The BlogMD Initiative (via The

The BlogMD Initiative (via The Noisy One): “The BlogMD initiative, by creating a standard ping API supported by multiple CMS developers, will remove this “barrier to entry” from the weblog metadata application space.”

What it basically means is that you can make your metadata available through an API. It’s similar yet different from XFML:

– BlogMD wants to provide a centrally imposed set of metadata, mostly focussing on things like title, creation date, author and such. “[…] think creatively about what a good set of standard metadata to track around blogs would be.” XFML wants each author to create it’s own metadata structure, and is more focussed on topics without values (a date has a value, a topic doesn’t).

– BlogMD shares its data through an API (using pings, like TrackBack), XFML shares its data by publishing an XML file (like RSS). Pings will scale better and offer some possible cool advantages, XML files offer simplicity and ease of developing for (everyone knows how to parse an XML file).

– XFML is in version 0.8 (not published yet), BlogMD is just starting. We’re ahead ;)

– Ease of implementation: XFML exporting is very easy to implement, full XFML functionality (importing, merging, …) is a lot harder, but BlogMD is even harder.

Overall, they sound like two complementary technologies. Go check them out and if you’re technically inclined, give them a hand!

Cities of Text: Some Notes

Cities of Text: Some Notes On Some Notes on Intranets, Knowledge Management And Urban Planning: “Instead of file servers – byzantine hierarchical mazes into which we dump inscrutable containers of chartjunk called blarvitz.doc and blarvitz.ppt and blarvitz.wks – we have Web servers: byzantine, hierarchical mazes into which we dump now-scrutable containers of chartjunk called blarvitz.html.
In short, we’ve traded one generation of junk-making tools for another, one generation of data junkyard technology for another. “

NUblog: Dubliners, where the Joe-man

NUblog: Dubliners, where the Joe-man laments the slow adoption of RDF: “What we need is for Web pages to categorize themselves, which categorizations could then be computer-read and -collected. It’s already possible, but it ain’t happening.”

He’s missing the point: there is no incentive for me to try to understand RDF or add it to my website. Langauges like RSS or XFML adresses the incentive problem by adding value to a website with additional incoming and outgoing links. People can add metadata to other people’s sites (a core concept that makes topicmaps (and XFML) really powerful): not everyone has to be a librarian.

RDF is dead as a popular metadata format. If it was gonna happen, it would have already. Forget about it.

[topicmapmail] occurrence abuse?: a thread

[topicmapmail] occurrence abuse?: a thread on the topicmap mailinglist that nicely illustrates why topicmaps are too complex for use by non-experts: even they can’t seem to agree on the definition of something as fundamental as an occurrence.

But that’s ok – we don’t need topicmaps to be understood by the user. Compatible child formats like XFML can be developed for specific purposes – and UI’s should remove the last level of complexity. People will mess up metadata: they are lazy and metadata is hard to understand. That’s a given we just have to work with.

I have a strong feeling

I have a strong feeling culture (and how it interacts with technology) is the next thing the web people will discover. The signs are there. It’s such a rich topic, with a huge influence on how we design interactions.

Learning about culture is a logical next step: start with visual design, learn that interaction matters more so do interaction design and information architecture, learn more about social sciences, cognitive psychology, then read about cultural changes associated with disruptive technologies. Start (self-promotional) reading up.

Scripting News: “The designers of

Scripting News: “The designers of 1.0 wanted to forget that 0.91 happened. 0.91 had the version number, 0.90 didn’t. There ought to be a law taught in Format Design 101. Include a version number. Rule number two. If version n-1 has a version number, version n must also have a version number. Rule number three. You can’t ignore previous versions.”

I’m trying to avoid the whole RSS versioning mess and all the RSS politics with XFML. Dictatorship is a good thing when designing a format.

gladwell dot com– Designs for

gladwell dot com– Designs for Working: ” […] the Ford Motor Company, along with a group of researchers from the University of Michigan, recently conducted a pilot project on the effectiveness of “war rooms” in software development. Previously, someone inside the company who needed a new piece of software written would have a series of meetings with the company’s programmers, and the client and the programmers would send messages back and forth. In the war-room study, the company moved the client, the programmers, and a manager into a dedicated conference room, and made them stay there until the project was done. Using the war room cut the software-development time by two-thirds, in part because there was far less time wasted on formal meetings or calls outside the building: the people who ought to have been bumping into each other were now sitting next to each other. “

Use language to design a mental model.

Designing a mental model: Six Degrees – Why messages, files and people?.

I am in the process of designing a mental model for a metadata app I’m working on, and it is fascinating to think about the choices you have, and the way a mental model is closely related to language: the nouns and verbs you use to describe what is going on. I think I need to find some good books on linguistics. Any recommendations?

What do I call my “metadata”? “XFML map” or “metadata document”? Metaphors abound. “Connections” or “links” between topics? One of my best inventions I think so far on this is that each map has a “network”. Just saying that: …

A map has a network of connected maps around it

… explains a lot of the philosophy and the technical details of XFML. No further explanation. One word! Before I said that, you may not have known this thing, after I say it it is obvious. Questions will arise:

How is a map connected to other maps in its network? – Through connections between individual topics.”

The word “network” conjures images of connected maps, exactly how I want users to visualise this. Use language to design a mental model. Language, especially the categories and metaphors you choose, guides thinking. I’ve been reading Frank Herbert (again) – gotta be careful with that.

I have used Eudora for

I have used Eudora for years as my email app, mainly because I was worried about virusses with Outlook and didn’t want to succumb to MS. The last few weeks it started crashing on my machine, so now I’m moving to Outlook after all. It also means I can finally try out SixDegrees. Oh wait, darn, my trial installation expired and I never even used it (because I was using Eudora – SixDegrees doesn’t support Eudora yet). What now?

As you may know, I

As you may know, I am coding some software that works with XFML. I am going to do some testing end August, through September. I want to find out if the philosophy of XFML (= “Distributed, loosely connected metadata can solve the problems of badly entered or very specific metadata.”) holds up in real life.

If you have a weblog or content site and are interested in this exercise, get in touch. People joining will be expected to write about their experiences good and bad with authoring faceted metadata, I’ll set up a central weblog for that.