"Last year, Popular Science decided to close comments, citing studies that blamed them for the spread of misinformation. TechCrunch has changed platforms several times, to Livefyre, and back to Facebook comments. [...] It’s a Petri dish that grows trolls and frightens away those who actually want to contribute. At worst, an unmoderated comments section can contain threats and personal attacks, invalid criticisms and spam. [...] Moderation goes to great lengths to fix these problems. A moderator can ban dangerous trolls, protecting equitable commenters and increasing reply rates and time-on-site between those readers. [...] So, why did you want comments in the first place? Many organizations cite “engagement,” but what they actually mean is “action.” They want to motivate their readers to do something, whether that action is clicking a share button, emailing a tip, or contributing some form of user generated content.
Lord Satri writes "MacOSForge announced that Apple's Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is now available open source under the Apache license: "The Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) is an audio codec developed by Apple and supported on iPhone, iPad, most iPods, Mac and iTunes. ALAC is a data compression method which reduces the size of audio files with no loss of information. A decoded ALAC stream is bit-for-bit identical to the original uncompressed audio file. The Apple Lossless Audio Codec project contains the sources for the ALAC encoder and decoder. Also included is an example command line utility, called alacconvert, to read and write audio data to/from Core Audio Format (CAF) and WAVE files. A description of a 'magic cookie' for use with files based on the ISO base media file format (e.g. MP4 and M4A) is included as well."" top
Lord Satri writes "Microsoft's Bing Maps (formerly known as Virtual Earth) got a major upgrade today. Amongst the new features: Streetside, enhanced Bird’s Eye view, Photosynth integration and more. Microsoft's Streetside is similar in concept to Google StreetView. From the official blog: "[Regarding Streetside:] Ground level photographs fully stitched allowing full continuous immersion into the street level landscape [...] Street labels hovering within the images showing you road names (so you don’t get lost) [...] [Regarding Bird's Eye view:] Our investments in photogrammetric processing are being leveraged for a new mode in the urban areas where we’ve captured high resolution photography and stereo data to create models of the respective cities. [Regarding Photosynth:] Photosynth is now natively integrated into Bing Maps. This means you can zip down from space down into someone’s housenot kidding." There's also a 27-minutes video showing the features, specifically focusing on Streetside." Link to Original Source top
Lord Satri writes "Don't believe the CNET headline, it's not really a Google Satellite that we'll see in orbit this week, but almost! Google signed an exclusivity deal with GeoEye regarding GeoEye-1, the most advanced high resolution civil remote sensing satellite to date. This can be annoying to normal high-resolution remote sensing data users since Google already has an exclusivity deal with DigitalGlobe, the other major civil satellite imagery provider.
From the CNET article: "Under the deal, Google is the exclusive online mapping site that may use the imagery, said Mark Brender, vice president of corporate communications and marketing. Google uses satellite imagery in its Google Maps and Google Earth product.
And as a little icing on the cake, Google's logo is on the side of the rocket set to launch the 4,300-pound satellite in six days from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. GeoEye-1 will orbit 423 miles above Earth, but it will be able to gather imagery with details the size of 41 centimeters, Brender said. Google, though, is permitted to use data only with a resolution of 50cm because of the terms of GeoEye's license with the U.S. government."" top
Lord Satri writes "TechCrunch, Wired, and I'm sure many others are talking about Yahoo's new FireEagle service which is in alpha release now. TechCrunch describes the service,
"FireEagle, which is built entirely on Ruby on Rails, was originally inspired by Yahoos ZoneTag research product. It is a platform for controlling peoples location information. Tell it (directly or via a third party application built on FireEagles APIs) where you are (give it specific lat/long, or a city name, or a zip code, etc.) and it will note your location. Alternatively, users with GPS phones (or other GPS device) could set it to periodically update FireEagle with geo information."
Wired touches on something I'm sure we'll hear a lot about services that know your location, the "creepy" factor,
"As with most developments in the geo-location realm, FireEagle offers some really cool possibilities I have no doubt that web developers will leap at the chance to offer seamless integration of geodata but it also looks a little bit creepy. Do we really want everyone to know exactly where we are all the time? Of course, if you consider that your mobile service provider already has that information, perhaps concern over making it public is a moot point."
I see plenty of "cool possibilities" to having a single warehouse and API for that kind of data, so I'll be trying to get myself in the alpha-testing along with many others I'm sure." Link to Original Source top
Lord Satri writes "Google announced today's release of Pro and Free versions of SketchUp 6, with very interesting features. The Photo Match feature feels like a preemptive strike against Microsoft's Photosynth. From this AECNews article: "In sharing the news of SketchUp 6 with AECnews in a pre-release briefing, Google SketchUp Product Manager John Bacus emphasized the "virtuous circle" that Google sees between Google Earth, Google 3D Warehouse, and Google SketchUp. One additional tool required for this virtuous circle becomes available tomorrow, a "Collections" feature in 3D Warehouse, where "groups of like-minded people can come together on projects like modeling cities," said Bacus. "If you turn on the 3D Warehouse layer in the latest release of Google Earth, you can see that many cities have a fair number of buildings in them already. A large community of SketchUp users are already making and creating and posting to the 3D Warehouse; the best will go to Google Earth." Collections will make this process even easier, Bacus added."" top
Lord Satri writes "National Geographics runs a story on GeoRSS named disaster prediction, social networking boosted by geo-data feeds. From the article: "Singh, a staff member at the nonprofit Open Geospatial Consortium, says that the GeoRSS service will extend the capability to create such location-based tagsa concept known as georeferencingto anyone with an Internet connection. [...] "GeoRSS, by providing an easy and easily agreed-to data format, would enable greater sharing of crucial information on the ground," he said.
Now it is up to software companies to incorporate the standard into their products. Already industry giants Microsoft and Yahoo! have taken an interest, Singh says." Version 1 of the GeoRSS specifications was release last month. Here's a GeoPlace article on GeoRSS from Raj Singh." top
Lord Satri writes "Here's the press release about today's major content update for Google Earth. The Google Earth Blog tells us about the addition of 3D buildings in cities all over Japan. From this ZDNet article: "Google Earth will include before and after satellite images of environmentally endangered locations originally published by the U.N. Environment Program as a coffee-table book." and from the Ogle Earth blog: "New stuff in the "Featured content" folder in the Layers sidebar. Some of it's been there for a while, but brand new is a layer by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), a layer by the US National Park service, and expanded global content by the Discovery Channel." The same time, another ZDNet article tells us time tracking is now included in Google Earth 'Free' (yes, there is multiple version of Google Earth). From the article: "The feature in which a slider is used to scroll through time [...] now features a simplified interface. [...] showing how scientists, who had tracked the movements of a whale shark using GPS, had then mapped the creature's path using the application. Business uses could include fleet tracking or mapping the movements of transport infrastructure according to Google. Jones also described how the new version would enable users to track all of the geostationary satellites orbiting the earth."" top
Lord Satri writes "Is there any open professional networking website or tool available? I was introduced to professional networking two weeks ago and found the system very interesting with one main caveat, it's a commercial tool. It might be free, but if you want advanced features, you must open your wallet. Money is not really the issue, but the fear of being locked-in is. I don't need a new job, but the website in question (name withheld for neutrality purposes) offers several interesting ways to look at my professional network. It allows me to browse my professional contacts by location, by job types, by qualifications, etc. I can search up to three levels away from me (contacts of contacts of contacts). I can learn more about who did what and who knows who. Is there such an open service? Search engines haven't provided any pertinent answers. Alternate question: which are your preferred professional networking tools? How do you, the self-employed, are keeping track of your network and use it to find contracts?" top
Lord Satri writes "Sensors are getting everywhere and numerous. Very numerous. Standards comes to the rescue before the mess takes over. The Open Geospatial Consortium, a non-profit, international and voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services, just released four new sensor-related specifications. Faily recently, Microsoft released its SenseWeb project and its SensorMap. From the SenseWeb site: "SenseWeb is a research portal that lets users visualize and query real-time data using a geographical interface such as Windows Live Local and allows data owners to easily publish their live data using a web service interface." The Geospatial Semantic Web Blog chimes in: "An important part of the SenseWeb portal design is the modeling of physical sensors, describing different classes of sensors and their respective properties. Interestingly, SenseWeb defines this model using the Web Ontology Language OWL." It's worthed to open SensorMap and zoom in to experience the interface. You may also read this GeoPlace article GML and WFS enabled SensorNet. From the article: "The use of WFS in wide-area sensor webs is a natural extension of GML, which can express a wide range of geographic information types, including conventional geographic features as well as coverages and observations. The ability to handle such data is a strength of WFS, because it minimizes the number of different interfaces and components in the sensor network.""
It's a dream come true. After MapQuest and Yahoo actively supporting the Wikipedia-like map initiative OpenStreetMap.org. Microsoft announced that they hired OpenStreetMap's founder Steve Coast for their Bing Maps team. But there's more, they committed providing orthorectified aerial imagery and more to the project. From the official announcement: "Continuously innovating and improving our map data is a top priority and a massive undertaking at Bing. Thatâ(TM)s why weâ(TM)re excited to announce a new initiative to work with the OpenStreetMap project, a community of more than 320,000 people who have built high quality maps for every country on earth. Microsoft is providing access to our Bing Aerial Imagery for use in the OpenStreetMap project, and we have hired industry veteran Steve Coast to lead this effort. [...] As a first step in this engagement, we plan to enable access to Bing's global orthorectified aerial imagery, as a backdrop of OSM editors. Also, Microsoft is working on new tools to better enable contributions to OSM." Microsoft already added the OpenStreetMap layer to Bing Maps last August.
The good news is Slashdot is still an interesting site to me, continues to evolve and is in active development. But the good news about Slashdot do not apply to Slashcode, Slashdot's open source engine. I'm the main manager of a small Slashcode-based website. Despite my enthusiasm, the truth is Slashcode is dead. It has been dead for quite some time and I wonder if it can be resurrected. How can Slashcode be dead? There is no community behind it anymore. There has been no official release since 2002, granted you can and should use the CVS tags, but it has not been updated with anything recent such as the AJAX code used on Slashdot for the last few years.
Rebuilding the community? Maybe, but enthusiasts quickly hit a wall. Slashcode's own main page is not up to date, there's a lot of missing information and my previous efforts at helping updating it got no answers from the site admins. How can you build a community when there's no way to learn who's in the boat with you? Ah! The mailing lists, of course! There are two main Slashcode mailing lists. On the Slashcode-general list, there was only 8 threads in 2008, 3 so far for 2009. For the Slashcode-development, it's worse: 2 posts since May 2007, both from our small team. You can ask questions, but you never know if someone will answer the phone.
A few years ago our small team developed a plugin that adds webmaps to stories and GeoRSS to the feed but failed to get much feedback from anyone. We're far from the community and the development workforce than, to name just one, the one behind Drupal, which has its own conference and 2000 developer accounts. Slashdot's responsibility? None directly, Slashcode is open source software, they rightfully have no obligation to contribute to a community.
Slashcode still has some attracting features and an excellent auto-moderation system. So, what's Slashcode future? I'm interested in the insights you have to share. I fear my own Slashsite will die out of technological obsolescence and that other Slashsites have no future. A Slashcode community won't spring out of the digital blue overnight, but it all has to start somewhere. Is it too late to try to build a vibrant Slashcode community?
Thanks to SockDisclosure, 14 twitter sockpuppets accounts have been discovered. In my opinion. sockpuppets are a wrong way to use Slashdot. What can I do? Mostly nothing, but I marked all twitter accounts as foes and invite you to do so too. Goal: enhance the quality of the Slashdot discussions I/we happen to read.
Here's my problem: I use macs at home. Ok I admit it, it's not a really problem because I believe it's the best overall user experience for me. Even if I'm a heavy open source software user (and sporadic contributor) and enthusiast, I still haven't been convinced Ubuntu is ready for me. I don't have a lot of Ubuntu experience despite using Debian at work, but Slashdot users do! I don't want or need a flamewar, I'd like to get your informed feedback. I wrote a short personal assessment of why I stick with Macs instead of switching to Ubuntu right away. Where I am wrong? My short text quickly looks at the software I, and any average user, use on a computer: email (Apple's Mail vs Thunderbird / other), Spotlight vs Beagle, etc. To reassure Ubuntu fans, here's an extract: "I found this interrogation from one of my colleagues, "will MacOSX forever stay more advanced than Ubuntu?". I tend to believe the answer's no and as a consequence, you'll eventually see me use an open source operating system on my primary computer at home. We're not just there yet."
In not-so-secret arms race news, the Federation of American Scientists details, with recent satellite imagery, the new Chinese secret naval base on Hainan Island. What's interesting is China's new capabilities, such as a demagnetization facility. What's not that much interesting is so many resources spent worldwide for military defense, but hopefully, it's harder and harder to hide such behavior to other governments. From the article: "The SSBN base on Hainan Island will probably be seen as a reaffirmation of China's ambitions to develop a sea-based deterrent. To what extent the Chinese navy will be capable of operating the SSBNs in a way that matters strategically is another question. China's first SSBN, the Xia, was no success and never sailed on a deterrent mission. As a consequence, the Chinese navy has virtually no tactical experience in operating SSBNs at sea. Yet the Jin-class and the demagnetization facility on Hainan Island show they're trying."
What happens when you mix two popular software such as World of Warcraft and Google Earth? You guessed right, a Google Earth MMO game is in beta (screenshots included). Visit this forum to learn more. This is part of the new crop of Google Earth-based games. From the initial announcement: "You pick a race (Warrior, Elf or Mage), then go around the world fighting enemies, earning experience points, increasing your level, buying weapons/spells/potions, etc. Some other features: - Each major city is guarded by a different boss who must be defeated. Each city you defeat earns a crystal. - You can team up with other players to take out difficult enemies. - All gameplay (including battles, shops, messaging, etc) is done completely in Google Earth with no add-on software or web browser calls required. - The battles are turn-based, similar to the Final Fantasy games, using our GEfootball engine. - The shopping and messaging use Flash-based forms to handle the data, using code from our GEboards application. - There are currently 9 cities, 14 different enemies (over 7,000 of them roaming the earth), 12 items, 8 spells and 6 weapons. All of those will likely be increased as we finish testing."
Based on Wikipedia's enormous success, does one can believe Wiktionary is destined for the same treatment? I find it very useful and even contribute sporadicly. I'm trying to find out if my time spent contributing is worthed. The Wiktionary wikipedia article is quite informative and helped me understand Wiktionary's context and competition. This picture shows Wiktionary really took off last year and the curves clearly show traffic is rising significantly. Slashdot has not discussed Wiktionary yet.