November 3rd, 2008

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You know that concern over vote rigging has hit the mainstream...

... when it's the lead topic on the Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror episode. (Which featured Homer trying to vote for Obama, and getting tallied for McCain instead.)

I confess, I'm not *very* worried about organized high-level vote-rigging, simply because it would require a well-run conspiracy, and those seem to be fairly rare. Doing something on that scale without big leaks is hard, although not impossible. And heaven knows, if you think that the voting-machine manufacturers are in the tank for the Republicans, it is easy to come up with conspiracy theories. But given the attention on this topic, I'd say it's unlikely.

None of which silences the tiny nervousness at the back of my mind. The actual tally had better line up pretty well with the exit polls, or all hell is going to break loose on Wednesday...
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    Queen - Liar (1991 Bonus Remix)
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CommYou Alpha open for LiveJournal users

Okay -- it's time for me to bite the bullet, stop being quite so much of a perfectionist, and invite y'all to come play.

As of today, CommYou is now officially up to its Alpha release. It's by no stretch of the imagination done, but I think it's up to the point where it is getting both useful and stable enough for more than my current half-dozen semi-regular users, and I'd like to get more eyes on it. It no longer requires Facebook -- indeed, the LiveJournal version is considerably more advanced than the Facebook version at the moment, although FB will be brought in line soon.

There's quite a bit of documentation on the CommYou website, which can tell you all the nuts and bolts. This includes a Quick Start Guide, which covers all the high points briefly, as well as a detailed guide that goes through everything in deep detail.

A lot of people have asked me what CommYou *is*, and it's a little tricky to answer, because I'm pulling a bunch of things together. But the high concept is that we're trying to make conversations that are interactive (like IM) *and* persistent (like LJ). That is, you can be part of a conversation in real time via IM, but it's not transient: you can easily catch up on what you've missed and join in later, restarting the conversation. Whereas a blogging system like LJ is mainly about the top post, CommYou is focused on the resulting conversation. It separates things into distinct conversations in distinct communities, unlike most of the micro-blogging platforms (which are generally just a huge stream of messages).

I expect it to be most useful for cases where you are looking for a conversation: trying to get feedback, make plans, or simply chat with your friends in semi-real-time. It's not as strong as LJ for deep detailed thought yet (because it doesn't yet have threading), but it should get there over time, and I believe it's already stronger than LJ for full-community interaction. I'm not especially trying to replace LJ in peoples' hearts; rather, I'm creating a new tool that is probably useful at different times.

So please give it a try -- get into it, start and participate in some conversations, and tell me what you think. Talk about the election as it's happening. Spread the word to those who you think would like it: I'll eventually have to lock it down to invitation-only, but I'm not bothering with that until we seem to be straining the system. Tell me what you think, and let's talk about how we can make it really hum.

(And my apologies in advance if something goes wrong: this should be a bit of a learning experience for me...)
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    Ricky Martin - Dame Mas (Loaded) (Spanish Version)
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