We’re best known for making a thing called Subservient Chicken for Burger King.
Since I was here last I’ve been making lots of stuff on the internet. Like Brand Tags.
Before I get too deep into theoretical stuff I want to talk about making stuff on the web. Back in March of last year I taught myself PHP & mySQL. Throw in HTML/CSS (which I knew) and you pretty much have everything you need to make a fully functional web tool.
Before I get too deep into why those specifics, though, let me explain how websites work (since I'm guessing some of you don't know this). Most people think of web pages as these hard coded things, like pages in a magazine or something.
However, many of the webpages you look at are not created until the moment you look at the site. Brand Tags, for instance, really only consists of about a dozen files. Even though there are 800 brands in the system, all the tag clouds are generated by the same few lines of code which queries the database and returns the formatted results. [http://www.noahbrier.com/archives/2008/11/the_many_skins_of_web_data.php]
Essentially it works something like this: Your mysql database (which looks a lot like a big old excel spreadsheet) stores all sorts of data in it.
Then, using PHP (which basically processes things on the server side before you can see them in your browser), you take a look at the URL (at least in the case of brand tags) and you say, okay, this user wants to see brand 214. So now you know what page they're on.
From there, you send a message to your database (via PHP) saying give me all the tags for brand 214. Which it does like a good little minion. Then you run through a whole bunch of stuff (this is where the magic happens, the \"algorithm\") and parse all that data down into something you can work with. Finally, you pass that data as HTML, which you make pretty using CSS.
Voila, you have a webpage, built on the fly, just for you! (Most pages on the web work roughly this way, though there's lots of caching and other stuff that happens as well.) It's kind of like the web's equivalent to just-in-time production.
Well, the web is kind of like a giant lab. It's a perfect place to do experiments. Where else can you see how millions of people react to something instantly?
Avoid value judgements about new channels. Instead think about why people use it, how it’s different.
Try to understand why people are using it. Who they are? What it means.
Consider the metaphor
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Internet
HOW I LEARNED TO
STOP WORRYING AND
LOVE THE INTERNET
A presentation by Noah Brier
University of Montana
April 11. 2009
“CENTRAL TO THE DESIGN OF
BETAWORKS IS THE ASSUMPTION THAT
COMPANIES BUILDING SERVICES WITH A
COMMON THEME CAN AND SHOULD
PROFIT FROM INCLUSION IN A
PLATFORM OR NETWORK OF LOOSELY
COUPLED BITS AND DRIVING CONTEXT
AND MEANING ACROSS THESE SITES IS
SMALL. CHEAP. EASY.