Monday, February 27, 2006

Podcasting with Odeo

I visited Odeo today, searching through the "Odeo Top 40" list for podcasts that appeared interesting. After selecting a variety of channels that appeared to not load properly, I finally settled on the channel "IT Conversations" and selected a recent entry entitled "The Architechture of Participation."

I listened to Yahoo Local's General Manager, Paul Levine, address a "Where 2.0 Conference" audience in San Francisco June 2005. Mr. Levine drops buzz words ranging from Web 2.0 -- calling it "Web Two Dot Oh" -- to innovation, search services, mashups, and hacks (links to Wikipedia's explanations I required for understanding). Levine shares Yahoo's acronym for their overarching goal: "...being able to Find, Use, Share, and Expand (FUSE) all human knowledge." He exemplifies his vision by talking the audience through a view of Yahoo Local's service, specifically taking the role of a conference attendee who is searching for a particular type of spanish cuisine near the conference location. The example highlights the interactive advantage gained through user reviews, mapping services, and the ability to "print" the information to a mobile phone directly from the web.

I learned a new term from Mr. Levine: API, the abbreviation for Application Program Interface (Wikipedia's explanation). Levine specifically highlights Yahoo's traffic API, which he claims to be the only nationally dispersed service of its kind at the time of this conference. I followed Mr. Levine's directions throughout his presentation and viewed a more comprehensive list of Yahoo's current APIs.

I have included the podcast, via Odeo's flashplayer, for anyone who would like to hear Mr. Levine for herself.

Update: My "Levine" spellings are now all alike. It seems half of the name instances were 'LAvine' and half 'LEvine.' Thanks, Kamran, for the catch.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

More on Grammar

Lifehacker brought excellent advice for writing into the spotlight late last week. Lori Mortimer of Blogcritics presents an interesting review and counterpoint to recent advice published by blogger and columnist John Scalzi on writing for "nonprofessional writers."

Mortimer gracefully points out Scalzi's omissions of active voice, strong verbs, "sleep(ing) on it," and obtaining the review of one or two trusted readers. Mortimer highlights Scalzi's fuzzy guidance he gave for writing with regards to the period, comma, and semicolon. The most important thing I learned from Mortimer, though, is that a sentence is a structure, complete with included link to one of the most concise and generally fabulous grammar pages I have seen in a long time.

Thanks to Lori Mortimer for commentary that began to set me straight.

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In class on Thursday, Mary mentioned that there are approximately thirty common prepositions recognized in English usage. I found a helpful site sponsored by Capital Community College (CCC) in Hartford, Conneticut. CCC's link about common prepositions listed 44 common prepositions, ranging alphabetically from 'about' to 'without.'

The main page for prepositions also contains several links to Quizzes on prepositions. The one I found most helpful is this one, an excerpt taken from Hemmingway, in which the viewer is expected to identify and list in order all prepositions used. It took about 3-4 minutes for me to complete the exercise.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Technorati Tagging

I'm still experimenting with the Technorati Tagging tool. I believe this tool to be not only useful but necessary for gaining legitimacy in the public forum -- the Conversation. However, I find myself hesitant to go ahead and TAG. I've been running through thoughts to try to figure out why, exactly, I feel this way.

I think I've got it. I went back and reviewed my notes from last week's discussion about The World Is Flat, and realized that I'm always much much more comfortable operating in a "Taxonomy" (link to Wikipedia's definition), as Mary called it. I most naturally review all the possible categories and then place my items in the 'most appropriate' one.

Tagging with Technorati and any other tagging tool online requires one to function in a "Folksonomy" (link to Wikipedia again). I'm not comfortable with this yet. I won't pretend to be. However, there is an adventurer in me rising up to the challenge.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Technorati: Long Way Left to Go

As directed during class today, I checked out Technorati's website. I set up an account, profile, and claimed my Purdue 106 Blog.

I scanned through the article by Dave Sifry, "The State of the Blogosphere," and learned the following interesting bits of information:
  • As of February 2006, there are 27.2 million weblogs in existence
  • Technorati tracks as many as 75,000 new blogs created daily and a growing collection of two billion links
  • 1.2 million new posts are created each day, an average of 50,000 per hour, with 400,000 of these being tagged posts
  • Hot topics today (6 Feb 2006) were Politics, Technology, Gardening, and Erotica
I confess that I did not finish navigating through the hand-out during the lab today, mostly because I was still busy learning about cool stuff on Technorati. I learned something that I have never thought about before. I was already aware that Google is known for state-of-the-art anti-spamming algorithms. Their company is constantly working to eliminate participation with "click fraud" -- new term for me today, which I found well-defined at Wikipedia -- as well as any web code designed to force prospective customers to go places against their will (webspam). The part I had never thought about is that Google has the difficult task of bolstering defenses not only in English, but also in every other language on the web, to the best of their ability. This was demonstrated in Google's blog article, written by Matt Cutts, regarding webspam and the bold move of telling BMW that until they clean up the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) code on their german sites, all related pages will be removed from the Google index. Here's the exact statement from Matt:

"So, when you believe your pages are clean enough to be reincluded in Google, send us a Google reinclusion request. We’ll need to hear about who suggested the SEO idea of JavaScript redirects not only on, but on other domains such as and and and ."

Wow. BMW has always impressed me as a powerful company. But where does anyone and everyone go to find something on the internet? Google. I am grateful to Google for keeping the customer in mind:

Search engine users in other countries and languages are just as tired of webspam as American users, and they deserve the best quality that Google can provide."

In conclusion I'll say that I spent time getting familiar with Technorati. I did not even finish adding tags to my blog space, creating a watchlist, or getting to the two other directed sites (Alexa and PubSub). I am consuming all of this new information, but there is still a long way to go.