ARCHIVE: May, 2005

Cool Web 2.0 Interface: Backpack

Introduced 2 weeks ago by the folks at 37Signals, Backpack is now an official Web 2.0 interface. This is because it now has an API for your remixing pleasure.

What I really like are the clear examples in the tutorial they give about how to use the API. This should get folks up and running in no time.

By the way, Richard MacManus and I are looking for good stories about remixing for our column on Digital Web. If you have any, or know of any, let us know here in the comments.

X-Wing Fighters and Classification Systems

Yesterday Clay Shirky published an amazing article called Ontologies are Overrated. Though he doesn’t mention Star Wars directly, his article has big implications for X-Wing Fighters and Land Speeders…

Continue Reading: X-Wing Fighters and Classification Systems

Luke W. on Ajax and Web Apps

Luke Wroblewski of Functioning Form has written a good article on Ajax. He talks about some of the techniques that designers have come up with to deal with newly-arisen issues that Ajax causes: like what to do when people are expecting the page to refresh but it doesn’t. Highly recommended read.

Thinking about Making a Web 2.0 Interface?

Don’t forget to roll your own API, so that others can build competing interfaces

Well, not interfaces that compete necessarily, but interfaces that use the data in your database to combine with other services to produce other amazing things.

Sharing information is good. Locking it up is bad.

Nice Ajax Article by Derek Powazek

Derek Powazek has written a nice article on Ajax. Notice that he doesn’t say XMLHTTPRequest even once. He’s focused on the user experience…cool.

How are you using Ajax?

I’m doing a bunch of reading, observing on Ajax. From the recent summit to a billion blog posts to its own web site, it seems to be hitting mainstream. Have any of you experimented with it? How did it go?

A couple implementations to note: Kottke’s homepage | Feedtagger

Also, go see what the tags can find you: Ajax

Best Blog Post of 2005 from Seth Godin

This could be the best blog post I’ve read in 2005. Seth Godin, in his post titled On Critics, Criticism and Remarkability, writes:

“We don’t choose to be remarkable because we’re worried about criticism. We hesitate to create innovative movies, launch new human resource initiatives, design a menu that makes diners take notice or give an audacious sermon because we’re worried, deep down, that someone will hate it and call us on it.”

Read the whole thing. I think he’s right. We all have a choice to be remarkable or not. From here on out, I’m choosing Yes.

Check out O’Reilly Radar

O’Reilly Radar: A great site for folks who are interested in seeing how a company full of thought leaders is leveraging blogs, or if you’re simply a techie.

If you’re not familiar with the O’Reilly line of books, or the O’Reilly Conferences, check them out. This company, run by the Good O’Reilly™ (Tim), does as much for teaching folks technology than anybody else. I especially like Tim’s philosophy about what he calls Alpha Geeks, first adopters who show by their current actions what trends will be hitting the rest of us in a year or two.

Some Complaints about WordPress

Here’s what I don’t like about WordPress:

  1. I don’t like that I have to weed out the pingbacks and the trackbacks in my comments. The template function comments_number() should contain the number of actual comments, not including the other two.
  2. I don’t like how my own installation of WordPress pings itself when I link to another post of mine.
  3. I don’t like how I have to update my .htaccess file just to add a page.
  4. I don’t like how I had to do some special modifications to my WP files to get the thing running right and now I’m afraid of how long it’s going to take to upgrade in the future. Sure, it takes the lead developer 3 seconds to upgrade but he’s not a “normal” user, now is he? How long does it take “normal” people?

If you’d like to rant (it made me feel better, even though the pain was from last night), please feel free.

Attention is not Automation

Steve Gillmor, creator of Attention.xml and one of the leading thinkers on Attention in general, gives us this post on many things, including the importance of APIs as well as the following quote: “Attention is not automation; it’s the aggregation of gestures that model our instincts, hopes, and ethics.”.

This could be the most important quote about attention that I’ve seen yet, and I think that the automation/aggregation distinction is one we’ll be dealing with a whole lot more in Web 2.0.

When thinking about the scary topic of automating human behavior, think about what we do when we do contextual inquiry, going out into the world and getting into the context of someone else. We sit down, observe them, discover their needs, and use that to inform design. On the Web, we’re aggregating data to do the same thing…and sometimes, just sometimes, it works. Don’t be afraid of it. Just be careful.

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