Archive for April, 2006


April 25, 2006

Hey, I don’t want to moan … but if my pings to Technorati don’t get spotted, and it doesn’t (apparently) spider my site, even after manual pinging and double-checking that pings work via RedAlt’s Pingomation service, that’s a problem. I’ve been through the WordPress forums, double-checked the pinging, and double-checked the settings. Consider this a test post. Email to technorati support is next. I like those guys, so this is not a casual whinge. Oh yes, I’ve been through the W3C Validator checking too, and cleaned things up on that front. Oh yes, I’ve also found a posting that comments how too many default ping services can cause a side-effect, so I’ve reduced it just one: Ping-o-matic. What gives?

[UPDATE: barfs on my rss2 feed, line 1, despite it being generated identically to the rss0.92 feed; so I’m certain this is correlated. Cannot crack this, trawled around the forums, FAQs, and am on to the support teams at WordPress and Technorati]


Tags do not update Technorati

April 21, 2006

Bah – mystery problem occurring just this month.

There’s a whole thread about it in WordPress Support … lots of frustrated users out there.

Only posting this in the vague hope of stumbling on a solution ‘from the masses’ out there… any ideas, please shout!


[UPDATE ABOUT ONE HOUR LATER: Some of the discussion thread emphasises feed validation and W3C XHTML validation — I’ve been pushing my stuff through the recommended validators, and found that my posting about Writely caused a phenomenal number of errors… grrrrrrrrrrrr… I’ve hand-fixed the horrendous artifacts introduced by posting from Writely straight to WordPress (the worst offender was wrapping my technorati tags in smart quotes, which do not do the right thing; others included lots of bogus line breaks, and bad, or rather not valid, img tagging), and will wait to see what happens.]

[UPDATE A FEW DAYS LATER: forgot to mention that the only OTHER invalid W3C XHTML code I found was generated on my behalf by the Structured Blogging plugin that I have been experimenting with (in some unpublished / private entries). So I have disabled that one too. Grrrrrrrr again. Oh, and I deleted that Writely entry for the time being – was getting too much of a hassle manually tweaking the offending HTML. Oh, and I manually re-pinged Technorati. Bah. Still not showing up. Very tedious. Code validates perfectly. 3rd party ping and trackback testers confirm perfectly. No tags showing up on Technorati since 30th March 2006. Bah.]

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Thank you, S.B.

April 20, 2006

Tip of the hat to Stowe Boyd for thinking of me in his Top10Sources List (admittedly he left out The Major A-Listers on purpose). Looks like I’d better get writing again!! 😉

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More Skype love/hate updates

April 20, 2006

My love/hate relationship with Skype, that I’ve blogged on and off for the past few years, continues. I’m once again a big user, not to save money on already-cheap phone calls, but rather because it is invaluable in terms of its functionality. So here’s some personal and generic news:

1. For 1-1 videophone functionality, it’s simple, powerful, and ‘does the right thing’ without fuss.

2. Without the video, the instant call functionality is still great – I’ve bought two hardware Skype cordless phones (branded Du@lPhone) for this purpose… wireless models so I can roam around the building and talk telephone-style at the same time. I prefer it to a headset: mainly because it ‘sends the right visual signals’ to people who pop into my office, telling them that I am ‘on the phone’!

3. Yes, there are the “my computer has become a SuperNode for the whole country” worries I blogged about in the past (see links above), but it’s a tradeoff: items 1 and 2 are so good, that most of the time I just don’t care.

4. For multiparty video, there are plenty of experimental packages like wigi (see for example Bill Campbell’s 19th April 2006 blog entry about it, courtesy tipoff from Jens Gammelgaard – thanks!). For more than two users, I can’t be bothered to fuss any more, and have always been disappointed with multiparty Skype: nothing beats the click-and-go zero-install simplicity of FlashMeeting. Some people moan about FlashMeeting’s push-to-talk style. Hey: for multiparty usage, that’s one of the many things I love about it!!

5. Hmmm… how about merging location information and Skype-ish presence and communication, just like we’ve been doing in BuddySpace for years? Now Plazes has published their API so the Plazes/Skype mashups have become a reality — see Bill Campbell’s article “Location, location, location! Plazes comes to Skypeland”.

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OU Library 2.0, Bookshelf project, Vague Queries, etc

April 6, 2006

No sooner had I blogged a Library 2.0 gig today that included some library/Amazon/ISBN/map mashup demos than Tony Hirst kicked back in with a Greasemonkey script that does all that stuff too, and more… for the Open University Library… neato…
read all about it…

Hey Tony (since I’m too lazy to send a separate email): looking through your other stuff, e.g. about Plex, etc., I sure hope you start hammering on Moodle and getting all this stuff to work seamlessly with it!!

Not to mention integration with the totally wicked Tom Heath and Mark Gaved ‘Bookshelf’ Project.

Not to mention integration with the ‘Vague Book Queries’ stuff I worked on with Jianhan Zhu and Dawei Song… get a load of this:

Although today’s web search engines are very powerful, they still fail to provide intuitively relevant results for many types of queries, especially ones that are vaguely-formed in the user’s own mind. We argue that associations between terms in a search query can reveal the underlying information needs in the users’ mind and should be taken into account in search. Our initial experimental results on a corpus of 500 books from Amazon shows that our approach can find the right books for users given authentic vague queries, even in those cases where Google and Amazon’s own book search fail.

Conf paper/tech report for that one is here (abstract and link to PDF)


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Paul Miller (Talis) cool Library 2.0 mashups

April 6, 2006

Just attending an OU library gig… Paul Miller of Tallis talking about Library 2.0 … some interesting stuff coming up thick and fast, so thought I’d better blog it quickly while I’m sitting here…

Paul hosts a ‘Talking with Talis’ Library 2.0 Podcast and blogs on Panlibus, and has been talking about some interesting Web 2.0 exemplars of relevance to the library world.

For example, Dave Pattern’s University of Huddersfield GreaseMonkey script (for Firefox) ovelays, on top of an Amazon query, the ‘state of availability’ of the book you are interested in (with respect to that Library). Paul’s group has extended this to provide the same service for multiple University libraries.

He’s got a prototype web service that queries 21 million bibliographic records, mashes that with Amazon’s ISBN -> book jacket renderer, mashes that with pricing info, mashes that with ‘Source’ bibliographic library holding information (which librs are holding the book), mashes that with Silkworm live access query (‘Can I GET X book from Y library’)

A number of these are integrated in a Talis research demo called Whisper, doing things such as those mentioned above, plus smart auto-completion in your search fields. Also allows you search multiple/regional libraries all at once, links in Amazon and Google info as appropriate.

He also demo’d RedLightGreen
which mashes up some services that auto-prompt you when a book you are looking for is available at a ‘relevant’ (e.g. nearby) library.

Hmm… I see he’s also blogged recently about building communities with IM : right up our alley!

If you want to play, a lot of this stuff is available for experimentation (Creative Commons License) via the Talis Developer Network.

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Meetro does IM Geolocation (hey, kinda like us!)

April 5, 2006

Got an invite from Stowe Boyd to Meetro, a new geoloc-IM-thingie, but with a weird return email address for Stowe which looked suspicious. Haven’t had a chance to try it out, but was relieved to see Stowe’s comment about the poor user interface that led to a bit of inadverdent social spam. No big deal – was good to hear from him anyhow, and always useful to see what’s on his radar, which is invariably neat stuff.

Quick glance at Meetro suggested that it’s being promoted as location-aware date-and-buddy-finding… a slightly different niche from our BuddySpace, but generally a healthy overlap.

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