Sharing Presentations with SlideShare

slideshare SlideShare, a new site for viewing, posting, and commenting on presentations (found via Ajaxian) gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside! I’ve seen many presentations posted on blogs (heck, I do it) that point at either Microsoft .PPTs or PDFs. And good lord, how I hate pdf slides.

Its the YouTube for presentations, providing an easy way to browse and post presentations in a community-centric interface. In fact, the SlideShare interface is extremely similar to YouTube in its page structure and its sharable content features (embedding and linking). I dare-say its a copycat. But…a copy-cat that makes me happy. :)

I’ll be posting some example slides as soon as I can upload them!…Things seem a bit buggy at SlideShare right now. I’m hoping that they solve that stuff soon…a lot of broken pages/script timeouts. Chances are they weren’t prepared for the load that Ajaxian has given them.

UPDATE: Here’s the slides I posted a little while back from my database guest lecture.

Tags Done Right…the Technorati Way

My pal, Casey, posted an article about tagging. His topic is right, the implementation he is using for Technorati tagging is a bit off as it only accomplishes half of what is needed and may be misleading (luckily his implementation is in alpha testing). He states:

Flickr does tags better than any other, so far as I can tell.

[…]

Take “road trip” as an example. What one tagger thinks is two words might be just “roadtrip” to another. This is where Flickr’s tag indexing does it right: we still have to pick the right words (and spelling), but we don’t have to worry about spaces or punctuation.

So, when I tag a photo “Mt. Moosilauke,” Flickr stores the both text I enter as well as a version in all lower-case, without spaces or punctuation: “mtmoosilauke.” And when you search for “Mt. Moosilauke,” you get the same results as your neighbor searching for “mt moosilauke.”

Casey has modified his excellent WordPress stat tracking/tagging/everything else you could ever want plugin, bsuite, to place Technorati tags at the bottom of posts in that fashion. So, I could enter the following as tags in my post:

<tags>squirrel handed people, bologna, large elephants taste good with cheese</tags>

His plugin would display the tags (and thus, ping Technorati) as:

<tags>squirrelhandedpeople, bologna, largeelephantstastegoodwithcheese</tags>

Neat feature, but there is one issue. Technorati tags don’t work that way. If I wanted to search for WordPress, I would get a whole set of different results than if I had searched for Word press or even “Word Press”. Which is right? Well, the user community drives what is right so…all three. We can make the assumption that many users will enter their search terms in many different ways depending on where/how they learned about tagging.

I quote my tags. One of my friends doesn’t. Casey likes to omit spaces.

Casey is right in that Flickr did it correctly from the start. But when working with Technorati its a whole other ball game. Bsuite, in my opinion, should either leave tagging stories as the user enters them OR when displaying tags and pinging Technorati, all possibilities need to be accounted for. Luckily there are only the 3 main types:

  1. Tags with spaces
  2. Tagswithnospaces
  3. and “Tags in quotes”

I am pleased to say that option 3 – “Tags in quotes” – happily replaces all punctuation with a single space. So I could write the following and it’d all be the same:

“Tags in quotes”
“Tags+in+quotes”
“Tags-in_quotes!”
etc.

The moral of the story: There may be a correct way to implement a base feature…but when you are relying on a separate web service to manage that base feature, you need to adhere to their standards to optimize your results…and in the mean time beg them to change it. Tonight I will be meeting with Casey and hopefully bend his Bsuite Beta tag implementation to my will!

Slashdot Goes Tagging!

Slashdot is a blog no matter how much they attempt to deny it. Its about time that the well known nerd news site implements more searchable articles besides categories. Folksonomy is definately the way to go! Currently, Slashdot is labeling tagging as a Beta feature (*sniff sniff* do I smell web 2.0?). All Slashdot needs to do is make good with its proposed redesign and I’ll be a happy reader once again. Until then, I suppose I’ll remain the slightly disgruntled, yet loyal, reader that steals and elaborates on a number of their topics! w00t!

Amazon Tags!

About Time! According to CNet, Amazon is heading down the road of tagging. This is great news in my book. I’m a follower of the Web 2.0 movement and have really been turned onto the idea of folksonomy (tagging) by products like Flickr and thus have recently brought MasterWish on board with tagging.

While many people out there have used tagging in Flickr, Gmail, MasterWish and various other web 2.0 apps…there are still many out there that express their opinions on tagging as “Tagging…WTF is that?!”. Having a large web company such as Amazon with its HUGE following jump on the band wagon with tagging will help bring folksonomy to the masses.

While exciting that this is happening, Amazon is slowly rolling tags out to their users as evidenced in this excerpt of the CNet article:

The idea, apparently, is to slowly experiment with tags and to give users some power over how certain Amazon products–books, for example–are categorized.

For now […] only about half of Amazon’s users can even see tags on the site.

Its only a matter of time before folksonomy will cease to be a buzz word and start appearing in the english dictionary. Everybody and their brother will know of tagging and the world will be a happier, easier to search place. I can only hope

Writely

Zach over at NoSheep! wrote an article about Web 2.0 and the Long Tail that intrigued me. That article linked to another article by Tim O’Reilly that discusses various services that are getting heavy notice on their innovations on the web. One has really caught my eye….Writely.

The gist of this application is that its a Word Processor online! You can type documents (much like you can with MS Word or OpenOffice.org) through a web interface. The application has an auto-save, hot keys, exporting to HTML and Word, HTML editing and the ability to publish to blogs! Oh, and the sweet part about it…you tag your documents and can distribute them with other users. I teach a course at Plymouth State University and the last quiz that I administered was typed up using Writely. I’ve done a few other documents since then and it seems extremely slick.

That doesn’t mean its perfect. Writely is still in Beta (as most Web 2.0 apps are) and I have a few issues with it so far. When you export a Writely document to Word, it works but the formatting looks a little off. Also, there are a number of features that are provided in a full-fledged word processing application that are not yet provided in Writely. But thats what the beta is! Check it out, use it, make suggestions.

If you haven’t checked it out…do so. It’ll be worth your while.

http://www.writely.com/

Google Blog Search

I just read about this at my friend Cliff’s blog! It seems Google now provides a Blog Search tool! Yup, a Google search geared towards blog sites. Very groovy. Google states (and yes, I’m ripping off my friend’s story…but who cares :D I reach a different audience.)

Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.

Cliff does say:

After tinkering with Google Blog Search for a bit, I have to say that it seems pretty good. It’s never quite clear how Google gathers their info and ranks their sites, although they do seem to lend quite a bit of weight to tags.

I’ve played with it a bit and I definately think its the right plan. Just one more thing to add to Google’s large list of services I use!