May 2006
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Month May 2006

Geo tagging and search

Interesting snap shot of data. I took 2 photos and posted them on flickr. Photo's are both of pretty much the same thing. I tagged both of them switzerland, which is the location for both but one of them I geo-tagged with lat/long details. The other one i didnt. 4 days later and the one that is geotagged has 61 views and the one that is not has 1 view (which incidentally was me). People seem to be searching flickr for lat/lon a lot more than I expected. I just added the lat/long to the other one to see what happens.

The attention game / how long it takes to drop into the vortex

I am intrigued about how long it takes for a piece of media to get sucked into the vortex of net attention. I found an old photo i took that is amusing — Boris Becker was sitting in front of me on a flight to london back in 2003. The photo is only interesting re; what he was reading.


The water in our town of approx. 150 people went off today. We inquired as to when it was going to get turned on again … we were told was “when they are done working on it”…

Machinima, Halo, Google Earth and what film could look like by 2010

Machinima is starting to get more and more interesting as a media form.    See this wonderful intereview with Malcolm Maclaren — a walk in the park with punks impresario.    Or this commmentary on net neutrality — or this parody of the bouncing ball / Sony commercial.    Now take a look at the preview of Halo 3 — and then play around with Google Earth and sketch up for a bit.    The lines between what we know of as media, content, mapping and gaming are going to get completely blurred.

Geotagging photo’s

Thought I would try to geotag some pictures — results are here.   Its crazy that the device I am using to track GPS has a camera on it but doesnt geotag the photo’s itself.  Have to do it manually, post lat/lon into Flickr as tags.     Hassle aside the process of posting location and mapping it to personal media is fascinating — Google buying Sketchup makes a lot of sense.    Communities of interest will start posting and tracking location and it will transform the travel and local search business.    Wiki of geotagging.  Navteq’s business is going to change.    Thanks to Charles Grillo and Yuan helping me sort through the kinks of getting this working.

Sharing that OPML

I am playing around with Dave Winer’s OPML sharing platform and loving it. You can see my OPML file listed or more interestingly you can see other people who have subscriptions like mine (you have to log in to see the match vs. mine, would like an option for this to be public). Its great for feed discovery since people have a reason to use real names, and others can discover them (if you have tried finding friends on you will know why this matters).

Finding or doing something like this has been a personal lazy web project for a while. For a while I would ask people I knew to share OPML’s with me. I tried to manage each persons OPML in a separate folder. Newsgators and Netnewswire did a marginal job of making this data accessible. The folders were present but there was no automatic updating of the OPML (so they were locked in a point in time), there was no easy way to compare my RSS feeds to my friends and there was no attention navigation option (like NetNewsWire has started offering) to give me a sense of whats important to the people whose feeds I am reading (finally, maybe all the attention chatter can be put to use for end users). I ended up having to do a lot of pruning and integration myself, getting rid of the folders, taking other OPML files and grabbing a handful of interesting feeds and leaving it at that.

Winer’s OPML sharing platform open the world up for much richer and more interesting options. Sharing is easy, as is navigation. Its fun to browse through users feeds. I find it a lot more compelling than a lot of the feed search engines out there. Matching the data with identity is the difference. Also interesting to see how little mainstream data is present in the OPML files. Dave’s own list (user ID#3) is one of the few exceptions — I suspect that given all the work he has done re: RSS he is over indexed on tracking media sites for RSS feeds.

Very interested to see how this evolves. This feels to me just like did at the start. All of the gentle ways that Josh introduced happenstance into navigating tags I hope Dave will offer to navigate feeds. And I want to be able to match this with my reader so I can navigate not only the meta data but the actual articles. Likewise I wish I could plug my podcast feed list into this (the one that is trapped, happily so, but still trapped, in iTunes). And I hope that search navigation options really open up. I hope people will be able to build off this, would be wonderful if it became a platform. There are less than 2500 people sharing files as of now, going to be fascinating to see how it evolves as the dataset grows. OPML is another building block for wiring the flow of lateral data on the web. Finding ways to share and mix OPML files is part of the next stage of evolution of RSS.


First a disclaimer should an Italian read this. I know pesto comes from Genoa, and no self respecting Italian would order or expect pesto to be good anywhere but in Genoa. But I am not Italian and I am loving the pesto here in the north, albeit it is hard to find.

There are a mix of options for pesto but the ingredients are pretty simple — start with basil and and olive oil, then maybe add cheese, pine nuts, and garlic. Given the simplicity of ingredients the differences are pretty amazing. I am not that into how to make food — but I am fascinated that you can get such different results from so few ingredients.

The best I have had here is at Al Valuu, a small restaurant outside of Tremezzo (see our trek there). They make it with just basil and oil (3 nuts on top, for decoration). The basil comes from the garden outside of the restaurant, thats the first trick they will explain to you, the second is that they crush it by hand with a pestle and mortar. Therein basil and olive oil somehow turns into something magical. You have to do it by hand they explained to me. Above is the owner — vegatables in hand (note, for his soup, not his pesto).
I have found a couple of other places who do great pesto — some with garlic, some with pine nuts, some with parmesan but nothing comes close to the simple basil and oil solution from Al Valuu. There really aren’t standards here re: how to do something — each family, each place has its own way and its up to you to figure out what’s good for you. I love standards, but in this case I am loving a lack of standards.

GPS tracking, where I am

I am having fun with GPS tracking and posting to the web — tracked a run I went on tonight. Software from Charles Grillio’s (here is his site), he has been great in helping me customize the software for the device. Thank you.
Its a strange feeling to go out and then see where you have been tracked, minute by minute on the web.

To see tracking click here (note / opt for satellite image, I am still off the google grid, just).

Would you drink from here?

Metadata without some trail of heritage / trust can be problematic

Talk is cheap

Cheap talk

While in london I was impressed by the presence of broadband retailing on the high-street. Normally offered as part of a bundle with wireless, video, or a landline — local loop unbundling is happening fast in the UK and its increasingly a fully unbundled line. The latest and most interesting offer seems to be from carphone warehouse, branded Talk, Talk. The sales person walked me through the bundle — £11 per month line charge and then £9.99 for unlimited calls within the UK and 28 international countries (including Europe, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada) — and broadband is "free" — 8Mbps on average, and they claim to have coverage over 70% of the UK. There isnt hard data on sign up's but sales person said they did 20,000 in the first days (it launched only a month ago), and they claim to be saving wired brits over £400 per year. With 2.6 existing wireless and wireline subs and 1700 retail outlets across UK and Europe they are pushing hard to get customers signed up and locked into these new plans (18 month commit). The aggressive subsidization and grab for customers has got to be based on the assumption that ancillary services can be added to the bundle — like video — and can over time be charged for as a premium service.

Where am I?

Finally back in Italy after travel to London. Got a ppc phone with integrated GPS up and running (mio 701) — I am interested in what happens when mobile devices become location aware. Early days but its proving to be interesting. Found a program that lets me publish my location so you can see where I am on a google satellite map. You can see my location — when I publish it — at this site (username is Johnnyb11, try 01/05/2006 as monitor date and once it takes you to google maps opt for satellite, I was a little off the google grid). If anyone knows of other applications to publish location please email me. This one works fine but I would prefer to use SMS to publish location data, should be easier.