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
  • 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
* tag this item at
* 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.