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 del.icio.us 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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l

Monday Nov 03, 2008

News on the move

"Free RSS" seems to have some problems, however, I chose to load itunes on a desktop at home so will have to wait 'till I get back there to remove it, or replace it. However, Google pointed me at a thread called "the best free rss application?" at http://www.ipodtouchfans.com. Meanwhile, I am still reading my feeds at Google Reader, both on the 'touch and on my laptop.

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Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

Aurevoir Slynkr

While researching an article on personal feed aggregators, I came to the conclusion that I will stop posting to slynkr; the service was built as a prototype/demonstrator, and has become too unreliable, its hardly ever available. I will continue to experiment with it as it remains a useful opensource project that can act as a community focus, having advantages that bulletin boards lack.

I liked its tagging feature, although the retrieval interface for tags was not as good as it might have been.

I may run one up on davelevy.info. Things I think interesting and want to share, I'll pump out via my google share, articles I want to tag, I'll use del.icio.us.

tags:   "" ""

Thursday Feb 21, 2008

Organisation and Communication

Just trying to sort myself out from my last trip abroad.

Firstly, I have sorted out my twitter so that I am now receiving on the phone from all my correspondents. I have looked at forwarding my twits onto my personal planet, but wget fails for some reason. I need to investigate further, although twitter's FAQ talks about a configuration feature. I shall only be using it occasionally, probably in emergencies to let people know that facebook/e-mail is not available to me, and to use other means to contact me.

It might be sensible to ensure that really important people subscribe and follow me, although they might expect a personal message, and also don't care about my internet connectivity.

I have also revised the my flickr application on facebook so that it forwards everything, not just the London pictures, and my facebook correspondents can now see the pictures as I upload them. I am not sure if it auto-updates, but I can force it to write into my mini-feed, so hopefully people get notified when new pictures go up. Now I just have to find time to upload them. The most recent uploads are from Spain and my Madrid trip, the most recent pictures are from Dubai. This will hopefully improve the quality of my facebook feed for those who follow me there.

Its a shame that I am trapped on such an old version of planet-planet, there's a couple of things that don't work as well as I'd hope. The slynkr posts are still broken, they don't display the description, but a generated comment, I have never got round to including either this blog, nor the flickr pictures. The plazes feed My Plazes - Atom feed is also mis-mapped, but  I am working my way through the O'Reilly python book to see if this helps me build a personal feed that does what I want.

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Wednesday Nov 15, 2006

Have we moved on?

Last year, Richard Morgan showed me Protopage, which I looked at today. Here's a screen shot.

My Protopage

 

I think it might be interesting to see how it tries to keep up with the new emerging tools. It seems an odd cross between a personal portal and a collaboration tool. The post it notes metaphor is good, I assume they can be read by others but surely del.icio.us is a better bookmark manager and any wiki better for collaboration. I think that for these sort of applications specialisation is becoming the key. The application needs to be excellent at something and protopage neither excells at anything, nor assembles well, although it does have an RSS display panel.I have set up a personal protopage for Dave Levy to see how I feel about it, but I can't see it replacing my.yahoo in my usage since it lacks the FX gadget. It does claim a mailbox interface, but I can't find a calander (not that I use Yahoo's calendar) The weather feature seems very comprehensive and easier to use than Yahoo.

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Thursday Oct 26, 2006

About Bloglines

I have just put a subscribe via Bloglines button on the sidebar. I've subscribed a while but am just getting serious as I move from RSSOWL and Mozilla to reduce my requirement on system caches. Here's how you do it:-

<A HREF="http://www.bloglines.com/sub/${RSSURL}"
    <IMG SRC="http://www.bloglines.com/images/sub_modern5.gif">
</A>

Obviously substitute the environment variable for your true RSS feed URL.

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Tuesday Oct 24, 2006

Filtering junk out of RSS using mozilla

I was reviewing an internal instance of Media Wiki (the technology on which WikiPedia is built) and I have set my Thunderbird mail client up to consume the two RSS streams that the Wiki generates. These are new pages and changes. My discovery is that Thunderbird message filters work on the RSS stream. This means that we can label the messages, and mark them as read, flag them even forward them using Thunderbird.

To me this means that a stream generating hundreds or thousands of entries can be reduced to a human level. It makes the RSS usable.

This won't just work on Media Wiki, but any RSS stream with high volume and a low signal to noise ratio. It helps if the publishing/aggregation system offers easy to identify search key such as the page name. With the new pages and changes, one can browse the new pages for interesting content and track the changes using filters on the changes feed.

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Friday Mar 10, 2006

About: opensolaris appliances community

I've been considering how best to contribute to the opensolaris so called appliances community and while there is an excellent discussion forum, I think I'll see if I can create a technorati watchlist that the opensolaris site can access using RSS.

tags: ""

Wednesday Jan 25, 2006

Cool Prices

I'm not ski-ing this year (again)! I've been promising myself I'll go each winter ever since my eldest son's first dry slope lesson. I was just thowing away the brochures and bookmarking the companies sites at del.icio.us when I came across Cyrstal Ski's web site, which has a bargains panel in the top left hand side. While I can use Mozilla's "alert me" function in the browser, how cool would it be to receive updates via RSS.

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