home * about me * resume
Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

« August 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

eBay Gets More Social But Leaves Out Easy Linking

A while ago eBay launched blogs because, um, everyone else has them. They're going even further now with eBay MyWorld, which is a MySpace-y page where you can put your listings, bio, feedback, blog, reviews, guidelines, etc.

It's a great idea, and definitely a valuable set of features. The first thing I thought of when I heard about the blogs was, "holy crap that would be a good link farm, wouldn't it?". So I hustled over there and made a post about my client, Fabrile Gallery, which sells great art glass.

The only problem is that they don't have the "insert link here" feature in their WYSIWYG interface, making it less likely that people will link to somewhere other than the eBay empire and basically breaking the internet.

When they first came out, there was no way at all to add a link to a post. Now they've added a "view source" option where you can put in the HTML by hand. The overall effect is to limit the social aspect and to reveal that eBay really doesn't get it.


Weirdest ABCNews.com Breaking News Email Ever.

Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:

Congressman Mark Foley, Republican from Florida, resigned today just hours after ABC news questioned him about a series of sexually explicit instant messages involving current and former underage male Congressional pages. Foley used the login name Maf54.

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny ?
Teen: A little. Maf54: Cool.

Foley was the chairman of the house caucus on missing and exploited children and has long crusaded for tough laws against those who use the Internet for sexual exploitation of children. WATCH WORLD NEWS WITH CHARLES GIBSON AND NIGHTLINE FOR FULL DETAILS

Open Source Emergency Response Gone Wrong:

Here's a post from Random Acts Of Reality, a blog based in London, England, written by an E.M.T working for the London Ambulance Service.

In Health Copyright, he writes of getting some training and being bulloxed by a less-than-OSER attitude:

However there is a problem - the Guidelines book we should be getting is version 3.0, but the book we are actually getting is version 2.2.
The reason for this? Copyright. It seems that the London Ambulance Service wants to change a few bits to make it more relevant to London. But because the organization that wrote it maintains the copyright - it can't be changed for us. Lawrence Lessing's "Free culture" and the Suw Charman article I linked to on the 25th both state that you get value added when others can build on your work. This is a perfect example of this principle.
So the people of London are not getting the best clinical care because of copyright.

Ask.com is Getting Some Play

I've been hearing more and more from Ask.com lately. The other day a guy from work told me he sis a side-by-side experiment doing some search terms and found Ask.com had better results than Google. Hear on Search Engine Roundtable they note a spike in referrals from Ask.com as well. I've been impressed with their site preview feature and the "save this image search result" feature.


Google is definitely my default search engine and I buy into Yahoo! My Web 2.0 in a big way (805 tagged and saved pages), but I am going to add Ask.com to the mix and see what happens.


DevCorp North Is Making a Difference in Rogers Park

Here is an excellent article in today's Sun-Times about postive change in Rogers Park that was helped along by my client, DevCorp North, Rogers Park's business, community and economic development organization. This is a group of people who work every day to stimulate new stuff. They have a ton of programs that just keep going and going, usually w/o fanfare, w/o a lot of back-patting. This snip below sums it up:

The changes in Jarvis Square happened because Sullivan decided to invest where he lived -- and this 15-year resident recruited others to do the same. After hearing him speak at a DevCorp North seminar, Lori Alderete and Phaedra Divras decided to rent from Sullivan and opened the cozy stone-front Gruppo di Amici restaurant -- with a wood-burning pizza oven imported from Italy, no less -- just steps from the Jarvis L. And last September, Sullivan rented out the space that became Poitin Stil, an Irish pub that allows patrons to order food from nearby eateries.

Just another seminar, out of the dozens they host per year. And it led to a lot.

Amazon aStore Enhancements Soon

So Amazon aStore (here's mine) is going to be improved soon. Here's a snip from their email:

The next release of aStore (currently slated for a late November release) will allow Associates to:

    * Build and maintain multiple aStores using a single Associate ID
    * Specify products to feature on Category and Sub-Category pages
    * Create multiple instances of individual categories and sub-categories (e.g. Beatles Music and Rolling Stones Music)
    * Feature up to 54 products on the front page of your store rather than the current limit of nine
    * Write longer custom product descriptions
    * Better control the layout and design for use in frames by providing the capability to remove the store header and category navigation

The big deal here is the ability to choose and feature more products in more areas. Again, to me, the most valuable application in this is less the "I have an Amazon store on my site" than the "I can offer for sale a custom set of products that appeal to me/ say something about me/ are endorsed by me and will be fulfilled by an outside service".

Slides right into my Brand Pantheon. More on that later.

Why YouTube Is Ripping Us Off

I love watching YouTube. Today I watched some great Nirvana concert clippings there. My 5-year old watches complete episodes of Power Rangers Wild Force. My 7-year old has heard some of his favorite songs there.

I also love the idea of YouTube. The user-generated content, almost invariably infused with people's own experience of copyrighted material, is the most expansive showcase for derivative works around. In Derivative Works Manifesto, I show myself a lover of this stuff.

Users of the world are presented with fresh, owned content every day. We have the technology, the precedents, and the duty to make new art out of this owned content—the stuff of our lives.

As an artist, I do it, too. So all's well on that front.

The Great YouTube Ripoff is that they get all the money. All of it. Right in our faces, they take our creative labor and take all the money. Mark Cuban called this out last week. And YouTube thinks they are worth $1.5 billion dollars.

YouTube is a distributor. And I appreciate them. I use them, for free, all the time. For hosting my videos, hosting other people's videos on my sites, and so on. They deserve lots. But they don't deserve everything.  Here's the missing feature on YouTube:

Derivators should ackowledge the original content and the content owner should get paid if and when revenue is generated by the derivative work. Basically, a technical system that coupled the blog TrackBack feature with PayPal would cut it.

All sorts of sites already do this (revenue sharing with registered users) using Google Adwords. We have the technology. We just need the will from all the right places.

BEA World 2006 Review

So last week I went to the BEA World 2006 Conference in San Francisco. Here are some thoughts:

  • I am not the biggest fan of enterprise software-- especially dense, IDE-ish, huge-learning-curve stuff, but I was excited about where they were going
  • Basically, they are going into the Enterprise 2.0 direction, baking in the tools and attitudes of the Web 2.0 world
  • Their three main products in this realm are mentioned in this press release from a while ago-- Runner is a way to publish cool ALUI apps to the internet (instead of inpenetrable portals), Holland/ Builder is a wiki where you can drag/drop all sorts of enterprise-y elements like a Siebel record or a machine maintenance item into a wiki page and talk about it, and Graffiti is basically tags
  • Graffiti has the biggest brass-tacks potential, as it completely changes the search mechanism inside ALUI
  • It's exciting to see these worlds-- flexible, easy-to-use, webby world and the dense, high-security-model, months-long development worlds-- come together

One last bit:

I had a Twilight Zone moment in one session when two IT guys from a pharmaceutical company got up and talked about "IT Governance". The main thrust of their prideful presentation was that they had a system for deleting documents from their intranet that did not meet a subscribed level of popularity.

Deleting. Documents that scientists found valuable enough to post. Because the document had not received alot of hits in a three month period. That's not exactly long tail-ish, is it? There is much work to do.

Take That, You Little Bitch

Former President Bill Clinton puts Smarmy FOX Shithead Chris Wallace in his place. "I worked hard to try to kill him".

CTA Alerts Coverage in Today's Red Eye

I am in San Francisco for the BEA Conference right now (more on that later), but CTA Tattler has a good roundup of links on the current take on the state of communications at the CTA, including the following coverage of CTA Alerts:

Locals give you wireless alerts

By Kyra Kyles
Published September 19, 2006

Can't wait until the CTA introduces its wireless service alerts this fall? You don't have to, thanks to two local tech professionals who have launched unofficial "L" and bus service alerts.

ctatattler.com wireless alerts

Who created it: Daniel O'Neil, 39, an Internet consultant who lives in Logan Square

What it offers: You can sign up on www.ctatattler.com to receive messages about "L" and bus service delivered to subscribers' wireless handheld devices.

When it was founded: July 2005

What inspired it: O'Neil got tired of the midnight "whining and complaining" by riders who blogged on his brother Kevin O'Neil's ctatattler.com site. "Why sit in your underwear sending details of what bus or train was delayed that day," Daniel O'Neil said. "Let's share this little information with everybody else when it counts."

Who feeds it: Any of the approximately 400 subscribers, including the CTA via the handle "CTA_HQ"

What's next: Some riders are campaigning for alerts customized by Line or bus route, but Daniel O'Neil sees the CTA as a "network effect," where one disruption can affect other buses and trains. For now, the service stays the same, he said.


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


    follow me on Twitter





    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.