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The new iMac - Picture

31 August, 2004 7:43 PM

new_imac.jpg
ooh...the new iMac! purrrrr.....me want one...

Now might be the appropriate time to kick off a 'buy Darren a new toy fund'....

click to enlarge picture

details here

Successful Blogging - Lessons Learned from an Olympic Experiment

31 August, 2004 2:50 PM

A few people have emailed and asked for more information about the Olympic Blog we've run. Phil asked - "what lessons did you learn about running a successful blog through the process." I thought it might make an interesting Blog Tip post.

The remainder of this post has been relocated to Pro Blogger - Successful Blogging - Lessons Learned from an Olympic Experiment.

Election Musings

31 August, 2004 1:35 PM

Well it is Election time here in Australia. The PM - the spammer that he is - called an election for 9 October on the weekend. The media frenzy has begun - although I have to say in comparison to what is going on in the US (which I cannot get my head around at all) it is barely a blip on the radar thank goodness.

Our election campaigns only go for a matter of weeks (this one only 6 or so plus some preliminary campaigning in the lead up to the announcement). To me this makes a lot more sense than the months (years?) of what goes on in the US. I don't want to judge a system that I don't know but every time I see vision on the TV of what is going on at the conventions in the US I can't help but wonder what could be achieved if that kind of energy, time and money were to be poured into some issues like poverty, AIDs, peace etc.

I read one estimate that the 2000 presidential election cost $3.9billion (source) and that that figure has gone up from $540million in 1976 - its anyone's guess as to what this next one is costing!

Maybe I'm being a little naive but it all makes me a little sick in the stomach to think about.

Lovemarks and the Church - Intimacy

31 August, 2004 12:18 PM

It has been a while since I started the Lovemarks series - sorry for the delay - I got a little distracted.

This is the forth post in a four part series examining the book, Lovemarks, in relation to Spirituality and Church. Read my introduction to the series first and follow the links from there to read what proceeds this entry.

The last element focused upon in 'Lovemarks'. is Intimacy. Their theory is that products that exude intimacy are far more likely to capture the minds, and more importantly the hearts, of potential customers. I think we would all agree that as human beings we all have a desire - no a need - for intimacy - it is the way we've been created. To connect with another human being is a powerful thing. Marketers have latched onto this human trait and are now focussing their energies into presenting their products as intimate.

Consider how this can be seen in advertising. I was walking past a 'Sports Girl' store recently (an Aussie retail outlet selling clothes to young women) and noticed the advertising out the front of their shop. In the window hung a huge poster featuring 6 women - probably in their late teens. The thing that grabbed my attention about the ad was not the clothes the models were wearing but the fact that they were obviously having such a good time with one another. The image had little do do with clothes, in fact the clothes were out of focus and hardly noticeable, this image was selling companionship, fun, relationship and sisterhood. This is a common story in advertising these days - most car advertisements here in Australia these days are more about family and relationships than they are about engine size or specifications. Banking ads focus upon the security their products will bring to families than they do upon interest rates and account facilities. Intimacy sells.

Jesus was someone who obviously was big on Intimacy in his three years of ministry. The whole basis of his discipleship focus happened around relationships. When he called that group of fishermen to follow him that day he was not calling them to a program of speakers, a couple of intense camping experiences and a pastoral visit once or twice a year - he was calling them to live with him. They spent three years living in each other's pockets - hiking around the countryside together, sharing meals with one another, laying down at night beside each other and knowing each other intimately.

One of the things that got Jesus crucified was that he was just way to intimate with people. He ate with the wrong people, he touched the wrong people and he talked to the wrong people. I think we lose most of the significance of the social barriers he crossed. To eat with a sinner, to touch a leper, to be touched by a prostitute, to speak with a Samaritan woman were not just events to be frowned upon - they totally went against something the society was built around. People were never intimate in these ways with anyone outside their own level of purity - it just did not happen. Jesus sought intimacy with people from all walks of life - and people responded to him in powerful ways.

The early church continued to walk in this path of a life of intimacy - it only takes a quick look at the first few chapters of Acts to spot it. This was a group of people who didn't just see each other once or twice a week - they were in each other's homes, visiting the temple together, sharing meals with one another, sharing their possessions, reaching out to those in need etc. Faith was not something a group of individuals did - occasionally connecting - it was something a community did together.

So how does the church go with Intimacy?
As we've done previously with Mystery and Sensuality we could look through church history and find times and places where the church did intimacy both well and poorly. Likewise we can all probably think of churches of today that have both good and bad examples of people connecting intimately with one another. I know in the churches I've belonged to over the years I've both felt the warm embrace and the cold shoulder of fellow below believers.

Overall though I think there is a lot more 'the Church' can do to build intimacy into both our life of worship and mission. Of course I'm grossly generalizing here but most worship services I've been to over the years have done little to build a sense of togetherness with others within the congregation or, dare I say it, God. Sitting on an uncomfortable seat staring at the back of the head of my brothers or sisters in Christ while a small group of others do most of the activity to me is hardly an intimate moment - I can only speak for me but often I find this approach rather isolating and disconnecting. Of course we do have an opportunity to connect with one another after worship over a cup of coffee (usually the cheapest brand available) and a stale biscuit which is a step in the right direction - but I wonder sometimes if we're just making excuses and kidding ourselves about the community we have.

Probably the best times of community I've had within churches have happened in small groups/bible study groups/accountability groups. Obviously a small group breeds a different sort of environment which can open up deeper levels of relationship - but even then I wonder how much we've discovered of the way of discipleship of Jesus. I've written before about the traditional 'sharing time' of a small group where people go around the circle and share how their week has been so others can pray for them. Nice idea - but if we had true community wouldn't we already know a lot of what is shared in these times because we'd been connecting with each other, living with each other between meetings?

The other area I'd like to see intimacy explored more in is in 'mission'. The way Jesus drew people to God was usually incredibly personal. He spoke one on one with many, touched people, ate in small groups with them - developed relationship. I won't go on about it here today (this is getting too long as it is), but I wonder if in many of our approaches to mission we have sucked the intimacy out of what we do by programming missional encounters (this is a topic for another day - if I go down this track today we'll enter into 'rant land'.

I'm trying desperately here to remain positive about the state of play in the church today - please believe me when I say my experiences of intimacy in church are not all bad - I just strongly believe we could do so much better. I love the church friends - I want to see it reach its fullest potential - as a result when I see that marketing experts seem to be doing a better job of our core business than we are I get a little fired up.

'Lovemarks'. gives some pointers on building intimacy - here is a quick summary of some of their main points:
- Intimacy is a two way street - it isn't something we do to another person but something we have. Therefore it is something we have to allow ourselves to experience and enter into and not just expect others to do.
- Intimacy requires feelings.
- Intimacy is about empathy - 'empathy is created out of the tension between the sound of the voice and an intended silence' (ie it is about listening).
- Intimacy is about commitment - if you want it you have to be in for the long haul. People will not respond if they think you're about to take off halfway through a relationship.
- Intimacy is about passion - without passion even the best laid plans will whither and die.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of things we could say about intimacy - but it is a good starting point for a discussion on the topic.

Questions to explore Intimacy with your Community
We spent a bit of time talking through this issue a few weeks ago at LivingRoom - we're only just scratching the surface with intimacy in my opinion - we have a lot to learn but here are some of the questions we tossed around. Feel free to take and use them if you'd like - add your own below in comments.

How was Jesus intimate in his Ministry? What other times in Scripture do we see themes of intimacy, community, relationship? Describe times in your own journey when you've experienced deep intimacy? Describe how it arose - what were the circumstances/elements? How has the church used Intimacy over the centuries from the Early Church in Acts to now? (focus on the good and the bad). What dangers would there be in focussing too much upon 'intimacy' in a church context? What would the benefits of an increased focus upon it be? How are we as a community going in this area - where/how does intimacy exist - how could we build more? Is the way we worship an approach that buids intimacy with one another - with Gold? What about mission - are we approaching it in a relational way or do we program relationships out of the equation?

Blogging - Giving a Voice to the Voiceless

30 August, 2004 12:26 AM

In just a few hours the Olympics finish up for another 4 years. With it we'll be tying up some loose ends at the Olympics Blog and then sleeping for weeks. It has been a pretty amazing experience to run a blog on such a global event. I've learnt a heap about blogging in the past few weeks which I'm sure I'll utilize in the months ahead in considering the starting of some new blogs.

I guess the most exciting realization has been a confirmation of the amazing potential of blogging as a medium to communicate with people on a global level. By the end of today over 1.5million people will have stopped by the site (over 4 weeks) to read what a couple of guys sitting in front of their TVs in the middle of the night on the other side of the world from the event itself are reporting about it.

The mind boggles really as to what blogging can achieve with a bit of planning, effort, creativity and foresight.

The question left in my mind tonight is around 'what next?' It has been an exciting couple of weeks of experimenting but what do we do with the lessons learnt? There are a few more ideas for commercial/business blogs percolating in my mind - some of us have been talking about some interesting dreams and possibilities to capitalize on what we've learnt but I'm wondering if there might be something more?

One of the streams of thinking I'm currently pursuing is 'blogging for social change'. Bear with me here, it's late and I'm thinking out loud.

You see one of the remarkable things about blogging is that it gives ordinary people a voice that they might not have had previously. On a personal level this is true - when I started blogging my network was very local and quite limited in number. Blogging has opened this up considerably - I've 'met' people world wide who are doing and thinking about very similar things to me. It has given me opportunity not only to learn from them but also to contribute - to have my say in the emerging conversation.

This is a story that is not unique to me but that is world wide in nature. Blogging has given millions of people voices - some have used it for good, some not so good.

The thing is that there are a lot of people in our world without voices. The voiceless include the poor, the sick, the grieving, the marginalized, the ignored, the hidden, the abused, the minorities etc of our world. I believe as that its part of my responsibility as a human being is to be a part of a life giving process to these groups of people. This comes partly from my faith and understanding of God who has a heart for these people, but also out of something deep within me that I think we all have - a desire to make a difference.

One of the few things I do know when working with the marginalized is the importance of being given permission to speak - to have a voice - to be heard.

Could blogging be used more in this process? I've heard of a few instances of this kind of blogging - there is the Homeless Guy's blog for example which has had quite a bit of press but I'm wondering if others know of others?

I'm wanting to do a bit of research into this - but am also wanting to do something with what I find and am really open to ideas. I saw a story on TV a while back of a young paraplegic guy who was given a blog a few weeks after an accident that took him mobility from him and how it gave him a real sense of purpose in life to have his story told and know thousands of people were reading it. I havn't been able to find his blog yet (anyone know of it?).

I really see some incredible potential in this and would invite others to share their own ideas, journey and links.

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Blogging

27 August, 2004 4:39 PM

Simon World has a good post titled Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Its got some great advice on blogging for anyone starting out....or continuing in blogging.

Here is a couple of his tips:

The remainder of this post has been moved to Pro Blogger - Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Blogging.

Is the Australian Prime Minister is a Spammer?

27 August, 2004 3:54 PM

Last year our government brought in laws making illegal the use of unsolicited email for commercial purposes. Yesterday it became public that the Prime Minister has hired a firm to send unsoliceted emails to his electorate in the lead up to the next election.

"Mr Howard has hired his son Tim's company, Net Harbour, to send emails to voters in the prime minister's blue ribbon Sydney seat of Bennelong.

Labor's technology spokeswoman Kate Lundy said the government's own laws, which came into effect four months ago, banned commercial spamming.

But the laws exempt political parties and charities from using spam, which has become a crucial tool in communicating with voters.

"The prime minister has breached the spirit, if not the letter of anti-spam laws," Senator Lundy said."

Read more at Calls for probe into PM's spam

A Dervish's Du`a' meets LivingRoom

27 August, 2004 12:39 PM

At LivingRoom this week (did I mention we've moved to Wednesday nights?) we had a really wonderful time with a couple of special guests. Maryam from the A Dervish's Du'a blog came along with a friend (Waleed) and shared her faith story and aspects of what it is like to be a Muslim living in Melbourne Australia.

It was a real privilege to hear their stories (you can read Maryam's conversion story here) and to understand a little more of Islam. Maryam and Waleed both have a real gift in communicating really beautifully their understanding of faith, God and the particular issues and opportunities of life that they have. They were particularly gracious in the way they shared and open to pretty much any question we threw their way.

The only downside of the night was that it all ended so quickly. I think it left most of us as a group thirsting for more interaction with these two wonderful people.

Internet to be Shut Down by Cyber Terrorists

26 August, 2004 3:11 AM

"A RUSSIAN computer security expert has predicted that a large chunk of the Internet will be shut down by terrorists tomorrow.

Aleksandr Gostev from Kaspersky Labs was speaking at a conference hosted by Russian Information Agency Novosti. The cyber terrorists main targets will be the US and Western Europe, he said.

Gostev said that the information on the attack could be found on "specialist web sites" although at the time of going to press the INQ couldn’t find them."

Read more at Internet meltdown predicted for tomorrow and Russian Computer Expert Predicts Internet Terrorist Attack.

The week that was my week

23 August, 2004 12:27 AM

This week has been a bit of a testing week physically. A couple of days ago I either ate something bad or picked up a tummy bug of some kind. Ever since it has been one of those weeks - its not been pretty! I think I'm coming out the other side of it now but its not been a pleasant time.

Along side that my computer died a week back also - bad timing seeing as though we're in the middle of our busiest time in developing the Olympics Site. I managed to hire a second hand laptop however which has been really handy but quite inconvenient. Crazy how all the hiccups of life tend to come at once.

Despite all that its been a reasonably good week. The Athens site's continued to bring in a truckload of visitors. We just cracked our 800,000th visitor in the last hour which far exceeds what I envisaged when I first started it. Despite it's success however we've struggled at get any acknowledgment from any of the big 'A list' bloggers out there. Not that it really matters but its proved to us what a closed group they can be.

This morning was another highlight of the week - I managed to keep my stomach together long enough to preach at Armadale Baptist. The people there were very nice and encouraging. I do enjoy the occasional speaking engagement - I guess its one of the few things I miss having moved to the LivingRoom style of doing church.

2004 Australian Election Results

18 August, 2004 1:38 PM





What the results of the Australian Federal Election in 2004 be? Will Latham's ALP win or will John Howard retain the job as Prime Minister?

John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

Guide to Pay Per Click Search Engines

18 August, 2004 11:18 AM

What is a Pay Per Click Search Engine?

A pay per click search engine is designed for pay for performance advertising. That means that an advertiser pays the search engine owners only for traffic that is delivered to his web site in accordance with key words that the advertiser chooses to bid on.

Example: An advertiser has a web site that advertises vacations to Thailand. The advertiser can bid on "vacations to Thailand" as a key word. If he wants to be in the number one position on the search results page he can place a bid that is one cent more than the existing high bid for the key word term "vacations to Thailand". Let's say that the present high bid is $0.20 per click. A bid of $0.21 would than gain the top position for the advertiser.

If his key word was clicked on 10 times in one day he would pay 10 X $0. 21 , or $2.10 for the traffic that was delivered to his web site for that day. The advertiser is paying only for performance. There is no charge for the number of times that the advertisers ad appeared on the search engine web site that day. The charges are based only on the number of times that a visitor clicked on the key word and was delivered to the advertiser's web site. Thus the name "pay per click".

Why Use Pay Per Click Search Engines?
In just a few words it is because the leading Pay per Click Search Engines (PPC) can quickly deliver quality targeted traffic to your web site. Anyone who has build web sites know that building web sites is the easy part. The tough part of the process is in driving enough qualified traffic to the site to make it worth while from a commercial view point.

Even if you are successful in building a web site that the search engines love it will take some time, probably two or three months, perhaps longer, for the search engine spiders to find your site and for your site to be listed in the search engine. If you are trying to make money on the Internet that is a long time to go without traffic.

No traffic means no sales and no income. That should not be your objective unless you enjoy building web sites no matter how few people ever visit them.

With pay per click search engine accounts you can almost immediately drive qualified traffic to your web site. If you are serious about building a business on the Internet that is a pretty good reason to use Pay Per Click Search Engines.


Pay Per Click Search Engine Tips.
1. Use quality pay per click search engines that already have a high volume of traffic. It doesn't matter how cheap the bid for your key words may be if there is little traffic on the search engine and your key words are never clicked on.

2. Know your market. If you are selling "vacations to Thailand" do some research to find out what words and phases folks who are thinking of traveling to Thailand are actually using in their searches. An excellent tool to assist in this research is Wordtracker . Wordtracker will quickly help you to decide which key words are truly worth bidding on.

3. Quality pay per click search engines will have starting bids from one cent to five cents per key word. It is important to know that about 80% of the traffic for any key word will go to the top three bids. So if you want a lot of traffic to your web site try to position yourself in the top three spots. Just as with real estate location makes all the difference in results.

4. Set up a realistic budget for each search engine. Quality pay per click search engines get a lot of traffic so be prepared for a lot of traffic to your site if you bid on popular key words.

5. Popular key words can be expensive so choose your key words with great care. It is best to stay away from key words that are too general in nature. Thus to continue with the example above bidding on the key word "vacations" would not be wise if you are selling vacations to Thailand. Yes, you would get a ton of traffic but it would be more than likely be too general and you would spend a lot of money for poor results. It is almost always a better strategy to bid on phases instead of one general keyword. Therefore bidding on "vacations to Thailand" would be a far better choice than bidding on "vacations".

If you are selling vacations to Pattaya Thailand it would be better to bid on "vacations to Pattaya Thailand" than on "vacations to Thailand". The more keywords that you can find that exactly match up with whatever it is that you are selling and that folks will be searching for the more money you will save (less money will get you in the top three spots) and the better your results will be.

Word Tracker is an excellent tool that can find key word phases that are actually being searched for and that you would probably never think of going it alone.

6. Think about using a lot of keywords rather that a common few. The common few will be expensive and will likely deliver to your web site a lot of poorly targeted traffic with poor conversion ratios (traffic to sales). People search for the darnest things and those who actually plan on buying something usually search by using phrases. With some effort you can find phrases that are cheap and that will deliver highly targeted traffic...the kind that converts into sales.

7. No matter how much traffic you drive to a web site if you are marketing sorry products or services or if you have excellent products and services but you have a sorry website you are wasting your time and money. Everything must be right to achieve business success. Make sure that your site is "order taking ready" before you turn on your pay per click traffic.



About the author:

Online since 1997 the author early on achieved some degree of success with MLM programs. By late 1998 he was able to work online full time only to suffer the diappointment of the MLM companies not surviving the dot.com bust.


Since 2001 he has worked as a full time promoter of various affiliate programs and is once again a happy online camper. David currently resides in Thailand about eleven months of the year while maintaining a US office in Honolulu, Hi.

http://azaam.com




Distributed by 1st In Articles

Search Engine Ranking for Beginners

18 August, 2004 11:01 AM

Search engine optimization is best left in the mystical land of the Intenet Marketing Guru right? Good Search engine rankings are tough to achieve. Understanding search engine marketing takes years of studying and only people with true insider knowledge and secret tools rank well in Google
right? WRONG. Pure crap as a matter of fact.

Ranking well in the search engines is not difficult. In fact search engine optimization is relatively easy. What
stops most people from ranking well in search engines is misinformation. Every week there's yet another quick fix to ranking well in search engines and people jump from one quick fix to the next hoping for that Top 10 position in Google and never achieving it.

There are 6 key areas of search engine optimization that you need to know about. These are the basics. Getting these right will help you achieve the Google rankings that you've always wanted.

Domain Name - The jury is still out on the how relevant a keyword rich domain name is. What I mean by keyword rich domain name is say for example your site was going to be about money making ideas then an ideal domain name could be either www.moneymakingideas.com or www.money-making-ideas.com. My own personal preference is with the hyphenated approach e.g. www.money-making-ideas.com simply because I believe that search engines can "read" it more easily.

Content - Useful content. Not keyword stuffed, spammy pages. Write something useful for your visitors. If you can't write then you'll need to learn. Content is what keeps people coming back to your site. It's a simple equation.

Content = Traffic. Traffic = Sales.

Turn Words Into Traffic is a great resource for learning how to write content and is a resource that I use personally. Turn Words Into Traffic gives you an A-Z on article writing - from a writers perspective.

Keywords - Keywords are the words or phrases that you expect people to search for your site/service/content with. There are two distinct factors to consider when choosing keywords for your site.

1. You need to target specific keywords. For example if you have a website about dating then you'll probably find it quite difficult to achieve high search engine rankings initially with that single term. However if you were to refine an area of your site to target say Gay & Lesbian Dating that's more specific. You could also regionalize your keywords or key phrases e.g. Gay & Lesbian dating in Toronto. This refining process is often referred to as niche marketing.

2. You need to choose the keywords that you want people to find your site with. Put yourself in your visitors shoes - think about what they might use to find you in the search engines. What keywords or key phrases would you type into a search engine to find your site? What keywords or key phrases would your potential visitor use to search for you? Always, always think like a typical websurfer.

If you're interested in seeing what people are searching for on the web and how profitable that might be for you I would recommend that you check out Good Keywords. It's free and does a wonderful job of helping you find good keywords. Good keywords is reviewed on my site.

I would also suggest that you try Word Tracker. It's a brilliant service for tracking down specific, popular keywords.It's a paid service but worth every penny.

Keyword density - This is how often your keyword is used on the the page itself. For example if you have 100 words of text on a single page and you mention your keyword 5 times then you have 5% keyword density.

Opinions vary on this but anywhere from 1% -7% is considered ideal. If this doesn't make sense to you then it's ok. The simple rule is this: less is more. Do not alter the text on your webpages to include your keyword over and over again because....well.... it looks stupid, won't instill any confidence in your prospective customer and might also get you penalized or removed from the search engines.

A tip on achieving good keyword density is to write "organically". Imagine you're writing the information for a friend. Keyword density "flows" from writing content in that frame of mind.

Page title - Your TITLE tag is critical to your page being ranked well. Stuffing your TITLE tag with keywords in the hope of ranking well is pointless. Your TITLE tag, once constructed properly, will see you moving up the search engine rankings quickly. Bear this simple fact in mind when building your websites and it will serve you well.

Links - Having good links pointing to your site and good links within your site (an often overlooked aspect of search engine optimization) is pretty important as far as search engine ranking goes. Having other sites linking to yours proves the importance of your site to the search engines i.e. if the content on your site is so valuable that other site owners want to link to it then it must be important.

META Keyword Tag - Meta tags are dead baby. Well not quite dead but they are only used as a point of reference for search engines. It's a shame to see websites that have their META tags still stuffed with keywords. It's pointless. Put your primary keywords in the Meta Keyword part of your webpage but apart from that don't lose any sleep or waste any energy on them.

META Description Tag - this is used by many search engines for the text it displays directly beneath your website link and is therefore pretty important from catching a potential visitors attention. Make sure your Meta Description tag is 50 characters or more in length and that it contains the primary keywords that youwant to target. DO NOT stuff the META Description tag full of keywords.

There's not enough space in this article to explain all of the above in the detail that I'd love to. Also I'm not a search engine expert so some of the explanation is best left to those that I learned from (Sean Burns take a bow!)

Having learned the basics of search engine optimization and submission I have achieved Top 10 Rankings for all of my websites. It's not hard to do this. It just takes work, a little patience and a little common sense.


About the author:

Niall Roche is the content author and owner of

www.affiliate-advocate.com
info@affiliate-advocate.com

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Sitemaps and Hypertext Links: "Food" for Search Engine Robots

18 August, 2004 10:56 AM

Sitemaps and hypertext links are "food" for search engine robots. We will look at the value of text links for optimal spidering, and the importance of using a sitemap in order to help search engine robots reach your website's deeper pages.

Hypertext Links
Search engine robots are not terribly sophisticated. They cannot click a button, submit a form, pull down a menu, or perform any other type of online "user interaction" that might be used by a human visitor. Robots are able to index the text on a page and click through hypertext links. For this reason, adding navigational text links to your web pages (often located at the bottom of the page) provides the search engine robots with another means to click through the links of your web pages when it cannot access these other types of navigation.

No matter how great your JavaScript menu system is, the search engine robots cannot use it. They can follow "plain old" hyperlinks, and that's about it. Since the ability to move around on your site is vital to the robots' successful indexing of your content, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to visit all of your pages. Use of text links at the bottom of your pages, while hardly cutting-edge, is one of the best ways to make sure that the search engine robots can move around on your site. Be sure to include links to your site's principal pages on all the pages in your site. Always remember to put a link to your sitemap page here too.

Sitemaps
A sitemap page is a supercharged version of the bottom-of-the-page hypertext links. The sitemap provides "food" for a hungry search engine robot. A sitemap page will at very least have links to all of the major pages on your site. Depending on the size of your site, it may actually link to all of your pages. This means that once the robot gets to the sitemap page, it can visit every page on your entire site. Having all of the content of your site included in the search engine database is a good thing: you are much more likely to come-up in the search engine results when somebody is performing a search related to your topic.

A good sitemap will:

Provide text links to at least the most important pages on your site; depending on the size of the site, it may have links to every page

Give a short explanation of each page on your site, to inform your visitors about your website

Give your visitors the information they need when lost in your website, and show them how to reach the page they are looking for

Provide a pathway for the search engine robots to follow in order to reach your most important pages

Provide important keyword phrases in the sitemap text and hypertext links that help the automated search engine robot "understand" what the page is about

Help search engine robots find static landing pages that then link to dynamically generated pages they may not otherwise find

Even if your website is small, add a sitemap for your visitors and for the search engine robots.

To make your sitemap most attractive to the search engine robots and your human visitors, be sure to include descriptive text along with the page URLs and links. Use your keywords in that text, including appropriate content for each of the pages to which you link. Be careful not to overuse your keyword phrases, though, or you may be penalized in the rankings. Remember that this is a map that will be used by both search engine robots and your human visitors. If the content of the page makes sense to the people who visit your site, chances are it will make sense to the visiting robots as well.

When you make it easy for your visitors to navigate your site, they will find what they are looking for. When you make it easy to search engine robots to move around on your site, you increase your chances of being favorably listed in their search results.




About the author:

Daria Goetsch is the founder and Search Engine Marketing Consultant for Search Innovation (http://www.searchinnovation.com), a Search Engine Promotion company serving small businesses. She has specialized in search engine optimization since 1998, including three years as the Search Engine Specialist for O'Reilly Media, Inc., a technical book publishing company. Copyright � 2002-2004 Search Innovation Marketing. http://www.searchinnovation.com All Rights Reserved. Permission to reprint this article is granted as long as all text above this line is included in its entirety. We would also appreciate your notifying us when you reprint it: please send a note to reprint@searchinnovation.com

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Top 10 Search Engine Positioning Mistakes

18 August, 2004 10:49 AM

Search Engine Positioning and Optimization is crucial to good getting high traffic to your site. This article covers 10 common mistakes in Search Engine Optimization and Positioning.

"Do You Make These Search Engine Positioning Mistakes?"
By Arun Agrawal

Search Engine Positioning is the art of optimizing your web site so that it gets into a high position on the search engine results page whenever someone searches for keywords that relate to your products and services.

However, some people make basic mistakes while designing their web site and as a result, never make it to the top. Even if they work hard on it! Or may be waste a lot of money on useless tools and services.

Do you make these mistakes too?

1. Designing a Frames-based web site
This one is the biggest loser of them all. Frames may make the job of maintaining a very big and complicated web site easy but search engine absolutely hate them. Most of the search engines cannot find out their way easily through them and end up indexing only the home page.

Now imagine this. One of your internal pages has been reported by the search engines and the user has clicked on it. What a mess! The page looks orphan without the outer frame and the navigation.

Lose your frames right away. You will start getting positive improvements the moment you redesign your site without frames.

2. Having an all-Flash or graphic-only home page

This is another classic mistake. Many designers design web site home pages like brochures. A beautiful cover which has to be opened to read. But on the Internet every click takes away some prospects. Did they click your ENTER button or the Back button?

You see, search engines need content to index. If you don't have content on the home page but only a Flash movie or a big animated graphic, how will the search engine know what you deal in. And why will it give you a high enough ranking?

3. Not having a good title

What's your title, Sir?

A good title is an absolute must for getting a good search engine position and the most vital thing -- the click-through. With the title, you are always walking a tightrope. You need a title with your most important keyword near the beginning but it should still appeal to the human reading the results.

Don't, don't stuff it with the keywords. How does this look to you --

Search engine position, search engine positioning, search engine ranking

If you saw this in the search engine results, will you click on this or you will prefer-

Top 10 Search engine positioning mistakes!

4. Hosting your site with a FREE host

It takes away all your credibility. You want to do business from your web site. Right? And you can't even afford a decent web hosting package. How do you expect your prospect to trust you?

Most of the search engines do not spider web sites hosted on the free hosts. Even if they do, they rank them quite low. How many geocities web sites have you seen in the top 10?

Also, will you be comfortable buying your merchandise from someone who can't even afford a small shop? And web site hosting is much cheaper!

Do you want your visitor to look at your message or look at the pop-up that your free web host popped over your site?

Go get a good web hosting package right away.

5. Putting all links on Javascript

Google and many other search engines don't read and process JavaScript. So if you have all your links on JavaScript only, Google is blind to them.

You must have at least one text-based link to all the pages that you want to link to. And the anchor text (the visible text on the site) should contain your important keywords, not "Click here".

6. Stuffing lots of keywords in the keywords tag

Do you have a keywords tag that lists all the words related to your product in a big long series? This is a certain recipe to invite negative points.

While many search engines have already started to ignore keywords tag precisely because of this misuse, you should have the keywords tag for the search engines that still use them. It also serves as a reminder of the keywords that you are optimizing for.

However, put only the 2-3 most important keywords in there. Here's a quick test - don't put any term in the keywords tag if it does not appear at least once on the body copy.

7. Not having any outgoing links

Do you know why the Internet is called the Web? Because the web sites link to each other. If you are only having incoming links but don't have any outbound links, it is not appreciated by the search engines as it violates the web-like structure of the Web.

Because some people try to conserve PageRank (a proprietary index used by Google to measure link popularity), they avoid having any outbound links. This is one big myth. You can get very good points if you have some outbound links with keyword-rich anchor text and preferably keyword-rich target URL also.

Of course, you should not turn your web page into a link-farm. There should be a few good links amidst some good content.

8. Insisting on session variables and cookies to show information

Session variables are used extensively by ecommerce-enabled sites. This is to trace the path used by the visitor. Shopping cart and various other applications also benefit by using session variables. However it should be possible to visit the various information related and sales pages without needing to have session variables.

Since you can't put cookies on the search engine spiders, they can't index your pages properly if the navigation requires cookies and session variables.

9. Regularly submitting your site to the search engines

"We will submit your site to the top 250,000 search engines every month for only $29.95." Who has not seen these ads or received Spam with similar messages?

And which are those 250,000 search engines? There are only about 8-10 top search engines worth bothering about. And a handful of directories.

With most of the search engines, you only need to submit once to get spidered and then they will keep your listing fresh by crawling your site at regular intervals. All you need to do is to keep adding fresh content to your site and the search engines will absolutely love you. In fact, Google prefers to locate you through a link and not through the URL submission page.

For some sites like DMOZ, if you resubmit while you are waiting to be indexed, you entry is pushed to the end of the queue. So you can resubmit regularly and never get indexed :(

10. Optimizing for more than 2 or 3 search terms

It is virtually impossible to optimize a page for more than 2-3 keywords without diluting everything. Don't try to work on more than 3 phrases on one page. Split.

Get similar phrases together and work on those in this page. Take 2 or 3 out of the other phrases and develop a new page with entirely new copy. Remember, you cannot just copy the same page and squeeze these new phrases in there. It will look very funny to the visitor.


About the author:

Are you suffering from the No-traffic syndrome? Arun Agrawal is a search engine optimization specialist and offers guaranteed Top 10 Ranking services for Google, Yahoo & MSN from his web site at http://www.SEOtop10.com



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Australian Idol Winner - 2004

16 August, 2004 10:23 PM

Who will be the Australian Idol 2 (2004) winner?

Update - congratulations to 16 year old Casey Donovan who has just been declared the Australian Idol for 2004. For all the latest Australian idol results, winners, news, information and a live commentary of the final show - check out Australian Idol Blog. For other Breaking News on other topics check out Digital Photography Blog, Camera Phone Zone and Printer Blog.

The top 12 contesting for the title of Australian Idol in 2004 are:
- Anthony Callea
- Chanel Cole
- Courtney Murphy
- Hayley Jensen
- Amali Ward
- Angeline Narayan
- Casey Donovan
- Daniel Belle
- Daniel O'Conner
- Emelia Rusciano
- Marty Worrall
- Ricki-Lee Coulter

What will the Australian Idol Results be? I'd tip Courtney, Casey, Anthony or Hayley as possible winners.

Official Australian Idol Site
TV Week - Australian Idol

Missional Entrepreneurship Weekend

15 August, 2004 11:43 PM

The other thing I've been doing the last two days has been to be away on a weekend retreat for the internship I'm doing on 'Missional Entrepreneurship'.

We had a great time with author James Thwaites - particularly thinking about a theology of work. We also each have a chance to share our enterprise and business dreams and then spend time working them through as a group.

I've got a head full of ideas, dreams and possibilities which are bursting to get out. I love that this weekend (and the internship in general) has given me a real space to enter into this head space. I can't wait to see what will emerge in the next six months.

Living on Athens Time in Melbourne

15 August, 2004 11:42 PM

Well it has been a rather busy few days for me. I'm sorry for stopping the last series on Lovemarks halfway. I'll endeavor to do the last post in the next few days.

Part of my attention has obviously focused on the Olympics Blog we're running. Its been going well - better than I thought it would when I first started it a month or two ago. It is quite exciting and satisfying to see a plan come off.

Having said this it comes at a bit of a cost. Regan and I will be living on Athens time for the next 16 days. That means I'm not going to see a whole heap of daylight for a bit. The plan is to start blogging at around 5pm Melbourne time and go to bed at around 8am.

I'm not sure how the body will hold up over this time - but I suspect it will be a worthwhile venture.

National Rugby League Grand Final Winners

13 August, 2004 12:52 PM

Who will this year's National Rugby League Grand Final winner be in 2004?

Those in contention to be winners this year are the Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm, Bulldogs, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Canberra Raiders, Penrith Panthers and St George Illawarra Dragons. Who will hold up the cup as the winners on Grand Final Day. Following are some NRL resources to keep us all busy busy until the National Rugby League Grand Final Winner is announced.

- National Rugby League Official Page - Contains all the latest National Rugby League news, results, winners and losers.
- National Rugby League - National Rugby League news from Australia but also league news and results from around the world.
- Rugby Heaven - Sydney Morning Herald's Rugby coverage.
- Fox Sport National Rugby League - Fox Sports National Rugby League coverage with the latest news, results, winners, opinion pieces etc.
- National Rugby League Stats - all the latest statistics from the NRL competition.
- Dan's National Rugby League page - teams, results, ladder, winners and news from the National Rugby League.

'PREMIERSHIP winger Matt Geyer says Melbourne Storm is far better prepared for this year's NRL finals and expects to prove it against the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Storm, the surprise improver last year, finished the regular season fifth. But, after beating Canberra in the qualifying final, it made a hasty exit in week two, losing 30-0 to the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium.

While Melbourne has finished this season a place below last year, Geyer is confident his team can mount a much stronger campaign.

"Last year a lot of guys got their first taste of finals," Geyer said yesterday. "And no matter how much you want to say they are just like other games, the truth is that they're not. Until you have played in a final you don't know what the pressure and the intensity is like."' Read more at Storm ready for finals

NRL 2004 Premiership Winners

11 August, 2004 12:50 PM

Who will 2004's NRL Premiership winner be?

Those in contention to be premiers/winners this year are the Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm, Bulldogs, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Canberra Raiders, Penrith Panthers and St George Illawarra Dragons. Who will hold up the cup as the winners on Grand Final Day. Following are some NRL resources to keep us all busy busy until the NRL Grand Final Winner is announced.

- NRL Official Page - Contains all the latest NRL premiership news, results, winners and losers.
- National Rugby League - NRL news from Australia but also league news and results from around the world.
- Rugby Heaven - Sydney Morning Herald's Rugby coverage.
- Fox Sport NRL - Fox Sports NRL coverage with the latest news, results, winners, opinion pieces etc.
- NRL Stats - all the latest statistics from the NRL competition.
- Dan's NRL page - teams, results, ladder, winners and news from the NRL.

'PREMIERSHIP winger Matt Geyer says Melbourne Storm is far better prepared for this year's NRL finals and expects to prove it against the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Storm, the surprise improver last year, finished the regular season fifth. But, after beating Canberra in the qualifying final, it made a hasty exit in week two, losing 30-0 to the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium.

While Melbourne has finished this season a place below last year, Geyer is confident his team can mount a much stronger campaign.

"Last year a lot of guys got their first taste of finals," Geyer said yesterday. "And no matter how much you want to say they are just like other games, the truth is that they're not. Until you have played in a final you don't know what the pressure and the intensity is like."' Read more at Storm ready for finals

Australian Federal Election Winners

10 August, 2004 1:13 PM





Who will win the Australian Federal Election in 2004? John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

NRL Grand Final Winner

10 August, 2004 12:44 PM

Who will this year's NRL Grand Final winner be in 2004?

Those in contention to be winners this year are the Brisbane Broncos, Melbourne Storm, Bulldogs, North Queensland Cowboys, Sydney Roosters, Canberra Raiders, Penrith Panthers and St George Illawarra Dragons. Who will hold up the cup as the winners on Grand Final Day. Following are some NRL resources to keep us all busy busy until the NRL Grand Final Winner is announced.

- NRL Official Page - Contains all the latest NRL news, results, winners and losers.
- National Rugby League - NRL news from Australia but also league news and results from around the world.
- Rugby Heaven - Sydney Morning Herald's Rugby coverage.
- Fox Sport NRL - Fox Sports NRL coverage with the latest news, results, winners, opinion pieces etc.
- NRL Stats - all the latest statistics from the NRL competition.
- Dan's NRL page - teams, results, ladder, winners and news from the NRL.

'PREMIERSHIP winger Matt Geyer says Melbourne Storm is far better prepared for this year's NRL finals and expects to prove it against the Broncos in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Storm, the surprise improver last year, finished the regular season fifth. But, after beating Canberra in the qualifying final, it made a hasty exit in week two, losing 30-0 to the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium.

While Melbourne has finished this season a place below last year, Geyer is confident his team can mount a much stronger campaign.

"Last year a lot of guys got their first taste of finals," Geyer said yesterday. "And no matter how much you want to say they are just like other games, the truth is that they're not. Until you have played in a final you don't know what the pressure and the intensity is like."' Read more at Storm ready for finals

Lovemarks and the Church – Sensuality

10 August, 2004 12:25 PM

This is the third in a four part series examining the book, Lovemarks, in relation to Spirituality and Church. Read my introduction to the series first. Sensuality As we've already touched on, the traditional approach focuses more upon convincing the mind through logic, information and claims. Lovemark Marketing is more interested in emotions. Stimulating the Senses is one of the best ways in which to do this.

"Our senses work together, and when they are stimulated at the same time the results are unforgettable.... They alert us, enflame us, warn us as well as fill our hearts with joy." Its amazing how a simple smell can transport us back in time to a specific moment (good or bad) - how the touch of another person can warm our soul or how putting on a CD can change the whole mood and atmosphere of a party.

Sight, Touch, Hearing, Taste and Smell are powerful forces - they are the way in which we take in information, learn and grow. Advertisers are discovering this and are finding new ways to engage our senses with what they do. I think of my local supermarket and the coffee company that regularly sets up a booth of free brewed coffee. I know that they are there even before I enter the isle in which they are set up because of the smell which wafts through the shop. By the time I get to them I'm ready to buy their product purely on its smell.

"All of our knowledge comes to us through the senses, but they are far more than sophisticated gatherers of information. They senses interpret and prioritize. When we feel emotionally connected, we say "That makes sense". Jesus used sensuality in his ministry. How many times do we see him at the meal table (to the point of being accused of being a glutton and drunk), he provides food for 5000 people (imagine how good that bread and fish must have tasted and what that did for that crowd!), he touched the untouchable....etc. Even his story telling is very sensory - he speaks in a very visual ways of things that would have engaged the imaginations and memories of his listeners. He uses a daily activity like eating bread and drinking wine to remind his followers of him. The list could go on and we could do the same for the early church and Old Testament. The bible is a collection of very Sensory writings - and I haven't even mentioned Song of Songs yet! So what about the Church and Sensuality? Once again we can look back over history and see both ways the Church has engaged the senses and ways in which it has shied away from them. Again I think of some of the Cathedrals I visited last year in Europe. Stain glass windows that told the stories of the gospels to the illiterate, incense, icons, chanting.... For some reason we've moved away from a lot of these things. I can understand on one hand why there was a shift away from icons, smells and bells etc - but on the other hand perhaps we threw out the baby with the bath water. You see my experience of church growing up was one in which only two or three of the senses were stimulated in the same unimaginative ways each week. These days in church we continue to use music, most of us still celebrate the Lords Supper (although we've reduced it to a sip of juice and a bit of a cracker), some churches attempt visual stimulation with flowers, powerpoints and video clips etc - but I wonder if we're short changing our sense when it comes to spirituality. One of the things I love about the Alt Worship movement is that it takes seriously sensuality. Some of the most profound experiences of God I've had in a group context have taken place with either my senses being overloaded or deprived (fasting, silence etc use the senses by starving a person of their stimulation). In my last church we used to have a rule that in each service we wanted to intentionally stimulate at least 3, if not all 5 of the senses in new and creative ways - I think its a great rule.

'In the sensual world, faster, brighter, louder hit the wall real quick. People turn off and you lose them. Lovemarks need Sensuality, bu they need it with a human touch.' Is there a danger in taking Sensuality too far? Probably - I think we can all think of instances where perhaps church got a little too sensual in Church history (and even in today's context). However I don't think most churches are in any danger of taking it too far at present. Questions to explore Sensuality with your Community - these are some of the things we asked ourselves at LivingRoom last week on the topic. Feel free to take and use them if you'd like - add your own below in comments. How did Jesus engage the Senses in his Ministry? What other times in Scripture do we see it used? Describe times in your own journey when you've been drawn closer to God through your senses How has the church used Sensuality over the centuries from the Early Church in Acts to now? (focus on the good and the bad). What dangers would there be in taking 'Sensuality' too far in a church context? What would the benefits of it be? Which of the Senses do we engage most in our church? Which do we ignore? How do we/can we creatively use the Senses to help us in our own journey of faith and mission in our community? All quotes used in this post come from 'Lovemarks'.

Australian Federal Election Results

9 August, 2004 1:32 PM





What the results of the Australian Federal Election in 2004 be? Will Latham's ALP win or will John Howard retain the job as Prime Minister?

John Howard has set the date for the federal election for 9 October. While we wait for the results of the Australian Federal Election the following resources might be helpful for readers.

- Australian Electoral Commission - with all the latest Australian Federal Election information for voters including past federal election results, winners etc.
- Australia Votes - ABC's 2004 Australian Federal Election Coverage. Includes Election guides, poll results, information, articles on the campaigns, opinion pieces, predictions etc.
- Antony Green's Election Guide - A comprehensive guide to the Australian Federal Election - with state profiles, electorate predictions, answers to questions and much more.
- Australia Votes - The Age - The Age newspapers, 2004 Australian election coverage with election articles, poll results, information, winner predictions and editorials.
- National Library of Australia's - Australian Federal Elections - information on Australian political parties, previous results, electoral roll, electorates etc.
- Australia Federal Election Odds - Centrebet's odds and favorites to be winners of the Australian Federal Election.
- Election Resources - Previous Australian Federal Election Results and Winners.
- Australian Labor Party
- Australian Greens Party
- Australian Liberal Party
- Australian Democrats
- Election World - Australia

2004 Federal Election timetable of key dates
Announcement of Election - Sunday 29 August 2004
Issue of Writs - Tuesday 31 August 2004
Close of Rolls - 8pm, Tuesday 7 September 2004
Close of Nominations- 12noon, Thursday 16 September 2004
Declaration of Nominations - 12noon, Friday 17 September 2004
Election Day - Saturday 9 October 2004
Return of Writs - Latest date for: Wednesday 8 December 2004

2004 AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION KEY FACTS AND FIGURES

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONENROLMENT FACTS AND FIGURES
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) introduced a new �online enrolment verification' service for electors to confirm their enrolment over the internet on 5 July 2004 . Electors simply access the AEC website - provide the exact name they are enrolled for and the town or suburb they're enrolled at, and the web service will confirm the enrolment.

Enrolment forms have to be received by the AEC by 8.00pm sharp on Tuesday September 7.

AEC enrolment surveys and an independent ANAO report show that 95% of the overall eligible population is correctly enrolled.

At the issue of the writs for the 2004 election (Tuesday 31 August 2004 ) there were 12,871,780 Australians on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll.

It is expected by the close of rolls for the 2004 election that the number of Australians on the electoral roll will exceed 13 million.
During the 2001 federal election

The AEC processed 369,966 enrolment forms and 19,866 deletions from the rolls during close of rolls week in 2001. 83,027 were new enrolments including approximately 70% of the new enrolments from 18 and 19 year olds.

At the close of rolls for the 2001 election, 12,636,631 Australian electors were enrolled.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION NOMINATIONS FACTS AND FIGURES
The nomination deposit per candidate for the House of Representatives is $350 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $250 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

The nomination deposit per candidate for the Senate is $700 at the 2004 election (the same as at the 2001 and 1998 election). The deposit increased from $500 following legislative changes after the 1996 election.

At the 2004 election, the deposit will be refunded if the candidate receives 4% or more of the formal first preference vote (same as at 2001 election), or is in a Senate group which receives 4% or more

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION COST OF ELECTION FIGURES
The cost of the 2004 election is estimated to be about $75 million - GST exclusive .

Public funding for the 2004 election is $1.94 (194.397 cents) per vote for candidates who achieve at least 4% of the formal first preference vote.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION POLLING LOGISTICS
For the 2004 federal election it is expected that:

there will be 7,732 polling places in Australia
there will be 300 pre-poll voting centres
100 overseas posts will provide voting facilities

there will be 510 mobile teams:
445 mobile teams visiting 2090 special hospitals
48 remote mobile teams visiting 128 remote locations
17 mobile teams visiting 22 prisons


ballot boxes produced:* 45,500

voting screens produced:* 155,800

recycling bins produced:* 13,900
(*these figures include items recovered for re-use after the 2001 election and weigh 140 tonnes overall)

elector leaflets to be delivered to over 7.5 million households

approximately 67,000 temporary staff to be employed

approximately 400 call centre operators trained, with approximately 250 working at peak times.


OTHER KEY AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTION FACTS
A redeveloped Virtual Tally Room will provide an enhanced service in distributing the results for the 2004 election via the internet.

Trials to reduce informal voting in the divisions of Western Sydney and the Division of Port Adelaide are being undertaken. In Port Adelaide translated information will be mailed to over 10,000 electors, and in the NSW divisions NESB community intermediaries will be used to spread the voting message.

Ballot paper production will use a mix of the newer security screen paper (cheaper) and the traditional �crown' watermarked paper.

AEC voting information and advertising will be translated into 18 NESB languages and up to 30 indigenous languages.

Voting information will be produced and distributed in Braille, large print, audio cassette and audio file formats, and candidate information will be available in audio file and large print. This is to meet the needs of electors who cannot read standard print.

Recycling of �how to vote cards will be encouraged with large recycling bins placed outside polling places at all metropolitan and major regional centres.

The AEC's election call centre is being hosted by Centrelink's established call centre network in 7 sites. Operating hours are 8am to 8pm , 7 days a week, and on election day 7am to 9pm . Over 500 different scripts of election information have been produced to answer elector enquiries.

The AEC will be again conducting its popular International Visitors Program. In 2001, 61 electoral officials from 19 countries participated. For the 2004 election, there will be 60 places, and already 29 countries have expressed interest in participating.

Source - Australian Electoral Commission

Lovemarks and the Church - Mystery

9 August, 2004 11:19 AM

This is the second in a four part series examining the book, Lovemarks, in relation to Spirituality and Church. Read my introduction to the series first.

Mystery - Marketing used to be about creating a great product with the best specifications and communicating to a customers mind logically why they should buy it by making claims and outlining benefits.

'Our washing powder makes things white. This computer has a 30gig hard drive. This car is 5% cheaper.'

This approach has something of a 'build it and they will come' mentality. If we make our product good enough and tell people about it they will buy in.

'Lovemark' Marketing doesn't aim so much at the head but engages the heart by using Mystery. Think about some of the ads we see these days on TV - a lot of them don't even mention the product they are advertising. Car ads seem to be more about escaping reality or building family than engine capacity. Clothing ads seem to be more about friendship than price...

'Mystery opens up emotions. Mystery adds to the complexity of relationships and experiences. It lies in the stories, metaphors and iconic characters that give a relationship texture.'

For an example of mystery used well take a look at the Join Me phenomenon that I blogged about earlier in the week. This guy unintentionally started a cult (of sorts) by placing a mysterious ad in a newspaper simply asking for people to 'join him' by sending a passport photo to him. Thousands joined without really knowing what they were joining. It intrigued people and they were drawn to it.

Ok - so what has this got to do with Spirituality or Church? I'd say heaps!

Lets take a look at Jesus and his use of Mystery. He told stories that often didn't make much sense but engaged the imagination. He did miracles that must have inspired a lot of awe and wonder. Often he eluded questions by asking more of them. Even when it came to talking about his own identity he didn't spell things out but used catch cries like 'I am the Vine and you are the branches' or 'I am the light of the world'. Jesus utilizes Mystery constantly - he was intriguing - it's no wonder that people were drawn to him. The Mystery continued with the Early Church - people joined them every day and its no wonder if you take a look at some of the mysterious stuff that was going on!

We could take a similar look at the Old Testament and other New Testament writings and see how Mystery permeates all of Scripture - think about the Trinity, some of the Psalms and Proverbs - some of the paradoxes that we see in Scripture - I mean who can comprehend God?

So what about the Church and Mystery? Over the centuries we've attempted to use it in different ways at different times to different levels of success. One of the things I love about old cathedrals is the sense of mystery they exude. Whilst they can be cold, echoey and uncomfortable they call also speak deeply to one's soul about the bigness of God.

Mystery is something I've not seen too many churches today do very well. We meet in low ceilinged, pastel walled, fluorescent lit buildings with few images, little art and no icons. Our preaching more often than not presents a lot of nicely packaged, easy to swallow answers that more are aimed at the head than the heart. Many church websites and promotions are more concerned with explaining times, places, structures and benefits than intriguing those that read them. I could go on - sometimes we do it well but more often than not I think we fall short in terms of Mystery.

Lovemarks suggests 5 things that one can work on in the area of Mystery:
1. Tell Stories - there is nothing like a story to engage the heart. Obviously there are stories of Scripture, but also our own stories of life, the stories of our communities themselves and the stories of our culture. We decided we're going to start telling the story of LivingRoom more in our gatherings - every time someone new comes to our community a different person will share the story of LivingRoom from their own perspective (to me its like when you tell the story of when you first met your partner over and over again - the retelling of the story engages the heart).

2. Use Past, Present and Future - I think there is some real wisdom in this one. We have such a rich heritage. I find that the times we use ancient forms of prayer at LivingRoom there is a sense of tapping into something much bigger than ourselves.

3. Tap into Dreams - I'm a big believer that when we create environments where people can dream and are allowed to chase their dreams that you create an environment with real energy and momentum. Who wouldn't want to be a part of a community where their dreams could come true.

4. Nurture Myths and Icons - I wonder if we've become a bit paranoid as protestants in terms of Icons over the centuries. Of course there is a danger in going to the extreme of this (as there is with virtually everything) but I think there is something very powerful in an icon. We've talked the other night about the symbols and rituals of LivingRoom and realized that we actually have a few that we haven't yet named. One of them I think is the Peppermint tea that we seem to always end up having at the end of our evenings together. I think its becoming a rich symbol of community, sealing our time together and celebration.

5. Build on Inspiration - Often we get inspired together in church but then go home and let go of it. The challenge is to take the inspiration - celebrate it - foster it - take it to the next level.

Now I'm not arguing that if we just start being all Mysterious that we'll see people come flocking to the church - but I do wonder what would happen if we began to explore it a little more.

Questions to explore Mystery with your Community - these are the ones we used. Feel free to take and use them if you'd like

  • How did Jesus use Mystery in his Ministry?

  • What other times in Scripture do we see it used?

  • How has the church used Mystery over the centuries from the Early Church in Acts to now? (focus on the good and the bad).

  • What dangers would there be in taking 'Mystery' too far in a church context?

  • How do we/can we use Mystery to help us in our own journey of faith and mission in our community?

Lovemarks and the Church - Introduction

9 August, 2004 11:08 AM

Last week at LivingRoom we took a look at the book - Lovemarks.

I've blogged about the book before but this week at LivingRoom we took three of the main themes of the book and looked at them through the eyes of Scripture and our experience of Church and LivingRoom. Before I say any more let me state that I'm not suggesting that we go on a marketing campaign to 'market' the church - rather I'm suggesting that SOME of what is in this book gives us a useful framework for thinking about the way we approach what we do - the principles in this book are written for people to make money - but I think they might actually help some of us think through how we might approach church.

Lovemarks is a book written by Kevin Roberts about Branding/Marketing but parts of it resonate deeply with me in terms of Spirituality. The basic premise is that the way marketing has been approached previously is just not working any more. Instead they argue that companies need to develop what they call 'Lovemarks'.

'Lovemarks' are products/services that engage consumers on a deeper level and stimulate brand loyalty beyond reason. They hit the emotions of people and not just the minds. The object is to make your potential customer fall in Love with your product.

For example - think about the way Apple Mac users often think about their computers (or iPod users their MP3 player) - think about the feelings you have to your favourite restaurant or cafe (I'm sitting in right now writing this - I LOVE it!) - consider the effect that Harley Davidson motorbikes have on some people. Some products can deeply impact people on a level that makes them customers for life - not only that it makes them evangelists for the product in question.

The book argues that there are three elements that help make a product a 'Lovemark' - they are Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy. I will blog about each one in turn over the next few days - starting today with Mystery (see next post).

Fahrenheit 911

9 August, 2004 11:02 AM

Yesterday V and I went and saw Fahrenheit 911. I'd hear a lot about the film already and so some of it lost its shock value - however it still left me feeling rather numb, angry and a little hopeless.

I don't swallow whole everything in Moore's approach - there is obviously some bias and use of material that is taken out of context but I do find myself agreeing with much of the general thrust of what he's on about.

I've stayed out of the political blogging scene since the Iraq fiasco blew up last time around and will continue to refrain from too much political comment here - but the film has left me thinking a lot about power, greed and human nature.

I'm wondering what others thought of the film? Do you think it will have much impact on the elections in the US this year?

Australian Idol 2 Winner

6 August, 2004 9:47 PM

Who will be the Australian Idol 2 (2004) winner? Last year saw the Australian Idol Winner as Guy Sebastian but this year we have a new bunch of 12 competing for the right to wear the winner's crown (crown? - well they should have one). For all the latest Australian idol results, winners, news, information - check out Australian Idol Blog.

The top 12 contesting for the title of Australian Idol in 2004 are:
- Anthony Callea
- Chanel Cole
- Courtney Murphy
- Hayley Jensen
- Amali Ward
- Angeline Narayan
- Casey Donovan
- Daniel Belle
- Daniel O'Conner
- Emelia Rusciano
- Marty Worrall
- Ricki-Lee Coulter

What will the Australian Idol Results be who will be the winner? I'd tip Courtney, Casey, Anthony or Hayley as possible winners.

Official Australian Idol Site
TV Week - Australian Idol

Athens Olympic Blogging Update

6 August, 2004 6:31 PM

Well it is only 7 days to go until the Olympics in Athens. This might explain my lack of posting the last week or so. You see as many of you know some of us are running an Olympics Blog and the past few weeks we've been working really hard on getting as many pages of content up as possible - we've added 1100 blog posts on a variety of news topics and at least another 1000 pages of content with medal tables, event previews etc.

Thanks heaps to those who have linked up to the site and those who have added the Free Medal Table to their blog's sidebar.

Thanks also to those who have joined in on the group blogging fun - contributers now include Ande, Ian, , Rachel, Regan and Steve. I think we make a pretty good team although would love to add a few more! We're yet to find any bloggers from Africa or Asia to join us (let me know if you want to jump in). We've also had some great one off contributions to the site like this comprehensive Athens Olympic Swimming Medal Predictions post by a guy who emailed me out of the blue today.

Its a bit of a scary process - the traffic is building as you'd expect but what it will be like in a week's time is anyone's guess. We've ended up pretty highly ranked on Google for terms like Athens Olympics, Olympics Medal Table and heaps of other terms - the worry is that our server won't stand up under the pressure.

Anyway - just thought I'd keep those interested up to date and explain why I might be blogging at odd hours over the next week or so here on this blog (if at all).

AFL Grand Final Winner

6 August, 2004 6:22 PM



Update - Congratulations to Port Adelaide for beating Brisbane in the AFL Grand final. Port Power beat the Lions 17.11 (113) to 10.13 (73).

Who will win the AFL Grand Final in 2004? Will Brisbane be winners for the forth year running or will Port Adelaide overcome their 'chokers' reputation and take it out. Essendon, Geelong, Sydney and St Kilda all will want a go at the title of AFL Premiers also so it should be a fascinating finals series culminating in the Grand Final on 25 September.

While we wait for the AFL Grand Final Results and Winners here are some online AFL resources to keep you occupied:
- Official Website for the AFL - the web home of the Australian Football League (AFL). The site has all the official AFL news, results, ladders, AFL merchandise etc.
- The Age - AFL Coverage - All the latest AFL news, Winners, Results, Opinion, Pictures and Information.
- Herald Sun - AFL Coverage - AFL News, Results, Winners, Opinion, Predictions, Tips and Info
- Gunners AFL 2004 - This AFL enthusiast has a page dedicated to his favorite AFL club - the Collingwood football club. It's a useful site - pity about the team he follows though.
- Sportsbet - AFL Grand final winners Odds page - all the odds of those teams still in the race to be winners of the AFL Grand Final.
- Centrebet - AFL Grand final winners Odd another page full of AFL Grand final news and odds.
- Australia Post - AFL 2004 Football Stamps - stamps to commemorate the 2004 AFL Season.
- Aussie Rules for Beginners
- The Rules of Aussie Rules

Grand final tickets cause headaches for distributors - 'New anti-scalping laws introduced by the Victorian Government have been blamed for problems associated with the distribution of AFL grand final tickets.

Ticketmaster spokesperson Maria O'Connor said the distributor could only sell grand final tickets to AFL members at 14 outlets across the state, because they were a different size to those sold in previous seasons. She said the new laws required Ticketmaster to print a no-scalping warning on the tickets.' Read More

Aquariass - Aquarium Toilet

6 August, 2004 2:17 PM

7785704157179903Check out this amazing idea for a toilet accessory! It is called the Aquariass.

It is a real aquarium designed by Oliver Beckert. The tank doesn't share water with the toilet and there is no danger of flushing the fish.

Would be a weird feeling sitting on one of these - you'd definitely have the feeling you were being watched!

There are so many lines I could use with regards to this one but I think I'll just leave it at that.

Found via Engadget.

Join Me

5 August, 2004 6:33 PM

Has anyone out there read Join Me?

Someone gave it to me for a bit of a fun read a week or so back.

It is fun and I have read it and would recommend you get yourself a copy and do likewise. Its a true story about a guy (Danny Wallace) who probably had a little too much time on his hand one day and put an ad in a local paper that simple said 'JOIN ME' and invited people to do so by sending him a passport photo.

At the time he didn't really have much idea of what he was inviting people to 'join' but join people did. At first it was one but if you check out his Join Me Website you'll see that his 'joinees' number in their thousands.

In time Danny worked out he needed to have some sort of mission for people to participate in and so initially it became to 'make old men happy' which later was expanded into Random Acts of Kindness every Friday.

The book is wittily written but also indirectly (so far) says quite a bit about human nature - particularly about the desire people have for community, to make a difference and working together. I'm intrigued by the story and would recommend you check it out.

Corporate Evangelism - EC.info

5 August, 2004 5:58 PM

emergingchurch.info kindly posted one of my older reflections on corporate evangelism. Its something I still keep coming back to. I'm not sure how well we do it at LivingRoom but its something that seems to make sense in my twisted little mind.

Liquid Conference - Melbourne

5 August, 2004 5:50 PM

Signposts has just posted about a seminar/conference/gathering to resource people who want to get creative about the cause of the kingdom to be held here in Melbourne next February called:

Liquid - The Integral Mission Conference

They write:

Why Liquid? Three major areas are integral to the practice of Christian mission: * Engaging culture & community * Spiritual formation & discipleship * Compassionate living & social justice

Many missional events focus on just one of these areas without showing how all three are integral. Other events may dip into a couple without addressing the relationships between them. Yet, one or two of these areas alone does not create a faith framework capable of sustaining people into Christian maturity.

Liquid is a missional training event presented by several agencies, churches and organisations who want to encourage a more holistic approach to mission and discipleship in Australia. By uniting these diverse groups with their unique gifts and experience, we can emphasis all three areas and increase our capacity to significantly shape the practice of Christianity in Australia....

It looks really great and will feature the following each day:
- Diverse Workshops
- Real Experiences
- Relational Group Interactions
- Worship

Its going to be held in Melbourne from 9-11 February which is a great time for you emerging/missional church types over seas to come spend a week or so in Melbourne. Also at that time of year is the Forge's First Intensive for the year on 'Paradigms of the Missional Revolution' (not sure of exact date) which would be great to come along to as well.

Head over to Signposts for more info on the 'Liquid' get together.

US Open Women's Winner - Tennis

4 August, 2004 4:39 PM





Svetlana_Kuznetsova.jpgUpdate - Svetlana Kuznetsova has defeated Elena Dementieva (both from Russia) to win the US Open in straight sets 6-3 6-5.

Who will the winner of the Women's US Open Tennis tournament be? Last year the women's winner was Justin Hennin-Hardenne.

This year's US Open Women's favorites to win include Justine Henin-Hardenne, Amelie Mauresmo, Serena Williams, Anastasia Myskina and Lindsay Davenport just to name a few. Who do you think the US Open Women's Winner will be at the end of the tennis tournament?


US Open Details
- The US Open Tennis Tournament is held at the USTA Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows in New York between Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept. 12.
- Qualifying Matches begin on Tuesday Aug. 24
- The Main Draw Matches begin on Monday Aug 30.
- Singles Winner Prize: $1,000,000 (USD)

Below are some helpful resources to use while we all wait for the Women's US Open Winners to be announced:
- US Open - Official US Open 2004 Site. Has latest scores, results and winners.
- US Open News - official US Open's News site with all the latest results, scores, descriptions of matches etc.
- United States Tennis Association - USTA site which has heaps of US Open tennis news, results, winners stories, scores etc.
- ESPN's US Open Coverage - An ESPN site dedicated to the US Open with results and winners updated as they happen.
- US Open Winners - a history of the US Open Winners list.
- US Open Information page - with information on the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open History - a page dedicated to telling the history of the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open Betting - Get all the latest US Open Odds.

US Open Men's Winner - Tennis

4 August, 2004 4:38 PM







federer_1.jpgUpdate - Roger Federer is the men's winner of the US Open - defeating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets 6-0, 7-6, 6-0.

----

Who will the winner of the Men's US Open Tennis tournament be? Last year the men's winner was Andy Roddick.

This year's US Open favorites in the Men's competition include Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Carlos Moya. Who do you think the Men's US Open Winners will be at the end of the tournament?

US Open Details
- The US Open Tennis Tournament is held at the USTA Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows in New York between Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept. 12.
- Qualifying Matches begin on Tuesday Aug. 24
- The Main Draw Matches begin on Monday Aug 30.
- Singles Winner Prize: $1,000,000 (USD)

Below are some helpful tennis resources to use while we all wait for the Men's US Open Winners to be announced:
- US Open - Official US Open 2004 Site. Has latest scores, results and winners.
- US Open News - official US Open's News site with all the latest scores, results, descriptions of matches etc.
- United States Tennis Association - USTA site which has heaps of US Open news, results, winners stories etc.
- ESPN's US Open Coverage - An ESPN site dedicated to the US Open with scores, results and winners updated as they happen.
- US Open Winners - a history of the US Open Winners list.
- US Open Information page - with information on the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open History - a page dedicated to telling the history of the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open Betting - Get all the latest US Open Odds.

US Open Winners - Tennis

4 August, 2004 4:37 PM




federer_1.jpgUpdate - Roger Federer is the men's winner of the US Open - defeating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets 6-0, 7-6, 6-0.

Svetlana_Kuznetsova.jpgUpdate - Svetlana Kuznetsova has defeated Elena Dementieva (both from Russia) to win the US Open in straight sets 6-3 6-5.

Who will the winner of the US Open Tennis tournament be? Last year the men's winner was Andy Roddick and the female women's winner was Justin Hennin-Hardenne.

This year's US Open favorites in the Men's competition include Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Carlos Moya. US Open Women's favorites to win include Justine Henin-Hardenne, Amelie Mauresmo, Serena Williams, Anastasia Myskina and Lindsay Davenport just to name a few. Who do you think the US Open Winners will be at the end of the tournament?



US Open Details
- The US Open Tennis Tournament is held at the USTA Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows in New York between Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept. 12.
- Qualifying Matches begin on Tuesday Aug. 24
- The Main Draw Matches begin on Monday Aug 30.
- Singles Winner Prize: $1,000,000 (USD)

Below are some helpful resources to use while we all wait for the US Open Winners to be announced:
- US Open - Official US Open 2004 Site. Has latest scores, results and winners.
- US Open News - official US Open's News site with all the latest scores, results, descriptions of matches etc.
- United States Tennis Association - USTA site which has heaps of US Open news, results, winners stories and scores etc.
- ESPN's US Open Coverage - An ESPN site dedicated to the US Open with results and winners updated as they happen.
- US Open Winners - a history of the US Open Winners list.
- US Open Information page - with information on the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open History - a page dedicated to telling the history of the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open Betting - Get all the latest US Open Odds.

US Open

4 August, 2004 4:35 PM




federer_1.jpgUpdate - Roger Federer is the men's winner of the US Open - defeating Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets 6-0, 7-6, 6-0.

Svetlana_Kuznetsova.jpgUpdate - Svetlana Kuznetsova has defeated Elena Dementieva (both from Russia) to win the US Open in straight sets 6-3 6-5.

US Open Details
- The US Open Tennis Tournament is held at the USTA Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows in New York between Monday Aug 30 - Sunday Sept. 12.
- Qualifying Matches begin on Tuesday Aug. 24
- The Main Draw Matches begin on Monday Aug 30.
- Singles Winner Prize: $1,000,000 (USD)

Who will the winner of the US Open Tennis tournament be? Last year the men's winner was Andy Roddick and the female women's winner was Justin Hennin-Hardenne.


This year's US Open favorites in the Men's competition include Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Carlos Moya. US Open Women's favorites to win include Justine Henin-Hardenne, Amelie Mauresmo, Serena Williams, Anastasia Myskina and Lindsay Davenport just to name a few. Who do you think the US Open Winners will be at the end of the tournament?

Below are some helpful resources to use while we all wait for the US Open Winners to be announced:
- US Open - Official US Open 2004 Site. Has latest scores, results and winners.
- US Open News - official US Open's News site with all the latest results, descriptions of matches etc.
- United States Tennis Association - USTA site which has heaps of US Open news, scores results, winners stories etc.
- ESPN's US Open Coverage - An ESPN site dedicated to the US Open with results, scores and winners updated as they happen.
- US Open Winners - a history of the US Open Winners list.
- US Open Information page - with information on the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open History - a page dedicated to telling the history of the US Open Tennis Tournament.
- US Open Betting - Get all the latest US Open Odds.

Pope Sets up a Vatican Sports Department

4 August, 2004 3:11 PM

The Pope is experimenting with an interesting approach to Mission....

"The Vatican now has a sports department.

Pope John Paul, who was athletic in his younger days, has established a sports bureau in the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Lay People.

The Vatican announced the initiative, pointing to the (m) millions of people who will follow the Olympics in Athens this month as proof of the important role sports plays in today's world.

The Reverend Kevin Lixey, an American priest who's setting up the department, says the pope has always been interested in sports "as a means of evangelization and a great way to form youth."

Lixey adds that the initiative also is aimed at countering negative examples in sports -- to "let people know that there are sportsmen who are also virtuous.""

Continue reading Pope sets up Vatican sports department.

Also read about it at Once athletic pope sets up sports department as church seeks new ways to reach young people

Emerging Church @ Whitley College

3 August, 2004 1:11 PM

I'm currently sitting in a class at Whitley College. Anne Wilkinson-Hayes is giving the first couple of sessions talking at the moment about the Pre-Chistendom Church.

This is the first time Whitley have run a whole semester's subject of 'Emerging Church' which is really exciting.

Emerging Church Online Resources

3 August, 2004 11:34 AM

Update - I've moved this post back to the top of the page for those at the lecture today - I hope you find the resource helpful. Feel free to keep suggesting resources as this is by no ways a complete list... If your site is in the list you may just have a class of 20-30 drop by for a visit this afternoon. Put the kettle on please...

This week I'm doing a short lecture at a bible college here in Melbourne on:

'The Emerging Church on the Internet'.

I've got a fair few resources in my bookmark lists but am interested in what others 'must read' emerging church blogs, websites and online resources are.

Please leave your suggestions in comments (with a reason why you like it and/or a description of the site) and I'll collate them all and post it after my lecture for all to use.

Update - I thought I'd start the ball rolling and post a few of my own links - but then I got carried away and came up with more than a few - I'll post them below. I hope I don't offend anyone by leaving them out - it is a VERY incomplete list. It is also biased towards my home city of Melbourne because that is where those I'll be sharing with are from). I also hope I don't offend anyone by the categories of descriptions I've used - its just a starting point and a draft and I'd really appreciate you input and ideas.

Practitioners

  • Backyard Missionary - Andrew is good value. I like that he is actually doing mission in a very earthy way with ordinary people. It isn't a yuppie, alternative ministry like many emerging churches but real.

  • Emergent Kiwi - (belongs in the thinker section as well). Steve has been around the Emerging church scene for a while (one of its elder statesmen) and has a wealth of experience and wisdom. He has also seen a lot of what is happening around the world and has great perspectives.

  • Alan Creech - takes a liturgical spin. I don't know much about Alan but he says good stuff and is pretty wise.

  • Moot - edgey UK emerging church group blog. These people are doing it and pushing some boundaries.

  • Si Johnston - UK blogger, Baptist minister, good thinker, missional community practitioner.

  • Signposts - These people belong in the 'thinkers' section also. They are doing innovative church in Melbourne Australia. I like them because they are helping established church Christians to do something different.

  • House Church Blog

  • Organic Church - a group blog of church planters and leaders grappling with post modernism

  • Neurotribe - Steve is another Melbourne guy exploring emerging church and involved in the Forge Network.

  • Submergence - Karen has been exploring Emerging Church for a while and is doing some innovative stuff in the US including running a cafe called Living Room.

  • Flying in Blue Sky - Barb is another Melbournian exploring faith, church and mission from a practioners perspective on her blog.
  • Breathing Space - Eddie is another Melbourne Blogger who is experimenting with Alt. worship - particularly the Labyrinth. He's also been part of a small group of people who gather to do church called Breathing Sapce.

Thinkers

  • Prodigal Kiwi - Paul reads too much - but I'm glad he does. If you need to find out what a book is about or whether its worth the read go ask Paul first. He's a great thinker and always has something interesting to say.

  • Tall Skinny Kiwi - another elder of the emerging church movement. Andrew always has something of interest to say. He also knows so many in the movement and has seen a lot of what is going on around the globe. He blogs about anything and everything and is a great cultural obsever/participator.

  • Jason Clark - Emergent UK - currently oing doctoral research in Leadership in the Emerging Culture.

  • Open Source Theology - a space for interactive theologizing for the emerging church.

Alt. Worship Sorts

  • Jonny Baker - If you want to know about Alt Worship go to the man that wrote the book. Jonny has heaps of great alt worship tips and tricks and brings a great perspective from the UK.

  • Small Ritual - Not just alt worshippy but this section needs more entries and its why I go there!

  • Holy Space - online interactive reflection/prayer resource

  • Grace - an Alt Worship community in London who have been exploring alt worship since 1993.

  • Alternative Worship - Has heaps of alt worship resources, links and articles.

  • Labyrinth Online - Discover the labyrinth with this hands on experiential website.

  • Labyrinth Australia

  • Small Fire

  • Vaux_Greyspace - A great collection of resources and articles on Alt Worship

  • The Cube - Online Worship/Prayer Experience

  • Embody - Online Interactive Prayer Experiences

Emerging Churches

E-Magazines and other Resources

  • Gink World - heaps of good quality thinking and practical stuff.

  • The Ooze - this site has become one of the 'go-to' places online for all things Emerging Church. Its a bit of a one stop shop with good articles on 'community, culture, faith and ministry'.

  • emergingchurch.info - another useful site with heaps of articles, suggested reading and resources for emerging church practitioners.

  • DTour - an Aussie 'The Oooze'.

  • Next Wave - Looking at Church and Culture.

  • Emergent Village - a place for spiritual leaders to grapple with postmodernism.

  • Seven Magazine - seeks to engage emerging culture and its interface with faith and life.

  • Faith Maps - tools for navigating theology, praxis, and leadership in the emerging church 

  • church.co.uk - 'making the life-changing message of Jesus accessible to everyone both by stimulating debate and by demonstrating the reality and relevance of Christian faith for the 21st century.'

  • Emergent Village - 'Emergent exists to help you help others love God and neighbors in the context of the emerging postmodern culture.'

  • Church Multiplication Associates - Neil Cole is one of the best communicators I've heard on the topic of Missional Church - he's a part of this organization and I'd highly recommend reading some of his work.

110 million People Read Blogs

2 August, 2004 4:11 PM

Blog Count is a great blogging stats resource that is trying to measure the spread and influence of blogging. One of their latest posts estimated that there could be as many as 70 million bloggers globally and up to 110 million blog readers world wide. The spreads of these estimates are pretty wide (as follows) but even at the lower end its a fairly large number. The %'s are those of total internet users.

"Blog Authoring: 2% - 7% (Is this a huge spread?) =
3.7 - 13.0 bloggers in the US
20 - 70 million bloggers worldwide
Blog Readers: 11% =
20.4 million blog readers in the US
110 million readers worldwide"

Source - blogcount: 110 million people read weblogs? Blog recognition rises: Blogs beat Britney Spears by 23%

Idiots Guide to Starting a Blog

2 August, 2004 8:30 AM

Jonny Baker has an Idiots Guide to Starting a Blog which is well worth the read if you're thinking of starting one but don't know how. I'm going to add it to my Blog Tips Central Register....

The remainder of this post has been moved to Pro Blogger - How to Start a Blog.

Sharing with the Junction

2 August, 2004 8:12 AM

I had a great time yesterday speaking out at the Junction which is an emerging missional church out in the south eastern suburbs.

It was cool to see what they do a little more and meet some of the people out there who I found out have been reading this blog for a few months now without me knowing! Hi especially to Michael who is a daily reader - hope you enjoyed last night mate.

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