Archive for the ‘web 2.0’ Category

Beyond Skype: Keeping up with the Web 2.0 World

August 21, 2007

Well I’m sure you all are getting as sick of the repeated speculations as to what really happened with Skype. So am I.

In many ways, it is unfortunate that so much has been written about the Skype outage, to the point that now that people are looking at it from a broader perspective, such as why did their communication fail, or how companies need to review their backup plans for situations such as these, either no one wants to read about it or it gets buried in the overwhelming amount of Skype related posts.

But the bigger picture is not about what happened to Skype as much as it is about how Skype tried outdated, 1.0 communcation techniques that failed miserably in the current 2.0 environment. Even in their ‘clarification’ post today on the situation, seems to sort of recognize they have a communications problem, but clearly doesn’t recognize why.

And forget this is about Skype. Think of it as about any company, in a situation that affects their users and how they communicate and handle the situation.

I wish I had written this post, but it says everything I would want to and so rather than repeat it, just go read P.R. 2.0’s post called “Crisis Communication 2.0 – The Skype is Falling“. Or if you prefer, here is the post on a white background (I don’t care as much for black background with white lettering if I’m trying to read something).

And I hope this doesn’t get buried in the continuing rehash of the Skype problem

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – Odiogo on WordPress (self-hosted)

August 13, 2007

Late last week, I had found out about Odiogo which changes your blog text to speech (see my post on 8/11/2007) and had tried adding it to my blogs. At the time, I had a Google Blogger blog and a WordPress blog hosted on WordPress.com.

It worked just fine adding it to my Google Blogger blog, but it turns out there is no way to add it to a WordPress.com hosted blog. This was a big black mark against WordPress.com blogs in my opinion.

Since then, we have set up our own domain and I created a subdomain of my own (clear.bluedei.com) and set up my own WordPress blog on there and supposedly, it was possible to use Odiogo on a self-hosted WordPress blog so I created my feed and submitted my request to Odiogo and waited impatiently for my confirmation email to arrive from them.

It came this afternoon, so I then tried setting up Odiogo on my new blog. It was amazingly easy! I just downloaded the plugin from the link in the confirmation email, ftp’ed it to my wp-content/plugins subdirectory on my subdomain and set it up on my blog. Now I have an odiogo feed button on my sidebar so people can subscribe to my audio feed and each time I create a post, the odiogo ‘listen now’ button is automatically added to my post.

Here are the actual instructions that were very clear and easy to follow.

1. Download the plugin

2. Upload directory odiogo_listen_button to your /wp-content/plugins/ directory via FTP

3. Login to your WordPress admin account and activate the Odiogo Listen Button plugin through the Plugins menu

4. Click Menu Options > Odiogo Listen Button

5. Enter your Odiogo Feed ID and click Save
Your Odiogo Feed ID is xxxxx.

6. Click menu Presentation > Widgets (or Sidebar Widgets depending on your WP version)

7. Drag and drop Odiogo Subscribe Button from Available Widgets to Sidebar

8. Click Save Changes

Here is a link to the Odiogo FAQ page. I noticed that people have been trying to find out why their feeds were being cut off before they were done. You can find the answer on this FAQ page by looking under “How do I activate RSS full text option on…” and they have one for Typepad, WordPress and Blogger.

It is really a neat and useful tool and I’m very glad I can add it to my new blog.

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – Convert your post texts to speech with Odiogo!

August 11, 2007

I was looking at a Blog called Just Giblets and I noticed a widget at the top of each of their posts that said “listen now”. So I clicked on it and it read the entire post by converting the text to speech! I tried other posts and it did the same for every post. And as I was going down their posts, I found one called “Do you notice anything different?” that explained more about Odiogo.

So I went to the Odiogo website and started looking at how I could add it my own posts. As it turned out, I ran into yet another limitation of WordPress (hosted on wordpress.com). It does not allow you to use this feature since it restricts some of the things Odiogo needs to use.

So I re-signed up with Odiogo for my Google Blogger blog instead. After I got the confirmation email (it takes about a day), I followed the instructions, which required me to do nothing more than click a couple of links and buttons and voila! Each of my blogger posts had a “listen now” button. I didn’t even have to add it to each post, it is automatically added for me. On the some the earliest posts, when you click the listen now button, it says “Sorry, this article is not available yet.”, but most all of them are available now. Here is how it looked when I clicked on the listen now button. It is in the process of reading the post.
odiogo posts

As you can see, there are other formats you can also listen and download the post as. Odiogo also creates an audio feed stream that you can access from the blog using this button:

odigo feed

This takes you to this page where you can sign up for the audio feed of the posts using various feed readers, or can just listen to them from the page.

We are in the process of converting over to our own hosted site and I will transfer my WordPress blog there, which should allow me to add this to that blog (although not as easily as you can add it to a Blogger blog).

They also market it as a way to create podcasts easily by just writing your text and then converting it to audio. That is interesting but I’m not sure how much easier it is than just reading and recording it and that way you also have a human voice rather than a digital voice. But I didn’t really look into that much from their site and I’m sure they have a lot of other good uses for it. You can go here to learn more about their mainstream media, or here to learn more about adding it to blogs.

It is free to add to your blog and for some people, may generate revenue. I’m not sure what they are referring to by “ad income”, I have not really noticed any ads except for saying it is from odiogo. But in any case, it is free. This is what the site says “Not only is Odiogo free, it may be able to generate advertising revenues. Once your listenership reaches a significant level, you may qualify for a share of ad income! More technical details about the solution can be found here and in our FAQ. So what are you waiting for? Give your blog voice, and legs, now! “

I have friends and family with low vision and this seems like a wonderful addition to a blog to make it more accessible. And I believe that this is something that needs to be considered as Web 2.0 apps are being developed. Part of the concept of Web 2.0 is inclusiveness and being accessible and this shows how easily you can enhance your blogs to make them easier to access for everyone.

I hope this sparks your interest and helps people think about creating and looking for Web 2.0 applications that help make it accessible by everyone.

~Susan Mellott

Politics 2.0 – Who is Web 2.0?

August 7, 2007

Thank you to Anonymous for writing me about this very interesting post: Dimensions of a Potentially Postponed GOP CNN/YouTube Debate .

This post was written by Alex Hammer so I looked up Alex Hammer’s bio and found: “Alex Hammer was a 2006 Independent candidate for Governor of Maine. He is the owner of Media 2.0, including Politics 2.0 (www.hammer2006.blogspot.com). Politics 2.0 focuses on “What’s now and what’s next” in Presidential politics and politics generally. Alex is a columnist for The Magic City Morning Star (www.magic-city-news.com) and a regular guest columnist for The Moderate Voice (www.themoderatevoice.com). Previously, for a decade, Alex was owner of HSC Media, a five-division NYC area based online media company.”

His blog on Politics 2.0 has the most amazing blogroll list of politician’s online sites like their myspace, twitter, facebook, etc. You might want to go check out who all is doing what Web 2.0 applications.

Here is just a sampling of links from his list:

Joe Biden Blog
Joe Biden MySpace Site
Joe Biden Senate Website
Joe Biden Twitter
Joe Biden Website
Joe Biden Wikipedia
Joe Biden YouTube Videos
John Edwards MySpace Site
John Edwards Twitter
John Edwards Website
John Edwards Wikipedia Bio
John Edwards YouTube Videos
John McCain MySpace Site

~Susan Mellott

Coverpop – Mashups you won’t believe!

August 6, 2007

I ran across these and they blew my mind! It is called coverpop and it is a website created by Jim Bumgardner, of KrazyDad.com, to house his experimental coverpop project. Per his FAQ page: “
A coverpop can be a unique work of art, a software toy, or a fun way to shop for stuff.

Each coverpop is an interactive mosaic, made of tiny images, such as magazine covers. These are called “micro thumbnails”. As you drag the mouse over each micro thumbnail, it pops up to a full-sized thumbnail image, and provides some information about the item. For some coverpops, you can click again to produce either a full-sized image, or to go to another website to learn more information about the item.

Some coverpops arrange the images by time, by price, or color. Other coverpops arrange the images into a photomosaic.”

If you go to main coverpop site , you will see a random choice of oneof his coverpop mosaics. You can choose from the list on the right side to see specific ones. He creates mashups using flickr, youtube, amazon and other web 2.0 apps to create really amazing mosaics that you can spend endless time browsing and playing with.

He has a set of youtube video mosaics too. And just plain mosaics that are really interesting. Here is a description of how it works and here is a brief description from that page:

“Data for each coverpop is prepared using Perl and the ImageMagick library. Space-filling is implemented (with visual feedback) using Processing (p5). The interface itself is presented in Flash/Actionscript within a PHP webpage.

I download information about all the covers using various means. I use Amazon Web Services for the Amazon-powered coverpops, and I screen-scrape websites, such as the Visco archive for the Science Fiction coverpop. This is done using a Perl program. Then I download all the thumbnails (again with Perl), and analyse them for color, using ImageMagick to reduce each image to 1×1 and recording the color of the remaining pixel.”

You can also generate banners to put on your website with various mosaics like Harry Potter on Amazon or Time’s Top 100 Novels. These are linked to amazon and you receive credit when someone buys through your site except he receives the credit every 6 times or so. I created one just to try it out (you can generate the code from his site) and put it on the bottom of my Goggle Blogger blog Along the Path to 2.0. It is at the botton of the blog. Unfortunately I can’t put it on my WordPress blog yet since it is hosted by WordPress.com. I hope to correct that soon!

To learn about new coverpop or just to find out more, you can go to his blog. He has a lot more interesting things on there.

He has also co-authored a book called Flickr Hacks – Tips and Tools for Sharing Photos Online that talks about the flickr .APIs and how to do some of these things and sounds VERY interesting.

Check it out! But don’t do it until you have some time to spend because you definitely will.

~Susan Mellott

Web 2.0 – Hey, that’s my data!

August 2, 2007

I was looking at my feed from Boxxnet for Web 2.0 related items and I saw one called “Hey, that’s my data!” from Canadian Technology News. And like any good blogger, I stole what I could from the post, including, in this case, the title.

Before I even read the article, I had an idea from the title, which was that what we write online is “up for grabs” from anyone and their brother (or sister). So what if someone decides to write a book and publish it and uses only information that has already been written from other people, without giving any credit (or money) to those people who actually wrote the book? Or who takes the best of flickr and makes a beautiful coffee table book from the pictures they find? Or I watched a show on TV that is ongoing that is just a bunch of YouTube videos they have found on the internet. I can’t remember what it is called but I just did a little looking on my digital cable and found a show on the Comedy Channel called Web Shows and the description is “A compilation of online videos”. When I went to ComedyCentral.com, I could look it up but when I clicked on “go to site” it took me to a page with episodes they had on the web (I think). So I looked clicked on “Go to TV schedule” instead and it too me to the schedule for that show and described it as “This groundbreaking half-hour series features several of the internet’s best webisodes and short-form content.”.

Anyway, I know I have watched shows on TV made up of videos that other people have made and posted on the web. Now I don’t have a problem at all with people sharing information that I have written or posted or videos or pictures I’ve taken. That is the beauty of the whole Web 2.0 concept. That it is greater than its parts. But what control is there over people taking the creative and hard worked things that people have done and using it to just make money?

Or what if someone wants to use something that you created in a way that you don’t agree with? What if, for example, you took a series of beautiful nude photographs and posted them on flickr as an art set. But someone copied them and put them in Hustler magazine as “Hot Chicks from the Web”?

Or for that matter, for something a little closer to home, usurped your website and redirected to a site you found offensive? We had a website at one time that we no longer use, but since I was into koi ponds at one time and posted pictures and descriptions of our ponds, there were links to it several places. However, a porno site redirected our links to its site and even worse, it had a million popups and all sorts of things so once you got there, you couldn’t get out or stop the madness. I tried every way possible to do something about it but had no luck. I couldn’t even edit the places where my link was posted, or in most cases, contact the person who could.

And back to the point of the post that originally sparked this thought, what control do you even have over anything relating to you on the internet? The original post was subtitled Why we’re all on Facebook, whether we like it or not” and dealt with a situation even closer to home that I am sure we all can relate to. It is about how this person had been at a party on a cruise ship and found his picture (looking rather raggedy) on someone’s facebook page. Here is a quote: “This is what happens to data in an age of social networking. We don’t necessarily create the content, we don’t store the content, and we have little to no control over how it is managed, distributed or manipulated. At the moment, if all you knew about me was the stuff about me you found on Facebook you’d assume I was a haggard-looking ne’er do well who spent too much time boating and not enough time sleeping. Which might be true, but it’s not the entire truth.”

I highly recommend you read his post, he has much to say on this particular issue and I don’t really need to re-state it here. I guarantee it will hit home and raise some interesting questions.

And as you can see, I am not above stealing a catcht title, or using what someone else has written. Are you?

~Susan Mellott

Television 2.0 – what you want when you want it

August 2, 2007

A few months ago I discovered an app called Joost that is TV on demand through your PC. At the time it was in testing by invitation only (I finagled one). Now it appears as though you can just sign up for it. Here is what it’s website says:

“Joostâ„¢ provides a new way of watching TV that combines the best of full-screen television entertainment with the interactive and community benefits of the Internet to bring broadcast-quality video to viewers anytime, anywhere. Based on a state-of-the-art, secure, peer-to-peer streaming technology, Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers video programming to viewers for free. Joost features more than 150 channels with programming across all genres, including: cartoons and animation; entertainment and film; sports; comedy; lifestyle and documentaries; and sci-fi. Channels and programs available on Joost vary by geographic region, based on copyright ownership.”

There are a lot of good things about Joost. It has a very good picture and a ton of programming from many, many different television stations. And I believe they have even added some movies. There is a lot to watch! The bad things were that I found it complicated to use as far as changing channels or watching another program. It is not intuitive (to me anyway) at all. I would have loved to just see a taskbar that looked like your basic remote. Why not? Everyone knows how to use one and it would have been much more intuitive. Also, there were some things that I really never have figured out, one being how to exit the app. It sounds strange but I just have not found how to do it without going to my Windows taskbar and closing the app. Now that seems like a problem. If I can’t do it, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

The other perhaps unfortunate thing for Joost (but great for us!) is that more and more, the different television stations are providing full episodes of their programs online. Just within the last 2 days I have watched episodes of a martial arts show called Human Weapon that was being talked about on aikido-l and episodes of CBS’ Pirate Master, which for some reason our local CBS station has quit carrying (after we got hooked on it and couldn’t figure out where it went).

And my sister is a traveling surgical tech and watches most of her TV through her PC because the picture quality is so much better than her TV, especially since she doesn’t have cable in her apartment. But she doesn’t need it. She can go home after work, whenever that may be and watch her soaps and other shows whenever she wants. She really only needs her laptop and a wireless connection and she has all the great TV she wants.

Good quality TV when you want it. For free. Without a TV. It doesn’t get much better than that.

~Susan Mellott

Library 2.0 – ACPL’s New Books Wall Mashup and More!

July 31, 2007

Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro Just for fun, I created an old-fashioned card catalog card for the book I had downloaded from baen.com/library using John Blyberg’s card catalog generator. You have to enter the data by hand (I copied it from Amazon.com) but it makes a really fun graphic. With some programming, you can make a mashup that uses this. A mashup is a website or application that combines content from more than one source into an integrated experience.

Sean Robinson (my husband and head of IT Technology at the ACPL) created this book wall called Books we added to the catalog yesterday combining the new material checked in each day at the ACPL (Allen County Public Library) with data from Amazon. It shows pictures of the actual book covers for each book and if you click on a book cover, it will show you an old-fashioned card catalog for that book and information on it from Amazon (if the book is brand new, it doesn’t necessarily have review info yet).

Then you can click on “Look this up in our catalog” to see the ACPL card catalog information on that book like how many copies there are and if they are available and where they are located and do all sorts of neat things like add it to your list or put it on hold. You can also find more books by that author, more books with those topics or browse nearby call numbers (books that would be on the library shelf with this book).

Go check it out and play around with it. It is a great example of how you can combine Web 2.0 tools to create something new and exciting and useful.

For this and more innovative ways the Allen County Public Library uses Web 2.0, visit their Library 2.0 site: ACPLib2.0. ACPL Rules!

~Susan Mellott

Celebrity 2.0 – Wil Wheaton is Web 2.0

July 31, 2007

I imagine most of you know who Wil Wheaton is. He is an actor who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Actually, he has done a lot more than that, but that is mainly how I know of him.

But what makes him interesting is his love and knowledge of technology and his leading edge use of Web 2.0 tools. Here is the wikipedia entry that talks about him and what he has done.

From wikipedia: “After leaving Star Trek, Wheaton quit acting altogether. He moved to Topeka, Kansas to work as a programmer for Newtek, where he helped develop the Video Toaster 4000.” (I assume they meant he temporarily quit acting)

Wil was a very early adopter of blogging, creating his site wilwheaton.net (see the wikipedia article on his blog) which is currently being updated (since about last June) and is replaced for now by his blog WWdN: In Exile – Wil Wheaton’s not-so-temporary blog. Per the wikipedia article on his blog: “Rather than just a fan forum, it was a place where people could gather to talk about various subjects including movies, music, books, religion, politics, gaming, geocaching, and miscellaneous topics; the original emphasis was on topics of interest to Wil Wheaton and not the man himself.” He has entries on his blog dating back to July 2001.

Wil also has written 3 books, and most of the entries are extended versions of his online blog entries. (Take note, bloggers, this is not a bad idea if you have a following).

Also from wikipedia: “In late September of 2006, Wheaton began hosting a Revision3 syndicated video podcast called InDigital along with Jessica Corbin and veteran host Hahn Choi. ” Of note: Wil found an error on the wikipedia entry for himself and asked on slashdot for someone to correct it.

Wil also twitters regularly and has just recently twittered on the Comic-Con he attended. Interestingly, he is having a problem at the moment trying to remove people he no longer wishes to follow and is talking about it on twitter. Update: as of about 4 hours ago, he twittered that the problem was a bug in twitter and was fixed by Biz Stone.

Wil also uses flickr and has some very interesting photos. And something I found interesting too that Wil has been doing on buzznet is “What is Wil looking At?” which is sort of a cross between flickring and twittering (flittring?). It looks like he is taking pictures with his phone of whatever he is doing and uploading them. It’s a neat idea and I’m sure at some point, people will be doing that just like they twitter now.

And of course, he checks technorati for links to his blog and has a profile technorati for wilw. Here are some other things of his (from his blog):

And there are quite a few interesting videos of him talking about technology on YouTube. Here is one where Wil talks about Podcasting (answering fan’s question at reading of his book, Just a Geek)

And there is a lot more that he is or has been involved with. The wikipedia article and his blog has more information.

To be honest, although I knew who he was, I’m old enough that I watched the original Star Trek more than I watched The Next Generation. But I think he seems like an interesting person and certainly one who is Web 2.0.

~Susan Mellott