January 31, 2006
Love What You Do, Do What you Love
Paul Graham says it in a rather lengthy way, here.
Duh. I mean, I'm not trying to be sarcastic. But really, 4 years ago, I stated that from that moment on I wouldn't work on anything I didn't love, and I would only work on things I loved. (I needed to say it redundantly, because it felt wobbly inside, saying it out-loud. I was terrified.) As soon as I said, it I knew I could never go back. A door had closed. The old way was over and no longer reachable. I could not understand the old way of thinking any longer. The new way had clarity, passion and intensity.
It doesn't mean I don't do a lot of hard, trying, difficult, long work, but I have to say, the overall goal, the project, the commitment, must be something I love. And frankly I haven't worked for a second in the past four years. And I work all the time. Because it's not work. Down with work that you hate! Do only work that you love. And the work will pour in, you will have more choices that you know what to do with, the quality will be high, the satisfaction will be high, your life will change, and your free time will become so much more satisfying.
In fact, I used to watch the clock to know when to quit the old kind of work I did. Now I'm afraid to look at the clock at all, because I have so much I want and need to do. I was recently at an event in NY where this woman spent an hour telling me how passionately she wanted to do some particular thing with her life, and when I said, "...you've got to quit everything else and start now to do it!" She backed away from her passion and made a million excuses about why she couldn't do it. It was all crap, and I think she knew it, but she was scared. Sometimes it's easier to be comfortable than it is to be healthy.
Love what you do, do what you love. I think it's pretty simple. Be healthy. Don't give in the fear. Do what you love.
January 23, 2006
You Search Totally Exposed
With Patriot Search:
Rather than delivering your search records through the opaque method of just blithly searching and letting Yahoo or MSN turn over the data unbeknownst to you, why not give it all straight to them?
Notes from James Surowiecki's Talk at Intelligent Television
1. Openness bridges all of these mechanisms: open source, p2p, shared work.
2. Intelligence is distributed rather than centralized: the knowledge is spread out in many locations
3. Bottom up works better than command and control mechanisms
-- people are better at understanding their own needs than the top
4. We are better off casting wide rather than narrow
-- don't know where the info is much of the time
5. Open access to creativity, knowledge -- benefits are greater the more people are involved
-- when people learn more, we learn more.. it's anti-rivalrous
6. Be very hesitant to filter who belongs to community
-- don't keep people out
7. People act better the more info they have
8. The internet allows us to become technically able to do so much more
-- distributed info and aggregation are so much more powerful
-- possibilities are immense
9. Different ways to tap into open systems
--obviously people using open systems to make money
-- Innocentive.. people go to register as a 'solver' where 10. You then get access to a problem set
----- if you solve a problem, you get a prize, but he company owns your solution
11. Systems that allow people to give ideas and innovation a piece at a time are interesting, because lots of people contribute. Prediction markets and prices work this way.
12. Can profit from an open content system.. leave everything open and free and then make money from talking about this stuff..
13. People find pleasure from the value of competition
-- from contributing to the growth of the pool of knowledge
14. Many of these systems are inefficient, because in a strict sense, they are redundant..
but the point is that even though this is the case, if we expand our ideas of efficiency, it's tremendously efficient.
15. What are the challenges to these systems?
-- problem with model in that a network or self organized model, it's difficult for individuals to contribute due to echo chamber effects...army ants .. work in ways where they do just what the ant is doing ahead of them.. if they start walking in a circle.. they actually die.. worry that if humans imitate others.. we will degrade because nothing new happens.. group loses collective intelligence.. drawing knowledge from just a few
-- challenge is to keep the ties in the networks loose.. and open and flowing
-- profound counter to our most deep seated ideas around authority, knowledge and expertise -- people have a fundamental desire to pick "the expert"
-- traditional need to develop a product, and then show it after it's out.. instead of working with people all along..
-- traditional needs to develop IP are challenged
16. Arthur Miller in the Harvard Law Review just wrote an article saying that what we need now is 'common law' for ideas.
17. Tom Bergeron -- host of dancing with the stars on why people like this.. because it is about
"wholeheartedly uniting our skills is the basis for all human interaction"
18. Collective systems may work better when there is an answer people think they can find, verses when a lead user or expert may be better at finding the right thing.
19.. Our imagining of the 'genius' is the failure to see that works of art are actually based on others ideas ... works of art always borrow from other works of art.
January 21, 2006
Microformats for Media, Part II
Figuring out the Microformats process has come down to this: once you know they will accept having a particular format, you then have to provide bottom up examples of use. After that, you brainstorm from the examples, and after that, some kind of schema is worked up. I'm not a schema writer, but I do read them. There are others working on this project, like Josh Kinberg and Lisa Rein who can contribute to the schema better than me, as well as all the folks who expressed interest over the past 7 months. Though as noted before, the old format page went off in the direction of figuring out what top down metadata schemas existed already. What I've done today is an attempt to look at this bottom up, as the Microformats people want.
In keeping with Tantek Çelik's request to have microformats examples here, at Media-Info-Examples, I've posted examples of media publishing by users. Each example is followed by what elements the user put in, and then an estimate of the numbers of uses that are similar. These numbers are based on what I'm seeing as we work on Dabble, but others may have higher amounts. We are seeing photos, audio and video, all with titles, creator, license, and associated URLs. But very often, we see tags, quotes (into the middle of video or audio or region annotation of photos), duration if it's audio or video, and descriptions or summaries.
Also, I've added to the Media Brainstorming page to note these elements that come up often in users publishing of media, and also note the items that rarely come up but that might want to be included at the bottom of a format somewhere, if desired.
Mash Up Camp Progress
So, Mashup Camp is moving along. To recap...
Dec 15, David Berlind said the idea in a meeting we were in, and later Doc Searls and I agreed to help.
Dec 22 David wrote about it on his blog, announcing it. Lot's of folks blogged about it and very very interested.
Jan 9 The domain was purchased and website set up with lots of help from Ross Mayfield.
Jan 13 After much discussion and coordination with very helpful people like Ross Mayfield and Lauren Gellman, of Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, I managed to get the Computer History Museum (thanks to Peter Hirshberg too!). To date, without a venue or time, we had 245 people out of 250 spots signed up.
On Jan 16, we "sold out" and started a wait list.
I think this is the fastest organized event I've seen, with this breadth of people and concerns. There is a fantastic group of people, including all the mashup developers and folks from big API provider companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Intel, Amazon, etc.
Now David and Doug are working on getting lunches and the evening event paid for, the site details and costs worked out (big thanks to the Museum for donating the site at a non profit rate, since this is a community event and costs $0 to attend -- consider joining the Museum here). Others are helping to get some hotels lined up for out of towners, and people are thinking about sessions they might lead and dinners.
Dave McClure's Top Ten Reasons Why Web 2.0 is Like Disco
The Top 10 Reasons Why Web 2.0 is Like Disco:
#1: Feels great, but don't want any pictures caught doing it.
#2: Nobody quite sure what it is, but everyone wants to try.
#3: First learned how to do it at [foo | bar | summer] camp.
#4: Lots of parties, alcohol, and women with big hair.
#5: Can fool most people if you can just do [ajax | the hustle].
#6: More about having fun than doing something useful.
#7: Open source, free love, & fashion from the 70's.
#8: People are remixing it all the time.
#9: More popular it gets, more people trash it, more popular it gets.
and last but not least:
#10: Done best when you don't give a damn what anyone else thinks.
January 20, 2006
Microformats and Media
Last night I attended a sort of meet up for people Tara Hunt had invited me to, to talk about microformats and media. She had wanted to start with photos, I think because of Riya, but it became clear after talking a bit that similar elements apply to rich media whether the piece being discussed was a photo or a video or an audio piece. The group started out mostly on computers trying to do a group chat, but I didn't have a computer, so I tried typing notes on Josh Kinberg's computer, but the software wasn't recording everyone's comments and it wasn't all that constructive.
I pulled out my notebook (I hadn't brought my laptop) and started writing a short list of elements that are common across all media types, in terms of what elements users publish over and over either on services like Flickr (and other photo sites) or Blip.tv (or other video sites) or audio sites like iTunes. At this point, everyone put away their laptops (funny how the paper can trump the computer once in a while, and while I don't really do paper, except for my notebook, it works for me at times like this). We centered around the notebook and the common document we were discussing, which consisted of a growing list of my notes:
If you want to know who attended, there are photos on Flickr. But the interesting part for me was realizing what we could make with this microformat, for users to publish with, for the publishing tools like Structured Blogging, which takes microformats and makes them into something bloggers can publish through plugins or through other tools that will be built later.
Microformats, as Tantek explained, need to have a page on the MF wiki that shows use cases that cover 80% of what users do now (as a rule of thumb) though arguments can be made for less, if they are really useful (like tags which are much lower across all users). On the Microformats list, the way Tantek and Ryan run it, it's been hard to tell what they meant by examples. When they would make these requests for examples, and I would then look at what people post for the examples, it didn't make any sense to me. But after talking, I think I understand what they want.
It's like the difference between taxonomy and folksonomy. Microformats come out of bottom up user generated use cases. Where as media metadata formats like SMIL and MPEG come out of top down committees. Not that they are bad, we are using those top down formats too in my other work. But as with taxonomy and folksonomy, so with microformats and top down metadata. They both have value and they each come from very different use cases and points of view.
We agreed that the Media metadata page had examples, and yet, it was overgrown, needed pruning, focused on metadata from the top down, instead of examples of what users do now. So last night Tantek explained what they meant by examples specifically. For example, we need to literally cut and paste a blog post from a user that can be used as an 80% use case, to show something as an example. Fair enough. So now, we need to add these examples in a constructive way, in order to argue the media format elements and microformat need for media publishing. We can think about a short list of elements that users use most of the time, when putting some media online, whether it's a photo at a service, or on their own blogs, or a video or audio piece.
Those elements (from my notes last night) are in the first list, becuase they reflect what I see online, though I will go find stats and use cases to back these up, or argue that the 20% useage of something enriches the whole community and so how far that argument goes -- tags are an example of that.
* Html URL
* Media URL
* Description or quotes (subsets of the object: a video quote and tags/description associated with it, a region annotation note for a photo, or the quote of a podcast and tags/description -- the detail for these subsets exists in the 'more info' section below)
* License (defaults to copyright, if none exists, but it's there, by US law, and many other areas of the world)
and for audio and visual:
(This is not the same for all types of media, and is published by users in very limited ways in practice, or is captured from the device or service or in some way, invisible to the user, and therefore often depends on a service to pick it up.)
|file size||file size||file size|
|.||bit / frame rate||bit rate|
|Portrait or Landscape||.||.|
|Region Annotation (subphotos: calculation of location)||Quotes of Video (subvideo: in and out points)||Quotes of Audio (subaudio: in and out points)|
|iPod compliant?||iPod compliant?||iPod compliant?|
|Inclusion in playlist?||Inclusion in playlist?||Inclusion in playlist?|
The second piece is figuring out the elements and schema that lie around those 80% use cases.
I don't think this is so hard now, despite how chaotic and crazy media metadata can be, where some of that is reflected on the media metadata page. Though that page is a very good attempt to organize the chaos. But I now have a picture of how to make this happen in my mind, that is simple, and gets us to a place where we reflect what users do in practice, bottom up. So, based on my notes last night, I'm going to try to fulfill Tantek's requirements, and see how far I get with it. Will update here with pages as they happen.