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Yahoo! Live

Starting today, you can watch happenings of my life on Yahoo! Live at http://live.yahoo.com/jameskirsop. I’ll be broadcasting live (bandwidth permitting) from UTS Orientation/Clubs day this Wednesday, 20th Feb, so make sure you tune in to watch this social experiment.

Live (not to be confused with Microsoft’s Live service), seems pretty interesting – but isn’t really new. Other startups have been doing this for a while, but Yahoo seems to be the first major tech player to be doing anything about live video blogging.

The Y! Live blog gave a pretty good explanation of what they’re trying to do for broadcasters, viewers and developers on their blog.

You’ll see me intermittently broadcast from home — my connection isn’t fabulous here, but it might make some interesting viewing from time to time.

-james

 

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God’s gift to Facebook: 3rd Party Apps

With the recent addition of 3rd party apps, Facebook has become the superior site to MySpace among many of my tech-savy friends at Uni and at Apple. While some of them I find a bit of a waste of time, many of them are very useful and are very exciting for me as a user of many Web2.0 applications.

Two of my favourite apps are those that link my Facebook account to my flickr photostream and my account on Last.fm. Both of these services have allowed my friends to find out about my passion for photography and my taste in music – which couldn’t have been done nearly as well on MySpace – or even most other Social Networking sites.

I also like the Digg app, which pulls in the stories I digg throughout the day and the Texas HoldEm Poker application, which is proving as another great tool for procrastination as I go through my mid-year Uni holidays. Unfortunately the Poker app has a few bugs, or perhaps it’s just super popular and it’s causing server problems.
facebook poker
I’ve also heard, on the grapevine with nothing confirmed, that Apple might be doing some integration with Facebook, or another social networking site of similar nature. I’m not sure where they’d intergrate their current products (most probably the iLife suite or the iPod) into a social networking environment, but it would be interesting to see what they come up with.

What’s your favourite 3rd party Facebook app, do you like my favourites or do you have more suggestions?

- james

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Facebox, a MySpace alternative

Last weekend, I recieved another invite to a social networking service in my Hotmail inbox, which I usually regard as spam. I hadn’t seen an invite to this service come through my inbox before so I thought I’d check it out. I’m glad that I did, because Facebox seems to be a really good alternative to MySpace.
The first thing I noticed upon going to the Facebox homepage is that there are barely any ads which is something that is carried all the way through the site. So far, all I’ve been able to find is one block of Google ads on the Facebox homepage, compared to the multiple flashing and annoying ads that you get pushed at you on most pages within MySpace.
Profile pages on Facebox are quite appealing over the, usually, poorly designed MySpace pages. This is due to the user having the choice of a variety of pre-designed (and good looking) themes for their own pages, however the page layout is pretty standard at this stage. They don’t allow HTML tags, so you can’t make any modifications to the layout through hacking up their code, but that might change. I think one of the big appeals of MySpace is the way a user can customise their page to their hearts content (wether it actually looks good or not) and maybe Facebox will loose out on that factor.
In the feature set there’s the standard Photo/Video upload that you can find on most social networking sites these days. There’s also the ability to check out some basic stats on who’s been visiting your profile which is pretty handy. The messaging between users is also pretty good and they seem to have taken a page out of Google’s book in the way that they arrange the messages.
Facebox Messaging System
The best part of all, is that the service doesn’t break every 5 minutes! I’m sick of getting errors that have ‘Been forwarded to our technical department’ on MySpace. Unfortunately, the searching feature on Facebox needs a strong overhall because when I search for people from within a certain age range, I’ll often get people 2 years younger than the minimum age I searched for mixed in with the results I actually wanted.
I strongly recommend that people check out and register on Facebox if you’re addicted to MySpace, or just want to sign up to a MySpace like service without all the ads and other junk that you see there. There’s no band pages on Facebox, but that’s a small price to pay for a much cleaner looking, more stable service.
You can checkout my Facebox profile at: http://en.facebox.com/jameskirsop and if you register use my referal link so I get some Facebox credits.

-james

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Getting personal online

In this day of SMS, blogs, mobile phones, Video conferencing and all of the other recently new communication technologies, are we loosing our personality through technology? Perhaps we’re finding it easier to communicate, and express our opinions, but only at the loss of our own personality with others balanced against the gain of being able to communicate to people across the globe without leaving our own confort zone. There are several signs that this is true, and already progressing at a rapid rate.
In the fast moving Web 2.0 space, social websites like MySpace, Flickr and Del.ico.us are pushing the boundries of spreading our lives to the rest of the world. But recently, a battle has arisen between social bookmarking sites, Digg.com and Netscape.com. Netscape, back in the 1990′s, was one of the leading Internet browsers, but has since been bought by AOL/Time Warner and has been suffering from lagging behind in the fast moving web market. In a bid to get back on track, Netscape.com has been turned into a news portal, and has basically copied Digg.com in its basic structure where people vote for their favourite user-submitted stories. This has sparked an interesting debate between Digg co-founder Kevin Rose and Netscape.com head Jason Calacanis.
What has interested me most about this battle, is not the fact that Calacanis is going to try and get the top story submitters from Digg (and other similar websites) to post on Netscape.com in return for a $1000/month pay check to raise Netscape’s profile and level of incoming news, but the personal battle between the two heads of the companies. Calacanis and Rose have both spoke quite vocally on the issue on their blogs (see the links above), but I wonder if any phone calls have been made. It seems that both of these, quite intelligent, men, are just trying to win people over to their side of the virtual battle ground, instead of sorting out their differences between them selves on a business level.
As with alot of these Web 2.0 technologies, anyone can see photos from my local churches Soccer teams game one the weekend on flickr, without having attended the game, find out who my friends are without even knowing anything about me on MySpace, or read what’s on my mind without having to speak with, or see me at all via my blog. Sure it’s great having the world know about me and my life, but I’d sure rather sit down and have a chat with some of these people to find out who they are as well.
I remember a year or so a go, a relationship I was in ended by a phone call as I was on the way to a trip to Melbourne. Before I got to ask any questions, my reception died and the conversation ended. My trip that week was rather spoilt by the fact that my partner at the time had taken one of the easier options that are avalible to our society today. We’re still friends now, but I was asking my self for weeks how that conversation would have ended had my reception not died mid sentence.
Is it really that hard for us, today, to sit down and talk problems out? Perhaps, in this new technological revoloution that we find our selves in, we’re just adjusting our habits and letting go of the day where we would discuss something over lunch and instead, just stay at the office and carry out a lunch watching each other via a video phone, or chatting via a messaging application.
At the end of the day, I really can’t talk. I blog, I use instant messaging, email and Skype quite reguarly, but all at what cost. Sure I can keep in contact with my friends now I’m living away from home, but perhaps it would be nicer just to visit them more often and let them ask some questions for a change.
-james

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We’re back!!

After the 2nd server crash in a month (the 2nd time being my own fault) we’re back!!! Hopefuly I wont go and stuff up the kernel images and boot sequence of my Debian install now and make my server redundant. I’ve moved from Fedora Core to Debian, and so far it seems a far nicer Linux distribution to work with (apt-get saves my butt over and over again).

Also, now I’ve moved to Debian, I’ll be setting up decent FTP and web-hosting fairly soon, so if you’d like to have something stored or hosted, let me know. I’m going to wait a few weeks and see how the hardware holds up, and get some data backup systems in place, but once that’s done I’m all set to go!

I’m back down in Sydney tomorrow to start the 2nd half of my first semester at UTS on Monday. I have an exam the first day back, and then ANZAC day off, so I’ll have to see how I go with all that. Spending time at home has been good, and its been good to see all my friends again – shoutouts to all my friends!!

Anyway, as always, feel free to leave comments and suggestions!!

-james

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