Scripting News for 1/5/2007

Daylife Feedback, Try #1 

I didn’t comment on Daylife at first, I didn’t know what to say because I don’t really know what Daylife is.

I saw a really sexy demo early last year in NY when visiting with Jeff Jarvis, it did a lot of things the beta we’re all using now doesn’t do. I’ve already disclaimed that I have an investment in the company, not a huge amount of money, but I have hopes to make a fat profit from the investment, and that certainly colors what I say and don’t say. (And not knowing what it is at this point is not a fatal flaw, for sure.)

That said, I agree with Mike, they should do something with RSS. They’re getting all these people looking at it now, and surely some of them would subscribe to a feed of news about Daylife itself. Nothing more than a flow of new features, or new partners. How do they expect to invite people to come back for another look if there’s no way to subscribe.

This is a very common opportunity that entrepreneurs overlook. Your first challenge is to build the lines of communication to the people you want to influence. The more efficient those lines are, the better your chance of success. In the old days that meant buying ads in trade pubs, today it’s a lot cheaper — just put up a feed, and don’t forget to post to it.

PS: Salim, can you hear me?? :-)

Opportunity knocks, Try #3 

Okay, the second Opportunity Knocks post was spectacularly unsuccessful. There must not be any underemployed PHP programmers in the Bay Area in my sphere of connectivity, or none who are interested in making a few bucks pioneering the attention economy with the principles of vendor relationship management.

So be it. But I’m one stubborn mofo. I’ll keep making offers until something hits a nerve. I really want to do this project.

I no longer want a PHP programmer, and I’m willing to relax the rule about being in the Bay Area. I’m also willing to work with a developer community instead of hiring a contractor.

So here’s my idea…

I want to define a cloud in Amazon S3 space, a cloud of subscription information, some of it public and some of it only accessible to the user. We’re going to depend on Amazon’s ability to keep stuff private that we want private, and make available publicly the stuff we want to publish.

I’m looking for a family of apps, some that run on the desktop, some that run on servers, that allow a user to:

1. Upload an OPML file with subscriptions to S3, in such a way that only the user can see the list of subs.

2. Present that list to the user, with a checkbox next to each subscription. By default each box is checked. The box indicates whether or not the subscription will be visible to the public. The user can change the status of any of the subscriptions to shield it from public view. This is remembered, so whenever the OPML is published an unchecked item will not appear in the public list. (This is necessary because the existence of a feed in a subscription list may reveal private information about the person, where they live, who they bank with, etc.)

3. A way to create a publicly visible OPML file, following the guidelines in the 2.0 draft spec, to be shared publicly, so that aggregators may create recommendation systems based on the information. It should be possible to create lots of interesting views of the informaiton.

4. Every time the OPML file is updated, send a ping to a changes server that will either be operated openly by the community, or if no agreement can be reached in time, I will operate it myself. This avoids “who does he think he is” arguments. If it’s possible to put something together that is free and open, and reasonably well managed without being owned, I’ll support it. Otherwise I’ll run the service myself, with the possibility that I may someday profit from it.

I will also implement a desktop app in the OPML Editor. It’ll be GPL, as is all the code I ship in the OPML Editor (and the editor itself). That’s the plan.

Mr Winer goes to CES 

Michael Gartenberg says you shouldn’t go to CES unless you have to go to CES. Ooops. I don’t have to go. He pointed to this list of things to do to avoid exhaustion or illness. Maybe I’ll just stay in my room. I’m one of the people who will bring disease with me, a nasty little cold I picked up in NY last week, I’ve been nursing it all week. I’m going down tomorrow, hope to have a press pass (the Podtech people are working on it, they’re totally rolling out the red carpet for me, which is much appreciated). I’m in the same hotel with Steve Gillmor, Jason Calacanis and Gabe Rivera. Two crazy uncles in one hotel. Should be pretty fun. It’s a Hilton, where I have a billion points, so maybe I can get an upgrade. Even though I’ve been warned, I’m still excited.

JY had an idea 

Ads in CAPTCHAs??

http://jy.typepad.com/jy/2007/01/ads_in_captchas.html

Patent the idea, and license it for $1 million per instance.

Are you Under the Radar? 

I am part of the selection committee for the next Under the Radar conference, on March 23 in Mountain View, CA.

My main responsibility is to help them find interesting companies with products in relevant categories that aren’t very well-known.

The goal of the conference is to help draw attention to those products, and help get them staffed and funded, and successful.

Naturally, I wanted to blog about this, so we could get the idea out in front of Scripting News readers.

They’re looking for companies with products in the following eight areas:

1. Organize – Tasks, Database, Project, Notes, Bookmarks,

2. Collaborate – Groups, Wikis, Spreadsheets, Word Processing, File Sending, Document Management

3. Track – Time, Expenses, Budgets, Accounting, HR

4. Publish – Blog platforms, Web publishing, Feeds/RSS, Content Management

5. Communicate – Email, IM, VOIP, Voice, web conferencing

6. Create – Presentation Mngr, music, photo edit/manage

7. Personalize – Desktop, Calendar, personal organizers

8. Search – vertical, social, create your own

How to proceed. If you know a company with a worthwhile product in any of these areas, one that isn’t well-known, but has potential, please post a comment here, with a pointer to their website, and I’ll pass them on to the people running the conference. Should be pretty interesting! :-)

34 responses to this post.

  1. I’d suggest looking at the RenPy engine (http://www.renpy.org/wiki/renpy/Home_Page) which allows you to create your own visual novels/games using a very straightforward syntax and standard file formats.

    I think it falls under both 4 and 6 since it gives folks new ways to easily communicate their concepts and make the available for others. For example, you could create a VN presentation allowing the customer to see for themselves the long term effects of choosing option A or option B…

    Just my .02 worth…

    Reply

  2. I’d recommend EGS http://www.enterprisegroupwaresystem.org/ from a company called Senokian (http://senokian.com/). It’s an Open-Source web based business management suite (CRM, ERP, Project management, wiki, etc) so it would fall under #1-3.

    The MD is a friend but I have no financial interest in the company.

    Paul

    Reply

  3. Worked with this web conferencing company as a consultant in 2006 and they’d make a *perfect* addition: http://www.yugma.com

    Reply

  4. What about 5o9 Inc (http://www.5o9inc.com) Data communications platform that enables “Who, What and Where (GPS)” information in real time from a mobile device to a web server.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    Reply

  5. Trac (http://trac.edgewall.org/) is my favorite and covers a lot of those categories collaboration, tracking, publishing, communication. It’s for software development. They won an award recently as the best linux/oss developer tool at the UK Linux & Open Source Awards (although it runs on windows too). http://www.edgewall.org/blog/news/trac_best_dev_tool.html

    Reply

  6. I recommend UserLand Software:

    http://www.userland.com/

    A leader in providing web publishing solutions since 1997. Their products were among the first used to create weblogs, to integrate RSS and to syndicate podcasts. Thousands of customers the world over know that UserLand’s powerful web tools make it easy to create and manage websites, weblogs and collaboration portals.

    Reply

  7. We’ve been using Jive software’s products for a good long while now: http://www.jivesoftware.com/products/

    We really like the IM server (Wildfire) and client (Spark), along with the Knowledge Base which is morphing the Clearspace.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Jacob Levy on January 5, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Whats the method for suggesting a company or project that isnt ready yet to have their name on a public page indexed by Google but which will definitely be ready by the conference deadline?

    Reply

  9. I’d vote for the talented guys behind Touchstone (http://www.touchstonelive.com). Touchstone basically scans your browsing history, your bookmarks, e-mail, documents and other stuff that characterizes your personal attention stream.

    You then select the sources that are likely to produce information that might be of interest to you. It makes sense to use web feeds for this of course, or people could develop their own input adapter.

    I appreciate this method of managing information overload because the Touchstone engine will only display bits of incoming information if they match your attention profile above the granular thresholds that you determine. The more important that information is to you, the more persistent and disruptive its presentation.

    With lots of bloggers talking about handling information overload and attention management, I believe Touchstone provides a viable solution for a real pain.

    Ties: the CEO’s a Skype buddy of mine and he once paid me dinner.

    Reply

  10. I run a website called portaportal, its an online bookmarking utility and its used heavily by teachers to streamline internet work in wired classrooms.

    I’m currently doing 2 miilion pageviews a month, but no one knows about the product because my users are regular people who have never heard of Technorati or Digg. But they like the site because its simple, and it works with browsers back to IE 5 for Mac, which sad as it seems many schools are still using.

    Reply

  11. Shameless self promotion check out putplace.com

    Help home users find, organise, secure and share their digital content across multiple devices and websites using open APIs that let the users choose their own backup, sharing, and tagging services.

    Reply

  12. I second the vote for UserLand Software. ;->

    What it may lack in current development activity it makes up for in humanity and smart ideas.

    The other company whose products I can’t live without is Remember the Milk. They’ve been steadily making their product better and listening to user demands. They get serious whuffie points from me.

    Reply

  13. guys, userland is great, but hardly under the radar….

    Reply

  14. of the categories, there, we’d probably fall into category 2: collaborate.

    what it is:
    social networking for business. (not, it’s not like linkedin, or facebook.)

    the url:

    http://haystack.cerado.com

    here’s what folks have said about us, so far…

    http://del.icio.us/Cerado.Haystack/

    Reply

  15. Dave,
    Scoble has mentioned a couple of times that you are looking for a surround sound system. You should checkout the Klipsch booth at CES. It’s supposed to be in the Convention Center’s South Hall.

    I may be a little biased since I’m the webmaster at Klipsch, but I think we make some pretty kick-ass speakers! They sound really good for movies but they particularly sound great for music because they are horn-loaded.

    Anyway, as a daily reader of your blog and Scoble’s blog (via RSS of course!), I just thought I would throw that out there as something to check out while you are CES. I wish I could go, but I can’t ever come up with a good enough excuse for the company to pay for me to go. Oh well.

    Reply

  16. Oh ya Flock is a cool browser too – based off Firefox it integrates with flickr, online bookmarks such as del.icio.us and also has blog posting features. http://www.flock.com/

    Reply

  17. Tablane Technology Ltd. http://www.tablane.com
    This tiny company (one and half persions) has produced 1)Tablane Browser – the only browser has multiple-lane view.
    2)TClipper – capture web content with personal content management and delicious like tagging system.
    3) And yet soon will release publisher for publishing structured web page, example as: http://www.tablane.net/yc/opml/scoble.htm

    Demo on Scoble show:

    http://www.podtech.net/scobleshow/technology/1278/demo-of-tablanes-tclipper-web-research-tool

    tablaneyc [at] gmail.com

    Reply

  18. Mobile Phone Podcast Listening and Viewing Platform provider Melodeo Mobilcast at http://www.mobilcast.com and mobile phone created video and upload site MoboFLIX at http://www.moboflix.com.

    Reply

  19. Category 3. Track – Time, Expenses, Budgets, Accounting, HR

    Track-Your-Finances.com

    Reply

  20. I recommend Tinytube. It’s a mobile site for video.

    http://tinytube.net

    Reply

  21. I would like to submit Raw Voice at http://www.rawvoice.com for category 4, Publish.

    We have developed a media network engine called the Raw Voice Generator (RVG). The RVG currently powers the Blubrry.com podcast community as well as forthcoming sites developed for our clients.

    This tool publishes RSS feeds with enclosures and iTunes tags for a virtually unlimited number of channels. RVG also includes a built in flash media player, social networking features, OPML support and more.

    Reply

  22. Posted by Warren Miller on January 5, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    I’d like to mention Qunu.

    From their site:

    “Think of Qunu like a search engine that returns people instead of documents — a mashup of search, tagging and instant messaging.

    “Qunu was originally dreamt up as a way for people to get free, live chat tech support for products, direct from those who were most passionate about those products — other passionate users. The concept has resonated hugely, and since launch in July 2006 we have amassed over 3,500 experts donating help sessions in over 10,000 topic areas, which suggests that Qunu has grown beyond just tech support.

    “Qunu is tightly integrated with existing IM software which means you can help when it suits *you*. Invitations will only pop up on your computer whenever your presence is set to ‘available’.

    They’re also about to go open source too, which means anyone can make use of their stuff if they want to allow their passionate users to help out… :-D

    Reply

  23. In categories 1 and 2, I nominate Dabble DB: http://www.dabbledb.com/

    Reply

  24. woops, dabbledb.com already won, and flock too… an earlier event I guess http://undertheradarblog.com/2006/03/03/and-the-winner-is/

    Reply

  25. I love the idea of using s3 as storage but there are some issues with the way you describe the functionality.

    s3 has permissions yes, but on objects and buckets, so in order to apply different permissions to OPML elements, you’d have to split it up into many objects.

    It’s possible, but then you’d need as many HTTP requests to gather them back up. Not really ideal.

    What you could do is store user, group, and world versions of the OPML files and simply update them when a user makes a change, but you definiyely need a server application to perform the work.

    I’m pretty sure, anyway.

    Reply

  26. Our BlogHarbor weblog hosting service at http://www.blogharbor.com would be a candidate in category 4… “Under the radar” fits, perhaps we’re just a “hidden gem”. ;-)

    Reply

  27. Blog City. Everything a blog should be, and more. They have actual people providing tech support, a user’s forum, and are constantly evolving.

    http://www.blog-city.com/

    Reply

  28. How about SIMILE or libAVG … these projects reach high on their tip-toes on top of giants…

    Reply

  29. For number 6, Jamglue is web 2.0 music mixing, maybe it’d fit?

    http://www.jamglue.com

    Reply

  30. I would like to suggest Slideshare. Think of it as a YouTube for Powerpoint.

    You can upload your presentations (in Powerpoint/OpenOffice) and we will render it in a nice Flash format that you can embed into your blog, website. We launched in October and are rapidly growing. It would fit into #4 and #2.

    http://www.slideshare.net

    Reply

  31. Perhaps you’d be interested in my project ConferenceMeetup. It provides a private social network site geared towards conferences — attendees and presenters. Conference organizers can use the site to help the attendees meet and greet while at the conference, making more efficient use of that valuable time, and to help attendees and presenters interact before, during, and after the conference.

    Reply

  32. Posted by nanek on January 12, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    Opportunity Knocks comment. I love Amazon S3, but based on your requirements it sounds like the wrong tool for the job. You might want to consider using a database to store the subscription information. This is will give you much greater flexibility in presenting multiple views. S3 is much better suited for static content, not dynamic information such as subscriptions. Either way, good luck with your endeavors.

    Reply

  33. Nanek,

    You’re right about s3.
    Nevertheless, I tried to adhere to Dave’s proposal when I created a first pass at http://dev.glistn.com and I do see advantages to storing the OPML on S3, which that app does.
    What might be cool, is if using something like SSE, an opml file owner could authorize other services to edit and update their files. I envision this Attention propagation scenario in a distributed way, rather than the silos that currently power our relationships with vendors.
    I’m hoping t have the equivalent functionality of the share.opml.org site by the end of the long weekend, but I don’t know what Dave has in mind.
    I’m kinda just interested in the space.
    Maybe Dave can shed more light on where he wants this to go.

    Reply

  34. I recommend http://mosaicglobe.com/

    A professional, easy-to-use, website hosting service for people who need to showcase any variety of interests without the hassle of learning HTML or CSS.

    Reply

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