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Environment Internet News Science

World Wide Views on Climate and Energy

world wide views

Public Participation

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I found myself in Brussels in a beautiful Palace. I was at a conference about public participation, and went to a presentation of a very interesting project called World Wide Views on Climate Change and Energy.

The project as the name suggests involved a kind of world wide survey, involving 10 000 people and covering a large portion of the globe. It involved 97 day long debates spread over 76 countries, just to give you an idea, and the incredible thing is that they all happened on the same day. Not only that, but the results were uploaded live, and so could all be seen as they happened, a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest but without Terry Wogan.

The conference was not really about the results of the project, but the methodology and how it was actually conducted. The system has been used twice before, and was designed by the Danish Board of Technology and a host of other National and International organizations. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change were one of the initiators, so as you can see it was a large project.

The Results

The results are aimed at providing policy-makers with world views. The participants were selected in order to represent the make up of each individual country and gathered for a day long experience. They were all shown the same videos, presented with the same written materials and asked the same questions.

Democratic debate and deliberation are central to the project, and it looks like an interesting use of the web to me. Obviously you can pick holes in the methodology if you wish, how representative can 10 000 people be? But I don’t think that was the point of the exercise. It is a large scale global survey of how people feel about climate change and energy transition, and the fact that countries and areas can be compared, as well as other groups taken across the globe, is a really interesting development.

The results are all posted on the website, find them here, there are also user friendly analysis tools for anyone to use.

In the report however an analysis has been done of some of the findings. As a brief outline, we can say that citizens want their governments to act, that action should be on the basis of the individual county’s emissions and wealth, and the private sector should participate.

Citizens are also expected to take part in decision-making and to participate in the process of lowering emissions.

This is an interesting project, and if you have time I highly recommend a look at the website and a play with the figures.

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How To Guides Internet

How to choose a domain name and a host

If you want to set up a website or a forum, it can be a process which takes a lot of time. Setting up a blog is usually a bit quicker thanks to blogging platforms, of which there are many free ones on offer.

If you are self coding your blog like I did with my old technology blog, it will probably take just as long as a website to set up. However if you are going to use a blogging system to do all the hard work for you, like Blogger, WordPress, Typepad,ย Movable Type, Drupal etc. setting up your blog is likely to be a lot quicker.

WordPress prides itself on its famous ‘5-minute installation‘ but before you get there, and this is the same for any type of site, you need to choose a URL (domain name) and host.

The Official WordPress LogoSome places offer you free URL’s, like WordPress(.com) and Google Sites, however they often restrict the control you have over your site – for example you may not be able to have ads on the site, or you may not be able to edit themes.

Assuming you want to have a unique URL/web address, then you have the challenge of choosing your URL, and where to host it.

Deciding upon a URL

Choosing a URL can be very hard, however my best advice is to go with your brand. If you are setting up a computer review blog, and it is called ‘ComBlog’, then try to find a URL with ComBlog in it.

Some people would say work out what keywords you want to show up in the search results for, and choose your domain taking those into account, e.g. freecomputerreviews.net; yes such domains may help you in the short term, however once you are established, I think that a branded domain is always best.

Going back to the ‘ComBlog’ example, domains like ComBlog.com and ComBlog.info would be great for your site, as they are short – therefore easy to remember and simple enough to spell.

The type of hosting

The next step is choosing what type of hosting you want. Do you want Windows or Linux? If you just want to run a simple website, I would suggest a Windows powered domain, however if you want to run something like WordPress or many other blogging platforms, you will need a Linux server.

Your host

After that you have to choose who is going to host your site. If you have a server at home/work and that is running 24/7 (as if it goes down, so will your site if it is hosted there) then you could host it there. However for more bandwidth, space and security, you probably want to get someone else to do it.

The problem is, who to choose! You could go to individual hosts websites, and try and work out which one is best for you. Alternatively, you could go to a web hosting comparison site, like Web Hosting Search. Such sites can offer you a very detailed overview of different hosts and what they can provide. They also contain users opinions – helping you further to choose the right company.

One useful tool that such sites offer (specifically Web Hosting Search) is a WordPress hosting comparison. This can help you find hosts that offer WordPress hosting – if that is what you are looking for.

Things to check

Before choosing your host, look at what they are offering you. Are your emails free, and can you have as many addresses as you like (e.g. talk@ComBlog.info, hello@ComBlog.info, John@ComBlog.info etc.)?

Also, how much traffic can your site receive each month? I recommend that you have it unlimited (or as high as possible) as there is nothing worse than your host cutting you off because you are too popular! This happened to Chadrack, owner of WebIncomeJournal.com not so long ago.

Also how reliable is your prospective host? Is your site likely to go offline a lot, or do they have a 0 down-time policy?

Some hosts offer you your domain free if you host it with them, so do look out for offers ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you looking to set up a website? What is your advice to those who are, or if you are, is this helpful?

Categories
Blogging How To Guides Updates WordPress

How to add an email subscription form to your blog

Earlier in the week, Wayne John from Southern California Web Development commented on how it would be great if you could subscribe via email to Technology Bloggers. This way you could read the latest and greatest content as an email, and then just visit the stuff that interests you to comment etc.

After a little puzzling I managed to enable FeedBurner’s email setting and add a subscribe widget to the sidebar.

Google FeedBurner LogoTo subscribe via email like many already have, please enter your email in the box on the sidebar, or even in the box below ๐Ÿ™‚

Enter your email address to get free updates about new articles!

As this blog talks about WordPress, RSS feeds and stuff like that, I thought I might as well help other bloggers set up a similar system ๐Ÿ™‚

What do I need for people to be able to subscribe via email?

Well first of all you need a feed. WordPress handles this nicely so that shouldn’t be too difficult! Second you need a feed manager. I use FeedBurner. It’s simple and easy to use. The problem with it at the moment is that it is really slow at updating, meaning that when I post an article at 2 in the afternoon, only 8 o’clock next morning does the feed update – for example. This isn’t a major issue for email subscription at the moment though.

How do I enable FeedBurner email subscriptions?

Click on the profile of the blog you want to enable emails for, then go to the ‘Publicize‘ tab. From here look down the sidebar and find ‘Email Subscriptions‘ – click that. You should then get a page looking a bit like the one in this picture.

Enable/Activate FeedBurner Email SubscriptionsThen click Activate!

You will then be taken to a page called ‘Subscription Management‘. Here is where you get your code! Now you can ether get the box code or get the code which links to the subscription page. I chose to have a box, but you take your pick. Add the code to your site/blog and hey presto! Test it out yourself if you like, but the code should work and your readers should now be able to subscribe to your blog via email.

Can I customise the FeedBurner code?

Yes – to a degree. I am not 100% sure what Google’s policy is on modifying the code, but I imagine they are okay with it. My default code would make Technology Bloggers ‘subscribe box’ look like this

Enter your email address: 

Delivered by FeedBurner

but my modifications make a much smother (I think so anyway) this

Enter your email address to get free updates about new articles!

Happy subscribing and happy creating readers and bloggers ๐Ÿ™‚