What is the answer to HTML, Web 2.0 and everything?

Well it may not be 42 but this great video by Michael Wesch an Assistant Professor at Kansas State University does an excellent job of visually explaining what Web 2.0 is all about and how it differs from conventional media and the Web we all go used to prior to this Century:

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

A weekend on the Coromandel Peninsula

This weekend we went up north to Whangapoua Beach in the Coromandel Peninsula for a bit of R&R. It was the first time I had spent a decent amount of time in the Coromandel and I came away really impressed. The weather was generally very good, the beaches beautiful and the swimming in the 3-4 foot waves awesome fun. Now I just have to get back to work, the only problem being the weather in Wellington is still brilliant....

Snap Preview Anywhere: Bling up your blog

Ever see a link on a page and wonder whether it is worth actually clicking on it? Chances are you have zero interest or have been there already and a little visual clue would help you make up your mind. Snap Preview Anywhere provides this visual prompt by way of a nice looking Javascript pop-up window. Snap is an Internet search engine that creates an image preview of all the sites it indexes. The Snap Preview Anywhere plug-in for your website leverages this database of preview images to give you a quick glimpse of where you could potentially go in the future, kind of like a Web travel brochure. Installation is straightforward especially if you run a template driven website as all it requires is a couple of lines of code in the <head> section of the HTML. Okay so it is not 100% practical but it gives your website a bit of bling and does save needless clicking to websites you have already visited but haven't recognised from the hyperlink.

Reviewing Autodesk Design Review

Recently Autodesk dropped the price tag off their Autodesk Design Review package making it far more accessible to the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. Design Review is a DWF-centric tool for viewing and reviewing 2D and 3D design documentation. Prior to becoming freely available Design Review appeared to the casual observer as a useful tool for those heavily into Autodesk products but not the mainstream audience. This pricing shift changes the game and enables the software to compete against Adobe Acrobat as the primary, general purpose viewing tool for design documentation. With this in mind I took a fresh look at the software and what follows is what I found.

A great example of Windows' evolutionary drawbacks

If you have ever tried working through an NSA guide on securing Microsoft IIS you will appreciate how many internal systems exists under the hood of Windows and their many deficiencies. For those that have been fortunate to not go through the experience Richard Stiennon uses some compelling visuals by Sana Security to explain why Windows is less secure than Linux because of its long evolutionary history. This history has seen one set of functionality bolted in place over another with little or no thought to the clarity of the overarching system architecture. Consequently whilst Windows works what goes on under the hood is not pretty and very difficult to secure.

Identifying where BIM ends and the wilderness begins

The term Building Information Model (BIM) is used fairly loosely in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) technology industry. Most of the software 'formerly known as CAD' is now referred to as a Building Information Modeller (i.e. Autodesk Revit), or at a minimum reference the term in their marketing blurb. In the field of AEC research many papers reference the Building Information Model as a hypothetical construct holding boundless quantities of data about a building. This approach avoids a commitment to a particular technology (which in research is not a bad thing) but it does mean the definition of what is and is not a BIM becomes even less clear. Perhaps the best general description of what a Building Information Model is without resorting to either “whatever program X supports” or “pretty much anything” is from Jerry Laiserin when he first proposed that the industry stop using a range of terms and focus on just one.

“Combined, "building information" implies, to my ear, a strong sense of what the design, construction and operation of buildings is about. It avoids techno-jargon, yet remains evocative of technical goings-on. "Modeling," although a near-jargon word, does connote the mathematical or digital description of objects or systems, we have econometric models and weather models as well as physical models of 3D objects. "Modeling" also implies a process of description or representation that provides the foundation for building performance simulation (essentially, modeling future behavior) and for the management of building information (information models serving as the frameworks in which information is managed).” - Jerry Laiserin

Adobe releases PDF standard for ISO certification

On the 29th January Adobe announced it will be seeking ISO certification for the PDF 1.7 standard. Up until this point many vendors have been able to implement the PDF standard based solely on trust that Adobe will not significantly change the format and break their respective implementations. If PDF gains ISO certification then this will ensure any vendor can develop for and use the standard in the knowledge that it will not change and be 100% interoperable with other implementations of the same standard.

This is good news for governments and business as it means once certified PDF will become a permanent, unencumbered format. These characteristics will enable organisations to use PDF as an archiving medium for 2-dimensional digital documents with the confidence that no single company can dictate or control the use of the format. This is important because in the past companies like Microsoft have unduly effected the industry with their monopolistic control over formats (as evidenced by the infamous Halloween Memo).

Chris DiBona Wellington meetup on Tuesday

This Tuesday the 6th of February Chris DiBona from Google will be in Wellington to talk open source. I am organising a meet-up and dinner with him at a local Wellington restaurant. There will be people from a wide variety of backgrounds there (government, small business, academic) and if you would like to come along please contact me and I will send you more details. I only hope the weather is as good next Tuesday as it was yesterday...

Where is cricket for the Wii?


The Wii Sports titles are great but lets face it, if you live in an ex-colony of Great Britain (i.e. New Zealand, Australia or India) you really want to see Wii Cricket be released. So far there is no official news from Nintendo or EA on such a title but the Wii controller would make a brilliant bat. As for the bowling it would be nice to mix in the directional control of Wii Bowling with the subtle variations capable within Wii Baseball. Plus it would just be nice to be able to draw those really bad diagrams on the screen like the commentators do right now...

It is the Cricket World Cup this year so there maybe a title out sooner rather than later. To help with the process a group of Australian fans are putting together a WiiWantCricket website just to illustrate to Nintendo and EA how much support there is for such a title.

Google Trends: A cool comparison tool

When you think of Google you think search but a consequence of all of those searches is some very useful trends. This is where Google Trends comes into play. With it you can enter a few different terms (separated by commas) and then the tool will return a graph of the number of search hits for each term over the last few years. Not only that you can break down the search to look at from where people are searching for these terms. I did a quick trend analysis of C#, Java, PHP and Ruby and the results are pretty interesting, especially the fact that six of the top ten cities searching for these terms are in India (although in hindsight it is hardly surprising).