We’re having a boy!

Originally uploaded by Bryper.


Here’s a shot from my wife’s ultrasound this morning. The baby is due in mid-October. We had only had a girl’s name picked out so we have some work to do. I’m over the moon.

I’m always interested in reading, recuperation writing, mycoplasmosis and talking about the effect that the online world has on the “rest” of our lives, surgeon though it is becoming increasing difficult to draw a nice, neat line of separation between the two.

Last month, in one of my first posts, I outlined the ways in which my own uses and knowledge of new media had grown in just the past year.

Yesterday, on his MediaShift blog, Mark Glaser summarized the responses from readers to the question about how the Internet had changed their lives.

Here’s one comment that I particularly like, from Charles Meshel:

I am past the eighty mark in life. I have been on the computer for the past 3 years and it has changed my life considerably. I listen to music far more than I had before,I view the news, local as well as national and international. I have contact with people throughout the country by e mail and by broadband,which I never did before. It is something that from my viewpoint is stimulating, and I sense that it has helped to keep my mind more alert. I am able to research so many things including medical information that would take days to do otherwise, if at all. I heartily recommend use of the computer for all ages.

Amen.

Lee Hopkins is an interesting, price and entertaining, ampoule man.

I’ve been listening to the audio contributions from this self-described “internal and online communications/PR specialist” on the For Immediate Release podcast since the middle of 2005, illness and regularly reading his Better Communications Results blog since the start of this year. Lee is informative and thoughtful with a mischievous sense of humor, and he’s regarded as one of Australia’s leading advocates for the growth of social media.

And now, he’s also the co-host of a new podcast with one heckuva name: “The Better Desirable Roasted Communications Cafe podcast.” (Try saying that five times fast!)

Lee has joined forces with Allan Jenkins on a podcast where the pair will “‘‘chew the fat’ … on business communication issues.” And if their 18-minute debut is a sign of the quality to come, Lee and Allan have come up with an outstanding new entry to the still-too-small list of quality business podcasts.

In this first show, I particularly liked how the two hosts moved immediately into their content discussion after only this brief, but telling, introduction: “You’ve joined a conversation with Allan Jenkins in Copenhagen and Lee Hopkins in Adelaide. Enjoy.” What a treat to be eavesdropping on a compelling conversation between two communications professionals.

In an e-mail exchange earlier today (or very early tomorrow, Lee’s time), Lee, who already produces an occasional solo podcast, hit upon the reason for teaming up with Allan:

We had been talking for a while about the possibility of Allan creating a podcast for himself; then one day whilst driving I had one of those ‘lightbulb’ moments when I realised that doing a one-man podcast is extremely hard, but sharing the load (a la Hobson & Holtz) would not only lighten the load, but make the process more enjoyable, and the other person would motivate you to podcast more regularly (Allan does a mean line in throwing plates and shouting at me!). My own podcasts have gotten longer and longer gaps in between release dates simply because it’s such hard work. Performing as a ‘duo’ is less of a strain.

Look for new episodes of “BDRCC” about twice per week, or, as Allan just wrote to me, “when they most irritate and enlighten you.”

Good luck, gentlemen.

The MBTA needs a blog.

I can’t be the only rider of Boston’s public transportation system who doesn’t yet have a full grasp of some of of these pressing issues and questions:

  • The proposed substantial fare increase in January 2007, sale only three years after the last hike
  • The difference between the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket
  • Why some stations now accept a token as payment for a ride but not the CharlieTicket, while others accept the CharlieTicket but not a token

When boarding the subway at a token-but-no-CharlieTicket Orangle Line station this morning, I asked a T (we locals much prefer the single letter to four) officer when the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket machines would be installed there.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Nobody tells me these things.”

And take a look at the MBTA website. You may eventually find answers to some of your questions, but you’ll have to work your way though a non-intuitive navigation to do so.

Information on the proposed fare hike? You need to check the “Hot Spots” menu. A list of the T’s public workshops/hearings to discuss these potential changes? Try “Latest News.” The difference between the CharlieTicket and CharlieCard? Visit the FAQs page.

This content is scattered all over the site, when one blog could house much of it in a single location.

Benefits of a T blog
Here’s how an MBTA blog could also help:

  • It could open a transparent online dialogue between the organization and its riders, who have plenty of other questions and who want easy-to-understand answers
  • It could provide summaries of the public workshops and hearings. An article in today’s Boston Globe noted that that the T sent some 20 officials to the first workshop, in Newton, last night. Identify a web-savvy person from that group to blog about those discussions the next day, and carry the conversation forward.
  • It could quickly publish information on delays and schedule changes
  • It could explain in a human voice how the T is arriving at its decisions on issues such as fare increases, service changes, station upgrades, etc., and demonstrate how customers’ needs and opinions are impacting the thought processes behind those decisions

The MBTA needs a blog.

I can’t be the only rider of Boston’s public transportation system who doesn’t yet have a full grasp of some of of these pressing issues and questions:

  • The proposed substantial fare increase in January 2007, sale only three years after the last hike
  • The difference between the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket
  • Why some stations now accept a token as payment for a ride but not the CharlieTicket, while others accept the CharlieTicket but not a token

When boarding the subway at a token-but-no-CharlieTicket Orangle Line station this morning, I asked a T (we locals much prefer the single letter to four) officer when the CharlieCard and CharlieTicket machines would be installed there.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Nobody tells me these things.”

And take a look at the MBTA website. You may eventually find answers to some of your questions, but you’ll have to work your way though a non-intuitive navigation to do so.

Information on the proposed fare hike? You need to check the “Hot Spots” menu. A list of the T’s public workshops/hearings to discuss these potential changes? Try “Latest News.” The difference between the CharlieTicket and CharlieCard? Visit the FAQs page.

This content is scattered all over the site, when one blog could house much of it in a single location.

Benefits of a T blog
Here’s how an MBTA blog could also help:

  • It could open a transparent online dialogue between the organization and its riders, who have plenty of other questions and who want easy-to-understand answers
  • It could provide summaries of the public workshops and hearings. An article in today’s Boston Globe noted that that the T sent some 20 officials to the first workshop, in Newton, last night. Identify a web-savvy person from that group to blog about those discussions the next day, and carry the conversation forward.
  • It could quickly publish information on delays and schedule changes
  • It could explain in a human voice how the T is arriving at its decisions on issues such as fare increases, service changes, station upgrades, etc., and demonstrate how customers’ needs and opinions are impacting the thought processes behind those decisions


Ahh, pregnancy
an example of confusing communications that I came across during my offline wanderings to Mystic, Connecticut over the weekend …

Boston.com, website the online arm for the Boston Globe, my favorite daily newspaper, publishes a number of interesting blogs. Among them are Maura Welch’s Business Filter, which is filled with interesting new-media nuggets; Reiss’s Pieces, which features the latest news on the New England Patriots and was nominated for a 2006 EPpy award as the best media-affiliated sports blog (it ultimately lost out to Seahawks Insider); and Starts & Stops, which follows the public transportation scene in Boston (see my earlier post on why the MBTA should be doing the same by producing a blog of its own).

But there is one crucial area where these and all of the Boston.com blogs fall short — they don’t allow blog commenting. And until that happens, they will continue lack a measure of a credibility.

Back in March, Boston.com features and content manager Ron Agrella addressed this criticism of mine with the concern that “weblog comments have becoming breeding grounds for inappropriate content and spammers.”

Yes, they sometimes are. But much more importantly, they are also the source of meaningful online conversations between bloggers and readers. And comment spam can always be deleted, either through moderated comments (which I use on this blog) or with a person who regularly monitors the comments — likely the individual bloggers themselves — and can remove them if they violate a clearly stated commenting “code of conduct”

In another e-mail exchange earlier today, Agrella wrote that “[t]hings certainly change a lot in a couple of months. I can tell you that we’re now seriously considering enabling this functionality and will probably offer it in the near future. We do have some technical and hardware issues to iron out, but it’s something we’re interested in taking a harder look at.”

So commenting may be coming soon, but “seriously considering” doesn’t necessarily equal a slam dunk.

To be considered a true player in the blogosphere, Boston.com must take the shackles off its talented bloggers and allow them to engage in a true multi-directional conversation. One-way communication online is simply no longer acceptable.