Webometric Thoughts

January 30, 2008

Google to use QR Codes

Filed under: Google barcodes,QR codes — admin @ 9:46 am

ReadWriteWeb have written a piece on ‘Google barcodes’ which, unless I am much mistaken, the rest of the world knows as QR codes. Google is to use them in print advertising.

Whilst the ReadWriteWeb blogger is not holding his breath for its success, he seems to have missed one important point: The software is already on the phones of a large audience! What Google need to do is educated the mobile users (including the so-called technologically minded at ReadWriteWeb).

January 29, 2008

Poking about on Twitter: As is Scoble

Filed under: Scoble,Twitter — admin @ 2:20 pm

Whilst Twitter (et al.) has its place, I have yet to see a role for it in my life. However, as a researcher into all things Web 2.0 I decided to dig a little deeper, move beyond the signing on process, and have a look at what everyone else is talking about. Unsurprisingly, with my particular research interests, I added the likes of Scoble and Winer (manly due to the promise of anti-hilary rants). Approximate time it took Scoble to start following my feed: 1 min. Surely he either has the process automated, or the man is a machince.

How can you meaningfully follow 6,971 Twitter-ers? And would it actually be useful? Or is it all for show and he has a secret account with those he really follows?

January 28, 2008

Facebookers Back Barack

Filed under: Clinton,Obama,blogging,facebook,social web — admin @ 2:39 pm

After spending the morning reading a few articles about blogging in the 2004 US election (does life get any more interesting??) I decided to have a look how Facebook reflected the race for the Democrat presidential nomination.

Basically, if democracy reflected the votes of the idealistic youth, rather than the self-interested cynical old conservatives, then Obama would be walking into the Whitehouse (no-one idealistic votes Republican). A comparison of Obama and Clinton’s top groups can’t help but make anyone who dislikes Hilary smile:
1. Barack Obama for President in 2008
2. Students for Barack Obama
3. America for Barack Obama
4. Barack Obama for President
5. 1 Million strong, against Hilary and Obama
(nb. maybe it is the annoyingly superfluous comma that is currently restricting the 1 million strong to 5,493).

1. Anti Hilary Clinton 2008
2. ABC= Anyone But Clinton
3. as much as i love the U.S…i’m gone if Hilary Clinton becomes president
4. I’d vote for a trained chimpanzee before Hilary Clinton
5. Hilary Clinton Shouldn’t Run For President She Should Run The Dishes

I’m sure that analysis of the comments in the groups would be even more of an eye-opener…although many of the comments about Clinton are probably not suitable for repeating in a polite blog.

In 2004 blogging was the also ran of the presidential campaign. Yes, it was an important element, but not quite the deciding factor that was hoped for. The question is whether social network sites will be the also ran, or the decisive mover. If Hilary enters the Whitehouse, it is definately an also ran.

Scientific Articles v. Blog Posts

Filed under: Google Analytics,academia,blogosphere — admin @ 12:25 pm

Both scientific articles and blog posts share the currency of recognition. However, whilst citations are rather dry affairs that are relatively few and far between, blogs get far more interesting critiques from a far wider audience. It’s a shame that scientific articles aren’t more like blog posts.

The sad truth is that my off-the-cuff comments about the web and the progress of my allotment (http://plot13.blogspot.com/) receive far more readers than any of my scientific articles. Over the last few months the number of unique visitors to my Webometric Thoughts blog, according to Google Analytics, have been steadily increasing (Nov-434, Dec-633, Jan-807(so far)). Whilst these figures would barely register in the blogosphere, they are far higher than could ever be hoped for in the academic world where you generally find yourself questioning whether even the referee bothered reading the article fully.

Even when the articles are read, and you are given a citation, they generally refer to some obscure generalisation you have made, barely worthy of a citation: it is more to do with the citer building authority for their own paper by showing how much they have read. In comparison a blogger does not benefit from referencing your post, and has the freedom to discuss it as little or as much as they wish. Therefore coming across a blog reference can be much more rewarding (I just came across my personal favourite today).

It would be great if the academic world could combine the informality of the blogosphere with their traditional publishing activities. Unfortunately most academics see blogs as a drain on their time rather than an opportunity to broaden the reach of their research and get more useful feedback. Admittedly my eclectic mix of posts has done little to further the blogging cause in academia, but surely there are some academic bloggers out their which truly show the potential of blogs.

January 24, 2008

All YouTube content now mobile: Please use headphones

Filed under: YouTube,mobile web — admin @ 9:58 am

Search Engine Journal are pointing out that all YouTube content is now available on 3G smart phones…about bloody time. The YouTube mobile site has been available for ages, http://m.youtube.com/ but has until now had a VERY limited amount of content.

Whilst the content has been available through unofficial applications for some phones (e.g., emTube), for some reason I could only get them to work with wi-fi rather than 3G, which didn’t really utilise the mobile aspect of the phone.

My only concern with YouTube mobile is the inevitable increase in people having noisy gadgets in public places. I’m sure that video of the baby laughing, or someone falling over is hilarious, but I really don’t want to hear it. If you don’t already have them, PLEASE BUY SOME HEADPHONES!!

January 23, 2008

QR-Kill: I want to play

Filed under: QR Kill,QR codes — admin @ 12:21 pm

All about mobile life have just drawn attention to what sounds like a fun new QR-code pastime: QR-Kill. Basically you wear a printed QR code on your back with you name and phone number, and when someone locks onto it and sends you an SMS you’re dead.

Unfortunately the only people I know with any idea of what a QR code is, are my extremely un-urban-soldier research group and a Finnish webometrician who would be quickly tracked to the closest pub drinking a pint of strongbow.

Dundee, Northampton, or Bournemouth? Which will become the technological capital of the UK?

Filed under: bandwidth — admin @ 9:45 am

On those occassions that I get the 2Mb connection I pay for (which seem to be increasingly rare), I find that it fulfils all my broadbanding needs…nonetheless I do find myself coveting the potential 100Mbps that may soon be on offer in the UK.

So, what are the added advantages of the super-fast speeds? According to the Beeb:

…super-fast net connections could create a range of new applications including on-demand high-definition TV, DVD quality film downloads in minutes, online video messaging, CCTV home surveillance and high definition gaming services.

OK, they are the immediate applications: better (and faster) versions of applications which are already available. But they are not really tapping the true potential of such speeds.

There will undoubtably be big applications: virtual worlds with details and involvement that haven’t been imagined since the early nineties; distributed-computing tackling problems in new and more powerful ways. However, I think the biggest change will actually be through the use of increasing numbers of low-bandwidth applications throughout the home/workplace. People will start looking at everyday items and asking: what if it could connect with the world? what would be possible? Such applications won’t take off, or even be given serious thought, until bandwidth stops being seen as a scarce commodity.

How will they cut costs on laying the new fibre, by using the sewer system. Seems appropriate for most of the stuff on the internet.

January 22, 2008

QR Codes at the BBC…but I am not sure why

Filed under: BBC,QR codes — admin @ 10:03 am

All about mobile life have pointed out that one part of the BBC have now started incorporating QR Codes (not the upstart Upcodes), although I’m not sure how much use the QR codes are.

BBC Programmes beta, which provides information on all current TV and radio programmes across the BBC, has provided a QR code for each of the programmes listed, simply by adding /qrcode to the URL. So, the QR code for Torchwood (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8ln) is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8ln/qrcode.

Whilst I love the BBC and can see a lot of potential in QR codes, I am waiting for them to roll out to more useful areas of the site before I get over excited. I can see how QR codes embedded on news and sports pages, linking to mobile optimised versions would be useful. However, I can’t imagine that it is very often that people think “I really want to be able to access these programme details on the move…if only I could easily transfer the URL easily across”. Whilst I suppose an avid fan may wish to embed a QR code on a T-shirt, to show affiliation with a programme, the BBC codes don’t even help with that as they are not in a useful format.

Although hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

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