G-Metrics is really cool, and as far as I know it is the only site which uses a Google API Key as a login name!
Once you have created your account, you can view (or access via RSS) daily statistics derived from the execution of various Google queries (e.g. “link:www.syndic8.com“).
Correction (4 Oct 2004): I am informed that the G-Metrics key is not a Google key. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
A few thing that have caught my eye in the past couple of days:
- Creating Applications with Mozilla – Is it just me, or has Mozilla become the platform of choice for cool hacks and utilities?
The Extensions Mirror – “Completing your XPI’rience” – This is the place to find all of those cool hacks and extensions.
It’s Hard to Manage if You Don’t Blog – Blogging is now considered an essential part of the top-level communication strategy at Sun. At first I was thinking that “If you blog too much, you won’t have time to manage.” However, on further reflection, there may be some real truisms here. Perhaps the most important job of Management is to have and communicate their vision for where the organization needs to go. Most of my former employers have limited this communication time to infrequent meetings or carefully crafted, hand-polished emails. If blogging can communicate not just these polished thoughts but a bit of the thinking behind them, employees will be better informed and able to do a better job of implementing the vision.
- Numbered Tabs for Firefox – Haven’t tried this yet; looks very nice.
- Joe Kraus has been telling some fascinating stories in his Bnoopy Blog. Expect some great things from his Jot product. Joe demo’ed it to me at Foo Camp, and it is both functional and cool.
- Forbes is running an excerpt from Guy Kawasaki’s new book, “The Art of The Start.” I’m a long time fan of Guy’s other books; I am sure this one will also be a worthwhile read.
The 1.0 release of Firefox includes a new “Live Bookmarks” feature; that page links back to Syndic8 (many thanks to whoever did this).
The best description of this feature is probably “Great start”. Ben Goodger says:
Firefox’s RSS capabilities are designed to expose as much of RSS to regular people as makes sense for light news reading/dynamic content. The intent is to allow the user to have a Live Bookmark on her toolbar and be fed the newest headlines daily, the latest bargains, the latest posts on some topic, etc. Our goals do not stretch much farther beyond this.
Given the creativity that we’ve seen so far in the Firefox development community, I am sure it won’t be long before this simple RSS support meets and then exceeds these goals. There’s also Sage, for those looking for something a bit more powerful.
I would be happy to provide additional Firefox in Syndic8; if anyone has any ideas, just drop me an email.
Don Park describes how link tags can be used to enable feed auto-discovery. It would also be possible to use the Syndic8 web service interface to look up sites. There is a function which, if given the the URL to a site, will return Syndic8 FeedID (if known) for the site.
Here’s another great little extension (unrelated to RSS). SearchStatus displays meta-information from Google, Alexa, Yahoo, and MSN, in a compact status bar entry. If you try to install this using Firefox 1.0, you will need to tell Firefox that it is OK to download and install code for this site.
The Spread Firefox campaign is taking on all of the energy of a religious campaign. As I’ve said many times, “It takes a long time to be an instant success.” Years of hard work by countless folks are now paying off, and the future is looking bright.
I discovered the AWS-powered Music Plasma browser today. The technical description of this application is “freaking cool.” It is a Flash application which provides a slick 2-D visualization of the relationship between bands:
It is really easy to use. Type in the name of a band and hit Enter. The band is displayed, linked to other bands (apparently using Amazon similarities), for a total of 3 levels (the original band, the bands similar to it, and then the bands similar to those). I cannot figure out the logic behind the size of the circles. At first I thought it was related to the number of albums, but it may in fact be related to the number of connections to other bands.
The result is stylish and compelling.
I don’t know if it is making direct AWS calls as I click, or if it is downloading some pre-fetched data and perhaps some layout information.
I don’t see the obvious similarities between Synergy (a favorite since high school) and Jethro Tull (what is an aqualung, anyway?), but perhaps I am just thick.
The forthcoming version 4 release of AWS is going to enable even more cool applications like this. Stay tuned!
The image search on the A9.com site does not return a match for me in the image search. That’s too bad, given that I own the top 10 text search results for “Jeff Barr” (not that I like, obsessively check it or anything).
To remedy this grave defect, I added an alt tag to my picture, and I also changed the file name from “final1small.jpg” to “jeffbarr.jpg”.
While trying to figure out what Erik Benson was up to, I found a nice little network of ex-Amazon bloggers.
Erik is now part of the Robot Co-op. He is partnered with Daniel Spils (also ex-Amazon and the brother of a current co-worker of mine) and Josh Petersen. I don’t know Josh, but those who do say that he’s a wizard.
I also saw that Alan Taylor, developer of Amazon Light, linked in to the robot guys.
Todd Gehman may be mixed up in this robo thing too.
Greg Linden, also ex-Amazon, runs Findory. I need to talk to him and see if there’s a way for Syndic8 to hook up with what he’s doing.
Something interesting is going on here. Now I just need to figure out what it is.
In an effort to clean up my physical desktop, here are some links to random articles that I’ve just gotten around to reading:
What’s Wrong With: Feed Readers – According to this article, feed readers are supposed to do more than let you read feeds. I don’t know, I like the unadorned, straight-to-the-point directness of a good reader. I do agree that we are letting a bunch of desktop computing power go to waste; an “intelligent” (whatever that means) smart client feed reader could attempt to do a lot of interesting things on the user’s behalf. Whether these things would be helpful or bothesome is another story entirely.
- What I Want From The Next Generation of the Web – Local blogger and venture capitalist Martin Tobias asks if technology has actually increased our personal productivity. Good question, of course. It does seem possible to spend all of your time fiddling with new technology, as opposed to actually using it to be productive. After working on the mini-chopper in the garage for the past month or two, I can see that tool users can easily become tool makers. When I started on Syndic8, I decided to use all of the tools in as-is condition; I consciously decided not to learn how PHP or MySQL worked from the inside. I’ve been more or less successful, with just an occasional dive in to the source code. But I do this out of necessity only. Sometimes the value of new technology isn’t apparent until you stop using it. For example, successive versions of Windows never seem that much better than their predecessors. However, go back a version or two and you will see that the old versions really did lack necessary features, and that they are conspicuous by their absence.
Technorati gets fed VC dollars – Good for them. Next thing you know, someone will want to invest in Syndic8. I’ll be happy to talk to anyone, but since I’m not a “business guy” and I don’t have an MBA, this probably won’t happen. On the other hand, I actually make money with my site, so perhaps I do know something about this after all.
- Lucene made my app embarassingly fast – I have yet to use Lucene, but I want to. First, I will need to get Sam Ruby‘s PHP to Java stuff working (and even Sam says that it does not work). I could take a look at making this work. Way back in 1996 I did a lot of work with the Java Native Interface (JNI), and I even served as a reviewer for the definitive book on the subject (whoa, Amazon is selling it used for $89. Where’s my reviewer’s copy?).
That’s about it for today.
O’Reilly will soon publish a new magazine entitled Make: technology on your time. From what I can see this will be a print magazine, aimed at people who like to do stuff (as opposed to those who like to simply watch).
If you do like to watch, we just got this nice new Sony HDTV; it looks and sounds great. Now we just need some more HDTV-compatible content.
In the unlikely event that I suddenly come in to tens of millions of dollars, I am going to buy a mega yacht. This is a well-traveled path; tech tycoons such as Larry Ellison, Charles Simonyi, and Paul Allen have all been here already.
In the mean time, I content myself with a subscription to the Mega Yacht newsletter.
The funny thing is that I’ve never even been anywhere close to a vehicle like this. What if I buy it and then I don’t like it? I’ll take that chance.
It is good to see that even my Life Insurance Company has an RSS feed of its very own. They used to run some ads showing some unsuspecting person about to get hit by a bus, crushed by a falling piano, or something similar. This person would be telling his companion (who could see the impending accident) “My insurance company? New York Life, of course.”