Arrived in Banff for WWW2007

I arrived in Banff a few hours ago. It’s been a long day of flying and driving. The rental car company was all out of economy rental cars so they gave me a Pontiac G6. *devilish grin*

From what I’ve seen so far, it is a gorgeous town. You are smack dab in the middle of the mountains.

My hotel’s wifi isn’t working so I have made my way to the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. This hotel is ridiculous. It is this amazing castle set in the side of the mountains and they have wifi. 🙂

Tonight I have to finish my slides for tomorrow and maybe explore the town a little.

Update 6:06pm MDT : Just uploaded some photos to flickr.

Heading to WWW2007

Tomorrow, I leave for the International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2007) in Banff, Alberta, Canada. I’m excited.

As I mentioned before, I’m presenting a paper at the “MobEA V – Mobile Web in the Developing World” workshop. After that, I’ll be at the WWW2007 conference, going to sessions for 2 days.

I’m going to take a lot of pictures and probably do a lot of live blogging. Stay tuned…

Any of you all going to Banff? Wanna meet up?

I hear Banff is gorgeous. Any good micro-breweries? It’d be cool to get a bunch of people together and go get beers. Drop me a comment.

A WaSP Interview with W3C’s Judy Brewer on the Status of WCAG 2.0

The W3C‘s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are going to be a great step towards making it easier for people to make Web sites accessible to people with disabilities.

The questions that have been on everybodys mind about WCAG 2.0 are, “When will WCAG 2.0 be finally done? Will normal people be able to read it? How can I better keep track of whats going on with WCAG 2.0 or maybe even get involved?”

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Director Judy Brewer recently did an interview with Jared Smith of the Web Standards Project (WaSP) Accessibility Task Force.

Have you read the interview? What are your thoughts on WCAG 2.0?

Twitter Launches a Mobile Phone Friendly Web Site

For a few months now, i’ve been using the desktop version of the Twitter from my mobile phone, using Pocket Internet Explorer, to update my account. It has always been pretty clunky but its cheaper then updating and getting alerts from Twitter via SMS text messages.

I’m thrilled to see that Twitter has just launched a mobile phone friendly version of the Web site.  It works great.  You can send updates and check your friends updates easily.

Check it out at:

I believe this announcement to be part of the bigger trend towards mobile phones becoming more and more of a major player in how people consume information.

Did Google & Jeffrey Veen forget about Measure Map?

Back in February 2006, Google acquired Adaptive Path‘s Web application Measure Map. It is a Web analytics package that is designed just for blogs.

Measure Map was never open to the public. It was always a closed beta. Ever since the acquisition, their Web site has always said, “We’re making improvements and not currently offering new accounts. Sign up and we’ll let you know when we do: ”

Well its been over a year.

Does Google not care about Measure Map anymore? Has it become drastically de-prioritized, just like Dodgeball? Apparently it got so bad for the Dodgeball guys, they decided to quit Google.

Has Jeffrey Veen been kept so busy with other things that Measure Map has slipped off his radar screen?

I was really excited about Measure Map when I first heard about it. There really isn’t any super great blogging analytics package out there. The excitement has slowly faded away.

Is Google the place where good startups go to die (ie Dodgeball, JotSpot, Measure Map)? It didn’t take that long for Writely to open up again as Google Docs. I think Google needs to embrace a little more transparency about their plans for the future or risk annoying the early adopter community.

Update for May 8th 2007:  The word is out now that Jeffrey has been working hard on Google Analytics and improving the user experience across the Google product line.  There is no word yet whether Google Analytics has replaced Measure Map.

Learning to Laugh at Yourself

One truism that I have been learning is the importance of being able to laugh at yourself and being able to shrug things off.  Yahoo! was a recent example of this.

One of their baseball park advertisement signs got placed write next to the  404 foot marker at the back wall of the stadium.  It said, “Yahoo! 404.”  For you non-geeks, 404 is the online status code for a Web page being not found.

Yahoo could have huffed and puffed but what would have that gotten them.  They just kind of laughed at it.  They then posted about it on their corporate blog so that we could all laugh too.

This whole experience gave me more respect for Yahoo!.

“Giving Libraries a Second Life”

Note: The following our my rough speaking notes from a talk I gave at the DC chapter of the Special Libraries Association. The event was entitled “Giving Libraries a Second Life.” My talk was followed by three others who hit on other aspects of being in Second Life. These notes are rough. If there is something I said that I missed in my notes, please drop me a comment and I’ll update my notes.


It’s kind of ironic that my first job out of college is to work at a library. For most of my life, libraries were never a placed that I really enjoyed spending time, well until college. I realized that its where all the smart girls hung out at.

I always felt like I was getting forced to read something I wasn’t interested in or that the library never had the book which really peaked my interest. I was forced to see the world through this very limited scope of what was available to me on a specific set of shelves.

Then in the early 1990s everything changed.


A guy named Tim Berners-Lee had this vision for a World Wide Web which allowed documents and data to be easily created and shared between a user and computers and users and other users.

I can remember my dad and I getting on the Web back in the early days and we’d play a game of seeing how many different country Web sites we could access in the course of an evening. We’d start off in England, maybe find a university Web site in Eastern Europe and then all of a sudden find ourselves looking at a Web site from Russia or Asia.

I was 10 to 12 years old and the world was my play ground.

This unprecedented access to the world and ability to be connected to each other led to the World Wide Web EXPLODING in popularity.

The Web has truly changed the world. Our world no longer has to exist around the distance that we can travel in our cars or on the subway. Just by sitting at home and surfing around the Web, I could and still can truly see and understand a world beyond my own.

It didn’t stop there, with sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, I can truly join into community with anyone who is hooked up to a computer at any time and any place.

From the beginning of the Web, everything was stuck in the paradigm of the document. There was a page with a title, author, sub-titles, and text. It was just like a book.

Dawning of Second Life

Around 2002, Second Life in its earliest incarnations was born from Philip Rosedale.

It is not a video game. There is no strict narrative. There is no end to Second Life. You can’t “beat it.” Second Life is a three dimensional virtual world. It is a platform for creating, collaborating, and experiencing knowledge in a three dimensional space. It even has its own economy.


One of the first things you’re going to notice once you get into Second Life is that you have an avatar which represents you.

Its your very own little person on the screen which you can control and get to do whatever you want.

You can also customize your avatar however you want. As you walk through Second Life, you’ll see avatars in every shape, size, color, and species.

You are truly in a world where you can be whatever you want to be. You could be a fantasy creature, human, not human, animal, or completely make believe.

Real Estate

You’re not stuck to the life of being a nomad wondering the vast land of Second LIfe.

Just like in real life, you need some where you can make a home for yourself.

Like in real life, you have the option of renting or buying. You can rent or buy land from a larger land owner. You could also buy your own island. Each option brings its own unique challenges which Michelle is going to hit on in a bit.

It really is exciting.

You have a platform where you can build up any environment that you can dream up. Maybe its a place from fiction… Maybe a its a place that’s not possible to go to in real life, like the moon? Maybe its a place that doesn’t even exist?

Building Items

Not only can you build any environment or place to live. You can build any item. What’s one item that you’d love to have but just can’t?


One of the first things that you’ll see when you get into Second Life, passed the intro island, is a lot of empty islands.

Second Life is truly an event and community driven culture.

SL is driven by the people who are participate and that at they interact and form communities with one another.


Within Second Life, you can be whatever you want to be, you can do whatever you want to do, have any item you want, and go where ever you want. Your imagination and time are truly your only limit.

You have the ability to experience knowledge within this immersive environment.

It makes learning come alive in a way never before possible.