My cassette collection (my first flickr group)

Rods Tapes

My cassette collection feed

    rssLinkList(‘http://www.flickr.com/groups_feed.gne?id=23071868@N00&format=rss_200’,5,false,false);

Fading Waypoints feed

    rssLinkList(‘http://te.chni.ca/waypoint/?feed=rss2’,5,false,false);

My research thesis has begun in earnest, and spinning off from my previous work this year on tagging, I am testing the idea of using the photo sharing site flickr, as a means to gather data that can used to specualte on designing in the realm of “the new media“. (I am favoring that term these days over web 2.0, social software etc. just because, well… frankly i’m sick to death of hearing those terms.)

This project is taking place in a flickr group called My Cassette Collection.

About My cassette collection

What are these things good for anymore?

Cassette tapes hold a special place in our media history. Most importantly they hold memories, of people, places and times in our lives that are ever fleeting.

This group is a place to share these stories, using a picture of your tape collection as a guide.

I have compiled a beginers startup guide to assist those that would like to participate, but know little or nothing about online photo sharing or flickr.

Thanks to the thrind for being among the first of my comrades to contribute to the project and to give me a link from is blog. Bigups pal! His tape cassette collection is still relatively intact and he has noted what looks to be an interesting mix, the…

“I am Fucking Insane”; mix tape of songs that GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD. Includes Billy Squier, the theme from Highlander, and many other favorites.

My project is more about the collection itself, how it is organized, displayed, stored etc. than it is about specific mixes. It is interesting to observe however what things bubble to the surface when users are given a labelling task.

So far, 24 members have joined this pool, and many of them had already posted the pictures to flickr. All I needed to do was ask that they add those pics to my group. It seems gaining new members will be somewhat slow and arduous as this is a realtively obscure topic. The (now) subculture of cassette taping and mixtapes is out there, and I am promoting the group around the internet on Yahoo Discusson groups and, and music communities like last.fm, but if anyone knows of other venues where “tapeheads” like to hang out online I’d love to hear from you.

Other problems so far: Getting people to join and use flickr. This potentially limits the scope of my target group too much. I dont necessarilly needa specific tool to gather the information I need. How does using this tool affect the results? HOw would it differ If I relied on something more conventional like email?

Torn between the big G and 30 boxes

30 boxes feed

    rssLinkList(‘http://30boxes.com/rss/50404/Jasontoal/410a2481b0473906b1842b9b2626af6e/1/’,5,false,false);

google calendar feed

    rssLinkList(‘http://www.google.com/calendar/feeds/jason.toal@gmail.com/public/basic’,5,false,false);

Yes it’s true, believe it or not I’m calendaring the web 2.0 way. That is, sharing and making available all kinds of personal information about me and my whereabouts on the web to whomever cares enough to look. I suspect it will come in handy for making plans with friends and family etc. but really, I am just trying to get my life organized, particularly my summer as I’m heading into thesis writing mode and need to keep a very tightly managed schedule. NOT my speciality. But there are a couple of new services I hope will make this process less painful.

First some context. The first thing that you may find unusual is the very idea of sharing your personal schedule on the web, and I couldnt agree more. Why would anyone want to do that? This is more common than you would think these days, and sites such as meetup.com and upcoming.org have built up large user bases just because they provide the means to share upcoming events. Typically this serves the purposes of inviting/luring others that may be interested. The benefit to sharing this information, is that you may actually pique the interest of total strangers but those that have a genuine interest in the subject of the event, so this works really well if you are trying to start a club or bring together all the ‘railroad model builders‘ in your town for instance. Yes, the information is typically ‘public’, but in the case of each of the tools I mention, that is always optional.

A new breed of web calendars are taking things a bit further in that they are (potentially) useful to input and manage all your personal events as well, aiming to provide users a means to organize their lives. Outlook killers is really what they are, which is one of the reasons I am so happy. 🙂 see.. happy. I dont know, maybe Mac users already have some awesome calendaring tool going on, but for these of us shackled to PC’s this is a godsend.

Last Month 30boxes came on the scene as announced here , and I have been blissfully adopting it as my new PIM solution. I cant even begin to get into the many features, and honestly do not want to as they are covered so well by others. Suffice it to say, its cool, its shareable, it has RSS and AJAX comin out the yingyang and an elegant and fully featured interface. (but not TOO fully)

Today of course, all the buzz is about the big G’s calendar solution. Some announcements here, here and here that give this some context in terms of the bigger picture, a la the battle w/ micro*****, but although tempting, i’ll refrain from commenting on THAT. (already running out of steam on this post as it is).

The fact is that Im a big fan of google services, too much so sometimes. At first look, this seems to be no exception. It too is cool, shareable, AJAX and RSS driven, clean elegant etc etc etc. but it presents the biggest problem for me which is user adoption. Which service will I give my clicks too? Sure the integration with gmail is nice, desirable even, but do I really want to commit ALL my interactions to the big G? Isnt there room for the little guy to get in there too? At this point it almost doesnt matter as I can easily copy information from one to the other verrry easily, the way it should be. Of course if my wordpress aggregator liked google feeds better I would be more conflicted, so for now 30 boxes wins! yay!

tag cloud *thumbs up*

You’re it! feed

    rssLinkList(‘
    http://tagsonomy.com/index.php/feed/’,5,false,false);

It could be me, but my tag cloud seemed to get a heluvalot cooler over night. As you can see, my tag cloud has recently been activated. yes! After waiting for what seemed like an eternity from the time i signed up, it finally happened. I understand this kind of service being popular these days, but are there really THAT many geeks out there? hmmm. Now, i’m told the interface is quite a simple thing to set up, but for myself, I am happy to be able to register (even if it means a bit of a wait) for a service like tagcloud to provide customizable link aggregation, and be the interface middle man. The thing that I recently was pleased to noticed however, is how dynamic the information is. I wasn’t initially that impressed because the keywords did not seem very relevant at all. But over the last couple days, I have noticed the tag cloud is rendering more meaningful words to describe the kinds of feeds and content i am putting into it.

As I imagine how users can take tags to the next level, for the upcoming IA summit, I look forward to putting our ideas to the test to see if the feedback companies like tagcloud afford, has anything to do with how users expect the data to be displayed. Not that I expect we’ll get that far.