September 01, 2005

Company News, issue 7

I've been creating a newsletter I send out to the company every week to try and encourage a more 'heads up' approach to the internet/technology industry. I'm posting the same content to this blog so it doesn't feel quite so stale. Some of the links may seem a little "old news" due to the fact that they are. These early ones were ferreted out some 6 months ago.


Article on the rebirth of this exciting interweb thingy
The brave new(ish) world is upon us it seems. Are we geared up for it?
“If you’re not yet amazed, inspired, and a little anxious, you might want to consider it. Then get a good night’s sleep and perhaps take a rejuvenating vacation. We’re going to look back at Spring 2005 as a milestone. Watch closely, ladies and gentlemen. Things are about to change in a very big way.”

Fact:
Internet users are ok with banner ads, hate interstitials and video


Yahoo – My Web Beta
This is a combination of the ‘Save Search’ concept and Del.icio.us bookmarks. Read an article about why this is important/interesting here.

What’s ‘Save Search’?
It’s a way to save the terms you’ve used to search for something, and the results that the search yields. Real-Estate companies helped to pioneer this idea, by building their web searches to remember the type of house, location, price-range etc of your search query for next time you visit.

What’s ‘Del.icio.us bookmarks’?
“del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager. It allows you to easily add sites you like to your personal collection of links, to categorize those sites with keywords, and to share your collection not only between your own browsers and machines, but also with others.” Visit Delicious to find out more. Essentially, Delicious allows you to keep your bookmarks independent of your computer or browser. It also allows you to search for other people’s bookmarks that are similar to the ones you’ve made via how they describe them.

Yahoo is making a foray into this area, although it seems that they’re not doing it quite as well as the freestanding forms of each service.

Folksonomies
A lot of excitement around the internet at the moment is about a fairly simple concept called ‘Folksonomies’. In a nutshell, people write descriptive words (aka meta tags) about a thing (could be a photograph, a web article, a piece of writing etc) and then share both the thing and the descriptive words on some kind of web site. This allows other people to find similar items via the descriptive words supplied by the user community (known as ‘bottom up’ classification) rather than by some ‘top down’ imposed taxonomy. Flickr, Del.icio.us, 43Things are some examples of sites using Folksonomies to get those who submit user generated content to also assign meta data to it.

RSS Mixer
Making the Internet’s myriad of ‘stuff’ more easily accessible is the challenge that has faced the industry since the inception of the Web. RSS aggregators are an alternative way to the web browser for ‘pulling’ content from personally interesting sources. You can also use RSS to place content from other websites onto your own. RSS (which can stand for RDF Site Summary, Rich Site Summary, or Really Simple Syndication) “…is a format for syndicating news and the content of news-like sites…” read more about RSS.

This gadget is an interesting tool for allowing you to mix various RSS Feeds into one. Watch the horizon for RSS as it starts to change the way people think about the internet.
“Mix any number of RSS feeds into one unique new feed! You can then point a parser at the new feed and display a mix of stories from various sources on your website”

Guess the Google
Quite Addictive and fun.

Typogenerator
Another word creating thing that uses Google Images to make pretty words.

Posted by Ant at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

Company News, issue 6

I've been creating a newsletter I send out to the company every week to try and encourage a more 'heads up' approach to the internet/technology industry. I'm posting the same content to this blog so it doesn't feel quite so stale. Some of the links may seem a little "old news" due to the fact that they are. These early ones were ferreted out some 6 months ago.


Usability
De La Soul and Jakob Neilson are not dead. “Dr Nielsen has looked back at a decade of work on usability and considered whether the 34 core guidelines drawn up back then are relevant to the web of today.”

Online Advertising – lessons from TV
“Perhaps it’s happened to you too. If you’ve clicked on an interesting image or piece of content only to find that you clicked through an online advertisement, you may be missing the lines between content and advertising. Their dichotomy is not new: television networks have been thinking about the distinction for over 60 years. Can their models reveal anything about the future direction of online advertising? While this issue of Boxes and Arrows provides us with strategies on looking forward, we might also look back for indications of how to proceed.”

FOAF… again
Tribe.net is exporting and importing FoaF too… they claim to be the first. (For new starters to this newsletter, FoaF was something mentioned some weeks back with regard to LiveJournal. Go here to find out what FoaF is).
Tribe.net believes in allowing the user to be in control of his/her own information. We do this using FoaF, an emerging standard that makes it easier for you to manage both your profile and your social network across different systems and websites.”

Foaf browser allows you to view raw foaf files in a somewhat intelligible format.
“Even though FoaF and the Semantic Web is designed for machines, it can sometimes be interesting to browse the virtual neighbourhoods of friends in much the same way the "regular" web is browsed. The FoaF Explorer tries to present the information and assertions in a human-readable format, currently by way of direct transformations of the raw RDF/XML to XHTML with XSLT”

Clay Shirky’s Semantic Web Essay
Whilst we’re on the topic of the Semantic Web… what IS the semantic web? Basically speaking, it’s a way to ensure that objects, people, files etc on the web are tagged in such a way so they can be connected to other objects, people, files etc in meaningful ways. FoaF is an example of this idea. This essay does a lot better job of describing the concepts.

Email best practices
Some complain they don’t get enough email, but most people claim the opposite. Here’s some really practical ways in which you can make both reading and writing email a lot more useful to everyone.
“Before e-mail, senders shouldered the burden of mail. Writing, stamping, and mailing a letter was a lot of work. Plus, each new addressee meant more postage, so we thought hard about whom to send things to. (Is it worth spending thirty-two cents for Loren to read this letter? Nah….) E-mail bludgeoned that system in no time. With free sending to an infinite number of people now a reality, every little thought and impulse becomes instant communication...”

Rent a German
This one is particularly for Marco to meet his translation requirements, but if you have a warped sense of humor like me you may get a kick out of this website too.
“rentagerman.de offers a wide range of Germans for your personal and social needs.”

Posted by Ant at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)

Company News, issue 5

I've been creating a newsletter I send out to the company every week to try and encourage a more 'heads up' approach to the internet/technology industry. I'm posting the same content to this blog so it doesn't feel quite so stale. Some of the links may seem a little "old news" due to the fact that they are. These early ones were ferreted out some 6 months ago.


Yahoo 360 Ain’t All That
This is a critique of Yahoo 360, by Marc Hedlund examines Yahoo 360 (Yahoo’s new community platform) using Lessons from Lucasfilm’s Habitat (essay that recounts the experiences of Lucasfilm Games making a graphical, multi-user online environment in the mid-1980s, and it stands as a great analysis of what makes online communities thrive or fail). This Article starts weakly, but persist because the lessons lower down are really pertinent to our development.

Social Software on TV
http://www.plasticbag.org/archives/2005/03/social_software_for_settop_boxes.shtml
http://www.corante.com/many/archives/2005/03/23/social_tv.php

Mobile Phone community access
H2G2 is now a pretty busy online community (H2G2 is code for ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – a sci-fi cult series by Douglas Adams). They’ve just released a service that makes the site available via mobile phone. This is pretty ground-breaking stuff and is the first site of its kind I’ve heard of to leverage mobile devices for gathering user-generated content (discounting moblogs & camera-phone friendly photo sharing sites).

Mobile Google
Whilst mobile devices are in mind, here’s what Google is doing to make available useful internet stuff to mobile users. Of course, you will need a web enabled mobile phone.
“Google mobile lets you search and view the Web on your mobile phone. Google takes HTML pages normally viewed on a computer and translates them so that you can see them when you're on the go. To get started, simply type in your search query, and Google will return the most relevant results in a format your phone understands.”

Legalese
Admittedly, this pertains to UK law, but its interesting reading for those who want to understand the general dividing principles about what user-generated content XXXX could be held libel for.

Trace your ancestry… back to Africa?
The National Geographic is offering a service that will cost you $100 to find out who your great great great great great great great great… you get the idea.

Posted by Ant at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Company News, issue 4

I've been creating a newsletter I send out to the company every week to try and encourage a more 'heads up' approach to the internet/technology industry. I'm posting the same content to this blog so it doesn't feel quite so stale. Some of the links may seem a little "old news" due to the fact that they are. These early ones were ferreted out some 6 months ago.


History of Social Software
Outlining the history of computer mediated communication, dating way back before the internet as we know it today.
“The term 'social software', which is now used to define software that supports group interaction, has only become relatively popular within the last two or more years. However, the core ideas of social software itself enjoy a much longer history, running back to Vannevar Bush's ideas about 'memex' in 1945, and traveling through terms such as Augmentation, Groupware, and CSCW in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.”

Do we do research right?
This article advocates a different approach to research that empowers those who design products.
Design Research: Why you need it

An Evolving Glossary of Experience Design
You may read terms in the articles from this newsletter, which are new or foreign. Here’s a glossary that outlines some of them.

New Search Engine
Jux2 finds the best results by finding the results that overlap between all three engines. Its got a few interesting features like the “What Google is missing” tab…

Ajax Travel
This online flight booking service uses AJAX (as mentioned last week – see this article if you didn’t read it) to great effect. The result is a software application feel to a website i.e. responsive, quick and powerful. As I’m in the market for flights right now I can testify that the results are pretty good too!

Monkey Love
A study suggests even rhesus macaque monkeys are fascinated with celebrity.
Status-Conscious Monkeys Shed Light on Celeb Obsession - Experiment May Help Explain Fascination With Famous and Powerful

More letters fun
This makes a word out of product images that relate to the term you’ve typed. Very cool… not sure how they do it.
http://amaztype.tha.jp/
This one works much the same way as the Google one sent 3 weeks ago, but uses Flickr’s API
http://metaatem.net/words/

Posted by Ant at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)