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Thursday, January 3, 2008

It's Your Data - You Should Be Able to Share It!

The ability to take the data that you upload on a website and use it elsewhere is a fundamental feature that is missing on many popular websites. Facebook for instance allows you to easily import all your address book contacts, but there is no means to export these same details. Yahoo Mail lets you export your e-mail messages but only if you subscribe to their premium mail package. Flickr provides lots of tools for uploading multiple photos at a time, let third-party tools are needed to copy the same photos elsewhere. There should be a middle ground that allows your stuff to be easily mixed and shared. is a new resource point that discusses the standards, tools, arguments and initiatives that are shaping this debate.

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At January 4, 2008 5:44 AM , Blogger Kim Chulis said...

Nigel, you come up with the coolest topics. Where do you find this stuff? Thank you for sharing! I took a look at the site and found the Berkman Center for Internet and Society site at Harvard, where they are hard at work to define cyber law. There's a really interesting post about how South Africa and Kenya are the two largest sub-saharan African countries with respect to number of bloggers, and how bloggers in Kenya during the media blackout helped spread related news during the election crisis, and the role of mobile devices in a country where only 3.2 percent have internet access. There's some interesting opportunities with a SMS hotline described in the blog found at

On an aside note, I have not had success subscribing to these feeds. I realize that makes me late to the RSS party but what do I do with the HTML code the 'subscribe' button delivers? Also, how can we make the blog more available for outside contributors to read and respond to?

At January 4, 2008 11:03 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

Berkman is very cool. Dave Winer who invented RSS worked there as a Harvard Fellow a few years back and made some big strides in pushing through his ideas.

I use Google Reader for all my RSS subscriptions. When you click on the big orange RSS button (or equivalent) you often get a chance to pick a Reader, select Google and then you will be asked to log into your Google account. If they don't link automatically to Google then copy the RSS, Atom or XML feed address and manually create a subscription in Google Reader (Google menu under More.)

Google Reader then automatically picks up all the most recent postings from that page and presents them to you in a headline and summary format. Often you can read the entire posting one-after-the-other in Reader without having to visit the actual page. It speeds up the entire process of tracking many blogs, websites, etc. Just about every website of note these days includes an RSS/Feeds button. Every blog has one created by default.

At January 4, 2008 11:06 AM , Blogger Nigel said...

The blog can be promoted to anyone. Anyone can comment, although these are moderated by one of us before they are posted (a necessity to prevent spam.) Who can post articles is restricted to who we allow editing access to.


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