Essential web podcasts…

Musing over my crunchy-nutty-bran-o-choccy-chunky-bisc-a-berry-flakes this morning I was thinking about conferences. Most conferences I’ve ever been to have been pretty boring, although the vending machine one in London a few years ago had some great giveaways. But Web Conferences, they’re a different matter.

I had to put Web Conferences in capitals because they’re, well, so coooool.

So it’s good that some nice people who do actually go to these things provide the slides and audio recordings of the sessions, so that sad stay-at-homers like me can pretend we’re part of the Web In Crowd.

There I go with the capitals again. It must be saying something about my current frame of mind. I must be due for my tablets…

Weblog usability guide…

This very weblog you’re reading is sporadically updated, far too braod in its interests, and badly written much of the time. But what can I do about it? Why, read Jakob Nielsen’s weblog usability guide, of course!

Actually, there are some things in there that I’d really like incorporate in the new Wiblog system which I am writing (and have been for 18 months, nearly). That’s yet another thing I’m failing to finish properly. That, I’m afraid, is my major problemn. I have no shortage of ideas, and no shortage of motivateion and passion to get them started, but getting them finished (doing the GruntWork as M@ would say) I find … more challenging.

Tagging – the next step…

There’s an interesting article on We Break Stuff about tagging and social bookmarks. Frederico seems to be a bit sceptical about the benefits of tagging, mainly because – and rightly in my opionion – he thinks the average user is not motivated enough to use tagging in the way it needs to be used.

How does it need to be used? Well, for example, I could save this post with the tags “social” and “bookmarks” and, if you’re a geek like me, you’d know what it was about. But what if I saved the post with the tags “tags” and “benefits”, some people may think it’s something to do with care labels in clothing. Rubbish example, but you see the problem.

So, my idea is this. To use an online thesaurus web services (an API, in other words) to search for close matches for the tag being searched/looked at, that would then in turn look for items stored with those extra tags.

A simple example may be something like this:

User searches for the tag “bookmark”. The system brings back all items (these could be blog posts, links etc) associated with that tag AND also runs a thesaurus search for related tags.

Related tags returned are “clip, flag, flap, holder, logo, loop, marker, slip, sticker, stop, strip, tag, ticket” (from http://thesaurus.reference.com/search?r=2&q=bookmark) and then runs a second search on these related tags, offering the results with a relevance rank of some kind.

Obviously this wouldn’t be a foolproof system, but I think it may have advantages for some people using tags with obscure or obtuse meanings. Another idea would be to scan the text of an item looking for the related words, perhaps that would give better results.

There may also be some interesting application with regard to Dave Winers latest OPML suggestion.