After a bit of editing, these posts made it to this week's most interesting (July 21-27 2008):
- Knol, Google's Wikipedia killer, opened to the public this week. Anyone can write a Knol — "A unit of knowledge", about (almost) any subject. Multiple Knols can exist on a given subject, and it's up to the author to decide whether the Knol can be directly edited by other users, is moderated by the creator, or is closed.
Interesting commentary from the blogosphere suggests that Knols are ranked high in Google searches, despite being just a day old. Also, duplicate content in Knols is ranked higher than original content on the web, which seems quite a bit disturbing. This suggests that web publishers should consider cross publishing their content to Knols, as a way to claim the ownership of their work. Also noteworthy is that links are "nofollow" in Knols (like in Wikipedia), so that no "link juice" is flowing out of a Knol. This is understandable, otherwise Knols would have been a heaven for link spammers.
From an international perspective, it's a bit disappointing that only US citizens can have their name verified, though that may not be that important.
- The Open Web Foundation, yet another open web standards organization, was announced this week, possibly most for the benefit of the founders. As Dare Obasanjo points out, there is already an old and well established organization for internet standards, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Possibly if you make the distinction between the Web (linked pages) and the Internet (infrastructure), the new organization could serve the purpose of handling pure web related issues.
- There seems to be a backdoor to the encrypted communications in Skype, allowing authorities to intercept phone calls of suspects. A not too far-fetched guess is that the Swedish authorities have the key to this backdoor, in view of the infamous "FRA law", which allows the Swedish authority FRA to intercept all internet traffic passing the Swedish border, which about all Swedish traffic does, even if the start and end destinations are within Sweden. Using a secure protocol for web mail might be a good idea.
- A story of a developer's journey (Mike Gunderloy of OStatic) from full-time Microsoft contractor to "100% Microsoft-free".
- A new freely available collection of astonishing space images from NASA.
- PlayCrafter, is a new site where you can build your own Flash games using drag-and-drop, reviewed by Marshall Kirkpatrick. The quality of the games are surprisingly high, and it is easy to get stuck playing. The games are embeddable on other sites, and there is an ad-based revenue sharing system for creators. Comparing this to my previous posts about Popfly Game Creator and Scratch, with PlayCrafter it seems to be a lot more easy to create compelling games, though you will not have the benefit of learning actual programming.