Girl Geek Dinners is relaunched in Nottingham

At last the ball is rolling…

I'm really excited that at last I have managed to get the ball rolling and Girl Geek Dinners are back up and running in Nottingham. I have to say a massive and huge thank you to everyone who has been really supportive. I've never run an event like this before, but what I lack in experience I make up for in enthusiasm and a willingness to ask questions.

If you want to be kept up to date about these events then either email me or follow @NottsGirlGeeks on Twitter.

Next generation wishlists for Christmas

Writing letters to Santa has changed over the years… normally about this time of year I have to vet my Amazon wishlist and co-ordinate with my family via http://www.alliwantforchristmas.com/ to swap wishlists. The site works, but it's done nothing new in the four years I've been using it, at best it offers some possible sites you might find the item you are looking for. The advantage it offers over Amazon's service is that you aren't tied to one retailer and you can offer a link to the best place to buy an item.

There is a new site in town with appropriate Web 2.0 name too; Wishli.st is a site created for the UK market. It has some great unique features, but also some critical downfalls. It breaks the mold by allowing micro-payments towards gifts on your wishlist, so you can pick the things you really want and allow your friends and family to chip in until you have the funds to buy the item outright. The shortfall is that items have to be chosen fromand puchased at a limited list of retailers, meaning you can't find the cheapest on the market and you are restricted on the items you can actually choose.

The existing retail partnerships are predominantly with the websites like Firebox and I want one of those, sites that are aimed at people buying presents, the problem is the stuff they sell tends to be lowcost or at least fun and frivolous with a wide target audience, rather than the kind of items you want to add to a wishlist i.e. specific and specialist items that often relate to a hobby or an interest – where you need that expert existing knowledge to know which item is appropriate. I don't see the point in adding stuff from Firebox; pretty much all their stock is passable and fun, thats the point, but none of it is stuff I really want – it's the stuff i'd buy someone if they didn't have a wishlist.

The micro-payments concept is a good one, but for the idea to succeed they need remove the dependancy on retailers to allow it's use for niche markets. A Web 2.0 app that ignores the Long Tail needs to reconsider it's approach.

Shiny new site

Welcome to my first blog post. It’s been a long time coming,
but at last I have managed to re-launch my website and blog. It’s a great
feeling and fills me with optimism as it has been a long journey and I did
wonder at times if I would ever get this far. But this is really just the
beginning; now I have to write something interesting…

Elsa Bartley .co.uk logo

The web has taught us to release early and iterate. I have struggled to apply this process to my
own site, trying instead to make everything perfect. But this has lead to my
realisation that you can’t ever achieve perfection, especially on the web, which
is a constantly developing platform. So hopefully this site is “good enough”
and I can amend and add changes as needed.

[more]

One of the good things I have found on my journey was the
BlogEngine.Net. Like it says on the tin it is a .Net blog engine but this one
unlike those that came before combines some very useful features and approaches
the whole thing with the right attitude. First off it is open source and secondly
it works hard to create quality code that is both semantic and standards
compliant, something I wanted but never really expected from a .Net solution.
When I started this project it was on version 1.2 and now as I go live we are
on 1.45, so it is still early days but each development has been a marked
improvement and the most recent version makes it even easier to develop
extensions.

Some of the features that interested me included the support
for microformats, APML and a thorough support for RSS, but I’m really only
going to know how good it is once I start using it properly, and none of that
will matter if the content doesn’t interest anyone so I guess I better get on
with it.