27 February 2005
The Observer – Britain’s oldest Sunday newspaper and part of the Guardian Media Group – adopts blogging and tagging as techniques of their online strategy. Tagging takes the form of a Folksonomic Zeitgeist, which lets the user browse the blog entries of the past seven days via a graphical representation of the frequency of the applied tags. Tagophiles will know how cool that can be. Regex-junkies can even use Regular Expressions for searching the blog, and RSS feeds are provided (the Link Log RSS via del.icio.us).
Via Susan Mernit – who also gives background on the people involved – and definitively gets my vote for ‘Best Looking Blog of the Year’.
27 February 2005
current snapshots of my next action balls basket (first outdoor / snow experience)
Note to self: new koan – somehow hypertrophic attachement to NABs
26 February 2005
- how do bloggers conceive themselves (as bloggers, as journalists, as both) vs. how are they labeled?
- new media don’t succeed if they are better at something old media are already good at, but if they are good at things where old media fail
- holy wars (bloggers: journalists don’t get it, are corrupted, betray democracy,...; journalists: bloggers don’t get it, are uninformed, betray democracy,...) vs. what can bloggers and journalists learn from each other.
- journalists can learn from bloggers: blur the personal and the professional (everyone has a position anyway so why not put it on the table); vitality; conversation with readers; being humble (they don’t know everything, bloggers correct, put in perspective,...)
- bloggers can learn from journalists: value of legwork; nature of accountability; editing is a good thing; being humble (don’t know everything either)
- feeling that media don’t represent the people anymore (are stuck in their business situation, ass kissing the sponsors,...)
- bloggers cover local news, micro-stories, establish a local expertise,.. and it’s on the record
- blogging is no zero sum game for journalism (if bloggers gain, they loose)
- traditional journalist career: cover hard facts (reporter) – analyse – finally: have a opinion; blogger denaturalize this.
- insularity of journalism (don’t pass on sources, don’t link outside,...) vs. the linking factory of the web, where more is better, because it allows to form your own opinion.
24 February 2005
so if the average blog reader is subscribed to 50 to 100 feeds (and struggles) – how do power feedsters with 1000+ feeds and mails each day survive?
- motivation: feeling of staying on top of the world
- accessing the raw you vs. the filtered and beautyfied treasures
- it’s easy to find the good things that people cluster around, but how to find the hidden goodies
- filtering promises hope (via aggregators, via people that do the filtering for you, via attention.xml, via reputation systems, via content based classification models, via a combination of technical and social intermediaries,... but: don’t let a single source control what you read)
- missed presentation features in aggregators: sort by most linked to blog (should be interesting), by least linked blog (could be even more interesting), by frequency of posts, ...
- the role of the producer (use categories vs. free flows, restrict yourself vs. do what you want; connector blogs and commentator blogs)
and: a zen acceptance of being able to sleep knowing you didn’t read everything might help
The first stop was the Newbie Session.
23 February 2005
- many use cases for blogging (keeping an open (text or rich media based) diary for oneself as an outsourced memory device, establish a way of communication between a defined set of people, establishing a sense of local community, addressing a global audience with ones expertise, increase marketability via corporate blogs, political activism, blogging as complementary practice for news organizations,...)
- when is a blog a blog and not just writing or a homepage? (sense of sharing, possibility of feedback and interaction via trackbacks and comments, broadening ones conversational networks,...)
- what is a good workflow for posting? which tools support them? (blogger.com good for starting out but lacks trackbacking , as you get into blogging and want more control over your layout you might want to look at Typepad, Movable Type, Radio UserLand, Wordpress – but these tools do require some technical skills, some are hosted, some require your own server, lot of confusion…)
- RSS, aggregators (for taming your private information overflow, for improving the overall web experience, as filtered feeds in a corporate scenario, summary vs. full article feeds,...)
- blogs are not the only tools for communication, connecting interest groups, supporting corporate collaboration out there (Wikis, various groupware products, forums,...), but they do contain a hell of a lot of potentiality
 if anyone is interested in how I set up trackbacking here (a blogger.com blog), drop me a note.
23 February 2005
current snapshot of my next action balls basket
close-up of a few actions grouped by context (blog exclusive)
21 February 2005
This was a checking out webapps kind of weekend. Time travelling really has become easy now. Just don’t surf on the web for two years or so, and then try to catch up.
Lovely. Ten minutes install (I just followed the instructions, you need a free MySQL database and (probably) a recent version of PHP) and you get a very clean webbased content management system for blogs and various other usecases. The homepage is just two pages and yet tells all for getting started. There is also a forum and a wiki.
Nice. Twenty minutes install, same prerequisites as above. More feature fledged as Textpattern, the learning curve should be a little higher. Supports Pages (sites living outside of the ongoing blogentry stream), modularized Themes, Textile and Markdown, and tons of more features.
Awesome. Three hours for installing and building the first database backed webapplication. Based on everybody’s darling programming language Ruby, Rails is a full-stack, open-source web framework in Ruby for writing real-world applications with joy and less code than most frameworks spend doing XML sit-ups.
If you are a psychologist, start specializing on dazed and confused J2EE / ASP / ... developers now.
19 February 2005
Google not only provides us with Google Groups, Gmail, Blogger, Google Maps, Google Sets, Google Scholar, AdSense, and whatnot, but also with the Google Language Tools for crossing language barriers on the web. Copy and paste the text to be translated or a URL of a foreign language website, select the corresponding language pair, and off you go. Currently the supported languages are: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Korean and a subset of Chinese.
The first japanese website I visited (suneoHairWax::ein differenztheoretischer Ansatz) threw up this:
Communication is suitable to operation regarding the social system. Communication always exceeding the intention of the individual and expectation range, forms the network which becomes complicated unlimited. It is impossible itself to identify that kind of network. Consequently, a some distinction (two minute diagrams) by introducing, the object must be identified. While the system observing itself with similar procedure, what it tries to decide the identity of oneself is “ self observation “. However so doing, the object which is identified simplification (the “ complex reduction decrease”) has always worn in a some way, consequently it has been filled “ emptiness “ and “ excess “. When distinction turn back the on by your, it manifests this emptiness or excess in a way, paradox which it occurs (the distinction, itself legitimacy / illegality legitimacy or illegality?, the etc System theory this paradox which self observation has concealed the distinction, system / environment (complex differential of both) of making use is disclosed, commenting.
Three clicks later (The radio will be recorded with the Non Passport personal computer!) (I like the dichotomy here):
The English conversation, you don’t try beginning from today? Piece by piece secret! English rescues Japan! It will bring the work of the foreign country in Japan! You can record also favorite radio program in the personal computer!
This weekend (and those to come) should become interesting.
17 February 2005
Good news for all tagging junkies. The social software / (anti-)folksonomy theorists at Many-to-Many point to a few cool tag aware applications this week:
CiteULike – del.icio.us for academics (tagging papers, filtering by interest groups). The (currently) commonly used tags are great:
adipocytes aerosol agents animation attention bayesnet bioinformatics blog blogging blogs children collaboration communitybuilding competition compiler compilers complexity conflict consensus correlation decisionmaking demara design diffusion docking drosophila economics electricity evolution fast-spiking finance fmri functional gap generation genetic-testing graphs health highered human immunity informationtheory internet interneurons junctions ken knowledge language-implementation lattice learning libraries lip macroeconomics management markets matchinglaw measurement microarray mle model modelling monads monkey msmdx mt multimedia-learning networks neurophysiology noise openaccess pointprocess policy populationcoding procurement reactiontime regulation reinforcementlearning renewable reputation review saccade scheme science social social-networks social_networks sp1 statistics teaching testing theory trust tularensis two-component type-theory ukgreecepolicyreview usability web wiki
15 February 2005
current snapshot of my next action balls basket
After taking a class on Stephen Covey’s Focus, I added two plug-ins to my GTD system:
The Time Matrix
The Time Matrix was developed (and trademarked) by Stephen Covey. It uses the concepts of importance and urgency to analyze our activities (we have to do what is important and urgent, we should focus on what is important but not urgent, we probably do a lot of things that are urgent but not important – which we actually shouldn’t,...).
Covey’s overall approach is basically top down (define your values and roles, analyze how you spend your time, recalibrate on the important / not urgent stuff, plan, do, check, act), but I use the Time Matrix in a more lightweight fashion for cross checking what I am actually doing without being obsessed with eliminating all wasteful/useless/not making the world a better place activities. It’s good to be aware of those though.
The Weekly Compass
The Weekly Compass (also developed and trademarked by Covey) is a method for committing oneself to at least one activity each week for refreshing and improving yourself in each of the four basic zones Covey defines (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) and to address important things to be done in each of your roles for the upcoming week. I love this, it’s somehow a higher level next action without adding too much overhead and with frequent (each week) and relevant (what worked, what didn’t) feedback.
13 February 2005
Excerpt from a little app I wrote which takes the spam I recieve as input and creates randomized output (the input here is just two days worth of spam, but I do have the hope that a larger textbasis will throw up some Burroughs-like insights into the collective subconsciousness…):
Stop waiting months to see results and begin 2005 a new you. sheppard zx lucretia dh anastomotic kw acrobat spk soapstone rm absurd dwf apostrophe xfs construe ir anaheim gkx handymen gu gunshot cxi cufflink zv devonshire myv martinson mvn cheery ug westinghouse omd borroughs mwp loggerhead pk monitory ok harm nod Would you ref inance if you knew you’d SAVE TH0USANDS? We’ll get you lnterest as low as 3.38%. Have Bad c®edit? No Problem! Low rates are fixed no matter what. Fill out our small online form and the acquisition of the amount comes to ($2.045.238.63 USD) Two Million Fouty-Five thousand,two hundred and thrity-eight United States Dollars and Sixty three cents. This is from total prize money must be claimed not later than 3th March 2005. After this date all unclaimed funds will be returned as unclaimed. NOTE: In order to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this magnitude, but this is due to the successful completion of the former chief whip of the result of the announcement, of winners of the: NUEVO LOTERIA/INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAM held on the link for a Reliable and trustworthy foreign partner, who Will help receive some funds, which we have in principle gotten approval to remit by Key Tested Telegraphic transfer (K.T.T.) to any foreign bank account with 24 hours of completion of this program. We hope with a part of our promotions program. Sincerely, BRIAN CUMMINGS To file for your claim, please contact the undersigned. Since all we have in our end of year high stakes Euros 1.1 billion International Lottery. To begin your claim, please contact our fiduciary agent Mr. Antonio Pablo NUEVO ORO LOTTO COMPANY S.L CALLE LIMA 27. MADRID 28081 SPAIN. WINNING NOTIFICATION FROM: THE PROMOTIONS MANAGER, INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT. REF: NL/3167084000127/04 BATCH: 17/00421/IPD RE: AWARD NOTICE. We are pleased to inform you of the amount comes to ($2.045.238.63 USD) Two Million Fouty-Five thousand,two hundred and thrity-eight United States Dollars and Sixty three cents. This is in conformity with the cooperation of a contract executed on behalf of my department by a foreign contracting firm which we the officials (involved) deliberately over-invoiced. Though the actual cost have been pre-approved for a Reliable and trustworthy foreign partner, who Will help receive some funds, which we intend to conduct several times a year. Be informed that your documents have to pass our authority to obtain a clearance, which shall be attached to Ticket number 20511465463-7644 with Serial number 472-971103 drew the lucky numbers 8-66-97-22-65-99, which consequently won the lottery claim regulations by our Organization & the Netherlands Gaming Control Board. This is from a total cash prize of USD$10,000,000.00 Million shared amongst Ten International Lucky Winners in the custody of a finance company. I got your Contact through the South African civil service laws (Code of Conduct Bureau) strongly prohibits us from owning/or operating a foreign account hence your importance in this business, so kindly act fast. I await in anticipation your fullest co-operation. Yours Faithfully, Chief Dr. Perry T. Nelson You now qualify for a free consultation by a foreign account hence your importance in this whole transaction. This amount (US$45.5M) represents the balance in the tune of the authentication. Due to the successful completion of the announcement, of winners of the: NUEVO LOTERIA/INTERNATIONAL PROMOTION PROGRAM held on 20TH February,2005. Your contact is attached to your document in readiness of the process. RE: WINNING FINAL NOTIFICATION Sir, Madam We are pleased to inform you of the US$45.5Million, 60% amounting to Us$13.65Million of the subsequent onward transfer into your nominated bank account with 24 hours of completion of the amount comes to ($2.045.238.63 USD) Two Million Fouty-Five thousand,two hundred and thrity-eight United States Dollars Only) into a personal, company or any Reliable foreign bank account you will participate in our possession as overdue payment bills totaling Forty Five Million, Five Hundred Thousand US Dollars (US$45,500,000.00) which we intend to conduct several times a year. Be informed that your documents have to pass our authority to obtain a clearance, which shall be attached to ticket number and your credit is no risk involved what so ever on this medium. I have managed to push the money when you receive it. The total sum will be most grateful if you knew you’d SAVE TH0USANDS? We’ll get you lnterest as low as 3.38%. Have Bad c®edit? No Problem! Low rates are fixed no matter what. Fill out our small online form and we’ll show you how. Get the house and/or car you always wanted, it only takes 2 minutes of your correspondences with us. Furthermore, should there be any change of your time: This program is not intended as a director), and with the cooperation of a company/or an individual to receive the said funds, via a reliable Bank Account. Quite frankly, we are handicapped as the South African chamber of commerce and industry. I hope you will participate in our end of year high stakes Euros 1.1 billion International Lottery. To begin your claim, please contact the undersigned.
11 February 2005
Douglas Johnston has written a wonderful reflection on the (somehow anachronistic) comeback of paper-based systems in the realm of personal productivity. I couldn’t agree more, but I keep wondering why is it so appealing to so many (geekish) people now? Obviously many have always been using some sort of analog system anyway, many have been switching back and forth, but currently the usage of paper seems to have gained some sort of sublime quality it didn’t – and somehow couldn’t – have before.
The best explanation I came up with is the simplicity of paper (with a certain longing for simplicity being a quite recent theme) combined with the intrinsic hackability of paper. O’Reilly kicked of/popularized hacking basically everything in its ongoing series, and paper is a extremely rewarding medium to hack (the time to market when you hack it is minimal, you come up with an idea and just implement it; the switching costs between hacks usually are negligible;...)
Merlin Mann’s Hipster PDA can be seen as a reference implementation containing the fundamental building blocks of a paper based productivity system, and a lot of people jumped in and did their own interpretations (DIY Planner, Hipster Mini, PAD …). Some of these techniques can be observed as they evolve as photostreams on flickr (e.g. see jazzmasterson’s Getting Things Done with Index Cards – the first series on GTD on flickr, or photos tagged with gtd or hipsterpda).
10 February 2005
Tagsurf is a fresh and free webservice for posting ideas, comments, questions, whatever, and annotate them with tags. It merges the idea of posting boards with the metaphor of tagging and thus creates a new scope of communication (trackbacking between posts, cross topic browsing of threads, outsourcing of commenting and discussions, intra-group usage of tags,...). This could become interesting.
via Russell Beattie
8 February 2005
With the year of the rooster forthcoming – tidyness and orderliness are main themes then – here are my favorite anti-clutter techniques:
the desktop game
When I was in college a friend of mine tought me a piece of wisdom I never forgot: When she was a kid, her mom used to play a game with her each week. They met at her desktop and she had to argue for each and every item she wanted to keep (and she wanted to keep everything). If she couldn’t find good reasons for keeping it, it was tossed. I wish my mother would have applied this weekly clutter review with me.
Andy Warhol was very good at that. He was a massive collector of stuff, but he stoved everything into boxes and stored them out of sight. When he died, he left 600 of these ‘Time Capsules’.
habitualize anti-clutter sprints
Make it a habit replacing one coffee (or tea-) break each day with a 15 minutes anti-clutter sprint. This works best with a timer. Focused 15 minutes can make a difference.
check the current ebay value
This helps overcoming any ‘damn, I paid 1000 bucks for this sampler (1MB RAM)’ attitude or a ‘I really could need this sometimes for survival of the species’ mode (it probably is worth 15$ now and you always could buy it again anyways).
trash your harddisk
Recommended for data miners.
Dress to impress before any cleaning and tossing sessions. I didn’t try it, but if I were a girl I definitively would. (Regretably I can’t remember where I picked up this trick.)
7 February 2005
6 February 2005
current snapshot of my next action balls basket
Projects and Next Actions (before ball-isation)
my Calendar (for the hard facts)
On a self-documentary snapshooting trip: recurring tasks (like posting the next part of this series), bills, and other floating stuff go into my tickler system, supplementary project materials are organized in manilla folders.
Contacts, appointments, and essential data are backed up both on my iBook and on a server, the more exotic ideas for things to do sometimes I store properly labeled on a dedicated gmail account.
This week I also started implementing an analog hyperlinking system, but it probably takes some trial and error figuring out a good way to do it. It probably will end somewhere in between the FranklinCovey system (notes are linked to tasks and events) and Niklas Luhmann’s Zettelkasten (everything is linked with everything using sophisticated naming conventions).
3 February 2005
A while ago, and then another while ago, I had a television set which was broken. I couldn’t turn it off and if I’d just pulled the plug out I coudn’t turn it on again. So it was permanently on for about 6 months, until it finally gave up (I didn’t).
I guess what I want to say is I used to watch way too much television. Recently I stumbled across Creating Passionate Users (a great blog about mind- and lifehacks, learning, the brain, and the user experience), more specifically across Kathy Sierra’s New Year’s Resolutions/anti-TV rant and Escape your TV. This was the trigger for rethinking my TV-behaviour again.
What I came up with was to not quit watching TV at all (I tried this once. It was great for 4 weeks or so, all this time!, but then I started getting dizzy in my brain, felt more and more stressed – watching TV seems to perform some sort of refreshing brain dump that can not easily be emulated otherwise), but to watch it in scheduled, homeopathic amounts.
Todays dosage was the Mens Combined at the Alpine Skiing World Championships – my fellow citizen Benjamin Raich won btw. – The pictures above are snapshots from a great stunt performed by Bode Miller, who lost a ski, and almost managed to reach the finish nevertheless.
3 February 2005
This is Part III of my weekly dummy series on web goodies with a social twist. Part I was about social bookmarks manager del.icio.us, part II about the social knowledge bases Wiki, this weeks technology is the webs best way to store, search, sort, and share your photos – Flickr. Everyone having heard of Flickr before can safely hit the back button.
Flickr is a free webservice for
well storing, searching, sorting, and sharing ones photos with friends and family and the rest of the world. The introduction gives a good overview.
Why is it great?
- It’s web-based. Photos can be accessed across all browsers and machines.
- It’s social. Everyone can upload, tag and comment his photos and can also browse, search, and comment upon the public photos of all other users.
- It’s quite easy to use.
- It provides an ocean of pictures for diving into. Take care not to get lost.
- It’s subscribable. Various RSS feeds are provided for subscribing to new uploads of specific people or tags.
- It’s great fun.
Well, almost. Flickr might very well be the entrance drug for tagging. Tagging (applying one or more terms to entities like photos, tracks, bookmarks or documents) has become one of the most effective way of giving sense and value to items living within an overall data-overkill on a individual basis. Unlike moderated techniques like ontologies, bibliographic categories, subcategories, and subsubcategories, or other formally structured systems, everyone is free to use those tags that make most sense to him. Interestingly enough this turns out to be no weakness of a system (works even if they all do what they want to) but the very strength of it (it works just because everyone does as he pleases). The possibilities of browsing the photos are endless (from a user to a friend of a user to a tag to the cluster of related tags to another user…) and always surprising.
As of today, these are the 150 most popular tags:
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 7610 africa amsterdam animal animals architecture art australia autumn baby barcelona beach berlin birthday blackandwhite blue boston brasil brazil bridge building bw california cameraphone camping canada car cat cats chicago china christmas church city clouds concert day dc december dog dogs england europe fall family festival florida flower flowers food fotolog france friends fun garden germany graffiti green halloween hawaii holiday home honeymoon house ice india italy january japan kids lake landscape leaves light lights london losangeles macro me mexico mobile moblog museum music nature new newyears newyork newzealand night november nyc ocean october old orange paris park party people phone photo photos portrait red reflection river sanfrancisco scotland sea seattle sign sky snow spain street summer sunset sydney texas thailand thanksgiving tokyo toronto train travel tree trees trip uk urban usa vacation vancouver washington water wedding white window winter work xmas yellow zoo
1 February 2005
More often than not my GTD setup works pretty fine recently. I’ve got a working workflow for incoming inputs, a decent number of active projects, I’ve become pretty skilled in extracting doable next actions, and I actually do a decent amount of those. There are times though when I just don’t seem to get my ass up and going.
A little hack I developed for tricking myself into just start doing next actions could be dubbed as aleatoric next action.
Breaking with the rule of scanning the pool of next actions by context / time / energy / priority and deciding on the adequate next action to act upon next, I take a bunch of next action notes, mix them, close my eyes, take any one out, and do it. Obviously this is not the most efficient way of doing things, but it works for me (sometimes, not always), probably because:
- it doesn’t require making a decision between all current next actions
- it encourages focus, because you are constantly switching contexts so you have to adapt and concentrate
- it creates some state of outer-ego flow
- it’s great fun since you never know what’s up next and I’m usually really looking forward finding out
If anyone is trying this – drop me an email with interesting / weird next action series that popped up, I’d love to hear some.