Ubuntu One Buzz

Well it seems that Ubuntu One is moving its first step into the social web; you can easily obtain a link for the song you're listening to. At variance with Apple's Ping, in Ubuntu One you can propagate this link to the (social) web, via all the services you've already set up in your microblogging client Gwibber. Far better than to have all inside iTunes only!

Oh, and as a nice surplus, you find your messages on Ubuntu One front page too. As an example, you can find on that web page a few of my recent played songs (user @mcastel)

Posted via email from Signal 2 Noise

What I like in Amplify

After just a couple of days,  it seems reasons are forming in my mind  why I think that Amplify is not “just” another social network, but it seems to show a good appealing (at least, to me)…

Here is my first thought…

  • the possibility of web site clipping & posting is great. Better than Buzz or Friendfeed
  • I like the “recommend” button. Easy and fast way to show appreciation of a post
  • I like the threaded replies (much better than “flat” replies as in FriendFeed or Qaiku). Identi.ca has also threaded replies but the strong limit in the length can heavily hamper the conversations
  • I like the fact that blog & microblog are kept together, the user can choose the right format for each post
  • I also appreciate than micropost are not limited to the too much abused 140 chars max. 500 is far better, IMHO; I’m tired of very short post 😉
  • Connection to other services is also a good thing. Just hope Amplify staff can add Identi.ca in a near future …

(more to come…)

Why I’m using gmail #0

With this post, I want to begin to put down on paper (so to say…) a short list of reason that lead me to slowly lean to Google mail (the now really famous Gmail service) as the preferred choice for my email communication, slowly but constantly abandoning other viable alternatives, many of which I adopted for long time.

I was somewhat pushed into this, from personal “ruminations” after a diffused dibate that took place in my Observatory  in several occasion, where my position (with an interestingly wide spread of different approaches) is  now shared among a good number of other researchers.

Since its first apparence, Gmail was rightly considered as “innovative” for a good number of reasons, ranging from the more technical aspects (for example, the interface carachterized by a judicious use of AIAX and other emerging technologies) to end on the more social aspects (the pecuiliar conversational model, etc…). As a consequence, the choice of talking about Gmail, far from being reductive and restricted to a particular brand or service, can easily became  (in my humble opinion) an occasion to talk about the “modern web” in a variety of its more aspects.

These posts came as an (imperfect) traslation of a series of little messages I am writing in italian in another blog. Instead of making a long post here (with a long series of grammatical errors… since English is not my first language!) I have choosen a different approach, i.e., to breack up the list of reason in a series of little “pills” to be hosted (also) on my compainion blog signal2noise (s2n). This also with the aim to explore a little bit a  form of expression expecially suitable for Posterous platform (yes, I’m addicted to web techology and services, no doubt!)

Well, at this point, I’d say that the scenario is well defined. Next post will deal with a first “motivation” for my adoption of Gmail. In passing, if you like the idea and want to add your two cents, just drop a message to s2n@posterous.com 🙂

Ubuntu 10.04, my two cents…

Originally uploaded by mcastellani

Some days ago, I upgraded my linux box to Ubuntu 10.04. I am pleased to say that the upgrade took place without worries and virtually no intervention on my side (aside a couple of request from the upgrade script in order to ask permission to overwrite some system files).
Now, detailed descriptions of the new release may be easily found in the network (you just need to google a bit to find plenty of them), so here I note only some impressions of use. Say, what strikes me without “scratching” too much under the surface, in the first approach. 
    Let’s see …

  • for a “sick” of social networks like myself, Ubuntu 10.04 comes with a really interesting aspect: it is eminently social. It comes with the client gwibber (now at release that supports Twitter, StatusNet, Facebook, Identi.ca, Digg, FriendFeed, and also Qaiku (a microblog service with an exciting support for languages; I like it a lot and, as a matter of fact, I have realized most of the interface translation in Italian). To tell the truth, not only it’s included, but it result deeply integrated in the “social” concept of Ubuntu, for which we can now express our “online presence” directly from the top status bar of Gnome. I am very curious (and so are the developers) to understand whether the inclusion of native Qaiku in Ubuntu will bring more users to put their noses in this interesting but still little known platform.
  • There was much discussion on Ubuntu related sites, concerning the new network online music store that comes integrated into Rhytmbox, the “software and music playback for GNOME”, which is now reached its version 0.12.8 (but what to say about this habit of going forward with the zero point something ?). I just spent a bit of time in it, and I found that the prices of a number of albums are very interesting and – at least in some cases – significantly lower than their  iTunes counterparts .
  • The GNOME desktop backgrounds have my appreciation, for the aesthetic work that I think has given excellent results. Overall, it seems quite clear that Mac OS X has been well taken into account by the Ubuntu developers (up to small details as the discussed choice of putting the icons on the left side of windows) … but that’s OK, no problem;)
  • Even the ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ (again, the not-too-hidden reference not is to the online software repository of Mac OS X) has made significant progress. Browsing through categories to choose the software to install it ‘s now easier, and it is a truly enjoyable experience … and it’s free, too!

Overhall, I like Ubuntu 10.04. Surely there are things to improve and fix (for example, during the first days of use I stumbled upon some oddity of gwibber, which kept to give me authentication error in Qaiku, despite having already added the correct API at least a couple of times …), anyway I think we came to a really respectable version. One of the most important representations – perhaps the most important at present – of an open source operating system. 
… what do you think, I’m exaggerating?

Happy birthday, Qaiku!

It ‘a shame that the microblogging platform Qaiku still has not found – in general, and in the Italian community in particular – the credit it deserves (in my humble opinion), in light of the features and flexibility of its structure (less minimalist but far more effective than Twitter, just to make a quick comparison between the most diffused platform).
Features such as thematic groups, the possibility (really unique, for what I know) to select the language for messages, or sending images (and now, after the restyling, also more general attachments)… not to talk about the evolved conversational models (inspired to Jaiku, it features the possibility to add real comments to posts, with a build in notification mechanism to inform other participant about your reply)… these are things that might lead someone to a more careful analysis of the platform (which incidentally has been already translated into Italian for the most part, guess who did it…)

This week Qaiku went offline for a few hours, after which users have been surprised to find a substantial “refurbishment” of the site, which just recently celebrated her first birthday.

I followed the adventure of Qaiku from the earliest times (I am still convinced that I was the first to post a message in Italian, to say one thing). I was already there when the infrastructure had just gone out from the “internal” test phase. Time slowly brought a lot of interesting improvement over the original project, but the user base – at an international level (Qaiku is rather strong in Finland, its native country) – perhaps did not expand as the structure deserves. 

Now it seems that good things are happening, for Qaiku. Among others, maybe you’ll be glad to know that Ubuntu users can rely on Gwibber – a microblogging client already included in Ubuntu 9.10 – as a powerful tool to access the service, without even having to open a browser.

On this occasion, we publish here a screenshot of the Linux group (which, as any other group, can work selectively in Italian, English or any other language) .. you never know , maybe someone wants to join us …

Playing Monopoly, online…

Finally, after several tries that revealed themselves as nothing else than frustrating, last night I managed to interact with the servers of the new online game Monopoly City Street at a speed good enough to really play (by the way, I am in the game with the nick marcolinux, in homage to one of my favorite operating systems).

I must say that, despite its simplicity, since the first announcement, I felt quite interested in this curious online version of the classic game “Monopoly” … The most intriguing thing is the chance you have to play on a virtual scenario as big as .. the whole world! As a matter of fact, the choice to rely on Google Maps was a nice thought indeed.

While from a technical standpoint the basic idea of this mash up, i.e. to make Google Maps “playable”, is nice and certainly worthy of being further developed, it also must be said that – from an organizational perspective – the “launch” occurred, in my view, not in the best way, perhaps underestimating at a certain degree the potential interest of the game, or at least the peculiar issue of “newness”: the consequence was to have, for many hours, servers too busy, and too many gamers detectably unsatisfied. It had been better, perhaps, to deal with a slowly growing traffic, perhaps relying on the classical mechanism of “invites” (remember the opening of Gmail..?). To be honest, in this case not even this strategy would be satisfactory, as the first to play would have clear advantages over players entered a second moment (if not else, more roads to choose from, to buy them).

Now however such “imperfect” start – with someone who could play and someone else who could not – has created a large number of requests for a “fresh start” , a new beginning that would reset all game situations. Needless to say, you easily understand that some people are happy and who is not at all …

Personally, beyond the interest on the specific game, I am also intrigued to observe the development of the project, and even more to watch at all the “social” buzz that it has already generated (discussion groups, social networking, etc …). Moreover, all in a very short time, if you think about it!

So, yesterday I went to sleep with my purchase of fourteen streets, some in Rome (Piazza S. Agostino was my first purchase, which is still among my properties), others in Ravenna (only because I have found still much to buy there)

Admittedly, the dynamics of the game is pretty simple (at the moment) … But, as my son Simone says, “it excites me a lot when I buy a road, because then I realize that I’m the only one to own it, in the whole world …!”

Beyond all other possible considerations, how can I say he’s wrong …? 😉

My G.ho.st desktop

Just played a bit with my account on G.ho.st account, yesterday. Well I got the impression that Virtual Computing is getting more and more “usable” each day: it’s not a simple experiment any more, it’s something that you can really start to use, even if for simple tasks.

It’s quite funny to close a desktop (say) at work, and reopen it at home, on a different computer, to find exactly the same configurations!

Now, if I only could open a bash shell … I know, I’m asking too much (for the moment)…

Posted via web from SegnaleRumore Express