Category Archives: Web Communities

Ah. Young Love.

Matt Pestinger, 18, started his group, “Your relationship doesn’t count unless it’s posted on Facebook,” as a commentary on today’s world, he said in an e-mail. …

“Our generation is much more open with these types of things being on the Internet, Facebook and MySpace,” [Ashley] Shinn said. “We don’t have any secrets or anything. We don’t hide anything. We show everything to each other. Since we don’t have any shame in anything, we don’t hide it.” …

“I’m not sure what they did before Facebook,” [Taikein Cooper] said.

Read. Discuss.

A New Look at the World

Photosynth Imagine if your digital photos could be arranged in a collage and merged into a panoramic shot of a place. Cool, right?

Now, imagine if your pictures could be arranged in a collage and merged into a 3D representation of the pictured place, that you could take a virtual stroll through. Amazing, right?

Now, imagine the possibilities if all of your pictures, and all of my pictures, and all of everyone’s pictures could merge into a constantly improving and evolving 3D virtual Earth. (Who needs a satellite map?)

Well, it’s not quite that far along yet, but a crew of coders in Microsoft’s Live Labs are developing an amazing project called Photosynth that could one day do all of that, and more. The technology, developed in collaboration with the University of Washington and now rolling in visualization from Seadragon (a company acquired by Microsoft), can already do most of the above.

Photosynth works by analyzing each photo in a collection fed to it, determining features of interest in the photo and drawing a map of these points. The points act as a signature for the objects in the photo, and when compared with the feature points of the same objects in other pictures, allows the computer to map the photos in a three-dimensional space, in a similar way to how two images provided by our two eyes allow us to perceive depth.

As the team points out, the analysis of the photos also has the added benefit of establishing a ‘fingerprint’ for the photo that computer systems could use to identify the subject of the photo. This could lead to some really usesful applications, like the ability to photograph a landmark with your cell phone and have Photosynth technology match it and provide identification or other desired information about the landmark from the web.

Imagine a massive web-based Photosynth virtual world, where submitted photos are put together in a walkthrough globe. Google Earth is already taking steps in this direction, with 3D models that approximate buildings, and community-built markers, overlays, animations, and 3D models. Technology like Photosynth have the potential to take the idea to a whole new level of realism and utility.

(I’m a little late to the party, but a hat tip to Scobleizer for pointing this out!)

Socially-constructed News

tickr2 A ‘proposal’ from veteran web designers Hop Studios asks “What if news sites were built for sharing instead of for telling?” and then answers the question with tickr — a proposed mashup between flickr‘s celebrated Web 2.0 community interface and traditional news outlet content.

While they allude to sites like Wikipedia, they focus on flickr‘s model, because they feel it is highly influential and has innate loyalty-building properties. To me, though, it looks like there’s a heavy wiki influence here.

The observations about the most useful (and popular) UI elements of flickr are interesting to consider, though. Sites like Wikipedia could certainly be improved by some of their logical suggestions, and it would indeed be interesting to see a working news wiki community site like the proposed tickr.

(Thanks, Magnetbox — a blog with one of the most creative looks I’ve seen!)

Loose Lips

Rubel It seems fairly common today to see the media examining the phenomenon of people (especially high school and college students) posting information — to Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, or just personal blogs — that may one day haunt them in a job interview.

So, it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that someone has gotten into hot water (career-risking hot water) over a carelessly personal, ill-thought posting to the newest 2.0 phenom, Twitter. Except that in this case, it was a seasoned professional and well-known blogger who works in PR.

If anyone should know better, it should have been Steve Rubel. He posted to Twitter on Friday that he receives PC Magazine (for free), but that — despite working for a firm that represents and pitches stories on behalf of many high-powered tech clients (Palm, Microsoft, etc.) that court PC Magazine and its readership — he throws the magazine away (presumably without looking at it).

It might have gone unnoticed in the swirl of tweets, but the Editor in Chief of PC Magazine, Jim Louderback, did notice. And clearly, it had an effect. His guest editorial on the PR blog Strumpette is definitely worth reading and considering (second link below).

A little thought can go a long way. It’s a small web after all. (Thanks, Daring Fireball)

Update Apr 19 Link to original Twitter post corrected.

…quick clicks…

  • facebookFacebook Updates its Look »

    In case you haven’t noticed, Facebook has updated its look and categorization. In addition to aesthetic tweaks (the interface is a bit more streamlined now), the update adds an Inbox to consolidate messages (with improved abilities to send them), and Network Pages that give an aggregate look at events within the networks you belong to.

    Facebook » Information on the Changes » Facebook Blog (even more details) »

  • Two More Lenses on Time

    Some time ago, I pointed out piClock, the Mac OS X Dashboard widget that views the time in the digits of Pi, and here are two more ways to envision time in a new way:

    Color Coded Clock » Look! It’s 14:36 (2:36pm). Just count the dots. It’s easy… right? For Mac OS X Dashboard, from “strijdhtie.”


    Wheels of Time
    Wheels of Time » A screen saver for Mac OS X that counts time in floating 3D rings of bars, one wheel for hours, one minutes, one seconds. (And an optional digital clock cheat sheet sphere in the center.) From Big, Fat, Stinking Software.