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Page history last edited by tara hunt 15 years, 11 months ago

Building Blocks


Keeping in mind the DefinitionOfBuildingBlocks, in particular #3, usable by non-experts, here is a brief but growing list.


Original List

  • Blogger
      Simplified, independent publishing in general. In August 1999 Blogger launched and enabled people to easily publish on their own independent sites and since inspired many more: Movable Type, WordPress, etc. Freedom of the press brought to the people, with world-wide distribution online.
  • Creative Commons
      Re-use, re-purpose, and remix. The initial set of Creative Commons licenses was published on December 16, 2002. CC licenses make it easier for independents to create reusable content building blocks. You can re-use without having to communicate which is another level of independence.
  • Wikis Independent iteration. Asynchronous collaborative authoring. Wikis enable independents to contribute and collaborate, typicaly without having to sync-up or coordinate with others. Independence of time, and a way for otherwise independent folks to more easily collaborate to build something much larger/better together than any of them could have purely on their own. Reduced the barrier to entry so that anyone could make small improvements, and one such result is Wikipedia. See PBWiki or SocialText to start your own free wiki.
  • Freenode
      IRC: Independent realtime discussion channels. While various corporate instant messaging services offer group chat services, NONE of their user interfaces compare in terms of speed, efficiency, and real-time "feel" as IRC. Sure, you can't tell when people are typing, but that's about it. Freenode's irc.freenode.net has emerged as a defacto IRC network for folks looking to chat independently at conferences (AKA the backchannel), or looking to organize and plan something new.
  • Tags
      Classification: Tags lowered the barrier for anyone to add keywords and organize anything. Delicious, Flickr, and Technorati aggregate tags and enabled independents to classify collaboratively without any extra effort.
  • Microformats
      Enable millions of web authors, not just programmers, to share structured chunks of information about people, events, reviews, classified listings, etc. This is also about the freedom to easily share chunks of data. Sharing requires interoperability = another word for standards. Thus microformats. We have to make it easy for *content* people - see microformats principles. Other format efforts focus on the programmer. But EVERYBODY is a content person, and these days most are HypertextLiterate as well. Only a few are programmers. Microformats focus on the publisher. Think like a content person. Make it easy for publishing and presenting. And relatively easy / possible for coding. For more, see Microformats: Evolving The Web.
  • SuperHappyDevHouse
      2005 SuperHappyDevHouse (SHDH) by Jeff (progrium) and Andy Smith, hosted by David Weekly. All night hack fests, think LAN Party but with creating brilliances of code and art in the company of other highly enthusiastic peers, fueled by Krispy Kreme, pizza, sodas, Red Bull, and other energy drinks. SHDH welcomes all manner of creative and tinkering types, like designers, videographers, etc., not just developers.
  • FooCamp
      In 2003 Tim O'Reilly implemented a greatly simplified participant driven tech conference with FOO Camp. The conference grid started empty, then filled up, then changed over time. I was fortunate enough to be there for the 2004 FooCamp and was at the right time and place to invent hCard and hCalendar, and have Ray Ozzie encourage me to go for it. 1.5 years later he's demonstrated web clipboard built on it at 2006 ETech Conference.
  • BarCamp
      A BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment, inspired by FooCamp. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants. For more background see: Tantek's BarCampOrigins for a personal recount of how BarCamp was conceived. Anyone can both participate in and organize a BarCamp. BarCamps have been organized by numerous independents world wide. Some differences between FooCamp and BarCamp may make BarCamp much more of a Building Block for Independents since it has a lower barrier to entry than and thus provides a greater opportunity to more people than FooCamp.

Created or added after SXSW 2006

  • nerdcurious
      nerdcurious is a series of small informal participant-organized gatherings that was founded to help bridge the worlds of those who are curious about new technologies, terminologies, etc. but are not techies themselves, and those familiar with such things who wish to enable and empower more people via increased techliteracy and help them become more active participants in our rapidly evolving modern technoculture. nerdcurious events are shorter, smaller, and focussed on a single introductory hands-on topic in order to be more accessible and easier to organize than BarCamps which are in contrast intended for larger crowds and often present an expectation of a more intermediate or advanced familiarity with modern technologies. See WhatIsNerdcurious for more details.
  • Coworking
      Coworking is a low-cost, community-run working space that is somewhere between a coffee shop and an office, where independants can go and share ideas, get things done and collaborate with other indepdendents to create ad hoc project teams and accomplish big tasks, only thought to be able to be accomplished by large organizations. Currently, there are 4 coworking spaces in San Francisco, one in Manhattan, one in Paris and several others popping up around the world.
  • Pinko Marketing
      Evolving, community-respectful marketing for independents. Essential tools and techniques for anyone wanting to market their work/products/services in a way that involves the community, empowers the community and is empowered by the community.
  • Librivox
      Free audio books online - a community-based, open content project where anyone can contribute their reading (and translations) of books online...excellent resource for small business entrepreneurs.


Emerging Building Blocks

This list of building blocks documents those that are usable now, not just ideas for building blocks. However, such ideas are often the first step towards the creation of actual building blocks, and as such, you may review and add to them on the BuildingBlockIdeas page.


Building Blocks for Experts

This wiki explicitly focuses on building blocks for a broad set of independents (hence: usable by non-experts). However it may be useful to also document those building blocks that require expertise (like being a developer) as well, but on a separate page, so as to not dilute the value of these more universally usable building blocks. See BuildingBlocksForExperts for more.


Commercial Building Blocks

BuildingBlocks tend to be free and open and independent of any one commercial entity, business etc. However, commercial building blocks can still empower independents, and thus we have created a page for listing commercial services that can be considered building blocks for independents: CommercialBuildingBlocks.



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