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Tag: ideas

Vindication and Unintentional Plagiarism [en]

Vindication and Unintentional Plagiarism [en]

[fr] Je retrouve dans Here Comes Everybody plein d'idées "à moi". Sont-ce vraiment les miennes? D'où viennent-elles? Peu importe, au final. Un livre dont je recommande chaudement la lecture.

I’m reading Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky. I should have read it a long time ago, like most unread books on my bookshelf. It’s about the behavioural and social change brought about by social tools. Each chapter is making me go “yes, wow!” and I get a sense of vindication, because so much of what Shirky so clearly explains is stuff that I’ve been saying for years. It feels like “he agrees with me”.

The truth is certainly more complex. These “theories” that I’ve come up with over the years to explain the online connected world to outsiders, and which feel like mine, well, I didn’t conjure them out of thin air. We all know about unintentional plagiarism, don’t we? Maybe I even read them on Shirky’s blog, once upon a time. Or heard them from somebody who read the book, or knows him.

Though Clay Shirky and I have never met, we have many friends and acquaintances in common. The Acknowledgements section at the end of his book is so full of people I’ve met and spoken with (when they’re not simply friends) that it’s a little surreal. I’m offline, or I’d check on Facebook and see how many contacts we have in common. Fair to say that we’re part of a tightly connected area of the network. (One notable difference, amongst others, though: Shirky took the trouble to write a book :-))

Another possibility is that these are “ambient ideas”. I’ve forgotten the reference for this (but Scott Berkun‘s book The Myths of Innovation almost certainly talks about it), but innovation is generally not an isolated event. The climate is ripe, and it is not rare that more than one person comes up with a new idea around the same time. These are possibly the “collective theories” in certain circles we are part of. It’s at the same time fascinating and frustrating that it is not possible to trace precisely how ideas travel through the network.

It doesn’t really matter, though. It feels good to see in print what I’ve been thinking and saying for years, even if I don’t remember how I came to these conclusions. Allow me to risk basking in the warm fuzzy glow of confirmation bias for a while.

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What Proportion of Ideas Do I Carry Out? [en]

What Proportion of Ideas Do I Carry Out? [en]

[fr] Moi, en train d'essayer péniblement d'évaluer quelle proportion de mes idées je réalise.

There is Work and Work [en]

There is Work and Work [en]

We freelancers know it: there are many kinds of work. Non-freelancers probably know it too, but let’s stick to the freelance way of life for the sake of this article.

There is work that gets you paid. There is work that doesn’t get you paid, but that you need to do in order to get the work that will get you paid.

There is also work that you have decided to do and planned, and work that you just happen to do.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last distinction lately.

Three years ago, I had a big client project and was going through a slow procrastinative summer. At one point, I decided to stop worrying and embrace my summer days: I would work from 9am to noon and then would be free to do whatever I wanted.

It worked really well. I made quick progress on the project and got to enjoy my summer.

This year, I’m having a slow summer too. The weather is nice, people are on holiday, I’m learning to sail, and I’m not swamped with work (I am busy with lots of things, though, I think that’ll never change). And honestly, when I look at my productivity certain most days, I might not be working less if I had decided to do the 9-12.

Deciding to work 9-12 does not mean that I stop myself from working in the afternoons. It means that I don’t have to work in the afternoons. And this is where the work you plan and the work that just happens comes in.

I rediscovered this when I started working in my coworking space, eclau: office hours started to be devoted to “things I had to do” for work, and sometimes, in the evenings or week-ends, I would do some light work that I felt like doing (work that doesn’t feel like work). Blogging, for example. Fooling around online. Sometimes, even doing my accounting because I felt like it. But nothing because I felt I ought to do it.

So, next year, I’m thinking of trying the 9-12 during the summer months. Work well three hours, then do something else or allow myself to be completely unproductive in the afternoon.

Hell, why wait until next year? I’m starting tomorrow.

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Come to LIFT'08 [en]

Come to LIFT'08 [en]

[fr] Si vous ne pensiez pas aller à LIFT dans deux semaines, j'aimerais vous encourager à vous inscrire pour nous y rejoindre.

J'avoue qu'une des raisons que j'entends souvent de la part de gens qui me disent ne pas y aller, c'est le prix. Un peu plus qu'un iPhone, et moins qu'un vol à destination de San Francisco (à plus forte raison, meilleur marché également que deux grandes conférences technologiques ayant récemment eu lieu en Europe: Web2.0Expo et LeWeb3).

LIFT est un événement extraordinaire. 3 journées dont une de workshops, la fondue, deux événements supplémentaires gratuits (venture night et sustainable dev), ainsi que la fête -- et vous repartirez proprement "liftés". LIFT est une conférence qui change la vie des gens. Elle est au carrefour des questions de société et de la technologie, d'une pertinence incontestable par rapport aux problématiques de notre temps.

J'explique dans cet article plus en détail pourquoi je vous encourage absolument à venir à LIFT (il est encore temps). C'est un investissement qui sera largement récompensé. Quel que soit le domaine dans lequel vous travaillez, prendre 3 jours sur l'année pour s'informer à la source sur les problématiques de notre société liées à la technologie n'est pas un luxe.

The [LIFT Conference]( is taking place in just two weeks from now in Geneva.

If you’re free on those dates and haven’t considered attending, I’d like to encourage you to [register]( and come and join us. It’s really worthwhile. And if [the price tag]( is making you hesitate, think again. Here’s what’s included in your registration fee for this three-day event:

– a full day of [workshops](
– [two days of conference]( (more about that below)
– nice buffet lunches (upgraded since last year!), [fondue]( evening, open bar [party](
– [venture night]( and [sustainable dev]( sessions
– [lots of WiFi](

So, here we are. 850 CHF (that’s $781.50, 530.80€ or £396.30 [as of today]( for three days. Even though it is a sizeable chunk of money for many people (I’m not talking about you lucky ones who get sent to great events like LIFT by their employers), it’s not that expensive, when you think of it (just a little perspective):

– an iPhone: 399€
– the MacBook Air: $1799
– LeWeb3 (Paris): over 1000€
– Web2.0Expo (Berlin): over 1000€
– a cheap flight to San Francisco: $800 (you spend only 2 days on the plane, and it’s way less fun)

Now, as that is out of the way, let’s get to the meat. Why is LIFT worth so much more than what you pay for it? I’d like to add my two cents to [what the organizers already say](

– **new speakers:** the LIFT team goes to great lengths to introduce speakers that you haven’t already heard at all the other conferences you go to. I’m told it’s becoming a habit for other conference organizers to do their “speaker shopping” at LIFT. (Insider scoop, from Laurent himself: Eric Favre, the inventor of Nespresso, is one of the latest confirmed additions to the speaker list.)
– **great talk quality:** heard of [TED Talks]( They gather the best speakers around the world, and last year, started including talks from partner conferences. [LIFT is one of the four events]( they chose to select talks from.
– **at the crossroads of Life and Technology:** this, I think, I the top reason I really love LIFT. It’s about technology, but it’s also about people, society, and the world we live in. It lacks the dryness of the all-tech conference. It’s visionary. It blows your mind and lifts you up. It changed my life, and I’m not the only one.
– **non-commercial:** though I’m not against profit ([Going Solo]( is, after all, a [commercial event]( “A little background.”)), the fact LIFT is a non-profit labour of love does reflect in the overall atmosphere and quality of the event. No pitches or sponsors on stage. It’s about ideas and about us. It’s friendly and welcoming and human.
– **more than the stage:** LIFT is about what happens during breaks, in corridors and doorways. Yes, the most value one gets out of an event is generally in networking. LIFT has however taken this awareness a step further, investing a lot in [LIFT+](, activities and exhibits that populate the “in-between” spaces.

I hope it’s obvious from what I’m describing: LIFT is truly an event beyond all others. It’s well-organized and touches topics which are over-important for understanding the world we live in: technology has taken an increasing place in our society (all societies, actually), and this is a chance for geeks and “humanists” both to take a few steps back and think about the “big picture”.

Still not 100% sure you want to [register](

If you’re used to the conference circuit: LIFT will be a welcome change from what you’re used to.
If you don’t usually go to conferences: if you go to one event this year, it should be LIFT. (Well, you should give Going Solo a go too, but it’s [a rather different kind of conference](

If you are attending, it’s still time to spread a bit of [link love]( for LIFT — have you done it yet?

I’m looking forward to seeing you there. I’m part of the [electronic media crowd](, though, so if you see me [live-blogging]( like mad, don’t be [offended]( if I’m [not very chatty](

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Tag-Related Wishlist [en]

Tag-Related Wishlist [en]

[fr] Mes idées/prédictions/désirs pour l'évolution des tags et des technologies associées.

I told you my mind never stops spinning, didn’t I? Here are a few follow-up thoughts on my [previous post on tags]( View this as my brain dump of what I’d like tags to do in WordPress and around.

Bear in mind that I haven’t tried 2.3 yet, don’t know exactly what it does and doesn’t do, and haven’t done much homework. So (hopefully!) some of the stuff I’m speaking about here already exists. If it’s the case, please leave a note with a pointer in the comments.

Some of the stuff here might also be stupid. If it is, please tell me.

I don’t think all this should necessarily be in the WordPress core. Plugin makers, feel free to delve in here for inspiration. If I like your plugin, I’ll plug it.

#### Links Between Tagspaces

So, based on what I’ve understood, WP2.3 will provide a local tagspace. This means that if I tag a post “cat”, the link on that tag will take me to something like That’s cool.

But I want more.

I want the page to contain configurable pointers to other tagspaces. For example, [my Flickr photos tagged “cat”]( [My links]( [My videos]( [The Technorati tagspace](

See what I mean?

Somewhere, WordPress would ask me “What other tagspaces would you like links to?” and I’d enter “”, “”, “”, “” in some pretty form (we know how to do those now, don’t we?)

#### Alternate Tagspaces

Some people may not want to use the local tagspace. Hell, most people who tag their posts right now point to the Technorati tagspace. An option to do so could be nice.

#### Tag Combinations

I’d like my local WordPress tagspace to allow tag combinations. This is [the stuff I wrote about nearly 3 years ago]( does it: here are [my links tagged “books” AND “read”](

We need more of this, particularly if we start thinking multilingual. I want to be able to point to a page containing posts I tagged “adolescents” OR “teenagers” OR “ados” or “teens”. I use all those, but I’m sure (given the nature of tagging) some posts have slipped through the cracks and have only one or two of these tags.

Less multilingual, maybe I just want to have “cats” or “cat” (sometimes I use plural, sometimes singular, and the distinction isn’t important to me in this context).

#### Related Tags does this. My local tagspace pages should have this feature too.

And how about an option to be able to see (in a click) posts tagged “cat” AND all the posts tagged with one of the related tags? (This could become a bit unwieldy though.)

#### Tag Management

The “obvious” stuff. Rename tag “stephaniebooth” to “Stephanie Booth” everywhere it is. (Flickr does this well.) Merge tags. Add a bunch of tags to all the selected posts (result of a search or by-category selection). Remove tag X from all posts which are tagged Y.

This is the kind of stuff I wanted to make possible for categories when I wrote [Batch Categories](, a lifetime ago. I haven’t touched this “hack” for years now, and I’ve heard conflicting information about its compatibility with recent WordPress versions. I think somebody somewhere updated it for WP2.x — if you search you might find it.

#### Public Tagging

Now, this would be a source of tag spam, unless it’s for example limited to registered users of the blog, or people identified by OpenID or on a “trust list” (e.g. people who have commented on the blog before). I’ve encouraged people to [open up tagging to the community on Flickr](, and the feedback from those who have done it has been great. I’d like a way to do this for my blog posts, too.

I’m sure [structured portable social networks]( have a part to play here.

#### More Importing/Conversion

Ages ago, I [added keywords]( to my blog posts. (I now know it’s not very useful — [maybe even, not at all]( Around the same time, I used [Topic Exchange Channels]( for some of my posts, making the ITE channel visible on the post by adding a link to it (gosh, come to think of it — I hadn’t heard of tags yet, but what I was doing was some form of proto-tagging… quite impressed with myself!)

Anyway, leaving the self-congratulatory stuff aside, my wp_postmeta table contains old information about posts which has long since disappeared from this blog, but which is still there, ready to be recycled. I could turn those old keywords and ITE channels into tags with an importer.

So, how about a very “customizable” importer? I would give the meta field name I want to convert to tags, and indicate if the tag data is comma-separated, space-separated, or simply placed in multiple fields.

(For my old keywords, there is one meta field called “keywords” which contains a comma-separated list of words, whereas for the ITE channels there is one entry per channel called “ite_topic” (IIRC) with a unique word as a value — but there can be more than one channel per post.)

So, “manual importer”, anybody?

#### That’s All, Folks!

There, I think I’ve told you what was on my mind. Feedback welcome. And plugins. Code. Solutions.

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Lijit Feedback [en]

Lijit Feedback [en]

[fr] Un peu de feedback sur Lijit, un moteur de recherche sympa qui s'organise autour du contenu en ligne d'une personne et de son réseau.

I lost the first version of this post in a Firefox crash while I was writing [my post on structured portable social networks]( (that’s what I get for doing too much at the same time). With a bit of luck it will be better 😉

So, as promised, here’s my feedback to Barney about [Lijit]( First, for those of you new to Lijit, [Stowe Boyd blogged about Lijit]( about a week ago, which is how I discovered it. (Yes, go sign up now, but come back here to read the rest of the post when you’re done. Thanks!)

Signing up must have gone reasonably smoothly, because I don’t have any screenshots of it — which is a good start. (When I bump into any interface problem or bugginess nowadays, I quickly [grab a screenshot]( with [Skitch]( and upload it to Flickr with a few notes. Photographs of my online life, if you like.)

I was disappointed that I could only add my and MyBlogLog networks. The latter is a good addition, but how about my Twitter network? Or a blogroll on [my secondary blog]( CTTS doesn’t have a blogroll (pure laziness). I tried importing my network from Facebook, but it was way too creepy, I disabled it as fast as I could. I got the feeling it was going to allow people to search through my friends’ notes and stuff — as well as mine. I do take advantage of the “walled garden” side of Facebook to publish slightly more personal stuff there than “outside”, and I know I’m not alone here.

What would be really neat would be if I were able to export *just the connections* I have to other people from Facebook, and if they are Lijit users, import their blogs and content into my network. Think [portable social networks](

Being able to import the blogs I read (they’re my “network”, aren’t they?) directly from Google Reader (filter with a tag though, so I can keep all those naughty sex blogs I’m keeping track of out of the public eye).

I used Lijit twice to find the old posts I linked back to in the post above. First, on the Lijit website itself:

Holes in my Buckets (Lijit)

Then, using the wijit I installed on my blog:

Lijit Search On Blog

That’s pretty neat. Lijit opens a “fake window” over the current page with the search results, and when I click on a link in the results, it loads in the initial browser window. Sounds obvious, but I like that it works — many ways it could have gone wrong.

I’m moderately happy about the space the wijit takes up on my blog:

Lijit Wijit on CTTS

I know companies are hungry for screen real estate (“make that logo visible!”) — but be less obtrusive and I’ll love you more! Notice that I now have Lijit search, normal Google search, and WordPress search. Way too many search boxes, but for the moment there isn’t one that seems to do the job well enough to be the only one. (Maybe Lijit, but I haven’t had it long enough…)

Stats page is neat, though I’m still totally unable to tell you what the two pie charts on the right do:

Lijit | My Stats

What on earth is Ma.gnolia doing in there?

There, that’s what’s on my mind concerning Lijit for the moment. Watch out for [the screenshots]( if I bump into anything else!

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Brainstorm/Discussion — The Future of Blogging Technology (Gabor Cselle) [en]

Brainstorm/Discussion — The Future of Blogging Technology (Gabor Cselle) [en]

[fr] Le futur du blog... discussion.

* notes, may be inaccurate*

with Gabor Cselle

Barcamp: talk about stuff. Where is blogging technology going to go? What are the trends?

Future of blogging conversation/brainstorm

Blogging software is about adding features, growing ecosystem (technorati, digg etc. *steph-note: god am I sick of those popularity things*), pseudo-blogging things (Twitter etc. *steph-note: I don’t agree with Twitter being called a “microblogging” platform.*)

Who writes for who? (Twitter: an individual writing for a small bunch of friends.)

Getting paid for blogging? Ads… or indirect revenue. Micropayments ([indiekarma](;jsessionid=5103920821293B2C405B2ADBE81189AA) — looks interesting).

*steph-note: this is going to be more about my ideas following the discussion more than an account of what is said*

Where I see blogging technology going: ajaxy flickr-like interfaces (the death of the admin panel for posting and editing), smarter privacy management (à la Facebook: blog tool knows who you are and shows you stuff you are allowed to see based on your relationship as defined by the blog author), of course, smarter language stuff. Maybe smart internal linking: post something, and have the blog tool dig through old posts, offer you possible related material to link to (yes, there are already related posts plugins).

Wiki and blog technology will not merge, because blogs are about the person behind it, and wikis are about diluting authorship and crowd-voice.

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Geeky Frustrations [en]

Geeky Frustrations [en]

[fr] Quelques râlages (comme quoi je ne fais pas ça qu'en français) au sujet de certains outils que j'utilise quotidiennement.

Right, so, just so I can get it off my chest, here is a list of little things that bug me with the tools I use daily. If I save them for a “proper write-up” they probably will never be posted, so… here goes.

– Twitter: let me see a differential list of those I follow and those who follow me, both ways. I need to know who is following me that I’m not following (maybe I missed somebody out) and who I’m following but they’re not (to keep in mind they won’t see stuff I twitter).
– Twitter: let me tag my friends, or sort them into buddy groups. Then let me activate phone alerts for only certain groups. One-by-one management is just impossible with 100 or so friends.
– Adium: let me [turn off Gmail notifications]( I have Google Notifier for that. I hate having to click “OK” on that window all the time.
– Google Reader: let me [drag’n drop]( feeds from one folder to another.
– Facebook: let me import more than one RSS feed in my notes.
– Nokia 6280 and Macbook: please sync with each other *each time* I ask you to, not once out of three.
– Nokia 6280: gimme a “mark all as read” option for my text messages, please!
– Nokia 6280: I’d say something about the really crappy camera, but there isn’t much you can do about it now, can you.
– iPod: let me loop through all episodes of a podcast instead of having to go to the next episode manually.
– iTunes: let me mix playlists as a source for Party Shuffle (30% My Favorites, 30% Not Listened in Last week, 40% Artist I’m Obsessing Over These Days… for example)
– Google Reader and find a way to allow me to automatically post Shared Items to too.
– Flickr: let me link to “My Favorite photos tagged …” so I can show my readers what I’ve found.
– **Added 18.02.07 0:10** [Google Ajax-y Homepage]( let me Share Google Reader items, not just star them.
– …

Certainly more, but these were those which were bugging me badly just now. Well, they’re off my chest, now I can go back to fretting about all the [stuff I need to get rid of]( in my flat and which is still lying around because I haven’t quite figured out the optimal way to dispose of it.

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