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English-language version of Luistxo Fernandez's blog

Personal geography and Tagzania

Luistxo Fernandez 2007/04/16 12:31

I think rumours about the death of sites like Tagzania, the geo-mashups, have been greatly exaggerated. That's the tone of several posts commenting on the irruption of My Maps in Google, but I see G My Maps as a positive move towards a wider adoption of the concept of “personal geography”, which I think is an idea not very much extended among mainstream Internet users, and I see opportunities there for Tagzania, one of those social mapping apps.

It’s also interesting to see Google catching up with concepts that we had clear when we launched in 2005: create your maps, adopt GeoRSS… Obviously, we have to push further, being ahead of Google is like an interesting challenge.

On the business level, others will feel more pressure. Ours is a side project for a small company, sustainable so far, and feeling no pressure from investors or the bubble-burst-buzz around. Our focus is strengthen the features of Tagzania to better please users, and don’t care much about Techcrunch gossip or how others may be sweating. As for the big actors, Google, Yahoo: We at Tagzania see their adoption of standards as a positive move, and the availability of APIs and web resources that precisely those giants are pushing, that’s only good news for us. Then they add direct services that start-ups have imagined first, but, of course, we know that’s going to happen some day, with this, that and many other things. But there’s room for niches and tailored community websites or services, no doubt about this.

The multilingual twitter

Luistxo Fernandez 2007/04/04 22:10
You can blog multilingually, following the ten commandments that I once decreed, or more informally, if you wish. But can you twitter multilingually? One obvious answer is yes, post whatever you want in 140 characters... But can you create a conversation with that and an heterogenous group of readers? A multilingual blogger can maintain coherent conversations, each post generating threads in that language in particular, as it happens with this Cemetery. But, that's not possible in Twitter... A Basque fellow twitter proposes a nanoformat for language in Twitter, lang:eu or lang:en. Not convinced with that either, although I think the nanoformat proposal is promising, including the clever usage of Yahoo Pipes shown there.

However, I like Twitter. Now I go out 10 days for holidays, no web surfing surely, but i'll post in the Internet with SMS these days. It will be there, in Twitter. You may follow me, but cannot promise you'll understand me.

Catalan geodata freed

Luistxo Fernandez 2007/04/03 17:58
Some days ago I posted about Basque geo data getting free to the web. Now it's the turn for Catalan geodata. Thanks to Marc Belzunces, in KML and spreadsheet formats, and distributed with a nice free license. Well done!

It's a set of over 1800 municipalities in the territories where Catalan is spoken.

The bombings of Durango and Gernika

Luistxo Fernandez 2007/04/02 11:02
This weekend was the 70th aniversary of the bombardment of Durango, March 31st, 1937. By some accounts, it was the first time in Europe when the aerial bombardment of civilian urban areas was carried. It was Italian bombers which carried the attack, under the command of Spanish generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola.

Some 300 people died in Durango that morning. My father survived, without injuries, surrounded by debris, in the middle of Ezkurdi square, right here. Then a teenager, now he's 85 years old, and he's quite well at his age, he remains an avid reader of history books. Memory and history have retained the name of Guernica (Gernika), the city destroyed by a similar bombing some weeks later (april 26th), although the number of mortal victims was probable lower in Gernika than in Durango. However, not just italians, but Nazi germans of the Condor Legion of the Luftwaffe took part on that attack, and the physical destruction of the city was bigger.

Germany has apologized for Gernika. I haven't heard a word from the army of Mola and Franco, the Spanish army.
Ten years ago, I was a journalist for Basque newspaper Euskaldunon Egunkaria, and I wrote (together with Basque historian Josu Chueca) a report about Durango, using, among others, the direct account of my father (I showed little modesty, you see). That series of reports about the Spanish Civil War in the Basque Country was converted into a book by Egunkaria. Then, in 2004, Spanish judges closed Egunkaria: the material written content of that newspaper, including my half-book, remain hijacked by the judge. No, that's not Turkey, it's the European Union, basque newspapers are closed under unproved accusations of terrorism, it's former directors were tortured... Three years later, not a single evidence of links to terrorism have surfaced anywhere.
The perpetrators of Durango's and Gernika's bombings still have streets named after them in Spain.

Great and well documented Flash reconstruction here: the criminal Bizkaia campaign carried by fascist forces in the spring of 1937, one of the darkest moments of the Spanish Civil war.

Luistxo works in CodeSyntax, tweets as @Luistxo and tries to manage the automated newssite Niagarank. This Cemetery is part of a distributed multilingual blog (?!). These are the Basque and Spanish versions:

Ingelesen hilerria

El cementerio de los ingleses


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