Search is Commoditized

A quote from Tim Bray’s first in a series on search technology:

“All search engines work more or less the same, and offer more or less the same APIs, and provide more or less the same quality of result.”

Interesting. I can’t wait till the next installment.

Spike You!

Catherine rants about Spike Lee’s suit against SpikeTV. I’ll have to add to Cat’s “Spike” list with Elvis Costello’s album Spike from 1989.

And what about all those dogs named Spike? What will we do?

Retro Computing Magazines

I’m certainly feeling nostalgic with all the retro talk lately about early experiences with computing technology.

Given the reflective talk, it’s not surprising to see a mention of some of my favorite computing magazines like
Antic and of course Creative Computing

In fact, I still have a few issues of Creative Computing and Softside from the late 70’s early 80’s. Perhaps when I post my “Newly Digital” experiences, I’ll include pictures of these zines.

OneNote as a Wiki front-end

It just occurred to me that Microsoft’s OneNote, the application “for capturing, organizing, and collaboratively sharing information”, would work well as a front-end to a Wiki.

For example: A Wiki server could act as repository for publishing shared OneNote pages that in turn can be collaborated on either via the browser (in the true Wiki sense) or within the OneNote application itself.

IMHO, this type of integration would push Wiki’s into corporate environments where knowledge management seems to involve too much post-processing work.

I believe this is in part because the tools don’t focus enough on the edges of knowledge gathering. Specifically, where and when knowledge is captured (e.g. ad hoc in meetings, email, blogs, the coffee maker et al)

Of course I’m simplifying the process and the technical hurdles, but there certainly seems to be synergy between a Wiki and OneNote. Perhaps even integration with SharePoint as a dashboard would suffice the corporate enterprise enough to make it viable.

However, the technical obstacles could be simplified if OneNote’s file format was XML-based, but unfortunately this is not the case, according to MS Office Group Program Manager Chris Pratley:

“The file format is not XML, but it’s a very structured binary format that can quickly become XML. We decided not to do XML on this release because it wasn’t core to the basic note-taking. But we architected it for the ability to do XML in our next release very easily.”

Although there’s hope for future releases of OneNote and there’s also the XML file format in Word 2003 (WordML) and other Office 2003 applications like InfoPath to consider, but my question to the LazyWeb is whether the opportunity to integrate OneNote with a Wiki is worth the effort today?

FrontPage 2003 as a blogging tool

I didn’t see this feature in the latest beta of FP 2003, but according to this article on CRN FrontPage 2003 will include a blogging tool.

However, what I also found interesting is that FP 2003 will also “incorporate a full WYSIWYG editor for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSLT)”,

Very cool!

Hmmm… Perhaps I missed that in the beta. (note to self: re-check FP 2003 beta)

Gizmodo 1983

Feeling old? Check out some “cool” Gadgets from 1983.

It’s interesting to note how long it took many of these to catch on en mass and then to apply that logic to some products that we are just starting to see in the consumer markets. (e.g. PVRs, WiFi and even Blogging in the relm of social acceptance)

RSS Marketing

Greg Reinacker talks about companies using RSS feeds to market products instead of opt-in lists and/or the dreaded spam…

“If I could subscribe to a RSS feed that’s personalized for me, containing advertisements and offers of stuff I might actually be interested in, based on information I’ve given, I’d be all over it. Not only would I read it, but I might even buy stuff from it. And it’s all under my control – if I decide I’m no longer interested, I just remove my subscription.”

I certainly agree with what Greg is saying. In fact, I’m subscribed to a number of “product-based” feed in NewsGator right now…

Like for example MoreStuff4Less, Sean Nolan’s Amazon API to RSS feed, and Daniel Bishop’s mod of the eBay-2-RSS script I posted about the other day.

Of course NewsGator makes all this easy to manage and puts the information where it’s most relevant to me … in Outlook.

Posted in RSS

See SPOT run this fall

It would be pretty cool to get an RSS-2-SPOT gateway up and running so we can read our newsfeeds inbetween trips to the fridge for that next beer ;-)

“Microsoft has revealed details of its wireless service for personal devices as it tests the network prior to the availability of products due in the fall. “(via CNet)

Microsoft granted US patent for “interactive entertainment”

Martin sent me a link to this article by Alexander Wolfe of about Microsoft newly granted US patent for “interactive entertainment”.

To quote Alexander…

“[Microsoft’s]… patent [number 6,571,390] appears to claim the invention of networked interactive entertainment.”

Hmm, I wonder what this will mean for video-on-demand systems and perhaps even network-capable PVRs like Replay and hacked TiVo’s.

TiVo Plans to Sell Information on Customers’ Viewing Habits

Catherine sent me a link to this report about TiVo in the NY Times, which I’m sure is making waves with privacy advocates…

“TiVo, the maker of digital video recorders, plans today to begin selling information about the viewing patterns of its customers to advertisers and programmers. The company says the reports offer far more precise data than traditional rating methods.

Because TiVo’s are essentially computer hard drives connected to a central server, the company can monitor viewers’ second-by-second behavior. It can tell how many viewers in a certain ZIP code clicked away at what moment in a commercial, for instance, or when a particular character appeared on a show.


” The information will be gathered in aggregate and filtered through a third party, Mr. Yudkovitz said, so that the habits of individual users will remain anonymous.


” Less than a million households currently own a TiVo, so the data may have limited value for immediate decision-making. But the reports, which Tivo plans to publish quarterly, may give the industry a sense of the changes it is facing…

Like the fact that…

” …54 percent of the total audience was skipping commercials….”

Which will …

“… dramatically alter the way advertisers deliver their message and programmers determine their programming.”

And I hope will reduce media spam, but that could be too much to hope for ;-)

Posted in PVR