Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tea Towels, Shoes And Caves

Botany BayImage by joedawson via Flickr

The weather is glorious and today presented an ideal opportunity for us to spend the afternoon down the beach. I didn't have the best night but still managed to wake up early and start the preparations. Earlier in the week I had seen a friend of my partner upload an album to Facebook featuring photos taken at Botany Bay. What made this so appealing is that there were caves to explore! You wouldn't have been able to hold us back..

We had planned to all travel down together but unfortunately we didn't, instead there were 'last minute' alterations and I travelled with just my two children. It was a shame that we didn't all attend because it made a change from the usual Saturdays. Another disappointing aspect of the journey was that I managed to smash the iPhone screen when trying to find a parking space near the beach. I placed the iPhone onto my bag but the screen shattered as it connected with one of the [vanity] products I had on my possession. Thankfully the handset is insured although I have to pay a small excess charge when my next bill comes through which isn't too significant!

Although the mainland was roasting, the coast was quite windy so we made our way to the caves for a short period of time and then in the direction of a restaurant. Luckily they were also showing the football so we had dinner whilst enjoying Chelsea beat Everton 2-1 (3-1 the goal should have stood) to win the FA Cup. This created the perfect departure for Guus Hiddink who has restored order to the club during his three months in charge and hopefully we may see him return in the future at some point! After the match we went back to the caves briefly before leaving to travel home!

Botany Bay Flickr Set...

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Something For The Weekend

Spymaster: Singapore safe house is expensive, ...Image by inju via Flickr

Spymaster is a new game that has quickly become popular online through integration with the Twitter service. Sign up for the game using Twitter OAuth login and take on the role of a spy, completing tasks, assassinations, buying things on the black market and putting money in Swiss bank account.

Trust me this game is very addictive but could potentially cause problems with my followers with spamming them with notifications so I have limited the amount of updates from the game. That's right in order to maximise the amount of money you generate you need to send notifications of you activity through Twitter. For every notification you leave turned on when playing Spymaster, you will generate an extra 1% of money. It's all in the name of fun for now, but this is proving to be a popular game so I'm sure this type of social game could potentially become a trend. Although I draw the line at sending sheep to my Twitter followers...

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Google Wave: Tsunami Or Just A Ripple In The Real Time Ocean?

Big Wave SurfingImage by thelastminute via Flickr

Although Microsoft unveiled their new search engine Bing today, the new communication platform from Google has really made a splash!

Yesterday Google highlighted how it sees the web heading towards the HTML 5 standard, today brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, the original creators of Google Maps, unveiled their latest project; Google Wave which is a new tool for communication and collaboration on the web today!
“Wave is what email would look like if it were invented today.” ~ Lars Rasmussen
Basically if you want to communicate with someone you create a wave, exactly the same process as sending an email with your contacts receiving the wave in their inbox. What differs is the replies are embedded into the wave and displayed in context [image]
Effectively, a message (a wave) is a shared communications space with elements drawn from email, instant messaging, social networking, and even wikis. Tim O'Reilly
What's impressive about waves is that if you are online with your contacts, the wave acts like an instant message but instead of seeing '... is typing a message' the characters are seen as they are typed. What's even better is that whenever you are added to the wave you can playback the whole conversation as it evolves and even edit the other messages!

This is definitely an ambitious concept and being an active Friendfeed user I only wish that the service had this functionality. Once this is fully released later this year though who's to say that it won't be integrated as Google are releasing the Wave API for developers to innovate and build around the concept. That's right for now you can only sign up to be notified when Google Wave launches but I'm already really excited for the launch!!

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To Be The Best...

Barcelona�s coach Josep Guardiola (L) celebrat...Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

It was Wednesday, May 21, 2008 and I watched as Chelsea lost the Champions League final to Manchester United on penalties. The match then had everything; agony, ecstasy, anger, suspense, desperation and I ended up crushed as Chelsea were defeated. Fast forward to 2009 and we were close to a repeat finale, albeit for some questionable refereeing decisions we would have been there.

Tonight Manchester United were against Barcelona, billed as the Hollywood final with two teams playing the beautiful game as it should be played. United started strongly, pressed for the early goal but just as they did against Chelsea, Barcelona scored through Eto'o with their first attempt on target.

That took ten minutes and after that the match became one sided, Wayne Rooney had stated before Chelsea were eliminated, that he would make John Terry cry in the final but any emotion from Rooney tonight may have led to a different outcome. Instead Rooney disappeared, as did several other Manchester United players as Iniesta, the scorer of the decider at Stamford Bridge dictated the action.

Ronaldo who had started well for the opening ten minutes didn't have a good match, in the pre-match build up much had been made about the influence of Ronaldo and Messi. Messi having never scored against an English team, until now, not rated for his ability in the air, Messi jumped to meet Xavi's crossed and powered the ball into the back of the net! Barcelona's strikers, Eto'o, Henry and Messi, have now scored just short of a hundred goals between them this season, that's impressive in any league you participate.

In defeating Manchester United, Barcelona became the first Spanish club in football history to achieve the treble, adding the Champions League to the Spanish league and Copa del Rey. The European Champions are definitely the team to beat, with rumours that they're to add Ribery to their squad, next season they will be even stronger!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Real And Social

Enter The MatrixImage by kirainet via Flickr

Real-time search has become a popular topic for 2009, constantly we're reading about search, filters, social and real time being the future. Robert Scoble has an interesting post discussing the changes Google faces and what he expects from this weeks Google I/O conference at the Moscone Center, San Francisco -

This week is a key moment in Google’s life. It is being challenged by a change in the ecosystem. We’ve seen this happen with other companies before...
Google co-founder Larry Page recently stated that real time search is something the company has to do from the Google Zeitgeist conference in Hertfordshire, UK.
"I have always thought we needed to index the web every second to allow real time search. At first, my team laughed and did not believe me. Now they know they have to do it. Not everybody needs sub-second indexing but people are getting pretty excited about realtime." [Source]
The shift towards real time, and the stream, has definitely got the blogosphere excited, especially with Google announcing there intentions and acknowledging the hard unsolved problems in search; finding the most recent information, expressing that you want just one type of result, assessing which results are best, knowing what you’re looking for and expressing your searches in keywords. The company are in a strong position to dominate the social web and through Google Apps, Google Friend Connect, Android and Search they are making collaborative computing more accessible!

I'm looking forward to developments from the conference and will provide details on anything that I feel is significant..

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Monday, May 25, 2009

What's Twitter Doing?

The Sega Pirate, a popular marketing icon for ...Image via Wikipedia

This post is to basically acknowledge a developing story that Twitter is apparently entertaining the concept of launching a TV series. The popular social-networking service stated Monday that it has teamed with Reveille productions and Brillstein Entertainment Partners to develop a series based on the site -
Project was announced with few details Monday by Reveille and Brillstein Entertainment. Series concept was created by novelist/screenwriter Amy Ephron, who will exec produce with Kevin Foxe and Steve Latham, Reveille's Mark Koops and Howard T. Owens, Brillstein's Jon Liebman and Lee Kernis. ~ Cynthia Littleton
San Francisco-based Twitter, which recently passed 32 million [estimate] global unique visitors in April, 2009 definitely has potential with it's growing audience. Potential doesn't necessarily lead to a successful end product, especially as this is going to be a “competitive TV series” which will “harness Twitter to put players on the trail of celebrities.” This 'trail of celebrities' concerns me slightly, is TwitterTV going to be an online Through The Keyhole? Are the development team spreading the service too thinly across different mediums to maximise exposure? Tune in next week for another addition of...

Update: Twitter Not Making A TV Show

Co founder of Twitter Biz Stone acknowledges that 'Twitter's open approach might have the power to transform television—the dominant communications receiver worldwide.' He also clarifies the companies position -
Just to be clear, Twitter is not making a television show. Some Hollywood folks are developing something that leverages Twitter and they are extremely enthusiastic as evidenced by all the media hubbub yesterday and today. We have little to do with their efforts but we wish them success. [Source]

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


Star Pond,Butchart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.Image by **Mary** via Flickr

After paintball I decided instead of partying with my friends that I would enjoy an evening in Camden Town with my partner and some friends. I made my way home from Essex only to be informed when I arrived that we weren't travelling to London and instead heading to a local Bar.

Although I would have preferred the culture and nightlife from NW1, when life throws you lemons, turn them into lemonade! The Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum we consumed definitely made an impression at 63% ABV. Although it wasn't the most memorable night it had it's moments. We retired relatively early, the priority today being to start work on the garden. The weather forecast predicted rain so the aim was to get as much done as possible! The children assisted with the gardening and the result was credit to our teamwork, Wembley Stadium has nothing on us!

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Saturday, May 23, 2009


MayhemImage by joedawson via Flickr

It's not everyday that you experience being shot but today whilst participating in paintball for a friends birthday I did several times! The day started well even though Google Maps gave me the scenic route to the location. On arriving I made my way into the parking area and watched as a driver reversed his car into another parked vehicle and knew it was going to be an eventful day!

My friends arrived shortly after the spectacle in the car park and we made our way inside the venue. After being debriefed and provided with the relevant equipment we headed to our first map - Aeroplane wood: Capture the top secret documents in the 'briefcase' from the crashed aeroplane. Once you have the briefcase you have to negate your way to the extraction point. I managed to secure a decent position and with my adrenaline rushing through me I eliminated three people and our team won by obtaining the 'briefcase'. We then rotated our base camps but the result was the same, although this time I was eliminated from the round after being shot in the leg whilst moving through the undergrowth.

The next map was Missile Command: which is approximately the size of four football pitches and littered with wooden barricades, strategically placed sheds, trees barrels and even a scud missile launcher. Saddam Hussein hid the WMD's in Essex?!?! The objective being to obtain the flag from the opposing base camp and return it back to your own base safely. We continued our dominance as we won a round and ran out of time when we rotated start positions.

From here it started to go pear shaped as we took our band of merry men [and female] to the more open maps starting with - Air Assault: which is open planned with a plane in a central position, holding positions across the map with the objective to again secure 'documents'. I was shot several times on this map and my team also lost both rounds convincingly. We were out planned and over run as they made use of their numbers and tactics!

We then moved onto - Urban: Rescue the man sized dummy before it falls in the hands of the opposing team, battle your way though hay barns, hide behind cars, tractors and capture the wooden fort to get past enemy front lines and take the dummy to their base camp. The dummy had seen better days but then again so had my attack plan as in looking to build up momentum for my team by displaying Rambo-esque qualities I was taken down, close range, forearm... Not good!

We lost the round and with the scores level at 3-3 the final round was to be the decider. I advanced early and ended up pinned down around the hay barn attempting to advance and secure a strong position. Concentrating on the opposing team I didn't acknowledge how my own team were doing until it was too late. The calls to return and defend the base were responded to with wishful shots that didn't change the outcome.

With ammunition remaining we finished on Wild West: which is just like a film set western scene, with shop fronts, chuck wagon, water trough and gallows. Instead of an objective we went back-to-back, pistols at dawn and the countdown from three started and as one sounded I slipped over and hit the ground. Thankfully I wasn't shot but I quickly made my way through the buildings and across to the opposing side of the map. There were people in the dead-zone (safe area) cheering as I ran.. this is it now, concentration..

I stormed through the building shooting but as I started to advance my own team began shooting in my direction. The Marshall advised to return fire so I kept shooting in all directions until my ammunition was exhausted and then made my way from the map. So concluded the afternoon and an enjoyable occasion that has left me with anticipation for the next time!
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Friday, May 22, 2009

What A Lovely Bunch..

'Cavendish' bananas in a grocery storeImage via Wikipedia

The majority of my personal friends don't see the benefit of feed readers, well just like ripe banana's I can now throw a bunch in their direction..

Following on from the launch of friends trends the Google Reader team have made it possible for us to share our favourite feeds. We can now create custom bundles and share them with just a few clicks.

To get started, click "Browse for stuff" and select to create your own bundle. Then drag and drop the feeds/folders to your bundle, add a title and description and then "Save". You can also email your created bundles, post them to your blog and even browse all of your friends' bundles although that sounds like it could end up with a criminal conviction :)

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Micro Journalism: All The Worlds A Stage

'EntertainerImage by State Library of New South Wales collection via Flickr

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players..

All the world's a stage is the phrase that begins a famous monologue from William Shakespeare's As You Like It. The world being a stage couldn't couldn't be more relevant in the age of socialised media, real time and the stream! Everyone has the potential to break news, go viral and be noticed largely due to the popularity of microblogging services.

Microblogging is the posting of brief text based messages, referred to as the statusphere - the state of publishing, reading, responding to, and sharing micro-sized updates! What are you doing? Unlike blogging anyone can publish a short message outlining what they're currently doing, what's on their mind or share content with their followers! Social networks have provided an outlet for everyone to be heard, through microblogging we're all journalists/micro-journalists, filtering what we find relevent and sharing with our communities.

Can the Statusphere save journalism? Maybe, but just as the Friendfeed and Twitter services compliment each other, journalists scrambling to integrate social technologies and platforms to spur readership volume and interactivity need to also interact with their readers!
Personality + Insight + Promotion + Interaction = Visibility and Community..

Content becomes a social object that inspires communication and action
Being relevent, building a valuable community, representing your content and communication we're all familiar with through our social networks. People that aren't necessarily trained journalists are becoming experts in certain niche topics. Attention is precious and the real time culture sets the stage for micro journalism to become the primary method of content delivery and breaking news!
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Friends Trends: Google Reader Closer To A Social Destination

detail of Carl Spitzweg: The BookwormImage via Wikipedia

To read is to empower,
To empower is to write,
To write is to influence,
To influence is to change,
To change is to live
~ Jane Evershed ~
I'm similar to Louis Gray in that Google Reader is also a major part of my social activity, it's the site that I am dependant on for news and updates. It's through Google Reader that I am able to digest and understand what is happening in the world!

Through the sites that I am subscribed to and my friends shared items I am able to digest the latest news and stories relevant to what I follow. Any item that I find interesting I can comment, email, share with friends and distribute through my social graph!

I don't have the reach of Louis Gray so I only have a limited number of friends using the Web-based feed aggregator. I hope to increase my social reach though as the Google
Reader team has just finished releasing a new version of Reader which makes it possible to view your Friends' Sharing Statistics -
If you've added enough friends in Reader that you're feeling overwhelmed, we're here to help. We've added a new set of tabs to the trends page called "Friends trends." This way you can see which of your friends share the most, and whose shared items you actually get around to reading.
Anything that increases the functionality of Google Reader is definitely positive, especially if the features introduced further the social capabilities. Although these improvements enhance the functionality I agree with Louis Gray that more could be done -
I'd like to be able to view just those feeds I subscribe to, and have the option to view friends' shares later, rather than have them combined in the same feed. I'd like to have e-mail alerts available if somebody commented on my shared items feed. I'd still like to know the most popular shared items, and most popular feeds ~ Louis Gray
I feel that the Google Reader team should fully integrate Google Friend Connect with the Web-based aggregator. Already we're able to display the blogs we're following in the Reading List of the Blogger Dashboard and follow these blogs in Google Reader. Introducing further social tools would definitely make the RSS reader a destination!

On the subject of Google Reader and trends I thought I would share an idea that I came across earlier today involving Twitter #hashtags. You can find and read hashtags through Twitter Search and many of the desktop clients available but for maximum value you can subscribe to the feed query. I'm yet to try this but with the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference next month that looks like the ideal opportunity!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Road Trip

Eurodisney - France (Paris)Image by Chez Julius via Flickr

Referred to as the greatest college tradition of all time, sometimes unplanned or impromptu, regardless of stops en route..

We're going to require a gameplan for our 'Road Trip' as we're travelling with the children but it's going to be a brand new experience. Currently we're travelling across the English Channel (La Manche) with the destination being Paris and spending a few days in Euro Disney. Then we will travel through Southern France and onwards to Spain and Barcelona!

No date has been set yet but we have the blueprint and will check out hotel availability. There will be a significant amount of time spent driving but that's part of the fun..
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Joe In Real Life

Jiminy CricketImage by Shawna Scott via Flickr

This morning my partner advised that I need to remain true to the original context of my blog. Admittedly I have become too social media orientated recently but it's a subject that I find interesting!

I do acknowledge that I haven't consistantly wrote about what's happening in the real world instead writing about real-time web and the stream. This is largely due to the fact that I can't bookmark events that take place in the real world to write about lately. Also I'm sure it would be a constant distraction if I were to podcast our daily activities -

Captains Log: It seems that wine has had an affect on someone's physical state
I'll aim to be more consistant and upload more photographs, that's an aspect that I have neglected due to no designated camera. Feedback is always welcome so if there is any topic you feel would add value then just let me know in the comments section..
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Deep Into The Stream

Stream in North Bay, Ontario, CanadaImage via Wikipedia

Just been reading learning about the stream from a great article from John Borthwick titled "Distribution... now". The article on the real-time stream was brought to my attention after reading an analysis of the post on TechCrunch. The subject of the stream is becoming a popular topic on the Internet and I agree with Erick Schonfeld that it has been building for a while.
Start with this constant, real time, flowing stream of data getting published, republished, annotated and co-opt’d across a myriad of sites and tools. The social component is complex — consider where its happening. The facile view is to say its Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or FriendFeed — pick your favorite service.
I consume data on a multitude of sites and distribute the content across the different services. I'm still relatively new to the realm of digital media, data consumption and redistribution but using the tools and services available I have been able to establish my online presence. I'm certainly no expert but I have been able to identify the shift towards real-time and the stream.
In the initial design of the web reading and writing (editing) were given equal consideration - yet for fifteen years the primary metaphor of the web has been pages and reading. The metaphors we used to circumscribe this possibility set were mostly drawn from books and architecture (pages, browser, sites etc.). Most of these metaphors were static and one way. The steam metaphor is fundamentally different. Its dynamic, it doesnt live very well within a page and still very much evolving.
This evolution is going to transform how we consume, syndicate and redistribute information, what will emerge, be relevent and provide the most value to me as a participant -
A stream. A real time, flowing, dynamic stream of information — that we as users and participants can dip in and out of and whether we participate in them or simply observe we are are a part of this flow.

This isnt an inbox we have to empty, or a page we have to get to the bottom of — its a flow of data that we can dip into at will but we cant attempt to gain an all encompassing view of it.
Comments on the TechCrunch post compare the social networks today to IRC, message boards, forums and bulletin boards of the past with exception being user features and formats. Responding to the comparisons Robert Scoble provides a great analysis of the differences -

Image representing Robert Scoble as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase

1. Google can index these.
2. Moderation is decentralized (I can delete any item underneath my node on friendfeed).
3. Each node has a URL and is permalinkable.
4. Everything is searchable (Twitter and friendfeed have search).
5. Assholes and spammers get left out of the system because you can choose both who you follow and if you block them you reduce the attack surface area.
6. Topics are totally decentralized. In the IRC world you’d go to a specific place to talk about a specific topic. On friendfeed, for instance, the topic changes with each post.
7. You can hide topics you aren’t interested in. You can also hide people you aren’t interested in. You can also hide data types (like YouTube videos) you aren’t interested in.
Robert identifies what the original post also acknowledes that real time gives this ambient stream a degree of connectedness that other online media types haven’t. The original post also identifies the differences between the two dominant, semi-public, activity streams today being Facebook and Twitter. The difference being; symmetrical — asymmetrical, private - public, defined use case - open use case. Facebook is evolving to embrace openness as it realises the potential of the stream, it still remains relatively closed but the walls are slowly coming down! With the flow of the open stream it will be the context that is vital -

What will emerge and how will we filter the information to
be relevent? Will we drown in this stream or will tools allow us to drain away excess?

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Drummer Hits The Beat With All His Heart

Russian Alexander Bryukhankov (foreground) and...Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

Ah, the good old days, around midday today I was reminded why the Saturday triathlon doesn't entertain racing through Primark. The early morning shift requires watching the clock as the drummer hits the beat with all his heart. Here's to waiting! No time for rowing through crazy town..

Recently having expressed that someone at football was bothering him, my son has adjusted his playing technique to become more ruthless. Although this probably sounds a negative aspect it's the opposite, before he would create the opportunity and see the chances spurned by the 'goal hangers'. His frustration at those that prefer to allow someone else to do all the hard work and take the glory is clearly visible on the pitch. He still plays with more confidence and control when he's in the garden but he continues to make encouraging improvements.

It's difficult for my eldest daughter to practise without a horse, thankfully she is now riding midweek which is great for her to progress further. The day will come, soon I'm sure, when she will want her own horse! Will definitely need a larger garden when that day arrives! We were delayed reaching the stables today due to roadworks but were able to make the following lesson. My daughter was composed and rode confidently, keeping the younger children occupied was a distraction but not as much as the dog eager to display his happiness! We're now going to eat excessive amounts of popcorn whilst watching movies, what happened to the rain?!
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Disqus All A Twitter, Enhances Twitter Functionality

Twitter Sign-inImage by joedawson via Flickr

Disqus the commenting system that I use for this site, continues to enhance the features available. Recently the service introduced the ability to tweet out comments for commenters with a Disqus Profile and provided mini-profiles which were a much requested feature. Earlier this year they announced Social Media Reactions which finds and displays mentions and comments about your post from other services around the web (e.g. Twitter, FriendFeed, Digg, YouTube).

December Disqus integrated with Facebook Connect providing another form of distribution for blogs/comments by sending activity back to the newsfeed. Now the service has released a new feature for publishers: Twitter Sign-in -
Disqus makes use of Twitter’s OAuth support to securely authenticate without sharing any passwords. Similarly to our support for Facebook Connect, Twitter Sign-in makes it easier and quicker for people to jump into a discussion. To enable Twitter Sign-in, publishers should proceed to Admin/Settings and enable the feature under Options. [Source]
For commenters, just look for the Twitter Sign-in button on sites that have this enabled. If you already have a Disqus Profile, add Twitter in your account/services to be able to tweet comments with every comment. You can also assign a Twitter account to your site’s settings, which will be @included in the tweet that commenters send out from your site. What's frustrating is that the Twitter account for 'JoeBlogs' already exists, and hasn't updated since 3rd October 2008 so - for now anyway - your comments will be sent to @joedawson directly!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Decentralized Realisation Time Web..

M25 motorway at night - blue skyImage by Bob McCaffrey via Flickr

Everyone knows enough about Twitter, in fact we could all probably refer to ourselves as experts right?

We were there in the early days, experienced the scalability problems that have long been the Archilles heel of the service, rejoiced in the Fail Whale, discussed the lack of business plan but still we actively participated as the service grew and made the transition to mainstream adoption.

We know how to send and read other users' updates known as tweets, we're familiar with the openness and focus on discovery, we know about hashtags, trending topics and Twitter search being the dawn of the real time era.. but is it?!
Bloggers and readers alike have announced this as the beginning of real time search, the dawning of a new era. Sadly, this is not the case. What this is, is the indexing of Twitter in real time - well that’s the goal anyway. Therefore, really, its ‘indexing-as-quick-as-people-can-find-it search.’ ~ Zee [TheNextWeb]
As the discussion on real-time conversations continues to grow in popularity it's beginning to take new shapes and directions. Marshall Kirkpatrick [ReadWriteWeb] writes that the Real Time Web will offer three forms of value; Ambiance, Automation and Emergence and provides detailed analysis on the emerging field. Just like with
decentralized comments I can see the Real Time vision becoming increasingly complicated as it grows, evolves and becomes decentralized across different services. Indexing the content across a service adds value but indexing the entire Web will really define the new era and to achieve this I agree with Zee - it's no mean feat, but if anyone is likely to accomplish it, it’s Google not Twitter.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

@Replies, Who's Listening?

The New Fail WhaleImage by kmakice via Flickr

Twitter announced a 'small settings update' yesterday that removed the ability to see when someone you're following on Twitter @replies to someone you aren’t following. Fragmented conversation is a popular method of discovering new friends but Twitter perceived receiving one-sided fragments via replies in your timeline as undesirable -
We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option… Confused? That’s understandable and exactly why we made the update. ~ Biz [Twitter]
Cue the Backlash..

Removing popular features carries a certain element of risk, admittedly total satisfaction will always be difficult to achieve but when you remove core functionality backlash is inevitable. It has been suggested many times that Facebook has Twitter envy but the circumstances Twitter found themselves confronted with today were anything but enviable. Mark Zuckerberg knows all about the furore that can escalate from dissatisfied users and Facebook learnt a valuable lesson from the experience. The @replies backlash can be tracked on Twitter with the hashtags; #fixreplies and #twitterfail which are both popular trending topics. Communication and discovery are core elements which make the decision to remove @replies confusing...

Woah PR Fail..

Many have viewed the original blog post from co-founder Biz Stone as oddly condescending, that post has since been amended and Biz then responded to the 'extremely useful feedback' -
The engineering team reminded me that there were serious technical reasons why that setting had to go or be entirely rebuilt—it wouldn't have lasted long even if we thought it was the best thing ever. Nevertheless, it's amazing to wake up and see all the tweets about this change. ~ Biz [Source]
Revealing the true reasons behind the removal of the feature is a PR failure, the original blog post provided misleading information. The fact that there were serious technical reasons why that setting had to go and not that the feature was undesirable and confusing..

The Compromise..

Just as Facebook relented with the homepage redesign, Twitter announced a compromise, stating that the problem with the setting was that it didn't scale and even if they rebuilt it, the feature was blunt. It was confusing and caused a sense of inconsistency -
First, we're making a change such that any updates beginning with @username (that are not explicitly created by clicking on the reply icon) will be seen by everyone following that account. This will bring back some serendipity and discovery and we can do this very soon.

Second, we've started designing a new feature which will give folks far more control over what they see from the accounts they follow. This will be a per-user setting and it will take a bit longer to put together but not too long and we're already working on it
~ Biz [Source]
Make sense? After reading You Can Now See Twitter Replies Sometimes, Except When You Can’t on TechCrunch I'm more confused than ever. Until the next time then?!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Searchology: The Search For The Golden Egg..

Golden EggImage by Mykl Roventine via Flickr

According to Google the 21st Century will be about understanding people, although I'm sure there are certain people that we will never understand.

Google’s annual Searchology event took place today at its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California. At the event Google announced several new products: Search Options, Google Squared, Rich Snippets and a new Android application called Sky Map. Scott Huffman, Director of Engineering also spoke about Mobile Search stating that it needs to be 'fast, relevant, comprehensive and fresh' which is what we should expect from your mobile device.

Google acknowledges the hard unsolved problems in search and in doing so announced their Real-Time intentions -

- Finding the most recent information
- Expressing that you want just one type of result
- Assessing which results are best
- Knowing what you’re looking for
- Expressing your searches in keywords

In an attempt to address the unsolved problems they announced additional filters; including certain media, such as videos, or by certain content types, such as forum discussions or reviews.

I'm going to focus on the new search tool called "search options," which provide the ability to search by relevance and not just by date.
"Search options is a further way to give users the power to customise the way

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - JANUARY 31:  (FILE PHOTO) ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

they use Google," said Juergen Galler, director of product management at Google. "We’re always thinking about what we can do to improve the search experience, and we think this launch is a good step to help users get quickly and easily to precisely the kind of information they seek." [Source]
We are now able to filter our query to provide a more accurate result, selecting "search options" we are presented with a left hand panel with several filters. The filters provide the added ability to display video entries, entries from discussion forums and entries with reviews.

Anytime Search adds relevance by displaying results determined by; recent, past 24 hours, past week, past year although I would like to see introduced the ability to add a date range to fine tune results. As well as displaying the results in a standard view, we can also view related searches, a "wonder wheel" (a quick visual way to explore a topic) view, or a timeline view.

Real Time has become the holy grail of search, Tweetmeme and OneRiot announced their efforts today, Twitter Search and Friendfeed's extensive filters are also part of the equation but who will emerge as the Golden Goose?

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Facebook Adds Organisation To Facebook Chat

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 25:  In this photo ill...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Since it was launched Facebook Chat has lacked organisation and control over who is able to see your online status. This evening that is all about to change as Facebook have released an update to Facebook Chat that implements the Friends Lists. The filters are a core aspect of the social networking site but only recently they have started to serve a purpose -
Friend Lists let you group friends to more easily share with and view information from specific sets of people. You already can use them to filter your home page, send Inbox messages and manage privacy settings. [Source]
Friends are listed alphabetically and within Facebook Chat you can change settings, including - Go offline, Re-order Lists, Pop Out Chat, Show Feed stories in Chat, Play Sound for New Messages, Keep Online Friends Window Open, Show Names Only in Online Friends.

Hopefully this will also make the transition to the Facebook iPhone app in due course! Whats also impressive is that when online with Facebook Chat, entire notifications will appear automatically and in real time above the Chat bar as pop-up alerts.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Laidback, London and a Late Night!

Laidback Luke at KingsImage by Romain Heuillard via Flickr

Who is Laidback Luke?! Everyone appears to have heard of the Dutch DJ and producer except for my ears apparently! Voted #46 on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJ list in 2008 there is definitely no turning back...

Laidback Luke grew up in The Netherlands and made his name as a graffiti artist before turning to making music. He has worked with artists such as David Guetta, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Junior Sanchez and played throughout Europe and North America as well as shows in Japan and Ibiza. [Source]

This week the DJ and producer brought his talent to the stage at O2's Matter, having no other London dates confirmed this year here was a chance to see one of the world's largest DJs and producer in the UK's voted No 1 superclub (Perverted Audio).

Nevermind the journey to the venue, the queue and the burger sauce that managed to make an appearance on my partners right foot (don't ask) the night was epic! Before this I was only able to consume House music in small doses, when Laidback Luke had finished his set we were left wanting more. When Love Takes Over, Let The Bass Kick and Break The House Down have all left an impression and will shortly occupy my iTunes playlist.

Matter is a decent venue, although I felt that they should have opened the main stage earlier. Still we managed to secure a position above the stage and directly opposite the DJ area, this provided a good vantage point and also enough room to distribute a bag of shapes! According to my partner I resemble Quasimodo, that appearance on Strictly Come Dancing remains just a dream. Laidback Luke won't be back in the capital for a while so at least I have plenty of time to practice.

When he does make an appearance in London we shall be there...
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Facebook Connect, Gateway To Openness?

Image representing Facebook Connect as depicte...Image via CrunchBase

Facebook Connect could potentially become the standard proprietary system on the Internet. Providing a global login across the web for our activity, identities and social connections. Digg launched their Facebook Connect integration this week with many websites, mobile applications and desktop clients having already integrated with the service.

Facebook announced an important step toward greater openness through Facebook Platform recently, although the stream does still remain closed due to extensive privacy controls. What concerns me slightly is that although our activity through Facebook Connect is in the public domain there isn't a central location this can be accessed. What Facebook needs is a commenter profile similar to Disqus, I don't expect them to create another portal but a gateway to access the activity through the social networking site.

Disqus announced Mini-Profiles recently and Facebook could introduce a similar system even by just providing the Facebook badges. It's clear that Facebook Connect is a popular system being implemented across the Internet and there's real potential to innovate and enhance the functionality. Whether the service is core to the open vision remains to be seen but I feel it has a significant role to play! What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Digg Launches Facebook Connect Integration

DiggImage via Wikipedia

Most of the blogs I contribute to feature Facebook Connect integration and the ability to login with your Facebook account is becoming increasingly popular across the Internet. Yesterday finally saw the Digg integration with Facebook Connect released and it's impressive although it does make my Facebook profile look like a Bingo sheet.

I already imported Diggs through the Facebook Imported Sites feature but that wasn't real-time and usually batched multiple entries together. Synchronising with Facebook Connect I have removed the Imported Sites feed due to duplicate entries and have decided to share Diggs, Comments and Submissions.
After connecting, you will now have access to Digg friend features, such as our green story icons that appear once a friend has dugg a story. You can also choose to automatically follow your Facebook friends, or invite your friends to Digg from your Facebook Connect settings page in your profile ~ Kevin Rose (Digg)
Kevin Rose states that this is the first step in a line of initiatives to make it even easier to share the content you care about with the people you care about. I'm looking forward to the Digg redesign and with the aim to get more real-time in nature it should be interesting..

Here's Facebook Connect in action:

Digg: Facebook Connect Demo from Digg Meetups on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Downcast DrogbaImage by Ben Sutherland via Flickr

That's it?! The Champions League ambitions over for another season! Andres Iniesta silencing the Stamford Bridge faithful with a clinical goal deep into injury-time and ending the European dream and the chance to avenge the disappointment inflicted by Manchester United in last years final.

I'm proud of the team as reaching the semi final stages in five of the last six seasons is an impressive achievement but again we're left empty handed. The bitter taste of defeat still hurts and having come so close again in Europe I'm beginning to wonder whether we will ever win the Champions League.

Preventing Barcelona from having a shot on target until injury time is no easy task but we defended magnificently. Chelsea were accused of being cynical last week but the game at Stamford Bridge was always going to be a different contest. Michael Essien had given the Blues an early advantage in the ninth minute when he scored a superb volley which had deflected off Yaya Toure from a Lampard cross. Barcelona dominated the possession but they found it difficult to find the breakthrough and it was Chelsea that created the better chances. That was until the third minute of added time which cruelly won the game on away goals.

Drogba again had chances to put the tie beyond Barcelona but instead comparisons to last years elimination can be drawn. Just as with the Champions League final he finished the game off the pitch and surrounded by controversy. Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo waved four penalty appeals and I felt Daniel Alves should have been dismissed for consistantly commiting fouls. There were disappointing scenes at the final whistle as Overbo suffered a barrage of abuse from Chelsea players, including Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack and England captain John Terry. The referee is said to have admitted he made mistakes to UEFA officials after the game but that doesn't change the result!
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