David Davies' Radio Weblog
Nice piece on mobile blogging by Amy Cowen in Hewlett-Packard's mpulse magazine. Most gratifying for me personally are the generous quotes and references from some of my own adventures with mobile blogging. Amy does a good job of covering the different options for mobile blogging and includes a comprehensive set of links. The article is right up to date ending with the Echo vs RSS debate. The piece concludes with a spot-on assessment "Potentially more important are killer applications that encourage having one blog you can update from anywhere and with multiple medias.".
In a competitive market the most adaptable and versatile system that works with user's existing blogs will be the most likely to succeed. This doesn't mean the most successful system will necessarily be the best. I'm going to stick my neck out and say that Radio UserLand is the best system. It's based around a scriptable content management system which sets it apart from all the others and could see its fortunes rejuvenated when desktop content management becomes the next big thing (which it will). The challenge for UserLand will be to remain flexible in the technologies Radio supports.
Overall Amy's article is essential reading for anyone interested in mobile blogging.
As I blog away I often think about those who read my blog and who's blogging about the same things. Like minded people on the Internet find ways of seeking each other out and communities form around shared interests. In these global villages geographical remoteness is no barrier to an active life in the online community. The Internet is the great meeting place for like-minded people, so much so that cyber-communites far outnumber physical communities as each of us may play a role in any number of communities of our choosing.
But what of physical communities and the people that live in them? Most of us are surrounded by more people in a 1km radius from our home then we ever interact with on the Internet. Yet do you know how many of them have an online life, have a weblog? You'd never meet the majority of these people let alone ever find out what interests them yet just down the street from you could be a kindred spirit.
So now there's GeoURL. GeoURL has been around for a few months and word of it seems to have spread by clicking on those little green icons in people's weblogs. Here's mine . I really like GeoURL. It's bridging the gap between the virtual and the physical. It's an Internet technology that tells you who's living next door. Through it I've encountered a number of bloggers who I'd have never met, at least never met online. But GeoURL is just the first step. Once you've located someone near to you and identified that you have a shared interest, maybe you should meet up? Talking face to face is still something enjoyable for most people. Enter meetup.com. Through meetup.com I can find out all the people local to me, find our shared interests then, well, meet up. Easy.
In the UK at least we can go one step further with the Internet-as-mediator. UpMyStreet.com describes itself as "The real-life guide to your neighbourhood". There's something ironic about an Internet service acting as mediator to people who live next to each other but it's an interesting service nonetheless and their 'conversations' feature allows you to chat online with people in your neighbourhood, or at least up your street.
So where is all this taking us? After years of massive growth of the Internet it's reassuring to see services start up that are starting to put people back in touch with their local community. The fact that these services exist at all must surely give us hope that at least for now, there's nothing like a face to face conversation once in a while.
The JISC and the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council have just announced funding for two projects under the semantic grid initiative. Here's the original call for proposals that gives some of the background to this initiative.
- CO-ODE (Collaborative Open Ontology Development Environment), lead by the University of Manchester.
- e-Bank UK, lead by UKOLN at the University of Bath.
The CO-ODE project in particular sounds interesting.
Although these projects are without doubt important pieces of the semantic web jigsaw, projects that tell us more about how we handle data in every day life are still thin on the ground, although there is an active community.
Presently I tend not to mirror items posted to categories on my home page. However, I know I can get a compromise by listing the most recent posts to my categories by placing the following macro in the home page template
<%radio.macros.recentTitledBlogPosts (catname:("Category name here"))%>
What do you do?
The serious side to this is a new and interesting (sic) feature of Technorati that attempts to provide a ranked list of bloggers that gets away from the usual criteria for such a list e.g number of incoming links that tends to generate a fairly static list of the top bloggers. It's not always the top bloggers that have the most interesting posts so a way of ranking blogs with a moderate number of incoming links that are actively posting interesting content seems like a good thing. The clever folk at Technorati have devised some algorithms to rank less well known blogs to give them some air time. More about the technical side of this new way of ranking blogs including a discussion of the maths behind the system can be found on David Sifry's weblog.
And as for me, it's unlikely that I'll remain new for any length of time but I can at least try to remain interesting.
Here's an RSS specification, here's another one. One specification is extensible, so is the other one. Here's a group extolling one of the specifications, here's another group extolling the other spec.
I make no value judgements about either spec. I just know that RSS is a good thing. I wish them both success. Competition is healthy as the right questions get asked and the Internet selects the fittest application. It's evolution by natural selection.
The document highlights the key contributions from e-learning as:
- Virtual Environments
- Flexible Study
- Online Communities
- Personalised Support
- Individualised Learning
- Tools for Innovation
- Quality at scale
- Collaborative Learning
and identifies the strategic actions necessary to embed e-learning across all sectors:
- Supporting innovation in teaching and learning
- Developing the education workforce
- Unifying learner support
- Leading sustainable e-learning
- Aligning assessment
- Assuring technical and quality standards
- Building a better e-learning market