Monday, February 27, 2006

Great Walls -- of Confusion, and "Web 2.0"

If you've been pondering where the Web is heading, then a good round-up of information plus thought-provoking views and opinions can be found in the Web 2.0 Journal, and particularly those of its editor-in-chief Dion Hinchcliffe, such as Web 2.0 and the Five Walls of Confusion or Thinking in Web 2.0: Sixteen Ways

And if you're a fan of usability expert Jakob Nielsen (a favorite author of mine), why not review a few of his articles, including Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 where he mentions Web 2.0 in passing:
This year's list of top problems clearly proves the need to get back to Web design basics. There's much talk about new fancy "Web 2.0" features on the Internet industry's mailing lists and websites, as well as at conferences. But users don't care about technology and don't especially want new features. They just want quality improvements in the basics.

You really must read the entire article! And while you're at his site, take a look at Durability of Usability Guidelines where he rightly points out that basic usability features don't change all that much over decades.

If you want to delve a lot further into some other peoples' opinion on all this Web 2.0 and blogging stuff, then take a look at Andrew Keen's Web 2.0 - The second generation of the Internet has arrived. It's worse than you think or Nicholas Carr's The new narcissism or Neil Ward-Dutton's Ecosystem vs egosystem to quote just a few.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Blog Post A Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Really?

I do like being part of the blogosphere, but its sheer size and hyper-exponential growth are rather intimidating, aren't they? It's a vast world for Internet dilettantes: a place for pleasant diversions and for endlessly stumbling across interesting and useful stuff.

Thus, in the one blogging community that I follow -- that of the of Lotus Notes and Domino -- I just serendipituosly discovered The Sickos and (the latter enabling you to add your own blog to the list of Notes/Domino blogs).

My postings tend to be rather sporadic, because I find so many other things to corner my interest: things in the application development world (Eclipse and MyEclipse, NetBeans, Sun Java Studio 2, Oracle JDeveloper, Microsoft .NET plus Visual Studio 2005, to name some), browsers (IE7 and various others with tabbing support, RSS feeds, etc), Desktop Search (particularly free ones such as Windows Desltop Search, Exalead one:desktop, Blinkx, Copernic Desktop Search, and several others). AJAX, Python, Jython, SMIL, RSS and other types of feed, nd lots more ... not to mention keeping up with happening in the Lotus Notes and Domino arena.

Therefore I only post blog articles in fits and starts, when the spirit takes me. One of Jakob Nielsen's points in Weblog Usability: Top Ten Design Mistakes in Blogs (number 7) is "pick a publication schedule and stick to it. If you usually post daily but sometimes let months go by without new content, you'll lose many of your loyal -- and thus most valuable -- readers." Oh well, rules are made to be broken!

Specifically, I only get motivated to create a posting when I reckon that I've something useful to say that might be a bit different from what anybody else has said and that could be of some real interest and value to others. And this could be a few days or a few weeks or even over a month since my previous posting.

Are you a blogaholic: if you run a blog or two or three, do you get withdrawal symptoms or feel guilty when you don't make daily postings? If so, then you need to get a new life! And if you must make a frequent postings, keep them in mind that a lot of readersus are not in the least interested in trivia: we don't want to know that you had trouble getting out of bed today, what your dog's foibles are, or any equally mundane or inane matter that merely pollutes and poisons the blogosphere. (Talking about poisons: I certainly hope that you're not approaching the extreme posiiton of the Japanese girl described in the article Girl keeps blog on poisoning mother -- then you really do need help, and fast!)

When I joined the IT industry in 1970, it was only a visionary-cum-science-fiction-writer like Isaac Asimov or Arthur C. Clarke or George Orwell who would have foreseen the Internet and its usage as we have it today in the early part of the 21st century. Things that are already commonplace in many parts of the world (but certainly not all of them yet) like broadband connectivity and interactions via blogging, wikis and podcasting all would have been wildly futuristic concepts.

As the saying goes, there's "a time and tide in the affairs of men" -- and at times the tide flows very fast indeed. Is blogging in general and personal blogging in particular going to peak soon? Is the blogging bubble about to burst, as discussed in the Chicago Tribune article Bloggy, we hardly knew ye? This article claims that there are now 20 million blogs worldwide, while Stuart Luman in Linkology writes that there are 27 million of them, showing how they might relate to one another by taking the most-linked-to 50 blogs and mapping their connections.

So if there are 27 millions blogs in early 2006 (or perhaps only 20 million of them), how many will there be by the end of 2006, the end of 2007, etc? There are already far too many blogs to cope with, not to mention RSS feeds, podcasts and all the rest. Do blogs have long-term value and, if so, what is the value? Alex Krupp, a student at Cornell University, expresses the view at that:

Few people know that the first webpage ever created, Tim's home page, was actually a blog. Blogs are the epitome of web 1.0. They focus so much on the individual that even Ayn Rand would blush. At their best they can be truly uplifting and inspiring, but on average there are some serious problems with blogs as they exist today. Blogging will be around forever, but I think that personal blogs will be dead in another two or three years.

and he goes on to talk about Web 2.0 and collaborative blogging and more:

    • Web 1.0 is about allowing individuals to create and share ideas
    • Web 2.0 is about allowing groups to create and share ideas
    • Web 3.0 is about allowing societies to create and share ideas
    • Web 4.0 is the singularity
Plenty of interesting times ahead, for sure. It would be nice to be sure about what the winner and loser technologies will be, what will last and what will disappear.

To conclude, if you only add a new blog article when you have something valuable to contribute, that's okay -- no feelings of guilt necessary if you don't post every day!

Quality always wins out over quantity. And as the sheer number of blogs reaches 30 million and then 40 million and still keeps growing, a few less postings by you or me or anybody else certainly won't be missed.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The brrreeeport blogging experiment

Read Scobleizer (Robert Scoble's blog) to find out about this experiment.

Try a search using Google -- or other search engine -- on this specific manufactured term: brrreeeport

And, while you're thinking about what this all might mean, take a look at some definitiiions of critical theory ...

And finally, here's a link to ... "a fast, easy and intuitive source of blog recommendations based on the model."

It all seems to be self-fulfilling and "incestuous" to me!