Mar 15, 2005


There seems to be a number of capabilities being created in online software that have made me very excited about the web as a way to get things done. There's nothing that revolutionary here, but I sense that we are seeing the beginnings of the integration of these technologies and that will create a more useful experience.

If I think about the technologies & content I use on a regular and daily basis it would include a browser (currently a mix between firefox and ie), blogger to blog, hello to blog pictures, and various newsites and blogs for content. I retrieve information almost on a daily waking basis since my job and hobbies revolve around data, and I push some out when it strikes my fancy (like now). In general the experience is light years ahead of where it used to be. Publishing content wasn't even available in a simplified basis 10 years ago. Funneling in content was also difficult (I think PointCast was the only tool) although it's hard to relate now. But it wasn't that long ago that your tv provided the weather forecast or you called 411 to get addresses to places you wanted to go to or you went out to purchase magazines and newspapers to get information about your interests. Do you do any of those things anymore? I can't imagine doing my job researching companies without live and exhaustive data being sent to me (I guess that's why Bloomberg was so successful). Blogging tools, blogs, aggregators, browsers, and reformatted content have made life incredibly easy compared to 10 years ago. So we've come a long way.

But the experience and capabilities aren't as efficient as they could be. I'll give some credit. Google has begun the integration of Blogger, Picasa, Hello, and their search technologies to make a reasonably enjoyable blogging experience. But I still have issues. If I see a nice recipe online it takes what I believe is a an inordinate amount of effort to post it to my recipe blog (it's just a private blog to store and search my recipes). However, it's not hard to see a time when you just drag photos onto your blog, move them around to format, type right into the blog itself, drag and drop recipe content from other sites you want to reference, create charts or timelines or more graphical visualizations, etc. We're not there yet but it should happen and the possibilities are mind blowing to me because the blogging experience could be done in half the time and create better content.

Likewise it's still amazing to me that we still have localized capabilities and configurations. As one example, when I come home from work the links I've saved in my ie or firefox at work are different from those at home. Bloglines has done some great work making the blogs you read more decentralized. And I just realized today that you can 'blog' interesting feeds directly into your own blog (maybe I'm the last one to get this). So instead of saving the feed I'm interest in or adding it to my favorites folder, I just blog it to my 'favorites' blog that I set up. I also just realized that bloglines gives you an unlimited number of email accounts. For what purpose? Well 2 purposes. One you can forward email to one of your bloglines emails so you can see new emails directly in your bloglines subs. This is a godsend for me because hotmail and gmail are blocked. I can't send email out but I can at least see email coming in. And two, you can subscribe to mailing lists and have them feed directly into your bloglines. Simply awesome!

But whenever I get a new computer I still have to drag over to my links folder. Delicious is another company that's doing some interesting work as well by making your 'favorites' available online. But also they are making it possible for you to see what other people who have linked to as well and that's created a whole new information source to consume. I overwhelmed myself tonight looking at so many interesting articles and websites that people had 'delicious-ed'. I've found some great stuff this way. Although it took me many a day before I began to comprehend what the hell they were doing over there. And the interface is clunky and inefficient (I realize they're in pre-alpha, I'm just saying).

Now. Imagine delicious is integrated with Bloglines... And now imagine that this new thing is integrated with Google's blogging/search tools... In this situation I could not only consume an outrageous amount of content (blogs, news, mailing lists, email) but I could 'save' it quickly (via blogging), pretty it up (add pictures, graphics, comments, etc.) easily find and consume it again (google search directly into another RSS feed), and find newly created content that was related to what I wanted to consume again. This concept is making me lick my lips with anticipation when I can do this.

It seems Microsoft is starting to address this with their incubation stuff over at and I am extremely excited about this and I am not normally excited about MS stuff. They make good solid software and services but it's rarely mind blowing. But there's a different tact to this site. It's clean. There's no ads and flashing shit everywhere. It even has google as a stored website rather than MSN Search. That too me is f**king cool. And what's more it isn't just a link, it shows a search box. One for Amazon too. There are a number of sites where I go to enter words and hit 'go' that I could see embedding into this 'start' page. And I know Longhorn has solutions to issues like this mind. I'm actually surprised Google hasn't made more overtures to solving these simplicity and decentralized issues. Now if they can just restrain themselves from disallowing me from really customizing the content and services I want (let's say google versus msn search) I am so totally in I would pay for it.

But none of these yet are really integrated solutions. I would say the stuff MS is doing in their labs holds the most promise because they seem to have started with this uber problem of decentralizing your online capabilities from the start. Unfortunately it's a ways off. It's also nice to hear that IE7 is on the way and hopefully some of these capabilities will be integated into that as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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