Life With Alacrity

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

Tag: web

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 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. original layout


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)]

Reinventing Email

As a user-interface designer in the 80's for companies like Apple Computer, and as old 'groupware' professional in the early 90's, I've been quite disappointed with how design of collaborative apps appears to have practically ceased since the introduction of the web. It is not that there haven't been lots of new features added in the last 10 years, it is that they are often too complex, or are pure eye-candy and not particular useful.

Fascinated by Melding of Ethnic Music Styles

I'm fascinated by the melding of various ethic music styles with contemporary music, in particular, when the mix includes some middle-eastern or central-european infuences. For instance, listen to these: A mix of rock and middle-eastern: Too Tight by Falik on their album Streaks and Strokes(stream complements of by the "We are not Evil" MagnaTune). Turkish Pop and Dylan lyrics: One More Cup of Coffee (sample only), by Sertab Erener.

Music and Double Moral Hazard

A very interesting article that has a different take on why the tussle of people who file share vs. the Music Industry. What I like is that it is taking a "behavioral economics" approach to understanding the problem. The New Economics of Music: File-Sharing and Double Moral Hazard Every major label 's setting up an iTunes these days. They're all, in the immortal words of Johnny Cash, 'born to lose, and destined to fail'.

eLance Success

I have been experimenting with eLance, which is a source of contractors for various web, graphic, and business related projects. So far I've put out bids for 4 projects, ranging from web programming with PHP, to graphics, and business competitive research. I've been amazed at the number of and quality of the bids I've been getting, as well as extremely reasonable prices for small project. I have my doubts regarding this system for big projects, but for well defined projects of under $5-10K, so far I highly recommend it.

EditThisPagePHP -- Lightweight Experimental Wiki

I have been working on some code for experimenting with some of my ideas regarding the future of wiki's, at EditThisPagePHP which is hosted at SourceForge. At this point it is just a trivial application -- it just lets you edit remotely a single page. I'm trying to slowly add in elegant features without compromising on this projects essential simplicity. Longer term goals are focused around trying to figure out better solutions for the RefactoringWiki Problem, which might include such future features as proposals, voting, different commenting techniques, different versioning, etc.

RSS & Blogger

RSS is finally available to Blogger members, so as soon as I've figured it out I'll be adding it here. original layout

Perspective on Capital to Market

Game Designer and Pundit Greg Costikyan: wrote in his blog a thought I can't believe that I've not heard of before, it makes so much sense. But it is new to me:Games * Design * Art * Culture: "Oh.... And you fellas. Sure, I like portraying the angry, um, middle-aged man... But, yet, I understand the importance of capital in bringing a product to market. But think about it: Back in the day, capital provided four essential things: development funding, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution.


Stuart Henshall has been investigating for a while the use of converencing software (iChat, Skype, etc.) for use with business. I thought this advertisement was a datapoint toward his proposition that this area will become more important. Basically How to Get Your Permission Email Past Filters: New Handbook + Q&A Teleseminar is a .pdf book at one price, or a .pdf and a "teleseminar" at another price. original layout

Blogger Pro Free, but Where is RSS Syndication?

I have been hesitating on committing to Blogger because ever time I check into availability of Blogger Pro, it was not available. Apparently now Blogger Pro is Free. My remaining concern is that the new feature list for Blogger Pro does not mention RSS syndication at all, nor does it mention if it will be available in the future. There is a help item for for Syndication, however, it refers to a "

Comics, The Right Number, Bit Pass, and the Future of Micropayments

Scott McCloud, a very smart comic book artist and author of the fantastic book "Understanding Comics" has been trying for a number of years to both reinvent comics but also has been experimenting with how the medium of the Web transforms the comic medium. In addition, he has been an advocate for exploring new business models for comic book artists. A few years ago he strongly advocated micropayments, however, none of the many attempts at micropayments in the 90s have taken off.

“Life With Alacrity” Blog, using Blogger

I decided after years of reading blogs that it was time to start blogging. Why Blogger? I wanted an easy web interface, but also I wanted it hosted on my site (which is Debian based). A couple of blog tools offer this. I wanted something really simple and I didn't want to host my own tools (keeping my own TWiki's up-to-date has been a pain) so I wanted the tools hosted elsewere.