Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
Gianni Milanesi mailed me recently to draw my attention to hisFeedo Stylesite;
“Feedo Style is a free service that allows webmasters to add up-to-date themed content to their website and blog from any XML feed around the web. Feedo Style transforms feeds (RSS and ATOM) into stylish looking news boxes and tickers that can be personalized and included, with a simple copy and paste, into any web page.”
A useful idea, reasonably simply implemented, and worth a look.
Day 2 ofCIL2006is just about to get underway here in Washington DC where the sun is, rather depressingly, still blazing out of a blue sky. I can see that I shall have to make some time to get out of the troglodytic halls today... Still, at least youcanescape to the outside world here. I found out last night that next year's event will be in Crystal City, across the Potomac. Yeuch. Last time I was there, the only 'outside' seemed to be a freeway, and all the people either existed in towers with windows that didn't open orunderthe towers in a rat run of tunnels.
Returning to today, this morning begins withOCLCbuying breakfast, then a keynote on the importance of mobile (I'll have some stats on that in my talk tomorrow, and definitely agree that it's important; just how unusable doesyourweb presence look on a PDA or mobile phone?).
After that, I'm torn betweenLorcanandAlane, both of whom have every potential to be among my highlights of the event. Typical.
Anyway, I'll blog whichever one I go to, along with the Keynote, onpanlibus. OCLC's breakfast will end up either here orpanlibus, depending upon whether the highpoint is the pancakes or the conversation.
Should probably then find some time to finish tomorrow afternoon's presentation...
It doesn't seem to matter how hard you try, there are always bits of a conference where you wish you could be in two places at once (Alane and Lorcan this morning, for me, and a couple of slots tomorrow). Equally, there are dead spots, where nothing on the programme really leaps out at you, and you just attend sessions out of a feeling of duty.
This afternoon was like that.
Must be time to eat again... What do I fancy tonight?
I'm just about to go into a session here at CIL with formerbossLorcan Dempsey. I'll blog it over onpanlibus, but I hope the slides get put up as I'm sure that Lorcan will hit us with so much interesting stuff, so quickly, that there's no way my jet-lagged fingers will be able to keep up.
OK, would session chairs here at CILpleasestop plugging the conference wiki, and inviting “all you bloggers” to blog about sessions?
There is no network!!!. We're in a conference to talk about libraries, technology, blogs, wikis, and more. The room isfullof bloggers. The room isfullof people who would quite happily post to wikis. And none of us can, because we can't get online unless we go outside.
Does it make sense for us to have to choose between blogging about the conference from the press room or actually taking part in the conference in the sessions?
Please, technology conference organisers everywhere,give your attendees network access and power!How hard can it be?
And can we turn the lights down a bit - at least the ones that are blazing straight onto the screens? What's the point in speakers labouring over the slides, to have a significant chunk of the content washed out by bright lighting?
Is anyone exhibiting with something different to appease the ravenous horde at home? You have, of course, to be able to give me two, otherwise you're entirely responsible for causing a warandmaking children cry. No pressure, then! :-)
Right. Off to rediscover the wireless network, then a session on “Failing to Innovate”, which I'll cover onpanlibus.
Have I found a glaring hole in the market for calendar-type applications, or can someone fill it for me?
Within the enterprise, tools like Exchange handle the arrangement of meetingsreasonably well. But even there, it's a take it or leave it deal. The meeting organiser offersone timeonone date. Potential attendees reply yes or no. That's it.
Once you move outside the enterprise, it seems to get a whole lot harder, and I'm not sure I understand why, given that it's actually just a series of quite simple questions that need to be asked and answered.
The best tool I've found so far isMeetOMatic. This does some of what I want to do, as it allows me as meeting organiser to specifypossibledays for my meeting, and then poll recipients for their availability on those days. It's infinitely better than offering a single meeting time and date that they either take or leave.Butit is only as granular as 'morning' or 'afternoon', it doesn't allow them to rank their preferences in any way, and - very importantly, as I want to use this for teleconferences - it can't handle time zones.
There are some subscription-based commercial offerings, but they seem to have way too many odd features, and not enough emphasis on the simple job of finding a time that people want to meet.
So, here's what I want. And I'd probably pay to have it, because doing it the way I do just now sucks upwaytoo much of everyone's time.
As meeting organiser, I want to be able to visit a web page, and manage all of this there.
I want to be able to specify a number of possible dates (exactlyas MeetOMatic does).ButI want to be able to specifymytimezone, and chunk the day down into half hour units (not “Friday afternoon” as MeetOMatic would allow, but “Friday, between 12:00GMT and 15:00GMT, and between 17:30GMT and 21:00GMT).
I want to be able to specify the desired duration of the meeting.
I want to be able to specify the e-mail addresses of those whom I wish to invite, and have them automatically sent an e-mail, inviting them to the meeting.
I want each recipient to be asked - once - their timezone.
They should then be shown all the possible meeting times - translated to the time it would be for them, not the time it would be for me.
For each possible time, they should be able to say whether they are available or not.
For each time that a recipient has said they are available, they should (optionally) be able to flag them as something like 'preferred' or 'available if I really have to be (ienotpreferred)'.
The system should send me, as meeting organiser, an e-mail to let me know that someone has responded.
The system should offer a meeting management web page of some sort, allowing the meeting organiser to clearly see who has responded, and what their preferences are. It should be easily possible to view the responses from all recipients on a single screen, and to find the most popular times.
It should, ideally, be possible to easily refine the display, dropping times no one could manage, dropping times only one person could manage, only showing times everyone can manage, highlighting preferred times, etc.
So that's what I want. I don't really want any other whizzy bits. Just invite a load of people, and manage their responses.
Signed. In the blink of my mouse's red blinking eye thing. I only wish it had been around back inmy GIS days, as I and others struggled against the intransigence (and, at the time, lousy data) of those who controlled access to the data we needed.
Making a common pool of basic data (whether geographic, European, or otherwise) available to third parties stimulates a market for innovation and the development of value-added applications. It always has. This provision ofbasic datain no way impacts upon the data provider's (or anyone else's) ability to make money from the rich applications and higher value data sets that they might seek to layer on top. Instead, the providers of these commercial services find themselves with a larger and more informed market than they might otherwise have had.
We see this quite clearly in the USA, where various Federal agencies make mapping data available. There's an extremely healthy market for third parties cleaning up the basic data, adding ATM locations, etc.
Free basic data gets you so far. It opens your eyes to possibilities. It enables you to try things out. It allows you to spread your wings, and to push some boundaries. To go to the next level, it may not be enough by itself.
Sign the petition. Everyone wins. It may take some of the entrenched dinosaurs of the European mapping space a decade or two to agree, but they'll get there. You may even be surprised to find these agencies staffed by people who - on the whole -doget it. They just need sufficient ammunition to change the rules under which their Governments expect them to operate. 'Trading Fund', indeed. Who ever heard such a silly idea?
Internet companyAOLis running an interesting pair of television adverts here in the UK, one of which I saw for the first time last night.
They are inviting a discussion around whether the Internet is 'good' or 'bad', and asking viewers to visit their/discusssite to join the conversation.
Both the ads are there for viewing, along with discussion boards and a variety of thought pieces from (UK) media figures.
Whilst it's doubtless inevitable that they would attempt to polarise discussion of a tool that is, of itself, neither good nor bad, it's interesting that they take the step of - apparently - pandering to the fears of the more hysterical wing of the UK media by running the 'bad' ad on its own.
Orwell was right. The Net is full of porn. We are all watched, all the time. Our identity will be stolen. No one is safe.
Have they gone too far, can we see past the stark black and white, or was nobody other than me paying any attention?
And would ads like these be agoodplace to add, below the URL at the end, that those without access of their own could pop down to their local public library to benefit from hardware, software, and helpful people?