Digital Web Article on the Future of HTML

I have to admit that I’ve only half paid attention to and understood the various debates that have been going on about the future of HTML. Most of what has been written has been pretty cryptic, until now. David Andersson wrote a great piece for Digital Web Magazine called, “HTML5, XHTML2, and the Future of the Web.” It’s worth a read.

Have you read the article? What are your thoughts on the future of HTML?

Blogging 101: Is the blogosphere talking about me?

With now over 70 million blogs, you can almost guarantee that someone is talking on their blog about you, your company, or some topic that you should be paying attention to. But how do you know if the blogosphere is talking about you?

Blog search engines are the best tool for this situation. The two most widely used blog search engines are Google Blog Search and Technorati. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, which I won’t dive into in this post.

Once you’re at the search engine, plug a URL or some keywords into the search box. You’ll get a list of results of people that are talking about the keywords you mentioned or who are linking to the URL that you typed in.

Typically you’ll have the ability to sort by the date/”freshness” of the post or you can sort the search results by relevancy.

Instead of having to do this search every couple days, you can take the RSS feed from the search results and subscribe to it in your RSS reader. Every time there is a new post about the topic or link you searched for, you will be alerted in your RSS reader. This is super handy for keeping your finger on the pulse of what people are saying about you or the topic you’re interested in. (I will write an intro to RSS readers and subscribing to RSS feeds in a future post.)

Once you see that someone is talking about your or a topic you’re interested in, I’d encourage you to drop them a comment. Acknowledge the fact that they wrote about you or engage them further in the conversation. People like to know the fact that you’re listening. Dropping them a comment is the easiest way to do that.

If you haven’t yet, lets take a blog search engine for a spin. Let’s search for people are saying about:

What are your thoughts? Did I miss something? Do you find this helpful? Please comment and let me know.

Blogging 101: A Series for Blog Newbies

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about blogs and how to blog. I’m going to do a series of posts with intro information for those that are new to the blogosphere.

Topics will/may include things like:

They may not be posted in that order but those are are the topics that I want to get to.

Did I miss anything? Are there questions that you guys have been getting that should be answered? Do you have questions about blogging? Let me know.

Are there good resources that you use to intro people to blogging?

Poor Blog Printing Strikes Tim O’Reilly

Wednesday, as I was getting ready to leave work, I was printing off some stuff I wanted to read while on the plane to Boston. Tim O’Reilly had recently written an interesting post about the lessons he’s learned so far from his pursuit for a blogging code of conduct. It was too much to really take it all in by reading it on the screen. I printed it off.

Well yesterday I got on the plane. I pulled out the print out of the Tim O’Reilly post. Much to my frustration, I found that the only the first page of the post had printed and that the other 10 pages were all comments.

After further investigation, I see that Tim uses Six Apart‘s product Moveable Type to power his blog. I had written before about how Typepad blogs do not print well. I guess this goes for Six Apart’s whole product line.

I can’t be the only one who prints off blog posts from time to time. Sometimes its easier for me to process what I’m reading if I can scribble on it.

How do you guys feel about this? Anybody else print out blog posts from time to time?

What can we do to fix this? Can someone pass a message to Mena Trott and the folks at Six Apart? It seriously wouldn’t take that long to institute a print style sheet. Maybe if we all start talking about it, they’ll pay attention.

Boredom: A Factor in Mobile Web Usage

More and more I have been using the Mobile Web as one way that I retrieve information. I have developed a relationship with my Samsung Blackjack. There are many times that I need information on the spot, like finding the closest taco place, and I’m not in front of my computer. I can type a few keys on my phone and the answer is at my finger tips.

Although, the instances which I’m probably using the Mobile Web the most are when I’m bored. All too often I find myself sitting somewhere waiting for someone or something. I pull out my mobile phone and start reading something.

Yesterday, I was flying home from Indianapolis. I had just landed at Washington National Airport. One of the baggage carousels was broken so all the baggage from five flights was coming in on one carousel. I waited for an hour and a half for my luggage. Thank goodness I had my phone. I started surfing to my favorite sites… re-connecting up with the world.

Well, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “why on earth would I want to pay $45/month (Cingular) so that I can entertain myself while I’m bored?” But the thing is, by being connected all the time, I can take that down time of waiting for someone or something and turn it into productive time. I can take that hour and half of boredom while waiting for luggage and use it to add to myself rather than just sitting there.

Our time is precious. Why not use as much of it as efficiently as possible? The Mobile Web allows you to be consuming information wherever your at whenever its convenient.

Leo Laporte Leaves Twitter (and the TWiT Army Follows); The Power of Relationships

For those of you who didn’t hear, Leo Laporte has left Twitter for one of the other micro-blogging services Jaiku. According to the latest Net@Night, Leo apparently just received his trademark for TWiT. Part of having a trademark is defending it. By Leo using and promoting Twitter on his shows, he’s causing brand confusion which hurts his ability to hold the trademark.

The real story is about how when Leo Laporte switched to Jaiku, he brought his legend of fans and followers with him. According to Scoble, the service went down last night because it couldn’t handle the TWiT Army. This goes to show that you’re influenced by your relationships in your social network.

We place our trust in and form relationships with celebrities, like Leo Laporte.

Could Leo bring down Twitter? When someone like Leo Laporte does something, a lot of people will follow.

UPDATE: I now have a Jaiku account. Do you?

W3C Update on WCAG 2.0

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has just put out an important update on their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

As of the end of March 2007, the Working Group has addressed most of the 900 comments from the Last Call Review Period. The Working Group is currently working on:

  • Discussing open comments and issues, and integrating resolutions
  • Developing additional techniques for how to meet the guidelines
  • Simplifying the language
  • Improving the usability of the WCAG 2.0 documents

The Working Group plans to finish addressing most of the issues and provide updated Public Working Drafts of WCAG 2.0 and the supporting documents in late April or May 2007. This will provide an opportunity to review how previous comments have been addressed.

After that, the Working Group expects to make additional minor edits and address any new comments, then publish a second WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft for review of the completed edits before moving on to the next stages.

WCAG 2.0 will be an important tool for us to use to make better Web sites. It is something thats important to pay attention to.

Facebook is the Online Social Platform

We live in an amazing time. Because of the World Wide Web, people today exist in a networked marketplace. People are not just networked to their information. They are networked to each other.

Founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook has quickly become one of the most popular social networking applications on the World Wide Web. According to a recent article in VentureBeat, Facebook gets 1.5 billion page views a day. Facebook is becoming the defacto standard for staying connected with your various relationships in your community.

Facebook isn’t going to be going away any time soon, the fate that most are expecting of MySpace. This is because Facebook has decided to be more then the online representation of the relationships within your social network. Facebook is a platform for conversations within an online community to take place.

Last year, Facebook released an API so that programmers could take advantage of and build upon what Facebbok was offering. This is exciting.

So many social Web applications have been built lately. I can’t even start to name all of the different user accounts that I have signed up for lately. I can’t even start to name all the time times I have had to re-enter all of my different friends into these social networks.

Facebook knows who 90% of my friends are. Why should I try and reinvent the wheel? Why not just build upon Facebook’s existing platform.

Just think how much better Twitter could be. Instead of having to convince all of my friends to sign up for a new service. All they would have to do is use their Facebook account. All of their information would be there and all of the information about who their friends are would be there too.

Is there something scary about having one organization that is so in control of your social network and relationship information? Isn’t this kind of like everyone storing their digital identity with Microsoft via the MSN Passport? It really didn’t fly. Do we need an OpenID-like thing for not just describing you but describing your online community?

RIT Highly Ranked (for media piracy)

I just read Bob Finnerty‘s latest blog post, “Movie lovers beware: Hollywood is watching RIT.” Apparently, students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) are some of the biggest pirates of movies, according to the MPAA. I wasn’t surprised.

I got my undergraduate degree at RIT. I have to say there is a culture of media piracy. Its just what was done. If you’re with a bunch of your friends and nothing is good on TV, someone will say, “wanna download a movie?”

When I was a freshmen, media piracy had just become to the cool thing to do. We had an internal network that would have around 20 terabytes of data on it at any given time. You could get any song you could imagine. Movies and video games would come out on our network months before they were released to the public.

By my sophomore and junior years of college, my friends at RIT started getting sued by the MPAA and the RIAA. If you heard a knock on your door and there were two guys there in suits, it probably wasn’t the Mormons. It was Campus Safety there to serve you with the lawsuit papers. I quickly gave up downloading for good and opted to use the Apple iTunes Store.

At RIT, there is and always has been a plethora of free pirated media at anyone’s finger tips. How can you engineer an incentive so that the piracy doesn’t take place?

RIT tried to offer a discount to a paid music service but no one really used it. I kind of wondered what they were thinking when they instituted this service.

The RIAA and MPAA could sue more students. RIT could pursue all the pirates. I still don’t think it would matter. There would still be media piracy.

I don’t pirate media because, well its wrong. Also… the convenience that iTunes provides (versus downloading illegally) is worth the money that I pay for music on iTunes.

What can RIT due to cut down the piracy? They’d have to make it easier and more convenient to get legal legitimate media then to get the pirated media but when you have students with little to no budget for fun (except for beer) that’d be hard to do.

“Giving Libraries a Second Life in a Virtual World”

On Wednesday, April 25th, I am going to be speaking on a panel at the DC Chapter of the Special Libraries Association. The panel is entitled “Giving Libraries a Second Life in a Virtual World.” If you’re interested in learning more about Second Life, I’d highly recommend that you come on out. It should be a good event. For non-DC/SLA members, it costs $15.