Archived entries for Hmmm...

Beautiful API

This page is beautiful: Every service-based web site should have a page like this.

This is a great way to understand and communicate your functionality. If you can’t describe your site in these terms, well, start trying because you should be able to. (You don’t have to make it public.)

I’m not here to talk about the benefits of web services and open APIs — but at least internally, if you can think about your offerings in these clean and explicit terms you’ll be much more successful.

We’ve moved beyond the “If you build it, they will come” days. We’re now in the “If you offer it, they will build it” days. This cool map-based Flickr interface was built because the API existed.

Metafilter Tags

Matt Haughey writes: “Jumping on the delicious and flickr bandwagon, I’ve added tags to MetaFilter

2014 EPIC – The Future of Online [Media]

Go watch this flash movie right now. (Or the first time you have 8 free, it doesn’t have a pause button.).

It’s the history of the media wars, with a dateline of 2014. What happens with Google, Amazon, Blogger, Microsoft, Friendster and TiVo play together? What happens when search, news, shopping, social networks, blogging, camera phones, recommendations, filtering, archiving, the long tail, and everything else that’s ALREADY in motion congeals?

Remember that feeling you got when you “got it” in the first Matrix movie? I got that feeling watching this. Remember that feeling you got when you actually realized that scale of the Internet, and what it will eventually enable?

Go watch it.

It’s not clear how you’re supposed to feel when it’s over. Sounds pretty cool. Sounds pretty scary. Come back here and leave some comments after you’ve watched it. Technorati lets you monitor it as it spreads across the Web.

(I guess this was on metafilter in mid November, but it’s new to me today.)

Blog Torrents, P2P and the Development of De-centralized Media

Broadband Daily posts an interview with Nicholas Reville of Downhill Battle, which just recently released Blog Torrent, a very exciting new initiative:

Blog Torrent is a key first step of our plan to make software that builds participatory culture. Video (specifically television) is a huge part of culture. But it’s still an extremely top-down medium– even as the tools to make high quality video and animation have become extremely cheap, very few people watch any significant amount of video other than what’s on networks and cable. We think homemade video can compete directly against professional television, especially as reality shows have brought down viewers expectations about the production values needed to make engaging TV.

More from the BlogTorrent site:

What is Blog Torrent?: Blog Torrent is software that makes it much easier to share and download files using the bittorrent protocol. Blog Torrent is easy to install on your website: we don’t use MySQL so installation is as easy as uploading a folder to your web host, and all administration happens in the web interface. Blog Torrent is easy for users: even if they don’t know what bittorrent is, they get an installer that downloads the file they want. But most of all, Blog Torrent makes publishing with bittorrent painless. Just click “upload”, pick a file, and you’re done. This is our preview release and it has a lot of bugs and rough edges… but we’re smoothing them out for the next version, so stay tuned.

Why does Blog Torrent matter?: Making it easy to blog large video files means that people can share their home movies the same way they share their photos or writings. It lets people create vast networks of truly peer-to-peer video content– video that was made by individuals and shared with individuals, no bandwidth budget or distribution deal needed.

We’ll definitely be seeing more torrent news lately, and this convergence with the blogging world / blogging technology can only help.

Kerry Winning, Part 1: Electoral College

Everybody knows the race for President is close. Looking back over the last few months, it’s pretty much always been close. Or at least it seems that way.

I don’t fully understand the seemingly outdated Electoral College system, but it’s the only one that matters. Happily, Kerry has been having success in this area, and getting comfortable above the 270-vote threshold.

Looking at available Electoral projections from May 24th through today, October 19th – (143 days of data) – Kerry has lead in electorial votes exactly 100 times, or 69.9% of the time.

Over that same period, Kerry has gone above 300 a whopping 49 times, while Bush has only managed that level of success a sorry,-you’re-going-back-to-Texas 9 times. Kerry has surpassed 320 electoral votes 19 times, while Bush has only fooled that many people three times.

Unlike the popular vote outcomes which in 2000 Gore won by more than a half-million votes, the Electoral College number matters. To win the Presidency you need at least 270 Electoral College Votes (EVs).

Unfortunately for Bush, he has only reached that magic number 39 times in this campaign, while Kerry is comfortable in that world, having spend over three months there (92 days).

Open question: when will we do away with the Electoral College? Isn’t it time that American’s votes actually directly counted?

Kerry has peaked at 327 projected electorial votes eight times, while Bush has only managed to reach those heights twice.

Enables good service to count against good advertising

But there is something about this idea of local searching [friend and friend-of-a-friend personal recommendation databases] that I fear people will miss, and that’s the fact that it enables good service to count against good advertising. The general trend in local business development has been the proliferation of branded chains, and decimation of the local, unbranded treasures. Charleston has a fine lingerie shop on King Street, but just down the block looms a much larger Victoria’s Secret. Relying mostly on word-of-mouth, local restaurants, plumbers and mechanics cannot afford more than a small-print mention in print or online listings. Yelp! or something like it might blunt this insidious trend.

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