Yahoo travel rocks

Yahoo travel is rocking the online travel world. I just noticed this innovation: instead of making you enter dates and then telling you what prices they have flights available for, they let you look for prices for a destination on any date, tell you the cheapest offerings, and then let you search for dates that those flights have seats available. Amazing. The UI for that part is functional and looks like this:

yahoo travel

As far as I know, no other online travel service lets you search like this. I’ve been waiting for this for years.

iTunes 1-click is pretty fucked up

the weblog of Lucas Gonze: “Dear Apple developers working on the podcasting portions of iTunes, …”.

The Apple 1-click subscription technology is broken. What’s worse, after Lucas told me I should remove the content-type application/rss+xml from my pcast files in Mefeedia, so I did but it breaks iTunes compatibility. So iTunes is totally messed up here. Let’s hope they fix this soon and we can leave this behind us.


In the old days, before the blog, I used to write “articles” (yes, actual html pages), “upload” them and everything. They’re not particularly relevant anymore, some are embarrasing, but here they are, for posterity and because nice URLs stay around.

The only one that’s still really relevant is Themes and metaphors in the semantic web discussion.

Old pages on this website:

The “sitemap at the bottom of the page” files sadly depend on a database that no longer exists (that will teach me!), so they’re not available.


Wired News: We’re a Hit in Manila! Now What?

Wired News: We’re a Hit in Manila! Now What?: “Friendster, which today has millions of Filipino members, is one of a number of advertising-supported internet sites grappling with the dilemma of how to take advantage of unforeseen overseas popularity. Such sites are finding that business models that work in large, developed countries need serious readjustment in nations with small populations or low internet-penetration rates.”

Sam Ruby: Actually innovative

Sam Ruby: Actually innovative: “If you’re working for an actually innovative startup, please consider thinking about i18n, unicode, and all that jazz. Actually, do more than consider it. Just do it. Not everyone speaks English, and there’s no reason to restrict “Web 2.0â€? (there’s that involuntary shudder again) to English speakers.”

And: ”
Totally disagree. i18n is extremely resource intensive. Everything being equal, the startup that iterates on the English product will easily beat the one that doesn’t iterate on the multi-lingual product.”

It depends. I18N can let you win over a lot of markets the other guys are ignoring. Big deal.

braintag: MySpace vs. My Space

braintag: MySpace vs. My Space: “Jay raised a fantastic question Saturday that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since:

Do the benefits of MySpace outweigh the benefits of My Space?

Rendered unclever: Which is better? To publish and participate in a closed social networking environment or to publish a blog/videoblog/podcast on your own server with your own blog installation?”

An insightful post, check it out.

Some tips for new Typepad vloggers.

Now that Typepad has integrated videoblogging, I wanted to share some tips for new videobloggers. Some of the stuff that we’ve learnt over the past year or so doing this.

1. You have something to say. Try the videobloggingweek (where you post 1 video every day for a week) for yourself and at first, you’ll feel like “what can I have possibly to say”. Then you realize everything is interesting. Every day, there are at least 5 videobloggable moments.

2. It’s about connecting people and speaking truth. Vlog what you really believe. It’s a great exercise in not becoming the fake person, the corporate drone you always feared of becoming. I think people become that way because they just lack the practice of saying what they really think.

3. Small digital fotocameras (the Canon elph for example) work fine. It’s not about the gloss.

4. As you become better, you can do most editing while filming. As you film, your edit-eye knows what to film and how it will be used.

5. Make sure to always put your url at the end of a video. You don’t know where it might end up, at least like this people will be able to find your blog.

Go to to find about a 1000 videobloggers. And add your feed if you’re videoblogging too.

Finally, if you’re really into this stuff, join the videoblogging mailing list, the best place to learn more.


All that alpha, limited beta and so o web2.0 stuff these days. Them kids! Mefeedia went into public beta after I coded it together in two days in December 2004, and has been running happily ever since.

Oh, and today we moved to the new server. Dedicated and shiny :)

socialight launches. It’s a mobile location aware app, I did some user testing for them earlier this year. Check it out. Basically, it lets you annotate your environment with photos, text and such, and then your friends can pick up those annotations later.

What it’s not

I’m working on version 2 of Mefeedia, my personal crazy project. In about a month plus some, it’ll go live. And:

  • It’s not Web 2.0. What happened with web 1.0? Or the plain web? Is anyone getting excited about that anymore?
  • It’s not the Flickr for video. Clearly, Flickr will be the Flickr for video.
  • It’s not ‘an amazing new way to’. OK, so it is the best place to find indie video. But it’s not that amazing. Jeezes.

Thought I’d get that out of the way.

Findability and folksonomies

I am blogging some stuff from the iainstitute mailing list, whose archive is currently not public, which is kinda ironic for an organization that focuses on findability.

Anyways. Peter Morville (with a new book on findability) and Thomas Vanderwal (who coined the term folksonomy) sparring over folksonomies:

Thomas, refering to an article Peter wrote:

“I really like most of the article. I agree with the Wikipedia section, but have more scepticism as the *folksonomy* entry is nearly always wrong these days with the definition and examples it gives.

I do start running into problems with your article in the folksonomy area. I agree that early on the Technorati folks coopted the folksonomy term, but they have shied away from its use of late as they realize it is not what it is doing with their tagging effort.

What Technorati is doing is what Cory Doctorow labelled Metacrap.

Technorati tagging is a gory mess, it adds little value, it captures a variety of tagging (and decidedly non-tagging — commercial weblog tools have their categories counted as tags by Technorati) practices with various points of view and gumbles them up. It could even be worse than Metacrap. I have talked with them a fair amount about how to approach fixing it and time will show if they have an interest.

It seems you have had blinders on with the folksonomy tools since the IA Summit in Montreal Peter. As the serendipity tools like have been growing up into fairly decent findability tools as their corpus of materials grows. The creator of has left his day job and has been focussing on the tool as a full-time job and has five other developers now making the product better. They built their own search engine which has just gone live and is permitting their corpus, which is based on their contributors’ point of view, to be used more easily.

Having just returned from Europe from the Euro IA Summit, I had a lot of discussions with people there about folksonomy. Many wished I had presented on that subject or were writing a book on the subject (hmm…). There is a problem in Europe and with the rest of the world
that folksonomies help resolve, it is a cross-cultural tool. It easily leverages the language of those tagging from one culture and uses the object being tagged as a pivot to find other cultures vocabulary for similar objects. Folksonomies are quite a popular tool in non-parochial Amerian eyes. They help greatly with findability.

The key piece is that the folksonomy tools are broad folksonomies so people can pivot.


Peter answers:

I’m glad you enjoyed (most of) the authority article, and I appreciate your thoughtful response. I do think folksonomies as an experimental subject are very interesting, and I don’t dispute that tagging can improve findability and refindability. I’m just not sure that most people most of the time will find it worth the investment in the long-run. I forced myself to try before the IA summit panel so I’d have something useful to say about it. I haven’t used it since. In any case, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on some (but not all) of these issues.


You really should try again, particularly since most of what you stated is has not been the case for many months and you are a voice of authority. You should also try Yahoo’s My Web. Yes, they do take a little time, but the pay off is quite grand.



When I get a chance, I will revisit and explore Yahoo’s My Web.
Then I will be much better prepared to criticize them :-) In the meantime, I
will maintain my skepticism, based purely on my problem with the following

“Yes, they do take a little time, but the pay off is quite grand.”

Google Desktop takes no time and the refindability payoff is arguably much

The case against findability.

Things should be easy to find – an information architect could agree with that.

The recent problems surrounding Google maps sound, from a distance, silly. That crazy Indian president! What is he talking about?

But culture is a funny thing. At the IA retreat a few weeks ago I showed a screenshot of the levis website. Totally offensive to me (from Belgium), none of the attendees noticed a particular problem. The thing with culture is, what makes 1 person from 1 culture angry, won’t mean a thing to someone from another culture.

I wrote about the Maori a while ago. A really important concept in Maori culture is “tapuâ€?. It means that certain knowledge shouldn’t be shown to just anyone.

I guess I’m trying to say: this idea that information should be freely available is a cultural one. And it’s not always necessarily (this is painful to say) right.

alarm:clock: Peter Rip Lets It Rip: “So where are we not investing? In companies that are only focusing on the social/collaborative aspects of the Web (for example “collaboration-assisted search engines”), There will certainly be some big successful companies, but it is hard to have an informed opinion about which of the many will have a sustainable advantage. We are in the prediction business and we don’t know how to predict those markets.”

Compelling experiences

How to make money with digital lifestyle aggregators – Part I :: AO: “So personalization and customization find their destiny intermixed with Integration and Aggregation. The only way to produce compelling enough experiences is by integrating a wide range of built-in constructs, combining that with agregated web servcies and content and topping it all off with unprecedented levels of control and customization. In one product or service.”

Marc Canter is so full of bullshit. Or, he just writes really badly. “Compelling experiences”? Spending too much time with the suits Marc? And get a spell checker.

And then: “branded memes and viral uptake”. No, not just bad writing, he’s lost. Bye Marc. See you later.

Yeah, I’m in that mood again.

Refactoring or starting from scratch?

For the next version of Mefeedia, I got 2 great developers. That’s important for what follows.

I coded Mefeedia in PHP, in a weekend, because it seemed like a good idea at the time. A lot of projects start that way.

Over the past year, I’ve been spending months and months of real time developing the site. The architecture and the code aren’t bad. It’s kinda scalable.

I was talking to my devs, and they said: “Why not use Rails”. It’s the new hot thing. And i’m sure it’s got lots of advantages. But I also know the power of refactoring, and that’s the way I really wanted to go.

In the end I decided to go with Rails. Throw away all that code. And we didn’t have a lot of technical discussions about the pro’s and cons of both approaches. I made up my mind when one developer said: “I’ve been dreaming of a chance to work with Rails.”

Happy developers are productive developers. And that’s all there’s to it.

The video ipod versus the psp for videoblogging

What’s the difference between the video ipod and the PSP, related to videoblogging? What I’m interested in is this: how does this help spread the voices of millions of people through video, taking back a medium (video) that has been owned by Big Media for pretty much ever.

The basic difference seems to be that Apple opens up their platform, while Sony closes it. It is almost impossible to get your video on a Sony. It is trivially easy to get it on your video ipod. Just install iTunes and it’s there.

Sony makes its money of the sales of games (a bigger industry than movies, remember?) and movies. Although I don’t know how many people actually buy movies for PSP’s, here in NYC in Harlem PSP’s are everywhere, but people rip DVDs using a bunch of softwares. Supposedly Sony looses $$ on the sales of the PSP, which makes sense, because it is superpowerful: amazing games, wireless internet, and all that for the same price of the ipod? They have to loose money on that.

Meanwhile Apple makes money off the hardware. The music sales don’t make a lot of money, and I don’t expect the video sales to do this either. It’s all about selling ipods. Which are (really) technically fairly simplistic devices. There are a lot of better portable video players out there already, but Apple wins by providing the complete package: device, UI and content via iTunes. Easy.

So for people with a real voice, videomakers, vloggers and bloggers, the ipod will be their biggest audience for a while. The PSP has a much better screen, and is technically much better suited to playing video, but the platform is so closed that you basically need to make a deal with Sony to get your video on there in an easy way.

iPod video with vlogger movies in itunes

iTunes 6 seems pretty vlogger friendly: I already had a bunch of subscriptions to videobloggers in iTunes 5. iTunes 6 adds a new section “videos”, and it imports all the videos from video podcasts. They even have their own category, next to “Movies”, “Music videos” and “TV shows”. That’s great news.

Here’s a screenshot of iTunes’ video section, showing video podcasts that I already had in my iTunes imported:

(promo) Again, if you want to find some good video podcasts or videoblogs as we call them to fill up your iTunes, check out, the best place to find indie videos.

the new video ipod creates a hungry market for short videos

Endgadget’s first impressions of the video ipod: “What it needs most are more shows!”

Exactly. I’ve been waiting for this. Apple just created a huge market of people hungry for short videos. In 320×240 format. What’s gonna happen when you unwrap your new shiny video ipod? You’re gonna listen music. And watch some videos. Millions of people will do this.

After a few weeks, they’ll get bored of watching the same old commercial, big media stuff on their devices, and start looking for free, interesting short videos. You’ll discover someone somewhere is making video you just have to watch. And it will be dead easy to subscribe, letting your ipod filling up with video goodness. You’ll find yourself watching Big Media less and less. Times millions of people. This is another step towards what we’ve been talking about: Big Media will no longer be the only media. Your favourite TV show might be someone you know. I’m excited.