Oh yes it is….or is it?

I just posted a comment on one of the threads around the Google Autolink debate, thusly:

“Is there another way of looking at this? It seems to me that the debate has only been framed so far in either…or terms, ie of the web either being read/writeable or read-only whereas actually it’s been both for some time. Some bits are information served up that could be enriched in any number of ways. Some bits need to be kept sacred. Some bits need to keep the original intact while comments and modifications can be added in an explicit way.

Would it be too complicated for those people who are happy for their content to be ripped, mixed and burned to insert some sort of flag or licence (heard this before somewhere?) in their html that allows for that and for those who wish to only have their stuff read and perhaps re-presented in an aggregator to have a different kind of licence?

Then if I get really pissed off with Dave ‘cos his content doesn’t get “enriched” in the way I like it, I can raise it with him, and he can ignore me if he wants to or change if he wants to – isn’t that a more grown up conversation than “This is evil!”, “Oh, no it’s not!”, “Oh yes it is!”…. ”

My gut is with Dave and Scoble on this, but I have this nagging feeling that saying “Autolinks is bad for the web” sounds too much like “P2P is bad for the recording industry”

Be alert… your country needs lerts

I feel much safer now

I’ve been using these inkernets for more than ten years now, so perhaps I’m a bit jaded and not in the target audience, but I can’t actually see anything of use in the UK Government’s launch of ITsafe.

  • It looks like someone’s GCSE coursework project
  • It has very little information – None of its publications have been launched yet – certainly nothing here to make me say “Wow, I must sign up for their alerts”
  • The information it does have is presented in interlinked mini-chunks which means that you lose interest before you’ve learned anything
  • It has that trippy picture of Hazel Blears (why is her desk outside?)
  • It has no RSS feed – you have to give them information about yourself to get their updates (like that’s so tempting)
  • It has those stupid made up FAQs – did anybody outside of your press office/web team think these up?

    I do think there’s an important point here that Government has still not realised that authority is not its right in this space. Authority comes from having something interesting and useful to say, not from being able to legitimately use a crown as your logo.

    And the presentation is so naff that it undermines the central aim, which is surely to build trust. This site says “We don’t know what we’re doing, but hey you will trust us anyway ‘cos we’re the government” Another pointless bit of public spending.


  • Podwalk 006

    Right, no pictures, no music, just more sound of some nutcase, wandering around London on a Sunday afternoon.

    Starting in Piccadilly outside the RA, I walk through Piccadilly Circus, up through Soho, along Oxford Street, across Tottenham Court Road and along to the British Museum.

    And now….

    for something completely different. I have some more podwalk material in the can, but it needs chopping up into digestible bits and there aren’t any pictures grrrr….

    So for a Sunday evening chortle see what you think of this.

    The Stanford Law Professor and first post suck syndrome

    Lessig is podcasting … in his own way. He reads aloud from his latest published work in Wired – a good piece on public funding of wi-fi – but the fact that he’s “just” reading it gets a lot more comment than the content of what he says.

    He does explain up front, on his blog, that it’s an experiment. I hope the feedback doesn’t put him off trying something more adventurous. I’d love to hear him thinking aloud. Dave has shown (though other examples are rare) that one can still deliver a well-structured thoughtful argument in this medium and I think that this is way more powerful than something that was “finished” before it was started.

    Podwalk 005

    A shorter one this week, with not so much walking. Well plenty of walking, but within a small area. Podwalk 005 starts with a busker at Bond St tube station before heading off to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park on Sunday 13th February.

    I didn’t have my camera with me so there are only a couple of crappy shots from my phone on flickr, but the material (when you can hear it over the wind) is so good, that I’m going to try this location again but armed with better equipment.

    Enjoy, leave comments, e-mail me or leave audio comments at lloyd dot davis at gmail dot com.

    The Apprentice – UK Style

    cpc464 boot screen

    Just saw the first instalment of the UK version of The Apprentice. I didn’t see very much of the Trump original, but from what I did see, our version (with Sir Alan Sugar in the megalomaniac [err… shurely giant of modern commerce] role) seems a little less theatrical but the format comes through, although the board room is lighter, funkier and well a bit more 21st Century than the US show.

    What doesn’t change is the testosterone (among women probably even more than the men) and the parade of egos puffed to bursting point.

    What I don’t get is why any of these bright, motivated, sales-matic people want to earn a (six-figure) salary working their balls off for someone else – why aren’t they doing their own thing? What has Alan Sugar got that they want and why on earth do they want to put themselves through this humiliating and painful process?

    In terms of general dynamics, it’s going to be interesting to see how the male/female split works out. It was really interesting how the women took longer than I expected to start gelling as a team, there was much more prickliness and arguing than among the men.

    It’s clearly a big risk to volunteer to be project manager for the first task. Those that did have probably made some enemies for the rest of the series. Also, I don’t know how much this was because of the editing, but there were team members that I didn’t see do anything during the task. I do think it’s remarkable that Miranda, who panicked and started selling at a loss just after lunch, without discussing it with anybody, managed to talk herself out of getting fired.

    The small things that tickled me were the excitement they showed when they went off to the luxury accomodation, giggling and thrilled – they had arrived but also the way that the swagger that pervades the whole group turns to pathetic displays of mock humility when they face up to the man who put AMS into Amstrad!

    I’m hooked though. I want to know how the tasks are going to progress. And I want to see those egos bumping and bashing and smashing into each other, and then grovelling for a place in the next round.



    Update: Note to self, shut gob till know what talking about. The way I describe that the stream should work is exactly how it works – it just doesn’t do that on the first batch of stuff when you import your subscriptions. From then on, it’s working fine. Still would like an enclosure link and some localisation so that my posts don’t show up in Pacific Standard Time, but I think this time I’ll take a closer look at the preferences before shooting my mouth off!

    Looking at CNETs new online aggregator Newsburst and I particularly like the fact that I could easily take my bloglines subscriptions over and try out Newsburst quickly and easily. I also like the stream function, but it’s not quite right yet. I sent them the following feedback:

    “This is general feedback and an explanation of my requirements that I either don’t see or don’t see how to do straight off the bat.

    Firstly, thank you – great product – kudos for allowing OPML import and export and this was very straightforward for me taking my subscriptions from bloglines. This shouldn’t be such a big deal, and one day it won’t be but right now it is so well done and thank you for that.

    I very much like that you’ve combined the stream with feed categories, but it doesn’t quite work the way my brain expects. I guess I’d like more choices – sometimes I want to look at just one of my categories as a stream – sometimes I want to look at all my feeds as a stream. In either case, I don’t want to have the stream chunked by feed. I want (at least the option of) a real stream of latest items, simply sorted by posting time regardless of where they’ve come from.

    I also want stories to disappear once I’ve read them – unless I mark them as keepers.

    If these bits of functionality are there, but I’m just too dumb to see it, please point it out. I’ll be sticking with bloglines (which at least knows what I’ve read) for now, but I’d really like the stream stuff.

    btw Dashboard doesn’t work for me at all. Today online, I might look at occasionally.”

    Oh now I’ve just remembered something else that’s missing. I don’t see my enclosures linked to when I look at my RSS 2.0 feed – back to the feedback form….

    Technorati tags:

    Tagging and context

    Jack brings another angle on tags/folksonomies

    “tagging is personal. My set of tags for this blog only make sense within the context of my blog and my interests. Sure, I try to come up with tags that are sensible to the visitor, and I even create short descriptions of what I mean by “theory of constraints.” And in groups (where the social arises), my use of tags will certainly be informed by how others use them. But these same tags aren’t going to be exactly the same on someone else’s blog. The same goes for my Flickr tags, though I do try to use tags that will make sense to my family and friends who might visit.”

    I think there are three important aspects to this point:

    1. Context is very important to sense making – people reading the same tag will get a different picture depending on whether or not they already know Jack, his work, his blog, his other online activities, the industry he works in.

    2. The social pressure to conform (or not) – this is, I think, what is so cool – by choosing your tags carefully, you can show your closeness or distance from another individual or group – one of the badges of membership of a community might be our common usage of some esoteric tag. Similarly I might deliberately set myself apart from a group by a subtle difference in my choice of tags to describe similar content.

    3. Same to me is not necessarily the same to you. Which reminds me of what we were talking about over at Magdalena’s blog about the me now and the later me. What seems the same to me now will not necessarily be the same in a few weeks, months, years’ time. Context has a time dimension and although tagging is personal, personal changes over time.

    Cool stuff.

    Podwalk 004

    Yesterday’s stroll from South Kensington to Knightsbridge includes my first interview with a busker, insults for all and bit of a wobbly bit in the middle where I take some meaningless photos and refer to William Hill’s as a book-keeper rather than a bookmaker. More notes later after I listen again.

    Also I’ve hit my limit on sets on flickr so it’s not so straightforward to set up a show. Thought I’d get it all up there anyway (ok except you see them back to front, the first one is south ken tube station)and look at it again later. Maybe some kind soul(s) would like to sponsor me by upgrading me to “pro”

    Later later later.