Like NaNoWriMo, but for technical book authors: PragProWriMo – the Pragmatic Programmers Writing Month.

To help you along, we’re setting up a forum and a Twitter account. Follow us on Twitter at @pragprowrimo to stay up to date. Join the forum at for more detailed writing advice, answers to your writing questions, and progress reports from participants. And when you finish your 60 pages, you might even get some special recognition from us.


Continue reading


Using A/B testing to find story ideas

I’ve been reading In The Plex, recently, so naturally I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use data in interesting ways. This post appealed:

Earlier I read this post via Hacker News on testing startup ideas. It got me thinking about whether or not you could do something similar in your newsroom. I’ll call it A/B Testing for News Coverage.

via Using A/B testing to find story ideas –

In a nutshell: Write some spec articles, run AdWord campaigns for them, see which ones are most popular. You could get the value of this without running any ad campaigns though. All webmasters – especially those with newsy content – should pay attention to their analytics to learn what content has proved popular, what searches brought readers in, and be on the look out for spikes of interest in particular topics.

When I clicked through to read this blog post, I was expecting it to be a post about A/B testing fiction story ideas. Imagine a kind of choose your own adventure story where the author writes the opening of the story, then two or three different continuations. The most popular branch becomes canonical, and the author continues the story from there.

I doubt that’s an idea that’d appeal to many authors, but some variation of this could be a fun experiment.

Wales Blog Award finalists, by blogging platform

I was curious to break down which blogging platforms this years Wales Blog Awards finalists used.

A pie chart showing which platforms the 2011 Wales Blog Award nominees use.

Google’s Blogger is the clear winner, powering exactly 50% of the blogs up for awards. The rest are evenly split between the hosted service, and the self-hosted version. Only two blogs used some other platform.

Only 13 of the 28 blogs in the list use a custom domain name.* Others are content to use the free subdomain provided by their host.

Of the blogs that ended up winning, 60% used Blogger, with the remaining 40% split evenly between and

All the nominees are listed below. Category winners in bold.

Blog Platform

Best Community Blog

Rhuthun / Ruthin – Blogger
The Photon Blog – Blogger
We Are Cardiff –

Best Entertainments & Music Blog

Movie Waffle –
Cat on the Wall –
Motown Junkies –

Best Food & Drink Blog

Cardiff Bites – Blogger
What Kate Baked… Blogger
Pint of 45 – Blogger

Best Lifestyle Blog

Where Are My Knees? – Blogger
Dyfed Wyn Roberts – Misc.
Chic & Cheerful – Blogger

Best Photo Blog

Cardiff Arcades Project –
Circus Clouds – Blogger

Best Political Blog

Carmarthenshire Planning Problems and more – Blogger
Caredig I Natur (CIN) – Blogger
Radical Wales – Blogger

Best Sports Blog

Ffwtbol –
The Foot Down –
Cardiff Skateboard Club –

Best Technology Blog

This Is My Joystick –
Apptacious – –

Best Welsh Language Blog

Hen Rech Flin – Blogger
Sion Dafydd –

Best Writing on a Blog

I Saw Elvis In The Woods – Blogger
Modern Haiku – Blogger
Mike Jenkins – Welsh Poet & Author – Misc.

People’s Choice Award & Best Blog (overall winner)

Ffwtbol –  

I think Blogger is a great choice, but I’m a little stumped why so many are serious enough about their blogs to seek awards, but are unwilling to spend the £5 to £20 to get a proper domain name.

* UPDATE 2011.10.28 Amy Davies pointed out to me that she does use a custom domain,, as a redirect.

Continue reading

Posted in Web