Joho the BlogFebruary 2007 - Page 3 of 8 - Joho the Blog

February 22, 2007

Audiences to conversations to communities

SJSU JMC163 New Media in Journalism School of Journalism & Mass Communications (yes, that’s the name of the blog — I suspect it’s class-related), has a nice example of an audience for a particular TV show — the BBC’s “North & South” — forming itself into a conversation “with a voice” that worked around the BBC’s attempt to moderate it. [Tags: ]

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Tags ‘n’ facets at EngineeringVillage

EngineeringVillage.org has about 32 million records available, including 10.7 million from the Compendex (Computerized Engineering Index) that has data going back to 1884, 9.5 million records from the Inspec Archives that goes back to 1896, 2.2 milllion government technical records in the NTIS collection, and 9.5 million patent abstracts.

How can you possibly navigate 32 million records? Searching requires second-guessing authors, and with that many records, it’s bound to miss more than it finds. So, EV uses a combination of full text searching and faceted navigation.

For example, if you’re looking for anti-gravity devices, begin by doing a text search on “gravity”…

For more, go to EverythingIsMiscellaneous.com (PS: How obnoxious is it for me to direct you to the Everything Is Miscellaneous blog for posts like this?)

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A joke

From rjmiller, via RB:

Astronauts land on Mars. Their mission: to check whether there is oxygen on the planet.

“Give me the box of matches” says one. “Either it burns and there is oxygen, or nothing happens.”

He takes out a match and is ready to strike it, when out of the blue, a Martian appears waving all his arms . . . “No, no, don’t!”

The astronauts look at each other, worried. Could there be an unknown explosive gas on Mars? But they have their mission, so they take out another match and get ready to strike it.

Suddenly, a crowd of hysterical Martians comes running, all waving their arms: “No, no, don’t do that!”

“It looks serious. What are they afraid of? But – we’re here for Science, to find out if man can breathe on Mars.”

So they strike the match, which flames up, burns down, and….. nothing happens.

“Why did you want to prevent us from striking a match?,” they ask the Martians.

The leader of the Martians says: “Today is Shabbos!”

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February 21, 2007

Reuters, Africa, Bloggers…all on one page

Reuters has started a site devoted exclusively to Africa. Each country has its own page. And there at the top left of each page is a feed of the most recent posts from Global Voices. Reuters is a funder of GV, and this is a very cool integration of the mainstream media and our global voices.

It makes me inordinately happy. [Tags: ]

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Audacity – Harder when you’re dumb

Audacity is a highly-recommended open source audio editing tool that I’ve been using for years and have found both helpful and frustrating. Since I don’t really know what I’m doing, I waste a lot of time doing it.

For example, try editing out a section of a stereo track. You can’t do it. You can only select both tracks…until you figure out that you first have to split the two tracks by clicking on the “audio track” pull down to the left of the tracks. Then you can select a part of just one track. But then comes the next challenge: When you delete from one track, it’s now out of sync with the first one. You can get around this by generating silence of an equal amount to what you cut. Or you can do what I think is the right thing: Edit > Split Cut deletes the selected stretch and replaces it with blankness. You can then paste into the hole it leaves.

So, eventually I get it to work. Usually. And it’s free and open source, so how can I complain? Oh, I can whine a little because it’s of my nature. But not outright complain.

I did run into one weirdness today that puzzles me more than makes me whiny: When I try to copy and paste music from one recording into the track of another, it gets compressed to half its size, and thus goes up an octave. Instant chipmunks. I think this is because the music is saved at 48K and the track I’m pasting it into is 96K. But I’m just guessing based on noticing the multiple of 2. Yes, I am that type of mathematical prodigy.

In the end, though, I was able to record an interview over the telephone, with me recording into a mic, through a combination of an M-Audio Fast Track Pro, a JK Audio Inline Patch, a lot of trial and a heck of a lot more error, and a lifeline thrown by Colin Rhinesmith of the Berkman Center.

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February 20, 2007

Commercial vs. free tagging

Tim Spalding has a terrific post analyzing why his LibraryThing has ten times the number of book tags as Amazon. [Tags: ]

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[conf] Web rules

I’m at the lunchtime presentation at a conference the name of which I’m not sure of — too many conferences, perhaps? — where a woman is in the middle of a presentation about research based on 350 observational sessions about how we’re using media. I came in late and ate my sandwich during most of it, but the gist is that we’re still watching more TV, but the Web and Radio are about equal in how many of us use them and how many hours we spend with each. Plus Webby folks spend money, apparently. (Dave Sifry is in the audience and hade the speaker drill down into more statistical detail, but it involved understanding numbers work, and I never got much past the concept of some numbers being “bigger” than other numbers.) “Online drives offline usage, and offline drives online usage.”

There seem to be about 100 people here, and they are definitely media related — I see Maria Thomas of NPR.org, and I’m next to a guy from WQED.


The conference is the Integrated Media Association ‘s. The woman giving the talk was Pam Horan of the Online Publishers Org. [Tags:]

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Touring Washington DC – Day 3

We finished up our trip to DC with a visit to the west (new) wing of the National Gallery of Art, which was really enjoyable, although I was untouched by the special exhibit of Jasper Johns 1950s work; I just don’t care about art that can be replaced by its description. I know I’m just being ignorant, but, well, I’m ignorant.

We also dipped into the east wing which has just a splendid collection. Totally enjoyable.

Then, because we didn’t want to spend the entire trip going to nothing but art museums, on a whim we went to The Spy Museum. It’s well done and I would have enoyed it if it turned out that I actually cared about spies outside of John Le Carre novels.

We also popped in to the hundred year old synagogue at Sixth and I, which is beautiful on the inside and well marketed on the outside.

Then we got to Dulles way too early for a flight that was only slightly late, came home, cleaned the turtle tank, dropped the full turtle tank (sans turtles) onto the toilet, shattering the tank and depositing a load of gravel in the toilet (and who hasn’t felt that way sometime?), and was thus welcomed back to the workaday world. [Tags: ]

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Free digital download store

No, it’s not a place where you can get free digital downloads. Rather, it’s software for creating your own storefront for selling your music, documents, used Powerpoints, whatever. It’s from the Web’s favorite musician, BradSucks, and uses Amazon’s incredibly cheap S3 storage service. BradSucks’ store is DRM-free, of course.

You can see it in action here. Or you can download BradSuck’s software here, so you can install it on your own site. (And while you’re checking out BradSucks’ store, you can listen to his music for free, and then go buy a copy of his album.) [Tags: ]

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Finding videos ‘n’ stuff

Scouta lets you bookmark and recommend videos at sites like YouTube, helping you find people with the same interests. It also lets you create groups and share what you’ve found with them. It has a “karma and kudos” system that notices when you recommend and share stuff. I’ve been using it in alpha (Disclosure: I’m some type of unoffical advisor, I think) with my family and the Berkman Center as groups. It’s useful despite some rough edges. I like and trust the guys who built it. [Tags: ]

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