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Webitz - Checking out the Web from an amateur's point of view

Webitz - June 2009

Twitter the Radical

June 20th 2009 05:35
Umair Haque is a regular writer on the Havard Business Publishing page, and the other day wrote an article telling us that Twitter is one of the world's most radical management innovators.

Umar Haque
He goes on to list ten rules for radical innovators - Twitter, of course, being the subject of the article, fits the bill in every case. What he's trying to say, most of all, is that Twitter, in spite of seeming to be a trivial kind of mechanism for all those drongos out there who have nothing better to do than tweet all day, is actually a superbly simple machine for both personal and business users alike - in fact, point three says: simplicity beats complexity.

Twitter has recently got itself an excellent search engine, so that it's no longer so useful to use one of the various pieces of software that link together a variety of tweets, such as hashtags, or Tweetdeck, both of which are just more 'stuff' to add to your life. Twitter's relatively new search engine will pick up anything that's been tweeted - which is pretty scary. I put in Gran Torino yesterday, after writing a post about it on another blog. and immediately dozens of tweets on the topic came up, including a whole bunch of them that had been twitted in the hour or so since I'd sent my tweet. I just searched for Las Vegas hotels, and though there weren't as many as for Gran Torino, there were plenty of possibilities.

What you do with such search results is another matter, particularly since most of the Las Vegas ones are plainly some sort of advertising. But that's partly the ppoint Haque is making: business can boom via Twitter - it's just a matter of working out the best way to do it.

Snow Day

June 16th 2009 01:55
snow over South Dunedin
Snow in South Dunedin - at sea level
Snow, snow and more snow. Such a statement may not impress many people, but here in Dunedin, where the North Island weather forecasters are always threatening us with snow down to sea level (and which seldom turns up) we've finally got ourselves a day when the snow has settled well and truly, and half the town isn't at work, or school, because the roads are treacherous and it keeps on snowing.

I got up at 5 am to go to the loo, and, looking out the bathroom window, found that the world had turned white enough for it to seem like a dim kind of daylight outside. Not having heard the weather forecast the night before (which I would have repudiated anyway, as I always do) I was unaware that snow had been threatened yet again. But here it was, and the weather forecasters managed to pick a winner for once.

My daughter told us around 6.30 am that the schools were going to be closed, and most people were being warned to stay home unless it was necessary to get to work. The southern motorway was closed from here to Balclutha...quite some distance (about 80 kilometres - or just under 50 miles).

So all five of us in the house snuggled back under the blankets and said 'poo' to work or
Making a snowman
school, and had a sleep-in. The others eventually got up and went out and played in the snow, creating a large snowman out in the back garden once they'd had enough of throwing snowballs at each other. Some other hardy souls tried sledging down the hill outside our house on various non-sledges, such as a trolley with wheels - which looked to me to be a rather dangerous idea.

Of course all those outside (including me, briefly) froze: hands particularly. It's times like these you need some kind of disposable gloves, the sort that keep you very warm, but can be thrown away after they've got soggy and mushy.

My boss rang to see what I was doing, after I texted her to say that I wasn't going to be able to get to work today (no traffic, let alone buses, on the road), and she asked if I had some work I could do from home...unfortunately, not much!

Google Waves!

June 15th 2009 07:33
I began to watch the Google Wave video the other day, in which they demonstrate, very gradually, over an 80-minute period, just how striking this piece of software is/will be, but 80 minutes is a good while, and I didn't really have time just then to watch it all. In fact they'd barely got into it before I had to stop.

Google wave
Consequently, I didn't really get hold of the concept. However, I mentioned it to my (geek) son after I watched some of the video, and today he began to enthuse about it while we were having lunch, (and trying to control his two-year old).

You can view highlights from the 80-minute demonstration here. They're a bit chopped about, but they give you the gist of what's going on in some of the features. And a site called EFindItNow (which has really annoying ads all over the place) does a lot of question and answering about the Wave.

Essentially, it's an all-in-one type of browser: email and chat combined, if you want; several people working together on a project; people coming in and leaving while the thing is still functioning; links with blogs so that you can write either on the Wave or the blog and both will be picking it up; a marvellous spell-checker that's far more intuitive than Word, for example; and a bunch of other features that I haven't even had time to digest yet.

Google Wave will be good for cross country movers, and people working together on a project in different places. As my son said, it could be a useful way of working for several doctors collaborating together on a patient's history. I suspect its collaborative element is going to be something that's most effective, although you might have to get used to having people literally writing across or over the top of you (as it were) before you feel really at home with it.

I don't think Google Wave will take off instantly; like gmail itself, it'll probably need a while for people to get to grips with its advantages. I had a general failure of imagination in regard to it, I must admit, but then I'm like that with a lot of innovations. I need to see the potentials in action before I can grasp their value.

Since I've only given you my side of the picture so far, here's what Google themselves say about some of its features:

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Notice the words, 'participants,' 'conversation,' 'communicate.' This is what it's mostly about: not the sole person working away on their own, but a group brainstorming, bringing individual ideas to the whole, playing with thought, playing with words together, and a heap more.

Social Mention

June 11th 2009 08:11
Searching Content from across the Universe? Well, that's what Social Mention claims.

I came across Social Mention on a blog called SAMBA (the six months MBA that Seth Godin ran recently). SAMBA is a place for those who were on the MBA course to blog about ideas, innovations and the like, and it has some
samba logo
very good posts and some fairly ordinary ones. But it's a place to keep an eye on for ideas

[ Click here to read more ]


June 9th 2009 08:08
It's very strange listening to the guy on the twibes help page as he explains how twibes work and what you can do with them. It sounds as though he's got some sort of odd lisp whenever he says the word, twibes.

Twibes is yet another development of the twitter phenomenon. To quote the site: A twibe is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic who would like to be able to communicate with each other. On each twibe's page, there is a list of twibe members. There is also a tweet stream that lists tweets from twibe members which contain key word tags. Tags are set by the twibe founder and are listed just above the tweet stream.
[ Click here to read more ]

Twitter continues to expand

June 1st 2009 01:28
Seth Godin
More on Twitter, the ever-expanding Internet toy.

Seth Godin has noted that you can get alerts whenever his blog is updated by following @thisissethsblog on Twitter. Of course, Seth isn't alone in this. You can do the same with my blogs (as long as I remember to update Twitter itself!). Anything I write on will also turn up on Twitter, without my making any effort for it to do so

[ Click here to read more ]

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