Between the business of the March/April conference season and leaving Blackphone, I've run out of business cards. Rather than rush to print a bunch of new ones, I'm created this mini-resume for digital sharing and a two-sided Avery business card version that I am printing on my laser printer and sharing. Not as pretty as my old Life With Alacrity cards, but effective in getting across the diversity of my professional experience and interests.
A blog on social software, collaboration, trust, security, privacy, and internet tools by Christopher Allen.
Tag: User Interface
With Google+ almost two weeks into its test phase, conversation about this new social network service seems to be going in circles. Literally. That’s because Circles is the Google+ feature that users are generating the most buzz about. It’s Google’s answer to the problem of organizing your social graph online. If you’re not familiar with a social graph it’s a map of everyone you know and how they are related to you.
I feel privileged and honored to have been part of the iPhoneDevCamp this last weekend. Over 380 iPhone developers came out to the Adobe Campus in San Francisco to help each other make the best possible web pages and webapps for the iPhone. I was the keynote speaker on Saturday and Master of Ceremonies for the MacHack-style Hack-a-Thon Demo on Sunday. At the Hack-a-Thon almost 50 iPhone web applications were demonstrated to an enthusiastic audience.
I've been excited about the web capabilities of the upcoming iPhone for some time. As a reluctant laptop user ("oh, my aching shoulders"), there is real appeal to me in a better portable web browser. I have tried most of the PDA and cellphone browsers to date, and none offer more then a poor cousin to the web that we experience on the desktop. Instead, the iPhone offers a desktop-class browser.
by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the fourth in a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] Last year in Collective Choice: Rating Systems we took a careful look at eBay and other websites that collect ratings, and used those systems as examples to highlight a number of theories about how to make rating systems more useful.
I will be speaking tonight at WikiWednesday on the topic of Same Time, Different Place Editing, and will be demonstrating SynchroEdit integration with MediaWiki and EditThisPagePHP. If you are interested, see you tonight (Wednesday) at 6-8pm, at Socialtext. original layout
My colleague, Shannon Appelcline, has been working on a game rating system for RPGnet. This has resulted in real-world application of the principles for designing rating systems which we've previously discussed in our Collective Choice articles. Shannon's newest article, Ratings, Who Do You Trust? offers a look at weighting ratings based on reliability. On the RPGnet Gaming Index we've put this all together to form a tree of weighted ratings that answer the question, who do you trust?
In Collective Choice: Rating Systems I discuss ratings scales of various sorts, from eBay's 3-point scale to RPGnet's double 5-point scale, and BoardGame Geek's 10-point scale. Of the various ratings scales, 5-point scales are probably the most common on the Internet. You can find them not just in my own RPGnet, but also on Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes, as well as many other sites and services. Unfortunately 5-point rating scales also face many challenges in their use, and different studies suggest different flaws with this particular methodology.
by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the third in a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] In our first article on collective choice we outlined a number of different types of choice systems, among them voting, polling, rating, and ranking. Since then we've been spending some time expanding upon the systems, with the goal being to create both a lexicon of and a dialogue about systems for collective choice.
by Christopher Allen & Shannon Appelcline [This is the second of a series of articles on collective choice, co-written by my collegue Shannon Appelcline. It will be jointly posted in Shannon's Trials, Triumphs & Trivialities online games column at Skotos.] In our previous article we talked about the many systems available for collective choice. There are selection systems, which are primarily centered on voting and deliberation, opinion systems, which represent how voting could occur, and finally comparison systems, which rank or rate different people or things in a simple, comparative manner.
For the last several months I've been working on a new open source project that I've been calling SynchroEdit. SynchroEdit is a browser-based simultaneous multiuser editor, useful for "same-time" collaboration. The basic concept is that it allows multiple users to WYSIWYG edit a single web-based document, all at exactly the same time. SynchroEdit continuously synchronizes all changes so that users always see the same version. They can also see each others' changes as they type, see where each user is currently editing, and see each others' changes by color.
If you read my blog through an aggregator, you may not have noticed my new sidebar "Recent Bookmarks". It is a list of web pages that I've found interesting enough to annotate using the del.icio.us service. It is useful if you want to have an insight into what future blog entries I'm working on, as links will often show up there before my actual blog posting is out. You alternatively can view my last 10 del.
I've been working on an ambitious list of topics that I'd like to cover over the next year. I offer them to you here so you can have some idea the areas that I am thinking about. Office Architecture for Innovation -- Over the years I've built or converted three offices to my specifications. From this I have learned a number of things about about how to create a productive environment innovation-oriented businesses.
As a former Macintosh developer, I've always been disappointed with the user-interface of web pages. The state of the art of UI design moved backwards with the advent of the browser -- we traded connectivity for ease-of-use. With the advent of pages written in Flash, some better user-interfaces were created, but at the important cost of things like being able to copy text, have semantic and meta-data information imbedded in web pages, searchability, etc.
Joe Kraus, one of the co-founders of Excite, and new blogger has long been rumored to be working on a new wiki tool. Today at the Web 2.0 conference Joe finally unveiled JotSpot, a new type of wiki that they have named an "Application Wiki". JotSpot appears to be not only an advanced wiki, but it also moves the predominantly text-based wiki toward being able to handle structured data and web application development.
I'm a sucker for great user-interface design ideas, especially if they succeed with what typically has poor UI design -- web pages. MultiMap is a company that sells maps and aerial photos, primarily for Great Britain. They offer an online map tool that is very similar to that used by MapQuest or Yahoo Maps. However, for certain regions, they have this fabulous capability to show you the aerial photo of the place, then display hovering around the cursor a slightly transparent map.
I believe that as we evolve social software to better serve our needs and the needs of the groups that we are involved in, we need to figure out how to apply an understanding of how human groups behave and work. One useful concept I use I call "Progressive Trust". The basic idea is to model how trust works in the real world, between real people, rather then solely relying on mathematical or cryptographic trust.
I have been leading the design of a new Open Source collaboration tool called EditThisPagePHP, which started six months ago and now is in beta. My goal with EditThisPagePHP attempt to come close to Dave Winer's visionary statement back in May of 1999: When I'm writing for the web, and I'm browsing my own site, every bit of text that I create has a button that says Edit This Page when I view it.
I've not just been spending time looking at social networking services, I've also been digging deeper into wiki. I've still got more to go, but some of these will be of interest to you if you are considering implementing a wiki for your community, or if you are a wiki developer. Zwiki is based on Zope, and thus has a very interesting feature set. One of the more popular features is the topic mappings that it creates.