My Cassettes on CBC

Interviewed about my research
My Cassette Collection on CBC
Originally aired Wednesday August 16th

cbc radio3 feed rssLinkList(‘’,10,false,false);

Yay! Although I should have been working much harder on finishing the actual writing of my thesis, I spent a good portion of my ‘holiday’ time this year, preparing and giving some interview to our dear friends over at the CBC. Through the power of social networking, ( Thanks Jen! 🙂 ) my idea (and link) ended up on the desktop of a CBC producer who proceeded to call me and set this up. ( Thanks Anna 🙂 )

As I have previously, and repeatedly (sorry internet!) announced, my research project uses pictures of peoples cassette tapes, to explore design strategies that benefit personal media collecting, (storing and sorting) and sharing. When I was first contacted, I thought it was going to be just the blog piece which I was MORE than happy with. Since the idea of publicizing this was to draw as many additional participants as possible, the internet is the natural place to find them. In fact, I think the best promotion this project has seen so far has been the link from the renowned author running joho blog. (Thanks Mr. Weinberger! 🙂 )

Anyway, the interview went faaaiirly well. All those, “ooh I should have said…” moments will make good blog posts. I can also recycle it now that its on the internet and… geek geek geek. Of course I’m my most harsh critic, its good exposure anyway you slice it.

On a very short side note, I recieved an interesting response from Bowdens Media Monitoring, who can provide access to anything recorded on the CBC (I think)

The online service only provides audiotape cassette, CD Rom or DVD format for Radio Coverage. Please refer to the attached for pricing information. If you require an mp3 file, this must be obtained from the Radio/TV dept. The cost is $90.00 plus 10%copyright fees, taxes and delivery fees. Please let me know which format you would prefer.

….uuhhhh… send me the tape! 😉

Friends and Contacts, (another mashup post)

flickr friends feed


I call this post a ‘mashup’ because it has been more than two weeks since my last post, (forgive me father) and I am throwing alot of the ideas I had intended to do a single posts about into one. The best of all possible posts really.

First of all I should mention, I may have found Jeff Macloud. yesss! It seems somebody (finally) happened across my earlier post which was essentially a message in a bottle, (could it have been the man himself?) and posted jeffs number in the comments. One of the advantages I have of being an underground blogger is that I can still keep my comments and trackbacks functioning with relative little interest from s p a m m e r s. Curiously, looking at my logs, and the submitted email address, the comment came from the east, maybe TO and not from Calgary at all, although I have a sneaking suspicsion…

I still have not called the number yet, but will be doing so this weekend, when I have a moment to breath. I’m excited! 🙂

So this ties in to the images I have been working on, which is a collage of labels that many social software sites use for the people that you are connected to, or have bookmarked. My pal Jeff is a ‘friend’, a good one in the real word. Even though we have been out of touch for awhile and he doesnt participate in any online socializing of any kind, that i know of. Having recently finished a big conference, my linkedin identity is gaining many new ‘connections’. via the business cards i gave out and individuals I spoke to throughout. I doubt I will ever have any trouble finding any of these people.

Social software has been built upon the capability for users to link to each other, forming networks of relationships on an adhoc, and open basis. There are rarely any barriers to adding someone to your collection, thus the early friend collecting that went on, and likely is still going on in friendster … booooring. They all work relatively the same, but differ in terms of the user experience around how those connections are framed semantically. Adding ‘friends is one of the most common terms of reference, while others use the more general, and less commital term ‘contacts‘, or ‘connections‘ which is the norm for email and IM lists as well. Flickr does use “contacts” as a general term, (even tho the folder in the url says friends) then allows you to assign users as “friends” or “family” status beyond that. Others go so far as to make you link to ‘your favorite people’. Regardless, you may or may not actually know these individuals, let alone have met them, yet there they are in YOUR list.

My question is, what are the social protocols that are forming around the process of adding friends (or whatever)? Is it rude to add someone as a ‘friend’, or whatever willy nilly, or should there be some shared context? If someone adds you as a friend, is is also rude NOT to add them? Why all the focus on the positive, why not add enemies as well? aquaintances? people i passed on the street?
Since none of my research has looked into the world of online dating, I am probably missing a huge chunk of how people negotiate these kinds of interactions, but I have always been slightly anxious adding somebody, particularly someone that I knew of, but who had no idea who I was. In almost every case I have come across, you cannot add someone to your list without them knowing it, so there it is a fairly bold and non-voyeuristic act. This is all very curious to me, and it will be of interest as I continue exploring.

I love Users

google map of visitors to my site

Track visitors to your website using Google Maps

Or, I love seeing I HAVE users anyway, which until recently I have never been quite certain about. If you are an avid blogger, and have any kind of audience at all, this is usually not an issue as there are many ways that users leave traces of their presence voluntarily in the blogosphere. Comments and Trackbacks are the typical way this occurs, and should I ever get the pleasure of either, I’m sure to be thrilled. However for a standard HTML page, there is really no way to know that you are getting any traffic unless you are geek enough to keep track of server logs and stuff like that. As narcissistic as my tendencies are, I have never take the time for that. Well that has all changed. Last week, I installed the wonderful little javascript widget from gvisit and was amazed to see that somethings , or someones are hitting my homepage fairly regularly, and from all over the place, and i can see that displayed on a google map for no charge! woohoo!

As if that weren’t post worthy enough on its own, they have even taken it one step further and generated an RSS feed of that information. To me, this is one of the greatest things to happen to my homepage ever. Using some fine rss aggregator (I choose the free RSS to JavaScript Service, but there are many others), I can now display on any webpage the location of the last 10 users who have visited that page. (more if you donate) This is in effect a web browsing mirror, that allows users to see, that I can see, them seeing me. My head is spinning. RSS rulez.

The big question now is, how do I use this power for the purpose of good instead of evil? I want to have it on every page, but that just sounds ridiculous (or is it ? hmm…). My blog has the potential of having the most traffic, so for now I should probably put it here, and see how it goes.

I do have some constructive criticism. First, you can’t block yourself from counting as a user, so each time you go checking your site to see from where the latest visitors have hailed, you become another hit yourself. To get around this you can simply NOT put the RSS feed right on the page itself as i have done, or go to the gvisit map page , so that is probably not fair. What would be helpful is if the time displayed in the feed was the time that the user hit the site and not the last time the list was updated. It kinda looks like everyone came to the site at the same time which is of course false.

Regardless, its amazing. Go check it out, copy the code to your site of choice, and then write these guys a big fat cheque to donate to this amazing service.