Flock2.0 – A powerful social web browser

Flock logo
Thanks to Henry, I got (re-)acquainted with Flock, the social web browser. I installed it yesterday, and played around with it a bit. Here are some thoughts.

People browser
I linked the “Friend feeds” from my social networks to it (Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace), so now I get automatic updates of all my friends updates’. I am missing LinkedIn, but also the more local networks, such as Netlog or Hyves, and there does not seem to be a way to add people feeds from non-supported services (yet).


Media browser
Next, I added the my Flickr, Picasa and YouTube accounts, and all the media feeds from these sources are centralised in a media bar at the top (or bottom) of the browser. This means any channels you subscribe to, or new additions from your friends. And you can view media either by opening the media bar, or as a widget on your startup screen.

Feed reader
Next, I exported all my Netvibes feeds to an OPML file, and imported it into Flock. Of course, this is an offline feedreader – as opposed to Netvibes – but it is nice to have all these functions combined in one tool. Moreover, it allows me to read all new feeds in one single page (a feature that Netvibes does not support yet).

Blog editor
A very neat feature is the platform-independent blog editor (which I am using while writing this post). Flock allows you to add your weblog accounts, and then provides a simple editor for writing a post. When you are finished writing a post, you can choose which blog to post it to. However, when I tried to actually publish the post, nothing happened.

A bonus is that it automatically uploads any illustrations or images to your online photo account (in my case on Flickr).

All in all, a very positive experience, if some of the minor flaws are fixed.


Web 2.0 Seminar at AVNet

Today, I’ll attempt live blogging from an internal information seminar on Web 2.0 in Higher Education, organised by AVNet. The replay of the -Dutch language – seminar can be found here.

  • The first speaker is Tom Wambeke, lecturer at OHO, Open Higher Education of the Polytechnic KATHO. Tom starts by showing the Web 2.0 tools that he has used in the previous week, then attempts a definition, and classification.
    • Examples:
    • Tom’s slides are available at http://www.slideshare.net/
      • Web 1.0: 45 million global users of 250000 sites – passive consumption of published content
      • Web 2.0: Published content & user-generated content – 1 billion users of 80.000.000 sites
    • Varied arsenal of tools
      • Weblogs (www.edublogs.be), wiki’s (George Siemens’ wiki of his keynote speech at Online Educa Berlin 2006), fora, social bookmarking (Furl, del.icio.us), podcast/vodcast (Stanford, K.U.Leuven), virtual worlds (Second Life), instant messaging (MSN, Skype), social network services (LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube)
    • Definition
      • The Wikipedia definition is not adequate in Tom’s view. Tom lists a number of basic characteristics, and feels that no adequate definition is available.
      • It’s not about new media, but more about an attitude towards those media: Interaction, Networking, Feedback and Communication.
      • The technology becomes more and more transparent: KISS (Keep it Simple and Stupid).
  • Unfortunately, my battery power is running out, so my life blogging needs to end here… The rest will be ‘after-the-fact’.
  • Brief summary of Maarten Cannaerts’ talk:
    • Maarten described 4 examples of how Web 2.0 applications were used in real-life cases: – slides available online
      • Information competencies in the 21st century
      • The ELISE Online course on didactic aspects of e-Learning
      • Virtual internationalisation in the GO! project
      • Teaching & research communities through group blogging: http://www.edublogs.be
  • Finally, Bieke Schreurs tried to summarise some of the good practices & lessons learned and related them to the Virtual Learning Environment within the Associatie K.U.Leuven.

It was a difficult exercise in trying to balance ‘much information’ with ‘focussed and relevant information’. The participant evaluations will need to show how successful we were.