27 February 2006

The Ontological Web

Info Cloud: the casual web. the background web. in technological terms: unobtrusive, multitasking, low attention channels … this will definitely increase in the near future. and mainly, at present, in psychological terms: a vague kind of attention, like being at a party and just getting lost in the murmur of many conversations/discussions. downstream: feeds again, but lite feeds so to speak, building a “background” experience. not initiated by “subscriptions” but nurtured by tagging, folksonomies and the like. the upstream side would be one’s own tagging as well as the tracks and paths left behind. very loosely coupled links and textures.

(the 3rd sphere of mediatope: 3 spheres of the micro-web …)

27 February 2006

Rails on Mac OS X

Excellent introduction into Ruby on Rails at Apple’s Developer Connection (focus is on OS X, but if you’ve got Rails running everything should work on your system as well.)

While building a little app this tutorial also introduces migration, scaffolding, the console and tests along the way.

26 February 2006

Attention Markets

Umair Haque on audiences in the web 2.0 space (kind of complementary to his ninged/flocked theme):

The 2.0 crowd has the right tools (communities, networks, attention markets, etc), but not the right audiences. Big media still has the audiences, but not the tools.

Consider Digg. Digg, as it is, is useless to me, and to most of the rest of the universe. I don’t care if there’s a video on YouTube about an 87 year old dude having a sex change. Reading Digg is like listening to a coked-up Connie Chung talking to the same 1000 Ajax worshippers…every second of every day.

It’s not that Digg inherently sucks. In fact, I think attention markets are going to be a revolutionary, radical innovation. But, as in many 2.0 models, the content is like the community. Digg’s community of pimply teenagers can give me neither relevance nor depth.

Now, the WSJ’s, WaPo’s, NYT’s, Economist’s audiences could – but they haven’t been given the tools to connect and create.

This begs the bigger, more crucial question: why not?

26 February 2006

Social Standards

Joshua Porter on standards fetishism :

The most important standards on the Web are not technological, they’re social. They are the standards that software and web sites need to reach before people find something useful. If you can, yes, use standards to make your app more accessible, or to save on your bandwidth costs, or give you better visibility among your peers.

But standards are a false idol, and praying to validation is putting technology before humans. Don’t make standards an absolute necessity if they’re going to hold you back from coming up with something like Gmail that completely changes the way we use the Web.

25 February 2006

Future of Web Apps: Schachter

Highly recommonded: the podcast of Joshua Schachter’s talk at the Future of Web Apps Summit

He drops a lot of useful information on lessons learned while building del.icio.us, but I was mostly impressed by his takes on balancing del.icio.us within the ecosystem of the Web 2.0, e.g. (notes from Simon Willison):

As the population gets larger, the bias drifts; del.icio.us/popular becomes less interesting to the original community members. Work out ways to let the system fragment in to different areas of attention.

Tagging is mostly user interface – a way for people to recall things, what they were thinking about when they saved it. Fairly useful for recall, OK for discovery, terrible for distribution (where publishers add as many tags as possible to get it in lots of boxes).

Automatic tags lose a lot – doesn’t help the user really achieve their goals. That’s why the ‘add to del.icio.us’ badges don’t let you suggest tags.

Value in Delicious is in the ‘attention’ – auto-tagging detracts from this.

‘Beware librarians’ – some people want to give tags a specific, underlying meaning. Don’t let them.

‘You have to understand the selfish user’ – user #1 has to find the system useful or you won’t get user #2. Systems that only become useful when lots of people are using them usually fail, because there’s no incentive for people to contribute themselves. The real trick is to make the user base you have want to invite more people in to the system.

Goals skew the results. People don’t read, they cram crap in to boxes. Let people wander don’t give them tasks.

You have to develop a sense of morals when you build your system. It’s the user’s data; it’s not yours. Make sure they can remove themselves and their account if they want to.

In del.icio.us if a user deletes something they really do purge the data from the system. No transaction logs etc for getting stuff back.

24 February 2006

First Impressions: Joyent

I recently got myself a Mixed Grill, part thereof is the Joyent collaboration suite. Rails is calling, simplicity at its best.

Joyent Connector provides each member of your team with email, calendars, address books, and file storage, all over the web, and easily shared with the other members of your team.

All apps are nice and fresh looking and easy to use and stripped from every feature one possibly might not use, and that’s really all there is. Well almost. What makes Joyent a very special suite is that there are 4 intrinsic paradigms:

Come up with consistent naming conventions for your tags (i.e. a unique tag for each project,...) and the combined power of tags and smart groups is actually all you need for many use cases.

Another goodie is the Connector, which gathers notifications and items from all other apps and displays them at one central place.

What I’m missing is the ability to write (and share and collaborate on) notes and to create (and share and collaborate on) lists. It would be fantastic if one could create Writeboards or Writely documents or Ta-Da lists or Instikis directly from within Joyent (so that they can be shared and easily accessed), but since these apps are readily available and free, it actually would do if there would be some sort of dashboard to collect all entry points.

Under the bottom line: Joyent is brilliant.

23 February 2006

Quick and Dirty

Found two tools today which will multiply my bloguctivity:

ListMixer (throwaway bookmarks) – which lets you create – as the tagline suggests – throwaway bookmarks. You get all the standard features of a social bookmarks manager (a bookmarklet, a RSS feed, a linkroll, tags), but the killer feature is that any bookmark will be dumped, if it is not clicked for 30 days.

Think of ListMixer as a waiting room for bookmarks before they enter your permanent collection. If you decide a page in your Mix is worth keeping for good, we make it easy to add it to your favorite social bookmarking service just hover your pointer over a link in your Mix to see.

ozimodo – which is a tumbleloggin’ engine for Rails. ozimodo has a minimalistic beauty which is hard to describe. Think of it as your favorite blogging tool without all stuff you don’t need (templates, trackback, comments, sections, pages, plugins, ...) but with everything you really want: tags, feeds, modes, inline editing via ajax. I love it.

21 February 2006

Lame Filters

Technorati released three new features recently: Filter By Authority, Favorites and Reading Lists/OPML for Blog Finder – and while they sure are nice they are also kinda lame.

Filter By Authority gives you on the result of a search a little slider, which lets you restrict the results to blogs with (any, a little, some, a lot) authority.

Favorites lets you add up to 50 Blogs and aggregates the recent entries of those. You also can restrict your searches to them.

Reading Lists/OPML for Blog Finder lets you subscribe (see the little button labeled ‘OPML’ at the bottom of the page) to the 20 most authorative blogs on any topic/tag (e.g.: web 2.0).

All three tools will help you, if you don’t use a feedreader (which is emulated by Favorites), if you want to eliminate noise (trading this against the risk of missing potentially interesting stuff which stayed under the radar of the popular blogs) or if you just want to read what most others are also reading on a topic.

I wonder if this is really the best Technorati can come up with. They can access an ocean of data. They have indexed all blogs out there, they have all the links in between them and out, they’ve got all the tags, they do know a lot. The only thing they are exploiting is authority based on backlinks (which obviously is the best indicator for interestingness the industry has so far.)

If you are new to a subject, checking out the 20, 50, 100 most popular blogs definitively will give you a head start, but once you’ve checked them out, you’ll have picked your favorites and read them anyways (or not). There is no added value, if Technorati reinforces the visibility of those already visible. I’m really missing tools for digging in the longer end of the tail.

21 February 2006

Nightly Builds

2 pretty cool mash-ups:

Digg’s Front Page Stories – a dynamic mosaic of screenshots of sites on the frontpage of digg (via)

Google Maps Nighttime! – a mash-in of NASA satellite night images into Google Maps (via)

15 February 2006

Digg's Friends and Relations


digg

(_digg it, tape it, clic it, fuzz it, wobble it, kick it, tagg it, star it, wank it, spy it, rate it, shout it, rigg it, goosa it, bumb it, list it, love it, gabb it, bump it or dork it, ..._)

English


All Things Dork [dorked out news]


APBNews [misc news]


BiBiLog [videos, jokes, pictures]


Blog Reporter [focus on blogs]


BrainDigg [focus on the brain]


Bumped News [focus on games]


daily911 [politics]


Daily RSS [mixed, grabs the stories from feeds]


Diggnews [mixed news]


dotnetkicks [focus on .NET]


FeedButler [mixed, grabs the stories from feeds]


fuddle-duddle [focus on canadian political news]


gabbr [mixed news]


GoogleKicks [focus on google]


HITsmit [focus on health]


Hobbit Links [focus on fanstasy]


IndianPad [mixed news]


iTunesLove [focus on songs]


javakicks [focus on java]


kaboodle [mixed news]


kick.ie [irish news]


leve1 [mixed news]


LinuxFilter [linux news]


listible [mixed lists]


mackicks [focus on mac]


meme-stream [mixed links, infotainment]


mozillakicks [focus on mozilla]


n.ewradio [focus on alternative music]


NewsBump [mixed news]


newsgarbage [mixed news, compostable]


nfiltrate [mixed news, bands]


Pligg [mixed news]


Political Stuff [political news]


Qoosa [mixed news]


Riffs [mixed recommendations]


Shoutwire [mixed news]


ShutterSeek [focus on photography]


SkimCSS [focus on css]


SpinSpy [mixed news]


SpyMe [mixed news, focus on south east asia]


socialporn [focus on adult content]


staralicious [focus on celebrity gossip]


StockDigg [focus on finances]


Suckingfish [mixed news]


Video Bomb [focus on videos]


Wobble [focus on blogs]


XboxKicks [focus on xbox]

French


Fuzz [mixed news]


Scoopeo [mixed news]


Tape Moi [mixed news]

German


digg.de [mixed news]

Hebrew


shaveh [mixed news]

Chinese


17dig [mixed news]


diglog [mixed news]


dingr [mixed news]


livedigg [mixed news]


tagriver [mixed news]

Japanese


@ NEWZ [mixed news]

Polish


Wykop [mixed news]

Portugese


DoMelhor [mixed news]


eu curti [mixed news]

Russian


news2.ru [mixed news]

Spanish


BlogMemes [mixed news]


ihardware [technology]


meneame [mixed news]


mumor [entertainment]


populicias [mixed news]


r00lz [mixed news, mostly tech]


rockeame [mixed news]

14 February 2006

Measure Laws

The list of weblogs ranked by poularity is not a hierarchy in that sense, however. It is instead a ranking by status. The difference is critical, since what’s being measured when we measure links or traffic is not structure but judgment. When I’m not the CEO, I’m not the CEO because there’s an org chart, and I’m not at the top of it. There is an actual structure holding the hierarchy in place; if you want to change the hierarchy, you change the structure.

When I’m not the #1 blogger, however, there are no such structural forces making that so. Ranking systems don’t work that way; they are just lists ordered by some measured characteristic. To say you want to subvert that sort of hierarchy makes little sense, because there are only two sorts of attack: you can say that what’s being measured isn’t important (and if it isn’t, why try to subvert it in the first place?), or you can claim that lists are irrelevant (which is tough if the list is measuring something real and valuable.)

Clay Shirky (in the context of the recent gatekeepers discussion)

12 February 2006

The Mixed Grill

Just got myself the Mixed Grill – a special offer from TextDrive which for a one-time payment of $499 gives you lifelong access to shared hosting (Shared 2) at TextDrive, 9 GiB of storage at Strongspace and the Startup Plan of Joyent (who recently bought TextDrive.)

If you can spare $500 it’s worth checking out.

12 February 2006

Ninged and Flocked

Umair Haque on barriers to growth for 2.0 at the moment

Ninged:

shorthand for a chasm in usability. Though you’ve created new market space, the share of that market that’s valuable in the real world is tiny; though many might want to use this set of services, only geeks can use them – you’ve built a better mousetrap, but only [geeks] can figure out how to use it.

Flocked:

shorthand for a chasm in needs. Though everyone can figure them out, they create little market space: only geeks want these services – you’ve built a better mousetrap, but it only catches very, very small subset of mice.