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11. Blogs, or Web log journal sites, fun to surf

By Mark Alberstat

HERE A BLOG, there a blog, everywhere a blog blog. It seems blogs are exploding over the Internet like run-on sentences in a high school essay.

For those reading this column who don't know what blogs are, a brief explanation is needed. Blogs, short for Web logs, are Web sites that an individual sets up as an online journal/log of his or her thoughts about and journey through the Internet.

Blogs, which are almost always non-commercial, are often updated daily and reflect the personality of the individual. Blog sites often contain links to other Web sites that the author finds interesting and wants others to know about. It is this logging of Internet activity that makes the blog different from a simple online journal.

The word "blog" can also be used as a verb meaning to update a blog Web site. I started a blog while writing this column, call it a real-world test for the blogger-set. At the bottom of this column you can find the URL for The Mousepad's very own blog.

Some people believe that Mosaic's What's New page in 1993 was the first Web log. This page was a list of links and information that some of the Mosaic staff thought was of Interest and wanted disseminated. These few pioneers, however, did not call themselves Web loggers or anything of the sort. That term was coined in 1997 by Jorn Barber on his Robot Wisdom page, which is still running and can be a lot of fun to peruse.

By 1999 the media, computer columnists and others started noticing the growth of blogs and writing articles on them. That same year saw the release of several programs that made blogging easy, freeing the user from a requirement of in-depth HTML and Web server knowledge that was previously needed and kept the bloggers to a small minority of Internet gurus who knew their way around servers and coding.

Blogger was also released in 1999. This interactive Web site gave users the easiest way yet to publish blogs.

Today, is a thriving company/Web site owned by Google and hosting hundreds of thousands of blogs. The simplicity of use and a large selection of templates has made this site immensely popular.

Like all facets of the Internet and computing, blogs are developing and morphing into something new. Originally, they were lists of Web sites. Then they became online Internet journals. Today some blogs even have audio components so you can hear the individual muse about certain sites or happenings instead of just reading their postings. AudioBlogger is one such service and currently costs $3 US per month. Not a bad price for the serious blogger.

What does the future hold for blogs? No doubt hundreds of new blogs will be created by the time the next Mousepad column appears in two weeks. Some of these will feature audio components. Some might even be slightly interactive, asking people where they are from and how they found their blog. Some might even feature small snippets of video grabbed from the blogger's Web cam to give you that extra personal touch. Some people are compelled to spread their views on things and pass along interesting bits of info and the current blogging tools and ability is just the place for these folks.

On the Web: (Tripod's Blog Builder page) (Grand daddy of blogging Web sites) (The Mousepad's Blog)

The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about computing, e-mail If we use your question in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.


The Mousepad Index


Originally published 22 June 2003


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