Archive for the 'Social Software' Category

Wikileaks

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Another large-scale wiki project:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. Many governments would benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. Wikileaks will facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.

Wikileaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide. Wikileaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document comes from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document arrives from Iran, the entire Farsi community can analyze it and put it in context.

Who is behind Wikileaks?

Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.

There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.

Via SmartMobs: Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way

Web Monday, January 2007: Bielefeld, Berlin, Kiel, Stuttgart, Vienna, Bremen, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Jena, Frankfurt, Silicon Valley

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

With a total of eleven Web Mondays, January is shaping up to be our busiest month yet.

You know what to do:

  • Mark your calendars, spread the word, bring your friends, bring your colleagues (heck, bring your boss)!
  • Share your insights, give a remarkable talk, or demo your hot, new, curve-jumping, paradigm-shifting, patent-pending, world-changing, revolutionary, first-mover app!!
  • Have fun inventing the future of the internet!

January 15:

January 22:

January 29:

One of my key goals for the development and further growth of Web Monday in 2007 is better sharing across what will soon be 20 different locations.

I would like to take the opportunity and encourage everyone to make sure their demos, presentations and talks at every event get recorded or otherwise properly documented (photos, podcasts, videos — you name it) so we can make them available online.

Yes, Web Monday is about to get its own blog shortly (and podcast, I assume).

Happy New Year!

Podcamp Berlin, January 12-14

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Since everybody really seemed to have liked the general concept, why not do another one?

Podcamp Berlin is upon us:

Podcamp Berlin is a free, two-day ad hoc conference on blogging, internet TV, new media, and podcasting. It will be the first event of its kind outside of the US.

Podcamp is an interdisciplinary event for media creators (amateurs and professionals), consumers, service providers, social scientists, lawyers, economists, entrepreneurs, consultants, and investors. Participants talk and learn about the essentials of content, business models, concepts, and advertising of today and tomorrow in the area of new media.

More than 100 people have signed up (a German who’s who in podcasting and social media), but there is still room for last minute campers.

Follow the blog for updates (in German).

Naturally, things kick off Friday night with a little party.

Have fun, everybody!

Deadpool

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

Looks like 2007 may turn out to be a little bumpy for one web 2.0 startup or the other:

Mike Arrington takes a minute to examine whether or not we’re in a new Bubble, Bubble, Bubble:

In Web 1.0 companies didn’t fail (until the crash). They just raised more money, at a higher valuation, and gave it another shot. That isn’t happening today. VCs are letting their startups die, as they should. Things aren’t as exciting as they were in 1999, but it’s a whole lot saner.

So every time a startup dies, I don’t think it’s evidence of a bubble about to burst. I think it’s evidence of a market that is working exactly as it should. Most companies fail, but enough win to keep the whole ecosystem healthy.

There you have it.

It's official: Ze Germans dig ze barcamp

Saturday, December 30th, 2006

Remember earlier this year? Thanks to Google, we learned that Germans — for all we know — tend to take their work very seriously. They are best known for their brutal sense of order, their punctuality, their keen sense of logic, for being better dictators than listeners, for their formality, their stubbornness, and their imposing personalities. Not the best conditions for the unconference movement to flourish, you might think.

Wrong!

First of all, the aforementioned stereotypes are just that — bad, bad stereotypes, and so unfair (ok, they are partially accurate, I give you that).

Second, there seems to be a growing desire among people from the German web and startup scene to get together in informal settings to share, learn and collaborate.

After Barcamp Berlin in September and Barcamp Cologne in November, Barcamp Nuremberg took place the weekend before Christmas, December 16-17 — completing the round of three German barcamps in 2006.

For all three, feedback has been very positive. In fact, quite a few out of the 300 or so attendees seem eager to keep it up in 2007. A number of cities are being mentioned that may host future camps: Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Cologne.

My hope is that once people discover they can organize an entire conference, they may soon consider starting their own companies as well.

A big thank you to Sebastian, Raju, Franz, and Joerg, the main instigators and organizers, and the many who helped them. Very nicely done.

Pockets of resistance, indeed.

Web 2.0

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

Tim O’Reilly’s attempt at a compact definition of Web 2.0 (as opposed to his original article):

Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them. (This is what I’ve elsewhere called “harnessing collective intelligence.”)

I also like Bob Stumpel’s checklist:

This is a stupid simple link bank, referring to everything that just might be a symptom of Web 2.0. I’m not dogmatic. Any sign of:

  • Collective intelligence / wisdom of crowds
  • Collaboration / sharing
  • Reviewing / ranking / rating
  • Community / social software
  • Enabling / empowering users

is good enough for a listing.

Though I’m certain some people will still not be convinced that Web 2.0 is anything other than a marketing buzzword (and completely meaningless). Oh well…

As for me, I’m about ready to join the revolution. Let’s see what 2007 has in store.

Web Monday Ruhr Valley, December 11

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Web Monday Ruhr Valley will launch this coming Monday, December 11 at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in Bochum.

About 5+ million people live in this part of Germany, who up until now didn’t have access to a Web Monday close-by. Can you imagine? Anyway, I’m very happy to see that this white spot on the map is finally being filled.

Apparently, 50+ people have signed up (some of whom aren’t on the wiki yet). The three brief (10 minute) talks will circle around social networks, community frameworks and web 2.0 — oh, an there’s drinks and pretzels, too!

In case you’re wondering, here’s a little more information about the region in the heart of Germany: Ruhr Valley. And for those of you who read German: here’s the lyrics to a classic German pop song from ‘84 that is about, well, Bochum (or check out the English translation).

Technology and Politics Camp, December 17

Thursday, November 23rd, 2006

Meet me at Technology and Politics Camp, December 17 in San Francisco.

The Technology and Politics Camp is intended as a hands-on day of networking, brainstorming, and planning for organizations working at the intersection of politics and the Internet (or technology in general). The idea came out of the Technology and Politics session at BarCampStanford.

The general goal is to create stronger and more coherent coalitions devoted to democratic technology, freedom, social justice, and sustainability.

This is the re-scheduled Barcamp TechnoPolitics that I had announced here.

What the Fleck?!

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

So Fleck is live and it’s some sort of web annotation layer thingy:

Fleck.com wants to add a new layer of interactivity to the web. Fleck is inspired on a story written in 1945 by Vannevar Bush and an article titled ‘We Are The Web’ by Kevin Kelly.

Vannevar Bush predicted a machine called the Memex that would allow people to surf from one information page to another. Some people say that Hypertext and the World Wide Web are based on or at least inspired by the Memex.

Kevin KellyOne thing that the Memex had and the web doesn’t is the ability to add new content to every page it contained. After reading the Wired article by Kevin Kelly we decided to try to add a new level to the web by adding new tools that would allow its users to add information rather than just consuming it.

Fleck allows you to interact with pages on the web just as if it were pages in a magazine. You can save your annotated page for yourself, send it to friends or colleagues or use it in your blog.

You can start using Fleck right now. It’s free and what’s best: you don’t have to install anything on your computer. Try the search box at the top of this page or add Fleck to your browser with a Bookmarklet or Extention.

Fleck was founded by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, Patrick de Laive and Arjen Schat and is privately funded.

Interesting.

Marshall has more over at Techcrunch: Fleck Offers Zero Friction Web Annotation

So if you feel like Flecking along, why not start with this page right here?

Oh, and check out how they launched their site to the public. Pretty creative.

Creating Building Blocks for Independents

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Earlier this year, Tantek Çelik gave a presentation at the SXSW Interactive conference on “Building Blocks for Independents” and has meanwhile launched a wiki to help expand these ideas.