Posts about open-source

Web 2.0: Launchpad

13 companies in 90 minutes.

Zimbra: An open-source collaboration suite. Lots of Ajax. Everything is Ajax. He’s getting lots of awws from the crowd for allowing you to see where an appointment is or what you have on a date without having to leave the email. Ajax and Google map mashup and Skype mashup. Can’t lose, eh?

Nevermind my ajax gags. This really looks wonderful: very smart use of interface to let you get around your data (show me just the emails from the guy between these dates that have this kind of attachment; show me a FedEx tracking number and go ahead and get the status dynamically, and so on). In six minutes, it looks like a winner. Best of the bunch. Everybody in the audience wanted it.

Flock: A social browser. The web is not just content or shopping but a stream of events among people, they say. So they built a browser opensource on top of Mozilla; the first, alpha release comes in a few weeks.

It combines favorites and RSS feeds: you click a star on the address bar and it’s a bookmark and you’ve subscribed if there’s a feed. With a story on the page, you can take content and drag it onto a “shelf” (the demo devil is bedeviling them). There’s also a “blogging top bar” within the browser — important for bloggers — that allows you to open a blogging editor and drag content from a page onto your post. Very nice.

Zvents: “Takes the search approach to events.” It’s live for the Bay Area. They’re trying to do deals with old-style local publishers, which is smart, since local sites tend to suck at this. They have what-where-when searches that deliver into maps, lists, and calendars. And the lists are exportable to your blog; it’s distributed.

Socialtext: Ross Mayfield says that Socialtext, the first wiki company, will go open-source. It’s coming full-circle: Wikis came from open-source and now a wiki company goes open-source. He says that wikis are happening inside companies at larger scales than before; organizations are sharing information. “Now we’re giving it all away.” Marc Canter screams: Awwright.”

Wikiwyg.net, the wysiwyg open-source for wikis, is the first step (I think it’s quite neat). Then they add SyncroEdit.com: real-time synchronous editing for the web. Now add in Atom and microformats for offline editing.

Rollyo: Dave Pell, big blogger: “This is going to be the shortest nonsexual performance of my life.”

He shows Rollyo: roll your own search engine. I’m on the beta list: you add a list of the sites you want to search on a regular basis. You can also get people to come to your personal search engines. And you can explore others’ search rolls.

Orb: Shows you all your content from home on any web-connected device anywhere. Works only on PC now; Mac by the end of the year. Very nice.

Wink: Combines search with user interactivity: “people-powered search.” (Well, in a sense, Google is just that, eh?) You can tag search and add that into tags on Delicious et al. They say this means it’s spam free (if tags don’t get spammed, I suppose).
Joyent: A network suite of applications with email, calendar, contacts, files and binders. The data is tagged and smart filtered and can be turned into RSS feeds. The data is open and transportable. It’s focused on small groups of 2-20 people. So, for example, you can overlay other people’s calendars onto your own. So far, I shrug.

Bunchball: It tries to solve the “social application gap” and the “replication of reality.” Didn’t know I had those problems. He’s saying that entering into new social applications is hard because there’s an investment. It’s a platform for starting social applications. I suspect this is a bad-timing award against the announcement this week of Mark Andreesen’s Ninq.

RealTravel: “Real travel. Real advice. Real experiences.” It enables people to put up travel journals and ratings. Not sure what’s different from TripAdvisor, which is already huge.

Knownow: It’s a Kleiner-funded company that’s about dynamic distribution of content. I don’t know what that means yet. It’s a notification service using RSS. I frankly don’t get it.

AllPeers: A web development platform based on Firefox.

Structured Blogging: From the PubSub guys comes a plug-in to Word Press that gets people to publish structured data. It basically adds prepopulated tags — not loose-form — to get people to add the fact that this is a restaurant review, for example. Wish it would work; we’ll see whether it does. I think the key is that people will do this if it helps their stuff be discovered — e.g., to get a restaurant review on your blog aggregated with all your neighbors’ restaurant reviews.

: A slicker version of this report over at Lifehacker, where I’m flattered to be reporting.

Web 2.0: Tagging

At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I’m giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.
At Web 2.0 for the tagging session: SRO.

Tony Stubblebine of O’Reilly says they are the first customer to use Del.icio.us data to find out more about their content. That is precisely the right use of Del.icio.us for media/content sites.

Josh Schachter, founder of Del.icio.us, says he sort of starting the tagging thing when he called tags tags instead of keywords.

The first question: “I use Del.icio.us, but I’m not sure I get it.” Familiar applause from everybody in the audience. Fred Wilson, who invested in the company, has said that he didn’t get it either until I sent him a feed of somebody’s tags of media stories. Then he bought into the razor company.

I confess that I now get Del.icio.us but I don’t get how to tag well because you can tag just for yourself or for the world or to find stuff, you can tag micro or tag macro. Caterina Fake says: “Isn’t it because we’re overthinking it?” Josh says it is split up by use or intent: tagging for others (Technorati) or for yourself (Delicous) or a combination (Flickr). Jeff Veen says that’s not quite right; he uses Delicous [I’m giving up on the damned dots] as a publishing tool.

We’re at that cusp of geekcool to peoplecool; the world will make sense of it. I told Josh before the session that Delicious should go mainstream now and take down the velvet rope, as a VC described the hard-to-grok UI of the service. Josh said there is no intention to have a velvet rope. It’s a geek rope. And they’ll change it.

There’s now a research lab at Yahoo and Berkeley Research Labs working on automatic tagging. Josh says Ojos (he thinks) is working on tagging via face recognition.

Someone says that a key benefit of tagging vs. metakeywords on web pages is that they are visible and you can see whether they are credible and not spam and manipulation. Similarly, Google chose not to use metakeyworks but instead gave weight to the words inside a hyperlink and that’s better because it’s visible, not invisible. So we find out what the world thinks content is about instead of what the author thinks it is about.

It’s not just tags, then. When you link to something and describe it in that link (which means you should pick your link words carefully) you create data about the meaning of that to which you link. Ditto tags. That’s transparent. And anybody can do it.

Catarina talks about a new metric Flickr uses: interestingness, which tries to capture how much people have seen, tagged, linked to something. And she says you can pivot that around a person or a social group: What interests them? Add that to the metrics we as an unmedium need to capture and deliver: Where’s the good stuff? That’s where we want to be (and advertisers, too).

Someone asks about using tagging in a closed corporate environment. Wisely, the group tends to shy away from the enterprise trap. Josh says it’d be interesting for a company to find the people who find good stuff first. O’Reilly says that’s the customers.

We see Consumating.com, where people tag themselves.

Esther asks about time and the decay of popularity. Josh says that Delicious cares about the vector: It’s not interesting that 10,000 people tagged “google” but this tag is hot now; Catarina says the same for the hot tags on Flickr. She says Yahoo research labs will have something on this later.

Beyond porkbusters: Paramedia

I like Porkbusters (and I’m about to hear Glenn Reynolds plug the movement on Reliable Sources). It was born the way things are online: a sudden need, a sudden inspiration clicks with a critical mass and movement moves. This is a great example of our distributed world swarming together to accomplish something. Remember: The internet isn’t a medium. It is a means.

So how could the Porkbuster example be extended? At the MT&R fest the other day, Jay Rosen lauded the similar example of Josh Marshall having bloggers uncover the secret vote on the DeLay rule — a movement of the moment much like Porkbusters. Then Jay said he wanted to come up with another idea:

There wasn’t time for me to explain my suggestion for a next big project in open source journalism– a blog-organized, red-blue, 50-state coalition of citizen volunteers who would read and attempt to decipher every word of every bill Congress votes on and passes next year.

Or, in the vein of Porkbusters, start with the budget and create the wiki-annotated view of federal spending.

All it takes is a leader to push the notion the first time and then a lot of people agreeing and willing to pitch in… and maybe a tag or a microformat to help it come together.

This is the smart mob as a new newsroom. Not the new newsroom, mind you: another new newsroom.
On the way into Manhattan this morning, I listened to Mitch Ratcliffe’s podcast version of this post, in which he argues that we are witnessing the growth of “paramedia.” This is parajournalism.

The exploding classroom

Will Richardson, one of the most forward-thinking educators I know, has been insisting that open-source sharing will come to education. That and this story on CNet made me check into Wikibooks, Jimmy Wales’ effort to revolutionize textbooks, and even though it’s only beginning, it’s already an amazing collection. Of course, I can’t vouch for the quality, neither reading them nor knowing nearly enough. But there can be little doubt that capturing the wisdom of the wisest crowds, freeing it from its ivy bonds, will create amazing resources. I only wish there were a text for journalism.

Commerce is conversation

Having read through the eBay-Skype PowerPoint justification, I guess I should be ashamed of myself that I didn’t get the deal before. It’s the Cluetrain, baby: If markets are conversations, then enabling the conversation enables the market and eBay is the new market. And if trust is king, then being able to talk to the person who’s trying to sell you something enhances trust and increases value. So I finally get the theory. The practice is another matter….