Navigating The Blogipelago

I’m a sucker for info graphics, especially when they show a bit of creativeness within their design. This map of online communities, created by Xkcd is no exception. This is a map of online communities in which the geographic area provides an estimated size of the memberbship for that particular network. The numbers used to illustrate these communities are not 100% accurate, but I think they are close enough. Click on the image to see the full size view.

The seas are rough, but I’m still navigating the straits of Web 2.0.

Email – Most Desired Service

A survey conducted by online usability and accessibility expert Webcredible has identified email as the most desired service for mobile phone users. When asked ‘Which service would you use on your mobile/cell phone if speed & quality weren’t an issue?’, 33% stated that email would be their number one priority. Social networking followed closely behind with 25% of the votes.

20% of those surveyed also highlighted a preference for using their phone to access local information about their surroundings and a remaining 13% said that they would use their phone to obtain travel and route planning information.

Trenton Moss, director, Webcredible commented, “The ease of use with regard to accessing email via Blackberry and PDA devices has certainly caused a ground swell in consumers who want the ability to email on the move through a basic mobile device. What I find interesting though, is the speed with which social networking is becoming a must have function on mobile.”

“Over the next six months I see a continued increase in the number of people demanding social networking functions through their mobile against those who consider email to be the most important. One of the driving factors in enabling this will be the usability of the site and the skill with which site developers transfer from PC format to mobile format. Facebook has already developed a very accessible and usable mobile version of their site, ensuring its members get their daily Facebook fix.”

Interestingly, just 9% said that they would like to be able to shop online.

Moss continues, “I think this is an unsurprising statistic. There are two main reasons why mobile users are skeptical about shopping via mobile. Firstly, usability is a massive function and one which is difficult to overcome if shoppers want to view a good quality image of what they are buying. Secondly, there is still great uncertainty among the public about data security of shopping through mobile phones.”

Webcredible surveyed 1010 mobile phone users and achieved the following results:-

* Social networks – 254 votes (25%)
* Travel information/planning – 135 votes (13%)
* Email – 335 votes (33%)
* Local information/whats around you – 199 votes (20%)
* Online shopping – 87 votes (9%)

Glogster – You In A Poster

Glogster.com Logo

Finally, a somewhat different and unique approach to social networking. Check out Glogster.com Glogster.com lets you network with your friends via posters. These posters can contain graphics, text, images, videos, sound, and wallpapers. You can either select from a number of predefined templates for each section or, you can upload your own video, image or sound. The uploading feature allows you to upload up to 100MB per file. Whoever would upload a 100MB video file to a poster is insane.

Glogster Poster Creater

No registration to the site is necessary to create a glogster. So, I decided to give it a try to see what I could come up with. I was surprised to see all of the different preset images and frames that were built into this web app. One thing I noticed during my test is that, when you hover over the editing icons, there are no tooltips. This makes me wonder what it is that particular tool or button does and that is not good when you think of usability. Another thing I didn’t like is the constant need to move the main editor window around. It always seemed to get in my way.

Element Editing

This is what the element editor looks like. The arrows represent scaling while the circular arrow represents rotation. Your guess is as good as mine as to what the icons next to the word EDIT are supposed to do. I know for certain though that, the trash can deletes the element from the poster. All of the predefined elements are vector images meaning, they can scale to a very large size while still maintaining quality. If you upload a custom image that is not vectorized and you increase it’s size within Glogster, you will see a drastic decrease in image quality.

After I was finished creating my (Glogster), I clicked on the Save and Publish button. The publish dialog box popped up which gave me the ability to give my (Glog) a title, specify an address for the glog, assign tags, and choose a category. Glogster also gives you the option of making your Glogs public, or private. Thank goodness they have a WTF category because thats precisely the reaction you’ll have when you see this thing.

Once I clicked the publish button, I was greeted with a register page so that I could publish and share my glog to others. Apparently, you don’t need an account to create a glog. However, you need to have an account to publish and share the glog with others which makes sense, considering the social networking aspect of the service. So for this reviews sake, I created an account.

MyGlog After Registering

The good news is, if you register an account after you create your glog, it will be accessible as if you created it with a pre existing account. Good move on Glogster’s part.

There is much more involved with Glogster than what I covered, but I wanted to highlight the poster creation part as I think that it’s a pretty cool idea. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a social network that uses a different method of being social. Hopefully, if other social networks are coming down the pike (you just know they are) they will have a way of doing things that is outside of the box. A little ingenuity never hurt anybody.

Oh, and before I let you go, kiss your chances of embedding your Glogster into your blog. I gave it a shot and the damn this is over 900 pixels wide. So, you’ll most likely have to link to your Glogsters instead.

Enough with the review, time to see my WTF poster! Take note Mike. If you create a Glogster, be sure to let me know and send us a link.

Interview With Steve Spalding

HowToSplitAnAtomLogo

I had a chance to interview Steve Spalding, author behind the blog How To Split An Atom but more specifically, the author of the article entitled Web 3.0 Defined. Web 3.0 Defined goes into specific details as to what the concepts of Web 3.0 will be, how it will be used, and the sites and services that are already making headway towards Web 3.0, a term that is synonymous with the semantic web. This post sparked my interest and Steve was kind enough to answer 7 questions I had regarding the article. Enjoy.

1. Jeff – Why did you decide to use the term Web 3.0? Let’s be honest here, the Internet doesn’t have any version numbers associated with it, why continue the trend?

Steve – The nice thing about a phrase as cliche as Web 3.0 is that everyone in the digerati immediately has an idea of where you are going with the article that mentions it. I could have used a title like, “Future Trends In The World Wide Wide,” but with a title like that, there were just too many ways to interpret the direction of the article. We live in a popcorn and soda kind of world — I wanted something that would get an immediate, visceral reaction out of people.

Does the web have version numbers? I certainly hope not. We just need better language to describe the major milestones in its progression.

2. Jeff – Do you think services such as people search will promote better online behavior considering their past time and reputation will be searchable via the public?

Steve – No. I think that normal people will know absolutely nothing about People Search until it shows up at their front door. I recently read an article in a semi-local newspaper about parents who are being fired, demoted and otherwise harassed because of things that their children are writing about them on social networks. The point is that almost everyone’s kids have been at this for years and it’s only in the last week that anyone has cared enough to point out the dangers.

As for the Web crowd, I think we are so used to our information being out there for all to see that a few new algorithms won’t be enough to raise eyebrows. It might stop a few part time Trolls with full time jobs who aren’t clever enough to find a way around it, but don’t expect a revolution in social mores.

3. Jeff – In this article, you define web 3.0 but, how would you define web 2.0? Bill Snyder believes Web 2.0 is a series of concepts that are different depending on who you ask. Do you agree?

Steve – Web 2.0 is the microcosm that people like us live in. It’s a lot more than just “Social Media” or Facebook. It’s the culture surrounding it. It’s the weekend blogosphere dust ups. It’s Mark Zuckerberg, the $5 Billion Kid. It’s all the inside jokes, memes and investor hubris that fuels our little sub-culture.

No movement has ever been about the technology, and I don’t see Web 2.0 as any different. Just like you can’t describe Post Modernism by looking only at Art or Architecture, you can’t understand “Web 2.0” without seeing all the little cultural nuances surrounding it.

4. Jeff – Most of what you describe in your article relies on an algorithm. Will these algorithms ever fully replace a human being?

Steve – Algorithms never live in a vacuum. In my day job, a lot of what I deal with is machine intelligence. If there is anything that this has taught me it is that it will be quite a while before any algorithm is able to replace a human being in anything more than niche applications.

Will we have better search agents and expert systems? Yea, certainly. A system doesn’t need a terribly large amount of “real” intelligence to do that sort of thing. If you are looking for “general purpose” intelligence, I say give it a few more years.

5. Jeff – Do you believe that web 3.0 will be the death of editorial blogging? That is, long written articles. If so, will it be because people will seemingly have no time to read an in depth post due to the massive amount of other information streaming into them?

Steve – I think that even though attention spans are decreasing, people will always want the news.

Journalists and citizen journalists alike will just need to learn how to present it in such a way that it caters to our Mocha Latte culture.

6. Jeff – It has taken some time to reach web 2.0 status. Where are we now in regards to web 2.0 and how far away are we from seeing Web 3.0 turning into a reality?

Steve – Where are we? I can’t really tell you. That’s up to O’Reilly to decide, isn’t it? Seriously though, when Web 3.0 or whatever you want to call it hits, it will be about half a year before the punditry realizes it.

What I can say is that it won’t be for now. Almost all the innovations these days are along the same vectors. Everyone is just adding features. There isn’t any real, paradigm shifting innovation. More than that — all the important, meaty computer science problems are being left on the table and being replaced by Smarty templates and AJAX libraries.

I know Powerset is doing some things with search, and I am sure Google has a few widgets hidden in a lab somewhere but until we seeing some innovative, commercially viable applications start hitting the market, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

7. Jeff – Last question Steve. Because of RSS and essentially everything containing an RSS stream, how do you think people will cope with managing such a large stream of data? Quite a few people already suffer from information overload. Will this be a barrier worth considering or will a new or existing market emerge which focuses on information organization?

Steve – I think everything these days is about organizing data.

Web .5 was about communication. All that terminal stuff we did before the web got pictures.

Web 1.0 was static information, content that was manageable not because it was arranged in a coherent data model but because there wasn’t a lot of it to deal with.

Web 2.0 is about communication again. This time we added AJAX, created a bunch of buzz words and injected a few billion dollars worth of investor capital. The more important thing is that we are now trying to add some structure to all that information we collected back in 1.0

Web 3.0 will be about data as a commodity, data as a utility. It will be a web where everyone has easy, personalized access to a store of information orders of magnitude larger than what we use today. Things like RSS will give way to personalized information streams that are managed in part by software. It will be about using technology to make massive data-sets palatable again.

If you need anything else, drop me a line. Thanks for the opportunity!

No Steve, THANK YOU! If you haven’t already, add Steve’s blog to your feedreader. Like his Web 3.0 Defined article, the rest of the content featured on his site really makes you think.

Live Video Feed From New Media Expo

New Media Expo Logo

For those that are interested, TalkShoe has begun their live coverage of the Podcast and New Media Expo being held in Ontario California. The stream will be ongoing all day long. iJustine is sort of co-hosting the event and is streaming live video from the expo. The video and audio stream is intermittently going out but they appear to be doing the best they can with their setup.

To tune in to the show, click here. After the page loads, look for the LISTEN symbol and click on it. This will open a new window with the live stream.

Watch ijustine live video and chat on Justin.tv