10 days in New England

I know I didn’t offer much warning, but now that I’m in town, staying with the imitable Amit Gupta (of many, many fames) I thought I’d put it out there that Tara and I have a few moments of spare time that we’d love to share with our east coast comrades in arms friends.

The tour is like this: from today until Sunday, we’re in NYC; Sunday we fly to Boston and grab a ZipCar to head to NH to visit with my family and then we’re generally around in the Boston-Manchester area until Friday, the 29th. I’ve already pinged my buddies Patrick and Dan to see about getting together, so if you’re in town and want to join in, drop me a note.

Searching for the Noah’s Ark of Syndicated Content

Original © copyright 2003, University of Delaware College of Marine Studies.

Filed under “thank god I’m not alone in this”.

Khoi Vihn recently posted on a topic that I very strongly relate to… “So Many Blog Posts, So Little Time”:

The problem is there’s so much great, engrossing net activity and blogging going on, and I have so little free time. When I do find myself with a spare moment, I’m struggling just to keep this blog up-to-date, leaving me very little time to just surf. The net effect is that I just can’t keep up with what everyone’s saying, except in fits and spurts. So, when talking to folks whom I consider to be good friends, I’m perpetually embarrassed by my shallow knowledge of exactly what they’ve been up to.

Phew. Well, at least I know I’m not alone — and Tara’s feeling this too. Running a business, having a flooded inbox, dealing with being a human, all that stuff, well, it makes you wonder what’s going to happen when the long tail starts experiencing this problem and revolts by abandoning social networks in droves, unable to keep up with the steady stream of service notifications. I mean, feeds help — but only at literally aggregating content… they do nothing to actually provide you more attention or brain power to consume or make sense of the content.

Meanwhile, Matt over at SvN4 lays out a couple possible solutions to what he calls “The RSS avalanche”, proposing four different filtering solutions:

I’d add three more options:

But still, these are only mechanisms for paring down the content available to you to consume. How do you still pick from these filters the things that are worth revisiting, bookmarking, taking time to consider, or even to respond to, in the comments or on your own blog?

What will the solutions look like for non-tech savvy audiences? Or just folks who increasingly don’t have the time to fiddle around with setting up these filters? Is this not the suggesting an inevitable return to the travel agent model? Wouldn’t you like an information-travel-agent to pick out the most interesting content, customized for just you? Who you can trust not to let anything slip by? I don’t think that robots or community filters can play this role, though they can help.

So I have a confession to make. I’m only subscribed to 15 feeds right now. Total. And with email, I still can’t keep up. So what are you doing about the coming deluge? Have you discovered the Noah’s Ark of Syndicated Content? And if so, why haven’t you shared it yet?!

Post-Thanksgiving Purge

...all messages archived!

Well, it took me a long time, but I decided it had to be done… and it’s not even the New Year quite yet, but I’ve resolved that, at least into the foreseeable future, getting on top of my inbox is close to, if not, priority number one.

So with that in mind, I finally took this advice and am feeling lighter already, if not a tad squeamish, having just archived more than 9,000 messages that had been collecting dust in my inbox.

Thus, if you sent me email in the past month or so (or in the past year!), I might get to it someday (though chances are slim), so if it’s really important, feel free to try again — I’ll be buffing up my filters to hide away all non-essential emails from now on, so do ping me if you don’t hear back in a more-timely-than-usual fashion.

Pieces of me: disintegrating online micro-presence


Jaiku logo…Just came upon Jaiku, the latest in micro-presence aggregation apps, thanks to ex-roommate Andy Smith, who’s now working with them — in one of his first gigs post Flock.

They recently went through a redesign and I have to admit, it looks pretty good.

It makes you wonder though, just because you can pull in the pieces of your multi-faceted identity into one place, should you? (With more variants of this idea popping up regularly, there’s clearly a trend here.)

I mean, in theory, horizontal integration may lead to a fuller picture of you, but the reality is that folks might only be interested in certain verticals of your life, and not the whole kaboodle.

And even when I was sketching out Rhyzomatic to solve my own problem of decentralized identity, my thinking was along the lines of bringing together links to the original sources, and letting people choose which pieces interest them most. Admittedly, I’ve merged in a few Flickr updates here and there with daily Ma.gnolia updates, but that’s as far as I’ve gone (even then I asked permission and some folks derided my choice — though I can’t find the post now).

So I’ve got Twitter, I’ve got Plazes, I’ve got my blog (more than one), Flickr, YouTube, and on and on. I should be better about maintaining it, but I’ve got ClaimID pointing to these and other sources as well. Along comes Jaiku and allows me to bring these things all together into one river, and well, I like it, but without the original context, how does it represent me? This may be a case where the sum is not greater than the parts — and that, for online identities to work, you have to allow people to break off the pieces of people that actually interest them most.

This is curious to me, and perhaps to other side of single sign-on and unified identity. Maybe you like my screenshots but find my blog boring. Should I force you to consume all of it just because I think it’s interesting? Somehow that flies contrary to the best aspects (pun intended) of this, the modern web.

Lies that imperil us all

Olbermann to Bush: a resounding “Fuck you“.

Here here.

Meanwhile, from Kevin Tillman, who’s brother Pat was killed in Iraq:

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

The beast has awoken; or, The beginning of Web 2.0

we heard you

Executive summary: In considering the launch of Internet Explorer 7 in the context of the Spread Firefox campaign, I ask whether, now that the slumbering juggernaut of Microsoft has awoken and is learning to be more open-source-like, Firefox and open source advocates generally should continue to promote Firefox as a product or instead focus on promoting the movement and ideology of co-production and gift economics that produced Firefox.

Continue reading “The beast has awoken; or, The beginning of Web 2.0”

Another interview with yours truly

If for some reason you’d like to put yourself through an actual podcast of me rambling on and on about crowdsourcing, , Flock and other open source goodness, take a listen. I also touch on community marks and other philosophical matters.

The Worldbridges folks were really kind to me (coming from New Hampshire and PEI) and I’d recommend that you take a look at their entire podcast series.

Blah blah blah — we talk a lot!

Heh. Two videos (tag:) from our trip to Europe taken during our final night in Paris.

The wine must’ve made us loquacious. Or inebriated. Or both.

Quotes: “Embrace chaos.” “Fail early and fail often.” “Nichefication of media.” “Architecture of collaboration.” “I can’t get enough fois gras.” “I’m Joe, the man of the ice cream.”

Oh, and don’t forget to get your own Nabaztag.

Soundflavor launches — a new way to discover the music you already own

Peter Merholz has blogged the release of Soundflavor, the first product released from Adaptive Path’s New Ventures project.

Lane’s written up a case study describing the process that was used to develop the app, notably using an iterative, design-and-build process, as opposed to using a documentation-design-implement method (kind of like the waterfall method).

Of course, I know quite a bit about this process, since this was also the first product that I helped design after leaving Flock (I, too, can claim that i made this, along with Dan Saffer and others, including Tim from Big Empty and the great folks at Soundflavor). In fact, I helped out with the initial spec, product development and design process and facilitating the brainstorming that lead to the soon-to-revealed relationship between the app and the website. Unfortunately, early into the development cycle, travel and other commitments precluded me from seeing out the implementation of the product, even though the final result is very much in line with my original concepts.

So what’s so great about Soundflavor?

Well, unlike other streaming services like Pandora (of which I’m a huge fan), it actually pulls music from your existing music collection and music shared on your local network with Bonjour, creating interactive playlists that vary in “flavor”, or similarity, helping you to rediscover the music that you already own or that the people around you own.

Of course, in addition to that, Soundflavor will recommend new music similar to what you already own or are listening to for purchasing and building out your library.

And, with the Playlist Creator, you can take Soundflavor’s work with you — simply pick a track, artist or album as a “flavor” and Soundflavor will generate a playlist with as many “flavored” tracks as you want (more feature details can be found on the download page).

Reviews so far seem good, and I’m eager to see their playlist-cum- sharing community launch (think deviantART meets iMix) — and hopefully, someday, Lucas Gonze will have his way (I rallied for ya, man!).

Anyway, I’m dying for the Mac version to come out — as the subset of tracks I listen to from my 22,000 track library is starting to go stale (as evidenced by my Last.fm account). Give it a shot and let me know what you think — since I can’t try it yet and would like to know, in terms of iTunes controllers, how this one stacks up given its pretty sweet featureset.