I am the ghost of groovymother.com. Woooooo!

This is an old page from Rod Begbie's blog.

It only exists in an attempt to prevent linkrot. No new content will be added to this site, and links and images are liable to be broken. Check out begbie.com to find where I'm posting stuff these days.

Filed under 'socialsoftware'

July 18, 2012

Flickr's Engagement Problem

Sadly, this is all true. Flickr isn’t where my friends are any more, so it’s no fun to post/browse.

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April 12, 2012

If Google's Really Proud Of Google+, It Should Share Some Real User Figures

Plea to Google to stop with the horseshit Google Plus “user” numbers. To make it simpler for them to count me accurately, I deleted my Google Plus account.

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October 12, 2011

July 27, 2011

Cost of false positives - Laughing Meme

Lovely post from Kellan explaining why Twitter (and other sites) can’t “just block all the spammers”.

When your best users and your worst users share common outlying behaviour, things get tough.

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April 26, 2011

Are You Following a Bot?

Atlantic article on the Web Ecology Project’s ace Socialbots game, where teams of software bots “played” to influence regular Twitter users.

“There’s a lot of potential for a lot of evil here,” admits Hwang. “But there’s also a lot of potential for a lot of good.”

March 11, 2011


Lovely “Here’s what I’m listening to” social sharing/discovery app for iPhone. Like Instagram, but for what you’re hearing instead of what you’re seeing.

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February 16, 2011

Tim Hwang - Exterminate Exterminate

Tim’s 5-minute talk at last week’s Ignite SF, covering his recently run social-battlebots contest. Must watch!

October 6, 2010


Like this app a lot. Best way to describe it is “Visual Twitter”. Crazy simple to quickly snap and share a photo, and get a stream of what your friends are up to. (Also: fellow Dogpatch Labs residents, and Mike is on the Awesome Foundation SF board.)

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October 5, 2010

xkcd: Online Communities 2

Just glorious. The lifeboats from Digg to Reddit are a nice touch.

June 2, 2010

Be The Mayor

Work out how many more visits you need to make to a venue to have a chance at stealing the Foursquare mayorship. Only 13 days until I have a chance at the Slide office again!

October 30, 2009

DARPA Network Challenge

This is a perfectly fascinating piece of research. In much the same way as the NSA’s key-cracking competitions helped measure that state of the art in distributed computing, DARPA is running a contest that will help measure how social software and the internet can power a (really) wide area treasure hunt.

September 14, 2009

June 22, 2009

Dunkin' Run

Lovely site and associated iPhone app from Dunkin Donuts: Social software to organize your coffee run.

Current status: Craving a “large regular” and a bacon & egg bagel sandwich.

April 14, 2009

Spreading like wildfire: Twitter, Amazon and the social media mob

I saw this unfold on Sunday, fairly sure it was a storm over an Amazon user error. Man, the Twitter crowd sure like their torches and pitchforks.

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March 16, 2009


Truly social search. Sign up and enter some of your topics of expertise. Then IM a question to Aardvark. It will forward it onto appropriate friends and friends-of-friends, and pass on any replies. My first test was completely successful.

I really like they way signing up to ask questions implicitly gets you on the hook for answering, as well as the fact that they link to your Facebook account to quickly garner a social graph. I have some invites if you want to play too.



My first interaction with Aardvark. I figured that sending it out at 1am meant I was unlikely to receive a response, much less a helpful one. I was wrong. Colour me impressed!

January 8, 2009

Burger King Says Sacrifice 10 Facebook Friends For a Whopper

Brilliant piece of viral marketing by BK. People will happily sell out their friends (and plaster BK’s name across their friend feeds) for a $3 hamburger.

September 4, 2008


Just-launched social network site for video-gamers. A month ago, I wouldn’t have paid much attention, but having really gotten into the social side of Xbox Live, I can see the appeal.

August 27, 2008

Social Networks: The Case for a "Pause" Button | 43 Folders

Great post by Merlin, particularly for this description of why I can’t be arsed with the hype about Friendfeed: “On a site like FriendFeed, which has quickly become the platform of choice for the web’s least interesting narcissists — and the slow-witted woodland creatures who enjoy grooming their fur — this is a major breakthrough in the makebelieve friendship space”

June 23, 2008

Facebook Map

Facebook Map

My Facebook friends, mapped out using the Nexus app.

Major constellations are marked -- improvisers sure like their own, huh?

May 3, 2008


Schulze & Webb’s hardware prototype of a socially-networked open-source digital radio. Some excellent ideas for internet-enabled physical objects in the pamphlet.

April 26, 2008

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus

Clay Shirky’s talk from web2expo, which was by far the best of the keynotes. “Desperate Housewives essentially functioned as a kind of cognitive heat sink, dissipating thinking that might otherwise have built up and caused society to overheat.”

March 26, 2008

Abyss & Apex : Wikihistory

“Take it easy on the kid, SilverFox316; everybody kills Hitler on their first trip. I did. It always gets fixed within a few minutes, what’s the harm?”

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January 14, 2008

Jellyvision: The Jack Principles

“The Jack Principles is the first set of comprehensive guidelines for designing, writing and performing for an interactive conversation.” Great reading if you’re developing software for humans.

Happy Birthday, Sheriff George!

Another social software village I’m a member of: Basset hound owners on Flickr. There’s a great community forming of basset owners commenting on each others’ photos, and here, celebrating the birthday of another Flickrer’s dog!

Pistachio: Twitter is my Village

Great post by Laura “@Pistachio” Fitton. Exactly sums up why Twitter is so lovely: “For a contrived, weird and techy way to communicate, Twitter’s “passive conversation” fosters very natural, gradual relationship-building.”

October 9, 2007

Jaiku | Google Q&A

Google have bought the Finnish Twitter-a-like Jaiku. I always liked Jaiku’s S60 cellphone software — wonder if this purchase has anything to do with Google’s cellphone ambitions? (And I hope it does better under Google’s roof than Dodgeball did)

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September 13, 2007

Satisfaction - People-Powered Customer Service

Satisfaction has launched. It’s a great idea — Give customers a place to discuss their experiences, problems and ideas, and give the companies the chance to join in the conversation.

September 3, 2007

User Generated Features

Adam Green: “What I’m seeing on Twitter, however, is true social construction of software features. Users are coming up the ideas, and implementing them through adoption.”

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August 28, 2007

Facebook Follies (or the Dangers of Investing in Someone Else's Platform)

Baratunde Thurston on being shut out from messaging the group he founded on Facebook for the specific purpose of messaging. “I invested a lot into Facebook, but I’ve discovered, painfully, that Facebook doesn’t value me nearly as much as I’d hoped.”

August 20, 2007

BBC Olinda digital radio: Social hardware

Schulze & Webb are working on an open, social digital-radio-plus-wifi prototype for the BBC. Fascinating the way they hope to apply “open source” to hardware design.

August 14, 2007

Two Social System Design Trends That Should Really, Really Stop. Like now.

“Yes, I know you’d love to have access to my address books and IM lists. But stop asking me for my login & password. Like to poke around my bank account while you’re at it? Take my wife out for naked tequila shots? How about just kicking me in the nuts a few times to show me who’s boss?”

August 3, 2007

Ohloh, the open source network

Open-source-software social network, tracking both projects and people.

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July 12, 2007

8apps - For Productive People

New social networking site, aimed at a audience similar to the users of 37 Signals collaboration tools. I have a shitload of invites if anyone wants to play.

June 21, 2007

Geni - Everyone's Related

Really cool social family-tree building software. Allows you to invite your relatives to help build up the tree.

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May 25, 2007

Facebook Developers

The new Facebook API. They’ve done a really good job of letting you integrate — essentially they’re being a platform and then getting out of the way of whatever you want to build.

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May 2, 2007

Wakoopa - Software gone social

Social site tracking what applications you use and how long you use them for. Kind of a Last.FM meets IUseThis.

February 28, 2007

Jaiku | Rod Begbie

I’m taking a look at Jaiku — a Twitter-a-like status-sharer, but with deep integration into Series 60 cellphones. It can tell people when I’m on my cellphone, warn them that I’ve put it on silent mode, or tell them my location based upon the cell tower I’m connected to.

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Welcome to Webkinz

The big craze with some friends’ kids — A kind-of cross between Beanie Babies, The Sims and Second Life. Buy a cheap cuddly toy, register with the site, and bring it to life in a virtual world where you can play with it, buy it treats with pretend-money you have to “earn” and interact with your friends. Think I’ll buy one for Joy.

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February 13, 2007

Everybody Votes

I’m in the middle of flipping between writing two emails and a document, and getting nothing completed, when I get distracted by the shiny blue light on my Wii. A message has arrived! What can it say? I must drop everything immediately and become distracted.

It was heralding the arrival of a new free channel called Everybody Votes. (there are some photos at Kotaku)

It’s kind of cute. You vote (with entertaining Mii graphics) on silly little questions like “Do you prefer cats or dogs?”, then predict how you think the majority will vote. Nosing around it, it looks like you get feedback on how well you predict the populous, as well as how far you verge from normal.

Joy happened to walk by as I was playing, so I got her to join in. It was fun comparing our votes, and if Nintendo were to expand it to allow you to compare with your Wii friends, I could see this becoming wicked popular, especially when you consider all the silly meme polls that flood LiveJournal and the like. People like showing off their opinion (plus comparing scores!)

If nothing else, it acts as an example of out-there thinking from someone at Nintendo. You wouldn’t see this on a PS3!

January 23, 2007


Some friends’ startup. It’s going to evolve into smart “social search”. In the meantime, Bostonfolks: Try training their brain (It’s fun!) and seeing how well it knows you.

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January 18, 2007

sniflabsinc. home

Social networking for dogs, using RFID collar tags to track “friends”.

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December 2, 2006


“Like Flickr, without the photos”. Make lists of words. Pointless and lovely.

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July 14, 2006


New mobile friend-tracking social-network system from some Odeo folks. It reminds me of the way my friends and I used to use our AIM Away and Profile messages to pass on information and injokes.

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July 9, 2006


Social networking for beer drinkers. Find pints you’ll like, and bars from whence to imbibe them.

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June 12, 2006

June 1, 2006

No Shouting on Flickr at Binary Bonsai

Cunning social tweak on Flickr comments — ANY ALL CAPS SENTENCES GET CONVERTED TO LOWERCASE.

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May 30, 2006

Yelp - Rod B.'s Reviews - Somerville

I’m really enjoying playing with Yelp at the moment. They’ve done an excellent job of making the site browsable, and encouraging you to write your own reviews.

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March 17, 2006


Interesting attempt to add more social context (eg. trust, recommendations) to BitTorrent donwnloads.

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March 13, 2006


I missed their session at ETech (Thursday morning was sleepytime for Rod), but this app looks cool. It’s like a fuzzy evite — Contact your friends to say “Let’s do something next week”, then let the software manage when people are available and what they want to do.

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February 7, 2006

coComment - clear conversation in the blogosphere

Interesting solution to the problem of knowing if anyone’s replied to a comment you’ve left on someone else’s blog.

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October 28, 2005

LJNet - LiveJournal Social Network Visualization

This is rather fun — It maps out your friends-of-friends-of-friends network from LiveJournal. It takes a long time to run, but the output is nifty.

October 4, 2005

Ning "Playground"

At the risk of sounding a bit “Less space than a nomad. Lame”, can anyone explain to me what’s so exciting about a service that lets you build hosted not-quite-as-good-as-existing social apps?

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September 14, 2005

Audioscrobbler - The Music Technology Playground from Last.fm

The Last.fm chaps share their music tag data for non-commercial purposes. Can you say woo?

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About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.