Managing Blog Information Overload

What do you do when you find a new blog that you like? I normally read the discovery post (the post which let me discover this blogger or blog) and try to look for other cool posts. Not an easy task. No more. Today I found  AideRSS – Feed Filter and so far, like how it works. You should try it out. It is pretty easy. Just enter the blog url, and it does the rest. The First Look article does a good job of describing the service.

I am planning to run the top 10 blogs I read (most of the time) and run it through AideRSS and tag them in del.icio.us with the following tags:

  • aide-rss
  • top-posts
  • blogs

Here are a few:

Jon Udell’s

Mind Hack’s

Slashdot’s 

Little Innovations: A Novel Introduction

Beth has a novel way to ease elementary students into poetry. This may work for even older students from different cultures. This idea is so good, I am going to try it out at LearningPoint.

Telling Each Students Biography In A Poetic Manner

Bio Poems are a fun and easy way to ease your elementary students into poetry. This activity is especially great for the first few days of school. Here is the format of a Bio Poem:

Read the simple format of the bio-poem and a sample of Beth’s here.

Little Innovations: Math Lab in Your Cell Phone

From ZDNet’s Emerging Technology Trends

Israeli scientists have decided to put a math lab in your pocket. They developed a library of math modules which can be installed on almost cell phones available today. So you’ll be able to see graphs or solve equations on your phone while on a train or a bus ride. You’ll also be able to send graphs or formulas by SMS to other students — and to send the results of your exercises to your teacher.

This may just be the beginning. With cameras, ability to play flash, SMS and GPRS, these may become the new devices for augmenting learning.

They Have Never Seen an Hour Glass

Dr. Mitra likes the way in which Indian children reinvent computer terms and icons in their own language. “They don’t call a cursor a cursor, they call it a sui, which is Hindi for needle. And they don’t call the hourglass symbol the hourglass because they’ve never seen an hourglass before. They call it the damru, which is Shiva’s drum, and it does look a bit like that.”

This is an old story – more than 5 years old. But it showed up in a forum, I watch called TeachAndLearnOnline group. Bill Kerr relates the India hole in the wall effort about 5 years ago to support the reason why empowering kids with computers (like OLPC) may work.

Here is the original Hole in the Wall link. Here is the digital vocabulary the kids made up when they started using the computer without being taught. Here is a link to the  eight minute video posted by James Neil.

Wiki Mind Map

I just discovered Wiki Mind Map on LifeHacker. I tried a couple of maps. It is a cool way to visually browse information from Wikipedia. It may be a nice tool for presenting information, as well. You can click on the link and see the new mindmap of the topic or head over to the wikipedia page. Links are specially marked.

Here is a map of The Semantic Web .It takes a bit of time to draw but worth the wait.

semweb.png

And another map of Mathematics. I just clipped part of it for display here.

math-mindmap.png

Programming Language Trends – July 2007

It interesting to keep an eye on TIOBE’s programming language trends. The position of the language is as interesting as the movement of languages up and down the rank. Lua, D and Ruby moved up, big jumps. You can see the top 20 list here. Here is how the index is computed. Here is an excerpt from TIOBE’s July News Flash.

  • This month, it looks like the month of game programming languages with a functional nature. Lua, particularly known as the implementation language of “World of Warcraft”, has entered the top 20. Now that all the hype around Ruby is cooling down, it seems to be time for a new scripting language. Lua is dynamically typed, with a very small but extendable language definition. It has borrowed a lot of features from the functional world.
  • At the same time Xbox compatible language F# entered the top 50. Everybody expected Scala (currently at #55) or Groovy (#54) to hit the top 50 this month, but F# was to one that really made it. F# is just like Lua a functional-like language. Although F# is still a Research project from Microsoft, it gains a lot of attention already.

I have heard mentions of Scala, but not D. Both may be worth checking out. I am surprised that Haskell does not figure in the list of Top-20 and FoxPro is still hanging in there.

PHP seems to be going down a bit. I am surprised to see that since some of the most scalable web applications – MediaWiki (which powers Wikipedia), WordPress are written using PHP.

So what metrics would you use to pick a language? It depends on what you want to do. If it is jobs, then Java is a good bet for a while. If you want to build rapid web applications then Python, PHP and Ruby are definitely the ones to consider (even though Python/Ruby are very different from PHP). For Windows developers, obviously C# is the language of choice. Game developers seem to like Lua, C++ and Python over other languages.

Even though TIOBE does not consider markup languages in their listing of programming languages, I think XML and RDF will be important ones to learn.

It’s Ok If You’re not Vanilla

I have always felt that. There is a nice blog about The Golden Age of Individualism. Here are some cool ideas in this blog:

  1. Personal Brand Calculator (I actually took the test and posted it in my About page)
  2. Workplace need not have a place (I do not have one either)
  3. that personal brands will become unofficial spoksepeople at times (we already see this in the blogosphere)

Nice to know that it is ok not to be vanilla. Feels odd at times explaining it to your family and friends. Most of them want to know why you are not “normal”

Innovation is …

Scott Berkun, Author of “The Myths of Innovation”, in an interview with Guy Kawasaki:

the foundation is that ideas are combinations of other ideas. People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out. The problem is most schools and organizations train us out of the habits.

Glad to see that. In my Thinking about Thinkings seminar, I talk about how Ideas trigger ideas.

ideas-trigger-ideas.png

So it helps to keep an idea log. And keep going back to it. Ultimately, you need to try a few after your own filtering process. In software today, it is so much easier to try out ideas with all the great tools we have at our command. That is one of the reason mashups are taking off. It is so easy to try out ideas in a few hours.

A few more pearls from the interview:

Innovation is a practice—a set of habits—and it involves making lots of mistakes and being willing to learn from them.

New ideas often come from asking new questions and being a creative question asker.

Innovation is difficult, risky work, and the older you are, the greater the odds you’ll realize this is the case.

Here are some more from 10 Lessons of Innovation Idris Mootee Keynote

  • Innovation is like ping-pong where ideas are bounced back and forth
  • Innovation is a mindset
  • Innovation occurs at the intersection of previously unconnected and unrelated planes of thought
  • Prototype a lot, fail often, fail early