Day 2 is about to start at Gnomedex. The broadband was terrible yesterday, and I couldn’t get a connection for more than a few minutes. I haven’t posted about the remainder of Day One yet, but I’ll get to that in a second.
One of the lessons that I tried to learn yesterday was that it is the personal part of a blog that leads to the audience being able to make a connection with the writer. This part of the game has come up before, but it’s always scared me, so I’ve avoided it. I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoy the blogs that allow me to get to know the writer, more than those that provide the same information but no personal connection, but still… that’s a hurdle to cross. Scoble was asked a question about his blog reading practices and he answered about the differences that he observes between blogs. He got me thinking… (he seems to do that for a lot of people, eh?) So, even though it’s a scary thing for me (Hey – I’m still growing up – who knows what I want to do when I grow up?), I’m going to start to throw down a couple of more personal items periodically. (I’m still going to avoid my utra-liberal/ultra-conservative politics, though).
Friday night was spent with the kids. One of my sons, Brock, is 13, and we watched “A Few Good Men” for the first time last night. (Well, first time for him – for me, it’s a keeper). We’ve got a product called the TV Guardian (I think) that bleeps out the bad language in a movie and it worked like a charm last night. I guess I learned that TCM doesn’t do the same editing that network channels do.
Her are some notes that I took about the post-Winer portion of Gnomedex 5, Day One…
The MSFT presentation was pretty significant, I thought. It was pretty well understood that RSS would be a part of IE, but the IE group has taken it to a new level. One of the features that I liked the best is the notion of the common feed store, where subscriptions can be stored within the OS, and made available to other applications. It will be interesting to see the details of this as it is made available, but this will allow aggregators and RSS-enabled applications to hand off that portion of their code to the OS. This is the heavy lifting part that each application has to reinvent the wheel to do, and incompatibilities in how that happens today are keeping RSS apps from complete interoperability. It will be interesting and fun to see what type of applications are ginned up to take advantage of this.
One key of the MSFT IE concept is that subscriptions aren’t just about news items, but can be of any type of content. As content providers add RSS structures around their content, Windows will be able to manage subscriptions to it.
Features were also discussed to include a synchronization engine and a set of extensions to RSS to enable better list management of RSS items. This is another way that an intelligent content provider could add value to his/her content.
It was kind of cool to check the blogosphere last night and this morning and see the incredible quantity of comments that have been generated about this announcement. What a ride it’s going to be.
Blogs in Education
Kathy Gill, of the University of Washington, spoke about how she is utilizing Blog technology with her classes at UW. She sees an incredible tool in blogs due to the ease of publishing, instant gratification for her students, and the simplicity of setup and training (when using a common Blog tech across the course!). Kathy also suggested that the off-line and out-of-the-classroom nature of blog-based communication provides a way for shy students, or those students that are reluctant to participate in the class, or ESL students, etc., to participate more comfortably. Kathy mentioned bulletin-board technologies for education, which have been around for a while, but the blog tech features are improving more rapidly.
The question which she ended with… “What does eLearning 2.0 look like?”
Blogs in Government
Paul Vogelzang from the US Treasury Department spoke about how government is using blogs and RSS technology. They’ve got lots of uses for sharing data and communicating updates in a scalable manner to lots of citizens… (and other types of data consumers).
Dan Gillmor – Dan commented that one of his most significant milestones re: the Internet was the first time that someone pointed him to a web site that had a “Click to Edit This Page” button, and it changed modes into an editable page. Then, when he saved his changes, to see them immediately published on that page, that was a time when the internet became as writable as it is readable.
This is something that we do today with web content management systems, but it is not as widespread as it needs to be. Wiki’s are a great next step, but what will the next generation of writable web applications look like? (That’s a topic for later)
There was another great session idea that was targeted to Citizen Media. I was hoping for a discussion about how to energize or enable a community to collaborate using technology, but this session morphed into something about tools and users experiences with blog tools…
Day 2 – here we come.