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Archive for July, 2007|Monthly archive page

Domain Demise

In general, meetings on July 26, 2007 at 7:38 pm

At the CSW Summer School’s Trends and Transients track yesterday, an interesting comment was made about websites: it was asserted that people will seek their information about products, companies, etc from consensus driven processes (like wikipedia articles) and that owner-written websites will fail. The mention of sites such as Facebook earlier in the day made me think that the point was well made – the future of public websites is probably limited to strongly specialised sites that do one thing, very well. That thing could be to allow commentary, expose interfaces to services, take payments for products, find optimal routes between places, etc.

It struck me that the web as we know it will flip from an owner-driven environment to a user-driven one. This is a more extreme form of the user-generated content process than I had previously conceived, but it is a natural extrapolation of the specialization that sucessful web sites tend to exhibit. Rather than being all things to all people, new sites focus on a depth of information in a particular domain.

If this prediction is correct, companies will not focus on learning how to do the technology of the web, and will instead work to shape the statements and comments made by users that affect the services they offer. Maybe its obvious to everyone else, but the days of being a geek alone will not pay the bills forever. So I’ve setup a wiki at work in order to practice my editorial skills – well it’s a safe bet either way.

Technology, Entertainment, Design

In general, meetings on July 19, 2007 at 5:53 pm

One of my favourite social networks BBC Backstage has pointed me in the direction of TED a website/community/event that applies high production values to its activities and has opened them up so that anyone can participate. So given that it obviously altruistically inclined, is based on spreading ideas and has the aforementioned high production values (check out the typography on their videos), why am I left cold about this enterprise?

The problem I sense is the notion that it’s possible to construct an elitist club and then open its gates to the masses. This jars with my sense of merit-based systems. The organizers have obviously realised that they didn’t have all the best people- and they reacted by building a system where level of membership is bought rather than earned. At least they have reacted to the web, a mere dozen years after any reasonable thinker could see that it might be important!

That’s not to say that TED hasn’t got some great material included – just that I question its thought leadership amongst something as direct as how to practice …. thought leadership. There are gems there and I’m delighted to see the high level to which video content has been produced – this skill needs to become the norm and we all need to be more comfortable with the tools and techniques required to present audiovisual information. Especially now that the tools are so low cost, that video is having its own desktop publishing revolution.

Personal Subversion

In general on July 11, 2007 at 7:21 pm

Installed the subversion source version control system today using some online instructions. Realising that I had as much as is needed for personal use before the end of the first page, I was struck how easy it is to have a personal version control system. This is particularly useful for people writing code who may want to roll back to an earlier incarnation and focus on problem solving rather than personal administration, but the same principles apply to any intellectiual property where earlier versions have potential value. In publishing the concept of the published verision has long held sway. With the emergence of collaborative authoring and living documents, this idea of finality is being challenged. Familiarity with versioning creates shared experiences and expectations. This in turn will provide an understanding of collaborative workflow management issues.  So build your own personal content management system today, and start versioning your world – before Apple does it for you.

Semantic anagrams

In meetings on July 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Intended to write about the upcoming SWIG that I’m organising, but then Alex Brown sent me a link to this amazing tube map which seems much more interesting than lightning talks about triples, SPARQL and the latest ideas for mashups …. but if you are in Oxford on the night of 25 July and the subject matter appeals then come and join us at Wadham College from 7.00-8.30pm. Entrance to the SWIG is free to interested parties (just mention the Oxon SWIG to the porter and you will be directed to the Old Refectory which is downstairs). You may also want to attend the Oxford Geek Night on the same day – which will be the recommended continuation venue after the SWIG.

Refreshed

In general on July 9, 2007 at 8:34 pm

No, haven’t been on holiday. The title of this post refers to my decision to start a new blog. For 30 months I blogged internally at my previous employer and before that on blogspot. Rather than reinvigorate that, I’ve decided to start with a clean sheet. So here’s to memorable events, wondrous insights and a bit of spice in life. However I’ll probably be writing about conceptual modelling, standards development, technical conferences and the odd quirky thought – don’t say you haven’t been warned.