Our address is now:
100 Dominion Dr., Suite 101
Morrisville, NC 2760
Stop in for a quick tour!
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The President of Montie Design has been featured in the September issue of Machine Design magazine. You can read more by clicking on the image below or visiting Machine Design.com
This event is sponsored by the RTP Product Development Guild.
Date: Wednesday, 4 Mar 09
Time: Noon until 1:30
Location: Montie Design / Studio Hagler, 400 Dominion Dr., Morrisville, NC 27560
Purpose of Meeting: Get to know other, potential co-op members in a relaxed environment. Six attendees will have five minutes each in front of the group to explain their business. This is an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other on a professional and personal basis. If you would like to have your five minutes of fame, please purchase the ticket above with the time slot that you would like to have.
Purpose of Co-Op: Develop a standards-based community that presents a unified public face to the greater business community, both locally and nationally. Potential clients see the Co-Op and understand that here is a group of design / prototyping-related businesses that already know each other and work together well.
Who Should Come: Local product design, development and prototyping vendors who are interested in working together in a constructiveand substantial way to bring more business to local design community.
This is a great way for entrepreneurs, engineers, managers, and purchasing agents to find local vendors. If you have a need for engineering, design, or prototyping help this is a great place to not only find new vendors but personally meet the individuals running those companies.
Questions: If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Montie Roland at email@example.com, or by phone at 919-481-1845.
Pre-registration is Required: Register at http://ncproductdesign3.eventbrite.com/
(Morrisville, N.C.) The NC Product Design and Prototyping Co-Op, a project of the RTP Product Development Guild, has scheduled its second lunch and learn session for Wednesday, February 18 from Noon – 1:30 p.m. at Fineline Prototyping in Raleigh.
Co-Op members specializing in areas such as software development, engineering, design and prototyping, marketing, and project management work together in a collaborative environment to focus local resources on creating products with regional, national, and international applications instead of having local companies look elsewhere for assistance.
According to Montie Roland, president of the RTP Guild and advisor to the Co-Op, momentum is building within the local product design community to pool resources in order to bring new, cutting-edge product ideas from concept to reality.
“The talent, ideas, and resources are right here in Raleigh, Durham, Morrisville, Cary, Apex – the Co-Op is the missing piece of the puzzle to bring everyone together,” he said. Eighteen industry professionals attended the first lunch-and-learn event with over two dozen expected for the FineLine event, Roland said.
According to Roland, the lunch and learn events provide a great way for Co-Op members (and potential members) to get to know each other better. Each attendee has the opportunity to introduce himself and his company to the group, and local engineers and managers are able to meet local design and prototyping vendors, Roland said. Each lunch and learn is free to attend.
Roland said Fineline Prototyping is the perfect example of the type of company which could utilize the Co-Op to enhance its network of peer professionals. FineLine was founded with the singular mission to provide the highest quality high-resolution prototypes for customers and deliver them with worry-free service. FineLine was the first in the industry to implement high-resolution stereolithography, initially for the medical device development market.
In addition to FineLine’s core offering of high-res stereolithography, they also offer state-of-the-art selective laser sintering, and a high-strength material that they call SLArmor — a nickel-plated ceramic-filled stereolithography part that can stand in for diecast or machined aluminum in many cases.
To register to attend the event, visit the NC Product Design and Prototyping Co-Op page at www.rtpproductguild.com.
About the RTP Product Development Guild
The RTP Product Development Guild seeks to improve the regional economy in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C. by providing a framework for product developers and startups to work together on products in a collaborative environment. This helps entrepreneurs move products to market that might otherwise languish due to a lack of funding and professional guidance. The Guild accepts applications for products, services or concepts from entrepreneurs, early stage start-ups and corporate spin-offs. More information is available online at www.rtpproductguild.com.
About the NC Design and Prototyping Co-Op
The NC Design and Prototyping Co-Op is a project of the RTP Product Development Guild. The goal of the Co-Op is to provide prospective clients with the capabilities that they need to design and prototype their next product with local resources. The Co-Op is made up of professionals who personally know each other and who are used to working together in a trusted network. Whether you are an RTP company, or a company far from RTP, the Co-Op can provide the resources you need including mechanical engineering, electrical engineer, industrial design, software development, business development, rapid prototyping, prototype manufacturing and project management.
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(919) 412-0559 [cell]
Emerging RTP Biopharmaceutical Companys Research Shows Promising Results for a New Drug Candidate for Asthma, Sepsis, and for Treatment Following a Bioterrorist Attack using Plague.
Raleigh, N.C., Don Wilson, the CEO of Endacea, Inc., an emerging RTP biopharmaceutical company engaged in developing proprietary adenosine receptor antagonists as drugs for asthma, sepsis, and biodefense, will lead part of the discussion at the November 6, 2008, RTP Tech Event at Goodnights.
Sign up for the event at http://newtech.meetup.com/115/
Bill Cox, of ViASIC, To Lead Regional Innovation Economic Forum At October 9, 2008, RTP Tech Event @ Goodnight?s
Bill Cox, CTO of ViASIC, a developer of advanced programmable logic architectures and holder of 18 patents in the field of integrated circuit design to lead discussion about technology innovation and issues confronting the RTP high tech manufacturing community
Raleigh, NC. Bill Cox, an information technologies serial entrepreneur and CTO of ViASIC, located in Durham, N. C., will lead part of the discussion at the October 9, 2008 RTP Tech Event @ Goodnight?s.
Cox is the holder of 18 patents in the field of programming integrated circuits and has extensive professional experience in successful new ventures, such as Quick Logic and Synplicity.
?I came to North Carolina from California,? said Cox. ?I want to contribute to making the regional innovation economy in the RTP stronger, and I think I have some ideas that may stimulate a brain storming session at the RTP Tech Event.?
Cox holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. His professional experience includes the creation of over a million lines of code ready to be leveraged into the development of world class tools.
The RTP Tech Event is an innovation collaboration network of companies from the manufacturing community in the RTP regional economy. ?Our economic forum features two types of collaboration,? said Tom Vass, the organizer of the event, and CEO of The Private Capital Market, Inc., located in Raleigh.
Each month, local executives from two different industrial sectors present their thoughts on technology, innovation and new product development from their own industry, in an effort to stimulate ideas for technology crossover between local manufacturing sectors. At the October 9 meeting, SIC 73, which is information technologies, will be presenting with Holly Borowy, Senior VP of BMI South, a local metal manufacturing company. (SIC 34).
After the two presentation, the floor is open for discussion about ways to improve the local economy and brainstorming ideas on product innovation.
At the end of each session, the floor is open for a budding entrepreneur or inventor to stand up and give a five minute elevator pitch on their venture. ?We call this opportunity ?Your Five Minutes of Fame at Goodnight?s,? said Vass.
Registration for the monthly event is available at MeetUp.com. Annual membership in the RTP Tech Event is $50, and there is a $10 door fee that includes the purchase of the first drink and a discount on the comedy show that night at Goodnight?s.
About ViASIC. Founded in 2000, ViASIC is a privately held Electronic Design Automation (EDA) company and the leading provider of standard-metal tools and technologies. Our patented ViaMask family of standard-metal (one-mask) fabric is a complete library for building platform ASICs or embedding single via layer configurable sections into an SoC. ViASIC also offers ViaPath, a robust physical design solution for via-configurable fabrics. Contact Bill Cox at info@ViASIC.com telephone 919-405-1345. www.viasic.com
About the RTP Tech Event @ Goodnights. Our events mission is to create more business for local firms and to increase the rate of new product development in the RTP regional economy. We call this “new business idea brainstorming.”Each month, executives from local manufacturing firms, product development engineers and people with new business ideas for new products get together to brainstorm ideas for what types of new products may be successful in the RTP market. http://newtech.meetup.com/115/ Contact Tom Vass 919 9754856.
September 25, 2008 Monthly Tech Event: An RTP Business Network Aimed At Increasing Local Business
SIC 38 Instruments and Controls -George King, President, Triangle MicroSystems, a manufacturer of building environmental controls and fuel pump instrumentation.
SIC 36 Electrical Equipment -Bob Luddy, CEO, CaptiveAire, Commercial Kitchen Ventilation Equipment
Each month, executives from local manufacturing firms, product development engineers and people with new business ideas for new products get together to brainstorm ideas for what types of new products may be successful in the RTP market.
Part of the meeting is social networking at a fun place, and part of the meeting is structured around technology trends and markets in the nine high technology manufacturing clusters located in RTP.
It is a huge business community brain-storming session lead by the business owners and executives from both small and big business.
Our Focus On Innovation In The Nine RTP Manufacturing Industrial Sectors
We know that the RTP economy has nine different manufacturing industries. These are:
1. Information technology and instruments
2. Communications services and software
3. Chemicals and plastics
4. Pharmaceuticals and medical technologies
5. Industrial machinery
7. Hospitals, labs and specialized medical services
8. Printing and publishing
9. Wood products
You can register for the event at:
By Montie Roland, RTP Product Development Guild
Morrisville — Our firm receives inquiries from inventors and early stage entrepreneurs fairly frequently. We tend to break down incoming inquiries into four groups. The first group is inventors. Inventors are everyday people with an idea, but no organization to backup the idea. Entrepreneurs are individuals, or a group of individuals, with an idea for a product and a plan for an organization to develop, produce, and distribute that product. Start-ups are groups that are actively working on a daily basis developing the product and the organization necessary to make that product a success. Corporate clients are those in the process of adding another product to their suite of products.
Most design firms are not very interested in spending a lot of time talking with inventors that show up at the door. Many of these folks have great product ideas, however, most inventors are lacking two necessary elements for product success. The first is financial support and the second is the lack of ambition and vision. Product development is expensive. Once the product is developed, it is even more expensive to produce, stock, distribute, market and sell the product. Most inventors do not have access to this level of funding and support.
My impression, after talking with numerous inventors, is that most inventors simply give up, lacking the drive and ambition to make their product concept into a reality. They struggle with making the transition from being an inventor with an idea to an entrepreneur with a plan and a vision.
One possibility for failure is that the inventor has a pre-conception that all they need is an idea and a contact with a major corporation. That corporation will see that product concept and write them a huge check for the inventors idea. This myth is promoted by the ?invention submission? companies. The reality is that most corporations will not even talk to inventors about product concepts that have not been patented.
Another possibility is that many inventors dont know what steps they need to take to get a product to market, so are overwhelmed and give up. There is very little in the way of support structure for inventors and entrepreneurs. High-flying startups get lots of attention and funding, but that doesnt help the inventors, entrepreneurs and early stage startups.
Many design firms are hesitant to even provide proposals to inventors and entrepreneurs because so few of those proposals turn into billable hours. Startups are another example of organizations that often arent in a position to purchase professional services. Most early-stage startups dont have any product sales, and are not in a position to attract venture capital, so they dont have the funds to pay a consultant, or design firm, for needed services. Few consultants, and design firms, are in a financial position to accept the risk of receiving equity (or stock options) from a start up in lieu of fees.
The RTP Product Development Guild is designed to help drive new products to market. This is accomplished by creating teams of consultants to help in the early stages of the product design. These six member teams are made of local professionals in the product design community from various disciplines. Depending on the product, or service, these teams may include disciplines such as engineering, industrial design, software, business, legal, sales and marketing. This structure allows team members to share the risk of working on these projects while giving the product champion (inventor or entrepreneur) the needed product development support.
Guild projects last six months and follow a structured format. The product champion (individual inventor or entrepreneur) meets with Guild team members every two weeks to define, and refine, the product concept into a viable product. Participation in this structured method helps the product champion overcome many of the pitfalls that haunt entrepreneurs trying to develop a product without professional support.
Information about the Guild is available at: http://www.rtpproductguild.com.
Montie Roland is president of the Carolinas Chapter of the Product Development Management Association. Roland is also president of Montie Design, a product development and prototyping firm in Morrisville.
The RTP Product Development Guilds purpose is to provide consultancy services to startups and small companies across a wide variety of specialties. Guidance will focus on commercializing product ideas and technology.
How to Price your New Product – Understanding Customer Value
Do you deeply understand the value that your products & services bring to your customers? Do they?
Two simple questions, and key input to your pricing strategy. Yet, most firms cannot answer them with confidence and support their answers with data. It gets even harder to answer this question early in new product development when all that is available is a product or service concept. Yet, this question is answerable in many markets in the concept stage of new product and service development.
The Carolinas Chapter of the Product Development and Management Association invites you to join an evening of networking and learning with Jeff Dupuie, Managing Director of Oakstone Partners:
? Keys to understanding the value your products bring to your customers.
? How to quantify the information.
? How to use customer value model approach to price new products.
Jeff will cover these issues using a case study in how a customer value model (CVM) was used to evaluate a series of new product /service offering concepts that offered the potential of breakthrough performance to customers. The CVM proved to be a useful tool, and in this case, the right tool, to provide insight into which concept offered the most value to customers. The goal of this case study is to provide an overview of the CVM tool and approach, and to demonstrate its use to pricing.
Please join us to exchange points of view, build relationships with your peers and as gain insights from our speaker:
Jeff Dupuie is a Managing Director of OakStone Partners, a local management consulting firm. He has over 15 years experience in management, consulting, and engineering roles. Prior to OakStone, Jeff served as a key member with BearingPoints turn-around consulting unit. Prior to that, he served as a Principal with PRTMs product commercialization unit, leading their Portfolio and Resource Management practices. In industry, he has held commercialization and operations roles with The Ford Motor Company and with Motorolas Semiconductor Products Sector. Jeff earned the Henry Ford Technology Award for outstanding technical achievement while at Ford. Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and an MBA, both from the University of Michigan.
Who Should Attend
Entrepreneurs, professionals, and decision-makers at all levels who have interest in new product development, including product managers, marketing managers, brand managers, engineers, and business development managers. This event qualifies as two (2) Professional Development Hours toward PDMAs NPDP recertification.
Date: Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Time: Networking & Registration 6-6:45 pm; Presentation and Q&A 6:45 8:00 pm; Pizza and drinks.
Location: MCNC Auditorium, 3021 Cornwallis Rd, Research Triangle Park (Durham), NC 27709.
Fees Early bird: $20 members (PDMA and CED), $30 non-members, $15 students and volunteers. $10 surcharge for walk-in. Check only for walk-in.
More information and registration online at
Organizations in South Carolina are working hard to encourage innovation. If you visit the South Carolinas Council on Competitiveness you can read about the “New Ideas for a New Carolina 2007” contest.
“Tell us your big idea. We want ideas for business that stoke your fire, blow your mind, show your get-up-and-take-charge of-my-dream spirit. Your idea could bring new jobs, new energy, new talents, new life, and new wealth to South Carolina. Help us declare independence from mediocrity. Help us encourage innovators and celebrate the courageous. Help us create a NEW Carolina. New Ideas for A New Carolina South Carolinas Business Idea Competition. So what are you waiting for?”
Does this really encourage innovation in South Carolina? It definitely adds to the popular interest level for innovation. As I read closer, I realized that the prize wasnt for the best new product. The contest is for the best new business idea.
Having a contest for the best business idea (instead of new product) is definitely a good approach. However, I am concerned that this really doesnt strengthen business in South Carolina. The contest helps out individuals who are selected as winners to get publicity for their business concept. It also elevates the concept that product / business development is good for South Carolina.
My suggestion is to provide training before the contest. Teach people how to develop business and product concepts. Then follow up with how to start the business and find funding. Classes in managing the development of a product would also be helpful. Teaching the basics of iterative product design would help a greater number of entrepreneurs and product developers than the contest itself. Assign a volunteer mentor to each entrant for two years. Maybe start with two thousand entries. Offer classes for two years. Then highlight the businesses that have made the most progress (you pick the metric). I will admit that it sounds dangerously close to a reality show. It would be wonderful to see contests like this result in thousands of new businesses launching new products. That would significantly impact the regional economy for decades.
Enabling a passion for introducing new products takes education, mentoring and support from a local design community. As I get to the end of this dialog, I find myself wondering how our chapter (Carolinas chapter) is doing at accomplishing this goal in North and South Carolina. I dont have to wonder long, because our chapter isnt inspiring thousands of new products or new businesses. Is it because North and South Carolina is a bad place for new businesses and products? Is it because we are an inactive chapter? The answer to both is “no”. We have an active chapter in a thriving business community. What can our chapter to do be a product development leader in the Carolinas? Is that too big of a mandate for a local chapter? I dont think so, now we just have to figure out how to do it and have the determination to make it happen.
If you have any suggestions or comments, please dont hesitate to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.
Last month, we had the opportunity to put three groups together to host a joint consultants roundtable. These groups are:
After a short networking session, we listened to a short keynote talk from Charles Lord (Triangle Advanced Design and Automation — http://www.tadatraining.com) about the subject of integrating consultants into your design process. The presentation, in power point format, is available at All_I_need_is.ppt.
The roundtable discussion include eight consultants and a regional economist (Tom Vass). The discussion was titled “Integrating Consultants into A Well-Run Design Process”. To my surprise, and contray to the efforts of the moderator [me], the discussion kept straying onto the topic of how can consultants work with inventors and early-stage startups.
The result of this discussion was Tom Vasss October 26th blog posting on the Design blogs at blog.Montie.com. Several of the attendees and consultants made suggestions of resources for these types of situations. Bill Sullivan (Carolinas PDMA Chapter member) highlighted the following resources:
From the University of Illinois:
Illinois incubator (Theyve upgraded their facilities!)
Illinois Business Consulting (IBC)
From UNC there is an organization that supports Entrepreneurship, but it doesnt seem to have an incubator. Interestingly, its sponsored in part by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, who is a big supporter of the University of Illinois program and the IBC. I was a Kauffman fellow when I was at U of I. Also, as mentioned on Thursday, UNC has the STAR program for student consulting.
Carolina Entrepreneurial Initiative (UNC)
STAR – Student Teams Achieving Results (UNC)
NC State has their technology incubator, but doesnt seem to have a student business consulting organization.
NC State Technology Incubator
Duke has an organization that supports Entrepreneurship, but like UNC it doesnt look like they have an incubator. They do have a student consulting organization that specifically mentions its commitment to pro bono consulting to local businesses that dont have the resources to get paid consulting.
Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization (CERC) – Duke
Fuqua Student Consulting Program (Duke/Fuqua)
Creed Huddleston (Vice President of Omnisys Corp — www.omnisyscorp.com) suggested these:
Another organization that is focused on developing entrepreneurship nationwide is the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation out of Kansas City. Their website is full of useful information on all aspects of business operations and development.
One of the things we discussed last night was having an “opportunity fair” type of event on an annual basis. It looks like CED is putting on just such an event in Wilmington in December, with registration discounts prior to 11/3:
Opportunity 2006 Conference:
Here are some useful CED (Council for Entrepreneurial Development) links that describe how CED can help and the programs they offer. One item that attracted my attention based on last nights discussion is their Entrepreneurs Only Workshop series, which are lunch-time meetings that give current and budding entrepreneurs useful knowledge on the whole start-up process. Ive also included the Business Stages page since that breaks out their programs by their applicability to a particular phase in the business life cycle.
CED home page:
Programs and events:
Entrepreneurs Only Workshop:
MIT On-line Courses
Fred Buggie (Strategic Innovations International, Inc. — www.StrategicInnovations.com) suggested:
Every State I know of has an organization charged with the responsibility of inducing large companies to locate operations in their State. Those organizations normally are called “Industrial Development Authorities,” or “Indl Devt. Agencies,” but in the case of the Carolinas, they call themselves something different (so please extend my apologies to Tom Brown for the bum info. I gave him during your meeting). Each of these agencies has as their primary mission the attraction of new industry, so as to increase employment, and taxes paid, in the State; but as their secondary priority they are, to a lesser extent, interested in supporting the growth and prosperity of small companies already located in the State … for the same 2 reasons.
South Carolina Department of Commerce, directed by Chuck Bundy 803/737-0400.
They have done a terrific job over the years, especially in attracting large employers to locate in the Greenville/Spartanburg area.
Charlotte Regional PartnershipDirector: Kenny McDonald 704/347-8942
City of Charlotte, NC cooperates with The SC Dept. of Commerce, and York County SC Economic Development Department, right across the State boundary line. The latter is managed by Mark Ferris (803/802-4300) with the City of Charlotte, NC Small Business Development Program
This is an organization sponsored by the North Carolina Department. of Commerce, responsible for supporting small businesses in the 10 NC counties around Charlotte. 704/336-2473.
North Carolina Department of Commerce, Raleigh, NC
The Business & Industry Division is run by Gene Byrd 919/733-4151
Tony McCullough (GRT Electronics — www.grtelectronics.com) added:
NC Small Business and Technology Development Center
http://www.sbtdc.org/technology/funding_sources.asp (Funding Sources List)
http://www.sbtdc.org/technology/sbir.asp (SBIR Information)
Thanks to the folks that contributed to the info above and to making the meeting a success! Working with early-stage startups, and individual inventors, remains a challenge for design firms and consultants. The triangle area benefits economically from these entities, some of which grow into much bigger entities. Supporting the development of new businessess should be a priority that we all share, especially since we all benefit from their success.
Have a great day!
Be sure to check out the NC Product Design Directory!
What is a blog?
A blog is a specialized version of a website. Blogs allow users to concentrate on providing content (usually editorials) rather than worrying about the technical aspects of creating a web page.
Modern web publishing tools such as Microsofts Front Page allow just about anyone to compose relatively simple websites. Front Page has made the task of editing simple websites almost as easily as using Microsoft Word. Even though the software is straightforward to use, running a website requires the user to establish a web space to publish to, and to deal with the issues related to publishing to the web. These technical hurdles keep most people out of the web publishing business.
Blog software streamlines the process of web publishing. Websites such as Bloglines.com have streamlined workflows that allow users to quickly and cheaply (often free) create their own blogs. The combination of; the open source software movement, PHP (a scripting language on web servers), and MySQL (a database program, similar to Oracle) has allowed even low-budget websites to host blogs that reach huge audiences.
Why is blogging so popular?
Non-technical users can now easily create and maintain their blogs. The biggest cost of creating and maintaining a blog is the writers time. This allows writers to concentrate on creating their content. Bloggers can easily add text and pictures to their blogs. Once text and pictures have been added, or updated, that content is almost instantly available on the internet. Bloggers get the instant gratification of having their writing and images instantaneously available around the world.
Bloggers can also add content to their blogs from anywhere in the world. All they need is a computer with an internet connection. It is now common to see a press release saying ?He will be blogging from?. What this means is that magazines and other media outlets can have their bloggers add content while they are at venues such as trades shows, planned events, the scene of natural disasters, or even from their tent in Iraq. A good example is the proliferation of blogs written by soldiers from their duty stations in the Iraq war.
Readers can subscribe to one, or many, blogs, often for free. Subscriptions are maintained by aggregators. These aggregators allow the reader to tell the aggregator website which blogs they want to monitor. Some aggregators only monitor specific blogs (maybe only blogs they host). Other aggregators maintain directories of active blogs (this is common for podcasts). Subscriptions are much more convenient for the reader than having to visit the blog each day to check to see if there is new content.
One of the secrets of the success of the meteoric rise of blogs is the use of the RSS feed. Every blog has an RSS feed. RSS stands for ?Really Simple Syndication?. RSS feeds use a standard format to encapsulate the content of the blog. The use of the RSS feeds also allows the encapsulation of audio (podcasts) and video. From a broader perspective, its important to consider that RSS is as important to blogs as news services such as the Associated Press have been to traditional media. Make no mistakes, blogs represent a new media. The adoption of RSS feeds (and the subsequent support of these feeds by blogs and aggregators) creates a path for the distribution of blogs.
To put this in perspective there are three main ways to find a website on the internet. The first is to search for a topic, maybe through Google or Yahoo, and then visit a site that has information about that topic. Another way is to see, hear or be given a website address (maybe in print, TV, or radio) and then type in that address in Internet Explorer to go there. The third way is to see a link on another website or electronic document. You then click on the link and the website comes up.
Without RSS, most blogs would languish in obscurity as web pages that never got read. The aggregators now use RSS feeds to provide potential blog readers with choices of blogs to read. A good metaphor is to think of an RSS feed as a TV channel. For example you may turn to Fox to see a program on Thursday nights. RSS turns the blog (or podcast) into an outlet. Your computer can bring up the RSS feed and present you with the content of that channel. Combine this with the directories of blogs and podcasts that aggregators create and you have the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of channels, all on-demand. With the TV, you have to have TiVo, or a VCR, to record the programs that you miss. With RSS feeds, you can download the content and listen to it at your convenience. You can even search it.
Make no doubt blogs and podcasts represent a new media, both for entertainment and information. In the past, being ?media? meant massive investments in airspace, equipment, and personnel. Now one individual can sit at his, or her, PC and share opinions, thoughts, wisdom or knowledge just by sitting down and typing it into his computer and hitting ?upload?. Pictures, video and audio and are now easily integrated into blogs and podcasts. Just the ability to take a picture with your digital camera and have it passed through the RSS feed to thousands of subscribers is massive. This is a powerful tool, one which will affect the way we perceive the flow of information, thoughts and ideas for a long time to come.
Having a standard format allows aggregators to monitor blogs. The aggregators have programs visit (also called spider) each blog at regular intervals and check for updates. RSS feeds even contain a tag that suggests to the aggregator how often their blog is updated. This allows bloggers who update frequently to have their RSS feed checked more often.
Aggregators check the RSS feed by visiting the website hosting the blog and downloading the RSS feed. The potentially new RSS feed is automatically compared to the previously downloaded feed. Once new content has been detected, the aggregator then alerts any subscribers to the fact that the blog has been updated and new content is available. An example of an aggregator is www.bloglines.com. Other aggregators include:
Bloggers may also use a service like www.pingomatic.com to alert major aggregators if their blog has been updated more frequently that usual.
There are several ways an aggregator can alert subscribers to the presence of new blog content. The first way is through an e-mail. The subscriber receives an e-mail from the aggregator (or from the blog website itself) letting the subscriber know that new content is available. Bloglines uses a program (downloaded by the subscriber) running in the background on the subscribers machine. This program checks the RSS feeds from a list of subscribed blogs for new content. Once new content is available, the reader can visit the blog and read the new content. It is important to note that the software that downloads new podcasts (podcatchers) works essentially the same way.
There are also search engines that concentrate on blogs. A good example is blogsearch.google.com.
How do you create, publish and syndicate a blog?
There are two different ways to create a blog. The first is to go to a website that provides blogging services. These sites include:
Generally, creating your first blog is as easy as creating an account and starting to add content. However, many of these sites require you to agree to terms that include the reassigning all copyrights to the hosting site. This means that to use their services you may have to give them the rights to the content you are adding to your blog. This can be very important if you decide to reuse that content later (or you want to control how the content is used), since you may not own the content in your blog any more. This is one time that it is critical that you read the terms before you agree to use ?free? blog services.
The second way is to integrate blogging software into your website. This requires more skill and an on-line presence. There are several different ways to achieve the creation of your own blog. One is to use software that is built for the sole purpose of allowing the creation and maintenance of blogs. These may be written in CGI, Perl or PHP. PHP blog scripts often use a MySQL database. Most presence providers (such as www.powweb.com) support PHP and MySQL. Sources of blog scripts include:
At www.Montie.com we use a slightly different approach. We wanted to support an on-line community, as well as, a blog. The on-line community is powered by a script called PHPbb. PHPbb is available from www.phpbb.com. This is an open source script that is used on tens of thousands of websites around the world. PHPbb has spawned several widely used variants such as Post-Nuke. There is a good chance that any time you are looking at a forum on the internet, it is powered by PHPbb or a variant (such as Post-Nuke).
We then use a program called PHPBlog from www.outshine.com. PHPBlog allows all the topics on a specific forum to be posted as blog entries. Each time a reader visits the blog (www.montie.com/blog/index.php), the script searches the forum database to create the blog page and compiles the RSS feed.
We also use CuteFTP to move files around and to edit the script files. Unfortunately, in order to install PHP scripts you will want FTP software to upload files to your website and edit PHP files directly while you are installing and upgrading software. It is necessary to upgrade software as security issues are fixed. You can do FTP transfers (moving files to and from your website to set up and configure the PHP scripts) with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Many tasks can be automated with a program with CuteFTP and that is a huge time saver.
You will also need to be familiar with an image editor. The web gives you the opportunity to present full color images to the world at almost no cost. Once you have a blog and begin adding content, there is a good chance you will want to add pictures, sound (podcasts), and maybe video. Youll also need to create a banner for the top of your blog. Youll also need to do more mundane things like resize pictures that you want to show off on your new blog. There are a couple of tools that come with Microsoft Windows that work fairly well. There are also many image editing programs available commercially, and some even for free. Learning to use a simple one will be a huge help as you discover how a simple image from your digital camera can add to the power of your written words.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, Montie can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com, or you can visit his website at: www.montie.com. Montie is a consultant providing product design services. He is also the President of the NC/SC chapter of the PDMA (www.pdma.org/carolinas).