Wednesday 30 August 2006

The Future of Free Content - tomorrow in Melbourne

Short notice I know, but if you're in Melbourne tomorrow night and have an interest in wikis then check out this Churchhill Club event featuring Angela Beesley. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation and will be discussing the future of free content.

Also check out the Wikimedia Australia site that supports the proposed chapter of the Wikimedia Foundation in Australia.

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Sunday 27 August 2006

Map mashups are just the start - part 2

The other day I mentioned the importance of considering the the difference between visual (e.g. Google Maps) and non-visual mashups - particulary when thinking about the role for mashups inside the firewall. One of the problems with making that leap is that most Web 2.0 mashups have been focused around map mashups. However, MusicPortl is an excellent example of non-map mashup:

"a place where you can get an overview of information about a music artist. To achieve this goal, it takes advantage of state-of-the-art XML webservice APIs that many websites offer today."

Hats off to Christoph Olszowka for putting MusicPortl together using the services of 8 different data sources.

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Sunday 20 August 2006

Rebooting the Enterprise - 11 October

If you are in Canberra on 11 October come along and hear me talk about "Rebooting the Enterprise with Blogs, Wikis and other Social Software" for the Australian Institute of Management. More details are available on the AIM Canberra Website.

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Email becoming less effective for the sender

A lot of the same old insights and advice have been floating around for a while about email and how people use (or misuse) it. I've even added my own take on the situation in the past (PDF). However, I was interested to read Darren Barefoot's observation about how wireless email is changing how people in business communicate with email. His theory is that the size of the device actually reduces their ability to respond quickly if an email requires a long and detailed reply:

"When Blackberry users check their email, maybe they’re mostly in a receive-only mode. The Blackberry has, in theory, extended the time lag between reception and response."

Troy Angrignon's replies with his own thoughts, and this comment in particular I thought was interesting:

"I don't even READ much of my inbound email anymore (I can see the first line of it in Gmail, why open it?) Or I flag it and get around to cleaning those up WAY too late. I have had it with letting my email flows dictate how much time I spend at the computer so have pretty much just decided to read/act on only the top 10% of my mail"

So, overall it appears that email is becoming less effective for the sender at least. Something to think about.

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Tuesday 15 August 2006

Web 2.0 and Co. get the hype treatment from Gartner

Care of ProgrammableWeb (and many others), Gartner have put emegring technologies such as Web 2.0 through its classic S-shaped hype cycle anlaysis. They highlight Social Network Analysis (SNA), Mashups, collective intelligence and AJAX as well as what they call the "Real World Web" - e.g. things that are location-aware.

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Monday 14 August 2006

Evolution of the GUI

To get a taste of the evolution of the GUI see the Room 101 blog, but I found there are real GUI fanatics out there, including:

  • GUI Gallery - "screen shots of various desktop computer Graphical User Interfaces and operating systems"; and

  • GUIdebook - "a website dedicated to preserving and showcasing Graphical User Interfaces, as well as various materials related to them".

Both site have timelines but GUIdebook looks the most comprehensive and you can follow the evolution of the GUI from Douglas Engelbart to Windows Vista! Of course if you want to go back further, try this CGI Timeline that starts with the Chinese Abacus.

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Wednesday 9 August 2006

How to mashup a quick Google map

For the non-programmers out there, and spotted via Angus McDonald's commentary on the Australian media's use of mashups in their own online news sites, Quickmaps lets you markup a Google Map with markers, comments, and lines.

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Data ghosts in the machine and online

In the US I hear that AOL accidentally leaked the search history of 650,000 users (care of the Datamation IT News Blog), meanwhile a local electrical retailer sold a memory stick that someone had used to take pictures at their own sales conference. More reminders that we are leaving data tracks everywhere about our digital lives...

However, we can't say we weren't warned - we already know that old hard drives and secondhand PDA's can accidentally reveal a lot about their owners.

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Monday 7 August 2006

Google Map mashups are just the start

Care of ProgrammableWeb, a pointer to an insightful InfoWorld blog post that highlights the difference between visual and non-visual mashups:

"Truth-be-told, while visual mashups are cool and useful, I think that non-visual mashups will be more valuable to business as time goes on."

I would perhaps edit this slightly and suggest that non-visual (or even non-map) mashups will be more valuable inside or between businesses over time.

PS I can't help myself... for a bit of fun, have a look at Goggles, a flying game based on Google Maps. I hope someone gives the author a job for this great effort!

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Saturday 5 August 2006

RSS isn't magic - its just XML!

We shouldn't be surprised to learn that, according to CFO magazine in the US, most users of RSS are more likely to be accessing traditional news and weather content than blogs - after all RSS is just XML data and while it provides "glue" that helps bind the social software cloud together in itself it isn't restricted to social applications.

Actually in the article, Forrester Research's Charlene Li correctly points out that "Most people today don't know what SMTP is, but it's the protocol used to deliver E-mail... RSS will be like that."

However, the structured format of RSS means that it will likely become more of a workhorse that email is today. The exciting thing about of RSS is that the end-user can choose how they want to access it - via a browser, in a widget or gadget, email, RSS reader and even XML-to-voice via a phone and perhaps through an IM client. And its pretty good for enabling social software too :-)

Just for the record, this "grey area" is something I've been blogging and talking about in my presentations for a while now...

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Wednesday 2 August 2006

Do you like crisps (chips)?

Something funny on flickr that will appeal to people interested in usability, via Euan Semple.

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