Monday, December 18, 2006

Ligua Franca

Loic Lemeur wrongly assumed that conference attendees would not object to Le Web 3 morphing into a platform for French pre-election chest-beating (with keynotes delivered in French, natch);

I slightly worry about an industry that turns out in force to a french organised conference in france, and expects english to be spoken. It seems just the tiniest bit arrogant.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


So I'm trying to embed a list of things I find on YouTube in the sidebar over yonder.

YouTube doesn't seem to publish any feeds.

No RSS. No Atom.




mildlydiverting on Listal

I've been trying on and off for a month or two to upload our records from delicious library on to listal. Not for any particular reason, just because it seems fun to have a list of my (Our! God, I've actually allowed the boyfriend to comingle his CDs and Books with mine, which explains the Prog and some of the History of Apple stuff...) huge physical media library up with the virtual library that places like and amazon generate.

Listal itself is fun, but a bit... pointless, so far. It doesn't seem to encourage sharing and loans, nor resale, nor easy discovery of reccomendations. It might just be that until this evening it hasn't known enough about me, so I'll withhold judgement for a bit. What I really need is a site that I can easily query from my mobile phone when I'm trying to remember if I actually own that particular discounted David Bowie advert, or a site that tracks my ownership behaviours and instantly improves my reccomendations on any given eCommerce site. I'd like a bit of promiscuity with my data, please.

What I will say is that the profile page that you're encouraged to use as your linking presence on the site doesn't feature your collection nearly prominently enough - it's well below the fold. Profiles on social networks are beginning to look so similar - here's the box with the picture and location, here's the favourite stuff box, blah blah - that getting the 'killer app' above the fold on the page that people are likely to enter at seems ever more important.

On a related note - actually, an entirely unrelated note - YouTube and Twitter, what's up with your error messages? They don't appear next to the submit button I've just clicked, but in a banner at the top of the page. They're sufficiently far in to my peripheral vision that I literally don't see them, and just sit there thinking 'Hmn, this doesn't work... I wonder what happened?'. I finally understand why my mother has problems remembering to check status bars. Please fix!

Back to listal. Other niggles are that there's no view that allows you to just see everything - it's always broken in to music, books, dvds... I'm too used to thinking in terms of streams of stuff these days, and, well, that seems artificial. I'm really confused by the Movies / TV / DVD categories too - are they assuming that they'll track download purchaces? Otherwise, how do I reclassify all my DVDs into movies or telly or other?

They provide the now ubiquitous tagging for organising your stuff, but really, with 400 odd books (and that's less than a third of my total library, at a guess) I simply don't have the ability to go through and usefully classify stuff. I could do with a batch processor, or a use of Amazon's classification system to broadly indicate the topics of my books. A cross between that and Amazon US's 'Statistically Improbable Phrases' would tell you a great ammount about the actual content in there, and be a good starting point for better organisation. Folksonomy is all very well, but only works contiguously - you need proper librarianship foo to retrospecively work through that ammount of data. Use the API's available to you! I can acutally see a multiple-select-drag and drop interface like flickr's organizr working well for that ammount of representation-of-things in this context. Some of the CD metadata is a bit borken too; more likely the fault of delicious monster, but perhaps its the time for a project like musicbrainz to take Amazon's dirty data on books and physical media instantiations and expose it publicly for community cleaning? I think the combining, cross referencing and curating of this kind of data is one of the most useful things to have come out of the open source wikipedia / freedb ethic of the last few years.

So, anyway; Listal useful in that it has let me get physical objects in to a virtual space. That's less impressive once you understand that I compiled the list by waving barcodes in front of the boyfriend's macbook, but it's another link in the chain of making my life networked, and finally becoming little more than a set of public data streams. Hmn.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Boing Boing: Airplane-Treadmill problem

Boing Boing: Airplane-Treadmill problem

Surely - and I may be wrong - planes derive their lift from the bernouille effect of air moving very fast over the aerofoil of their wings. As the plane would not be moving forward in space, there would be no airflow over the wings - the point of runways is to get sufficient speed of airflow to produce enough lift to let the plane take off.

What you have here, is a jet powered thing revolver?

Monday, December 11, 2006


Sometimes, there are thoughts, that when you first encounter them are so very arresting that your world changes in a way that's initially imperceptible, but that you know will grow in to something extraordinary. They're literally dumbfounding; there's no response to them, and you feel a whole bunch of concepts slip into a new position as they settle in to your head. That is, provided your brain doesn't spit them out like so much conceptual ambergris.

I've just stumbled across one such though. What if, by 2010, there is no address window in your browser? What if a user never has to see another URL again, ever? What if the web chooses to put its skeleton on the inside?

My god, it's full of stars.

Designweenie: Weblog

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


russell davies: johnson v eno: "twitterati"

Today's Neologism. Nice.

Keeping things in Perspective

Google Trends: Second life, YouTube

An interesting little search terms graph.

I find it rather extraordinary that there are two talk events running in London this evening about Second Life and virtual worlds. One is more academic, about identity formation and sociability in worlds; the other appears to be about generating PR for the music industry. The Immersion / Augmentation split couldn't be better illustrated if you tried.

Also, last night, Steven Johnson and Brian Eno went off on to an agreeable little diversion about SL in their ICA talk about 'The Ghost Map'. It has given me an idea, a little like Jones the Wireframes', but with more bottoms. Of which, more anon.

Friday, December 01, 2006

BBC NEWS | Politics | Voluntary code for blogs 'needed'

BBC NEWS | Politics | Voluntary code for blogs 'needed':
"Blogs and other internet sites should be covered by a voluntary code of practice similar to that for newspapers in the UK, a conference has been told.

Press Complaints Commission director Tim Toulmin said he opposed government regulation of the internet, saying it should a place 'in which views bloom'.

But unless there was a voluntary code of conduct there would be no form of redress for people angered at content.

He spoke during a session on free speech at a London race conference."

Oh. Oh. Oh dear me.

/me giggles at the silly man who doesn't really understand.