Life With Alacrity

A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.

Insecurity at Orkut

Like many others, I've been paying attention to Orkut in the last couple of weeks. I've answered more requests to be "friends" on Orkut then I have of any of the other half-dozen Social Networking Services I've tried, and I've looking at other people's friends to see if I know anyone. I've yet to ask someone to join Orkut that wasn't already a member, and I've been careful to not have anyone as a "friend" that I didn't know reasonably well and I thought knew me.

Too Many Social Network Services

In the last few weeks I've gotten more invitations to friends via Orkut then I have from all the other social networks I've tried out. I currently have 61 friends there (and they are all people I know reasonably well), whereas in several months I have only 50 connections in LinkedIn. Oddly, the number of friends I have in each of these is less the older they are. In Ryze I have 36, and in Tribe.

Converting to TypePad Complete

For the last few weeks I've been moving my blog from Blogger Pro over to the TypePad service, after a frustrating try to get WordPress to work. While I was at it, I moved my blog from my business server to this new domain. I finally have it all working here now, but all of my old permalinks are broken. In progress is a utility that will redirect people from the old permalinks to the new.

Robots Dancing in the Uncanny Valley, Knowledge Navigator and UI Design

At a recent unofficial gathering of Future Salon'ers, there was a discussion about a demonstration of four robots doing a japanese fan dance to music (I think it was seen at CES in Las Vegas last week). The remark was that it was vaguely disturbing because your intellect knows that they are just robots, but someplace deep in your brain you know that they are alive because of the way that they move.

Seven Fingers of the Hand

Yesterday I watched the amazing Seven Fingers of the Hand Circus. There were parts of it that were so beautiful and meaningful that I cried. I decided to go because 2 of the 7 members have a history with the Bay Area "Pickle's Family Circus" which was a fabulous intimate circus that disbanded about 10 years ago. I loved the Pickles Family Circus because it was "human" -- I found Cirque de Soleil to be too cold and almost unhuman.

Working on Wiki Design Patterns

I've been working today on understand the Design Pattern Language behind the Wiki concept. I've been making some postings at the Meatball Wiki site on this topic. These are the new topics that I have finished today. Category of Wiki Design Patterns Pattern: Cheap and Easy Collaboration Pattern: Simple Text Formatting Pattern: Character Formatting Rules Pattern: Paragraph Formatting Rules Wiki Design Patterns Meta Commentary I've also been doing a survey of the features of various versions of Wiki that have evolved over the years, and have started posting some of them at the bottom of the pattern documents.

Holiday Over

I had a nice relaxing five day holiday -- good to get the creative juices flowing again. orginal layout

Joi on Identity and Size of Networks

Joi Ito's Web: Blogger's block, collapsing facets and the number 150 offers some insights on two different topics: The first is on the nature of identity when we write in our blogs:"The depth of my identity is becoming shallow because the context has collapsed."I have a lot of sympathy with this but from a slightly different perspective -- I have so many different 'identities' of who and what I am and what I'm interested in that it makes it hard for a stranger to be able to understand me if I try to cover it in one blog.

Socialization in Online Games

Shannon Appelcline's "Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities" column in the Skotos Articles section recently featured a trilogy of articles about stretching the bounds of socialization in online games: Social Gaming Interactions, Part One: A History of Form The first article outlines the problem by looking out how social interaction has traditionally been handled in online games, and by considering how limiting these interactions typically have been. It also outlines how to expand traditional social interactions by describing three main categories of social interaction: competition, cooperation, and freeform.

Followup to “Evaluating Social Network Services”

I've received a number of replies and pointers after posting my Evaluating Social Network Services here last Tuesday. Here are a few: Invite Issues Esther Dyson writes in her blog about invite issues for her favorite social networking service in Some Comments on LinkedIn:I am getting a lot of invitations from people I don't know. It would be great to have a button that says "See inviter's profile" that links directly from the confirm-or decline-invitation page.

Enterprise Social Networking

InfoWorld has an article by Ephraim Schwartz called "Social Networking Targets the Enterprise" that says that corporations are looking to use social networking service features in their CRM (customer relationship management) software. They mention a couple of companies that will be offering this, Contact Network, Interface Software, Spoke Software, and ZeroDegrees.For example, the ZeroDegrees dashboard would allow a person in furniture sales to be alerted when a large company leases more space or places ads for employees, thus indicating expansion and the need to furnish new office space, said Jas Dhillon, CEO of ZeroDegrees.

Chinese Social Network

The Social Software Weblog discusses DragonVenture Invests in Social Networking Platform in China:"If you think Friendster was slow with four million members imagine if a tens of millions, or hundreds of millions, of the two billion people in China join eFriendsnet.com! Why hasn't Friendster or Tribe.net launched international sites?!"This reminds of a quote I heard this last weekend from Tom Melcher, former CNET exec, and who has recently left There to live and work in China:There are now more people in China on the Internet then there are members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Evaluating Social Network Services

After a week where I met a number of bloggers and social network / social software people, I decided to try to update my various networks at Ryze, Tribe.Net, LinkedIn, and Friendster. These are my observations of these social network services after a few weeks of work. Overview of Social Network Services ChristopherA @ Ryze This was the first social network service that I signed up that seemed to already have some of my friends on it.

Skotos and Social Software

I've been interested for several years in the ability of "player-generated content" to create niche or small multiplayer online games, at a company I've invested in called Skotos . At this point its oldest game Castle Marrach is completely run by the players, and 7 more games are being developed by their customers. The company is at break-even, but is not yet a 'commercial success'. There are some learnings from the world of massively multiplayer online games that apply to other kinds of social networks.

eVentor -- an eBay for Events

I have been working the last couple of weeks on a business plan idea for a company tenatively called eVentor: eVentor is a unique event marketplace that brings together event producers and attendees to dynamically create, staff, and people events of all types--from concerts and performances to reunions and seminars. It does so by using the power of smart contracts to arrive at joint consensus and by acting as a single clearing house for the entire process of event creation, from earliest negotiations to final registration.

Conserving Social Capital

A followup to my post yesterday Social Software -- Problems & the Definition of "Friends", I saw in Scott Lofteness' blog a reference to David Hornick's VentureBlog: Conserving Social Capital:As social networking software grows more prevalent and an increasing number of people attempt to draw upon our social capital to make introductions, entertain business propositions, pass along resumes, etc., I believe we will all grow more guarded with our time and our relationships.

Committing to Vonage

In September I signed up for Vonage, a VoIP (Voice-over-IP) service that using SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) that allows you to connect using the net to the analog POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) quite economically. I've had for a while a Cisco VoIP phone that is connected to the PCH (Packet Clearing House) experimental INOC-DBA Phone Hotline. This is a private telephone network for the internet that directly connects to internet operators and sysadmins at various ISPs and hosting sites, allowing them to communicate and share problems.

Social Software -- Problems & the Definition of “Friends”

I've been playing around with a number of so-called Social Software/Social Networking sites for about six months. I'm currently on Ryze with supposedly 13 'Friends' and 414 in 'Network', and Tribe.net with 20 'Friends' and 17,677 in my 'Network'. I've registered for a few others, but wasn't able to get them going much beyond registering. However, I have not registered for Friendster yet, as it was originally a dating site but I understand now that it is more then that.

Political Action and Visual Media

I'm fascinated by new this trend of various political organizations to create Visual Media, whether documentaries, flash animations, or complex web pages to educate the public. Some exemplars: Ben Cohen's of Ben & Jerry's, explains the Federal Budget, using oreo cookies, and sponsored by True Majority. MoveOn.Org's documentary Truth Uncovered. orginal layout

w.Bloggar

Stuart Henshal recommended that I try out w.Bloggar for creating blog posts. I'm giving it a try here. So far seems interesting -- in addition to spell checking and handling some html related tasks, it appears to also have the ability to work with various plugins, for instance, a Windows Media Player plugin to display what music I'm playing right now. [Listening to: Crimson (4-4) - Solace - Ahsas (04:15)]