So who is on Twitter? :-)

18 11 2007

I think it makes sense to ask once in a while again on different channels so I have a chance to follow you :-)

So who from my audience is on Twitter and I don’t yet know about?

Feel free to share your Twitter URL in the comments so other people can follow you, too. You can also add me, I can
be found at http://twitter.com/mrtopf

As Twitter sort of became my main source of information it’s certainly great to check Twitter as well for nice SL events and other news.
(although with the amount if tweets I get it might get more and more difficulty to find the thing you actually search for at that moment).

Tags: , ,





Virtual Worlds @ mixxt

14 11 2007

As I am a beta tester for the new social networking platform mixxt (which lets you create your own social network and host it) I of course created a social network about Virtual Worlds. Please feel free to join it by clicking here.

You can find it at

http://virtualworlds.mixxt.de/

Contents are not really there yet but we have a wiki, an events calendar and a forum. If you have topics which might be suited feel free to add them.

So for now it’s empty, you might decide what comes up on it and what might be discussed.

I am also wondering how big the interest in a discussion is which combines open social networks and virtual worlds as I see them in the future as being one thing.

Tags: , , ,





The future of Firefox (Web 2.0 Expo Berlin)

9 11 2007

Now up on stage is Tristan Nitot, co-founder of the Mozilla Europe Foundation.

Looking back to 1999-presence: Mozilla is doomed, even JWZ quit. He asked the audience to stand up and then those people sit down who use Firefox mainly and nearly everybody sat down. So he’s now more positive about the future again :-)

Germany is the second biggest market for Mozilla in the world after the US. Poland and Slovenia are approaching 50% of FF users.

Firefox 3

Although rumours say it, beta 1 is not yet ready.

Engine update

  • Better mem management,
  • Snappier,
  • Better standards support
  • Full page zoom
  • Advanced font rendering
  • native form control (no custom buttons)

UI changes

  • Visual refresh still to come
  • Toolbar rearrange
  • Page info redesign
  • new download manager
  • visual drag&drop

New. The “awsomebar”, formerly Places

  • reinvent bookmarks
  • Merging history, bookmarks, and adding tagging

He then showed a demo of some of the features:

Mozilla 2: problems trying to get solved

  • More performance, smaller footprint (mobile devices), more secure
  • DeCOMtamination (rewriting tools to massively update the codebase)
  • Tamarin JIT compiler JS2 engine

Firefox mobile

  • Plans announced October 9th, 2007
  • Based on Mozilla 2 (e.g. will take some time, and FF3 will *not* run on your mobile)

Ways to get involved

Tags: , , , , , , ,





High Order Bit: Seedcamp (Web 2.0 Expo Berlin)

8 11 2007

Speaking is Reshma Sohoni about how they come up with the entrepeneurs for their project.

Why Seedcamp?

It is all about creating, accelerating the next phase of european entrepeneurs.

The advantages of Europe:

  • EU as 11 of Top 15 broadband markets (actually 10 as switzerland is not in the EU).
  • Online advertisers spend 2x in UK than in the US
  • EU has an amazing young R&D talent
  • Europe has given birth to a lot of technologies: MySQL, Linux, etc.
  • EU has experienced VC companies (Index, ACCEL, atlas ventures etc.)
  • There are some great exits: Skype, kelkoo, last.fm, …
  • pipeline of leaders: Joost, Habbo Hotel, netvibes, spreadshirt, …
  • Entrepeneurs are actively investing such as Zennstrom, Samwer etc.

What is Seedcamp?

  • It is not an incubator, it’s a european initiative to catalyze the next generation of entrepeneurs
  • Comination of Seedcamp Week + 3 months immersin + Seedcamp on the road
  • Initial funding to get started and more importantly a strongly supportive mentor community
  • Organization supported by leading VCs, Angel investors, Corporates, etc.
  • The go-to community for entrepreneurs starting up Internet and mobile related businesses.
  • Seedcamp is backed by Euope’s leaders and a few friends (Google, TechCrunch, web2.0 expo, …)

How does it work?

Started a few months ago.

4 phases: Application & Selection, Seed funding, Company development, Seedcamp on the road.

The Future – how we work together

  • We want more hackers and less pure MBAs
  • Help us get the word out locally
  • Help us to create an active community (Forums, Facebook)
  • Get ready for next year’s seedcamp

Blogged with Flock

Tags: , , , , ,





A Conversation with Ari Virtanen, Nokia (Web 2.0 Expo)

8 11 2007

Ari Virtanen has two devices in his pockets these says. One cellphone and one internet tablet. Tim asks if this is a laptop replacement. It’s a totally different computing behaviour than with a laptop.

Now we come to the purchase of NAVTEQ and what Nokia might be in the future. Ari says that devices will be part of Nokia’s future. They will not just go into a different direction. But on top of this Nokia put together a good set of internet services. Services and Devices work together and interact.

How is the relationships to carriers as they usually had the services. Is Nokia at odd with the carriers now that they provide freely available internet services? Ari: The services from the carriers are mostly speech based and this area is more or less over and things are shifting. It is not that black and white anymore.

Tim thinks in the mobile market Europe has the most to get into Web2.0. Tim then gets back to NAVTEQ and wants to hear more about it. Ari: Nokia has a pretty good situation in the devices but not so good in the services. To extend this such deals are needed. It’s about adding a context and content to existing services. Think of photos etc. and mashups.

Tim: Is this a missed opportunity by NAVTEQ because they did not provide user generated content. Will Nokia add this? Ari: Nokia users make up a good chunk of people who create user generated content (think cams). So he sees a lot happening there in the future.

Tim: Why do you wanna own that asset? Ari: NAVTEQ is staying very independent inside NOKIA. By having this asset what NAVTEQ provides, there is a lot of potential for NOKIA to combine this with other information such as location contexts. For Ari this defines Web 3.0. Web 3.0 then adds context.

Tim: Usually you see hacker activities first before it gets more mainstream. Ari: Social Networks are one of the fastest growing trends at the moment. Nokia can add location and being able to stay connected all the time and interact with your community (Tim interrupts here..).

Tim: In the classes of uses there are already lots of players (photos, music. …). Are you e.g. competing with flickr or picasa? Ari: NOKIA will cooperate not try to replace them.

Tim: Think about iTunes, there is a strategy with the PC as the central piece and lots around it. Will it be the same for Nokia? Ari: NOKIA wants to make it as easy to use all those services with your handset.

Tim: Now what about the Adressbook, why do we only see the last 10 calls not every call as this is my social network? Ari: This is one of the potential services NOKIA can think of. This kind of presence information can then again combined with your context. The starting point is a trusting ground, a trusted platform which NOKIA has. You need to build on top of that.

Tim: When will NOKIA join the open handset alliance? Ari: We always did open architectures and open standards (he sort of avoids an answer here). Tim: Is there another “open”? :-)

Tim: Do you see the phone getting into new form factors? Ari: Certainly, see the internet devices and also laptops will change. It’s more a business model change though than a technology change when it goes to the more open internet model (e.g. VoiP). NOKIA will soon have WIMAX on some devices. But this might add a subscription model and they don’t want this on the internet devices.

Tim: Do users really care about subscription? You pay “hidden subscription” somewhere. Ari: You have it absolutely right. It’s hard to predict how much your phone usage costs (problem of carrier business plans). Users might want to buy devices and subscriptions separately so competition is driven

Tim: So what about Google and the GooglePhone rumours? Ari: Google is very much serving the vision Nokia has but slightly different. All in all this is good for the industry as it drives these things. The more companies are supporting these architectures, the better. No answer to whether he thinks Google will succeed.

Tim: Is NOKIA moving further and further away from devices? Ari: We do both directions, devices and services. Just launched no device strategy.

Tim: How much revenue do bring services to NOKIA? Ari: Depends on the services. So far the services are mostly in test status. Business model on navigation and mapping might be buying city guides or download fees for maps.

Tim: Why hasn’t loaction based stuff happened that much from triangulation? Ari: GPS will be NOKIAs strategy. Not all devices will have GPS though due to the wide range of devices. But high end devices will mostly have it.

Tim: How fast is the high-end becoming the low-end in mobile (see PCs)? When is the smartphone the norm? Ari: The markets are slightly different. cannot put the finger on an actual number of months or years.

Tim: Do the used phone market change that at all? see ebay. Ari: Not a major part of the market because most people want to have a new device as it’s a status device.

Audience: Can you give us a NOKIA POV on sustainability, like chargers, packaging, etc. Ari: Good question. NOKIA is thinking about this very seriously. Very soon we will try to standardize these plugs for chargers etc. another q: Why was the plug changed recently? Ari: The new plug is smaller and it’s much better for the device design. They wanted to do it rather sooner than later. Goal is to have a new standard charger for all phones.

Question about Media serving. Ari: We have different types of serving media. The most common is one-to-many. But there is another one-to-one serving type.

Tags: , , , , , ,





Cory Doctorow talks at the Web 2.0 Expo

8 11 2007


I am attending the talk by Cory Doctorow (of BoingBoing fame among other things) now, probably one of the best talks here at the conference and of course Cory is a hero :-)

So here are my notes, not sure I got everything right as it’s hard to write and listen to it as he’s quite of fast but feel free to correct me :-)

The main problem here is that Europe and the US are playing ping-pong when it comes to copyright directives. If one continent has a longer copyright than the other than it’s extended even a bit more and then again by the other party and so on. All in the name of harmonization. This is not a good thing though.

The state of the copyright world in the US

  • two technologies might be identical but one illegal just because they might advertise it as being able to infringe copyright (thought crime)
  • VCR wouldn’t have been possible as Sony once advertised it as not only time-shifting application but also a means for creating your video library.
  • now we have the DMCA
  • the DMCA also means that anybody simply can take off something the internet without showing prove. no court involved.
  • example: Viacom just searched for keywords which might cover their copyrighted works on Youtube and sent the results to Youtube to take it down. But the search was ambigious and legal stuff was found to but taken down.
  • Viacom also says that privacy should be illegal as it might infringe copyright. But: you cannot share certain pictures anymore as you may not want to have this stuff publically available. Think of your child in the bathtube.
  • there are over 20.000 cases in the US where companies sue music fans. Will this bring them back to the music store?
  • statistics show: prolific downloaders are also prolific purchasers. So they sue the wrong people
  • DMCA was designer in 1995 and was shown to Al Gore who dismissed it at first. Now Europe thinks of even worse things.

What’s happening in Europe?

  • IPRED2 (IP Rights Enforcement Directive 2): Lot’s of scary information behind this link.
  • example pirate bay: A swedish member of parliament asked the police illegally to raid the ISP hosting it. Result: Takedown of 200 more servers not belonging to the PB. The Pirate Bay was not really affected by this though. Businesses had lots of problems due that. If you don’t have backups your business might be sort of dead.
  • Thus punishes more innocent people than the bad guys
  • DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting Project) wants to create a standard for digital broadcasting. Part of this is CPCM
  • CPCM is a far-reaching system of use-restrictions on digital television programming which was suddenly worked on by the DVB group. Every device  being able to receive and play digital video will probably need to implement it.
  • CPCM stands for Content Protection Copy Management and is Europe’s broadcast flag but goes much further. As a result US will probably again wants to “harmonize” and make it even worse.
  • So provisions for private audience, classroom showings are not in there. They can simply switch off the broadcast flag and you are not allowed to break it under euopean laws. You cannot show this video although you actually might be legally allowed to do so. Rumour say that you can call a toll free number to override this but how good will this work?!?
  • A video can be flagged that it can only be used by one household. The problem is the definition of “what is a household”. “If you have a boat and a house and another house and a minivan, then this can be treated as one household”. Now imaging: people living in different countries, daughter in a different country etc. They say, it’s a corner case they did not engineer for it.
  • Another example: You and your wife are divorced and your daughter spends half the time at your place and half the time at her mothers’s. Is this a household? Will the 8 year old daughter call the toll free line so she can watch TV?
  • The restrictions of CPCM: A pause button cannot pause a video for more than 2 hours because of some very strange reasons in which cases a show might be able to be seen for 48 hours although it’s only allowed to being watched for 24 hours.
  • Another problem: You are not able to implement this as open source because it could be hacked that way.
  • Interoperability becomes a matter of permission. Since now it is not the matter of the producer to decide what you are allowed to do with something after you bought it. E.g. you can use any charger with your nokia phone.
  • You can only interoperate with that stuff if you make a contract with them. Breaking it is illegal.
  • Now this will get enacted with the new digitial television provisions and then it might get back to the US where maybe the next step is added.

Hope can we solve this and make it better?

  • Get involved with the EFF! They do brilliant things.
  • You can support groups in your own country like the CCC in Germany.
  • Creative Commons and iCommons organizations are all over. They take stance against these things
  • Participate in the hearings. Right now only the rights holders are there. We need more geeks there.
  • For the majority of music artists giving them more years of copyright makes no difference.
  • Good example in Britain: Resistance stopped prolonging the copyright.

All in all a very scary talk and I wish more people had listened to it. Room wasn’t really packed.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,





Open Social at Barcamp Berlin 2

3 11 2007

We just finished a session at the Barcamp Berlin 2 on the new Google Open Social API which is quite hyped at the moment probably due to the name and due to the fact that everybody hopes it fixed the whole social network problem field. Of course it doesn’t but it seems to be a good start.

I has the pleasure to present together with David Recordon of Six Apart. That’s esp. nice as I just stumbled upon his paper he did with Brad Fitzpatrick on the Social Graph. David also knows quite a bit more about Open Social of course, simply because Six Apart is one of the Google partners on this project.

Here are my quickly created slides which served as a small introduction:

We also had a great Q&A session afterwards which probably was having more questions that answers. I will try to summarize some of the discussion later (and probably adding my own thoughts). I also recorded part of the discussion on video and I will put this up later and post it here.

Unfortunately not too much information on how to implement Open Social containers is available now, otherwise it might be nice to try to create a Plone implementation.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,





What is the future of Social Networks?

31 10 2007

So recently I “had to” add some new social networks to my growing list of accounts (e.g. this one) and it again started to annoy me quite a bit.

So what is wrong?

Basically I think it’s the fact that all those social networks out there (or at least most) are very much walled gardens. They surely give me all sorts of interaction possibilities with my friends and contacts but it’s all happening just on their site.

They model my social graph for me but it’s hidden on their site.

The let my friends send me messages but those are hidden on their site (although we have a quite well working messaging system called email. Why not at least include the message body in that email).

The let me write applications for their site but they again are hidden on their site and not portable anyway (might change with OpenSocial).

The have all my data but it’s hidden on their site.

So all of this is sort of annoying me plus the fact that nearly none of those sites utilize useful things like OpenID (IIRC some Ning representative at the AlwaysOn conference said that users don’t want OpenID. Hello?)

So what is the future here? I think I am getting more and more lazy with each new social network which wants my data. I might not try to find my friends anymore, I might not try to interact much with it beside that what might be very much useful for me.
I might not even respond to messages anymore because I might happen to have forgotten my password for this one and I am too lazy to go through that email process (which email was it again? Which was actually my account name?!?)

As long as you are not the top ten of those sites that’s probably bad for you.

So social networks need to open up. They need to give me my data back and might subscribe to my already existing data like my social graph which might be stored where I like it. That way those networks will get much more useful data.

One problem is of course also the advertising model most of the sites use. This of course is a main driving force for walled gardens. So it might be interesting to see if the open source community will come up with something better. There are already good attempts like NoseRub or even OpenID (maybe not open source but open standards).

Then there are also attempts on making virtual worlds more interoperable and from what I see so far esp. in the Second Life Grid Architecture Working Group is also promising for social networks in general. They think ahead of how to define identity in a more global way. Of course we have to see how much is left when the protocols are finished and of course many of the existing virtual worlds (actually all) are also walled gardens. But maybe there is hope :-)

So what do you think about the future of social networks regarding openness? Will you have a future where virtual worlds will be part of that and where you have to define an avatar additionally to friends, groups and profile on every single website you want to visit or do you think you can reuse existing information and actually control it?

Tags: , , , , , , ,





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.





introducing Pownce, the new Twitter.

2 07 2007

Pownce.com

A new kid is on the blogs: Pownce.

If you know Twitter or Jaiku or if you are german and know texteln, frazr and 7 others then you might know what Pownce is. It lets you share your status messages with your friends. But not only that because Pownce can even more, like share a link, share a file (up to 10MB, 100MB if you go pro. They are served by S3. Maybe they even use EC2? And if it’s an MP3 it will directly show up with an embedded player) and share an event complete with RSVP messages.

Like Twitter you can subscribe to your friends posts by adding them. If they don’t add you back you will only receive their public posts, the default is to post only to your friends. If they add you back you will get those, too. Unfortunately there is no way of changing the default as mine could be all public.

And according to this blog post by Leah it also seems that it’s coded in Python with Django. Which makes me instantly fall in love with it of course ;-)

Friends

A nice feature is grouping of friends. You can create named sets with 1+ friends in them and this group will show up in the selection list where you select to whom to send a post (public, friends only, groups): In this selection you can also select each friend individually thus integrating a direct message system without the need for a separate page (although when reading you might want them to stand out). Also a nice feature is the “forward” function which lets you forward any post to another friend or (as an option) to all friends who have missed this (thus not being the friend of your friend).

Adding new friends is also easier. When entering a new social network it’s usually the problem number 1 to add enough friends so that it makes sense. In Pownce there is a nice way of doing it as the system shows you friends of friends on the “Add new friend” page. This makes it easier to find your buddies as they are most likely already connected somewhere in your network. The downside might be that more friend requests are made than usually even to people you maybe don’t know (at least I have the feeling that I get more of them than on e.g. Twitter) and you maybe have to decide what to do with them. Well, I simply add them, I guess I can still delete them if they post too much stuff I am not interested in.

Notifications

On the notification side you can define quite a few things, the default is to get notified with every action which is of course annoying as every new post by a friend will trigger an email. But you can decide to e.g. only get notifications for replies to your posts, new events, files and so on. Unfortunately the content of the post/reply is not already included in the mail and thus you need to click first.

Replies

Another feature similar to Jaiku are replies. Instead of writing @somebody you just click the reply-Button of a post and enter your reply. Additionally you can rate the post. The problem with replies is though that you only see the ones you made or received but if you reply in some other friend’s post you cannot subscribe to further replies. Thus you might miss conversations. The same is true of course of conversations which start on a post of a friend and which you may not recognize. Rating is nice but of course a way of filtering for ratings would be needed.

What is missing?

What Pownce is missing is the mobile side of things. You cannot yet send or receive posts via SMS and additionally only one RSS feed is there right now which is the feed of your and your friend’s posts but not the one of the main timeline. Moreover an API seems to be there as they created an external application using AIR themselves and somebody made a Facebook application but it’s not open or documented it seems.

Another thing I noticed is that last names are not always shown. No idea why they only show Christian S. for me but at least in my profile it would be nice to have it visible completely (or make it a privacy setting). Then again I have the problem with my SL/RL identity, thus I’d like a field for my Second Life (or any other nickname) or at least more space in the profile box.

Will it become the new star?

As people like Kevin Rose and Leah Culver with a big following in the web2.0 scene are behind Pownce it might really gain momentum and in fact since yesterday it really did (I signed up yesterday and already have nearly 70 friends know from Twitter, Second Life etc.). It also seems more active than Jaiku to me.

The big question is scalability though. Pownce also had it’s hiccups already and eventually Twitter is now in front in terms of scalability as they maybe were silent on the front of new features but fighting for stability instead. In general I think nowadays you should think about a good scalable architecture before you even write the first line of code.

So time will tell, as always. Right now it looks promising. Add an API, remove some glitches and hope for it to stay stable and maybe it will take the Twitter crowd over.

PS: Here is my profile!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.