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Marshall's Web Tool Blog

Training and Consulting in New Tools for Effective Web Use

This site is an archive of posts that I hope you will find useful. Please visit my new site at Marshallk.com.

A Podcast About Tagging

Monday, October 03, 2005
I've just posted a podcast about tagging over at my new site, MarshallK.com.

Feedback Sought

Saturday, October 01, 2005
If anyone feels up for giving me any feedback on the beginings of my new site, MarshallK.com, that would be great. The primary issue in question is the image at the top. What do you think? I'm not happy with the caption of the picture, but feedback on that would be great too. Thanks.

Thinking About Tagging and Web 2.0

Thursday, September 29, 2005
There's a great write up of the thinking proccess behind tagging and (as I read it)the supperiority of tagging over catagorization when it comes to the digital world over at Rashmi Sinha's blog RashmiSinha.com.

There are lots of pithy points made in a short article, and the discussion in the comments section is great. If there's anything in particular to excerpt, it's these two illustration and the article's conclusion.

These two images sum up much of what's written in the original article, but I really suggest you find the time to read it yourself. (And check out the author's bio.) It concludes with the following words:

To conclude, the beauty of tagging is that it taps into an existing cognitive process without adding add much cognitive cost. At the cognitive level, people already make local, conceptual observations. Tagging decouples these conceptual observations from concerns about the overall categorical scheme. The challenge for tagging systems is to then do what the brain does - intelligent computation to make sense of these local observations, and an efficient, predictable way to ensure findability.
When you tag your digital objects well (for you and others to find) and when the underlying programming of the tagging systems is good (rich, interoperable and portable)...then we're really getting somewhere in Web 2.0 world. Understanding how the thought proccesses in Web2.0 (like tagging) work is essential to pulling this new media experiment off.

So attempting to remix the above quoted article is going to be my contribution to the blogoposium1 event this week. Part of explaing Web 2.0 can be to say the following:

Web 2.0 is in part about using new technology to bring our web-use more in line with the free-form and hyper-efficient working of the human mind. Old systems of communication are inflexable and based on either/or thinking: an object is either type A or type B, people are either information producers or they are consumers, a particular use of an information-object is either the way it was intended or it's not. Now in Web2.0 we have the tools to mark and retrieve objects with an open number of signifiers (like tags), the line between information producer and consumer is far more blurred and transversable than before, and every information object can be reappropriated in as many ways as you can imagine (e.g. podcast audio-search-to-RSS, blog posts tagged into an attention stream, graphic illustrations pasted into a wiki ecosystem's history, etc.) Our brains are capable of amazing things, and now we are building the tools to transcend the logistical boundaries of the information past.

Not exactly an elevator pitch, but when that's what's needed I say: Web2.0 is about moving beyond static web-sites and into web-services that support the creation and consumption of remixable multi-media products by a much larger number of people than have been considered "proffesionals" in the past.

It's complicated, but it's not. The hardest part of adopting Web2.0 practices is breaking old web-use habits that don't serve us well anyway.

Resources: Cognitive Analysis of Tagging article, Blogoposium1 attention stream, explaining Web2.0, Articles I've written explicitely about Web2.0, items online that I've tagged with Tagging and with SocialBookmarking. Article on cognition of tagging found via Elearnspace, another good site.

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Explaining Web 2.0 to Non-Geeks

Monday, September 26, 2005
Thanks for visiting my site. I hope you'll stop by my front page and check out more of what I'm doing. Keep your eyes peeled too for a much needed site redesign!

In a simple, but inspired move, Ken Yarmosh of Technosight has made a call to use tagging and synched blogging to create what he's calling a blogoposium. The topic is 'Communicating the Ideas Behind Web 2.0'. The ideas being that we need to find effective ways to explain what we mean by this concept to people who are still learning the basics of the web - and that we'll be able to best come up with those explanations together. I'm excited about it, as this is something I could really use. I hope that some of my Nptech and portland Network associates will participate as well; just technorati tag your blog posts between this on the subject "blogoposium1" and/or submit articles online by tagging them blogoposium1 in de.licio.us. For further details, and information about how to get a free book, check out this post at Technosight. If Web2.0 is a new concept for you, one place to start is through Technosight's post on the blogoposium...check out the folks who've posted links to their sites and you'll discover a whole new world out there.

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New Podcasts are Emerging Everywhere

Sunday, September 25, 2005
Here's just a sample of some of the newest podcasts I've discovered in the last few days, a list selected to demonstrate the breadth of organizations beginning to employ this new medium of communication.

GM Fastlane podcast
The VP of General Motors has been blogging for quite some time. Now he's doing a podcast too. It just makes sense.

Praisecast An online community for religious podcasts and sermons recorded as MP3 files.

American Experience The super popular PBS show is now podcasting.

Feedburner Podcast
This is probably the least surprising on the list, but the awesome RSS feed creation/monitoring service Feedburner is doing a podcast. The first episode is up and I really enjoyed it. It's pretty technical at points, but it's a great example of a tech company podcast. Some news about new developments, an interview with an employee and an interview with a big client about their experiences using the service. Simple formula that creates a solid product.

As I've mentioned before I am working on or considering several podcast production gigs right now, but I'm looking for some more small projects to be hired for. What I'd really like to do is teach YOU how to create, record, distribute and promote podcasts about whatever work you are doing. Almost anyone has great podcast material hidden somewhere, waiting to be recorded. And yes, I'll start podcasting myself as soon as I can.

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Wow! Ping Automatically With Feedburner!

Saturday, September 24, 2005
I have been totally excited for the last 24 hours since I read about Feedburner's new automatic pinging service! Here's what it means: Feedburner is an RSS feed creating service. They track your subscribers, make your feed groovy, etc. Pinging means to notify search engines, RSS readers, and other interested computers that you have new content on your website that needs to be indexed. It's a key part of getting your content read, searchable and lots of other things.

Now Feedburner will automatically ping services of your choice every time you make a new blog post! Previously, bloggers had to manually ping using a ping clearing house like Ping-o-Matic or Pingoat (my favorite). Several of my clients were not pinging these services manually because it was just one more semi-complicated step in the blog posting process. (See this post on maximizing your blog traffic.) Still, I really like the folks over at Pingoat and I'll miss them. I guess we'll see if Feedburner's perfomance is acceptable, and if not then I'll go back to Pingoat.

I am very excited about this. I will be transferring the clients who aren't using Feedburner over to a Feedburner feed, and with pinging occurring I will be able to insert a Blogdigger search box. Blogdigger won't index new blogs on accident very easily, it needs to be pinged. And if it doesn't index your blog, you can't use its search box (see my left sidebar) to search inside the blog. Blogdigger is far preferable to Technorati, which is slow and only searches the front page of your blog! So this is very good news.

This is a great example of the kind of application integration that the big guys are focusing on in "enterprise software" suites or "busses." Us little folks have to find the same types of functionality in our end-user web applications if we're going to keep up.

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Word of Blog, a Promotion Service for Change

Thursday, September 22, 2005
Word of Blog.net is a simple, but potentially powerful service that provides a place for non-profit groups and others to display a linking promotional graphic, or badge, and the code snippet that supporters can copy and paste into their sites to display that badge. Promotional badges are something I've been planning on working on, so I'm glad to find a public repository for them. I'm sure some do gooders are adding lots of the badges at once.

The badges are organized by organization name and by tags, which is very nice. If you select browse, then by tag, you'll see an example of a tag cloud system put to very good use. A tag cloud is an alphabetized list of tags used in a site, but with their sizes varying according to their frequency of use.
Thanks to the Full Circle Online Interaction Blog for pointing to this resource. I found their via the NPTech Meta Feed, a cross-platform RSS feed I created for items tagged nptech, the tag for non-profit technologists.

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