What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

Crowd sourcing ideas with WordPress

For a customer, we at Kind of Digital have been putting together a prototype system using WordPress to crowdsource ideas from the public.

We’ve done plenty of reading about previous attempts at this sort of thing, and hopefully have avoided a few of the traps that other projects of this type have fallen into.

Our system:

  • Is completely configurable and customisable in terms of look and feel, branding etc
  • Can ask for various bits of information in the idea submitting process to help structure the contributions
  • Allows ideas to be rated and commented on by other visitors
  • Displays prominent lists of the most popular and latest ideas to be submitted
  • All content can be pre-moderated before being published
  • As it’s WordPress, you can publish other content like news or blog posts and static pages with help and other information in
  • As it’s all open source, you can pull your data out whenever you like and host it somewhere else

Right now, we’re just tidying up the prototype. I’d share the screenshots, but the branding makes it pretty obvious who the client is, so I probably shouldn’t.

However, if anyone is interested, we’re definitely planning on making it a service we can provide to other organisations, and it’ll be pretty keenly priced.

If you’d like to know more, and maybe get a private demonstration of what we have right now, drop me a line at dave@kindofdigital.com.

Goodbye Delicious, hello Pinboard

So following the news that Delicious has been bought from Yahoo!, by the guys who did YouTube, I decided it was time to set myself up somewhere else. It might be that Delicious thrives under its new owners – in which case fine, I can always switch back. But I didn’t want to leave myself exposed, and so I’ve switched to Pinboard.

My account is here, in case it’s of interest.

Pinboard seems to be the geek’s choice of bookmarking service and there have been loads of recommendations for it, largely because it is a no-frills version of what Delicious did well – saving, describing and tagging web links.

It seems fine and I’m currently working out how to get the occasional link posts added here. Hopefully it won’t cause too much bother!

Whither WordPress?

I did wonder whether there was a way of doing all my bookmarking within a tool I already use, though, and WordPress seems to potentially fit the bill – not least because I host it myself and so have total control over my data.

After all, I don’t really use the social features of social bookmarking – and tend to rely on it as a publishing tool.

Here’s what I’d like to have: a WordPress plugin that creates a new content type called bookmarks, that has a bookmarklet to make it easy to save them, with a title, description and tags.

It would let me publish them to the blog either as I save them, bundling them into posts of ten links, or maybe a single weekly post. An option to ping them to Twitter would be nice too, and maybe a dedicated feed of just bookmarks. Oh, and I’d want to be able to import my Delicious or Pinboard bookmarks to, so I’ve just got the one database.

Does something like this exist? Or does anyone fancy making it happen? I’d be eternally grateful…

Bookmarks for April 6th through April 27th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for February 23rd through April 4th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for October 3rd through October 19th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for September 20th through October 1st

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Learn WordPress.com

learnwp

WordPress is a great bit of software, and by far the easiest way to get up and running with it is to use the usually free hosted version at WordPress.com.

It’s even easier to get started than ever, with Learn WordPress.com – a cool new site taking you through all the features in 10 simple lessons.

I am sorely tempted to switch this blog over to WordPress.com myself. Currently I self hosted, meaning I downloaded the files from WordPress.org, paid for some web hosting, installed the software and then added all the plugins and themes I wanted.

I’ve done this for the last five years, but over that time WP has become more and more complicated and a bigger challenge to keep on top of. Hosting your own site is still worth it if you are desperate for a stylish custom template, or a load of cool functionality. But to be honest, DavePress is just a blog, and so could easily be hosted at WordPress.com.

I’ll let you know what I decide!

Bookmarks for September 10th through September 14th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.

Bookmarks for August 18th through September 8th

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

  • Civic Commons code-sharing initiative bids to reduce government IT costs – "Around the United States, city governments have created a multitude of software. Unfortunately, most of the time the code from those projects is not shared between municipalities, which results in duplication of effort and redundant, static software."
  • Anonymity, trust and openness on the social intranet – "In some organisations, the cloak of anonymity could help to establish the first part of that trust relationship, and reassure colleagues that leaders are, in fact, really listening; once it exists, it’s easier to step out of the shadows with a greater degree of trust and openness."
  • The end of history – "History will, of course, look after itself. It always has. But the future history of our time will be different from our histories of past times, and that will not be because we have an eye to the future, but because we are always relentless focused on the present."
  • Why aren’t we all working for Learning Organisations? – "…the authors suggest a way for managers to switch from a ‘command and control’ to a ‘systems thinking’ mindset in order to achieve genuine organisational learning."
  • Quixly – Cool way to host and deliver paid-for content, such as e-books.
  • Understanding Marin County’s $30 million ERP failure – It's not just UK government that cocks up IT projects.
  • Google Wave open source next steps: "Wave in a Box" – "We will expand upon the 200K lines of code we've already open sourced (detailed at waveprotocol.org) to flesh out the existing example Wave server and web client into a more complete application or "Wave in a Box.""
  • Should Governments Legislate a Preference for Open Source? – "It's easy to legislate a preference for Open Source, and difficult to implement a level playing field upon which Open Source and proprietary software could compete fairly. Thus, a number of governments have enacted the preference as an easy-to-legislate way of solving the problem, but I submit not optimally. Having a preference gives proprietary software an opening to portray themselves as the "injured party", when the reality is that historically there has been a preference for proprietary software in both legislation and internal process of government purchasers, and this still exists today."
  • Wiki life – "The point, in the end, is that Wikimedia by its DNA operates in public and benefits accrue — not just as product and engagement and promotion and distribution but also as strategy. That’s the next step in creating the truly public company or organization."
  • First Impressions: VaultPress (WordPress Backup) – Nice summary of the premium backup service for WordPress (sadly just in beta at the moment).
  • Sink or Swim – Donald Clark on the birth of Learning Pool and why the public sector needs it more than ever.
  • Damien Katz: Getting Your Open Source Project to 1.0 – Great notes on successful open source development.
  • Harold Jarche » The Evolving Social Organization – "For decades, organizational growth has been viewed as a positive development, but it has come at a cost."
  • O’Reilly, Open Government and the Ingenuity of Enthusiasm – "It is quite clear that performance management and procurement, as well as many other government processes, need to be revised, reformed or radically changed. But this won’t happen unless we recognize that government and its employees need to remain in charge, need to stay as the custodians of neutrality and transparency, and we, the people, developers or users, can just help them do a better job but not replace them in any way."
  • Research findings and recommendations for Councils – Some fantastic shared learning here from Michele.
  • sigil – "Sigil is a multi-platform WYSIWYG ebook editor. It is designed to edit books in ePub format."
  • Enterprise 2.0 Perceived Risks: Myth or Reality? – "…security is a personal thing, a personal trait that everyone needs to nurture and treasure accordingly."
  • Using Free, Open-Source Software in Local Governments – "…how is it that local governments have failed to capitalize on the cost-saving and productivity-enhancing benefits of using open source software, especially given the budget crises they face?"
  • Open Government Data – "This event will bring together movers and shakers from the world of open government data — including government representatives, policymakers, lawyers, technologists, academics, advocates, citizens, journalists and reusers."
  • WordPress › Email Users « WordPress Plugins – "A plugin for wordpress which allows you to send an email to the registered blog users."

You can find all my bookmarks on Delicious. There is also even more stuff on my shared Google Reader page.

You can also see all the videos I think are worth watching at my video scrapbook.