26 November 2005

How to speed up del.icio.us

If you love tags and if you use lots of them in del.icio.us, chances are good that you have to wait for 10 seconds or more until your pages are displayed in your browser. If you use del.icio.us on a regular basis this can become a royal PITA.

A little experiment: open the page of notmuch (uses about 3000 tags) and then the page of katiesays17 (uses about 130 tags) in a new tab or window (otherwise you might not come back.)

Your mileage may vary, but for me 100 tags seem to delay the rendering of the page for a second or two, and waiting for the page of notmuch is an exercise in patience.

Less tags equal a better browsing experience, so here are a few techniques (a.k.a. no brainers) you might consider for reducing the number of tags (if you’ve got lots of ‘em) without deleting any informational value and without changing your basic tagging mode (you can conveniently rename tags under http://del.icio.us/settings/[yourusername]/tags):

get rid of typos

(Michael Arrington is the undisputed champ of creating variants on techcrunch: tecchrunch, techcruch, techcrunc, techcrund, techcrunhc, techrunch and tehcrunch.)

get rid of synonyms

Many del.icio.user apply web2.0 and web20 and web2 to a bookmark to cover each possible tag others might use for searching. Choose one and stick with it. Others will fill in the synonyms for you.

get rid of tags with only one attached resource

- if it’s not within your area of expertise or special interest – and use a broader term instead.

I’ve used 20 tags for describing various flavors of XML for 15 links I’ve bookmarked. As long as I won’t start heavy bookmarking in this field again, xml will just work fine.

Using these three simple filters I was able to tame down my tags from 750 to under 500, and del.icio.us just feels nice again.

23 November 2005

del.icio.us genealogy

memepool – the grandpa of del.icio.us

23 November 2005

Can you get to "Z"?


Easy to play and hard to master.

(via the egoist)

22 November 2005


Technorati Mini

Technorati Mini may be habit-forming. Do not operate a motorized vehicle while using Technorati Mini. May cause excitement and/or nostalgia for Web 1.0. Minors should discuss using Technorati Mini with their parents. Technorati Mini may annoy popup-blockers. Do not taunt Technorati Mini.

22 November 2005

What's wrong with RSS?

Part of my jobdescription at the MoMB is to keep an eye on webapps which are not public yet. Some are pretty much in stealth mode, some are in closed alpha or beta, but most of them encourage you to leave your email address for being notified if they go public. None of them offers a RSS or Atom feed for this notification though, and I really wonder why.

What could be more convenient to the interested user than to subscribe to a quick and dirty feed which is dedicated for the announcement of the launch of the product, put it in a folder cool stuff to check out, and then forget about it until the good news arrives?

I don’t think anyone likes to spread his email address around, and I bet many of us use dedicated dummy addresses for these kind of scenarios, so the chances are pretty good that the notification email actually never will be seen by the recipient (killed by some ambitious spam filter, waiting in an abandoned email address,...)

A few examples, the list goes on and on:

DigitalBicycle (Sign up to receive an update when the site launches, and for possible inclusion as a beta tester. We’re good, honest folks, and we promise not to spam you or sell your address to the highest bidder.)

Blogbeat (Enter your email address below and we will notify you as soon as the service is publically available. And without sending you any spam.)

flagr (Enter your email and become the first to flag your spots.)

Buzzage (Register to participate in our upcoming Beta.)

Socius (Fill in your email address below to receive information about the development of Socius and to find out when it becomes publicly available. We promise not to spam you. And if you’re lucky, you might receive an invitation to the private beta.)

Republic of Blog (get invited to our Web 2.0 beta. if you’re cool enough.)

Free Time Zone Beta (Please enter your contact info if you would like to be notified of anything we might come up with.)


Plum (Come back in a few weeks or leave us your email address and we will notify you when we launch.)

Sprout (Enter your address below and we’ll let you know when Mailroom is available. Be among the first to know when our new Ruby on Rails product is launched.)

CourseCafe (Sign up below and we will notify you when we launch.)

MyTella (Private Beta Sign Up)

agnda (Mailing List Sign-up)

dabble DB (Feel free to sign up for our mailing list below. We’ll send you a note as soon as it’s ready for you to try out.)

3bases (enter your email address and click ‘submit’)

Ma.gnolia (If you’d like to be one of the first to see exactly what we mean, just enter your email below. You’ll be notified of our launch and become one of the first members of the Ma.gnolia community)

Cha-Ching! (Enter your email address below and we’ll keep you posted.)

Sphere (your email address)

edgio (.. please give us your email address ..)

sixtyspots (Put your e-mail in the box and we’ll make sure you’re in on the fun…)

21 November 2005

Emergency tip if Google is sick

If Google has problems (as it seems to have today) a zillion of webpages has problems too. Many pages try to load Ads or stats or what not, and – depending on your browser and settings – often you won’t see the page displayed (even if it might be loaded already) if the adserver is not responding.

Emergency treatment 101: turn off JavaScript in your browser (usually under Preferences).

(recursive sidenote: I tried to remove the code for Google Analytics from this blog (it runs on Blogger = Google), which means I need to change my template and republish the blog, but I was not able to change my template, because the site was calling Google Analytics, which was not responding)

19 November 2005

freshly juiced


Flickrmap – a Flash-based Flickr mashup which will create a map of your Flickr photos if you’ve geotagged them.

Subscribe below and we’ll let you know as soon as Flickrmap is ready. The first 100 people will be invited to beta test the map.


SpinSpy – basically another Digg clone

but you can also rank the amount of “spin” or bias you think a certain news story has.

LiveJournal Tags

LiveJournal Tags – tag-based search for LiveJournal


AjaxWhois – ajax’y domain name lookup and whois

and unrelated but insanely great: Space Invaders in Paris

16 November 2005

Google Base on Google Base

Google Base on Google Base

15 November 2005

How to break a habit (and a bone)

I guess we all know what’s good for ourselves (or our friends and relations, or our community, or the world) – but we still keep on acting against this knowledge most of the time – or sometimes at least. That’s perfectly ok of course, but one cause for this are habits, which are burned into our nervous system and make us repeat the same patterns again and again.

But I just want to tell a little story:

a few days ago I had a fracture in a bone of my right hand, and currently the only finger left to be used is my thumb. Well, this is not the worst thing that can happen to you in your life, still I felt miserably the first day, and on the second day I was really depressed, but on the third day I started to develop little hacks/workarounds for various tasks.

However and switch of subject: I drink way too much coffee. I have one of these italian stove-top Espresso Machines, and when I wake up in the morning I automagically find myself preparing and sipping coffee, and then various times more throughout the day. I don’t think I’m addicted (every addict claims this), but it’s a habit. I tried to drink less coffee various times without success, so I just went with the flow.

But since I only have my left hand available, this behavioural pattern changed. It’s still the first thing I do in the morning, but during the rest of the day I started to drink tea instead. I had no intention to drink less coffee this time, it is just a little bit too cumbersome to prepare it. I bought a variety of herbal, black and green teas in bags (I hear all Brits unsubscribe now), and it’s just much more convenient – and actually a pleasure for the senses.

My takeaway (and note to self, I hope to expermiment with this theme a little bit in the future) from this is: if you want to break a habit, try to artificially raise the effort and/or the costs for doing it. Everyone’s mileage varies of course, but we are pretty versatile actually, and we will readjust and start living smarter.

15 November 2005

40 somethings

Brilliant idea: Forty Faces – an aggregator displaying the most recent blog postings via the photos of the author’s faces. (Currently only about 140 bloggers are listed – with Jeff Jarvis being one of them. He actually was there whenever I took a peek).

15 November 2005


And also recently (given the number of current pages) Shoutwire launched. If you know digg, you will feel right at home immediately.

15 November 2005

Hunt and Gather

Today Gather launched. Gather is a next generation user generated content community and exploit with a nice set of social networking and collaborative filtering features.

Registered users can publish articles and Gather provides various layers of visibility for those:

I didn’t try it yet, and there are tons of (social) features inside, so you might want to check out the Gather Lingo and the comprehensive review by Robin Good.

13 November 2005

del.icio.us adds tagroll

del.icio.us today added tagrolls, which let you to display your del.icio.us tags on your blog or website.

There are a few settings you can play with:

del.icio.us tagcloud options

What I’m missing is a way to exclude specific tags.

Related: Tag clouds are the new mullets

11 November 2005


So Fotolia – a marketplace for photos targeting the long tail – launched yesterday, TechCrunch has the story.

It’s interesting to compare the

top 150 tags photographers use to describe a photo:

abstract adult animal architecture art asian attractive autumn background beach beautiful beauty black blue body boy bright brown brunette building business child children christmas city close close-up closeup clouds color colorful colors colour computer concept cute dark decoration design detail diet drink eat eyes face fall farm fashion female field flora flower flowers food forest fresh fruit fun garden girl glass gold grass green hair hand happy head health healthy holiday home hot house isolated kid lady landscape leaf leaves life light love macro male man metal model money natural nature nutrition object ocean office old orange outdoor outdoors over white paper park pattern people person pink plant play portrait pose power pretty red reflection round sand sea season seasonal sexy shadow sign skin sky smile smiling spring stone summer sun sunset sweet symbol tasty technology teen texture travel tree trees vacation water white winter woman women wood work yellow young

with top 150 tags of the most searched photos:

3d animal apple art asian australia autumn baby background ball baseball beach bear beauty bee bikini bird black blue body bottle boy breast bridge building buildings business butterfly camera car cars cat child children china christmas church city coffee computer corn couple dog door erotic eye eyes face fall family female fire fireworks fish flag flower flowers food forest frog fruit girl girls glass globe green hair halloween hand heart horse hot house ice india italy japan kids kiwi lake lamp landscape laptop leaf leaves legs light london love man men money moscow mushroom naked nature new night nude office old orange paper paris people peppers phone photo pictures pool pumpkin pussy rain red rose russia sand santa sea seagull sex sexy sign singapore sky smile snow soccer sun sunflower sunset sushi swan teen tiger tits tower train tree wall water wedding white wine winter wolf woman women work york

AFAIK this is the first service which contrasts these two perspectives (the authors seem to have a more poetic notion, the users seem to search for nouns mostly). I wonder if these clouds approximate over time.

11 November 2005

Austria transports the mascot figure

(translated version from this pic from a chinese photo-sharing site – and only funny if you are from Austria, but I’d love to find out what this is about)

btw.: if you are interested in the Chinese Web2-ohsphere, check out Rebecca MacKinnon’s Chinese Bloggers: Everybody is Somebody

The Chinese economy functions today (to the extent that it does) thanks largely to personal relationship networks: networks that enable people to get stuff done despite bone-headed regulations, politics, logistical obstacles, and everything else. You are nothing in China – and can accomplish very little – without a good “guanxi” network. Expect Chinese internet users to seize upon Web 2.0 tools as a way to expand and deepen their human relationships, enhancing both personal lives and businesses. Expect Chinese users build new tools that suit their own preferred ways of communication. The Chinese are likely to have a growing impact on the evolution of web applications.

7 November 2005


It’s a little known fact that people have been podcasting already a hundred years ago. They weren’t subscribed to RSS or Atom feeds then but to théâtrophone networks, and they used their telephones instead of mobile MP3 players to listen to the shows, yet there was a flourishing phonecasting scene in many major cities around the world.

Zoë Irvine’s Dial-a-Diva – an event spanning the globe for 24 hours, connecting singers and listeners live by telephone – is a lovely project remembering these pioneers but also reflecting current telephonic soundscapes:

In today’s culture of telephony besides having a chat on the phone, distant outsourced call centres bring customer services to clients as if they were down the road, the latest hits are translated to polyphonic ring tones, we spend hours speaking to synthesised voices to get train times, we listen to music on hold whether we like it or not and we broadcast in intimate detail our lives down the phone and the train for all to hear and occasionally at a concerts, lifting the handset towards the band we let one not present participate in the event, for a highly compressed moment at least.

4 November 2005

Borderline Wikis

The basic principle of a wiki is a shared space that anyone can edit. This simple idea is based on collaboration and communication and has generated fantastic stuff.

Recently (BlinkBits) and forthcoming (Squidoo – currently in private beta) two applications launched, which take the concept of the shared space, but tweak the notion of how the content is generated:

(screenshot from Seth Godin’s sample lens)

Squidoo takes a kind of free information markets driven approach (darwinian visibility of the best/most informative), a shared space of monads (lenses) that anyone can create, but only the ‘lensmaster’ can author.

From the blog:

Wikipedia has a system with one entry per topic. We don’t. Instead, we encourage multiple lenses on a topic. Then, we use an automated algorithm to rank the lenses. We look at user ratings, lensmaster reputation, clickthrough rates, frequency of updates and other factors and give the lens a number. And we make it clear to the lensmaster what her rank is and how to improve it. If we do our job right, every time you do a search, we’ll choose the best lens from among the relevant matches and show it to you. Of course, it’s easy for a surfer to see all the lenses, not just the highest ranked one.

BlinkBits takes a cummulative approach. Once a ‘blink’ for a concept is created, it aggregates quite a variety of sources and anyone can add content (links, comments, notes, etc.) in an unfiltered way.

It will be interesting to see how they will affect our information ecosystem.

1 November 2005

Social Money

Just a pointer to two interesting applications/services that seem to make a web 2.0 savvy use of decentralized structures:

Fundable is a site for raising money for a variety of use cases (both charitable or philanthropic and commercial) like:

Split the cost of something big
Pool money for birthday gifts, real estate, parties, shared items, etc.
Buy a product in bulk to save money
Raise money for a personal project from friends
Collect dues ahead of time and eliminate excuses
Avoid getting stuck covering costs when someone in the group doesn’t pay.
Confirm demand before selling
Secure a minimum number of sales before going into production.

and Kiva addresses a similar concept on a global scale:

By choosing a business on our website and then lending money online to that enterprise, you can “sponsor a business” and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive monthly email updates that let you know about the progress being made by the small business you’ve sponsored. These updates include reports on loan repayment progress, photos of new capital equipment, narratives on business growth and standard of living improvements, and more. As loans are repaid, you will get your original loan money back.

(via Boing Boing)