Thursday 25 August 2005

Richi was your angony uncle

Not a lot of people know this, but I was once an agony uncle on an internet dating site. "K & Fi" of the now sadly defunct Snogg asked me to guest star. Here, for your delectation and enjoyment (or something) is my first effort...

"Dear Mr R - I send so many messages to all the women on your website but get very few responses. How can I increase the number of positive replies? My star sign is Virgo."

Ah, those fickle women - how rude of them to ignore you, eh? But walk a few yards in their shoes. Like it or not, it's a fact that us guys usually make the first move, and most women expect us to. I don't make the rules, that's just the way it is, even in 2003. So what happens? They get swamped with messages, quickly dashing their fine resolutions to politely reply to every single one.

My first piece of advice has been said again and again, but it bears repeating: don't cut and paste your message; send something that shows you've actually read and understood her profile. Comment on something she said; make it relevant, not generic.

Second: a little persistence goes a long way. If you don't hear back from her, feel free to try again! Perhaps you caught her at a bad time? Maybe she's been on holiday, and can't possibly wade through the hundreds of messages waiting for her on her return? I suggest trying again after a week, and once again after a couple more weeks. My personal rule is send three messages before giving up, but no more (don't be a stalker).

Last, but not least: not too long, not too short. Don't send War And Peace (it's scary) but make it a bit more interesting than "Hi, how are you?" As my old friend Madame "Smiler" Zelda always says, "Everyone likes a happy medium." ... Errrm, sorry...

Best of luck,
Mr R.

Wednesday 24 August 2005

Google Talk; Gmail invites

I suddenly got a spurt of people asking for Gmail invitations. Now I see why: as rumoured, Google just launched Google Talk, and you need a Gmail account to play. So...

Click here to ask for a Google Mail invitation.

To contact me, use my account: richij@...

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Monday 22 August 2005

Internet Advertiser Wakeup Day

I have just read and signed the online petition, "Internet Advertiser Wakeup Day" hosted on the web by, the free online petition service, at

I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing yourself.

Sunday 21 August 2005

HOWTO subscribe to a blog... 101

Sometimes, we get too close to a subject. We forget that people who are new to it don't understand the nuances. Ever since I published the post about subscribing to the blog by email, I've seen a lot of people searching Google with phrases like "how do I subscribe to a blog." This post explains how to subscribe to a blog...

OK, so firstly, what is subscribing? Subscribing basically means getting alerted to new posts on your favourite blogs. You use something called an aggregator to tell you when there's a new post. So subscribing is the process of telling the aggregator that you want it to start tracking a blog.

So why would I want to subscribe? Instead of having to go and manually check the sites you often read, you can let the aggregator take the strain. Having the aggregator track a list of blogs for you is much easier than having to check them all yourself every day.

Which aggregator should I use? Choice is good. Choice is bad. If you want my opinion, a good start is Bloglines. Alternatives are My Yahoo, NewsGator (an Outlook plugin), NetNewsWire (for MacOS) , or there's functionality built in to Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. IE7, the next version of Internet Explorer will have something built in (hopefully it won't be as broken as it seems to be in the beta).

What about RSS Feeds? Good question. When you subscribe, you're telling the aggregator to watch a feed. This could be formatted in speccy-techie formats like RSS, Atom, RDF, or some other weird XML flavour. Don't worry about it. Most aggregators have a way of discovering a blog's feed.

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