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although i don’t want my site to become a linkblog (if you’re interested in my bookmarks, check my page) i simply have to blog three articles my mind was charged with today – absolutely mind-expanding.

1. jyri engestr√∂m: “why some social network services work and others don’t
or: the case for object-centered sociality”:

[most] authors build on the definition of the social network as ‘a map of the relationships between individuals.’ basically i’m defending an alternative approach to social networks here, which i call ‘object centered sociality’ following the sociologist carin knorr cetina. i’ll try to articulate the conceptual difference between the two approaches and briefly demonstrate that object-centered sociality helps us to understand better why some social networking services succeed while others don’t. (..)

the social networking services that really work are the ones that are built around objects. and, in my experience, their developers intuitively ‘get’ the object-centered sociality way of thinking about social life. flickr, for example, has turned photos into objects of sociality. on the objects are the URLs. EVDB,, and evnt focus on events as objects. linkedIn, [just like the three services i linked in my previous post – helge] however, is becoming the victim of its own cunning: it started off thinking it could benefit by playing up the ‘social just means people’ misunderstanding.

(via russ beattie.) brilliant article. jyri goes on making the case for a social network built around places as objects. just what i’m working on in this very moment.. :-)

2. adam bosworth: “ISCOC04 talk – thoughts on computing“:

that software which is flexible, simple, sloppy, tolerant, and altogether forgiving of human foibles and weaknesses turns out to be actually the most steel cored, able to survive and grow while that software which is demanding, abstract, rich but systematized, turns out to collapse in on itself in a slow and grim implosion. consider the spreadsheet. (..) consider search. (..) consider user interface. (..) consider programming itself. (..)

there is a lot of talk about web 2.0. many seem to assume that the “second” web will be about rich intelligent clients who share information across the web and deal with richer media (photos, sound, video). there is no doubt that this is happening. whether it is skype or (..) itunes, people are increasingly plugging into the web as a way to collaborate and share media. but i posit that this isn’t the important change. (..) what has been new is information overload. email long ago became a curse. blogreaders only exacerbate the problem. (..) what will be new is people coming together to rate, to review, to discuss, to analyze, and to provide 100,000 zagat‘s, models of trust for information, for goods, and for services. (..) we see it already in ebay. we see it in the importance of the number of deals and the ratings for people selling used books on amazon. (..)

this is what will be new. in fact it already is. you want to see the future. don’t look at longhorn. look at slashdot. 500,000 nerds coming together everyday just to manage information overload. look at bloglines. (..) the currency of reputation and judgment is the answer to the tragedy of the commons and it will find a way. (..) for the first time since computers came along, AI is the mainstream.

(via email from franz jachim via adrian smith – thanks!)

3. jakob lodwick: “tagwebs, flickr, and the human brain“:

tagwebs (12k image)

explanation on how such tagwebs could make sense see in his article. (stumbled across with google.)

computing social networks

April 13, 2005  

just researched the question how the shortest path(s) between two persons in social networks is being calculated. i always have asked myself how this is done as it’s clear to everyone with basic database know-how that presenting such paths in realtime, as services such as friendster, orkut or openBC do, is quite a challenge. now i needed it for a project, so i googled the question.

dijkstra (14k image)

the formula they use is dijkstra’s algorithm. it doesn’t just find the shortest path between two nodes, it finds the path between a node and every other node in the network. therefore computing a path is just as much effort as computing them all. as it’s quite hard to do that in real time, so i guess the solution is to pre-compute them and make them available before requested by a user.

related documents: see my tags “social networks”

deadly knockers

April 12, 2005  

bild-tits (11k image)

shot from the german bild-zeitung. the text reads “cairo – bomb lacerates tourists”. (from

why web services rock

April 11, 2005  

screenshot (scaled down)stunning. recently google launched google maps, the best map application on the web, now also with satellite images. still to be launched outside the US though.

now a guy, paul rademacher, takes google maps and craig’s list (an ugly yet useful classified-listings-site that is highly successful in the US and has been puchased by ebay recently) and mixes them together to a stunning real estate site.

as far as i can see he grabs housing listings, parses them with the google API, reformats them as google maps and displays them inline on his own site. this is why open APIs really rule, so cool.

learning for site owners: let your audience re-use your contents and let them re-use your services, think business case but also think indirect effects, think viral marketing, think grassroot innovation and think ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’. if your contents and services are useful you’ll be flabbergasted by what the public will do with them, when openly available. just like when someone creates the world’s most useful real estate service in his lunch break, using your data. figure out how to benefit from that, not how to avoid it. (via

update apr. 23: tutorial for the techies among you


April 5, 2005  

mail from conny:

gratuliere .. einmal gold, einmal silber ;-*

plan for tomorrow: beat helge schneider ;-)

Common misspellings: Farnberger, Fahrenberger, Farenberger, Fahnberger, Fahrnleitner, Fahrngruber, Fahrnberg.