There was a link to this article in Evan Williams blog. It takes a look at the social, political, and scientific networking which was commonly done in coffeehouses, and compares that interaction with what currently happens through the Internet. I had heard plenty about the use of coffeehouses as seats of political revolution, but I hadn’t heard of their use in scientific circles till I read this. There is a lot of parallelism between the role that coffeehouses provided and the role that weblogs and websites serve today, but I think that online interaction serves a role much less important than it could. If we take a look at the strong communities that did grow around coffeehouses, and around some strong scientific networking figures like Paul Erdos, the effects of the Internet seem much more subdued. The Internet has done great in terms of facilitating exchange of information, and it certainly has allowed for the formation of community where there wasn’t the critical mass before. It has allowed for great advances, I just think it should be going further.
There’s an article at TheFeature describing the challenges in billing presented by cellular services trying to create personalized service packages. It sounds like a great solution that Portal Software has come up with, but I still think this is a step in the wrong direction. I just don’t want my cellular provider to have a hand in everything I do on the cellular network. The new billing system at least sounds like it could be flexable, so it shouldn’t cause too many issues too soon. But what happens when the cellular usage patterns start to defy the object model presented by the software? It could end up in new technologies not getting implemented because of the infrastructure implications.
There’s an article at picturephoning.com about how some small businesses are using cameraphones to save themselves time and money. Excellent concrete examples to site for certain industries. There’s an obvious benefit for contractors, who can snap pictures of trouble spots and either get customer or third party feedback. Great example.
I’ve been poking around quite a bit lately looking for interesting events in and around Menlo Park (where I live), and I finally found the Bay Area Linux Events listing. It’s probably something I should have known about as soon as I moved into the area, but I’ve been living a sheltered life :-) Rick’s tips for new Linux Users Groups is an interesting document as well. I’ve started talking to people over at SDForum about getting together an Open Source SIG, and some of the tips there look like they might really apply.
There’s a few news items at weblogs.com, including an announcement about moving the server to a new location. The service does seem to be a lot quicker, but that could just be subjective. There are also some other items about additional features and problems with some users who seem to be pulling the changes.xml file much more often than they should. So if you’re using weblogs.com changes for some app, check to make sure you’re only pulling it infrequently. Once an hour seems to be the guideline.
There’s an article over at picturephoning.com listing lots of interesting applications involving cameraphones. This is the kind of stuff that cellular providers should be showing in their ads. And I’m sure there’s more intersting stuff on the way, such as the SENT show scheduled to open up 2004. I had very high hopes for BlueHereNow, but the updates there seem to be relatively few and far between these days. At least TextAmerica has been rolling along at a great pace. They’ve done a great job.
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this page on the Inverted Pyramid writing style before, but it was still interesting to read. It describes the atributes of good journalistic articles, which are written in a way that encourage the reader to stop whenever they get bored. Instead of writing a story that builds up piece by piece, a story is written with the main point right up front and varying levels of detail later on. It’s a good principle to keep in mind. I know that I normally set about writing pages more like writing essays from college. And that’s not the way that online content should be presented for most of what I do.
There’s an article at NewsForge about the effort that Bob Kerr has made to get open source software into public libraries. The article serves as a great example of how the challenges of promoting wider open source adoption can be overcome. Plus I think the cause itself is fantastic. Bob has apparently been working to get libraries in Scotland to include CDs containing open source software in their collections. With most of the people there still on dialup, downloading large packages like Mozilla or OpenOffice is difficult. He’s been trying to get copies of the software made available at the library. Excellent.
I was getting ready a couple of blog posts on the topic of rapid prototyping, but decided instead to put the information on a permanent page on the Bitsplitter site. The information is apparently pretty randomly organized, but I still wanted to put it up. I think it’s a pretty good list of issues to keep in mind and goals to strive for.
There’s an excellent article at Innovation Tools about methods used to capture ideas when they come to you. I think that most of the Palm based tools for capturing ideas are pretty underdeveloped. A while ago I was considering writing a Palm app to do something like the mind map described in the article (although at the time I didn’t know it was called a mind map). Now that I’ve read the article, it sounds like it might make a good app for the pilot. Especially the Clie and OS5 devices with larger screens. I normally carry my PDA around with me to jot down little ideas. But when I don’t have it with me, I SMS a message to my email address (my provider has a SMS to email gateway).
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