Monthly Archives: September 2008

Web Development Links for Thursday, September 25th, 2008

InfoQ: JSR 311 Final: Java API for RESTful Web Services

IBM developerWorks: Mastering Grails: RESTful Grails: Build a resource-oriented architecture

InfoQ: Joshua Bloch: Bumper-Sticker API Design

Aaron Swartz: The Semantic Web In Breadth

Mock Objects: “Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests”: Chapter 1. What’s the point of Test Driven Development?

Code To Joy: A fascinating quote attributed to James Gosling: “James Gosling once said that every configuration file becomes a programming language, so you might as well think that way.”

Wiki.Directi.Com: Building a Scalable Architecture for Web Apps – Part I

Previously: InfoQ: How to Design a Good API & Why it Matters

Truth, the Web, and the moral roots of liberals and conservatives

Ben Kenobi, when he told Luke, “the truths we cling to are greatly determined by our point of view”, is looking pretty good right now.

And as Google is apt to promote the democratization of data rolls on.

As a software engineer and as a person with an interest in sociology and communications, it’s clear this presents a set of opportunities to be explored, problems to be solved. How do we learn of ‘truth’ when our echo chambers (our social networks, our friends, family, co-workers) are the best tools to keep us from the noise of modern media?

In a presentation at TED.com, Jonathan Haidt explains why Tim Berners-Lee’s new foundation is both timely and has such a hard fight ahead. The presentation reinforces that the questions I’ve been asking in some latest posts aren’t that invalid, and there is something more here to explore.

Shout out to Shelley Powers for posting about this (even if so few seem wanting to discuss) and to Antonella Pavese for the heads up on the video.

TED.com: Jonathan Haidt: The real difference between liberals and conservatives:

There are big echos of Dave Rogers in that presentation.

Bottom line – if we want to change the world, we need to start with ourselves.

Related and new at Salon today: Robert Burton: “My candidate, myself”: “Even when faced with new facts and insights, most voters don’t change their minds about their favorite candidates. A neurologist explains how they might.”. Timely.

Social Media/Software Links for September 19th, 2008

Tim O’Reilly is sounding the alarm – CNet.com: O’Reilly: Stop throwing sheep, do something worthy:

“(These are) pretty depressing times in a lot of ways,” O’Reilly said in an address that first had looked like it would simply be a starry-eyed discussion of enterprise opportunities for Web 2.0. “And you have to conclude, if you look at the focus of a lot of what you call ‘Web 2.0,’ the relentless focus on advertising-based consumer models, lightweight applications, we may be living in somewhat of a bubble, and I’m not talking about an investment bubble. (It’s) a reality bubble.”

Lefsetz connects other media industries to the music industry – Lefsetz Letter: Denial:

Is this getting familiar yet? Does this sound like the record business?

What we’re going through in America replicates what happened in Japan in the 1990s. But rather than taking the bullet, eating the loss, the government continued to try to prop up the country’s financial system, to its detriment. It took almost a decade for it to revive. Every analyst says this was a mistake. They should have taken the hit immediately and started over.

The major labels refuse to believe we’re living in the twenty first century, they refuse to bite the bullet and get with the program, they want to continue to live in the glory days of the 1990′s. Isn’t that what Warner’s failed Estelle effort was about? Getting people to buy an overpriced CD to get the one good track? As they said in that old 1990′s TV show, homey don’t play that no more.

The labels have to confront reality, and bite the bullet now.

Dare explains why what bit Sarah Palin – a typical ‘forgot your password’ function – bit Sarah Palin – Dare Obasanjo: The Problem with Every Implementation of a “Forgot Your Password?” Feature I’ve Seen Online:

The fundamental flaw of pretty much every password recovery feature I’ve found online is that what they consider “secret” information actually isn’t thanks to social networking, blogs and even Wikipedia. Yahoo! Mail password recovery relies on asking you your date of birth, zip code and country of residence as a proof of identity. Considering that this is the kind of information that is on the average Facebook profile or MySpace page, it seems ludicrous that this is all that stops someone from stealing your identity online.

Lots of people scratched their heads at Google Chrome. Dare explains why Google would pursue it – Dare Obasanjo: The Significance of Google Chrome:

his boils down to the corporate ideology that “anything that is good for the Web is good for Google”. This means Google is in favor of anything that increases the breadth of the Web which explains why it is investing in O3b networks in an effort intended to bring the Web to 3 billion people in emerging markets. The more people there are using the Web, the more people there are viewing ads on Google’s services and on pages of sites that use AdSense and DoubleClick ads. This also means that Google is in favor of moving as much media consumption as possible to the Web. This explains why purchasing YouTube was so important.

Tim Berners-Lee new foundation the W3F is timely

The World Wide Web Foundation has a broad scope as described in its one page concept paper, but in short, where the w3c focuses on technologies and interoperability the w3f looks to to focus on technology and society.

arstechnica.com: WWW creator Berners-Lee launches ambitious Web Foundation

BBC.com: Warning sounded on web’s future

The Register: Berners-Lee backs web truthiness labelling scheme

Wow. Talk about timing!

Take the current campaign for President. How could a labeling scheme help or hurt?

Take a walk outside of your political bias for a moment, and realize, you might not be part of the majority, nor may your take on ‘truth’ be the prevailing ‘truth’ as per attention influence on the Web (anyone with high SERPs on Google for example).

Marc Ambinder: What We Learned This Weekend:

The McCain campaign has gone thoroughly post-modern on us! Truth? Schmuth? It’s all a struggle for power.

ScienceBlogs.com: Cognitive Dissonance And Politics:

…dissonant facts made them double-down. It would be too painful to be wrong, and so they convinced themselves that they were right.

USNews: The Campaign, “The Matrix,” and the GOP Offensive Against Truth:

Among historians, there’s a raging Great Debate about the question of Truth.

Wall Street Journal: The Triumph of Culture Over Politics:

For this season has given us the first truly postmodern election. Modern political campaigns are amalgams of politics, spectacle and entertainment. Postmodern campaigns teem with fluid identities, unmoored meanings and blurred boundaries to the point that stable terms like “politics,” “spectacle” and “entertainment” barely exist as separate concepts. These innovations, if you will, are shifts in the culture, and the total submersion of politics in a cultural atmosphere is a trend perfectly suited to the party of organic culture.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Barack Obama:

In my book “True Enough: Learning To Live in a Post-Fact Society”, published earlier this year, I argued that in the digital world, facts are a stock of faltering value. The phenomenon that scholars call “media fragmentation”–the disintegration of the mass media into the many niches of the Web, cable news, and talk radio–lets us consume news that we like and avoid news that we don’t, leading people to perceive reality in a way that conforms to their long-held beliefs. Not everyone agrees with me that our new infosphere will open the floodgates to fiction, but it’s clear that the McCain camp is benefiting from some of the forces I described.

If postmodern behavior is just human nature (and I am not convinced), then ‘truth’ is in serious trouble since the Web mirrors human nature.

I guarantee you a labeling scheme, in the political sphere, would favor the those who could utilize attention influence the most effectively, and have little to do with actual ‘truth’.

Is the reason why Steven Colbert rocks so damn hard is because he confronts us with our lack of belief in a common ‘truth’ ?

YouTube: Stephen Colbert on The O’Reilly Factor

Google Video: Colbert Roasts President Bush – 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner

What to do or not do? Are there technological solutions, or does technology have no role to play? Or are we dealing with human nature at work, and if so, is it something to embrace, and we’ve come to a core reason why computer programming is so… flawed – that software is an attempt to model processes where there is no true or false, with a tool that only understands true or false?

And if it seems odd that I am making connections between tech, media and politics, well Dave Winer posted yesterday “People thought I stopped writing about technology but the technology and politics are all one and the same.”.

I’m just asking questions here, I have no answers. And probably need to drink less coffee in the morning.