Archive for January, 2004

January 30, 2004

The Social Software Weblog: How Many Social Nets Are Too Many? by Judith Meskill
“Today in Wired News, Leander Kahney has a story Social Nets Not Making Friends in which he talks about: an SNS backlash brewing… … by my count, there are more than 100 social networking services that I have been observing …”

And then Judith lists and links to all of them… excellent! Leander, incidentally, comes from Milton Keynes, England, in fact about 400 yards from where I’m writing this comment now: small world, heh? Check out the ‘where is Marc?’ map you should see on the upper right corner of this blog… at least if you’ve got a reasonable-sized display… otherwise it’ll get pushed to the bottom…

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January 30, 2004

The Social Software Weblog: How Many Social Nets Are Too Many? by Judith Meskill
“Today in Wired News, Leander Kahney has a story Social Nets Not Making Friends in which he talks about: an SNS backlash brewing… … by my count, there are more than 100 social networking services that I have been observing …”

And then Judith lists and links to all of them… excellent! Leander, incidentally, comes from Milton Keynes, England, in fact about 400 yards from where I’m writing this comment now: small world, heh? Check out the ‘where is Marc?’ map you should see on the upper right corner of this blog… at least if you’ve got a reasonable-sized display… otherwise it’ll get pushed to the bottom…

January 30, 2004

The Social Software Weblog: How Many Social Nets Are Too Many? by Judith Meskill
“Today in Wired News, Leander Kahney has a story Social Nets Not Making Friends in which he talks about: an SNS backlash brewing… … by my count, there are more than 100 social networking services that I have been observing …”

And then Judith lists and links to all of them… excellent! Leander, incidentally, comes from Milton Keynes, England, in fact about 400 yards from where I’m writing this comment now: small world, heh? Check out the ‘where is Marc?’ map you should see on the upper right corner of this blog… at least if you’ve got a reasonable-sized display… otherwise it’ll get pushed to the bottom…

Orkut: good/bad/ugly thoughts

January 25, 2004

So I get this email from Marc Canter, saying
Marc Canter invites you to join his network of personal friends at orkut.com. orkut is a community of friends and trusted acquaintances that connects individuals through a social network that grows person by person. With orkut, you can catch up with old friends, make new acquaintances through people you trust, and maybe even find that certain someone you’ve been looking for everywhere. orkut helps you organize and attend events, join communities that share your interests, and find partners to participate in the activities you most enjoy. To find out why Marc Canter thought you’d enjoy orkut and to discover who else you know is already a member, click on the link below…”

So far, so good. Or is it? Orkut is an invitation-only (so far) Google-“backed” social network created by Orkut Buyukkokten, a Google employee and Stanford University social networking guru. It has the same kind of characteristics we’ve seen in the other big social networks like Friendster, along with some nice features like a karma points-rating system for accumulating stars for trustworthiness and coolness. It also has strong privacy/trust capabilities, including the ability to flag items for viewing only by yourself, your friends, your friends of friends, or everyone. The privacy principle is just what we’re trying to capture with ‘zones of trust’ in BuddySpace, but I nevertheless have some worries:

– ‘degrees of separation’ is not a sufficient metric for assessing who is in what trust zone: it depends entirely on the context! On the other hand, this is clearly a first approximation which can be refined, and for the end user it does need to be kept very simple.

– for social cruising, promiscuous chatting, dating, and indeed for the ‘social-network-erati’, i.e. the people in the business of studying and creating social networking phenomena, this is the right kind of direction. But for the rest, I’m still unconvinced.

– Like many other tools out there, you can specify contact info via email, Instant Messaging addresses for AIM, Yahoo, ICQ, and MSN, and even IRC… but where is Jabber, which is now bigger than ICQ? Grrrrr…. Come to think of it, I use Jabber clients (BuddySpace for me, naturally, but in fact many others will do) as my ‘personal IM aggregator’ to pull in all my work and social contacts into one harmonious space… my own social network!

Anyway, I’ll keep an open mind, and see how things go… last time Marc Canter and I chatted via Yahoo, I was stumped by the following dilemma: “if you and I each know, say, one total bozo, then this whole damn thing breaks down, because I’m only a degree or two away from random junk… just like I am without any social networking tools…” Marc is an optimist, and believes that the social networks, like the Internet itself, will route around bozos… let’s see how it goes.

E-Learning Dead

January 25, 2004

Thursday night I addressed an International Policy Forum on the Internet and Society at Oxford University, to help kickoff a workshop on the theme of “The Next Level in E-Learning”. I did have plenty of positive things to say, but my comments on “E-Learning”, “Learning Objects” and related phenomena were not among the positive things! Quick story is here, my slides to be available shortly.

…The speech, equally dismissive of “Learning Management Systems”, “Learning Objects”, “Virtual Learning Environments”, and meta-tagging standards such as IMS, was nevertheless up-beat and forward-looking in terms of the possibilities for integrating new technologies into creative learning experiences. Items in the “what works” column included star teachers, social networking, simulations, peer-to-peer networks, certain “banned” games, and tasks that engendered creativity and content ownership directly in learners — including numerous examples cited from KMi‘s own long experience in this arena. The greates challenges, argued Eisenstadt, were to “attain results at large scale, maintain a degree of warmth and humanity that is often lost in digital media, and ensure the buy-in of the highly over-stretched teaching workforce.” The Open University itself was cited as an acknowledged success in getting all these ingredients right, and a potentially valuable model for how to proceed. …

January 21, 2004

Scanbuy | The ScanCommerce Company: ScanZoom
“ScanZoom enables camera phones to quickly and efficiently capture and decode virtually any barcode on a product or computer screen. This technology allows immediate processing of information for use in limitless mobile applications: streaming music, view a movie trailer, order tickets for a Broadway show, buy groceries…”

Excellent… augmented reality takes another step… with some smart annotation, you can then pull up seriously useful web services concerning arbitrary objects… at least bar-coded ones, which is a good start!

January 21, 2004

Scanbuy | The ScanCommerce Company: ScanZoom
“ScanZoom enables camera phones to quickly and efficiently capture and decode virtually any barcode on a product or computer screen. This technology allows immediate processing of information for use in limitless mobile applications: streaming music, view a movie trailer, order tickets for a Broadway show, buy groceries…”

Excellent… augmented reality takes another step… with some smart annotation, you can then pull up seriously useful web services concerning arbitrary objects… at least bar-coded ones, which is a good start!

January 21, 2004

Scanbuy | The ScanCommerce Company: ScanZoom
“ScanZoom enables camera phones to quickly and efficiently capture and decode virtually any barcode on a product or computer screen. This technology allows immediate processing of information for use in limitless mobile applications: streaming music, view a movie trailer, order tickets for a Broadway show, buy groceries…”

Excellent… augmented reality takes another step… with some smart annotation, you can then pull up seriously useful web services concerning arbitrary objects… at least bar-coded ones, which is a good start!

January 20, 2004

Lee Gomes: WSJ.com: My iPod’s Encounter with High-End Stereo Left All of Us Wiser
“They laughed when I sat down to play my Apple iPod on a $500,000 living-room stereo system. … In conjunction with the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the makers of high-end home stereo equipment have their own show in a small hotel. … I thought it would be both amusing and instructive to walk around the most expensive sound systems that money can buy and ask if I could hear my iPod on them.”

Very interesting experiment… analog and vinyl still rule at the highest end of the stereo market (thank goodness), but high-bitrate-digital, yes, even MP3, can hold its head high… worth a read. For my own attempts at home ‘audiophile MP3’ see my old weblog comments on the wonderful SliMP3.

January 20, 2004

Lee Gomes: WSJ.com: My iPod’s Encounter with High-End Stereo Left All of Us Wiser
“They laughed when I sat down to play my Apple iPod on a $500,000 living-room stereo system. … In conjunction with the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the makers of high-end home stereo equipment have their own show in a small hotel. … I thought it would be both amusing and instructive to walk around the most expensive sound systems that money can buy and ask if I could hear my iPod on them.”

Very interesting experiment… analog and vinyl still rule at the highest end of the stereo market (thank goodness), but high-bitrate-digital, yes, even MP3, can hold its head high… worth a read. For my own attempts at home ‘audiophile MP3’ see my old weblog comments on the wonderful SliMP3.