I don’t know if you buy into the Web 2.0 meme, but I do. There’s an amazing amount of good stuff to keep up with these days. It’s getting ever easier to create, package, route, re-package, re-route, and consume information. Mashups, those unanticipated combinations of multiple websites, were a good indication that things were getting interesting. Sticking apartment prices on a map is a nice, practical example of a mashup, but on beyond that, things get really weird. My current favorite nominee for unanticipatable Web 2.0 mash-hack was on display over at Jon Udell’s blog at InfoWorld. In this post, Jon is actually talking about the nature of video demonstrations, but his example is a lovely hack by Pascal van Hecke that involves turning del.icio.us into a podcasting tool.
So let’s review what’s being done here: an embedded Revver video is showing you how to combine a Greasemonkey script on Firefox with some special Del.icio.us commands so that you can funnel random MP3s into a unified virtual podcast that your iPod can automatically scoop up and pour into your waiting ears. That’s not a mashup. That’s alchemy.
This stuff is pretty far out there if you’re not hip-deep in kool-aid, but I am and I find this example amazing for the virtuosic cross-pollination of information tools it displays. It looks gratuitous, but it’s actually very useful. Authoring at this level (composing? recombining?) is the skill that will be rewarded in the next decade. You have to start telling yourself: All data is free. All services are free. Now what?