Linkage Finds Interesting Treasures for the Mind

One of the “weak­ness­es” that I have (oth­er than a suck­er for FREE food) would prob­a­bly be the fact that I like to learn a lot of new things. How can this be a weak­ness? Well, it’s kind of like play­ing sports. You would like to get into each sport you see on TV or the ones that your peers love to play. By doing so, you get to become a great ath­lete. How­ev­er, a down­side to that would be you not being able to become a great play­er of a par­tic­u­lar sport. Now, this might not be true for every­thing and every­one but col­lec­tive­ly, it is.

Late­ly, this weak­ness have been get­ting me in the world of tech­nol­o­gy, more specif­i­cal­ly web-tech­nol­o­gy. With all of this “Web 2.0” boom going around in the air, it just makes you won­der when this “upgrade” will be set. Appli­ca­tions left-and-right are com­ing at you at ludi­crous speed. Try­ing to keep up with every sin­gle one of them is a chore, but also excit­ing, edu­ca­tion­al and inspir­ing.

With the boom comes com­pe­ti­tion. The will to suc­ceed and ide­ol­o­gy “to be bet­ter, smarter and more effi­cient than the next guy” are what fuels these new breeds of think-tanks and Web 2.0 inno­va­tors.

With that, a cou­ple of the most inter­est­ing finds that I’ve come across in the past cou­ple of days:

Start-up pages/desktops
I’ve been using Pro­topage late­ly as a start page for my browser(s). With it’s recent improve­ments, I can say that I am hap­py with it as my pri­ma­ry choice amongst the apps in this cat­e­go­ry. But with one of the Web’s notable com­pa­nies start­ing their own and then releas­ing an API with it, who is to say that Google might just take the lead. Oth­er than it’s styl­is­tic fas­cade, Google’s home­page might be a con­tender. We will soon see.

Note: Here’s an inter­view that TWiT (Amber Macarthur and Leo Laporte) did with Andre Par­rie, founder of Pro­topage (run­ning time: 22:50).

37signals on a roll
With prod­ucts and ser­vices like Write­board, Ta-da List, Back­pack and the ever-so pop­u­lar Base­camp, 37signals gives the gift of Camp­fire. After some time and mul­ti­ple chances to fig­ure out Jason Fried’s ambigu­ous announce­ment (about 2 days worth), Bri­an final­ly sheds some light and blurts out Campfire’s pur­pose (or one of them at least)—Sym­pho­ny.

Sym­pho­ny is a web pub­lish­ing sys­tem that breaks the mould. It puts you in the driver’s seat with the pow­er and flex­i­bil­i­ty to make your dream web­site a real­i­ty.

Camp­fire ser­vices are Symphony’s exten­sion mod­ules, and allow you to shape your sys­tem to meet your spe­cif­ic needs. If you need to accom­plish a spe­cif­ic task that Sym­pho­ny can’t yet do alone, just install a Camp­fire ser­vice for it and your sys­tem has just grown slight­ly more pow­er­ful.

Looks like we have anoth­er con­tender in the world of pub­lish­ing sys­tems; join­ing the ranks of Mov­able Type and Word­Press. It’s going out the door for $49, and requires: PHP 4.3+; MySQL 3.1.2+; and Apache 1.3+. An online demo can be found via this link. Word of cau­tion though, it seems that it requires a stan­dards com­pli­ant brows­er (at least for the admin inter­face) like Safari and/or Fire­fox.

Mean­while, fol­low­ing his “ambigu­ous Camp­fire announce­ment,” Jason then announces 37signals’ new prod­uct-in-the-works, a CRM tool called Sun­rise.

Sun­rise is a CRM-ish tool for small busi­ness­es. We’re aim­ing to change the small busi­ness CRM mar­ket with Sun­rise in the same way we changed the small busi­ness project man­age­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tion mar­ket with Base­camp.

Sun­rise will be shown for the very first time at the Get­ting Real Work­shop in Jan­u­ary. With new prod­ucts pop­ping up all over 37signals’ radar these past cou­ple of months, it’s not hard to notice that the team is in full-stride. Kudos to them. It seems that while every­one is enjoy­ing the hol­i­day sea­son shop­ping, going to com­pa­ny par­ties, eat­ing great food, car­ol­ing (well maybe this only applies to a select few)… they’re flex­ing their mus­cles and push­ing new offer­ings to make the sea­son bright for every­one.

Note: To cel­e­brate their suc­cess and “share the wealth”, 37signals announces the Base­camp Affil­i­ate Pro­gram and the Back­pack Affil­i­ate Pro­gram.

Feed­burn­er improve­ments
Recent­ly, I have been beta-test­ing a hand­ful of new Web 2.0 appli­ca­tions. I sel­dom choose the ones I like in terms of: how it’ll inte­grate with my needs; its look and feel; and some times, what the mass­es are say­ing about it. One of these appli­ca­tions that I’ve been using almost dai­ly would be Search­Fox RSS. It is still in its ear­ly beta, so there are still a cou­ple of design and func­tion­al­i­ty tweaks that need to be done. How­ev­er, I find it to be more friend­ly that News­ga­tor.

Along with that, I recent­ly noticed that some of the feeds con­tained new call-to-actions like:

  • Email this
  • Email the author
  • Tech­no­rati incom­ing-link count
  • Add to del.icio.us
  • Add a com­ment

So I was in awe as these are real­ly use­ful to feed-read­ers. I total­ly praised Search­fox on this great addi­tion. But my assump­tion was wrong, it wasn’t even a Search­fox fea­ture; it was from Feed­burn­er.

I found out through Pete Cash­more that Feed­burn­er released anoth­er ser­vice called Feed­Flare. Here’s a brief description/capabilities of Feed­Flare from their blog:

Feed­Flare is ini­tial­ly launch­ing today with sev­en sim­ple options, includ­ing:

* most pop­u­lar tags for this item via del.icio.us
* tag this item at del.icio.us
* Tech­no­rati cos­mos: num­ber of links to this post
* Cre­ative Com­mons license for this spe­cif­ic item. This works even if you are splic­ing, say, a Flickr pho­to feed into a blog feed and the two par­ent feeds have dif­fer­ent licens­es asso­ci­at­ed with them.
* num­ber of com­ments on this post (cur­rent­ly only for feeds cre­at­ed by Word­Press)
* email this item
* email the author of this item (par­tic­u­lar­ly help­ful if the item ends up spliced into anoth­er feed or repur­posed on a site).

Short­ly after we launch Feed­Flare for Web sites, we will launch our favorite part of this ser­vice: an open API for adding new Feed­Flare ser­vices. There are for­eign lan­guage web ser­vices we don’t know about, there are web ser­vices that appeal to a small niche of pub­lish­ers, and there are peo­ple out there who are far more cre­ative than we. Those sound like three good rea­sons to make Feed­Flare com­plete­ly open, and we will pub­lish a com­plete spec­i­fi­ca­tion and API with exam­ples. Any­body can write to the spec, and pub­lish­ers will be able to start using these new ser­vices imme­di­ate­ly. There is no appli­ca­tion process or sub­mis­sion form at Feed­Burn­er — ser­vices that imple­ment the spec­i­fi­ca­tion will just work.

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