FeedXS

Just found out about this interesting new service. You can create your own RSS feed, without the need of having your own website or blog. The coolest thing is that you can feed the RSS feed through MSN Messenger. You just sign up to the service, add a special buddy (bot) to your buddy list and every time you send a message to this buddy (like in a normal IM conversation) this becomes a post in your RSS feed. Not really usefull for website nor blog owners, but it opens up RSS for the big audience and that’s just way to cool… let’s hope this actually results in some cool feeds.

I’m a step further in my RSS reader quest by the way and I might just have found the the RSS reader I was looking for. The one I’m using now is called RSS Bandit and it sure looks like it’s all I need. Will let you know if that feeling stays or not.

RSS Readers

I’m struggling a bit with RSS these days. I have tried several RSS readers, but still haven’t found the reader that does the job like I want it to. The reader that did the best job so far was Attensa. It’s a free plug-in to Outlook, presenting the RSS in a nice way so it was easy to read all threads. While in Outlook, it was also automatically included in my Windows desktop search, nice. Another cool fact was the RSS detection button for IE so the signup process for RSS feeds couldn’t be easier. It is however not stable enough. From time to time it made my Outlook go crazy and I don’t like that.

So what to do? I looked at other services – and yes I prefer an installed software that’s free to use – namely FeedReader, SharpReader, … nothing special really. They do the trick in presenting the feeds, but reading is no fun, there are no options, etc. Another one I tried was Newzie, that actually had enough options, but you should see them colors… incredible, made me go crazy reading RSS. And then there’s Pluck, nice but too many questions ask before you can actually use it. I don’t want to log on when I read the news I want, that just makes me feel someone’s watching over my shoulders.

Yes I also use Live.com and even the RSS tab in MSN Messenger to follow up on some RSS, but that’s only for the 5-10 most important feeds, not the whole bunch. So if any of you have a good free RSS software you think will solve my problem, just let me know… otherwise I’ll have to wait until Outlook 12 to do the trick.

Gosh

Almost 1 full week since my last post, about 40 sites/articles on my scratchpad that I need to blog about and a headache from yesterday’s party… But I’m back – at least I hope I am – so here we go again.

I was in London last week, and even though it was a pretty fancy hotel, there was not decent internet access available in the room. I hoped to get wireless, i got nothing at all. Internet was available but it just didn’t work, so I called the hotel service desk and they sent someone to my room. Yihaa, problems soon to be over, but oh my gosh… the only thing that this person did was to see if I had connected the network plug right to my pc… so far for technical support.

Still I managed to check out those 2 cool new services I discovered lately – and which I wrote about earlier also – namely Newsvine & Pandora. I’m not using Newsvine as I should for my own writing, but I read a lot of the wire and the vine and I must say, they really did a great job: interesting concept, user friendly, cool options, … it’s all there. And then there’s Pandora. Really cool, and so think all the people I sent it through :-). Anyway, if you want to try out Newsvine, I will be more than happy to share an invitation with you.

Pandora’s Musicbox

This is actually a really cool online music experience. Create your account with Pandora and start creating your own music stations. How does it work? You create a station and start adding artists or songs to it that you really like, from then on you will be able to listen to it and it will mix your artists and add a bunch of music to it that is very related to what you’ve entered. Especially the way how add music to the list, and how it relates to the artists you entered is really good. Start discovering a lot of cool music today and signup. Thx to Matth for flagging this service!

What I need from CES:

Technology, gadgets, new media, … have always interested me a lot, and so I follow up a bit on CES. With RSS in from some good gadget related blogs like engadget, gizmodo that update on an hour-to-hour basis that’s not too difficult. Also Scobleizer and Jaffe Juice give interesting opinions on CES. It’s actually one out of 3 tradeshows that I want to attend one day, the other 2 being E3 and Showest.

So without having been there in Las Vegas, I’ve seen some good stuff that fit my needs pretty well. First of all it made me even more look forward to Vista, but especially to the Media Center version of it which was shown during the Bill Gates keynote at the beginning of CES. . That combined with the new Toshiba Gigabeat and services like Vongo, yummie. It was actually Russell Beattie’s blog where I heard first about the Vongo, hope they go international soon. And ofcourse I would need the biggest plasma around to go with that and that would be the 103 inch Matsusita (hoping that it’s HD).

And then there’s also Samsung, they are really getting up to speed the last years on technology, see for yourself: Samsung booth at CES, Samsung product announcements. Only the new “imagine the possibilities” brand campaign of Samsung is a bit dissapointing, not really anything new in there.

Birthday in April, bring it on.

Beta Stuff

The last 2 to 3 weeks I’ve been testing some beta online web applications & sites that I discovered recently. I haven’t done testing yet, and not all of them are ready to go… hence why they call them beta ofcourse. For some of those betas you will need an invite, but just type in your email address and most of the time you get almost instant access.

  • Amazon Mechanical Turk: This new service from Amazon let’s people do really simple tasks, but extraordinary difficult for computers. An example would be to check photographs if there’s a car on it or so. This they call a HIT – Human Intelligence Task. Not really what I see my self doing, but I can imagine people will start doing this to make money.
  • Digg: Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do. Still need to figure out what real advantage is, don’t see it yet.
  • Newsvine Inc.: Newsvine is fun (after sign up) you get access to a news website that combines news from the wire (AP) with stories that Newsvine users have been writing, or even just links that people have ‘seeded’ to Newsvine to point to good, related stories. You can easily create your own column that will feed the news. Maybe an even better integration to already existing blogs would be cool, but still looks really good.
  • Opinmind: The Opinmind search engine, searches blogs by your keyword on opinions. The query results in a 2 colom results page, with positive blogposts at the left side, negative at the right side of the page. There’s also an overall Sentimeter to give the total score based on the posts. Nice.
  • Protopage: This Protopage is one (of many) new services that offer to possibility to create a personnalised homepage, but this one almost only with RSS feeds. I prefer my Live.com.
  • Previewseek: The slogan from Previewseek is “the world’s most advanced search engine”. Not sure if they are, but there is some nice stuff to it. One of the best parts is that it actually gives a direct answer to every query you make, which is something Microsoft is trying to do with their search engine: provide answers instead of just search results. Previewseek is doing a good job at that.
  • Retrievr: Retrievr is an experimental service which lets you search and explore in a selection of Flickr images by drawing a rough sketch. Although the actual search on the sketches I made were not really giving good results, it is very useful if you’re looking for an image that uses a specific color. Most professional image databases like they use in creative agencies also offer tools like that to look for that perfect image to use in an advertising. So keep up the good work, hope you really recognise my sketch one day (and yes, I’ll learn how to draw in the meanwhile)

Human Clock

I just discovered this website. As an actual clock it’s not so useful, but the idea of showing a new photo every minute, showing the actual time is pretty nice. Ofcourse you’ll close it after a minute or 3 but I will at least from time to time return to see what photo they’ve came up with now. Thanks to Bob DuCharme’s weblog that pointed this out to me. Make sure you also take a look at this blog as it gives you some other cool stuff on the next whole new web… the web 2.0 2.0 :-)

AJAX Translator

This AJAX translator is a good proof of the point made on the technology focus of Web 2.0 and not the user focus. Is this translator better than let’s say Altavista’s Babel Fish? No, the translation for full sentences is still crap, and it even doesn’t offer the same amount of languages to choose from. So what’s the advantage of AJAX here, why bother? Let’s focus on offering real value and not so much technology underneath.