Thursday, March 31, 2005

Here We Go...

While not exactly an overly dramatic or spiritually enlightening first post, hopefully it will get the ball rolling.

I've been soaking up knowledge about a range of things lately. I'll start with the freshest things in my mind because they're likely the easiest to write about. While investigating this whole blogging thing I've come across two very exciting things as of late, podcasting and Wikipedia.

Podcasting from what I've seen (and heard of course) is kind of a grass roots radio type of thing. People creating what are effectively audio-blogs and making them available as an attachment to an RSS feed. Then with the proper software like ipodder, these things can be automatically subscribed to, and retrieved for the user to listen to, at his leisure. While it may at first seem silly and amateurish, its creativity and charm is infectious. Currently, I can't seem to find a decent simple podcast aggregator that will get these things onto my Palm Zire72 directly, so I have been simply downloading them and installing them individually. I'll hopefully get the automatic retrieval part of it nailed down soon.

The second big thing I've come across recently is Wikipedia. This is an online encyclopedia of sorts, but what makes this different (and I really mean different) is that anyone (and I really mean anyone), can edit and create the content. Yes.. you read that correctly. You can go to this site, view and search the already significantly huge encyclopedia and then create a free account and edit and add content as you see fit. Of course there is much more to it and you have to experience it to really see what is happening there. So you have thousands and thousands of contributors to this massive online project. It really sounds like chaos, but it actually seems to function well. If you're looking for a pool of communal world knowledge, then this is it right now. I actually made an edit to a page on reinforced concrete (I am a structural engineer by profession no less) and felt in awe of the fact that I had made one small contribution to it. You could go there and just make grammar and spelling edits or actually edit and add your own piece of knowledge if it's not there yet. Check it out, you will be amazed at what we can do as a group with this technology!

Well, I've spelled out the two things that seem most interesting to me at the moment. I think there is likely a lot more to come in the next little while. We will wait and see.