Jon Udell: Good enough for government work

Jon Udell: Good enough for government work: “Here’s the proof that tail doesn’t matter much. If it did, we would not be successfully pouring the majority of our web writing through TEXTAREA widgets in blog and webmail composers.”

What features matter and which ones don’t? The question is driving me crazy, now that I’m developing my own software. What are the killer features? There really isn’t a way to know without having users have a go at them. And then what – do you remove the not so popular features? A kind of featuritis darwinism? That’s what I’m doing with Mefeedia for now, forced by limited resources. It might well be the best approach. Less features is less stuff to focus on, less testing, and faster improvement cycles.

Perhaps the answer is: throw out features you think will work, then get rid of the ones that didn’t, then refine the ones that did until they *shine*.

But I may well be totally wrong here.

tags and facets

I’ve started to experiment with tags and facets.

Here’s the live site: mefeedia video tags.

I’ll report back more later, for now it’s just a superbasic implementation, but it already helps break those tagclouds that tend to block the sun of findability (stretching the metaphor, I know) into little fluffy clouds.

IA Summit – Architettura dell’Informazione

Emanuele Quintarelli seems to single-handedly have stamped out the first Italian IA Summit out of the ground. I’ll be there.

IA Summit – Architettura dell’Informazione: “It’s here. It’s arrived! http://www.iasummit.t

The first ever Italian Information Architecture Summit it’s ready to accept new speakers, excellent presentations and a lot of listeners for an unforgetable learning and networking experience.

With the help of some wishful friends I’ve managed a meeting to collate the italian IA community.

The conference will be held here in Rome in the Marconi room inside the CNR (National Council for the Research) central site. An online registration is needed but the cost is 0 Euro!!

Spread the word!

The suggested topics are:

* IA Principles, Methodologies, Deliverables
* Classification Schemes, Taxonomies, Controlled Vocabularies, Thesauri, Findability, Knowledge Management
* IA, Business and Project Management
* IA Research and Studies (user research, personas, scenarios, etc..)
* IA and Education (courses, masters, workshops)
* Success Stories and Real Cases Explained (Deliverables, Best Practices, Case Studies)
* Interaction with related disciplines

ben barren – rss’ing down under: WM Talent Agents, Viral Video + RSS

ben barren – rss’ing down under: WM Talent Agents, Viral Video + RSS.

Goddamn “viral” video. A lot of the new video sites’ business plans revolve around putting ads around “viral” videos. Is that the best we can do?

It’s this idea that the only valuable video coming from the “masses” is the “viral” video, that the best we’re gonna see is the funny fat kid dancing, that really pisses me off.

What excites *me*, is that we can take back a medium from BigCo television. That real people can make interesting video. Fascinating stuff. Not just funny home movies. That anyone with a laptop, a camera and an internet connection can have a voice through this medium. I’m focusing 100% on *those* videos. I don’t give a shit about the funny viral video of the day.

So I guess what annoys me today is the limited vision of these free-hosting-viral-video-ad-income companies that are popping up all over the place. In 18 months, most of them will be gone, thank god.

I think we need businesses to build this ecology of a million channels. But not with those business plans. That’s just not going anywhere.

Mefeedia in Private Equity Week

I had a chat with a journalist last week, here’s the article. I like my description. “Entrepreneur” ;)

Private Equity Week: “Manhattan based-entrepreneur Peter Van Dijck, who runs MeFeedia, says VCs are calling him about wanting to invest, but he’s not even calling back.

“I’m not looking for any money, but I’ve gotten a few calls,” he says with a laugh. “Usually, they email me first. I think they’re trying to figure out what’s happening in the market, and where it’s going.”

MeFeedia catalogs more than 1,000 vlogs (or video blogs, which are Web logs that use video as the primary content), which encompass tens of thousands of videos, up from 100 vlogs six months ago. Van Dijck says the business costs just $2,000 a month to operate with the help of two contractors. He says he doesn’t know how he will make money, though like many entrepreneurs in the space, he envisions growing profitable either by selling ads or by charging fees for premium levels of service, which he says that he is currently developing.”

the weblog of Lucas Gonze

the weblog of Lucas Gonze: “I am surprised to find that there isn’t much community will to work with Apple to fix the one-click spec, but there isn’t, and given that it doesn’t make sense for me to pursue it on my own. On top of that, it turns out that others’ attempts to get Apple to clean up their RSS have made much difference.

My guess is that the addition of podcasting to iTunes knocked the wind out of the first generation of podcasting software developers. They’re working like mad to carve out a niche, and feel like this is a minor issue at best.”

Lucas is a pioneer. He’s right, I think most developers feel they have better things to do than to get Apple to clean up their act. Me included.

We’re wrong though.

Apple is contaminating the ecology of RSS with its implementation, and that spells bad news for everyone.

They’re like a 1,000,000 pound oil tanker, leaking oil all the way, drifting slowly into the beautiful natural coral reef that is RSS.

Fixing 1-click subscriptions (not just Apple’s, but everyone’s) should be a priority of everyone in this space, but I personally can’t be bothered to fight this fight. Fighting for standards is tiring. Been there done that.

It worries me that Lucas can’t be bothered either though. He’s a crusader. He fights the good fight. When he gives up, it’s like the Greenpeace guys saying: “You know what, whatever. I got better things to do.”

Open media

the weblog of Lucas Gonze:

“1. When Google first unveiled, you had to use their patched version of VLC to play videos there, and if you used Google’s patched version of VLC, it would only play items hosted on (They have since changed over to a Flash player using FLV, which is not like this).
2. If you want to watch news video on, you have to be using Internet Explorer or you will get an error message saying that IE is required. It’s not good enough to have Windows Media Player as either a standalone or plugin, and it’s not good enough to use an alternate media player like VLC which is capable of rendering Windows Media. It’s possible that there are technical issues associated with this (probably the site relies on features specific to IE) but not that these technical issues were insurmountable.
3. If you want to browse the iTunes music store over the web, you have to be using iTunes as your web browser. With Internet Explorer or any other browser aside from iTunes, you get an error message saying that you must use iTunes.

What these have in common is that the server and client are tightly coupled, so that the same entity must own both.

So here’s a potential litmus test: what makes media open is whether any potential pair of clients and servers can work together to fetch it and render it.”

WordPress question

Template Tags « WordPress Codex.

I have a WordPress question, if someone could point me in the right direction…

I have wordpress in On another page (, I want to display the latest 10 posts in certain categories. How can I do that? What files do I need to include, and such.

A pointer in the right direction would be enough – I’m just not familiar with the whole WordPress Way, so not sure which files to start hacking.