Archive

Archive for August, 2009

How foldier sPress really works (part1)

The first part (out of three posts) on “How foldier sPress really works” is online on foldier sPress sPression:

How foldier sPress really works

How foldier sPress really works

Enjoy!
The foldier Team

New foldier beta 2.28

foldier beta 2.28

Welcome back again to another release of foldier.
As usual we like to give you here a quick overview of what is new in this latest release. The following is just is a quick overview, we will follow up later with more detailed posts on every single new feature.

API

We introduce in this release our first API to access foldier from other web application. We have implemented a simple REST API with full OAuth protocol authorization pipeline. We also created a Wiki Site dedicated to the documentation of the API (http://wiki.foldier.net).

Improved Search Engine

A very important component of the foldier infrastructure is its search engine. Everything in foldier is organized using searches. We improved our engine to search inside the aggregated item descriptions. This results in better categorization for items matching keywords specified in your sPressions.

New Home Page

We moved the community all the way to the front. The new home page now has featured sthe most popular and most recent Pressions. From the home page visitors can now search for topic or for users. Check it out here!

Better foldier link bar

Links broadcasted to the followers now feature a much improved toolbar. The toolbar allows the visitor to access simple foldier features like rating and comments as well as linking the web page to other content posted by the same foldier user.

Better performance

We added to this release more aggressive code optimization and better caching for content. In our tests some browsing operation have seen speed improvements up to 50%.

Full integration with Google Docs

Now, once you connect your Google Docs account you can create new document and edit existing one directly from within foldier. Also publishing of Google Docs have been simplified. Now you can write your own original content using the powerful features of Google online editors and post this content in your own sPression with simple Drag & Drop.

This post was original written in Google Docs and published here.

The foldier team.

foldier in maintenance

foldier beta 2.28

Sunday August 9th 2009
We are currently upgrading foldier to the new version 2.28. This upgrade should take us a couple hours.

We are expecting to be back online by 12 pm PST.

12:44 pm – The update is still in progress. Everything is going well – it just takes a little longer than expected

1:30 pm – The update is ready. foldier is back online.

Thank you for your patience.

The foldier team.

Categories: foldier Tags: , ,

New release scheduled to go online Sunday Aug. 9th

We will deploy a new improved version of foldier this coming Sunday (August 9th).

The site will be down for maintenance starting at 9:00 a.m. PST until around 11:00 a.m. PST.
We will post updates here when the upgrade is complete.

The foldier team.

Categories: foldier Tags: ,

Aggregation vs. journalism ?

August 3, 2009 1 comment

I was having a conversation with a publisher of an independent publication.  He said that “my employer and you guys at foldier are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.”  He meant to say that aggregation and his contributions to the world were incompatible.  His attitudes irked me.

Aggregation has been labeled as parasitic, preying upon the newspaper industry.  AP’s and other new sources view point compile information and contribute their own opinions and attach a value to it.  These people fail to see the mutually beneficial relationships between the aggregators and publishers.

Personally, I aim to gain as much attention from this website and to my own writings and musings.  If anyone ever re-tweeted or linked to my website, I would be touched.  I make no money on my writing, but continue to write regardless.

Journalists rightly feel an ownership of their writings.  Aggregators never want to present it as their own information.  They attempt to draw attention to valued pieces of writing.  Aggregators complement the original content as being worthy of being read.

Aggregation as contextualization

The fact remains that there are so many different viewpoints on a topic that a journalist would have to publish a book concerning any subject to capture the entirety of an issue.  A writer that want to complete a simple piece about the importance of the protest after the Iranian elections would have to give context to the history of Iran, Iranian-American politics, Iranian and global relations, demographics of the Iranian population, etc. That context would be aggregated content from other sources.

Furthermore, bias within journalism runs rampant.  Matt Taibbi was singled out for his Rolling Stone articles where he blamed so many financial institution’s greed (particularly Goldman Sachs) for our present economic debacle.  Everything Taibbi wrote seemed to make sense, but the article showed only one side of the story.  It is simply too easy to blame one or multiple financial institutions for what is occurring.  Any student of history will tell you that no matter how simple a cause seems for something is there are deeper more complex issues at hand.

Aggregation done well and from an edited perspective can add depth to an issue.  If I had enough time, I would read both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, watch MSNBC and Fox News, and somewhere in the middle of what is being said and reported I would find a grain of truth.  However, aggregation does not rely upon a certain news network, news organization, talking heads, or time constraints to provide the depth necessary to find answers to today’s questions.

Aggregation without compensation

The major issue about aggregation is the lack of compensation.  There have been many articles written exploring the poltics and economics of free.  Bill Maher wrote on the Huffington Post (a site that use a lot of aggregated content) a piece decrying that seemingly everything in America must make a profit or is considered a failure.

Simply put, no one told newspaper or magazines to publish their material for free. To my knowledge, no one put a gun to newspaper owners’ and demanded free news. Conversely, it seems patently unfair for an outside service to co-opt ideas, words, and in some very rare cases art for profit especially without even mentioning the original source of the content. That is not aggregation – that is stealing content.

Shifting towards a symbiotic relationship

Newspapers should not silo away information only for those willing to pay a subscription fee.  Information from different newspaper around the world enrich the public discourse.  The average reader may be faced with the dilemma of sacrificing the excellent writing of the New York Times or the political insight of the Washington Post.  However, the newspaper must have the incentive to continue to keep covering these issues and be compensated.  Beyond the incentive, they must have the means to continue publishing.

Somewhere between the benefits of aggregation and excellence of individual writers and newspaper, there is a compromise to be had.  Mirroring the differing opinions of politics lies the ability to compromise for the sake of perpetuation.