So I started a wiki about Video Blogging on, a domain name I registered last week. Sometimes I go crazy with registering domain names, I don’t know why that is… I liked this one because it’s kinda short and speaks to the idea that you can create your own TV channel. (If we get the technology right, that is.)

Good Friday afternoon stuff: Joho the Blog: Edge-based about-ness: “What something is about often is so implicit that it’s precisely the thing that’s not stated. And sometimes a page can’t even know what it’s about: the manual about O-ring maintenance couldn’t know that it would actually be about the Challenger disaster.”

ongoing · Web Services Theory and Practice: “For big systems with open-ended scaling requirements, architectures that are asynchronous and queued rather than call and response generally seem to win, big time. It’s not an accident that IBM and Tibco were making millions selling big robust asynchronous queuing infrastructure long before anyone started talking about ‘Web Services’.”

Raising the Humble Chicken || “For the last two summers I have maintained a flock of chickens. The results have been … interesting. More eggs than I could eat, interesting evenings, and a freezer full of what I consider very healthy meat. I plan to share my experiences in this article with the hope that somebody might be inspired to raise a small flock.”

Design of a scalable linux fileserver: “512 Mbytes RAM. My mobo can take 1 gig max, so I will be upgrading it with another stick when funds permit. You definitely need a gig of ram. This is the most expensive part of my server – spare no expense to get as much memory as you can.”

After a few weeks of having some small videofiles (300K-ish) up on my site, they have risen to my top files in Kilobytes. I think this is because they load if you load my homepage. I have to find a way to not have them load upon pageload.

1 17407 1.90% 628562 6.13% /colombia/forum/7
2 35934 3.92% 612624 5.98% /ease/
3 11476 1.25% 429830 4.19% /colombia/
4 14274 1.56% 341307 3.33% /colombia/image
5 11992 1.31% 340047 3.32% /colombia/life/culture/59
6 935 0.10% 159048 1.55% /ease/video/
7 47945 5.22% 144318 1.41% /colombia/misc/drupal.css
8 1180 0.13% 89122 0.87% /ease/video/
9 48120 5.24% 88647 0.86% /colombia/themes/poorbuthappy/poorbuthappy.css
10 884 0.10% 83637 0.82% /ease/video/

“Nested Facets ~ Common subdivisions

Claudio Gnoli posted a message to the Faceted Classification group explaining how the Library folks have known (of course!) the concept I discussed recenly of “Nested Facets”. (Bad name!)


something very similar to your idea exists indeed in general bibliographic classifications, both faceted and non-faceted: it is usually called common subdivisions, or common auxiliaries, or even common isolates.

Common subdivisions are not a feature exclusive of FCs, hence a librarian would not call them “facets”. I agree, however, that they are used in a way similar to facets, and maybe can be seen as a first step towards the idea of FC, namely of concept combinability, which was developed later (since 1920s) in library science.

Faceted classification systems, like BC2, have both common subdivisions and facets. The main difference is that facets are limited to a specific discipline — EG “habitat” is only a facet within zoology — while common subdivisions can be applied across disciplines, as in the example above with education and geography.”

InfoDesign: Special on Jared Spool. Interview with the excellent Jared Spool: “When a design team has to tackle one of these designs, how do they know what content is required? They could do field studies (contextual inquiries and ethnography) to determine who the users are, what content they need, and when. However, that’s an expensive, time consuming process and it comes at the beginning of a project, when resources and funds are extremely tight.
This research can be very expensive. We fund most of it with money from our conferences, roadshows and publications. A small portion is privately funded with client consulting.

We’ve come a long way from our roots of being a usability testing service. We really don’t do that anymore, primarily because our research has shown that the most successful design teams are those that do their own testing. Farming your testing out substantially reduces its effectiveness. Instead, we help teams start and maintain their own internal testing process.
It’s interesting to note that the more we play down our opinions, the more clients beg us to give them and tend to seriously consider them when making their decisions.
Since UIE started as a consulting outfit, we had to learn quickly how to prove to people we were valuable. After all, when you’re a consultant, you don’t eat if nobody believes you’re of value.

I learned quickly that business executives didn’t care about usability testing or information design. Explaining the importance of these areas didn’t get us any more work. […] We found, early on, that the less we talked about usability or design, the bigger our projects got.
Yet, was the iPod’s design process a standard one? Nope. Have we dissected the process, so that everyone in the field knows exactly how they did it? Nope. Can we explain why Apple is in the process of shutting down all their usability labs? Nope. Have we even tried to answer these questions? Nope. ”

Sorry for the extensive quoting. Read the article! Jared is very, very good.

Google files for unusual $2.7 billion IPO | CNET “Internet search leader Google filed to go public on Thursday, seeking to raise $2.7 billion in an unusual auction-style offering that will give the founders rare control over the company.”

And they should, or Microsoft, with its (latest report) 53 billion cash reserve could just buy them outright and take over control.

Quick-‘n-Dirty methods to determine which competing label is better: “Cell Phone” or “Mobile Phone”?

On the SIGIA-L mailing list, Stephanie Berger recently asked: “My cohorts are not sure whether to use “cell phone” or “mobile phone”. Any evidence that one is better than the other, or one is used more often than the other?”

This is a good example of the kind of labeling questions information architects face all the time. The answer to these labeling questions will depend on the target audience (a better label for whom?), on business requirements (maybe the business want to promote one term over the other) and on the context in which the label will be used.

I’ll discuss the conversation that followed here and afterwards point to some useful tools for if you have a labeling question yourself.

Andres Sulleiro: “Without any empirical data I will go with my own opinion. […] A quick survey of the phone carriers seems to suggest that “wireless” (as in “wireless phone”, “wireless customer”) is most common among US carriers, though you see some references to “mobile” as well. T-mobile, a European company, uses “mobile” which is more common in Europe as well as being the name of the carrier.”

Method: check what other websites call it.

Jason Cho: “I think “cell” is more widespread in the US as Andr�s noted. “Call my mobile” can sound pretentious to Yankee ears. But I would think everyone understands the term “mobile” on a business card.”

Method: personal experience.

Peter Van Dijck (and others): “Google for “cell phone” (including quotes): 6,230,000, Google for “mobile phone”: 6,360,000. Looks like a tie, assuming your audience is similar. Just pick one and make sure your search engine knows both terms.”
Christina Wodtke: “Yahoo for cell phone : 16,800,000, yahoo for mobile phone: 21,200,000. What does this really tell you? you’d have to know who each engine indexes, how much of the web, etc.. better to use a magic 8 ball. ;-)”

Method: check popularity of the terms on the web.

Peter Van Dijck: “My next step would be to find out what people search for on your site,
or if not available, on the web (assuming that’s more or less your audience). Google adwords can help.”

Method: Find out what people (preferably your target audience) search for.

Dave: “I like “mobile” for the reason that Christina stated (forward compatibility); USers and non-USers will equally understand it. Also, it is more interoperable w/ most of the vCard based addressbook programs out there. I don’t know any that are using “cell” or “cellphone” … I also like the clear and easy two word approach of “mobile phone” … I’m always wanting to say “cellphone” where “cell phone” is really the more correct version. “cell” though just doesn’t feel like a real word b/c the “cell” doesn’t fit a meaning to me. I know what it means if I am forced to think about it, but it really doesn’t mean anything to me at all.”

Method: personal experience, check what software programs use.

Christina Wodtke: “> As can Overture’s keyword tool (couldn’t find URL straight away).

You also might consider some adaptation of the freelisting technique on a subset of your target. E.G., a write in survey: what portable electronics do you own, then analyze for use of “cell phone” and mobile phone”.

Method: freelisting technique.

Eric Reiss: “Having worked closely with several telecommunications companies, including Tellabs (US), Nortel (Canada), ADVA (Germany), and NetTest (Denmark), this discussion is one I’ve heard before. Europeans generally don’t recognize the term “cell phone.” North Americans seem to accept both “cell” and “mobile.” ATT insists on promoting the term “wireless.” In most instances, we’ve agreed on the word “mobile” since it is understood by the widest audience. Nortel, for instance, used “cell” almost exclusively until the late 90s, but now leans toward “mobile.” I think there is a trend here.”

Method: ask the subject matter experts.

Pabini Gabriel-Petit: “There’s also Wordtracker.
In this vein, you might try just walking up to people, holding up your cell/mobile phone, and asking them what they call it.”

Method: Analyze what people search for.

Method: Find out what labels your users use.

Quick-‘n-Dirty methods to determine which competing label is better.

So, as a review, here are some of the methods used to determine which label is better.

1. What do you think?
Method: personal experience/insights.

2. What do your users think?
Method: freelisting technique.
Method: Find out what labels your users use: show them the item you’re trying to label and ask them what it is. (You could build an online tool for this).
Method: Find out what people (preferably your target audience) search for / check popularity of the terms on the web. Overture’s keyword tool. Google adwords. Wordtracker. Google and Yahoo both list how often a term is used on the web (use quotes around your terms!).

3. What do the experts think?
Method: ask the subject matter experts.
Method: check what other websites/software call it.

Gotcha’s: be careful when using these techniques. You are looking for a label that works for your audience and your business requirements. Most of these techniques use audiences that may be very different from yours, and most are indicative only (ie: they’re not hard science). Use your judgement.

The LaCie Bigger Disk: a 1 terabyte external harddrive. US$ 1200, ships in May 2004. So by the end of the year the price should have fallen under the $1000 barrier. It’s not particularly cheaper than buying smaller external harddrives – the prices continues to hover around US$1 a Gig.

I can’t seem to find a good explanation of how to host a bittorrent file on my server. Arg! Pointers welcome.

E-BUSINESS IN THE ENTERPRISE – The mysteries of flexible software: “A software application is nothing more than a mega-squadron of numbers, flying through lots and lots of functions (also made of numbers) in close formation. A gigantic, high speed display of numerical acrobatics. Smell the kerosene.
Given that it is all just numbers, the split between numbers that are easy to change and those that are not, is something that is under our control. Indeed, the very idea that there are numbers which can easily be changed and numbers which cannot be easily changed, is an engineering invention. It is *us* – not the machine – that creates that distinction. We write programs in things called ‘computer languages’ and we distill out the numbers we need with things called ‘compilers’. The rest of the numbers, we put into containers with names like ‘databases’ and ‘XML’ and ‘configuration files’ and ‘registries’ and so on.
The latter type of number is one we can change relatively easily. The former we cannot, due to rules of the game that we, not the machine, impose.
Given that the phrase ‘code change’ is almost synonymous with ‘cost’ we need to think very carefully about parameterization during software design. We need to get our programmers engaged with the idea.”

Donna writes about an interesting observation we can all recognize: ‘and then’ IA: “But something that I have noticed in working with large, primarily hierarchical sites is a very two-layered structure. Sometimes I call this ‘and then’ IA. What happens is, when people look for information they say ‘first I go here, then here’ ‘AND THEN’ I do blah. So, the first step (however many clicks it is) is the prelude to the place that they really want to be.”

Home – AudioBerkman: “AudioBerkman offers listeners the chance to overhear views on some of the most pressing issues related to Internet law and technology. Tune in through May 2004 for our latest productions!”

I like the way Joi’s Moblog2 page gives a bunch of small pictures on one page. It seems to work better than only looking at each picture individually… Maybe an idea for videoblogging?

Some excellent comments on my nested facets posts, describing how this kind of nesting can be better looked at as the “scope” of a facet. I like the “scope” approach. It conflicts with topicmaps’ understanding of scope somewhat, but I think that’s ok. It’s still better than “nested facets”.