« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

January 27, 2007

YouTube: getting paid for your videos

The BBC reports that YouTube founder has stated that "People who upload their own films to video-sharing website YouTube will soon get a share of the ad revenue"..

This will become available in the next couple of months, and it will become an excellent way for vloggers using BSL, ASL etc, to make money from their sites, in the same way as sites written in English can raise funding via AdSense. I've talked about getting paid for vlogging in the past.

Somehow one doesn't think Google will call the new site will be called TubeSense! Perhaps video revenue be pumped into existing AdSense accounts.

January 23, 2007

BSL / English ICT Dictionary

The BSL/English ICT Dictionary has been released, and available online.

This project was managed by DirectLearn, and follows a similar structure to previously released BSL/English online glossaries: ArtSigns, Engineering Signs and Science Signs. Provision of such publications goes some way to raising the status of BSL, in the face of criticism.

As with previous glossaries, it faces criticism in respect of BSL standardisation, and signs being unfamiliar to those who use them. What happens when you use a different sign to what is on a website? It becomes an issue where BSL students and perhaps interpreters start to use it as a web resource.

Correct sign usage becomes noticeable in the context of associated signs relating to mailing lists, and possibly the oldest signs and most distributed signs in existence in UK after signs relating to e mail, internet; as its tech that people in the UK are most familiar with, and been in common usage since 1998.

Is this really the sign for client? Fingerspell blog? A sign for this has existed since at least 2004, and can be found on blogs on the net. Vlog - is not the sign that is used by people who vlog regularly. Where's the sign for Web 2.0, which has been the buzzword for the last 2-3 years? Long Tail? Decentralised networks? Social Network? Synchronise? Blogger? Vlogger? Digital identity? Widget? etc. These are all standard words I would use when discussing tech.

All the above comments aside, any attempt at recording BSL has to be commended, its no small task and takes a substantial step towards any future call for legal recognition.

January 16, 2007

Geni: Social Networking for families

Through the development of a very much work in progress Trefeglwys Online I've taken a strong interest in online collaborative working for genealogists, and ways how this can be improved.

I was just playing around with Geni, more about can be found here.

Its not the first social networking genealogy website, and GenMates is an example of an alternative site with a drive behind this. However, networking is not limited to families, and does include people who might be researching similar areas to you, but not yet found a connection. After all genealogy is not an exact science, and there is a need to go beyond immediate family and create other links to assist with research. However, perhaps that is not what Geni is setting out to achieve.

In a flash / ajax environment, Geni, makes it slightly more hip than other websites. Your individual details, which includes appearance, beliefs, education, favourites, and even a sprinkle of Web 2.0 thrown in asking for individuals YouTube, Flickr and Skype contacts! This is good, if you live in a particularly geek family, want to all network and everyone is Look I have a problem with imagining that my parents would understand this, nevermind my dead of 20 odd years grandparents and generations above.

Beyond living relatives, the fields feel so out of place: asking for the IM address of my ggg grandparents, its as if someone is taking me on a voyeuristic and surreal trip. Perhaps they do have wifi six feet under, or in the clouds, whichever way you want to look at it.

Although the site is in beta, It so painfully obvious that it has not been developed by a genealogist. For a start, where is the function to upload a GEDCOM file? I currently have 705 people in my family tree, and I really do not want to go through the process of having to input each individual again, for the sake of some third party software.

The other major failing with this application is the lack of space for raw data. Within genealogy, a tree is not a viable tree to other genealogists, until you can prove each step by primary data: census returns, birth certificates, baptism records, marriage certificates etc. Where is the space to input this? Or are we just going to take someone's word for it, a certain Joe Bloggs is theirs?

It feels extremely odd, when inputting a name for your ancestors, there's an initial field that asks for their e mail address. Perhaps, its a mould I need to break, and ignore this field.

There's a point, why bother with ancestors anyhow, they won't have a Flickr account, which the rest of the family needs to know about. However, in the absence of ancestors, you cannot include distant relatives and relationships in your tree, and move towards the site's motto, "Everyone's Related!"

The site needs to move away from being US focused, take the qualifications and languages in the set fields. Immediately, I want Welsh and British Sign Language to be amongst the languages on offer, and feel rather frustrated its not. Perhaps a blank field would be good here?

Despite the above points, and a lack of genealogy drive, it is good to see a Web 2.0 mentality coming to this field. Pushing genealogists into 2007 and beyond has to be a difficult task, when some are just starting to get to grips with the concept of e mail, nevermind anything else.

Update: I've been trying this out a bit more, and how I wish I could have a portable application to install on my website. What I really detest about this now is e mails becoming locked into the system. Once you’ve entered an e mail address of a relative, so far I can find no way of taking it out. Even tried to make the said living relative dead, no e mail address … but it comes back to the original address is retained. You cannot delete a person from your tree once their e mail address in inputted. This is a major concern, and discourages me from using.

Apart from the ajax / flash, in other words the visuals, how is this really different from Ancestry, Genesreunited, et al?

Joost: where's the subtitles / captions?

The Skype founders have used some of their $2.6 billion raised from selling the product to eBay to create a new interactive online television called Joost (formely called the Venice Project).

The product has been in private alpha beta since last October, with a larger beta in existence since last December.

If Skype is anything to go by, this software has the potential to be huge, and possibly influencing access to television as we know it, including long tail output. Deaf people will immediately have questions around subtitling, and how to ensure this happens. Its unlikely that the founders have already spend some of their $2.6 billion on subtitling output, therefore there's an urgent need to look at subtitling / captioning laws in respective countries, to place obligations on such providers.

It appears that Joost is registered in the USA, which immediately raises questions does existing US legislation cover accessibility and online media output?

January 9, 2007

Trefeglwys Online

This afternoon I eventually managed to send out a Newsletter for Trefeglwys Online. This is a site I've been working on for the past year, and why I'd abandoned much other online activity in favour of getting this finished. Code tinkered with, seven census years transcribed, wills, family trees built, and identification of other material. I owe thanks to a few key people, in supporting me getting the site this far.

The website isn't finished, well it will never be finished, but its not quite up to the presentation standard I would like before shouting about it to wider circles. There's still a lot of blanks, a lot of the content needs rewriting plus a bit more organisation on my part. However, a significant milestone in that I was ready to let 60 people know about this site (and any random person who happens to read this blog), and heading towards the finish line instead of the other way.

Within hours of sending this newsletter, I've put four people in contact with each other, all relatives unaware of the other. That alone has made it worth it. The power of social software, the ability to make connections and to enhance lives. Who says the net has to be a detriment, and make one anti social?