Monthly Archives: March 2005

All about Zipf's Law

As you may know, George Kingsley Zipf was obsessed with a rank-ordered world. The law named after him has a number of uses beyond even what his grandiose, universal plans were, so read all about it: information on zipf’s law.

Trivia note: originally Zipf’s work was based on some ideas from Condon (which GKZ acknowledged), way back in 1928, but Zipf’s name won out over time.

SXSW 2005 – Open Source Infrasturcture

I’m in the panel on Open Source infrastructures with Paul Martino from Tribe Network, Marc Canter from Broadband Mechanics and Matt Mullenweg who developed WordPress.

It’s all about micro-content (& servers for them).

Sharing micro-content interconnected together with People, Media, Events, Reviews, Tags, Recipes, Lists and Items. These are “islands of functionality” that should be inter-connected. (Canter)

Open Source standards – “nothing makes us happier” than people using data elsewhere. Craigslist doesn’t have full feed so you have to go back and visit the site (I must not be looking enough on craigslist, because I’m pretty sure I’m seeing the full feed.).

Tribecast – do we need another branded verb?

Uses FOAF, and let’s you edit the XML to expose its functionality and for re-purposing. You can migrate profiles from one site to another. Further steps for Canter’s digital-lifestyle-aggregator with OpenProfile on

Matt just asked if anyone is building something using open source infrastructures. Several people are talking about their ideas (which I can’t hear from the back row).

How to Leverage Solipsism @ SXSW

If you’re going to be at SXSW, come by and ask a good question while we talk about the good, the bad and the worse about
social computing systems design and use

Here’s the blurb:

Room 18A on Sunday, March 13th from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Monolithic, overarching imposed systems rarely provide full support for the range of use and users that these systems are intended to serve. Networked software should be smarter, taking advantage of users’ behaviors to evolve a system keenly adapted to actual use, not just intent. We are currently in a special moment, witnessing the development of systems that are beginning to demonstrate the power of this approach. Whether it is through passive tracking, such as purchase histories on Amazon, or explicit tagging of content, such as bookmarks on and photos on Flickr, websites are increasingly taking advantage of the aggregation of individual behavior to improve the utility, usability and desirability of their systems. Drawing on a range of perspectives, this session will address the intersection of the personal and global, the tensions that exist and the opportunities they afford.

Wists- a few suggestions

I’ve just started playing with Wists, a new social bookmarking++ service and have a few quick comments on the signup interface.

  • There is no marking of which signup fields are required. Why do you need to know my birthday? It’s shown as not optional (as opp to zip code being optional), but I didn’t put my birthday in and things seem to work fine.
  • The first name and last name fields are what your id will be generated from – why not let people either use their email address for an id or choose their own id for consistency of names in the online world. Also, it’s not too flattering to be called “don 3”.
  • What will zip code be used for? Give us a hint in a few words.
  • What is the “cool products newsletter”? A link to a sample issue would give us context for making getting even more email worthwhile or not.
  • The link to might as welll be a clickable link to show what wists can do.

Thanks for all the good work wist!