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February 2004

Queryster

Joho the Blog reports:

I've taken a quick pass through Queryster.com, and I'm impressed. It's a metasearch site developed by a small team headed up by Jeff Kang. From an email from Jeff:
It's a team effort (a developer friend and myself) that made the Queryster Search Network. The objective is to make Web search easier and more fun. Also it would serve as a showcase for what we can do technically. We hope to turn our skills into a website development business. Queryster has been online for two months now, and recently we have received a few positive feedbacks and suggestions for improvement. ...


Querying the web

Google is not your only option and the results it delivers depend upon the specific algorithms and methodology that it uses. Queryster is an excellent site for co-ordinating your search via different engines: 'You can use Queryster to: search the web; get search results from different search engines, and compare them; if you have a website, check if your site is included in various search engines.'


Mobility and Lifestyles

The Mobiles: social evolution in a wireless society is the latest report from Context-Based Research Group. A résumé by Amy Jo Kim has appeared in Many2Many.

In this study, ethnographic researchers looked at how mobile behavior had changed worldwide from 2000-2002, across a variety of ages (teens, young adults, older adults) and locations (Australia, China, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, and the US). One of their conclusions is that wireless communication changes the nature of how relationships and community are created and maintained - AND that these social patterns are tied into how deeply each person has adopted a ‘mobile lifestyle.’

Amy Jo Kim goes on to offer this excellent 'brief summary of the “Mobile LifeStyle Stages” and associated social patterns from this report':

Stage 1) Wireless Why? (low awareness / low integration)
These people recognize that a mobile lifestyle exists, but they haven’t decided whether or not they want to be part of it. They haven’t taken the time or don’t see the need to integrate wireless into their everyday lives and don’t really think much about that either. Socially, Stage 1 people use a cellphone to stay in touch with “intimates” (e.g. a spouse, family member or close friend) but don’t do much time-shifting or develop new social patterns - they map their existing social patterns onto their wireless devices.

Stage 2) The Gadgeteers (high awareness / low integration)
These people are fascinated with the gadgets, the devices of wireless - but they haven’t yet smoothly integrated their devices into their lives. They’re made the decisions to opt into the mobile lifestyle, have only just begun to actually change their behavior. Socially, a Stage 2 person might use a cellphone to make and confirm last-minute plans, but is worried about giving up face-to-face contact in favor of mobile conversations.

Stage 3) The Almost-There’s (high awareness / high integration)
This group’s mobile devices are highly integrated into their lives, but they’re still highly conscious of their presence. As they grow more comfortable with their mobile lifestyle, they will become less aware of their devices and will move on to the next stage of lifestyle development. Socially, Stage 3 people are now part of a virtual community that’s held together by mobile communications. Often, there’ a rush of excitement associated with building a large network of contacts. During this stage, people’s mobile connections expand rapidly, often including multiple shallow relationships.

Stage 4) The MOBILES (low awareness / high integration)
These people integrate wireless into their lives and don’t think much about it. They’ve had access to wireless devices for a number of years, and are at a life stage where they’re comfortable with themselves, their position, and how they choose to live their lives. Socially, Stage 4 people have moved past the rush of excitement brought on by mobile connections; they’re comforable with their mobile lifestyle, they’ve pruned their contact lists, and use it to deepen existing relationships and maintain a smaller, deeper network.

There is a downloadable PDF summary of this research here.



iTunes can sound even better ...

Octiv have just announced Volume Logic for Windows:

Volume Logic — The first iTunes audio plug-in is now available for Windows 2000 and XP. Makes real-time digital remastering a reality for all iTunes audio. Any playlist sounds great with automatic adjustment of volume dynamics and spectral balancing.

nth.Octave comments:

Octiv's Volume Logic plug-in improves the quality of the listening experience by digitally remastering audio in real-time with the same technology used by the pros in the music and broadcast business. Any iTunes playlist can sound like a professionally produced CD with automatic adjustment of volume dynamics and spectral balancing by Volume Logic. Volume Logic was first released for Macintosh in January 2004, and has already won Pen Computing Magazine's Top 10 iPod Accessories Award, March 2004 issue.

A free trial version is available.


NYC photoblogging exhibition

A photoblogging show last night at the Apple Store in Soho (NYC), written up by Jason Kottke (star webdesigner), who concludes:

And across it all, the barest of impressions that photoblogging is an art form unto itself, that it's not just photography + blogging. I'm not sure yet what makes it a unique thing, but the combination of the relative inexpensiveness of producing digital images in mass quantities (with a digital camera, it costs as much to take and store 1000 photos as it does to take 1 photo) and cheap, easy methods of publishing them to the Web has a lot to do with it.


Bloglines

If you're looking for a web-based e-mail service that might also give you other, as yet undreamed of benefits — look at Bloglines. If you can make the breakthrough to RSS (ask! — or see here), then Bloglines will be of immense benefit to you. Moreover,

There's no longer any need to wade through the spam in your Inbox to read your mailing list messages. When you subscribe from a Bloglines email subscription, the email address disappears. You never have to worry about trying to find the subscribe instructions for a mailing list you're on.


"Boys are not behind, they are ahead."

... the latest official statistics showed that, in England, girls continue to out-perform boys in most subjects and at most ages. BBC News

This is the picture as it is usually perceived. However, in Nine Shift: Work, life and education in the 21st century — a new book by American educationalists Draves and Coates — a different picture emerges:

... boys are leading society into the internet age. According to them, it is not boys who are the problem but schools. For while boys are developing the skills they will need in the "knowledge jobs" of the future, schools are still preparing students for an industrial age which is passing. They believe schools in the US had to go through a similar adjustment between 1900 and 1920, as the education system adapted to produce the skills needed for industrial and office employers instead of the rural economy. Draves and Coates say boys dropped out of school in huge numbers in the first two decades of the 20th century. Yet it was young men, experimenting with technology, who led America's manufacturing boom, especially in the automobile industry. They say something similar is happening today: boys are into the internet and computers. They like to innovate and experiment. They "like taking risks, being entrepreneurial, being collaborative — all behaviours that lead to success in the workforce today". But while they are rewarded for their behaviour in the workplace, they are punished in school because they are non-conformist, poor at listening and following instructions, and restless. BBC News


Film and digital rights

KaZaA has been around for a while and those on the ball have been tuning into BitTorrent, too. What are they? Means to the end of sharing files — and the implications for control of digital media are immense. Slate reports that BitTorrent has made sharing films easy. The technology is remarkable and incredibly simple:

The problem with file sharing is that most computers on the Net have ample download capacity but much slower upload speeds. If you try to download a file from my computer, my DSL connection only lets me upload it at 128 kilobits per second — not much faster than a dial-up line. You might have a 1 megabit line to your house, but a measly 128K is the most you'll get from me. BitTorrent solves that problem by finding other computers that also host the same file. By downloading, say, one-tenth of the file from 10 computers at the same time, BitTorrent puts your download capacity to full use. In fact, the more popular a file is, the faster it downloads because there are more computers with copies sharing the load. Other peer-to-peer networks like KaZaA have added this multiple-source capability, but BitTorrent seems the most efficient and aggressive at optimizing the collective bandwidth of its user population.

Link via anil dash's daily links (28.2.2004)