The whole metadata thing I’m

The whole metadata thing I’m working on with Simon Willison is becoming more and more obvious. I’m really surprised nobody has done this: the more I think about it and now that it’s taking shape, the more absolutely obvious it seems: metadata should be syndicated and connected. Somewhat like news items (RSS). I can’t even remember why exactly it took me so long to get my head around it all.

Thanks to Simon’s Secret XML Powers, it’s also turning out to be surprisingly easy to code. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have working code in about 20 hours of work. I’m interviewing this week, so I don’t have a lot of time for coding, but even so it’s not as much work as I’d thought. I think we’re succeeding well avoiding the political pitfalls that make the RSS specifications such a mess – the advantage of dictatorship I think.

Coding together while living in different countries seems to be working out as well – mostly because we divide our work clearly. We’ll see how it goes, I’m curious how we’ll deal with coding together without using CVS or some versioning system.

I think the first real life applications will be on my colombia website, and then I want to make it work with a mailing list archive. Maybe the Sigia-L list? We’ll see how it goes…

A few weeks off

Since it’s the fashionable thing to do, I’m gonna take a few weeks off from this blog. Got a book to finish, a job to apply for and summer to enjoy. You enjoy too!

Simon Willison: “Moment of realisation:

Simon Willison: “Moment of realisation: I just figured out what it is about Flash that bugs me so much. Flash is rubbish at text. Sure it can render text in pretty ways, but it never feels like real words. Flash takes good old fashioned text and locks it away in a pretty but shallow world, one that is out of reach of search engines, screen readers and my all important right mouse button. What good is text is text if I can’t search it, select it, copy it, paste it and generally processs it in whatever way I see fit?”

Wired 10.08: The Bandwidth Capital

Wired 10.08: The Bandwidth Capital of the World

“AT FIRST GLANCE, Seoul seems like just another sprawling metropolis: Its buildings, hastily constructed with dubious financing in the months leading up to South Korea’s 1997 economic crisis, are the sort of blocky, concrete-and-glass high-rises that give many modern cities the air of prefab homogeneity. Wide boulevards are choked with the oppressive traffic common in East Asia or, for that matter, Silicon Valley. Megamalls and underground shopping centers filled with Body Shops and Burger Kings cater to teens and young professionals. There’s none of the high tech visual overload you see in Tokyo, or the clean-scrubbed, old-meets-new urbanism of Scandinavia – nothing to indicate that Seoul is the most wired city on the planet.”

Centrally imposed metadata structures aren’t sexy.

Victor points to Dubliners, in which Joe Clark (when is that book published? I’m waiting for it!) laments that Dublin Core isn’t used. Ha, I know why: centrally imposed metadata structures aren’t sexy. Ask Victor : his categories are crazy as hell, but they are his. That’s the point. What would be the value for him adding boring metadata that is so general to the point of becoming useless. That’s why I have hope for XFML.

I’m on the plane reading

I’m on the plane reading up on some blogs I’ve missed lately! No, it’s not Internet over the Atlantic, it’s IE’s Work Offline feature (Mozilla has it too). Very very cool. I wish there was a way to just point my browser to a set of bookmarks (when am I gonna get a decent bookmark managaging function?) when on a fast connection and say “suck them all in baby, I’ll watch them offline”. Maybe an idea for the Moz guys?

PS: I’m typing this on the plane as well, in Notepad. I also wish there was a way for Movabletype to work offline. But I guess that’s what we have Radio for.

I’ve been using Photomesa for a few months now, and it is great. ZUI’s (Zoomable USer Interface) are a great and logical way to manage your picture collection. I’ve got three months worth of pictures in there, and I see no problem scaling it up to many years of pictures. It’s too bad nobody has made a commercial product out of it (it could do with a bit of polishing and additional features). For that matter, it’s too bad nobody has made a decent picture management tool, ever, as far as I know. I’m a photographer by training, and I know there’s a market there. I’m sure a company could easily create an amazingly useful tool that all professional photographers and many consumers would use. I’m not sure why that hasn’t happened, but it’s dissapointing. Maybe because it would be too easy for MS to incorporate the zooming metaphor as an option for viewing folders in their next release of Windows, thereby killing the product mentioned above. No, that’s not it, the zoomable interface is only part of what I want, there is a lot more: annotation, proper metadata, … MS actually have some decent research on this, too bad I can’t find it – wanna try? My email+blogging time is limited to 40 minutes today and they’re running out.

Innovation seems so damn slow.

I just found the preview edition of Groove on my machine again, an online collaboration tool. Anyone care to install it as well and try it out?

I’m also still looking for the killer tool to manage my social network. Any ideas?

I have a question box

I have a question box on one of my sites, and I was considering building a system that would allow multiple people to answer the questions I get, and to archive them online; this email message made me think about the privacy aspect of it:

“Thanks. I hope my question won’t be posted on any public message boards — I’d be embarrassed to have it posted! It’s just a question that I asked because I am trying to get a better understanding of the experience that my friend is going through”.

When I do find time to design this system, I’ll use this quote with one of the personas.

eDesign (pointer by Jeff at

eDesign (pointer by Jeff at IASlash) has some really good stuff, like this story of assistive technology for disabled users. Too bad I had to hack the URL to link to it, and too bad the new site suffers from bad links and error pages, else I would have subscribed straight away.