Joe Hendren

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bye Bye Bloglines - sob

Sad to hear that Bloglines will be shutting down its servers, just over a week away, on 1 October 2010.

I've used Bloglines as my primary blog reader for some years. Sometimes a simple uncluttered interface can be so much easier to use than something that tries to do all the bells and whistles.

Unfortunately this blog, or at least the counter of subscribed readers is going to take a hit with bloglines shutting down. Around half of my subscribed readers (22), at least according to feedburner stats, use bloglines to read this blog.

So dear readers I would appreciate it muchly if you were able to transfer their subscriptions over to another blog reader. Thanks to a recommendation of a friend I am trying out Google reader. This link shows you how to download your subscriptions from Bloglines and upload them into Google reader, so you don't have to go entering all your blog subscriptions in again.

Another option is to subscribe by email. If all else fails put this into your blog reader.

Since Bloglines came along all those years ago, it is clear that blog readers have fundamentally changed the way people read blogs. While they certainly make it more convenient, I suspect they are one reason the smaller blogs do not get as many visitors as they used to, and don't attract as many comments. I am comparing the situation to when I first started blogging over six years ago now, and even saying that I feel old. Despite this I suspect the advent of blog readers has increased readership overall.

Another change, which I am not sure is for the better is that some blog readers have presented only the first few lines of a post as a teaser, rather than the entire post. Some blog owners have adopted this format so that readers are forced to click through from a blog reader to the site to read the entire post. In some cases this may be motivated by wanting to keep their visitor count up. Personally I find all these click throughs annoying - if I want to read something I want the entire post on screen thank you very much. Sometimes I don't bother reading blogs that force me to do a click through to read anything. Even Public Address!

It is also possible this 'teaser' culture has encouraged people writing on blogs to structure their posts more like news stories.

Be interested on peoples thoughts on these blog related ramblings. Also interested to hear what other blog readers people use, and how they find them.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Satire: Garrett to discuss identity theft with Israeli officials

Act MP David Garrett today confirmed he is to travel to Israel to meet with officials and security experts to discuss identity theft and passport fraud.

"Israel have many years of experience in forging passports from a wide range of countries. They represent international best practice."

"Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency has previously used identities of disabled people as part of security operations. I successfully obtained a false passport using the identity of a dead baby.
I look forward to learning from their experience" said Garrett.

Mr Garrett also noted that his Act party leader, Rodney Hide had taken a sympathetic attitude towards Israel after two Mossad agents were caught attempting to illegally obtain New Zealand passports in March 2004. After then Prime Minister Helen Clark criticised Israel for their actions, Hide said her anti-Israel sentiments were "an embarrassment". The Act party also defended the right of the deputy chief of staff of the Israeli army to visit New Zealand, after a stay was placed on all high level visits pending satisfactory resolution of the passport affair.

Mr Garrett also looks forward to discussing the Day of the Jackal with real intelligence operatives. "I want to know if more of the techniques from the book can be used for real."

"This is great stuff. Its just like the Boys Annual I read when I was 26."

The discussions with Israeli officials will be held alongside a tour of Israel by New Zealand MPs, led by the Speaker the Hon Dr Lockwood Smith

Garrett also hopes to discuss his trip with former Defence Science Agency chief Stephen Wilce, who has claimed to be a former MI5 and MI6 intelligence officer.

"Right thinking people can be rest assured they will not expect undue scrutiny when they lie and in Stephen's case, embellish their CV to impress the Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service".

All quotes by David Garrett have been made up for the purposes of satire. He is scheduled to take part of a Speakers tour of Israel, however he is not meeting with Israeli officials to discuss passport fraud.

The attitude taken by the Act party in relation to the Israeli passport affair is based on true sources, including the quote from Hide.

In 2004 two reported Mossad agents, Eli Cara, 50 and Uriel Kelman, 31, were caught and jailed for trying to illegally obtain New Zealand passports. In June 2005 Israel made a reluctant apology to the New Zealand Government where they promised that "Israel commits itself to taking steps to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents in future."

Yet in January 2010 a senior Hamas official was murdered in Dubai, and it emerged that the death squad used forged passports from countries such as Britain, Germany, Ireland and Australia to enter the United Arab Emirates. Many of the real 'owners' of these passports turned out to have visited Israel or were living there with dual citizenship. Thanks to the Israeli operation innocent civilians now found themselves on Interpol arrest warrants for murder and other serious charges. In response both Britain and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats.

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