Search Results: "andrewl"

31 October 2008

MJ Ray: Recent Events: London LinuxExpo, Toronto Free Software and Open Source Symposium, Public Sector Online, Get Online Day, the Global Financial Crisis, c&binet

Today’s the last day for the Gov.UK Consultation on Forced ISP Snooping: Please Say NO. I didn’t get to LinuxExpo, partly because of Monday Machine-Mangling Madness but I saw LinuxExpo 2008 Robert Castelo from the Drupal point-of-view. I also didn’t get to Public Sector Online (report by Andrew Lewin with links to more) and I definitely didn’t travel to Toronto, so the report on the Free Software and Open Source Symposium from Randy Metcalfe is pretty welcome. I wrote about the Social Enterprise Photography Competition and Cooperatives South-West Trade Fair last Friday - the photography competition deadline has been extended to 7 November. So you’ve still time to capture a vision of a more progressive approach to business that values people and the planet as well as profit. Last Friday was Get Online Day but TTLLP didn’t do anything for it this year - I took one look and reached similar conclusions to Graham Jones: Get online…! Oh - you are…! Related to that: on Tuesday, I got really annoyed about how many branches of government (national, regional, sub-regional and local) are obsessed about the private sector and are paying even less attention to other types of businesses, includingbuying off-the-shelf software which doesn’t conform to their stated policies about accessibility and interoperability. (Sorry if you saw evidence of that outburst… yes, local councillors are pretty powerless and get as annoyed about incompetent government services as everyone else.) It seems I’m not the only one feeling that good cooperative businesses are being overlooked. The ICA have recently sent an open letter to the Governments of the G-8 reminding them that co-operative financial institutions are an alternative secure, stable and sustainable model of business owned and controlled by people. Finally, a bit of advance notice here: “The inaugural Creativity & Business International Network (c&binet) will take place at The Grove in Hertfordshire from 26 28 October 2009” - is this something that free software and free culture supporters should get involved with? (And why did they pick a name that includes an XML special character?)

22 April 2008

Evan Prodromou: 3 Flor al CCXVI

I'm happy to point to the announcement that Wikitravel Press now has a guide to Paris. Paris has long been a targeted city for Wikitravel Press, and I'm really happy we were able to get this book out. Bonus: the Wikitravel Guide to Paris includes maps from OpenStreetMap, the Open Content geo database and mapping system. We've got some new software to overlay Wikitravel listings onto the maps, and it's working really well. Thanks to OSM, editor Mark Jaroski, and managing editor Jani Patokallio for getting this great book out... just in time for Paris spring! tags:

Podcasts I asked a couple of days ago (Journal/30 Germinal CCXVI) about podcasts on the subject of Open Source and Open Content. I wanted to summarize a few that came in through comments on my blog: This has turned into a pretty decent list, but I'd love to see some more diverse discussion of Open Content and Open Source in general. Please, feel free to send more tips. tags:

Vinismo For some reason Vinismo went over some tipping point with StumbleUpon this weekend, and we had a real flood of users from that bookmarking site. I can't say why that happens; I find SU to be a totally opaque Web site and service. In other news, Stevey likes our business cards. Me too! I think they look great. M-C Doyon, the Montreal graphic designer who laid out our Web site, also did our paper branding, and I think she did a great job. tags:

Yay Firefox 3.0 I don't know when it happened, but Firefox 3.0 beta does non-ASCII characters in the address bar correctly. So, if you're reading this entry on my site with FF3, you'll see the in "Flor al" rather than the URL-encoded "Flor%c3%a9al". I also like seeing Japanese Wikipedia pages in the address bar showing up correctly. Nice job, FF3 team. tags:

Planet software should preserve categories So, apparently there's once again rising problems with content drift on Planet Debian. Personally, I think this is a problem with a technical solution. All three main flavours of RSS support post categorization. Many, many kinds of feed software provide categories (see, for example, this feed). If the Planet software would preserve these categories and pass them through to the output RSS feeds, then people who really only want to read about Debian could filter the output feeds for category "debian". People who wanted to know about other parts of their fellow Debianistas' lives would just leave the feeds unfiltered. I'm not sure if the Planet software doesn't support categories in output at all, or if it's just an option that's turned off on Planet Debian. If nobody else wants to take a look, I can look into making this work. It seems like a pretty simple fix. tags:

26 August 2007

Biella Coleman: The problem with presentism

A few days ago, Joe Reagle was telling me about the rise of (sometimes very arcane) policies and bureaucratic imperatives that now characterize Wikipedia. A few days later I stumbled across a few interesting posts on the topic, posts (especially Nick Carr’s) seeping with almost celebratory gloom and doom:
‘But, given human nature, is it really so “incredible” that Wikipedia has evolved as it has? Although writers like Yochai Benkler have presented Wikipedia as an example of how widescale, volunteer-based “social production” on the Internet can exist outside hierarchical management structures, the reality is very different. As Wikipedia has grown, it has developed a bureaucracy that is remarkable not only for the intricacies of its hierarchy but for the breadth and complexity of its rules. The reason Deletionism has triumphed so decisively over Inclusionism is pretty simple: It’s because Deletionism provides a path toward ever more elaborate schemes of rule-making - with no end - and that’s the path that people prefer, at least when they become members of a large group. The development of Wikipedia’s organization provides a benign case study in the political malignancy of crowds.”
It is without question that a problem has arisen in Wikipedia, a problem composed of a thick web and net of rules that can be helpful as guidelines but often are often confusing and clearly work to ensnarl new users. But can we so quickly put blame on so-called human nature? Or is it not a problem of human organization, which as the anthropological and sociological record shows, can take many forms? And is it not just that: a problem begging for a solution instead of an opportunity to declare the fundamental nature of wikipedia (and that of human nature?). Not only may history prove him wrong, other large scale collaborative projects at least prove that solutions can be found to deal with problems of growth and scale. It is as if Carr just wants to see a project like Wikipedia fail, which somehow, this morning hit a raw nerve. What I find exciting about large scale projects of (at times unwieldy) collaboration are not just the explicit outputs of the projects (an encyclopedia or operating system) but the social worlds they create. And there is no inevitable path they *must* follow. These groups have a choice to react to and respond to these sort of problems and enact solutions that will hopefully solve them and allow these projects to change. Debian, a slightly older project than Wikipedia, has gone through many growing pains and there was even a period when the the whole process of integrating new Debian developers was shut down and if my memory serves me correctly, for 2 years! At the time, it could have been possible to say: “This signals the end of Debian” but eventually a solution was found, the New Maintainer process, which while not perfect (what is?) allowed the project to grow and produce a great operating system for years to come. Debian today faces new problems and is working to find solutions. I hope that Wikipedia can and will do the same. And instead of declaring its death, why not wait and see, and offer something a little more constructive and illuminating, than destructive?

30 May 2007

Biella Coleman: The Politics and Economics of Web 2.0

Here are three somewhat different takes on the politics and economics of web 2.0.

5 August 2006

Evan Prodromou: 18 Thermidor CCXIV

The first day of Wikimania 2006 yesterday was fantastic. Jimmy Wales opened up with a great discussion of the achievements of Wikimedia in the last 12 months -- as well as the tough issues like the John Siegenthaler, Sr. problems last winter. I also caught Mako's discussion of his and Erik M ller's new Free Content Definition effort. Mako and Erik are both extremely smart, extremely passionate people and I think they've made a big step in getting this definition off the ground. It was great to hear Ward talk about his experience with the PPR and with Wikipedia. Lawrence Lessig's discussion of Free Culture was, as I've heard before, totally awe-inspiring. We chatted a bit after the talk, and he promised to add some info to Wikitravel's wt:Costa Rica page. tags:

All you do to me is talk talk So, I finally got around to giving my presentation on Wiki and Open Content travel guides: past, present and future yesterday. It was kind of nerve-wracking (good to know that Dave Weinberger was having problem with his speech, too, though), and I was revising slides up until a few hours before the talk. Jack Herrick of [[$$vote for and I kept planning to sit down together and go over our slides, but we kept missing each other... or, we'd have time, and neither one of us felt ready to show the other how far we'd gotten. I saw Jack about 5 minutes before our talk, and asked how he felt, and he said, "I've only got a few more slides to finish..." His talk was great. The work he's done on wikiHow over the last few years -- expanding the idea of eHow into the wiki environment -- is awe-inspiring. The community there is great. I also liked that he talked about some of the mistakes he made with wikiHow -- kind of a brave thing to do. My talk went pretty OK, I think. The group that was watching was really receptive to the ideas of wiki and Open Content, so I could really concentrate on the importance of applying the ideas to travel guides. I had that great feeling of conveying my ideas and having them understood -- always a fine thing for a speaker. Chris Bronk from the State Department finished up with a discussion on Diplopedia, which I thought was pretty neat, too. It's an internal project of the State Dept to apply wiki-based knowledge management to the diplomatic corps. It's just launching and I hope it works out. The Q&A session went well -- one woman in particular grilled me about ideas on how to build personal opinion, reviews and ratings into the objective wiki platform. When I left the room at the end, one of her colleagues caught up with me. "I'm from the arch-enemy," he said, and pulled out his card from TripAdvisor. They started a wiki recently, although it's not Open Content, and they're here at Wikimania, too. tags:

Par-tay We also had our wt:Wikitravel:10K Party last night at Tommy Doyle's Irish Pub right off of Harvard Square. The food was good, and the beers were excellent, and all the bartenders had Irish accents, which made the whole experience worthwhile. It was great to have both Wikitravellers (those few of us who are at Wikimania) and non-WTers at the party. Amita June loved the venue because it was below street-level, and she could walk up the stairs and down the stairs (holding Mama or Papa's hands), up and down, up and down... She also enjoyed the pub food (quesadillas, stuffed mushrooms, potato skins, etc.) a little more than is probably healthy for a 1-year-old. I got to hang out with a lot of wiki people who are doing interesting things. Paul Youlton at was fun to talk to -- the business listings he's doing are fascinating. His site just got served notice by Yell, owner of the "Yellow Pages" trademark in the UK, for "passing off" as a Yellow Pages site. "Passing off" is a weaker charge than "trademark infringement", but it has the advantage for Yell that it doesn't put their trademark in jeopardy. (The "Yellow Pages" trademark in the US passed into the public domain at the breakup of AT&T.) The part was a good time, but it made me miss a lot of the great people who work on Wikitravel. I'd like to make a plan for a Wikitravel Getaway -- just a group trip to some cool part of the world with as many other Wikitravellers as can make it. It could be a lot of fun tags:

Wikimania bloggers One cool thing about being at Wikimania is that I'm finding all of the really active Wikimedia-related bloggers out there. Andrew Lih, better known as "Fuzheado", keeps a good blog on wiki and Wikipedia-related items. Angela Beesley, Wikimedia Foundation board member and exec at Wikia, also has a good blog about wiki-related items. tags:

Busted! Dan Bricklin came up today and thanked me for my blog entry about meeting him (see Journal/15 Thermidor CCXIV. D'oh! Totally busted. But we had a lot of good talk about spreadsheets as a form of presentation, the parsability of MediaWiki wikitext, and SocialText's great work with the rest of the wiki community. Nice person with a lot of interesting things to say... I need to stop being intimidated by software and Internet superstars, I guess. tags: