> Many years ago now Google actually paid for a usability study for one of the features I was speccing (microdata) and it was absolutely fascinating to see how people’s actual performance was so divergent from their impressions. We’d ask them questions like “which would be simpler, this or this” and then we’d actually test them by having them use the options, and there was just no relationship between what people said they wanted, and what people were actually able to use.
> Often when people send feedback (not just authors, pretty much anyone who hasn’t been in the process for a long time starts this way) they send feedback along the lines of “I want to add feature X” or “I want feature X to be extended in manner Y”. But when we drill down, ask them “what problem are you trying to solve”, or “what’s your use case” (same question but phrased differently), we often find that either (a) they actually don’t have a real problem, they just thought that it would be a good idea, or (b) their solution wouldn’t actually solve their problem. Often we’re able to come up with much simpler solutions (or point to already-existing solutions), which is quite satisfying.
> The average computer user is unaware there is a war for freedom going on that will determine the path of modern society. Software Wars is a movie about the battle for our right to share technology and ideas. This software will not be ‘owned’ by corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and Google, who are mostly impeding technological progress. — Source: Software Wars @ indiegogo
> The main producer is Keith Curtis, a Seattle-based author and programmer who spent 11 years at Microsoft before being converted to the world of Linux and open-source software. The movie is based on a portion of Curtis’ book, “After the Software Wars,” but he’s working on the project with an extensive virtual team out of L.A. — Source: GeekWire
I already had Curtis’ book from 2009 on my list “20 Free Books on Linux, Open Source Software & Philosophy.”
I wondering if that movie is going to be a objective documentary about the subjects Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) and proprietary systems. I guess it won’t be like that. But at least it could be a movie nice to watch, and it can be used in campaigns for free software projects and as an opposite to proprietary software campaigns that people usually watch every day at TV/commercial breaks.
So let us support the crowdfunding campaign of Software Wars.
Semantic enhancements and structured data on websites helps to improve your SEO. Usually you use Microformats, Microdata and RDFa/Lite for it but you (or your developers) have to learn the syntax markup and vocabularies first. Now, Google added the Data Highlighter to the webmaster tools: a point-and-click tool that helps you to “show Google patterns of structured data on your website without modifying your pages.”
Google loves structured data because they use it to get more information about your content, better understanding of you content could improve your ranking in search engines. Google pushed a lot of initiatives to invite website owners to create more structured data:
All these initiatives depends on webmasters and developers who are able to add special markup to their pages. The Data Highlighter now “improves” that process because you can use a point-and-click tool to describe your actual content, no markup additions are necessary.
This makes things easier but could harm the web ecosystem because if you use the Data Highlighter to describe your content then only Google knows this description. This may help you to rank your site better in Google but it puts you in a situation with strong dependencies on Google. No other search engine provider like Bing, Yahoo or Yandex can use that structured information, no other indepentent tool can see those semantic enhancements. Second, if you change your site structure and markup you need to perform the Data Highlighter tool again on your website, even if it still contains the same data.
Test and use the Data Highlighter (be aware: it currently only works with events! Do not define your shop items as events :) ), use it to learn what Structured Data is and how it can help to improve your business, but please don’t rely only on this tool. Learn how to add structured data and semantic enhancements directly to your website (or just pay someone who knows how to do it), long term this will perform better.
The blog is back, maybe without a bang but with some advent calendars for developers:
Please contribute your suggestions if you know other calendars for developers.
7 months after version 2.0, the new PubwichFork 2.1 comes with improved support for responsive mobile layouts and updated social media service classes.
After saving original Pubwich from death, PubwichFork 2.0 was downloaded appr. 350 times, installs from the repository not included, it attracted attention in some weblogs for web developers, PubwichFork powered sites were shown on barcamps and featured in a professional journal.
Now PubwichFork 2.1 comes with some minor but nice improvements.
Check the changelog for a detailed list of changes.
PubwichFork aggregates your latest Social Web and Social Media content across multiple service websites, e.g. your Twitter stream or Flickr photos. Then it renders one single website featuring all your content. PubwichFork is written in PHP and licensed Open-Source under a GPL.
A little bit more than a month ago Zend Framework 2 stable finally has be seen the light, after all the years of development it was finished earlier than the new Berlin Airport, a never ending story and source for jokes :)
Zend put a new website online and used new URIs for downloads but it seems that they forgot to set redirects, so some install routine of Zend Framework enabled software had to get updated.
Everyone who wants to dive into the new version of the well known PHP framework, check out those nice resources out there:
Since the first release of ZF2, the developer community released two more minor bugfix releases: recent version is 2.0.2.
I was a bit hasty when I said that all Twitter RSS feeds are dead because currently you can use the Twitter feeds via Twitter API v1. It seems that Twitter stopped to support special feed URIs some days ago, that following URIs won’t work anymore:
Twitter still supports the RSS output for their API version 1:
As version 1 of the Twitter API is deprecated now and Twitter only supports JSON with version 1.1 you should prepare your applications, Twitter are going to stop support for RSS and version 1 in March 2013.
The WWW is becoming a World Wide Wasteland, Swizec rants that in his article on the Zemanta weblog. I would like to use the metapher of a big ocean with a lot of islands without any ship routes and communication between them, or only over a few central ports.
I really agree that we need links. Even if search engines could crawl the ocean without dependencies on interlinked islands, the results for our search requests would let us in our own small world forever. Links can help us to get a new sight on things, to get new input for new ideas, and so on. Search engines may not “see” the relation between two sources if they are not interlinked.
I link a lot of stuff here in my blog, why not, I’m not afraid that I will lose readers, I probably wouldn’t have any of them without a link to my blog/article somewhere. I also like the idea to tell other content owners that I linked them, that’s the reason why I pingback them, even from Tumblr to non-tumblring sources.
He finished his article with that video about “Link Love”, I really like the style, it’s funny and a good starter to recultultivate the power of web links.
Yesterday Blender Foundation released director Ian Hubert’s new short film “Tears of Steel”, a movie about a group of warriors and scientists, who gather at the “Oude Kerk” in Amsterdam to stage a crucial event from the past, in a desperate attempt to rescue the world from destructive robots.
The 4th movie of the Blender foundation, after Elephants Dream (2006), Big Buck Bunny (2008), and Sintel (2010), is not fully trick animated, it’s a mix between real places and actors and CGI animation. It doesn’t matter if you like or not like the story and actors, the movies really shows what is possible with free software and volunteers. The movie was financed by Blender’s user community, the Netherlands Film Fund, the Cinegrid consortium, and by corporate sponsors such as Google.
Currently you can watch Tears of Steel online via YouTube, download and torrent links will be provided soon, when mirrors have been synced. A DVD release is planned with a lot of additional features, e.g. all sources.
Tears of Steel is released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
Fun fact: the movie project name was/is Mango, the soldier in the movie drinks mango juice.