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Four years of IndiBlogger.in

IndiBlogger V3 is out!

indiv3-preview

Merry Christmas everyone! What was meant to be our usual Xmas update to IndiBlogger took us much, much longer than we expected it to, thanks to more ideas getting added to the mix every day. Our quality control team having OCD didn’t help us very much with the deadline we set for ourselves, but they sure made a difference to IndiBlogger. We finally decided to forget Christmas, take the whole site apart, throw old parts out the window, and put it back together with gentle love and care. We’re finally done, and here’s what’s changed:

Global changes

  • IndiBlogger is now lighter and much faster (as already confirmed by the community), thanks to several changes to the user interface as well as the way things are handled behind the scenes.
  • We’ve built version 3 on a custom framework, which means we can bring in new features much faster and with less bugs.
  • IndiBlogger is now W3C valid, except for the pages which integrate with Facebook, Google maps and other third parties. Most sections can be used on smart handheld devices now, and for the not-so-smart devices, we still have the recently launched mobile version.
  • Email alerts are now sent via Google’s app engine – which means they are delivered faster, and are less likely to end up in your spam folder.
  • Consistent (and better looking!) user interface elements are now used all over.
  • Pagination has been numbered on all pages. A few users have reported that they’re missing the “last” button – we’re working on that right now.
  • Default gravatars are now much better looking. We wondered what we were tripping on when we made the old ones.
  • New IndiMail notifications are now displayed on the IndiMail link in the header. If you see a yellow alert icon, that means you have unread messages.
  • The footer section is more organized, and doubles up as a sitemap.
  • Improved browser compatibility. We’ve decided however, that IE6 is not a browser.

New Theme

  • Inspired by our most recent partner Cleartrip.com, we decided to see what IndiBlogger would look like in a lighter color scheme – and we liked what we saw.

The Home Page

  • New Jquery slider, showcasing everything that’s new on IndiBlogger. Tip – try using the arrow keys to navigate through the slides.
  • Popular posts from IndiVine are now showcased on the homepage as well. The new blogs on the network have been pushed to the sidebar.

Improved Search

  • IndiSearch now uses an Ajax interface to search for blogs by subject, as well as bloggers by name or location. Results are ordered by IndiRank. Blog content is also indexed, powered by the all-powerful Google search.
  • We’ve fixed a bug wherein the search results were inaccurate. For example, if you had searched for the word “rave”, you’d also see results for “travel”. Not too smart, that was.

Dashboard

  • Your dashboard now has a facebook-inspired activity feed, showing you stuff like network activity, blogger meets in your city, new IndiMail, replies to forum topics you’re tracking, and votes for your posts on IndiVine.

Blogger Meets

  • The main blogger meet page highlights upcoming blogger meets in your city.
  • Organizing your own blogger meet is now easier, with an updated suite of organizer tools and better customization so you can have your blogger meet like you mean it to be.
  • Now that we have over 200 bloggers attending our blogger meets, our attendee list was taking ages to load over slow connections. Gravatars are now turned off by default, and you can enable them if you want to.

Turn off gravatars

IndiBlogger Drives

  • We’ve decided that “contests” were not the right word the initiatives we have planned. We needed a term that was more generic, yet with greater purpose. The IndiBlogger Drives page showcases all our latest campaigns and the latest winners from the IndiBlogger of the Month archives.

The Directory

  • The directory is now gravatar enabled – so if you’re looking for someone you know elsewhere, let’s say on twitter, you’ll find it easier to find them on IndiBlogger.

IndiForum

  • IndiTalk, which was recently integrated with the forum, can be used on mobile devices.
  • Replies to a forum topic can now be sorted by time, so you can see the latest replies at the top without having to go to the last page.
  • Forum alerts were disabled months ago when we exceeded our hosting service limits. Moving to a dedicated server didn’t help much in that regard, and now, thanks to a little help from Google’s infrastructure, they’re back.
  • You can track topics faster, without having to reload the thread.
  • Forum pages have an on-page search filter similar to iTunes, so it’s easier to find relevant replies or subjects.

New & updated Pages

There are a more changes we’ve not mentioned – it’s better to leave a few surprises for you to discover. A HUGE thank you and hugs to all of you who have supported IndiBlogger – you have no idea what it means to us. IndiPolice – the time you spend making IndiBlogger a better place for thousands of bloggers is priceless.

IndiBloggers, please post your feedback on Hemal’s thread and let us know what you think. :-)

What’s next?

You can expect upgrades to IndiVine, IndiRank, a few new initiatives and a new product that’s going to change the way you use IndiBlogger. For now though, our team is off to Kolkata for another blogger meet.

Keep blogging!

Back to Kolkata – this time, it’s for the children!

That’s right, IndiBlogger.in comes back to Kolkata after 2 long years, courtesy Akshaya Patra, the world’s largest NGO run school meal program.  Come the 20th of February, bloggers from all over India are going to land up for what promises to be a fun-filled IndiBlogger Meet!

We’ve always told people that our meet at Kolkata was one of the best we’ve ever witnessed, thanks to the warmth and camaraderie of Kolkata’s bloggers. We can’t wait to experience it again!

Since our first batch of blogger meets, we’ve come a long way, and yet, the song remains the same. Pardon us while we take a quick trip down memory lane.

We almost lost BG to a Kolkata tram:

Kolkata Trams

This is Anoop, trying to remember the speech he didn’t prepare:

Kolkata Bloggers

Kolkata bloggers, who clearly did not forget their lines:

Kolkata Bloggers

Our journey back home:

Leaving Kolkata

Kolkata, we can’t wait to see you again! :-) If you haven’t registered for this meet as yet, register now!

IndiBlogger.in has been Bangalored!

The weekend of the Bangalore blogger meet has arrived and we’re very excited to play hosts again!

Last time we had 100 bloggers in a jam packed Kyra and this time we’ll have over 250 bloggers in an equally Jam packed Fortune hotel.

Bangalored!

The HP Imaging & Printing Division has an exciting contest in store for #indiblr – all you have to do is take pictures which represent the spirit of Bangalore on your way to the meet. Email the pictures to indiblr@indiblogger.in and they’ll be printed and stuck on a board by the time you reach.  Three winning entries will win a cool HP Printer at the blogger meet! :-)

If you haven’t registered as yet, here’s where you need to go:

http://www.indiblogger.in/bloggermeet.php?id=98

Please do reach the venue at least 15 minutes prior to its start. We’ll be there 2 days in advance and we’ll be getting quite bored! :-)

We can also steal a drink or two from Fortune’s pub “Nevada” after the meet. Yes, we will need to steal. :-)

Venue

Fortune Park JP Celestial,
No.5/43, Race Course Road,
Bangalore

Bloggers Block: In The Hindu Metro Plus

Thanks to Sudhish Kamath for writing this article about IndiBlogger, and publishing our blogging stats on Chennai. Click on the image below for the full scan. Online version here.

Pepsi Youngistaan ka WOW!

The Pepsi Youngistaan ka WOW! IndiBlogger of the month is in its final phase of nomination. There have been over 80 nominations so far and quite a few of them aiming for the 30,000 rupee cash prize. The nominations will be revealed this week, and the contest will enter the voting phase.

Having read through some of the entries, we feel that these posts are some of the bloggers best work yet. There have been some very creative suggestions on the Pepsi game which is live on twitter with #pepsithegame and is promoted through all IndiBlogger.in channels.

We wish everyone the very best for the next crucial phase of this competition. A good tip for getting more votes is to participate actively within the online community. The winners of the previous IndiBlogger of the month contests have always been amazing in using multiple channels to bring the online community closer to their blogs. This enables them to get feedback on their blogging and also give that little inspiration to write a masterpiece next time around.

If you have not nominated yourselves yet, please do so at the contest page on IndiBlogger. Hopefully this contest would have helped some of you improve your creative writing, get some new followers but most of all we hope that you had a great time blogging!

Anoop Johnson & The IndiBlogger Team

The Black hair, Grey Hair & No-Hair UniverCell IndiBlogger Hyderabad Meet!

It was a hair here and a hair there as the first thing noticeable on a hot summer afternoon in Hyderabad was the age range of the crowd. We had everyone from an 11 year old blogger to others who claimed to have grey hairs of wisdom. Over the past few months we have interacted with over 500 bloggers through blogger meets and online contests. We get tons of your support messages and the kind words in some of them are a boost to us every time. Keep your thoughts coming and thank you for the reviews on the UniverCell IndiBlogger Meet.

The thirty seconds of fame was hilarious as always in Hyderabad. It inspired the title of this post. The blogger who said that, please stand up and take a bow. :-) We got a lot of valuable feedback in the many reviews we have received. One of the bloggers expressed concern that people could not take note of the credentials of the blogger during the 30 seconds. This is a valid argument. If there are any ideas or better yet if there is some free code that we could borrow/ steal, do let us know and we will figure something out. :-)

The chart activity was a great time to connect with friends! I put my comments on a few bloggers. Some bloggers want more time on it. We are still deliberating logistics, but we agree. BTW what is everyone doing with the chart papers?  You guys can put them up too, we’d love to see!

The Quiz by Riyaz Usman was a good little thing for those who had… BRAINS!!! :) After every question, I would turn around to Renie and ask “What was the question??” Aiyo! Very embarrassing!! There were many bloggers who knew the answers and 10 of them won discount coupons from UniverCell, for the rest of us, let’s form a club. :-)  The names of the winners are in this sacred document. As she did with all your sketch pens, Rashmi put this paper in her pocket and sat down somewhere. Kindly excuse the folds. The document was then torn to protect private data.

We also noticed that there was more enthusiasm for the UniverCell blogger contest and we wish you guys the best. This is a great opportunity for bloggers to live the blogging dream, if there ever was one! Anisha @ RCB is doing a great job for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and her work is featured on the RCB website. I am pretty sure that she has tons of fun! The UniverCell contest on the other hand is for gadget bloggers. Staying close to every mobile phone that comes into the Indian market, drool drool!

Many thanks to the IndiBlogger.in core guys and Karthik in particular who got things done in time to make possible this very enjoyable meet. We all felt a little bit different at the end of this blogger meet and a tweet from Sanz4U said it all “Don’t forget Hyderabad”. We certainly won’t!

We hope you guys liked the video prepared just for Hyderabad. We will be uploading it soon after we add a few elements from the meet.

Anoop Johnson & The IndiBlogger Team

Update: The meeting was covered by the Hindu, here’s the online version and the scan is below:

The IndiBlogger Team

This is an excerpt from Mumbai IndiBlogger Meet 2010.

Naveen Roy Naveen Roy (aka “shit happens!”)

The man who was there at the beginning, and the man we hope will be there at the end. Commitments of an extraordinary nature have kept him from IndiBlogger for a while now; but we’ll never forget that he’s the one who taught us what blogging was all about in the first place! Only recently realized that Saturdays are just as bad as Mondays.

Anwin Joselyn Anwin Joselyn (aka “The Fish Molester”)

The man who once said – “blogging is the next big thing in India” and started the whole conversation which led to IndiBlogger.in being what it is today. He’s the guy behind the scenes, the one who puts ideas in people’s heads before sitting back to watch what unfolds. He only recently realized that the handlebars on his Royal Enfield were the most atrocious things Bangalore has ever seen.

Diana (aka the Gate-Keeper)

Our super strict moderator. Everything on IndiBlogger, right from the forum to IndiRank to IndiVine, hinges on what she does; she religiously moderates over a hundred blogs everyday to see if it complies with all our guidelines.  She still hasn’t realized how much power she has in her hands. Let’s hope she never does. :-)

Nafisa Patel

Our event manager who has nothing to say on twitter ’cause she’s too good for the rest of the world. She’s the one who makes the very, very detailed lists on Google docs before every blogger meet, ensuring everybody gets their jobs done on time. She even calls bloggers to make sure they land up on time! Without her, #indimum would have been a lost cause. She only just realized that fish tend to die without food, even if you talk to them everyday.

Anoop Johnson (aka “Where’s my drink?”)

I’ve known him for far too long to say anything that can be publicly said – expect that he has a nose like a bloodhound and the memory of an elephant. He knows what’s going wrong, long before it becomes apparent to everyone else; and he can recall embarrassing stories about your childhood you blocked out a long time ago. He only recently realized that you never, ever walk out into the middle of a party leaving your pants behind.

Karthik DR Karthik DR

You never know what’s going on behind those glasses. He can juggle multiple clients, women and a million other woes in one hand while drinking rum with the other. Reliable as a rock and accepts no praise. Still hasn’t realized that those Nunchucks he carries around everywhere will never be used except in his fantasies.

Balaganesh Balaganesh (BG)

Always out to prove himself – BG’s the one who will quietly do his thing and lo-and-behold, a few trips later, the job is done; He’s handled the media coverage of IndiBlogger since our very first blogger meet, and the results speak for themselves. Still hasn’t realized that there are some things you just should not roll on an airplane!

Vineet Rajan Vineet (aka “Pappu Pager” and “Sir-Craps-A-Lot”)

Vineet was the blogger who made our Pune Blogger Meet possible. The video he made, dedicated to the blogger in all of us, speaks for the passion he has for blogging and IndiBlogger. He now represents IndiBlogger in Mumbai.  His offer letter was a bottle of whiskey at Bangalore – and thanks to him, we’ve been able to pull off  this great meet at Mumbai. He still hasn’t figured out how to get the point across in 50,000 words or less.

Rashmi DP Rashmi Devaprasath (aka “Goms”)

The queen of logistics. If it was not for her (and her OCD) , we would have been running around like headless chickens all through the blogger meet. We really didn’t have much to do except for manual labor, which she graciously allowed us to do. She calls bloggers and tells them what shoes to wear to a blogger meet, and she’s still wondering how many threads there are on the carpet at Sea Princess.

Edin Edin Joselyn (aka “Eddie”)

The man who once said “Blogging is boring” – and he’s been paying for it ever since. This newbie blogger is patient, persistent and provides our development team with good Single Malt like a good little soldier. Watch out for him ’cause he’s an upcoming star in the IndiBlogger ranks. Only just realized that Gul probably remembers him as “Coffee Boy”! :-)

Shilpa Rathnam Shilpa Rathnam (aka “Umpa Lumpa”)

The one who is very, very picky about whom she follows on twitter, Shilpa is that little extra ingredient that’s needed at every event. Sharp as a tack, yet insane as a cuckoo clock, she keeps things ticking away with the sound of her voice. She only just realized that there is at least one person in this world who doesn’t want to be hugged by a Shilpa.

Nandita Thomas Nandita Thomas (aka Nanny)

The good sport; the go-to person when you need something done, no matter how crazy it is. She would watch the proceedings behind those half-closed eyes and yet know what’s going on better than most of us. #indimum was her first blogger meet, and we hope it’s not her last. Only just realized that airplanes tend to take off even if you’re not on it.

Simi Simi Balaganesh

The one you cannot photograph without a smile on her face; this may have been her first blogger meet but you wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t told you so. She can say something that makes you feel good about yourself; 5 minutes later you’ll realize that she was kicking your sorry behind. She only just realized that we all do something other than drinking!

Renie Ravin A personal note

I shut down my first venture in 2004 when I realized that I could do very little by myself.  Three years later, I realized that everything I was looking for has been prancing around in front of me for more than 20 years. It’s a rare occurrence when you can make a “startup” work – it’s a 1000 times more valuable when you can achieve it with people you’ve known since you learnt how to ride a bicycle.

Can IndiBloggers make the Difference?

Can IndiBloggers make the Difference? – 40,000 kids depend on you or is it just about that?

At IndiBlogger we believe in a code and the code is simple as it’s from the movie Troy; :-) Honour the god(s), love your woman/man and defend your country!

Those days of chivalry are still at hand. We might not fight with sticks and stones any more but we can do so with the power of the collective words towards social causes. Soldiers fighting a war was a social cause and nothing more. India has a huge online community and the huge network of bloggers in the IndiBlogger database is a testament to that fact.

So what are we fighting for? Well its not only the 40,000 kids that GiveIndia promises to educate. It’s the very core of our blogging existence. To understand this, we have to wonder why we started blogging. Was it for the fame or the money or the hits on our homepage or the recognition? We believe it was to make a difference. This is the time for all of us to unite under one banner. We might be from different parts of India, speaking different languages, writing about different things, none of this matters if we can’t help the community.

Over the past two days we have received many blog posts on GiveIndia’s campaign to help win one million dollars that will go a long way to educate 40,000 kids in India. The truth of the matter is that it’s not even close to its full potential. In effect it means that Hector called his troops into battle and 90% of them did not show up. Well, try defending Troy with that. :-)

Imagine the power if we all blogged about this. Words will not be able to describe the outcome of such an event

So here’s what we have to do before the 22nd of January,

Vote here : http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/charities/338730

Do what you do best! Blog about it!

Do you need more information?: Visit the GiveIndia blog.

Do you want to be sure: Send an email, giveindiachase@gmail.com

Do you want to talk about this with other bloggers? Log on to the forum.

In the words of Achilles (Troy again) “Do you know what’s there, waiting, beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It’s yours!”

Well that’s what is at stake and here are some of our heroes contributing to the battle; Please do add your blog posts in the comments so we can update the list accordingly!

– Anoop Johnson

  1. http://totalgadha.com/
  2. http://craftisland.blogspot.com/
  3. http://blogeera.blogspot.com/
  4. http://vibgyorhopes.blogspot.com/
  5. http://www.dostanamehfil.com/
  6. http://thoughtfulrandomness.wordpress.com/
  7. http://zombieanoop.wordpress.com/
  8. http://tulsidas.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/giveindia/
  9. http://vinni.co.in
  10. http://www.renieravin.com/
  11. http://www.webtrafficroi.com/facebook-giveindia/
  12. http://planetphoenix.com/2010/01/18/vote-for-give-india/
  13. http://aseems-infinity.blogspot.com/2010/01/one-for-cause.html
  14. http://zillion2ndinnings.blogspot.com/2010/01/support-child-welfare-project-on.html
  15. http://karansguesthouse.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/an-appeal/
  16. http://gopalramanan.blogspot.com/2010/01/help-for-cause-please-vote.html
  17. http://geekydood.wordpress.com/
  18. http://myamusingmind.wordpress.com/
  19. http://rfazli.blogspot.com/2010/01/help-children-of-india.html
  20. http://vu-point.blogspot.com
  21. http://slishacrazy.blogspot.com/2010/01/give-india-vote.html
  22. http://monikamanchanda.wordpress.com/
  23. http://paanchwakhamba.blogspot.com/

The Pagoda IndiBlogger Meet

A very eventful Sunday it was for Birla, the owner of Pot Luck restaurant in BTM layout.

His tweet read “Teaching kite flying and chopsticks to 100 kids, hosting bloggers meet and catering for a bday party. ZZZ..What a weekend!

At the bloggers meet is where we all came in.  25 bloggers came together for a time out and we were pleasantly surprised to find the terrace garden venue extremely refreshing. Dhempe wanted to make it into a film studio of sorts.

It was an interesting blogger meet. It did not have the strength of the Bangalore blogger meet before this as we promoted it only through twitter. But I would say that this is the most comfortable I have been with a bunch of Blogger URL’s in a long time!  A lot of jargon was exchanged in the time allotted for discussions and needless to say, it all flew over my head. In times like this, we like to say that we left our technical brains at Chennai, safely with Renie. Everyone gave us some very good feedback. Mohan from Yahoo gave us his view of the voting process in IndiVine being misused. We will be brainstorming this on priority after we brush up on our php skills, re-learn our code and fill up our drinks cabinet. :-)

This blogger meet was ever so memorable for the IndiBlogger team. Even though we were from different professions, our unique hobby made us realize that we shared similar problems. I mean, we hated “The Man”, we abused a few companies/films, we screwed over a few technologies, we shared stories of the many failed companies/blogs we once started :-) and the camaraderie was just brilliant!

The pagoda blogger meet?? Here’s the good stuff; our man Birla definitely put something in the pagodas to get everyone hooked. I ate three plates of assorted pagodas and 2 cups of coffee. How much did everyone else have? It was a very worthy snack for all of us also considering the fact that Birla was flying kites in the morning, literally! :-)

Well, until we meet again, you’ve been awesome; we’ve been IndiBlogger, Goodnight! See the official meet page here.

Anoop Johnson