Tag Archives: socialnetworking

Out With The Dodgeball, In With The Brightkite

While I have been a faithful Dodgeball user for over 4 years, it’s not been a service that has been taking strides to make me love it. The site exists now almost exactly as it did back then, save using Google Accounts after they were bought out in the spring of 2005. While it remains functional, it has been losing mindshare in the face of stiff competition. Yelp does reviews better; Twitter does messaging between friends better; Facebook handles connections between friends better.
The only place Dodgeball still had a hold on me is for checking in; announcing to your friends where you were.

That was until I saw this demo of the Brightkite iPhone application:


Brightkite for the iPhone from Brightkite on Vimeo.

I’ve been tangentially aware of Brightkite through their Twitter integration, but between the app and the service, any use I had for Dodgeball is essentially gone:

  • While Dodgeball was limited to 22 cities, Brightkite is US-wide. Ironically, this is because Brightkite leverages the Google Maps API – something that Google has failed to do with their own service.
  • Dodgeball is all-or-nothing with location data, while Brightkite has tiered access so that not all of your friends – or the world – get your precise location data.
  • Brightkite integrates with Twitter and FireEagle; Dodgeball essentially silos your data.

Consider Dodgeball’s coffin nailed shut. Brightkite.app is the sort of app I’ve been waiting for since the iPhone SDK was first announced.

Brightkite.app is available now.

iUseThis for the iPhone

It’s been just over two years since I started using iUseThis, a neat web tool for tracking OS X apps you use. A social network for software junkies, I suppose.

As part of iPhoneDevCamp, Marcus and Arne have launched an iPhone-centric version of the site, allowing people to track and comment on their iPhone apps.

This is one of those things that I didn’t realize I was missing until I saw it. While the App Store does have plenty of methods of app feedback (user reviews, popularity ratings), it does tend to be a bit low on the signal to noise ratio. IUseThis works better, with a del.icio.us or Digg like method of popularity. The more people that mark they use an app, the higher it goes.

You can find my app list on my profile.

(Before anyone starts marveling as to the number of apps I have purchased: dumping five years of spare change into an iTunes gift certificate via Coinstar makes all the difference in the world.)

Vimeo vs. Gamers

Today, in tech news:

* Twitter has announced that they are banning all messages (or “tweets”) relating to Apple, due to capacity concerns, given the massive usage spikes during Apple keynotes and product releases.
* Flickr announced that screenshots and drawn artwork will no longer be allowed for upload, as they do not truly constitute ‘creative expression’ and do not jive with the mission of the site.
* LiveJournal specified new policy, banning posts about user’s parents. “We simply do not want to spend the money and resources to host these entries,” said management.

To users of these services, all of this probably sounds ridiculous. Sites based around user submitted content would be foolish to restrict content based on topic, media type, or content.

The above headlines are fake, but this one is not: Vimeo is banning videos related to video games.

“The Vimeo staff has decided that we are no longer going to allow gaming videos on Vimeo. Specifically, we are no longer going to allow game walk-throughs, game strategy videos, depictions of player vs player battles, raids, fraps, or any other video gaming videos that simply depict individuals playing a video game. Videos falling into this category will be subject to deletion as of September 1st; new videos of this type will be removed.” – Blake Whitman, Vimeo Staff

Continue reading Vimeo vs. Gamers

Feed Me

My family, my colleagues, and my friends are all saying the same thing: Dan, you idiot, you aren’t posting to your blog enough.
Sure, I can see how if you’re reading just this one page, you’re not seeing much happen on a daily basis. But this is hardly the only place I am “posting to”, if you want to call it that. I, like so many of my peers, sign up for nearly every new fangled website that comes along. Some fall by the wayside, but the ones that stick get constant attention. Here’s a list of where I am, effective now.

What is a man? A miserable pile of web services. But enough talk – have at you.

## Vimeo

I recently acquired a Flip Ultra video camera, and rather than deal with the brilliant human condition known as “YouTube commenters”, I’d rather post my random shit to Vimeo. Not a ton there right now, but as time goes by, more should appear. You can find my account at [www.vimeo.com/remy](http://www.vimeo.com/remy)

## Yelp

Buzz Anderson, god love him, told me that the time to join Yelp was two years ago. I never mind being late to the party. So for business reviews of all sorts and sizes, you’ll find me over here.

## Tumblr

There are two types of blog posts I specialize in: the needlessly long, and the short/stupid. I had intended for the short/stupid to end up on my Vox account, but something about the service didn’t stick. But Tumblr has what I crave – whether that be electrolytes or simple quick blogging. You can find my tumble-blog at t.vjarmy.com.

## Kongregate

I do enjoy a good bit of social gaming from time to time, and Kongregate seems like a pretty good way to do it. Add me as a friend and enjoy all sorts of crazy gaming experiences.

## The Others

Are you checking my photos regularly? Reading my bookmarks? Following my Twittering? Coordinating travel with me? Going to all tomorrow’s parties? Getting my checkins?

Following me is a full time job, I suppose.

Social Network De-evolution

The first social network to rise to any degree of prominence was [Friendster](http://www.friendster.com/). Friendster allows you to punch in a bunch of your interests, link to other friends, pull in your blog posts, share photos, etc.

Then came [Orkut](http://www.orkut.com). Orkut grew quickly because of it’s exclusive “you have to be invited in” rules, but then quickly burned out as everyone went to [MySpace](http://www.myspace.com/). MySpace was – and is – ugly as sin, horribly non-functional, and generally is a contradiction of all that had gone to move the web forward since its inception. This, somehow, made it immensely popular.

Since MySpace has become the unstoppable force in the “this is all of who I am” space, recent social networks have forced you to specialize. Music users can plug in to [lastfm](http://last.fm) or [iLike](http://www.ilike.com]; people looking for business connections can network on [LinkedIn](http://www.linkedin.com/). [Flickr](http://www.flickr.com/) can act as a glorified social network for photographers. And so on.

Meanwhile, activity-based social networks sprang up. [Dodgeball](http://www.dodgeball.com/) broadcasts your location to your friends. [Upcoming](http://www.upcoming.org/) lets you plan events – Evite on steroids.

The many splinter social networks are interesting, because each one limits your scope. I can’t find my friends who aren’t into digital photography on Flickr. I’m not going to link up with people outside of NYC on Dodgeball. Each network becomes more insular, more specialized.

And so now we reach [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/). Twitter is, as best I can tell, the exact reverse of the original sorts of social networks – your profile is meager, your interests unimportant. Twitter allows you to bomb your friends with updates about what you’re doing in 145 character or less – like Dodgeball, only without the locations. Or neighborhood detection.

I’ve been using it a bit more today after signing up last month – and while Twitterific is a nice client, I’m still trying to get the appeal. It’s certainly an interesting sort of party-line chat that doesn’t require you to be constantly signed in, but there’s something I’m not quite catching. Maybe it’s because after two years on Dodgeball, I know that most people aren’t using the chat functions.

My profiles for all the sites mentioned above: [Friendster](http://www.friendster.com/dandickinson) – [MySpace](http://myspace.com/remydwd) – [last.fm](http://last.fm/user/remydwd) – [iLike](http://ilike.com/user/Dan_D2) – [LinkedIn](http://www.linkedin.com/in/remydwd) � [Flickr](http://flickr.com/people/remydwd) � [Dodgeball](http://www.dodgeball.com/user?uid=16789) � [Upcoming](http://upcoming.org/user/384/) � [Twitter](http://twitter.com/Remy)

Dickinson’s Flickr Hypotheses

I would like to propose the following hypotheses:

1. Any photo uploaded to Flickr will fall within the guidelines of at least one Flickr group.
2. As time increases from 1 to n, the odds of a comment being posted asking the owner of any reasonably interesting photo to be added to at least one of said groups increases to 1-(1/n).

Some of the comments I have received supporting these hypotheses:

* [Invite to a group of only cats sniffing flowers](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/99883396/#comment72157594178677675) – picture of Buttons in roses.
* [Invite to Photo Rights Mobilization group](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/17635876/#comment72157594163582727) – picture of sign at WWDC with passing mention to wanting to avoid being bothered by security.
* [Invite to Interestingness group](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/76276012/#comment20887287) – picture one of my “most interesting” according to Flickr.
* [Invite to “The Continuum”](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/76276012/#comment20906993) – same picture as previous comment.
* [Invite to group about British Comedies](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/3049639/#comment621314) – picture of me with Simon Pegg & Nick Frost
* [Invite to group involving “beautiful light”](http://www.flickr.com/photos/remydwd/18800141/#comment8362074) – picture taken out window of an airplane.

Direct IM Compatability

Just a quick note, as this happens a lot:

When it comes to IM, there seem to be two groups of people. One use official clients (iChat, AIM) – they’re convenient, they’re pretty, they’re well supported and sanctioned by the services involved. The other group tends towards third-party clients, either due to hatred for the official clients or, more frequently, because the official clients lack functionality they need.

I fall in the latter group, for a bit of both reasons. iChat, originally, was a huge RAM hog, was unbearably slow, and clutters up my display with a new window every time I get an IM, making conversation tracking a bit painful. I switched back to [Adium](http://www.adiumx.com/) because it solved all of these, and added some nice new features before iChat did, like a Jabber client. I can’t live without tabbed IM; the number of conversations I have to hold open with coworkers are countless, and I have [NADD](http://www.randsinrepose.com/archives/2003/07/10/nadd.html).

The downfall is, unfortunately, that as Adium is based in open source goodness like libGaim, it is not fully supported, and as such, falls short on a few features. File transfer was notably one that, for years, was particularly painful – it’s a little better now, but still not quite there. The feature that currently is painful, and the cause for this post, is Direct IM.

Direct IM is one of the AIM technologies that a lot of people don’t know they’re using, but can invoke without realizing it. Direct IM enables a tunnel from one client to another; previously, this was the only way to get “user is typing” notification before AOL added it to the proper AIM spec. These tunnels get invoked whenever you try and drag and drop an image onto an AIM conversation, especially in iChat.

I have a lot of iChat users that try and send me images. This is what happens:

– User drops image onto IM conversation.
– iChat demands a Direct IM conversation.
– Adium prompts me for it – there’s no auto-accept. This prompt is easily lost.
– iChat gets really baffled by the connection, as does Adium. As such:
– All the IMs I send to the other person are lost.
– All the IMs and pictures they send me are lost.
– The only way to recover is for both of us to disconnect from AIM and start chatting normally (and this is hard to coordinate when you can’t IM each other).

How to avoid this? I beseech you, iChat users – if you see me on IM, and you want to send me a photo, and you **do not see a microphone or a camera next to my name**, ask me to switch to iChat. Adium doesn’t do AV communications, and I always have a microphone or camera on every machine I sign onto AIM with. This is a clear sign about which client I’m using.

Thanks for your understanding.

Holy Calamity

I am apparently a “Cool New Person” on MySpace today. (Thanks to Herbie for the picture, since I can’t seem to see it myself.)

21 friend requests from people I’ve never met and counting. It’s going to be real fun to deny them all!

Admittedly, I have nothing on Laren, who has not only topped a depressing Google search term, but has been the featured personal on Gawker and Salon. You watch your back though, Spirer. I’m gunning for you now.

Upcoming Has Gone Straight Into Awesome

I’ve been using Andy Baio’s [upcoming.org](http://www.upcoming.org/) for well over a year now; it’s always been a fairly neat site, hampered only by it’s potential lack of popularity. It’s been good for finding out about upcoming concerts and the like, at the very least.

But Andy luckily got [a kick in the ass](http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2005/03/21.html#a1198) from Jon Udell about features that Jon would’ve liked, and Andy has stood and delivered a new version of upcoming that whips all sorts of ass.

What’s new? Well, for one, you can finally add private and self-promotional events; this means I can put *everything* I’m doing on [my profile](http://upcoming.org/user/384/), rather than just the public parties. Also, [tagging](http://upcoming.org/tag/) – just like Flickr and del.icio.us. Plus a developer’s API, a new layout, and email/SMS reminders.

If you’re in a major metropolitan area and not using upcoming.org, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. Jump on it, folks.