These days we're dripping with information. Because of the Internet we're knee deep in the stuff. Some of it's good, a lot of it's shite, but we've got access to it nonetheless.
The emergence of search engines and latterly some 'web 2.0' applications like del.icio.us, digg, google image labeller & flickr help us organise and categorise it. However, the balance between information generators and information consumers is shifting rapidly.
Now there's a torrent of new content being added to the web by ordinary people as we blog, post video, tag images, leave messages & link web sites collaboratively. So much in fact, that in my view, current technologies cannot possibly index, categorise and make the data available in a usable form. Which is why notion of the semantic web intrigues me. Particularly as it purports to give meaning to web content and, as you know, I'm all for meaning in our lives :-).
Yesterday I promised to tell you about the banal thoughts that yesterday's morning of aimless, floppy surfing provoked;
I've always liked 'alternative' music. Before the Internet the best way to keep up with 'good' new music was John Peel (what a tragedy it was that he died). I also lacked a cooler big brother to nick LP's off, so John was my primary pointer to new good music. The problem was that a lot of the stuff he played I couldn't get hold of (or afford) in our local music shops. There was plenty of Aha or Bon Jovi (the evil hellmiesters of Toss Rock) if that was your bag, but not much alternative stuff.
Which is why I love last.fm; another 'web 2.0' application. It indexes every track you play and displays them for you on your personal page. This is a nice gimmick really, but the way that it links you up with other people with similar tastes and then allows you to surf their listening habits makes your exposure to new and interesting music explode exponentially.
I've discovered so much new music through last.fm. Including a band called The Books. Currently they're my third most frequently listened to group. I don't know a lot about them so I clicked on the band wiki page on last.fm. According to it "the band mixes aleatoric, electronica, and acoustic music...".
I had no idea what aleatoric meant, so a quick Google seach took me to a wikipedia page on aleatoric music. So, aleatoric music " is music in which some element of the composition is left to chance". Interesting. As was the list of external links at the bottom of the article.
I clicked on this link: A Visual Interpretation of Indeterminacy: Found Photos Paired with One-minute Short Stories. It took me back to blogspot! It is a fascinating blog where the 'author' posts random photos and people contribute by writing a stories about each of them. I wasted a good half hour reading them. I'll definitely be submitting a story in the future.
What a wonderful waste of time eh? I'd found out stuff about a great band, learnt a new word, understood a new concept and made a connection with a group of really interesting people. Not bad eh.
The fact that in 20-30 minutes I'd been able to access and begin to absorb this amount of information is awesome. I'm convinced that we're living in the most exiting time for Humankind. We're at the start of something big, really big. Predictably my spirits were raised no end :-).