Archive for May, 2006


Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Brad Templeton writes about overly structured forms, one of my top UI peeves. The inability to copy and paste an IP address into a form with four separate fields has annoyed me, oh, probably hundreds of times. Date widgets annoy me slightly less. Listen to Brad when designing your next form, on the web or off.

The opposite of overly structured forms would be a freeform editing widget populated with unconstrained fields blank or filled with example data, or even a completely empty editing widget with suggested structure documented next to the widget — a wiki editing form. This isn’t as strange as it seems — many forms are distributed as word processor or plain text documents that recipients are expected to fill in by editing directly and return.

I don’t think “wikiforms” are appropriate for many cases where structured forms are used, but it’s useful to think of opposites and I imagine their (and hybrids — think a “rich” wiki editor with autocompletion — I haven’t really, but I imagine this is deja vu for anyone who has used mainframe-style data entry applications) niche could increase.

Ironically the currently number one use of the term wiki forms denotes adding structured forms to wikis!

On a marginally related note the Semantic MediaWiki appears to be making good progress.

Tiananmen Sex Trends

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

It looks like Google Trends ranks overrepresentation of cities, regions, and languages for specific queries. Arabic browsers are most likely to search for sex, Chinese most likely to search for Tiananmen. Past posts on Islamic sex and Tiananmen.

A term needs pretty heavy search volume to be trended, which is probably good — massive will not be revealed, much to their disappointment.

Prediction market doesn’t make the cut, though I predict it will soon.

Creative Commons confirms the success of CC-Spain (of which I’ve seen other indicators), particularly in the Catalan-speaking region.

Google Trends doesn’t seem to do nor does it suggest spelling alternatives.

May S-events

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

This month’s Creative Commons Salon San Francisco is tomorrow and a short walk from my new abode.

Saturday is the Singularity Summit at Stanford. I’ve seen 12 of the 14 speakers previously but it could still be a fun event. Probably not as fun as the similar Hofstadter symposium six years ago.

Sunday I’m on a panel at the “Sustainable World Symposium & Festival” on “Leveraging the Internet–Maximizing Our Collective Power.” I’ll seek to entertain and educate, given the probable granola audience.

May 25 I hope to attend the Future Salon on The Sustainability of Material Progress with who has a rather different (and correct) take “sustainability” than I suspect the the “Sustainable World” people above. I haven’t attended a Future Salon in a year, maybe two. I hear they’re large events now.

Update 20060517: May 30 I’ll be speaking at Netsquared Conference session on Turning Communications Technologies Into Tools For Free Speech And Free Culture.

Post May 10 CC Salon SF followup.

Peach of Immortality

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

has been called a seminal album for many genres, but it was for me personally too. I discovered it while browsing the library’s LP collection for strange music, probably in 1985 or 1986. Having been exposed to the Talking Heads (which I grew to love despite hearing Take Me To The River first) and Brian Eno in prior year, I borrowed the record and immediately decided I liked it enough to tape it (a big investment at the time). It is one of the few listenings from that time period that I still indulge. Most of the tracks hold up very well.

This success led me shortly after to pick up Talking Heads ’77 by Peach of Immortality at a used record store. It was unclear whether it had anything to do with the Talking Heads (it doesn’t) but the store owner said it was very strange. It was the first noise album in my possession and is probably the only recording I own manufactured copies of in two formats (LP and CD). I still love it.

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was recently reissued on its 25th anniversary. This would be unremarkable but for the release of sources for two of the album tracks today under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license, which is great and very satisfying.

Of course I wish they had used a more liberal license and that the remix site wasn’t Flash-based or at least did not require Flash 8, which renders it inaccessible to Linux clients. Small complaints and a reminder to throw some money at , which seems to have made its first alpha release a few days ago.

Update: claims to require Flash 8, does not and does work on Linux. Can’t say I’m sorry to miss whatever “interface” is on the home page.