~ Archive for chain-gang ~

Meeting redux

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Lots of great advice and suggestions, for getting around housing
crunches, language barriers, and Cambridge/US/North-America founder
effects.  Also for coping with iCampus, ePublishing, press
accreditation, and design.  Special thanks to eGeorge, Beauty’s,
and Ilya’s extra dose of enthusiasm.  

IRC sadly failed us, largely because we had a single functioning
machine doing double-duty as shared whiteboard-display and IRC
monitoring, and we lost our connection before we left.  (Sorry, dk & tea)

The self-bloglist

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Clusters of Knowledge

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Boston is host to the New England KM Cluster;
the next gathering is two weeks from now in Waltham.  The lineup
this time around is heavy with Berkman regulars, including both
Weinberger (as mentioned the other day) and Bill Ives

For those of you missing the good old days : Cesar Brea will be there too…  And .LRN, the prodigal child of OpenACS, always on the lookout for more pseudopods to grow, is represented there by Al Essa, covering “The Future of IT and Knowledge Networks“. 

See the full speaker list
online… not listed : yours truly, who will be causing trouble from
the safety of the audience.  Thanks to organizer John Maloney for
tipping me off to the event.  What I still want to know : where
are all the great KM systems of 1998?  Maybe I’ll find out…

Identifying refugees

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If you are near a refugee center, or a church or home, (I’m talking to
you, Houston) that has taken in Hurricane Katrina refugees, please help
locate and identify them.  At proper shelters, please check with
the shelter to coordinate with others tracking the refugees in other
ways.  For details on how to help with just a camera and a pencil,
see the latest post from Andy Carvin (permalink)
about locating and identifying Katrina refugees.  I have reformatted and edited it
slightly  here.

What you see is what you wiki

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Jim’s Wikiwyg implementation, at one point apparently linked from wikiwyg.com,
is a brilliant experiment with client-side, Javascript-based wiki
rendering.  There’s a bit of a naming conflict at the moment in
the blogosphere, but he’s getting back into coding and writing, so
hopefully he can work it out.  I would love to see a new revision
out soon, and collaboration with the developers who were discussing new
user-friendly editing ideas at Wikimania earlier this month.

For a fine example of the tool at work, here’s an examlpe of  Wikiwyg on nested tables,
using an article comparing web browsers.  Note how the page starts
loading almost immediately (slowed down by his single server), and
continues smoothly to render down the page.

Update from Jim (Aug 31):

By the way, I’ve had a bit of correspondence about naming. We agreed to call
our projects by the full names Wikiwyg.org and Wikiwyg.net, and to post a
disambiguation note at the top of both our home pages as soon as my site is
properly up.

I’m quite happy with this. The Wikiwyg.net guys seem to have acted in good
faith and weren’t aware of my project’s name when they started theirs.

Cheers to all involved for being good-natured about this.

“Wikis need WYSIWYG editors” — Ward Cunningham

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In a recent interview (last fall), Ward Cunningham
highlighted the most pressing unresolved problem with wikis : the lack
of a simple and familiar editing interface for most users.  Asked
what one thing he would change about Wikipedia, he said immediately, “I’d put a WYSIWYG editor in front of it.

Since then, no progress has been made towards changing the default editor for Wikipedia or for MediaWiki in general.  But discussions today with non-MediaWiki developers at the start of Wikimania’s Hacking Days
suggest that modern web-based WYSIWYG editors are becoming fairly
mature and fast, and are certainly reasonable as interface options, if
not as the default option, for wiki users.

Gratuitous Gaming

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A good post from two months back:

On the insistence of my cousin’s daughter, I made the mistake of
peeking into the seamy world of Really Bad Games Written by High School
Kids and Played by Tens of Thousands of Users.

As the LoL newspaper
suggests, a lot of people are spending a lot of time doing really,
really silly things. Like giving eachother six septillion gold pieces,
back and forth. Which is wrong on so many levels; for instance, our
silly arabic numeral system deprives players of even the redeeming
feature of teaching people how to spell “septillion.”

Some of
the more popular games in this genre, like the one my cousin insisted I
check out, a) only let you make a few moves a day, b) require you jump
through all kinds of hoops to prove you’re a human, and c) have
absolutely no plot, graphics, or gameplay. Yet *hundreds of thousands*
of people play them. Tends of thousands play them for hours and hours
every week. Entire high school classes are apparently addicted to these
games, whose concept, complexity, and execution are on a level with a
viral form of Pong which made the mistake of interposing lots of text
and windows between episodes of actual action.

Mental damage test

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I don’t know who Daniel Wegner is, but I want to.

Here is the personality measure he got published in 1979’s American Psychologist 33 : the Hidden Brain Damage Scale

Urban Polygraph

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In the silliest iteration of Urban Challenge yet, the challenge which compensated for its humdrum clues with the physical limitation of running about the city and the personal limitation of no more than 2 team-members (runners) per team, is now adding an online version of their challenge which involves no movement at all; and tries to compensate instead with the lure of the lotto.

Win a 1 in 11 chance at $1,000,000!” they proclaim. As long as you’re willing to sit through a polygraph test to verify you didn’t cheat. And then come down to New York to endure one of the online-plus-physical challenges, broadcast on television. I don’t know… even Survivor was more appealing to me, somehow. But if it gets civilization even more in the mood of rewarding under-pressure problem-solving rather than simply sports, I can’t be entirely against it.

Googl^B^B^Berkman incorporates Wikipedia

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Word has it that Jimmy Wales has been bloggably appointed a non-resident fellow at the Berkman Center.  It’s hard to say which party to congratulate.  All I know is, some sort of congratulations are in order.

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