WITNESS: an organization backed by Peter Gabriel that hands out video cameras to folks whose human rights are often brutally violated. The victims use these cameras to expose the abuse.

First commercial Video Blog?: “The most exciting part of this new opportunity from the AO prospective, is that we can now begin offering our members what is fashionably called “video blogs.â€? Our editors and members can start producing their own video editorials and interviews and post them for AO members to view and comment on and rate, just as they have been doing with our text posts.”

Technology > Google Moves Toward Clash With Microsoft” href=”http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/19/technology/19google.html?ex=1400385600&en=a3f8b839e1a867f8&ei=5007&partner=USERLAND”>The New York Times > Technology > Google Moves Toward Clash With Microsoft: “Edging closer to a direct confrontation with Microsoft, Google, the Web search engine, is preparing to introduce a powerful file and text software search tool for locating information stored on personal computers.”

Not only that, but apparently they’re moving GMail from 1 Gig to 1 Ter (1,000 Gigs) of storage. Let’s see someone test that!

Alan’s Ramblings: MovableTripe: “The people trying to defend SixApart have made much of the fact that nobody has been forced to upgrade to MT3.0, and that it’s a ‘Developer only’ version. Well, excuse me, but have any of you actually tried to find 2.661 on the MovableType website? No? I thought not, because it’s not actually there any more, as far as I can tell.”

Language Log: Modification as social anxiety: “Here’s a thought: the impulse to pile up fancy words and extra modifiers, and the admonition to write simply and avoid adjectives, are both expressions of the same social anxieties, seen from slightly different places on the social scale.
As an illustration, consider the language of menus.”

User Interface” href=”http://kaste.lv/~captsolo/info/blog_a.php/2004/05/17/p520″>captsolo weblog – Ontologies => User Interface: “I have been wondering how to generate a user interface for entering / editing metadata, given the ontology(-ies) to be used. An automatical way to generate the UI should be possible.”

Sure it’s possible but it will be ugly. An ontology generally doesn’t carry enough information in it to construct an elegant UI – far from it. All you’ll end up with is a generic interface (like the Omnigator for browsing Topicmaps).

The problem is that an ontology is just a description of a domain. What you do with that information (including how you best edit it) can vary extremely. And what you do with it determines the UI, not the inherent structure of the ontology.

Sure, you could build a generic ontology editor. But it’s like a generic database editor. It lets you edit any database, but it’s not the most effective editing interface in 99.9% of the cases.

I just noticed my Pagerank (as reported by the unreliable Google Toolbar) went up to 7/10. Maybe because I’m posting a lot lately?

I was having preformance problems with Drupal (my cheap host complained about resource usage), so after a bunch of questions to the ever helpful Drupal list, I found what I hope is a solution: turn on Drupal’s bult-in cache, which caches entire pages so they are 1 database call instead of x. Congestion control: tuning the auto-throttle | drupal.org has more info on Drupal tuning. Aside from all my complaining about Drupal’s lacking “remember me” feature, it is a great product and a great community.

Dynamic HTML and XML: The XMLHttpRequest Object: “As deployment of XML data and web services becomes more widespread, you may occasionally find it convenient to connect an HTML presentation directly to XML data for interim updates without reloading the page. Thanks to the little-known XMLHttpRequest object, an increasing range of web clients can retrieve and submit XML data directly, all in the background. To convert retrieved XML data into renderable HTML content, rely on the client-side Document Object Model (DOM) to read the XML document node tree and compose HTML elements that the user sees.”

Seems to work on IE, Mozilla and Safari, with varying syntaxes. The article concludes: “In lieu of a W3C standard still under development, the Microsoft-born XMLHttpRequest object fills an important gap …”

It just occurred to me that, even though it’s almost impossible to track how many people view your posts because of all the RSS aggregators and such, the old tracking 1-pixel image trick should work fine there.

It could be acceptable to use that trick to track your readership.

Google AdWords is starting to allow advertisers to use image ads. News.com story.

From their faq: “You can choose to run image ads in addition to text ads, or you can show text ads alone.”, and you can change settings per page.

Images can be up to 50K in size.

$10 a month for 15 petabytes (15,000,000 Gigs) of storage.

Storage space is getting cheaper. For investing US$10 a month, you’ll have accumulated 15 petabytes of storage space by 2020.

Assuming you invest $10 a month in storage and start buying this year, buying additional space every year, you’ll accumulate 120 Gigs of storage space this year (2004). Enough for about 10 hours of quality video uncompressed from my camera. Not much, really.

By 2010, you’ll have accumulated 15 terabytes (15,000 Gigs) of storage space. Enough for 1250 hours (52 days) of video.

By 2020, you’ll have reached 15 petabytes of storage space – 15,000,000 Gigs. Enough for 142 years of 24 hour video.

Historical Notes about the Cost of Hard Drive Storage Space:

Year—price per 1 Gig

As you can see, the price per Gig about halves every year. LaCie’s BigDisk (500 Gigs) currently costs $579.

This means that, if you keep paying $10.00 a month for storage ($120 a year), and only buy storage as you need it, you will get more or less the following storage available to you:

Year – Price per peta – $$ – Storage bought (in gig) – Storage accumulated (in gig)

2004—-1000—-120–120——120 (120 gig)
2007—-125—–120–960——1800 (1.8 tera)
2010—-15——120–8000—–15800 (15 tera)
2017—-0.125—120–960000—1932800 (1.9 peta)
2020—-0.0156–120–7692307–15391261 (15 peta)

Macromedia Flash – Using video in Macromedia Flash MX: “Embedded video is compressed with the Sorenson Spark video codec, which produces high quality video at small file sizes.” The Sorenson encoders are very expensive, so it may be cheaper to encode through Flash. The more I think about it, the more Flash seems like a viable alternative for video, mostly because it’s more standard and reliable than any of the media players. You can’t really import by *linking* to videofiles though. You have to embed them.

Jon Udell: Link-addressable streams, revisited: “Peter van Dijck wrote to tell me about his tool for converting the URL of a Real stream, plus start/stop times, into a link to the specified segment. A while ago, I mentioned Rich Persaud’s version of the same idea, which works with Windows Media and QuickTime as well as Real. Using either of these, you can do what I did the other day — namely, link to a segment within a video stream — without hacking URLs and wrapper files.

As helpful as these tools are, I’ve come to see that the hassles they alleviate are only part of the reason why we’re as yet unable to weave video effectively into blog conversations.
Despite these issues, the overriding consideration may be that streams require specialized servers, whereas downloadable clips (which nowadays play progressively) do not.

What we’re left with, though, is an asymmetry. Big media organizations, for now, still have the advantage over small independents, because the big organizations are more able to deploy and manage streaming infrastructure. Bloggers can link into those streams, and/or capture and post quotes from them, but can’t yet easily produce streams. What we can do easily is produce short downloadable clips. “

The new free license for Movable Type 3.0 lets you have no more than one author and three weblogs. If you want more you have to pay up. Mena explains the new pricing structure. The trackbacks and comments sound pretty sour though, the 1 author/5 weblogs limit for the free version seems to annoy people much. Oh well.

Simon Willison: Simple mini-languages with PHP: “As Dumky points out, this can be used to implement mini-languages for pretty much anything – and PHP 5’s excellent XML support means most of the parser work is handled for you.”

I can see this taking off. It sounds hugely satisfying to create a little mini-language like that. And fairly easy.