13 March 2013

A New Website For A New Age: GaiaPassage.com

GaiaPassage.com is subtitled "Marcus L Endicott's favorite tips for green travel around the world".  I'm calling it a deep green, eco-centric travel guide to the whole Earth.  My Gaia Passage project will be a handwritten ecotourism guide to the entire world, based on the circa 250x ccTLD.  The general idea is to write a "white paper" for every country in the world, on environmental and cultural conditions, issues, and who is doing what about them, as well as examining both how they affect tourism and how tourism affects those issues. Anyone could write a lot about something, but the idea here is to provide "snapshots", or "bite sized" summaries, of only the best information and contacts.  The name "Gaia Passage" originally came from my pre-Internet (mid-1980s) travel tips newsletter. The site is a work in progress; so far, I've completed the entire Western Hemisphere:
GaiaPassage.com is handwritten, but based on automated research and automated outline. Primary research is based on data mining 20 years of Green Travel archives. Secondary research is based on multiple years of Meta Guide Twitter bots archives. Significance is based on primary sources in the form of root website domains, and/or secondary sources in the form of Wikipedia entries. In other words, if there is not a root website domain name or a Wikipedia entry then it is unlikely to be included. (However, almost anything may be included in Wikipedia - if properly referenced.) 

I have noticed that many websites of smaller concerns are going down, offline, apparently due to the economic downturn. However, social media such as Twitter and Facebook do present affordable alternatives to owning a root domain website, and I will take these into consideration when appropriate. (In other words, when something is really cool.)  I have also noticed a lot of people using Weebly to make free websites. (Note, GaiaPassage.com currently uses the free Google Sites platform.)

In the early evolution of a website, especially large projects, it's important to first have the "containers" in place as "placeholders", which is no small task in itself. With circa 250x countries and territorial entities, that's a whole year's fulltime work for one man, revising one country per working day. This would mean initial completion by December 2013. Eventually, GaiaPassage.com entries may morph into socialbots, or conversational assistants, containing not only all the knowledge about sustainable tourism gleaned from past Green Travel archives, but also current knowledge resulting from the Meta Guide Twitter bots.

In my previous blog, 250 Conversational Twitter Bots for Travel & Tourism, I detailed my 250x Meta Guide Twitter bots, one for every country and territory in the Internet ccTLD.  Basically, I've spent the past five years working on artificial intelligence and conversational agents - and tweeting about it all the while (links below).  I had been using Twitter extensively as a framework; however, Twitter has become increasingly protectionistic, most dramatically illustrated by the high profile 2012 Twitter-LinkedIn divorce. The Twitter API has become a moving target, which is just too costly for me to keep playing catch up.  In short, I find the "Facebook complex" of Twitter management immensely annoying, and concluded to stop contributing original content; so, my New Year's resolution was to stop tweeting manually at least for all of 2013.  Further, my excellent dialog system API, VerbotsOnline.com, went out of business in 2012.  Any other good dialog system API I found to replace it turned out to be much too expensive.  As a result, all my conversational agents are shut down, at least for 2013.  My hope is that the sector will shake out and/or advance during the year, and better or at least more affordable conversational tools will become available next year.

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