About cheese and beer

Last week Ewan McIntosh, the Scottish edublogger, was in town. Well he was in the country to be exact but I took him to Antwerp with me, filling up the few free hours he had before his flight back to Scotland.

Cheese with your beer
(Courtesy of Edublogger)

The reason why I wanted to bring this up is not so much the cheese & beer (although must have), but because I was fascinated with the work Ewan is doing. We met last year in Paris at LeWeb3 and it was good to get together again. Ewan is looking into social media & technology to find it how it can be used to provide powerful learning tools in Scottish schools. Just like myself, Ewan believes in the opportunity technology provides to achieve our goals better and not the technology itself. Interesting to hear how they’re doing tests with the Nintendo DS in classrooms for instance. He’s also the first to show me an interesting use of Twitter. I didn’t see what all the buzz was all about when I first checked it out, but I’ll take a look at it again now. Respect Ewan, I hope the Belgian education decision makers read your blog, they can learn from it.

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The universal widget/gadget

If there was one central prediction for 2007 that everybody seemed to agree on, it was that 2007 would be the year of the widget/gadget. MSM like Newsweek, or bloggers like Richard MacManus from ReadWriteWeb all believe in that evolution and I can only agree. But a universal widget/gadget is probably what’s needed to reach the tipping point for the widgetized web.

So this evolution was bound to happen. With all these different widgets & gadgets for Yahoo!, Google, Mac, Vista, Netvibes, Live.com, Windows Live Spaces … the choice is immense but hardly ideal. The platforms, the developers, the end-users, .. nobody really wins. The idea of a widget is to allow you to bring little parts of the www to your central dashboard, not to build a new type of walled garden. 

Given the fact that Live.com & Vista are both from Microsoft, it’s only logic that you can develop gadgets that you write once for both platforms. But end-users also created their own ways already to transform Google widgets into Vista gadgets for instance, using The Amnesty Generator. Pretty cool if you ask me, and good proof that consumers want to be able to drop any widget/gadget on their preferred dashboard or personalize page. And this is only the beginning, as W3C is working on a draft widget specification as well.

The most exciting news is coming from Netvibes though, in an announcement they made at the Future of Web Apps in London two weeks ago, reported by Techcrunch:

“Today at the Future of Web Apps conference in London, Netvibes founder Tariq Krim announced that their upcoming “Coriander” release will do just that. The new product will be called the Universal Widget API and will be available at http://eco.netvibes.com/uwa (this site is live now with a landing page, more information will be available next week). Once launched, any widget created for Netvibes, Krim says, will work on the Vista, Google, Mac and Opera platforms as well. Support for Yahoo Widgets and other platforms will follow soon after.”

I hope this will be the real start of a real universal widget, as a truly open platform. Now that would be really cool.

Twingly: blogosphere in 3D

Even though I can’t seem to run it properly on my machine yet (I keep on trying) I wanted to show you this. This screensaver gives a truly cool view on the blogosphere: Twingly.

“Twingly screensaver is visualizing the global blog activity in real time. Forget RSS readers where you see only what you’re interested in. With Twingly screensaver you get a 24/7 stream of all (viewer discretion advised) blog activity, straight to your screen.”

So, you might wonder why I’m so excited about this since I it didn’t work on my PC yet? Just take a look at this video, you got to admit that this looks cool:

One question to Primelabs: why a screensaver? I want to be able to run this as a normal application. Can this be done?

[Via Upstream]

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A campaign without internet is not an option

This was the title of an article (analysis really) that I read in De Standaard (Belgian newspaper) yesterday. Journalist Wim Winckelmans shares his opinion about the importance of the internet for the upcoming elections. Reason for the article was the recently launched MRTV by the political party MR (and CDH-TV is rumored to be next).

Wim makes some good points, looking at the efficiency of MRTV (and related). It misses the credibility of television news, the credibility is very low and it just smells like a commercial. Who is going to go there to watch this? Not many people he thinks, and I would say the same.

At one point, Carl Devos (political specialist) is quoted in the article about the power of the internet as medium. Carl says (and I tried to translate as literal as possible):

“The internet can only play a supporting role in a campaign. One interview on tv or in the newspaper has a far greater impact than all efforts done using the internet. The best that can happen to a politician, is that he gets invited for an interview on television because of his efforts on the web.”

I think it’s time someone informs Carl about the real power of the internet here.

Welcome to the social – Live edition

Ok, I’m ripping of the Zune slogan here, but it suits the message. Last week the Live.com team released the sharing feature which I think is pretty exciting. Although it’s quite easy to set up a personalized page on Live.com I imagine know that some people find it still too difficult. With the sharing feature I can create a page for my sister for instance and send that to her via email. In the US I can also upload each page (or collection) to the Windows Live Gallery so it’s available to all. Take a look for yourself at Live.com.

IdeaStorm, way to go Dell

I think Dell has just had a brilliant idea, and it seems like I’m not alone. They just launched a site called IdeaStorm where visitors can propose ideas, on which other visitors can vote with a Digg-like system. Not only have already quite some people shared there thoughts, it definitely gives them some good buzz (and they can use it). Many companies are searching for ways to join the conversation, as did Dell with their blog Direct2Dell but this will offer them even more interaction. Dell has got a huge opportunity here to change there game, I hope they do but it looks like they will. Well done!

Walking with the community

Quote from Mack Collier at The Viral Garden, a very good blog on marketing. Mack talks about the interaction between consumers and marketers in the new media age:

I think the idea of ‘The consumer is in control, get out of the way!!!!’ goes too far. The better solution is for companies to walk with their customers. By doing so, that gives us the ability to understand the path that the customer is taking, and then we have the ability to clear that path for the customer.”

Read on at The Viral Garden, it’s good stuff.

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