Quotiki: A Social Site for Quote Man

As I was upgrading our Subversion software to 1.4.2 yesterday once everyone had left for the holidays (I’m really trying to keep up on this), I started browsing through LifeHacker, a site that Jason Calacanis has mentioned quite a few times on the Gillmor Gang and on his personal blog.

While browsing the site, I came across an article on Quotiki, a social quotes site.

Now anyone who knows me knows I love to collect quotes, so this site has me absolutely fascinated. Its a Digg like site where readers submit quotes and vote on them. For each quote, you can tag them, and it automatically provides “further reading” recommendations for the originator of the quote via Amazon.com.

The really fascinating thing to me is thinking about how the simplest idea, like making a web site for quotes, can keep my attention for so long. Rather than a web site completely built around the idea of making money, this site peaks my interest as a quote freak and gives me the opportunity to buy related materials from Amazon if I choose to do so. Rather than feeling that the money is being ripped from my wallet, I can buy something if I choose to if it is relevant to me at the time. Chances are, with someone like me who is fascinated by other peoples viewpoints and small glimpses of brilliance, the time will come where they will probably get one or more sales out of me just because I’m there doing something I enjoy.

The real question to wrestle with this is how you apply the concept in a corporate environment, making your customers feel that they are getting value out of you without making them feel like you are just after their piece of your total “revenue dollars”.

This is what I’ll probably spend the rest of Thanksgiving break thinking about. I’m that pathetic.

Raw Voice Releases Podcasting Social Network Site

The folks over at Raw Voice have released BluBrry, a podcasting / social networking site. I haven’t had a lot of time to play around with it, but in the time that I have spent I have run across quite a few bugs like memory errors and a link going to the default Apache installation page when going to modify your profile. To be fair, the site is in beta right now, just being released last night. It definitely looks interesting and has some of the features of the Podshow Podcast Delivery Network beta sans the actual distribution of the media.

Check out the site and let me know what you think. I’ve got the podcast loaded in and I’m curious to see what kind of response it gets.

For those who do not know, Raw Voice is the company started by Todd Cochrane, the host of the Geek News Central podcast, a podcast I listen to all the time.

Keep up the great work Todd!

First Experiences in Second Life

At Curry Castle - With T-Shirt

After all of the talk in the podcasting community around Second Life, I finally decided to take some time and take a look at it. The first thing I did when I got there was look around for Adam Curry’s place, “Curry Castle”. The thing that impressed me the most as I was walking around aimlessly was how much things have developed. So many people have built up around the castle since Adam first started talking about it. It was interesting to watch the interactions among people, from people sitting on the couch on the top of the castle, to Comic Strip Blogger periodically bombing the castle, throwing newbie me into space not able to figure out what happened.

I only spent a small amount of time in Second Life, but I have to say its pretty interesting. I did play around a little with creating clothing using some of the Photoshop templates that they provide on their site and after some fiddling finally got the nice Bieber Labs Podcast T-Shirt you see in the picture. Its not the best, but it will definitely do for now and I think its an ok start after only spending ultimately an hour in the environment. The shirt has the banner of the podcast site on the front, with the URL on the back.

Unfortunately, I decided to mess around with the clothing stuff in the “newbie public area”, something I would recommend you do not do. There is something about the phrase “Congratulations, you’ve figured out how to remove all of your clothes” directed at you in a public area thats a little disconcerting when you are trying to figure out how things work. I did finally figure out how to reclothe myself and get my cool T-shirt on though.

Overall, I think Second Life is pretty cool. It would be cooler if I actually enjoyed IM’ing type of communities, but I haven’t really been into that kind of thing for quite a while. I’m not convinced that I will be keeping the account, but it is definitely something interesting to play around with, at least temporarily. I enjoyed just walking around and checking out the things that people are building for other people to come and socialize.

Yahoo buys del.icio.us

Coming into work this evening I find an email from Tom the Architect pointing me to this entry on the del.icio.us blog. Apparently Yahoo! has bought del.icio.us.

I rubbed my eyes a bit and did some looking around. Yep, Wired has an article, as does Reuters India, Techdirt, and a slew of other sites.

Its nice to know de.icio.us and Flickr will be around for a while. It will be very interesting over the next few months to see what other aquisitions are going to occur. According to EFYTimes, Google has its eye on Riya, the photosharing site that can uses face recognition technology to recognize people in yoiur pictures and tag them for you.

Anyway, congratulations to the del.icio.us folks. Well deserved.

MySpace Screw Up

Ever have one of those days where you are messing around and accidentally hit the wrong button and email everyone in your contact list an invitation that you didn’t mean to send?

I’ve had a MySpace account for a while on which I had two friends both of which are my kids. This morning I decided to look around to see the kinds of things one could do on MySpace and found that it integrated with Google Mail to import contact lists. I wanted to see what kind of integration there was, so I started looking around (I didn’t know that Gmail offered API’s and I was curious). It asks me for my GMail login information, and I type it in. A couple of random clicks later, and I find that I invited everyone in my contact list to Myspace! Yes, everyone, including mailiing lists that I read and contribute to periodically.

This is what you get for not paying attention to what you are doing while you are clicking around. I want everyone who received this message in their inbox to know that this was a complete accident and was not meant to fill your inbox with even more unwanted messages.

I have also deleted the account so that I do not wind up with a ton of contacts on it. The sole purpose of the account was to participate in conversations with my kids, not to invite everyone in the world to MySpace.

This was a completely stupid mistake that was made because I was not paying attention. Moral of the story: Be careful when investigating functionality on sites like this, especially where email integration is concerned. Social networking applications like MySpace are really cool, but one mistake can have some pretty widespread ramifications if you are not paying attention.

I want to apologize to all who received this invitation and my lack of attention that caused you to get this message. It won’t happen again.

Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution

Smart Mobs: The Next Social RevolutionI’ve finally whittled the reading list down to one book left, which is Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold, a recommendation by Tom the Architect.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but I am about 3/4 of the way through it and am finding it extremely interesting.

According to Wikipedia, “A smart mob is a group that, contrary to the usual connotations of a mob, behaves intelligently or efficiently because of its exponentially increasing network links. This network enables people to connect to information and others, allowing a form of social coordination”.

The author begins by talking about his experience witnessing the first of what he calls “smart mobs” in Japan, where the citizens were using text messaging in order to coordinate meeting places and activities, or just to be constantly “in touch” with friends and relatives, sending each other jokes, images, or small messages.

From these small simple examples starting in Tokyo, Helsinki and the Philippines, the author then moves into talking about wearable computing and the possibilities available when wireless access to the Internet is ubiquitous and and available to everyone. Some of the examples he uses are technologies in which one can, by merging wearable computing, GPS, and the Internet, attach virtual notes to physical places where they can later be picked up by friends or used by others as educational devices about the physical world. He uses the Virtual Helsinki project as an example of these exciting new technologies.

Reading this book, if nothing else, makes you think of the endless possibilities in making wireless Internet ubiquitous and available to everyone at any time.

I know that personally, I’ve found text messaging to be great when wanting to stay in touch with Kelsi when she has gone on school band trips, just to receive a quick message as to where she is, what she is doing and things like that. While the start was a little bumpy while learning to type on a cell phone, the ability to stay in touch with family via quick messages that do not necessarily warrant a full conversation has proven to be extremely useful.

My first text message was written to Kelsi after she started talking about how “cool” it was (the author calls the kids of today “Generation txt”). I sent her my first text message that took about 15 minutes to type — standing in the middle of the mall — and consisted of the phrase “this is my first text message on a cell phone. Typing on a phone sucks.”. I was all proud of myself that I actually got the damn message typed into the phone and sent to her. Three seconds later, I got a paragraph back from her talking about what she liked about text messaging. The speed in which she typed this showed me how much a part of life this technology is today. Typing on a phone, or creating private message spaces is as much a part of the young culture today as bike riding was for me when I was a kid. As another illustration of this, Jake didn’t think twice when I asked him to type our WEP key for the wireless network in his PSP when he received it. I was dreading it, but he was done in under a minute. It would have taken me forever.

In a nutshell, here is the thing that I like most about this book so far. The author points to things going on right now that signal a huge shift in the way the Internet and wireless hand held devices mean for social interaction in the coming years. The shift is already happening. He also talks about research that has been going on for a while that will contribute to this cultural shift. Finally, he points, very effectively, to what this could mean to society as a whole and the possibilities inherent when the Internet is finally available to everyone.

The future looks exciting in the pages of this book, as long as we can make these technologies available to everyone.

As Tom and I were talking about this yesterday, he mentioned there was a web site dedicated to this kind of stuff. Smartmobs.com is the slashdot of the smart mobs, tracking news about the things covered in the book. Check it out.