2005.03.17

[Invites] Filangy - Your Personal Search Engine

Filangy is a personal search engine. There are a few startups and companies playing in this space right now, but Filangy is my early favorite. Other's have written about it, including John Battelle's Search Blog, Larry Borsato, and a thorough write-up on Rob's Blog. (You can always check the latest murmurings by running a Technorati search.

Filangy is an intelligent search tool integrated with a search engine to make searching productive. We offer features that allow users to personalize their search experience. Two of the features that we have launched in our beta products are WebMarks and WebCache.
WebCache
This is a secure, web-enabled archive of all your visited webpages.
WebMarks
These are your portable favorites that are accessible from anywhere.

In other words, Filangy captures every page you visit (while it's enabled -- its' easy to pause it if you're feeling secretive), and also allows for instantaneous bookmarking while you're on a page. When you use Filangy to search, you can limit it to either of these groups: pages you've been on before; pages you've bookmarked.

I've got a few extra invites. Leave a comment or send me an email if you'd like one of them. Please include a sentence or two on the root of your curiosity and why you'll be a good recipient. (I just want to make sure that, like extra pets, they're going to good homes.)

Like most of my favorite apps these days, the value of the services is only slowly revealed. The more you use it, the more help it's able to provide. The more you use it, the more advanced features on the interface become visible... While it's somewhat counter-intuitive to hide value initially, this wonder and dare-i-say glee of discovery pays huge dividends. Anyways, let me know what you think if you've been using it, and like I said, let me know if you need an invite.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 17, 2005 at 03:26 PM in Gadgets, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, References, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

2005.02.17

Casual Gaming

At last week's Mobile Monday, which I attended, Anita Wilhelm (aka MobileGirl) presented a mobile-based game her startup is working on:

Caterpillar Mobile's current product is a cameraphone game called Zooke. Zooke allows its members to create challenges for all members or only members of an immediate social circle. You might be on a mission to find the best George Bush bumper sticker in Berkeley and have other game players rate your findings. It is a community-driven reality play experience that makes everyone's day a little more exciting with minimal effort.

I liked the idea of casual gaming, the idea that you can have an experience in short segments while you're going about your normal routine. I'm also interested that this represents a shift from highly time-intensive games. Well, she follows up that with a new post last week discussing Casual Gaming and thinking about an article of the same title by Tom Hume.

He captures the essence of an important shift from hard core gaming experiences to engaging play experiences perfectly! Allowing players to engage lightly in the experience throughout their daily lives is essential to creating something compelling and addictive to be used on a mobile device. Allowing players light weight games or frameworks that they can think about while on the move, but not have to interact with continually in the virtual world is essential. Giving them tools which allow them to explore and play at their will fits the affordances of the mobile device.

I remember the days of having hours and hours to play video games, but to be honest, it's a pretty distant memory. It's cool to see people working to bring games and playing back into the lives of otherwise distracted and busy peeps like me. It's also fun to watch a new medium like Mobile develop.

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 17, 2005 at 03:53 AM in Gadgets, Idea, Location: San Francisco, My life..., Photos, Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Send driving direction to your phone on Yahoo

Send driving direction to your phone on Yahoo
Originally uploaded by natekoechley.

Following quickly on the SMS Clipping feature, Yahoo! Maps this week quietly launched a new feature that lets you quickly send driving directions to your mobile phone via SMS text message.

Brilliant. Give it a test drive.


Posted by Nate Koechley on February 17, 2005 at 03:29 AM in Gadgets, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.01.28

RoomWizard - Networked, web-based signs for scheduling conference rooms

"RoomWizard is the first web-based series of signs for scheduling rooms and other shared spaces. Manage your shared meeting spaces from any network device or grab a room on the spot for impromptu meetings. "

As my friend Chanel said in her ping, "this is sooo damn cool: http://www.steelcase.com/na/products.aspx?f=12117".

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 28, 2005 at 12:41 PM in Gadgets, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.01.26

SMS Clipping with Yahoo! Local Search

Send search results to your phone from your desktop.

Yahoo! Local released a new search feature today, allowing you to quickly send clips of search results to you phone via a free SMS text message. You can do this directly from the search results page - no page reload necessary. It couldn't be easier:

Here's how:

From the front page of Yahoo!, click the "Local" tab to toggle the search box, and enter a local search. (Or use http://local.yahoo.com directly.) Search for anything you'd find in a yellow pages, or anything with an address. All your saved addressed from Y!Maps and other Y! sites should be available as locations to search around.

local-1

From the search results page (SRP), click "Send to Phone" to send the listing to your phone. It's sent via SMS I think.

local-2

The Send interface is straight forward, and let's you enter a phone number, or select a previously used or saved mobile number. (It seems to default to whatever number you've registered with http://mobile.yahoo.com, though that step isn't necessary.)

local-3

From the standard SRP view, you can click "View Results on Map" to see them graphically displayed around your search location. (Viewing results on a map is great, and also lets you quickly find nearby parking, ATMs, restaurants -- even nearby public restrooms.)

local-4

From this map view, click any of the numbered representations for more information, and the option to "Send to Phone".

local-5

Enter the recipient phone number in the same manner as from the SRP list view.

local-6

The resulting message looks something like this:

pt_localstp_silh_lg_2

Give it a shot, it's pretty good. (And if you haven't played with Local search, this is the perfect opportunity.)

Congrats to my friends Chris and Jason, who were both involved with the webdev work on this.

Update: Gary Price at Search Engine Watch has an entry on this now.

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 26, 2005 at 12:11 AM in Accessibility, Internationalization, CSS Media Types, Browsers, Gadgets, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Knowledge & Content Management, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Web Development, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

2005.01.11

Yahoo! Desktop Search Launched

Yahoo! Desktop Search launched this morning (via). YDS is based on X1, which until now has been an $80 to $100 piece of software. I've been using X1 since January or February 2004, and it's great. As I wrote in a testimonial last March 5th,:

It's wonderful, and will change how you think about your information. ... It doesn't matter where the message is, you can always find what you want in ... 2 seconds. ... I've recommended it to everybody I know and work with. Find any email in about 2 seconds.

This product is terrific, and only has competition from Copernic as far as I'm concerned. Once YDS is extended to search the all the user's content on the Yahoo! network, in addition to the desktop and web, then it will have no peers. (Yes yes, those are famous last words.)

Why is it so good?

Unlike some of the other desktop search tools out there, YDS indexes over 200 file types. Uniquely, it provides instant previews of all of them -- with your search terms highlighted -- right within the program. It does this for .doc, .mp3, .pdf, .gif, .ppt, .xls and many more.

Beyond those "technical specs", the interface and overall experience set it above the crowd. YDS does not use the Web Search model (single search box) for the desktop like several other products on the market. Instead, it provides many search boxes so you can narrow by date, file size, sender, folder, or any other contextually-relevant field with blazing speed. Also, unlike web queries that don't return results until you submit a search, YDS returns and updates the result set after each letter you type. Believe me, it makes a big difference.

Go download your free copy and let me know what you think. Read more at the Yahoo! Search Blog, or explore the blogosphere.

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 11, 2005 at 03:22 AM in Gadgets, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Personal Music Services; The Long Tail

The music service Personal Activaire will be more interesting when it podcasts. I don't feel like putting my mp3 player in a FedEx box. Make it a podcast, and now we're talking. (By the way, I only want the good songs, not the whole album. Haven't you read The Long Tail?.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 11, 2005 at 02:34 AM in Design, Gadgets, Music [1], Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2005.01.06

New Digital Camera: Ricoh Caplio R1V

I've been thinking about getting a new digital camera. Mine's not bad, (the Canon PowerShot S30 has actually been a great camera), but I'm quickly becoming a full-fledge gadget freak and it's time for a new one.

I was interested in some of the wearable cameras that I saw when I was in Hong Kong.

The draw of the wearable camera idea is that you would miss let shots. The other day, I walked out of my flat and saw a Christmas tree half-sticking out the window of my neighbor's house. Seconds later, the tree came crashing down to the curb. I actually had my camera in my pocket, but there was no way to get off the shot in time.

An important distinction of wearable cameras is that they're "instant-on" if not "always-on". Also, since they tend to be hanging from your neck it's always available. The combination of "always on" and "always within reach" should make it possible to capture the fleeting moments.

In addition to the Wild-West "quick-draw" availability, a wearable camera should tend to generate more pictures. I know we're talking severe laziness here, but pulling the camera out, turning it on, blah blah blah... If instead I just grab the thing dangling on my chest, click it at something, and then let it drop back to my check, well, I think I'd get around to taking more snapshots.

And so with that in mind, I stumbled on the press release for the new Ricoh Caplio R1V (dpreview.com). It sounds great. I've never held a Ricoh before, but pending that I love the stats:

Ricoh Caplio R1V

Successor to the popular Caplio R1, the Caplio R1V is a powerful 5.0 megapixel digital camera with a 28mm wide-angle, 4.8x optical zoom in an exceptionally slim 25mm body (cite)

The best part though is the speed: "the world’s fastest shutter response" snaps photos in less than .05 seconds, measured from the moment the shutter is fully pressed down. I'm not positive, but it seems like some digital cameras make you hold down the shutter button for ever. If not forever, then at least long enough to lose the shot and definitely all the "natural"-looking smiles.

The second most important thing after Shutter-Lag time is the length of time it takes to turn on the camera. I want the time between power-off and my first shot to be as small as possible. The Ricoh sounds good here, claiming "Switch on the power: You're ready to shoot in approximately 0.8 seconds".

Other attractive features are the battery system, the 28mm --> 135mm (4.8x optical zoom) wide-angle lens, the pre-set shooting modes, and the ability to shoot 1cm macro shots. Sounds like all I need and more, with it's strengths in the areas that are critical to me.

There is no street price yet, and it won't be on shelfs until February. I guess I can wait that long :(

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 6, 2005 at 12:15 AM in Gadgets | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

2005.01.05

Finding and Removing Duplicates Songs with iTunes

Finally!

Over the past weekend I downloaded the update to Apple's iTunes software. It's up to version 4.7 now. Whenever an update to anything is released, the questions are 1) What has changed? and 2) Is it advisable to update now?

For the 4.7 update, the answers are 1) Not very much; and 2) Immediately!

According to the release notes, this was a pretty minor release, with just two new items. The first is support for copying photos to an iPod photo. This would be necessary if I had an iPod Photo, but I don't**. The second item is "the ability to show duplicate songs in your library".

I don't know about you, but I often end up with duplicate files in my iTunes library. Sometimes I'll import a CD twice by accident. Other times I'll add files from Limewire or some other source. Not too long ago, I merged external hard drive libraries with a buddy. In all these cases, and many others, it's possible to have an album (or just song) in your library twice.

It always seemed like purging duplicates should have been part of the base iTunes functionality. It doesn't seem like it should be that hard (the files have unique profiles -- name, length, etc.

There were always kludgey ways to do it, but all very time consuming and labor intensive. Now, it's a dedicated menu toggle (under Edit).

Thanks Apple, better late than never.

**I don't have an iPod photoApple Store in San Francisco It seemed nice enough, though I have a little difficultly seeing how it would fit into my life, especially considering how awesome Flickr is.

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 5, 2005 at 08:26 PM in Design, Gadgets, HOWTO's and Tutorials, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

2005.01.04

"The age of dedicated music player has hit its zenith."

More from RussellBeattie.com. Can you tell I'm spending time this evening catching up on reading?

This entry, Audio Players, Mobile Phones and Microsoft, goes around and around for the first few paragraphs, with Russ saving his best line for last. ("The age of dedicated music player has hit its zenith.")

That said, the entire post is interesting, with good warning and commentary on M$'s DMW and Plays-for-sure initiatives.

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 4, 2005 at 06:41 PM in Gadgets, Other, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack