2011 annual review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year!


Following Dan Power and Crysta Anderson’s lead, I’m going to kick off the new year with a look back at the most popular posts from 2010. So with barely a pause and not even a drum roll, the winners are…

1. My second CurrentCost development board circuit

Way out ahead at number one is the only circuit board I’ve completed and put to regular use. Still working fine, apart from a brief pause when the batteries ran out. Kind of regretting replacing the batteries just in time for the recent spell of cold weather!

2. Master Information Hub: Getting Started

Not a close second, but still respectably ahead of the pack, this post is one I regularly point people to the first time they use the MDM Workbench. Hopefully it’s helped a few people out this year.

3. New clock radio

Leading the pack is this surprise entry to the top ten. Unlike some Joggler owners, I still use it fairly regularly and, apart from the occasional experiment, I’m still using the O2 software it came with. I did give Jolicloud another go yesterday, to see whether a little bluetooth keyboard helps; nice, but just not quite fast enough to switch permanently. Might give MeeGo a try next.

4. Get off my hashtag

Had a really interesting chat at the last homecamp about tagging, so this is a subject I’m likely to return to this year.

5. Weather Underground + Mashup Hub + Pachube = orb food

Maybe it’s just me but I get quite excited about the potential that this kind of data mashup has. Perhaps it’s because I’ve seen what you can do with enterprise data and software like Message Broker; now imagine the possibilities with open data and simple ways for anyone to manipulate it. (That’s not manipulation in the political sense of course!)

6. Master Information Hub: Social Bookmark Services

This follows on from the number 2 post, while the third in the series has some catching up to do and didn’t make the top 10. I also have some has some catching up to do; I hope to get to the next instalment early this year.

7. Liberal Democrats can’t win here

Politicians, gotta love ’em. I wonder how these graphs will look if we get proportional representation for the next election.

8. Home Easy ambient orb

All soldered together but not yet receiving that lovely data from the number 5 post. I’m currently pondering whether to just hard code things ‘for now’ or hack some more so that the three orbs could be programmed using the BlinkM sequencer.

9. Digital House Arrest

Politicians again. Really. Very. Annoying. I never did get a reply to my last letter to my MP, Chris Huhne.

10. Manifesto

Given that all politicians seem to be as bad as each other I was half tempted to stand as a RON (reopen nominations) candidate Anyone else up for a For The Win party next time?!

Highly commended: It takes two

Not actually in the top ten but this post about Hedge End twinning deserves an honourable mention for the great comments about Frome’s twins.

Happy new year!

A brief history of web versions


Listening to the “Web 3.0: Are We There Yet?” DM Radio broadcast has got me grumbling about the latest version of The Web again. To be fair, it isn’t just a web thing; I get the same urge to scream whenever marketing types start messing about with version numbers. There was some interesting discussion on that DM Radio episode as well, but that’s not what this post is about.

Just to be absolutely clear, The Web does not have A Version. It’s not helpful. Stop it.

Having had a similar moan about Web 2.0 on my internal blog some years ago, I decided to catch up with the latest Web 3.0 hype. One of the first things I found were these Web 3.0 slides. Which really wasn’t a good start, given I disagree with just about everything in them. Since web versions seem to be a participation sport, here’s my web fiction to illustrate:

Web 0.9

Nothing ever starts with version 1 does it?! At this point I think I should apologise for my part in the demise of the internet… my first experience of the internet was when I started university in 1993… sorry about the mess.

Still, contrary to alternative histories, the web didn’t start with media companies being so kind as to push content to users. My recollection is that it started with all content being user generated, whether that was usenet content, or hand crafted HTML content. Businesses weren’t on this version of the web.

Web 1.0

Search. For me that’s what would really be worthy of a new version number. In the beginning the web really was a web, of links. I still like following links to see where the web takes me, hence the stupid number of tabs I have open most of the time, just waiting for a chance to get round to reading them. Even so, being able to find stuff without stumbling across it, or being given a specific URL, is great. Thanks Google… and those other search engines I used back then (maybe they even still exist).

Still plenty of user generated content in Web 1.0. Geocities for example- oh how we’ve moved on. You don’t even need to upgrade to get social networking: Six Degrees and Friends Reunited. Maybe even Friendster if you upgrade to Web 2.0 a bit late.

Oh yes, and businesses begin to get in on the act by inflating a huge bubble. Nice.

Web 2.0

There hasn’t been enough hype up to this point, so the web gets its first version number. Luckily everyone agrees on exactly what Web 2.0 is. If only it was that clear, and I certainly wasn’t the only one who was skeptical. Around the same time, I was also muttering…

Are you a Web 2.0 sceptic?! (27 Jan 2006)

I am.

Why Web 2.0 all of a sudden? Shouldn’t we be on Web 6.1 or something by now?! (No, seriously; from text based, to graphics, to that little Java guy waving at you everywhere, to blinking text, to scripts, to buying stuff, to css, to getting scammed, to PHP, to friends reunited, to the internet2, and all the other stuff I’ve missed. And now we have the Web 2.0? Whatever.)

Sure, technology and business models are still advancing, and smart stuff is happening, but I can’t work out whether the Web 2.0, dare I say hype, is driven by money (so you have a web site, why not do e-business, but hey, you really want to be on-demand don’t you?), techies (my new widget is shinier than yours!) or a combination of both. Will it be the next .com? And what’s planned for Web 3.0?

The  appetite for user generated content is stronger than ever, with more users and more (and easier) ways to share stuff. Much less mucking about with geeky markup… unless you pick the wrong wiki. (I still fail to understand why a inconsistent wiki markup was better than plain old HTML.)

Web 3.0

Now things get even more ridiculous, “we already know what the next development in web technology will be called, we just don’t know what it is yet.

For a while it looked like Web 3.0 might neatly be in 3D, but virtual worlds appear to be well and truly down in the trough of disillusionment now. Another contender is the Semantic Web, but wait a minute a) that already has a name, and b) haven’t we been waiting for that ages already, maybe even before Web 2.0? I guess a nice descriptive name is no reason not to use a meaningless fictitious version number instead!

There are plenty of other features floating around which might make it in to the Web 3.0 version.

Web 4.0

That’s right, we haven’t even reached Web 3.0 yet and there’s already a Web 4.0! (Probably many Web 4.0s!) Maybe we should just skip a few versions!

The graph on Ambiguating the terminology: Web 4.0 is a great illustration of why version numbers don’t make any sense.

The web continuum

So, to recap, the web doesn’t have a version number! Its development is a continuum of evolving technologies. I can see there’s a case for looking at the web’s development from a higher level than each individual component, but wouldn’t more descriptive names be more useful than meaningless versions? Early Web, Dynamic Web, Social Web, Semantic Web, Internet of Things, Mobile Web, Smarter Web, Virtual Web. No? Just as meaningless? Oh well.

Luckily, if you completely disagree with all this ranting, this weblog is fully Web 2.5 enabled, so you can leave your own thoughts below. Why not let me know what version of the web you use and how often you upgrade?!

Too busy to blog


I seem to have been far too busy to get any time for blogging lately. Actually, it’s the finishing off posts that I’ve been having trouble finding time for; I do still keep adding to the number of unpublished posts, with this selection boosting the number of drafts to 38:

  • Master Information Hub: Social Bookmark Search Transaction
  • My first Joggler app
  • Election results!
  • Icelandic Economy Bill
  • dub dub dub dot fail
  • Parking charge

Instead of finishing any of those off I’ve been…

…ordering a canvas for one of our wedding photos.

We’ve been married almost a year so it seemed like it would be a good idea to finally do something with some of our favourite photos!

The canvas has arrived, and looks great, but it’s still sealed in a back to keep all the dust off from…

…decorating the porch.

We have two front doors; one on the outside and one on the inside. I added the outer door not long after moving in to create small enclosed entrance hall/porch, which has been great for shoes, coats, assorted junk, and getting rid of anyone trying to sell something without letting out all the heat in the process. The old front door has needed a coat of paint ever since, but because I never look at the outside much I only painted the inside, until now. As a result, most of the house is currently covered in dust from all the sanding!

…playing with a new toy.

A bit of an impulse buy, but after gradually increasing the number of boxes I have plugged in all the time (ironic since it all started with the Current Cost meter!), I’ve cut down a few with a FRITZ!Box. Pretty happy with it so far: it’s a neat combination of ADSL wireless router, file/media server and DECT base station. Plus, thanks to a tip off from Jee Labs, @jthouse will soon be following @andy_house‘s lead and sending me an SMS if I miss any calls.

…not hacking the Joggler.

Apart from being in German, the FRITZ!Box media server works very well with the Joggler, so I’m still really happy to keep using the default Joggler software. For now that is: the Joggler appears to have been discontinued, and my question to O2 about creating Joggler apps seems to have vanished as well. I didn’t have much/any luck using Flash Develop, which is a shame because it seems to be a decent IDE, but Nick has been getting on pretty well on Linux. His Joggler music app looks very promising.

I have been keeping an eye on various Joggler hacks and the first one to have me seriously tempted, is Opera mobile running on the Joggler. I did briefly boot Ubuntu off a USB stick, but I don’t think it’s worth it just yet. On the other hand, Jolicloud does look like it might be ideally suited to running on the Joggler, unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work. I’m still hopeful that someone will get Jolicloud booting on the Joggler though; any ideas?

Actually, I think Sony have got a much better idea of how devices like the Joggler should work with the Dash. Getting something like that running on the Joggler would be awesome.

…thinking about home automation.

@lauracowen sparked off some great discussions on the Homecamp group, and I definitely like some of the ideas in Ian’s blog post. I had a chat to Laura on Friday, and the idea of a ‘boost’ is probably a good starting point. I’m sure that would help lower my gas bill, although I’m wondering whether an even lower tech solution might work with my existing heating controls. We often turn on the hot water to top it up, but forget to turn it off again. So, since there is currently no boost button, I’m tempted to just get a basic timer to sit next to the controller to set a reminder to come back and turn off the hot water after a short period. Or I guess I could even use the kitchen timer that’s already in the microwave.

…visiting London.

We spent yesterday in London, mainly to see The Woman in Black, which was excellent. It was hard to work out which of the blood-curdling screams were from the audience and which were part of the production! We also had some time to visit the National Gallery, which brought back a few memories of art lessons.

See how much things have changed since I ruined Turner’s Ulysses deriding Polyphemus with an oil rig?!

…watching Inception.

Really enjoyed Inception although, now I think about it, it’s riddled with plot holes that I never noticed at the time. Guess that’s pretty normal for dreams!

…blogging.

I’ve also been posting on the MDM Workbench blog, so there’ll be fewer work related posts on here now. (Still figuring out how to decide which blog to pick for MDM posts.)

MDM Workbench developerWorks blog


I’m very excited to announce that the MDM Workbench now has its own dedicated blog on developerWorks! If you’ve found any of my MDM Workbench posts useful, I would definitely recommend taking a look. Iain might have been the last person in my team to start blogging but he’s already posted two great articles on the new blog:

I’ll also be using the new blog to post MDM Workbench news which I was previously featuring on the MDM Workbench space.

That isn’t the end of MDM posts here either; I’ll still be writing about my own views of MDM and the workbench, and hopefully continuing my Social Bookmarking example.

First Century


Almost by coincidence (i.e. only slightly contrived after I noticed how close it was) this is the first anniversary of Notes from a small field and the 100th post! If you don’t like blog posts about blog stats, look away now!

  • First post: Hello world! on 19 September 2007, and I didn’t even write it!
  • Least popular post (not including this one!): Perranporth, Cornwall with 3 hits, which is a shame because the Ordnance Survey still do nice wallpaper pics
  • Most popular search term: “low power home server” 112 times
  • Busiest day: Thursday, July 31, 2008 with 306 hits
  • Total views: 8,994
  • Spam: 2,763 (all caught thanks to Akismet)

Luckily it’s not all numbers. Here’s my roundup from the past year/99 posts:

  • Favourite comment: if I’d have started this blog sooner, there would have been a lot of posts about fitting the kitchen!
  • Most useless post: iPhone accessibility (nobody seems interested, which is a shame- must try and catch up with Andy about trying it out on the touch screen kiosk in the ETS lab instead)

If you got this far, well done! If all goes to plan, I’ll have some cakes at my desk in Hursley to celebrate.

P.S. Aarrr!

Update: If you were working at home today/don’t work in Hursley, you missed out… yum…

Cake

Cake

Unpublished


Since it’s a bit hard to follow that last post, I thought now would be a good time for an interlude. It may come as a surprise but I try and maintain the highest standards of content and editing on my weblog; no really! Some posts get cut completely, while others just hang around collecting dust on my drafts tab. Here are a few which might one day make it out:

  • Social radar
  • Even more ways to run MDM transactions
  • Command line usability
  • Favourite MDM sites
  • Are SOA and MDM inseparable?
  • Personal Master Data Management
  • Pervasive computing
  • Don’t ban carrier bags!
  • Random-bouts
  • Web 2.0.0.7
  • Marconi didn’t invent WiFi
  • Second Language
  • Quantum kettles
  • Recipe for a virtual world x: Physics
  • Recipe for a Virtual World x: way in
  • Recipe for a Virtual World x: money
  • Eternal September

Although, admittedly, perhaps not for some time! And finally, here’s one post that really is coming soon:

  • Another way to run MDM transactions in a development environment