Just off the A1(M)
Mon, 11 Jul 2005
Sat, 09 Jul 2005
My first experience of being on-line was with a Teletype (an ancient device that was more mechanical than electronic and just printed everything on a roll of paper) and an acoustic coupler (a bit like a modem except that you put the telephone handset into a pair of rubber cups and the data was sent as audible noise). That probably managed a few bytes per second at best. Later I owned various modems starting at 14.4kb and working up to the heady heights of 56kb. So now I'm getting over 30 times that speed. The upload speed is a fraction of the download. So it's still going to take a while to send large emails. I wonder if this is just a tactic to stop people sharing large files.
Fri, 20 May 2005
They've acquired a few products by buying them in, e.g. Blogger, but have also created many of their own innovations. The best known example is GMail. I signed up for that to see what it was like. It's pretty good, but I'm just using my 2GB for extra storage just now.
Today I read that they have added the facility to personalise your Google page with news headlines etc. This is quite neat as it integrates GMail more. For many years I have had a home page at Yahoo! that did something similar. If Google could add some cartoon strips I may have to change my browser home page.
Tue, 19 Apr 2005
The coolness factor over other sites like Multimap is the way you can just drag the map around to see other areas. They also have local search, but that seems limited for now. Maybe they will start using GeoURL tags. Locations are indicated by '3D' labels. Multimap still wins on photo coverage of the UK, for now.
I like Google, but I also like Multimap because of their semantic web features and other cool features. I hope there's room for them both. My first experience of on-line maps was Streetmap, but they seem to have fallen behind.
Fri, 08 Apr 2005
I've added a few things to this site that give it more 'meaning':
Location - my geographical location is embedded in the site header as a latitude/longitude. This allows sites such as GeoURL to show where I am relative to other sites with that information. Maybe, one day, search engines will use this to allow searches for local services. Just using names, e.g. Bedford, is not so reliable as there can be multiple places with that name.
FOAF - the FOAF Project proposes a standard file format to give others information about yourself. The actual file is in a form of XML called RDF and is not that readable, but it can be extracted to nicer formats as you can see by clicking on my name at the top of the page. My file has information about who I know, what I do, where I've been and more. I intend to add more information. The 'who I know' bit has more potential if those people also have FOAF files so that our social network can be extracted.
XFN - this is a way to add meaning to links. By adding some extra parameters to the html you can indicate if the owner of a page is a friend, colleague, relative etc. This has similar implications to FOAF for building social networks.
There are more potential options including those that add more categorisation to articles. See my semantic links. There's a few reasons why this has not really taken off. Ignorance (many have never heard of it), apathy (why should I need that?) etc. Some have written about why they think it is not going to work. There are the usual internet risks of fraud to get visitors to sites. But there are many sites using semantic data. Simon has built a wiki that includes the locations.
One of these days I will get around to writing some applications to make use of this data. Python has tools for the job. I have some ideas for practical applications. Instead of using Multiply to link to friends I could use the information in my FOAF file. Users in there could request a password to allow them access to certain parts of the site. This could include thing like my DVD library that is hosted at DVD Lender. The idea is that I could take back control of my own data instead of relying on other sites to look after it and having the risk of losing it if they disappear. The other thing I want to do is to generate the details that appear on the right hand side of this page from my FOAF, so the FOAF would act as my information store. Other people seem to be working towards the opposite effect and generating FOAF from web pages, but I'm not so sure about that. I still have a lot to learn about this and the subject is still in flux generally.
Tue, 09 Nov 2004
Thu, 30 Sep 2004
Wed, 15 Sep 2004
In other news today Amazon have formally announced their search service A9, It's based on Google, but adds a few features, like showing multiple results for text, images, books, films etc at the same time. Can also remember your searches if you want and store bookmarks. Another site that warrants some playing. I use Google anyway, so this should give the same results.
Finally, Firefox has almost reached version 1.0 and is available for preview. I've been using the earlier versions for a while and it just gets better. I rarely touch IE these days. I love having tabs, gestures and some of the other features that either come as standard or as easily added extensions. It's supposed to be safer than IE, so what are you waiting for?
Tue, 10 Aug 2004
Sat, 10 Jul 2004
Via Bloglines I discovered Multiply. This combines blogging with social networking. You have 1GB of storage to store photos and articles that can be viewed either by everyone or by your circle of friends, colleagues etc. I've put a few bits up there and am waiting for someone to join my contacts. My page is here.
I like having this site to play with stuff like semantic web, but the other options allow quicker posting. I shall try to bring them together somehow. Bloglines has an RSS feed that I should be able to add to this site. Just need to work out how.
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