MyBlogLog and Web 2.0 Expo

Todd and I have been busy hanging out over at this week’s Web 2.0 Expo (save one short visit to the nearby Blue Bottle Coffee, thanks Sam!) but the team has been back at MyBlogLog HQ cranking out some cool stuff regardless.

HCard & VCard support – very cool to see these come to light. Todd has the scoop.

MBL Mobile – we brushed off this hack and updated it a bit. Steve wrote a java client (and Chris made a cool Mac installer) that you can download and run on your desktop. It runs in the background and a little bubble pops up when a fellow opted in MyBlogLogger is within Bluetooth range.

Wi-Fi enabled invitations – O’Reilly was kind enough to give us the IP Addresses of the wi-fi routers at the Expo. We now look for any traffice coming from this range and if we see a MyBlogLog member accessing it from this range, we leave them a message on their MyBlogLog profile inviting them to check out MBL Mobile and to stop by the Yahoo booth and say, “Hi”

Collective Intelligence – as we have done before, we use the wi-fi address range to collect a gallery of all the MyBlogLog members that have used the internet via the Web 2.0 Expo routers. We sometimes get around to showing a rank ordered list of the most popular links but didn’t get around to it this time.

Dipity Lifestream Visualization

Just re-discovered Dipity which was a cool tool for creating timelines. They now have jumped onto the lifestreaming bandwagon and provide a way to publish and share a portion of your lifestream in a visual way.


The Lifestream Filter Will be the Next Great Algorithm War

I’m paraphrasing the title of this post from David Recordon who threw this line out following a chat I had with him a couple of weeks back. It’s a very insightful observation that predicts opportunities in the real-time world which lifestream services operate.

It’s now easier than ever to pull together an aggregated feed of content from across the web. Facebook and FriendFeed organize this content around your friends and contacts. MyBlogLog also presents a New in My Neighborhood view which shows a mixed feed of all your contact’s lifestream content. Yet, once you get more than a handful a friends on these systems, the number of updates (especially if any of them are using twitter) quickly spins out beyond what you can handle.

Twitter is often used to announce new blog posts and the new broadcast service from Six Apart, Blog It, only exasperates the problem by spawning multiple posts from a single Facebook entry. We live in a world where finding out what your friends are doing is not a problem. The difficulty is in filtering through the hundreds of updates that stream by each day to those events that are most relevant without losing the sense of serendipitous discovery that we experience today.

So here we are today. It’s like we’re all discovering search engines all over again. In a matter of weeks we’ve gone from “Wow! I can find everything here!” to, “Crap! Over 600,000 results for the phrase Serendipitous Discovery? How can I find the one reference I’m looking for?”

The huge opportunity ahead is a filter to bubble up the things you need to know without missing anything you want to know.

A couple of posts point to this being a trend

We’re trying a few things out at MyBlogLog that vector results based on how you have tagged yourself on your profile. Right now, in a user’s New in My World feed, it’s a straight, chronological feed based on items that match your tags. Also, because it’s based on meta-data, this only means we can present you with items that are tagged so that leaves out plain text updates such as twitter posts but we’re just getting started.

As David’s quote indicates, this is a huge opportunity and something I look forward to working on. I look forward to a robust debate on different approaches in the coming weeks!

Community 2.0 with Twitter

MyBlogLog just launched an experiment and a shared account at twitter.com/mybloglog. All of us on the team have twitter accounts and have been tripping over each other using our accounts to respond to people and get the word out to our various, over-lapping pools of followers.

The twittersphere is so noisy anyway that when we sat back and thought about it, having a central voice for MyBlogLog the product just made more sense. There are thousands of MyBlogLog users that have added their twitter accounts to their profile and rather than reaching out to them piecemeal, it just seemed to make more sense to have a single account to handle the outgoing communications.

So a single account to broadcast the occasional shout out or service update is a no-brainer. The harder, experimental part is the listening part. We set up a script that automatically follows anyone that has added their twitter account to their MyBlogLog profile. It’s impossible to keep up with the thousands of conversations going on amongst our members so we’re taking the advice of our very own twitter ninja, Todd and are limiting our listening to just the @mybloglog replies and direct messages.

Who knows what will happen, we’ll have to just go with it a bit and see how it goes. It’s just a few hours since we’ve announced this and the replies are already rolling in at a pretty rapid clip. I’m a little worried because we all have a product to run as well and the interruptive nature of twitter brings out my worst ADD tendencies.

One thing is for certain, this channel is an excellent source of real-time feedback. MyBlogLog releases early and often and we thrive on input to tap us in the right direction or smack us upside the head if we’re dead wrong. The early responses to the follow script range from positive to “what took you so long?” so I think we did the right thing.

Some of the followers have let us know about other companies that are playing around with branded twitter accounts. Here’s a running list so far:

Ironically, it doesn’t seem like @twitter is really used in the same way. Curious.

Update: looks like we’re headed in the right direction. Overnight reactions are almost all positive and the Stop Twitter Spam makes me realize we dodged a bullet by posting about why we were auto-following all 14,000+ that have added their twitter ID to their MyBlogLog profile.

Facebook takes away your thumbs

Inside Facebook noticed that the thumbs up icon no longer on the Facebook mini-feed.  All in the name of simplification says Facebook but to me it seems like they’ve removed a sense of control over the feed I once thought I had.

No Thumbs Allowed

Curiously, the FAQ is still there.

Our Local Pocket Cinema

Nice write-up in the San Francisco Chronicle of our local, 49-seat movie theater in Alameda. It’s a one-man operation with the same guy who takes your tickets and serving you popcorn also running the projector. With old couches and laz-y-boy chairs to sit on, it’s more reminiscent of Cinema Paradiso than your standard Lowes megaplex.

Our competition here is not that megaplex opening downtown,” Haskett says. “Our competition is Blockbuster. Our competition is Netflix. Our competition is iTunes. I’ve got a big screen and a venue that you don’t have at your house. But you’ve got your sofa and you’ve got your TiVo. That’s where the competition lies.

Bluetooth Headset Monitors Conversations, Offers Helpful Advice

bluetooth-headset.gif A new type of Bluetooth headset hits the market today that offers a unique service for busy travelers on the go. Listening in on your conversations, the Concierge by Sony Ericsson offers helpful tips when it senses hesitation or pause in the dialog.

Let’s say you’re talking to your date about a good place to go for Chinese and have come up short after a run down of the usual spots. Concierge will softly suggest a few places nearby based on geo-location data made available from your GPS-enabled phone.

Having a debate with your landlord about a drafty window that needs fixing? Concierge to the rescue again with a list of reasonably-priced contractors convenient to your home address.

Once you get used to that voice in your head, you’ll never want to take it off. Concierge will sing softly to you when it’s time to go to sleep and bark your active to-dos first thing in the morning when you’re brushing your teeth.