May 20th, 2013 § § permalink
Children playing Paperboy on an Amstrad CPC 464 in the 1980s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am proud to be part of a group of enthusiasts, who have 10 years ago started systematically collecting and exhibiting computer history in Slovenia. the pinnacle of this first decade was the recent exhibition Goto1982, prepared in collaboration with MNZS, that covered the cambrian explosion of home computers extensively.
Today, we are hosting a closing event for this exhibition, which is moving on to be hosted by Technical Museum of Slovenia for the next 12 months. We are extremely proud to be recognized and trusted by both institutions, and by thousands of visitors who left very optimistic comments, like “omg, this was my first one!“, and “this is confusing, i feel young and old at the same time“. thank you all!
We are more sure than ever, that technology is not just part of everyone’s lives today, but essential ingredient in everyone’s personal story. Each and every one I talk to these days doesn’t feel intimidated or bored by the idea of this Museum, quite the contrary – with glitter in the eyes, everyone starts listing objects from their past that they have been safely storing until now.
We are opening a new chapter today – we will be announcing the founding of Computer Museum Society, and inviting new members and supporters to join. Our plan is to build a different museum – one that will not only educate about the past, but also think ahead, educating the youth and bringing together professional communities.
To do this next step, we first need your help. We need you to raise your hand in support and basically say: “yes, computers and other contemporary technologies have made me what I am today, I don’t want this to pass by unexplored.”
You can support our efforts by:
- showing up tonight, at 6pm in MNZS
- becoming ‘supportive member’ with a donation, which gets you the right to wear exclusive t-shirt, learn about our next steps in real time and your place on our wall of fame
- thinking of 10 friends who might support our cause and telling them about it
March 18th, 2013 § § permalink
I gave several book interviews since starting Zemanta and moving to NYC, most of them in the last 18 months. Lots of authors are exploring the technology revolution that we were fortunate to participate in.
Books are coming this year, discussing it from various angles – comparatively with .com boom, the rise of entrepreneurship Europe, new entrepreneurship as a lifestyle, … It is no surprise to me, that the first book to actually publish is the one specifically celebrating NY tech community and agility and resilience.
Tech and the City became available on Kindle two days ago, and hardcopies are coming in April. I received the notification from the authors this morning, and already I’m half way trough it. It’s that good.
It starts with an amazingly inspiring foreword by Fred Wilson, which alone is worth the $2.99, as it perfectly outlines the mental model of the greatest city on the planet. After that, the book only gets better, weaving the story trough fragments of conversations with participants in the ecosystem, rather than lazily throwing together yet another series of interviews. This enables the book to read like a travel diary, rather than a self-hype-help business manual.
For the finish, the authors have collected a very comprehensive list of the NY tech ecosystem institutions – vc’s, events, co-working spaces and competitions. They have also published them on the official blog of the book.
It’s cheap and it’s short, and it’s awesome. Go read it and learn how you should be thinking about helping entrepreneurs in your cities / countries.
February 19th, 2013 § § permalink
I have a very special announcement to make, at least very special to me. i’m happy to be announcing the launch of a community project, that’s building on top of the WordPress Plugins directory, augmenting it’s default information about the plugin, with some never-seen-before data, that should make your decisions when evaluating plugins even easier. It’s called RankWP.com
I have been a blogger since 2004, ever since i installed my first WordPress, version 1.0 if i recall correctly. it was the hottest thing online back then, and one could argue, it still is. Also, the first product we ever released at zemanta was a WordPress plugin. of course we uploaded it to the directory, and rejoiced when we saw bloggers discover it, starting to use it, leave reviews and ratings.
one of the best features wordpress had, and still has, is it’s extensibility trough plugins. there is a plugin for just about anything you could think of, more possibly, there are several. for every wordpress-based site owner, testing various plugins is a regular, and fun activity. wordpress.org directory is like an app store for website owners, built in a true open-source fashion as an ever-growing and ever-improving repository of blogging goodness, where developers across the globe are building on top of previous efforts of likeminds.
with thousands of plugins available, it’s not always easy to find the best one for your needs. it’s easier if you know just how popular it really is, so we have built an algorithm that estimates the actual number of active users of each plugin. plugins also become more or less popular over time, so we started tracking their popularity rank and show you how it’s changing. both of these informations are available now for all the plugins for the first time.
all these great plugins are built by people, and most developers publish more than one. we are happy to expose most successful developers based on the aggregate number of users of all their plugins. of course automattic’s own developers have a clear lead, but of the independent developers, Yoast is a clear winner. I’ve shown him an early version of this project and he was kind enough to say a few words for this announcement:
“For users to find new plugins, or better alternatives to plugins they’re already using, is really rather hard. RankWP seems to be a very good step in the right direction of allowing people to see what other people use, which plugins get installed and uninstalled more often and which developers tend to have good plugins. I hope they keep developing this as the community could really use this.” – Joost de Valk
you’re all cordially invited to take a look, send me feedback, suggestions, corrections. if anyone feels like helping, either coding or editing the content, you will be very welcome.
January 21st, 2013 § § permalink
first, a disclaimer. in light of recent political events and unrests in slovenia, i’d like to stress that this post is not meant to take any sides. i’ll merely try to point out to a project that might otherwise go unnoticed.
English: Detail from Government. Mural by Elihu Vedder. Lobby to Main Reading Room, Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
last year, i’ve spend a couple of days reading our national budget. the purpose of the exercise was to find ways to create something not unlike the famous ‘death and taxes’ infographic. i was pleasantly surprised with the fact, that our budget is actually very well designed, with fascinating inherent structure of programs and spenders, but unpleasantly not-surprised, that it was published as PDF.
to create an infographic with such complex data, that should be rebuilt every year, one needs programmatic ways to process it. so i ended up parsing the pdf, with many silly problems on the way. but it worked, and i’ve published the broken-down version for the years 2010-2012.
that was in spring, and ever since i’ve been waiting for the new government to finally publish the budget that was supposed to govern us this year, so i could compare it with the old ones. i really resent the fact that the budget was kept unpublished all throughout the legislative process. i really feel it’s an insult to the citizens.
but, they finally published it last week, and to my great surprise, they’ve really made an effort – they published detailed explanations of each section, and, ta-da-da-da, we have machine-parsable CSV files as well!
i realize it’s not perfect, but it’s light years ahead of what we used to have to deal with. so, who’s up for some info-charting now?
August 29th, 2012 § § permalink
English: Spanish metal button circa 1650-1675, 12mm diameter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Every blogger writing about technology and/or startups knows how important Hacker News is for promoting good, quality articles. The effect of being published there is comparable to more general sharing sites like Reddit and Digg and StumbleUpon.
Unfortunately, unlike it’s bigger cousins, this service is not supported by WordPress.com as an option for sharing buttons, after the post. Luckily we have an option to add custom sharing button, that makes it really easy to create a custom button yourself. Here’s how.
- In your WordPress.com dashboard, Go to Settings -> Sharing
- Click ‘Add a new service’ under ‘Available services’, a popup will show up
- Put ‘Hacker News’ under service name,
- Put “http://news.ycombinator.com/submitlink?u=%22+%post_full_url%+%22&t=%22+%post_title%” under Sharing URL,
- Put “http://ycombinator.com/images/y18.gif” under Icon URL, and hit ‘create share button’
- Drag the newly created ‘available service’ button to enabled services
and you’re done, now you have a shiny new HackerNews sharing button under every blog post. relax.
August 15th, 2012 § § permalink
Tim Berners-Lee: The World Wide Web
I was curious about the total pageviews of the web. It turns out they are not really tracked anywhere, and that they are easy to estimate, so I did a quick analysis.
First I found two sources for ‘global total pageviews’:
- Akamai Net Usage Index - amazing real time dashboard of part of this data. They say that every minute 3 million pageviews are spent on news sites, and 10 million on social sites. That’s friggin’ a lot of pageviews! But I wanted to know the grand total, and hopefully get some sense on where the blogs are in the picture.
- blog post about interpolating this data from Alexa. Nice approach, but a few years old data, so I decided to repeat the process.
Alexa publishes pageviews for every site for free as a % of global pageviews. First thing to do was estimate the grand total, as described in that blog post, by looking at the published data from Wikipedia.
11,600,000,000 / 0.5% = 2320,000,000,000 monthly total pageviews on the Web
… told you it was easy but that just means we can dig deeper. Alexa publishes the list of top million sites in a downloadable text file, so I wrote a script to go trough it, scrape Alexa pages for top 10.000 sites and store their individual traffic shares.
» Read the rest of this entry «
May 16th, 2012 § § permalink
Groucho Marx & anonymous blogging (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I’m late to the game, probably everyone knows already, but for the record:
Life just got a little easier for bloggers who use TypePad. The hosted blogging platform announced that it is integrating Zemanta’s content recommendation tools into its service, which suggests links to related stories from across the Web. Zemanta also generates in-text links to related information.
… when we started 5 years ago, we had a list of most relevant blogging platforms of all times. now all of them are our partners it feels empowering and inspiring to make dreams happen, but you have to remind yourself of that achievement, because when you reach them, you have other dream already.
April 10th, 2012 § § permalink
noSQL is dual to SQL - Exploring NoSQL - YOW 2010 Melbourne (Photo credit: avlxyz)
warning: ignorant CEO rant
when oh when will the geeks realize that it’s not about the formats, but about products and customers? the tech decisions are made simpler if you have a real problem to solve. and tech standards are 90% of the time emergent from hundreds of best practices.
On the one hand you have structured data sources such as relational DB, NoSQL datastores or OODBs and the like that allow you to query and manipulate data in a structured way. This typically involves schemata (either upfront with RDB or sort of dynamically with NoSQL that defines the data layout and the types of the fields),…
April 7th, 2012 § § permalink
An Empire of Silly Statistics…A Fake War for Public Relations (Photo credit: Marquette University)
Ernest is entirely right – PR companies just don’t get the fact, that we don’t care what they think should interest us – that’s what it means being ‘independent’:
At some point in the last year or so, someone pegged me as an influential blogger… and then it started. A constant and never-ceasing stream of daily e-mails from various PR companies mindlessly clogging up my inbox.
It does not, however, mean that PR is dead – there clearly is a need for ‘public relations’. the need is actually much larger than it ever was, on both sides – corporate communications
as much as on the receiving end – bloggers have to be current and informed, just like journalists had to be.
I believe the solution is in making PR more pushy.
As a writer, I expect the right content to come to me, I don’t want to seek it out. In that sense, I expect it to be pushy, but also highly targeted and personalized. Just like it used to be, back in the days when there was roughly as much PR professionals as there were journalists, and the two crowds well managed eachother.
as the new media grew, keeping up with targeting became impossible, and now they rely on ‘curated’ lists of thousands of bloggers, they never really looked at. I believe that’s where we at Zemanta
make a huge difference – I often link PR messages from my posts, because they are recommended to me exactly when I’m writing about the topics they adress, so they actually provide value to me – I would never go look for them otherwise.
Pushy is not spammy, if done right. But there is no way you can do PR right without help from algorithms these days.
April 1st, 2012 § § permalink
I love projects that make large datasets usable. This one took way to long to be done, but finally – now we can stop wasting clicks and get an executive summary of our city’s startups.
Also, I will take this opportunity to invite you all for a sneak peek at East Start Map – please let me know what we’re missing.
I have a love/hate relationship with CrunchBase. On the one hand it has great information about startup tech companies. On the other hand, it relies on a wiki-like structure which means it is sometime not updated as frequently or as accurately as old-style databases which used to employ people go over the data regularly.