A Canadian book blog: Publishing, marketing, books and technology from a Canadian perspective

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Beautiful Children: Free eBook from Charles Bock

Charles Bock and the fine folks at Random House are giving away a free PDF of Charles Bock’s novel Beautiful Children. It’s available until midnight this Friday (February 29).

I think it is a cool idea.

Galley Cat is reporting the following:

Bock’s reasoning for approving this giveaway is simple: “I want people to read the book. If that means giving it away for free on-line, great.” UPDATE: Not that he’s letting this “free” stuff go to his head; as an anonymous tipster pointed out, in tiny, faint lettering at the bottom of the website, there’s a little note that says “© Copyright 2008. Charles Bock. This is our intellectual property, so kindly don’t fucking steal it.”

Download the free eBook until Feb 29.

(Source: Dan Wagstaff, thanks Dan!)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Widgets by Susannah Gardner

Blogging expert Susannah Gardner got into the back-end of a couple of different blog systems and showed us how to add these widgets to sidebars and content.

(And David’s blog will be just fine—she’ll fix that little code error. I’m just kidding. Adding widgets is easy.)

Couple of widgets I learned about:
* http://www.polldaddy.com (cool surveys for your site)
* http://www.thisnext.com (cool this is what you want to buy next)

Duck Stories and Northern Voice

I was telling some duck stories earlier.

Duck Photo Shoot

Matt Mullenweg: Keynote Speaker Northern Voice

Blogging & Social Media: Where do we go from here?
Presenter: Matt Mullenweg

I’m going to listen.


* Most important thing about WordPress is the Presentation, ability to change the design (someone changes presentation every second)
* Facebook, most important thing is the Inbox, ability to send spam-free messages; 2nd is the photos (50% of the page views are to photo pages)

Form Dictates Writing: the tools affect the content people post.

Tools to Check:


4 million WordPress pages per [minute? day? month?] vs 2.1 Wikipedia pages.

photomatt.net is now ma.tt

Achilles Hell of Web 2.0 is spam.

Facebook’s “request” application crap is spam. This is their first big mistake.

Respect people’s time. Single guiding principle for any software development (for anything really: advertising)

Suggestion from recent research says advertising is clicked on by lower income, less education, spend a lot of time online.Let’s verify that.

Advertising needs to evolve. (Hello AdHack)

Megabrands are going to die or be the success model for blogs? Why do you put your brand name in front of everything? Why does each brand have so many sub-brands?

Yahoo’s Flickr, Yahoo News, etc.

Danah Boyd has a great post on this.

YouTube’s related video is their prized thing.

Wikipedia has in-line links as their key thing.

Open Source:
0. the freedom to run the program for any purpose
1-3 great “freedoms” of open source (study, redistribute, improve).

Firefox, Wikipedia (open source, open sourced)

Listen to the podcast of Matt Mullenweg’s Keynote Address.

Robert Ouimet of At Large Media recorded Matt Mullenweg’s keynote address. I thought it was a great speech. He clearly thought about the audience and delivered a top notch address. I think Matt is a very smart cookie, and he totally whipped Boris and I at Wii Tennis. Next time you’re in Van Matt—I want a rematch!

Thank You Northern Voice Sponsors

Headline Sponsors 

Mt Lehman


Royal Roads    



Scribble Wiki


New Media Consortium   

Social Signal

Peer 1




Sun Microsystems    

Hop Studios

Raincity Studios




Friday, February 22, 2008

CBC Canada Reads: Vote for Icefields by Thomas Wharton

Straight from the lobbyist for Icefields comes this message. It has my support but not my creative energy for writing something original today (trying to gather my thoughts for tomorrow’s Northern Voice panel).

The Canada Reads “People’s Choice” voting engine is up and running, on the bottom right corner of the page at:

Cast your vote as soon as possible (from every computer at your disposal) for Thomas Wharton’s well-loved novel Icefields, the first book by an Alberta author to compete in Canada Reads!

The Canada Reads 2008 debates will be broadcast daily on CBC Radio One from February 25th to 29th at 11:30 am and 7:30 pm (EST/MST/PST).

Tune in and root for Tom (and Steve)!

Multi-Lingual Blogs and Websites

Jim DeLa Hunt

Canadian Tourism Commission should have a blog in multi-languages, in particular French and English.

Everyone here needs Hummingbird Translations, a great, local Vancouver translation company.

The plan is to talk about:

* Structure
* Content
* Tools
* Translation
* Process
* Politics

Good sites:
* Climb to the Stars (English and French, has summary of the article in the other language)
* Bank of Canada (official Canadian government bank, must publish exactly the same content in exactly the same moment)
* delicious tag of Nancy White on multi-lingual bloggers, Beverley Trainer developed Ruby on Rails platform to work, see ciaris.org
* Wikipedia is a massive, multi-lingual site
* Pop Montreal
* Global Voices
* Joi Ito
* Suw Charman
* Diego Leal, edu-blogger

Questions & Thoughts:
* The invisible posts that are not in your language.
* Tags are interesting way to allow for discovery, tag with multi-lingual.
* URL tells you content language, put in domain, i.e. google.jp
* Offer direction on language
* In URL, site.com/english/
* Joomlah “guess a language” indicator.
* Offer menu.
* Search engines, multiple URLs to same content.
* Ping translators of new content to translate.
* Dotsub comes up again.
* Network effects for translators, using IM

Voxant Talks about Secrets to Video on Your Site

How to mash up content, mid-role, post-role, etc. of licensed content on your blog.

For example, NHL is on YouTube without ads. If you’re not trying to make money on your blog, great, grab that YouTube feed without the ads. But if you want to make money on your site. Then you can add these pre-role, mid-role and post-role ads to licensed content, then Voxant is one place to investigate.

It’s an interesting way to add licensed video to your sites. And you can make some cash.

$6-8 average CPM on video

Using licensed, branded content on your site.


Voxant works with bloggers to show this content, 20% goes to bloggers.

Mochilla and Clip Syndicate are others.

Derek Miller asks about making your own video and uploading your video.



Why does video look like crap online?
1. Way it’s served. YouTube is Lighting Cast.
2. How you save it and load it. 5 Essential Tips for Uploading Video to YouTube

Other tips:

* We love Blip.tv
* http://www.video.ca
* triggit extension with search box
* TriggitTube Mogul
* Dot Sub

Northern Voice 2008 Starts Today

Woke up late today but thankfully made it to Northern Voice at the UBC Forestry building in time to watch the scheduling—my favourite part of the un-conference.

1st session I’m attending is enterprise use of wikis, blogs and other social media.

* Strike a balance between depts., divisions is to know are we sharing with others? Be as open as possible from the beginning. Only lock down pages and things than need to be revealed later.

* Blogs and aggregated data shared by email, which is familiar to people. This helps people get used to blogs.

* No emails with attachments. Put it in the wiki. The statement is “we have these systems, let’s use them.”

* Simply rules—if it has an attachment, put it in the wiki. This is an easy, task-based rule. Think about linking.

* Make it easy early.

* Need grassroots pushing with management buy-in and support.

* The guy who wrote the lunch reviews became the star in the company and things took off from there.

* The “poke” tool made it work in another company.

* Top should harness the power of the people at the bottom.

* Don’t say it’s a wiki. Here’s a resources page. Here’s a website with links. Here’s a page to bookmark. Don’t freak people out.

* Wiki is not a weird magical thing. It’s just HTML.

* Wiki search is sometimes bad.

Great session. Interesting knowledge in the room.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I’m Testing

Beware of strangeness.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chocolate Valentine’s Day Ad

Well, well, well.

Valentine’s Day is full of advertisements for chocolate. I’m not sure why the two seem to go hand in hand. I suppose there’s a huge amount of sexiness to chocolate.

In a very apt promotional moment, a couple of us at AdHack decided to do our own chocolate Valentine’s Day advertising.

This ad from Giant Ant Media had enough of my office mates squirming that James and I decided to do a press release for AdHack.

Here is the ad that James and I created.

See it full size ad here.

And although this ad wasn’t for AdHack assignment #4 (the Valentine’s Day edition), I think this ad is equally sexy and deserves mention. It was part of a previous AdHack assignment on your favourite kitchen tools.


See the ad at full size.

I think it’s appropriate for Valentine’s, it’s even called “Potted Love”.

The creators Turner-Riggs, describe the concept as follows:

All-Clad’s ads are very serious: they emphasize professional-grade products for hard-core chefs. We are observing that tradition but obviously subverting it, too. It’s shocking (and I am dying laughing as I type this) but the production quality is still high, in typical All-Clad fashion.

So far the press release has been picked up by Adland in Denmark.

Are you an AdHacker? Today is the day to talk about it. Get some chocolate love on for AdHack.

Never heard of AdHack? It’s a do-it-yourself advertising community for people who think that most advertising sucks and that they could do a better job. Here’s the public site. And if you’re interested in making ads, you can be invited behind the curtain to the private site (shhhhh).

And another article on Valentine’s advertising and AdHack—on Trendhunter.com

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Susannah Gardner Launches Blogging for Dummies, 2nd Edition

Yahooo, my friend and business colleague Susannah Gardner (aka Super Susie) is launching her latest book tomorrow night at the Railway Club in Vancouver. The book is Blogging for Dummies, 2nd Edition, which she wrote with Shane Birley.

Tomorrow we are having a party for the book, which I am excited about. If you are interested in blogging and book launches, let me know and I might be able to score you a ticket. If you’ve wanted to start a blog and haven’t because you’re unsure of how to start, where to start—or if you are a blogger and you want some great tools, tips and ideas—then this is the book for you.

I like Susannah so much that I’ve also done a press release for the book.

Susannah is great, she and I have been on Lab with Leo together and today we did an interview with Paul Grant for the CBC Arts Report. Every time I am amazed at her ability to speak coherently about technology. It’s a true skill—being able to avoid jargon and relate to people and not geek out to the point of intimidating people.

Congratulations Susannah on the latest book. Yay!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday Round-Up

Wow, busy weekend and Monday is picking up steam in an unfriendly way.

No time to chat but there are a couple of things on my radar that I want to note for my own reference later.

1. http://www.bookvideos.tv/
Yet another book trailer video site or something worth paying attention to? Not sure, haven’t checked it out. Have you? Let me know if it’s worthwhile.

2. www.theglobeandmail.com
Lorna Goodison wins B.C. non-fiction award for her memoir From Harvey River: A Memory of My Mother and Her People. Congratulations. I’ll have to read more about this book and watch for it in stores. Has anyone read it or heard anything about this title?

3. Blogging for Dummies book
Yay, congratulations to Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley. Their book Blogging for Dummies, 2nd Edition, has hit the stores. If you are interested in blogging and haven’t started yet, or if you have a blog and want to make it better, this is the book for you. I read Susie’s Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies and it was a great resources. This book is the same. Great tips, top 10 lists, blogging ideas, blogging resources, blogging tips—whatever you need it’s here.

4. Northern Voice
Feb 23 at UBC is this year’s personal blogging conference, Northern Voice. I am moderating a panel on writers who blog. I have an awesome panel: Robert J Wiersema, Crawford Kilian, Pete McCormack, Meg Tilly and kc dyer. I’ll tell you more about them later because they are a rockstar group of writers (and not just novel writers, we have film stars, film writers and directors, nonfiction writers, fiction writers, YA writers). Really they totally rock. It’s going to be an amazing discussion about how they use their blogs, what interests them in this form of writing and how they use their blogs to connect with their fans.

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blog Me This

The following is a bit of spam or advertisement depending on how you look at it. It’s a bit of code for bloggers to post on their site if they are interesting in a course on blogging.

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back. So I’m posting the code so I can see the course and let you know whether it’s worthwhile.

Begin code:

I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology.  For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.

End code

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bad Jokes

I spent all weekend with my crazy friends and one of the recurring conversations was bad jokes. These are some friends who I hung out with in high school so reunions are often about reverting back to that time—and that sense of humour.

James sent me the following joke, and I’m going to share it only because I’m stuck in my 16-year-old brain this morning.

A man goes to his doctor and tells him, “I’ve had the song ‘What’s New Pussycat’ stuck in my head for weeks, and it’s driving me crazy.”
The doctor says, “Well, I think you may have Tom Jones disease.”
The man says, “I’ve never heard of that. Is it rare?”
The doctor says, “It’s not unusual.”

Come on, it’s old but still funny.

Happy Monday.