Interesting BBC Article

The BBC has an interesting article on how Blogging (and since you’re reading this, you’re a part of it!) is shaping new journalism.

Which goes to show, DearDiary.Net’s original aims are actually being fulfilled!

If you don’t know what DD’s original aims are, check The New Look DD FAQ

Let’s look forward to a great year of blogging in 2005, though with any luck the news won’t be so filled with worldwide dramas and disasters as it was this year.

DearDiary.Net Theme Competition

A bone of contention on the site, and a personal pet hate of mine ever since we started the place in 1999 (but never a pet peeve enough for me to do much about it) is the absolute lack of nice themes available for beginner users to use. With that in mind we have decided to hold a Theme Competition.

In order to enter the competition you must design a diary layout, complete with colours and graphics buttons. When you configure your Theme you should note that items in your menu will appear on your theme – so either make them very generic and/or useful to newbies, or don’t put any items on the menus. Index Text and Welcome Text, along with Entry Headers and Footers will not appear on the theme.

The Prizes:

  • 1st prize will be One Years Plus Account Subscription
  • 2nd prize will be 6 Months Plus Account Subscription
  • A number of 1 Months Plus Account Subscriptions up for grabs for runners up
  • All Winners will be credited with the theme creation in the Customizer

The Rules:

  • Theme diaries must have usernames that start theme – so you could use themeFinndel if your normal name is Finndel – when you submit your entry, please include the username you would like the theme attributed to.
  • All theme entries must be original – including graphic artwork. No artwork that is under 3rd party copyright will be allowed (which rules out buttons that have ‘Simpsons’ characters for example) and this will result in the entire theme’s disqualification. You may use images that are copyright free (ie, where the author has explicitly stated the images are available with no copyright restrictions) but we will need to see evidence of this.
  • The judge’s decision will be final.
  • You agree that DearDiary.Net can use your theme for an indefinite period, for as many users as we wish because your theme will be published as a public theme in the Customizer. You may not revoke DearDiary.Nets rights to use your theme at any time, although you will retain copyright control of your theme and may choose to use it yourself elsewhere.
  • We are not bound to use your theme for any defined period. We may cease to use your theme as a public theme in the customizer at any time, without notice to you.
  • You agree that we may create derivative works of your theme, but only for the purposes of providing extra themes on the DearDiary.Net website. We may use your theme in any publicity on the site.
  • Competition closes January 15th 2005. Winners will be listed on an entry on this diary (deardiary1).
  • You may submit as many themes as you wish. Entrants who submit more than one theme will be eligible for more than one prize, if their themes are chosen for prizes.
  • Themes must be created in a diary on DearDiary.Net and must be available for transferrance into the ‘Theme System’ on 15th and 16th January 2005. After this date the theme diary may be deleted, or modified.
  • Winners who already hold Plus accounts will simply have the prize subscription appended to their existing subscription. has, apparently, a decent library of copyright free images. If you’re using images from that site though, be sure to check the ones you’ve chosen are definitely copyright free.

Above all – have fun! Let your creativity flow :-)

Update: One question tho, so I understand right… Do I need to create a new diary called “theme02012000” and set up the design in there for the judges to see? – it can be whatever you like so long as it starts with theme. We just didn’t want a whole slew of diary names taken up, so if it starts with theme I can just delete them all after the compo :)
2nd Update: It’s been pointed out to me that I don’t actually say how to submit your entries.. Send an email to and give us the URL to your theme diary, and let us know which username you’d like the theme attributed to if you win!

DearDiary.Net January Sale – And Search Is Restored

For a limited time the price of a Plus account has been slashed by around 30% – which with the current US Dollar exchange rate should represent a significant saving for our US friends. The price for a whole years Plus account is now a mere £15.75 (was £22.50), or approximately US$ 30.50, with similar savings on the 6 month subscription and the 1 month subscription.

Check out the features table for a comprehensive list of the advantages of being a Plus account holder – and don’t forget the list is growing all the time, with a bunch of new features planned for 2005

So now there’s never been a better time to support DearDiary.Net continuation, Go Plus!

To our DearDiary.Net supporters, please help by spreading the word to your other DD friends who don’t necessarily read this diary and get them to read this diary too – there’s lots of reasons to keep up to date! :)

Update: To answer Salamanders question, yes it is possible to renew now to take advantage of this – you can renew Plus accounts at any time and the new subscription will be added on to the existing expiry date.

Further Update: (Because I don’t want this to drop off the front page yet I’m sticking it here – lol)
The Search feature is restored – you can now search for keywords again, from the front page – click the ‘Home’ button when you’re on someone’s diary, or of course just navigate to to start with.

Be Aware With Your Information

I have been made aware that there are a number of ‘online surveys’ floating around that people have filled in. These surveys tend to be the ‘let your friends get to know you better’ type survey that when they first appeared on the net were fun, friendly and totally innocent and harmless. However, lately these types of surveys have been used to garner information that looks innocent but can be used to gain access to other people’s accounts, bank details and all sorts of things that you may not at first realise.

Be careful which information you give to anyone. Your mother’s maiden name for example is a classic security question that you’ll be asked if you want to do anything with your bank account. But it’s extremely easy for an online ‘phishing’ type survey to extract that information from you. Coupled with questions like ‘What starsign are you?’, ‘When is your birthday?’ and ‘Do you keep pets, if so do you have any special little names for them?’ and before you know it some unscrupulous person has enough information to call your bank and pretend to be you.

Whilst this isn’t happening much, I would ask everyone to bear this in mind when filling out online surveys or talking with anyone online. Do not give out ANY personally identifying information to anyone, unless you’ve met them personally, drink or eat out with them regularly, in person, and generally have an offline, in person relationship with them too. Even then you might want to be careful giving information online to them since if you’ve an offline relationship with them, you might as well wait and give them the info offline when you can see it’s them.

Happy Christmas / Holidays

Hi everyone,
Just dropping in to wish everyone a happy Christmas or whichever particular holiday you celebrate at this time of year. Have a great time and let’s look forward to a great 2005 coming up real soon!

Many thanks for your support over the last year, lets see what next year brings!