Amazon, WikiLeaks and the Need for an Open Cloud

At least one senior technologist thinks that Amazon removing WikiLeaks from its servers could raise red flags about the utility of cloud computing, while programmer and open-web advocate Dave Winer believes the incident reinforces the need for an open cloud host to protect our content.

No, RSS Is Not Dead, and Neither Are RSS Readers

The shutting down of Bloglines and the decline of traffic to Google Reader has led some to predict (again) that RSS readers are dead, killed in part by the real-time nature of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. But the truth is somewhat more complicated.

What Would a More Open Twitter Look Like?

As Twitter continues to struggle with repeated system outages and downtime, attention has turned to ways of extending — or even replacing — the social network as a communications platform. But what would such a world look like? It would involve multiple clients and open standards.

The Evolution of Blogging

Blogging has evolved, becoming more than just a source of straight information or opinion, but of rich context. But that’s not enough. Blogs need to evolve further, to become open, more social — to reflect more accurately our dynamic, real-times lives.

What Do the All-Star Break & Blogging Have in Common?

Baseball’s All-Star Break this week proved to be quite special – not because this was the last All-Star game at The Yankee Stadium, the cathedral of baseball and a place where I fell in love with this distant cousin of cricket. No, it was not special because the All-Star game went into the wee-hours of the night and took 15 long innings before the American League took their rightful place in the winners’ circle. No, it was not special because Josh Hamilton put on an awesome display of power and sprayed home-runs during the HR derby.

To me it was special because it was all about young talent, many making their first (and not their last) trip to the All-Star Game. The HR Derby had none of the established hitters vying for the prize – instead it was all young turks. The All Star game was no different – packed with youth, energy and enthusiasm of talents like Justin Morneau, Scott Kazmir, Grady Sizemore and Evan Longoria. David Wright, Dan Haren, Dustin Pedroia, and Joe Mauer. This was a year where the guard changed.

The game is still the same, except there were new heroes and new starts. That is the beauty of the game I have come to love more dearly than life itself. I think that is the case with my other passion – blogging. Like baseball, the art of blogging remains the same, we just get new players. You see the changes on the Techmeme leaderboard, as new voices emerge, and take their rightful place center stage. We see an emergence of new class of bloggers who are on their way to getting our full attention, playing with some of us old timers (by blogging metrics at least.) Read More about What Do the All-Star Break & Blogging Have in Common?

Introducing FlickrFan

Update: Over a month ago, I visited Dave Winer’s Berkeley, Calif. home. We went for a walk that knocked the wind out of me, but during course of our conversation, Dave mentioned that he was working on something new. After nearly 45 minutes of rigorous walking, we returned to his house and he showed me an early version of his new application, FlickrFan.

One caveat, the first beta release is Mac only. That’s because I’m doing all my work on the Mac, and this is a one-man show. Later we will work it out for Windows too, and with a bit more work and a bit more luck, for Linux.

It is a simple application — download and install it on your Mac, and using RSS it pulls down images from Flickr and displays them on your screen. It can be a Mac Mini attached to a giant LCD screen or simply your iMac. Doesn’t matter! What matters is that images become almost like a constantly changing channel. Dave showed me his personal channel where photographs from professional news photographers were mixed with baby pictures, photos of vacations long forgotten and friends we have forgotten to call for a long time.

This is a highly personal use of RSS, just like Dave envisioned it long time ago. Our readers are pointing out that there are similar offerings for Windows platform, Slickr in particular. I wasn’t aware of that application, and glad to hear about it. It is understandable that some might be underwhelmed, but to me it is not the application, but the concept that is more exciting.

As broadband becomes faster, who is to say that we can’t randomly pull videos (that some day will be better quality than today) that interest us from YouTube and automatically display them on our screens. What FlickrFan shows that with ample broadband, open platform (PC or a Mac or a Linux device) and RSS (or some such subscription mechanism), we can create real simple convergence.

New Way To View News

[qi:066] Dave Winer, whom I have dubbed “The Constant Tinkerer,” has come up with yet another way to consume information in a simple and easily navigable manner. Well known for his work on RSS and OPML, he is now shifting his attention to finding new ways to consume news from large information sources such as the New York Times — in a style that is common to blogs.

Blogs almost always display the latest posts at the top, making it easy to get a quick bite of the latest information, and is one of the reasons they have gained in popularity. Using that framework, he has come up with an outline view of news.
Read More about New Way To View News