Discussion on 6-bit vs 8-bit displays in 15 inch and below laptops and whether they really exist or are simulated at 8-bit and have always been. Background to the current class action, but interesting reading all the same.
Lovely looking ruby library for working with flickr, most importantly it is being maintained and it is up to date.
May 2007 Archives
I spoke at Xtech07 on Provenance, looking at the underlying issues of identity on the internet. There is a lot of depth to this stuff and a lot of unintended consequences occurring. I set out to show to myself, partly, that I exist online in quite a rich and detailed manner.
My initial idea was to look at how easy is it to determine I am who I say I am. To make this I started with a single page and followed links, grabbed microformats and did a bit of simple screen-scraping.
It turns out that with only one page and a bit of jumping from site to site following profile links you can make a very compelling picture of yourself and your friends. The background to all of this is rel="me" which strongly links two pages.
For a lot more detail on this, please read the paper on identity and provenance and then have a look at the "What is your provenance?" slides (pdf).
In the talk I show the scraping necessary to find friends, tags, content from the social network sites we all inhabit. I was surprised how easy it was, clean semantic html makes identity scraping much easier. My intention is not to set about stalking people, but to show the possibilities and benefits a service like this might offer. We spend too much of our lives (our CPA) managing feeds when we could be glancing at people. I'll be putting together a demo on idsix.com in June, I hope.
Suw, Kevin, Jeremy and Paul have all kindly made notes on my talk. Between the four of them you have pretty much word for word what I said, who needs podcasts, when you have demon typists, many thanks.
Last week I was at xtech in Paris. It was a very fine week with some great talks and good people. Usually there was more than one talk I wanted to attend at anyone time, which is a good if frustrating position to be in.
The talks which caught my attention, amongst finishing my own talks and chairing some sessions were on a wide range of topics. From hardware hacking and real world to virtual world integration from Matt Biddulph through microformats from Jeremy Keith to scientific visualisation from Frank Marchese and back to somewhere near the real world with Adam Greenfield and Matt Webb. Kellan Elliott-McCrea and Blaine Cook made the world of Jabber finally make sense. The political angle was covered by Suw Charman, Rob McKinnon and Kevin Anderson. Lastly we had saving the world with Gavin Starks
More detailed comments on those in a moment. The hotel were unable to provide wifi for conference attendees, this was a bit frustrating for many people. Those staying in the conference hotel could use the €15 per day internet in your room, but this did not include use of the wifi in the conference rooms. One plus of this is that people attending the sessions actually paid attention to the speaker, but it meant that the blogging and other back channels from the conference were more restrained than they might have been. That said I'd be in favour of no wifi in conference rooms, as long as there was generally available internet access in common spaces. We did the usual and used an Airport Express and shared the one account we did have, thanks Suw.
Some brief notes on the conference sessions follow. The day prior to the conference was a focused day on the ubiquitous web or there were workshops to attend. I went to most of the ubiweb sessions. Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino spoke on the tension in the design world coming from the internet world, the sense of iteration that is present on the internet and her hopes for a change in real world product design. Her talk (slides) was peppered with examples of novel cross over product design and was a great close to the day. Earlier Aaron Straup Cope spoke about the importance of paper in our lives and designing systems including markup to deal with information capture on paper, a nice thoughtful presentation (slides). Claus Dahl gave an interesting presentation about a live application Imity which scans the bluetooth space and then maps the social interactions happening within it, he raised some good points about identity. Matt Biddulph spoke about bridging the space between this physical world and the virtual, demoing some of the work he has done for Nature and showing the Arduino to more adoring fans.
More on the rest of the conference in a subsequent post.
Technorati Tags: xtech
A fabulous hack to let you use the screen of another mac if your screen is not working. My powerbook screen is flaky, so I've mirrored to the screen of my iMac and I'm happily using that as a monitor, excellent stuff
Kevin Anderson's writeup of my talk at xtech, he has captured virtually everything I said and pretty accurately, thanks Kevin
I'm quietly really happy about this, it is great news and something I must thank Tony Blair for seeing through to the end
And looks like it might be a pleasure to use, at the minute it is a bit like hunting for lost keys
I just bought one of these, it looks to be the first carry on size pack that might work as a camera / laptop bag. Conferences will be so much easier with one bag and not two.
Tim Bray on OpenID at Sun, very interesting development, I can see this taking root in other companies. There is more to OpenID than just the authentication layer, as I have said before.
I think I've found the perfect camera and laptop bag, it is a Tamrac Adventure 9. It happily takes my G4 PowerBook in a slot in the back, then holds my 20D, some lenses, including a 70-200 f4 in the bottom. Then in the top space, often neglected on other bags, it holds a geek book (Ruby for Rails), a paper back, some cables, headphones, iPod, and there is space for a few other bits. It is carry on, just, you might need to be careful how you pack, it is narrow and short enough, but the depth is arguably over the max for some UK based airlines.
I've been looking for a new bag, since I started taking my SLR and laptop to conferences. A camera back and a laptop bag is no fun, one is always in the way. Once I'm back from Xtech, I'll write a longer post on how I found the bag. In the meantime I can recommend CameraWorld for those in the UK, no affiliate thing going on, just good prices and nice people. I've bought several of my near dozen or more camera bags from them.
I tend to generate 12-20 tabs very easily when I'm researching a topic and then I can leave them open for a good while as I get around to reading them all. I can end up with 100 plus tabs open easily. In Safari this leads to heavy memory usage and on my 2GB PowerBook G4 this lead to 2 or more Gig of swap space and a basically unusable machine. Seconds of waiting between actions, at times. All cured by either quiting Safari and letting the VM recover or a restart. So, I decided to finally switch to Firefox.
I know it has taken me ages, but I'd got taken by Saft and saving my open tabs. Session Saver did this for Firefox 1.5 and it is now a slightly hidden feature on Firefox 2. A dropdown is not a good place to hide additional functionality. It is on the first tab in preferences, but looks like a drop down that controls the Home Page behaviour. So the other reason to move to Firefox, the lovely add-ons eg Operator and Tails which highlight microformats.
Firefox is not without its faults, it seems to be more CPU bound than Safari was, so my machine has a lower VM usage, 1 gig typically, but the CPU load sits about 2 most of the time. It makes my envious of Lucy's new MacBook.
Yesterday I was thinking about the disclaimers appended to emails, oddly the one from @Media, the 832 bytes of disclaimer didn't really say anything helpful. They do not have a strong legal position which there questions their enforceability. What bothers me is not that they include the disclaimer, but the amount of data that needs to be sent, stored and probably backed up by many people.
I guess some lawyer said that it was more enforceable if it formed part of the same document and was not a link to a standard disclaimer. The plaintiff being unable to plead to not having read the disclaimer. A UK perspective, which is also generally not in favour of them.
So lets do some maths, call the average disclaimer 512 bytes to make the maths easier and underestimate the final figure. The BBC and Macmillan both append these automatically to outgoing email, as they are my former and current employers lets go with them.
512 per email times say 10,000 employees sending 200 external emails a month equals 1024,000,000 bytes of additional date or nearly 976MB of extra data sent and stored around the world. Call that 12G a year, not a lot you might think, but that is a tentative estimate for the BBC alone and we are at a gig a month already.
Data requires electricity to move about, to be stored, backups use more electricity and then energy to be moved off site. How much energy is being used in shifting just these disclaimers around the planet?
I'm certainly going to be asking my employer to review the use of them, I suggest you do the same.
Awesome visualizer for iTunes
Postcode address file, necessary for postcode to geo referencing, not cheap.
Inevitable addition to modern life, hopefully the tunnel will make people quieter. Also the last non-internet connected space will vanish.
Chris Messina's excellent idea on offsetting web apps. Duncan Davidson made similar points about optimizing CPU usage once you've gained the productivity benefit of using rails.