Category Archives: internet

Advent and holiday calendars

As every year there are several holiday calendars.
The ones I follow this year are:

There are two more in German:

SearchMonkey Developer Day

SearchMonkey Developer Day was an event that took place in the Yahoo! office in Munich on wednesday September 3rd. About 20 developers and site owners took the chance to get to know more about SearchMonkey and how to make search results more useful. Neil Crosby was giving a presentation and showing the SearchMonkey web site, the SearchMonkey Developer Tool and the Yahoo! Search Gallery. After the talk he, Christian Heilmann and Guy Hepworth were answering questions. Then there was the chance to talk and discuss while having some sandwiches and something to drink.

The evening was really interesting and it was nice to meet the three guys from the Yahoo! office in London, Uwe Tippmann, Thomas Schaller and Paul Savage. Hopefully there will be more events and presentations like this in the future. Yahoo! Search BOSS was one topic that already sparked some interest.

The slides of the presentation by Neil Crosby are avaiable on SlideShare, there is a blog post on the Yahoo! Developer Network Blog and photos of the event tagged smmunich can be found on Flickr.

Out of Plazes

Plazes is a social website using a software called Plazer to automatically set your geographic position. Since some time now users can also add a Twitter-like status message. The idea behind it is to track the places and activities of friends and to explore people near you using Plazes.

I have been using Plazes for some years now. At the beginning I liked the idea to have a timeline of places where I have been. From time to time I had a look at the website to see who was around my current position. What has been anoying from the beginning was the website being always painful slow.

Last year I saw an interesting aspect of Plazes in combination with blogs or services like Twitter, Last.fm, del.icio.us or others. Especially when lifestreams showed up, like the ones by Jeremy Keith, Jeff Croft or Manuela Hoffmann, I saw the potential of Plazes to add a geographic dimension to a timeline.

Last year the Plazes web site was redesigned and became a lot faster. New functions were added like actifity (status message). Placing yourself somewhere became more like a point of time instead of having a duration. So Plazes is now a Twitter-like service that adds geographic position. Before Plazes included geotagged photos from Flickr, now photos of places have to be uploaded directly to the Plazes web site.

I don’t doubt that Plazes may be useful for some people. But it is not the tool I was hoping it to be, that helps me connecting my activities on the web with my geographical location by importing data from services like Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, Pownce, Vimeo, YouTube, Bblogs and others. That would mean the content could not only be in a timeline, but could also be listed by location.

I think lifestreams miss the geographic component. But maybe the Plazes API can be useful to implement something like this, or Yahoo!’s Fire Eagle or Google‘s My Location or some other service will show up.

Yahoo!’s My Travel

Some days ago Yahoo! launched My Travel on Yahoo! Travel with an interactive map, where you can add the places you have been to and places where you will go. You can also append some notes to the cities.

I like that idea and some time ago I started a similar My Map on Google Maps with cities I have lived and cities where I have been to.

One thing I am missing when using My Maps as well as Google Maps for this purpose is the lack to ad a period of time. In my opinion it would be very useful to have the possibility to mark when I have been to these cities or when I will go there. Then not only there could be this map with the towns, but alternatively the cities could be displayed in a timeline.

That’s what I call fluid

The Rissington Podcast is one of the podcasts I am subscribed to. And it’s one of the podcasts that can make me feel embarrassed when Jon Hicks and John Oxton make me laugh out loud wherever I am listening to them.

Last week the redesign of the web site went online. It is a perfect example what can be done with background images and liquid design. Just go to The Rissington Podcast, resize your browser window and see yourself.

Cool feed URIs don’t change too

It has been nine years ago, in 1998, when Tim Berners-Lee wrote Cool URIs don’t change. Since then that text has not lost any of it’s relevance. Of course more people are aware of the problem and know how they can assure that permalinks stay permalinks. But as now there are more sites with more content out there in the net, the problem that pages can’t be found where they once have been is still very much alive.

Fortunately a lot of sites offer the possbilitiy to search the content and search engines help to find the page that we are looking for.

But what is annoying me more and more nowadays and becomes a problem for me is, that RSS and Atom feeds change. This happened to me with several blogs and sooner or later I will have the same problem with podcasts and videocasts. Of course I know that the address of an feed is nothing else as an URI, so that Tim’s article also applies here. But it seems people do not think about it.

People make changes to their blog platform or their CMS or they use another tool to publish their articles and this new tool’s feed has a different URI. Maybe after a while I may realise that a blog has not been updated for a while and having a look at the site I may realise that there is new content. You may say if I don’t miss this site in my feed reader it won’t be so interesting or important. But with more than 100 feeds and some of them updating only from time to time it’s hard to remember all of them.

Google Reader shows you the inactive feeds in the Trends section and Bloglines marks the feeds that make problems. That’s nice and handy. Although Bloglines sometimes was so helpful to delete feeds although they still existed and only had temporary problems. Don’t know if this is still happening.

There are several solutions to avoid problems with feeds. There is Feedburner out there that provides a permanent feed also including statistics. But as Feedburner joined the big Google family, some may not want to use this service.

Maybe it is possible that the new publishing tool uses the same URI. If not, you could try to redicrect the old feed address to the new one. In any case you should inform your readers that the feed changed and they should update their feed readers.

People should not forget that changing the feed without letting people know about it, they will loose readers. Readers that may not be coming back.

So please try to keep your feed URIs and notify your readers of any changes, if possible in advance.

Shared Stuff not really del.icio.us yet

Finally Google got into the social bookmarking market. Until now Google was only offering Google Bookmarks to store bookmarks for yourself. But last week Google startet Shared Stuff.

Like for del.icio.us there is a bookmarklet to post a web page to Shared Stuff. You can tag that page and add a description. for some sites a thumbnail of the page is displayed. But for now that is nearly everything you can do. It is not possible to edit the entries on your personal Shared Stuff page. This is only possible by using the bookmarklet on that page again and change the tags or description.

The same bookmark can also be used to e-mail the page from your Google Mail account or use third party services like del.icio.us, Furl, Digg or others.

One interesting thing is that if the page you want to add to Shared Stuff already is in your Google Bookmarks the tags you us in Google Bookmarks are automatically added. If you change tags in Google Bookmarks tags are automatically changed in Shared Stuff and vice versa.

But items on Shared Stuff are not automatically added to Google Bookmarks.

On time it is a bit complicated that you have two places to store your bookmarks, Shared Stuff for the ones you want to share and Google Bookmarks for the ones you want to keep private.

I guess there will be new and more features soon. But I don’t think that Google can convince me to leave del.icio.us. And there are rumours that del.icio.us will be relaunched in the near future.