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Small Technologies, Loosely Joined

There is a trend developing on the web to decentralize, minimize, and otherwise break content into small pieces, and then to join it together again in different and unique ways.  It's a new way of looking at, and combining content, that can lead to some interesting, if not outright exciting, insights. 

The cover story of the March, 2007, 
Wired Magazine featured this concept in a major story (although it mostly focused on entertainment) titled Snack Attack!   Also, a non-profit organization of higher education technology professionals, (which, in the interest of full disclosure, I happen to co-chair), did a webcast on this concept on April 25, titled "Small Technologies Loosely Joined."  You can  listen to the webcast (this is actually a link to the Duke University iTunesU site. Attention PC users! Since it will only work in iTunes, you must have it installed on your computer.)

The concept behind Small Technologies, Loosely Joined is relatively simple. It answers the question, "Why write an application with lots of coding, debugging, data, development, and testing invovled when I can just combine two sets of data on the web in an interesting new way?"  If you've heard of Google Mashups then you have some idea of what this is all about.  With the growing set of standards on web design, development, data structures, and tools, it is becoming increasingly possible to do much more truly dynamic and interactive web sites -- web sites that provide all the features and functionality of Web 2.0 applications like social networking, mashups, blogging, and podcasts. 

A clever example of how all these technologies come together is the TellMeWhere site.  At this web site, which is  all about France but could easily apply to any location, one can use a Google Map mashup to locate almost anything in France (a grocery store or lodging or a restaurant or anything!) and then add comments or a picture about the location.  In effect this is a mashup of a mashup.  It's stretching technologies and human interactions in new ways....
 Updated Monday, June 4, 2007 at 2:18:56 PM by Willie Pritchard -
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