Centralizing the social map

Loïc Le Meur has written a nice succinct post about social networks and software and decentralization: My social map is totally decentralized but I want it back on my blog. It’s pretty clear to me that this is where all of this stuff is going to have to go – partly for convenience, but also because that’s where the really interesting data/service mashups will most easily originate, I think. One thing I’ve been thinking about, though, is what this looks like on someone’s blog. I thing part of the barrier to this kind of thing is that the current state-of-the-art – widgets in someone’s sidebar or rich footer – is pretty marginally usable and definitely not scalable.

Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo

The big news this morning is that Microsoft has offered $44.6B to buy Yahoo, the figure representing a 62% premium on the share price at yesterday’s market close. It’s very unclear at this point what will come of this, but as a user I find it hard to see how such a tie-up could be beneficial to me. From my perspective, although MS has done some interesting things on the net, none of their initiatives have been focused on delivering the best quality of user experience or even innovation – their plays have seemed to by cynically based on scaling up so-so experiences and hoping that the brute force of that scale can make them important. What we learn from Google, however, is that though scale is important, it is deeply related to quality and innovation in a way that consumer software never was.

Update: Techcrunch has looked at some of the numbers.


Does anyone know how/where to download a copy of MetaPhilter? There’s a project I want to do and I am curious to see if it will do the trick or if I should try something else.

Steven Berlin Johnson:

Tool For Thought. An article about the software he uses to help him do the research for his articles and books.

What’s on your Mac?

I know that a high proportion of my readers (both of you!) are Mac users. I haven’t really kept up with what’s going on in the software world lately, but I’m always curious. With that in mind, what cool software have you found lately? What interesting tools will help me manage my email or perform some important function I don’t do often enough (like backups for instance)? Any suggestions?

The big news of the day

is from Google, which has announced the Google Desktop Search application. John Battelle has the story.

The hot link of the day

seems to be the link to David Heller’s article over at Boxes and Arrows: HTML’s Time is Over. Let’s Move On. He writes, “Ultimately, I donft see a long term future for HTML as an application development solution. It is a misapplied tool that was never meant to be used for anything other than distributed publishing.” Unfortunately, a lot of people seem to be misinterpreting that as saying there’s no future for (X)HTML, period. It’s not. He’s talking about a much much narrower field than that: enterprise application development.

For those kinds of applications, and such applications alone, he’s right on the mark. In a more general sense, however, HTML is not dead at all – which I hope is precisely why Heller limited himself to a much narrower subject. The web grew in spite of enterprise application developers, not because of them. The web grew – and continues to thrive – because it required NO dev tools beyond Notepad or (in the day) TeachText. Anyone who forgets that (or never learned it) does so at their peril.

A Norwegian Court acquitted

teenager Jon Johansen over the creation of DeCSS, the software he made so that he could watch DVDs on his Linux box rather than an industry-vetted player. The judge stated very strongly that as long as a DVD is legally obtained, no one could dictate which machine could be used to use it. Looks like a showdown will be coming on these issues between Europe and the US.

Steve Jobs’ Keynote

at Macworld has been over for a while now; they unveiled some very interesting things today. Most interesting to me in the short term is Safari, Apple’s new browser. As well, an Apple-born X11 system which is interesting to folks from the Unix world, a super-sized 17″ Powerbook and a super-small 12″ Powerbook as well. Jobs understands that the middle ground in laptops is cluttered – either end of the spectrum is where the good stuff lives. Also: 802.11g is being called Airport Extreme, they have released Jobs’ own pet software, Keynote, and some other stuff.

Maybe some of the huge announcements of past Keynotes were missing, but I like this one anyhow. It has that feeling of taking care of business.

People are funny

. In a post today, Dave Winer wrote, in Scripting News, “I am open to supporting and working with Lessig, but we need clarification and possibly a discussion with the professor on his position re copyrights for software.” But yesterday he was trashing the guy: “To Lessig, who says we’re doing nothing, up yours.” Hardly sounds like someone who is open to working with the guy, does it? With friends like these, neither Dave nor Lessig needs many enemies. Because at base, these guys are pretty much on the same side.