||March 30, 2005
Symbolism in writings; it make no sense to me
This is a little thought I had. It can seem naïve.
Why do I write? I can write for myself. I can write for others.
I write to clarify ideas, situations or thoughts to myself or to others. I write to try to understand myself or to be understood by others.
The fundamental aim of my writings is to clarify things.
So, why do people are using symbolism in writing? If their goals are the same as mine: I can't understand their choices. If not, then, I can't understand why they are writing.
Why could I want to obfuscate my ideas? This act would be again my goals, again me and again my readers.
Why would I try to work against me?
Why do people are using symbolism in their writings? It's that because they fear what people could think of their ideas?
Writing is an act of truth. I any writing, fiction or nonfiction, the author is here and his truth is talking, just waiting to be listened.
It's why symbolism in writing doesn't make any sense... to me.
Technorati Tags: [writing] [symbolism]
2:13:20 PM  
||March 29, 2005
Internet technologies in our high schools
My journey in a high school web site integration project
8h30am. I was en route to one of the worse high school of the region. The worse? It's what people say. Is that because there are some fights in classes that this is the worse school? Worse... it's just a school, it's not a prison. How a school could be as worse as people say? There are only children…
Why am I going to one of the worse high school of the region, at 8h30am? It was to help one of my friends with one of her school project. I was not there as a bodyguard in case that her students start another fight in the class; no.
She's a French teacher and she wondered how to teach the concept of the explicative text. She didn't want to ask them to do a simple explicative text. No, she wanted a full multi-discipline integrated project. What was her project? It was to build a web page for all of her students' explicative text, on the website of the school, for 3 whole groups.
There were some problems. No one in the school ever started such a project. She got some help from the technical staff, but it was long to get them move and work. The real problems were that she needed to build the web site with Dreamweaver. Yup, Dreamweaver. I was astonished to hear it. One of the worse high schools of the region bought 32 Dreamweaver licenses for their computers. I never understood the reason why; but it was a fact. No one in the whole school knows how to use the software. It's why the direction asked her to use it for his web site project.
It's where I do my apparition in the story. I shown her how to use Dreamweaver; I helped her to build the website architecture and I helped her students to build their web pages.
She was really courageous to start such a project and I'm really impressed by what she done. She spent between 30 and 40 hours of non-paid job in the last weeks to build, correct and integrate this website. I have a great respect for these peoples that don't fear things they don't know and work to learn how they work.
9h00am. I was in the class, with her students. I distributed them a sheet that described what they had to do with Dreamweaver to build their web pages. The class his started, the students are wonderful. They worked in team. One was typing the text in their web page and the other was playing with a Flash game, somewhere on the Internet. You are thinking that the procedure was not really productive? In 1 hour, all teams had their text wrote. All web pages had graphs and animated gifts included everywhere. There were no major problems. Yes, it was a productive hour.
10h20am. I couldn't believe it but everything was done, the bell had ring and the class was finished. Was this as worse as people said? Certainly not. The students were wonderful and worked really effectively. I never imagined it before.
It's sure that using Dreamweaver to do this type of project was not the best idea in the world. This is an administrative decision and my friend overcame the problems linked with it. In my high school time I hadn't the possibility to work on such a project. Computers were not what they are today and Internet wasn't really well known. But now we have the technologies to develop such projects, why not using them? I had loved to build a web page when I was studying the explicative text in my French classes.
Are the professors ready to enter in the information age with their students? I don't think so. Only the daring teachers, like my friend, will enter in it. Why? Because technologies are not well understood and much of the time they are hard to use. Building such a project take time, hard work and frustrations. People fear to do it because they don't know how it works or because they don't need to put the time it take to build it.
I encourage teachers to try to integrate technologies such as Internet in their traditional classes. It's always appreciated by students and it will show them the possibilities that such technologies can give them in the future. It's the first step they need to climb to eventually tame technologies. It's not because you are a French teacher that you can't do it; she is and she done it.
16h00pm. Was the school as worse as people say? Definitely not. It's sure that some students have problems, like anybody on this earth, but they were polite and kind. It was a wonderful journey in the worse high school of the region.
Technorati Tags: [internet] [technologies] [school] [teacher] [student]
4:46:41 PM  
||March 27, 2005
Praise to journal keepers: by journal keepers, for journal keepers
Supported by: Leaving a Trace: The Art of Transforming Life into Stories by Alexandra Johnson
Thousands of personal journals were coming from every state and several countries. Dream journals, idea journals, journey journals, travel journals, sketch journals, war journals, anything else journals. She read them, analyzed them and discussed of them with their authors, know or unknown.
Leaving a Trace is praise to personal journals. It's a compilation of all personal journals that Alexandra Johnson read over time. Why people are writing in personal journals? How most famous personality of our history used journals? How to keep your personal journal? What type of journal are people creating? It's the question she asks and answers with his personal love of journaling. She do her demonstration with thousands of quotes took in personal journals of know and unknown writers.
I had doubts when I received the book by Amazon but it was a revelation. Every page is a pleasure to read. It's a travel through personal and collective history. What I remind of the book? The power that journals and diaries have to help us to clarify ideas, create inspiration and inflame creativity. Do I recommend this book? Yes, to any human being.
Bellow are some quotes, extracted from the context of the book, wrote by Alexandra or other journal keepers cited in it. It will give you an overview of the richness of her work.
Through these citations, I'll say things; things that tell you what a diary could be for me; how I see it... the essence of it.
"There looms ahead of me the shadow of some kind of form which the diary might attain. I might in the course of time lean what it is that one can make of this loose, drifting material of life; finding another use for it."
- Virginia Woolf
Personal diaries are a multiple purpose toolkits. They help you to find your path, to tame your creativity:
"[...]how others used a diary to deepen a life, or negotiate the obstacle course of creativity."
It's a way to talk to you... in the future. You fill it with thoughts and feelings. You project yourself in the future and wait until these thoughts fade in your mind. Then, you reread your entries and remember all things you were thinking about... but now... you know the truth about these old assertions. You do it in hope to find something new; something that you didn't expected to know before that time:
"What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace any thing, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself... into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life."
- Virginia Woolf
"'Who are we really writing for? ' A future self, usually. Journal keeping is that rare activity centered in the present, contemplating the past, yet aimed for a future self."
"Gail Godwin [...] I write for my future self, as well as my present mood. And sometimes, to set the record straight, I jot down a word or two in old diaries to my former self; to encourage, to scold, to correct, to set things in perspectives."
There is a paradox: you create a personal diary. You want to keep it for yourself, prohibiting others to read it. But, in the deepen your, you want to leave a trace of your apparition on earth; of your living. While you live, you don't need others to know you but once you know you will die, you want others to know everything about you:
"The past, Virginia Woolf noted, urges us to leave a trace."
"Yet no matter how incomplete of fitfully kept, journals honor that most human of instincts: our need to leave a trace."
Journals are a way to clarify your thoughts. To organize them in a way to keep your foot on earth:
"Mansfield, who'd burned 'the huge complaining diaries' of her childhood, kept journals for process: to practice craft as much as to clarify thoughts."
It's also a way to help you to know things that you didn't know you know. It's a way to look at things differently, from another point of view: to see things with new eyes:
"Once I begin the act of writing, it all falls away; the view from the window, the tools, the talismans, and I am unconscious of myself... one's carping inner critics are silenced for a time... there is always a surprise, a revelation. During the act of writing, I have told myself something that I didn't know I know."
- Gail Godwin
"Proust [...] The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
It's a way to bind together your two self: the conscious and unconscious ones. It's a way to see new things; things that were there without being aware of them:
"Journals allow one to reflect, to step outside oneself. They create a third space, an invaluable pause between the conscious and unconscious self. Above all, journals are a way to let the world be reconsidered not taking in the habitual. They're a master switch on tracks, moving us from the familiar, from not seeing, to seeing anew."
"[...] record of conscience."
"[...] sharpening consciousness."
It's a tool to observe; to take time; to be aware of your environment; look at it trying to understand it:
"Today, sitting for even five minutes with a journal offers a rare cease-fire in the battle of daily life, a time when we're not graded, not performing. It's a time when one attempts some truth, silencing those carping inner voices."
"The deeper benefit of keeping a journal is that it offers a way to be consistently aware or mindful. As Katherine Mansfield note, her journal became a way 'to lose all that is superficial and acquired in me and to become a conscious, direct human being.'"
"Samantha Harvey [...] The diary helps me weigh thoughts and opinions about life [...] For me, the diary is the outward expression of this inward quest; to understand my relationship to myself, to others, to the world, to the spiritual [...] I'm making coherence out of the chaos."
"Jim Cummings [...] To me, a diary is a record of verification. It is a proof that one has lived and that one has cared enough about a precious life to describe it."
"To keep a journal is to learn how to play. Deeply"
"The journal is the ideal place of refuge for the inner self because it constitutes a counterworld: a world to balance the other."
- Joyce Carol Oates
It's a tool that gives hope. Hope to have something to work with that will eventually lead to something significant:
"The scene rings true for other reasons: our image of writing in a journal, the necessity of privacy, out fear that someone might read it, and, secretly, the hope that a diary will be the start of significant work."
Keeping diaries is a discovering process of the inner you:
"The secret of keeping a journal is seeing it as a draft, a stepping-stone, a process."
You always have a voice in you. This voice always tries to stop you writing and saying what you really want to write and say. Everybody have it; it's hidden deep in each of us. We need to work with it, around it, against it. Passing over it could help you to express you, to being you, to create great things:
"You're not the only one with these voices homesteading in you brain. Da Vinci, a terrible perfectionist, kept journals for forty years as a way to generate work and outwit his Censor. In the morning, he recorded his dreams. In the afternoon, he jotted notes for ideas. In the evening, he recorded passages from his reading. He did each with lightning speed, his goal solely to map out as ideas as possible before his Censor could veto them."
"A journal is how memory and meaning finally meet, finding a core image that begins to unlock important connections in a life."
Writing about something is observing it, trying to understand it:
"Seeing is of course very much a matter of verbalization. Unless I call my attention to what passes before my eyes, I simply won't see.... It's all a matter of keeping my eyes open."
- Annie Dillard
It's a way to invite inspiration to knock at your door:
"'Inspiration, ' says poet David Lehman, isn't something 'to sit and wait for. ' For him, it comes when you invite it."
It could be a diagnosis tool:
""When I find I'm not writing in my journal daily," says Cindy Riede, "I know I'm shut down in some way and that I need to wake up and pay attention.""
It's a tool to find the shape of the connections between your thoughts:
"Writing is one way of discovering sequence in experience.... Connections slowly emerge. Like distant landmarks you are approaching, cause and effects begin to align themselves.... Experiences.... Connect and are identified as a larger shape."
- Eudora Welty
Journals and diaries take all forms. From the traditional Italian handmade notebook to the toilet paper; from printed email to blogs; from sketch book to home movies; everything can be a journal.
This praise to journal keeping is intended to anybody. From the writer to the business manager. Anybody, who cares about himself; who wants to know more about him and his environment; who create things. As a computer scientist and human being I keep journal for these exact reasons.
I keep many journals: Blogs, Moleskine notebooks, binders full of lined sheets, writings and highlightings in books. All these journals have their place; each try to cope with a specific task; all are priceless.
Someone could think that I ripped the essence of the book with those citations but it's nothing like this. This is only an overview, a snapshot of the inspiration and creativity enclosed in the book. Buy it, read it, think about it and re-read it.
Technorati Tags: [diary] [journal] [writing] [creativity] [inspiration]
5:39:56 PM  
||March 25, 2005
Too many information is as useless as not enough
Talk about the new Del.icio.us interface; rethink tags' user interface
I have been notified by Lifehacker that a new Del.icio.us interface was being tested. I followed the instructions to see it and put http://del.icio.us/new/fredonsomething in my browser and pressed Enter.
When I see the thing for the first time, I stopped breathing. My brain was not able to compute what I was seeing. I was like a protagonist in a story of H.P Lovecraft. What was that?
I started, slowly, to understand what was going on with Del.icio.us. Thousands of words were spread in my screen like an endless vortex made of words and colors.
I wondered where my tags were. I had closely checked my screen, trying to decipher something to this gibberish. I finally find out that my tags was there; with some different colors dependant of the number of links tagged with them. I figured out that it was my old one colon tag list squeezed in a table.
I started to use Del.icio.us some months ago. Lately I only added bookmarks to my account, without looking at my home page. I never, ever thought that I generated as many tags with 112 entries.
After I realized it, I started to like the new interface, it's an improvement on the old one, no doubts. But it raises a question about tags.
It's sure that a simple word can't catch the meaning of a resource by itself. It's why you need many tags to describe the meaning of a resource. In this case, it's normal to have more tags than resources (links in our case).
But, is the interface that manipulate these tags is really what a user need? Do I need to see all tags that describe resources? Could we introduce a concept of meta-tags to help the user to handle this mass of (not always useful) information?
Tags can be useful but too many tags are like not enough: it's useless.
Technorati Tags: [delicious] [tag] [tags] [folksonomy] [information]
4:49:43 PM  
||March 24, 2005
Ten reasons why blogging is good for your career
Blogging as written communication practice
Ten reasons why blogging is good for you career by Tim Bray. This list is the result of a common sense author. Not out of the track and not totally conservative. The points are clear and make sense to me.
I have been particularly attracted by the point 4:
"No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice."
It's the exact reason why I started blogging. I wanted to practice my English communication skills. The more I blogged, the more I discovered the importance of writing communication. I saw the power that some bloggers got with their only little webpage, their blog.
People, without any connection with the writing communication world, with their off-track education, had been able to be read, days after days, by thousands of people around the world. More than this, their voices are listened, appreciated, and accepted.
They got the point. They practiced and mastered the art of writing communication over the Internet. They practiced with their blogs and they are now part of talk shows and conferences. They practiced and they mastered; they worked. It's probably the key word in this post: working and keep working.
Technorati Tags: [blogs] [blogging] [communication] [work] [career]
10:24:42 AM  
||March 22, 2005
Companies check blogs too
What customers say about your products?
Blogging is good for anyone. It's an ease to use publication platform. Everybody can easily create and maintain their blog. Blogsphere is an environment where people can talk about what they thing, without restrictions. They wrote about what they really think.
This special conversation environment is a gold mine for businesses. Why? Because they can know what their customers really think about their products; in good or in bad. This is possible because bloggers are also customers; not normal ones but customers that talk about what they really think.
Jet Brains, the Russian enterprise that created Omea Reader, seem to be one of these companies. Every time I wrote "Omea" in a post, I always see incoming Russian connections from Feedster or Technorati, with intellij.net as domain; with "Omea" as query string.
What's this tell me? It's telling me that Jet Brains care about what people say about their products. It's probably a way to upgrade them with features their clients' whish to use. They probably have a client-centric vision of application development. They will not put features for fun. They will put features their users whish to have. They will upgrade already existing features their users uses.
I'm probably right or possibly wrong by writing this but 's what the situation look like. True or not, I think every enterprise should do it. It's a gold mine for them. They have the unbiased opinions of thousands of clients, users and customers.
Technorati Tags: [business] [client] [omea] [blogs]
12:07:40 AM  
||March 21, 2005
Question : I want an English dictionary of usage and common errors
How to use a word and how not to use it
I was strolling in my local bookshop, looking for new books to put in my bookshelves for future reading. I get stock some times at the English dictionaries section. I checked the few they had wander if I would find an English dictionary like the French Multi Dictionnaire.
What this dictionary is about? In French you have two main dictionaries: an encyclopedic one, Le Larousse, and a linguistic one, Le Robert. There is also another one that has small definition of words. It tells you how to use the word and how not to use the word. It tells you the common errors people do when using it. There it is: Le Multi Dictionnaire.
It's exactly this type of English dictionary I need. I need to know how to use and not to use a word, the errors I would make by using it.
Which English dictionary are you using? Is there such an English dictionary available on the market? Do you have other reference books to suggest?
Thank for your help.
Update 26 Mars 2004
I finally found what I was searching for: Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Learners Of English and the Bbi Dictionary of English Word Combinations. An Idiom dictionary is always interesting too!
Technorati Tags: [writing] [english] [dictionaries] [reference]
12:06:07 AM  
||March 20, 2005
Two things why writing is now so important to me
Why writing is now so important to me?
Because writing is thinking.
While I write things, I think about them. It's a moment I take in a day to think about things that fly in my mind.
Sometime I wrote my short and long term goals on a sheet. I check them; I check what I'm doing right now to reach them. While I'm writing them down, I think about them, I make them clear in my mind.
Because writing is learning.
While I write things, I learn from them. Sometimes, things will emerge from my unconsciousness: I'll learn from them. It will give a new angle of attack to understand the thoughts I was writing about.
Technorati Tags: [writing] [thinking] [learning]
10:33:10 AM  
||March 19, 2005
Semantic web is not a myth: it's a future reality
I just finished reading this old post that talk about the myth of Semantic Web. The two points of the author are:
1. Pure laziness. It's extra work to tag everything with metadata.
2. RDF is nearly impossible to understand. That's the biggest rub. RDF, like so many other standards to come out of IETF/W3C is almost incomprehensible to anyone who didn't write the standard.
The thing is that RDF is not intended to be easily understood by humans like simple XML documents. RDF is intended to be understood by machines. It's a really basic ontology language. RDF and RDFS are flexible but not as expressive as we would like. It’s why other ontology languages have been created.
I said that this is a simple language... for machine, not for us. The thing is that I think that we need such languages in the future to be able to handle the mass of information that the Internet became.
It's why we will need to build applications that will build these file for us. It's what misses the Semantic Web: an infrastructure of fully integrated, and easy to use, user applications.
Semantic Web is not a myth, it's a future reality. It's at his infancy and it will grow. RSS is a result of the Semantic Web. Mr Cauldwell also said:
"The closest that anyone has come to using RDF in any real way is RSS, which has turned out to be so successful because it is accessible. It's not hard to understand how RSS is supposed to work, which is why it's not really RDF. "
He is right, but the thing is that we will need to develop applications to get these ease to create and understand RSS files and migrate them, automatically, in a more expressive ontological language like RDF or OWL. It'll not be our job; it will be the job of applications. Why? Because these languages aren't suitable for humans.
Think about the infancy of computer programming. We first started to code in assembler. It was a simple wrapper on machine code but it was not really suitable for humans to use. Eventually we created upper level languages, like C or Pascal to handle the suitability problem. They were much more comprehensive for humans. This was their only task: be comprehensible to human programmers. This is how it works: a special application transforms the human readable code in C in a less readable code in assembly to finally be converted in machine code incomprehensible to humans but fully understood by machines. It' the same thing we will need to do with these languages.
Technorati Tags: [web] [semantic] [rss] [rdf] [owl] [software]
10:55:43 AM  
||March 15, 2005
The problems with tags depend on two factors: the authors and the tag's used word
See tags as resources with a semantic meaning
Tagging is the action of annotate words to a resource (a document, an image, etc). It's a way to categories and organizes these resources.
You can perform this tagging action for your own, while using Gmail by attaching tags to your incoming message, or use it in a social network by tagging bookmark entries in Del.icio.us for example.
Basically tags are only separate words linked to a resource. The author can put words with or without a semantic meaning one between another. He can put words in semantic relation with or without the tagged resource. The entire tagging job is done at the discretion of the author.
The action of tagging will be an operand of the whole formula that describe the success or the failure of a system using these tags.
The second factor will be how a system will use these tags. A basic system will bind and show all resources with the same tag, wrote with the same letters. Then, "blog" and "blogs" are not the same tags. Resources with "blog" as a tag will not be bound and shown with resources tagged with the word "blogs".
Given this problem, some systems using tags will suggest a list of related tags. Some systems perform well at this task, like Technorati who seem to suggest tags with related semantic.
Others perform poorly because they only suggest tags that contain the tag’s word. By example, if I search for the "blog" tag, such a system will suggest me categories like "blogs", "anablog", "tierryisblog", etc. This method is clearly ineffective and probably useless.
I think that this feature proposed by systems using tags is just a plug-in implemented to try to cope with this problem.
How could we upgrade the tagging idea to get rid of such feature and remove a part of the responsibility of the tagging authors in the whole process? I think that the principles of the semantic web would help us to upgrade the tagging idea.
How would this work? Intuitively it would work like this:
1. Consider the group of tags that describe a resource as a resource in itself.
2. Systems like Technorati would scan posts to extract these "tag resource".
3. After the system would semantically link all these "tag resource" according to an ontology to relate, semantically, each "tag resources".
4. Finally when a user would make a tag search query, results would not only be the resources with the specific tag but also all the other resources according to the semantic of the tag(s) searched.
In this post I'm talking of a new way to see tags; tags as resources with a semantic meaning; not about words that, theoretically, describe a resource.
Technorati Tags: [tag] [folksonomy] [web] [semantic]
6:23:41 PM  
||March 13, 2005
The life span of a blog discussion seem to be ephemeral
Is there a way to change the situation?
It seems that there are two problems with blog discussions that use comments:
1. People who start a discussion by commenting a post didn't seem to check back for new comments on the message.
2. If the post is older than some days, nobody will comment on it.
Some will say that this is normal because blogs are used to publish thoughts of the moment and old thoughts didn't worth commenting. If they see blogs as this, they are probably right.
The thing is that I don’t see blogs this way. Blogs seems to be a really interesting knowledge management tool. In this optic, it would be healthy to comment old posts: to upgrade the idea behind it with the new knowledge people have at this time.
The problem is that nobody will see these changes because the posts will be lost in all other new posts.
If we take as premise that comments are integral part of a post, with the same information value, would it be interesting to change his position in the lifeline of the blog with an updated date? A good way to do this would probably to include an "update" section that relate the last changes performed on posts. A change would be an update in the post’s body or a new comment posted on it by a reader.
Think about Wikis; it would be a good and elegant way to give life back to old posts (ideas, knowledge).
Few blogs had implemented comments feed. The idea is good but are they increasing the life span of blog's discussions? Take Scoble’s comment blog (are you reading all "scoble" words of the Blogsphere's posts? ;) ). Is it increasing the life span of his posts? I don't perceive it. If the post is the sixth of the day, comments attached to it will fade out and the post will be leaved for death.
In this case, would a solution be to include comments in the main feed of the blog? Have in mind that we are thinking with the assumption that comments are integral part of a post, with the same information value. Personally I think that it would be a solution but it wouldn’t be applicable with the current RSS specification; it just not specified for this purpose.
Finally, I don't think that current blogs' structure is well built to give a respectable life span to posts. It just can't work well with the current structure.
Technorati Tags: [blog] [comment] [knowledge] [feed] [wiki]
11:10:05 AM  
||March 11, 2005
It seems that MSN Search will integrate a RSS reader to his interface!
A prototype project by Microsoft
I came across these prototype projects by Microsoft this morning. I already saw the names in some feeds but I didn't take attention to them. I just tested the two projects; they are awesome! The first one is a web based RSS and Atom reader. The second seems to be a hybrid of the first one and a bookmark interface (the goal of his development seem more obscure; probably he lacks features).
This is by far the best web based feed reader I saw for now. It's fully integrated to the MSN Search website. It didn't take place in your browser with a sidebar. The way they have done the interface give you the maximum space in your screen to see what is going on.
You can easily show or hide your categories by clicking on a single button.
You can add new feeds to the pre-syndicated list of feeds. These feeds are added in a My Feeds section.
All feeds are open in a single window and you can have as many windows as you wish. This feature is really interesting because you can see the headers of more than one feed at the same time.
Another, really cool little feature is the search string saving possibility. All searches you perform are saved in a section called Recent Searches. When you click on one of these recent searches it open a new "feed window" with the result of your previous search. Then you can see some feeds and search at the same time.
Try this: go to the start project one. Click on show. Then click on the Entertainment category. After click on the Dilbert link. Finally click on one of the Dilbert's feed entry. His that not so cute?
Okay, this is a prototype project and it is not perfect; so there is a list of things that I would enjoy to see in this web base feed reader:
· I would like to be able to add or remove categories.
· I would like to be able to remove pre-syndicated feeds.
· I would like to have the possibility to have more than 5 feed entries by feed.
· I would like to have a URL to add a feed to my reader only by clicking on it (like the MyMSN button at your right).
· I would like to see if a feed entry is read or not. After, if such a system would exist, I would like to have the possibility to make all entries read.
My wish list end there for the moment. It's like asking gifts to Santa Claus in a shopping mail. Will someone that works on this start project will read them? I don’t know but they are here in case of.
Finally what make this prototype project really interesting is that it seems that it will be fully integrated in MSN Search. It's what makes it more interesting than the MyMSN pseudo feed reader and what make it different from services like Bloglines and NewsGator.
By the way, the first project now works on Firefox; for the second they are correcting it.
Technorati Tags: [feeds] [rss] [atom] [msn] [Microsoft] [blogs]
12:15:01 PM  
||March 9, 2005
A tool to have a graph of Del.icio.us' Folksonomy
Tags are spreading everywhere. Most social systems on the Internet are now using them. The big thing is now to relate tags one between another. Some systems works, others don't. I’ll talk of this problem in another post.
For now what is interesting us is to have a graph of del.icio.us' folksonomy. I just found a new java applet, by Joho's blog, which is doing this: Hublog's graph del.icio.us related tags. You enter a tag, your click the button and you obtain the graph of tags related with it.
Is that not so beautiful?
Yes it is, but how it changes my life? Sometime you have a thing to categorize with tags. You have a tag but don't know what other peoples use to strengthen this tag's meaning with other tags with related semantics. So, you only have to use this system and you'll see the other terms that peoples use to describe this tag's meaning.
It's also interesting to use this applet for scientific purposes. It helps to know how a term can be seen by a social network. Then you'll have his social definition. I think that this exercise can be interesting and useful. It's good to check definitions in dictionaries and encyclopedias, but what about the word's meaning saw by a social network?
Technorati Tags: [tags] [folksonomy] [blogs] [delicious]
1:25:09 PM  
||March 7, 2005
Fred On Something's new comments blog
A new experience that I make: will my readers be interested in what I talk about on other blogs
This is a new experience I start. The question that drives it is: Are people interested in what I talk about on other blogs?
After the links blogs (like Scoble's), there is the Comment blog: a place where I put comments I made on other peoples' posts. Is the blog and the idea will be a flop? I don't really know. I don't know if this will be helpful and will interest my readers.
The premise is that I think that I can say, sometimes, interesting things in other bloggers' posts comments. The problem is that comments are easily lost on the blogsphere. So it's a way to give them another live.
I'll try this experience for some times. One of his goals is to try to give another live to posts, and comments, that I posted comments on. If I make a comment on a post it's because I liked it. So, it's a way to get an archive on them. I think it can also be a future source of inspiration for incoming posts.
The second goal is to point you out posts that I looked at and that interested me. This idea is in the same trend that my Del.icio.us social bookmark. It's a fast way, for you, to discover new cool things on the internet; new ideas cited by talented people, etc.
Most of my posts will be present on this blog. Some will be discarded if they aren't relevant by their own.
I'll need time to finish with great care the way I'll edit my posts on this new blog. So if you wish to help me with this task then tell me what will make you read it and how you see layout (editing) of these comment posts. Also tell me what you think about the idea. Is that crap? Is that wonderful? Be honest, I'm not susceptible person.
Don't forget, you are a part of this experience!
There is the link to this new comments blog.
There is the link to the feed of this new comments blog.
Technorati Tags: [blog] [comment] [experience]
12:05:13 AM  
||March 6, 2005
Interview of Todd Storch by Tom Parish
A business manager, a radio guy and a blogger that talk about business, radio, podcast and blogs
Want to know what a business manager, radio guy and blogger think about blogs, podcasts and related technologies? My blogging friend Todd Storch had been interviewed by Tom Parish. The discussion is a great one and talk about every socials technology that emerged with blogs.
It's really inspiriting. He also tells how he became a blogger and why he is now blogging. Blogging remember him how he feeling when he was young, listening at the radio.
I share the same feelings and ideas they have about this new emerging trend that blogging is. This new social tool used to create emerging communities.
Take 35 minutes to listen at it, you'll not be disappointed.
I need to thank Todd to have emailed me this interview. It's my first real podcast experience, I need to confess, and I liked the experience, thank Todd :)
Technorati Tags: [podcast] [blog] [radio] [business]
11:17:22 AM  
||March 5, 2005
Why do I use Omea Reader as Feed Reader?
There are many, many feed readers around. Many people didn't know which of these feed readers they should use. The answer is not so simple: it will depend of what your needs are. There are many type of feed readers. Some are web based, others are integrated in already know environment like outlook, others are addins for Mozilla or Internet Explorer and finally others are standalone software that works on Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.
Personally feeds reading now take an important place in my everyday life. I'm subscribed to more than half hundred feeds of any sorts. So I need a robust software that can work easily with thousands of posts without corrupt them. So given these needs I tested many standalone feed reader softwares. I now only use my laptop computer. I carry it everywhere to see my clients, at the coffee shop, at my friends' houses, etc. So I'm restricted to a 15", non wide laptop screen. Given this feature, I need to have the possibility to have the maximum of spaces to read my posts.
I tested many of these softwares but only one is filling all these requirements: Omea Reader. Many people will think that I can be crazy with my requirements; that I should not reject software only for a little problem. They are probably right, but now I use my feed reader much more than my email program; I use it many times a day, so it need to be exactly what I need otherwise it will make me mad.
So, why I took Omea Reader? I use it since 5 months now and it work as a charm. This software fills all the above discussed requirements:
· His look is modern, beautiful and simple. It's smooth and not aggressive. It's a charm to read hours with it.
· The software is robust. It never crashed while I was reading my post. I have a database of around 15000 posts and I never saw a corrected one.
· It took as many computer resources as Firefox, Acrobat Reader or Maxthon so it's acceptable in my case.
· I can easily setup the control panels to have a maximum space to look at my posts without always clicking on buttons to show and hide panels. It's the best organization I saw (it's a really personal opinion).
All these features are filled by Omea Reader. But the most beautiful features aren't listed bellow. Omea is probably the feed reader who gives you the best possibility to manage the way you see your feeds' posts. Why? Because he work with a views system. You have only one entry for every post that is archived by Omea. But this post can be see by more than one view. So with these views you can restrict, with categories, which posts you want to read. This is the only feed reader I saw that worked like this and it's the most powerful feature of Omea: the way you can manage your information.
What's a good feed reader without a search engine? There is an advanced search engine included in Omea. It uses the same view system. So when you perform searches in your posts, a new view will be created with searches' results. So you can easily, without adding entries to your database, keep the results of your searches. Is that not so beautiful?
There are also 2 other really cool features I like: the flags and the annotations. You have the possibility to flag posts. By example, I put a green flag on posts that I comment, I put blue flags on posts where I find a beautiful quote, I put red flag on important posts, etc. So I can easily, through a view, find where I posted comments, where I found good quotes, etc.
Annotations are as important as flags because it give you the power to annotate, with personal idea, incoming posts. So you can, in the future, look at what you thought about this post, etc. It’s also a really interesting feature for bloggers because you can annotate post that you'll blog about in the future.
It's how and why I use Omea Reader. It's sure that this post is really personal. I didn't mention other feed reader because I didn't want to compare Omea with others, to say that Omea is better than this one, this one or this one. Why? Because the use of a specific feed reader depend of your needs. For me, Omea is the best I know and it's why I used it since 5 months.
It's sure that I forgot to talk about features (because I didn't know them or I didn't use them) but feel free to tell us how you use it, I'll be really happy to ear it!
Don't forget that you have a free license until the 31 mars 2005. But if it's like past months, they will extend it to the next month, and the next month, etc… :)
Technorati Tags: [omea] [feed] [reading] [rss] [atom] [blog]
3:49:25 PM  
||March 3, 2005
About blog back-references in your blog's posts
Essential to give credit to authors and build your relationship with other bloggers
You find a good article on the web or a post of another blogger with a so beautiful idea. You want to blog about it; to present it to your readers and add some comments. Will you rip the whole thing; put it on you blog with your comments without reference back the original author? I hope no!
Personally if the idea came from another source than my mind, I'll put a link to the source of information. If I found it on a specific web site and that site reference back to the originator, then, I'll reference the place where I found it and the place where the original idea came from. It's the way I work. I put the reference of the place that point me out a thing, and if it's the case, the reference to the originator of the idea.
Personally I think that back-referencing is probably the most important thing you have to do while building information web pages (like blogs). The first point is to give credit to the author. It's a simple act of civism essential for the good health of the Internet. Secondly, it helps you to give credibility to your works. Finally it will help you to build a good relationship with other authors. If I take the example of blogs, it will help you to be read by other bloggers. Why? Because most bloggers are addicted to their blog's statistic. Usually, if he doesn't know the reference web site to one of his post, then he'll check by clicking on it, and he will read what you wrote about him. Usually he will eventually give you the credit back by blogging on one of your post.
The core of this healthy relationship between bloggers is the fact that peoples references-back the originator of ideas.
Technorati Tags: [blog] [reference] [relationship] [author]
12:19:09 PM  
||March 1, 2005
A letter to his readers by Frank Herbert
How he wrote dune and his intentions behind it
I just started to read the fifth book of the Dune chronicle: Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert. In the ACE edition, they added a little letter of Frank to his readers after 10 millions copies sold. I'll retype it there because I think that this is a really interesting reading for people interested in writing and Dune. It describes his intentions and the process of his writings. There it is:
... there was no room in my mind for concerns about the book's success or failure. I was concerned only with the writing. Six years of research had preceded the day I sat down to put the story together, and the interweaving of the many plot layers I had planned required a degree of concentration I had never before experiences.
It was to be a story exploring the myth of the Messiah.
It was to produce another view of a human-occupied planet as an energy machine.
It was to penetrate the interlocked workings of politics and economics.
It was to be an examination of absolute prediction and its pitfalls.
It was to have an awareness drug in it and tell what could happen through dependence on such a substance.
Potable water was to be an ecological novel, then, with many overtones, as well as a story about people and their human concerns with human values, and I had to monitor each of these levels at every stage in the book.
There wasn't room in my head to thing about much else.
Following the first publication, reports from the publishers were slow and, as it turned out, inaccurate. The critics had panned it. More than twelve publishers had turned it down before publication. There was no advertising. Something was happening out there, though.
For two years, I was swamped with bookstore and reader complaints that they could not get the book. The Whole Earth Catalog praised it. I kept getting these telephone calls from people asking me if I were starting a cult.
The answer: "God no!"
What I'm describing is the slow realization of success. By the time the first three Dune books were completed, there was little doubt that this was a popular work – one of the most popular in history, I am told, with some ten million copies sold worldwide. Now the most common question people ask is: "What does this success mean to you?"
It surprise me. I didn't expect failure either. It was a work and I did it. Parts of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune were written before Dune was completed. They fleshed out more in the writing, but the essential story remained intact. I was a writer and I was writing. The success meant I could spend more time writing.
Looking back on it, I realize I did the right thing instinctively. You don't write for success. That takes part of your attention away from the writing. If you're really doing it, that's all you're doing: writing.
There's an unwritten compact between you and the reader. If someone enters a bookstore and sets down hard earned money(energy) for your book, you owe that person some entertainment and as much more as you can give.
That was really my intention all along.
Technorati Tags: [writing] [reading] [dune] [publishing]
11:50:10 AM  
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