Monday, November 24, 2008

Censorship in Software Development

Hello everyone! We have discussed some points related to censorship in various spheres of life earlier. Now I would like to draw your attention to censorship in software development. Whatever strange it may seem, censorship in software development (user interface) can also be a stumbling block for many IT specialists, mainly for business analysts who work with customers' requirements. Well, imagine you work as a BA for a project, and you got a requirement from a customer to use, say, an arse, as part of user interface for the web application that you are designing. Of course, the arse is semantically quite to the point there where the customer wants to place it on UI, but, somehow, you start feeling confused... At first, you will think that he/she is kidding. You will laugh at the funny joke and forget about the requirement. After some time passes, you show a piece of implemented stuff to the customer, and face a question: "And where is an "arse" icon" that I was requesting"? And you drop your eyes and try to say something like: "It was just a joke, wasn't it?" It turns out that no joke was there. It was a real requirement... a critical one... Without "arse" the part of the application will lose its ZEST. You don't like the idea but you have to submit.
Now, the question is what actually end users think of this? On the one hand, it looks bad.. and does not coincide with our views of decency. "Arse" is not something that you expect to see on UI of a web application. Moreover, we are concerned about what will top management think if sees that. On the other hand, in the depth of our soul, we somehow like the idea... why not make the web application more informal, closer to the mind of an average person? Also, having investigated the issue, we find out that swear words and icons of such a kind are really used in UI of many applications and these applications are highly popular. People like this! Application looks more true-to-life, so to say. It is cool. And as soon as manufactures understand that people like everything of such a kind, even in web applications, they start use it wider. Why not make it part of PR and marketing campaign. Somehow, we can call it black PR. Use things which are not commonly approved, but which draw attention due to their "badness" and thus are better remembered and recognized.
So, the question is, shall or shall not we submit to customers' requirements of such a kind? Will it do more good or bad to our application? I will appreciate your opinion.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Duplicate Content: The Other Side of SEO

If you are at least a bit aware of SEO, you know that Google penalizes the site's position in search results when it determines that content has been taken from other sites. The higher positions in search engines your site has, the bigger are the odds that the content from your site will be stolen. The reason is simple. High position ranking in search engines increases your site’s visibility on the web. From one side, this is good because your site draws more direct traffic. However, the direct traffic is not always beneficial, for example, when your site is visited by “enemies”, Internet frauds, willing to steal your great ideas.

Why do people steal content?

The most common reason for fraud of such a kind is somebody else’s eagerness to promote their own websites at the cost of somebody else’s hard work. They select your site among other sites in top ten Google results, visit your site, see that it contains interesting and quality content, and want to have the same. They simply duplicate the content from your site and place it on their own website without any changes. The worst variant is when they steal not only the content, but also the layout and design, and also try to duplicate the logo of your company so that it visually looks and sounds the same. Why do something on your own, if everything is already done and is freely available in cyberspace! This is the philosophy of frauds. However, such actions do not bring anything good either to the stealer or to the owner of the original source of content…

The consequences of content duplication: for those who steal and for those from whom it is stolen

The first sign that your content has been stolen is sudden slippage of your positions in Google search results. Since Google doesn't want multiple copies of the same content cluttering their results pages, the system devalues all but one of the copies of the content based on the age of the page. However, even if your domain name is pretty old, you site may be devaluated as well, for example, if the content was stolen and placed on a more trusted web site domain. In this case Google may think that it is you who have stolen the content rather than it has been stolen from you. Also, keep track of the so called “clone” sites appearing on the web – sites with the same design and idea and stolen content. If there are many sites containing your content, the result might be pretty devastating for both, the original and duplicated resources.

How to check for duplicate content

A web master should regularly take some time and check the site for duplicate content. Lucky for us, we have a good resource for monitoring such things. If you suspect that someone has stolen content from your web resource, go to, enter the URL of the page you want to check, and get a list of pages in the Google index that contain text also present on your site. For more detail you can subscribe to their Copysentry service.

What to do if you spotted your content on another web resource?

If you have some concerns that someone has duplicated your content, write to the website owner who has published your content requesting they remove the duplicated text. To add more weight to your request, mention that you will report the matter to Google under their DMCA guidelines. If no measures are taken from their side, report the duplicate content issue to Google under the DMCA guidelines they provide at If nothing else helps, change your text so that it bears no similarity with the duplicated copy or write a better copy. In case with web design and brand fraud, the only way out, if nothing else helps, is complete redesign of your site and filling it with fresh content.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Translation Issues

I have been involved in some translation activity recently and I got very interested in such issue in the translation process as REQUIREMENTS OF THE CUSTOMER. Does the translator have to take into consideration the requirements of the customer if they sometimes interfere with the QUALITY of translation.

The problem is that we (the customer and the translator) being on different sides of the fence, have a different vision as to the quality of the translated material. Why? Because what the customer often means by the quality translated stuff is the stuff translated WORD FOR WORD – the stuff where there is place for grammar transformations, add-ons and omissions of words – all those things which, if justified by the necessity, make the translation adequate to the target language doing no harm to the grounds of the translated materials which is SENSE. The translator in his/her turn (and this is what future translators are taught at Universities) considers that quality translated materials are the materials which bear no sense lapses and are ADEQUATE to the norms and rules of the target language. The translated material should sound nice rather than clumsy and weird. What is the target audience of the translated material? Who will read the translated stuff? Most evidently, native speakers of the language towards which the translation has been done. Will a native speaker want to read clumsy sentences and word phrases which sound more than strange for his/her native speaker’s ear? At this, the translator should not beautify the stuff he or she translates. If this or that structure is quite applicable in the target language though not very nice from the point of view of style and it could have been said better, the translator should use the same structure as the creator of the text (ONLY if it is possible from the point of view of the norms and rules of the target language).

Now, how can we prove to the customer that the stuff we translated is quality – even though we used some transformations and implemented necessary changes to make the translation copy conform to the norms of the target language? First of all, if the customer sees that the quantity of words in the original copy does not coincide with the quantity of words in the translated copy – this can bring doubts into their minds. It is true that languages have fewer set-phrases which could replace a descriptive notion than other languages. As a consequence, texts translated on some languages have more words than the original. For example, English and Russian: original English texts are always shorter than their translated equivalents.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Copyrighted Words in Copywriting. Continuation

In one of the previous posts we discussed the problem of copyrighted words. Now, that I got more information on this issue, I can share it with you. The fact is that you can't "copyright a name," or anything short like that. Titles usually don't qualify -- but hardly anyone will be able to write a song under the name "Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey." (J.Lennon/P.McCartney)

Even though you can't copyright words, you can trademark them with the purpose of referring them to your brand of a generic type of product or service. Let’s take an "Apple" computer as an example. Apple Computer "owns" that word, even though it is also an ordinary word. At the same time, you can still use this word: apple, I bought apples, apples grow on the trees – just an ordinary word, a notion. Apple Records owns the word when applied to music. Neither owns the word on its own, only in context, and owning a mark doesn't mean complete control. At the same time, you can't use somebody else's trademark in a way that would unfairly hurt the value of the mark, or in a way that might make people confuse you with the real owner of the mark, or which might allow you to profit from the mark's good name. In the case with “hard-to-get”, I presume it is better not to use this word in combination with “tickets”, because this is going to be the context that is a trademark. For more information about copyright myths, go to

Friday, February 8, 2008

Copywriting – a Great Job for a Freelancer

Having worked as Chief copywriter on a full-time basis, I came to conclusion that there can be no better freelance job than a job of a copywriter. I am not Chief copywriter anymore – I quit this job because it began to tire me: writing all the same things on the same topic from day to day and coordinating the work of other copywriters who write the same things from day to day. The job where there is no room for creativity is not for me, that’s the conclusion I have made. The thing is that working as a copywriter full-time, you have no opportunity to choose – you write only what you have to write. In contrast, being a freelance copywriter means having the freedom of choice and being involved in some other activities, which can become a wonderful supplement to your copywriting talent. Besides, freelance copywriting is one of the best careers available to a writer who wants to make a substantial income.

Copywriting is a demanding work, and in comparison to translation activity it is paid more. Copywriting can be lots of fun, provided you can play with words and have the feeling of the language. Of course, you won’t become Bill Gaits with the copywriter’s profits. However, once you have become a copywriter -- then you are ready to start your own direct marketing business and make a BIG BUCKS ;-) Today, with the invasion of the Internet in all spheres of business, a professional copywriter will always be on demand. Copywriting is inseparable part of any marketing strategy. Is there any way to bring your message to the masses without words? There is no way! So go ahead and practice your writing skills. Train your sense of humor. Read more books and broaden your outlook.

If you need a professional freelance copywriter, feel free to contact Olive on Olive's copywriting webspace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How to Install a Wordpress Blog on Your Server?

Wordpress blog creation will take you about 30 minutes. It is not a complicated thing to do provided you follow all the instructions. The whole process consists of several main parts:

1) Wordpress.2.0. installation pack downloading;

2) Wordpress 2.0. installation pack uploading on your own server;

3) My SQL Data base creation;

4) Your Wordpress blog installation and setting up.

Let’s now scrutinize the mentioned above actions step-by-step.

1. You can download a wordpress.2.0. installation pack at

Click on DOWNLOAD.ZIP button and start downloading your wordpress installation pack.

2. As soon as you downloaded the installation pack onto your computer, unzip it with the help of some decoding software like WinRar or WinZip, or any other you will find available to decode zipped files. After that, the next thing to do is to open up the FTP connection for your server

As soon as you get access to your server, open your root directory (meaning the public_html directory) and upload the unzipped wordpress installation pack right into the root dir. (Do not create any subsidiary folders – your wordpress blog should be placed in the root directory to be then available at

We shall now prepare for our My SQL data base creation. For this we need to edit our wp-config-sample.php file. Let’s now make it clear what changes we should make to this file to make our My SQL data base function properly. Look at the content below:

// ** MySQL settings ** //

define('DB_NAME', 'your FTP username_blog'); // The name of the database

define('DB_USER', 'your FTP username_ blog'); // Your MySQL username

define('DB_PASSWORD', 'any password you like'); // ...and password

define('DB_HOST', 'localhost'); // 99% chance you won't need to change this value

// You can have multiple installations in one database if you give each a unique prefix

$table_prefix = 'wp_'; // Only numbers, letters, and underscores please!

// Change this to localize WordPress. A corresponding MO file for the

// chosen language must be installed to wp-includes/languages.

// For example, install to wp-includes/languages and set WPLANG to 'de'

// to enable German language support.

define ('WPLANG', '');

/* That's all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */

define('ABSPATH', dirname(__FILE__).'/');



Underlined is the info you should change. You see that your database name should consist of your FTP username and any name you like, for example, blog, separated from each other with underscore _ .

Your database username should be the same as your database name (this is important!)

You can choose any password you like. Only, remember it – you will need it soon to create a My SQL database.

After you made the necessary changes to wp-config-sample.php file, rename it into wp-config.php.

3. Now, you are ready to create you’re my SQL database.

The first thing to do in to enter your c-panel, which is available at: As you get in your c-panel, press the “My SQL Databases” button. Remember you edited your wp-config.php file? Now, you will need the information you entered in there to enter into these lines:

New Database: enter the name of your database which follows the second as you entered for your wp-config.php file. Click on Create Database button. Go back.

Then below you’ll see the passage: Current Users. Here you will need the username and password that you used for your wp-config.php file. Your username should coincide with your database name. Click on Create User. Go back. Then, look below: Add Users to Your Databases. Find the User you just created, find the Database you just created and click on Add User to Database.

That’s it. The main thing is to have all the information you enter here identical with the infomation you entered for your wp-config.php file. Otherwise, you’ll get a Wordpress error.

If everything is ok, you can log out and go to - this is the destination of your future blog. If you did everything correctly, you’ll get a message at the top of the window: “It seems like you did not install your wordpress blog yet. Please, try running install.php”. Click on install.php link and it will automatically bring you to