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.

Tears of Steel: He just wanted to be awesome in space!

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.

Related sources about the Tears of Steel movie

(via Karl-Tux-Stadt)

Facelift: small Update of the OntoWiki GUI

Everything needs some refreshment from time to time, that doesn’t mean that it has to change completely. Before the SABRE conference 2012 I’ve tweaked the OntoWiki GUI a little bit, to provide an eyecandy and up-to-date look for presentations.

To get the story started: I created the CSS framework of the OntoWiki GUI in 2008, still with the constraint that it has to work even in IE6. You know that your hands are in chains with that, no chance for the cool stuff. Later this policy changed, but therefore it ended like this, the Silver Blue theme:

OntoWiki screenshot: Silverblue theme, original

Now, 4 years later, browser support for CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 is much better, so let’s play a little bit. I did not changed any markup code, I only used some CSS for the update. I moved the main application window to top bar, then I’ve added box shadows, gradients and round corners. Silver Blue facelift 2012:

OntoWiki screenshot: Silverblue theme, facelift

From that point it needed some changes on color definitions (what was not too trivial because we do not have pre-proceeding tools like SCSS here in OntoWiki) and we got another theme extension, called Dark Orange:

OntoWiki screenshot: Darkorange theme

These updates are not in the develop branch of OntoWiki right now but they will probably merged into it later after some more testings. Currently you need to check out the GUI-Facelift feature branch to use the GUI updates.

The Semantic Web of Data Tim Berners-Lee

This video is 4 years old, so the content probably does not include information about the latest development, TBL “only” explaines the idea of the Semantic Web.

Somehow it is always nice to watch him speaking, sometimes it is hard to understand and follow him if you are not a native english speaker but at least he is finishing almost all sentences this time :)

20 Free Books on Linux, Open Source Software & Philosophy

Very often we only need some quick tips and tutorials to solve our problems. Nethertheless it is still great to dive in deeper, get a wider background of knowledge. So, books are still great.

This list is based on three compilation done by Linux Mint tumblr and my bookmarks about books.

All of the book are free, at least free as in free beer. Some of them are licensed under a free and open license. Most of the books are available in various ebook formats and paper versions, please consider to buy one if you like it. Now, enjoy the list:

General Usage & Administration

FLOSS & Philosophy

Creation & Programming

$ learn -cli -bash -o=brain.txt

More Books & Resources

Thank you for talking about PubwichFork!

You need to attract people to make Open Source software projects successful. That’s the reason why I wanna say thank you to everybody who spread the message about PubwichFork. You are as important as the software itself.

Creating an Open Source software project is easy, getting attention is hard because we have so many great software projects. Small FLOSS projects do not have budget to buy commercial advertising, neither they have a big community at the beginning — they live on word-of-mouth recommendations.

WebResourcesDepot, La Ferme du Web and PHPspot introduced PubwichFork to their readers after the PubwichFork 2.0 was released. Recently the Hot Scripts Blog list it in their top three most popular social wall scripts.

I want to thank especially every single person who tweeted and bookmarked it, contributed feature requests and bug reports.

Please keep it on! Do not stop spreading the word. It’s important!

One week ago Curiosity landed safe on Mars, later the NASA provided a video that pinned down the 7 minutes of terror to 2 minutes, showing how the Mohawk Guy and his colleagues went nuts after the successful landing. The video looks like Hollywood pays back it fees :)

NASA released a lot of materials about the landing, if you are a web developer then you may check out the interactive website “How do I land on Mars” about Curiosity’s descent. You can watch the animation playing it as a whole, or scrolling it manually down. Use Firebug to check out the web technology behind it.

Screenshot: NASA website about Curiosity decent to Mars

Github: Starred is the new Watched & redesigned Notifications. Does it fail?

Some days ago Github asked users to verify their email addresses again, this was only the prelude of the recent Github release. Today Github refreshed their notification system/interface, it changed the meaning of watched repositories and rolled out the new starred repositories feature. What about usability, accessibility and more improvements?

As you can read in the blog post “Notifications & Stars”, Github rolled out a big update on their portal, with a lot of changes:

  • Watched Repositories: Github changed the semantics and function of what they mean and how they work. It was a list of repositories you want to keep track on updates, now it is a special list of repositories you will get notifications via web interface and email, you can opt-in/out via your notification settings. There is also a main option to automatically watch all repositories you’re given push access. Per default that main option is activated, and you will get all notifications via web and email if you don’t opt-out.
  • Starred Repositories: You can star (or unstar) repositories you find interesting and you want to keep track of, it simply is the old feature of Watched Repositories. All your old watched repositories landed on that list with the recent update.
  • Notifications: the web interface now rolls up messages into threads of activity, similar you know it from threated view in email clients and forums. Notification settings has been simplified , and you can configure different email addresses for notifications based on the organization a repository lives in. The notifications button moved from the menu right to the logo on the left, only a blue dot indicates that you have new notifications.

What to do now?

  1. check your notification settings
  2. manage your list of watched repositories

Did it introduce problems on Usability and Accessibility?

I’m wondering if these changes could be problematic because Github changed functions users learned how to use long time ago, some could harm usability and accessibility of Github:

  • A blue dot as mark for new messages is an indication only based on color, that make it harder to use it, e.g. for color blind people or on bad monitors, adverse light, etc. Github may add a counting number of unread messages here, or additionally use two different symbols for “unread” and “all read”.
  • Changing the meaning of a function is critical! Not just in your code, also in your user inteface. I really would like to know how many people will be keeping on to use “Watch Repository” instead of “Star Repository”, maybe they just didn’t read the Github news(letter), forget the new meaning or just hitting that button because they always have used it. Good luck with your email box full of notifications. I can imagine some reasons whay Github uses now the starred metapher and why they add a new process how to watch repositories, but maybe it would have been better to add missed functionality to the watched list, and maybe only renaming it later.

Room for improvements

In my eyes they even don’t go the whole way on their changes how to manage watched/starred repositories. I really wished they would have been added filters on those lists, e.g. time of last update/commit, number of branches/forks/contributors/languages/size, etc … it could help (at least me) to sort out inactive projects, or repositories you are not interested in anymore. Currently the lists are not very usable, it is just an paged list, I don’t even know how many repositories I’ve starring/watching currently.

Just my 2 cents.

PS: Don’t get me wrong, Github is still a great web service!

Top 6 from the 30th+31st week: Colours, Javascript MV*, Wordpress, Photography, Adobe Font & Curiosity

  • Stuff print designers should be care about: The ColorHug is an open source display colorimeter. It allows you to calibrate your screen for accurate color matching. The ColorHug is a small accessory that measures displayed colors very accurately. It is held on your display and plugged into a spare USB port on the computer for the duration of the calibration.
  • Developers these days are spoiled with choice when it comes to selecting an MV* framework for structuring and organizing their JavaScript web apps. TodoMVC offers the same Todo application implemented using MV* concepts to compare the most of the popular JavaScript MV* frameworks of today.
  • If you need to administrate various Wordpress installations on different web servers, you may check out Infinite WP, an admin panel to manage multiple Wordpress sites: one single master login, instant backup and restore, one click update to manage plugins and themes.
  • Camerapedia is a free-content encyclopedia of camera information, a repository of information about all still camera brands and models. Check it out if you like analogue or digital photography.
  • Seems that Adobe started to dive into the Open Source movement, now they released Source Sans Pro, their first open source font, under terms of Open Font License. Maybe there is a future Adobe stops that Photoshop stuff and starts contributing to Gimp :)

In the light of current events check out the infographic and video of 7 Minutes of Terror, about the landing of Curiosity on Mars in around 9 hours.

(Source: delicious.com)

Google added Structured Data Dashboard to Webmaster Tools

How can you see that the Semantic Web is not only a nerdy imagination? Google is using and promoting it. The company now added a Structured Data dashbord to its Webmaster Tools, under “Optimization!”

What is it?

Google calls semantically annotated data Structured Data, now they added a dashbord for Structured Data to their Webmaster Tools, supporting site administrators to control how annotated pages are perform. Read: Google wants you to annotate your stuff! They need your help to understand your content better. You will find the Structured Data dashboard under the Optimization menu.

Screenshot: Structured Data dashboard, site-level view, image by Webmaster Central Blog

Dashboard Features:

  • Site-level view: shows root item type and vocabulary schema of the annotated data from your site indexed by Google.
  • Itemtype-level view: showing pages and special attributes for indexed item types.
  • Page-level view: details page showing all attributes of every item type on the given page, it contains a link to test the given page using the Rich Snippet testing tool.

The dashboard provides a very good overview how your annotations work and perform, seen through Google’s glasses.

Limitations

The dashboard shows how the annotations perform, it doesn’t tell you why they perfom that way.

Example: I use the dashboard on a site with only two pages, both they are annotated using schema.org vocalbulary and Microdata syntax. Until July 27th Google had their 2 item types indexed, from July 31st Google misses 1 item type. I didn’t changed anything on the annotations. The dashboard do not show indications about the reason. Does Google just re-index the content, did the algorithm change, is their now a conflict with other Microformats markup on the page. I just can guess, adjust the markup and wait some days to see the result in the dashboard (the rich snippets testing tool parses the item type correctly).

Why they add the dashboard?

Common information retrieval on text bodies and using vector rooms on text snippets is not enough anymore, because we have to much data out there. We need semantic annotation on that data to support machines understanding the data, using and creating real information from that data. Google, Yahoo and Bing know that, last year they created schema.org, providing a simple vocabulary to annotate your web documents and the things they are about by using Microdata syntax.