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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
New social computing lab in Rochester

Liz Lawley has announced the creation of a social computing lab at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Congratulations Liz!  Jon Schull, who wrote the thought-provoking Macroscope Manifesto back in 2002, is one of the researchers in the lab.

Already, the lab has given birth to a wiki which is intended to "serve as a clearinghouse for research, tools, and information about social computing". It features a directory of researchers interested in social computing topics (In similar veins, see also Microsoft's social computing group wiki, the Many-to-Many wiki, and Weblog Kitchen).

(Speaking of Liz, she has a quick intro to up on Many-to-Many.)
What do you think? []  links to this post    6:57:15 PM  
jay is: Top-notch games weblog

RIT student Jay Bibby's jay is games weblog is an impressive "thinking person's source" on video games and game design. I like almost every single game Jay blogs about (the vast majority are playable online for free), and his mini-reviews are invariably well-articulated and insightful, efficiently distilling what's innovative or outstanding about the game under review. Even if you're no big fan of games, you should check it out.

Jay has been at it for a year and a half - I'm kicking myself for not finding out about it earlier. Thank goodness, the archives are all there.

(By the way, if, like me, you're attracted to simplicity and elegance in game design, you must try out itoneko, which I found via Jay. Awesome.)

What do you think? []  links to this post    6:12:47 PM backlink feeds

First there was the tasty URL lookup bookmarklet. Then Robin hacked together Durl, a service that provides a feed telling you who has bookmarked a given URL in This is the analogue to Technorati. Thanks to Robin, I can now subscribe to the backlink feed for my blog.

Though I use inbound links all the time to gauge interest and know what others have framed such or such piece of writing, I don't believe inbound link lookup is generally widespread yet. But it is bound to happen sooner or later. Egosurfing will be the first driver, and group-forming ("let's see... who else cares about the issues discussed in this article?") may be the second.

On a related note, I've been (gently) trying to push Lucas into implementing inbound link lookup for all of the tens of thousands of songs that have been logged into Webjay. ("Hot damn, that Marco Calliari track is awesome! I wonder what playlists it appears on?"). Especially given the heavy use that is being made of Webjay's mp3 link scraping facility, this could turn it into an amazing way for mp3 bloggers with overlapping tastes to find one another.

What do you think? []  links to this post    5:46:42 PM  

Michael Lenczner may have kickstarted a new behavioral trend among bloggers! Simply put, it consists in using the linklogging system to log comments after you've left them, by bookmarking the pages you've commented on.

This is obviously handy as a personal trail of places you've been, which makes it easy for you to revisit comment threads you're participating in. In addition, it can be of use to others (1) as a way of being aware of things you found interesting enough to comment on, and (2) as a way of verifying that you were indeed the person who posted such-or-such comment under your name.

A few points worth noticing:
  • Universal solvent property. Though blogging systems and commenting modalities vary, all permalinks are built upon the same system - good old HTTP links. And works with good old HTTP links, so this method works everywhere, including forums where some form of permalink exists. Enabling commentlogging in a way that requires coordination with all the different comment systems would be much more trouble. (Though it could enable complete automation of the process and eliminate the "post to" action that is required each time on the part of the commentlogger).
  • Expanding feedspace to decentralized writers. This method enables some of those people who leave worthy and witty comments all over the place but don't (or hardly) maintain a blog to provide a webfeed of their writing so their fans can follow them around as easily as we follow bloggers.
  • Doubling as a dynamic blogroll. Blogrolls often ossify over time, no longer reflecting the places you actually pay regular visits to. (I know mine suffers from this problem.) If you display your commentlog, as Michael does, in your blog's sidebar, it could complement or replace the blogroll as a way of signaling the good places out there.
All that said, you can find my own commentlog at And I'm subscribed to Lilia's.

What do you think? []  links to this post    5:04:28 PM  

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