The streaming consciousness

How Lifestreaming Is Shaping Web Culture

I can’t believe Stowe Boyd doesn’t get a single mention in this article about streams

So although the web has changed out of all recognition in two decades, our underlying metaphor for it probably hasn’t changed that much. And this has the downside that we’re effectively blind to what is actually happening, which is that we are moving from a world of sites and visits to one that is increasingly dominated by streams. The guy who articulates this best is a Yale computer scientist named David Gelernter.

The title of his latest essay on the subject – “The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It” – conveys the basic idea. “The space-based web we currently have will gradually be replaced by a time-based worldstream,” he writes. “This lifestream — a heterogeneous, content-searchable, real-time messaging stream — arrived in the form of blog posts and RSS feeds, Twitter and other chatstreams and Facebook walls and timelines. Its structure represented a shift beyond the ‘flatland known as the desktop’ (where our interfaces ignored the temporal dimension) towards streams, which flow and can therefore serve as a representation of time.

Shame because he’s been thinking about this stuff a whole lot longer than most

Microblogging dataportability at last?

Twitter data dump

Finally got the ability to download my tweets… Over 6 years of tweets in 6.8 meg of files.

It comes in a zip file not a tar file which is interesting because Facebook uses Tars for its data dumps. Structures interesting because its less of a dump and more a formal backup of your data complete with HTML file bring it all together. Theres a README.txt file which reads…

# How to use your Twitter archive data
The simplest way to use your Twitter archive data is through the archive browser interface provided in this file. Just double-click `index.html` from the root folder and you can browse your entire history of Tweets from inside your browser.

In the `data` folder, your Twitter archive is present in two formats: JSON and CSV exports by month and year.

  • CSV is a generic format that can be imported into many data tools, spreadsheet applications, or consumed simply using a programming language.
  • ## JSON for Developers
  • The JSON export contains a full representation of your Tweets as returned by v1.1 of the Twitter API. See https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1 for more information.
  • The JSON export is also used to power the archive browser interface (index.html).
  • To consume the export in a generic JSON parser in any language, strip the first and last lines of each file.

To provide feedback, ask questions, or share ideas with other Twitter developers, join the discussion forums on https://dev.twitter.com.

Most of the data is JSON which bugs me a little only because I would personally have to transform it all to XML but alas I’m sure everyone loves it. The CSV spreadsheets are odd and could do with being XML instead of CSV but once again sure its useful to someone out there. The nice thing is there is tons of meta around each microblog/tweet including the geo-location, time and device/client. Even the URLs have some interesting things around it, because I was wondering how they were going to deal with shorten urls, retweets and mentions…

 “urls” : [ {
“indices” : [ 69, 89 ],
“url” : “http://t.co/GSzy55vc”,
“expanded_url” : “http://epicwerewolf.eventbrite.com/”,
“display_url” : “epicwerewolf.eventbrite.com”
} ]

Doesn’t always work… specially when using urls shortener which don’t keep the url after a certain time period. Interesting internally twitter always uses its own t.co for everything…

Right now I’m just interested in the period around my brush with death… Real shame theres no references to mentions you’ve had, as I would have loved to have seen some of those. Guess Twitter were not going to delve into that can of worms…

I want to know why theres no status.net inporter?

Cnet have a overview of how and what to do with the archive. Thanks Matt

Don’t forget to Tweet seat

cinema "Batalha" #4

Tony Tweets a piece following my blog about what cinema could learn from TV.

The theater may seem like the least appropriate place to check your Twitter feed, but that’s exactly the kind of behavior a Minnesota venue is encouraging with the launch of a designated “Tweet Seats” section. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis opened up its Tweet Seats for the first time this week, for the first of four performances of The Servant of Two Masters. Priced at $15 a ticket (compared to the $34 a standard ticket costs), the seats are all located in a balcony-level section where, according to the theater, spectators’ Twitter habits “will not be disruptive to other patrons.”

Tony is worried this might effect the way films are actually made but as I blogged it could be interesting for cinema…

My biggest problem is the light and sound phones generate when I’m trying to watch the film. If the seats are up above or right at the back, then it could work? Although the back seats are usually for couples not really interested in the film… Won’t even tell you what I’ve found in the backseats while I’ve been working…

End of the day, its coming like it or not Tony and others…

…regardless of how theatergoers choose to allocate their tweet time, the Guthrie and other venues seem more willing to embrace the mobile habits of contemporary audiences, rather than discourage them. Theaters in Boston launched similar experiments late last year, as have the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera and New York’s Public Theater

Now is the time for the Cinemas and the movie industry to get behind this and do some interesting prototyping…

Sign me up people…!

Your Tent, My Tent

Sziget 2008: Tent Interior

Tent.is just launched yesterday… Unlike twitter, its a distributed service which means you can run your own or jump on someone else’s. Its not just Microblogging either, its more than just that.

Tent.is is a Tent host. Tent is a protocol for distributed communications. Tent can be used as a personal data vault, a single sign on service, and/or a distributed social network. Anyone can host their own Tent server and/or write Tent apps. In addition to Tent hosting, Tent.is provides a few basic apps to help users get started, a server admin app, and a microblogging app. This was literally the simplest app we could write for Tent. We started with microblogging because we were personally frustrated with the centralized options in the industry. The next set of apps will take Tent much further beyond Twitter-style functionality. Since developers can define new post and profile types, Tent could be used for file backups, video chats, controlling robots, and probably teleporters. Think of Tent as a way to store any kind of information forever, that you control. You might choose to share some of it with friends or colleagues in real time or long after you created it. Most importantly, Tent is yours.

Ade Oshineye has been posting some interesting things about distrubuted microblogging along with myself.

Of course I’m giving Tent a whirl although I’m just connected to the main tent.is server right now. Be keeping an eye on this one in the near future… Be great to see what new service pop up on peoples tent servers.

Is federated microblogging this easy?

everything you need for decentralised Twitter?

I’m wondering if I should bite the bullet and install these alpha and beta plugins under Cubicgarden.com? In my mind it seems what you need for a federated/distributed blogging system is just a few plugins away?

OStatus for WordPress turns your blog into a federated social network. This means you can share and talk to everyone using the OStatus protocol, including users of Status.net/Identi.ca and WordPress.com

WhisperFollow turns your wordpress blog into a federated social web client.
In it’s current form it aggregates RSS feeds in a page on your blog called “following” which it creates.
The links it aggregates are the ones from your blogroll with rss feed data.

And many more…

These would be a good time to have a duplicate setup of cubicgarden.com to test these and many more plug-ins out on..

The end of open twitter?

IMG_2935

Its been a good load of years since I visited a promising startup in South Park, San Francisco called Twitter. Oh have they changed…

There has been a whole number of stories and posts about how Twitter is locking down the API calls and access to data. Not only that they are being very shirty with some of the clients and services around it.

Its ironic we use to praise Twitter for there business model formed around creating a ecosystem around its self by leveraging APIs. It was one of the web 2.0 darlings but something happened…

Twitter right from the start had people asking how were they going to make money to keep going?

Well what ever direction they decided to go in, its meant breaking what made it hugely popular.

The question is what will people move on to? Since Twitter for the longest time have sucked the air out of the microblogging ecosystem and seen off most of the alternatives including Plurk, Pownce, etc…

Jaiku Engine is a opensource project after Google bought it and open sourced it. However it lacks something which status.net and identi.ca had built in from day one. Federation… Jaiku engine has also gone quiet since Google plus launched too. I wonder, what if distributed social networking also come to the rescue and provide a nice mix of social networking like facebook/google+ and federated microblogging?

Twitter has done some great things but frankly the business model they have chosen is rubbing up against too many of my and other peoples freedom. I now wonder if I will ever be able to get a dump of all my tweets, dm’s and mentions? (Dataportability!) Google and Facebook have actually been quite good about this, Twitter much less so.

Tweet digging the rules

Tweetdig

The concept is simple… Imagine if your Twitter client was crossed with your mail client?

Tweetdig is exactly that.

Currently in private beta although it feels slightly more like a alpha. I was lucky to gain a activation code when they previewed it at BarCampBlackpool last weekend.

So how does it work? well it works very well. Like most twitter clients you have the tweets going up the screen but theres a few options to do a bunch of things including create a filter based on the tweet you’ve selected. You can just write a filter but the best way is to start with something.

Tweetdig

So in the screenshot above I have a folder called BBC discussions which usually come from my boss Adew, Si_lumb, or a number of other people. I actually added a bunch more people from the BBC, so now any tweets from them containing one of the others is classes as a conversation which I might want to be aware of.

The filters are pretty much what you’d expect but there a great start. I’d really like to see a better way to group people, so instead of listing everyone on each line, I could say if anyone in my BBC list says something to 2 or more BBC people, drop a copy of the message in a folder. In actual fact I’m not seeing much in the way of the twitter lists being used in tweetdig. Most likely because they haven’t got around to them yet or maybe because lists are not used much?

I’m sure the team will be all over lists at some point, they may even make it transparent, so when you create a grouping in tweetdig, it actually creates a list automatically?

To be honest, it really needs a lot stabilising, and I know there all working on that right now. But they certainly have plans to make a mobile client and maybe a desktop client. Once you start using it, its hard to go back and even more frustrating to use a mobile client without the rules and folders. In fact it would be great if you could assign clients to a folder. For example my mobile client would only show certain folders instead of everything and me having to cascade through it.

I did have a word with them on the side at the barcampblackpool and asked if they knew of any clients which support filtering or rules? Got thinking it would be good if you could simply export your rules out of the site and into your choice of client instead of waiting for them to create a client for your platform.

I’ve already created the dream filter which removes all tweets with the hashtag to the bin so I don’t have to hear how much fun people are having in Austin next year. I’ve also setup the same for #iphone5 #iphone4s and #ipad3. Yes it may sound a bit crude but what I really need a little more structure so I could say, ignore all those unless @bbcnews tweet something.

As usual I’d also like to see a more Xpath type logic and the ability to do conditional things like, if @tdobson tweets a link to a video and its retweeted by at least 2 of my followers tell me about it (usually I can never trust what @tdobson links to, as its usually balls or great). Also like to see stuff like the ability to mute someone if they tweet more than x times in a set period of time. Automatically send anyone who tweets the same thing over x times in a set period of time to the junk folder.

Lastly I’d really like to be able to feed Facebook/Buzz/Google+/Idents status/updates/messages into the same thing. Maybe these guys are sitting on the perfect idea of the social operating system (stowe boyd?)

You get the general idea…

Tweetdig

The humour of the startup is fun and reflects the people behind it. Its great to see a original idea being pushed forward by these guys who are regular barcampers and such friendly people.

I wish them lots of luck and I think they got something that in the end may be copyable by others but at least they can say, we had the original idea and followed through with a decent product. I can already imagine Tweetdeck or Seesmic with rules which span across not just twitter but also Facebook and Buzz.

So impressed with this service, I’ve closed down Tweetdeck (for now) and made this my number 2 in Top10 interesting tech startups. Novel service with a good solid concept, although I do feel the email methodology will trap them in the end. Its all about the rules 🙂

 

 

Switching over to Tweetdeck

I switched over to Tweetdeck a while ago… I use to use Gwibber on my laptop/desktop machines and Peep on my Android phone but recently switched…

HTC Peep was ok but honestly it use to wind me up when it wouldn’t update when the storage was quite low. No warning either. Gwibber was great but I found it slow when adding lots of columns. I tend to have a column for all the people I’m following (home) one for replies (@replies) and finally one for Private messages (d msgs). On top of that I have searches for events and the such things. Tweetdeck handles these pretty much in its stride, but Gwibber use to do odd things.

I think it might have something to do with being connected to Twitter x2, Identi.ca, Facebook and other services.

The one thing I do miss from Tweetdeck is the ability to connect to a identica and status.net server. Instead there’s accounts for Facebook (which actually works very well) and Google Buzz. Honestly I’d switch out Buzz for status.net anyday.

I don’t know how the news Twitter might buy Tweetdeck will effect everything but it looks like status.net and even the open microblogging standard isn’t coming any time soon. I may switch back one day, specially if Gwibber 3.0 is as good as it could be.

RemCloud vs Mydreamscape

Dirty Si sent me a message to say go check out remcloud.com.

From there About page

REMcloud is a social and information network that connects people all over the world around the most universally shared human experience; our dreams.

REMcloud allows you to see what the world is dreaming about at any point in time: tapping into the worlds collective consciousness in real time.

Dreams are the deepest connector of the human element and are extremely powerful. Think about this:

  • Fact: When you dream, your body is completely paralyzed and you cannot move
  • Fact: Your brain is more active when you are dreaming than when you are fully awake
  • Fact: Many blind people can see in their dreams
  • Fact: Babies dream, even before birth
  • Fact: The Romans interpreted dreams in the senate, as they were thought to be messages from the gods

We created REMcloud because we love to share our dreams with our friends and family. We soon noticed that our friends and family networks wanted to share their dreams with more of their own friends, so we opened up REMcloud to everyone.

Until now, dreams have been thought to be an individual experience. REMcloud’s social network is showing that dreams are in fact a global experience; where a recurring dream, a nightmare, a funny or scary dream, is often shared by at least one other person somewhere on the globe.

This is what REMcloud is all about – making deep connections happen for people all over the world, around the most unique and powerful experience we all share: OUR DREAMS.

So how does this compare to the idea of mydreamscape? Well there a like and to be frank if you trace it the genesis of the idea you will find Remcloud wasn’t setup before I blogged about a social network for dreams. Remcloud’s Privacy Policy also seems a little wolly for the data your handing over. I’m also thinking while reading through the about us page, that there not exactly in it for the long run, it strikes me as a flip it type site.

Interestingly there using a microblog format for the site. Just like how I originally thought of mydreamscape which was using status.net.

So generally its interesting but really missing the point, or at least there aim is very different.

REMcloud’s mission is to become the largest repository of human consciousness.”

Ok maybe not. I’ll have to email them and ask them some questions…

Twitter for adults or smart people

Fail whale

The consistently talented Derek Powazek wrote a great guide for Twitter called Twitter for Adults. If you don’t know Derek, you should get to know him. For me, his book Design for Communities isn’t just the best on the subject of community, its also the reason why/how I got to know my ex-wife Sarah. So real life changing stuff, but back to twitter… here’s the outline.

Participate Publicly but Carefully

  1. Turn off New Follower Emails – I turned off the emails that tell me who started following me from the get-go. They just made me worry too much. “Who is that? Should I follow them? Why are they following me?” Instant writer’s block.
  2. Ignore your follower count – The number goes up, the number goes down. Who cares? Your follower number has no bearing on your self-worth, but when it goes down, you can’t help but feel bad. Make a conscious decision to ignore it.
  3. Interact judiciously – Follow people who seem interesting, stop following anyone who’s not. You don’t have to follow everyone you know – that’s what Facebook is for. Check your @Mentions, but remember that you don’t have to reply when someone talks at you. Block anyone who bothers you. Remember that you are solely responsible for where you point your attention. If what you see upsets you, direct your attention somewhere else.
  4. Turn off retweets when necessary – Just because you enjoy following someone’s tweets doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy everything they retweet. Unfortunately, you can’t turn retweets off altogether (aside to Twitter: please?), but you can disable retweets from individual members by going to their profile page and de-greening the retweet icon.
  5. Remember where you are – Any thought worth thinking takes more than 140 characters to write. Twitter is useful for a great many things, but nuanced discussion of important topics is not one of them. Twitter is like shouting over the band in a bar. You can do it, but you have to keep it short: “I love this song!” Don’t get baited into a back-and-forth with a stranger. The immediate, short nature of Twitter is good at amping up disagreement, and bad at reaching understanding.

Before that, there is a divide between being very hidden (Curate Your Follower List) and being public (Participate Publicly but Carefully). I personally feel like twitter is a very public place and trying to hide anything is a waste of time. If you want to be private go elsewhere, all it takes is one person to retweet what you said and your cover is blown. Its not even people being malicious, for example my Windows Mobile twitter app wouldn’t discriminate between Private and Public tweets. So when you retweet a message, there was no way of knowing.

Right with that out the way, what about the public way.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m a very public person. My blog, my tweets, my etc, etc… I don’t quite know how this happened it just did. Don’t get me wrong, I like my private time too but generally I’m not bothered who knows certain things about me. The perfect example is the caringbridge site which was setup by my family and ex-wife to inform people of what was going on with me when I had #mybrushwithdeath.

So being a public person, I would say a lot of what Derek suggests are almost no brainers.

Although I’m very public, I am careful what I write (its the internet stupid). I don’t care who follows me, hopefully they find what I write interesting but I won’t pander to popularity. In actual fact, its what I do generally in life. I almost never pander to peer pressure, I kind of lap it up and tend to do the opposite. How I got to almost 2500 followers I still don’t quite know. I also still get people moaning at me because I don’t follow them. I only follow people who have interesting things to say.