The Last HOPE: Social Engineering

Here it is, my slightly delayed final post about The Last HOPE. I have a tentative interest in the Social Engineering themes that were explored there. I see this as a sort of “How to win friends and influence people” for misfits. (I include myself in this category). Which is not to say that it’s an entirely antisocial practice.

Of course there were talks on prank calling and other activities which exploit most people’s tendency to trust others and take their actions and words at face value. I have to admit, sometimes this is hilarious, even if it does give me slight pangs of social irresponsibility. Here’s an example of one my favorites from classic (aka print) bOINGbOING: Carla crank calls a cryogenics company. (Nothing to do with HOPE, it just cracks me up).

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SXSW Panels

The SXSW panel picker is live, and I proposed two panels. If you’re going, or you might go, or you just like voting for things, please have a look and consider voting for my proposals. You’ll have to create an account to vote, but it should be pretty painless. Here are the descriptions of the panels I proposed:

When the Semantic Web Meets User Generated Metadata

The Semantic Web promises to make the internet smarter, in part by adding structure and definition around the content on the web. Sounds great, but who’s going to do all the work? As User Generated Content gives rise to User Generated Metadata, turns out it’s going to be… YOU! (Click here to vote for it)

Content Content Revolution: The Rise of Content Strategy

What’s Content Strategy, you ask? Navigation, publishing guidelines, taxonomy, syndication, style guides, UGC strategy, the semantic web? All this and more! Come hear some of the leading content strategy professionals discuss where this emerging discipline came from, why it matters, and where it’s going. (Click here to vote for it)

On another note, I didn’t get a chance to post my fourth (and last) post about The Last HOPE before I went out of town for the weekend, and I forgot to bring my notes. So that will have to wait until I get back next week.

The Last HOPE: Hacker History

The history-oriented panels at HOPE were very interesting, especially for someone like me who was kind of new to the scene. I am particularly interested in the aspect of history that pinpoints the people and moments where someone looked at something, ignored the expected mode of interaction, and made the creative leap to invent a whole new way of seeing, thinking and using the thing.

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New Word of the Day: Metaphrast

In a meeting today with my fellow Content Strategists, I was talking about the phenomenon where content is adapted from one format to another – for example, a TV show that’s made into a movie. My colleague Bob Maynard said “metaphrast” to identify this kind of occurrence, and I don’t remember every hearing that word before. A quick online search reveals that the commonly accepted definition is:

One who renders a text into a different form, as by recasting prose in verse.*

This is worded slightly differently from one site to another, but “prose into verse” seems to be the favorite illustration of the concept. Perhaps that’s what the ancient Greeks had in mind, but this is the 21st century. It’s the media age, so why limit ourselves? The only explanation I can come up with is that the word itself is not currently in fashion, so no one has bothered to update the examples in their definition.

Let’s see if we can reclaim this word in the service of modern content formats.

*A popular alternative definition I’ve seen several times is “A literal translator.” This strikes me as one of those definitions that’s deceptively simple – the more you think about it, the less sure you are what it means.

Site I can’t do without: StreetEasy

Almost a month since I last wrote?? What have I been doing? Well, I’ll tell you – amidst all the travelling and working and travelling for work, I bought a new apartment earlier this summer, and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month getting it ready to move in, packing my stuff, and moving.

Usually when you tell people this, one of the first questions they will ask (at least in New York City) is how you found the place that you bought. Now, of course I had a real estate agent, but I had another indispensable tool: a website called StreetEasy.

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Twittering a 7-hour client meeting

Today we had a full-day workshop with a client, and I periodically felt the need to twitter about it. There’s nothing in here specific to the client, and it’s probably interesting to no one, but I’m going to post it anyway.

  • Bostoners are going to be parading today. Should be passing by the office where we’re meeting sometime in the next hour. about 7 hours ago from web
  • Starting a 7 hour client meeting, and yes, I’ve had coffee. about 7 hours ago from web
  • Have to remember that outside NY and some places out west, bagels are probably not worth having. about 7 hours ago from web
  • Clarification: NY bagels and “out west” bagels are totally different species, but both yummy. about 7 hours ago from web
  • Why take a perfectly good blondie and ruin it with raisins? about 4 hours ago from web
  • damn it, lunch and caffeine withdrawal are making me crash about 3 hours ago from web
  • the morning’s discussion was pretty congenial, but this afternoon, with discussion of personas, the room has suddenly become a bit hostile about 3 hours ago from web
  • turns out that the problem isn’t so much with the personas themselves, but with the fact that we’re calling them “personas” about 2 hours ago from web
  • one of the skeptics has become a supporter. Awesome 🙂 about 2 hours ago from web
  • turns out that they like the sausage, but they actually DIDN’T want to see the tour of the factory 🙂 about 25 minutes ago from web

STC 2008 – Day 4

The last day of the Semantic Technology Conference has a few morning panels, a closing keynote, and then some afternoon seminars. But the day is really about saying goodbye to everyone, finally introducing yourself to a few of the people you’ve been crossing paths with for the past week, and making that annual trip to Koo-ki Sushi. Well, that’s what it’s about for me, anyway.

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STC 2008 – Day 3

Started out the day with my own presentation – Survey of Taxonomy Tools (follow the link to view the slides). It seemed to be pretty well received, for the most part. I included some time for discussion, and several people contributed interesting comments and questions. I was pretty happy with the turnout considering that this session was first thing in the morning.

After that I was so relieved, I’m surprised I could do anything, but I jumped right back into some interesting presentations, including a panel on Developing Semantic Web Applications, a talk on Calais, and a keynote that included several of the Rising Stars of the Semantic Web. Then I ended the day on the speaking side of the table again.

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