Category Archives: Web 2.0

Yongfook – The Blog is Dead! (sorta)

The Blog is Dead! – SlideShare

To watch a video of Yongfook’s presentation you will have to go to: Ustream.TV: Yongfook talks about the move from blogging to lifestreaming and his Sweetcron, as I can’t embed ustream.tv videos here on WordPress.com (sigh).

You can read more on his blog post: The Blog is Dead! › Yongfook – Web Producer

I agree with what Yongfook is saying in this presentation – that people are using blogs less and other online services more.

I’ve come to realise that this situation suits me fine. I’m not much of a blogger, but I like capturing, sharing and somtimes commenting on what I find on the Web. I prefer to keep my blog for longer reflections.

You may have noticed that I have been a lot more active on the web of late. I’ve been Twittering more, I’ve been saving my bookmarks to delicious.com again and I’ve started a tumblelog at tumblr.com (which posts to Twitter via twitterfeed, via my identi.ca account). I’m currently streamlining my workflow so I can easily capture and share everything I come across on the Web that I find interesting or potentialy useful.

Eventually I’m going to move away from hosted Web 2.0 services (more about why I’m doing that later). I’m currently setting-up my own self-hosted online tools, using free and open software wherever possible. As part of this process I will be experimenting with Yongfook’s lifestreaming software, Sweetcron.

As an aside, I agree with Yongfook when he says WordPress is bloated. It’s become overly complicated and slow to use (on WordPress.com, at least). It’s suffering from featuritis (they’ve even added an RSS reader called “Readomattic” – only for WordPress.com blogs!) It makes a great Content Management System, but is not so good for quick and easy posting. It seems to be trying to be everything to everybody.

This is why I like microblogging with Twitter and, more recently, tumblelogging with tumblr – they are so much easier to use.

Laconica and identi.ca – the open source alternatives to Twitter

(Image by camera obscuraCC-by-nc)

I’m a big believer in open source philosophies, free software and decentralised systems, so I want to do my bit to give a plug for Laconica – a microblogging system that offers an open source, distributed alternative to Twitter.

So, what is Laconica?

According to the article, Twitter for the enterprise:

Laconica is an open source microblogging platform—a network service software that allows participants to post short messages on a Web page, which then can be read by peers and other interested parties. The messages can also be sent out to instant messaging clients, to cell-phones as a short message service (SMS)-based dispatch, and to other conduits.

Laconica is different from Twitter for several reasons. One is that it is available as a stand-alone software platform available without cost under an open source license.

So anyone can setup a Laconica server. There is a growing list of Laconica servers here – http://laconi.ca/Main/ListOfServers. Currently the most popular service is identi.ca. My account there is http://identi.ca/seanfitz.

Twitter is often down due to scaling problems, and they have reduced the number of features to reduce the load. For example, they removed the useful “With Others” tab that allowed you to view someone else’s conversation with their friends. With anyone being able set up their own Laconica server many of these load-related problems should be avoided.

Laconica also can offer federated messaging: Two different installations of Laconica can be linked so that a message on one service can be relayed to users of the other service.

It’s this federated messaging that really excites me. It means I can follow someone on any Laconica service, not just the one I’m registered with. This is pretty cool. Laconica is a truly distributed microblogging service.

Laconica also supports OpenID, the single log-on identity service, which is another plus.

See a full list of current and upcoming features here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laconica

Content on Laconica is Creative Commons licensed

This is the only thing about Laconica I don’t feel 100% comfortable about – when you sign up for identi.ca you agree to license your contributions under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.

Don’t get me wrong, I support the idea of producing work under Creative Commons licenses, it’s just that I would rather have choice over which license I apply to my content, like I do at flickr.

Besides, even though my microblogging may not produce any great works of art, I prefer to put a by-nc-sa license on my content because I don’t want to see it being restricted for commercial use and potentially sold back to me.

Private microblogging networks

Being able to host your own Laconica server means that you can create your own private microblogging network. As the Twitter for the enterprise article points out, this could have some important uses in business:

Deploying Laconica within an enterprise can help employees from different parts of the organization share information, Prodromou said. The software can partition off different user groups for collaboration, or have users communicate with the world—or organization—at large. Organizations can also set up conduits to personnel at other organizations running their own microblogging services.

Laconica in an educational setting

Being able to set up your own server also means it may have some uses in an educational setting. As a general rule I support web services being on the open web, but there are some instances in educational settings where private services are appropriate, such as with younger students, or vulnerable students, or other areas where Duty of Care is an issue. I’m a realist, so I also accept that sometimes private networks can provide a stepping stone for institutions that are just too nervous to let their students use tools on the open web.

A Laconica network could be a great way to provide a peer learning support network. As SMS support is improved (it only works with some networks at the moment) a Laconica network could also potentially be used to broadcast information to students.

Supporting the distributed microbloggerverse

I hope more people jump on board with Laconica and identi.ca and help create a distributed microbloggerverse. As an open source project the more people who get involved the faster it will improve.

If nothing else, even if Laconica doesn’t replace Twitter, or become anywhere as big as Twitter, it should at least keep them their toes knowing that they have an open source competitor.

So I think it’s worth checking out at least. And besides, if this really is Lawrence Lessig on identi.ca (thanks gnuchris), then all the really cool people will be there. 🙂

By the way – if you use FriendFeed it’s now possible to follow identi.ca updates over there.

Glogster – faces of Edupunk

At some stage I intend to post my thoughts on Edupunk, but for now I wanted to point to cool new Web 2.0 tool I’ve discovered called Glogster by embedding this Glogster done by ccosmato/chaz maloney featuring some of his “poster-children” (yuk yuk) for Edupunk.

faces of Edupunk | Glogster

Ok… well I did want to embed the Glogster, but of course WordPress.com won’t allow embedding, so you will have to settle for a lame screenshot instead and click through to the actual Glogster to see it in all its multimedia goodness (which sort of defeats the point!).

Glogster lets you create multimedia posters with embedded text, graphics, photos, videos and music. It’s sort of a multimedia scrapbooking application.

My only gripe is that I’d like to see the ability to hyperlink. It’s odd to be able to roll over an item and have them react but not be able to click on them… that’s what I’ve come to expect on the web.

Glogster has all the usual social software feature such as profiles, friends, tagging, commenting etc.

What I love about Glogster is the Post Modern bricolage-y way elements are combined into a non-linear presentation, allowing for the viewer to bring their own meaning and interpretation to the collection of sources and the relationship between them.

Oh well… the Glogster would have looked good embedded in the post. Hmm… time to organise that self-hosted blog, I think.

Perhaps someone would like to embed this glogster (or any glogster of your choice) in their blog so I can actually see what it’s supposed to look like!

Coincidentally, in today’s OLDaily Stephen Downes points to a summary he took of a talk given by Jason OhlerBeyond Essays: Web 2.1 and the World of the Multimedia Collage – at the Desire2Learn Fusion 2008 conference.

I checked out Ohler’s website and came across this:

Beyond Words – New media literacy, fluency and assessment in education

Literacy means being able to consume and produce the media forms of the day. The default media form has shifted from the essay to the multimedia collage.

Appropriate, no?

This looks like a great resource on using digital media literacies and storytelling in learning. I’ll have to read it when I get a chance! I think there might be something in this storytelling business for me.


Update – 25/07/08:
Hyperlinks on the original Glogster are working now when you roll over areas that have the pink marker circle pop-up, which is exactly what I was expecting. They didn’t work for me before, so maybe ccosmato/chaz/Charley just hadn’t added or activated them. Interestingly, the title and Angrybeth’s avatar pic jumps out of the page when rolled over at the embedded version on OLDaily, but not on the original Glogster site. Weird, although all of this weirdness may be due to the behaviour of Flash on Ubuntu.

Update – 27/07/08: In response to Alicen’s comment I posted the Glogster over at my Blogger test blog (why didn’t I think of that before?!) – Glogster – faces of Edupunk.

Wikipedia – hypocritical?

wikipedia.jpgNow I’m a big defender of Wikipedia – I think it’s a wonderful resource and a wonderful phenomena… one of the best examples of user-generated content, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the masses out there on the Web – so it is with some reluctance and trepidation I criticise its policies which, by the main, seem to be reasonable.

There has been a debate over the recently-deleted entry to Zeitgeist the Movie (thanks to Leigh for the pointer) that has really fired me up and got my goat.

You can see some of that debate in the archived discussion page.

I won’t go into what I think about the movie here… my concern is with Wikipedia’s policies.

Now I agree that many of the supporters of keeping the entry were more concerned about keeping the content rather than whether or not the article conformed to Wikipedia guidelines. They saw the removal of the article as censorship of the movie’s content. But that wasn’t really the issue here – the real issue was whether or not it conformed to Wikipedia guidelines on notability.

In the end the editors decided that the entry failed to meet the criteria. To be fair to editors they did do the right thing by following the guidelines (albeit a strict interpretation – some have disputed that there is room for flexibility).

The problem is that the guidelines for notability state that the subject of an entry must be mentioned in the mainstream media before it is deemed notable. Despite being discussed vigorously on blogs, forums and in chat rooms, and despite getting millions of hits on Google (it’s also been Dugg several times) , apparently a movie has to be receive “full length reviews by two or more nationally known critics” to become notable!

Does anyone else see the contradiction here? The irony even? Wikipedia – the poster child of user-generated content, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the masses says that extensive reference to a topic on blogs, forums, chat rooms and wikis does not constitute notability.

If that is true… then what the policy is saying is that Wikipedia itself is not a reliable source!

Despite what you may think of the content of the movie itself, Zeitgeist the Movie has become a phenomenon. Surely this in itself means it warrants an entry in Wikipedia?

I’m no expert on Wikipedia policy, nor have I followed the debate too closely, but there is something deeply disturbing to me about this situation, and I think that the editors really need to take another look at that particular policy.