Archive for May, 2007

Archive for May, 2007

The State of Distributed Social Networking

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Also known as Portable Social Networking, this is the concept of decentralising the social networking functionality of sites like Facebook so that one does not have to use every service to connect with everyone (previously covered here).

Videntity is a wonderful service for this movement, and one that I have been using as the hub of much of my efforts. Explode seems promising, but they’re down for upgrade.

So let’s talk about my list from last time:

  1. hCards and Pingerati : For Blogger I have a wizard. Pingerati pings still manual.  For WordPress there is a widget.  Pings still manual.  For even more professional information (such as my resume) there is an hResume WordPress Plugin.  For other websites/services there is always the hCard Creator.  Of course, supports hCard by default.
  2. XFN Friends lists : For Blogger I have a wizard.  This wizard will actually work on any web page or on any service where you can post (X)HTML (including MySpace or Xanga!)  For WordPress there is a nice plugin, although a widget version would be a bonus.  Videntity supports this by default.As far as finding/adding friends goes I have a bookmarklet for Videntity that allows one to add hCards, Facebook results, or people results as friends/contacts.  Bookmarklets for other services would not be hard.  For Blogger we would need an actual blogroll-producing service beyond just a wizard to make this work.
  3. Public/private profiles : Again, Videntity has this built right in (as long as you have the URL that the contact uses for OpenID on the friend list, it does not follow rel=me).  I am working on a solution for WordPress.  Would people be interested in a solution for Blogger/other websites?
  4. Messaging : not sure where I stand on this.  Lots of nice contact options, and creating a ‘wall’-like interface on WordPress would be easy.  The question is : what is the goal of this?  If it is just the address book features then a way to integrate social networking contact lists with email clients / Gmail might be better.  If it is being able to communicate without revealing your email address a protocol/system for that might be easy enough.My brother (and avid Facebooker) says that it is about visibility.  The benefit of Facebook messaging, for him, is the unified notifications area that he KNOWS his friends all check.  He KNOWS that they will see his message.  He is not sure they check their email.

I still promote the idea of supporting rel=tag on hCards.  We need a better hCard search engine, one that takes Pingerati pings, crawls regularly (some of my pings from months ago were never indexed by the Technorati Kitchen hCard search), outputs results as hCards (to facilitate things like my bookmarklet), and recognizes rel=tag.

Perhaps a tagspace could do a rev=tag for members.  If an hCard URL has rel=tag to a page that has rev=tag to it that would give credibility to the category.

Notifications (think Facebook mini-feed) need to fit into this idea somehow.  Events are hCalendar.  Notes/posts/shares are hAtom/xFolk.  Status is something I’ve blogged about recently too.  Services like Twitter are heading in the right direction.

WordPress Plugins on the WordPress Database

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The idea of walking while you work isn’t a new one; we first featured a “treadputer” on this site in 2006. But the idea has returned, and it’s enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to cheaper, smaller treadmill models that are being called “walking pads.” So how is a walking pad different from a treadmill, and are they actually a game changer for your workday or your fitness? Let’s dig in.

What is a walking pad?
WalkingPad is actually a brand of fold-away treadmills, but the phrase “walking pad” has become a generic term for this general category of devices. Walking pads are usually smaller and cheaper than what you’d think of as a treadmill. Many of them fold up (some even fold in half) and are intended to be moved into and out of wherever you store them on a daily basis—for example, leaned against a wall or tucked under a couch.

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And the TikTok girlies love them. You can scroll through an infinite loop of young women saying “so I saw these walking pads on TikTok and decided to get one for myself…”

How do you use a walking pad?
It’s really just a miniature treadmill, so you can use it any way you want. Some people use them while watching TV or doing other activities at home. But you mostly see them in work-from-home or even office setups that go something like this:

The person has a walking pad, and a standing desk. As their workday begins, they put on walking shoes, and strap their fitness tracker to their ankle (since their hands will be at the keyboard while they’re working). If your strap isn’t long enough to reach, you can buy an aftermarket ankle strap.

Some people keep the walking pad under their desk all day; others have a desk that raises and lowers, and they’ll swap the walking pad for a chair when they’re ready to sit down. Those who use the pad a lot often say they easily hit 10,000 steps by afternoon.

One thing that impressed me: There are plenty of reviews out there from people who have been using a walking pad consistently. Here’s one from TikTok from a person who has been using theirs for nine months; here’s one from Reddit where the walking pad’s owner is still “very impressed” after using it heavily for three months. The pads’ explosion in popularity is still fairly new, so we don’t have many long-term reviews. If you want something that lasts for years, it’s not clear if a cheap walking pad will be durable enough for you. Try out ignite drops.

What are the pros and cons of a walking pad?
Walking pads’ selling points are also their drawbacks—mainly that they are small and cheap. Here’s the rundown of factors to consider.

Do you want to walk fast, or even run on it?
Walking pads are designed for just that: walking. Most have a top speed that is at or below a typical walking speed. For example, one of WalkingPad’s cheaper models tops out at 3.75 miles per hour. The Rebel 1000 maxes out at 2.0 miles per hour. But if you shop carefully, you can find walking pads that go up to 7.5 miles per hour.

So how slow is that? Well, if you ask Google Maps to give you walking directions, it will assume that you walk at about 3.0 miles per hour. That’s a pretty average walking speed. When you’re working, though, you may be more comfortable with the speed set a bit lower, more of an amble than a stroll. Visit

Even if you buy a pad with a higher top speed, you may notice that the length of the pad becomes an issue when you move faster. Runners need longer treadmills than walkers, due to the length of their stride. Some of the smaller models may be less comfortable for longer-legged folks, especially at a fast walk, so consider this when you’re looking at what to buy.

Videntity Bookmarklet Update

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I have made some updates to my Videntity Bookmarklet. Besides hCards and Facebook links, it now also supports search results from So now you can search for people and then add them directly to your friends list!

Update to Videntity WordPress Plugin

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I have updated my WordPress plugin for integration. It now includes options to import your friends/contacts or your profile (or both!) from Videntity to WordPress. Just go to ‘Videntity’ under the ‘Options’ tab in your administration interface.

Some notable things not imported in the profile import:

  • Instant Messeging information
  • Video
  • Photo
  • Only the first URL (Website) is imported

The ‘additional name’ (ie, middle name) is imported, but into a field called ‘additonal_name’, which is not displayed anywhere by default on WordPress.

School’s Out

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So I promised that after the move to I’d write more personal stuff again and it hasn’t happened.  Sorry if you’re a friend of mine who once cared and has now given up 😉  I have better email subscriptions now!  And I think my Xanga cross-posting is fixed (we’ll see…).  You must admit, though, I get far more attention on my tech blog 😉  I peaked at 20 subscribers here, and there I have 170 last count.  Ok, still no excuse.

So, what’s up with me?  Well, school’s been out for a week now.  I got accepted into U of W for next semester (yay!).  I’m job-hunting.  That can be nasty.  Still doing volunteer childcare on Wednesdays.  Still coding my brains out.

*shrugs* not that much to say.  Well, there is, but I’m not sure what.  I used to know my audience here — NSA friends.  I’ve lost touch with most of you however, and no one else ever really read this.  Perhaps this post will sail into oblivion (hence why my brother no longer writes personal stuff).

Well, if you’re into it, Facebook me 😉  I’m not a huge fan of the system, but if it works for you I’m on it.

So long for now.