Monthly Archives: October 2002

Digital Web Magazine – Keep It Simple: Client Centered Design

Digital Web Magazine – Keep It Simple: Client Centered Design. Quote: “Unfortunately there is no general rule for the task of keeping a client's expectations within reasonable limits. Some clients are easily convinced by someone who knows what he's talking about, while others will rigidly maintain their point of view, aided by their nephews who've gone through a Front Page book and therefore know everything there is to know about Web sites.”

Comment: Nice quotable quote, via Column Two [Serious Instructional Technology]

Chicago Sun-Times Mentions RSS

Chicago Sun-Times Mentions RSS: RSS File Can Help Keep Your Surfing Up to Date

“An RSS file is simply a text file located on a Web server and is openly readable by any app that knows its location. It contains a sophisticated database that summarizes a Web site's content.

Usually, the file is created and maintained by the same software that a Web master uses to create the site; every time a news item is posted, a new entry is added to the RSS file containing the item's headline, a summary and a link to the item itself, though RSS is a flexible standard and can track far more information.

“Cool, Andy,” you're saying “but what does this mean to me, the end-user?”

It means that if your favorite Web site supports RSS–look for a little orange “RSS” or “XML” box on the page, which contains a link to the RSS file–you don't have to read through it manually to look for new items of interest. Software can do that for you, by parsing its RSS file. New apps known as “news aggregators” can act sort of like a TiVo for the Web….

RSS is a tremendous big win for everyone. Users will spend less time browsing sites and more time reading them. And it steers traffic to Web sites. A middle-school teacher can't afford the time to keep the school's site updated with all the latest news about space, but the site can always point to Space.com's most recent headlines and stories thanks to RSS.” [Chicago Sun-Times, via Scripting News]

This is a good introductory article for the techie at your library, not the director, librarians, or support staff. It's too bad someone at the Sun-Times didn't read the article ahead of time and use the occasion to announce the implementation of an RSS feed for the paper. Still, we edge ever closer….  [The Shifted Librarian]

Security Alert: eBay Prevents Musician from Selling Own CD-Rs

Security Alert: eBay Prevents Musician from Selling Own CD-Rs

“George Ziemann, an independent musician, made an album with his band and like many small operators, he then produced copies of the the album on CD-R and attempted to sell them on the Web. He listed copies on his own Web page, on MP3.COM, on garageband.com, and on eBay. All was going well… until eBay abruptly began to de-list the auctions.

Ziemann and his band were the authors, engineers, producers, and publishers of the album, and could prove that they owned the copyright and all other rights to it. Yet, eBay's 'droids' unilaterally removed all of his auctions merely because the item descriptions stated that the recordings were on CD-R media. (This disclosure is important, because some players will not play CD-Rs.)… Despite his repeated attempts to contact eBay and inform them that his products were legal, Ziemann was unable to prevent them from removing his album each time he listed it for sale.

Ziemann speculates, in his detailed account of the incident, that the RIAA has put pressure upon eBay to block sales of all CD-Rs — not only to exclude illegal copies but to prevent independent musicians from self-publishing.” [ExtremeTech]

Guilty by association. This is exactly what I mean when I say that implementation of the RIAA's proposals will leave no room for libraries to circulate material. The RIAA (and MPAA) wants to plug every hole and destroy media that could even possibly allow for open distribution.

I'm still waiting to hear about any kind of acknowledgement or proposal from them that their solutions will provide a means for libraries to circulate digital content. Odd that they are so quiet on this issue when they are so loud on others. Or maybe not. They don't talk about this, so I wish someone would call them on it.  [The Shifted Librarian]

“Knowledge work as craft work”

I just got around to reading Jim McGee's article “Knowledge work as craft work” which is an excellent discussion of visibility in the knowledge management process. McGee gives a great example of how visibility of knowledge has gone away since the arrival of desktop computing. In the pre-PC age, paper documents and deliverables (and the knowledge embedded within them) were passed between many people within an organization in the iterative process of knowledge conception/production. [ia/ – news for information architects]

Visual Studio Magazine

Visual Studio Magazine ran an interview with Alan Cooper, author of About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum.  The interview focuses on the topic of software construction, which I've been pondering recently (see October 14).  I don't agree with everything that Cooper says in the article, but he does make some very good points, and validates what I and some of my co-workers have been thinking for some time.  Software construction (Cooper doesn't like using the word “development”—see the article for the reasons) can be approached as a craft, or as an engineering discipline.  The way you approach it depends on the type and size of the project.  Who would have thought that it comes down to “use the right tool for the job”?  And there's no magic all-around hammer.  [Jim's Random Notes]