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Preview: Gail Marsella: Blogtech

Gail Marsella: Blogtech

Last Build Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 03:16:21 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2005 Gail Marsella

Sun, 19 Jun 2005 03:13:24 GMT

Legal Guide for Bloggers.

Focused on American bloggers, but provides important considerations for all bloggers: Legal Guide: "Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers sometimes publish information that other people don't want published. You might, for example, publish something that someone considers defamatory, republish an AP news story that's under copyright, or write a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public office."


Sun, 19 Jun 2005 03:12:32 GMT

Who Knows Whom, And Who Knows What?.

Social network analysis (learning network analysis?) is really the key to the interaction aspect of formal and informal learning - Who Knows Whom, And Who Knows What?: "Companies that have been frustrated by traditional knowledge management efforts, such as Mars, are increasingly looking for ways to find out how knowledge flows through their organizations. Looking at the company org chart, it turns out, often doesn't tell the real story about who holds influence, who gives the best advice and how employees are sharing information critical for success. This all takes on greater urgency as millions of baby boomers prepare to retire over the coming decade. Social network analysis provides a clear picture of the ways that far-flung employees and divisions are working together, and can help companies identify key experts in the organization."


Sun, 08 May 2005 15:07:04 GMT

OPACs and XML.

When I wish for things like native RSS feeds from our Innovative catalog, I’m sometimes told that III has an XML backend so I should just be able to build what I want on my own. Of course, my first response (of many) is that I’m not a programmer so I can’t just build what I want, but Casey Bisson at Plymouth State University is, and he’s trying to build weird and wonderful things with his own Innovative catalog.

For example, check out his proof-of-concept of LOLA Suggest! Just type something in the search box and wait a second to see what appears underneath. Too freaking awesome! I did a mock-up of what this could look like for my information shifting presentation, but Casey’s given me a live example to show instead. Thanks, Casey!

He’s got lots of other great ideas for using Innovative’s XML server, too (including for lots of RSS goodness), but he’s running into problems because he says their XML schema is non-standard, is even more difficult to work with than MARC, and is prone to parsing errors. So here we have an ILS vendor that claims to have an XML backend you can do whatever you want with, except that it’s incredibly difficult to do whatever you want with it, especially if you want to do something nutty like integrate your catalog’s content into your university’s way cool portal using RSS. As Casey noted in an IM:

“Our portal has a ‘my courses’ tab which lists the student’s course schedule, and has links to WebCT, our course management system. I'm working to get a link to the library right there with it. RSS and XML allow us to target library content to what we know of the patron and deliver it wherever they are. As an academic library, we have an opportunity to link with a number of other services. But we also have to compete in the information economy. Most course content systems and portals have only limited ‘hooks’ to include library content, but if we're not quick, libraries will be out of the loop, as faculty post all their reserves online in the course system and link directly to full text sources.”

And all of that work gets harder when you’re trying to do something relatively simple like LOLA Suggest but the XML is so complex that you’re forced to cache the bib records instead of sending the query directly to the catalog’s XML server and presenting live results.

Not being a programmer myself, I’m sure I’m misrepresenting some of this, so I hope Casey will write up his own thoughts about all of this on his blog and correct my inaccuracies. Or even more optimistically, maybe Innovative will fix the problems with their XML server (even if that just means adopting MARC XML) so that Casey can do what they claim he should be able to do, because I want me some of his ideas in my catalog.

[The Shifted Librarian]

Sun, 08 May 2005 14:16:04 GMT

Found a great add in for Firefox (yes, it's my preferred browser, even though Radio doesn't work with it). It's called "Stumble", and it's a random site generator. The good thing is you pick the categories for the random sites, and they are all ones that someone else interested in the same category has recommended. You can also "vote" on both the random site or any other site that you like or dislike (your own picks and anti-picks are added to their database.)

Very cool.

Wed, 09 Feb 2005 02:26:47 GMT

Well put, and high time someone figured this out...

Economics of Sharing.

Economics of Sharing: "Economists have not always found it easy to explain why self-interested people would freely share scarce, privately owned resources. Their understanding, though, is much clearer than it was 20 or 30 years ago: co-operation, especially when repeated, can breed reciprocity and trust, to the benefit of all. In the context of open source, much has been written about why people would share technical talent, giving away something that they also sell by holding a job in the information-technology industry. The reason often seems to be that writing open-source software increases the authors' prestige among their peers or gains them experience that might help them in the job market, not to mention that they also find it fun."
Comment: The two biggest complaints directed at the open source movement are 1) it's anti-capitalism 2) it's not democratic. While I can see fanatical implementation of open source as fitting those categories, I think both assertions are generally false. Open source is a manner of openness and sharing. People are generating profits from open source software - the difference is that the value of the product has shifted. It's not about locking it...but positioning it for maximum creativity. Secondly, it terms of democracy, the very notion of open source is that everyone has a say, but, as with Linux, someone still has the final voice. While some may object, I think open source can be defined as a capitalistic, democratic process. Its key definition, however, is that it distributes power to many nodes, rather than limiting it to a central node.


Wed, 02 Feb 2005 01:46:34 GMT

Open Source is Worldchanging. Jon Lebkowsky: Among Open Source developers and devotees, there's been a growing awareness of its impact as a philosophy and practice that extends beyond the world of... [WorldChanging: Another World Is Here]

Tue, 14 Dec 2004 04:01:07 GMT

The Network is the Blog.

This image of blogging speaks well of its application to the learning process: The Network is the Blog: "Just as telephones are meaningful only when connected to the telephone network, so blogs are meaningful only when connected to the blog network...The blog network is made of people. We are the nodes, actively filtering and retransmitting knowledge. Clearly this architecture can help manage the glut of information. More subtly, it can also help ensure that no vital inputs are suppressed because nobody has to rely on a single source."


Tue, 14 Dec 2004 03:58:51 GMT

AOL Got Some Balls. According to this AP story: The walls surrounding America Online Inc.'s well-manicured gardens are crumbling. In a move both risky and essential, AOL is abandoning its strategy of exclusivity and will free much of its music, sports and other programming to non-subscribers in hopes of boosting ad sales. Welcome back to the world of the relevant, AOL. It's a bold move, but it's about time you woke up and noticed the World Wide Web. It'll be interesting to see what... [Jeremy Zawodny's blog]

Sun, 28 Nov 2004 02:16:25 GMT

This has relevance to other kinds of thinking besides computer architecture...

Joel Spolsky: "When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all." [Scripting News]

Sun, 28 Nov 2004 02:13:27 GMT

Gary Price on "impeccably maintained" web directories. [Scripting News]

Tue, 16 Nov 2004 01:33:11 GMT

Okay I got tired of comment spam and got tired of waiting for Google or UserLand to do something about it. I wrote an hourly script that deletes all comments (on just one of my servers) that have one of several keywords in their bodies. Yeah, I guess they may change the URLs of their sites, and I'll add the new URLs to the list of URLs I check for. I guess I'm getting started on a race. The first two sites to benefit from this are the iPodder and BloggerCon sites. [Scripting News]

Sun, 17 Oct 2004 15:34:57 GMT

Building Websites with the ASP.NET Community Starter Kit. The ASP.NET Community Starter Kit from Microsoft is an application that allows you to create a fully featured community-driven website, complete with article and news management, downloads, forums and user handling. By Packt Publishing. 0927 [WebReference News]

Tue, 16 Mar 2004 11:21:13 GMT

Finally, weblogs, RSS, and P2P have been combined.  This has been a dream of mine since I turned up in the Weblog world in early 2001 (and right in line with the vision in a Forrester report I wrote 1996 entitled:  Personal Broadcast Networks).  Thanks Andrew!  This is excellent. [John Robb's Weblog]

Sat, 13 Mar 2004 09:42:39 GMT

Cool Tool: It seems that has an older sibling: Feedroll, a service that takes an RSS feed (see my previous post) and churns out a small piece of code you can add to your web page to display the headlines from... [Channeling Cupertino]

Sat, 13 Mar 2004 09:40:49 GMT

New Radio tool: Workbench.root. I have released the first beta version of Workbench.root, a Radio UserLand tool offering simple scripts that extend the functionality of the software.

My goal is to offer a bunch of scripts that Radio UserLand users of all skill levels can put on their Web pages and Web site template files.

The first release offers two scripts:

  • Workbench.viewCategoryLinks, a script that displays a list of links for all of your weblog's public categories.
  • Workbench.viewPostIndexes, a script that displays a list of your weblog's entries in reverse chronological order, like the one I offer on Workbench.

Users of my old workspace.viewPostIndexes script will find that this version has been improved. It updates all of your post index pages each time you publish a new weblog entry instead of updating them once per day. [Workbench]

Tue, 09 Mar 2004 02:22:39 GMT

Non-bloggy RSS: Newsfeeds on the web. List of Newsfeeds in English* Boston Globe just added a list of feeds.   BBC News has a list of its feeds and a huge OPML file.  Christian Science Monitor has a list of feeds.  CNet News has a list of feeds.  DanGillmor's column has a feed.  dotJournalism has a feed.  Downing Street Says has a feed.  Guardian Unlimited has a feed. Inter Press Service News Agency has a list of feeds  National GeographicNews may have a feed at  New Scientist has a feed.  NewYork Times has many feeds created by Userland. (Philadelphia Inquirer) has a list of feeds.  The Register has a feed.  Salon has a feed.   SeattlePost-Intelligencer has a list of feeds.  Slashdot has a feed.  Slate just got a feed and offers a reading list in OPML.  Telegraph has a  list of feeds.  US National Weather Service offers regional weather alerts as RSS feeds.  Wayback Archive Collections has feed of its most recent acquisitions  Wired News has a list of feeds.  World Press Review has a list of feeds.  Yahoo News has feeds for non-commercial use Funny Ha-Ha Newsfeeds  Dave Barry has a feed  This is True by RandyCassingham has a feed  Tapestry has cartoon feeds including Dilbert  *  This list of newsfeeds is based on the excellent list at, and on many ongoing updates from Dave Winer. Your corrections and additions are very welcome! [Betsy Devine: Funny Ha-Ha or Funny Peculiar?][...]

Fri, 05 Mar 2004 13:04:53 GMT

Worfisms. As I answer tickets and emails today, I am saying them aloud as if Worf were doing technical support troubleshooting... Honorable Customer, Your server has fallen in battle. Today is a good day to reboot. Sincerely, Worf... [Amish Tech Support]

Fri, 05 Mar 2004 13:03:21 GMT's new RSS Feeds., thanks so much for all the new RSS feeds! If I get bored, maybe I'll make "Add to My Yahoo!" buttons for each one. Heh. :-) You guys rock. You always have and, by all appearances, will continue to do so. If I ever tire of Yahooing, I'll be begging at your door. P.S. Just don't ad on-click support via RSS. I already have to many books I haven't read yet.... [Jeremy Zawodny's blog]

Sun, 15 Feb 2004 00:05:02 GMT

(image) At the end of my talk, Shira Silberman, a Waggenerette, came up and asked for a feature. She said -- "You know how, when you're looking at a book on Amazon, they say 'People who read this book also read these books.' How about doing that for RSS?" I thought about it for a second and realized we could do it with the data we're accumulating on Share Your OPML. So I dialed up Andrew on my cell, passed the phone to Shira, and asked her to tell him what she wanted. Today, we have the feature. Demo: People who subscribe to Scobleizer also subscribe to. [Scripting News]

Sat, 07 Feb 2004 12:56:26 GMT

It's broke...fix it. Dave Pollard on the fatal flaws of first generation Social Networking sites and tools. They're built with a pre-designed, set content architecture, and centrally-stored content, instead of harvesting content that individual users already have stored, in different ways of their own choosing, on their own machines. They're being populated just-in-case, with all kinds of content that people with lots of time on their hands see fit to contribute, and no content from the very busy or technologically illiterate, rather than just-in-time, with content being accumulated only if and when there's a demand and need for it. They're badly over-engineered, ranging in complexity from challenging to intimidating, so they take a lot of time, energy and intelligence to understand and use properly, and hence drive most potential users away. [The Social Software Weblog]

Sat, 31 Jan 2004 22:55:53 GMT

There are three ways to build a hot weblog.

To be a connection machine (people with huge blogrolls and/or RSS lists that point to other weblogs -- they do add their two cents and sometimes their thinking).

To be a name dropper (people that imply they understand what is really going on -- and you don't -- given their personal connections that they constantly let you know about).

To be an ideologue (people that support a single cause with unquestioned faith).

Here are the ways to build a second tier (but still popular) weblog:

To be a thinker (people that delve into topics with intelligence and/or wit).

To be a topic owner (people that own a topic and report on it with unquestioned knowledge and depth).

To be a voice of outrage/affirmation (people that critique others as often as they can or are on the bandwagon).

To be a cool hunter (people that find the newest of the new or the strangest of the strange).

Which one are you?  Are there more categories?  Am I wrong?  I will add to this post as new thinking arrives. [John Robb's Weblog]

Sat, 31 Jan 2004 22:55:17 GMT

Kaye Trammel: Protecting Your Secret Blog. [Scripting News]

Wed, 28 Jan 2004 04:20:31 GMT

Jesus, I hope his wife knows what she's got here...not a God so much as a visionary, innovative genius who gets it. Fundamentally gets it.

Linus as Antidote. Linus just has a way with words, don't you think? BusinessWeek did an interview with him, and he said some useful and some memorably funny things about SCO. My favorite first: "Nothing to lose is a bad situation to be in. They're a cornered rat, and quite frankly, I think they have rabies to boot. I'd rather not get too close to them." He was asked what he thinks is motivating SCO: "I think there was a fair amount of bad feeling when IBM dropped out of the Monterey project [a joint-development project with SCO]. That was a big deal for SCO, and they had a hard time with that. Never mind the fact that it had long since become clear that the project wasn't going anywhere, and IBM would have been crazy to continue with it. "So you have some pent-up anger at IBM, a failing business that was losing its market, and put it together with a greedy new CEO who has fought legal battles before, and what do you get?" Linus totally gets it that the Novell-SCO copyright dispute has no significance in the greater IBM context, because their claims, in his view, are shaky anyway, even if the copyrights were theirs, because they can't seem to come up with any copied code: "The validity of their claims has always been very shaky, even regardless of the fact that Novell claims SCO doesn't own the Unix copyrights in the first place. "The SCO claims have been shaky from the start because they haven't actually been able to show any particular copied code. It's like me claiming copyright on some article you wrote for BusinessWeek [without being] able to specify which article and which part of it I would have written. The fact that Novell now contests the SCO copyright ownership just makes them even more shaky." There is lots more in the interview, so hop on over and have a nice visit with Linus. Passing time with Linus is a good antidote to thinking about and writing about Dark Darl. [GrokLaw]

Wed, 28 Jan 2004 03:16:47 GMT

Wise words from the creator of many Radio Userland themes...including mine...

Bryan Bell: "I am constantly looking over my shoulder at Win-IE just to make sure the my sensible decisions are not being overturned by that freaking-lunatic of a browser." [Scripting News]