Flixster

Flixster is a movie social network, recently written up on TechCrunch and on Read/Write Web. Each of the writeups focuses on Flixster as a social network centered on movies.

That is of course an accurate way of looking at Flixster, but I’m inclined to come at it from the other direction, and look at it as a movie site including social networking. So my main point of comparison is IMDB, which is mentioned by neither TC nor RWW.

RWW does make the comparison with a couple of other movie sites: “the recent hit movie Dream Girls has been rated by 4,600 Flixter users… 5,000 times on… Fandango and only 300 times on AOL Movies.” IMDB has 6,300 ratings of this movie, and so is not so far ahead of Flixster.

I find IMDB annoying, partly due to its ugly layout, and partly due to its requiring registration to see the message boards. Flixster’s layout is more appealing, and it appears to require registration only for the things that it’s really needed for (e.g., My Friends’ Reviews).

So, a tentative thumbs up for Flixster as a movie site with social networking.

Web Identity, ClaimID, Technorati

As someone who has multiple blogs and other web-things, I’ve long thought that it would be good to have one identity. By that I mean at least two things: a userid/password spanning the web-things; and a page linking to my various web-things.

This post is about the latter. I’m currently using claimID. If you click on the link (or, currently, the link under the “About” heading in the sidebar) you’ll see links to this, other blogs, and other web-things. The trouble is, I can’t “verify” most of those links. In particular, I can’t provide to claimID, and hence to people visiting my claimId, that I really am the author of this blog. The claimID verification process requires that I place code in the header of the web page, and WordPress.com won’t let me do that.

Technorati, on the other hand, does let me “claim” this blog by including a chunk of code in a post. So, by pasting in the provided code that links to my Technorati Profile, I can convince Technorati that this is my blog.

So why not just use Technorati for my ID page? First, it doesn’t set out to do what claimID does. That’s not a criticism of Technorati. Second, its record for doing what it sets out to do is rather spotty. That is a criticism. Now, let’s see if it’s currently deserved…

Steve Jobs on Dumping DRM

Yes, yet another blogger weighs in on Steve Job’s Thoughts on Music, published online yesterday. In a word, brilliant.

Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat…

Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy.

No, I’m not claiming brilliance for the familiar and stunningly obvious point that DRM hurts consumers without stopping pirates. I’m claiming it for the spin. Jobs is the good guy, on the side of the consumer and of openness, and DRM is the big four’s fault.

Apple can afford to take this stance given iPod’s dominance and profit margins. DRM gets in the way of acquiring music, and hence restricts demand for players. I’m not sure that Jobs is a good guy (nor am I sure that he’s a bad guy), but I am sure that his coming out against DRM is a good thing.

Wal*Mart Video Downloads, and Cyber-Snobs

Wal-Mart’s new video download service got a lot of criticism on blogs yesterday. For example:

These blogosnobs are missing the point. The fact that Wal*Mart’s video download page doesn’t work in Firefox is irrelevant to 90% of web users, and to at least that percentage of Wal*Mart customers. They get their browser from Micro*Soft*Mart. This majority doesn’t whine when some obscure option doesn’t work, unlike the above-quoted opinionated outposts of openness.

Creative Commons

CCI just added a Creative Commons license to the sidebar, and hence to the content, of this blog. It was tougher than it should have been.

Creative Commons provides a guide to licensing your work, and the guide includes code generation. The WordPress.com FAQ on Creative Commons gives instructions about stripping out some of the code generated. Even so, it took me longer than it should have to get the linked image into a sidebar text widget, since WordPress.com kept on taking a dislike to the code and stripping out some of it.

There is a Creative Commons widget for WordPress. Nathan Yergler, who wrote the widget, also wrote the following:

Now if only WordPress.com would support WpLicense for their hosted blogs, even more happy WordPress users could be happy contributors to the Commons.

My thanks and support go to Nathan.

Ad-Free at WordPress.com

AdFreeBlogButtonI use this button to indicate that:

  • I do not accept money in return for advertising space on this blog.
  • To do so would be against WordPress.com policy, and hence against the agreement I made when I created this blog.
  • I think it’s a really cool icon.

If you follow the owl in the image, you’ll see a three-item list with some overlap with my three-item list. I’m not as implacably opposed to ads on blogs as is Laura, the owl artist and ad-free activist.

In fact, I’d like this blog to be a little more commercial than it is now. I miss the WP-Amazon plugin I used elsewhere. It’s not because I made much money as an Amazon affiliate. It’s because I think that product-related posts can be enhanced with an image and a link to specifications and reviews. Consider, for example, this review of a book on blogging.

WordPress Multi-User News

WordPress Multi-User (WPMU) allows multiple blogs to run off a single install of the software. Hence WPMU differs from what we might call WordPress Classic, under which each blog needs its own install of the software.

WordPress.com is a WPMU site. It is by far the biggest such site, currently hosting over half a million blogs. January 2007 saw the addition of 89,000 of these blogs, as well as 126 million pageviews.

You can see a list of other WPMU sites in the sidebar of How Do You MU? HDYM is another of my blogs, and is itself a WPMU blog. It is hosted at edublogs.org.

James Farmer, Mr Edublogs, has just announced a premium service for educational customers who want their own hosted WPMU site. I can recommend James, and hence Edublogs Premium, most highly.

M Ward Music and…

M Ward is one of those critically acclaimed folk-musicky types I tend to like. But I couldn’t get into Transistor Radio, his 2005 album.

I really like his 2006 album, Post-War. Having got into PW, I went back to listen to TR again, and was wondering how it left me cold, while I warmed so quickly to PW. I seems as though I need to listen more to both albums, and to his earlier work.

I also like:

  • I Am the Resurrection, the John Fahey tribute album MW worked on.
  • Being able to link to Amazon pages for CDs, books, etc. But it doesn’t seem easy to do this here. But more of WordPress.com, and the pleasure and pain thereof, in a future post.
  • The ease of embedding YouTube video here. For example, here’s the video for MW’s “Chinese Translation.”

Corporate Blogging Typology

Brian Oberkirch provides such a typology, and Shel Israel provides a link to it.

As I read Brian’s post, I decided that:

  • Of the types of corporate blogger he identifies, I find “Company Evangelist” the most interesting. I agree with Brian that the best example is, or was, Microsoft-era Robert Scoble. My favorite current example is also from Microsoft: Don Dodge.
  • I’ll draw Brian’s post to the attention of the students in the Blogging and Business course I’m currently teaching.