When I first met Scoble

It was just over a year ago when I first met the Scobleizer!

And in honour of that, here's the first time I spoke to him. Dave Winer, while in Florida on a beach gave me his cellphone number, so I called it via Skype from London then hooked the three of us up for a goofy chat which we uploaded for a podcast 😉 Those were the days :)))

 UPDATE: fixed the mp3 link – was going to the old box

Evoca helps Adobromedia

Just reading Mike Arrington's blurb on Evoca. Here's my thrupenny bit : (it was going to be a comment, but it got long enough for a blog post I think 😉 )…

I think they've done another great job with Flash Media Server. The socapp stuff and pips are nice and what you'd expect these days.

You've been able to do this stuff for a while with Flash Communication Server (they changed the name recently) – record audio. And you can do alot with videos too (see Stickam.com : another group of FMS widgets manifested).

Now we're seeing the FLV format break into the mainstream, thanks to the great On2 codecs (and the great work from the WildForm Flix team) and YouTube and GoogleVideo etc. It lowers the barrier to entry for web video, as there are so many Flash players out there granted: for web use, though.

Adobromedia must be feeling quite happy the way things are panning out, what with Flash video and also the slowly solidifying mobile platform they have.

What we now need are Flash apps like this, that enable easy media recording and publishing on devices like the Origami. Then, we will see some incredible things happen. It will be so easy to create and share multimedia, that we'll need better ways to store, organise and share that which we will all consume and create so readily, in the future.

Future of The Web : Sir Tim Berners-Lee

This is a webcast of Sir Tim in Oxford recently (we were supposed to be going – but ultimately coudn't make it) talking about the Future of The Web. 

The development of Web technology has
been an exciting ride, a series of socially motivated technical
innovations some languishing, others catching on in a viral way. As
each development has suggested many new ones, and much of the original
vision is still unfulfilled, there is a lot to do. This talk will
discuss new challenges and hopes for weblike systems on the net.

“Woke Up, Fell out of bed, Dragged a comb across my head”

..said The Beatles. This article about How To Become an Early Riser is pretty good. Although I’m hardly the earliest riser, I totally agree with the feeling of goodness and productivity when I do. I get alot done in the evenings too (currently pulling about 14 hour working days – at least) and as I am in London, and the rest if the guys are (mostly) in Boston, I find myself living an odd timezone. But it’s OK. When it gets warmer here, I’ll sit outside on the wifi in the sun 🙂

Calendars and OPML

Cool! I just got something I think is pretty cool working here. Based on a blogging system I started a long time ago – which I then just used to store links (pre del.icio.us) [we use them and their simple urls on the Bluggcast – as simple urls are easier to say on a podcast than the whole kaboodle] – I have been looking at building a calendar to browse the links (or blog/podcast posts if I switch a database table – as they both work the same way). Archive lists are OK on blogs, but I rather like calendars.

I mulled over the idea of whether if was worth learning to build a calendar and eventually decided it was. And boy, was it. At least three other applications for it just appeared out of thin air. Not only that, but as I had first created it in HTML, with higlighted days of activity and the like, I was then able to reeeeally easily evolve that script again to provide the data sets back and forth to a Flash interface, using OPML! Hurrah for OPML! The whole client takes OPML. It eats OPML for breakfast.
THEREFORE, ladies and gentlemen, an(other) API contender has emerged too. Double-hurrah! OPML based too. As Herr Viner vould say: bingk!

Time based feed grazing anyone? 😉

Flash Beauties

Check out the finalists and winners of the FlashForward conference. Some AMAZING stuff here. My Flash skills are nothing compared to these guys. These are the sorts of people I want to work with to help build some great products.

These past few weeks, I have been switching back and forth from PHP to Flash Actionscript, out to Javascript, back again, out to MySql, etc, etc ,etc. Sometimes you have to be able to understand how all parts and ingredients work together through experience. It really helps. Actually it’s quite good fun. It feels rather like a game with different play modes. I think (and hope) this will help me to translate workable ideas and concepts to super talented people who can build them AS WELL AS add their own creative flair and deeper understanding of the particular scripting language and client.

I would say that Flash developers are able to do alot of ‘thinking outside the box’ while actually ‘in’ it. There’s something great about the images, objects, code and connections in Flash that help the ideas flow from within the interface and out to the external world and its feast of code and data.

Another great thing about Flash and Actionscript, I would say, is that when you learn to code scripts based around actual ‘things/shapes/components’ you can see, and you go go and throw functions and properties at these ‘things’, you really begin to get a hold of the concepts in Object Oriented programming. Becuase you can actually ‘see’ them and interact with them.

It’s a great way to help learn coding in most languages, IMHO.

Ones, Heroes and Zeros

Dave’s been pointing a guy called Phil Jones recently. He has some interesting ideas and clearly thinks alot about stuff. He’s a professor. Probably paid to. Cool! Today Dave posted a response to some of the points Phil has been raising.

One snippet here caught my eye:

I think DMOZ and Yahoo’s directories are the wrong model, that this all needs to be opened up. There’s no single home page on the web, so why should there be a single home page for the global directory. Let a billion flowers bloom. May the best root win. May there be as many roots as there are points of view.

Now, I like that. Alot. It’s actually more or less the very model I am trying to work towards in thinking about and building a ‘platform’ on which to run a system like podcast.com, for example. Or ‘treedia’ – or feedgang – or feedhive – whateverlist (hmmm). Also, I’m trying to build it based upon ‘standard(ized)’ formats which already exist.

I have built many systems in the past based on made-up bespoke xml formats which I created to do what I needed an app to do – this for example, uses ‘OPML’ and ‘RSS’ (and time events), but none of it actually IS OPML or RSS. But they would have done the trick in retrospect. As would a load of other formats : SMIL, etc.

SMIL gets me thinking about the multimedia systems on the web I have always envisioned (I wrote and sold a SMIL based multi-user publishing system call Smibase a few years back – that’s how I ended up at the Beeb). MPEG4 does this too, or will more once we see more tools to ‘orchestrate’ content. Quicktime also has huge untapped power as a multimedia application wrapper – did you know you can embed Flash inside Quicktime and have the QT ‘talk’ back and forth to the Flash ‘track’? You can. It’s pretty cool. BUT the tools out there to manipulate such formats are few and far between. LiveStagePro was one I used a few years ago to come up with a solution to put up-to-date news on massive screens in UK railway stations. I ended up going back to Director10 (which I hadn’t used since version 4!!) and built it in Lingo, with a WYSIWYG Flash based back end.

The point I’m trying to make is that there’s all these great formats out ALREADY. But people will keep reinventing the wheel and trying to come up with new formats, when I think what we should be doing is building TOOLS to test/evolve/bolster/work the formats we already have. I’m usually pleasantly surprised when I do that. But I admit to ‘making stuff up’ if I can’t find things or am pushed to find a solution (which I know can be fixed later on by someone who rally knows that part of the system – if need be)

And about ‘winning’: Dave and I once had a chat where the subject of ‘heroes’ came up. I think Dave would like to be ‘a hero’ of sorts. And to many he is. My take on it is that you don’t need to be the winner to be the hero or the ‘legend’.

It’s about hearts. Not prizes. They last longer (we pray).

FeedBlitz OPML

This caught my eye (on a branch on treedia. heh). Something called FeedBlitz has added OPML support. Now, I’m sure this has plenty of uses for those odd people who decide to fill up their email inboxes with link emails and subscriptions, but to me, these kinds of services are (to me) what this whole thing is all about. It’s about keeping STUFF OUT of your inbox!!

Aggregators, grazers, whatever you want to call them, help you do that. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that there are some good reasons for subbing to a mailing list these days – but it’s very ‘0.5 – 1.0’ activity if you ask me) OPML can play a great part in helping the organization and taxnomy that we all find so comforting. 😉

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