All entries for September 2004

September 13, 2004

Laser tag has come of age!

Writing about web page http://www.gizmodo.com/archives/lazer-tag-team-ops-review-021203.php

If you love gadgets like I do then you really should subscribe to or visit Gizmodo.

This just came up today. Modern day laser tag toys (why do people insist on spelling laser, laZer??). These things even have freaking HUD's that you can wear that tell you when you're hit and what ammo you have got left and stuff! Too cool.


September 03, 2004

I'm an idealist

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/whatamilike/index_5.shtml?idealist

  • Make sense of the world using inner values
  • Focus on personal growth and the growth of others
  • Think of themselves as bright, forgiving and curious
  • May sometimes appear stubborn

Is this me? Some yes, some no.


September 02, 2004

BlogBuilder interoperability and extensibility

We have spent quite a while building blogbuilder from scratch to create what we hope is a good, feature packed blog system.

It was important to create it from scratch to overcome some of the problems of other blog packages out there. Such as:

  1. Scalability – most systems were designed to run a single blog, not a whole system of blogs
  2. Integration – we knew that we would want to closely integrate our blogs with our single sign on system
  3. Platform – most blog systems out there are php or perl based. There are a few Java based ones, but they are pretty basic
  4. Extensibility – from the word go we had a whole bunch of features which were quite rare or even unique in the blog world. So, we knew that we couldn't just buy something and install it…there was always going to be development work to do, so we may as well do it properly, rather than relying on someone elses code.
  5. Community – because most systems out there are designed for a single blog instance living in isolation, there is not really the concept of built in community and aggregation. Yes you can submit your blog to search engines and blog aggregators, but those are not controlled by us. We wanted to feel that you and your blog were not isolated. Community and peer support is an important factor in encouraging people to take up blogging and keep at it. To this end, we will shortly be making live our new blog directory which will aggregate together entries/blogs in groups based on departments/modules/etc…

Another objective is to encourage interactions between blogbuilder and other systems we have at Warwick. I've just created a web service which publishes basic information about blogs in an easy to understand XML format. Another system can easily request a list of blogs that someone owns and use that information in whatever way they deem fit.

For instance, the Skills people are going to be creating learning objects that when students have finished automatically helps the user create an entry in their blog with results from the learning object inserted for them.

Other interoperability we hope to do is with the library. It would be really nice if instead of just querying Amazon as we do at the moment, the book review system could link with the library.

I hope that by trying to make the system as usable and open as possible (within reason), people will come up with new ways of using blogbuilder that we have not even thought of yet.


September 01, 2004

Scrounging for holiday reading

Someone a while back asked me if they could use their blog to keep a list of books/dvd/music they owned and let their friends request to borrow any of those items.

Mediachest does this for you in the wide world, but there is certainly value in doing this in a safe/known/trusted community.

Seeing as we don't have such a thing just yet for me to search around and find suitable holiday reading books to borrow…does anyone have any good holiday reading ideas that I can borrow?

I'm into more or less any adventure/thriller/sci-fi/fantasy type books.

It would be quite cool if we could just let people entry a bunch of ISBN/ASIN number into a list without having to rate/review them and let them publish just what they own. Sometimes just seeing what someone owns is just as interesting as seeing a review of stuff they own as you are more likely to get a bigger list of non-reviewed items than you are reviewed items because it is just so much easier.
You could flag an item as borrowable if you want to let people request to borrow it.

I could go on, but basically it would work like mediachest but in a local/trusted environment.


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