Thanks to Tim for the neologism. Once you start looking, there are lots of possibilities for systems which make information amenable to a passing glance: everywhere can be mediated, if you have the right tools. Most work on ubiquitous and intimite comptuing has focussed on new technology to deliver pervasive networking and sensor-rich environments. I’m more interested in what we can do here and now, with a bit of thought, using cheapish, commoditised componemts and the occasional bit of hacking. Of which, Tim’s Homeland Security Alert Status glanceware desktop is a fine example. What could be more important than being able to determine the current likelihood of having a dirty nuke parked just around the corner, without having to waste precious seconds mousing though to a government website for confirmation. Glanceware gives you more time to run.
On a more practical level, I’ve been using the fine web-scraping service at myRSS to build glanceware for market intelligence. RSS is fine, but the majority of corporate news sites (at least here in the UK) haven’t woken up to it yet, and are unlikely to for some time. To solve the problem without having to write my own web-scraping system, I’m using myRSS, which enables anyone create, for free, publically available RSS feeds from ‘any website’. Well, from any which uses HTML in a predictable manner, anyway. For a fee, you can increase the frequency of update from daily to hourly, or get a hand-customised filter built for any of your sites. Fee-paying users also get credited as ‘sponsors’ of the channels they create. Assuming myRSS catches on, early adopters will do well out of the visibility of their sponsorship. Ku24 is sponsoring hourly RSS feeds from the most important UK media news sites (currently including mad.co.uk, Brand Republic and BroadcastNews). I’m recouping the money by offering newsfeeds plus a newsticker (powered by wticker) as a Ku24 product. The feeds I’m sponsoring are available to anyone, but I can afford to cover the cost from the value-added ticker product, which feels like a reasonable way to make money from open-sourced information and technology.