Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Uncyclopedia

So, the beauty of Wikipedia is that you have an encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Because you have millions of editors, you are sure to have on-the-spot information and, of course, correct grammar.

Turn Wikipedia on its head and you have the Uncyclopedia. Like Wikipedia, its also runs on a wiki and relies on its visitors for information and the update of information. However, the objective is the opposite - you can be as far from the truth as possible. As long as its funny.

Think Wikipedia + The Onion.


Found this on the web today - Wayfaring. Its making your own maps (on various topics - surf spots, restuarants, geneology, etc.) and sharing it with others for their use and appreciation. I really like the User Interface. Pretty slick with big fonts (easy-to-read). Of course its integrated with Google Maps (isn't there anything that's not?).

I think that the content generated will be very useful. Creating content is pretty difficult/takes a lot of time though - what will motivate you to do this? Hmm...maybe if you can build a community....

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Super Happy Dev House SIX

Seems that SHDH 6 is happening December 10. Check it out. I enjoyed the experience the last time I was there. Figure I'll head out again to meet some very smart people. If you're and engineer or not, you're free to go. I'll let you know about the interesting projects.

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mash Maps

We all know that mash-ups websites are at the forefront of Web 2.0. For those who are unaware, mash-ups are created by combining the web services by the big Internet players. Perhaps the most popular mash-up was the first one - Housing Maps by Paul Redmacher (now of Google). Spurred by this service, Google released an open API two months later that sparked this trend.

There is so much excitement around this area, but all the mash-ups are Google Maps and something else (e.g. gas prices, pictures, pedometer, etc.). I still have to see a well-used mash-up that doesn't use this service nor another Map site. There's even a blog that keeps track off the new Google Maps mash-ups. Hmmm...I wonder if 43 Places count - probably not, because they're just taking their flagship service - 43 Things - and adding a Flickr interface.

Makes me wonder - why not just call it Mash Maps?


Found a great article on Mashups. Its part of a larger article called Taking Back the Web. Excellent read.

Friday, November 11, 2005

BusinessWeek's Web Smart 50

Found this set of articles today at BusinessWeek. Interesting write-ups on 37 Signal's Basecamp and Digg. I'm impressed by Basecamp's 'Less is More' philosophy. I really think that technology is supposed to make people more productive and work less. Unfortunately, over the last few decades, people have actually worked more hours (I read that somewhere).

Digg is News 2.0, and incorporates the required human element/collective wisdom into the equation. Makes you wonder what the other 2.0 services will look like (i.e. Dating 2.0, Travel 2.0, Adult 2.0...)

What really inspires me about these two companies is how they started small to grow to tens of thousands of users - all through viral/grassroots efforts it seems. Seems like a great way to run a business.

Social Search

So, we all know that the first version of search is Google PageRank (Y! directories are probably v.0.5...). For those not in the know, Google ranks a webpage by the number of links to it on other websites. The big idea is that webmasters would link (and refer) to the 'right' websites. Using the human element makes a lot of sense.

The next version of search starts with and 'discovery.' By getting people to tag webpages with metadata (trans. providing one-word descriptions to each webpage), searchers will find sites in the deep, dark web. You can find them through Google too, on page 2056....

There are two interesting executions of this social-powered search (Wink calls it people powered search - pretty cool). The first version is the Wink and Raw Sugar model, combining tags with Google search (there are more features, but you'll have to figure them out yourself). The other version is Rollyo. With Rollyo, you use a 'search roll' (i.e. a list of websites) made by a person for a certain topic. Here, the searcher uses experts instead of the collective mind.

It sure will be interesting on what model will work in the long-run (or before v.3 comes out). But I'm sure James Suroweicki will bet on search + tagging; he is after all behind the Wisdom of the Crowds.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

MySpace & Friendster Visitors

Came to this article today: Friendster overture no endearing to all.

Check out the unique visitors they have - 535,000/month, according to Nielsen. Contrast with MySpace - 17M/month. Wow.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Web 2.0 (and Social Software)

The buzz these days is Web 2.0. Heck, it even had a conference named after it. But what exactly does Web 2.0 mean?

Others say that its the second coming of the web - another bubble. Actually, a bubblet. And we can see that with a whole slew of companies coming out of the woodwork. Maybe its just me being at the heart of technology, but there are lots of new ideas and teams (this is good).

But Web 2.0 is not just another wave of ideas and businesses. Its a certain kind of technology. Back in 1999 - 2001, people were concerned with content to get visitors to their sites (getting the "eyeballs"). With Web 2.0, its content that is richer through technology improved with the interaction of people. Look at the innovations that have driven this movement - tagging, community interaction (resulting in a collective mind), sharing/openness (APIs from Google, Amazon, eBay, etc.). Of course there technology that allows this to happen better - AJAX and Ruby on Rails are some examples.

Where Web 2.0 will go is up in the air. I think that there will a lot of interesting opportunities here, and that some companies will go under when the bubblet pops. There will always be ups and down. My hope is that it won't be a big bust, and that people won't use Web 3.0 or something like that when the next upturn arrives.

(Side note: You probably noticed that Web 2.0 has a social component to it. Its interesting that social software seems to be swampped by Web 2.0, and that the former is fast losing its appeal. I think that if you say social software, people look at you and think that you're not in the know. On the other hand, Ithink people who use Web 2.0 is referring to a buzz word that he probably doesn't understand. Oh well.)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Meetro v. Meebo v. 800 lb. Gorillas

Last night at the Super Happy Dev House, I had the opportunity to talk to Paul Bragiel of Meetro and to Seth of Meebo. Pretty good products with diffentiation from the big gorillas - AOL, MSN, and Y!

In case you don't know, Meetro is a location finder that allows you to meet the people in a geographical area. It allows to look for like-minded people, friends of friends, or interesting places. It sits on a downloadable client like most instant messengers.

On the other hand, Meebo is a AJAX instant messenger (yes, it runs on a browser) that connects to the big networks. Pretty cool if you can't download software (e.g. office), sharing computers, or using someone else's PC. Its a cool product eventhough it still misses the big features such as voice, music, etc. I still have to get used to having IM on a browser though.

The challenge for these two companies is the legality of connecting to the networks. You can get away with it (like Trillian) if you're a small company. But once you grow, it'll be more difficult. Plus, the big use for IM is moving to video and voice. And thats not easy to do.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Super Happy Dev House 5

Got the low-down from Lloyd Budd of Flock. SuperHappyDevHouse5 is happening tonight. Mostly a hack-a-thon, the event has a 'Geek Pitch' - the techie version of the Elevator Pitch. Each attendee has 10min to present his cool project to an audience of peers and entrepreneurs. There will be drinks; it's a Saturday night. But somehow, I don't think you can mix code and alcohol.

Come on over - everyone's invited! Engineers or not.

More details here: Chris Messina's logo and event info, Event info on

I'll be there, hoping to get some face time with Mike Rowehl.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Google Gamed?

For an hour or so, I had some trouble publishing the recent 'What Wikis Do' post. I thought the problem was just Blogger but when I headed to Gmail and to Google Search, I had the same experience. Hmmm...I think Google was hacked or something. Don't really know, but keep an eye out on (or the blogosphere via Technorati) tomorrow. I'll post something if I find any.

What Wikis Do

Just came from Wiki Wednesday at SocialText headquarters, and had to meet some really great people into both the consumer and enterprise wiki space. There's a lot of noise on wikis these days that started when JotSpot got some funding.

Spent time discussing wikis with both Jack H. of WikiHow and David Weekley of PBWiki. They have great executions of wikis. WikiHow, born out of eHow, extends its article writing to a community of users and allows the model to scale (v. having paid authors do the writing; its just like Wikipedia). David W's approach is straight-forward - keep it simple: people don't know what wikis are. Don't complicate matters. Let them use it and learn.

Personally, the concept of wiki is difficult to understand. Try explaining it to mom. If you can, then I think your blessed. Blogs, which can be explained as 'online diary' is a challenge in itself.

It's because of this reason that wikis must be explained in a way that people understand. The way this could be done is by enabling it to do one_certain_thing. If you're a wiki person, you'd probably say that you can use wikis to write reports, to coordinate schedules, to keep notes, etc. Unfortunately, non-techie types are not that imaginative. How about a wiki just for writing papers or calendaring a group schedule? This service with have features tailored to its use, of course.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Experimenting with online advertising through AdBrite - you probably noticed the sponsor links on the lower right corner. It'll be interesting to see how far I can bring this. I'm sure that I'll need around 100,000 visitors everyday to start making good money through a blog (if that happens, I can join blog networks Corante, Gawker Media, Weblogs, whatever). But a couple of hunder dollars (yeah right - more like a couple of dollars) each month wouldn't be bad.

I'm really a bad guy; the very least I can do is use Google AdSense (Blogspot is a Google service). I guess I'll give them a go in a few weeks and compare. But right now, they're making too much money to care.

Speaking of AdBrite - you should check them out. They messaging 'eBay of online advertising' - company makes a lot of sense, especially with a lot of small publishers (read: bloggers) joining the Internet. The AdBrite set-up was really fast; it took me around 20 minutes from sign-up to having the ad appear on the Plunar blog.

Check out my sponsors (I sure hope I don't have the wrong advertisers here), and show some love!