April 28th, 2008 § § permalink
Thinking about the traces we leave behind in all the software we use, I was wondering:
How will the biography of a data-intensive person – you know, blogs, twitter, delicious, tumblr, last.fm…- look like in the future? Will those “domestic privacies” be taken into account?
How will the fact that we have a clear, unambiguous point of reference for our own thoughts, places visited, people met, images, consumed products… affect the way we perceive ourselves? or the way we will be perceived in the future?
Just thinking out loud, to hear how it sounds like.
February 2nd, 2008 § § permalink
So I bit the bullet and have just opened a tumblr account. I’ve been somehow reluctant to try just another service (despite passionate, reliable recommendations). The way I use delicious (keeping an annotated track of interesting stuff) is pretty similar to what I could get using tumblr, so why should I add another tool?
The main point for storing things (es) is retrieving them. Common sense dictates that to find your things easily (and I’m rather obsessed with that), you should keep similar things in the same place, so the use of multiple services to keep track of similar information might seem counterproductive.
I have the tentative feeling that this is not so:
The richness of our homes results from our influence over their every characteristics and their accumulation of the traces of our activities. This richness is missing from our digital dwellings (by which I mean file systems, application windows, blogs, and mobile phones as well as the virtual locations in online worlds that more closely mimic physical homes).
Exploring personal digital archives for non-functional purposes. David A. Mellis.
One of the things I’ve learned to love about storing bookmarks in delicious is to forget about being organised at all. Taking advantage of idiosincracies related to personal experience, jokes, fuzzy relationships, ongoing thoughts etc. in titles descriptions and tags helps me find my information more easily. It adds the rich trace of my activities that software usually lacks.
Then, using different services adds, I believe, an additional layer of context. Episodic memory is characterized by having a unique context associated with a learning episode. The context of storing a bit of information is both physical (at work, at home…) and digital (where it comes from, where you store it…). Adding variety at this level might help a bit. You’ll save it in a slightly different way, and to a different place, for a peculiar reason. The little thoughts that you have when deciding to store it in either place will also be part of its context.
So my experimental feeling is that a reasonable amount (it’s not necessary to become francis bacon) of scattering could inject some healthy variety to our experience of digital information, giving us a richer context in which to manage our own data. To put it Mellis words again, we might be making our storage less efficient, but we’d be improving our memory of it.
And after all, the honorable 2.0 tradition of giving outer access to personal data makes scattering a simple problem of aggregation. You can always centralize your traces.
Let’s see how it goes.
September 17th, 2007 § § permalink
Some time ago, I wondered how could I take some notes about the music I was listening to.
After having a look at the last.fm player source code* I instantly saw what a stupid thing I had suggested. In no way I’d be able to figure out that bunch of c++ classes (not that it made any sense to try, just to implement such a simple thing).
I thought of some other alternatives, mostly involving desktop widgets, but as far as I could see, none of the options could cover both my local music and the last.fm player (for when I’m listening to radio). I gave up the idea.
But one day, while sending a recommendation to a friend via the player I realized that I could write some text in that text box. Could I send recommendations to myself? Yes. And how could I take those recommendations out of last.fm? Luckily, they offer an rss feed for manual recommendations in their web services.
So I hacked together some code that parsed my recommendations and sent the ones with my username to my helipad notebook (not public, so I don’t have much to show). I set up a cron job and… You can see that I still use it in my rss feed.
The code is so trivial (and so tied to helipad in my case) that I’m sure you can do it better quickly, but in case you are interested, I could try to clean some of the php mess and send it upon request.
Although they are kind of personal, I’ve been thinking of publishing the notes directly here, since the rss feed is public anyway (and explicit sharing can improve your personal content, I think)
As a side note, I think last.fm could get some value of implementing such a thing. On one hand users could get some sort of musical microblogging, like a contextual twitter. On the other hand, since the info is always from last.fm, it could really enrich artists, songs and album pages, and more seamlesly than the current shoutbox, in my humble opinion.
* yes, I learned how to use subversion. Now I can’t live without it.
August 28th, 2007 § § permalink
Still happily living on jEdit for most of my scripting. I haven’t found an actionscript 3 edit mode, so I’ve made one. It is based on the original actionscript.xml and the Flash CS3 AsColorSyntax_3.xml file so it should have everything you can see colored on the IDE.
This edit mode doesn’t have any as2 specific keywords, so if you have to work on as2 don’t delete the original. Otherwise, you can just replace your original actionscript.xml file (you’ll find it problably in “c:\program files\jEdit\modes” if you’re on win xp) with this one. Make a backup of the original, just in case.
Grab the actionscript 3 edit mode for jEdit
January 31st, 2007 § § permalink
Like, for example:
A 20th century problem is that technology has become too “easy”. When it was hard to do anything, whether good or bad, enough time was taken so that the result was usually good. Now we can make things almost trivially, especially in software, but most of the designs are trivial as well. This is inverse vandalism: the making of things because you can.”
It’s Alan Kay, summing up in his wonderful “Early history of Smalltalk”
January 14th, 2007 § § permalink
…you could take some notes about the songs you are listening directly on the last.fm player?
Nothing too fancy. Something similar to the delicious notes would be ok.
By now I’m using a tag (toresearch) for discovered artists, and sometimes I take notes on my helipad, but adding them right on the player would save some work, and definitely add richer information than just tags to help you keep track of good discovered artists, special songs… They shouldn’t be necessarily public (although they could).
This could make a good project for hacking the available source code for the last.fm player (mental note: learn subversion)
Yes, more last.fm. I can’t get it out of my head.
January 11th, 2007 § § permalink
I’m always amazed at the use of tags in last.fm, specially for songs.
Some random examples I’ve seen lately:
What I love is the interpretations they suggest. And most of the times you can understand what the tag means listening to the song.
And then two things I don’t like about the last (otherwise great) last.fm player update (18.104.22.168):
- As far as I know, I can no longer see this information (tags for the currently playing song) directly in the player. That was, as you’ve seen, a good source of joy
- You can no longer construct a multiple artist radio either in the web or the radio player. I cannot see a reason for this, as you can still do it with a url (Note: this link will try to open your last.fm player, if you have one, and will tune in a radio based on all the artists mentioned in this post). Hope they are not deprecating this feature, as I have something soon to release based on that