Blog posts tagged "site"

MeasureMap Alpha: Review

November 22nd, 2005

I’ve been running the alpha of MeasureMap for a few weeks now, and I thought I’d do a quick brain dump.

First thing you notice? It’s pretty, just ridiculously, gratuitously whizbangy. And that can make it find of fun to play with, in and of itself. Still that Flash can be slow (though not apparently compared to Google Analytics), but really if I was getting the questions I had answered, I don’t think I’d notice.

And as a domain specific (blogs) stats package, they’ve done some nice work breaking up the reports into appropriate discrete units. (I love the daily overview screen you get when you click thru from the timeline and you’ve posted multiple blog posts in a single day)

The Wrong Questions

Maybe LaughingMeme is abnormal, but I have about 10 posts that Google loves so much that (according to MMap) they account for 47% of all my traffic. (and its a power law distribution) In general they aren’t posts I’m all that excited about: year old speculation on Google IMAP brings in hundreds of visitors a day, while Beklin Sucks! has been a perennial favorite, and daily traffic to I’m feeling lucky often exceeds 1000 visitors.

The fact that people are visiting these pages is boring. And the fact that Google is sending them there, day in and day out? Boring.

Show Me the Novel

What’s new? What’s different today then yesterday, this week then last week? Freak outliers, and emerging trends please.

55 Posts About Coffee And Still They Come

Help me out with audience. What brings the readers? What brings the links? What brings the comments? I’ve got my posts marked up with microformat tags, Yahoo has the term extraction API, lets use some of that domain specificity to do something new. (and while rel=”tag” is the only widely deployed microformats currently, more will follow)

Gurchin has got Gads integration, MMaps needs to distinguish by exploiting its specialty.

And Speaking of “conversions”

Any chance of hooking up with Feedburner to allow me to plot subscriber spikes to blog posts? No idea if the data would be compelling, but I know that most of the people in my subscription list got there by writing one really good post. (staying there is harder)

Sources and Fans

You’re tracking links in, and links out, I’d love to see that information compiled into its social mesh.

Quirky Stats Muching AI

Okay, what I really want is an AI that gets a kick out of pouring over the logs all day, and finding the quirky and sublime.

Imagine logging in to be told that “the query ‘bush in freefall’ was your 22nd most popular search yesterday, but your 1st most popular on searches coming from .mil” (true), or “the spike in ‘weather rss’ this weekend corresponded to freak hail storms across the country” (actually I have no idea why that query spiked). But I’m willing to settle for a bit less.

On Book Listing Services

November 6th, 2005

For years I’ve wanted a decent website where I can manage my relationship with books. (not especially complicated, but voluminous)

For a while there was largely nothing, then there was Allconsuming which was wonderful, but slowly died, and went dark before being re-incarnated in the mold of a 43x tool. And I have this memory of there being a nifty little $14/mo tool, back in the days when I didn’t pay for websites, but I wasn’t able to find it.

Last Fall, I started sketching down notes towards building my own, and in the intervening year its become an interestingly crowded space. (who knew so many other people felt the pull) Even in the 6 weeks since I first started jotting down sites for this blog post, the space has evolved with LibraryThing coming out solidly on top as the most active: most actively developed, most actively used, and most actively engaged developer.

That said, in a cursory search (mostly of my del.icio.us links) I turned up 5 other very similar services

Also the Bookshelf example app from 24L, and the intersting related services What Should I Read Next?, and Library Elf

None of them are quite there yet, and I want more, more, more!

Read the rest of this entry »

CommonTimes: Social Bookmarking as Open Editing

September 26th, 2005

del.icio.us is perhaps the beating heart of my web these days, not because I find bookmarks so useful, but because its useful to have a generic service for streaming links. But generic only gets you so far, as an engine for discovery del.icio.us can be painful, flipping through pages and pages of chronologically sorted results. Its comparable to the difference between Google’s search, with its largely generic listing of pages, and Google News which uses its domain knowledge to chunk, categorizes, and summarize the days news.

CommonTimes

This is what CommonTimes is about. A project Jeff, Brian, and others launched a few months ago; it iterates on the successful model of del.icio.us to provide news centric “open editing” for the web. A vertical social bookmarking site, with a light touch editorial process to keep the site on topic.

The Web Needs Editors!

CT provides most of what you’d expect, tags, groups, bookmarklets, heat maps, RESTful APIs and some nice touches like an “Add from Bloglines” Greasemonkey script, and an adapted version of the del AJAX browser.

Perhaps more importantly CT points forward to a strategy (among many) for dealing with ever expanding problem of information overload, “smarter clients.” (Do I sound like a Microsoftie?) One approach is the AI-inspired, strong editor approach of a tech.memeorandum .

But personally my gets are on the “many editors makes categorization easy” technique that has got to be the years surprise success story, combined with tools which take advantage of available metadata, either through inference of explicit scoping.

Now that the idea is out there I’m surprised that there aren’t dozens of these vertical bookmarking sites.

Scaling Down, Scaling Up

Of course social sites, do rely on having a community, and there in perhaps lies the key challenge to building a site like CommonTimes. Thankfully there are solutions. Like breaking out of our silos, becoming a consumer as well as a producer of webservices. I want to tell CT about how to fish in my link stream (e.g. subscribe to http://del.icio.us/rss/kellan/news), and then remix with its own services.

Finally a link to get you started: Ten Ways to use CommonTimes

Meditations on a Changing Web: Delocator and Community Annotations

April 5th, 2005

The Starbucks Delocator which flashed across Boing Boing today (not to mention hit my inbox mere minutes later, thanks Steve) embodies in itself an interesting tension I’ve been trying to tease out for a while. Would it be too horribly smug to say it’s a tension between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 and leave it at that? Probably.

What Is It?

In brief it is a website that attempts to offer a national (presumably U.S. national as it asks for zip codes) database of independent coffee shops, in order to support those fine and public places.

Things it gets right (Web 2.0-ish):

  • geographic – the physical was missing from the web for so long, that even though it is becoming standard each new website which can tie the virtual experience to real world location presents a little epiphany.
  • user built – this is an art project so the mail off a stack of phone books to China and pay to have them typed in route was never an option, but still its clueful to see someone make user contributions front and center.
  • its pretty (ok, that might not be Web 2.0-ish)
  • its opensource

Things it gets wrong (Web 1.0-sih):

  • roach motel – why should I contribute to this database when there is no way to get a dump of the data?
  • no maps
  • no user editing – a quick scan of my area shows it is not only sparsely populated, but that of the 3 entries I did find I could add additional info to all of them.
  • no user profile, no community, no reputations – you can see that I added June Bug, but rather then my name being a link to my profile, its a mailto with my address!
  • no permalinks – can’t really expose a database of first class web objects without permalinks
  • a splash screen, with a popup window!?!?! I feel like I’m in a timewarp!

And just to be clear, I’m not attacking Delocator for this, my own minimal attempt at cataloging and promoting independent coffee shops falls down on most of of these points as well. Just talking them through.

A Short Story About Roach Motels

So why would you possibly want to provide a dump of your entire database? Re-use and re-mixing. Projects like delocator, openguides, addyourown, et al. are one facet of how we’re starting to annotate our spaces around us. Projects like mappr are another. THe more we can get the data out of it’s silos, the more we can combine it to interesting effect. (and if we can just get it all into RDF we can sit back and let Jo do the rest)

But a simpler story is, when do you want info like Delocator (or any of these) provide? When you’re out. Not when you’re sitting at home in front of the computer. Opening up your data means you can get someone to help you with a mobility solution, be that a cell phone based interface, an iPod compatible database, or a clever PDF to print out and stick in your pocket.

Two Way Data Interchange

What we really need is a data format for this stuff. I personally I know the website, address, phone number, etc of about 100 independent coffee shops not listed on the Delocator page. (call me obsessed) And I have most of that information stored digitally. If I had a way to send them an XML file of that information we’d both be happier. Similarly I’d be happy to contribute to addyourown, chefmoz, and openguides, and would love to be pulling out the data from those sites to enrich my own listings. But not if I have to re-type it!

State of the Art

I did a brief survey of available formats last Summer, and didn’t come up with anything compelling. The ChefMoz format looked like it might be a decent starting point, I no longer remember what I found so problematic about it. Anyone else interested?

update: a bit more on Delocator

From 3 locations to 7 in a couple of hours is pretty good growth, I’m impressed. And I wouldn’t have thought to add City Feed, which is one of my all time favorite places. (just decided what I’m doing for lunch!) But how do we define non-corporate? In Boston this is particuarily hard where almost everything is part of a mini-chain. I’ll grant you Emack and Bolio’s with its 7 locations in Boston probably makes the cut, but how about ERC, with its 20 locations in 6 states?