Publishing stuff

One of the things I love about the internet most is the fact that it puts the power to publish into the hands of pretty much anybody. There are many ways of doing it these days, whether by using a tool like WordPress like I do here – which can be pretty complicated – or perhaps by using Medium, which continues to interest and confuse me in equal measure.

So I was quite excited to come across a really simple thing called which allows anyone to create public webpages by just sending an email.

I immediately got in touch with my friend Lloyd about this, knowing that he shares my enthusiasm for publishing stuff, and also how he really enjoyed using Posterous which did something similar, albeit in a slightly more complicated fashion. Posterous was bought and shut down by Twitter a few years ago. works in a ridiculously simple fashion. All you do is send an email to and a web page is created for you – the link to which sent by return to you. Any formatting in your email is preserved and any pictures you include are uploaded and added to your page.

Here’s my rather boring first effort at a page. Lloyd’s is a little more exciting.

And… that’s it. There’s nothing more to it and it really is that simple. Oh, except for collections. When you send your email, if you add a + and the name of a collection (basically a group of pages) after page and before the @ in the email address (so, for example, send to a dynamic list of those pages is then created, with its own URL, giving you a very rudimentary blog.

Here’s my rather boring first effort at a collection.

There’s loads missing, like human readable URLs, navigation links between pages and so forth. However, whether they come or not, is potentially really interesting as a way of very quickly getting text and images onto the web to share with others.

It’d be good to hear what folk think about tools like this, and what uses they could be put to.

Content so good you’d pay for it

Picture of a typewriter.

I’m a massive fan of the writing of Ben Thompson – and so should you be. The analysis he provides on his blog is superb – and it’s free!

Interestingly, he also provides extra content for a fee – a daily email with even more in depth analysis of the technology topics of the day. Just $10 a month, or $100 for the whole year. Members also get access to a forum where you can chat to Ben and others who are interested in his work.

I subscribe – the extra content is great, the forum helpful, but more than anything, I want to support this guy to keep doing great work.

Ben posted recently that he has broken through the magic barrier of 1,000 paying subscribers. 1,000 True Fans is the title of a post by Kevin Kelly outlining how the long tail of the internet means that focused, high quality niche communities can be financially sustainable.

So, 1,000 members doesn’t sound like a lot, relative to all the people on the Internet, or the memberships of supersites like Facebook or Twitter. But 1,000 people paying $100 a year is $100,000 a year! To do a thing you love doing! Add in a few consulting days a month and there’s a good living to be made.

I’ve written before about how I would love to find a way to be able to just live off content creation. After all, I have this blog, with thousands of readers, an email newsletter with over 700 people subscribed, a reasonably popular podcast, and my webinars seem to go down well too.

Of course, it’s hard work. I’d imagine the pressure can build up when you have to produce really great content every single day. Figuring out what people might pay for and what they would expect for free isn’t easy either.

But it is super-interesting to know that to make a living as an independent is achievable and that you don’t need to have Buzzfeed levels of traffic to do it.

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

Link roundup

I find this stuff so you don’t have to:

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • by Nick Charney: Mapping Internal Policy to the Hype Cycle – "I've been thinking a lot this week about how organizations issue policies to govern the use of new and emerging technologies."
  • The BBC Micro can still teach us a lot – "The BBC Micro taught a generation of teenagers the joys of programming. It's time to re-engineer such a revolution"
  • Amazon v. Apple « LRB blog – "Readers might be revelling in the lower prices they find on Amazon, but if the books they’re buying are ever less worth reading, it doesn’t seem much of a bargain."
  • What is Dart? – O’Reilly Radar – "Dart [is] an open-source project that aims to enable developers to build more complex, highly performant apps for the modern web."
  • MIT App Inventor – "To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a professional developer. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app's behavior."

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

How I use online stuff

Carl has posted a couple of interesting bits about how he uses social websites, and how this is changing:

I don’t tend to think about what I use – probably because this stuff is now completely embedded into work… but a quick scan through makes me realise that I haven’t really started to properly use any new service for about three years!

No location based services at all! I’m on the cutting edge, me.


I use WordPress here at DavePress, which has been around in one form or another for about 5 years. I mostly write posts in MarsEdit, but use the web interface for stuff like comment moderation, updating the software, etc.


I started tweeting in February 2007 and haven’t stopped. I ping it with blog posts from here, links to stuff I see elsewhere, the occasional question and the odd bit of ephemera. I mostly use Tweetie on the desktop, and the official Twitter apps for Android and iOS.


I don’t really use Delicious as a bookmarking tool – in the sense that they are sites I want to visit later. Instead, it’s part of my publishing workflow – so these are sites I think my readers and followers might be interested in.

I never visit the Delicious web page, and only interact with it through the Chrome browser plugin. I automatically ping the links I save to Twitter – again, through the browser plugin.

Google Reader

I probably spend more time on this site than any other, perhaps with the exception of email. It’s where all that stuff I find so you don’t have to comes from.


Now and again I visit the site, usually to catch up with messages I have been notified about, and while I’m there I’ll catch up with what some folk have been up to. I ping Facebook with blog entries too, which I am sure my friends are delighted about.

But I barely use Facebook, even for non-geeky social stuff – perhaps I just don’t do non-geeky social stuff?


I do visit LinkedIn on a daily or perhaps every-other-day basis, usually to approve connection requests and to respond to requests for recommendations (if you feel the need to write something nice about me, my profile is here). It certainly seems like LinkedIn is a thriving community of people who perhaps don’t use Twitter quite so much.

My Twitter postings update LinkedIn automatically, which is the limit of my activity there, really.


My job means I do a lot of talks at conferences, and I tend to upload them to Slideshare when they change significantly. This automatically pings Twitter to say I have uploaded them. I also occasionally mark someone else’s slides as a favourite, which also pings Twitter.


The most recent addition to my armoury. I type almost everything up in Evernote – blog post ideas, meeting notes, random things that pop into my head. I also clip web pages I want to read later here.


I clip interesting YouTube videos to my Tumblr site, using a bookmarklet in my browser – I never visit the actual site. It pings Twitter with every new video.

Bookmarks for April 30th through May 14th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • Should the Public Sector pay for Content Management Systems? « Carl’s Notepad – [with open source] "You will still need to consider the integration aspects but open source products are far more likely to integrate (openness is key) then the big supplier products (no motivation to integrate)."
  • Office 2010: the SharePoint factor – "The simple conclusion then is that to make sense of Office 2010 you need SharePoint 2010. The snag is that SharePoint is not something to roll out casually. Although it has a huge number of interesting features, it is also complex and easy to break. "
  • No Overall Control – a Future State of ICT – "To really address the gap between people in ICT and people who work in the Business (people outside of ICT) you actually need to start moving the competencies that IT Professionals have into the Business."
  • The Fate of the Semantic Web – "While many survey participants noted that current and emerging technologies are being leveraged toward positive web evolution in regard to linking data, there was no consensus on the technical mechanisms and human actions that might lead to the next wave of improvements – nor how extensive the changes might be."
  • tecosystems » I Love WordPress But… – "the reasons we self-host our WordPress instances are being eliminated at an accelerating rate"
  • Meatball Wiki – "Meatball is a community of active practitioners striving to teach each other how to organize people using online tools."
  • Amazon Pursues The Feds and the Potential Billions in Cloud Computing Services – ReadWriteCloud – "Amazon is quietly pursuing the multi-billion dollar federal cloud computing market, intensifying an already fast accelerating sales and marketing effort by Google, Microsoft and a host of others."
  • What’s Wrong With CSS – "Most of all, what I've learned from this exercise in site theming is that CSS is kind of painful. I fully support CSS as a (mostly) functional user interface Model-View-Controller. But even if you have extreme HTML hygiene and Austrian levels of discipline, CSS has some serious limitations in practice."
  • WordPress-to-lead for Salesforce CRM – "People can enter a contact form on your site, and the lead goes straight into Salesforce CRM: no more copy pasting lead info, no more missing leads: each and every one of them is in for you to follow up."
  • A Collection of 50+ Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies and Examples – Nice resource. Some great examples in here.
  • Headshift Projects: Projects by Sector – Nice collection of social software case studies.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for April 11th through April 16th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • A New Approach to Printing – “a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer.”
  • Governments and Citizens: You Don’t Own Your Tweets – This is a really interesting piece on ownership of online content.
  • Beauty is the new must-have feature – “I’m predicting that we’ll start to have a non-functional requirement around making beautiful experiences when we build systems, and that we’ll be rubbish at it when it happens.”
  • Follow Finder by Google – “Follow Finder analyzes public social graph information (following and follower lists) on Twitter to find people you might want to follow.”
  • Enterprise 2.0 and improved business performance – “Despite growing evidence, which I’ve presented here and elsewhere, there still remains for many people a real question about the overall ability of social software to improve how organizations get things done.”
  • calibre – E-book management – Really handy (for a Kindle owner, anyway) open source, cross platform ebook conversion tool.
  • Why does government struggle with innovation? – “If innovation is becoming a core attribute required by government organisations, merely to keep up with the rate of change in society and the development of new ways to deliver services and fulfil public needs, perhaps we need to rewrite some of the rulebook, sacrificing part of our desire for stability in return for greater change.”
  • The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation – “There are many candidates for the biggest obstacle to innovation. You could try lack of management support, no employee initiative, not enough good ideas, too many good ideas but no follow-through just for starters. My nominee for The Biggest Obstacle to Innovation is: Inertia”
  • Lichfield District Council – Open Election Data Project Case Study – “An early adopter Lichfield District Council has been actively sharing a range of local data for some time. In March 2010 the Council was the first authority to make its local election results openly available as part of the Open Election Data Project.”
  • Google Docs Gets More Realtime; Adds Google Drawings To The Mix – Me likey!
  • YouTube – SearchStories’s Channel – Make your own Google search story video – like in the Superbowl ad. Cute.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Easy blogging

Two services which aren’t very new, but which I only started using recently, are Tumblr and Posterous. They are basically blogging platforms, but in a different way to, say, WordPress, Blogger or TypePad.

It’s all about how you post to these services.

Posterous, for example, is almost entirely email based. You create your account on the service by sending it an email, and that’s by far the easiest way of posting to it – thought there is a web based interface if you really want one.

It’s brilliant at handling multimedia, especially photos and videos – just attaching one to your email will see it hosted at Posterous and embedded in your blogpost. Including YouTube URLs will embed the video into your post as well – it’s very easy. It’s also very impressive the way Posterous interacts with other social networks, cross posting nicely to Facebook and Twitter, and sending photos to Flickr too.

I use my Posterous as a personal blog, but one to which I post almost exclusively by email, from my iPhone.

Some of the other blogs that use Posterous that I read include:

Tumblr is a blogging system that is probably best described as an online scrapbook. Again, you could use it as a normal text based blog, but Tumblr really comes into its own by acting as a clipping service – you see a link, or a photo, or a video that you like online, and you post it to your Tumblog, perhaps with a bit of commentary added.

I’m using mine to clip videos I find interesting, or will want to save for later viewing. I never bookmark videos in Delicious for some reason, and this will make up for that!

Some other great Tumlr based blogs I follow include:

The key thing about both these services is the easy of use, and the way they speed up posting. I’ve never really kept a personal blog, but by being able to make quick, short posts on my phone, finding the time is a lot easier.

Perhaps if you are finding Twitter’s character limit a bit, well, limiting, but full blown blogging seems a little bit daunting, maybe Posterous or Tumblr can fill that gap for you!