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Social software's purpose is dealing with with groups, or interactions between people

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-05-07 13:57

Must read for non-experts and experts alike.

From on social software (28 April 2004, Interconnected):


Social software's purpose is dealing with with groups, or interactions between people. This is as opposed to conventional software like Microsoft Word, which although it may have collaborative features ("track changes") isn't primarily social. (Those features could learn a lot from social software however.) The primary constraint of social software is in the design process: Human factors and group dynamics introduce design difficulties that aren't obvious without considering psychology and human nature.

This ties nicely with adaptive design, in that social software encourages you to fulfil latent needs first, then embark on not a development cycle but a dialogue with user concerns in which you listen to their emerging needs and implement them in code -- but you have to give users the ability to stretch the system otherwise you'll never even notice those new needs.


Computers should help us become smarter and work together better

Submitted by Roland on Fri, 2004-05-07 11:22

Excellent manifesto for software developers.

From A Manifesto for Collaborative Tools:


All of the conceptual and technical ideas I've proposed in this essay share one thing in common: They won't make a difference unless tool developers work on them together. Creating a shared conceptual framework is a truly collaborative problem. It will not be solved by a single person in an ivory tower and forced upon the rest of the community. It will require constructive, passionate dialog, open minds, and much experimentation. It will require respect for other people's work and ideas. Most importantly, it will require a shared desire to make the world a better place by improving the way we work together.   

With this in mind, these are the steps for improving collaborative tools:   

  • Be people-centric. This applies both to how we design our tools, and how we market them.  

  • Be willing to collaborate. We all belong to a community of like-minded tool developers, whether or not we are aware of it. Working together will both strengthen this community and improve our tools.   
  • Create shared language. Our tools share more similarities than we may think. Conversing with our fellow tool builders will help reveal those similarities; creating a shared language will make those similarities apparent to all. As a shared language evolves, a shared conceptual framework for collaborative tools will emerge, revealing opportunities for improving the interoperability of our tools.   
  • Keep improving. Improvement is an ongoing process. Introducing new efficiencies will change the way we collaborate, which in turn will create new opportunities to improve our tools.   

Finally, never forget Doug Engelbart's fundamental tenet: Computers should help us become smarter and work together better. Remembering this will keep us on the right track.


What happens to our culture when everything is eternal and recorded?

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-05-06 23:32

Hmmm, perhaps we will lose all privacy. Or more likely, people will become experts at selectively revealing what they want and hiding the rest.

From John Battelle's Searchblog: From the Ephemeral to the Eternal:


In short, before the web, we could pretty safely assume that our hard drive rummaging, our email, and our networking habits – in short, our clickstream – were ephemeral, known only to us (and soon forgotten by us, I’d wager). 
But as I've posted before, and as many have noted before me, as an internet culture we are steadily moving our ephemeral habits from the desktop to the web, and from our local control to the servers of corporations. (I was not surprised to learn yesterday that one in ten internet users have registered at a social network, for example, and one in five have visited one). The reason for this shift is simple: innovative companies have figured out how to deliver great services (and make money) by divining clickstream patterns, be it a underlying divination, like PageRank, or a more direct one, such as AdWords or Amazon’s recommendation system. And from a consumers’ point of view, there are also very simple and compelling reasons for this shift: services like search, Plaxo and Gmail make our lives easier, faster and more convenient. But as we move our data from the edges to the center, a question arises: Have our assumptions moved with our data?   

Brad Templeton, among many others, offers perhaps the most reasonable assessment of this question as it relates to Gmail (his conclusion: we need to revise our assumptions about privacy and ownership), but I’d argue that the issues he raises can be more broadly discussed in relation to search.

Search provides a framework for thinking not only about mail (what is it about Gmail that makes it really unique? It’s searchable…), but for our entire clickstream, which is fast becoming an asset - certainly to the individual, but in particular to the internet industry. Search drives clickstreams, and clickstreams drive profits. To profit in the internet space, corporations need access to clickstreams. And this, more than any other reason, is why clickstreams are becoming eternal. As we root around in the global information space, search has become our spade, the point of our inquiry and discovery. The empty box and blinking cursor presage your next digital artifact, the virgin blue link over which your mouse hovers will transform into one more footprint through this era’s Olduvain ash.

But once eternal, what then? Beyond commerce, what happens to our culture when the previously unknown becomes knowable, and, to ping Kevin Kelly, out of control? I’d love to hear what you think, I’d guess that the consequences are pretty far reaching.


Bill Burnham's automated software stock spreadsheet (Windows only)

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-05-06 09:17

As I suspected the automatic Excel stock price toolbar only works on Windows. I bet the same thing could be done with RSS in a more elegant and cross platform way. LazyWeb?

From BurnhamsBeat: Updated Software Stock Spreadsheet:


Attached is an updated version of my Software Stock Excel Spreadsheet with prices for 255 public software companies as of 4/30/04. It’s a pretty exhaustive list, so if you are looking for a way to track the stock prices of public software companies, look no further. I use this spreadsheet to help spot long and short investment ideas in the space. I’ve removed from the spreadsheet all of the Internet –related companies and put them in their own separate spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet makes use of Microsoft's MSN Money automatic Stock price download toolbar within Excel to get current stock prices for each company. To update the prices you need to update the prices on sheets “Raw 1” and “Raw 2” separately as MSFT has a limit on the number of quotes you can request at one time. Right now you can only get basic market information via this service. Hopefully in the future you will be able to get some financial statement information.


HowTo play AVI files on Mac OS X

Submitted by Roland on Thu, 2004-05-06 01:51

Great HOWTO! Executive Summary: Use VLC! From Playing AVI and DivX Files:


This chapter from our book Troubleshooting Mac OS X discusses why some Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) multimedia files do not play in QuickTime and provides methods for playing AVIs on Mac OS X. About AVIs There has been confusion over AVI files since QuickTime® added support for such. AVI is a media container very similar to QuickTime, but with a unique data format. AVI was originally called Video for Windows® (VFW) and QuickTime supports the VFW format. However, most, if not all AVI playback issues arise with movies that have been compressed using CODECs (Compressor - Decompressor) that are unavailable for QuickTime in Mac OS X. In particular, the Indeo® CODEC, popular for video compression on PCs, has not been ported to Mac OS X. To further confuse the issue, many DivX-encoded files carry the .avi extension. QuickTime does not include native DivX support, even though QuickTime 6 and later support the ISO Standard MPEG-4 media compression format and DivX is based on MPEG-4 technology. Playing AVIs on Mac OS X I have found the following four methods will let me play most AVIs. While none of these methods are foolproof and some AVIs still refuse to play, one of these methods will usually work.


I want a big fat mobile pipe, not p*rn

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-05-05 22:10

C'mon, give us a fat pipe, not bogus content like p*rn. I want barebones broadband on my mobile phone not p*rn or any other bundled crappy content!

From Vodafone and P*rn - It'll end in Tears:


So what should the mobile operators do? Well, if I were Vodafone or Orange, I would stick to the business of providing data services, and facilitating content providers by integrating with payment sytems. They should provide these services on a 'common carrier' basis - providing the same facility for all content providers regardless of what their content actually is -. (Of course, there would be no obligation to allow content providers to send anything illegal over the network.)

They should stay well clear of the p*rn business itself. It should be up to content providers to decide what they want to sell to customers, and how they want to market and restrict it. The content providers will get the bulk of the revenue, but they will also take the risk of developing and marketing more innovative, more competitively priced content. They will also be responsible if the public reacts negatively to a particular type of content. The networks will benefit from increased data traffic and transaction fees.

But this isn't what the mobile operators will do, at least not the big ones. The mobile companies like to control as much of the content and the revenue as possible.

This strategy could prove to be their undoing in providing p*rn services


Simon Woodside's Semacode bar code to URLs for Symbian camera phones

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-05-05 21:27

Great idea!

From Reiter's Camera Phone Report: Simon Woodside releases semacode URL software for Symbian camera phones:


Computer programmer Simon Woodside has released version 1.0 of his semacode software for Symbian/Series 60 camera phones that, in essence, incorporates a URL within a barcode.

You snap a photo of the semacode graphic (left), the URL is displayed and you can click on it to access a Web page without having to laboriously enter the URL on a keypad. Simon has a Weblog that explains in detail the use and creation of semacodes.


You are not a real software developer until you realize you can never really know what it takes to develop software

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-05-05 21:05

So true. This book sounds like another must read. The people who think they know everything to know about software development are usually the ones who know nothing. Too Zen for you? Maybe but it's absolutely true!

From Joel on Software - Mike Gunderloy's Coder to Developer:


At every point in the learning cycle, I was completely convinced that I knew everything there was to know about software development.

"Maybe you’re just an arrogant sod?” you ask, possibly using an even spicier word than “sod.” I beg your pardon: this is my foreword; if you want to be rude write your own damn foreword, tear mine out of the book, and put yours in instead.

There’s something weird about software development, some mystical quality, that makes all kinds of people think they know how to do it. I’ve worked at dotcom-type companies full of liberal arts majors with no software experience or training who nevertheless were convinced that they knew how to manage software teams and design user interfaces. This is weird, because nobody thinks they know how to remove a burst appendix, or rebuild a car engine, unless they actually know how to do it, but for some reason there are all these people floating around who think they know everything there is to know about software development.

Anyway, the responsibility is going to fall on your shoulders. You’re probably going to have to learn how to do software development on your own. If you’re really lucky, you’ve had some experience working directly with top notch software developers who can teach you this stuff, but most people don’t have that opportunity. So I’m glad to see that Mike Gunderloy has taken upon himself to write the book you hold in your hands. Here you will find a well-written and enjoyable introduction to many of the most important things that you’re going to need to know as you move from being a person who can write code to being a person who can develop software. Do those sound like the same thing? They’re not. That’s roughly the equivalent of going from being a six year old who can crayon some simple words, backwards N’s and all, to being a successful novelist who writes books that receive rave reviews and sell millions of copies. Being a software developer means you can take a concept, build a team, set up state of the art development processes, design a software product, the right software product, and produce it. Not just any software product: a high quality software product that solves a problem and delights your users. With documentation. A web page. A setup program. Test cases. Norwegian versions. Bokmål and Nynorsk. Appetizers, dessert, and twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was. (Apologies to Arlo Guthrie.)

And then, one day, finally, perhaps when it’s too late, you’ll wake up and say, “Hmm. Maybe I really don’t know what it really takes to develop software.” And on that day only, and not one minute before, but on that day and from that day forward, you will have earned the right to call yourself a software developer. In the meantime, all is not lost: you still have my blessing if you want to eat donuts every hour.


Awesome Clay Shirky Interview

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-05-05 15:20

The answer to "Describe that low, low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good." is amazingly poignant! What a great story teller!

From Gothamist Interviews: Clay Shirky, Internet Technologist:


39. Professor, writer, and consultant on internet technologies. I came from a state in the Midwest you probably have not heard of. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a lighting designer who worked on big Broadway musicals. My 16th birthday present was a trip to NYC, and after a couple of days here, I swore I'd move here, which I did, 4 days after I graduated from college. I have lived here ever since. I currently live opposite the dolphin in the kid's part of that little park on Congress Street, Brooklyn.


TextAmerica offers Moblog Enterprise platform

Submitted by Roland on Wed, 2004-05-05 00:12

I'd like one of these to go :-) please!

From Moblog Enterprise Solutions | textamerica 2004:


Textamerica built its first moblog platform in 2002, making it available to the public worldwide in the first quarter of 2003. Since that time textamerica has gained a unique understanding of what both the public & commercial enterprises want and can gain from a moblog service and moblogging in general. We have also come to understand and subsequently develop the formula and platform which directly equates to and encourages mobloggers to continually post more images more frequently.

The result of this knowledge, work and experience is that we are now in a position to offer you access to and use of the world's most flexible, unique, reliable and advanced moblogging platform. This platform is Scaleable, Modular, Localizable & Highly Adjustable. It is configured to process text, still images and or video submitted by SMTP or MMS. We presently limit video to formats 3GP, .MOV and MP4, however it can be adjusted to accept video in any format you desire.


BBC to experiment with free downloads

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-04 16:49

Go BBC go! I am glad somebody 'gets' it!

From Terry Heaton's Pomo blog - Watching TV on the train (or anywhere).:


I love the BBC. They're so far ahead of the New Media game that American TV will never catch up. They are actually doing many of the things that people like myself have been talking about for years. It makes me want to return to the motherland one day.

The latest is an experiment to provide TV programs via the Internet, so that people can watch what they want whenever and wherever they want. What I like most is their justification, as told to The Independent by Ashley Highfield, the BBC's director of New Media and technology.

"If we don't enter this market, then exactly what happened to the music industry could happen to us, where we ignore it, keep our heads in the sand and everybody starts posting the content up there and ripping us off."

Here are the details. A three-week pilot, called iMP (Internet Media Player), will allow 500 BBC staffers to scan an online guide and download any show. Programs would be viewed on a computer screen or could be burned to a DVD and watched on a television set. Alternatively, programs could be downloaded to a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), a hand-held computer that is becoming increasingly popular in Britain and sells from about £70($125). The plan is to make all of the previous week's programs available during the current week.


The best companies arise out of downturn - Ross Mayfield

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-04 16:37

Ross nails it. Watch for an explosion of creative energy from the prudent, penny pinching firms that survived the downturn.

From Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Making Do With Less Stays With You:


But more to the point, the best companies arise out of downturn (think Apple, Microsoft, etc.). Frugality, understanding risk and smart investment decisions remain embedded in decision makers and the culture of the company. The hardest lessons stay with you.


Samsung releases CDMA only 2 Megapixel cameraphone with no Bluetooth

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-04 13:22

We're getting there! I need Bluetooth and CDMA only doesn't work for me, so this phone is out of the question, but I guess it's only a matter of time before Samsung fixes this!

From Review: Samsung SPH-V4400 (MobileBurn):


While many companies have been releasing camera phones lately with 1 megapixel cameras and a short video recording time, Samsung has decided to go the whole way and introduce a tiny clamshell phone with a 2 megapixel camera and the ability to record over 2 hours of video. Concievably, you could record a full length motion picture if you wanted to. The SPH-V4400 also has a swivel screen, allowing you to turn the screen to make the phone look like a real camcorder since the lens is built in to the side of the phone, not the back or the flip. Samsung has also implemented an authentic style camcorder record button next to the camera lens, along with a photo light to shoot in dark situations.

Samsung is known for having some of the best screens on the market, and the V4400 is no exception. It features 262K color internal and external TFT screens, one of the first on the market to do so. Finally, the V4400 supports the new RS (Reduced Size) MMC cards which will allow you to store video clips and music files on the go.

Now for the bad news. The V4400 will only be available to users on a CDMA2000 1x EV-DO network, which rules most of us out. Still, this is a very interesting look at what Samsung has planned for future users.


JD Lasica - Personal media enables participatory culture

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-04 12:31

Amen! Blogs and websites like enable and encourage personal media by giving people a instant publishing platform to publish new stuff or to link to their new stuff elsewhere.

From Darknet - Chapter 1: The Personal Media Revolution:


All the studio people at the table shook their heads. “You’re crazy,” one said. “No one will turn their backs on Hollywood entertainment.”

Inside the Hollywood bubble, it’s business as usual. Outside, on the streets, much more interesting things are happening. Kids are taking up digital tools and creating movies and video shorts. Some are remixing big media television shows and movies into fan-style DVD commentaries. Others are creating new musical forms on computers in their bedrooms. While millions sharpen their digital photo techniques, many have also begun using camera phones and mobile devices to post photos or homespun wisdom to a global audience.

The world has changed since Chris Strompolos was 10. What once took seven years to pull off could likely be done in a single summer of youthful exuberance. What once required expensive, bulky equipment and professional editing studios can be done with a palmcorder and desktop computer. As the tools become cheaper and easier to use, the kind of storytelling that infuses Raiders: The Adaptation—the grit, the passion, the wide-eyed wonder—is spreading throughout our culture. Such personal works remind us that it is in our nature to tell stories and be creative—instincts that have been too often repressed during the couch potato era of force-fed mass media.

That’s not to say that Strompolos and Co. or other little islands of creativity will give MGM, Disney, or Paramount a run for their money. The motion picture studios, record labels, television networks, book publishers, and video game makers won’t be done in by camcorder-toting teens, Web journal authors, or garage musicians armed with Apple Powerbooks. Put it in bold letters: Personal media will complement, not supplant, the old order of mass media and consumer culture. Most of us will continue to watch entertainment created by professionals working at media companies. High-quality entertainment takes time, talent, effort, and money to pull off.

But that’s no longer enough. In ways large and small, individuals have begun bypassing the mass media to create or sample digital music, video diaries, film shorts, weblogs, visually arresting multimedia websites—in short, personal media. Sometimes these personal works will be an entirely original creation, borrowing techniques and ideas, perhaps, but no music, video, or photos created by others. At other times these creations will be a collage or hybrid, borrowing bits and pieces of traditional mass media mixed with content supplied by the user or remixed in interesting new ways and transformed into something new.

Something new is happening. While the pros go about their business, amateurs and hobbyists experiment with new ways to inform, entertain, and communicate with each other. Keep in mind that “amateur” is no pejorative. We should remember that the root of the word amateur is “lover.” Where the media companies create material for profit and power, creative amateurs do it out of passion.

Call it participatory culture, a worldview that young people in particular now take for granted. Participatory culture is about plugging into the larger culture in creative ways. If participatory culture is the journey, personal media is the engine.


Darknet - J D Lasica's book about new media remixing

Submitted by Roland on Tue, 2004-05-04 00:20

I doubt I'll have time to contribute but I will try!

From Darknet - An experiment in group editing:


What: Darknet: Remixing the Future of Movies, Music and Television is an upcoming book from John Wiley & Sons. It focuses on the digital media revolution, exploring the idea that digital technologies are empowering people to create, reuse and reinvent media.


Joeldg pushes back on FOAF

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-03 13:54

Glad to see more activity in FOAF land. The People's DNS that Joel is cooking up sounds like a great tasty, stew!

From Whats the problem with FOAF? | peoplesdns:


As a programmer working with FOAF and writing a sizeable application centered around FOAF and the FOAF specification I cannot help but marvel that this specification has been so widely adopted. FOAF as it stands is difficult at best to work with and deal with. RDF by nature is fluid and allows anyone to just hack up anything into it. FOAF is just some basic guidelines for saying "This is who I am!" but it is missing some very large and very key parts to become a true social networking centerpiece.
I am going to explain in a second, but in order to do what I have set out to do here, I have "add" some things to FOAF in the form of modules, I have to bet that people will follow them as a standard. This is a tough idea to go forward with.


Help me buy a 1 Megapixel Camera Phone for my 40th in July

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-03 12:58

Some men have a mid-life crisis and decide to buy a sports car when they turn 40. I, being the blogger I am, want to buy a 1 megapixel camera phone when I turn 40 in July. Moblogging here I come!


  1. Bluetooth that's compatible with my 15 inch Powerbook
  2. 1 megapixel camera
  3. compatible with Fido (I can't change my number; it's on all my business cards; if I was starting over I would go with Rogers)
  4. able to post photos via MetaWeblog API , ATOM API and email to Blogware blogs, Flickr and MovableType blogs

The Nokia 7610, and Sony Ericsson S700 look good.

Anything other musts? Any other models I should consider? Any recommendations, please leave a comment

Traditional Gatekeeper professions like real estate agents must move up the food chain

Submitted by Roland on Mon, 2004-05-03 11:12

This applies to other traditional gatekeeper professions. The internet makes a lot of previously closed information open and available. The trick to survival in this age of more data is moving up the offering customers and clients information (as opposed to merely data) that saves them time and money! From Doing Something Different:A Weblog by Doug Miller - Winer on Realtors:


Real estate agents are no longer the gatekeepers of information concerning what homes are for sale. That information is readily and easily accessible. Information for doing comparative market analysis, assessing the quality of schools, and other community information is also widely available online. Finding, collating, and analyzing that information, however, takes time.


3 kinds of Rich Internet Applications - Text only, Windows style and Mac style

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-02 22:07

I want Mac style, cross platform rich internet apps for social software that don't require installation or worrying about upgrade issues.

From - Google's Gmail as a Rich Internet Application (RIA):


It's interesting to think of RIAs as belonging to three different categories, each analogous to an operating system:

Unix-style RIA: Gmail is a great example of this. It's essentially text-only, with keyboard equivalents. It's reminiscent of Pine or vi, particularly with regard to how keyboard shortcuts work. The emphasis is on speed, not friendliness -- it's best for geeks and most likely designed by geeks (and I mean that in a nice way).

Windows-style RIA: Oddpost, another rich Web mail service, is a perfect example of this -- a Windows-style UI delivered into a Web browser. This can be done with DHTML heroics (as is Oddpost), or with Java. Here's a comparable example built with Laszlo. The look and feel of these applications is essentially a duplicate of the "classic" Windows desktop look and feel. Users new to these applications can lean on their familiarity with Outlook and similar applications, but they don't reflect what we've learned on the Web about UI -- very little linking, very little contextual "content" or media.

Mac-style RIA: Here I'm talking about the visually differentiated, smooth/animated interaction often associated with Mac OS X (or with Flash), but used in the context of a Web application. These applications as a category represent the attempt to blend the best of the Web with the best of applications. Most of Laszlo's deployments and demos fall into this category.


Java enabled mobile phones is 400 million by end of 2004

Submitted by Roland on Sun, 2004-05-02 15:22

Russ comments that the 250 million quoted in the article below plus the 150 million to be sold by then end of the year = 400 million. I really need to get myself one of these phones and start taking advantage of the apps and the buzz that must be out there.

From - New Media section:


GameLoft pointed to the increasing numbers of high-end mobile phones on the market as a key catalyst for its success. It estimates that the installed base of Java and BREW enabled phones climbed from 100 million worldwide in March 2003 to 250 million by March 2004.



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