While thinking about search functionality aspect of WordPress Atlas, I was reminded of Search Hat and MSN SearchPoint ideas which I blogged about in 2004. MSN team seemed receptive but Google implemented it first then dropped it for various reasons.
In context of the Atlas, the idea is best described as as Search Blog. But, ironically, this term is difficult to search for obvious reasons. John Battelle even uses it in his blog’s name. Maybe someone will come up with a better name.
Search Blog is a blog about other blogs/websites. It’s primary function is to provide a search context. Simple, seemingly familiar yet distinct in usage. Don’t remember if Yahoo directories allowed each directory to be used as search context. It’s an obvious idea in hindsight. Jury is out on whether it’ll be popular however.
Atlas needs to be a Search Blog as well.
Filed under: General, Technical Tagged: atlas, blog, search, searchblog
WordPress Atlas – uses data-science to pull blogs and websites into neighborhoods, towns, and cities based on topics, interests, and relations. Intention is to use real world metaphors to make discovery and sense of community more natural and explicit than, say, blogroll or news aggregators.
I now think the Atlas without data-science. How? Using what we already have: blogs, bloggers, blogging tools, and WP community.
So WordPress Atlas is just a loosely-coupled network of blogs using a new class of themes, themes that displays blog contents in a way that looks map-like. Atlas blog contents are information about other blogs. Yes, Atlas blogs are like Linklogs but more visual-centric.
What does it look like? Rather what does this reminds you of?
If you are interested in social networks, don’t miss the slick video about Max Schrems’ David and Goliath struggle with Facebook over the way they are treating his personal information. Click on the red “CC” in the lower right-hand corner to see the English subtitles.
Max is a 24 year old law student from Vienna with a flair for the interview and plenty of smarts about both technology and legal issues. In Europe there is a requirement that entities with data about individuals make it available to them if they request it. That’s how Max ended up with a personalized CD from Facebook that he printed out on a stack of paper more than a thousand pages thick (see image below). Analysing it, he came to the conclusion that Facebook is engineered to break many of the requirements of European data protection. He argues that the record Facebook provided him finds them to be in flagrante delicto.
The logical next step was a series of 22 lucid and well-reasoned complaints that he submitted to the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (Facebook states that European users have a relationship with the Irish Facebook subsidiary). This was followed by another perfectly executed move: setting up a web site called Europe versus Facebook that does everything right in terms using web technology to mount a campaign against a commercial enterprise that depends on its public relations to succeed.
Europe versus Facebook, which seems eventually to have become an organization, then opened its own YouTube channel. As part of the documentation, they publicised the procedure Max used to get his personal CD. Somehow this recipe found its way to reddit where it ended up on a couple of top ten lists. So many people applied for their own CDs that Facebook had to send out an email indicating it was unable to comply with the requirement that it provide the information within a 40 day period.
If that seems to be enough, it’s not all. As Max studied what had been revealed to him, he noticed that important information was missing and asked for the rest of it. The response ratchets the battle up one more notch:
Dear Mr. Schrems:
We refer to our previous correspondence and in particular your subject access request dated July 11, 2011 (the Request).
To date, we have disclosed all personal data to which you are entitled pursuant to Section 4 of the Irish Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (the Acts).
Please note that certain categories of personal data are exempted from subject access requests.
Pursuant to Section 4(9) of the Acts, personal data which is impossible to furnish or which can only be furnished after disproportionate effort is exempt from the scope of a subject access request. We have not furnished personal data which cannot be extracted from our platform in the absence of is proportionate effort.
Section 4(12) of the Acts carves out an exception to subject access requests where the disclosures in response would adversely affect trade secrets or intellectual property. We have not provided any information to you which is a trade secret or intellectual property of Facebook Ireland Limited or its licensors.
Please be aware that we have complied with your subject access request, and that we are not required to comply with any future similar requests, unless, in our opinion, a reasonable period of time has elapsed.
Thanks for contacting Facebook,
Facebook User Operations Data Access Request Team
What a spotlight
This throws intense light on some amazingly important issues.
For example, as I wrote here (and Max describes here), Facebook’s “Like” button collects information every time an Internet user views a page containing the button, and a Facebook cookie associates that page with all the other pages with “Like” buttons visited by the user in the last 3 months.
If you use Facebook, records of all these visits are linked, through cookies, to your Facebook profile - even if you never click the “like” button. These long lists of pages visited, tied in Facebook’s systems to your “Real Name identity”, were not included on Max’s CD.
Is Facebook prepared to argue that it need not reveal this stored information about your personal data because doing so would adversely affect its “intellectual property”?
It will be absolutely amazing to watch how this issue plays out, and see just what someone with Max’s media talent is able to do with the answers once they become public.
The result may well impact the whole industry for a long time to come.
Meanwhile, students of these matters would do well to look at Max’s many complaints:
Pokes. Pokes are kept even after the user “removes” them.
Excessive processing of Data. Facebook is hosting enormous amounts of personal data and it is processing all data for its own purposes.
It seems Facebook is a prime example of illegal “excessive processing”.
The Like Button is creating extended user data that can be used to track users all over the internet. There is no legitimate purpose for the creation of the data. Users have not consented to the use.
Obligations as Processor.
Facebook has certain obligations as a provider of a “cloud service” (e.g. not using third party data for its own purposes or only processing data when instructed to do so by the user).
First of all, I have to refer readers to the Office of Inadequate Security, apparently operated by databreaches.net. I suggest heading over there pretty quickly too - the office is undoubtedly going to be so busy you’ll have to line up as time goes on.
So far it looks like the go-to place for info on breaches - it even has a twitter feed for breach junkies.
I just read a breach disclosure to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office with accompanying notification letters to those affected that impressed me favorably. But first, to the breach itself:
StudentCity.com, a site that allows students to book trips for school vacation breaks, suffered a breach in their system that they learned about on June 9 after they started getting reports of credit card fraud from customers. An FAQ about the breach, posted on www.myidexperts.com explains:
StudentCity first became concerned there could be an issue on June 9, 2011, when we received reports of customers travelling together who had reported issues with their credit and debit cards. Because this seemed to be with 2011 groups, we initially thought it was a hotel or vendor used in conjunction with 2011 tours. We then became aware of an account that was 2012 passengers on the same day who were all impacted. This is when we became highly concerned. Although our processing company could find no issue, we immediately notified customers about the incident via email, contacted federal authorities and immediately began a forensic investigation.
According to the report to New Hampshire, where 266 residents were affected, the compromised data included students’ credit card numbers, passport numbers, and names. The FAQ, however, indicates that dates of birth were also involved.
Frustratingly for StudentCity, the credit card data had been encrypted but their investigation revealed that the encryption had broken in some cases. In the FAQ, they explain:
The credit card information was encrypted, but the encryption appears to have been decoded by the hackers. It appears they were able to write a script to decode some information for some customers and most or all for others.
The letter to the NH AG’s office, written by their lawyers on July 1, is wonderfully plain and clear in terms of what happened and what steps StudentCity promptly took to address the breach and prevent future breaches, but it was the tailored letters sent to those affected on July 8 that really impressed me for their plain language, recognition of concerns, active encouragement of the recipients to take immediate steps to protect themselves, and for the utterly human tone of the correspondence.
Kudos to StudentCity.com and their law firm, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, for providing an exemplar of a good notification.
It would be great if StudentCity would bring in some security experts to audit the way encryption was done, and report on what went wrong. I don’t say this to be punitive, I agree that StudentCity deserves credit for at least attempting to employ encryption. But the outcome points to the fact that we need programming frameworks that make it easy to get truly robust encryption and key protection - and to deploy it in a minimal disclosure architecture that keeps secrets off-line. If StudentCity goes the extra mile in helping others learn from their unfortunate experience, I’ll certainly be a supporter.
When Tim Cole interviewed me about my plans a few days later at the European Identity Conference, I hadn’t made the slightest progress in terms of thinking about my future… I did say, though, that I hoped to keep my hand in the identity and social computing space to the extent that people found my input useful.
One way to do this was to look for opportunities to participate in interesting efforts on a per-project basis. It turns out that within a few days I was asked to do this with Microsoft over the summer. Not exactly a complete change (!) but it still feels liberating and different.
Don’t worry - I won’t bore you with reports on my gigs going forward, but thought in the interests of full disclosure, you should know how this particular situation is evolving
Takeaway: Life is good, and even more than ever, this blog represents my own views, which can’t be blamed on anyone else even when I wish they could.
We did our first workshop at LaunchHouse on “using on-line tools” last night. It was attended by over 40 people. The original idea was to provide hints, tips and caveats on how to get the most out of on-line collaborative and productivity tools. That morphed into “how to run a business” on-line.
But I’ve been preparing to build a Computer History Museum at the Shaker|LaunchHouse location - and I met with the folks at the Virginia Marti college earlier yesterday - so I thought “what better opportunity than to use this REAL WORLD project as a way to organize, plan, schedule, coordinate, collaborate and document - all on-line?”
We overwhelmed the wifi, had some great Mexican food, did some serious networking and schmoozing and in general - I’d say - had a good time. What better way to learn and collaborate than under positive circumstances?
- Susan Miler - who’s house I stayed at when I first moved to Cleveland and who has taken my classes - rocked out creating a comprehensive attendees list and survey. Susan is a local activist and involved (among other places) with REALneo.
- Keven Lenahan- created a logo and brochure template (see above)
- we assembled a database of artifacts. I have about 15 original ‘thingies’ - dating back to the 50’s which I brought with me from California. This will serve as the heart of the museum’s collection.
- James Wilson figured out how to embed Google calendars. Others intuitively grokked the in’s and out of PBworks. In general - “geeking out” occurred.
- Jay Apple headed the research team
The goals were to get everyone to create content, research, build knowledge bases and be a contributing member to a virtual team! All with on-line tools - and we achieved that!
Who cares iof the wifi gave out and we didn’t finish?
If we did everything last night - what else would there be left to do?
This workshop is one of the ways that Digital City Mechanics is helping create a “digital city” in this region. Expect this model to be cloned, packaged and sold - around the world.
107 trillion – The number of emails sent on the Internet in 2010.
294 billion – Average number of email messages per day.
1.88 billion – The number of email users worldwide.
480 million – New email users since the year before.
89.1% – The share of emails that were spam.
262 billion – The number of spam emails per day (assuming 89% are spam).
2.9 billion – The number of email accounts worldwide.
25% – Share of email accounts that are corporate.
255 million – The number of websites as of December 2010.
21.4 million – Added websites in 2010.
39.1% – Growth in the number of Apache websites in 2010.
15.3% – Growth in the number of IIS websites in 2010.
4.1% – Growth in the number of nginx websites in 2010.
5.8% – Growth in the number of Google GWS websites in 2010.
55.7% – Growth in the number of Lighttpd websites in 2010.
88.8 million – .COM domain names at the end of 2010.
13.2 million – .NET domain names at the end of 2010.
8.6 million – .ORG domain names at the end of 2010.
79.2 million – The number of country code top-level domains (e.g. .CN, .UK, .DE, etc.).
202 million – The number of domain names across all top-level domains (October 2010).
7% – The increase in domain names since the year before.
1.97 billion – Internet users worldwide (June 2010).
14% – Increase in Internet users since the previous year.
825.1 million – Internet users in Asia.
475.1 million – Internet users in Europe.
266.2 million – Internet users in North America.
204.7 million – Internet users in Latin America / Caribbean.
110.9 million – Internet users in Africa.
63.2 million – Internet users in the Middle East.
21.3 million – Internet users in Oceania / Australia.
- and the on-going evolution of NetFlix, Hulu and YouTube.
This train is leaving the station. Most of the projects I’m involved in need embedded real-time video phone calls - inside the browser page. We need full open APIs into the namespace, full feature set and to be able to route and match any of our calling customers - together.
May the best service win - go - give it to us - immediately!
The rich can successfully educate their youth, while the poor stay poor. Its a modern day caste system.
I too have been going into public schools and trying to teach. My approach has been the opposite of “No Child Left Behind”. I’m simply trying to identify the one’s who have sparkles in their eyes and give them a leg up. This is part of the “methodology” I’m developing to teach ANYWAY the new hi-tech skills needed for jobs of today.
I highly recommend that everyone reading this blog post go out - and volunteer to teach in public urban schools.
Think back, if you will, to the last time you ate a birthday cake. Don’t you remember griping about how it didn’t really do anything? Well, Disney’s looking to fix all that with interactive cakes. Yes, birthday cakes with pico-projectors.
Just when people were perfecting the non-interactive cake, Disney had to go and throw this curveball. Their recently awarded patent for “Projector Systems and Methods For Producing Digitally Augmented, Interactive Cakes and Other Food Products” has changed the cake game forever. StitchKingdom anticipates what we might find in this strange new world:
The system would be capable of detecting the topography of a cake which essentially means that if a slice were to be cut out, it could detect the missing piece and respond appropriately. For example, cut out a slice where there’s a simulated lake and you may instantly create a waterfall in which water is now represented as flowing down the sides of the new missing cake portion. Additionally, props and specially coded utensils could trigger events such as Tinker Bell flying around the cake and leaving a trail of pixie dust when someone waves a wand in front of the cake. Perhaps Captain Hook would instantly appear and draw his sword, preparing for battle, as someone approaches the cake with a knife.
While kids will undoubtedly love the chance to play with their food, Disney’s interactive cakes should streamline the birthday process for parents, too. “Here’s your cake.” “But where are all my presents?” “We got you this pico-projector.” Done! [StitchKingdom via Engadget]
Sonic Solutions is the resultant roll up of a number of leading digital media companies - including DiVX. Now THEY’VE been bought. What is the future of desktop based media editing? Will Adobe put out a HTML5 Flash killer?