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Chat boxes and comments

In the last year, I’ve noticed that more and more bloggers put chat boxes on their blogs. For me, it’s a bit inconvenient because I may miss some of the ‘conversation’ that occurs around the post – i.e. if there are only comments, all responses to the post are visible under the post. This is one of the great things about blogs (from a research point of view) because I get to see everything that readers thought important enough to say in response to the post; well, almost everything, because bloggers may also respond by doing their own post – but often you can ‘hear’ about that in the comments too.

But anyway, I can’t expect bloggers to act in the way I want just to make my research easier, so I have been asking around a bit as to why people have chatboxes. Some bloggers have told me that they are more likely to use the chat box for casual ‘hellos’, or to say something that is not relevant to the post. Others have said that basically it’s just easier to use the chatbox as opposed to the comments (less windows to open, etc.)

Today, I saw something new – Annaling responded to comments in her chatbox in a new post (original post here, and the chatbox comments recorded on the 9/9/08).

These were the chatbox comments

And this was the post in response


I’ve also seen a chatbox used as a means of advertisement, by Race Against Time


As far as advertisements go, using a chatbox has to be less advantageous – because the time it is visible is pretty uncontrollable… but one can imagine having a system whereby it comes up after every ten chats or something. It could benefit from the transitory environment by appearing more spontaneous, and therefore more ‘real’.

I haven’t put one on my site yet, mainly because I want to keep a track of any comments easily, but it may also be because I’m not really an IM type of person – I’ve never really got into using IM much, as I prefer being able to choose when to answer emails/comments rather than having to respond to messages that arrive at any time.

Anyway - what do you think? Chatbox or not? Why ah?

Nuffnang Mamma Mia screening

Yet another free movie thanks to Nuffnang :-) Thanks again!

There are many reviews of Mamma Mia out there (will do a list in the next post) but here’s my opinion anyway.

It was enjoyable, and I like Meryl Streep, so I enjoyed seeing her in a pretty unconventional role. However, I’m not completely convinced by this recent slew of semi-musicals with conventional actors (the other one I saw was Sweeny Todd ): I mean, they don’t sing that well, and that is important for a musical after all! As a comparison, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Across the universe , which I think is because I prefer The Beatles to ABBA, and it had a very cool sixties/psychedelic feel to it. Also, the singers were better – perhaps because they were not big stars, so the casting could be done more in relation to their musical skills. WW preferred Mamma Mia to Across the Universe, so I guess it depends…


It’s a fun movie though, with an unexpected ending and a non-conventional feel to it – it’s good to see a movie that’s not obsessed with showing youth as the only beauty. Although there are scenes with hot young women and men, there are also scenes with older people enjoying themselves too. There is some very nice photography that made me feel like going to Greece again. Overall, I’d give it 7.5/10.

Before I left for the movie, I spotted a post by joshuongys who was suggesting that Nuffnangers meet up at Burger King beforehand – and managed to gather about 30 bloggers and friends there! Not bad! He only posted the post the night before, but it got Nanged enough to put it in the top ten in Innit which probably explains the turnout.


Normally I never eat in fast food (costs too much and isn’t very good usually), but I will make an exception for Burger King – and I tried out a Black Pepper Whopper. Honestly it wasn’t bad, although the sauce kept dripping all over the place. Here’s the obligatory food photo :-)


I met Jentzen and Marcus for the first time, and caught up with a couple of other bloggers. In the cinema, there was a funny incident when I started talking to the people next to me – somehow they weren’t bloggers and had got the tickets from a friend, and looked at me kind of strangely when I started chatting and asking them what was their blog…

OK – I gotta rush because… I GOT FREE TICKETS TO HED KANDI!! Hehehe :-D Thanks to yapthomas I found out about a competition a week or so ago, and yesterday got a call to tell me to get to Euphoria before 11pm today. Honestly, I haven't been to a club in years (literally), so I feel I've got nothing decent to wear and wondering how long I will last - but I'm looking forward to it anyway :-)

Blogger desperately seeking sperm donor...

I was trying out Digg the other day (intend to write a little something about it, and comparing to Nuffnang's Innit), and came across this lady blogger who has decided to try to get pregnant from a random blog reader:

In less than two weeks, I will be ovulating, which as everyone should know is primetime for baby making. The problem is that I don't yet have a partner for this process. Now, I'm not looking for a source of child support or a baby-daddy in the sense that he should have any supportive role in the pregnancy or in raising the child, I just need some good, hearty seed...

Since I have successfully dated two people through this blog network I am turning to it again for assistance in this effort...

So now readers…chime in. Message me and we'll do the pic thing....


She posts a picture to give you an idea of what you would be up against (ahem)


What do you think? I reckon it's just a joke, but some of the commenters are taking her seriously...

Creating a blog just by sending an email

This email, in theory, should start a blog with this email as the first post on it. It must be the easiest way to start a blog, but I wonder how popular it will get - perhaps that also depends on other things such as being able to include photos, and stuff like that.

For example, if I paste a photo in this email, will it also come up in the blog?


And I suppose it will include links, anyway – such as one to my blog http://www.julianhopkins.net

And will you be able to Digg it?
[<]script src="http://digg.com/tools/diggthis.js" type="text/javascript">

It should create a blog using the part before the @ as the username – so it should be http://julian.posterous.com

(I learnt about this from http://kerim.posterous.com/ )

Let’s see if it works, and how long it takes (it’s 17.45 now). Sending…

++++++++++
Blog: www.julianhopkins.net
Skype: julhop
IM: jfprhopkins@hotmail.com


Well it worked! It was pretty much instantaneous, and you can see the results here.

I didn't get julian.posterous.com as some other Julian got it already, so it's julian_lzhga instead, but that can be changed.

The Digg script didn't work - I suppose it doesn't take html script, or java, or something.

Conclusion: not bad, for a rapid and easy blog. I can't see myself switching, but it might appeal to some people...

Vermicomposters unite!

Someone saw my film of setting up a vermicomposting bin, and sent me a link to vermicomposters.com - it's a Google Map-type thing, with entries for vermicomposters all around the world. Our entry (one of three in Malaysia) is here.

Wherever you are, check it out - some of them offer worms for free, and can help you out.

Yesterday, there was a community event in our neighbourhood, and WW volunteered us to have a small stand to give some information about composting and vermicomposting. So, along with her mother, we set up a table with a small demonstration. We showed the film I made once, and also a couple of very simple and short presentations to give an introduction: for normal composting, dan ada juga di Bahasa Malaysia untuk vermikompos.
vermicomposting stall Kelana Jaya SS4

There was quite a lot of interest (more than I expected to be honest), and we managed to convince everyone that composting does not smell! Honestly! :-) The thing is, you mustn't put any animal products in your compost or worm bin, and then the worst you get is some fruit flies if you don't cover it up properly. We also found out that popular way to do composting here is to dig a hole in the ground, chuck stuff in and cover it up; then it's just left to decompose. It's OK as a method, but it means you can't really spread your compost around your garden wherever you want it to go. And, of course, vermicomposting speeds it all up and gives you much better quality fertiliser.

Another thing which puts people off is having to buy worms - the price at the moment is about RM400-450 a kilo. Actually, you don't need a full kilo to start, but the minimum purchase for us was one kilo - so the thing to do is split the cost with someone, 200 or 250g are enough to get started. And remember that they will breed and grow the colony by themselves - all you have to do is feed them with what you were going to throw away!

WW and her mother got the worms at the Serdang UPM campus - the Taman Pertanian Universiti. They have a big set-up there, producing worms and fertiliser on a big scale. The basic business model is to use organic waste to produce fertiliser, and also to sell worms - as they breed quite quickly too.
Taman Pertanian Universiti vermicomposting harvest, cacing vermikompos

There's a company called 'Agro Bio-Tani (Kelantan) Sdn. Bhd. which has received some interest in the national press. - the telephone number is 09 747 7539 or 013 935 5539. You may also be able to get some worms from FRIM too, but I'm not so sure about that, call them up if you're going to try.

You can order a booklet produced by the Jabatan Pertanian here.
These blogs seem to have good information about vermicomposting, but they are in BM so I don't know the details:
Ternakan Cacing Tanah | Penghasilan Baja Organik
RIZT AGRO SPECIALIST CENTRE
Ternakan Cacing Vermikompos

**Update 21 October 2008**
There's a Malaysian company, Eastern Agro Centre, who seem to be into larger scale production of vermicompost and selling worms.
and more (29/10/08) The Worm Man

Anti-ISA Candlelight Vigil at Blog House

OK, this is a bit late, but here is my account of the hastily organised vigil last Sunday (15th September). It was very hastily organised: from what I can gather it was decided on at about 3pm and then announced here, here and here; the message also spread by SMS (the way I heard about it) and surely by email too. It started at 9pm and in all about 125 people there (some have placed the figure higher at 160-200). In any case, the speed of mobilisation is testament to the significance of blogs in terms of communication and mobilisation. Although the SMS, email and word of mouth are key to actually making it happen, by having a recognised blog such as the ones listed above (Rocky’s Bru, Nat Tan, Tok Mommy) announcing an event – it immediately has credibility, and provides a stable reference point to check any information that comes from elsewhere. I know that I always check Rocky’s Bru for things to do with SoPo blogs, and Malaysiakini for any political/national information I hear; because there are rumours that swirl around easily too.

Nat Tan, who MC'd for the evening, kicked off by mentioning how when he had been arrested, the knowledge that there were people outside supporting him helped give him strength. Then he asked for a minute's silence.


The people gathered around in the drizzling rain to hear a succession of speakers argue that the ISA is a reprehensible law, and should be repealed and detainees set free. You can get more information in the links below but the basic points were made by the President of the Bar Council Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan who reminded everyone that it was not just about the recently incarcerated ISA detainees, but all of them; YB Wee Choo Keong said that UMNO were making an intra-party problem a national problem; and YB Sivarasa Rasiah said that the government were trying to scare bloggers and the media into silence.


Faisal Mustaffa spoke in BM, so unfortunately I couldn’t understand, but I guess his clothes told me the bulk of what he was saying :-)
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