Friday, October 21, 2005

100+ Blogs... and Still Posting...

On November 4th, 2005, it will be six months that I have been blogging (see Dipping my Toe into the Blog pond). Since then, I've written over 100 postings. What mistakes have I made? What lessons have I learned?

To help answer these questions, I turn to Jakob Nielsen, usability guru and Alertbox columnist, who last week published Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. I sure wish I knew then what Nielsen is telling me now.

I'm afraid I'm guilty of committing Nielsen's first Design Mistake which involves Author Biographies. I never really took much time to populate information in the About Me section of the ITscout Blog. I guess I had hoped my work would simply speak for itself. I pretty much naturally assumed that any visitors to the ITscout Blog were also registered users on my personal web site, ITscout. I suppose I could have mentioned that I am also CEO of Flashmap Systems, Inc., but the ITscout Blog is not a corporate blog -- it's a personal blog. The views expressed on the ITscout Blog are not necessarily those of Flashmap Systems, Inc. I suppose I could have explicitly stated that previously, for over twelve years, I was President of Hewitt Technologies, a Division of Hewitt Associates, or that prior to that I was employed by Digital Equipment Corp, IBM Corp., Control Data Corp., and Arthur Young & Company. Perhaps I should have also mentioned that I have lectured internationally to tens of thousands of IT professionals, or that over a million of my ITscout Roadmap wall posters have been distributed worldwide.

I guess I do okay on Nielsen's second Design Mistake, Author Photo. Of course, now that I'm bald and fat, my wife says she still loves me. She'll miss me, but she still loves me. (Only kidding!!!)

I also think I score pretty well on Nielsen's third Design Mistake, Nondescript Posting Titles. I am quite proud of my posting titles, such as: Democracy Now!, TOGAF, Micro$oft's % of Total IT Spend, Architectural Constituencies, Architecture and Politics, So, You Want Software Reusability?, WMDs: Then and Now, "Beam me up, Scotty", Terrain, Deep Debt, Microsoft Turns 30, Painful Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned, Trojan Horse Judge, Ike Was Right, Navigating the Web Using Social Bookmarks, IT Is Like a Box of Chocolates, The Long Tail, A Culture of Standards, Cardiac Pats & Sox, Roberts Rules, Is Anybody There? Does Anybody Care?, America's Nightmare Worsens, The Key To Successful Blogging, How Do You Share Valuable Information?, Help Me... Help You..., The Best A Man Can Get, Architecture Is a Very Hard Sell, Create Your Own Technology Architecture, Unraveling the mystery of IT costs, Less Is More -- by Barry Schwartz, 'Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.', What is "IT Governance"?, Mess O'Potamia, Technological Revolutions, An Architectural Pattern, Stupid Is As Stupid Does, Virtuoso Teams, A is for Asynchronous, Now, if My Software Only Had a Brain ..., The Birth of Google, IT Portfolio Management, Enterprise Architect’s Roles & Responsibilities,Simplifying EA, What Enterprise Architecture?, What SEARCH Won't Find, Knowledge Management (KM), Repairing the World, Simplifying Complexity, Meetings, Talk or Drive, Don't Do Both, RSS -- Part Three, Why I Blog?, SEI's Capability Maturity Model, Nuclear Power, Mensa Invitational, Where does Business Process fit?, Gates outlines the future of software, The Joel Test, Technology Architecture--3-Layers--4-Models,RSS & Microsoft, Usability...Usability... Usability..., Local WiFi turns into federal case, The Spirit of New England, Stop "Fake" Analysis, Business Process Breakthrough Needed, Federal Enterprise Architecture, Defining Taxonomy & Classification, Fake News Follies, Executive Cockpits, Celebrity Power, 7 Essential Elements of EA, Browser Wars Redux, XML Uber Alles, .NET vs. Java, Enterprise IT Consolidation, What's in Your Portfolio?, IT Infrastructure, RSS -- Part Two, Registries vs. Repositories, Business Intelligence, RSS -- Part One, Limits of Speech Recognition, Application Development Life Cycle, Do You Believe Inflation Is 2%?, Mad Genius from Bottom of Sea, Life Principles, Software -- Engineering or Craft?, Rationalizing Software, How Much of EA is BS?, Consolidate. Standardize. Prune., Scaling Standards, It's COTS to be Good, Categorization versus Search, Ontological Classification, Why Hasn't SOA Lived Up to the Hype?, Architecture, Portfolio, and Standards, Prune IT Systems, Not Budgets, The New Enterprise Architecture, Getting Started with Standards, IT Transformation, IT Standards Manifesto, What is IT Architecture?, and Dipping my Toe into the Blog pond.

I don't believe the ITscout Blog suffers from Neilsen's fourth design mistake, Links That Don't Say Where They Go.

However, the ITscout Blog does commit a serious faux pas with respect to Neilsen's fifth and sixth design mistakes, Classic Hits are Buried and The Calendar is the Only Navigation. Both of these issues are due to limitations in Google's Blogger software. That product is free, but I guess sometimes you get what you pay for.

I have nothing to apologize for regarding Neilsen's Design Mistake #7, Irregular Publishing Frequency.

On the other hand, Design Mistake #8, Mixing Topics, is an entirely different story altogether. I've really grappled with this issue. In the beginning of my blogging experiences, I tried to stay pretty close to the vest by only writing about architectural issues. But people whom I respect were telling me to make the blog more personal. Perhaps I've gone overboard, writing too much about topics completely unrelated to IT architecture and standards. Yet, I can pretty honestly say that I've let it all hang out. I have not shied away from expressing my personal opinions on a wide range of topics ranging from architecture to politics, and everything in between.

Neilsen's design mistake #9 deals with Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss. Here, again, I plead guilty. Professionally, I've never worried too much about burning bridges. I have no intent of retreating... ever! Instead, I try to call 'em as I see 'em. I'm not real adept at spin. My preference is to concentrate on honesty.

Finally, last but not least, is Neilsen's design mistake #10: Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service. I'm guilty as charged. From the get go, I made the decision to go with Blogger. I'm really wondering if that was a bad decision. Since I originally Dipped my Toe into the Blog pond, I've come to discover a number of limitations in Blogger. It doesn't support Categorization capabilities. Nor does it provide advanced features such as Trackback or Permalink. Jacob Neilsen says that having a weblog address ending in is "the equivalent of having an email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously." I'm in a quandry. Is now the time for me to make a change? As Neilsen states, "the longer I delay, the more pain I'll feel when I finally make the move." Any feedback on this subject would be greatly appreciated.


Blogger Vinnie Mirchandani said...

9:02 PM  
Blogger Chris Loosley said...

I had to laugh! My blog (Performance Matters), recently started here on Blogger, even uses the same template as yours and probably commits a few sins too, according to Jakob. And half of my posts even reference him, too, so I should know better, right?

But isn't this is just another demonstration that -- as Colin White always says -- the nice thing about standards is that there are plenty to chose from? Maybe that concept does not sit too comfortably with so-called guru's (without mentioning any names of people like ourselves, of course), who specialize in "architecture," and whose principal claim to fame is based on the notion that we have actually figured out what everyone else is talking about, and can boil it all down to a few simple principles.

Well guess what, there is more than one usability guru out there, and (surprise!) they don't all agree. I think Jakob doesn't even agree with himself sometimes. So don't feel so bad about not scoring 10/10 on his blog IQ test, I'm sure there's another one out there somewhere.


3:25 AM  

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