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.
For mac aficionados there is something more important than Christmas and that is Macworld San Francisco in January. The rumor mills are running rampant on predictions for this macworld with intel iBooks topping the list of predictions but I am wishing for some other things from Apple. What I would call the trojan macs.
The first is what I would call the Mac mini TV, this would be a modified version on the mini specially designed to fit under the large plasma and LCD HD television sets that all the people have been buying themselves for Christmas. Compared to the current mini it should have an added TV tuner card and much bigger hard disk, it should still be as silent as the mini but it would not need to be as small as the current mini. Of course it will also require a PVR capable version of Front Row. It should be mainly marketed as a PVR with a mac under the hood
The second machine I would like to see apple release, I even hesitate to call a mac, would be a hybrid of an ibook and the Nokia 770. Think of it as a ibook with the keyboard replaced by a touch screen and a added infrared port. It should be marketed primarily as a kind of ebook/web reader/itunes controler but again in reality there is a mac under the hood.
The nice thing with both these machines are that they are not primarily macs and therefore can be marketed more like appliances negating a lot of the windows arguments nor will they require all the third party software to be ported to Intel on day one. But they will both put OSX in the hands of a lot of people, expanding the OSX user base in a trojan way.
Don't write a functional specifications document. Why? Well, there's nothing functional about a functional specifications document.
Functional specifications documents lead to an illusion of agreement. A bunch of people agreeing on paragraphs of text is not real agreement. Everyone is reading the same thing, but they're often thinking something different. This inevitably comes out in the future when it's too late.
This rings so true! The only way we can be sure we are talking about the same thing is if all the players are looking at the user experience though interface mock-ups.
Danny O’Brian’s presentation on fame and the internet was fantastic and funny. It touched many interesting aspects of fame, privacy and relationship grooming. I would have liked to hear more on micro fame and maybe exploring the advantages of internet extended persona. As a side note I loved his use of quicksilver as substitute for PowerPoint.
Ted Nelson’s presentation was both a highlight and a bit of a let down. He has been a hero of mine since I saw BBC’s Hyperland in the early 90s but here there were two problems in his presentation. He did not show a compelling user experience for his translit project which made it very difficult to grasp and frankly he sounded biter about the web.
Paul Mutton Social network graphs were super cool. Sebastien Noel from Space Hijackers presented their next project MMS Charles Clarke a project to track Charles Clark the british interior ministers every move through a network of volunteers with camera phones.
There was a session about starting some kind of UK based Electronic Frontier Foundation to fight for digital rights. This is seems rather odd to me as the industry lobby now operate on a european level. Even a european organization seems strange as the battle ground is increasingly global and with things like the mickey mouse copyright extension act starting it’s life in Europe and then the Americans harmonizing on a European decisions I think one global organization with local chapters makes much more sense. I think EFF is the bast placed to step up to the plate.
If you’re a Daily Show fan check out this comedy central index page with over 600 clips of pure Daily nirvana. and if you are not yet a fan its a great intro to one of the best things to hit TV in a long time. Also, Lisa Rein has put up a NPR interview with Stephen Colbert from the show.
I waited. I listened to selections from her library: Low, Manual. And then the sound skipped. I flipped to iTunes. Her library title had changed: try_the_new_dalek.A conversation began, conducted solely by library title, and it continued for the next couple of hours.
Not only is itunes an extension of identity but its now also becoming a communication medium
Xavier structures some thoughts on ruby on rails the web-development framework that is getting all the buzz lately. His enthusiasm for it almost makes me want to program.
John Barlow writes about getting Skype calls from chinese girls to practice english. This is once again one of those things where the internet changes everything, with telephones this would have been completely out of the question.
There is probably even a good web business brokering these contacts, it can be done on many levels:
I still think Skype needs to be very careful about phone bots and spam creeping into the system.
There are many kinds of art but I have not seen good political art in a long time until this "Licence to Sit".
Here is the Internet Chair with magnetic stripe card reader and spikes that retract when a seating license is downloaded from a license server in response to input from the card reader incoroprated into the chair.
If you are following the insipid growth of service locked devices and digital rights management this piece is much scarier than funny.
Trackback is a system used by some weblog tools to automatically alert one weblog of a related post in another, the idea is great and would allow weblogs to act a little like a distributed discussion group.
The problem it is never used in its intended way and now it does more damage than good. Take this post by Barlow post as an example, It’s a great post about his first hand experience with post 9/11 airport security and the legal system, but then come the trackbacks, just a long series of "look cool post", "Barlow has a great post", "you must read this" etc... Even if there is one trackback that does contain something interesting it is so buried in the noise that nobody will see it. Much worse however is that the much more informative comments are buried after trackbacks and look very similar to the trackbacks. My guess people that are not familiar with weblogs and even some that are will never even get to the comments, they’ll just scratch their head at the trackbacks and move on to other things.
It would be very easy to solve this with design. First thing would be to move the trackbacks under the comment and design them differently, personally I would just leave the post title and the name of the referring weblog out.
Still settling into blogging again and trying to get comfortable with this new version of beeth.com. This time I am experimenting with strongly typed posts. Instead of have on one post format fits all I am working with some types of posts, there will be:
Of course there will still be "normal" posts and probably there will be more special formats to follow. Jason Kottke has been doing similar stuff for some time. I have three objectives with this experiment