Web 2.0

Easy posting to multiple blogs with Ecto

A few readers have asked me around the traps to recommend some good software to make posting to blogs a bit easier and faster.

I use a lovely bit of shareware called Ecto. It is cross platform and plugs into almost any known blogging platform and offers a swag of useful features especially if you are like me and post to several blogs regularly.

Although WordPress has a manageable backend, where Ecto really comes in handy is in drafting multiple posts. On one of my blogs (not Fresh + New), I may start writing a post and then leave it as a draft for several days whilst writing another two drafts. Ecto keeps them all securely on my laptop ready to go. Also, it has the rather essential as-you-go spell checking.

Social networking Web 2.0

Comprehensive list of Web 2.0 sites

Jim from Ideum pointed out this rather exhaustive (and as he suggest, exhausting) list of Web 2.0 companies and sites.

Also, danah boyd is compiling a timeline of social networking sites using a wiki and she is inviting participation from knowledgeable people in the field.

Web metrics

Usability tracking

A new product has emerged from the UK – Clickdensity.

Clickdensity adds that extra layer above what you are probably using Google Analytics or log analysis to do – that is, track where and how people use your website. What is different about Click Density is that it tracks where, exactly, users click on each page on your site – by mouse coordinate.

It uses a little bit of Javascript code to log activity to the Clickdensity server and then you can log in and collect reports. It works on a sliding per month pay scale depending on what you want to track and for how long.

Certainly if you are wanting to check out or test your information architecture, navigation and menu structures then it would be worth investigating.


Upcoming era of ‘frugal computing’

Interesting think piece by Nick Carr on energy waste and computing and the coming environmental factors that will lead to an age of ‘frugal computing’.

Prickett Morgan calculates that, including secondary air-conditioning costs, the world’s PCs and servers eat up 2.5 trillion kilowatt-hours of energy every year, which, at 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, amounts to “$250 billion in hard, cold cash a year. Assuming that a server or PC is only used to do real work about 15 percent of the time, that means about $213 billion of that was absolutely wasted. If you were fair and added in the cost of coal mining, nuclear power plant maintenance and disposal of nuc

Interactive Media Web 2.0

Riya’s new visual search

Riya, a serious contender to Flickr with face recognition, has just launched their Like: Visual Search. Now whilst this is currently limited to browsing accessories worn by celebrities, the implications for this sort of engine and museum collections is obvious. Have a play and you will be excited.

Interactive Media Social networking

Critical cultural history of the iPod

A fantastic think piece on the iPod from Alternet (via the inimitable kPunk) and the impact of portable audio which has interesting ripple effects for how our audiences increasingly expect to be able to engage with our content – on their terms, in their space, right now.

Some quotes of particular relevance to museums.

It is impossible to make sense of the contemporary culture industry without putting the iPod center stage. Even those music lovers who have no interest in using one, either because they are unsatisfied with its limited fidelity or because they aren’t interested in mobility, must confront the fact that the choices available to them are constrained by the iPod’s influence on the market. Indeed, the very existence of traditional audiophiles is threatened, since the criteria they use for rating both equipment and recording are no longer a high priority for most listeners. Frequency response, the accuracy of microphones, the virtuosity of musicians — the bread and butter of “serious” music magazines from the late 1940s until the popularization of the MP3 format — have become secondary or tertiary considerations in a context where the most important thing is not how good the music sounds, but how readily it is available to you.

In the various workshops and papers I’ve been doing around the country recently I’ve been talking a lot about the atomisation of content – the freeing up of content from pre-built packages – allowing users/audiences to assemble and reconstruct narratives in their own ways. One of the side effects of atomisation is the loss of an authoritative narrative (the voice of the curator) who would have previously assembled a structured path through a collection for an audience. I usually use the example of music now being consumed as tracks rather than albums – albums being the signature of ‘serious’ rock music. Notice that I say ‘tracks’ and not ‘singles’. If you look at the patterns of music consumption now it is the audiences, consumers who are choosing their favourite tracks by an artist – rather than accepting the predictions of a record company who chooses what to put out as a single. Singles were always chosen by record company executives applying market logic to a musician’s output – what is going to be the ‘hit’? will the hit single help sell the ‘album’?

By building on a longstanding belief that music is tightly bound to identity — you are the music you hear — Apple was able to imbue the iPod with the aura of home itself. If the rumbling bass of an SUV blasting hip-hop breaks down the invisible walls that divvy up our personal space in the public sphere, the iPod does exactly the opposite, building new barriers between us. Music may “know no boundaries,” but the purpose of the iPod is to protect them. As anyone who has spent some time sitting in a Star-bucks can tell you, the customers who work there use iPods to minimize the possibility for social interaction.

Interactive Media Social networking Web 2.0

New – Flash radio player

As a regular user of the fabulous I hardly got excited when their latest update happened. Being a subscriber to the serivce I get to try out the beta versions of any changes so I get advance notice. Sure, you can now visually see how ‘close’ your taste in music is to other users and friends, but I’d skipped over the feature that everyone else seems to be gagging over – the Flash player for the personal radio feature.

The Flash player feature is a big deal mainly because it eliminates the need to download the player application – although you’ll still need to install the software or equivalent to ‘scrobble’ the music you play on your computer – which is essential to get the most out of

The Flash player means that you can effectively use as your radio at work and just ‘tune’ in to anyone’s selection, or any artist’s similar/related music as a continuous stream. You can skip tracks, mark them as ‘loved’, tag them, or tell it ‘never to play that one again’. Being in Flash means that it gets around nasty things like browser incompatibilities, most corporate IT lockdowns and firewalls.

Also they have added location sensitive artist information – namely live shows. This will be an interesting path towards further monetising of the service as will be aligning with ticketing agencies and resellers much in the same way they have signed up so many independent labels to stream their music.

If you are curious as to what music I listen to then you can tune to my personal radio now (from my account page) without needing to download anything!

Several other museum web folk are on as well and we all have pretty diverse tastes – just browse through ‘friends’ and check them out – and listen to what they listen to! was a big driver for the museum’s team in applying personalisation and taste aggregation concepts to our collection database – possibly more so than other sites that might be more traditionally aligned with a museum.

Social networking Web 2.0 Young people & museums

More from Stutzman on how young people use social networking

Stutzman reports on a poll which claims that –

teens have an average of 52 friends on the IM buddy list, 38 friends entered in their cell phone – but they have 75 friends in SNS. The poll also found a 75% of teens use SNS. This is a useful point of comparison for researchers interested in the nature of friendship on SNS. Are there transferable ratios between various communication devices that hold steady for young people? Can this shine light onto how many “real” friends teens have in social networking services?

Interactive Media Web 2.0

WordPress MU

Wordpress has finally released their multi-user version, WordPress MU. It is open source, like WordPress, and allows you to host stacks of blogs on the one box and manage users across them.

We are yet to consider moving to this version (despite now having 5 public blogs on our sites!) – mainly because of our current reliance on IIS/Windows – but those who have a little more flexibility with their chosen hosting platforms would be wise to consider moving to the multi-user version.

Metadata Web 2.0

More on Opensearch (and competitors)

Lorcan Dempsey points to a succinct PDF article comparing Opensearch 1.0, 1.1, SRU and MXG.