Some help might be useful

I was out taking a walk through the neighborhood this morning and came up with an idea that, unusually for me, isn’t a crazy idea and most likely won’t lead to my financial ruin so I figured it was worthwhile to follow-up on it.

The city of Saint Paul has an official beautification project to put sidewalk poetry on newly built or replaced sidewalks throughout the city. The northern section of the St Anthony neighborhood, where I live, is no exception to the placement of these poems and it makes for a nice treat to see one while out and about. It occurred to me that it would be nice to have a handy map of such items, and of course the city does have such a map but it is separate from the maps that other cities and organizations maintain of similar art features and doesn’t include something like the Humpty Dumpty sculpture which is private yard art just a few blocks away from my house.

It seemed to me that coming up with a database of such features that user’s (or creators) could submit to easily with associated applications to be able to find local public art would not be much of a project to get off the ground or possibly even to maintain, and that it’s probably something that I should just see about doing.

The problem, as is so common with projects like this, is that all of the obvious domains that I could come up with for the project are already taken or are prohibitively expensive to purchase. So the help I need is to come up with a domain name to use that is available. Ideas?

(I’ll post other thoughts about my plans for the features for the site and apps later, though I would be interested to hear what other people think about the concept and how they might use it.)

Zune v2: The Good

A few of the things that I do think are really very good about the new Zune software are both the Podcast and the social/community support. I have been using services like Last.fm, iLike, and a large variety of others for a very long time now and am really happy to see that kind of support built-in as a basic feature that is incredibly simple to use and visually fairly appealing. So far, in the couple of hours I’ve been playing around with it, it’s wonderful.

Podcast support also is very well executed. The v2 software was able to use my existing cache of downloaded podcasts to seed the Podcast view and while I did have to do some cleanup and am having some difficulty getting some of the really old stuff integrated into single items in the Podcast list I was able to get up to date with the majority of what I regularly listen to simply by finding the existing item and hitting the “subscribe” button in the interface. I can not say enough positive things about how well this got implemented that it almost makes up for the total absence of support for the past year.

Oh, and the software is very, very pretty. No really, it’s quite nice to look at which is a rarity.

Update: I can’t believe I forgot to link to my profile page!

Netflix public profiles

I finally got around to looking at the new community features on Netflix this morning. There’s some interesting stuff they’re trying to do here that I can’t help but think would work better with a more open model for social graphs. It was only a month or so ago that I found that a couple of friends had Netflix accounts and managed to get they added to my friend’s list. More interoperability would make that sort of oversight very difficult, though there is the obvious (to me) caveat that these systems should also make it relatively easy to partition how some of that information travels.

Anyway, some items in particular with the Netflix Community features that I found interesting where the difference between “public” and “private” information and the “Reviewer Rank”. I am, unsurprisingly, pretty low on the ranking coming in somewhere just shy of 65,000th.

But you can see some of that by going directly to my profile.

New web toy

I’m playing with a new music social network web toy right now called Qloud. It’s very similar to Last.fm which I have been playing with for a couple of years now, but in some ways the service might have a better outlook.

So far the service is pretty rough. Searching from the main page can be painful. The interface is… difficult. The iTunes plug-in needs some very serious work (Advice: Whatever you do, try not to accidentally put a ‘\’ in any of your tags. I can’t use the plug-in at work anymore because I’ve got a tag with that in it and it crashes iTunes withing seconds of launching and there does not appear to be any way to remove tags outside the plug-in.). The track information database they have is problematic with some tracks having entirely wrong attributions, many albums not existing at all, no way to input new information, and horrible handling of non-english character sets.

But it’s interesting and different, and has some potential.

If you do decide to take a spin with it, sign up using this link and I get points for the referral.

Slightly Unexpected Views

I was looking over the Star Tribune candidate profiles for the primary tomorrow and thought it was fairly interesting to see that in the Hennepin County Commisioner District 4 race there is a Green Party candidate (Farheen Hakeem) who is running on a social issues platform and a DFL Party candidate (incumbent Peter McLaughlin) who is running on an environmental issues platform.

Change happens.

Posted to L-Space:

For the past 6+ years I have spent time, effort, electricity, and bandwidth on what has been overall one of the most fun little projects I’ve ever had. A little BBS with a stable user base, interesting content, and lots of friends. It has not been without some occasional trouble, whether social or technological, but on balance it has been well worth the effort.

Over the past 10 months I’ve been doing some extensive analysis of the message traffic on the board. It had seemed like things were quieting down, and I thought that I was hearing my own voice a bit too loudly against a lowering murmur of other voices. Sifting through the numbers suggested it as well and after 3 months of tracking I had a pretty solid and steady graph that said overall public message traffic was dropping at a fairly steady rate and that my personal posting frequency was increasing rapidly. So I decided to put together some projections and over the last 7 months, the decline in traffic has fit it more accurately than I had thought possible.

I’ve talked with a few people about this and thought about it for a considerable amount of time. And while, as one person said, it is good for a board to have the voice of it’s owner, I’m not comfortable with how much of my voice has been here. A BBS should be like a choir and not like a soloist with some backing vocals. I would also prefer to take the board down while it is not yet a chore to maintain.

I want to thank all of you for your time and your thoughts, and in many cases your effort to help make this a nice place to hang out on the net. It has been a singular honor to host such as you here.

All things must eventually come to an end and as of Monday May 22, 2006 at 9pm CDT, L-Space will be shut down permanently.

In the intervening week I would exhort you all to get a hold of people you may only know through this board if you want to maintain contact with them. An unsurprising majority of users here have LiveJournal accounts, and some of them and the rest of us have blogs of one sort or another, that can provide a somewhat similar way of keeping connected if you are interested in doing so. In the same way, you may wish to update your bio with current contact information if you want other users to be able to get in touch with you easily.

Thanks.
— The Management