Last weekend (2009 10/17~10/18), I went to Yahoo Open Hack Day Taiwan. The event seems has been become a big PR issue of Yahoo, only because a few minutes of lap dance.

Before I talked about what I feel about lap dance as a developer joined this event, I like to share about what we did in this event. As a team with hychen, tusng and honki, we were thinking about implement a self-learning web site, which provides a bookmarklet or plugin to let you look up the English words. And also help you to convert unfamiliar word on computer into physical flash card. But after we got there, we found this web site does not really use any Yahoo!API. :p

So, we pick up another idea from my never-have-time-to-start TODO list. We called it Synker,the original idea is to help people sync photos from any social network website into their own Google/Yahoo contacts. But we don’t want to have an avatar, we like to have photos with really face of our contacts. So we only use photos with face identified by integrated face detection technology. If you use these contact services on your phone, you will find it extremely useful when you try to remember someone when he/she calls.

After changed the idea, we start to implement it at Saturday afternoon. And finally we do can login with Yahoo account, download the contacts and find possible photo from Wretch profile and albums. It’s quite slow but it works. We tried to find Wretch girls hired by Yahoo as staffs to be our beta testers, it turns out that much of people don’t really use Yahoo! Contacts or Yahoo!360 lately. So most of the contacts are added very long time ago when YIM is still popular in Taiwan. For the local Wretch users, it might be much more useful if we can help them link their wretch users back to Yahoo contacts. However, Synker should be a service to help people sync photo into different contact service, the web site is now still a prototype, we might finish it later when we are available.

However, we did not win any award. Thanks to Erik Eldridge, at least we are mentioned in his favorite hacks list. But still, I have a lot of fun work with my teammate to implement a web site from scratch. I do enjoy to get tired, beard grown and smelly with friends after a non-stop 24 hours hacking. It’s exciting to experience issue and fix them together. It’s fun and we never stop laughing.

Thanks to Yahoo for organized this event. Without this event, I probably won’t get any chance to study Yahoo!APIs, and work with my friends on these APIs all day long. Thanks!

Sexism ?

So, many people feels women are offended, and they said sexism is bad for creating an inclusive environment in industry. I have to say please don’t judge the organizer before you understand the local culture. Applying your own viewpoints to the other side of earth is globalism, which does not help to create an inclusive environment.

As a developer staying there for the whole event, I don’t see the any lady are offended. But we, the shyly nerds are probably more insulted. :p

One my the other female friend XDite, she has been attend to Yahoo Open Hack Day since last year. She has same feeling as I do, we don’t feel it’s offending women. The dancing show is only a few minutes. We disliked it because it’s very annoyed for developers, since we have been coding for hours, a loudly music and dancing show just make us headache. It’s just annoying as the anchorwoman made some stupid jokes and asked developers to dance before the warding ceremony. It’s perhaps humiliated us much more then the dance girls.

Seriously, No! There are many female staffs around and many of the many of the top managers of Yahoo!Kimo Taiwan are female! And also the other female members in the other team. I don’t see there is any sexism issue in Yahoo and this event. However, I can understand why they like to have the dancing show, one for cheer the developers up after long time work, the other reason is to satisfy the local sick mass media.

The dancing show is only a few minutes, not the major part of the event. And we don’t care about the show, since we are really busy on get the things work. And yes, the kind of entertainments are expected in many IT events. It might comes from the history of southerns Taiwanese funerals and temple fair. People think it’s important to entertain Spirits, and living people, so they hire strippers to dance in public. It’s a symbol of supplicatory.

And somewhat this kind of traditions infected the IT event, but much more refined. Now, without Show Girls in a IT event, you will never get reported on local mainstream media. And this kind of tradition are spread in the world, which you can see many show girls on the online IT web sites.

It’s now become yet another industry for provide profession performing in IT events (commercial IT events does not mean open source software conference or hackathon). In addition, the dancing girl are professional dancers, they are not just boob girls or some woman found from the strip club. They are payed as profession for performing. I meant is creating something with your mind is much respectable then creatively with the body ? And what’s wrong that these ladies choose dancing as profession, is that one of talents should be appreciated ?

If you ask my opinion, I dislike this kind of arrangement it’s because it disturbed me. And don’t blame Yahoo, it’s totally not an issue of sexism of the event, you idiot. It’s about the sicked (local and global) media. Please go fight with the mainstream media if you think they are sexist, and many Taiwanese are already doing so.

早些時候在參與 PORTA2030 時,也試著去研究了幾個藝術團體的作品,其中一個很快的就引起我的注意。說的是英國的 Blast Theory (關於 Blast Theory) 藝術團體的《你看得到我嗎?》(Can You See Me Now?, 2001),分別已經在 Sheffield, RotterdamTokyo 等幾個都市作過展出,是利用 GPS, 無線網路與手持裝置所設計的虛擬追逐遊戲,玩家透過電腦進入真實都市的虛擬線上地圖,而獵人 (Runner) 則拿著手持裝置與無線電中傳來的線索尋找你的蹤影,若你不幸在虛擬地圖上被靠近逮到,就輸了遊戲。是很有趣的 Urban game (Location-based game)


Blast Theory 過去十幾年來還進行過許多有趣的計畫研究,如《洛伊叔叔無所不在》 (Uncle Roy All Around You, 2003) 與 Rider Spoke, 2007 等。

其中《洛伊叔叔無所不在》是 Blast Theory 與 Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham 合作的成果,一樣是利用無線網路技術與行動裝置,玩家手持著裝置,根據洛伊叔叔所傳送過來的提示與訊息,來想辦法與洛伊叔叔會合,玩家也可以透過網路協助拿著裝置的玩家,遊戲考驗的與陌生人的信賴關係,探討使用新科技的無線設備對社交關係的影響。細節可以參考 WiredXeni Jardin 對 Blast Theory co-founder Matt Adams 的專訪,On Your Mark, Get Set, Unwire! 江凌青小姐也曾為《你看得到我嗎?》與《洛伊叔叔無所不在》計畫寫了藝術評論

上一篇 Social Graphic Network 中提到,Brad Fitzpatrick 希望可以解決開發者的困擾,其中一個常見的問題就是 Node Equivalence。簡單講,就是節點 (人員) 可能以不同的網址表現,但是這些網址都應該只對應到同一個人員。

關於這個問題,Social Graph API 有特別提到 Canonical Node Representation 的解決方法,也就是以統一的規矩將其轉為正規化形式 (canonical form)。你可以利用 Brad Fitzpatrick 的 Social Graph Node Mapper Project 中的 API 來進行正規化處理。目前支援 C, C++, Java, Perl 與 PHP。

兩年前講 Web 2.0 時,曾經提過利用 FOAFXFN 來映射人際關係的概念。這在當時好像是一種幻想,不過今年二月初時 Brad Fitzpatrick (是個強者,做了 LiveJournalmemcachedPerlbalMogileFSDJabberdOpenID 等軟體或規格,目前任職於 Google, Inc) ,推出了一組新的 Google Social Graphic API。不妨先看一段 Brad 的簡白說明

Introduction to the Social Graph API

簡單說,Google 提供了一組 API,讓你可以取查詢被索引的社交關係,而這些資料來自於網路上的以 XFN/JSON 格式表現的公開連結。於是,若你經營社交網站,你可以透過此 API 幫你的訪客找到網站上的朋友們,而不需要你的訪客匯入朋友資料。或者,你也可以透過此工具找到你的愛人、仇人的連結關係。;-)

整個概念發想,可以參考 Brad Fitzpatrick 所寫的 Thoughts on the Social Graph,以及 Alex Iskold 發表於 ReadWriteWeb分析文章

目前 Google 網站上已經提供三組展示用的程式,包含 Site Connectivity, My Connections, Parameter Playground 等。我的愛人或仇人們你們可以透過此介面查詢我的社交關係

當然,目前使用 FOAF 與 XFN 之類後設資料的網站還相當少,但若未來重視 Social Network Portability 並使用開放技術的網站越來越多,那麼未來都有機會使用這個 API 來相互鍊結吧。或者,我們可以拿 Open Social 作為網站間的橋接層 ? 🙂