A recent post of mine on Newsvine:
In the beginning of the net, there were individuals building sites that aggregated information. For sake of this article lets call them the "aggregators". The sites brought value by grouping collected information onto one site that typically focused on one topic.
Once the big bang of the late 90s occurred we saw the rise of "directories". An attempt to categorize sites based upon the information they contained. Yahoo! in the early form was the prime example. There were some attempts at the creation of search engines, i.e. hotbot, excite, altavista, etc. But the results and the user maturity was not at sufficient level to take over the "directories".
Then came Google. The dawn of the age of the "searchers". Advanced algorithms that understood rankings based upon links came into play, and the value of search came to the forefront. Now searching returned relevant results, though it may not be exactly what you were looking for. Once again the web continued to grow at a phenomenal rate, and the relevancy of search is diminishing. It is actually considered a prime skill to be able to construct search queries that return relevant results.
Now we have a new animal in town, and in part it is due to the age of collaboration. Wikipedia can be considered the founding example of this new age. An age where people create the relevancy, and the content. In the case of Wikipedia, it is far more efficient to search within the wiki for items like "Paleozoic Period" or "Cumulus Clouds" then it is to use Google. In fact, Google will probably return an entry in Wikipedia. Likewise, for news, I believe Newsvine is a "Clearinghouse" for news information. A centralized repository that focuses on a particular set of informational types. Wikipedia is encyclopedic, Newsvine is newsworthy, what is next?
Because of the vastness of the web, these "clearinghouses" will act as the first source to turn to for informational types. They will rely upon a collaborative environment where everyone is a participant. Topics can be augmented, fed, and commented on by the community. Additionally, the topics themselves can be exposed as a feed enabling other sites to supplement their content. Because these sites are communal, the users themselves will generate reputations, and will be a source of referral for questions. The users, as much as the entries will carry value, and that reputation will be global.
I love this site. I stumbled upon Stumbleupon through hits on a site a manage. I started using it, after logging my preferences, and damn if it hasn’t turned me on to site after site after site that I found relevant and useful. 2 out of every 3 clicks I literally stumble upon another site I didn’t know about, and it helps me immensely. I suggest that you also stumble upon Stumbleupon.com, it will change the way you browse the Internet.
God I love this tool!!!
Composite “On the Fly” UI, or COFU. The ability to generate structured UIs from relevant information. Just like a child knows how to build a house out of building blocks, application UIs should be built in the same manner.
The user determines the blueprint through a request. The blocks are contained in the registries that hold api type and location, and datastore information types. These are the needed building blocks to form the house. Each structure is returned to the user based on relevancy match to the original request. The user then selects the appropriate blueprint, and the UI is assembled upon tags, and order algorithms. The form at this point may be a composite view that allows changes to multiple data sets.
IT administrators everywhere should rejoice. The march away from individual client loads is taking place. We have the announcements of liveoffice, meebo, as well as several other traditional client implementations moving to the browser. Why?
Two very specific trends are allowing this to happen.
1) Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth. As bandwidth increases and becomes more readily available, the need for a connectionless client is reduced.
2) Rich UI control via AJAX and Flash. These two technologies are allowing the browser to behave and perform like a traditional client built using visual basic or another programming language.
Why is this a good thing for administrators?
Less pieces to manage. Fewer client loads equals less hassle maintaining a clean client. A clean client is a happy client.
So, what is the downside?
You need a connection to maintain functionality. If you want to maintain functionality in a connectionless environment you will need to load a client, back to square one. What are the alternatives? Perhaps technology has to come to the point where every PC will have its own html server, and as apps are accessed via the web, small less robust versions of the original client are loaded into the server for access in a connectionless environment. This would also require a small configurable on the fly database to be built within the PC to handle data that would be synched back up at a later time.
At the end of this picture you have what looks like a server, with a smart, powerful gui. The PC build would look something like this:
That looks just like a tiered server architecture. Imagine that.
Has the Open Source community developed into a farm team of sorts for software developers? It is apparent that one of the most visible ways to display your skills and get noticed is through participation in one of the open source initiatives, whether it be Mozilla, Apache, etc.
Often a developer with obvious skills can be noticed by one of the corporate development teams assigned to the project, and be recruited. So, participation in the open source community is a way to hone and promote your skills. This should be an obvious place for any developer to broadcast his knowledge and abilities to work dynamically as part of a collaborative team. Likewise it should be an obvious place for development organizations to discover new talent.
Why is it that too often Open Source and Open Standards are used in the same breath? or interchangeably? Is it people just jockeying venaculars around to the point of confusion, or do people actually relate the two?
I have been at the OSBC conference now for the last two days, and I have seen numerous examples of this confusion taking place, even with the highly educated audience that is in attendance.
Lets set a few things straight, Open Standards are standards that allow for open adoption of protocols and methodologies to accomplish a goal. Such as exchange of any segmental information, whether it be user, orders, etc.
Open Source is a movement centered around the releasing of previously undisclosed or obviscated code to the general public and the creation and maintenance of a developer and user community that fosters improvement.
Open Source can occur without Open Standards, likewise software that is proprietary can support Open Standards. Too often people equate Open Source with Open Standards, and unfortunately that is not the case. It should be a prerequisite for the moniker of Open Source, but it is not. I hope the industry clears up the distinctions for the two, and places some requirements around the use of the Open Source terminology, if it doesn’t the industry may fall into a hole that it may find very difficult to climb out of.
If you are trying to keep up on the wild wild world of Google Map mashups, look no further than the blog googlemapsmania, at blogspot. They do a terrific job of listing the mashup services as they come online. Here are just two of the many links that are highlighted on Maps Mania:
Google Maps Package Tracker – Isolates Fed Ex and UPS data and displays it as a nice tracking map
Google Mapping Project of U.S. Election Donors – Just how private is our information? Well, if you donate to the Republican or Democratic National Committee, not very. There is full and available disclosure. See for yourself.
Yes and no. Too many people are trying to equate the definition of Web 2.0 to a particular technology or grouping. In that respect, Web 2.0 isn’t real. AJAX, web services, etc have been around for sometime.
What is different is the number of public exposures being announced; Google, Amazon, etc, coupled with the understanding of reconstitution. Web 2.0 is a bit like object oriented programming taken to a global scale. The network becomes this living, breathing entity where people can pull bits of information, combine that information with processing services and gain the desired result. In this respect Web 2.0 is real, and we are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.
As programmers and other architecturally adept people begin to explore the reconstitution and presentation of these bits of information and services, we will see a plethoria of requests happen. In fact, I believe the real power behind Web 2.0 is the ability to get the information you want, in the manner you want, when you want it.
So in closing, Web 2.0 is real, but should not be focused on particular technologies. Web 2.0 is a philosophy that is just now happening because we have reached some sort of threshold, or tipping point.
Thank you Google maps for generating that tipping point.
This is more of a testimonial than anything, but here goes. I lost access to files that I had stored on a USB connected harddrive. Not exactly sure what happened, but the drive was discoverable not readable. It kept asking me if I wanted to format the drive.
Fortunately, I know enough not to do that. So I went searching for a program that would hopefully recover my files, since the drive held minor things like my family’s pictures for the last year, and video and work files that I backed up.
I found File Scavenger on download.com. Less than 5 minutes after discovering the program, I had it loaded and did a trial recovery. The program in free mode only allows up to 64k in file size recovery. That was enough to verify the program worked. Needless to say, I paid my 45 bucks, a pitance when compared to file recovery firm prices and in less than a minute I recovered the 415 jpgs that were my family photos.
So a picture like this one was saved. BTW, that is my son in the front on the left wondering what is going on.
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More terms are being coined or thrown around this year than ever before. The Gartner Integration Conference in Orlando has brought to the forefront the following terms; some of these have existed for sometime, but are just now being pushed to the general IT public.
SOC – Service Oriented Client; a rich client capable of interacting at a base level with Web Services
CEP – Complex Event Processing; the ability to apply logic to unrelated events that have been exposed via web services, or some other message architecture.
EPA – Event Processing Agent; a listener or sink that receives the event and applies some basic analytics or function, such as tripping a counter, forwarding the event, or adding information to the event.
EPL – Event Pattern Language; I hate to use the term AI here, but this a language structure that is able to consume unrelated events and determine trends that may be relevant. The end goal is usually to alert a “human” to the existence of the pattern within a dashboard.
Last year was the year of the ESB and Event Driven Architecture. This year at the Gartner Integration Conference, it was about WOA (Web Oriented Architecture) and something I noticed by the initial discussion of Web 2.0. This was further cemented by the attendence of Macromedia. You may ask what is Macromedia doing at an integration conference? Well, let me tell you. We are at the advent of a 5 tier architecture; and it goes something like this – data, application, middleware, portal, rich interface. This combination will allow for selected, tailored delivery of information that is reconstituted, mashedup for consumption on a very custom GUI, that in fact is not custom. The better term here is “specific”.
I will tell you, I do not care for Chris Pirillo that much, in fact his podcast is a bit too MS centric for me. Afterall, I am a former Netscaper. But I gotta tell you, the Gada.be site is extremely useful, and generates tons of relevant information in one place. Kudos to Chris and his team on this one.
Here is a new Web 2.0 site (BlockRocker.com) with some promise. I like the mixin of the Google map api, with classified listings.
The important thing to remember about Web 2.0, is that anything at all is possible. The ability to reconstitute and “mashup” information is the driving force behind this next phase of the Internet. Refer to TechCrunch to keep up with the new sites that are popping up around the web. Good examples of Web 2.0 initiatives are Gtalkr, Ning, and just about everything that has been done with the google map interface.
Google does it again. Google taps into the blogosphere, and millions of small sites that exist on the web by introducing a web analytic tool that is free and easy to use. Realizing that capitalizing and capturing the millions of small website authors generates lots of change, google has once again tapped into a market that is seemingly endless.
Adsense customers become Adwords customer, and analytics customers become Adsense customers, that become gmail customers, etc etc etc. I have to admit that I am a victim of this gigantic venus flytrap, and somehow I feel good about it.
I challenge someone to put together the equivalent Linux representation of the MS media center and its Xbox 360 consoles.
I believe it can be done, using off the shelf components, and be done on the cheap. The key here is not the media center hub, but the satellite receivers, which in the MS setup is accomplished through the Xbox 360. A rough cost for a MS setup is $1500 for the hub, and $299 per station.
The receiver needs to be able to pull programming and control the media center. The network must be wireless, and be able to handle simultaneous draws from the hub, while it is recording up to 3 feeds, or more.
Rena Palloff, a faculty member at the Fielding Graduate Institute, recently spoke about the advantages of creating a “fishbowl” for learning.
Students are graded on their collaborative work that involves posting to an online discussion group throughout the semester. As we move into the age of Collaboration this skillset is going to be increasingly important. Awhile back I posted about the fact that online gaming actually increases collaborative skillsets needed for todays’ virtual world.
The skills of posting, tracking and collaborating online are increasingly important, and the individual that possesses these skills will succeed at the end of the day. It is nice to see a collegiate teaching philosophy that seeks to augment these skills.
I feel so privileged, I just got accepted to the Ning Developer network. Ok, now what?
There are alot of resources on the Ning site to guide you in the building of your own app. I am just not sure what I want to do. I guess I will ponder this over the next day or two, get to work on it, and announce it back on this blog. Stay tuned.
I don’t know you noticed, but it looks like Adam Curry’s bookmark idea for podcasts has gone thru. I was listening to the latest podshow podcast today, and when I looked at the screen I noticed something very interesting with the timing bar. There were little bars on it, that when you clicked the right arrow to move to the next track, caused the podcast to move to the noted bookmark on the timing bar.
Is this the end of the world as we know it, as some are predicting?
John Paczkowski from SiliconValley.com spells out a possible Redmond reaction:
I don't know about the world, but if Sun and Google do uncrate an office productivity solution -- say a Sun Ray ultra-thin client optimized to run "Google Office" -- that shot will definitely be heard up in Redmond, along with a lot of expletives and an anguished scream or two. Because if anyone can shift personal computing out of Microsoft's domain and into the open, it's Google.
I should have seen this coming, after seeing McNealy’s speech at Oracle Openworld. Looking back on that speech, McNealy was pointing in this direction throughout. Networked appliances, thin computers, the network the network the network. Mind you, I have seen this all before. Sun rays have been around for a long time, but now Sun is serious, and has the mindshare to back it up in Google.
If you are looking for a great podcast to listen to, pick up the morning show podcast from WMMRs morning show with Preston and Steve. This is a morning radio show that airs weekdays on Philadelphia’s WMMR Rock 93.3 radio station. All commercials and music have been cut out of the podcast, and you are left with roughly 90 minutes of pure listening pleasure. They are the funniest morning team I have heard in a long time. Go ahead and treat yourself.
Looks like a battle is brewing over AOL. It is important to try and figure out what Google and MS are going after.
Is it the ISP? By and large this is a dying business, though the immediate reach could be of importance in an attempt to secure eyeballs. Numbers are good, so what is the valuation of an eyeball these days? I guess that depends on the size and origination of the eyeball.
Is it a casual visitor? i.e. the Netscape, AOL, and Mapquest portals.
Or is it a locked in hardcore eyeball? i.e. An AOL dial up, or even possibly AOL broadband user
I can’t imagine that Google or MS are going after tech. That may have been true 2–3 yrs ago, but time has proven that Google and even MS are taking lead in web oriented tech. AOL has taken great strides recently to try and catch up, and possibly pass, but at the end of the day, the tech is a throwaway proposition.
So, that leaves the eyeballs. Given that fact, I believe Google is actually the better fit, since at their core they are driven by advertising.
Regardless of the outcome, this should prove an interesting battle.
I am becoming something of an expert on the use of Wikis in the workplace. I was a trial Jotspot user for around 6 months, and just bought into their mini plan. ($99 for the year; 20 users/250 pages) I initially trialed Jotspot as a collaboration tool for our company.
Unfortunately for Jotspot, our company decided to purchase Confluence. So, I am a dual user, with my reasons for the use of each being entirely different.
In the case of Jotspot, I am using it as a collaboration tool for a project that is outside of my work. The members of this project are scattered all over North America, and a tool such as this provides the collaborative environment that would otherwise be impossible or very difficult to manage. Imagine trying to build a business in your spare time, relying on phone calls and email. Shuffling docs around, perhaps posting them to an FTP site. It is incredibly inefficient. So, the ability to have whiteboard space, that is editable by all, makes all the difference in the world. In this case Jotspot fits the bill perfectly; I don’t have to manage the server, it is low cost (free for 5 or less users and 50 or less pages), and easy to use. By the way, they count attachments, even graphics as a page. Perhaps they should adjust the model a little to include storage as part of the equation, and not count an attachment as a page. But in any case they get a big thumbs up from me.
Likewise, Confluence receives a big thumbs up as well. For an enterprise it is a great tool for organising and compartmentalising data and projects. It is important to our company that we create processes where a document is updated once, and is automatically included in the appropriate places. The Confluence environment is very easy and powerful, when it comes to sharing information across boundaries, and protecting information at the same time. Confluence does need to build in a more powerful access control mechanism. Currently you can only do an open, exclude exclude model, rather than an exclude, open, exclude type of access. This limits your flexibility, and forces you to plan all of your statements at the upper levels.
There you have it. I am a firm believer of the use of Wikis in the workplace, they are extremely powerful collaboration environments, and in each case adoption rates by the teams is very high. The most important point to remember about any tool is, if people don’t use, it doesn’t matter how many features it has, it becomes worthless.
VitalSource is an online bookstore powered by a separate application. It is not handled within the browser, but like iTunes I can see why. There are some powerful tools built into the application for note taking, annotation and highlighting. Obviously, this application and the corresponding store is focused on the educational market, with several higher education customers already lined up. The real power would be if the application would allow for collaborative document markups. So, if a study group were formed, one persons markup would appear in the document reader for another person in the group.
Now onto alacra.com. This site has allot of potential. The focus is on providing a search tool for industry reporting, along with the ability to purchase the reports. In the past, this type of reporting usually required a dedicated researcher in the marketing department, and a host of subscriptions to reporting services. alacra enables one to take on the search function themselves, and gives them the ability to obtain report copies independent of the subscription model. Very powerful stuff for companies doing industry research. It puts the power right where it needs to be, in the hands of decision makers.
AOL subscribers: RUN AWAY!!!!!! The departure of AOL subscribers these days isn't so much an exodus as an outright stampede. AOL lost 2.6 million U.S. subscribers in the past year -- almost a million of them in its second quarter alone. A tough break for AOL, which, much as it would like to think otherwise, hasn't yet managed to effectively recast itself as an online advertising seller.
I guess we are still counting down.
23 months and counting!
I don’t know if you would actually refer to them as sinister, since the end result is more freedom for everyone.
In case you haven’t noticed, iTunes started aggregating Podcasts. Now I like it. This is one less step for an otherwise lazy person, me. But, between the free content (and it is important to note that it is also content free of traditional media houses) and the fact that iTunes now has artists that are free of the music houses (Biddies, thank you Adam Curry), there is an undercurrent that could sink the Recording Industry as we know it.
At the end of the day, will this make for more music? less pre-orchestrated music? will artists have more freedom to pursue “their” music? and will they directly profit from it, rather than a recording label?
Interesting thoughts. This really is a true turning point for the music industry, and at the end of the day, the artists may be the true benefactor, and could be truly liberated. Food for thought.
Yep, you heard it here!
Konfabulator is a desktop widget engine that allows people to add widgets to their desktops to perform a number of functions. Such as a specific RSS feed reader, API consumer for localized weather, system tools, even a consumer of earthquake data. Extremely flexible and helpful tool, and it will be interesting to see what Yahoo! does with it.
One thing they did already was make it “free”. Yep, you heard it. Also, those who purchased the recently released 2.0 version will recieve a refund. Looking forward to that, since I recently purchased it.
This will be interesting as all get out though. I have long thought that people want segmented, targeted access to information without bloating (hello AOL) your desktop. Two years ago I submitted a proposal for something very similar to the powers that be at AOL, and got shotdown. Oh well, it is their loss.
Yeh, I know Babelfish has been around for sometime, but it wasn’t until I started dabbling in the area of commercial blogging did I realize its true value. I run two other blogs, Zprava and IdeaSling, both of which have a readership that is approximately 30–40% non-US.
I started to receive postings about IdeaSling on a couple of other sites, one was in Italian, Portugese, another Spanish, and yet another in German. So, anyhow, you get the point. I started to use Babelfish to translate the comments, so that I could remark, etc. Then I realized that a great deal of the traffic coming through Zprava and IdeaSling was not natively english speaking.
It would be quite impossible for me to template and provide multiple translations, and then write code to determine originating address/location and try to determine the appropriate language for a geographical area. Afterall, it is only me!
Now I admit Babelfish is far from perfect. The translations are nailed, and could subject yourself to some embarrassment, since it is an automated process. But, if people click and use the service on the website, and understand that the translation is absolutely literal, and you must do some reconfiguration in your own mind sometimes to gain the true understanding, then it works perfectly.
Go ahead and try it out.
Disney War - Stewart
Rough Guide to Honolulu 2
How's the Squid
Malcolm Gladwell: Blink
Howard Rheingold: Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
We have only just begun. (*****)
Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
Necessary reading for anyone wanting to start a revolution. (*****)
Everlast: Whitey Ford Sings the Blues
This is music. (*****)
Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Green Day: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Can't get away from the song. Powerful stuff. (*****)