Reading lists hit the news last week with Read/Write Web picking up a post from the venerable Dave Winer about Google get[ting] a patent on reading lists. The patent was filed in 2005, a year or so after Dave Winer blogged:
One of the innovations flowing out the Share Your OPML site is the idea of reading lists. An expert in a given area puts together a set of feeds that you would subscribe to if you want a balanced flow of information on his or her topic of expertise. You let the expert subscribe to feeds on your behalf. I’ve gotten the first taste of what this is like by reading the aggregator page on the Share Your OPML site. As new sites come on the Top-100, as the aggregated interests of the community shift, I automatically start reading sites I wasn’t reading before. I don’t have to do anything. I like this. So at last Thursday’s Berkman meeting I asked two of our regulars, Rick Heller and Jay McCarthy, to start doing these reading lists, and Rick is ready with what he calls a list of “political blogs that provide a balanced diet of liberal and conservative views.”
So what are dynamic reading lists? Take one or more RSS feeds, and declare their URIs as items in a reading list feed. Subscribe to that reading list feed. Now whenever there is a change made to the items contained in either of the RSS feeds, the person who subscribed to the reading list feed sees those changes. So a reading list (which could be maintained by anyone) is something I can subscribe to with a single click. And that reading list can be managed, can contain RSS feeds or other reading lists that are curated by other people.
As a student, my degree could have a reading list that contains links to reading lists for each of my courses. Those course reading lists could be maintained by course instructors, and might contain feeds from other students taking the course. I subscribe to single reading list. My instructor on a particular course can change the contents of one of the feeds that is identified in my reading list. I see those changes via my degree reading list.
So it may have occurred to you that reading lists are a great way of sharing a curatorial load… and you’d be right :-)
Another example of the reading list/shared curation pattern is exemplified by Jon Udell’s elmcity project, which allows for separately maintained calendar feeds to be managed and aggregated using the Delicious social bookmarking tool (e.g. Collaborative curation as a service or elmcity project FAQ.
DeliTV also uses a similar pattern to allow users to define video playlists (that may contain other video playlists) on delicious, and then watch them in Boxee or via an appropriate mobile device (e.g. Deli TV – Personally Programmed Social Television Channels on Boxee: Prototype and An Unintended Consequence: DeliTV Goes Mobile on iPhone and Android).
It’s been some time since I properly tinkered with OPML, one of the most convenient formats for describing reading lists, so here’s a note to self about some the services that might be worth playing with:
- Scott Wilson’s JOPML, an OPML bundler for TicTocs RSS feeds (see e.g. Mashlib Pipes Tutorial: 2D Journal Search);
- Scott Wilson’s Ensemble generator, that cobbles together an OPML feed of OERs based on a specified search term;
- a couple of my own, very old, experiments: Social Bookmarking OPML Feed Roller, or Persistent News Search OPML Feed Roller; and not forgetting the OPML Dashboard Display and Disaggregating an MIT OpenCourseware Course into Separate RSS Feeds of course;-)
- @cogdog – you got any OPML/reading lists demos/hacks?;-)
On my to do list is also a way of putting together ‘highlights’ collections of notable paragraphs contained with in an atomised JISCPress/WriteToReply/Digress.it document…
As a design pattern, reading lists provide a very powerful way of leveraging the power of a community of individuals to collaboratively, yet independently, curate sets of resources. As with RSS, it may be that reading lists won’t achieve much explicit consumer success. But as wiring/plumbing – don’t underestimate them…
PS Remember, many resource centric sites allow you to create playlist feeds – e.g. Youtube Playlists, or, more recently, flickr playlists/galleries
Wouldn’t it be handy if, as well as viewing DeliTV feeds in Boxee, you could also consume them on your phone? Well it just so happens that you can… :-)
Whilst messing around with Recent BBC/OU TV Programmes on Boxee, I noticed that my “OU on the BBC 7 Day CatchUp” code used in Recent OU Programmes on the BBC, via iPlayer (also available on iPhone: iPhone 7 Day OU Programme CatchUp, via BBC iPlayer) had broken. Whilst testing the fix on the iPhone/iPod Touch version, (which also works on a wifi link at least with my HTC Magic Android phone) it occurred to m that I should also be able to pipe DeliTV feeds to my phone, and then display them using the the iUI interface libraries too…
So a little bit of tweaking of my OU 7 day catchup code, and couple of extra handlers to wrap the DeliTV (for Boxee) pipe, and what do we get? (Images grabbed from iPhoney on a Mac.)
A clunky homepage…
Leads to the default DeliTV multiplex (psychemedia/boxeetest5):
[You can configure the app to run with your own DeliTV mutliplex:
So e.g. http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/i/idelitv.php?q=psychemedia/delitv_f1 ; or http://ouseful.open.ac.uk/i/idelitv.php?q=psychemedia for my default “delitv” multiplex.]
Here’s the UK Politics suite of channels:
(Note that the page may take some time to load; when I get a chance, I’ll add a loading indicator in…)
If we go into the Political Parties list, and click through on the Liberal Democrats link, we get a list of actual videos:
Clicking through on those takes you to the video page:
And clicking the Watch this video link will play the video for you using whatever your mobile device allows.
Whilst the Youtube content is workingm the iPlayer content is not working – yet. I think the original 7 day catchup had to use a helper for BBC URLs (I seem to remember that iUI doesn’t like BBC mobile URLs), and I haven’t had chance to work it in yet…
Anyway – what does this all tell us? That feeds are a Good Thing, of course…! ;-)
It also means that if you create a hierarchical playlist of Youtube content, at least, that maybe includes curated lists managed by other people, you can watch the content either in Boxee, or on your mobile device.
So that’s the proof of concept done… but as is the way of these things, it needs proper apps building to make it shiny and robust enough, and with a friendly and intuitive UI, to be used on a casual basis by anyone not me… ;-)
Last night, a post on Liam’s blog announced “ITV on Boxee with a little help from Yahoo Pipes and Scotland” describing how the STV (ITV in Scotland) website has all manner of feed goodness on its watch again programmes pages; and with a little bit of pipework, Liam was easily able to get the programmes playing in Boxee.
A couple of minutes tinkering on the Deli TV pipe, and you can now bookmark either a series page (with a URI like this: http://player.stv.tv/programmes/emmerdale/) or an individual programme page (with a URI like this: http://player.stv.tv/programmes/emmerdale/2009-09-08-1900) on delicious and then either view the series or the individual programme via a Deli TV programmed channel.
So what? So we can now use delicious to programme cross terrestrial channel channels (sic) of our own. So if you fancy a UK soaps channel, just bookmark this DeliTV channel definition page to your DeliTV channel – UK Soaps:
And here’s what’s on…
So what? So EastEnders is broadcast by the BBC on BBC One, and Coronation Street and Emmerdale are broadcast on the commercial STV/ITV network. Which is to say: if you fancy playing channel controller using content from the BBC, STV/ITV or Youtube, you can do so using Deli TV. Clever, eh?:-)
In series catch-up mode… so whether it’s EastEnders from BBC One:
or Coronation Street or Emmerdale from ITV (courtesy of STV):
all your programmes are belong to us:-)
So, would anyone like to pick up on Liam’s comment about DeliTV? :-)
Here’s the UK soaps DeliTV channel URL again: UK Soaps
Unfortunately, I think that broadcast restrictions means the programmes on this channel from STV/ITV and the BBC can only be viewed in the UK. If anyone from outside the UK would like to test DeliTV with video catch-up services with your local video catch-up services, please get in touch. If any UK based educators would like to propose channels or video services that might be able to get through local authority firewalls so you can programme and watch teacher created (curated?) DeliTV channels in schools and FE colleges, please also get in touch:-)
PS a little bit of extra tinkering was required to get the BBC series catch-up working, and it’s a little brittle in that you have to bookmark the correct page for the series feed to be detected, but it’s a start.
[Please note, this post originally went out under the title of “Delicious TV”, which happens to be a trademarked “property”. If you’re looking for delicioustv.com (is their DTV identifier also trademarked, I wonder?, which serves up the Totally Vegetarian public television show, you ned to go here. Sorry about that… ]
On of the things that I wanted to explore in the Digital Worlds online short course (T151 Digital worlds: designing games, creating alternative realities – registrations now open for October 2009 start;-) was how we might use Youtube video playlists as a way of pointing students towards an optional set of third party based video resources that could illustrate the various topics contained within the course. Here’s my first attempt how we might deliver such a service using Boxee…
On the original Digital Worlds uncourse blog I explored various ways of using Splashcast to provide a single point of access to video content. In part based on that, I came up with an ad hoc set of requirements for handling video content in a relaxed way;-)
– a browser based or multiplatform delivery interface that would allows users to watch video compilations on a TV/large screen in lean back mode;
– a way of curating content and generating hierarchical playlists in which a course could have a set of topics, and each topic could contain one or more videos or video playlists. Ideally, playlists should be able to contain other playlists.
As a precursor to this, I had a little tinker with Boxee last week to produce a UK HEI Boxee Channel. The recipe was quite simple, and using a list of UK HEI user pages on Youtube generated a channel on Boxee that would let you browse the recent uploads from each HEI.
The list of HEI Youtube pages was originally scraped from a table on a third party web page, but in a comment to the original post I also demonstrated how the recipe could also be used to create a Boxee channel feed from a delicious bookmark list. In particular, I linked to a channel of UK Media Youtube channels, a channel of UK Government Youtube channels and a channel on differential quations built up from separate OER playlists on Youtube. To view the channels in Boxee, grab the RSS feed from the appropriate channel pipe and then subscribe to it in Boxee as a video content feed.
Can you see where we might go with that approach? That is, with this: I also demonstrated how the recipe could also be used to create a Boxee channel feed from a delicious bookmark list…
Delicious TV Deli TV
How about using delicious as a way of curating video playlists and viewing them in Boxee? This would offer quite a large amount of flexibility: if a playlist was based on a tag feed, users could generate many different playlists; if a playlist could contain another (delicious) playlist, one user could build their own playlists that contained nested playlists (e.g. a course playlist could contain separate topic playlists, or a separate playlist for each week of the course) or even other peoples’ playlists; ‘live’ playlists could be copied from one user to another – that is, if my playlist bookmarked one of your playlists, any changes you made to that playlist would show up whenever I watched your channel; and so on…
So here it is –
Delicious TV Deli TV:
Here’s what’s on one of my channels:
You may notice that the channel contains the following separate sorts of content:
– programmes listed in a BBC iPlayer category feed (e.g. BBC Satire);
– a podcast feed (Wiley and Downes in Discussion);
– a particular Youtube videos (New Model Army);
– a Youtube Playlist (MIT differential equations);
– recently uploaded videos to a particular user’s Youtube channel (the Guardian)l
– another Delicious TV playlist (psychemedia’s bookmarks).
(Not shown is a link to a particular programme on iPlayer, but that is also supported.)
So here’s how that channel was programmed:
Simply by bookmarking links to delicious…
To get started with your own
Delicious TV Deli TV</em channel on Boxee, all you need is a Boxee account from Boxee.tv. Oh, and you’ll also need to download a Boxee client to your computer (Windows, Macs and Linux are all supported).
What next? That all depends on whether or not you have a delicious account…
If you do have an account on the delicious social bookmarking site then you will be able to programme your own Boxee channel by bookmarking programmes and playlists you your delicious account.
If you don’t have a delicious account, you can still programme a Delicious TV channel by subscribing to someone else’s delicious TV playlist in Boxee.
If you DO NOT have a delicious account:
Have a look at http://delicious.com/tag/delitv to see who’s been bookmarking
Delicious TV Deli TV content on delicious. (For example, my Delicious TV Deli TV empire is based here: http://delicious.com/psychemedia/delitv ;-)
Use the name of the user whose
Delicious TV Deli TV channel you want to subscribe to in the following URL:
So for example, my feed is at:
Subscribe to the URL in Boxee:
Now fire up your Boxee client, go to the pop-out Applications menu on the left hand side of the screen and select Video, then choose My Video Feeds:
You should now be able to view the
Delicious TV Deli TV Channel you subscribed to.
If you DO have a delicious account:
The top level menu of your Boxee/
Delicious TV Deli TV channel will contain those items you have tagged delitv in delicious.
Subscribe to the following
Delicious TV Deli TV feed in Boxee:
where DELICIOUS_USERNAME is your delicious username.
At the current time, you can bookmark:
- a particular Youtube video
- a Youtube Playlist
- recently uploaded videos to a particular user’s Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/bisgovuk);
- programmes listed in a BBC iPlayer category feed
- another Delicious TV playlist
- an MP3 file
- a “podcast” playlist
If you bookmark another
Delicious TV Deli TV feed, that will be rendered as a submenu in Boxee.
You can also bookmark other peoples
Delicious TV Deli TV pages.
If you run into any problems with
Delicious TV Deli TV, please post a comment below. At the moment, Delicious TV Deli TV is very much in testing, so all feedback is welcome.
If you are outside the UK, then the BBC iPlayer links will not work for you. However, links to US based video streaming services may work for you (if you try them and they do, or don’t, please let me know via a comment below:-)
I don’t think Boxee has a mobile client, which is a shame; if anyone knows of a mobile video browser that can consume Boxee RSS feeds, please let me know… :-)
If anyone with a design flair would like to help me out with a the design for a simple homepage for
Delicious TV Deli TV, a fully blown Delicious TV Deli TV Boxee app, please get in touch… :-)
If anyone is a patent troll who claims to have already got a monopoly over this sort of thing, f**k off – it was obvious and trivial given the current state of the tech and I didn’t need (indeed, I haven’t even seen) your crappy patent, in order to figure it out…
PS so why
Delicious TV Deli TV? – So My Boxee “Delicious TV” Gets a Trademark Infringement Warning.
Which makes more sense to you as a call to action? Doing:
RSS subscription hasn’t worked in the browser, or on the Windows desktop… are we trying to syndicate the wrong sort of content? Or using the wrong tone? Certainly, I suspect the RSS icon means little or nothing to most people; and even for those who do know what it refers to, how much use do they make of it?
Following a brief exchange with @lesteph last night, I thought it might be worth making a quick post about the idea of content or document transclusion.
Simply put, transclusion refers to the inclusion, or embedding, of one document or resource in another. To a certain extent, whenever you embed an image or Youtube video in a page is a form of transclusion. (Actually, I’m not sure that’s strictly true? But it gets the point across…)
Whilst doing a little digging around for references to fill out this post, I came across a nicely worked example of transclusion from Wikipedia – Transclusion in Wikipedia
The idea? You can embed the content of any Wikipedia page in any other Wikipedia page. And presumably the same is true within any Mediawiki installation.
That is, in a MediaWiki wiki:
you can embed the content of any one page in any other page.
(I’m not sure if one MediaWiki installation can transclude content from any other MediaWiki installation? I assume it can???)
It’s also possible to include, (that is, transclude) MediaWiki content in a WordPress environment using the Wiki Inc plugin. A compelling demonstration of this is provided by Jim Groom, who has shown how to republish documentation authored in a Wiki via a WordPress page, an approach we adopted in our WriteToReply Digital Britain tinkerings.
One of the things we’ve started exploring the JISCPress project is the ability to publish each separate paragraph in a document (each with its own URI), in a variety of formats – txt, JSON, HTML, XML. That is, we have (or soon will have) an engine in place that supports the “publishing” side of paragraph level transclusion of content from reports published via the JISCPress/WTR platform. Now all we need is the transclusion (re-presentation of transcluded content) part to be able to transclude content from one document in another. (See Taking the Conversation Elsewhere – Embedded Quotes; see also Image Based Quotes from WriteToReply Using Kwout for a related mashup).
(Hmm, although Joss won’t like this, I do think we need a [WTR-include=REF] shortcode handler installed by default in WTR/JISCPress that will pull in paragraph level content in to one document from a document elsewhere on the local platform?)
Now this is really what hypertext is about – URIs (that is, links), that can act as a portal that can pull content in to one location from another. It may be of course that the idea of textual transclusion is just too confusing for people. But it’s something we’re going to explore with WriteToReply.
And on of the things we’re looking at for both WriteToReply and JISCPress is the use of semantic tagging to automatically annotate parts of the document (at the paragraph level, if possible?) so that content on a particular topic (i.e. tagged in a particular way) in one document can be automatically transcluded in – or alongside – a related paragraph in a separate document. (Hmm – maybe we need a ‘related paragraphs’ panel, cf. the comments panel, that can display transcluded, related paragraphs, from elsewhere in the document or from other documents?)
PS If you have an hour, here’s the venerable Ted Nelson giving a Google Tech Talk on the topic of transclusion:
PPS here’s an old library that provides a more general case framework for content transclusion: Purple Include. I’m not sure if it still works though?
PPPPS for another take on including content by reference, see Email By Reference, Not By Value, or “how I came up with the idea for Google Wave first”;-)
PPPPPS Seems like eprints may also support transclusion… E-prints – VLit Transclusion Support.
A few weeks ago, I got my first “real” mobile phone, an HTC Magic (don’t ask; suffice to say, I wish I’d got an iPhone:-( and as part of the follow up service from the broker (phones4U – I said I might be tempted to recommend them, so I am) I got a ‘will you take part in a short customer satisfaction survey’ type text message.
So when I responded (by text) I immediately got the next message in the sequence back as a response.
That is, the SMS I sent back was caught and handled by an auto-responder, that parsed my response, and automatically replied with an appropriate return message.
Auto-responders are widely used in email marketing and instant messaging environments, of course, and as well as acting in a direct response mode, can also be used to schedule the delivery of outgoing messages either according to a fixed calendar schedule (a bulk email to all subscribers on the first of the month, for example) or according to a more personalised, relative time schedule.
So for example, a day or two after getting my new phone, Vodafone started sending me texts about how to use my phone on their network*, presumably according to a schedule that was initiated when I registered the phone for the first time on the network; and the Phones4U courtesy chase up was presumably also triggered according to some preset schedule.
* something sucks here, somewhere: I keep finding my phone has connected to other, rival networks, and as such seems to spend large amounts of its time roaming, even when in a Vodafone signal area. Flanders – you owe me for making such a crappy recommendation… and Kelly, you have something to answer for, too…
So, these auto-scheduled, auto-responding systems are exactly the same idea as daily feeds: whenever you subscribe, a clock starts ticking and content is delivered to you according to a predefined schedule via that same channel.
In a true autoresponder, of course, the next mailing in a predefined sequence is sent in response to some sort of receipt from the recipient, rather than a relative time schedule, and in the case of autoresponding feeds this can be supported too if the feed scheduler supports unique identifiers for each subscription.
(The simplest daily feed system has a subscription URL that contains the start date; content is then delivered according to a relative time schedule that starts on the date contained in the subscription URL. A more elaborate syndication platform would use a unique identifier in the subscription URL, and the content delivery schedule is then tied to the current state of the schedule associated with that unique identifier.)
So how might a feed autoresponder work? How about in the same way as a feed stats package such as Feedburner? These measure ‘reach’ by inserting a small image at the very end of each feed item that is loaded whenever the feed item is viewed. By tracking how many images are served, it’s possible to get an idea of how many times the feed item was viewed.
The same mechanism can be used as part of a feed auto-responder system: for a subscription via a URI that contains a unique identifier, serve an image with a unique, obfuscated (impossible to guess at, and robots excluded) filename for each item. When the image is polled from a browser client, assume that the subscriber has read that item and publish the next item to the feed after a short delay. The next time the user visits their feedreader, the next item should be there waiting for them.
PS Note that someone somewhere has probably patented this, although as a mechanism it’s been around and blogged about for years (prior art doesn’t seem to be respected much in the world of software patents…) If you have a reference, please provide a link to it in the comments to this post.