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Meta and Social networking and The Web12 May 2009 at 12:21 by Jean-Marc Liotier

One of the benefits of running blogs is the ability to gather traffic statistics and spot emerging trends. The popularity of an article is an interesting information, but my favorite is the key phrases in search engine referrer URL. The key phrases tell us what people were looking for when they ended up on the site.

This month, “Facebook application spam and how to block it” is the most viewed page on this blog, surpassing the apparently very useful mod_proxy tip, the always popular Openoffice outline mode and even the American craze for that French soldier in Afghanistan.

This month also, “block facebook quizzes” and all variations thereof account for an overwhelming majority of search engine referer key phrases on this blog.

I had personal and anecdotal data about the flood of obnoxious simplistic Facebook personality tests, but now I have numbers to back it up.

I predict a bright future for the One-Click Quiz Blocker Facebook application : it is the easiest way to make the newsfeed clean and useful again. It does what it says – it just works and it takes just one click : a real pleasure compared to my former obsessive-compulsive habit of systematic manual blocking (about five hundreds in three years…).

Brain dump and Debian and Identity management and Security and The Web18 Mar 2009 at 18:19 by Jean-Marc Liotier

The PGP web of trust is a social network, even if many of the people who published their keys would never admit joining one. But there are less than sixty thousand users, so low density of users in most social environments causes weak connectivity in the web of trust : the strong set (largest set of keys such that for any two keys in the set, there is a path from one to the other) ties together less than fifty thousand users. This has been a problem for a long time : in 1997 the strong set was only 3100 keys out of sixty thousand published. And in a fast expanding online social sphere, a stagnating network of sixty thousand users is marginal. Of course, many of those users participate in core institutions of  the developper community, but that does not make that population any less marginal. Many don’t mind that marginality, but our taste for elitist cave-dwelling among like-minded peers will not change the fact that effective software development is a social sport. Societies need trust, and restricting our communications to people whose idea of a party is a key signing party is not going to help us very much, so a solution is needed.

The PGP web of trust is no longer the only application that supports a social graph. With the recent mainstream explosion of social networking and digital identity applications, there is an embarrassing wealth of choices such as Google’s OpenSocial specificationhat propose a common set of API for social applications across multiple sites. Social networking in a web environment, including all forms of publication such as blogging, microblogging, forums and anything else that support links is a way to build digital identity. Each person that follows your updates or links to your articles is in effect vouching for the authenticity of your personae, and each one who adds you as a “friend” on a social network is an even stronger vote toward the authenticity of your profile, even if some people add any comer as their “friend”.

The vetting process in social networking applications is in effect just as good as the average key signing outside of a proper key signing process : some will actually check who they are vetting, others will happily sign anything – and it does not matter too much because the whole point of the web of trust is to handle a continuous fabric whose nodes have different reputations and no guarantee of reliability. The result is a weak form of pseudonymous web of trust – just like the PGP web of trust. But with an untrusted technological infrastructure, it is only about strong enough for common social use.

An anaemic GPG web of trust and thriving social networking applications are obvious matches. So what about a social networking application that handles the PGP web of trust ? As usual, similar inputs through similar individuals generate similar outputs – the same problems with the same environment and the same tools handled by people who share backgrounds produce the same conclusions. So now that I am trawling search engines about that concept I find that I am not the only one to hav thought about it. Who will be the first to develop a social networking application plug-in that links a profile to a GPG key to facilitate and encourage key signing between members of  the same platform that know each other ?

Free software and Jabber and Social networking and Technology and The Web24 Jan 2009 at 14:19 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Chat is supposed to be realtime conversation – and it often is. But just as some corporate victims live in Outlook (that abortion that Microsoft shoves down user’s throat as an excuse for a mail client) some fellow geeks live with an IRC screen at hand. Those people use IRC for realtime conversation, but not only. Soliloquy is widespread, and having a client with at least half a dozen tabs that are as many parallel conversations is a common occurence. IRC users were microblogging before the term was coined and web interfaces imagined.

People come to IRC channels such as project channels to meet the whole group. But just as often they come there to hang out with acquaintances, which they find spread accross various channels. Wouldn’t it be great if each user could have his own channel with just his friends ? This is what microblogging is : a people aggregator, just as any feed aggregator but for the people you want to follow.

I have had a hard time so far trying to convince my IRC addicted friends that we should use a Jabber MUC chat room in lieu of our usual IRC channel. Jabber MUC is superior to IRC in every way possible, but as much as we like to rail against the common user’s inertia to technological adoption, we are sometimes no better.

I believe that the problem was that Jabber MUC provides only marginal incremental improvement to their usage. And adopting a microblogging service is a huge stretch from their current use cases. I have therefore long been dreaming about a chat interface to microblogging that would meld the social power of microblogging and common chat usage patterns into a workable migration path for my IRC addicted friends. And there it is :

Screnshot of Identichat Jabber MUC

Neat isn’t it ? Jack Moffit mentioned it evasively in his article about filtering the realtime web and it piqued my curiosity.

From a user’s point of view, Identichat is about joining the Jabber multi-user chat at your_identica_user_name@identichat.prosody.im and you’ll immediately find yourself in a standard MUC room where the participants are your Identi.ca subscribers. The conversation is the microblogging stream that you would normally get at Identi.ca.

If you try to enter a notice, a help message in the chat window points out that ‘You can register using your identica account by sending !register username password’. Do that – not ‘/register’ as I mistakenly typed out of IRC habit – and you are set to use Identi.ca as any chat tool.

How is that different from a graphical Laconica client ? It is not a Laconica client, it is plain XMPP MUC that about every decent XMPP client supports. As you may know, there are Jabber clients for about every platform you can imagine including mobiles – even some like Mcabber which provide a user interface which will make the console IRC user feel at home. Identichat is not just another client, it is a gateway to a whole world of existing XMPP clients so that every user can use his favorite.

Identichat will help Laconica by eroding chat user’s resistance to change. And it could also foster new uses of microblogging as a thick client enables considerably accelerated interaction compared to a web interface. For now it could be faster – the turnaround latency is perceptible compared to IRC or XMPP MUC, and a helpful “line too long” message would be better than “Send failed : error 406″. But I’m nitpicking : Identichat is a wonderful tool that gives new faces to the microblogging infrastructure. An infrastructure that can show different faces to different classes of users has a great future !

Arts and Brain dump and Knowledge management and Methodology and Social networking and The Web23 Jan 2009 at 14:43 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Amanda Mooney remarks that :

It’s hard to maintain the illusion that you’re particularly special, talented and original when, with a quick Google of whatever genius idea you’ve come up with, you see that 3 billion people have already thought that, done that, analyzed that, criticized that, indexed the history of that in Wikipedia and made a fortune on that… In 1995.

So now, to really live up to our parents’ and teachers’ praise, we have to work a lot harder, be a lot smarter and know that we’re competing with all of those other 3 billion people who think like us and have already started to act on the kind of ideas and “talent” we have.

Actually it was always like that, but slower and invisible. Original ideas are few because similar inputs through similar individuals generate similar outputs - the same problems with the same environment and the same tools handled by people who share backgrounds produce the same conclusions. So it is not surprising that concepts are invented simultaneously and reinvented all the time. I don’t feel belittled by finding out that I’m not unique – on the contrary : I feel empowered by finding that I’m not isolated anymore. I remember lounging in libraries in my youth, reading esoteric technical books chosen at random. I often resented not being able to share that with people who have similar interests. Now we can find each other easily and all be surfing together at the wavefront. Childhood dreams came true – life is good !

But if you anguish about being a unique snowflake just like all the other unique snowflakes, there is still hope for you. Our mental agility and cultural maleability suffer from a rather heavy inertia, so the processing stage is not readily manipulable. That leaves only the input to be tinkered with in the short term – and you can play with inputs a lot ! This is why it is important to cultivate diversity in your social network, and it is also why adding some noise into your web feeds is good for you. Who is not addicted to new stimuli ?

Social networking and The Web28 Nov 2008 at 22:19 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Google Trend reports that the country where Google searches for the word “friendfeed” most frequently originate is Iran. Is FriendFeed very popular in Iran ? Can anyone explain that surprising piece of data ? I stumbled upon it today and it puzzled me enough to warrant some more research.

Google Trend results for “Friendfeed” today :

Regions
1. Iran
2. United States
3. India
4. Italy
5. Canada
Languages
1. English
2. Italian
3. Japanese
4. Chinese
5. French

Givent that the queries originate mostly in Iran – by a wide margin, it is strange that the most used languages for those searches is English, because Google does have its user interface translater in Persian. A similar phenomenon does not appear for Facebook : there is apparently quite a craze about Facebook in Turkey, and the most used languages in those searches is therefore Turkish.

Google Trend results for “Facebook” today :

Regions
1. Turkey
2. Colombia
3. Croatia
4. South Africa
5. United Kingdom
Languages
1. Turkish
2. Croatian
3. French
4. English
5. Finnish

As a counterpoint, searches for “Myspace” originate mostly in the USA with English as a language. That is more like what I expected before writing this article.

Google Trend results for “Myspace” today :

Regions
1. United States
2. Australia
3. United Kingdom
4. Mexico
5. Canada
Languages
1. English
2. Italian
3. French
4. Spanish
5. German

Alexa data for Myspace matches the Google Trend results pretty well.

Alexa data shows that FriendFeed traffic originating from Iran is one fourth of what originates from the USA :

United States 33.6 %
China 10.6 %
Turkey 9.1 %
Iran 7.2 %

Proportionally to population and Internet usage penetration, that is quite a large proportion of FriendFeed users in Iran.

But the Alexa data for Facebook does not match the Google Trends result : it does not even mention Turkey in the top countries of origin – the USA are first, followed by a bunch of western countries.

We could have the following conclusions :

  • Myspace is a mostly American site
  • Turkish are curious about Facebook but actually use Friendfeed
  • Iran are not only curious about Friendfeed but also use it like crazy

Is Robert Scoble secretly dealing with the Pasdaran ? Is there a character set issue that screws up the whole statistics because we are ISO-8859-1 biased ? I have no idea, but I have a feeling that I have barely scratched the surface of the issue and there are certainly plenty of unexpected findings to be discovered about who is using which social site.

Email and Knowledge management and RSS and Social networking and Systems administration and The Web and Unix27 Nov 2008 at 13:17 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Have you tried one more time to convince you parents to switch to web feeds to get updates from the family ? Do you cringe when you see your colleague clumsily wade through a collections of sites main pages instead of having them aggregated in a single feed ? Or did your technophobe girlfriend miss the latest photo album you posted ? With a wide variety of source acknowledging that web feeds ans web feeds readers being perceived as too technical, many of us have scaled back this particular evangelization effort to focus it on users ripe for transitionning from basic to advanced  tools.

Breaking through that resistance outright is beyond our power, but we can get around it. Electronic mail is a mature tool with well understood use cases with which even the least competent users feels comfortable thanks to how easily it maps with the deeply assimilated physical mail model. This is why Louis Gray has started mailing Google Reader items to promote the use of that web feed reader. But we can do better than that by building a fully automated bridge from web feed to email.

Our hope for plugging the late adopters into the information feeds is named rss2email. As its name suggests, Aaron Swartz’s GPL-licensed rss2email utility converts RSS subscriptions into email messages and sends them to whatever address you specify. Despite the name, it handles Atom feeds as well, so you should be able to use it with just about any feed you like. And of course rss2email is available from Debian.

The nice introduction to rss2email by Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier is all the documentation you need – and rss2email is so simple that you probably don’t even need that. I now have some of my favorite late adopters each plugged into his custom subset of my regular information distribution feeds. The relevant news stories get mailed to them without me having to even think about it. And the best part is that they now read them !

Identity management and Jabber and Knowledge management and Military and Mobile computing and Networking & telecommunications and Social networking and Technology and The Web23 Oct 2008 at 14:42 by Jean-Marc Liotier

I have become a user of Brightkite, a service that provides situational awareness in the geographical context. Once its relationship to user location information sources such as Fire Eagle improve, it may become a very nice tool, especially in mobile use cases where location reporting may be partly automated.

But even if they add technical value in the growing world of geographically aware applications, theses services are actually not innovative at the functional level. For example, in the ham radio universe, APRS is already a great system for real time tactical digital communications of information of immediate value in the local area – which includes among other things the position of the participating stations. And there is also TCAS, which interrogates surrounding aircrafts about their positions, and AIS which broadcasts ship positions and enables the entertaining Vessel Traffic Services such as the one provided by MarineTraffic. All these radio based systems broadcast in the clear and are not satisfying the privacy requirements of a personal eventing service. But that problem has also been solved by the Blue Force Tracker which even though it is still a work in progress has already changed how a chaotic battlefield is perceived by its participants.

“Where am I, and where are my friends ?” is not only the soldier’s critical information – it is also an important component of our social lives, witness the thriving landscape of geosocial networking. Geographic location is a fundamental enabler : we are physically embodied and the perimeter of location based services actually encompasses anything concerning our physical presence. So we can’t let physical location services escape our control. Fire Eagle may be practical for now, but we need to make geographical information part of the basic infrastructure under our control and available on a standardized, open and decentralized basis. The good news is that much thoughts have already been invested into that problem.

Physical location is part of our presence, and as you may have guessed by now, this means XMPP comes to the rescue ! We have XEP-0080 – User Location, an XMPP extension which is currently a XMPP Foundation Draft Standard (implementations are encouraged and the protocol is appropriate for deployment in production systems, but some changes to the protocol are possible before it becomes a Final Standard – as good as a draft standard RFC and therefore good enough for early adopter use). It is meant to be communicated and transported by means of Publish-Subscribe or the subset thereof specified in Personal Eventing via Pubsub. It may also be provided as an extension of plain vanilla <presence/> but that is quite a crude way to do it compared to the Publish-Subscribe goodness.

The rest of the work is left to the XMPP client. Of course, the client can show them on a map, just as Brightkite currently does. But I can also easily imagine an instant messaging contact list on my PDA where one of the contact groups is “contacts near me”. I would love to have Psi do that…

Economy and Email and Jabber and Social networking and Technology and The Web17 Oct 2008 at 8:17 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Some people notice I am quite dogmatic about open networks. And they are right : to me, open is everything and the rest is details. But even my zeal has its limits : I don’t gratuitously shove tools in the face of people who can’t use them in practical conditions. I have been advocating jabber among my technically minded friends since 2001 and running my own server since 2003, but it took Google joining the XMPP network in 2006 to actually make it a viable option for pushing open instant messaging to the masses of people I don’t want to support myself. Before that I could understand the necessity for joining proprietary networks and run multiprotocol clients to reach people I could not decently drag to Jabber or IRC. But now I can tell them that getting presence information and instant messenging from me is just a Google account away – and since it is a mainstream service offered by an established and well known service provider they can hardly anymore label me a techno-excentric for using it. So – no I will not join your proprietary instant messaging network.

Today we have the same situation with social networking. And while the technological prerequisites for open microblogging have been almost there for a while, they have not yet cristalized into something that can be fed to the masses. That day will come – and we are all pushing toward it. Until then, I have a Facebook profile. But soon I know that I’ll be able to tell the world that my social networking tool is my blog, or whatever other tools I fancy moving to and from thanks to data portability efforts. And it’ll be easy for others to do the same because interoperable services will blossom at the hands of mass-market providers – maybe even Facebook if they ever reach enlightenment. And when that is about to be ready for massive adoption, you know where I’ll be – and you know where I’ll not be anymore !

To me there is an element of religion in those choices. But the techno-apathetic average user can make the same choices out of pure self-interest. If there are a number of comparable offerings on the market, one of which lets the buyer choose between different suppliers and move between them at will, you can bet that the one-time cost of moving away from the proprietary offering will be more than offset by the future value of the open solution. If we look at the history of technologies, examples of such migrations are plenty. Let’s just take e-mail for example : what is the current weight of closed mail systems ? They still exist, but they are insignificant niches and many of them use e-mail for notification…

Identity management and Social networking and The Web15 Oct 2008 at 20:12 by Jean-Marc Liotier

With the profusion of tools, our online presence is all over the place… Here is a quick tour of where fragments of me can be found. I’m focusing on tools – I won’t list mere static pages (of which I still have a few dusty instances in various aging places). The goal of this article is to draw a quick taxonomy of the tools I’m using.

My original content publication outlets :

Places where I echo my own content web feeds, track people and engage actively:

Places where I track people and participate :

Places where I infrequently participate :

Places where I just echo my own content web feeds and/or status messages in case people there are tracking me there :

Not only is this list not exhaustive, but I have not even bothered to count the forums and blogs where I lurk or contribute comments. Don’t think that I’m a normal user though : maintaining a watch over online tools is part of my trade, so I’m the sort of person who’ll create an account on every site in sight if just to take a look at it.

But in any case, the profusion is food for thought about meta-tools.

Social networking and Systems administration and The Web15 Oct 2008 at 13:03 by Jean-Marc Liotier

While FriendFeed is the efficient geek hangout, it is Facebook that provides the social middle ground that bridges the gap between early adopters and the mainstream. What makes Facebook useful is that it attracts mainstream users and entices to publish content – something most of them would never do anywhere else. As Regular Geek puts it : “These are people who thought AOL was the internet“. They only visit a few mainstream sites and to them the Web is almost as read-only as dead tree media. That Facebook manages to turn them painlessly into content producers makes it useful for keeping in touch with everyone who does not know what web feeds are. Be aware that even though Facebook is not a dedicated photo sharing site, it beats them at their own game : with ten billion pictures posted, it is now the site with the most pictures shared.

But with mainstream users comes much cluelessness. Those are the people who mindlessly click the default option on every pop-up dialog in sight and then bring you malware ridden computers for healing while wondering why it is so slow and whether they should buy a new one – all they get from me nowadays is a kind word, an Ubuntu CD and offer to install it. Those users have shown time and time again how the path of least social resistance leads to a torrent of application spam.

Some applications such as are a useful addition to the social framework – among them I particularly like Friend Wheel. Many other are just games or even purely decorative trinkets but they should not be dismissed offhand: they have an important role in evangelizing social tools and in promoting use, and they have the social role of fostering playful interaction that reinforces social links. But if you look below, you’ll probably conclude that the quantity of shiny fluff is a tad overwhelming – this is the list of applications that my Facebook account blocks… And it was gathered in less than two years of activity !

  • Absolut Vodka
  • Addicted to NCIS
  • Addicted to Two and a Half Men
  • A la Antillean
  • Alice Blind Test
  • Amazing Wishlist
  • Animated GIFTS
  • A quel(le) star ressembles-tu le plus physiquement?
  • A quel X-Men ressembles tu ?
  • AREPAS and Venezuelan Food
  • Are you a great lover ?
  • Are You Lucky?
  • Are you Moroccan?
  • Are you romantic?
  • Art
  • ATTACK!
  • aWizard
  • Bathroom Wall
  • Be a Billionaire!
  • Because You’re Special
  • Become Rambo
  • Best Friend Contest
  • Best Match!
  • Best Wishes
  • Birthday Alert
  • Birthday Calendar
  • Birthday Cards
  • Blackjack
  • Bless You
  • Blow A Kiss
  • Books iRead
  • Booze Mail
  • Borat / Ali G Photos, Quotes and Trivia
  • Bowling Buddies
  • BrainFall.com Quiz Results
  • BrewSocial
  • Bubble Town
  • Bumper Sticker
  • Bumper Stickers [Photo Gifts]
  • Call Me on Skype
  • Card for Africa
  • Car IQ
  • Cat Breed Collection
  • Causes
  • Chanel Gifts ?
  • Characteristics
  • Check Your Dudeness
  • Chinese Horoscope
  • Circle of Friends
  • COMINGSOON
  • Comment finirez vous ?
  • Comment s’appellera l’homme de ta vie ?
  • Comparaison
  • Compare People
  • Coolest Friends
  • Coolest Person Contest
  • Crushes
  • Cute vs Sexy
  • Define Me
  • Delux Christmas Tree
  • Denzel Washington
  • De quel arrondissement parisien ètes-vous ?
  • Do people secretly hate you?
  • Drunk Survey
  • ePresident
  • Es-tu fort en histoire ?
  • Etes vous un minimum cultivé ?
  • Etre Marseillais
  • Eurosport – Liste des 23 pour l’Euro 2008
  • Family Guy – Blue Harvest
  • Family Tree
  • Famous Christian Quotes
  • FB Addict – are you hooked on FB?
  • FFR Supporters
  • Fine Wines
  • Flirtable
  • Fortune Cookie
  • Free Gifts
  • Fresh Prince
  • Friend Hug
  • Friends For Sale!
  • Fun Cards!
  • Funnest Person Contest
  • Funny Cards
  • Fun Toys
  • Genius Test
  • Gifts Gallery
  • Good Morning
  • (Green) What fruit are you?
  • Growing Gifts
  • Guerre des gangs
  • Hatching Eggs
  • hello kitty
  • High School Trivia Test
  • Holiday Shoppe (Christmas Tree)
  • Hotness
  • Hot Potato
  • Hottest Person Contest
  • How gangsta are you?
  • How Indian Are You?
  • how smart are u?
  • How stupid are you?
  • How will you die?
  • Hug Me
  • Hug Me
  • Hugs
  • Hug Time
  • Iframer
  • iLike
  • Instant IQ Test
  • IQ Test
  • IQ Test (Advanced Level)
  • is cool
  • iSmile
  • Japanese Foods
  • Japanese Sweets
  • Jedi vs Sith
  • Jetman
  • Jeu de Séduction
  • JungleBook
  • Kisses
  • Kisses!
  • Kiss Me
  • Knighthood
  • Language Exchange
  • Likeness
  • Likeness UNRATED
  • (Lil) Green Patch
  • Local Picks
  • Love Friend
  • LX Champions League
  • LX College Football
  • LX World Cup Football
  • Mario Kart RPG
  • Meet New People
  • Mesmo TV
  • MeteoSun
  • MindJolt Games
  • Mood Ring
  • Most Creative People
  • Most Eligible Singles
  • Most Gorgeous Person Contest
  • Most Wanted Valentine!
  • Mountain Climber
  • Movies
  • My Angels
  • My Aquarium
  • My Boxofun
  • My Drunk Friends
  • MyFlirt
  • My Hebrew Name
  • My Heroes Ability
  • My Music
  • My Personality
  • My Questions
  • MY SEXY FRIENDS
  • MySpace
  • MySpace Link
  • NAB Smart Cookies
  • Name Analyzer
  • NBA Challenge
  • Nicknames
  • Nova Music
  • OneTrack
  • Optical Illusions Challenge
  • OUIFM
  • Owned!
  • Passe Ton BAC !
  • Personality
  • Photo Quizzes
  • Pieces of Flair
  • Pillow Fight
  • Pillow Fight!
  • Pink Ribbon
  • Portrait Chinois
  • Pour quelle boîte Corse es-tu fait(e) ?
  • Pour quelle époque êtiez-vous fait(e)?
  • Pour quelle ville êtes-vous fait(e) ?
  • Pour quelle voiture es-tu fait(e)?
  • PrayLive
  • Premier Football
  • Pro League Rugby
  • PuzzleBee Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Q??l Pa?f?? E? T? ?
  • Que fuyez-vous le plus ?
  • Quel alcoolique êtes vous?
  • Quel chroniqueur du grand journal êtes-vous?
  • Quel écrivain êtes-vous?
  • Quel est ce défaut chez toi qui fait craquer les hommes?
  • Quel est ton degré de connerie??
  • QuEl EsT tOn MeC IdEaL???
  • Quel est ton niveau d’anglais?
  • Quel est ton niveau sexuel ?
  • Quel Festival es-tu?
  • Quel genre de pute es-tu ?
  • Quel joueur de rugby etes vous?
  • Quel joueur du PSG 2007-2008 es-tu ?
  • Quelle citation êtes-vous?
  • Quelle couleur es-tu?
  • Quelle desperate housewife êtes-vous ?
  • Quelle icone glamour es-tu?
  • Quelle ligne de métro êtes vous?
  • Quelle mec te correspond ?
  • Quelle paire de chaussures de créateur êtes-vous ? (pour filles)
  • Quelle princesse de Walt Disney êtes vous?
  • Quelles Vacances VIP es tu?
  • Quel Maman est tu ?
  • Quel mannequin es-tu?
  • Quel méchant de Disney es-tu ?
  • Quel nageur connus es tu ?
  • Quel personnage de desperate housewives es-tu?
  • Quel personnage de FRIENDS es-tu?
  • Quel personnage de KAAMELOTT es-tu ?
  • Quel personnage de la Révolution êtes-vous ?
  • Quel personnage des BRONZES êtes-vous ?
  • quel qualité êtes-vous?
  • Quel séducteur (trice) etes-vous ?
  • Quel sorte d’enfant étais-tu?
  • Quel sous-vêtement êtes-vous?
  • quel star es tu ?
  • Que pensent les autres de toi en secret?
  • Que vas tu faire de ta vie ?
  • Quizzes
  • RAYMOND DEMISSION !!!
  • Rock Paper & Scissors
  • R U CUTE!
  • Save An Alien
  • Say Happy New Year!
  • Say-it-with-Flowers
  • SceneCaster
  • ScoreMe
  • Secret Admirer – CRUSH on ME (PERFECT MATCH)
  • Send Beer
  • Send Chocolate
  • Send Diamonds
  • Send Good Karma
  • Send HOTNESS
  • Send Love Hearts
  • Send Luck
  • Send Sunshine
  • Send Teddy Bears
  • Send Tiaras
  • Send Tux
  • Send Veggie Tales
  • Sexiest Person Contest
  • Sexy Friends
  • Sexy Pillow Fight
  • Sexy Poke!
  • Shots!
  • similaire
  • Six Degrees
  • Sketch Me
  • Skiers vs. Snowboarders
  • Slayers
  • Slide FunSpace
  • Smiles
  • Snowball Fight
  • Snowball Fight!
  • Social Profile
  • Sparkey
  • SpeedDate
  • SpeedDate
  • SpeedDate
  • SpeedDate
  • SpeedDate
  • SpeedDate
  • Sports Fan
  • Status Competition
  • Stickerz
  • Sticky!
  • StyleFeeder
  • Sudoku
  • Suomi-ilmiö
  • Superlatives
  • SuperPoke!
  • Super Slot Machines
  • Super Wall
  • Sweetest Person Contest
  • Tarot
  • Test ton niveau de culture
  • Texas HoldEm Poker
  • The Brain Game
  • The Legend of Zelda Fan
  • The Official 100 Question Geek Test
  • The Sex Compatibility Test
  • The Unofficial Desperate Housewife Quiz
  • The World’s Smallest Political Quiz
  • Top Friends
  • T.O.T. Effect
  • Tower Bloxx
  • Travel Brain
  • Traveler IQ Challenge
  • Trend Setter
  • True Match
  • Truth Box
  • TuneSocial
  • Twirl
  • Twist me!
  • U.S. Citizen Test
  • Vampires
  • Wanna Dance?
  • Water Globe Gifts
  • WC 2010 Euro Predictor
  • We’re Related
  • WereWolves
  • What Beer Are You?
  • What Color Is Your Heart?
  • What Does My Birthday Mean?
  • What Drink Are You?
  • What flower are you?
  • What football player are you?
  • What Is Your Ideal Job?
  • What is Your Secret Sexual Fantasy?
  • What is Your Supermodel Personality?
  • What kind of candy are you?
  • What Kind of Cat Would You Be?
  • What kind of hair best suits you? (for girls)
  • What Kind of Mom Will You Be?
  • What Lost Character Are You?
  • What Mythological Creature Are You?
  • What serial killer are you?
  • What song are you?
  • What’s Your Stripper Name?
  • Whats you true name? (Girls only)
  • What type of person do you attract?
  • What type of warrior are you?
  • When will you get married?
  • Which Disney Princess Are You?
  • Which Disney Song Describes Your Life Right Now?
  • Which Fashion Designer Would You Be?
  • Which Festival best suits you??
  • which F.R.I.E.N.D.S character are you???
  • Which Friends Character Are You?
  • Which Grey’s Anatomy Character Are You?
  • Which Hot Celeb Are You?
  • Which Rockstar Are You?
  • Which Sex and the City Character Are You?
  • Which Simpsons Character Are You?
  • Which WaterAid Country Are You?
  • Who Has The Biggest Brain?
  • Who is Watching You ?
  • Who’s Online
  • Who’s the Coolest Cat?
  • Will you KISS me?
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Word Challenge
  • Word Twist
  • YES or NO?
  • Your Birthday
  • You’re a Hottie
  • You’re Cute
  • Your Sexyness
  • YouTube Video Box
  • Zombies

You too can escape this minor pantheon of horror – and you can do it without the tedium of blocking each application as it spams your Facebook newsfeed. As you may know, Greasmonkey enables the customization through JavaScript of the way a webpage displays. Auto-Block Facebook Apps is a Greasmonkey script that will block application invitations sent to you by Facebook contacts. After the facebook profile page is loaded, it finds all the applications that your friends have invited you to and blocks them. Whenever you need you can go to the Facebook applications privacy controller and unblock the ones that you find somewhat valuable. With applications spam out of the way, Facebook will remain the neat social watering hole that makes it valuable for interaction with non-geeks.

Technology and The Web17 Sep 2008 at 19:34 by Jean-Marc Liotier

I just realized that Chrome does DNS prefectching and I would like to have that in a Firefox plugin. On fast links and older versions of Firefox, I used to enjoy Fasterfox – a plugin that among other speed optimizations prefetches link targets. Of course, that is a network intensive process that may not be suitable for general consumption. But proactive DNS resolving is a pretty harmless tweak that I would settle for – and the Fasterfox precedent shows that it is quite doable. Of course the paranoid prudent among us won’t like it, but that segment of the population knows how to turn off that sort of feature.

Brain dump and Jabber and The Web09 May 2008 at 9:57 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Openness is everything – the rest is details. The technology is there and people have been talking about it for more than a year. Let’s bow to the inevitable : just as Compuserve, AOL, The Source, Prodigy and their ilk have all dissolved in the Internet, Twitter will find a decentralized replacement. And let’s make the inevitable happen by pushing XMPP !

Techchrunch reported that “over the last few days a number of popular bloggers have complained, loudly, that it’s time to ditch Twitter and move to a decentralized version of the service that won’t go down every time usage spikes“. But I could not care less about that : I am not even a Twitter user. But I think there are good uses for micro-blogging and social instant messaging, so I want a free and open solution. That means decentralization in the classical Internetworking style.

RSS and Social networking and The Web07 May 2008 at 18:29 by Jean-Marc Liotier

I keep my regular daily reading sources in publicly available aggregator built with the excellent although not updated for a good while Gregarius. I thought it might also be useful to gather all my private feeds into another Gregarius instance for my exclusive perusal.

Kudos to LinkedIn whose “Network Updates” feeds is available through an URL with a path long enough to actually be used as a basic shared secret, which is adequate security for protecting such a low value information. This lends itself perfectly to the sort of private aggregation I want.

But no brownie points to Facebook whose behavior toward open communications never fails to disappoint. Last April, Facebook made its “Friend’s Status Updates” feed available in RSS format through the same sort of pseudo secret URL as LinkedIn. So far so good : a nice gesture of openness which made me happy when I pointed Firefox at my feed’s URL.

As I was compiling the list of feeds I was going to aggregate, I tested each of them from my web server’s Z shell to check their reachability. When I pointer ELinks at my “Friend’s Status Updates” feed URL, here is what I got :

You are using an incompatible web browser.
   Sorry, we're not cool enough to support your browser. Please keep it
   real with one of the following browsers:
     * Firefox
     * Opera
     * Safari
     * Flock

Baaad Facebook ! This is so incredibly lame : not only is it an unnecessary annoyance, but it is also completely ineffective since I’ll just have to insert a wget download in my hourly Gregarius update script and tell wget to pretend being Firefox. Gregarius will then happily download the local copy through my web server. I just tested and wget –user-agent=”Mozilla” works just fine.

Even easier : I’ll modify my local Gregarius copy so that util.php at line 539 reads “$client->agent = Mozilla;” instead of “$client->agent = MAGPIE_USER_AGENT;” so that Magpie (the RSS import library for Gregarius) tells Snoopy (the HTTP client for Magpie) to use whatever Facebook wants to hear to deliver the goods.

So Facebook :

  1. Gratuitously annoys its users
  2. Does not even do it competently

Now, isn’t it time to really open instead ?

Knowledge management and Social networking and The Web23 Nov 2007 at 11:04 by Jean-Marc Liotier

I set up a link blog and a collaborative bookmarking site for our tiny geek community. My friends have initially been slightly confused by the conceptual similarities. So here are a few general guidelines to provide a clearer distinction of use cases.

Both tools are relevant for posting links with no significant value added by the poster. If there is value added by the poster in the way of analysis, context, story telling or anything else, a traditional blog entry is a better choice.

A social bookmarking tool must focus on resources that the user might want to come back to in the future, or that he thinks that his friends might be interested in one day. The accent is on easy recall through various means of discovery such as search, feed reading and folksonomic exploration.

By contrast, a link blog focuses on immediate sharing. It is the place to show off the spectacular, the anecdotic, the exceptional – novelty items that you want to share with your friends but whose future recall value for practical use might be low.

The motive for link blogging is not just altruistic : posting in a link blog is also a way to elicit reactions to the content you discovered. And that is why the community gathered around your link blog is important : you want to gather contributions from the people that matter to you. And if you have enough feedback, then there might just be enough new material to warrant more synthetic capitalization in a proper blog article.

As you can see, although the niches of social bookmarking and link blogging in knowledge management do overlap a little, they are definitely distinct and educating the users in extracting the highest value from them is worth the effort.

Design and Identity management and Knowledge management and Social networking and The Web20 Nov 2007 at 6:47 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Open is everything – the rest is details. That is why we must take the best use cases of the closed social networking world and port them in the open. This is a lofty goal in all meaning of the adjective, but a surprisingly large number of potential basic components are available to cut the way short.

Friend of a Friend (FOAF) enables the creation of a machine-readable ontology describing persons, their activities and their relations to other people and objects. This concept is a child of the semantic web school of thought that has its origins about as far ago as the Web itself. In a narrower but deeper way, XFN (XHTML Friends Network) enables web authors to indicate their relationships to people simply by adding attributes to hyperlinks.

Microformats such as hCard, xfn, rel-tag, hCalendar, hReview, xFolk, hResume, hListing, citation, media-info and others provide a foundation for normalizing the information sharing. Some major operators are starting to get it – for example my LinkedIn profile contains hCard and hResume data. If you like hresume, take a look at DOAC while you are at it !

Some code is already available to process that available information. For example, identity-matcher is a Rails plugin to match identities and import social network graphs across any site supporting the appropriate Microformats. This code extracted from the codebase of dopplr.com and this is probably how Dopplr now supports import from other social networks like Twitter.

But part of the appeal of a social networking platform is how it empowers the user with control of what information he makes available, how it makes it available and to whom. So microformats are not sufficient : a permission management and access control system is necessary, and that requires an authentication mechanism. That naturally takes us to OpenID.

OpenID is a decentralized single sign-on system. Using OpenID-enabled sites, web users do not need to remember traditional authentication tokens such as username and password. Instead, they only need to be previously registered on a website with an “identity provider”. OpenID solves the authentication problem without relying on any centralized website to confirm digital identity.

The OpenID project is going even further than just authentication – authentication is just the surface. What OpenID really is about is digital identity management. OpenID Attribute Exchange is an OpenID service extension for exchanging identity information between endpoints. Although the list of attributes included in the OpenID Attribute Exchange schema does not match a nice collection of microformats, a process is defined to submit new attributes. And anyway, such a standard looks like a great fit to cover the need for keeping the user in control of his own content.

Finally, the social graph is the support for applications that must interact with the user’s information wherever it is hosted. That is why Google’s OpenSocial specification proposes a common set of API for social applications across multiple websites.

So a few technologies for social networking do exist, and they seem able to provide building blocks for an open distributed social networking. The concept of open distributed social networking itself has been in people’s mind for a long time. But until now only large proprietary platforms have succeeded in seducing a critical mass of users. Thanks to them, there is now a large body of information about the best practices and use-cases. What is now necessary is to think about how those use-cases can be ported into a decentralized open environment.

Porting a closed single provider system into an open distributed environment while equaling or surpassing the quality of the user experience is a huge challenge. But social networking and digital identity management are such critical activities in people’s life that the momentum behind opening them may soon be as large as the one that led Internet pioneers to break down the walls between networks.

Brain dump and Email and Jabber and Social networking and The Web19 Nov 2007 at 10:43 by Jean-Marc Liotier

Most social tools come and go. The ones that stay share a common feature : openness. For example, email is open : chose any technology, chose any provider or be your own provider, chose any client, any platform – any way you do it you are still connected to the whole world.

If you have the slightest understanding of your own interest, then there is no way you should even consider using a closed platform as your primary mean of communication. Why would you willingly chose to put your most critical asset outside of your control ?

Many users will object that they gladly surrender control to closed social networking platforms because plain email does not meet their sophisticated communications needs and they are not willing to invest in developing the skills currently required to participated efficiently in the blogging sphere. That is a tragedy because the social graph is quickly becoming the glue of the connected services.

And even if the functionality was sufficient, we would still have a huge mindshare gap to bridge. XMPP provides nice basic instant messenging and presence management in an open environment, but most users still prefer proprietary centralized networks and happily trade freedom for webcam compatibility.

But similar battles have been fought and won in the past : Compuserve, AOL, The Source, Prodigy and their ilk have all dissolved in the Internet. The forces of openness now have a new crusade to embark upon : we must take the best use cases of the closed social networking world and port them in the open !

Open is everything – the rest is details. That is what drew me to the Internet fifteen years ago.

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