Blog changes ahead! (this blog is closed, use mrtopf.de instead)

28 11 2007
This blog is being closed! Use http://mrtopf.de/blog instead!

As you might have noticed I am trying to concentrate my blogs based on thoughts expressed here. The main blog address now is

http://mrtopf.de/blog (CLICK HERE SUBSCRIBE)

So after some consideration and discussions I am now planning to pretty much have everything on one blog. This means, I have the topics Python, Plone, Second Life, Web 2.0, sometimes german politics, New Marketing, Old vs. New Media and many more on here. Some of the programming topics might even include some low level content (which means source code) but I don’t expect too much of it. It will also be clearly marked as “technical” in the headline. In the end it will incorporate content from the following blogs:

Then I have two languages to cover, german and english. For each post in german I will add at least a little english summary on top as you can already see it. I am not sure it’s necessary the other way round as I would think that most germans understand english.

I am also concentrating most of my podcasting on it. This includes stuff formerly found on taotakashi.wordpress.com, mrtopf.tv, mrtopf.de and dev.comlounge.net. My videoblog COM.lounge TV will be unaffected by this but I might cross post some stuff here. My german podcast TopfCast will also move to mrtopf.de then (and I still have to switch itunes here).

What does it mean for Second Life related content as written as Tao Takashi?

Tao Takashi will keep on writing which basically means there will still be english posts about Second Life (and probably also some video here and then). It just will be published at http://mrtopf.de/blog. My feed for World of SL will just have the english SL articles as it is right now. For my full range of topics you might want to consider subscribing to my complete feed though.

Subscription options

To give you some more flexibility on what you want to read I created some new feeds based on the categories I use:

all my posts (with english summaries if germen)
only german posts
only english posts
only english Second Life posts for World of SL (old Tao Takashi feed)
only english Plone related posts for planet.plone.org (old dev.comlounge.net feed)

I am not sure if more are needed. You can also use these feeds to subscribe to my podcasts/videos in iTunes or Miro (or whatever you use) as they will all have enclosures.

So this will be a new phase of blogging and I hope all goes well πŸ™‚

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What should I do with my blogs?

15 11 2007

This is some sort of brainstorming about what to do about the proliferation of blogs I have these days. But let me explain!

So I have many blogs these days:

  • Tao Takashi about Second Life in english
  • dev.comlounge.net is about Plone and low level coding stuff (but these days also more highlevel social networks stuff in english)
  • mrtopf.de is my german blog which I started in order to connect more with the german community
  • mrtopf.tv is my first video blog for more personal stuff
  • comlounge.tv is a more technical oriented Videoblog mainly about Plone and Python but was also supposed to have a wider topic range.
  • mrtopf.de/podcast is my german podcast (well, 3 episode in 6 months.. but I  hope to be more active there).

Some history

Now why is this? Probably all this came historically. First was dev.comlounge.net where I posted stuff about Plone mainly geared towards the Plone community (which aggregates on planet.plone.org). This sort of died at some point until I revived it recently. Then I had the Tao Takashi SL blog which I started because I thought SL is a good topic to have a blog about as nearly every minute something new is happening (indeed this is my most active blog since a month ago or so). In the meanwhile I also started to do video stuff which I posted on mrtopf.tv which is basically a Blogger.com blog but ftpd to my domain (which never worked that well). And once I started to film conferences which were more about Plone I started plone.tv which is now comlounge.tv as the first one went over to Nate for videos from many people out of the Plone community.

And then I noticed that I actually don’t know anybody in the german scene which is why I started mrtopf.de/blog (actually revived my old homepage and installed WordPress).

So in fact I am on two planets, the Plone planet and the Second Life Planet which means that people probably expect mostly on-topic posts. That was my reason why I did not mix everything. Add languages to that.

What’s the problem?

So now I have a problem because there is not real starting point when you want to look for me. This also means that I would have to put 10 URLs on my business cards. This is not really great. Thus I created mrtopf.de/connect which makes sense but probably is still somewhat annoying and some redirection.

The main problem though is that I noticed that I crosspost a lot these days. This might mean that something is wrong. Additionally I talked to Stephanie Booth who has the same problem with language and she said that one blog converts better than several (which is of course more about marketing but isn’t a blog also self-promotion? I guess you want to have readers otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Especially you want to have conversations). So this is probably true, too.

Actually I’d even need more blogs, because I have roughly 4 topics (Second Life, Plone, Social Networks and the rest) and 2 languages which makes 8 blogs. Add 2 videoblogs and 1 podcast in 2 languages to it and you get an additional 6 blogs. I could even also start to divide between low- and highlevel, which basically means code snippets or Python tips which makes 28 blogs then.

Now it’s obvious that it probably does not make sense to divide all this into blogs.

What’s the solution?

Now this is the question. There 2 main requirements:

  1. People on topic specific blog aggregators might not want me to stay roughly on topic (although I personally don’t mind some broader range on those blogs)
  2. some people might want to stay in one language, esp. not everybody might want to read german if they don’t understand it.

So my thinking is this:

  • Put everything in one blog (which will probably be mrtopf.de)
  • Create categories “English” and “German” as well as topic based ones like “Second Life” or “Plone”
  • Create two categories “World of SL” and “Planet Plone” and put the feeds of them through FeedBurner on the planets.
  • Create categories “Videoblog” and “Podcast” and post everything on the blog, too

Some blog posts I might even do in both languages although I think that germans theoretically should be able to understand english. They would even be allowed to comment in german πŸ˜‰

For german posts I might put some summary on top like Stephanie suggested.

One exception is probably COM.lounge TV which might stay it’s own blog as it’s more company branded but I might crosspost interesting videos on the main blog.

So the questions are now:

  • Would people be annoyed by sometimes reading english or german although it’s not their first language or they do not understand it anyway? Will this drive readers away?
  • Would people mind if I sometimes post lowlevel developer blurbs? I guess this wouldn’t happen that often anyway. Those will probably be mostly english.
  • How do I get all my readers over here? Most of the feeds go through Feedburner, so that’s easy but because the SL-Blog is WordPress-hosted not everything goes via Feedburner.
  • Should I copy some posts over (like those from the web2expo or some IMHO “important” posts?)
  • What will iTunes say if I change my videoblogging content/URLs? well, they go through Feedburner, too.
  • How many germans actually would have a problem with english?

Your opinion?

So what’s your opinion? Do you have similar problems? How did you solve this? Would like to hear more πŸ™‚

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Travel plans ahead

29 10 2007

The end of the year is slowly approaching but the end of travelling is not πŸ˜‰ So here are my most recent travel plans. If you are at these places too and want to meet me just send me a note!

Barcamp/Podcamp Berlin, 3-4 Nov 2007

This will be a lot of fun! It starts on Friday with a party and will close on sunday again with a party or actually 2. One is the Geek Dinner with Stowe Boyd and the other one the pl0gbar special Berlin. Right now I am thinking about giving at least 2 sessions: One about the new Second Life Grid Architecture (basically the same as at the webmonday in Aachen but this time in english) and one about Plone. I just have to prepare it though and I am wondering what I might put in there. Audience will probably be people who don’t know Plone yet. You can find all the information about the Barcamp here.

After the Barcamp it goes on in Berlin with

Web 2.0 Expo Berlin and Web2Open Berlin, 5-8 November 2007

Those are sort of related. The first one is the conference by O’Reilly and the latter will be the more barcamp like unconference at the same time. I still need to check out which sessions to attend and maybe thinking about holding one. Will probably quite problematic as the conference is already 5-track and the Web2Open will add to this amount of stuff to listen to. On monday there will additionally be workshops. If you are attending, maybe add yourself to the social network around it (my profile).

There will be also some parties around this:

On thursday I will then travel back and eventually attend the Second Life roundtable in Cologne, should it happen (I heard rumours about Twinity and StageSpace showing their products)

Webmontag Cologne, Nov 26th

This will just be an evening and not far so it might not count as travelling but it should be nice nevertheless. Maybe I will also present something, we will see. You can find all about it here.

So that’s it for November. There is nothing really planned for December except going for some vacation to Poland to visit the family of my girlfriend (and getting lots of great stuff to eat ;-).

Snow Sprint 2008

The new year might begin with the Snow Sprint but it might also begin with the annual #amigager meeting in Karlsruhe (called MeKa). I haven’t heard about this yet so we will see.

Definitely happening will be the Snow Sprint 2008 though and I am planning to attend it in order to get some new features implemented (maybe we can finish commenting there with Tom).

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Vote for Open Source

3 09 2007

As you might know I am a big fan of open source and also active in at least one bigger open source project. And this is where we might need some help πŸ™‚

The european union is looking for votes for their e-Gov awards which are about inspiring cases in the field of e-government. PloneGov, a bottom-up open source initiative, was selected as finalists although competing with large projects funded by national governments.

What is PloneGov?

55 European, African, North and South American Public organizations participate in the PloneGov project. In doing so, they aim to gain independence from large IT services providers by developing, essentially by themselves and in a cooperative manner, applications and websites for their own use as well as for their citizens’.
This is done in an GPL compatible way making it the only true open source alternative among the finalist in this award

And this is why you should vote for it. More open source in public places should mean broader adoption and maybe even helps against one of the biggest threads of open source software which is software patents.

How to vote?

Unfortunately the voting process has been made a bit complicated, but here is a list what you have to do:

You can vote until September 7th, so do it now! πŸ™‚ Help make Open Source a success!

Links

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SLCC: Keynote of Philip Linden

28 08 2007

The first thing on Saturday morning was the opening keynote by Philip Linden. While the keynote last year seemed a bit philosophical this year’s was definitely filled with some facts.

He started with an apology by showing his T-Shirt showing “missing image”. This he explained stands for Linden Lab being in the community’s way. And this needs to be different. Linden Lab should not be the most visible part.

This led into a in-depth discussion of downtimes, crashes, inventory loss and the like. He had a nice metaphor in which he stressed that Linden Lab is indeed a “Lab”. And if LL is a lab what are then the residents? πŸ™‚

He got a bit into detail that they really behave like a lab and were changing stuff quite quickly sometimes because they felt that they needed to. As a results residents indeed felt quite often like being part of an experiment in the interest of human nature. And in fact they were. According to Philip this simply was necessary because the critical mass was missing. There was no time to make proposals, discuss these in depth with everybody, refine them and at some point finally implement them. Instead they just implemented.

Nowadays the critical mass is there and Philip promised that they want to become a lot less a lab. This is due to the fact that Second Life has been proven to exist. Even if it’s going down tomorrow it will get rebuild – by the community. This wasn’t the same 1-2 years ago. And now Linden Lab is listening.

Resident satisfaction: Concurrency and Outages

Apparently there are still many problems with the grid these days. Philip is fully aware of that and in order to prove this he showed a couple of graphs. These graphs should soon be available additonally to the economic data.

In this photo you can see the concurrency graph with outages (red). In the photo below you can see the satisfaction graph additionally (yellow).

Crash Breakdown

In this graph you can see that there really hasn’t been any movement in crash frequency. On the one hand you can see that nothing improved over time but you can also see that you can also not recognize certain releases of new features.
As Philip states it: “we are not actively screwing things up as you might think”

Inventory loss

In the graph of inventory loss you can see at least a small improvement. Philip said though that these things are hard to track down and there are about 20 different ways to lose inventory which are spread across all cases. So it’s hard to fix “this single problem” as there is no single problem.

User Satisfaction


A rather new feature is the satisfaction survey which is randomly spread among logins. Philip said that they have this screen with replies hanging in their lunch room in order to have a constant motivation to make things better. The color code here is that green means it got better and yellow that satisfaction got worse. As you also can see some residents write complete essays on what went wrong.

Voice

Nowadays about 1/3 of the active grid population uses voice. In total about 230,000 residents have used voice so far and the peak concurrency of people talking that the same time has been 13,000. As for the estates about 25% of them have voice turned off.

Communities

This was about orientation islands for special purposes. Now about 40% of the incoming traffic goes to custom orientation islands instead of the Linden Lab ones. You can actually choose which to use in the signup process. On the Linden Lab islands there are about 10,000-20,000 people a day spread across 100 islands.

But more orientation islands are still needed and as for the most successful one he mentioned the Japan one which among others is outperforming the Linden Lab ones.

Exploration

A recent topic of Philip seems to be exploration. He mentioned this in the interview with the german magazine Focus as well as in the keynote. What this means is basically that with virtual worlds you have the chance to explore the real world more easily than without. You can go to replicas of e.g. Tokio, meet people from Tokio there and get in touch with them. You might learn quite a bit more than just by visiting japanese websites esp. as you usually need to be able to read japanese.

(As a sidenote I might add that esp. germans seem to be big in recreating their cities. I have no idea why that is but we soon have nearly a copy of every bigger german city in SL.. )

He also got a bit into the bigger picture of what we are doing right now. This is just the beginning and “we are the first people to the party”. What we are doing is what everybody on earth will be going to use (maybe not SL but something similar). He said that it’s even going to get bigger than the web. The reasoning behind that is actually what I mentioned above about exploring Tokio. You cannot really do that very good with just the web but maybe far better by using virtual worlds. While the web has made the world smaller (think of McLuhan’s global village) in the sense that you have access big parts of the world with it, virtual worlds might make it even “smaller” in the sense of the exploration idea (I hope I understood this correctly)

So this basically was what Philip was talking about. I liked it very much and if course I hope that these graphs will go down in the near future πŸ™‚


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Jason Calacanis declares Facebook Bankruptcy

1 08 2007

And I know how he feels although I am not Jason Calacanis and I am far away from getting these much requests for whatever on Facebook. You can read his rant here.

And he seems to be right. There is just too much stuff you can do on Facebook and people are actually doing it. And everytime somebody does something they invite you to be part of this. Because it’s social. But maybe at some point it becomes unsocial because it’s just getting to much and you cannot really follow it anyway. I mean I am in some groups and got invited to whatever, too (not as much as Jason though) but I really never do something with it. So for me Facebook runs more as yet another address book.

He is also right with his walled garden argument which all these applications on Facebook face. It’s also something Simon Willison mentioned in his EuroPython keynote about OpenID as he stated that there is this whole open internet and maybe having a platform is some sort of danger for this open internet. It’s of course easy to do all your stuff inside one platform because of one profil, one account etc. but as Simon says, the same could be true with OpenID.
Jason adds to that that it even makes no sense to create your own application inside somebody elses platform. Not sure he is right as it might sense to _additionally_ create an application there just because of the number of people there. Just only doing it there makes maybe not that much sense. After all also Facebook could be forgotten again tomorrow.

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The restricted community

2 07 2007

Some discussion recently came up when the SLCC organizer announced their media and community rules. Now the most discussion was actually about the community rules which are of course more or less common sense. The only thing I worry about is that if there’s a reason to print them out there might be something wrong with the audience. It’s the same problem I have with places where there are lots of CCTVs – instead of feeling secure I feel more insecure because there seems to be a reason why you need them.

IMHO a simple friendly reminder that people should be respectful in whom they make photos of might have been enough. It should be clear to everybody anyway that they should not damage any property and that the organizers have the right to remove people from the conference if they misbehave.

The rules for journalists
Now what worries me more are the rules about doing media coverage. Any recording of the panels and tracks is prohibited and only Phreak Radio has an exclusive contract to record and rebroadcast these.. Now I am very very very unhappy about that.

I couldn’t attend SLCC last year and thus was sitting at home in front of my computer in Second Life and watching it there with some friends at Timeless’ house. Of course not everything was streamed and the stream wasn’t always on but you had at least an idea of what was happening there, could see some people on the stage and so on. Still I though some more coverage might be nice.

So this year I am attending and thought about making all better, help with filming the panels, try to get as much footage out of it as possible to share with those not being able to attend. I also thought about doing a ustream.tv or blogtv.com coverage attempt if bandwidth and time allows (as there isn’t an official video stream this year).

But with the recent announcements I can forget that. That’s very sad indeed as I usually want to share the cool stuff I see with others and hopefulle discuss it with them. In this case I think it’s even more important for those not being able to attend. Additionally it spreads the word about Second Life and what it is all about. So IMHO the door for people who want to jump in should be as wide open as possible and not closed.

And there is another point. Jennifur Peregrine says in this comment that “some track leaders have expressly stated that they do not want their panels or tracks videotaped”.

Now I wonder what sense does that make? Do you have something to say? Do you want to reach the biggest possible number of people or not? I think you should! And I think people would want to listen. And they want to attend as much as possible even if they are not able to make it.

Summarizin I think if this is a community convention and the word “community” does not only mean those 400 attending but the whole SL community (not everybody has the money to come nor is there space for all of them), then media coverage should be as open as possible.

This stuff needs to be shared on every possible channel by every possible person in their respective communities. Make it findable on YouTube, on flickr, on blip.tv, on ustream.tv etc. Moreover this does not really fit into these YouTube/Creative Commons/Open Source times..

As Nicholaz Beresford notes here: “Well, being an cc/open-source/tekkie type I’m sure not thrilled by these kinds of rules. But trying to gain control over content is Zeitgeist, but I think it is an uphill battle and the problem will solve itself.”

Unfortunately we have to wait for that a bit more.

There are also some questions which I still would like to know more about:

  • Will the sessions be videotaped at all? (If so I hope they have a camera person who also zooms in sometimes. Would make it more useful)
  • Will the footage be released? (of course without the “forbidden” footage)
  • Why actually is there an exclusive contract with Phreak Media? Why not let everybody help spreading the word?
  • What are these union regulations all about? Are people not allowed to film what they want at their own conference? Why doo other conferences do not have these problems?

I also think that video is important btw. It gives a better feeling if what was going on there. MP3 is also ok but more as additional medium maybe.

All in all Second Life stands for me as extension of Web2.0 but it seems at least the convention is not really in that tradition. To me it sounds a bit too much regulated and more like “commercial” but not like “community”.

Now I don’t want to make the surely big amount of work of the organizer not bad or so just this regulations don’t feel that open to me as Second Life feels. Maybe I am also not used to such restrictions. I usually visit Barcamps and Open Source conferences such as EuroPython, Plone Conference, Sprints etc. and media coverage was never a problem. In the case of barcamps it’s even part of the whole thing. So maybe it’s just my expectation that the SLCC is sort of the same thing and this was wrong.. Certainly it’s not the future of media.

Update: Jennifur commented on Pownce that some negotiation with Phreak Radio might take place tonight. Will keep you posted.