July 11th, 2007
I didn’t make it to FOO this year, but I did send software in my stead, and its nice to hear that folks liked it.
We slaved iCalico to Crowdvine to add a social networking layer, a network that was walked, mapped, and color coded by the Pathable folks.
Tony has a nice report back on it, as does Shelly from Pathable (6 weeks aka a couple of late nights). And Scott Berkun (who owes me a copy of “Art of Project Management”!) said super nice things.
So how do you do that — stitch together 3 different sites to provide a unified experience? Visions of APIs, Internet scale SSO, and messaging layers spring to mind. Or more likely hash and slash patches, jury rigged shunts, juggled install directories.
We did the dumb easy thing, and I’m surprised more people don’t do it.
Crowdvine.com sets a cookie
collusion. This cookie contains the data we needed to display the logged in view of iCalico. (you’re nickname and optional your URL). In addition it contained a md5 hash of the concatted data, plus sekret known only to Tony and myself.
If we find the cookie
collusion, we load the described user from the database, or create it on the fly behind the scenes.
There is no step 3.
Amazingly useful, trivially simple, ultimately flexible. Niche sites are great, but you need techniques for stitching them together before they can realize their potential as pieces of an ecosystem. I don’t necessarily expect to see this kind of integration become more common, but I think it would be great if it did. (and in the name of transparency disposable apps are huge enablers, disposable sites/apps is another pattern I’m puzzled we don’t see more of — its as if we more inclined to converse bits then landfill)
update: Whoops, it was pointed out there was a step 3, or rather a step 1.5: use CNAMEs to point to individual components on sub-domains.
March 14th, 2007
Okay PMOG is super early in its life, but it intrigues me on a couple of levels (not the least of which is the engaging archetype art).
However there are some things about it which are broken. Not surprising in and of itself, but in the process of trying to report said broken-ness I ran into a larger problem.
No community space.
There is a Google Group but it’s a moderated announce only kind of thing (HINT: thats what you’re blog is for!) not a public discussion space. No message boards, no wiki (though presumably we could start one, Twitter Fan style), no groups.
Someone needs to see Andy’s talk about group forming, social software, and out of band spaces.
Especially for a game, a social game, an experimental game.
Uninstalled for now, in an attempt to reduce unexplainable spinnies.
October 25th, 2006
Jeff has been rolling out the APIs at Newscloud, 51 and counting with code samples, and documentation. Everything you need to remix your own community collaborative news “vertical” (in valleyspeak), Digg-a-like, or simply progressive news aggregator.
A whole pack of the crew from Anyday/Palm just shipped Helium, newest entry in the paid writers community space, built on a slick Rails backend. But really, get better stock photos if you want to give the “made of people” feel. (see Flickr: Creative Commons)
And Blaine has soft launched Jabber integration for Twitter. Also a stream oriented XML webservice. (did I just repeat myself?)
October 15th, 2006
Reading the NYTimes Friendster post mortem , its 4 pages long, but the following paragraph jumped out at me as the most important.
Many people working at Friendster sneered at MySpace. The holy grail at Friendster — and the cause of most of its technical problems — was its closed system: users at Friendster could view only the profiles of those on a relatively short chain of acquaintances. By contrast, MySpace was open, and therefore much simpler from a technological standpoint; anybody could look at anyone else’s profile.
In less public spaces then the NYTimes business pages you hear a lot of gossip about Frienster, mostly the personality clashes and rock star egos, but I think it really was that simple.
Failure to do the simplest possible thing that will work, and a failure to be public by default. (though going to war with your users is never a winner) It hurts an engineer’s soul, but worse really is better. (thank goodness I’m not an engineer, just a failed lit major)
July 4th, 2006
Private, friends|family, do not share, etc. It’s very useful to be able to flag certain data you store as private; links or photos, event attendance, or notes. These simple defaults allow us to manage our data without the complex overhead of maintaining ACLs (a task almost no one is obsessive enough to manage)
But it would be nice if there was a way to re-define privacy on these sites so as to enable sharing among partners without the single account/password swapping solutions. Looking at the statistics I have to think this is not a niche feature.
May 31st, 2006
Erik Benson’s awesome Morale-O-Meter is now publicly available! My favorite tool since Allconsuming (or maybe LoB). Just don’t stab to close to Buzz, that man is wild. (like you needed a webapp to tell you that)
update: So I’m confused, when entering hours slept for a day, is that the hours you woke up with, or the hours you ended the day with? Or maybe just the hours that occured during the 24 hour period. How can I be sure my reporting is accurate!!?!