in Uncategorized
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Looking back over 2008, there have been a lot of changes in my life. Many of those are reflected in my blog, but few are reflected in the posts that have gotten the most traffic. But for the hell of it, here are the top posts anyway.

Post Hits in 2008
Old English Translator 10,589
Christmas Tree 2007 4,393
Steampunk Death Star 1,362
Salad Fingers 8 1,108
10 Reasons to Use Git for Research 1,032
Merge sort fun 777
The Noob’s Guide to Parsing 774
Java Properties 759
Ambigrams 719
Substitution Ciphers 680

Of all of those posts, the best one is hands down 10 Reasons to Use Git for Research. After that, the Noob’s Guide to Parsing. Some of the posts with the most hits are just link-sharing, where I saw something cool (Salad Fingers, Steampunk Star Wars, Ambigrams) and then other people found my link first.  One definite change on this blog was a decrease in the frequency of my posts.  Around the end of last year, I was posting close to 2 items per day.  Now it has stretched out to about 2 items per week.  Maybe I’ll reflect more on that later.

I’ll leave you with these thoughts.

ReadWriteWeb has a post on Forrester Research’s study about consumer trust of information sources.  It puts corporate and personal blogs at the very bottom (with 16% and 18% trust respectively), with personal email from a friend coming in at number one (with 77% trust).  Forrester suggests that corporate blogs shut down shop unless their blog is doing a good job of generating good will and/or leads.

This study bothers me on many levels.  As Michael Bernstein points out in the comments:

“Trust” is a 4 or a 5 on a 5 point scale, that is, anything above neutral. This means that lots of people could slightly trust a source and it would show up above something which a smaller number of people trust quite a bit and others are neutral on.

Also, the study compares information sources like email from friends and social networking profiles of friends to corporate and personal blogs. I ranted about this a bit on The Noisy Channel, which I’ll just reproduce here:

Comparing “personal blog” or some random “corporate blog” to “personal email sent from a friend” is pretty much like comparing “advice from gin-soaked hobo” to “what your mama always said.” The fact that Forrester can get away with presenting something like this and suggesting businesses act on it to shut down their blogs bothers me. It seems to me that 16-18% trustworthiness is not bad when you consider that much of the time you do a Google search for some product you hit a splog. That’s probably the only experience 80% of people have with blogs. Of course, that’s wild speculation, but this straw man study has gotten under my skin. :P And I do acknowledge that there is a huge amount of untrustworthy information in blogs, but I’m not sure that it’s much different from other user-generated content.

I agree that corporate blogs that are just reproductions of press releases (as Daniel Tunkelang at the Noisy Channel points out) are garbage. That is the wrong way to run a corporate blog. Google has a very good approach. They promote work they are doing by getting employees to blog about their personal projects (at least the Google blogs I read, there are surely exceptions). It comes across as real and beneficial. The value is that they keep you up-to-date on what they are doing with actual content. When that changes to become shameless promotion and unveiled attempts to drive sales, the blog is going to suck. GitHub’s blog is a another good example of a corporate blog done right.

Moving on, Daniel Tunkelang again offers some useful insight:

I think the interesting question for companies is not whether they should publish corporate blogs, but rather whether they should encourage their employees to publish personal blogs that relate to the work the company does. … I think that companies are often too conservative, and incur an enormous opportunity cost in the name of protecting trade secrets. Letting employees blog (and, more generally, publish) not only provides the companies with free marketing, but also provides employees with an avenue for personal development.

My cynicism prevents me from getting my hopes up here, but that would be nice.

100,000 hits

Posted: 20 November 2008 in Uncategorized
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Sometime earlier today, I hit 100,000 hits on this blog!

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou


Apparently, I run a rather clean shop. Whodathunkit. And probably most of the cussing comes from my posts on brainfuck.


Visiting Johns Hopkins

Posted: 7 March 2008 in Uncategorized
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I’m out of town until Sunday night, and I had a crapload of homework this week, thus explaining the uncharacteristic lack of posts. I think since I started blogging, this has been the longest period sans post…

Top 10 Posts of 2007

Posted: 3 January 2008 in Uncategorized
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Perhaps it’s a little late to do a recap of my blogging from last year, but I was just thinking about which posts I made that were the most popular and which flopped. It was very interesting to me that the most popular ones tended to be those I invested myself in the least. The ones where I felt like the writing and/or content was the best saw relatively few hits. There are exceptions, of course. My favorite post almost made the top 5 most popular list and the 4th most popular would be in my top 10 or 15 favorite. So here are the top 5 most popular posts and my top 5 favorite posts from 2007, my first year in the blagoblag.

Top 5 Most Popular

  1. You have no soul — 9 Nov 2007 — 29,326 hits
  2. Ambigrams — 16 Oct 2007 — 353 hits
  3. Hanukkah Dog — 24 Nov 2007 — 245 hits
  4. Old English Translator — 8 Nov 2007 — 193 hits
  5. Salad Fingers 8 — 30 Sep 2007 — 176 hits

Top 5 Favorite

  1. Netflix Prize: Good science or not? — 14 Dec 2007 — 161 hits
  2. Mrs. McGrath — 6 October 2007 — 26 hits
  3. The Noob’s Guide to Parsing — 25 Oct 2007 — 27 hits
  4. The case for nuking Greenland — 6 Dec 2007 — 79 hits
  5. Inbred Mice and Appalachia — 14 Aug 2007 — 20 hits