Monday, March 31, 2008

It's April Fools Day on the Web - A Day Early?

Looks like some websites are getting a jump on the April Fool's Day jokes. Google started it all off by releasing a new "service" today called gDay that lets users search web pages a day in advance. It claims this is possible by constructing what the web will look like in 24 hours based off historical trends found in their data. It does this with a technology called "MATE" (Machine Automated Temporal Extrapolation). Get it, gDay MATE! Google fittingly chose to release this service a day earlier than April 1st. Har har har. Google has had a history of embracing this jokester's holiday

Michael Arrington followed suit with a blog entry on TechCrunch claiming that he was suing FaceBook for 25 million for using his face to sell BlockBuster movie rentals on their site. I have to admit, I thought I was privy to some breaking new juicy internet gossip until I started reading the comments at the bottom. He really put some effort into this post going as far as citing California legal rhetoric.

The iPhone Dev Team who has been Jalbreaking every iPhone firmware since 1.0 is claiming to have disbanded. Apparently, this news was undetermined to be false at first but now is confirmed not to be true.

So, if it's not even April Fool's Day yet and there's already fake news popping up left and right, I think I'll be abstaining from reading news on the web tomorrow, lest I be RickRolled.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spock and Microformats - It Just Makes Sense

For those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to visit, I suggest you do so. Spock is the newest (and most likely the best) people search engine on the web. If you have any web presence at all, you probably already have a page on the site.

I've been a faithful user of Spock since its launch, but I've always felt there was something missing. At first, I thought it was the lack of the typical social-networking whiz bangs like page comments and polls, but after having a chat with Jay Bhatti, co-founder of Spock, I realized that the real intent of Spock is people search. Their not trying to create another social network disguised as a people search engine like some (I'm not going to name anyone in particular). I'm still not sure I agree with this stance given that users tend to get bored without these features once the initial building of their profile and network has completed. This could prove detrimental to Spock given that their users provide much of their search content. I've since realized that this is not the missing link. Actually, what's missing are the links themselves, the semantic links.

Spock is a perfect use-case for using microformats given that most of their data is suitable to be formatted in preexisting popular microformats. Let's take for example the current categories of a Spock search result: web, pictures, tags, news, related people, contact. XFN could be used to markup the web, news, and related people sections, rel-tag for the tags section, and hCard for the pictures and contact sections.

The first benefit is that users of Spock wouldn't need to build their own XFN relationships by hand, Spock would automate the creation of XFN HTML through their user interface. Google has very recently released their Social Graph API which harvests relationship information present on the web in the form of XFN and FOAF, making it publicly available for use. If Spock implemented XFN, it would vastly improve the functionality of the this API, allowing for easy creation and use of relationships between people on the web. This may seem like a deflection of use from Spock to Google, but ultimately it would increase the use of Spock in order to build and maintain XFN relationships.

Another benefit is that contact and picture information could be automatically exported to a vCard using Firefox add-ons like Operator and Tails Export. Current Spock operations allow for the import of contact information but the only way to get it out is through their API. While this is good for developers, it doesn't do much for users who want to quickly get and use the information they want.

I hope Spock realizes the benefit of microformats and chooses to implement them sooner than later. I look at this as a time to shine for Spock, and stand out as a truly open, web 2.0 website.

Go Rent Chumscrubber

I must admit, I thought this movie was going to be horrible. I mean, look at the name: "The Chumscrubber". How can anything good come out of a movie with a name like "The Chumscrubber". Also, there was an awful description on the back of the DVD cover that first of all didn't even get the plot right and secondly, didn't capture any of the highlights that would make someone want to watch it. Don't let these two things deter you from watching this movie.

First of all, yes, that is Billy Elliot, just grown up. Actually, I recognized almost every character in this movie. Glenn Close, Ralph Feinnes, John Heard, Carrie-Ann Moss, Camilla Belle (When a Stranger Calls), Justin Chatwin (War of the Worlds), & Rory Culkin just to name a few.

This movie is a darkly satyrical look at the pill popping, over-medicated, over-caffienated, quick-fixing, society in suburbia. Particularly, its a look into the life - and surrounding lifes - of a student whose best, and only friend, has committed suicide. What I found interesting in this story is that each character has, at least, one vice, whether it be pills, alcohol, denial, sex, religeon, spiritual awakenings... whatever. And to see them interacting with each other in interrelating and conjoining stories is hilarious.

I relate this movie to Donnie Darko in many ways, except for the whole wierd time travel thing. Young student, has imaginary friend, wierd characters... So, if you liked Donnie Darko and other dark movies of the genre, go check this one out.

I give this one a perfect 10 / 10.