A few weeks of Jaiku fun

Jaiku's logo

I’ve been play­ing around with Jaiku for a bit now. I first down­loaded the client and gave it a spin a while back (before the site was there). When they launched the site, I rein­stalled the client, and after some ini­tial screw­ing around with my N70, I got it to work. I should note, how­ev­er that Jaiku has become great fun even if you don’t have a S60 phone. 

Thanks to the enthu­si­as­tic use of col­leagues Tom and Edgar I’ve got­ten a taste of what the ser­vice would be like if all my (non-techie) friends would be online. Espe­cial­ly Edgar’s reg­u­lar updates dur­ing his vaca­tion in Aus­tralia were… inter­est­ing. I’m still not sure if I enjoy see­ing his “hav­ing a cock­tail here and there” updates while I’m post­ing a mes­sage that I’m hard at work. Oh well.

I first encoun­tered (the con­cept of) Jaiku at last year’s Reboot thanks to Jyri’s talk. The talk was cool, and main­ly focussed on how IM-like sta­tus mes­sages inte­grat­ed with your phone book would result in some­thing Jyri and friends like to call ‘rich pres­ence’. It seems that (as is so often the case) real use by real users, com­bined with the intro­duc­tion of the web front-end is slow­ly but sure­ly trans­form­ing it into some­thing more like a per­son­al pres­ence pub­lish­ing channel. 

I find myself reg­u­lar­ly updat­ing my sta­tus mes­sage, be it through the S60 client, their text mes­sag­ing inter­face or the web site. I’ve also hooked up most of the RSS feeds that track my activ­i­ty on a num­ber of social web ser­vices. This might just be my obses­sive urge to cache all my (on- and offline) activ­i­ty some­where in an effort­less way, but I can imag­ine more peo­ple would enjoy using it once tying togeth­er the loose ends becomes more intuitive.

I would also like to thank the Jaiku guys for being very help­ful, sup­port­ing me with all the N70 woes. 

For those inter­est­ed in more, check out the fol­low­ing links:

Final­ly, if you hap­pen to be using the ser­vice and would like to hook up, my nick is ‘kaeru’. Let me know yours!

Social search (a Euro IA theme)

This could also be called ‘social find­abil­i­ty’ (with apolo­gies to Peter Morville). A lot of stuff has been said about both the dan­gers and virtues of tag­ging and their result­ing bot­tom-up infor­ma­tion archi­tec­tures (aka folk­sonomies). IAs have been work­ing hard to come up with prac­ti­cal ways of merg­ing these with tra­di­tion­al tax­onomies, to vary­ing degrees of suc­cess. An Ital­ian del­e­ga­tion showed off a cool demo of a facetted tag­ging appli­ca­tion (Fac­eTag) joined with some sol­id aca­d­e­m­ic the­o­ry (as far as I could tell). The BBC pre­sent­ed a poster on their way of slow­ly includ­ing tags into their con­trolled vocab­u­lary using a com­bi­na­tion of algo­rithms and old-fash­ioned human labour. These all point to the emer­gence of archi­tec­tures that actu­al­ly apply the con­cept of IA pace lay­er­ing intro­duced by Morville in his lat­est book. I’m sure we’ll see more of these in future.

Besides har­ness­ing the pow­er of mas­sive online ama­teur librar­i­an­ship (MOAL), anoth­er hybrid that should be fur­ther inves­ti­gat­ed is the one result­ing from com­bin­ing social net­works with search. There wasn’t much talk about this (Peter Morville briefly men­tioned it in his keynote) but it’s def­i­nite­ly in the air. Social search has been exper­i­ment­ed with in the web 2.0 are­na, but I get the feel­ing not many IAs have been involved in the effort up till now. Most cur­rent endeav­ours feel like whiz-bang tech demos. Where’s the first use­ful and usable social search engine?

Speak­ers on social search dur­ing the sum­mit: Peter Morville, Andrea Resmi­ni, Emanuele Quintarel­li, Luca Rosati and Karen Loas­by (poster).

This is the sec­ond post on themes spot­ted dur­ing the Euro IA Sum­mit 2006. The first post was on strat­e­gy. Oth­er posts will be on process & deliv­er­ables, involv­ing the client and acces­si­bil­i­ty. My first post-sum­mit post can be found here.

Plazes gets a major overhaul

My favourite social web app gets anoth­er makeover, and this time it’s major.

The most impor­tant change I’ve noticed is that they’ve ditched the bud­dy list alto­geth­er (which was get­ting imprac­ti­cal due to large amounts of users) and have start­ed focussing more on maps. This is a change I can only applaud; as now it’s even clear­er plazes is all about loca­tion, loca­tion, location.

A look at the new plazes

Rough notes from Euan Semple — There’s something going on here that is bigger than any of us

What does it all mean?

Print­ing press anal­o­gy. Press changed the way we saw the world. We’ll have sim­i­lar shift in the future (long term). But: they used to burn heretics as well. Not every­one will want to adopt this.

7 years since Clue­train: lots of stuff is still the same

Change will not hap­pen thanks to tech. 

Three myths

  1. Hier­ar­chy is the only way to orga­nize stuff, from church through mil­i­tary, etc. but: hyper­links sub­vert hier­ar­chy. Once peo­ple start employ­ing them it has a dis­rup­tive effect, break­ing though hierarchies.
  2. If we take cer­tain steps we’ll be suc­cess­ful. But suc­cess got scrambled.
  3. Carte­sian anx­i­ety: stress due to sep­a­ra­tion of indi­vid­ual and rest of the world (per­spec­tive). Mis­un­der­stand­ing of evo­lu­tion, it should be about pass­ing around what works (faster), not killing off the weak.

It’s eas­i­er to do good than to do bad” — Jim­my Wales

LOVE: that’s what makes the inter­net hang togeth­er (and it’s not about the huge amounts of porn). Tol­er­ance, the need to con­nect. Reboot is very much about this. 

Inter­net cre­ates oppor­tu­ni­ties for bet­ter under­stand­ing of shared meaning.

Every­thing is moti­vat­ed by love or fear and fear is just absence of love.

He did­n’t get where he was today… by using fear.

Col­lu­sion: peo­ple don’t want to admit to what they’re doing is wrong.

Anar­chy actu­al­ly means the ulti­mate in democ­ra­cy. Is it so bad to frag­ment huge institutions. 

Every soci­ety has peo­ple that see them­selves as main­tain­ers of order (although they don’t know what that order is). 

The web cuts out the mid­dle men (main­tain­ers of order).

The idea that the online world is imma­ture and dan­ger­ous is wrong. Google nev­er for­gets. Think about the stuff you say.

Don’t com­plain, don’t say no.

Do the right thing.

Stat­ing the obvi­ous, say the way you think the world should be and it’ll turn out that way.

See­ing some­thing inter­est­ing, then judg­ing your­self if it’s valu­able enough and pub­lish­ing it. Oth­er peo­ple doing the same as an effect and on and on.

It’s not about tech. but it isn’t utopia either. You should take respon­si­bil­i­ty for what you do.

Dalai Lama quote: it’s about rela­tion­ships and being social.


Rough notes for Chris Heathcote — A mobile Internet manifesto

It isn’t Nokia pol­i­cy, he’s try­ing to be provocative.

1b inter­net 2b mobile user 5b unconnected

many net­works, you’ll be con­nect­ed to the internet

100% voice, 50% java, 10% native apps

these are not barriers:

dis­play device speed text entry net­work speed

1000 bln. text mes­sages in 2005

we might be the last gen. that uses querty

fixed 1000M wire­less 100M fixed inter­net 10M wire­less inter­net 1M

peo­ple want ter­abyte speed, we need to think what’s good enough now

we’re there already

bar­ri­ers: data cost, bat­tery life, 2 hour prob­lem, smart networks

a pic­ture used to cost 15 euros to upload

fixed price is real­ly impor­tant in data

bat­tery has­n’t seen inno­va­tion like the rest of mobile tech.

in the west we’re always less than 2 hours away from a “real” computer

David S. Isen­berg: fat pipe, always on, get out of the way

assump­tion is that mobile phones can’t work in a dumb net­work, rich client sutuation

they are

mobile inter­net does not exist!

good mobile browsers, they’re here

oth­er impor­tant stuff: smart clients — easy to devel­op: Flash Lite, Python

brows­er is like swiss army knife

E.g.: Back­pack. Nice web app. He’s been try­ing to make a mobile ver­sion of Backpack. 

Why is that different?

He can’t release it pub­licly yet, but he will soon.

PC + mobile: home + away

They’re far more use­ful togeth­er than seperate

What’s use­ful? 10 x eas­i­er 10 x cheap­er 10 x a day

Mind like water (GTD) mobile is excel­lent for this, you can action them

Mobile is social

Timekilling? Com­pe­ti­tion: books, iPods, etc.

Social is more inter­est­ing, you want to take those ele­ments from web apps to mobile

Inter­net is push + pull

Demo time!

Mobile web brows­er: access to all kinds of phone stuff. 

He loves it, he wants to see peo­ple build stuff with it.

Out of sight mes­sage: because he want­ed a domain he’s going through a proxy.

Not being online all the time is inter­est­ing from a pres­ence point of view.

no need for sep­a­rate mobile sites

basic acces­si­bil­i­ty and web stan­dards still rule

lots of web­sites are assum­ing users have lots of band­width — that’s bad on both the web and mobile

data is very impor­tant (use­ful data)

APIs are great, XML is great, as long as they work

we’re not spe­cial: Google tries to be help­ful by forc­ing you into the mobile version

Don’t repur­pose con­tent for mobile. 

Peo­ple are peo­ple… they’re the same. They have the same needs. Make sure they have access.

Cre­ate mobile sites. Aim at the 2b, not the 1b. 

Mobile is going to be the main way to access the inter­net in the future.

Voice is inter­est­ing as well. 

Q One thing you men­tioned is flat rates. We can’t solve it as devs. Any ideas to force car­ri­ers to do it? A Car­ri­ers aren’t as uncan­ny as you think. They real­ize that mon­ey can be made from flat rate. 

Sites can be built for mobile using web stan­dards eas­i­ly. That’s key.

Q What do you need for the mobile Back­pack? A The series 60 phones run­ning Python. We want to open source it so peo­ple can port it.


Rough notes for Jyri Engeström — Blind Men’s Baseball

Part 2 of three-part track. Last one’s Chris Heath­cote’s one.

Why base­ball?

Not beer, hot­dogs, hat etc.

It takes a long time… Lot of it is pre­tend­ing to pitch etc. Pitch­ers are glanc­ing all the time. That’s the aspect that’s inter­est­ing to him.

Impor­tant social consequences.

1 Spa­tial

See­ing sur­round­ing space in the present. Focussing, see­ing the whole at once while you’re in it your­self. (Reminds me of Japan­ese mar­tial con­cept op zan­shin.) Con­cept of thee whole: when you lack it — exam­ple of the three blind men and ele­phant. What if they decid­ed to go play base­ball? They’ll only be able to com­mu­ni­cate about their posi­tion by shouting. 

No periph­er­al vision = nav­i­gat­ing in the dark

Link with tech:

Phone: assump­tion is that you know who you’ll call. 

Except: before dial­ing you make a lot of oth­er choic­es about tim­ing etc: where are they, what are they doing?

Phones don’t tell you much currently…

Oy! Where u at?”

IM: state indi­ca­tors, place indi­ca­tors, etc. (Plazes plugin).

Cross pol­li­nate mobile with IM interfaces.

Anal­o­gy to dri­ving in traf­fic, con­stant­ly pay­ing atten­tion to what oth­er dri­vers are doing and adjusting.

When info is out there, peo­ple will start being more polite.

This is all about spa­tial aspect, which is about present tense.

Oth­er aspect: time.

Hock­ey: great play­ers play where the puck will be. Anticipation.

See­ing each oth­er as vec­tors, spa­tial and tem­po­ral at the same time.

Space­balls clip.

Orga­niz­ing life: cal­en­dar designed with assump­tion that only your won cal­en­dar matters…

Mobile 2.0 isn’t about mul­ti­me­dia. It’s about social inter­ac­tions. Bet­ter social periph­er­al vision.

Where will this lead? 

Look­ing to WoW for exam­ples of ways to enhance periph­er­al vision.

Ques­tion: what will this look like in mobile device?

His social sci­ence back­ground isn’t always help­ful, but it allows him to look at the oth­er side of the coin — those that are left behind.

Peo­ple who are left out will seem more and more out of it socially.

Exam­ple from Abbott and Costello.

Ques­tions Q Why don’t oper­a­tors inno­vate more? A He thinks it’ll come from 3rd par­ty devs that get the web. He does­n’t have much con­fi­dence in oper­a­tors. Tech­ni­cal­ly more and more is becom­ing pos­si­ble (Python, Flash, WiFi).

Q Oth­er peo­ple’s cal­en­dars: Inti­ma­cy, are we using tools to replace our innate abil­i­ties to track things. A Out­sourc­ing men­tal activ­i­ty to devices. You for­get how to do it your­self. Phone num­bers, you can’t remem­ber them any­more. Tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tions are built as bleed­ing edge as long tech chains. If stuff breaks they become use­less. E.g. Kat­ri­na, box­ing day tsuna­mi. Elec­tric­i­ty goes out, the rest is useless.

Q Exam­ples shown are only for close­ly tied peo­ple. What are appli­ca­tions for larg­er groups, fil­ter­ing, etc.? A Absolute­ly, third aspect miss­ing is past: rec­om­men­da­tions, com­ments on places vis­it­ed. Flickr is about the past. Web is good at orga­niz­ing that stuff. That’s why mul­ti­me­dia won’t take off on mobile.

Q On tech­no­log­i­cal replace­ment: scale of things is increas­ing. How do you man­age that? Reminds him of Wild­fire. Pro­gram­ming devices on reach-abil­i­ty. A Pri­va­cy set­tings will lim­it our range. It’ll keep increas­ing (pos­si­ble range) become more and more ad-hoc. Instead of net­work­ing, notworking.


Rough notes for Tom Armitage — What social software can learn from Homer, Dickens, and Marvel Comics

Dick­ens, cliffhang­er on every page

Putting data on dis­play = publishing

Blogs are fragmentary

Every sin­gle thing you do needs to be dat­ed for context

In hind­sight it’ll show you patterns

Exam­ple: Infovore and pre­vi­ous blog actu­al­ly join

Col­lect data across bound­aries (chrono­log­i­cal, dig­i­tal, physical)

Nos­tal­gia, be fuzzy, look­ing back at old sto­ries etc.

Anal­o­gy of reviews of books with com­ments on blog — mak­ing it livelier.

If some­thing counts (com­ments, sta­tis­tics) make them acces­si­ble and public.

Fin. ser­i­al narrative.

Next: epic


How can some­one remem­ber these huge stories?

Because they use known struc­tures and for­mu­las, conventions.

You can leave out stuff. Two tellings are nev­er the same.

He does­n’t believe in sin­gle sign-up. Stuff will be dif­fer­ent between sites.

Pro­files of peo­ple should be dif­fer­ent between sites.

Retroac­tive con­ti­nu­ity (ret­con)

delib­er­ate­ly chang­ing pre­vi­ous­ly estab­lished facts in fiction”

Cri­sis on Infi­nite Earths (Mar­vel) start­ing anew

Social soft­ware: revis­ing ear­li­er versions.

E.g.: Flickr replace button.

Fic­tion — telling lies, no let’s tell untruths

Truth: some­thing with no delib­er­ate dis­hon­esty” — Andrew Losowsky, http://tinyurl.com/lug7c

The Door­bells of Flo­rence (on Fiickr)


Give peo­ple the chance to use some­thing else than their real name. Per­sonas are impor­tant. Han­dle based cul­ture has exist­ed for a long time online.

Expect peo­ple to tell untruths.

Kaycee Nicole Swen­son hoax Dying of leukemia, Pay­Pal, blog­ging, died, but not real­ly, she was an old woman.

No default for truth.

Fic­tion­al char­ac­ters on Friendster. 

Vin­cent Gal­lo on site — delet­ed too but it was real­ly him…

Wikipedia should mix both fic­tion and truth

Telling the sto­ry (final section)

The lan­guage you use is important

(Jar­head is a great book.)

You should tell a tale and talk as lit­tle as pos­si­ble in your own voice.

Breed­ster, art project, insect, eat­ing, shit­ting and hav­ing sex. Sex­u­al dis­ease — every­one became infertile.

User expe­ri­ence is important.

Good sto­ry­telling can’t save a ter­ri­ble story.


When you cre­ate social soft­ware, look to sto­ry­telling for inspiration.


Q We should have a debate about truth and fic­tion. A Inter­net does­n’t have a laugh­ter track and it nev­er will. We expect comm. media to be truth­ful but pub­lish­ing media to be used for fic­tion. Inter­net is both… Friend that was evict­ed from WoW because of role­play­ing a racist char­ac­ter. There is a risk that the net will get real­ly po-faced.

Q How can we go about deter­min­ing who’s real­ly who? A Exam­ple of phish­ing (Pay­pal), lots of peo­ple will believe you when you just get the style right. With text it’s real­ly easy to pre­tend to be some­one else. Real names should­n’t be forced to pub­lish their real names.


Rough notes for Stowe Boyd — The Revolution Will Be Socialized

Start with a joke that you need to apol­o­gize for (Amer­i­ca and Japan).

Sup­posed to be reboot­ed, but has­n’t man­aged to do it just yet.

JJG’s pre­sen­ta­tion is a good “foil” for his talk.

He’s work­ing a lot with web 2.0 com­pa­nies. He’s very busy, seen a lot of busi­ness mod­els. Try­ing to help them deter­mine wether it’ll work or change it so it does.

The rev­o­lu­tion will not be tele­vised” — Gil Scott heron

Stuff like Ama­zon’s is the future of online commerce.

Rev­o­lu­tion will be social­ized”: opposed to that, it will be about social networks. 

Old quote: from acci­den­tal change of social struc­tures through soft­ware to social change through soft­ware by design.

Sym­po­sium on Social Architecture 

  • From some­where they find some­thing else, then read it or ges­ture (tag, com­ment, link, etc)
  • User gen­er­at­ed con­tent (ugh), is like a ges­tur­al space
  • Peo­ple vs. machines

Engines of meaning 

  • We’ll need machines to man­age the huge amount of data being cre­at­ed (Bruce Ster­ling quote).
  • Means of sort­ing won’t be known
  • We’ll be trawl­ing with engines with meaning…”

Rev­o­lu­tion among the revolutionaries 

  • What does web 2.0 mean? Lot’s of bat­tles going on.
  • Core ques­tion: what’s worth building?
  • Sim­ple three step process to find social dimen­sion in product
  • Enter­prise soft­ware lacks soul.
  • An app is a col­lec­tion of func­tions — this is wrong.

Exam­ple: wine sites 

  • Cre­at­ing site based on func­tions: feels like a db
  • Turn it side­ways, intro­duce social dimen­sion, func­tion­al­i­ty is secondary
  • Things we do are large­ly not done as individuals
  • 2nd step: look­ing at networks
  • Last dimen­sion: markets
  • Most com­pa­nies fail to cre­ate a large enough market

Online mar­kets

  • E.g. Ama­zon
  • Last.fm — changed his life, counter to Ama­zon exam­ple, dis­cov­ered he had the musi­cal taste of a 23 years old British woman… Viable com­pe­ti­tion to Ama­zon and iTunes because of bet­ter expe­ri­ence due to human dimension
  • What’s at thee mar­ket’s core? Case study: x:posted — brings blog­gers into con­tact with peo­ple look­ing for blog con­tent. You can take mod­el to apply to busi­ness plan and find viable business.
  • Prob­lem with Base­camp: no fed­er­at­ed iden­ti­ty. They did it wrong, because they did­n’t go through the three steps.
  • Social soft­ware (archi­tec­ture) have soul
  • Actu­al e‑commerce will move away from algo­rith­mic archi­tec­tures to social­ized interactions
  • Suc­cess­ful apps will cre­ate a market


Q Apps need big­ger mar­kets: the rea­son they’re keep­ing it small is because they built it for them­selves. Social stuff inher­ent­ly needs a small group… Social soft­ware does­n’t scale. A You can have a tight prod­uct and still take in the social dimen­sion. You need kar­ma etc.


BBC social software goodness

Lots of nice things appear­ing out of the Bee­b’s offices these days. Two recent projects that appeared on my radar: 

  • Anno­tat­able Audio is a project Tom Coates was involved with. It’s about wiki-style anno­ta­tion of online audio with some extreme­ly impres­sive Flash good­ness (such as live audio scrub­bing) thrown in for good measure.
  • The BBC archive will be opened up to the pub­lic using an IMDB-style web­site. Both Ben Ham­mer­s­ley and Matt Bid­dulph wrote about this. They’ve got amaz­ing high qual­i­ty meta­da­ta to work with — allow­ing all kinds of cross ref­er­enc­ing. It’s built with Ruby on Rails, allow­ing for plen­ty of AJAX niceness.
(Update: I admit the last one isn’t social soft­ware; but it’s still cool.)

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