If you are a blogger (and that includes Bibliobloggers!), and you haven’t already heard the news, be aware that new FCC guidelines may affect you. Here’s an explanation from the fine folks at CNET:
Independent bloggers who fail to disclose paid reviews or freebies can face up to $11,000 in fines from the Federal Trade Commission, according to revisions to the agency’s “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” published Monday.
So if you are reviewing a book, and you received that book for free, you now need to note that in your review. Silly, right? Well, I agree, and so does the Internet Advertising Bureau, but we’re stuck with it for now.
On a related note, I receive occasional gift certificates from the always wonderful wtsbooks.com on a click-by-click basis. If that bothers you, then I suggest you don’t click any links for books on this site.
The good folks over at Biblioblog have added Nerdlets to their list of Biblical Studies Blogs. Sure we’re just “related blogs” (under the “techie” category) for now, but maybe someday we’ll be upgraded!
A blog is included in the rankings if it contains substantial content related to biblical studies or closely related fields, evidences a scholarly approach to biblical studies (not requiring academic qualifications, but excluding blogs with mainly homiletic or devotional content, unscholarly approaches, or a primarily theological focus), and is currently active and posting.
Ranking is based on information supplied by Alexa for the current month. Blogs are ordered by the monthly traffic rankings provided by Alexa, a website which provides traffic rankings for each website or blog. In the occasional event that only the 3-monthly results are available in any particular month (not the monthly results), we will use the 3-monthly results as a proxy for the monthly results.
In addition to their excellent reftagger plugin, which provides blog readers with Bible verse popups whenever they hover over a Biblical reference (try it with Heb. 1:1), Bible.Logos.com is now offering a free Bible Search Bar widget to put in your sidebar. Biblical Bloggers should definitely look into this as it makes things easier for your readers. Logos explains:
If you have biblical content on your website or blog, you’ll definitely want to consider adding the new Bible Search Bar to your sidebar. RefTagger allows your readers to have instant access to the Bible passages that you cite in your post, but what if they want to look up a verse that you don’t mention or launch a search for a word or phrase that you discuss? They could manually navigate to Bible.Logos.com, but the Bible Search Bar makes it even easier for your readers to find what they’re looking for.
The sidebar add-in comes in many shapes and sizes, and should be a convenient addition to any biblical blog. You can get it here. And don’t forget reftagger, if you don’t have it installed already, here.
I can’t believe it either, but it appears to be true: Microsoft is giving stuff away for free. Here’s the scoop.
Thinking about starting a blog for personal or church use? Your first decision is what platform to use. It’s an important choice since it is difficult to change services. ChurchCrunch has an excellent overview and analysis of the available options.
Your Nerdlets are now conversationally super-powered. Comments are now threaded (you can reply to other people’s comments), easier to manage, easier to subscribe to, and better all around.
This is a long post, so let me give you the bottom line: Nerdlets.org values your comments, and hopes that you will participate in the ongoing discussion that happens here. I want to know how you are using computing technology, particularly if you are using it for the direct benifit of Christ’s kingdom. The new commenting system is designed to facilitate community involvement. It also allows you to promote yourself and your own ideas: the more you participate in the discussion here the more you can draw positive attention to yourself, and to your blog, website, or social service. Read on to find out how!
Blogging is Supposed to be Social
Blogging is supposed to be a social medium. For a variety of reasons, the social aspect of blogging has dwindled in the last couple of years. Partly this is because of limitations in most blogging software, and these limitations are gradually being fixed (WordPress 2.7, for example, will feature basic threading of comments). Another factor is the rise of more directly social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.
Personally I think we can restore community to the Blog, and to that end I have installed IntenseDebate. Recently acquired by the folks at WordPress, IntenseDebate brings a variety of social features to any Blog.
Features of IntenseDebate
You will notice that the basic commenting interface is still simple to use and intuitive, and anybody can post regardless of whether or not you have an account with Nerdlets or IntenseDebate
Yet there are some interesting new features available to those willing to create an account with IntenseDebate (which is very easy to do: just click the box says create an accound).
- Reply to comments. You can now reply to someone else’s comment, or start a fresh thread. This essentially turns each Blog Post into a forum. No more “@username’ syntax. Because comments are now hierarchical they are now more conversational.
- Subscribe to comments. You can now easily subscribe to the comments for a particular post.
- Email Notification. If you post a comment and someone replies to your comment you can choose to be notified by email.
- Rate comments. Nerdlets is now a community. Anyone can rate the helpfulness of other people’s comments. The higher your rank the more prestigious you are, and the more prestigious you are the more people will trust what you have to say. This can help drive traffic to your own blog (I always notice a spike on Nerdlets after I post a comment on someone else’s blog) and increase your reputation in the online world.
- Comment across blogs. You can use your IntenseDebate account with any blog that has IntenseDebate installed. Your comments are recorded by IntenseDebate, and your rank is retained throughout, again promoting new conversations and helping you to increase your online reputation.
- OpenID. If you are worried about having yet another user name and password, IntenseDebate supports OpenID. The best part: you probably already have an OpenID account (go here to see why). OpenID allows you to securely sign into a multitude of different online services by means of a unique URL and is supported by a number of internet companies, including Google (if you have a blogspot blog), Yahoo, Flickr, and Technorati.
- Better Nerdlets Navigation. IntenseDebate provide a couple of widgets that help increase the usefulness of this site. Most recent comments are show in the sidebar, for example, as are the most popular posts. If enough people sign up with IntenseDebate I can also add a widget that ranks readers by the helpfulness of their comments (which is determined by the aforementioned rating system). This is yet another way you can draw attention to yourself (and your own blog or website) by participating in Nerdlets.
- You can find more information here.
The bottom line: your participation on Nerdlets.org not only benifits this site, it now benifits you! I hope that this will increase our ability to dialog about the intersection of Christianity, theology, and computer technology.
Logos Bible Software has recently updated their excellent blogging tool RefTagger. It adds new versions (NASB, for all those Old-School Reformed Blogs out there). It also allows readers to select their own version, if you choose to give them such freedom. It’s also now much easier to install on a WordPress blog. Check out all the details, complete with a download link, at the Logos Blog.