Archive for November, 2006

…like a box of chocolates!

November 24, 2006

This week I am kind of free to choose which topic I want to tackle so feel surprised.

First I would like to start with a little rant on an article in Time magazine that dealt with the new brainchild of Blake Ross. Ross is the spokesperson and one of the main programmers behind the Explorer rival Firefox. The article gives a short overview of what Ross has planned with his new project, so far dubbed Parakey. In short it is supposed to be a desktop that can be accessed from every computer with online connection. The user is ,in Ross’ mind, able to manage accessibility for other users, like friends and family as easy as drag and drop. Also he explains it as the ultimate fusion of website and home computer. The ability to alter content, access etc. offline appears to be another main goal in his argumentation. The article continues to explain, for Ross, how his ambition to help his helpless parents break the wall that geeks seem to have put up in order to keep every non-geek out of their domain, namely the internet. And at this point I started to think to myself: ” This programe will tank bad!”. I know his goal is very honorable, and that is the problem. On the one hand there are the people who grew/grow up using all kinds of applications online and are perfectly apt in separating the two worlds of on- and offline. And then there are those folks to proud to use a simplified version or not able to understand what this new programe does because it still requires basic knowledge of certain aspects of computers that can not be learned through simply reading the manual. Also I am a little weary considering online security but that has turned into a constant nagging at the back of my head; so nothing new to me.

Among the articles I read was also one that dealt with the liability of internet dictionary Wikipedia. It mainly deals with how the German “newspaper” BILD (yellow press) tries to defame Wikipedia and at the same time promote their own online dictionary. The do so by having readers send them mistakes they found on Wikipedia and then print them in their paper. Of course BILD has no right to do so since their own incorrectness in facts is  more than infamous. On the other hand I have to agree that the reliability of facts on the internet in general should always be something to question before you deem it true. Nevertheless I also believe that Wikipedia is 1. well monitored by a group of experts, reducing the actual quota of mistakes to a minimum. 2. not even printed media is always correct on facts (e.g. BILD, but also some of the fact books) and 3. Wikipedia is only a readers digest of things you will have to research for yourself if you really want to know the truth, so no laziness allowed(even on the internet).

I certainly do hope that my little elaboration helped you a bit and see you in two weeks.

Pod-Cast-Out!

November 16, 2006

Hello and welcome back to my little space in the interweb. This time it’s all about the podcast-phenomena but for now only the audible part of it. Up until this week I have never listened to a podcast before and there are certain types of casts I may never use again, but I will elaborate this later on.

First of all a little general information. A Podcast can be regarded as a radio-programme that has the “possibility” to be broadcasted and saved at the same time. I put possibility in quotation marks because it is not necessary to broadcast it live or save it during the performance, but it is possible. Anyways the podcast, so far, is not under the jurisdiction of any regulatory institute and is therefore closest to what can be referred to as freedom of speech in the multimedia industry. Like a radio show the podcasts are not restricted to simple news, music or even advertisement programmes but can also be used as an audible To-Do list, a diary or an addition to make your blog more understandable in any way. Even though the initial idea was restricted to being able to host your own radio show over the interweb other uses have spawned following something which is almost an established natural law in the www and especially since the advent of web 2.0 .

What I noticed during my research on podcasts is that it is rather hard to get an audiocast , somehow the browsing is very confusing and hardly ends in success, but that may just be my inability. Most of the pages that I found are simply links to other podcast-listing pages. However I can highly recommend this little page http://www.digitalpodcast.com it is very easy to browse and has all the information you need.

Anyways, another thing I noticed is the huge quality divergence caused by the unsupervised nature of the podcasts out there. Some of them are really professional, even more so then some of the professional radio-shows. Yet on the other hand there are also those casts that have no apparent goal nor structure, making the whole experience of listening to them rather confusing. This however only happens to speech-only audiocasts since music-programmes seem rather hard to mess up. There is a lot of informative material floating around the web in audioformat, however I prefer my information readable and that’s where I have the biggest problem yet. It is not much but like I said earlier there is just way too many podcasts out there to say I like audiocasts in general.

At last the part that makes audioblogging something that makes it my preferred (passive) blogging style is that I can listen to it while doing something else, that is a big plus in my opinion especially when you have homework to do 😀 (You know what I mean).

You look del.icio.us!

November 11, 2006

This week I will deal with an interesting little webfeature called social bookmarking, more specifically the bookmarking tool/site called del.icio.us. Just like flickr this webservice is owned by Yahoo!, nevertheless this is a pure coincidence.

Social bookmarking is a pretty neat webfeature at least in my eyes. At its basis it works on the principal of “2 can achieve more than 1”. You are posting sites you found interesting and/or worth of sharing with the other community members. Of course you also have access to the bookmarks that have been posted by the other users. There is a ranking, similar to that of most of the other web 2.0 websites, that lists bookmarks in most viewed and best evaluation. Also there is a daily digest feature that lists the most recent additions, but of course this one changes very frequently.

To actively participate on this site you are required to install two buttons in your browser through which you can 1. create a bookmark of a site which in return is directly posted on your account and 2. directly access your account without having to type in your address which is quite a nice feature in my humble opinion.

So if you find an interesting site whilst surfing the world wide web and consider it to be worthy of sharing it with the rest of the del.icio.us-community members you just press the button in your browser window. Next a window pops up that asks you to write a short description of what the site is all about or why you deemed it worthy of sharing. Next you add some tags, which you separate through blanks, at the bottom of that page and hit the post button.

Your account let’s you also create backup-files for all the bookmarks you post on the site, or in the opposite direction post every single bookmark you have on your harddrive. So all those “efforts” you have invested into creating your personal bookmarks prior to joining this service will not be wasted at all.
Like I said at the beginning of this entry, this service is definitely something I will continue to use in the future, since it has already proven to be quite useful to me. Also since my computer has a habit of breaking down rather frequently I can save keep my bookmarks online and therefore access them from other PC’s as well.

So use it, it’s free and useful that has got to be worth something.

flickr – I want to buy a vowel…

November 6, 2006

Okay so here goes my second assignment, and it’s all about the flickr, courtesy of Yahoo!.

The main idea behind flickr is the ability to share your pictures with other people all over the world. Of course you are able to restrict access to your pictures to people you know but you can as well just leave your galleries public. At least that is how it is today, did you know that flickr was first created for the sole purpose of assisting an online RPG? That’s right it was mainly used as a chat-room with instant photo exchanging tools. But the demand of the users focused more and more on the photo-sharing aspects of the programme. Thus the game started to cease from existence and flickr became the main project for Ludicorp.
First and foremost flickr seems to me at its best as a promotional site or testing grounds for prospective photographers. Here they can upload their work and get direct feedback from other semi-professionals. Also it may be used as a reference page if you want to apply to a position in the photographing business, whatever that may be. Also a lot of the photographers posting on flickr are using its tag-tool in order to describe the techniques they used to achieve a certain effect in the picture, exchanging tips and ideas with others. The ability to comment is also one of the things that appear to me are mainly aimed at this target-group for the same reasons that I just mentioned above.

But of course this is not the only purpose that flickr can be applied for. For example it can be used in combination with a blog to better illustrate what you are talking about, or just for fun depending on you and your blog. Other applications I know of so far also include a picture diary, for example when you are living abroad, away from friends and family and you want to keep them up to date to your life and whatever you are doing.

To me, personally, this is not a site I would use, simply because I am not a good picture creator nor am I planning on becoming one. The only purpose that I could imagine myself to utilize ‘flickr’ for is to keep members of my family or my friends up to date when I am abroad, but that remains to be seen because I have not much experience in that particular field. But I guess if everyone was thinking the same about ‘flickr’ as I do it wouldn’t have been such a success.