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The elmcity project


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Series of talks given in London, July 2007

Published in: Technology, Education
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The elmcity project

  1. 1. Events in Keene, NH: Spring 2005
  2. 2. Events in Keene, NH: Summer 2009 Built on Microsoft Azure Data flows in from: A curated list of iCalendar “feeds” Data flows out to: HTML, XML, JSON, iCalendar Not a database Not a destination site A syndication hub
  3. 3. Actually, a growing collection of hubs
  4. 4. Intertwined history with 1 2 3
  5. 5. From groupware to social information management year standard project outcome “It was one of the books I'm proudest of publishing, despite its NNTP commercial failure. It 1999 was just too far ahead of RFC 977 its time.” - Tim O’Reilly, Google Wave: What Might Email Look ? iCal 2009 RFC2445 elmcity
  6. 6. RSS feeds, iCalendar feeds publish subscribe aggregate Radio UserLand Radio UserLand Netscape TypePad NetNewsWire Radio UserLand RSS WordPress Bloglines Meerkat Many others Google Reader Bloglines Many others Technorati Planet Many others Google Calendar Google Calendar Calagator Outlook Outlook elmcity ICS Apple iCal Apple iCal Others? Live Calendar Live Calendar Drupal Others Others
  7. 7. Why iCalendar? Why now? The standard is 10 years old! But it was late to the personal publishing party. It only recently become possible to publish an iCalendar “feed” using: Google Calendar Outlook Apple iCal Drupal And hardly anybody knows this.
  8. 8. Right thing: Feed. Wrong way: RSS. The date and time must be here, right? Wrong. It’s nowhere to be found. (RSS link just points back to page)
  9. 9. Bookmarking metadata in Delicious Step 1: Designate a Delicious account e.g.: prescottaz, for Prescott, Arizona Step 2: Bookmark a metadata URL e.g.: Step 3: Tag it with location, timezone
  10. 10. Other metadata defaults… tz=Eastern title=event+calendar contact=nobody_yet img= css= template= radius=5 … are also controlled in Delicious
  11. 11. Bookmarking feeds in Delicious
  12. 12. Default event URL and category. (Individual events often don’t provide, will inherit, can augment.)
  13. 13. Trusting contributors 1. Curator monitors RSS feed for previously unseen contributors (e.g., to Eventful or Upcoming). 2. Clicks through to view contributions to that service. 3. If deemed trustworthy, bookmarks contributor’s URL in that service, assigns (revocable) trust tags.
  14. 14. Other possible ways to curate metadata Fielded Wiki? Semantic wiki? {{ElmcityAggregator |where=keene,nh |tz=Eastern |radius=15 |title=Events in and Around Keene }} Goal: Support any source of name/value pairs that people will happily use.
  15. 15. Open infrastructure
  16. 16. Collaborating in FriendFeed
  17. 17. Where do iCalendar feeds come from? Sometimes curators can find them. Sometimes curators create them. In RSS terms, the iCalendar ecosystem is at roughly a 2001 stage of development.
  18. 18. Guerilla feed creation: FuseCal
  19. 19. Guerilla feed creation: FuseCal Most calendar info online is HTML only. FuseCal finds titles, dates and times. DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20090704 BEGIN:VEVENT URL: And exports ICS.
  20. 20. Guerilla feed creation: MySpace 1. Visit 2. Open the all events link: 3. Give it to FuseCal 4. Filter the results by Keene 5. Export the iCalendar URL 6. Add that URL to the Delicious registry with these tags: trusted ics feed url= category=music Now, even though MySpace does not export ICS, or do location query, we have this band's Keene events flowing through the hub.
  21. 21. Guerilla feed creation: Finding implicit recurring events and making them explicit 1. Robot searches Google and Bing for: {every|first|second|third|fourth|last} {monday|tuesday|wednesday|thursday|friday|saturday|sunday} keene,nh 2. Curator eyeballs results looking for recurring events 3. Sample result text, from a PDF file: NSD – 2009_02_Issue.indd Recreation Center, 312 Washington St., Keene, NH. Western Style Square Dance Apparel ….. “We have a dance every first and third Saturday, no matter what!!!” 4. Actual source of date/time info 5. Implied recurring event made explicit
  22. 22. Guerilla feed creation: Light up hidden feeds A variety of popular web calendars do offer ICS feeds, including: Google Calendar Most Drupal sites. Some library systems. Assorted other content management systems. The operators of these systems typically won’t know that. Curators can bring this hidden feeds to light. Just by bookmarking them!
  23. 23. Downstream syndication to the web
  24. 24. Syndication to community cable TV
  25. 25. True stories Chess club High school principal Traveling minstrel Square dancers
  26. 26. Chess club: Right time, wrong place Keene Sentinel: Monday night chess club, 6:30 PM, Best Western Hotel Nope. Monday night chess club, 6:30 PM, E.F. Lane Hotel It moved. The chess club does not expect to be the authoritative producer of a feed about itself. The newspaper does not expect to consume such a feed. Both expectations need to change.
  27. 27. High school: “We posted weekly.pdf to the website. Isn’t that good enough?”
  28. 28. Computational thinking Communications Committee, Tuesday at 5:30, PDF Cheshire Career Center Conference Room, KHS DTSTART:20080617T173000 ICS SUMMARY:Communications Committee LOCATION:KHS , Cheshire Career Center Conference Room The difference matters. Our educators need to understand it. And then teach it.
  29. 29. More computational thinking Indirection: Please don't give me a copy of your information. Give me a link to it instead, so I can respect your authority. Syndication: Your HTML and PDF pages won't flow through the syndication network. Your iCalendar feed will. Structure: If you make me guess the date and time, I'll guess wrong. Abstraction: We can use any URL as a rendezvous for social information management. We can even invent imaginary ones just for this purpose. Query Q: Which Eventful venues are feeding into the Providence hub? A: Q: What are the government-related feeds for Prescott? A: Q: Where is music happening in Huntington? A:
  30. 30. Computational thinking in the mainstream Lindsay Lohan posts topless picture on Twitter “Lohan may have been bored, but she wasn’t dumb. She tagged E! correspondent Ben Lyons and gossip blogger Perez Hilton in the photo’s caption.” dsay_lohan_posts_topless picture_on_twitter.html
  31. 31. Minstrel: Beau Bristow in Keene Because Keene’s aggregator subscribes to Eventful events in Keene, Beau appeared on the calendar – without effort, without even realizing it. What if the other 20 cities on his tour were listening to their channels?
  32. 32. I’m looking to partner with: Newspapers Libraries Schools More info: