A Brief Word to Bloggers and Social Networking Participants Everywhere…Part 2

Here are a few rules that would go a long way to clean things up:

  1. Ask yourself: If I ran across this post without knowing the author, would I care?
  2. Is this adding value to the wealth of information or the organization of the web?
  3. No personal, isolated stories included simply for the sake of telling
  4. Did some thought and effort go into the composition and actual text of this entry?
  5. Are any scientific or concrete claims/statistics cited? You may have a great point, but if it’s based on stats that, for all I know, you arbitrarily dreamed up yourself, I don’t care.
  6. Make connections between your article and other related or available info online. Nothing exists in isolation and every story benefits from some context. Even quote related material from other sources.
  7. Copying someone else’s work, however, without a citation is not okay. Period.
  8. Avoid personal isolated stories or anecdotes about personal life.
  9. When commenting on the contributions of someone else, do so in a constructive manner. Far too often do we experience a battle of words between conflicting voices, which does nothing for the readership but polarize and interrupt valuable discussion.
  10. Finally, seek out stories from less popular sources. There is so much interesting stuff out there that gets lost in the shuffle. These things deserve a little extra publicity and will break up the monotony of alternating links to Lifehacker and Engadget.

Consider each of your contributions not as a soapbox from which to rant about trivial things in your own life, or selfish goals, but rather a contribution for the benefit of others around you. Try not to pollute this thing we all depend on and love so much.

A Brief Word to Bloggers and Social Networking Participants Everywhere… Part 1

There are a few classes of web pages on the web:

  1. Those from which I can glean some value from, as an anonymous visitor, and
  2. Those about which I couldn’t really care less, essentially consisting of a glorified journal entry by someone, somewhere, who assumes the rest of us care.

The web is the “wild, wild west” of information; a haven for free speech and expression as an open medium for the exploration and sharing of ideas and knowledge…

…But come on people. Those billions of “articles” from category 2 are hurting the greater good and dragging us all down into the shady realm of shoddy writing.

If you want a centralized place for friends to catch up on your recent activities, that’s fine. Just don’t publish to directories, and remove yourself from google. Believe it or not, most of us don’t actually care about your fender-bender this afternoon or the lousy guy you just spent the evening with.

We need an internet filter designed to cut through the crap and intercept the masses of junk floating around on the web before it can distract us from what we’re actually seeking.

The team working on the StupidFilter have a good start on this problem in the context of comments:

…an open-source filter software that can detect rampant stupidity in
written English. This will be accomplished with weighted Bayesian or
similar analysis and some rules-based processing, similar to spam
detection engines.

Drop a note in the comments with any ideas on how to clean this all up.

Workfriendly.net

Workfriendly.net provides a clever way to browse the web on the sly in an office environment. This isn’t something I really ever do, but I found the idea rather clever.

Enter an url in the main page and it gives you a new window, skinned to look like a word document. The window then serves as a text-based browser which allows streamlined viewing of whatever site you give it. There’s even a “boss key” that hides your web browsing and ironically brings up a document on overcoming procrastination and time management.

This site is definitely worth checking out if only for the sake of its humor and simplicity.

Mozilla WebRunner 0.7

Firefox has been our browser for quite some time now, touted all along as safer and more efficient. Everyone knows, though, that firefox has memory leaks and, when using many of the web applications out there (gmail, meebo, facebook, etc.), firefox can slow down to a crawl.

Mozilla’s WebRunner is a streamlined version of the mozilla browser, designed to handle one web app within a window, without all the menus, bookmarks, and complications of a full browser. Profiles of the form <app_name>.webapp can be downloaded for different apps and placed on the desktop. The idea is that users open these apps much like one would a program on the computer itself.

There are a number of bundles out there for various web 2.0 applications. If one hasn’t been made yet, it’s pretty simple to do it yourself.

  • Open a new text document in notepad.
  • Modify the following code to fit the settings you want.  ‘id’ must be some unique id allowing WebRunner to keep track of multiple profiles.
  • [Parameters]
    id=www.thanscorner.info
    uri=http://www.meebo.com
    status=yes
    location=no
    sidebar=no
    navigation=no

  • Save the file as ‘webapp.ini’
  • Right-click on the file, select ‘Send To’ -> ‘Compressed (zipped) folder’.  This will create a file called ‘webapp.zip’
  • Rename ‘webapp.zip’ to ‘<app_name>.webapp’
  • This file is now a shortcut to a streamlined version of that app.

Here is a bundle I made for the instant messaging app Meebo.

WebRunner is a project still under development.  With future additions such as support for work offline, spellcheck, extensions, and more customizable options on the way, this may be a nice solution for those apps otherwise sucking up memory all the time.

Your Online Footprint

Each of us has at some point done a google search of our name, curious about what sort of information is out there to be found about each of us. Taking this process one step further is a new site in beta called Pipl. Enter the first and last name, and home city of a person. This service then does a search of what it calls the “deep web”, including social networks such as myspace.com, blog networks such as blogcatalog.com and more otherwise unindexed media. Depending on the uniqueness of your name, it can turn up a lot of interesting stuff you didn’t know was out there.

Peopledata.com supplements the information on Pipl, with current and previous addresses and phone numbers. All this info on the internets…