Tuesday, January 3, 2006

It’s only the second post and I’ve already upset my New Year’s Resolution to make this a truly daily journal. Ack.

I’m still two days behind on my “daily blog.” So I’m writing this on December 5th. So it goes.

Anyway, on Wednesday I had another meeting with the composer Jack Gottlieb at 4pm, so I got a bite to eat and took the C train up to 81st and Central Park West — at the Theodore Roosevelt Park and the Natural History Museum. Lovely area. And with a few small exceptions, we got a bunch of Jack’s audio clips put online and finalized the site. (I put on the last few touches today — Friday — right after I woke up, as well.) So that’s that, then. Good.

I also launched the pre-alpha-total-mess version of a new web project called Skillbot I’ve been working on for the past few weeks. To explain, we need to roll back to November 9th, the day my Applications class group (Charles Pratt, Rocio Barcia, Adam Asarnow, and myself) launched, a silly little site that allowed first year ITPers to tag one another. No real use beyond that. An experiment.

Anyway, we got a huge response to (3,434 tags put into the site in just 60 hours) and the presentation on November 15th got a great response, so I decided to try to take that energy and develop something useful around the core people-tagging idea. Zach Layton suggested a skill-tagging tool and I stewed over that for a few weeks. Then I heard that the Dodgeball guys —Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert — had once tried to develop such a thing while students here and Tikva Morowati arranged a big group gathering to discuss social software and, well, I felt I had to go ahead and make the move if I wanted to try to make my own skill-tagging tool. So I did. So, Skillbot. (I won’t link to it because it only works if you’re an ITP student. Sorry.)

Skillbot works on about three different levels right now (something which may need slimming down). One can tag oneself and others with skills that you have or want to learn about. One can tag others with freeform tags. And one can add to a list of projects currently being worked on. And then one can sift through the pile of information in different (hopefully) useful ways. That’s the angle, to kind of look inside ITP and see what’s going on in students’ minds.

A good idea? I don’t know. Workable? I don’t know. Time-consuming? Yes.

And, just to note, did get into the ITP Winter Show — the first time ever for an Applications class project, according to ITP prof Tom Igoe. I don’t know if that’s a huge accolade, but it’s an interesting bit of trivia. If you’re into collecting interesting ITP-related trivia.