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JSON 3D - The Time is Near!

3D on the web is getting very close to being a reality. With the release of Google Chrome 9 and Firefox 4, that uses WebGL (a subset of the OpenGL library) coupled with HTML 5 and JavaScript, 3D on the web could soon become used in many websites.

With 3D likely becoming mainstream on the web within the next few years, I thought that now is the time to build tools to model 3D models using a small easy to handle format that could be easily used in JavaScript.

You may remember my post from a while back about JSON 3D. I feel that using JSON for 3D modelling would be the best format to handle 3D models on the web. This would allow for quick Ajax calls to allow loading 3D models as needed on a page and the format is about as small as you can get on the web for holding this type of data. Additionally JSON already has a huge footprint in Ajax development and has virtually replaced XML in being used for most Ajax calls.

You can read my original post on JSON 3D here. My hope is that some of you will find this useful and will begin to write the tools that will be used to have 3D available all over the web.

Also, if you are looking to have some fun, you can view a bunch of Chrome WebGL 3D demos here.

PR Hack Writes The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Featuring an Actual Product or Service

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About a week ago there was a very funny press release that appeared on TechCrunch. I thought the idea was great, but I noticed that the press release didn't actually mention any product. Because of this, I thought I would try to write my own Press Release that actually mentioned a product or service and a big feature release. The service is calledocell.us (I wrote about the service that I worked on a couple of posts ago) and the new feature is the ability to have Twitter tweets that contain links automatically bookmarked on ocell.us (with no need to login to ocell.us).

Below you can read the full press release.

PR Hack Writes The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Featuring an Actual Product or Service

PR Hack writes the most amazing Press Release that includes a Product Ever, according to David Hurth. First he grabs you with the subject and then throws in a great quote about a product.

ocell.us is the best social bookmarking site in the universe”, according to creator and PR Hack David Hurth.

To cement this Press Releases place in history David adds the below quote about an actual product!

“ocell.us is so awesome that it even allows you to bookmark your links from Twitter, so you don’t even have to visit the site!” David continues his quote with the following, “we don’t care about traffic, we just want to store your links for when you need them later, how awesome are we now!”

Not only is this the most amazing Press Release that includes a product ever (History has already recorded that Mitch Delaplane wrote the The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Written, not containing a Product or Service), but it should end now before the world explodes from the awesomeness of this Press Release!

If you you do not agree that this Press Release is “The Most Amazing Press Release Ever Featuring an Actual Product or Service”, then write your own. Otherwise start using ocell.us and you too can be this awesome!

You can read the original post here.

Let me know what you think of the press release and if you think this is the way that press releases should be.

Facebook is NOT Shutting Down

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You may have heard reports that Facebook is going to close down on March 15th. In case you where wondering, Facebook has confirmed that they are not closing down the site. The site that originally reported this is one of those sites that reports things like the President surrenders to aliens from Mars.

The most interesting thing about this is how fast fake news can spread with social media. I guess this is the worst part of social media.

Are Delicious and Digg both Dying?

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A few years ago it would have been hard to believe that both Digg and Delicious (a.k.a. del.icio.us) could ever be on life support. However, that appears to be what may be happening. It looks like both may be dying, but it is happening in much different ways.

In my last post I reported that Yahoo! was killing Delicious. Yahoo! has since released a statement that says that the site will instead be sold off, which still puts it's future in jeopardy. Once someone buys Delicious we will have to see what changes happen to the service. The main mistake that I feel that Yahoo! made with Delicious, is never putting advertising on the site. With a social network advertising is one of the few proven ways to make money. Since Yahoo! is having so many financial problems they are needing to get rid of anything that doesn't make a profit.

With the uncertain future of Delicious, I have exported all of my bookmarks and have imported the to a new service that is looking to take over for Delicious (more about the service later in this post).

With Digg the issue is much different. The problem that they are having is one of many people leaving the site due to the latest version of the site. The latest version is vastly different from how Digg started out. In fact many of the changes are more likely to help SEO and spammer types than those who are engaged in the social network. Because of this many users have started using other social networks and one in particular seems to be making a big splash (more on the service in a little bit).

This pivotal time for the two services has opened the door for a few services that seek to gain users from the networks as their ships may be sinking. Two of these services are Old Dogg, which is an old school Digg like site and ocell.us, which is a Delicious site that is much like the original del.icio.us.

With Old Dogg, many previous Digg users have joined the network and the site is thriving. The site seems to have more of the early Digg feel that made users fall in love with Digg in the first place. I personally like the site and think it has the potential to be the final nail in Diggs coffin.

With ocell.us, you have a simple site that gets to the heart of social bookmarking. The site is very new, but appears to be gaining quite a bit of traction with users looking for a site that promises to be around for a long time. In fact the about page states that the site was started because of the "death" of del.icio.us and guarantees to keep the site running for a very long time.

Below is what the site says about why it was started.

ocell.us is a social bookmarking site started in the wake of the death of del.icio.us. The site allows you to import all of you del.icio.us bookmarks and of course to store new bookmarks. The main reason that the site was started was to give a site that would allow for social bookmarking, without the fear that it would ever be taken down (we have a very low overhead and are able to afford to keep running for a very long time).

So, only time will tell if Digg and Delicious are able to stay alive and on top. Otherwise Old Dogg and ocell.us may do to Digg and Delicious what Facebook did to MySpace.

-Important note: I am creator of the ocell.us site, so my be a bit conflicted in my interest towards the site.

Delicious to be Killed and a Social Bookmarking Alternative

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News has surfaced today that Yahoo will be killing the Delicious social bookmarking service (TechCrunch is confirming this now here) . I personally have used this service and even wrote the del.icio.us Spy application for the service, so it is a big loss to me personally.

Since I personally was looking for a place to keep my bookmarks, I put up a quick service based on Scuttle. I will be working to improve the service over the next few months (it has a few quirks to it right now, but it is just in beta) and make a logo and name for the service as well as an easy to remember domain name.

However, since I figured that others may be looking for a place to store their bookmarks online, I would give out a link to the site so that others can use it as well. If you want to use it just bookmark the site.

In order to get your existing Delicious bookmarks you will have to login to Delicious and then click on "Settings" and then choose to "Export/Backup Your Bookmarks". Once you do this you can import them into my site by clicking on "add bookmarks" (once you register and login to my site) at the top of the page and then choose the "Import bookmarks from bookmark file". From here you just need to browse for the bookmark file and then upload it to the site and it will bring over all of your bookmarks.

You can go to the new service here.

If a lot of people start using the service, I will get an easy to remember domain name and make it look better with a proper logo. In the mean time, I hope that this gives all the other Delicious lovers out there a place to store their bookmarks.

Game of the Week - Command Grid

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Well, it is already Friday and time for the game of the week. This week's game is a real time strategy game call Command Grid. So, enjoy your Friday and play Command Grid.

You can play the game here.

GWT's UI overhaul - Video Tutorial

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This week's tutorial is about the Google's GWT. If you are a Java developer and have never used GWT for your Ajax, then you may want to take a look at GWT for your Ajax needs. This particular tutorial talks about the new UI improvements over the past year.


JSON Beats XML, or Ajaj vs Ajax

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Should the Ajax term be changed to Ajaj? Since Ajax stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, but with more and more the web favoring JSON (especially in rich Ajax applications), should it now be called Ajaj and stand for Asynchronous JavaScript and JSON?

The reason that I bring this up is that James Clark one of the major contributors of XML is now saying that JSON is now the way of, at least, the "Cool" web. The post where James talks about this is called XML vs the Web.

Below is an excerpt from his post.

If other formats start to supplant XML, and they support these goals better than XML, I will be happy rather than worried.

From this perspective, my reaction to JSON is a combination of "Yay" and "Sigh".

It's "Yay", because for important use cases JSON is dramatically better than XML. In particular, JSON shines as a programming language-independent representation of typical programming language data structures. This is an incredibly important use case and it would be hard to overstate how appallingly bad XML is for this. The fundamental problem is the mismatch between programming language data structures and the XML element/attribute data model of elements. This leaves the developer with three choices, all unappetising:

* live with an inconvenient element/attribute representation of the data;
* descend into XML Schema hell in the company of your favourite data binding tool;
* write reams of code to convert the XML into a convenient data structure.

By contrast with JSON, especially with a dynamic programming language, you can get a reasonable in-memory representation just by calling a library function.

Norman argues that XML wasn't designed for this sort of thing. I don't think the history is quite as simple as that. There were many different individuals and organisations involved with XML 1.0, and they didn't all have the same vision for XML. The organisation that was perhaps most influential in terms of getting initial mainstream acceptance of XML was Microsoft, and Microsoft was certainly pushing XML as a representation for exactly this kind of data. Consider SOAP and XML Schema; a lot of the hype about XML and a lot of the specs built on top of XML for many years were focused on using XML for exactly this sort of thing.

You can read the full post here.

While I don't think that XML will ever totally go away (nor should it), I do think that in most Ajax applications that JSON makes more sense to use (with the biggest exception being if you just want to display the data). So go out there and start using Ajaj!

Video Tutorial of the Week - Ajax Progress Bar

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One common issue with Ajax applications is that the browsers progress bar does not show when data is being loaded in the background. The solution to this is to display a progress bar on the page where it makes sense to let the user know what is happening. So, this week's video tutorial will show you how to add a progress bar using ASP.NET(but the principles applies to other languages as well).


Game of the Week - Deadly Neighbours

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This week's game is an interesting twist on a turn based RPG game. The weapons in the game are part of what makes it fun. They range from pillows to an axe. So, have a great Friday and enjoy playing Deadly Neighbours.

You can play the game here.

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