2005.03.30

Flickr Tips: Monitoring Comments and Configuring Alerts

Monitoring Comments and Conversations

After I used Flickr for a while, I started to pay more and more attention to the social and community aspects. I haven't ventured onto the message boards or chat yet, but I enjoy leaving comments on photos and having conversations there.

In several instances, I've asked for travel advice and questions about the locations and people in certain photos. Other times I've inquired about the techniques used to capture wonderful photographs or after-effects. In all these cases, it's easy to comment but it had always been hard for me to remember where I'd commented, and notice when a reply was posted.

Then I discovered the Photos you've commented on page. This page solves all those problems for me: in a clean way, it presents all the photos you've commented on. It's ordered by most recent activity, so you see photos you've recently commented on, as well as those that have been recently replied to. It works great, and has encouraged me to contribute and participate even more.

Notes and also Comments are shown in this nicely-integrated view.

Configuring Flickr Alerts

The Flickr mailbox is OK, but it doesn't' really fit into my personal online workflow. I prefer to receive my notifications in email. To set it up so Flickr sends you email instead of only adding to your Flickr mailbox, click My Account from the top of any page. From there click Notifications from Flickr (which you'll see on the right, under the Privacy Settings header) and adjust the settings. For the four choices on the page, I have "Yes", "Yes", "As soon as it happens" and "Yes please!".

To modify which email address these messages are sent to, click "Edit your email address" from back on the My Account page. (I set up an Address Guard on Yahoo Mail, which allows you to create a unique mail address, which I use to keep "alert" messages like this out of my main inbox.)

If you haven't played with Flickr for at least 10 hours, start now. You'll discover cooler and cooler features the more you use it. In fact, this "discoverability" aspect of Flickr is one of it's great strengths and attributes.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 30, 2005 at 09:30 PM in HOWTO's and Tutorials, Idea, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Photos, References, Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

2005.03.23

Information Esthetics (i.e.)

Lecture Series One: March–July, 2005

If I was in New York this spring, I'd definitely check out some of these lectures. Looks excellent, and these topics and critical as unfathomable amounts of information continue to be made available to the world.

Making data meaningful—this phrase could describe what dozens of professions strive for: Wall Street systems designers, fine artists, advertising creatives, computer interface researchers, and many others. Occasionally something important happens in these practices: a data representation is created that reveals the subject's nature with such clarity and grace that it both informs and moves the viewer. We both understand and care. This is the focus of Information Esthetics.

Information Esthetics, a recently formed not-for-profit organization, has organized a lecture series dedicated to helping this happen more often. World leaders in seven different aspects of sense-making have been invited to speak on topics from typography to visual perception, from charting to electro-mechanical engineering. The goal: to help expose the beauty experts see in their databases, better engaging their whole minds in interpretation; to help inspire art that's not just decorated with data but makes the data readable, satisfying viewers' minds as much as their eyes and hearts.

The format of the talks lets us explore more deeply than a typical panel or academic paper presentation. Each speaker will talk for a full hour, we'll break for a half hour of fine spirits and snacks, then sit down again for an interview/chat led by series organizer and interaction designer W. Bradford Paley. The intent throughout is to delve into the implications these profound ideas have for human communication in general—but also to share some simple techniques that people can immediately put to use in their own projects.

The lectures will take place Thursday evenings in the Chelsea Art Museum at 565 West 22nd street in Manhattan. They are free with the discounted $3 museum admission, and start promptly at 6:00pm on these dates:

  • Robert Bringhurst, March 31 · Typography and layout

    The distinguished Mr. Bringhurst is perhaps the most recognized typographer, a published poet, and the author of the fundamental contemporary work on typography: “Elements of Typographic Style.” http://www.typebooks.org/i-r_bringhurst.htm

  • Judith Donath, April 21 · Social computing

    Dr. Donath's group at the MIT Media Lab studies intriguing social interactions and produces some of the loveliest and clearest visual representations of these complex systems. She is a well-read and careful observer of fine art. http://smg.media.mit.edu/people/Judith

  • Ted Selker, May 12 · Situated devices

    Dr. Selker focuses on putting intelligence into everyday objects: his invention of the eraser-like IBM Trackpoint device transformed laptop keyboards throughout the industry. His MIT media Lab group continues to expand those explorations. http://web.media.mit.edu/~selker

  • Lisa Strausfeld, May 26 · Real-time charting

    Ms. Strausfeld is a partner in Pentagram, the respected New York design firm. Her dense, readable information displays are well structured, visually rich, and intellectually satisfying. http://www.pentagram.com/people-strausfeld.htm

  • Bill Buxton, June 16 · Supporting creative analysis

    Mr. Buxton is a musician, mountain climber, and interaction designer; former Chief Scientist of Silicon Graphics; and a well-known and controversial computer interface expert. He owns an art gallery in Toronto with his wife and has been developing user interfaces explicitly for designers for over a decade. http://www.billbuxton.com

  • Ron Rensink, June 30 · Visual perception

    Dr. Rensink is one of the world's experts on “Change Blindness” a feature of the human visual system that allows major changes to happen unnoticed right in front of one's eyes, allowing (among other things) magic performances to work. He studies human perception, discovering and sharing principles useful in design. http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink

  • Tamara Munzner, July 14 · Large data sets

    Dr. Munzner specializes in information visualization: showing complexities in subjects that range from genetically-determined phylogenetic evolutionary trees to environmental sustainability. Her work is informed by an eye developed under her art-teacher father, and often reveals structure more clearly as a result. http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~tmm

This lecture series is an Information Esthetics production, made possible by a project of Digital Image Design Incorporated. The talks are presented by The Project Room at Chelsea Art Museum by producer/curator Nina Colosi, and are supported in part by the Department of Computer Science at Columbia University.

Generous volunteer efforts support Information Esthetics, including high-reliability Web site hosting by Michael Rosenthal, Web site supervision by Perry Metzger, and (soon) graphic design by Warren Kemp. Please contact i.e.director W. Bradford Paley if you would like to volunteer, be put on our mailing list, or otherwise participate.

If you go, please point me to your notes!

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 23, 2005 at 12:00 PM in Design, Events, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Knowledge & Content Management, Location: New York City, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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

2005.03.16

Total Recall -- Desktop Search Products Reviewed

PC Magazine has a nice review of the desktop search space.

Desktop search tools really can make our lives easier, and since so many of them are free, there's little reason not to give one a try. Your mailbox isn't getting any more manageable, your hard drive isn't getting emptier, and after all, finding something on the PC right in front of you should be as easy as finding something on the Web.

And, I'm happy to spoil with their conclusion: "Our favorite, Yahoo! Desktop Search, is actually based on the same core software as the $75 X1 Desktop Search, and it offers almost all the same features." (The main feature that Yahoo! didn't pick up in their free version of X1 is the ability to index email outside of Outlook, specifically Eudora and Mozilla/Thunderbird.)

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 16, 2005 at 10:30 AM in Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Search, Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Software and Tools, Yahoo! | 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

2005.01.26

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

2005.01.20

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

2005.01.11

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

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

2005.01.05

Looking for Music?

Enter an artist you like here, then explore: http://www.musicplasma.com/

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 5, 2005 at 11:07 PM in Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Knowledge & Content Management, Metadata, Music [1], Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack