PNW Topic Hotlist - Bringing Together Pacific NW Voices
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Monday, February 22, 2010

More Oregon Blogs

We've further expanded the number of Oregon blogs to 30 by adding the following blogs:
In addition we recently added a new Washington blog, Faith NOT Freedom News, that adds a new voice to the PNW Topic Hotlist, bringing our current blog total to 111.

Check them out by visiting our blogroll or clicking through when a posting is listed for a topic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Expanding to Alaska

We're branching out tentatively to broaden the scope of the blogs we're covering by adding a couple of Alaskan blogs: Progressive Alaska and Shannyn Moore - Just A Girl From Homer.

We say tentatively because while we're adding these feeds to our content, we'll not be adding Alaskan topics quite yet. We'll want to ensure we have enough critical mass before doing so.

If you have any suggestions for other Alaskan blogs we should consider send them our way.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Ok, it has admittedly been a while since the last entry to this blog, but that's not an indication that nothing has been going on.

While "Change" has come to Washington, D.C., we've also been making changes to the main Topic Hotlist page.

New Entries

Most recently and most visibly, we've adjusted how we indicate new postings since your last visit, or over the past 24 hours, by adding a red vertical line to the left of the new entries. We think this makes them stick out better. Because this is a common paradigm in many word processors, the "new!" indicator is probably now redundant. However, we're going to leave it there for a little while until people become used to the new approach.

Hottest Entries

We've also been adjusting the Top 10 Hottest Entries listing to display an indicator of the relative scores of each posting, as well as its previous position (we're not going to reveal the secret sauce we use to determine the positions, sorry). Keep in mind movement is based on activity since the last update.

Aggregator Smarts

We're continuing to improve how we classify a posting so that it falls under the most appropriate topic, and we have a laundry list of future adjustments we plan to make soon. We think what we're doing here is trying to be a smarter aggregator, so our goal is to constantly refine our processes and algorithms.

New Blogs

Our Blogroll continues to evolve and we're now aggregating 104 blogs. Perhaps the most popular of the new additions is PubliCola. We're not looking for quantity, but quality - blogs that cover local issues, not just national. That approach acts as a natural limiting factor that ensures we don't dilute the best postings with noise. However, we're always open to suggestions for new blogs, so please send them to us.

So that's a bit of what's been going on. If you like using the Topic Hotlist please spread the word. Remember, you can use it as an embedded widget on your own blog or Web page, or as a portal for your regular reading, daily, or multiple times a day, as we're constantly updating the listings.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We're Moving!

Today we directed the routers of the world to look for the domain at our new domain name servers, completing our move to a new Web host that began a few weeks ago.

We've been settling in, adjusting the furniture, upgrading some of the trimmings, and after kicking the wheels (and mixing our metaphors) we feel the new home is ready to go.

What this means to you is hopefully a more reliable service, less prone to the vagaries of our previous hosting situation, and hopefully an environment that will enable us to grow.

So over the next few days, as the servers of the world get wind of the change, the service will eventually migrate all visitors to the new digs.

How will you know you're at the new site? The most obvious indicator will be that we've gone back to updating the Hotlist every 30 minutes all day and all night.

As usual, if you have any feedback or notice any problems, please let us know. We think we've made all the adjustments necessary, but it is possible we missed something along the way.

Otherwise, it's business as usual, with better things to come on the horizon, with thanks from the Sunlight Foundation, whose grant earlier this year has made the move possible.

Monday, March 31, 2008

We're Running a Survey

While we always welcome feedback at any time (feel free to email us or enter comments on a blog entry), we thought it was about time we ran a formal survey to ask our users a few questions.

So please, if you have a moment, respond to our survey so we can better gauge what works for you and what doesn't.

The survey ends April 14th.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The PNW Topic Hotlist Earns a $5000 Sunlight Foundation Mini-Grant

I am very happy to announce that the Sunlight Foundation has awarded us with a $5000 mini-grant:
WASHINGTON, DC -Today, the Sunlight Foundation is announcing new mini-grants as part of its commitment to support original ideas, tools, Web sites, and bloggers that further the organization's mission of using the Internet to foster a more open government.

"The projects Sunlight is funding today demonstrate new ways citizens are creatively using the Internet to give the public the power to learn more about their elected representatives," said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation. "All of these new Sunlight grantees create greater transparency about elected officials and will strengthen citizen participation in the democratic process."
Ours was one of six mini-grant awarded:
$5,000 to Pacific Northwest Topic Hotlist. The Pacific Northwest Topic Hotlist aggregates over 100 political news blogs in the Pacific Northwest and organizes several hundred postings by topic, specifically highlighting coverage by local bloggers of legislative issues and their representatives in Congress. This grant will provide funding for Web hosting services for this news aggregator site and its accompanying widgets.
The grant money will help us re-host the Hotlist and ramp up the feature offerings that have been hampered by our lack of bandwidth. This is something we hope to do in the coming months.

I would like to thank Ellen Miller for taking this supportive step in the growth of this service, that until now has been funded entirely on sweat equity. The grant will ensure not only improved services and features, but guarantee we're here for some time to come.

And thanks to all the bloggers out there who have supported us by including the Hotlist widget in their sidebar. Without you, none of this would exist!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good News Announcement Soon

It has been a while since we've posted anything to the site blog, but that's not because nothing is happening.

During these "quiet" times things are simply running along smoothly.

However, we hope to have some good news to post very soon regarding the future of the PNW Topic Hotlist, and over the coming months we should have some new features to offer that have been put on the back-burner up until now.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

100 Blogs Listed

We're now scanning 100 blogs from Idaho, Oregon and Washington with the addition of three Idaho blogs: PrideDEPOT Blog, Ft. Boise and Isle of Sanity.

Welcome to the new blogs!

We continue to keep an eye out for the leading blogs in the three states and if you have any recommendations or suggestions please let us know about them.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tracking Top Hot Topic Entries

One of the fun things we like to do is track the hottest of the Topic Hotlist entries. Added this weekend to the The Top Hot Topic Entries slide-out listing on our main page (select the Hottest Entries menu item to display the list) are simple up (), down () and sideways () arrows showing the movement of an entry within the chart.

The data is updated with each new aggregation, so you can check the progress of postings up and down the chart with each new update.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Taking the PNW Topic Hotlist to the Next Level

Do you think the PNW Topic Hotlist worthy of a little financial support?

I do, which is why I just submitted an entry into the BlogPac Progressive Entrepreneur Contest. BlogPac is running the contest

to find the five best new, grassroots progressive infrastructure projects in America, and provide those projects with the money, exposure, and connections necessary to get off the ground.
Well, while we are technically already off the ground, we are constrained by the cost of hosting, and are jumping through all kinds of hoops so that you don't notice. For the most part we've been successful in working off a shoestring budget, but we want to grow this sucker, and we really can't without a little love and affection, and financial help.

I'm a pragmatist, so I don't expect my entry will be selected as a winner, but it doesn't hurt to make a pitch, and if my pitch to BlogPac doesn't pan out, perhaps you'll consider helping out with a small contribution through the PayPal button in the sidebar, or on the main page of the site.


Update: Well we didn't win, but you can see the list of winners here. Congratulations to them all.