There May be More of a Social Networking Echo Chamber Then I Thought

Although this mentions Religion, it is really a Tech / soc networking post.
The other day I had a "conversion class" at Church with a group of people who are looking to either be received into the Church or for Adult Confirmation. As we were leaving I mentioned to a couple of folks that someone reached my blog by goggleing "tom synan conversion" (Tom Synan was the Priest running the class), and I was curious if it was one of them. Their answer baffled me, "I've never really understood, what's a blog"? I resisted the urge to say "google it" and I did my best to explain blogging and the basics of social media.

But this makes me wonder, are we failing in our mission to educate folks in what we're doing? As early adopters we often say we are here to shake out these technologies so when the late adopters come along, the tech is usable for them. Isn't it also our responsibility to shepherd these folks into social media, and are we failing in our task?
There has been talk about the widening gap between early adopters and everyday users as of late. Where there are services that aren't ready for the average user, it surprised me that more mature services such as flickr aren't more universally being used. Up until now I assumed that was people not understanding it. I now believe we're just not doing a good job of selling it. A lot of folks in this community call themselves "social media evangelists" but looking around, most of them are only preaching to the converted. Talking about how great these services are on twitter and friendfeed doesn't help adoption.
I'm curious to hear how folks feel we should go about educating everyday users.

  Posted: May 12, 2008

Moving The Feeds I'm Hosting over to Feed Burner

There are currently 3 feeds that I'm building and hosting here that I'm moving over to feedburner (mostly to preserve bandwidth). I'll be setting up redirects but for now they are just being replicated. The new links are as follows (I've updated the original posts as well):
Church of the Heavenly Rest Unofficial Podcast -
Astronomy Photo of the Day -
Flickr Interestingness Feed -
Feel free to move over manually, I'll set up the redirects in the not to distant future.

  Posted: May 11, 2008

Removing Disqus because sometimes I go backwards to go forwards.

So in the last few weeks I've taken on a few projects involving comments on and it seems that they are conflicting with each other, and I've come to the decision that where I like disqus, I have to go back to the default Drupal comment module.
First off let me say that disqus is great, I'm getting less (as in no) spam since installing it. The social aspects of it has increased traffic to my site. As the person who wrote the howto for Drupal + Disqus I feel it's important for me to say I really have enjoyed using it and suspect I'll be back when the one thing I need from them is resolved.
The project that's a problem is my comment aggregation project. The more I look at this project the more I realize I want to have these comments imported into whatever comment system that's running on my blog (with links back to the original comment) and in it's current form, disqus can't import comments. I have spoken to Daniel Ha on the subject and where they are working on it, there is no time table he can give me for when they will have this in place.
I've spent the last few days playing in a sandbox trying to have both disqus and external comments, but I haven't found a solution that didn't feed forced, so I have decided to stop trying and take the step back in the short term. I will be importing the 30 or so comments into the natve comment system and hacking that system in the next few days (expect some instability). When disqus adds the functionality I'm looking for I'll reevaluate my options.
EDIT: I have reenabled Disqus. See this for more information

  Posted: May 11, 2008

QSL Cards for Internet Contact

One of my tweeps @AnnOhio sent me a post card from her travels and while I was looking at it a flashed back to the QSL cards that HAM radio operators use.

For those who don't know what a QSL card is (stolen from wikipedia):

In radiocommunication and radio broadcasting, QSL is one of the Q codes used in radiocommunication. A Q code message can stand for a statement or a question. In this case, QSL means either "do you confirm receipt of my transmission" or "I confirm receipt of your transmission". A QSL card is a written confirmation.
Amateur radio operators exchange QSL cards to confirm two-way communications between stations. A QSL card sent from one amateur radio operator to another contains details about the contact and the station. At a minimum, this includes the call sign of both stations participating in the communications, the time and date of the contact (usually specified in UTC), the radio frequency used, the mode of transmission used, and a signal report. One national association of amateur radio operators, the ARRL, recommends a size of 3½ by 5½ inches (89 mm by 140 mm)QSL cards are a ham radio operator's calling card and are frequently an expression of individual creativity—from a photo of the operator at his radio rig to original artwork, images of the operator's home town or surrounding countryside, etc. They are frequently taken with a good dose of individual pride. Consequently, the collecting of QSL cards of especially unique designs has become an add-on hobby to the simple gathering of printed documentation of a ham's communications over the course of his or her radio career. Some QSL cards contain an image, often something associated with the station or the operator.

Where QSL cards originally had a technical purpose (to confirm that a signal is being received), as I understand it, today it has 2 purposes:

  1. Proof of contact for certain level / awards in the amateur radio associations.
  2. A memento of the conversation.

It is the second part that brings me to this post. I had a relative once who had a wall in his home office covered with QSL cards from all over the world from the years he spent in front of his HAM rig. I'm looking at a blank spot on the wall and am thinking that I wish that the interweb community had something similar. So, I'm starting this up. If you and I have chatted anywhere, and you'd like a contact card, drop an email ( let me know the service where we've chatted, your ID on that service, your address and I'll start sending out cards in the next couple of weeks. If you're thinking of doing something similar, link below.

  Posted: May 10, 2008

Dr Who: *Spoilers* 4x05 The Poison Sky Liveblogging *Spoilers*

For those who are interested, all my Dr Who Content is available here.
Spoilers, you have been warned
Third time we've heard the "I'm bringing you back to Earth Line" it's not getting ay better.
Hot, Wet, Naked Evil Martha still having an affect, I must say. I'll be in my bunk.
Ever since my friend shot me this the Sontar-Ha! thing has never been the same
Sonic Screwdriver setting number 83: Uselessness
Axes beat dead lock seals.. check
It's the American in me, I know but with "Atmos is running wild" I hear, "Wha cha Gonna do, Brothah, when Atmos runs wild on you?"
I am so ashamed that I just quoted the Hulkster in a Dr Who Review.
Is it me or is Evil Martha.. just hotter the good Martha? In a "she'll kill me when she's done but I don't mind" kinda way.
Sergey looks excited... like he just heard that Microsoft and Yahoo aren't merging
Wow... when you transmat the TARDIS the light on top lights up
"None of the Humans can guess our true purpose" ... I thought you were just making this up as you went along... I was pretty sure this was a RTD Script.
Stuck on Earth... like an ordinary person... Dr, you have been there before!
Do google employees where matching red sweatsuits?
Sonic Screwdriver Setting number 105: Transmitting Audio / Visual signals
Rose! Again... No... I want Jo Grant Back, not Rose!
Trolls... Now I'll picture Sontarans living under a bridge.
"wha are you lot up to" Is it me or did DT have problems reigning in his Scottishness there?
Sonic Screwdriver Setting number 55: TV Remote Control
Am I the only one who wants to marry a Sonic Screwdriver and a TV remote control
Was he speaking Celtic?
Oompa, Loompa Loompaty DoI'm gonna move a TARDIS from youOompa, Loompa, LoompatyNaInside this big box is a Donna
I think moving from the earth might be Sergey's real plan... Sergey's World?
"I've designed a mating program... I'm more cleaver then you!" ... more Gates then Sergey
Worldwide nuclear grid? What about Israel ... we know they have Nukes... and Nor Korea... they don't have missles that could hit a ship in space... oh well...
Again... wouldn't clones be all the same Height. That's something even Lucas gets right!
The Brig's Alive and in Peru!
Wait... I know Donna and the Doctor understand the Sontarans because of the TARDIS's translation circuit. Why does Sergey (or why did he before the Dr showed up)? Are the Sontarans speaking English?
TARDIS Hammer Setting No 2: Wack A Sontaran!
Live Long and Prosper
Gas Mask... are you my mummy!
He stole my joke!
Now, if you were The Sontarans and the Humans had 1... just 1 flying aircraft carrier, wouldn't you take it out first?
But it is nice to see the Valiant
and Sontaran Armor is so week that bullets go right through it?
Sonic Screw Driver Setting No 762: Tracking Device
Sonic Screw Driver Setting No 2: Opening Locks
OK... next con... I expect lots of people in tshirts that say "Clone"
Dr, even if you're not going to use it... Pick UP the Gun!
I was hoping the head would deflate when he died... oh well
Sonic Screwdriver Setting No... I don't know what he's doing with it
"Behold, the clone world is born" ... "begun the clone wars have"
So... any buildings taller then the Chrysler Building should be in Flames?
UNIT Lovin!
OK.. can't be snarky with the "I've got to give them a choice thing"
Chicken Dance Time!
Sontar... HA!
Next Week.... Susan's Mom!

  Posted: May 7, 2008

LJ Test Post

Testing new heading message on LJ.

  Posted: May 5, 2008

Next Blog Integration Project: Reclaiming my Post's Conversations

I stared making these inside "inside baseball" kind of posts more for myself then for anyone else. As some people find these posts interesting I'll keep posting them. They do seem rather meta to me but the feedback is good as I plan on making this code available when all is said and done. if you don't find this all interesting but are an LJ user please read the last paragraph of this post. There is a question I'd love to hear your opinion on.

There are 3 places where conversations happen around my blog posts, friendfeed, and livejournal (I write off the conversation on twitter as a lost cause as there's no way to tie a tweet back to a post). We won't get into the reasons why I'm crossposting onto LJ and in this post. As is intended to be the hub of my online presence, I'd like to import the comments from into it. Luckily there is an answer.

Friendfeed's new API will allow me to import comments and who likes my posts. I suspect someone will write a Drupal Module for this, if not I'll handle it second. My first project is to enhance Drupal's LiveJournal Crossposter, to backport the comments from LJ into Drupal. I've had a number of friends tell me this was impossible but I have found an LJ sponsored API, which I hope to have up and running sometime this week or next week. Of course the code will be posted in The Lab, when it's ready.

If you're one of my LJ readers I do have a question for you. I don't think the folks on FF won't mind pulling their comments onto Social media folks are used to having their content spread across the web. LJ, however is more of an insulated community. I do wonder if folks on LJ would be upset to have their comments imported elsewhere (I will change the crosspost header to indicate that it comments are being imported elsewhere). So, if you are an LJ user, do you think it's a problem?

  Posted: May 5, 2008

Because being an earlier adopter is fun

There's been a lot of talk lately about the widening gap between the early adopter and average users in the social media space (in particular order here, here, here, and here are a few). The posts have been a little angst-y even to the point that you might feel all is lost in the social media space. Let's go through this.
Is the Social Media Space a Bit of an Echo Chamber?
Yes, but so are most communities. From the Boy Scouts, to the music industry to the Episcopal Church any a space that encourages "inside baseball" thoughts becomes an echo chamber. As the technology matures more people will get involved and these services will become a little more representative of society. This has happened in every other technology. Look at the Web around '94 and today for an example. "All this has happened before and all this will happen again".
Are We Creating our own Bubble?
Probably, yes. There is the standard explosion of competing standards and technologies that will simmer down as they atain a critical mass.. Again, nothing new (Think AC vs. DC, Beta vs. VHS, HD-DVD vs. Blueray). However when this happens on a software level there's less investment for us, if we bet wrong we just go to a new platform and setup a new profile. Most of these services allow you to pull your data out of them (which is behind a lot of the coding I'm doing here these days).
So, Why do this at all?
Because it's fun! Isn't that reason enough? I know there are folks doing this professionally (blogging, consulting, however Scoble gets paid, etc) and I'm sitting on the outside, but I do this because it's a fun way to spend some time. To be honest, if you're not having fun playing with these services you should be doing something else. Sure, it helps me professionally from time to time but I enjoying building the small tools that I'm using. I enjoy meeting new people and fanwanking about technology.

  Posted: May 2, 2008

Sontaran Chicken Dance

A buddy of mine in DWNY created this video. Figured I'd spread it around a bit.
Spoiler Alert for 4x04 The Sontaran Stratagem

  Posted: May 2, 2008

Why I Am Reinventing the Wheel and Rolling My Own Lifestream

A couple of folks have asked why I am basically reinventing friendfeed and presenting my lifestream on
It all started when I began looking at my web information flow. As I documented over there, I wanted to make a hub to find out what I'm doing online. By using Drupal's Activity Stream module I've begun aggregating some of my content. You can read some of my adventures of my with the Activity Stream module here.
One of the things driving this effort was the realization that I didn't have copies of all my content. Where I have all my photography and blog entries, things like my tweets, blog comments I've made and music I've listened to live on other servers and should they change their policies about allowing folks to extract information from their services I might not be able to access my back content, which is unacceptable to me.
Where I could let Friendfeed do the heavy lifting, the same issue applies there. Where they probably will be allowed and keep their API in place, I have no guarantees, so I've decided to aggregate all my content on my site. As I'm making a copy of it, I might as well show it off on the site. That hasn't stopped me from havening an account on friendfeed.
So I have a few services working (my blog, flickr, twitter, and and have some more to go (google reader, disqus, friendfeed comments / likes, youtube and cocomment) but I am enjoying the coding and will all my content at my fingertips when I'm done.

  Posted: May 1, 2008