Mac “Type” and “Creator” (Default Application, Regardless of File Extension)

A recent comment on my post about DP SD2 files not opening correctly shed some light on how OSX determines what application will open a file, regardless of the extension. For instance, I have JPG’s that open with various applications so clearly there’s more to it than just the extension

Jargon Scott Says:
December 31, 2007 at 6:42 am e

Maybe you need to reassign the type/creator info for the files. SD2 files created by DP are type “Sd2f” and creator “MOUP”.

Thanks, dude!

From MOTU’s support faq

What is the Mac file type and creator for Digital Performer files?

Digital Performer project files have a Mac file type of “PERF” and a creator of “MOUP”. If you have DP files which have become damaged or corrupt in some way and they can no longer be opened by Digital Performer because they are grayed out in the File > Open dialog, the file type and creator may need to be reset to their proper values. This can be accomplished with third-party file utilities like FileBuddy, FileType, and Quick Change, or using the SetFile command in Terminal (OS X Developer Tools must be installed).

Good ol’ File Buddy. File Buddy is like a Turbo-Charged Finder. It gives you acces to invisible files, meta data etc, that are normally hidden from you thru OSX unless you’re in the Terminal. Definitely a good thing to have around.

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Music “Album Sales” Down 20 Percent this Xmas Season?

According to Ars Technica, according to Variety, according to Nielsen Soundscan (I know, jeez.), holiday “Album Sales” are down majorly this year.

This appears to be whole albums, not total sales. I’m going to go see if I can track down the info on the overall market for music sales altogether. Although it wont surprise me if that information is really hard to find…

Update: The numbers are indeed hard to get a hold of. The RIAA’s numbers are a year behind and Nielsen’s numbers are under Lock and Key, and I can’t find any way to validate how accurate either of them are, not even compared to one another.

Also, is this announcement only referring to actual physical copies of albums or online too?

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I’ll be back later if I can find some better numbers, or at least some interesting alternate illusions.

Update:

The Variety article has no link to any sources. I swear, these days, sources should be mandatory for anything that wants to call itself “professional journalism,” since everyone’s always making such a big stink about the difference in Journalistic Integrity between major publications and “New Media.” (Had to say that. Now back to the information or whatever you want to call it) Continue reading “Music “Album Sales” Down 20 Percent this Xmas Season?”

Put Some Literature on your Ipod!!

Some people are quick to look for problems with the idea of listening to books rather than reading them from paper. Screw those people. Those people are technophobic butt-heads. Audiobooks are awesome and have allowed me, someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy reading for its own sake, to digest some really amazing, life-changing stuff, i wouldn’t have ever been able to complete in book-form (unless I was serving time in the Pen or something).

Someone pointed out to me recently that in hearing something read, you do miss out on part of the interpretive process that goes on in the imagination of a reader as he/she imagines the words being verbalized etc, and to that, I must say I cannot argue, unless we’re talking about an Audiobook read by its author. In that case, the imaginative process seems to me more like an extra layer of interpretation, even if it also serves as some sort of pleasurable intoxicant to some people. Surely confusion, vagueness and the need for the reader to otherwise choose-his-own-adventure in some way can all be important tools in writing, but I must admit, they’re probably lost on me, not because understanding such things is beyond my ability, but because I don’t enjoy reading books, so I will probably never have the pleasure of experiencing them.

I imagine that if we ever develop 3-dimensional Movies, traditionalists will say that something is being lost: the part of the viewing experience that requires you imagine 3 dimensions, and they will be right.

The AudioBooks I’ve read(? Listened To?) absorbed recently and can completely recommend are:

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut – This is simply amazing. I can’t recommend this enough. One of the best pieces of art I’ve ever experienced. I would be selling it short if I tried to explain it so I’d better not try. I can say that the overall mood of the book is a sort of existential bittersweetness, it’s fun, funny and sad all at the same time. It makes me wish I was a writer.

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut – This is very entertaining. I don’t want to compare it to Slaughterhouse, but… Let me just say that it is totally worthwhile and I’ve listened to it twice!

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – Oh My God. This thing is hideous! It’s a total chore to bare the torture and misery in this story. Really the whole book seems like an excuse for the author to explain his theories about social economics, but dammit, they’re excellent theories! For that reason it’s worth it, but I felt like I was being punished through much of it. Stories about misery due to love, abuse, addiction etc are one thing as they are filled with humanity and passion throughout. This is just violence. If you aren’t familiar with the ideas in this book about Government, war, industry, The Media, personal perception, sanity etc, then you pretty much MUST read this, but eat light. It’s horrible. This book makes me think G.O. was a bit sadistic. Maybe he wanted to punish us for something.

Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch, read by David Lynch This is interesting. David Lynch talking about his creative process is sort of adorable. He also talks a lot about his practice of meditation, although he doesn’t elaborate on it much which was annoying to me because I’m learning about that stuff right now and I’m looking for guidance. Short interesting and funny in a quirky way.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, read by Richard Dawkins I was pleasantly surprised by how good this was. It’s not an all out attack on faith as much as an attack on the arguments christians often make to justify their beliefs. After hearing this get plugged on the radio, and hearing Dawkins debate Christian Apologists and what not during the promotional period for this book, I really thought it was going to be a lot of cheap pot-shots at christianity, but it turns out there’s some real fuel in there. This has made me question whether or not to continue describing my beliefs the way that I do. I definitely want to read Listen to his books about Biology and Evolution now. He’s a charming writer.

The Theory of Everything by Steven Hawking, read by Steven Hawking This starts off being very digestible and quickly plummets into being very difficult, at least for me with my pea-sized brain. I will need to do this again, but I don’t know that I’m ready :(

David Sedaris Box Set, read by David Sedaris with Amy Sedaris, list of individual titles below. I listened to much of this on the way to and from Burningman so I don’t know which stories are in which books. All and all, this stuff is great. Short Stories are great for commuting/traveling.

Barrel Fever and Other Stories

Holidays On Ice

Naked

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

2008: “The Semantic Web Becomes Real?”

It’s been nearly 3 years since I began to imagine what might be possible if social data was distributed and could serve as a backbone for a new era of Web applications, particularly in the area of Media Discovery.

The closest things to moving in the direction of Distributed Social Networking that we’ve seen so far have been FaceBook’s application platform, and now, Open Social… I say they are closest because they are (or are going to be) actually adopted by the public at large. Of course, they’re both pathetic examples of Openness.

In much of the reading/learning I have done this past year about The Semantic Web, the idea of “Walled Gardens” or “Silos” comes up a lot. I find it so frustrating that the “Web 2.0” era seems to be all about leasing people ladders. It’s all about maintaining an addiction to access rather than tearing down walls.

The Web 2.0 way seems to me to be:

1. make some catchy little widget.

2. populate it with users (buy registered users if you have to!)

3. sell it, or rather the registered users you’ve acquired to Google or Yahoo or Ebay or Newscorp whomever else is buying eyeballs that day.

It’s an economy based on ‘registered users’ or ‘active users’ or whatever. Basically, Eyeballs. The incentives for development are based on the Silo/Walled Garden approach. I know there are some major exceptions to this, but basically it’s true: Web 2.0 is contrary to a “Web of Data” or Semantic Web because the currency of Web 2.o is “Active Users.”

For this reason, I think that if anything major is going to happen in the way of the Semantic Web finally hitting the streets, it’s going to ride in on the back of a disruptive technology. I mean disruptive of course as in disruptive to the googles, facebooks and myspaces, not to the Web itself or to People.

I realize that the Semantic Web is way bigger than Social Nets, but if we’re going to talk about the SW “becoming real” anytime soon, I think it has to be about Social Software. (And of course, Semantic Web technology is ‘real’ already just not widely used) (and I could be totally wrong of course)

So in response to the quote below, I don’t think 2008 is the year the Semantic Web will become an everyday technology, not after witnessing the last couple years, unless ‘something the kids like’ ushers it in. This stuff is moving so slowly.

Quote from Kurt Cagle over at XML.com

[prediction #5] The Semantic Web Becomes Real. Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little cynical about the semantic web myself, perhaps because too much of it of late has been so heavily tied into RDF, but I think there are some indications that this is changing. RDFa (or Attribute-centric RDF) provides a way of using a microformat like approach to add RDF triples and related items into both HTML and XHTML code, a significant step forward from the way that RDF is used now. There’s a growing movement afoot to use a more XQuery-like rather than SQL-like language for performing RDF SPARQL queries, and I’d not be at all surprised to see a formal sparql: namespace with an appropriate XQuery API published by the W3C within the next year or so.

Again, what this points to is that after more than a decade where each of the pieces of the W3C domain existed largely in independent silos, the realization has been made that in order for these technologies to succeed in the long run, they have to be integratible. Semantic web information is again simply data that needs to be queried as data, needs to be rpesented in a cohesive fashion, needs to be transported acrosss a suitable set of messaging protocols. In order for SemWeb information to become a part of the web, it needs to place nice with the rest of the web; there are signs that this is in fact happening, and this openness (and getting it out of the hands of academics and into the hands of workaday programmers) will go a long way in making the semantic web useful for the average web developer.

Companies/Projects to Watch: I’m going to pass in this space for the moment, as I haven’t seen any SemWeb companies yet that clearly differentiate themselves from the pack. However, I’m likely to come back to this list in my mid-year review.

MOTU DP5: Resource Map Inconsistent With Operation (-199)

UPDATE: Possible Fix Here 

Was attempting to import some soundbites into a project in Digital Performer 5 and I got this error:

Resource Map Inconsistent With Operation (-199)

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There’s not much documentation on this subject out there, at least not that I could find in a minute or two with my high-level googling skills…

The files are from a Digital Performer project, the Project File of which got destroyed by my recent Hard Drive Crash… They are “.mg” Sound Designer II files (which would normally be .sd2 or in the case of DP5, sometimes .L or .R) “(Dot) mg” means they are “merge” files… In DP, you can ‘flatten’ a track by selecting the region and choosing “Merge Soundbites” from the Audio Menu, resulting in one “.mg” file rather than many files, a new one for each edit, you would normally have without the ‘merge…’

They will not open with other programs I have tried either: iTunes, Quicktime (haven’t tried ReCycle, but if I get that installed any time soon I will and I’ll update this)…

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One speculation I have is that these .mg files are ones that refer to mono tracks but that were acting as stereo tracks in the DP5 project, due to Mono-To-Stereo effect plugins… See, some of the .mg files work and just two out of around 15 or 20 don’t… their file sizes look good and all… I was just thinking maybe there’s a dependancy thing going on somehow.

Then again, they could just be corrupted.

Any suggestions out there? What the hell is a Resource Map?

Fluid: Site-Specific Browser Creator.

Super basic Idea… It makes an instance of the browser that is just for one Site, with it’s own name and shortcut you can stick in the Dock. I think it also tweaks the search form of the Browser to be only for that domain by default too… Not much else, according to this video.

I instinctively try to use Apple-Tab to switch between Open Browser Widows all the time, and since Apple+`(the key above Tab) switches between the open windows of the app you’re in, I have preferred multiple windows over tabbed browsing in many contexts for that very reason.

I could see using this to have a WordPress Browser, allowing me to tab back and fourth between my reading and my writing.

What would make this really cool, is if you could map buttons in the Web App to Commands in the File Menu, Edit Menu etc… I love Keyboeard Shortcuts and would love it if I could bo things like Apple+B for Bold in WordPress’ wysiwyg… Or have Apple+S save the current draft/post.

Anyways… this is another baby-step toward better convergence of the Online and the Offline. More on that later.

The Semantic Web for Noobs

Cute little video that might help explain the idea of the Semantic Web to someone who isn’t very tech-savvy… Why not? I try to explain it to people and sometimes find myself making it sound more complicated than it really is so in that way, this very simple explanation is nice.

Video originally posted by Manu Sporny over at DigitalBazaar

I like how it crosses out “More Social Networks…” Haha. Very nice.

Albert Einstein’s Segment for “This I Believe” -1954

I just heard this on KQED while driving and thought I’d pass it along. Einstein’s point of view, in my opinion, is very relevant now.

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Here’s the NPR Page I stole this from and Here’s a Link to a recording of Einstein’s Segment, as read by Robert Krulwich who is one of the hosts of the WNYC show Radio Lab
Anyways, here it is:

NPR.org, May 31, 2005 · This essay aired circa 1954.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious — the knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us, the manifestation of the most profound reason coupled with the most brilliant beauty. I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, or who has a will of the kind we experience in ourselves. I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with the awareness of — and glimpse into — the marvelous construction of the existing world together with the steadfast determination to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature. This is the basics of cosmic religiosity, and it appears to me that the most important function of art and science is to awaken this feeling among the receptive and keep it alive.

I sense that it is not the State that has intrinsic value in the machinery of humankind, but rather the creative, feeling individual, the personality alone that creates the noble and sublime.

Man’s ethical behavior should be effectively grounded on compassion, nurture and social bonds. What is moral is not the divine, but rather a purely human matter, albeit the most important of all human matters. In the course of history, the ideals pertaining to human beings’ behavior towards each other and pertaining to the preferred organization of their communities have been espoused and taught by enlightened individuals. These ideals and convictions — results of historical experience, empathy and the need for beauty and harmony — have usually been willingly recognized by human beings, at least in theory.

The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us westerners in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal: free and responsible development of the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the service of all mankind.

The pursuit of recognition for their own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the quest for personal independence form the traditional themes of the Jewish people, of which I am a member.

But if one holds these high principles clearly before one’s eyes and compares them with the life and spirit of our times, then it is glaringly apparent that mankind finds itself at present in grave danger. I see the nature of the current crises in the juxtaposition of the individual to society. The individual feels more than ever dependent on society, but he feels this dependence not in the positive sense — cradled, connected as part of an organic. He sees it as a threat to his natural rights and even his economic existence. His position in society, then, is such that that which drives his ego is encouraged and developed, and that which would drive him toward other men (a weak impulse to begin with) is left to atrophy.

It is my belief that there is only one way to eliminate these evils, namely, the establishment of a planned economy coupled with an education geared towards social goals. Alongside the development of individual abilities, the education of the individual aspires to revive an ideal that is geared towards the service of our fellow man, and that needs to take the place of the glorification of power and outer success.

Translation by David Domine. Essay courtesy of the Albert Einstein Archives at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Drobo is looking pretty tasty

I haven’t looked too far into it, but…

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Looks like it’s only USB 2, and I suspect it would be better for me if it was FireWire 800 but… What do I know… Still looks pretty sweet.

Why Dead Hard Drives Click? What’s Going on in There?

EDIT: I found a YouTube Video of a clicking Hard Drive in action. Look!

[end of EDIT]

I found the following HERE I have no reason to doubt that this absolute stranger, calling himself erico, who wrote what is below, is telling the truth in this forum I found.

The Click Of Death is actually the Whack Of Death.

There are two motors in a hard drive. The first is obvious — it’s the spindle motor that spins the platters. In the very old days, these were awesome 1800 or 2400 rpm self-sync DC motors. These were cool toys. Later ones were 3600 rpm DC motors, with external sync via hall effect sensors — 3600rpm, you wonder? SImple. 60 rotations per second, made the clocking easy. Modern ones, spinning up to 15K, are very simple DC servo motors with very, very complicated controllers that sense the speed via back EMF on the motor coils. Very trick, and useless in other projects, but once you’ve got the software, really cheap and fast.

The “Freeze the drive” trick is for problems with the spindle motor. A shorted coil in a motor keeps it from spinning. Freezing it can move the coil such that it isn’t shorting, and the drive spins. Whack the drive fixes stiction — a bearing, or a head, sticks to the platter, and it doesn’t have enough torque to spin the drive. A whack breaks things lose, and the motor can spin the disk.

That’s not the problem here.

The other motor is the head positioner. In the old days, these were stepper motors, and the stepper on the ST 3040A was legendary — guys would pray this drive would die so they could steal it. Steppers, however, are only so precise and fast, so modern drives use voice coils to quickly place the heads just so. Originally, there would be either a “wedge” on one of the platters that had tracks that the heads could use to quickly find tracks, or an entire side of a platter was used for dedicated information about where the tracks were. Modern drives use what’s called “embedded servo” information — the information about where the tracks lie is underneath the data, so you don’t lose the capacity of a wedge or dedicated servo.

This leads to the Whack Of Death. To move the heads, a current is sent in the voice coil, and the heads count the tracks as they cross the servo lanes. So, to move 50 tracks in, the coil charges, creating a magnetic field, and since it’s stuck between two really powerful magnets, it moves, and fast. The heads count tracks until they reach 50, then the current stops charging, and the heads stop.

What’s the whack? The whack is the heads hitting the stop that keeps them from moving off the platters completely. What is happening — the heads can’t tell where the tracks are, so they keep swinging, until they hit the stop. This gets noticed, the controller retracts the heads all the way to the center, and it tries again.

WHACK. WHACK. WHACK.

This means: 1) The heads can’t sense position information, and 2) The drive is almost certainly toast. 95% of the time, it’s the head that’s on the servo platter. 5% of the time, it’s a controller or power issue. You can try the drive in another computer, but usually, you ask the $1000 question, which is “Is the data on this drive, that I haven’t backed up recently, despite the lectures every sysadmin has given me repeatedly, worth $1000?”

That being the cost of sending the drive off to the clever guys with lots of toys who can read the data off.

IOW. The drive is almost certainly toast. If the data is really important, you can send it to a disk recovery place, who will charge you lots of money, and send back the data on CD or whatnot. If it’s not, you buy a new drive (or two and a mirroring controller) and resolve to be better about backups next time.

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Blogging about my Hard Drive Problems

It just occurred to me that I will probably have a Hard Drive die every Six Months to a Year for the rest of my life since I work with Audio Media and always push the capabilities of my computer to the limit.  Hard Drives are the weakest link in the reliability chain contemporary PC hardware so until we do away with magnetic drives all together (hopefully soon), I will keep having these problems…

The good news is, as I deal with my failing Hard Drives, I learn in the process and can pass information along to others by writing about it.  Thus a new category of this blog is born: Hard Drive Drama

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All Computers Should Come with an Internal RAID 1 Drive Set-Up Inside

And when a drive goes down, it would be the equivalent of a check-engine light coming on for your computer. It would mean that you better get your computer fixed soon.

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I think that would be better than this all-at-once freak-out system people like me have with a single internal drive and an external to back-up on to manually.

People that do a lot of video editing are used to thinking about hard drives as little unreliable houses of cards, but most of us aren’t.

I like the idea of a more gradual form panic, or incremental panic… “Shit! I’m getting low on Hard Drives! Better get some more!”

Of course, Solid State Drives are just a few years around the corner. Those will surely be more reliable, right?

Hard Drive Crash Again. Can’t Startup. Can’t Mount. Can’t Replace Directory. DiskWarrior, Drive Genius, TechTool Deluxe

I don’t want to believe that my drive is dead yet. Yesterday there was a power-outage while I was right in the middle of recording a Cymbal Track in Digital Performer. I feel like that could be at the root of all this, but maybe I’m just in denial. Today I was tweaking some effect automation in the project and DP started to hang.

I should have shut everything down and done a permissions repair right then but I didn’t. Instead I kept trying to work and eventually ended up force-quitting a few programs that didn’t want to shut down in the background like Mail and iTunes… Finally, I decided I had better do a Permissions Repair and when I finally got started up from my Tiger Install DVD and launched the Disk Utility, my internal Hard Drive’s name had disappeared and the volume didn’t mount (pic)

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My friend Arin turned me on to DiskWarrior a few years ago, the first time I had a Hard Drive Disappear. Some background information:

In the Disk Utility, a Hard Drive shows up as two things that both have a hard drive icon next to them: An actual device (in my case, “149.1 GB ST3160023AS”), and a volume (the greyed-out “disk0s3”). The Device is exactly that, the actual physical Hard Drive machine component. The Volume is the usable area of a Hard Drive that’s been formatted, the ‘software drive,’ if you will. Continue reading “Hard Drive Crash Again. Can’t Startup. Can’t Mount. Can’t Replace Directory. DiskWarrior, Drive Genius, TechTool Deluxe”

Flock’s RSS/Atom Feed-Reader Capability is Definitely Better Than Safari’s. Multiple HomePages Too!

Thist is my 3rd post so far about Flock (the Web Browser), as I’m trying it. There will probably be one or two more because I have more to say about it but I’m working on some music right now and I don’t want spend the time to go all-out, all at once, and do a big ol’ review-of-Flock post so it’s gonna have to be bit-by-bit like this.

Feed Bookmarking is one of the main reasons I have refused to switch to Firefox, Safari’s way of doing it being way better than Firefox’s. I am subscribed to a ton of blogs in different categories including the Semantic Web, General Technology, Social Software News, My Friends’ Blogs, SEO News, IPTV News, many craigslist queries (as feeds of course), as well all the craigslist free stuff in my area (you never know!). Flock has a few different sidebars, one of which is the Feed Reader.

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(A picture of the Flock Feed-Reader Sidebar with just a few of my things added)

Like Safari, Flock’s reader lets you see an individual feed or an aggregate of multiple feeds by folder. Two things that Safari doesn’t do are:

1. Flock has a ‘Mark as Read’ button. OMG you have no idea how many times I’ve wished for this! After a weekend of being a normal person who doesn’t read a ton of blogs, I’ve often wanted to flush a feed and start fresh. If I don’t stay on top of reading everything, or at least letting it display for a second, next thing I know I have like a THOUSAND unread posts from somewhere like digg/technoloy and even opening the feed is crash-material. With Flock, I can just right-click on the title of the feed and, as metallica would say, kill em all. Thanks Flock.

picture-146.png(a Safari Bookmark Folder full of unread Feed Articles… Yuk.)

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(Flock’s Right-Click Menu from a Feed’s title. Yay.)

2.UPDATE: (This is probably a much bigger deal) Flock’s Browser-Based Feed-Reader will sync with a few different online ones. Yes folks, sync. I said Sync.  No It Doesn’t.  It only allows OPML import and export, and a feature that makes it so when you click on a link to a feed, it will take you to the subscribe page of your online reader, similar to how a bookmarklet works for del.icio.us or digg.com.  No syncing going on around here. 

I have tried online readers in the past and have always preferred my feed-reading to take place in the drag-n-dropable realm of my closest friend, OSX. Many, many, many times I have been away from my machine and wished I could access my feeds, which of course is the best, if not the only argument for online feed-readers, as far as I’m concerned. Since Safari can’t do this syncing thing, I have had 2 choices: Either stick with Safari and have my feeds in a UI I like but only have access to them at all when I’m on my machine, or use an online reader and have a UI I hate all the time but with the assurance that I wont miss a beat if I’m camping out on another computer. I have chosen the former, but now, if I do switch over to Flock as my primary browser, which is looking pretty likely at this point, especially after pecking out this post, I can have my RSS cake and eat it too.

I have to say though, I haven’t tried the syncing yet so there may be reasons to not use it but I’m definitely going to try that out soon.  I’ve tried Bloglines out now, and although Bloglines is pretty cool, there is definitely a shortfall with regard to integration in this area.  I will continue too keep my feeds backed up at Bloglines, but read with my browser here on the desktop.

One big annoyance with Flocks feed-reader is this: When looking at a feed, the things you have not seen are bold (in safari they’re a different color), and Flock even knows how far down you’ve scrolled which is nice, but the effect is that as you scroll and scan, the headings are changing from bold to normal! Changing font-weight is just about the worst thing you can do to aid someone in scanning a lot of headlines/summaries. It’s a nice idea gone terribly wrong. I would like it better if they were blue, but then turned black or something. Or a Three-Second delay maybe? … Anything but going from bold to plain instantly as I scroll and scan. Awful. Why don’t you shine a super-powerful bright light in my eyes while you’re at it, Flock? (or better yet, just quietly change that feature to make it a little better)

Finally (not really finally, cause there are going to be more posts about my quest for a better Web Browser(and Firefox is NOT it)), I have to say that another thing I really like about Flock so far is that it supprts multiple HomePages. Duh! When I launch the browser, I pretty much always go to the same few places: My FaceBook, my MySpace, My Blog Stats on WordPress Etc… Flock’s Social Sidebar has Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and many others covered. I launch a window and all that info is loaded and up-to-date. Thank You. Finally! As for MySpace and my Blog Stats and any other miscellaneous pages I glance at frequently, why load them one-at-a-time, one-after-the-other? Just give ’em to me! Flock allows you to do a lovely little thing that reveals itself when you are in the preferences for the app. In the Homepage section it says: “Use current pageS.” with an “S” as in plural. More than one.

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(Flocks Home Page Settings)

When I saw this I thought:

“No. That would be cool but… No way.”

I was wrong! It works. You can have different pages as your homepage and they’re all tabbed and pretty waiting for you to do your glancing at them when you launch the window. What’s next, telepathy? Ok, maybe it’s not that big of a deal but if things keep moving in this direction, browsing may just get a little more helpful here and there. Baby steps.

Wow. I think I’m having a good reaction to Flock. No they’re not paying me or anything. I saw a little spot about Flock on Mahalo the other day and thought it looked like they had done some cool things with it.

More later.

Comments welcome of course.

Scientific American: "The Semantic Web in Action”

Quote from

http://www.thefigtrees.net/lee/blog/2007/12/scientific_american_the_semant.html
I’m RE-Blogging this using Flock‘s RSS Reader and Blogging UI -Andrew

I’m pleased to write that the December 2007 issue of
Scientific
American
contains an article titled “The
Semantic Web in Action”
, coauthored by Ivan Herman, Tonya
Hongsermeier
, Eric Neumann,
Susie Stephens,
and myself.

We were invited to write the article as a follow-up to the
original 2001 Scientific American Semantic Web
article
by Tim Berners-Lee, Jim Hendler, and Ora Lassila. We
wanted to share some practical examples of problems currently being
solved with Semantic Web technologies, particularly in health care
and life sciences. The article presents two detailed case studies.
The first is the work of a team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Medical Center who use RDF in conjunction with PageRank-esque
algorithms to prioritize potential drug targets for cardiovascular
diseases. The second case focuses on the University of Texas Health
Science Center’s SAPPHIRE system. SAPPHIRE integrates information
from various health care providers to allow public health officials
to better assess potential emerging public health risks and disease
epidemics. The article also talks about the potential for Semantic
Web technologies and the work of companies such as Agfa and
Partners to help health care providers deal with the rate of
knowledge acquisition and change in their clinical decision support
(CDS) systems.

Aside from these case studies, the article takes somewhat of a
whirlwind tour across the current landscape of Semantic Web
applications. Along the way, RDF, OWL, SPARQL, GRDDL, and FOAF all get mentions. Science Commons and DBpedia are briefly touched on, and the
article acknowledges a variety of companies that are engaged in
Semantic Web application research, prototyping, or deployment:
British Telecom, Boeing, Chevron, MITRE, Ordnance Survey, Vodafone,
Harper’s Magazine, Joost, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Nokia, Oracle,
Adobe, Aduna, Altova, @semantics, Talis, OpenLink, TopQuadrant,
Software AG, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Garlik. And there were loads that
couldn’t be included in the end due to space restrictions, all of
which is a testament to the continued growth in adoption of these
technologies.

Unfortunately, the article is not currently available for free
online. An electronic version is available (along with the rest of
the December 2007 issue) from Scientific American’s Web
site for US$7.95, and the issue should also be available at
newsstands in the US for a bit longer. I’m not sure when/if the
article is available on newsstands across the rest of the world.
I’ve been working with the copyright editors at Scientific
American
in an attempt to procure the rights to publish the
article on my own Web site (and/or possibly on the W3C’s site), but
they haven’t yet responded to my application.

In any case, it was a fantastic experience working with my
colleagues to bring some information on the progress of the
Semantic Web to the readers of Scientific American. I’ve
gotten some great feedback family, friends, and colleagues who have
read the article. Several people in the Semantic Web community have
let me know that they’ve found the article to be useful material
for helping introduce people to the ideas and applications behind
Semantic Web technologies. So please check out the article if
you’re so inclined, and I’d love to hear what you think. I’ll also
be sure to update this space if I’m able to secure the rights to
publish the full text of the article here.

Blogged with Flock

idetrorce, king of blog comment spam?

Got a comment from idetrorce on my post about robot blogs:

“very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce”

I guess this bot really gets around. There’s no site being linked to. Just the strange name Idetrorce being dropped. Is this like internet Tag-Graffiti?

There’s even a digg story about this bot!

EDIT:

The main reason I posted this here is because I want to contribute to making information easy to find. As far as I know, there’s no reliable centralized spam database or repository of spam email addresses, spammer I.P. addresses etc, so I post these things here to make it easy for the next guy (or gal) to verify that a comment or email is indeed a bad apple.

This is also one of the main reasons I have been making those Scam Email Mashups, whenever I win the spam lottery and get one of those damn things.

Growth Hormones for the Semantic Web FOAFr.com/WhereWe.At

Thought I’d do a little post about the project I’ve been trying to make grow for a while.

The Problem:

  • Mainstream-quality web services/applications that leverage the “Semantic Web” will not begin to be built en masse, until there is a large enough Semantic Web (containing enough useful Data) to make it clear to enterprise that there is value in innovating such services/applications. In other words, to the developers of Right Now, there is not sufficient value in the Semantic Web to make it adoptable. It just isn’t widespread enough.
  • From the perspective of the average participant of the Web, there is no incentive to publish data in the Standard formats that make a Web Of Data possible (and in turn the Next Gen Apps we’ll see when there is a Web Of Data sufficient to fuel that innovation). In other words, to the citizens of the Web Right Now, there is not sufficient value in the Semantic Web to make it worth contributing to.

Some Bullet Points

  • Social Data is very valuable to ordinary people (see ‘web 2.0’ and just about everything cool on the Web right now)
  • Social Data is very valuable to many kinds of businesses (see every registration form you’ve ever filled out and of course advertising and marketing)
  • Regular Web Users are willing to publish their Social information to the Web, if it provides value for them to do so.

My idea:

More Bullets

  • Create value for normal Web Users in publishing their social data to the Semantic Web.
  • Inject Social Data into the Semantic Web.

Idea Summary

  • Allow mixing of Social Data from numerous platforms like Semantic Web Standards, common Excel & CSV formats, Microformats Embedded in HTML pages or via file upload (XFN, vCard, hCard), Mail Software formats, Data Scraped from HTML pages of popular closed Social Networking services, and whatever Social Data formats the cat drags in, via Open-Source, community-driven plugin infrastructure.
  • Allow publishing of Social Data to numerous platforms like Semantic Web Standards, common Excel & CSV formats, Microformats, HTML, Mail Software formats,
  • Enable cross-referencing of redundancies like checking email addresses against social networking services.
  • Search, Filter, Tag
  • In other words, really awesome multi-platform address book application/Identity manager.
  • WordPress-like infrastructure and development community.
  • Provide free, hosted version and downloadable, installable version, like WordPress.
  • Preserve Privacy, Enhance Publicity.

Where we’re at with this.

  • The beginning of a UI for the Address Book side
  • Gmail and MySpace integration basically completed
  • Matt is a full-time student and I am not a programmer. We need help!

If you are interested in helping us with this, comment here or email me at andrew a peterson at gmail

Also, we have a phpbb forum installed over there if you’d like to see some of our discussion. Feel free to register and jump right in with any ideas, questions, comments etc.

Spammer-Blog-Bots. New addition to the Spamosphere?

Maybe this isn’t that new, but it’s fairly new to me.

I’ve been getting trackbacks from these spammer blogs that scrape a piece of my blog and post it along with a link to my original post. It seems clear that they’re run by bots because of the un-natural way in which they select text to post.

here’s an example of one such spam bot blog

EDIT: Here’s another Spam-Bot-Blog

It’s weird and annoying. I wonder if this is working for them. Do they make money with AdSense clicks? Do they come up in search results for the topics they are centered on?

This kind of gaming the system is just… Not cool!

It’s like leaving garbage on the ground at the beach. It’s an abuse of one of our shared resources, the Web.
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Broadcast Flag Mandate for Digital Cable, Video Devices Etc

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from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Today, you can use any device you like with your television: VCR, TiVo, DVD recorder, home theater receiver, or a PC combining these functions and more. But if the broadcast flag mandate is passed, Hollywood and federal bureaucrats will get a veto over innovative devices and legitimate uses of recorded programming.

The mandate forces all future digital television (DTV) tuners to include “content protection” (aka DRM) technologies. All makers of HDTV receivers will be required to build their devices to watch for a “flag” embedded in programs by copyright holders.

When it comes to digital recording, it would be Hollywood’s DRM way or the highway. Want to burn that recording digitally to a DVD to save hard drive space? Sorry, the DRM lock-box won’t allow it. How about sending it over your home network to another TV? Not unless you rip out your existing network and replace it with DRMd routers. And forget about using open source TV tools. Kind of defeats the purpose of getting a high definition digital signal, doesn’t it?

Responding to pressure from Hollywood, the FCC had originally mandated the flag, but thanks to our court challenge, ALA v. FCC, it was thrown out. But that doesn’t mean the danger is behind us. Hollywood has headed to Congress to ask for the flag again. Take action to stop the flag now!

New Media/Old Media, Jason Calacanis on NPR’s ‘On The Media’

From the Calacanis-Cast

[un-cut] Jason Calacanis being interviewed by NPR’s show On The Media.

This is a really interesting conversation about transparency in Journalism.

Apparently, Jason Calacanis wont do interviews unless he can have the un-edited original recording for himself to post in the spirit of transparency (and/or in case he’s mis-quoted or his words are taken out of context).

This is a really interesting little conversation. If you’re interested in the changing media landscape, New Media/Old Media or Journalism/Media in general, you should give this a listen.

MP3 HERE

Permalink HERE

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mp3-Sharing Sites, music genres. what a nightmare.

Even when I was playing in bands with other human musicians, it was always a really difficult thing to get past -that awkward moment that follows the question: “What kind of music do you guys play?”

Nowadays, in the age of any-one-can-promote-themselves-online-and-build-a-following-yada, there’s a whole new version of the same question. Rather than “what is it like” it’s more like “where do you want people to find it”

Usually it’s on a per-song basis which is nice because you can spread out your positioning.

The nightmare part is this:

The services usually have pre-defined genres. Look at the pic below and tell me which one of these genres I should put one of my recent tracks. Soundtracks & More? Yikes.

What good does this do me or anyone else?

picture-133.png

This upload form is from mp3.com

What’s even worse about this is the fact that they don’t even have a link for the category ‘Soundtracks & More” at the top of their pages! May as well call the category “Trash You Don’t Want to Hear Anyway So We Wont Link To It And You Wont Find It”

picture-137.png

Sites like this want to do more than just host media files for free. They want to be destinations where music lovers will spend their time clicking around listening to stuff and discovering new music. That’s a pretty ambitious goal (especially considering the superior music discovery tools already available and considering the fact that just down the road, in the realm of the illegal, Major label artists are side-by-side with Independents! With these sharing sites, it’s pretty much only un-signed artists, which creates a pretty high shit-density.)

And the sad thing is, despite the fact that these sharing/discovery sites do open up some possibilities to some Longtail artists, the fact that the sites want to retain traffic causes them to focus their attention on keeping the average joe (whose taste can be statistically determined to be mainstream), not fulfilling the niche demand (thus the limited number of genres and even more limited site navigation). The goal isn’t Longtail as much as thinner cut of the tail. And of course, a complete waste of my time.

Pirate Bay Music Discovery System. Rad.

Back in the good ol’ days, a few weeks ago, when oink was still around, there was a firefox plugin called oink plus that pulled together similar artists, MySpace and LastFM pages for the artists Etc.  It was rad.  Maybe this will be rad too.

From TorrentFreak:

“The Pirate Bay just rolled out a new feature to their music section that makes it easy for users to find similar artists, more albums from the same artist and upcoming concerts. The data they are using comes from the popular music community website last.fm and is fully integrated into the website.”

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(I love that they used Prince as the example.)

Quick thought: del.icio.us needs parental support!

I think one of the smartest things  Yahoo! could do right now would be to soup-up del.icio.us.  I’ve often thought about how easy it would be to use del.icio.us’ simple tagging infrastructure and RSS feeds to store and distribute Social Network information.  But it’s too darn slow!  If querying del.icio.us was lightning-fast, I bet there would already be interesting applications using del.icio.us as a backbone.

Draft: “The Semantic Web” doesn’t mean All-Access

I wanted to get this idea down before I forget and also get it out so that I can get help from you with it.

The Semantic Web is all about middleman-like programming-terminologies that help different pools of information to be processed more efficiently. Taxonomies for domains of meaning.

This doesn’t mean that information necessarily will work together. It just means that if/when it is time to build software to do something with some information, additional layers of translation are less likely to be needed.

We work with databases (or at least compilations of structured data) all the time. The contacts in your cell phone, and the list of calls in your landline handsets’ caller ID history, for instance, are both basically databases. If both sets of data happen to be stored in the same way, using the same or similar terminology, it doesn’t automatically mean that your Cell will be talking to your Landline or that either will be talking to the Phone Company.*

Additional infrastructure is required in order to take advantage of two sets of data. An application is still required. And in the case above, a network and/or platform on which the Application will run is needed first also.

The fact that information is stored in an intelligent way doesn’t mean that the information is automatically available, just like how you can’t edit this post and I can, despite the fact that what you’re looking at and what I’m looking at are both just HTML and Javascript pages coming from the same server, using the same simple MySQL database.

I wanted to write something like this because of the people I talk to that seem to think that Semantic Web technology is inherently a path toward less privacy. This post needs work. I hate to post something that isn’t finished, but I need help finishing it.

Any thoughts on these ideas?

*How do you know they aren’t already?

Podcasting Adoption. RSS/Atom Adoption. Some Thoughts.

A recent post on Mashable was talking about the reasons that podcasting hasn’t really caught on.

Some theory along the lines of

“There’s no real monetization model yet”

meets

“Only people that would podcast whether or not they make any money doing it are bothering to, aside from the mainstream (Old Media) entities, which are now taking over and killing the democracy of the platform, only the ‘Hippies’ are doing it.”

Is the basic gist of it.

I have thought about this a lot. Here’s what I posted as a comment over there:

I think one of the biggest challenges to the adoption of podcasting by the mainstream is the name “podcasting” and other misleading terminology about the technology.

It seems to me that to the average joe, podcasting is something you have to have an iPod in order to take advantage of. And if you do have an iPod, it’s scary to go to the “iTunes Store” and “Subscribe” to things. And of course, where on earth are people supposed to learn about non-apple podcast directories? It doesn’t help matters much that as mainstream radio programs increasingly plug their own podcasted versions of their shows, they generally default to using the same counterproductive lingo: “you can download our show to your ipod…” (which means you need to have an Apple mp3 player) or “Look for us in the iTunes Store” (which sounds like you’d have to pay for the content)

The average not-too-savvy user has no idea what a “feed” is.

While working with a fairly successful video podcast, it was really striking to me to find out that the majority of our regular viewers were actually “checking back” to the site for updates rather than sitting back and letting RSS do all the work for them. Seems like the public’s general lack of understanding about RSS/Atom, how podcasting works, along with a general cynicism about the Web and fear of having things download automatically (thanks to PC virus riffraff), has kept podcasting in the closet.

A feed-awareness campaign is needed if public perception is going to change. The lingo needs to change.

updated: the importance of apple and ipods or mp3 players in general needs to be separated from the idea of what Feed-Subscription is all about … So maybe calling it something other than podcasting would be a good idea!

I think this is problem for all feeds, not just ones that serve up media files via Enclosures (podcasts).

I’d love to see some real data on RSS/Atom adoption in general (mashable?). I assume feed subscription adoption in general is not distributed along with the presence of broadband connections. I would bet that mostly, feedreaders and podcast aggregators are being used by people in major cities. It’s a cultural thing. Some people know about it, most people don’t.
If you live in the suburbs, you’re less likely to use ‘live bookmarks’ subscribe to podcasts or use a feedreader than you are if you live in the city.

Am I wrong? Numbers, please.

What I was trying to say is,

I’m pretty sure nobody knows what podcasting is still!