While Akismet does a great job catching most of the spam that comes to my blog through comments (it’s successfully stopping around 500/day lately) it remains less than perfect. In his typically pithy manor Don Burleson has come up with a solution.

Forget about those images full of letters that are so wavy and distorted that humans can’t even read them. Don has come up with a more creative way to verify that there’s a living, breathing human on the other side of the cloud. Don’s questions are so sophisticated they can even verify that the person has a similar political outlook to yours.

Verification question

Check out the full article on Don’s site for several more great examples.

spam, blog, blogging, funny, humor

Sometimes the comments are better than the original article.

Last week Mike Schaffner left this fantastic comment on my article Why Blog? He brings up several great points and I wanted to give it more attention than it might get just as a comment. Thanks Mike!

— Begin comment by Mike Schaffner:

Blogging can also be a useful tool in your job search as a way of establishing your “brand” and differentiating yourself.

During my job search I’ve gotten to know Kent Blumberg. Kent is a dynamic manufacturing and process industry operation exec also conducting a job search campaign. As part of his marketing plan Kent uses a weblog or “blog” ( Kent Blumberg ) to discuss timely issues in Leadership, Strategy and Performance.

Because of my desire to stay current with the issues facing IT and never having been shy about voicing my opinion I’ve taken my lead from Kent’s example and have started my own blog ( Mike Schaffner ) . In it I discuss “Management of Information Technology for Strategic Alignment with the Business” plus other related topics that come to mind.

When I started to think about it, blogs offer a number of advantages in a job search. They don’t replace any of the standard techniques but they can complement them.

** It is yet another form of networking
Through blogging and linking and contacting other people you have the opportunity to expand your network in way you could not have done otherwise

** It helps to “refresh” your name with your network
One of the rules of networking is to keep your name in front of your contacts so they don’t forget about you. RSS feeds and email subscriptions make this easier and can give your contacts useful information without the overt pressure of you asking for a job lead

** It is a great form of viral advertising
Blogs can help to give you a web presence and get your name out to the whole world. Many prospective employers will google you before the interview (as you should google them). Blogging will build your search engine presence. One master of blogging says that “blog” stands for “Better Listings On Google.” In my experience, that is certainly true.

** It is a great form of “push” marketing
It is a promotional strategy to create a demand complementing the “pull” marketing of your advertising i.e. resume

** It keeps you in the game
When we start a job search we leave our professional world behind and concentrate on networking, resumes, networking, interviews and networking. In today’s world, a few months away from a subject is an eternity. By writing about current topics in your field you “stay in the game”

** It demonstrates comfort with and a mastery of current technology
It shows that you “get” current technology which is especially important for more senior job seekers. Blogs can help counter the perception older folks don’t understand the use of technology

** It shows a maturity and depth of experience
Blogs give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and thinking in more detail than a resume. This can be especially useful for younger job seekers by countering the perception they lack “depth”

** It helps to answer the third question
Hiring manager basically have 3 questions: (1) Can this person do the job? (2) Will this person do the job? and (3) Will this person “fit” with our culture? A resume goes a long way toward answering the first 2 questions but provides no insight to the all important third question, a blog does.

** Its fun
Blogs offer the opportunity to discuss issues with others and what can be more fun than a good healthy debate?

Blogs are relatively inexpensive. You can get one going for about $50 to $150 per year depending on what you want to do. The hardest part is the commitment to make 3 to 5 postings of roughly 300 words each week. Fortunately this should only take a few hours and depending on the blog host you choose you can prepare your posts in advance and schedule them to post whenever you want. Writing well is tough, and the discipline of saying something meaningful in 500 words or less is even tougher. Blogging builds writing muscles.
It is too early for me to personally comment on results but I’m optimistic. However, Kent who has been at this much longer than I have reports “It can be a great source of interview questions. In my last three interviews, my blog came up (positively) in each, and generated questions that allowed me to expand on my approach to the world.” and “One of the interviewers had googled me, and then read my blog and my comments on others’ blogs. About half her questions were related to those links. Since I blog about areas that I believe are my strengths, it gave me a great chance to reinforce what makes me different.”

— End comment by Mike Schaffner

If you made it through all that (easily the longest comment I’ve ever had posted here) and like what Mike has to say, check out his blog. He talks a lot about communication, management and all sorts of other business and IT related topics.

blog, blogging, information technology, web, internet, career development

Alexander over at PositiveSharing.com has posted his Top 10 tips for productive, creative, fun writing.

So how’d [write a whole book in twenty days]? Well the answer is obvious isn’t it? Clear goals, hard work, perseverance, sticking to it, eliminating distractions and writing no matter what, right?

Wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. I tried that. Didn’t work. So I tried the exact opposite and that worked.

Like most of Alexander’s posts, this list is both highly applicable and refreshingly unconventional. Some of these things I find I’ve already been doing and others I’ll have to remember to try.

While my publisher would probably take issue with #9 (No deadlines or goals) I’m sure these tips will find their way into how I blog and work on my books.

writing, blogging

Think this blog thing is a fad? Think again! With Technorati now tracking over 50 million blogs (as of July ’06), a number which has been doubling every six months for the past three years.

What does this mean? Well, it means there’s some momentum behind blogs that shows no sign of plateauing anytime soon.

Rod Boothby at great thoughts on the matter…

With blogging growing that fast, it is inevitable that blogs will become a major part of enterprise communications in the near future. CTOs, CIOs and CKOs that fight that trend will find their people turning to open, external providers. That might not be a bad thing, but the more cautious route would probably be to provide a company sanctioned secure alternative.

Check out Rod’s full article. I think he’s got a pretty good pulse on this.

blogs, blogging, blog, blogosphere

Happy Birthday LAC!Today is one year from when I posted my very first post here on Life After Coffee. A lot has happened in the past year, much more than I ever anticipated! Here are some highlights:

Here are the five most popular stories from the past year:

  1. My Cubicle – Song Lyrics
  2. The Straight Poop on Kopi Luwak Coffee
  3. Oracle, SQL, Dates and Timestamps
  4. Performing Math on Oracle Dates
  5. How to Create Auto Increment Columns in Oracle

But some of my favorite stories don’t rank in the top 5. Here’s a few of my favorite stories from year 1:

So thanks to everyone for reading! I’m thrilled to have helped a few folks find the answers they were looking for. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my rants and ramblings and believe me, there’s more to come.

Jon

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