Interactive Media Web 2.0

Quick Embed Code to Add Comments To Any Site

Via Techcunch comes this nifty bit of code which will come in handy for many small organisations.

JS-Kit is an entirely free little javascript embed that allows you to add threaded comments to any web page in one line.

JS-Kit works by running Lev’s javascript code, which along with the website’s referral, fetches the appropriate comment data from his server. The comments are fully customizable by CSS and multiple comment instances can be displayed on the same referring URL by changing the “path” attribute of the comment. That way you could have a photo page with unique comment threads for each picture. However, while JS-Kit allows for a lot of customization, it still lacks some of the more advanced administrative features of fully integrated comments, such as those of our WordPress blog.

Lev Walkin is a Cisco Security Engineer out of Santa Clara, and originally came up with the idea as a way to help he wife, a web designer, easily add comments to her sites.

AV Related Web 2.0 Web metrics

Pew Internet – Actual use of podcasts is low

Interesting reality check from the regular Pew Internet report in the USA (via AP/SMH).

A growing number of Americans are listening to podcasts, but very few do so every day.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project said that 12 per cent of internet users have downloaded a podcast, an increase from 7 per cent earlier in the year.

However, only about 1 per cent said they download a podcast on a typical day – unchanged from the survey earlier this year. The rest do so less frequently, perhaps only once.

Imaging Interactive Media

Colour tools for web designers

So you are looking for some new colours for your latest design?

The first place you want to look is the Color Scheme Generator which will give you a palette of complimentary colours, as well as testing them for various colour-blind effects. Think of the Color Scheme Generator as doing for colours what Typetester does for fonts.

ColorBlender is perhaps even more useful although it is a matter of personal taste. Blender does much the same as Color Scheme Generator and can also output a colour table for Photoshop, as well as Pantone matching and more. The slider interface is very nifty and smooth.

Adobe has just launched Kuler, a way of sharing colour palettes for importing in to Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign. With this you can quickly see, download and share palettes that are known to work well together.

Then there is ColorWhore, a simple site for sharing hex codes for colours, which is a bit superfluous after the others but still a simple and nice visual way of comparing colour bands.

AV Related Interactive Media

Current.TV and an ‘expansion of the pie’

From “Q&A With Current TV Futurist Robin Sloan” (Robin was one of the duo behind EPIC2014).

How has the increased popularity of video affected Current? Do more people contribute to Current?

Well, Current was ahead of the curve on Internet video, so really it just means now there’s more competition for both viewers and producers. A lot more competition.That said, Current is really looking for a different breed of contributor than other sites. Most of them are about exactly what Current isn’t: music videos, titillation, geysers of Coke and Mentos. Our standards are higher. So in many ways the rise of YouTube and its ilk is complementary, not competitive, to what we’re doing.

I mean, bottom line, the more people producing video and strengthening that set of skills the better.

Web 2.0

National Digital Forum, Wellington, New Zealand

I will be presenting a paper on emerging online trends, new user expectations and interacting with collections at the National Digital Forum 2006: Participating with Communities: Digital opportunities, collaborations and celebration in Wellington, New Zealand next week.

If you happen to be a reader from New Zealand or will be attending the event then I’d love to meet up and chat. Amongst the other overseas speakers are Jim Spadaccini from Ideum, Toby Travis from the V&A and Susan Chun from the Met Museum; and a slew of notables from NZ. There is a specialist web developer ‘un-conference’, on the day after as well.

The 2006 National Digital Forum conference focuses on creating digital content with an eye to the future. What will be expected of museums, archives, and libraries to reach end-user communities in the future, and what do we need to do today to get there?

International and local speakers will offer case studies and their insights into where digital content delivery is heading in the culture and heritage sector. The conference will also consider emerging trends such as allowing users to directly contribute content, and other interactive experiences enabled by new technologies.

30 November 2006 – 1 December 2006
Soundings Theatre, Te Papa

Digital storytelling Web 2.0

Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Captured Koala

Adam Cadre’s story Wikipedia Brown and the Case of the Captured Koala is an amusing look at authority and authenticity on Wikipedia and is based on those Encyclopedia Brown books that you may have read as a youngster . . .

Folksonomies Web 2.0 Web metrics

OPAC2.0 – Search term frequency and the influence of interface

I’ve started preparing some work on search term frequency in our collection database.

The system is set up to track only successful searches – which we define as those that result in a user selecting an item from the search results. Taking figures generated last week, the database has served up over 1.87 million successful searches since launch (June 2006), whilst nearly 5 million objects have been viewed. Obviously users are getting to objects via direct links or using third party searches (Google etc, or our Opensearch feed) to get directly to records.

Of these 1.87 million searches there are only 19,352 unique terms.

Obviously there are few factors at play here. Firstly, there will always be clusters of popular terms – see Google Trends.

But what about the influence of interface?

Our current search and objects pages are set up with multiple (perhaps maximal) pivot points, or ways to get to other results and parts of the collection. The search/home page features a large randomised tag cloud which displays user-entered keywords. Clicking on one of these will result in a search result for that term.

The search result page now shows ‘related’ search terms as hyperlinks to searches for those terms.

The object record page shows (if they exist), user keywords with hyperlinks to a search for that word/phrase; the top three search terms related to that object (if the object has been viewed more than 30 times); as well as subject and object categories.

Each of these sets of hyperlinks are encouraging users to click them – probably before they manually type another search term in the large search box. Why type when the site you are using is making suggestions for you?

This requires further examination and a cross refencing of search terms against user keywords and also some heat tracking with a set of test users.

Here are the top 20 search terms as of November 2006 (excluding object numbers).


Interactive Media

Flash periodic table

This is a really neat Flash-based visualisation of the periodic table of elements – Popsci Periodic Table (via Core77)

It looks like quite a few elements have been added since I did chemistry!

Being slightly critical I do wonder why they didn’t do this with layers/DHTML.

Interactive Media Web 2.0

Content management systems and museums

Eric, ex-Walker Art Center points to this interesting piece called Redefining content management by Keith Robinson from Vitamin.

Eric built custom systems for the Walker and in my discussions with museums around Australia a common question is “hey, why doesn’t the Powerhouse Museum use a content management system?”. I always answer this by saying we do have content management systems (plural), but that for the collection content it made more sense to use our collection management system for that area of content and blogging engines in other parts. This gives us flexibility and a sense of ‘fit for purpose’ that, from our experience with other large scale projects, a proprietary content management system never can give. Just think if all those ‘installation and customisation’ fees were spent in-house on building in-house development, programming and support skills?

Now, as Keith Robinson points out, developers now can call upon powerful but easy to use developlment frameworks to build customised solutions rather than try for the impossible catch-all out-of-the-box solution.

. . . the case could be made for always building a custom solution (not necessarily a CMS) to suit the needs of the particular content, people and processes your working with.

It sounds daunting, but this is where I think the true promise of a technical content management solution lies. With frameworks like Django, CakePHP, Ruby on Rails and the like we can create custom solutions and construct custom systems that are extendable and much more flexible than most of what’s available today.

I don’t want to trivialize the development of these solutions. Building a custom CMS from scratch, for example, would be very difficult. However, it’s important to note the current costs and effort involved with most pre-built CMSs out there. They’re usually really expensive and already requires tons of work to implement in most cases. It’s going to cost you regardless. Doesn’t it make sense to put that money, time and effort into a true custom solution?

I think so. I mean, yes, you’d need specialized resources for development, but it seems as if you need those most times anyway. I know I’d rather offer my clients resources working toward a custom solution than learning yet another proprietary system.

So you could look at a development framework, as opposed to a canned system. That way instead of “hacking” you could “develop.”

Also with a framework, you can extend beyond Web publishing and build specific tools to help the process. An interactive editorial calendar comes to mind, or brainstorming tools. Of course, if you avoid the “one CMS as as a product” mentality, you could probably find lots of smaller, more specific, products that when pulled together are much more enabling than any bloated, proprietary CMS full of features your people will never actually use.

Copyright/OCL Interactive Media Social networking

Copyright issues of the digital era hits Second Life

It was bound to happen.

Nick Carr posts about a fascinating development in SecondLife.

Apparently a SL user has created a tool that allows for direct replication of SL objects from within the game. Where many real people and organisations have started to make money from selling unique objects (themselves often virtual copies of real life objects), this new tool allows anyone to replicate, exactly, these virtual objects – in an instant turning the economy based on selling objects into one of endless abundance rather that scarcity, upside down.

As an irate Caliandras Pendragon writes at Second Life Insider, “Those people who are living the dream that is promoted in every article, of earning a RL [real life] income from SL creations, are now living a nightmare in which their source of income may soon be worthless. That’s not to speak of big commercial companies who have paid anything up to 1,000,000 dollars to have their product reproduced in loving detail, who will discover that every Tom, Dick or Harriet may rip off their creation for nothing – and then sell it as their own … If someone wanted to destroy the economy of SL I don’t think they could have found a better way.”

The furor took an ugly turn late last night when, according to the Second Life Herald, a “seething mob” surrounded a CopyBot operation run by Second Life resident GeForce Go. The mob shouted that Go was “ruining their Second Life.” Fearing for her safety, Go closed down her shop and sold her land. In a subsequent “tumultous meeting with dozens of angry and fearful residents all talking at once,” Second Life official Robin Linden “sought to allay fears of any further concern about mass copyright violations.”

Now officially banned by Linden Lab, the company that operates Second Life, CopyBot was, according to reporter Adam Reuters of Reuters’ Second Life bureau, “originally created by libsecondlife, a Linden Lab-supported open source project to reverse engineer the Second Life software … Amid increasing criticism, the group moved to pull the Copybot source code, but on Monday evening Copybot was put up for sale on the online marketplace SLExchange, raising the prospect that it could become widespread.” The resident who is selling the bot, Prim Revolution, demonstrated the machine’s ability by making a precise clone of Adam Reuters himself. Revolution defended the use of CopyBot, saying, “I think the idea of clones and bots is very cool, and I’ll be adding more new features for things like automated go-go dancers at clubs.”