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It’s Alive! Animating Print Publications on the Web

For some time I’ve been pretty derisive of the "animated .pdf" school of web publishing. You’ve seen these  Frankenstein creatures: dead wood print publications that are zapped with flash magic in the lab and then propped up on a slab on the web for people to view "just like the real thing" complete with animated page turning and even swoooshing sounds as the page flips open. A lot of people have been trying variations on this technology for a long time. Initially papers and magazines would simply post static .pdf’s of their actual pages, as a "service"  to readers,

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How to find video stories in the classifieds

Ever read any of the "Missed Connections" ads on Craigslist or in the back pages of your favourite alternative weekly? You know the ones that go something like:

"Me: 30-something poet with pony tail and messenger bag. You: Flustered blonde with polka-dot boots and a 30 gig Video iPod. We never talked, but our eyes met briefly on the 86-B at 9:30 pm Tuesday night when you dropped your copy of Jane Eyre…" etc.

Reading the ads can be a kind of guilty pleasure, a form of social voyeurism in which nobody gets hurt or too

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Watching Walmart Grow – and other strange uses for Freebase, “The World’s Database”

Watch the Walmart Growth video here

The map was made by Toby Segaran, blogger, programmer and author of Programming Collective Intelligence.

And, if you’re wondering if this means that I’m still on this Crowdsourcing kick, the answer is yes. In this case, the crowd is contributing data – lots and lots of data, which is then freely available for any geek or number nerd to come along and wring sense out of. Segaran built his Walmart growth video using data from Freebase, an open, public database that launched a year or so ago. Freebase is an

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Baltimore Sun’s New Suburban Site Links to Competitors

Dear lord – I wish this wasn’t news. But it is. According to Editor and Publisher, the Baltimore Sun’s new county news web site, ExploreHoward.com,  is actually linking to other news sites. Gasp. That’s right, they’re sending readers to the competition. I wrote last week – perhaps too dismissively – of the increasingly nimble Baltimore Sun’s efforts to reach a youth market by launching a new paper and web product, "b". What they’ve done now to warrant the coverage in Editor and Publisher is launch a new website that aggregates news content from, it looks like, four community papers

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“Most Read” stories may be a matter of luck, not quality as research discovers ‘hits’ are almost random

Good news: trends probably aren’t started by cool kids who are way smarter and more influential than you or I. Instead, products and ideas catch on in society because we’re ready for them – and just about anyone can start up the the wave of acceptance for that new idea. Some of the critical research on this was published back in Feb 2006 in Science, the magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but most of us learned about it in a recent Fast Company piece by tech writer (and Canadian) Clive Thompson Is The Tipping

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Crowdsourcing a map of the universe

I’ve been thinking (and reading) a lot about crowdsourcing lately, partly because it’s becoming increasingly  obvious that online news sites need to figure out how to open themselves (and the job of filtering information) to their community, but also because I’m suddenly teaching WebU’s crowdsourcing class. The course was created by Peter Organisciak, a Mac student (and by now probably grad – way to go Peter!) I hired to bring some needed technical expertise into our little "faculty". In Clay Shirkey’s SuperNova 2007 talk, he examined how the net’s communication tools meant that now "love" could be as strong

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More Clay Shirky: Is love stronger than profit?

Another one of my favourite talks by noted Internet thinker and author Clay Shirky. I told you about his recent Web 2.0 talk  comparing television sitcoms to gin, a stupifying social lubricant that’s helped us deal with wrenching social changes. Here’s another one of his talks, this one delivered as one of the opening keynotes at Supernova 2007. Using the repeated tearing down and rebuilding of a 1300-year-old Japanese shrine as a metaphor, Clay explained how the net’s social nature changes the basic dynamics of business and collective creativity, replacing the profit motive with something that looks

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