Reboot9 — Ted Rheingold: Learning from Dogs and Cats [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Dogster-Catster case study.

Home page of Dogster: web designers like Ted hate it (it’s a mess) but the dog people love it — they just click on the dogs.

Ted Rheingold

People copy-paste and personalise their cat/dog pages.

Forums: not as good as the best forums out there, but made to reflect the interests of people using the site. 5000 forum postings a day. People can organise events. Groups. Looks kinda crappy but the users don’t care.

Catster videos, commenting. Endless features. 1500 new members a day. (Ted shows a bunch of numbers… dizzy. 60’000 diaries/blogs.)

Lessons learnt that Ted wants to share, after 4 years.

– pick partners wisely, you’ll be married for 2-10 years. Need to talk about stuff like having kids with your partners! Partnership failures sink young businesses. *steph-note: eek! other points on slide but didn’t get them.*
– bootstrapping is good, keeping expenses manageable means you live longer, less financial constraints means more control.
– customer service is everything, from day one. Answer every e-mail, IM, phone call, resolve every problem. Without happy customers your site is just a pile of fancy server code. It’s free market research!
– develop within your impact horizon — your product must have an impact on your community within this time frame. For Catster/Dogster: 1st year, 3-4 weeks; 2nd year: 6-8 weeks; 3rd year: 2-3 months; 4th year: 2-3 months, ideally 1 month. Can’t guess that much in advance. 10 one-month features instead of 2 six-month features. More chance of one being popular.
– how do you make your money? Sponsors and direct ad buys (really hard! integrated ad campaigns); ad networks, premium memberships, virtual gifts. Bring in advertisers by encouraging them to be part of the community. They write up their stuff (less marketing goop). If you have to revert to advertising, it kind of means people aren’t that interested in the community. Ted would like to get ads and sponsors off the site altogether.

Paying members: more to be “part of the club” rather than have more features.

Circle of trust: Dogster, Community, Advertisers. Picky with advertisers. Introduce the advertiser to the community.

*steph-note: [Bagha Byne](, my cat, has [his own Catster page](, of course.*

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Reboot9 — Alexander Kjerulf: Happiness [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

[Happiness (reboot talk page)](

To be human is to be happier. No species has such a capacity to be happy (and unhappy!) as humans.

Has been helping make people happier at work.

Chief Happiness Officer

The Chief Happiness Officer

What is happiness? Let’s [ask Google](

Happiness is the most important thing in life. 50% genetic (cf. twin studies). We have control over the other half. Pick something you really want. Ask “why?” a few times, and you’ll end up with “because that makes me happy”.

This proves we are here to be happy. Everything we want is because in some way, it will make us happy. Happiness is the most basic “why”.

Happy people:

– have more friends
– are healthier (better immune system)
– live longer
– suffer fewer depressions
– are more successful.

Happiness is really easy. Epicurus: all you need to be happy is easy to get. Friendship, contemplation…

Martin Seligman: Happiness can be learned. Founder of positive psychology.

Happiness is…

– not eternal (there will be bad days)
– your responsibility
– your choice (happiness does not depend on what happens to us… completely — it’s more about how we react to what happens to us, and what we choose to do about it)

Myths about happiness:

– happy people are selfish — not so, happy people care more about others
– happy people are complacent — nope, it feels good to do good
– happiness is the absence of problems — nope, happy people in the world are not those who have no problems; Epicurus “The wise man is still happy amidst his torments”.

What makes us happy?

1. Friends, family and marriage — Love, actually.
2. Meaningful, enjoyable work
3. Living a good life, according to values that make sense to you.

Biggest threats to happiness:

– TV
– consumerism

These are links, because TV drives a lot of the consumerism. Introduction of TV in Bhutan in the 90s. Life satisfaction fell, suicide and depression rates climbed, clothing changed to what teenagers wear in the US. The news is not good on TV.

Guess where we spend most of our time: in front of TV and in the jobs that give us the money to support the consumerism.

1. sleep
2. work
3. TV

And TV is starting to overtake work. *steph-note: don’t watch TV! throw it out! haven’t watched mine in 6 months, and much happier :-)*.

Scary thing: average British working parent spends 19 minutes per day with kids.

We tend to not know what makes us happy. “I’ll be happy when…” We are goalaholics. Book: Goal-Free Living. Start by being happy, instead of “being happy when”.

The dangers of seeking happiness: two major things can go wrong.

1. Emptiness

Nothing to strive for, suddenly life is all too easy. If I’m not happy there must be something wrong with me. One area of research has really been revolutionized by happiness: economics. They should run Britain based on making the British has happy as possible, rather than growth. In Bhutan: growth of national happiness. Denmark: happiest country on earth. There is a correlation between GNP and happiness, but… USA/Puerto Rico: same happiness, different GNP.

2. Subversiveness

Happy people are the greatest danger to some of the structures that are holding us back. If you’re really happy, you don’t give a sh*t. You don’t fall for scare politics. *steph-note: yes! yes!* You don’t fall for consumerism either (“you’ll be happier if you drive this SUV”). You don’t fall for the corporate crap either, or the self-help, the cults and the gurus, religion…

Simple things you can do to be happier:

– gratitude visit
– write down three good things about your day today
– throw out your TV

Less simple things:

– put happiness first in your life (career and consumerism second!)
– know yourself (what makes you happy/unhappy?)
– base your work on happiness


1. we’re here to be happy
2. happiness is easy
3. we tend not to know what makes us happy
4. happiness is subversive and that’s how we’re going to change the world.

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Reboot9 — Jeremy Keith: Soul [en]

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Book: “Dragons of Eden” speculations about human intelligence. Knocking down theories one by one. We aren’t actually that unique.

Soul: huge topic, since days of old. Weighing the soul. (Weigh the person at time of death: 21 grammes. Probably water vapour, but still…)

Jeremy Keith: Soul

100 bio neurons in the human brain. But we can’t say what the number of links on the web is.

Definition of soul that Jeremy likes: “the story we tell ourselves”. Right hemisphere. Introverted consciousness: thinking about *who we are*. Maybe this is what makes us human.

Language doesn’t make us unique. Naming things in the world gives us a certain kind of power. Singing the world into existence. Naming the demon to control it.

JK’s blog: [Adactio]( — then, on Flickr,, => fragmentation (not a feeling JK likes *steph-note: I don’t like it either!*). Created to collect all these pieces of himself in one place (a bit geeky…)

Narrative. Telling the story of oneself to the world — and to oneself (introspection). Blogs posts, tweets, songs, photos, links… All these elements have timestamps. RSS. Lifestream! There is a blog about lifestreams *steph-note: URL, anybody?* Jaiku pretty good to pull all these things together.

But RSS and lifestreams are short-term. How do we get a long-term narrative? Check out [](

People discarding archives: shame! Denying your past in a way. *steph-note: I agree, hate that too. Who I am in the present is the result of my past.*

We are attached to physical objects (cars, computers, mobile phones…).

Gaming is an important part of narrative (playing…).

Social networks are all walled gardens. They give access to data, but not to the relationships. Necessary to recreate all my relationships when I sign up to a new social network.

*steph-note: related post of mine is [Please Make Holes in My Buckets!](*

How can we tackle this? the rel attribute, particularly when used to describe relationships to anchors. XFN microformat.

*steph-note: problem is that the relationships are public, seems to me. related post of mine is [Groups, Groupings and Taming My Buddy List](*

*steph-note: time for my talk is coming up, not very concentrated on the end of this one I’m afraid…*

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Reboot9 — Opening Talk [en]

[fr] Mes notes de la conférence Reboot9 à Copenhague.

*Here are my notes, unedited and possibly misleading, blah blah blah, of the Reboot9 conference.*

Compare the heat coming out of your laptop and the inside of your head. Laptop is hotter, even though brain power is much much greater.

Opening Talk Reboot9

Low heat: greater efficiency, because all the operations in our head are accompanied by meaning and value. Emotions are more efficient than intelligence. *steph-note: read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell*

Experiential money: people will accept to lose money to ensure fairness *steph-note: cf. Stowe’s bank system for splitting dinner costs.* The computer doesn’t understand fairness.

The gift economy is personal, whereas markets are anonymous *steph-note: Cluetrain says they are somewhat personal, though…* Gift economy has organised the scientific community. Very good at exchanging information, whereas the money/market economy is better at exchanging things. The gift economy is entirely based on relationships (relationships/emotions).

Roszak: Person/Planet — 1979 (if the planet is in crisis, the people are in crisis too). Cost-benefit vs. common sense in dealing with climate issues.

Being human means cherishing some of the irrational/intuitive/emotional stuff which machines are not capable of. Also, humans are not things. “We are like flows of water and fire.” 1.5 tons of matter goes through us every year. 98% of the atoms in our body are replaced every year. “How can the potatos I had for dinner remember my childhood?”

We are like digital media, and yet we build a world of things. *steph-note: I don’t get this “we’re like digital media” thing.* We’re misfits, we don’t look like our civilisation.

If we want to get sex, we need to save the world. A guide to saving the world and getting laid.

Civilisation 2.0 — expansion of the idea of Web 2.0. We are now at a changing point in the development of human society. Moving towards solar energy, new&old social order (P2P, bottom-up, no HQ), become nomads again.

We need to go with the flow instead of trying to stop it.

Civilisation 1.0: depots, headquarters, solid objects and things.

Civilisation 2.0: P2P, flow, links (something that started last year, 2006, when we understood the climate crisis and the importance of the internet)

Civilisation 0.5: 1.000.000 years ago (fire)

Let’s use the tools of Web 2.0 to facilitate the creation of Civilisation 2.0

This is The Link Age.

Human? Links, relations and emotions are central.

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Multilingual Interviews [en]

[fr] Deux interviews que j'ai donnés récemment au sujet de la conférence que je donne à Copenhague sur le multilinguisme sur internet la semaine prochaine.

I was interviewed twice during the last week about the [multilingual stuff]( I’m going to be [talking about this week at reboot9](

– by [Suw Charman]( for [Conversation Hub]( [The Multilingual Web]( (video)
– by [Nicole Simon]( as part of her [reboot9 pre-conference series]( [Reboot 9: Stephanie Booth]( (audio)

Enjoy, and hope to see you at reboot!

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Concert Café-Café 6 juin à Pully [fr]

[en] Café-Café, the group I sing in, will be on stage in Pully (just next to Lausanne) on June 6th. Unfortunately without me, as I'm coming back from Denmark too late to make it to the last crucial rehearsal.

[Café-Café](, groupe vocal dans lequel je chante (de grâce, ne dites pas “chorale”, ça sent l’église ou l’alpage) sera en concert le mercredi 6 juin dès 20h30 20h00 à l’Octogone de Pully, à l’occasion du [Festival’entre2]( — un [festival de chanson francophone]( interprétée par des artistes suisses.

Au [programme]( du 6 juin (le festival en entier couvre 4 jours, jusqu’au 9), un hommage à Léo Ferré dès 20h30 20h00 avec Michel Bühler, et nous. “Nous”, donc, Café-Café.

Groupe vocal Café-Café.

Je ne dis pas ça juste parce que j’y chante, mais Café-Café vaut vraiment le coup d’être vu en concert. Il paraît qu’on comprend même ce qu’on chante! 😉 On a appris tout un tas de nouvelles chansons de Ferré spécialement pour ce concert, et personnellement je les aime beaucoup.

Vous pouvez acheter vos billets via [la billetterie de l’Octogone]( ou téléphoner directement au 021 721 36 20 pour réserver.

Malheureusement et à ma grande frustration, je ne pourrai pas chanter ce soir-là (il faudra **re**venir une autre fois me voir sur scène!) car je rentre la veille au soir du Danemark où je vais pour [donner une conférence lors de reboot]( et faire un peu de tourisme. J’ai pris un billet d’avion “pas modifiable”, et je vous promets que je m’en mords les doigts.

Groupe vocal Café-Café.

Mais que mon absence sur scène ne vous décourage pas de venir — on se verra dans le public, et entre Léo Ferré, Michel Bühler et Café-Café, je vous prédis une excellente soirée!

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Twitter, encore des explications [en]

Il y a quelque temps, je répertoriais les arguments les plus communément utilisés par [les personnes qui ne comprennent pas l’intérêt de Twitter]( Aujourd’hui, je découvre que c’est Pierre Chappaz (Wikio, Netvibes) [qui ne capte pas]( j’ai laissé pas mal d’explications de mon point de vue dans les commentaires de ce billet, que je reproduis ici avec un peu de contexte.

*Attention, digression.* J’ai pris conscience [il y a peu]( que la publication de [mes commentaires ailleurs dans la blogosphère]( dans la barre latérale de ce blog, grâce à coComment, avait un effet pervers : souvent, au lieu de bloguer au sujet de quelque chose que j’ai lu ailleurs, je laisse simplement un commentaire. Bon nombre de mes lecteurs suivent ce blog à travers [son fil RSS](, et n’ont d’ailleurs pas du tout accès au contenu de la barre latérale. Je termine cette digression, qui a pour but de vous expliquer ma résolution relativement fraîche de ramener la conversation sur ce blog, en vous signalant que [mon “tumblelog” sur Tumblr]( republie dans un format peut-être plus agréable à lire tous ces commentaires (ainsi que quelques bêtises sans intérêt que vous verrez surgir de temps en temps).

> Vous avez compris, j’ai trouvé Twitter nul. Sans intérêt. Pardon, je sais que je vais contre la pensée unique qui règne dans la blogosphere, selon laquelle ce qui fait du buzz c’est forcément top…

> Twitter n’est pas pour moi, j’ai déja du mal à publier régulièrement des choses “importantes” sur ce blog, alors je ne vais pas passer ma vie à décrire toutes mes pauses pipi.

Pierre Chappaz

Mon commentaire:

> Twitter, c’est un outil de liant social. Si on cherche “à quoi ça sert” on est déjà sur la fausse piste.

> J’ai repris quelques-unes des critiques les plus communes (“c’est sans intérêt”, “le monde s’en fout”) dans mon dernier billet sur Twitter:

> Pour comprendre Twitter, il faut regarder les relations entre les gens, et non pas le contenu des messages. Ce n’est pas un outil de publication, mais un outil de présence.

commentaire de Steph

Jérôme est d’accord avec mon commentaire et rappelle la similarité entre Twitter et le “IM status”:

> Tout à fait d’accord avec le commentaire de Stéphanie. Twitter est un outil de présence, ni plus ni moins.
> Il permet d’actualiser sa présence (ce qui est déjà prévu dans l’instant messaging mais que personne n’utilise vraiment).
> Il serait d’ailleurs très intéressant de faire cohabiter les deux mondes en synchronisant twitter et les logiciels d’IM.

commentaire de Jérôme Charron

Un complément d’information, et une idée:

> Jérôme: je connais beaucoup de gens qui utilisent intensément les “status” IM pour communiquer ce genre d’information à leur buddy list. Sur IRC, aussi, on voit fréquemment des changements de pseudo pour indiquer l’activité de la personne.

> Pour ce qui est de l’intégration Twitter/IM, c’est déjà là: sur OSX, il y a moyen de mettre à jour son status sur Adium via Twitterrific.

> Je serais curieuse de voir s’il y a une corrélation entre l’utilisation du chat (IRC ou autre) ou bien de l’IM et l’attitude générale face à Twitter (“capte pas” ou “c’est génial”). Il faudrait probablement décortiquer un peu l’usage chat/IM des gens sondés pour avoir quelque chose d’intéressent (en particulier l’utilisation ou non des fameux “status”).

commentaire de Steph

Un peu plus tard, deux autres commentaires me font réagir:

> Oui il y a une hype assez horripilante autour de Twitter, et effectivement 99% des fluxs sont absolument sans intérêt.

commentaire de ZeLab

> 1/ faire et suivre twitter sur le web n’a aucun intérêt, par sms c’est encore plus stupide; non ce qui change tout avec twitter c’est de l’installer sur gtalk sur son blackberry. Le coté instant messaging de tribu y prend son ampler et surtout l’interface est super marrante, entre irc (messages privés) et IM traditionnel. les fonctions cachés de twitter seront super utile et peuvent carrément bypasser les opérateurs (tu passe par gtalk plutôt que d’envoyer des sms surtaxé pour recevoir des infos ?REQUEST cool restau paris et hop tu recoit une liste ?REQUEST adresse hotel kube paris et hop tu as l’adresse, etc…)

> 2/ l’autre chose qui est vraiment intéressante c’est qd tes potes ou tes contacts sont sur twitter. C’est vraiment à SF que je percois le vrai potentiel de l’outil, je suis abonné à des amis, des clients, des services de news que j’ai trié sur le volet. En quelques instant, je peux savoir ce qu’il se passe sur San Francisco et ou aller faire un tour en arrivant dans la ville. Personnellement, twitter pour le reste du monde n’a aucun intérêt, je pense que l’on devrait limiter et surtout ne pas archiver (comme tu le fais avec wikio) les contenus qui doivent êtres des contenus instantanés.

commentaire de Tariq Krim

Ma réaction:

> ZeLab: quand tu dis “sans intérêt” tu te places du point de vue de l’observateur extérieur, qui n’a pas de lien affectif avec la personne qui envoie des messages.

> On a fait cette critique à une certaine forme de blog-journal il y a des années déjà — et on a compris depuis que le blog super-chiant-pour-le-monde-entier peut être fascinant pour 15 personnes — et c’est ça qui fait sa valeur inestimable.

> Toi qui ne me connais pas, tu n’en as rien à faire (pour être polie) du fait que je cherche mon chat ou que j’ai oublié de changer de fuseau horaire en rentrant de Londres. Ce sont des petits détails anodins de ma vie.

> Mais les gens qui me sont proches (affectivement, je dis bien, pas forcément géographiquement) trouvent dans ces petits messages du quotidien quelque chose qui les rapproche de moi — et qui me rapproche d’eux, car je sais que “they care”.

> OurielTariq: pas vraiment d’accord avec ton point 1/ — je crois que chacun a son moyen “préféré” d’intéragir avec Twitter. Personnellement, je préfère le web ou Twitterrific à l’IM — trop intrusif.

> Je ne vois pas non plus de raisons de ne pas archiver les messages. C’est vrai que c’est une archive qui a relativement peu d’intérêt — mais des fois, comme les logs IRC ou IM, on va fouiller dedans et ça rend service.

> Par contre, parfaitement d’accord quand tu dis que c’est entre l’IM et IRC.

commentaire de Steph

Voilà… ça fait un peu *Reader’s Digest* mais je crois que c’est utile à certains de mes lecteurs que je rapporte ainsi ce genre de conversation!

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Video: BBC Interview (Teenagers, Facebook) [en]

[fr] Une interview que je viens de donner à la BBC sur les parents qui jouent aux détectives privés pour "surveiller" leurs adolescents sur internet. Dialogue, dialogue!

I was contacted this morning (thanks, [Suw](!) to appear in a short interview on the BBC News, about how parents are increasingly signing up to social networking sites like Friendster to “stalk” their kids online.

Here’s the little video segment of my interview:

(Thanks to [Euan]( for the video, and to the BBC folks for sending me a copy too — though it arrived later and I used Euan’s here.)

For those of you interested in the whole “online predator issue is overblown” thing, I urge you to read [Just The Facts About Online Youth Victimization]( by danah boyd, and in particular what David Finkelhor has to say at the beginning of his presentation (numbers! numbers!) about how the general ideas the public has about online predators have little to do with reality.

And talking of videos, [episode 6 of Fresh Lime Soda]( (video!) is [online at](

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Borders: Intentionally Misleading Marketing Ploy [en]

[fr] Les étiquettes sur les livres que je viens d'acheter chez Borders, un grand libraire anglo-saxon, sont conçues de façon à induire en erreur l'acheteur. On comprend "achetez-en un, recevez-en un: moitié prix" alors qu'en fait c'est "achetez-en un, recevez-en un moitié prix". Il faut lire les petits caractères qui sont tellement petits qu'on ne voit pas qu'ils sont là. Pas fair-play, malhonnête, et franchement, très petit.

I’m officially pissed off. Yesterday at Borders, I picked up a bunch of books from the stands near the entrance of the shop. They all had a nice red sticker advertising a reduced price. See for yourself:

Border's Intentionally Misleading Marketing Ploy

(want a [closer look](

Here is the text of the sticker, reproduced for your personal entertainment:

Buy one Get one
Half Price

Please note the follow details: line-breaks, capitalisation (“Buy”, “Get”, and both “Half” and “Price”, but not “one”), and text size. They lead the casual reader (and even the not-so-casual one, I’m ready to bet) into interpreting this advertisement this way:

Buy one, get one: half price (Borders)

Right? If you buy one, you get one — the result is that they are half price. Sounds nice!

Actually, not so. You have to read the fine print. Oh, the fine print? I actually only discovered it when I was taking the photos for this post. Let’s have a closer look:

Small Print

Oh! there it is. I can see it now. Fine print indeed:


So, actually, the text on the sticker is to be understood in the following way:

Buy one: get one half price (Borders)

With an addendum, in tiny all-caps:


Please note, again, how the layout, font sizes, and capitalisation are intentionally designed to induce misunderstanding of the sales conditions.

**This is not fair-play, Borders.**

Of course, I bought my books. It’s not when you see the total at the cash desk and you realise it’s higher than you expected, and you say “erm, isn’t it ‘buy one, get one free’?” only to be answered “no, it’s ‘buy one, get one **half price**'” that you’re going to stop everything and give up on the books which you had already acquired in your mind.

**Borders, shame on you for using such an evil marketing ploy. Disgraceful.**

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Twitter: We Love Our Partial Conversations [en]

[fr] Twitter cache maintenant les conversations partielles, ce que je trouve très dommage. C'était une porte ouverte pour découvrer des amis d'amis -- et en plus, l'implémentation actuelle nous prive d'une partie du vécu de nos amis, simplement parce qu'ils ne nous l'adressent pas.

I [noticed this morning]( that Twitter is hiding messages addressed (using @username) to people one is not following. You can still see them by looking at a friend’s page, but they don’t appear on one’s home page anymore.

Example: on [Faruk’s Twitter page](, you can see many messages addressed to people I don’t follow, using [the @username syntax](

Faruk's Twitter Stream

If I look at my homepage, now, only the messages which are not addressed to a recognized username I’m not following (follow me there?) are visible in my home page:

My Twitter "Friends" View

[This twitter](, for example, is invisible on my home page. I only get [this unaddressed one](

This means that we do not see what is commonly called “partial conversations” — ie, conversations the people you are following are having with people that they are following but you are not. While some people will rejoice, because they found that annoying, I find that it’s a damn shame. And I’m [not]( [alone](

Why do I think it’s such a shame? Well, yes, twitter is mainly for keeping in touch with people you already know. But it’s also a really great place to get to know the friends of your friends — and partial conversations are the doorway to this. Partial conversations have drawn me to people I didn’t otherwise know on Twitter, because I’ve found them involved in conversations with a friend of mine, or even, a few friends of mine. Curiosity, went to check on them, ended up adding them.

With the current implementation, this would never have happened.

And even if you don’t think meeting knew people is interesting — there are many times when I have discovered that an existing friend of mine had finally got a Twitter account only because I caught a partial conversation between him and somebody else.

So, please, Twitter: give us back our partial conversations. Make it an option to hide them if some people really hate them. But don’t shut me out of what’s going on in my friends’ lives just because they happen to be addressing it to somebody I don’t (yet) know.

**Update, July 25, 2007**

Another reason why this is broken: I never saw [this twitter](, though it was addressed to me (too), because I don’t follow [neilford](

Twitter / Faruk Ates: @neilford @stephtara thanks...

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