Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mimsical Whimsical Steampunk Kerclunk

A photographic montage of many things steampunk over at Wired is rather popular with the crowds at the moment. It also has a rather splendid link to Steampunk Magazine which, given the price of ink (and fish) these days, is probably cheaper to get sent over from the New World than to print out in my slovenly* basement - viewing via a screen would be Too Much. I will place an order and see what occurs in the near future. (Hopefully a copy of "Transformers: Hearts of Steel" will also furnish my environment soon and fill my days with chuckling mechanicals.)

* Do the words "slovenly" and "slovenia" come from the same place?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Text: Layout, Meaning, Flow and Feeling

Having a quick look at LiveInk, which re-structures the layout of text into a hierarchical structure based on content and semantic analysis. Try out the demos.

Reading Moby Dick though, I'm struck by the extent to which I, at least, read it in a very "mechanical", stilted style. I don't know if that's just an initial reaction though - does the mind wonder what it's reading: "Is it prose? Is it a poem? Is it just a series of points?" Certainly I feel like I'm missing out on the flow of the words - something I find that weighs heavily on me as I'm writing. It's probably because I've been reading for 10,000 years or so, but line breaks just catch me out, wanting to stop.

    Twas Brillig
      And the slithy toves
        Did gyre
          and gimble

        in the wabe.

[Edit] Wow, lists have a load of space underneath...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Local peace statue hacked

Brighton's local Peace statue, which "started as a war memorial", has been modified to reflect Orwell.

Friday, June 01, 2007

eBay goes for StumbleUpon

Intriguing: eBay have announced that they've acquired StumbleUpon (stumbleupon.com, natch) - a "webpage recommendation" type community thing. The announcement says that SU will continue to operate pretty independently for the time being, but some speculation over why ebay acquired them in the first place is in order. Skype, I can understand, but SU seems a little... removed from ebay.

Maybe it's just the way I use ebay - if I suddenly think of something I need, I'll check ebay for it, but that's about it usually. If I have some randomly spare time, I might browse a category, but won't usually buy anything when doing so. The main selling point of ebay for me is the ability to compare many prices quickly, to get an idea of what I can expect to pay (in comparison to the shops). What I choose to buy isn't something necessarily dictated by what I read on the web - choosing to buy something isn't a particular social experience.

Is ebay looking to use the SU model of recommendation/commenting to drive looking for/recommending ebay items then? I can't see how this would work, especially considering the kind of demographic that use SU (interested in new, and otherwise hard-to-find resources). Or is it about capturing networks of interest - channels of communication along which "similar products" can spread? How would that work? Perhaps there are advantages to a less "explicit" linkage (where explicit means you actively define your contacts a la MySpace, Tribe.net, etc., and the opposite is "recommended users" a la last.fm, say) that make it easier to "push" marketing (as people don't feel their "private" space is being invaded so much as they haven't invested as much time setting it up).

It'll be interesting to see, anyway. I never really thought of ebay as a "community" site - does the idea have legs, or are they just trying to jump on the bandwagon?