Monday Jan 12, 2009

More about Digg

One the one hand, it seems that rows about the influence of Power Diggers has been going on for ages, its just that I hadn't noticed it because I have not really been a great user of the site, although it seems that people are getting particularly excited at the moment.

On the other hand, I have just promoted Digg Technology to my '1st read' group on Google Reader, and also just discovered,

mobile digg screenshot

This picture is taken by the ipod touch and I have started to read this again. It's chucking up a couple of interesting things/day, so less interesting than the Guardian and BBC, but about par with the Register. So maybe I am more in tune with digg users than I thought.

I find this look and feel pretty excellent for use on the ipod touch, all the buttons are finger sized, including the "Next Page" button and I don't have to muck around with resizing the screen. I am also interested how using the ipod touch is changing my attitude towards web page design, you'll see some of the changes here, if you browse the HTML view and also at


Wednesday Jan 07, 2009

Oops, maybe a bit quick re Digg

Despite my bitchy comments on Monday, the "Shouting in the DataCenter" video made it to Digg's front page.


Monday Jan 05, 2009

Has Digg jumped the shark?

The comments on the Digg post on "Shouting in the Data Centre" [ Youtube | this Blog ] disappointed me. I am not a great user of Digg and very few of my submissions have taken off. It is one of the feeds I subscribe to using Google Reader which is my first choice feed reader today. It seems that I am obviously not interested in the same stuff as most of its users, but to find the majority of comments about the provenance of the Digg takes self reference to the point of absurdity. It reminded me of a very recent a post 'openpeel', called '5 Ways to fix Digg', and it also reminds me of Simon Phipps' comment,

"When you invent a system, you invent the system that games it!".

Its a shame, but I suppose that the social software designers will have to become cleverer. It's clearly a fact that a 'karma' systems attracts people to contribute to the 'wisdom of crowds', but also trying to measure the influence, popularity or even innovativeness/leadership of contributors often leads to anti-social, even destructive behaviour.

I wonder if digg has jumped the shark as its user community has grown beyond an expertise focus and its designers loose the arms race with the gamers. Is there an alternative? I have considered for a while the use of 'clubs', where feed consumers, i.e. me and you, qualify the contributors to our feeds, or membership is gated. I use to keep my bookmarks and thus act as the original source of my contributions to finding interesting news. These thus become available through RSS, and then those I really think are interesting to others, I use Google Reader shares to share them. In the past I have used Slynkr, and have been using Digg to act as an entry point to my friend feed. The Google Share is a cute feature as the Google Reader makes my google friends' shares available to me. I use this to read other people's shared articles. The google shares I post may become my Digg replacement, but there's now no weighting or rating and my community is pretty small, since it is based on google talk/chat friends, which is not my first choice chat protocol.

The Google Share/Talk synergy is another interesting example of leveraging closed communities, and functional synergy by the software authors. Retaining the choice of internet participants against this new "lock in" could be open source's next big problem to solve.

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Wednesday Aug 29, 2007

Discover remarkable things, in a remarkable way

One of the neat tools that are being incorporated into Sun's web site came from a product called slynkr, which the authors created a tag line, "discover remarkable things". Jamey Wood, the author blogs here, and there is a trial public version which I have been using to post news articles.


slynkr's home page


The public version's category list gives you an idea of the interests of the correspondnents/users of this trial, as does the tag page, which is pretty cluttered these days as there is no lower range threshold. But the tag page looks like this!


the slynkr tags page


It is now open source and has a home at

It is a database of URLs and comments. Basically there is a form to register a URL and users can vote, comment and tag the URLs. Slynkr will also browse to obtain any public tags on the URL. All this data is held in a database and can be viewed/consumed via HTML pages or RSS. (There is a query screen, that generates the RSS URL for filtered queries and one can for instance create an RSS feed for all your own posts, or those voted for by people). For instance I consume and republish my posts at slynkr at my planet as I don't always post these URLs to; I post those I want to read again to and those I want other's to read to slynkr. Actually, there's a bug in the way my aggregator consumes the RSS feed and I need to work out if its my planet, or the slynkr instance.

At first sight, it seems very similar to digg, but its now open source and allows a managed community. I think that federation would be a major asset in the product and now its open source, its in my hands, after I learn Java. Basically, it allows a follows/followed relationship and with strong categorisation and tagging functionality, people can build thier own relationships based on tag usage.

Digg though has some great visual representations of their RSS feed. See and the three visual tools, big spy, stack and swarm.

Big Spy talks for itself, it represents on the screen in real-time, which is good because digg is really busy. It optimises the display for popular.Both size and colour are relevant.

big spy at digg labs

Stack uses flash's animation to show the popularity of articles, votes drop in on the blobs and change colour, while the most recent articles are scrolled underneath the stack line.

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Swarm is another representation that uses flash's animation to show the relationships between stuff and uses colour and grow/shrink on hover.

swarm at digg labs

It would seem these are not open source, but I wonder how one might build such a thing.

Many apologies, I have used a table to format the html version of this blog, the pictures were taken on 25th August.





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