June 13, 2007

GalaxyGoo Flash-a-thon?

GalaxyGoo has participated in the Blogathon twice now. It's been a lot of fun and we posted some great experimental Flash projects.

It's time for us to spin off on our own, with a less hectic schedule and more community participation. I'm thinking that we should spread the posts out over a few weeks and encourage the community to post links to their adaptations. Perhaps we should arrange some nice prizes.

We need a name! Current candidates are "GalaxyGoo-a-thon" and "Flash-a-thon". Obviously, we need more ideas.

May 09, 2007

To Blogathon or not to Blogathon?

In past years, GalaxyGoo's participation in the Blogathon has been a lot of fun and resulted in collections of cool Flash experiments and their source files. Participants post every 30 minutes, for 24 hours. It's certainly a marathon.

I'm thinking that GalaxyGoo should go independent, and modify the program a bit. Scheduling daily bursts, for a week or two, instead of the 24 hour marathon. That would give our readers time to participate as well. I'd love to see variations on the posted source files.

February 15, 2007

Comments turned off on some posts

I've turned off comments on some, but not all, of our posts as part of the long defensive battle against blog-comment spammers/vandals. Sometimes it sure seems like we're trapped in a siege-war.

While all comments are moderated, it's still a constant chore to deal with all the spam attacks. The last couple weeks have been particularly bad.

I'm tempted to add captcha, but I'm not sure if the accessibility issues have been worked out yet.

August 25, 2006

Rob Simmon Joins GalaxyGoo Bloggers

I'm very pleased to announce that Rob Simmon will be joining us on the GalaxyGoo Blog. Rob works for NASA, at the Goddard Space Flight Center's Earth Observatory, and will be writing about design and scientific visualization.

I met Rob at the Gordon Research Conference on Visualization in Science and Education, in Oxford, last summer. Since then, we have continued discussions begun at that conference. We usually agree on visualization issues, and sometimes we disagree. I'm very much looking forward to bringing our discussions, and more, into the public arena, and inviting others to join in.

July 19, 2006

Blogathon 2006

The blogathon is almost upon us, and we're working furiously to get ready. We've got a fantastic group of Flash coders contributing files to this event. Some participated back in 2003, and some are joining us for the first time.

The projects will be in various version of Flash, including AS3.

During the event, we'll publish source files as well as finished swf. We hope that you will join in on the fun, play around with the code, and post your own variations.

The event starts at 6am (pacific), on Saturday, July 29th, and ends 24 hours later.

You can help support the educational programs at GalaxyGoo, by making a pledge of support on the website.

July 10, 2006

Four Years of Blogging!

On July 10, 2002, I made the very first post to the GalaxyGoo blogs. At the time, we were just playing around with some new web technology. Four years later, I can't imagine GalaxyGoo without a blog.

To all of our readers, thank you!

June 30, 2006

Test Entry

We've made the move, and now I need to test if the aggregators are still picking up our feed.

May 19, 2006

Comments Disabled For Now

We're having some problems with the comments handling in the blog. Unfortunately, this means that I've had to disable all comments, even just displaying them, for the time being.

If you'd like to send me a comment about a post, please use the small contact form on this page (scroll down). Be sure to mention what post the comment refers to. :-)

July 26, 2005

Skipping the Blogathon

This was a tough decision, but we're going to skip the Blogathon this year. While the last Blogathon was a great experience, several issues tipped the balance against GalaxyGoo participating this year. First of all, we've already got our hands full with the upcoming Art Auction and Benefit event. Secondly, Macromedia has already released a public Beta of the next Flash player. It seemed strange to be putting together a collection of experimental Flash pieces right now.

The last Blogathon was a lot of fun, and I wish this year's participants the best of luck.

July 13, 2005

The Blogathon is Back

The blogathon is back, and it's scheduled for August 6, 2005.

Last year, GalaxyGoo won the award for best visual arts project. The way we did it last time, we set up all the posts ahead of time and published them every 30 minutes during the blogathon. This worked well, and we took shifts.

To participate again, we'll need volunteers from the Flash community to donate experimental Flash projects and their source files. If you're interested, post a comment here or use our contact form. Be sure to include your email address, or I won't be able to get back in touch with you.

July 11, 2005

Three years of Blogging at GalaxyGoo!

Yesterday was the three year anniversary of our blog! GalaxyGoo has grown so much since that first blog post, from our first intern to first print publication and off-line events.

I'll have to take some time to reflect on how much has happened in the past three years, and how the blog has become an important part of GalaxyGoo. Anniversaries never seem to coincide with free time, though, and I have a huge back-log of work from when I was in Oxford.

I'd have to say that some of my favorite things about this blog include our participation in the blogathon, getting aggregated in fullasagoog, and getting in touch with Bob Crimi.

May 27, 2005

Off-topic: Personal Blog

Well, I've done it. I've set up a personal blog: Kristin's Blog

The design is one of the templates that comes with a blogger account...for some reason the dots appealed to me. When I have time, I'll have to tweak it.

February 25, 2005

First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion

Hello, my name is Steven Erat and I'm the new kid on the GalaxyGoo block, er..., blog. I've been invited by Kristin Henry of GalaxyGoo to contribute blog entries based on my experience in both scientific research and software development. You might even know me already from my blog on or through my employer Macromedia.

Continue reading "First Post -- From Neuroscience to ColdFusion" »

February 14, 2005

Advice for new bloggers

Back in September, I posted that my intern (Frances) would be posting about her experiences while learning Flash. Well, that turned out to be more overwhelming than we expected and it never did take off. It was a bit intimidating to jump into an established blog, finding her blog voice was also a challenge, and we never developed a schedule for her posts.

All you bloggers out there, if you'd like to offer some advice, we'd love to read it.

January 28, 2005

Bob Crimi Found

A while ago I was Searching for Bob Crimi, and tried a little experiment--testing the power of the blog. I posted to the Galaxygoo Blog that I was trying to find his contact information. A few weeks later, a google search for "Bob Crimi" listed my post as the first result. As I hoped, this got his attention, and we are now in correspondence.

Behold the power of the blog. :-)

January 27, 2005

Alton Brown Blog

It's not a surprise that Alton Brown, star of Good Eats, has a website. But did you know he has a blog, too? And he even posts to it now and then. A good read :-)

On a lark, I started browsing his site to see what the "mystery meat" navigation was all about...Alton Brown was here in San Francisco today! And I missed it. Oh well. Maybe someday he'll volunteer at a fundraiser for GalaxyGoo. That would be even better than "meeting" him at a book signing.

Alton Blog

January 03, 2005

Pooling the Blogosphere Resources for Aide

This is great! I've been trying to think of a way that I can encourage others to send aide to the tsunami disaster area. Fortunately, I came across this via jdb cyberspace.

Webloggers: Give to tsunami victims and I'll give too! (Anders Jacobsen's blog)

Mr Jacobsen even compiled a great list of aide organizations and formatted them in html, to make it easier on us bloggers to post them.

International aid organizations:
UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund)
United Nations' World Food Programme
Medecins Sans Frontieres / Doctors without Borders (donate!)
CARE International
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Disasters Emergency Comittee (DEC) - comprises a raft of aid agencies, including the below and others
British Red Cross
Save the Children UK

North America:
American Red Cross
Canadian Red Cross
Save The Children

Anders Jacobsen: Webloggers: Give to tsunami victims and I'll give too!

August 31, 2004

Nonprofit weblog interviews

TechSoup has a new article about non-profits and weblogs: Profiles of Nonprofit Weblogs. Four organization were asked a series of questions--interesting answers.

August 12, 2004

Non-profit sector discovers blogs

Articles like these may help explain the benefits of blogs to newcomers:

TechSoup - Articles: Web Building - Weblogs: The Promise for Nonprofit Organizations

For non-profit organizations, the benefit of blogging can be even greater than for commercial organizations. Much of what a non-profit does is based on the individual level. Blogging can breath distinct personality into a website, and can serve as a low-pressure means of encouraging community.

January 25, 2004

Best Defence Against Blog-Comment Spam

Folks are resorting to all kinds of hacks, work-arounds and plug-ins to deal with the Vandalism we call blog-comment spam. But some of the best advice I've seen is posted on the front page of the Movable Type site:

Of course, there are no perfect defenses, and if you're truly concerned about the comments on your weblog, the best defense is prevention by closing old comment threads.

I've had very good luck with this, so far. In the next version of Movable Type, I'd like to see tools that make it easier to toggle comments off while in power-editing mode. Adding a check box next to the publish/draft check box would be very handy.

November 07, 2003

So, blog comment spam is a drag. What are we going to do about it?

Today, Colin Moock announced his decision to disable comments on his blog. Why? The more and more ubiquitous commercially motivated vandalism we call "blog comment spam".

When we publish a blog, we take responsibility for our part of the internet. We put aside anonymity for the sake of our community and our place in that community. We invite people to join us, and comment. In fact, a blogger is happiest when a post sparks a long discussion in the comments, or even picks up on other blogs and forums.

We do NOT invite peddlers of illicit products (often illegal products) to abuse our good reputations and our community, for any reason.

Supposedly these trolls and pros (vandals, really) do this to get higher ranking in search engines. If this is true, then search engines will respond and blogs won't have the same weight. This would be a shame, because some of the most interesting content on the internet exists in the comment system of blogs.

While reading the anti-spam blog, an idea popped into my head. The mark-up for blogs and comments is all dynamically generated, so it should be easy to insert a standard tag that flags text as a "comment"? Then let the search engines do their magic and determine the weight of any links in that block of text. If search engines and blog system developers join forces, this problem could be solved without gagging honest communication.

This problem is bigger than a few hacks to MT can handle. We need to join forces, get creative, and come up with some big ideas for handling this problem and foster the growth of community at the same time.


moockblog: spam killed moockblog comments


October 15, 2003

Require Registration for Comments?

We're thinking about requiring registration for comments on the blog. Most of our visitors, who post comments, are already registered members of GalaxyGoo. This could also be a tool to help strengthen our small community: members could have links to their comments on their profile pages.

I'm opening up comments on this thread. Share your thoughts.

October 14, 2003

Blog Spam Blitz Is Giving Me The Blues

After this weekend's spam blitz, I was hoping that I'd have some time to breathe. No such luck. A whole new batch of distasteful spam...yes, that's a bit redundant...anyway, a whole new batch was waiting for me to delete it first thing this morning.

So, I've turned off the comments for now. In a few days, I may turn them back on again.

Since the spam seems to occur mostly late at night, I'm thinking of keeping comments open during the day and putting them to bed at night. That could be a problem too. I'm looking into keeping the comments open, but moderated.

I've started a thread in our forums, for discussion.

July 11, 2003

RSS feeds, by category

We've got RSS feeds by category now! This is going to come in real handy, when we implement our project blogs. You can browse by category in our mini-blog reader, on our main blog page.

Some great instructions on how to set up your own category feeds can be found on the girlie matters blog.

June 30, 2003

PDF In Blog Aggregators?

When I browse a blog aggregator, I have certain expectations. There's generally a topic involved. But more basic than that, I expect links to web based file formats, not a direct link to a pdf. While the pdf format has it's purpose, blogging really shouldn't be one of them. Launching the plug-in brings the browsing experience to a halt and reminds one of why the Flash player is so great (you don't notice the player itself).

Imagine you're sitting at the table with your first cup of coffee, and the newspaper. A headline catches your eye, and you start reading the article. This one's particularly interesting, so instead of skipping to the next story on the page, you go to page A12. But just as your leafing through the pages, Harry Potter turns your newspaper into a dvd. Rather inconvenient.

Instead of linking directly to pdf files, why not set up a blog for summaries of the content of those files?

June 29, 2003

We're Back

After a few days of downtime for the blog, we're back. We had some trouble upgrading movable type: mainly had to get rid of formatting characters in the cgi files.

June 24, 2003

Blog Categories and Aggregators

Do you blog? Aggregate? Do you use secondary categories?

In an effort to keep our own posts organized by topic, we've tried additional blogs, multiple and secondary categories. We can get things somewhat organized locally, but what about aggregators seeking relevance?