Andy Gavin's blog

People are doing it for themselves

Forget anti-capitalist parades, demonstrating against corporations and big buisness. If you don't like the way something is done, perhaps get together with others and do it better.

It seems that people are increasingly banding together and doing the job for themselves. People are clubbing together to build the world that they want. Communities are on the rise, but in the new world they're not just who live closest to each other. Technologists talk about open source, other walks of life are also seeing people dedicating their freetime to improve things for the community.

Manchester United since it was, bought by big buisness, left many fans disillusioned. Finally having enough they formed their own football club: FC United the fan's football club. Subject of BBC documentary and gaining many fans who want to get back to the sport: rather than the glitzy monied image that has nothing to do with the sport.

The Web2.0: is it hype?

For me what is happening with JavaScript and XML is very interesting. The metaphor of the browser back-button is breaking. The central pane of the browser is becoming more versatile.

To some AJAX might be all hype. I have to say that as a language JavaScript isn't much to write home about, and as a platform the web varies from browser to browser. But having been watching web technology now for a good ten years, it really seems like there is a shift going on now. Not everyone agrees I had the opportunity to chat to some that were developing some of this technology the other day, and it surprised me that they disliked the idea of Web2.0, or Web2--- they couldn't put their finger on what amounted to: to them it was hype. They'd always done it. That perhaps is the point, they grew up with it, are part of it and are making Web2.0 a reality.


Climate Change: An Inconvenient Truth

A new film documenting the effects of global warming is about to go on release: An Inconvenient Truth. It might be begin to shock us all into the changes we all need to make, but is this and other initiatives too late to turn-back the tide?

As air travel is a great polluter, what does this mean for our new flatter world?


Hotext: Interesting new company

An interesting new service targetting teenagers has been launched in the UK. Hotext is a texting service that uses the internet rather than the Short Message Service. The user has to download a java application to their phone to use the service, it aims to be cheaper than texting for those who text a lot.


DRM and the Open Rights Group

The internet has had a long history of digital rights. Organisations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have helped keep digital freedom over the years, helping to make the internet what it is today. The latest fight in the digital frontier is Digital-Rights management. It is worth listening to Cory Doctorow's speech from OSCON Europe 2005. Anyone who is interested in music, home-cinema or other products of the entertainment industry: beware!

He also mentions a relatively new UK group: The Open Rights Group that aims to raise awareness of digital rights issues.

Community Audiobooks

For all those who get travel-sick but love reading Librivox hosts audio-books read by volunteers. Anyone can volunteer to read by posting to their forum: so if you have a sensitive ear for language you could be disappointed and, because of copyright, only books in the public-domain are available.

It's a useful resource for the traveller, and the podcast streams make it easy to tune in for each installment for larger books.

Page scanning and web design

Jakob Nielsen recently published research which has implications for web design may be a rediscovery of a rule in typography: the Gutenberg Rule. Nielsen produced a small study of how the eyes of roughly 250 people scanned a website. With a page of text the pattern followed is roughly F shaped was the conclusion.



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