April 4, 2011

Something in the pipeline, again.

A colleague is currently testing internet based data- and information collection and distribution channels regarding media development. In order to add more value for future users of his frontend, he wanted to offer some sort of news-ticker. Right away, we thought of using Yahoo Pipes. I had not used the service for quite some time and was wondering, if it withstood the currently hard times for Yahoo-services (e.g. "delicious"). It turned out to be up, running and even more advanced. Yet I tend to use the same set of features as always in order to produce automated news mashups.

I have created three new Pipes:
1. a feed mashup, collecting articles from a list of relevant media development feeds (i.e. UNESCO IPDC, ONI, IWMF, etc.)

2. a site-search mashup, searching relevant media development actors' (i.e. UNESCO, DVID, Worldbank, etc.) websites for search term "media development"

3. a meta mashup, combining Pipes 1 and 2 with other services (i.e. Google News, -Base, -Blogsearch, -Alert, Twitter search, etc.)

Compared with my old Pipes, No 1 and 2 are now far more flexible. I now make use of Google-Spreadsheets containing a list of either rss-feeds or actors' websites, making it possible to add an infinite number of new relevant sources for the mashups. When shared, G-Documents passes the spreadsheet's content as string of comma seperated values (csv), which can then be interpreted by the Pipes, using the 'Loop' and 'Fetch Feed' modules.

I recommend checking public Pipes for similar attempts first: I came up quite quickly with the idea of using spreadsheets, but encountered errors trying to implement it (maybe due to the recently introduced Pipes-Engine 2.0). Finally I made some adjustments to a public 1.0-Pipe by Adrian Short and got it working.

You are welcome to check both Pipes and Spreadsheets. You may also want to contribute to the list of sources - just let me know and I will grant permission to edit the Google-Document.

actors' websites

November 20, 2010

As a result of long discussions and collaborate writing, DW-AKADEMIE has just published a new policy paper on Media Development:

Helmut Osang u.a., Communication. Participation. Development. DW-AKADEMIE Policy Paper on Media Development Cooperation, Bonn 2010

Read more on dw-world.de

Download the paper (pdf)

Moebius StreetView...

After almost a year of privacy discussions and technical adjustments, Google just introduced it's famous "StreetView" service in Germany - currently, there are images available of the 20 biggest cities. We can even witness StreetView "in the making".

Many people have reasonable concerns about privacy and the public visibility (potentially also private) content. As a result, Google -besides the usual blurring of faces and license plates- now also blurs houses on an opt-out-basis.

I personally don't feel like adding anything new to the discussion (if you want to learn about my opinion on Google services in general, please check this article) - but want to share a nice shot with you, allowing us to look into the making of StreetView-images. Many of you might have seen them circling the streets starting about 2 years ago: the StreetView-Cars. Well, here's one on StreetView, you can even see the driver greeting his colleague. Overestimating the relevance of the service in general, one could say "It's history in the making".

Or just the interdimensional 'reflection' of the car (as in some kind of Moebius-strip)?


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