Category Archives: Free

Yahoo! letting A Thousand Semantic Trees blossom

 
Update: It seems, SemaWorx is going to face some stiff competition… 😉  Their new developer app Yahoo!Pipes can possibly generate services like the ones we are going to provide to consumers. This could easily become the first killer-tool for creating Semantic Web mashups.
 
After having known about some of their earlier experiments with using namespaces for tagging, I read on the O’Reilly Radar, that Flickr just introduced what they call machine tags.
 
Those also could easily have been standards-compliant RDF/XML statements (if they just minded adding some angled brackets… 😉 ) to simplify repurposing and distribution e.g. via RSS feeds — just the way we use them for SemaWorx’ information matching.
 
Though their – on no account less complex – approach may start fostering wider adoption than the original did.

Cosima’s cozy Darmstadt IT-Table for the Regulars (though not exclusively…)

Portrait:Cosima JoergensYesterday, for the second time already, I had been invited by Cosima Joergens, awesome host of the IT-Table, to join “the regulars” at the Kaminzimmer bistro in downtown Darmstadt (South-Hesse).
 
As one can easily tell from the pictures, it’s always a really fun crowd of web developers, programmers, IT-instructors, hardware & network techies, GIS enthusiasts from outside: the bistroand most any kind of species involved in making the IT economy run in the Rhine-Main-Area.
two guests
 
If you would like to join us the next time, feel free to leave a note on their website or at the OpenBC/XING Group.
 
Continue reading Cosima’s cozy Darmstadt IT-Table for the Regulars (though not exclusively…)

Forum Kiedrich: Founders Wanted Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Germany’s most persistant Start-Up Initiative

 
Being among the Forum Kiedrich Alumni with SemaWorx myself (though our presentation has been almost two years ago now), I am happy to help them promote their 20th Founders’ Market in the Blogosphere.
 
If you are an Entrepreneur and/or trying to find customers or investors for your latest invention, the Founders’ Market on February 3rd, 2007 your place to go to find investors (traditionally less VCs but more corporate technologist and business angels) – accompanied by the obviously unavoidable crowd of PR– and any other breed of consultants.
 
Logo Forum KiedrichThe participation in the event itself is com- pletely free (like in ‘beer’), which is really great if you’re on a budget (whose start-up isn’t…) and besides a better-than-average lunch, the entrepreneurs’ pitches will be accompanied by high quality lectures and workshops.
   This time Claudia Erben (the forum’s CEO) got you a keynote speech on innovation culture given by Jürgen Kunz (CEO of Oracle Germany), Dr. Heinz Klandt (of European Business School, the first person to hold a chair in entrepreneurship in Germany at the time) will tell about the ‘lessons learned’ during ten years of supporting entrepreneurship in Germany and finally a look at future economic demands will be provided by Dr. Andreas Steinle of Zukunftsinstitut. The exact timetable and a listing of the workshops will be provided in January.
 
So if you are a start-up willing to join the event, you can still apply this entire week. If, on the other hand, you would like to become a mentor, helping start ups to get their companies up and running, you need to apply here.
 
See you at the Founders’ Market !
 
 
Continue reading Forum Kiedrich: Founders Wanted Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Germany’s most persistant Start-Up Initiative

All amusing:The Chancellor’s Podcast Hurdles(and how to avoid them)

 
Now it’s the politicians. After the corporations having struggled with the two-way nature of blogging and even podcasting, it’s now on the politicians to realize that (though their propaganda-experts probably told them otherwise) traditional media send messages, blogs start conversations (thanks, Loïc !) — and react with frustration if no-one is there to listen.
 
So, being a professional podcaster myself, this is my
Hints and Tips section for politicians to avoid common mistakes.
 

  1. Respect the Blog/Podcast as a personal two-way Medium
     
    This is a huge difference from the way most of you have been told about dealing with media, since (as you may readily have experienced… 😉 ) these ones are going to hit back.
       So if you decide to use blogging/podcasting as part of your communication arsenal, be sure to assign the budget, your own time and some workforce to care about the backchannels. Yes, that’s right, you have to open your very holy homepage for open-minded political exchange. To blog or not to blog means either publishing your opinion for discussion or letting the discussion go on without you. If you are not willing to accept (or "risk") other opinions on your site (and don’t even think of censoring !!!), just quit it. Or the audience will do that for you.
     
    To interact with your readers there are basically two ways provided by traditional blogging software (please see below for details). If you would prefer to use you existing CMS instead, this is fine, as long as you have someone implementing the back-channel features which ship with conventional blogging software; as there are:
     
    TrackBacks
    A functionality which enables other blogs’ writers to notify you, that they dealt with a certain article’s issue on their own blog.
     
    Comments
    These enable your visitors to directly leave a note below a certain Article you published.
     
    Finally when you implement these functions, make sure they appear as they are supposed to on the page:
     
    Bundeskanzlerin AktuellWhile Mrs. Merkel’s page shows-off the traditional one-way propaganda approach ("open minds not appreciated here"), which is not considered very appealing by many readers, the former French Raffarin Blog PostPrime Minister, Mr. Raffarin, not only takes full advantage of the blogs’ communication potential, but also shows this to his readers by appropriately coloring the links to interactive features below each article.

     
     
  2. We all know you sit in the ivory tower…
     
    …you really don’t need to remind us all the time. 😉
     
    Weblogs and podcasts live by their honesty. So the absolutely worst thing you can do for a podcast, is put yourself into a dark TV studio and read a text someone else has written for you from a teleprompter.
     
    If you are really keen on using podcasting to get your views and opinions closer to the people, you will have to face reality and get out of your office, come down to the real world, talking to real people about real issues. Yes, it costs time and money, but aren’t the people who voted for you in the last election worth it, to address them in an appropriate way ?

     
     
  3. Choosing the right Producers for your Weblog/Podcast
     
    As they will have tremendous influence on your public appearance, select the people to build your new window to the world with the most appropriate care. Don’t just ask your default web-agency to do it. Nor will traditional TV production companies necessarily be able to deal with the special demands of interactive online presentation. Do a public invitation to tender and meticulously review the applicants’ references. Don’t just give the order to the production-firm of some fellow party Autobahn through Merkel's headmember’s son-in-law.
       So you may also have to watch out, that if an Autobahn is running right through your head, you don’t accidentally adjust your face accordingly… 😉

     
     
  4. Good Value has hardly ever been for free
     
    I’m not aware, how much Mr. Raffarin’s podcasts actually cost, but there has been public protest in Germany, due to the fact that Mrs. Merkel’s obviously cost € 6.500 — way too much, isn’t it ?  After I heard this I did a quick re-calculation of how much we would have needed to charge the chancellor for a comparable production. I came out at somewhere between € 5.800 to
    € 6.200. Only marginally lower than the amount originally published. I don’t know, if the difference has been a "chancellor-surcharge" or additional editorial expenses.
     
    Fact is, that if you will want such thing done right, it will cost its money one way or the other — or electorate’s goodwill.

     
     
  5. Don’t oppress a Politician’s natural Character
     
    There are several kinds of people in this world. Mr. Raffarin is a great actor, Mrs. Merkel isn’t. Even though reading his speech from teleprompter, Raffarin has lively mimics, regardless of the superfluous "on-topic" book someone has put on his chest. Chancellor Merkel (who is known to be great at dealing with real people, as known from her public appearances) just seems to be bored by always reading preformulated stuff into a camera.
     
    It’s a shame her producers do not pay care to the fact that not all politicians are to be presented equal. Give her the chance to explain her concepts in natural language and to real humans, and her on-screen performances will improve immediately. As will the public acceptance. Because Merkel’s natural way to act is presumably one of the key factors her voters appreciate.
     

Hopefully these guides can help anyone producing political podcasts or weblogs to make them more successfull — especially as these are becoming increasingly popular on the local level, even in my hometown Mainz.
 
 

Continue reading All amusing:The Chancellor’s Podcast Hurdles(and how to avoid them)