Friday, July 29, 2005

CustoMyScripting for the Desktop...

Over the last few months I've been having a fine old time annotating other people's webpages with doodles of my own using Greasemonkey. So when the Yahoo Buys Maker of 'Widget' Applications hit the blogosphere a few days ago, I fell in lurrrvvvvvve.......

In the same way that Greasemonkey lets you script what you like in a random webpage, Konfabulator lets you script widgets for the desktop in a relatively painless way. So roll on customyscripting (or customiscripting....?) My computer is my toy, so I'd like to be able to play with it how I want to... And this make sit a lot easier...:-)

Doubtless the novelty will wear off in a few days, although not, I think, for the RSS widgets, which are alredy proving useful to me...

With Microsoft and others promissing to get into RSS in a big way in the near future, this is one way of trying out RSS-fed stuff on the desktop in the meantime....

Feed Annotation Streams: Keeping it Simple..

As work on the RSS Feed Annotation Streams proceeds, Matt has commented: "the spec needs to be presented with some form of ping service which is going to take a bit more time to set up. I am happy for others to develop ideas based on my original proposal - which I want to keep as simple as possible to allow for maximum exploration of possible application layers."

I quite agree with simplicity being essential if the FAS spec is to get widely adopted, but (sorry....) I was thinking on my way home last night how one major possible use of FAS is annotatiing stories with images, movies, and perhaps audio - ie. media annotations ( = enclosures).

So just to raise the question, if only to shoot it down, FAS is proposed as a lightweight complement to e.g. RSS (NB should FAS apply equally to Atom feeds etc?). What if the spec instead were a minor extension to RSS/Atom?


PS Some links are used in blogs etc. to provide 'more info' about a topic (e.g. the faux Wikipedia RSS link above). To what extent is the semantics of this an annotation?

PPS Many blogs quote particular sections from other blogs, as in the opening paragraph to this post. To what extent then is this post an annotation of the quoted paragraph (I know, I know, the sense in which I'm using annotation is starting to drift, but this is brainstorm mode ;-)? Could I use this post as an annotation that references the roginal quote via e.g. a URI and XPath? (This makes assumption that the structure of the original posting will remain the same of course...)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Widgets for CV Maps...

To make for an intersting application, CV Maps (or lifeplot maps?!) need to have 'fallout zones' centred on particular locations.

The Google Maps API does lines, but not circles, so when I saw this post - Eric's Archived Thoughts: Working With Google Maps - and Eric's HYDEsim demo, it brought the tempatation to actually go and prototype a CV Map in a lazy reuse everything and anything way, a little bit closer...

The only thing is - I don't want to pop my CV up on the public web, let alone a map of it... so - any offers? Do you have a CV you'd like to see being used for the first CV map prototype? ;-) tags:

RSS Feed Annotation Streams

Pace on the BBC Backstage mailing list (archived here) is franctic as ever, with new prototypes popping up every couple of days.

A key driver of the activity (at the moment at least) is the provision by the BBC of RSS feeds that have been opened up for remixing use by the community. But even though the BBC have been generous with what they are making available, we always want more...

As a result, one strand that's being developed in the Backstage community at the moment - and that I think has potentially broad appeal - is the idea of RSS Annotation Stream: Data Mining: Feed Annotation Streams.

The gist of the idea is that users may want to annotate RSS stories with additional info - at the moment, geotagging syndicated BBC news stories is particularly hot, given the wide variety of mapping applications being devleoped for BBC news feeds using the Google maps API.

Here's what Matt Hurst has mooted as a stating point for the RSS Annotation spec:

<annotationStream feedURL="original-feed-url" annotationURI="URI-for-annotation-service" feedRead="date" annotationStreamWrite="date">
  <annotation guid="item-guid">
    <!--annotation information here-->

As I read it, the annotationStream idea allows a user to provide a set of annotations that can be applied to a particular original feed. But what if I want to define a feed that is a combination of several distinct annotationStreams defined at quite a high level?

I wonder if there is any merit in going a step further and having an annotationMix (or annotationPatch?) (that may or may not be an annotationStream?) that:

1) contains one or more <useAnnotationStream annotationURI="URI-for-annotation-service" /> tags, and

2) defines which bits of those various annotations from each feed should be used in the final annotationMix?

This extension needn't go as far as defining an XSLT to remix the final feed, but would be useful as a config file for a mixer of several feeds, perhaps, or setting up an XSLT to generate the final annotated/mixed feed?

It will be interesting to see what other communities might pick up on RSS annotations, because I have a feeling this idea might run and run.... tags:

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

CV Maps

For some reason, I've been thinking about CVs lately, and it struck me that it may be amusing to combine Google Maps with my CV...

The release of the Google Maps API means it's now quite straightforward to produce your own annotated maps, even without having to resort to something like MyGmaps.

So until I get round to producing a demo/dummy CV (do you really think I'd publish nmy life history on the public web?), what would the CV map look like?

Well, the way I imagine it is to have a series of markers coloured blue to red (for temperature, or recency), and perhaps with symbol identifier (school, HEI, etc.) with information panels that describe what happened when at places identified by the markers (qualifications at school, for example, university degree, membership of local golf club, or previous/current employer(s) etc.). Also in the info panel would be a link to the appropriate institution web page.

Depending on where you currently live, you could set a preference for a 'happy to work with x miles of home' transparent image overlaid on the map and centred on your home address. Slightly more sophistictaed would be a 'happy to work with half-an-hour of home' transparent overlay, which would (with a bit of route-planning help) provide a better estimate of the places you'd be happy to commute to. (This feature would probably be helpful to the CV-owning job-hunter, too...)

I couldn't imagine this being of the slightest bit of interest to the personnel department of a large corporate organisation, of course, but it would add a bit of colour, and might easily provide an automated visualisation of a CV that's been authored in a structured authoring environment...

And for why? Err - why not? If nothing else, it would be an applied testbed for learning how to do transparent overlays and time-based route planning in Google Maps;-)

And the revenue generating opportunities are obvious to keep the site ticking over - job advert feeds from employers in your commuting zone, fund-raising requests from your university alumni association, sponsored links in from Friends Reunitied (err - perhaps not ;-) tags: