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Monthly Archives: October 2004

Voyager

Voyager, the space probe designed by NASA, departed the Earth back in 1977, set to go far beyond the reaches of our solar system. It’s still sending back information now, and is hoped to continue until 2020. Voyager carried with it a Golden LP that contained various bits of information about the human population and the location of Earth.

Now that we can quite easily fit 60Gb into something the size of a packet of cigarettes, maybe we should start thinking about sending out another probe carrying a bit more information this time? The original probe only contained the storage medium (the record), but now we could easily include the device to view the data as well (e.g. an iPod). We could even throw in a free account for the iTunes music store – maybe by the time the probe reaches any sign of intelligent life, we might have evolved some back here.

Aside:
US Voters are providing feedback about their voting experience at kottke.org

Some kind of weird computer voyeur thing at flickr

More flickr

With all the EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) metadata that flickr collects with every photograph taken with a digital camera, it could compile a list of most popular camera, most popular manufacturers, most used camera mode etc and then sell that information onto camera manufacturers.

Flickr: Name your price

Ok, so flickr is great. Everybody knows it. It’s one of the few YASNs that actually has a point – i.e. photo sharing and management. It integrates cool metadata using tags and is becoming more and more usable by the day (recent improvements include a site map at the bottom of every page, and instantly editable photo titles and descriptions). So with such a melee of cool technology and ideas, surely it’s a matter of time before one of the big players comes and buys it up? It’s still only in “beta” (possibly hiding behind the guise of beta when most would consider it in full release state – especially those paying for the pro upgrade), but yet is an amazing product that must be tickling the takeover glands of many a mega-corp. Possible buyers? Google is surely a primary contender – recently buying a gluttony of companies, notably Picasa, the desktop-based photo-management software company. “networking” up Picasa with flickr’s api could be a next step, although possibly flickr does everything that Picasa can already and a whole lot more. Either way, flickr could instantly beef up the image search that Google already has.

Another contender that springs to mind is Apple. iPhoto could benefit from flickrs social networking connectivity in the same way that Picasa could. Furthermore, flickr could also greatly enhance the functionality of the iPod Photo released yesterday. I’m just not sure if buying other companies is Apple’s style, they seem to prefer to do the innovation themselves.

Aside:
I didn’t know watches were ever ‘wired’

Weaving the Web

I’ve just finished reading Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee. It’s a great, easy-to-read book full of interesting insights into the creation of the web (Did you know that Tim’s original intention was for all web browsers to be able to edit a web page? It’s taken over ten years for wiki’s to realise this dream, albeit in a slightly different way). The last few chapters are devoted to Tim’s and the W3C’s continuing work towards the evolution of the web. There are also some insightful comments about the social nature of the web which is refreshing from someone I had previously considered to be a hard-core “techie”! He points a number of times to habits and developments that hint towards blogs and “social software”. All-in-all a great read and all the better for explaining more about the tool that many of us use every single day.

Transcriptions

I’ve just finished transcribing an hour long interview. It took ages to do and my eyes and hands hurt. One down, 20-odd more to go. It’s a shame because the interview part is actually pretty good fun, it’s just the typing everything after that is the pain in the arse.

One day machines will do this.

Aside:
Florida Voting Machine

Arrives in a blur

The train that my brother caught this weekend on the way up to Ipswich…

London arrives at Ipswich Train Station

Please talk to me?!

The time is drawing closer for me to start conducting interviews with bloggers about their experiences and thoughts about the blogosphere and blogging. This means that I need your help if you keep your own blog. If you can spare an hour and a half for me to come and visit you to get your thoughts and opinions then please email me at mbrady at essex dot ac dot uk. If meeting up is a problem, then maybe I could interview you over the phone or using Skype? Either way, please get in contact, and I will unburden you of your blog-related thoughts!

Hopefully, the torrent of interviews that I do will provide some useful data about where blogs came from, how they arrived and what makes bloggers tick. I look forward to hearing from you…

Aside: Social Software: What’s New?
Currently Reading: Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee

Kite Flying at Epsom Downs

I went “flite-kying” with my brother at Epsom Downs this weekend. The wind was pretty strong and we even managed to snap a string at one point, but a quick repair and we were airbourne again. 🙂

Flashmob: The opera

Last night I was surfing through my tv channels when something caught my eye on BBC Three – a channel whose target audience is late teens to early thirties. It was called “Flashmob: The Opera“. Now my knowledge of flashmobs is that text messages and emails get sent out and dissipate through various social networks until a group of strangers meet up at a specific time at a specific place, perform some kind of pre-arranged action and then disappear again into the streets.

This seemed to be fairly different. The BBC, an orchestra and a group of opera singers had got invited this time. The scene was what seemed to a late evening Paddington Station, London. There was an orchestra assembled in one of the restaurant areas on the upper level. I missed the very beginning, but the whole thing was given a modern tilt, with a love story between two commuters and a third Charlton Athletic fan who was keen to get the girl for himself. The flashmobbers, it appeared, where a variety of people dressed as chelsea supporters, policemen and other sorts, although these people might have been included in the choreography itself.

Now I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve got no clue about opera whatsoever, but I found myself glued to the screen watching not only opera singers wearing regular everyday clothes singing in regular everyday lyrics (at one point the chorus went “You loser!!”). This was great not only people like me who would have never considered watching an opera, but also the commuters passing through Paddington station – I admit that part of the attraction of watching was seeing the quizzical look of people who had just arrived as they walked across the camera!

This may firstly encourage a whole new wave of poeple interested in opera (maybe?!?), but also a torrent of tourists who will assume that the average Londoner communicates with their partners by singing in baritone or soprano in public.

Aside:
Infinite Image – freakily entrancing [Via Kottke.org]

Sony Digicam Problem

My last post hinted at getting a 7MP Sony digital camera. I’ve now spent a bit more time looking at the pros and cons, and am now tempted to steer well clear of Sony cameras. First I looked at all the reviews and specs and they looked really good – I was especially tempted by the USB 2.0 feature so I could copy all my photos over at sub-liminal speeds. Then I took at peek at Dabs and a few other hardware sites and discovered that Sony Memory Sticks cost rediculous amounts of money in comparison to SD cards, or any other type of flash memory. Dabs sells it’s own brand of 1Gb SD cards for a mere 67 inc. VAT. The Sony equivalent comes in at 256. As such I won’t be buying Sony…

Aside: Bush Keeping America Scared
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