I will not comment on a blog if I have to register first

Must be logged in to post a comment to InsideFacebook.com *sigh*

I was reading this interesting blog post on InsideFacebook.com about how a guy wrote a popular Facebook app and is now suffering because he is getting more users then his systems know how to handle.

I was going to join the conversation and leave my 2 cents but before you can leave a comment you have to register. I just don’t care enough go through the hassle and time it takes to register. I’m just not going to leave my comment.

I have been seeing this more and more on blogs. They make you register before you leave a comment.

I understand that this is a technique to stop comment spammers. I run multiple blogs. I know how much a pain comment spam can be but forcing a user to register is too big of a barrier to entry. It kills the conversation and the community.

I want to be able to just drop in my comment and leave. I don’t want to have to think about it.

Am I being harsh? If not, what alternative methods do you guys use to stop comment spam?

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Sign-Up for BarCampWashingtonDC

So in 3 weeks, we have been making some pretty good progress on BarCampWashingtonDC.

We’re shooting for 100 campers. If you haven’t already signed up to attend, go to the wiki and do it right now.

We’re also looking for more sponsors. If you or your company want to sponsor BarCampWashingtonDC, drop me a line. We’re looking to give out free food, t-shirts, and prizes for all who participate in the event. Together we can make it happen.

Adobe’s AIR (formerly known as Apollo) US Tour is Coming to Washington DC

In a move to get geeks excited, Adobe is doing a US Tour for their Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) (formerly known as Apollo) Environment.

On August 20th, the Adobe AIR tour will be coming to the Washington DC area.  Who wants to come with me?
I haven’t really gotten into AIR yet so I’m excited to check it out.  I dig the idea of writing rich internet apps that work outside of the browser.

Have any of you all played with AIR?

Mahalo, Wikipedia, and Human-Powered Search

Screenshot of Mahalo.com

With the Web, there has been a publishing revolution. The barrier to entry has almost been eliminated. Anyone with a computer and an Internet connection, can publish there thoughts or creative works. This creates a lot of crap out there. A lot of smart people are trying to figure out how to separate out the wheat from the chaff… the signal from the noise.

Jason Calacanis’ idea is Mahalo. It is a search engine with human powered result sets. He has hired a group of guides which will find reputable sites which correspond to a specific search term. If the guides haven’t put together a result set for that keyword, it defaults to Google.

While this is clever and interesting, I think this is hardly revolutionary.

One of the biggest things I like about Wikipedia is the External Links section down on the very bottom of most topic pages. For example, you go to the Wikipedia baseball page at the very bottom there is a large set of Baseball links in the External Links section.

A lot of times I will go to a topics Wikipedia page just to see what external links are there because they’re usually really reliable and are the primary sources.

Aren’t the Wikipedia external links just human-powered search results sets? Except with this the links are vetted by the world and not just Jason Calacanis’ search guides.

Human powered search is great if you’re only playing with the fat head of search queries. What about the long tail? Mahalo doesn’t have results when I look for more obscure things.

I don’t think the future is the “wisdom of the masses” or the wisdom of a few Mahalo search guides. The future of search is what I like to call “the wisdom of your friends.” It is my buddy saying hey “go check out this site.”

I know my friends. I know what their expertises are and what their interests are. I know who trust in some ares and not the others.

I’m thinking out loud (well in a blog). Does any of this make sense?

Yahoo! YUI Theater Hosts Web Accessibility Expert Shawn Lawton Henry. Watch The Presentation.

Photo of Shawn Lawton Henry speaking at the @Media conference in London

Yahoo! has been posting so many great videos on Web Accessibility. While in London, Web Accessibility expert and W3C staffer Shawn Lawton Henry stopped by Yahoo to talk about the Web accessibility guidelines that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is working on. It’s a great talk. Check it out.

(Photo of Shawn Lawton Henry by Richard Ishida.  Taken at the 2007 @media conference in London, UK. )

W3C eGov: Jeffrey C. Griffith on “Beyond Transparency: New Standards for Legislative Information Systems”

Note: These are rough notes from the W3C Workshop on eGovernment and the Web.  It is being held in Washington DC on June 18th-19th.

A legislative information systems are the systems that are designed by the legislative bodies to make their systems available to the public and themselves.

Who makes them?  This is tough.  There is no CEO of Congress or Parliament.  Before THOMAS there were 7 stove piped LIS systems.

Everyone uses LIS systems.  People are using the Web to find out more information about politics and their politicians.

One of the challenges is that legislative documents can be very cryptic and complex.  There are complex procedures.  There are readings without readings.  Sometimes yes means no and no means yes.

Gingrich authorized the LC to put up the THOMAS system.   The initial system was there but weak.  The public loved it.  Bills were available to the public at the same time they were open to members.

Staff wanted more.   The liked some of the features of the old legacy systems.

There were some additional standards that had to be met.  The documents needed to be accurate.  The systems needed to point to the right documents.  What is timeliness?  Hours? Same Day? Next Day?  Things should be complete.  Everything that is relevant and useful should be linked.  The document should be clear and explained.   There is also context.

A comparative study was done between the US Congress and the European Parliament.  There needs to be better integration of related information/documents.  There is some integrated data like CRS summary or CBO budget estimates.

What’s exciting is when the public sector gets involved.  There are things like OpenCongress.org  There is information on the bill but also links to blogs talking about it.

We need to start filling in the gaps.  We need technologists who are familiar with the legislative process who can talk with Congress when they’re aware.

There are too many impediments within the institutions so public sector use of the data will be important.

W3C eGov: Kevin Novak on “Government as a Participant in Social Networks. Adding Authority to the Conversation”

Note: These are rough notes from the W3C Workshop on eGovernment and the Web.  It is being held in Washington DC on June 18th-19th.

The world is changing.  Over half of the World’s population is under 17.  We need to change to accomodate these new users.  More people are connected to the Web and go often.

We need to be starting a participatory volunteerism.  Its community based interaction, sharing, assistance, managing, and changing.

It’s about relating what you’re doing to the user. How do you allow the participation when you’re the authoritative source?

We have a very diverse user base: Scholars/Researchers, Teachers, Students, Librarians, Publishers, and Public.

In the Web 2.o space, online libraries are really content and media companies.  We must compete in a dynamic world of the Internet and strive to maintain relevance.

The Library is a 207 year old institution.  We don’t do anything quickly.  The technology and the users are changing.  We need to compete.

RSS is now available.  The LC has launched a Meta Search and Beta Search.  LC was a beta tester of the Open Site Maps Project.  In the future there will be podcast, second life, flickr, tag clouds, widgets, and much more.

The blog has become very popular.  There has been traffic coming into the site because they visited the blog.

There are currently 18 RSS feeds currently available.  By the end of the summer there will be one for THOMAS.

We will be putting images on Flickr.  We want to get the photos out there, see how people use our photos,  and see how people tag our photos.   Flickr has been very co-operative.

We want to meet users in their worlds through Second Life.

By the end of the summer there will be widgets.  One will be for Today in History.  There will be others for our thematic portals.  Hopefully it will drive traffic back to the LC site.