Oops we fell down

The server that runs Thinglink and Aula fell down last night. I hope we can get up without broken bones. Stay tuned…

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Question about Wicket

Stefan Groschupf found a technical problem with the current thinglink.org webpage: links on the webpage change when a web session change. This means that one user cannot send a link to another user, since each user has her own session. The only url that stays the same is the thing page: http://www.thinglink.org/thing:123ABC.

“The way the wicket framework you use handle this kind of page navigation is – let’s say everything else than common. I think you will run into problems since everybody wants to link to a tag or popular year etc. and end up to “page expired”. (…) Also, the search engines will not able to crawl your page.”

Well, that indeed must be fixed. Unless there are some wicket developers out there who can comment on this right away, I think we have to wait for Joni to solve the problem. I think it is this way because we haven’t really planned a proper url architecture for our pages yet.

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Congratulations to Joni!

Joni Suominen, the architect and programmer of Thinglink database, has got married and changed his name to Joni Freeman. Brave! Joni is currently working as a chief software architect at Reaktor Innovations, a Helsinki-based Internet consultancy. Right now Joni is out of reach as he and his wife Stephanie Freeman are on their honeymoon in India.


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Moving servers on Monday

Magenta Sites, the wonderful hosting company that sponsors the hosting for Thinglink, is moving our server to a new location on Monday 29 May. Expected downtime is about 2 hours between 1 and 3 pm Helsinki time (GMT+2).

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Featured makers: York and Sophy

I have many reasons to introduce York Date and Sophy as the first featured makers on Thinglink.

On December 5th, 2005 York wrote me an email asking if he could use thinglinks for tagging his music. At that time we didn’t have a database, only a rudimentary thinglinlink generator on thinglinks.com. But York and Sophy didn’t mind. Instead, they explored the idea of thinglinks and demonstrated how thinglinks work on Google search. As soon as thinglink.org was published, York and Sophy became the first supporters of the project.

York is currently making his master’s thesis about learning in online service development projects at the Graduate School of Business Administration at Kobe University, Japan. Together with Sophy he runs Art Recipes (see also art recipes on Flickr), a project that encourages people to document and share their personal process of artmaking.

Listen to a-hum.mp3 (thing:452XIT) by York and Sophy.

Photos: Yorkers&Hirosophy



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MOA06 uses thinglinks

This year all the Masters of Art 2006 (MOA06) works at the University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH) are tagged with thinglinks. At the exhibition thinglinks show on the text posters beside the works. Visitors at the exhibition can collect object-specific business cards (thing-stickers) of the works they like, find the work later by using the code on Thinglink search, bookmark it with Delicious, etc.

Thinglink complements the UIAH-authored presentation of the MOA works by giving visitors the possibility to leave comments to MOA06 makers. By signing up a personal Thinglink account, young artists and designers get to edit the descriptions of their work, as well as to add other projects into the database.

Visit the exhibition at Arabianranta.

Photo: Matti Suominen


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Thinglinks for people?

In the comments to his <a href=”post on Thinglink, Robert Wallis wondered if thinglinks apply to people as well material objects.

I wondered how it

unknown thinglink object ''

could be extended further, i.e. for people. There are obviously legitimate concerns about the “big brother state” etc, but I have so much information related to me (as a thing) that I have to remember etc that I wondered if it would be possible to have it somewhere under my own control etc. Have you thought about how that may be possible, or reasonable etc?

The concepts “thing” and “creative work” are so vague that I think all kinds of interpretations should probably be allowed as long as they’re not offensive. That’s how Thinglink works now and it’s possible to thinglink persons although I don’t particularly envision thinglink should be used for that purpose. Like Robert said, most people already have unique identifiers, like social security numbers. Works of art, design and craft don’t have unique IDs, and I think that’s where Thinglink can help most.

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Browser problem

There has been a problem that the thinglink front page breaks up with Internet Explorer and some versions of Firefox. Apparently the problem has been an XML-prolog that IE does not read properly.
Juha and Joni are working to get it fixed as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience!

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Thinglink session at Google

Paul Socolow of Google invited me to pay a visit. He gave Jyri and I a fun tour of the Googleplex and I gave a talk on the online crafting phenomenon and Thinglink. It was a nice opportunity to discuss Thinglink with Google’s engineers and I learned some new things.

Tracy Scott, who works on Google Base, suggested we create a feed from Thinglink to Google Base. It’s an interesting idea and something I’ve been thinking about for a while. The most interesting prospect is to enable thinglinked items to show up in Google search results with the structured information (image thumbnail, maker, year, country, etc.) presented nicely. I’m still learning how Google Base works though. For instance I’m still not quite clear on how the information entered in Google base can be updated / changed / deleted later.

Jeff Breidenbach reminded that it’s a good idea to discuss Thinglink with the people on standards bodies like AIM Global to prevent possible collisions. He also suggested the option to store the database record in the barcode itself (see PDF417).


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Visiting Institute for the Future

Alex Pang invited me to the Insitute for the Future, where I also met the young mathematician-turned-futurist Mike Love. Alex blogged about the visit on his blog and Mike on Smartmobs, where he’s a contributor.

We lunched and spent the afternoon discussing Thinglink, crafting culture, and how that all fits into the IFTFs vision of the future. I really liked their notion of “jobby” (the cross between a job and a hobby). Alex and Mike had some nice points about developing Thinglink. For instance, they pointed me to item retrieval services like Global Bag Tag that create unique IDs for your valuable objects. We also discussed the case for offering rights management services through Thinglink, like Numly, who offer unique IDs+DRM for electronic media.


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