'10 X 10' presents 'the news at a glance'
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
The web offers an impressive variety of methods for keeping up with world events, from this publication and others of its genre, to continually updating news pages like those at Yahoo! and Feed.com, to the longer term "trend spotting" informationposted by Google's Zeitgeist. Last week saw the addition of a new and entirely different approach to following news and tracking trends - an approach that uses tiny images to give us the big picture, and solitary words to tell a comprehensive story. 10 X 10 is as close as you can get to the concept of "the news at a glance."Skip to next paragraph
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Developed by Jonathan Harris (the same man who brought us the recently reviewed WordCount), and launched on November the 4th, 10 X 10 is a fascinating combination of art, science, culture, and current affairs - as intriguing for the way that it creates its content as for the content itself.
The function of the site is to place the world's top 100 news stories of the past 60 minutes onto a single web page, represented by a 10 across, 10 down grid of thumbnail images. To do this, an automated process scans the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) international news feeds of Reuters, the BBC, and the New York Times, and then, "performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories." The top 100 words along with their corresponding images and stories are then gathered (without input from editors or webmasters, or human intervention of any kind), and posted to the site.
The result, while it may not be as immediately digestible as BBC or Yahoo!'s news pages, beats both in terms of providing a snapshot of one hour in world history. And though the images are the site's most obvious attraction, 10 X 10 offers a great deal more than pretty (and not so pretty) pictures.
To access 10 X 10, the visitor simply clicks on the "This is Now" link on the website's splash page, which reveals a screen capture of the current grid and a link to the 'live' version of the Flash application. The active grid displays images from the hour's top stories, arranged by rank in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom sequence, while to the right, a key word is posted for each of the images. (The words also appear in sequential order, and in a manner that will be familiar to those who have visited WordCount-enlarge on mouseover for easier reading.) The two navigational methods are linked to each other as well - so scanning the words will highlight the corresponding images, and scanning the images will enlarge the corresponding words.
Click on an image or word, and 10 X 10 draws a pop-in window with a larger thumbnail and links to any stories related to the word. (Word #4 as I write this, "Talks," offers links to stories about Darfur, North Korea, Iranian Nuclear Negotiations, Thailand, and Gaza.) Click on the larger image and it expands -in a heavily pixellated form - to cover the grid. Click on one of the stories, and the original Reuters, BBC, or NEW YORK TIMES page will open into a new window.