January 2006

Making better multilingual forums and communities

Multilingual comunities

More and more people are multilingual but multilingual sites rarely or never take this into account and instead offer you a binary choice of language. One of the rare exceptions is Google that will allow you to pick multiple accepted languages to your queries. Some sites that could really exploit multilingual users are forums and community sites. Lets say that when you join a forum you can pick multiple languages instead of one. This means that you will see what is going on in multiple parts of the site, but not only that, the people that have multiple languages can act as bridges between the linguistic communities essentially fuzzing out the fixed languages borders.

Update: Talking with JP the other evening we came upon a great example where this would make huge sense. In Belgium there is a hugely popular dating site called Rendez-vous that has three language section, French, Dutch and English but the English section has completely failed to reach critical mass. If they had a system where you could belong to multiple language sections I'm sure the english section would also reach critical mass in no time.

Cool vertical windturbine

Check out the QR display part

Carl Beeth

Hamas Without Veils - NRO

It’s rare that I agree with something said in the NRO but this echoes how I see it.

Carl Beeth



Want to see a graphic illustration of what the google censorship in China means? Then take a look at this chinese version of a google images search then do the same in the normal google images search. Very Scary!

Added tags

Finally added tags to my regular posts. One thing I struggled with, was if I was going to use commas or spaces as separators or rather if I was going to allow multi word tags. In a way I think it is a little illogical to only allow one word tags as some combination don’t make much sense unless they are merged. Lets say I wanted to tag a story "intelligent design" in a single wording system like del.icio.us it would be tagged as both "intelligent" and "design" which makes very little sense. on the other hand if I wanted to tag something "fly fishing" there would be some relevance in also tagging it "fishing" but then "fly" would not be very relevant.

After looking around on the net I found a good post on 37 Signals that swayed my decision to go with multi word tags and for me the most logical was to have them comma separated in one field.

Designpedia - Airbag

Lot's of links to interesting design sites

Carl Beeth

Tips for getting to sleep faster

No wonder I have problems sleeping, I break almost all of those rules.

Carl Beeth

5 min 1 sec.

Penn Jillette Podcast

Juggler, magician, comic and general super hero Penn Jillette the talking partner of Penn and Teller has a podcasted radio program. Penn is also a fierce fighter for freedom of speech and critic of the church. With his partner he did one of my favorite favorite sequences on the TV series "the West Wing", a trick where they burned the flag wrapped in the US constitution and of course scandalous hilarity ensued.

Masai Barefoot Technology

MBT ShoeYesterday I was talking with Christian Lund and he told me about his new "Masai Barefoot Technology" shoes. The shoes have a rounded sole that apparently helps in many ways. I have to try these shoes if for nothing else the coolest brand name in a long time.
1 hour 6 min

Al Gore on the unchecked expansion of executive powers in the US

Taking the base of the recent illegal wire taps in the US, Al Gore delivers a superb speech sounding the alarm on the president's use of fear to extend his powers beyond the law and the constitutional crisis it creates.

During the period when this eavesdropping was still secret, the President seemed to go out of his way to reassure the American people on more than one occasion that, of course, judicial permission is required for any government spying on American citizens and that, of course, these constitutional safeguards were still in place.

But surprisingly, the President's soothing statements turned out to be false. Moreover, as soon as this massive domestic spying program was uncovered by the press, the President not only confirmed that the story was true, but in the next breath declared that he has no intention stopping or of bringing these wholesale invasions of privacy to an end.

At present, we still have much to learn about the NSA's domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently.

A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men.

There is a transcript of the speech here but I recommend listing to it. You can also find some bits on video here.

What is your dangerous idea?

Edge.org has their annual question online, this year it is "What is your dangerous idea?". Answered by a bunch of luminaries they are well worth browsing through.

A Life, Wasted - Washington Post

Carl Beeth