Tag Archives: Web 2.0

Zero

When I got back from the WebSphere Services Technical Conference in April, I posted about the level of interest in simplified development, Web Oriented Architecture and Web 2.0.

Yesterday, Project Zero emerged.

We’re talking REST, PHP, Groovy and mashups.

Come and take a look. For full details, read the FAQ and follow the blog. Then, download the code and join the community.

Oh Plazes, where art thou…

I had an email this morning announcing that the new Plazes is online, so it looks like all of the features should now be public.

There are just a few things that still bother me – I think if the team could sort these out, they might get a bit more uptake:

  1. Some of us have been kept up-to-date via email. The Plazes blog has been very quiet on the subject of the whole upgrade. I’m grateful for the alpha/beta exposure, but it seems like more awareness could have been built up around the new version by more coordinated use of blogs, email and other media.
  2. The Plazer for Windows and Mac has been re-released, but the Mac one in particular has had some problems. It would be nice if these were open sourced, or a better way of reporting issues existed than the comments in the new Mac group.
  3. The API has changed. I’ve seen inconsistent messages on the blogs or via email that certain parts of the API have been / will be removed before certain dates. The WhereAmI XML-RPC PHP endpoint has certainly been removed, and as a result my little Applescript for ecto is not currently working. The success of Web 2.0 sites is usually a lot to do with their APIs and the ease of use… right now, Plazes could be opening this up a lot more and letting the community play with the new features programmatically. The upcoming Hack Day is a case in point – participants could be making use of APIs offered by Plazes if they were made available.
  4. [added in a later edit] They seem to have stripped out some of the privacy features. Before, I could choose which of my IM accounts or email addresses to reveal publically or to contacts… this option seems to have gone. An unwelcome regression in function.

I still think Plazes is a cool site, but there’s so much more they could be doing to build their own momentum.

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Hack Day – Yahoo, BBC, London, June

One of the things I’m most looking forward to this month is Hack Day in London, an event sponsored by Yahoo! and the BBC.

Inspired by previous Yahoo! Hack Days, at IBM we’ve been running our own internal Hack Days – in fact, the third one has just happened. We’ve had great fun. Some of the coolest internal tools that I use (intranet-specific Firefox extensions, Sametime plugins, Second Life gadgets, and so on) have come out of the Hack Day experience. Kelly has so much more on her blog about our internal events. I have to say that I’ve often been more an observer of the internal event since I’m usually out with customers… but I participate in all of the internal communities, and I’ve enjoyed seeing what we as a group have come up with.

So, anyway, my colleagues James Taylor, Benjamin Hardill and I will be there at the London Hack Day(s) on 16th and 17th June 2007. We’re looking forward to meeting fellow hackers, discussing what’s new and hot in mashups, coding, Web 2.0 and the world, and hearing the speakers. I’m sure I’ll be live blogging, live twittering, and taking photos too!

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Attacking social networking

A couple of fellow bloggers have noticed the BBC’s apparent attack on social networking tools. Dennis and Euan both highlight reports such as yesterday’s one about bloggers getting sacked for their postings. When I read that, I did think to myself that it was scaremongering… clearly people need to be aware about what they write, but I have a fair amount of faith in the common sense of individuals, and besides, responsible companies have blogging guidelines to enable people to navigate this scary new world of the editable web…

Then, of course, we have Stephanie Booth’s appearance on News 24 this week, answering typical alarmist questions about the “dangers” of the Internet (and a good job she did of replying to them, too).

As I drove in to work this morning, I heard a very silly story on the Today programme on Radio 4. Their journalist, Rory Cellan-Jones, was investigating whether Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter were any use. His conclusion appeared to be that he was too old for them, since he didn’t end up with any friends once he’d signed up (apart from the ubiquitous Tom on MySpace, and the founders of Bebo, once he’d pleaded with them to be his friend!). He also derided Twitter, commenting that people seemed to talk too much about mowing the lawn – ironically I do have one friend who talked about his lawn this week, but I typically find Twitter far more useful than that. He could have mentioned the status broadcast, IM, location awareness and microblogging features, but presumably those would have been too advanced for the Today audience to cope with. It was a very bad item. I was shouting at the radio by the end of it.

The one good thing about the story was that the Bebo folks did make the point that the age profile is getting older as users grow up. I had a similar conversation with a local authority who came in to IBM Hursley today – I was presenting on Virtual Worlds and talking about the fact that youngsters are driving the technology change and bringing social networking tools, and ultimately “games technology” and virtual worlds, into the enterprise.

Of course the week began with alarmist reporting about the dangers of wireless networks. Suw twittered and bsag wrote a commentary on that programme, so I won’t go into it myself.

So, in essence, we’ve now had a week of “the BBC beats up on social networking and the Internet”. A concerted effort? I do have to wonder. And to what end? The BBC already makes a big deal about its own blogs and talks a lot about Web 2.0, and then lays into the tools that are out there. Weird.

Partly as a reaction to today’s news story, I finally signed up for Facebook. Within a couple of hours of Twittering my presence there, I have a bunch (well, 10) friends – and those are only a few of my contacts from other networks. I really need to go and explore some of the groups and look up old friends and contacts from elsewhere – I’ll do that once I get some time.

(annoyingly, onxiam.com is not currently accepting my new identity – hope they get that fixed soon!)

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Spam and marketing hit Twitter

I was not particularly delighted to receive an email informing me that I was the latest Twitter friend of this person¬†(warning, potentially NSFW)… not after I’d seen what they were peddling, anyway. Far from adding them back, I blocked them. At least the new friend email¬†was the most harm they can do (beyond littering the public timeline).

A new phenomenon – Twitter spam… Twam? Sadly I’m not coining this term (I thought I was being terribly clever there, you know). There’s actually a whole blog devoted to this, and more reading available.

More interestingly, it looks like some music artists are starting Twitter pages to go along with their MySpace and other sites, presumably for marketing reasons. It will be interesting to see whether any of them use Twitter themselves, or let their record companies do it for them…

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