Discover your Political Compass

I am a sucker for personal analysis: What kind of thinker are you? How well do you work in a team? etc etc. This kind of quiz can be used for professional purposes (such as the Myers Briggs tests) to understand the make-up of an organisation or team or for entertainment (I’m thinking of quizzes in magazines such as Cosmopolitan here).

Anyway, I came across a new puzzle, that expands on the traditional right/ left political description. It is called the political compass and it you too can take it on-line. I had some sneaking suspicions about where my politics lay. Boy, was I wrong.

In the spirit of a secret ballot I am not going to publish my political compass, but I can say that although I had some sneaking suspicions about where my politics lay, boy, was I wrong.

I have no idea if my score on the political compass is good, bad or indifferent. But it sure wasn’t what I expected. Either that or I am reading the numbers all wrong.

Facebook Application Overload

Hard to believe amongst all the frisbee throwing, vampire chasing and general waste of time and space… but there are some cool applications running on Facebook.

The problem is that is not clear what Facebook is… but maybe that is the point. Different people use it in different ways- but what happens when “friends” are using it differently? Does the added stress of one person conspicuously ignoring another’s request to be a pirate or whatever indicate a deeper incompatibility?

Or maybe I just got ground down by the number of invites to install a new app.

Contents of a Library

In the past an extensive collection of books in a library was a sign of both education and wealth.

Today a library will more often be made up from DVD’s and CD’s as well as books; but with the availability of multi channel TV on Demand, Video rental (from stores or on-line), iTunes and music sharing what do you really want to buy to put in your library. I propose that the DVD’s  that we buy fall into 1 of 2 categories:

  1. Movies/ TV Shows that we truly will watch many, many times. Typically these will be children’s films (because kids will watch the same film again and again and again) or guilty pleasures that we use as comfort food. Basically anything by Pixar, Disney or Dreamworks falls into this camp.
  2. Movies/ TV Shows that we want other people to see on our library shelf.  You might not ever get around to watching these DVD’s (you definitely won’t watch them often enough to justify the cost you paid) but they show that you are familiar with Truffaut/ Shakespeare/ Welles etc etc. I know that I will never watch the original version of ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ often enough to justify the price I paid for it (not least of which is because it scared the bejeezus out out me) but it sure do look good on the shelf.

And sometimes, just very occasionally we get a DVD that falls into both categories. And when you do, it makes you very, very happy.

A smarter man than I

Or at least a more well known man than I: Tim O’Reilly (the man credited with coining the term “web 2.0”, which should put me right off him, but I’ll get over that) is less than impressed with OpenSocial. And why is he less than impressed? If I understand his post correctly, it is because OpenSocial fails to do exactly the things I wanted it to in my post on the subject:

  • Single data entry
  • (User) Control over the flow of information

This may be a case of data and solution architects having requirements that the application functionality can’t deliver. But that doesn’t mean that the requirements are wrong or should go away. So we continue to wait.

Ear worms

Ear worms (as defined by KFOG) are those songs that get into your head in the morning and are still driving you nuts when you go to bed. Basically anything by Mika falls into this category.

But I had a pleasant one the other day, by a band from the 90’s that no-one remembers now: Londonbeat. The song was called “9am (The Comfort Zone)”  and it was just really nice. A nice ear worm.

 And now you know the word to describe that tune in your head.

One funny, one not

There has been too much geekery going on. So tis time for something to think about and something to make you laugh

The funny one: Things I hate about Powerpoint Don’t be freaked out by the dutch surrounding it, the video is a better quality than that available on YouTube (but isn’t everything)

And the worrying one is an update to “The most terrifying video you’ll ever see”. Now called How it all ends

Hey, at least it is not all about IT

Just when you’re thinking things over

The world is not black and white- it is much more beautiful than that.

Which unfortunately means that for many questions there is no single answer. Like a simple one: Which aggregator do you use?

My choice has been between Yahoo and Netvibes (though there are many more): Netvibes looks cool, Yahoo is the “safe” choice. And here comes the problem: The basic feeds that people want (Reuters, BBC, The Register etc) are available to all aggregators because they use RSS/ATOM. But the really cool feeds lock you into a particular aggregator.

And here is my rant (and a particular example): I want to display sports scores from my favourite teams all aroung the world- NHL (Calgary Flames), MLB (Chicago Cubs), NFL (da Bears), NCAAF (Michigan), Premier League (Arsenal), Premiership Rugby (Gloucester), County cricket (Kent), Italian Serie A (Sampdoria) etc etc. This functionality exists in both aggregators, except it doesn’t.

Yahoo used to provide me with all the north american scores and some of the european ones, but their most recent revamp has removed all the feeds from north america (it still recognises that I have selected some teams, it just won’t display the scores). I guess they assume that because I (now) live in the UK I must have lost all interest in sport outside of Europe. Netvibes is reliant on RSS feeds available to it and the only one I can find only supports the north american scores.

So, I can get most of my scores (still not all) but only by looking in two places. Surely this is what the net was supposed to solve? We live in a distributed world, so how do we provide the information to support the inhabitants of this world?

Because we aren’t doing it right now. Well, not properly anyway.

(BTW I still don’t know which aggregator is best)

What I use

Here is what I use (for what it is worth) in the general Web 2.0 sphere. Hey this is as much for me to remember as anyone else (so expect the odd edit to occur)

And I’ll add more as I remember them. So far, I haven’t signed up with YouTube as I a) don’t like the quality of their videos b) can host videos quite happily on BatWeb.

I am sure that there are more apps that I use, but I can’t remember them for now.

Best of Breed, Data Principles and Web 2.0

Following on from the last post on Commonality vs Compromise I started thinking about the integration of Web 2.0 apps. Currently there are a huge number of sites that overlap with functionality and whilst there are some dominant sites, there are also a lot of competing ones. This is traditionally seen as good for the consumer, as they have choice, but is also difficult if you want to maintain a single identity.

This used to be the situation with IM protocols: If you were on ICQ and I was AOL then there was no way for us to communicate- now applications allow you to create multiple protocols (you still need to log in and create the account) but that at least you no longer need to use 1 application per account.

So is this happening with Web 2.0? Sort of, I think. You can link from certain social sites to e.g. Flickr so that you don’t have to post your photos twice (on account of the fact that anything on Flickr should be viewable by all your friends, though the reverse may not be true) but this may be due to distinct functionality.

However, the main point is that I still have to enter a whole bunch of the same  information on each site. So, if I want to choose the best of breed (which I do) and use Google’s Calendar with Yahoo’s RSS Reader I break the data principle of single data entry.

Identity Management in Web 2.0

Here’s what I think should be possible: I should be able to create a MySpace page, a Bebo account and a Facebook account and synchronise the information between them all- after all I have one date of birth, why do I need to enter it multiple times. But then maybe I don’t mind my friends knowing my date of birth (on Facebook) but I object to anyone knowing how old I am simply by looking at my MySpace page.

We are facing the single biggest issue facing Web 2.0: Identity Management. How to manage who can see what information? And I am not even talking about what the company that stores the information does with it, this is simply who can actually see it on their screen.

Smart people are making progress in this area (too many mention them all but Pamela Dingle knows her stuff, and so do all her friends). In particular the recent announcement that Google have created an open API: OpenSocial that will allow developers to share their applications on multiple platforms. This may help to solve the problem of duplicating information or the privacy issue may kill it stone dead. As the initiative only went live yesterday it is a bit too early to call, but unless there is user control of what information is shared, we have open a real big can of worms.

So, not only are we facing the traditional challenge of how to enter information once, how to ensure that functionality is not duplicated etc etc there is the horrible spectre of identity theft as well. And no, I don’t have any answers.