Internet Gurus weigh in on what’s hot, what’s next

August 19, 2008

Lachlan was asked to be one of five ‘Internet Gurus’ to comment on what’s hot on the web for the SMH. Naturally Lachlan reached out of his blog to ask his friends what they thought – and the results are a wonderful read …

Internet Gurus – LachStock

1 What are the three things online that are exciting you most?
2 What gadget do you never leave home without? And given most everybody will say their phone or their laptop, why?
3 What will be the Next Big Thing?

Wikis : For and Against (Wikipedia in particular)

March 27, 2008

Let’s begin with the FOR case, as presented by the ever engaging Mark Pesce :

the human network » Blog Archive » Why We Wiki

[…] creates a situation where the community is smarter as a whole (and as individuals) because of their interactions with the Wiki. In short, the community will be more effective in the pursuit of its obsession because of the Wiki, and this increase in effectiveness will make them more closely bound to the Wiki. This process feeds back on itself until the idea of the community without the Wiki becomes quite literally unthinkable. The Wiki is the “common mind” of the community; for this reason it will be contentious, but, more significantly, it will be vital, an electronic representation of the power of obsession, an embodied form of the community’s depth of expertise […]

Then we have the NAYs – leading off is Dave Winer :

What’s wrong with Wikipedia

[…] Wikipedia is therefore a puzzle to me. Because while it’s helpful, it also hurts me, because my biography there is more of a vendetta, by anonymous people, who seem self-centered and immature, but it’s impossible to tell what axes they have to grind, because they’re largely anonymous.

Same is true for various activities I’ve participated in. You may argue that I didn’t invent this or that, but surely I had something to do with RSS, blogging and podcasting? Yet depending on when you look, I’m often not mentioned on these pages. This makes it hard for me to claim my work in professional dealings because people consider Wikipedia authoritative. What it says is considered by many to be the truth […]

Followed up, briefly the next day in What’s wrong with Wikipedia, day 2

Anonymous people writing with supposed authority about living people. Too easily (and often) gamed

Finally a useful piece from ‘big media’ (The Guardian) highlighting some specific problems of late :

Wikipedia’s school for scandal has plenty more secrets to reveal

[…] To effectively understand Wikipedia, it’s important to keep in mind that while it’s hyped as a quasi-mystical collective endeavour which spins straw into gold, in reality it’s a poorly-run bureaucracy with the group dynamics of a cult […] ultimately, one lesson from all these scandals is yet more evidence that Wikipedia fits a familiar pattern of idealism being vulnerable to exploitation. I sometimes remind people that ideological communes tend to end badly, too often with a few manipulative leaders extensively profiting at the expense of a mass of followers who lose everything […]


BarCampSydney3 Date and venue set – 5/6 April 2008

March 10, 2008

Make a note of this on the back of your hand, post-it on your forehead or in whatever you use for your productivity system :

BarCampSydney » BarCampSydney – now 5 and 6 April

BarCamp is a must attend unconference – “an intense community event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees” where the motto is “No spectators, only participants” meaning “EVERYONE can participate – in whatever capacity […] helping organise rooms, sitting on a panel, moderating a discussion
or even helping with network issues […]  taking part in lively debates and discussions – whatever form they may take.”

Blue Beanie Day Nov 26th

November 23, 2007

Just discovered Blue Beanie Day in support of web standards, as written about here by the Zeldman :

Jeffrey Zeldman Presents : Blue Beanie Day

The basic idea is to wear the Blue Beanie on Monday, take a photo and get it onto the Flickr group as well as using it as your avatar for the day on FaceBook et al.

This is one of my hot button topics and although I don’t rant about it here much, just ask my wife if it is an issue 🙂

So please read the Zeldman article, get involved (on FaceBook …) and have a bit of silly for a day!

Important Reminders in a River of Notifications

November 10, 2007

Twitter is fast becoming my primary communications channel. I find now that it is the first site I go to in a day and launch from there to other sites and conversations on the web.

Twitter is also aggregating useful information – local public transport issues, reminders (with RememberTheMilk) and so much more is being added every day. Just look at the last couple of natural disasters and see how the Twitter coverage has grown.

But what happens when I miss a few pages of Twitter notifcations? Twitter is best used as a River of News – that is, a place to dip into and grab whatever is happening. That use case is inconsistent with
important notifications – I may well miss a few tweets from my Twitter friends, but I don’t want to miss a single reminder or important note.

What to do? Complicating Twitter with categories like must read, should read, nice to read in’t much of an answer – Twitter rocks because it is simple.

Perhaps I could get these other must read notes sent into my reminder system, my to-do list? That would be great.

Consider : Last.FM now publishes a calendar feed of upcoming concerts in my city for bands that it knows I listen to, or bands I would like based on similar users. But buying tickets for a concert usually happens months in advance – I don’t keep an eye on next year’s calendar, do you? Rather, I would have new items from that feed pushed into my ‘Check these out’ queue in my to-do system. That way I would have a chance to see them in time to act.

Discuss 🙂

P.S. Yes I know there are no links here, that’s because I’m writing this wrapped in a towel from the shower where this idea came to me. Now I need to get ready to lead a Scout hike – hopefully I can flesh this out a little later.

How Serendipitous!

March 29, 2007

Tonight is the first meeting for a new UTS Alumni group – IT Alumni Network Drinks. This will be held at UTS on Harris St in Broadway, here in Sydney.

The event is strange to me for two reasons : first the invitation was circulated via email as a Word document and secondly the event seems to be entirely missing from the web site.

Why strange? This is an IT event – why on earth are we *still* using archaic, closed document formats to share information? Don’t even get me started on how an IT function doesn’t make it onto a website 🙂

Where’s the serendipity, you ask? I’m glad you did, because I am getting to it.

Since I’ve been playing around with Twitter I have also been interested in what other people are doing. Today Dave writes about some important Twitter questions, pointing also to others – in particular Nik Cubrilovic. Yes Dave, I think Twitter is looking important enough to get an open source implementation underway.

I’m often interested in Nik because as a fellow Aussie I’ve always felt a long way out of the loop of interesting things happening in here on the leading edge of the internet. Imagine to my surprise to see Nik linking to a networking event for internet startups here in Sydney! Tonight.

Wow – I am so going to be there. Tonight. Just a short walk from the UTS Alumni event (which starts 1 hour earlier.) I had no idea there was so much going on here. As a refugee from a former startup (I was made redund-ant in the great Bullant collapse of the tech wreck) I have a taste for the scene and would love to be actually present with others who don’t look at me like a half-crazed internet hippie (Twitter? What are you talking about?)

Unbelievably excited by the middle item on what to expect :

Participate in a style activity.

There’s a good chance I was born for just such an activity, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves …

The internet is all a Twitter

March 22, 2007

Latest fad or long term tool? I have no idea, but with all the talk about Twitter I finally caved in and registered.

Perhaps it was Dave Winer jumping in that tipped the balance, or perhaps when I learned that people were posting from QuickSilver that did it. No matter really, now I am in. What next?

Well I had to get th QuickSilver posting working, and as I’m still running Panther (10.3) that means I’m also on a legacy version of QuickSilver (b36) – and that means the Tweet script as modified wasn’t quite going to work the same.

Whoa – slow down. The problem was that my QuickSilver install didn’t have the ‘Actions’ folder there under /Library/Application Support/Quicksilver – so I just created the folder, dropped the Tweet script in and everything is working.

A happy side effect is that I have now had my first ever successful scripting experience with the keychain application – I just never managed to get the syntax correct until now. That is the challenge I always have with Applescript 🙂

[edit : I’ve changed my Twitter name to be more sms-friendly follow my tweets now at]