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Archive for February, 2009

RSS

2371165319_4c29d22227Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication is what RSS means. This is a “format for syndicating news and the content of news”. If you look for some information with the RSS format, it is likely that the information you get is more or less what you wanted, and you get it quickly and updated as well.

Its structure is made up of  items, and each item has a title, a summary of  a text and a link to the original source in the web where the whole text is located. The RSS files have a summary of what has been published in the original website, but there are not only news, but also changes on a website can be shown, or “the revision history of a book”.

You can obtain and offer information with the RSS, since those files contain meta data about the information sources; but to share information, some software and an aggregator are needed. The programs that can read the RSS sources are the feeds, and the aggregator can be installed in the user’s computer, although some searchers have it included in their programs, and another way is to register in the web site of the aggregator.

So if you like a site and you know that you’ll visit it quite often, you should register to a feed, for you are informed when the site is brought up to date, when new information has been included etc. And if you are the one who wants to offer information, you have to create your own feed and update it quite often to make it interesting for the rest of the users.

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The Hypertext

2785981767_29d4dbbde6When we talk about Hypertext, we are referring to a text that leads you to another text usually through hyperlinks. This term was created by Ted Nelson, and he defined it as “a body of written or pictorial material interconnected in such a complex way that it could not conveniently be presented or represented on paper”.

In the days when this term was innovative, it referred to a form of electronic text; it was a new way of getting the information and publishing it. The texts consist of blocks, they are divided in blocks and these blocks are joined with links. Hypertext is like a puzzle: it has pieces, and if they are all joined, you get the whole piece.

One of the main objectives of the hypertext is to organize big amounts of information. If a hypertext if good, you might find several links on the text; if it has less than three links, we could consider it simply sequential text. Another important thing, although it might sound obvious, is to put the links correctly and make sure that the links go to documents that you have under your control, since you may not find a document if you have put a link to another person’s text and he or she has deleted it.

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The Markup Language HTML

156713983_c264885895Hyper Text Markup Language; this is what HTML means, and it’s a system usually used in the WWW which refers to both documents and the Markup Language they are written in, a system of tags.

The tags typed on the texts, which act like codes, enable the browsers find the texts that have previously been saved with the tags as HTML files. What the browsers do is read the coded file and “translate it into a visible form”. So, the markup language focuses in the structure of the text more than in the visual details and appearance.

We can difference some types of markup used in HTML, such as the structural, which “describes the purpose of the text”, and the presentational, which “describes the appearance of the text”. An example of the first would be when you write the tittle of a text, and the second would be when you write some words in italics.

If you want to see the structure and appearance of a HTML document, the writing pad of Windows shows it perfectly. Every well-written text in HTML has elements (these elements have content and attributes), and there must be some restrictions so that the documents are considered valid.

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Hypermedia

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The hypermedia is an extension of the hypertext. The latter is a text which has links to other texts, whereas the first one contains links to multimedia objects such as sound, video or even hyperlinks. As Joaquín Márquez Correa says in one article that “the hypermedia forces the relation between the man and the computer; the relation between author, message and reader”.

The hypermedia enables the users of the internet to interact in the communication process, and the information is organized following the ideas of most of the people, by association; some ideas are linked and connected to another related ideas, so when you are searching, you “jump” from one body to another.

Nowadays we can find hypermedia in our cell phones, and “media is our new personal space”. We kind of depend of its services, and they have been personalized because of our needs.

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3196905391_2cb921bc542The era of the Internet and the Web started with the Web 1.0, where you could only get the information that others left, for you couldn’t leave comments, answers… but people started writing as well, so that web format had to change.

The “dot com” collapsed, and for O’ Reilly VP and Dale Dougherty (web pioneer) was completely logical the coming of the Web 2.0 as a “call to action” for that change; so the web changed from being a web of documents to be a web of data, where you could exchange information with others. There was a database now, and it could be modified by the users. We can say that there was interaction there.

Now we have the Web 3.0, but there isn’t neither a clear definition for it nor an idea of what it will contribute exactly. Some people  call it the “Semantic Web” and say that the searches are more intelligent and preciser, but these are only speculations.

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Kevin Kelly, Editor-At-Large for “Wired” magazine, makes a brief introduction in his speech about the Web by saying that ten years ago we wouldn’t even imagine that we would be able to do all the things we do nowadays on the internet. And he wonders what will happen in ten years time with this big “machine”, which is how he calls the web.

He says that every single thing will end up being part of the machine, and compares it with one human brain, although by the year 2040 it will have reached the 6 billion Human Brains (HB) as a consequence of its huge development.

The internet entails links, and this means that there is data connected; so if we provide information about us and participate on the web, we’ll end up being part of it. In some year’s time we’ll be able to look up in the web anything about us. But only the ones who participate in this exchanging of data on the web?

References:

  • Kevin Kelly (editor). (2008, February 28). In Kevin Kelly KK*. Retrieved 21:45, February 4, 2009, from http://www.kk.org/

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