Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Who are your Twitterfriends?

Most people are pretty honest in building their social network at sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo, connection to people with whom they have a real relationship. It also helps that if you want to connect with someone out of the blue, you often have to enter the person's email address.

Building your friendlist at microblogging site Twitter works differently though. On Twitter you send out your message to the world. Everytime you blurt something into the Twitterverse there's a good chance it gets picked up by someone you don't know. If they like your tweet, there's a good chance they'll start following you, and if you politely follow them back, you'll get into a new network, building your own. Networks on twitter can expand pretty fast to thousands of followers.

Stars of Le Web 2.0 often have massive lists of followers, like Barack Obama (555,878), iJustine (285,034) Guy Kawasaki (100,318), Robert Scoble (74,688). It's impossible to pay attention to everything your 'friends' say when you've got such a list to monitor. Chances are that you're barely able to follow about a 100 or 150 of them actively.

One of the nice tools that plug into Twitter is the Mailana social network analysis system, which taps into millions of messages, tweets and pulls up a nice graph of your Network. If your list of followers has grown too big to manage and you start to forget who your real friends are, maybe it's time to pull up a graph of your own to see who you've been interacting with. The image below is my Twittersphere, which you can explore here.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Virtual Actors replace Humans in Hollywood?

If you run a movie studio and run short of money to hire a hot shot actor for a couple of million dollars, you can always have a few cartoonists draw in a funny character and you'll get something like "Who framed Roger Rabbit"

If you've got some extra bucks to throw in, you can use several advanced techniques to create stunning special effects and you get Terminator III", or "Lord of the Rings""and every one gets wowy and throws in a few Oscars. In short, the business has come a long way since the cheap B-movies of the 80's dealing with virtual reality. But is the industry ready for a next leap? The technology to pull it of is in our hands now.

Robert Scoble just wrote an interesting blog about this (with videos):

One of the most interesting conversations I had at the Consumer Electronics Show last week was with Charlie Boswell of AMD. He works with movie companies to implement the data centers that they need to build movies of the future and he told me about this new technology, called “Light Stage” which lets movie companies capture human actors and then change their images into software-controlled “virtual actors.”

Until now this technology looked cheesy. But no longer. You probably have already seen virtual actors in movies and haven’t realized it (all done with Light Stage).

Here’s the two videos so you can see how movies are changing.

  1. Charlie Boswell, who has the coolest job at AMD, working with movie studios to make special effects where he talks to me about what he’s working on and tells me about Light Stage. If you are into movies, he talks to me about a bunch of movie houses and how they are using technology.
  2. Jules Orbach, CEO of Light Stage/OTOY, showing me some clips of what these virtual actors can do. He was also up on stage during the AMD keynote and Barron’s Online has a live blog of that. On stage AMD and OTOY announced they were working on the fastest supercomputer ever.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see how technology continues to change our movies. Boswell blows my mind when he says this technology will soon be affordable for everyone (soon being years, not decades).

Are you ready?

Are we ready? Yes, but it needs to be a way lot better then the Second Life adventures of CSI for instance.

Are we ready? Well, we're constantly being fooled by Hollywood so what's the big difference? If we take this step it's a bit like "S1m0ne" come true, the film with Al Pacino who fools the world with a virtual actress, or on the darker side a Robert DeNiro movie "Wag the Dog" where he also plays a Hollywood director staging a fake war to help the president get reelected.

UPDATE: Afterthought

As an afterthought...

Are we ready? Yes we're gonna take it hook line and sinker. We even get fooled with virtual actors in virtual worlds! In april 2007 world famous Director Paul Verhoeven held virtual auditions inside Second Life for his movie Zwartboek II. Afterwards I did an 'exclusive interview' with this tech savvy Director who was of the opinion that Virtual Worlds would certainly have added value to Moviemaking.

I didn't disclose this earlier, but soon afterwards I found out that although it was an official Zwartbook promotion, Paul Verhoeven never came near to watching the actual auditions let alone immerse himself into Second Life. Talking about virtual actors taking over...

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blog4Life

My professional network is growing with people who are 'professional' bloggers. In the Netherlands we don't see many full-time bloggers. We just don't see how it would work out. Sponsored blogging... that would jeopardise objective reporting. Doesn't it?



Just taking a look at 3pointD, sponsored by the Electric Sheep Company and SecondLife.nl sponsored by DNB Media are just two examples. Is it enough to go blogging full time? Are these blog subjective or objective when it comes to their sponsors presence?



Everyone needs some recognition. I must admit I'm pretty keen on keeping track of my Technorati ratings and blogs that link to this blog. I'm quite satisfied at the result I've made sofar: A Second Life blog, loosely focussing on the business side of life getting into the Technorati top 100K blogs within 4 months.



But what's it worth? I've put time into it. An awfull lot. Near 100 hours a month. So what's it worth? Now there's a tool by Technorati that values the MindBlizzard blog at 37K in USD.





My blog is worth $37,259.64.
How much is your blog worth?



But how valuable is this? It's said to be based upon proper research:



"Data from Technorati and inspired by research from Tristan Louis. "

But how valuable is this? Is it like American mortgage loans getting wrapped and traded by hedgefunds? What would you pay for a blog like this? Here's a contra-expertise:



I ran the test once more on a fresly set up blog with just one post:





Then what's Scobleizer worth, or 3 Point D? Robert Scoble is valued at $1,860,723.84 and Mark Wallace at $426,792.24.



The question remains. This is what research says. But how much would you like to pay? Are you offering me 37K US Dollars? I don't think so. Value of blogs is based on content and its value changes for every reader. Maybe this post has value for you, or maybe only my last post on Rezzable, or my series of posts on Banking in Second Life... Or maybe this blog means **** to you because you're only looking for sex in SL.



What's art? That's a similar question. The answer lies in the eye of the beholder. And still: Is a sponsored blog able to give unbiased reviews?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

MindBlizzard growing

The MindBlizzard blog has been up for just 4 months, but it's growing (too) fast...

Size


This is getting a regular habit I fear. Right now I'm having a hard time publishing to my blog. It's been barely a month ago that I upgraded my hostingaccount from 50 to 100 Mb and DataTraffic limits from 2 Gb/month to 4 Gb per month.



Now, halway through July I'm at 3.2 Gb Data Traffic already and have grown beyond 100Mb.
Maybe I should start considering getting a sponsor as well.



Reputation


To look on the bright side of life: In the past month my technorati rating has rocketed from autority 26 to authority 50, and closing in on the top 100K blogs. Not bad for a 4 month old blog.




Readers


In the past months I've seen various people comment on and link to my blog, such as:


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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

United States of Apple

For readers in the United States of Apple, this blogpost may hold nothing new. Let me just wish you a happy 4th!
For readers here in Europe, or even closer to home, the Netherlands, here's an update on the iPhone craze in the States.

Mitch Wagner (Information Week) quotes:

For you who have a more visual approach, have a look at Justine Ezarik's "Tasty Blog Snacks" running a number of great vids on iPhone.

Also Robert Scoble keeps on rambling on the iPone (and this is just the last 3 days)

So...? Does it makes me want to buy an iPhone? Nah, don't think so. I have enough entertainment already seeing a complete continent sucked into a slick PR machine.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Pownce Review

Here's a short review on Pownce, the new IM social networking thing from the States. We've had Twitter and Jaiku and suddenly there is Pownce.

Pownce launched on june 26th into Alpha testing. So after barely one week of existence it is a little short to draw conclusions. Too early to tell if Pownce will be the next killer app or will be doomed before it leaves alpha or beta testing.

In my twittergroup it kinda hyped and everyone was screaming for invites. Why? I think two reasons:

  1. One of the makers of Pownce is KevinRose (from Digg) and
  2. Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) is on it as well.
The early signs were promising, but over the weekend Pownce saw an onrush of new users resulting in scalability and stability problems. The slick looking Adobe AIR driven client crashed several times.
There are a number of features on Pownce which I really like.
The screen below is the webinterface. Pownce has a number of very nice features, when compared to Twitter or Jaiku.
  1. You can reply to messages (and rate them)
  2. You can send files and plan events
  3. You can divide your friends in various subsets (see last pic)
Off course, there's always a downside. The first two "weak points" may not be that bad at all though, depends on how you look at the world of Ol' Bill's Crap.
  1. Not every setting works when changed in IE, works fine in Firefox though ;)
  2. My current templates works with alphachannels and transparency. Doesn't work in IE6, so the background of white text becoms white, ergo non readable.
  3. After the sudden onrush of new twitter-seasoned folks it seems as if Pownce is experiencing some problems with scalability.
  4. There's no support for mobile messaging

Finally there's some points that the lot of them (Pownce, Jaiku and Twitter) could take notice of: In this day and age of social networks and metaverses we all know eachother by different names, our real name, our social name, our metaverse name and what have you got. An extensive addressbook would come in handy.

Anyway, here's a few other blogposts

Worth mentioning is Tao Takashi's notes on the lack of mobile support and RSS:

"What Pownce is missing is the mobile side of things. You cannot yet send or receive posts via SMS and additionally only one RSS feed is there right now which is the feed of your and your friend’s posts but not the one of the main timeline. Moreover an API seems to be there as they created an external application using AIR themselves and somebody made a Facebook application but it’s not open or documented it seems."

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pownce, Facebook and iPhone

Okay, here's a non SL post again. I've finally gotten into POWNCE!
Thanks to Vincent Shore of Squawknest.

Pownce is still in Alpha, but looks like it's gonna be the next big thing.

Pownce is a way to send stuff to your friends. What kind of stuff? You can send just about anything: music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all through the web site, or install the desktop software that lets you get out of the browserbox.


The past weeks there's been a lively discussion at twitter on Pownce, which is seen by many as an enormous improvement to twitter (or as someone said: "if Twitter upgraded the things that users wanted, you'd kinda have pownce ")

(sorry couldn't grabcapture the client, but trust me, it looks slick)

The other thing that's taking up some of my time is Facebook. It's originally a Harvard Who's Who but is rapidly expanding and replacing myspace in some ways.

"Facebook isn't about college stuff anymore. I have no college network and enjoy the software as an organizational tool. "

If you'd like to know more, Danah Boyd wrote an excellent article on Facebook.

Finally, it seems like every US based friend I have on twitter has been suckered into the iPhone craze. Again, I'd have to admit it looks slick but I wouldn't buy one immediately --luckily it isn't available in Europe yet, so I'll have time to see how it develops.
It seems heavily overhyped at the moment in my opinion, though Steve did a good Job on fuelling it by stating that there might not be enough iPhone's available.
Here's a little reader question:
If you're reading this blog, could you tell me if you've bought one?

Finally, if you'd like to know more on iPhone or Pownce I'd recommend you'd visit Scobleizer's page at FastCompany magazine. Todays bloglinks give you an excellent overview on these apps / sites.
His current column is titled The New Web War.
"Perhaps the hottest debate in my circle today centers around the technologies we'll use inside, or outside, the browser to build a new kind of rich Internet application. We're talking mostly about video, because that's where the action is."
Part of his column is on Adobe's Apollo platform which is used for Pownce as well.
Robert Scoble is one of the leading ubergeek bloggers. Scoble is best known for his popular blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft.
So, again Web 2.0 which should be about integration is getting diversificated again.

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