http://www.thebillblog.com/billblog/

Description of the blog

The Blog banner, across the top of the page, begins with a narrow green banner containing a link in light green lowercase sans-serif font on the far right, which says, "about:bill." Under the green banner there are four images, the first three are of equal size, about 1 1/2 by 2". The final image is smaller, 1 1/2" square.

The first image has a red background with a bald stick-figure head and shoulders with two eyes and a scribbled out mouth. Across the shoulder, there are three dots in a row. Under the head, there is a white arrow pointing to the left followed by the word ARSENALE (an English professional football club...from wikipedia) in white, all caps, san-serif font. Under that, there is the word GIARDINI (Venice giardini is an area of parkland in the historic city of Venice...from wikipedia) in the same font followed by a white arrow pointing to the right. At the bottom center of the image there is 1/3 of the tops of two blue sneakers, with white toes and white laces, visible which makes the image look like it is a photograph taken from above by the person (presumably Bill) wearing the shoes. The next image is a photograph of a 3-story building with many windows and a balcony on each floor, which is on the edge of a body of water, possibly Venice. There are boats docked in front of it. At the bottom center of the image, half of the same blue and white sneakers are visible, appearing as if they are the photographer's shoes. The third image is a close-up view of a 2 story building. The architecture of the building is ornate with curved windows and posts, it appears European, and could be another Venice photo. The same blue and white sneakers are visible and the bottom center of the photograph. The forth image is a green box with 2 lines of lighter green text in the upper right of the image. The text is all lowercase letters in a serif font. The first line reads, "the billblog." It is a link to the home page of the blog. The second line reads, "andfinally." This is also a link to Bill Thompsons website www.andfinally.com.

The background of the entire blog is white. Quotes have a light green background. A darker shade of green is used for post and widget titles. Red is used for comment indicator and category links on each post and on the related links in each post. The left/center 3/4 of the page contains Bills most recent blog posts, each post is written in traditional left-justified paragraph style. Most paragraphs are between 2-4 lines, unless he is introducing a quote. At the bottom of each post, there is a section titled "Also relevant:" which contains related posts.

The right 1/4 of the blog contains widgets. The first, "Welcome to the billblog," explains the blog is for "writing, entertainments and snippets from the keyboard of Bill Thompson." This is followed by a link to iPod/Touch version. Next there is a "DOPPLR" application that can be used if you have a DOPPLR account. The next box has a button that says "Join" and a link for "Sign in." This is followed by pictures of "Members." The second widget is "Tags." It shows a listing of categories for Bill's blog posts. The size of the lettering depends on how many posts are in each category. The largest categories are google, internet, and privacy. The next widget is "Where to Find Me." It lists Bill's upcoming dates using a calendar sharing tool. The calendar is followed by 3 flickr photos and a link to "create/chare your calendar with 30 boxes!" The next widgets are "Ads by Google," "Recent Posts" (a list of his last 5 posts), "Comments" (a list of his last 5 comments), "Other places" (links to his other web presence sites, fellow writers'/friends' sites), "More to read" (links to info about Bill, things he's written), "Meta" (blog admin links), and "Jobs from Workcircle" (Top UK Jobs).

At the very bottom of the site is information about the software running billblog "WordPress 2.7" including the theme used and it's version.

The overall website seems to have a theme of rugged vs. refined. This starts at the very top of the page with the images. The image with the arrows going in difference directions referencing ARSENALE, an English professional football club (from wikipedia) is set up as an opposite direction to GIARDINI. Venice giardini is an area of parkland in the historic city of Venice (from wikipedia). The photographs in the banner also reflect this theme. One is of an ordinary Venice building front and the other is of a ornately designed building, but the same shoes appear in each giving the idea that he can participate in both worlds. The theme carries over into the prose of each post. Though Bill has a wealth of experience and is well-known and respected as a journalist, he comes across in a very casual, "I'm not that great" kind of way. The language he uses is common, easy to read, humorous, and down to earth. He makes it sound like he is just an average, working guy with a family. He says things like: "I’m an easily distracted person," "...make even the hairiest of us look good(ish)," "And I even managed to make it into the iPlayer day coverage, "I lobbed half a brick across a river while Max filmed me." All of these phrases show he is a real person, who is humble enough to talk about everyday things and admit he has faults. Even his outward appearance confirms his theme. He has a rugged, ungroomed appearance, though he is a public figure.

Description of the context

Bill Thompson "is a journalist, commentator and technology critic based in Cambridge, England. He has been working in, on and around the Internet since 1984" (from about:Bill). In Bill's words, "I do stuff, like write for magazines, newspapers and websites, appear on radio and TV, speak at conferences and seminars and think about the way the network is changing the world. If you'd like me to speak at your event see my profile at The Excellent Voice" (from andfinally website).

Because of Bill's years of experience with web pages, working on the internet, writing for the web, and critiquing technology, his opinions about technology carry a lot of weight. All of Bills posts mention something about technology. Even when he is talking about personal time with his family he mentions all of the digital devices that "illuminated" the room." Technology is not only his job, it is with him constantly. He has the ability to affect public opinion about the technology products he critiques and uses because of his expertise in the field. Given that fact, it is interesting to see which products he chooses to write about and feature on his blog. For example, in his post "Don't Dream it...Google it" he mentions using the following: Skype chat, Google talk conversation, Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, iPod, YouTube, Internet Archive. His diversity in knowledge about what's currently "hot" in regards to the internet and technology gives him even more credibility as a subject matter expert. Another example, in his post, "Facebook foolishness" he mentions 2 applications that he likes out of all of the facebook applications. Bill is well aware of his position as he is careful to point out in his full disclosure http://www.thebillblog.com/billblog/index.php/about-bill/full-disclosure/.

Other Notes

The posts seem random. There is no real direction or consistency between them. But, this is somewhat the nature of a blog.

Use a planned survey (chapter 4). Don't interpret, not analyze (put those things in notes).
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