2005.03.30

Yahoo! 360 Launch, with Overview and Thoughts

Yahoo! 360 launched and began its invitation-only beta period today. Yahoo! 360 is a new product that allows you to easily share stuff with the circles of people in your life. It's a social site, letting your connect with family, friends, friends-of-friends, and new people with whom you share interests.

Eric has a nice post up called Why 360 is not a Blog, and Jason has some good comments on target audience complete with a plea to invite your mom. Troutgirl wrote a thoughtful piece too that's well worth reading.

So far I've been very impressed. I guess I'm what Jason has called a capital-W Weblogger of sorts, but I recognize that this service is for a different part of my online life. Not necessarily a place to build my career, forward the Debate, or even publish my complex travelog, it's instead a great place to spend time, share things frivolous and intimate with friends and family, and benefit from my off-line connection online.

I can only imagine that this will spread its reach and therefor its value. Already you can share quick blast messages and longer blog (or journal) entries, as well as personal messaging. Photo sharing is integrated, as well as your music from Yahoo! Music LaunchCast station. Groups are there, and definitely some other things I'm forgetting about right now.

One of my early favorites though is over in Yahoo! Local (the web's best yellow pages and location based search). Here you can see your relationship to the authors of user reviews for things including restaurants, parks, dentists and mechanics. If you look around the Yahoo! network it's easy to see many sites where Y~360 may add significant value. As I said in the comments on Troutgirl's entry, I can definitely imagine sending a message to a friend (or friend-of-a-friend) that's written a review to ask follow-up questions on restaurants, dentists and mechanics.

All and all, I offer an unqualified congratulations to the entire 360 team: Well done.

(And it's LSM too! With Progressive Enhancement and Unobtrusive Javascript!)

Let me know if you're interested in an Invite, I still have a few left.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 30, 2005 at 12:31 AM in Blogging, RSS, Layered Semantic Markup, Photos, Social Networking and Community, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

2005.03.16

Yahoo! Research Labs Buzz Game

Yahoo! Research Labs and O'Reilly Media Collaborate to Introduce Tech Buzz Game, Inviting Participants to Predict Future Technology Trends Based on Popularity of Yahoo! Search Terms

The Tech Buzz Game is a fantasy prediction market for high-tech products, concepts, and trends. As a player, your goal is to predict how popular various technologies will be in the future. Popularity or buzz is measured by Yahoo! Search frequency over time. Predictions are made by buying virtual stock in the products or technologies you believe will succeed, and selling stock in the technologies you think will flop. In other words, you "put your play money where your mouth is.

At the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference today, Yahoo's principal scientist Dr Gary Flake announced, among other things, the Tech Buzz Game, which "leverages search query volume and frequency on Yahoo! Search" and puts that "buzz" in play in a stock market model. Using the 10,000 in play money that you get with a free game username, you can buy and sell shares of technology concepts like "bittorrent", "podcasting", "Macintosh Tiger", "yahoo photos" and other things. Things terms are broken down into markets, which as each zero-sum-game distinct markets "Browser Wars", "Mobile Development Environments ", and "Rumor Mill".

Check out this and more at the new Yahoo Research Labs site that launched in conjunction with the ETech conference. You can also read up on this year's ETech Conference, or read the Tech Buzz Game's press release.

(By the way, as of this writing I'm in 9th place on the game's leaderboard - out of 697 currently. We'll see if my beginner's luck holds out.)

buzz-game-2005031601-9th

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 16, 2005 at 01:24 AM in Blogging, RSS, Events, Layered Semantic Markup, Pop Culture, Sandbox Stuff, Ugly Experiments, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.03.09

Internet Explorer and Accessibility

From the IEBlog:

Today I wanted to talk about three aspects of accessibility as they relate to IE and Windows in general. First is access to the Windows OS for individuals with disabilities, second are a couple of hints for users of screen readers using IE in XPSP2 and finally is a request for feedback to help guide our development in IE7 and beyond.

While it's fun to pan Microsoft, and particularily, in my circles at least, Internet Explorer, I have to give them some credit for leaving comments enabled on their blog. It would be even better if they responded to some of the comments - a comment is more valuable if it initiates dialog - but at least they're doing an ok job experimenting in the blog space. It can't be a bad thing.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 9, 2005 at 03:09 PM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Blogging, RSS, Browsers, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.18

Blogging and Culture at Yahoo!

Mark Jen was fired from Google for blogging. The is old news. What's interesting now is that he reports on his conversations with two prominent bloggers (and yahoo employees) about blogging at work, yahoo's policy/stance on worker-blogging, at last week's 106 Miles community meeting. It's nice to see that Yahoo gets blogs and blogging.

after dave's talk, i met russ. he apparently had been doing contract work at yahoo and just recently joined there full time. i took the opportunity to chat with him a little bit; mostly, i wanted to know why he chose to join yahoo out of all the other companies in the area. immediately, russ focused in on the culture and working environment. i thought, wow, a place that's working on bringing revolutionary web technologies to the masses and a great atmosphere? sounds like a dream come true.

then, i met jeremy zawodny. since my story had started making rounds with the press, i had been compared to jeremy and scoble, but i had never expected to meet them in person. we got to talking and he shared with me his experience at yahoo, which also sounded great. jeremy told me that yahoo is extremely blog friendly and that posting their personal work experiences was perfectly acceptable - given, of course, that confidential information and NDAs aren't breached. i left with his contact info and an invite to tour the yahoo campus.

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 18, 2005 at 02:17 AM in Blogging, RSS, Knowledge & Content Management, My life..., Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.16

FeedBurner Stats, Podcasts, Specialized RSS Clients


podcast_growth
Originally uploaded by natekoechley.
Feedburner, an RSS feed tracking company (that I use to understand my RSS statistics and readership), has been releasing some very interesting statistics recently. This batch provides some insight into the Podcasting space:


  • Since the beginning of 2005, the number of podcast feeds managed by Feedburner has more than doubled from 871 to 1746.

  • Four different rss aggregators specialized for podcasts are in the Top 50 RSS Aggregators list. This illustrates a trend that's sure to continue... There are already clients specializing in aggregating video -- how long until photo-specific show up?



Thanks for sharing, Feedburner, it's a great post. Thanks also for the interesting and valuable service you provide.


Posted by Nate Koechley on February 16, 2005 at 12:44 AM in Blogging, RSS, Browsers, Metadata, Pop Culture, References, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.02.08

Analyze HTTP Headers and Smart Keyword Search with Firefox

There are several good ways to check out a file's HTTP headers. Tonight I was using http://www.forret.com/projects/analyze/, which is just a simple web form that you enter your URL into.

I know there are more snazzy ways, including Firefox's great extension LiveHTTPHeaders, but sometimes an always-available web page is a fine solution. And, while I totally love the ability to extend and modify Firefox with the ever-growing supply of extensions, I've been trying to keep my browser as lean as possible by only installing ones I really need. For services that require a query to be submitted -- a map request, dictionary lookup, feed subscription or web search -- I've been opting lately to set up Keyword Search in Firefox (as I described several months ago).

(In addition to having less extensions, I find it's just significantly faster to trigger these actions form the keyboard.)

With a few keyword shortcut's set up, my hands are liberated from the mouse to the efficiency and speed of the keyboard. My browser begins to resemble a command line interface. In addition to my newest, headers http://www.yahoo.com, I use these others constantly:

sub http://natek.typepad.com
subscribed to a feed -- fastest possible way to subscribe to an rss feed with bloglines (please don't ruin bloglines Ask!)
ys northern california hiking trails
returns Yahoo Search results page -- 100s of times a day.
wiki Thomas Frank
returns Wikipedia encyclopedia entry -- lots of info types are best answered by an encyclopedia
map [[701 N First Ave, 94089]
returns a Yahoo Maps -- always need for a map
dic efficiency
returns dictionary.com definition
the excitement
returns thesaurus.com entry
by natek
returns my company's intranet (backyard) results -- for looking up coworkers
amaz Talib Kweli
returns Amazon search results -- to grab a book cover or album track listing
imdb War of the Worlds
returns an Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) search
how to change your car's oil
returns detailed instructions from ehow.com
techno mobilemonday.com
returns blogosphere info on who's talking about http://www.mobilemonday.com/ right now?

Did you notice the ones for Bloglines (sub)? It's great. I am generally motivated to subscribe to some feed while in the midst of being excited or engaged by the content. This time of highest engagement is the time when you least want to interrupt the session to go subscribe -- this shortcut allows me to nearly-instantly subscribe in the heat on the moment.

(In case you're curious, I was looking at headers tonight to verify that the file expiration dates were distant, so that the files would be cached by the client until then.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 8, 2005 at 02:33 AM in Blogging, RSS, Browsers, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Idea, My life..., References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.01.20

Metafilter Tags

Matt Haughey writes: "Jumping on the delicious and flickr bandwagon, I've added tags to MetaFilter"

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 20, 2005 at 01:30 PM in Blogging, RSS, Idea, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Pop Culture, Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2005.01.18

Creating Personalized Feeds with Delicious

I have found this a useful way to use http://del.icio.us, the excellent social bookmarking site that is based on tagging.

Let's review quickly. I post all my bookmarks to delicious. They are all viewable by the public. Mine are here: http://del.icio.us/natekoechley. One great thing about delicious is that every page on the site - every node - has an RSS feed. If all my bookmarks are viewable on the web at /username, then the feed of that content is /rss/username.

Looks like this:
http://del.icio.us/natekoechley
http://del.icio.us/rss/natekoechley

The second thing that's great about delicious is that I can quickly and easily annotate my bookmarks with tags. For example, I have bookmarked Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian. In addition to storing the URL, I have tagged it with the following words: industrial, drawings, smithsonian, museum, design, art, history.

Each tag becomes a node.  When you are viewing my total collection of bookmarks, my username "natekoechley" is the node. It is likewise possible to view all my bookmarks for a particular tag, such as
http://del.icio.us/natekoechley/art
http://del.icio.us/rss/natekoechley/art

If you want to widen your view, you can view all "art" bookmarks for everybody on the network:
http://del.icio.us/tag/art
http://del.icio.us/rss/tag/art

There is no limit to the number of tags you can have, either in general or with a single URL.

As you can see, each node - tag - get's it's own RSS feed. This is the functionality that creates my personalized feeds.

Reduce Email with Personalized Feeds

If you're like me, there are a couple people in your life that you want to send links too. For me that's my girlfriend Aimee and my family. Email isn't perfect for this -- even with family, too many urls can quickly feel like spam. A blog isn't perfect either; links for family and close friends are often boring, in jokes, or off-topic to a wider blog audience. My solution is to use tags and RSS in http://del.icio.us, in conjunction with an RSS aggregator -- My Yahoo! works perfect for this.

Step one is to flag content that they'll like. Tagging makes this super easy, I just create person-specific tags with the format, "attn:aimee". (Use any convention you want; the colon isn't important either, a hyphen, prior or other mark will work fine.)

With sites tagged, the special tags will begin generating RSS feeds. Any aggregator will work of course, but for family I had success recommending My Yahoo!. Now, when every my family checks their My Yahoo! page, they'll see any new links that I flagged for their attention.... To me, this is ">100% Awesome.

While I don't think that RSS will replace email any time soon, this is a great way to remove some unnecessary noise from the inbox while still maintaining intimate and personal relationships.

Disclaimer: I saw the "attn:xxxx" syntax on another site, it is not my original idea. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to re-locate the source. Please send me and help me locate any prior work on this approach, so that I may give proper credit. Thanks!

Update: Here is an earlier mention of this technique, though this still isn't the place I saw the idea first. Thanks for pointing this out in the comments Brian. [2005.01.19 12:01:00]

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 18, 2005 at 01:58 AM in Blogging, RSS, HOWTO's and Tutorials, My life..., References, Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Great Firefox Resources

Here are two great sites reviewing tips, tricks and extensions for the Firefox browser from the Mozilla Foundation. (You are using Firefox, right?)

First is the thorough article from Scot's Newsletter. Well written, it includes Firefox Extension Recommendations and Firefox Customization Recommendations. The extensions are grouped by type, including "tab-browsing" and "UI-fixing", as well as broad groups for "tried 'em, like 'em" and others.

The second article is "Secret's of Firefox 1.0", from Windows Secrets Newsletter. This one is focused on tweaks available through Firefox's about:config interface. Check it out for many speed tweaks.

(both via)

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 18, 2005 at 12:57 AM in Blogging, RSS, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Software and Tools, Web Development | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.01.07

2014 EPIC - The Future of Online [Media]

Go watch this flash movie right now. (Or the first time you have 8 free, it doesn't have a pause button.).

It's the history of the media wars, with a dateline of 2014. What happens with Google, Amazon, Blogger, Microsoft, Friendster and TiVo play together? What happens when search, news, shopping, social networks, blogging, camera phones, recommendations, filtering, archiving, the long tail, and everything else that's ALREADY in motion congeals?

Remember that feeling you got when you "got it" in the first Matrix movie? I got that feeling watching this. Remember that feeling you got when you actually realized that scale of the Internet, and what it will eventually enable?

Go watch it.

It's not clear how you're supposed to feel when it's over. Sounds pretty cool. Sounds pretty scary. Come back here and leave some comments after you've watched it. Technorati lets you monitor it as it spreads across the Web.

(I guess this was on metafilter in mid November, but it's new to me today.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 7, 2005 at 12:49 PM in Blogging, RSS, Idea, Knowledge & Content Management, News, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack