An excellent outing last night to the British Library for the latest talk accompanying the Out of this world exhibition. A nice illustration of the benefits of CPD – I was looking around the BL site for upcoming events for the CILIP in London Google Calendar of interesting stuff in London (fancy contributing? get in touch) just when they were adding the events listing. The result was myself and a mate were in a packed crowd for Alan Moore in conversation with Stewart Lee. I suspect tickets would not have come my way if I had heard about it through slower channels.
It was a fascinating discussion ranging across scifi, science, religion, technology, genre, labels and who can remember what else.
There were demonstrations of IP red in tooth and claw – for example why some comic books are movies and others are not. And how clashes over IP have impacted on the quality of writing in comics. Alan Moore apparently gets no money from the sale of V for Vendetta Merchandise – but does get an enormous sense of personal well being from seeing them at demonstrations around the world (DC less so – apparently we won’t be getting any more V movies as a result).
Moore takes an interesting position on technology being extremely interested and reading widely about it but largely refusing to adopt it. He no longer has a television since they dropped the analog signal in Northampton, refuses to have a mobile and has no email address.
There was a fab quote from Stewart Lee “what is twitter if not voluntary surveillance” that gave me a wry chuckle thinking of all the people who might be signing up for CPD23 over this week. I originally joined Twitter as part of my involvement in the CILIP Defining our Professional Future exercise so I must be slightly past my one year of involvement. I do find it useful (as well as entertaining) but access at work is limited which prevents me integrating it into the flow of my day in the way I might like. I recently signed up for TweetyMail that has helped with some of the link sharing issues caused by using Twitter predominantly via Snaptu.
RSS is not a new thing for me. I had a long love affair with Bloglines that I used for a good six years and I have commented already about my current RSS consumption.
I was surprised to find that I was able to get Pushnote installed on my work computer. I say installed as I am struggling to decide if it is working or not. I follow a fair few people on Twitter but there is little sign of them being involved in this and I cannot really see the point. I do not seem to be alone in this based on peoples tweets. Maybe a use will become apparent.
You can find some other Alan Moore & Stewart Lee footage on the web. At the time of writing there a still tickets available for R.U.R. on the 6th of July – it has been a brilliant series of events.
My much loved bloglines account has got to go. After 6 plus years of faithful service (an eternity in web terms) Ask have seen fit to kill it off.
Apparently no one reads RSS anymore (stats for Google Reader use suggest something different) – all part of the death of the blog meme (see also, Death of the blog comment and so on). All the cool kids are on twitter. So why am I so annoyed? Bloglines didn’t ever develop much (I tried the major revision they released and soon retreated to the basic old version) but it did a pretty good job of the task in hand. Reading was quick and I saved the things I either couldn’t follow up immediately or wanted to hang on to. I never noticed the problems others alleged with outages and the Bloglines Plumber.
So what? Just move to Google Reader like most people have already. Problem is I already have a Google Reader account used for a Current Awareness Service. I can have two Google Accounts logged in at once but it gets all tangled on itself quite frequently. Thus far I don’t particularly like Google Reader as a user experience either.
Oh and of course I work mostly in IE6 land. So everytime I go into Google Reader it suggests I need to upgrade my software. And Google are definitely starting to get more aggressive not even allowing IE6 folk to use some of their products (hurrah no Google Instant for me!) so I may be out on my ear in the not too distant future.
Others have said it but once more with feeling – thanks Ask – thanks a lot.
Dave Winer, the father of RSS, writes about getting the data flowing both ways. Or, at least the potential for this, by having search engines use his blog to make results more relevant. And less random. He figures it won’t be sinister as he only reveals general stuff about himself on his blog-what city he calls home, and many other details that will help disambiguate his search query (his example: differentiating firmware driver from car driver).
He likes this idea so much that he bought the domain http://www.twowaysearch.com!
By the way, the tidbit above was found by going to TwitterFox (which makes Twitter much more accessible in an optional popup, in my opinion, as it is never the main event), looking at a Guardian Tech tweet, going to a link in their article, and then finding the two way search in Jeff Jarvis’s Twitter feed on his blog here. Jeff’s blog is righteous as well-he has written a post linking to the MistakeBank, a ning site where people share and try to learn from their mistakes.
The latest issue of Elucidate from the UKIEG includes an interesting link related to the failure of RSS to take off at an enterprise level.
Reasons for lack of take up are variously seen as the radical way it changes access to information, poor software, apathy and the fact it is called RSS.
There seem to have been no end of study days and presentations related to RSS in the health / libraries setting. (I have even been responsible for some myself see 8.32MB of PPT – NB contains added Peter Godwin on Info Literacy). But has this translated into wide uptake?
Speaking from the NHS perspective I suspect that uptake by organisations rather than individuals has been limited. The FADE service are delivering a lot of content as RSS so you would expect that their users are on board. Colchester Hospital Library offered a Google Reader driven current awareness service but this has not been updated since the person who ran it moved on. Jason Curtis at SATH has been using RSS with NetVibes to offer an updating service. I am sure there are plenty of others doing interesting stuff out there.
For most NHS folk access to software can be an issue with desktops locked down and filtered web access. Though this is not an uncommon situation in the non NHS workplace either. The National Library for Health included an RSS reader as part of MyLibrary and an RSS Directory (see the presentation linked earlier for more details). Unfortunately the functionality of the RSS reader was limited and this certainly prevented people from promoting services using this route.
Perhaps there will be a new wave of opportunity as people move to MS Office 2007 and Sharepoint 2007 with better support for RSS in these packages?