Category Archives: Web 2.0

a cat… standing up!

These gentlemen are from the future.

These gentlemen are from the future.

You may have noticed how quiet Global Spin has become, yet again. With the rise of Twitter and Reader and Tumblr and other such thing-share-ers, our little community no longer has much reason to post their thoughts to a group blog.

In response, I’m quitting!

checks notes Oh wait, that’s not it… shuffles papers One sec, it was right here…

Right! In response, I’m going to keep posting the same old things on Global Spin as always. (In a word: monkeys.) I won’t even promise to post more often, because we’ve all seen through that little shadow play. Or something.

For those of you looking for a little more regularity and a little less depth, I give you a cat… standing up! (Oh, and I might also share some other things over there, because it’s what all the kids are doing these days.)

That is all.

tomayto tomahto

Speak & SpellI often see a word in print long before I hear it pronounced. That’s fine for most words—”antidisestablishmentarianism” isn’t actually that hard to deconstruct—but it can get me in trouble sometimes. For years I thought misled was pronounced “mizzled”, and I never did decide how envelope should sound.

Now that’s going to be a lot easier, thanks to a little programming trickery by John Tantalo. He created a handy bookmarklet that takes standard International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions (as found on many Wikipedia pages) and runs them through a text-to-speech (TTS) system to speak them aloud.

Checking a few known pronunciations against Wikipedia’s IPA for them, I see that either the TTS server or the listed IPA needs some work. I suspect the latter, because the IPA for the Niger River entry (/ˈnaɪdʒər/) sounds great, while the IPA for Nagios (/ˈnɑːɡi.oʊs/) sounds way off (as I write this at least). Still, most entries work great, and I expect this tool to encourage more authors to include IPA as it gets used.

a note (or is it a comment?) on feature blur

Brad just pointed out that Google Reader added new features familiar to Twitter and Facebook users: marking a post as something you “like” and setting a status message. They didn’t remove similar features, though, so the result is a blur of options:

Google Reader feature blur example

So when I want to remember something, do I “star” it or “like” it? If I want to let people know about it, should I “like” it or “share” it? Is my “note” shown as a “comment” or somewhere else?

I recognize the thinking here; if users are looking for a feature by a familiar name (“like”), they might not find it by your own convention (“star”). This half-baked mix of features isn’t the answer, though. Each addition should have been weighed against the existing choices, and if the benefit justified the new feature it should have replaced the old.

wanting to be found

It’s difficult to find old high-school friends on the Web. Many of them don’t have any reason to publish pages with bylines or about themselves. It’s even harder when their names have changed since they left school (i.e. most of my friends from that time). That makes it tough to do a casual “where are they now?” search on Google. Social networks like Facebook don’t help much if you’ve been out of school more than a decade, and alumni-finder sites tend to be horrible little pay-for-everything silos.

I realize that many people probably don’t want to be found under their old names, but I do, because there were some really cool people I knew back then and I know they’ve probably come into their own since. Even if they don’t have reason to publish on the Web, they might find themselves doing a casual search for my old name, so I’d like to help that link to my current online identity. The best way I’ve come up with is to make a simple Chris Craig at UCHS page that does nothing but link to my profile here. I’m hoping that’ll be enough to make the connection in the Googlebrain, but we’ll see.

Any other ideas? Have you run into this problem yourself?