Monthly Archives: September 2007

Microsoft may buy part of Facebook

Wow, I go to lunch with my parents and the entire world shifts due to a Wall Street Journal report that Microsoft may buy part of Facebook which would value Facebook at $10 billion or so.

Too bad that Microsoft’s management didn’t listen to Jeff Sandquist and others two years ago.

Funny, you know Dave Morin? He works at Facebook on the app platform now but used to work at Apple. He told me that he tried to get Apple to pay attention too. But got frustrated with Apple’s inability to get Facebook. So, he left to join Facebook.

What’s funny, he told me, is now a good percentage of Apple employees are on Facebook. At the latest Apple press conference I noticed that Steve Jobs even showed off the iPhone Facebook app on stage.

Here’s the FeedHub videos

As talked about earlier, here’s the FeedHub videos.

Interview.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/09/PID_012653/Podtech_mspoke_int.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4211/talking-about-information-overload-with-feedhub &totalTime=1319000&breadcrumb=e6fd5373fef847a687cf5f7aec2754f9]

Demo.

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/09/PID_012652/Podtech_mspoke_demo.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4210/demo-of-feedhub-digging-through-information-overload &totalTime=530000&breadcrumb=f70171739f0246cf8bf61fac2699acd9]

Demofall 2007 — companies to watch

Read/WriteWeb has a good preview of companies to watch at DEMOfall 2007, which starts today in San Diego, CA. Here’s the full list of all the presenters coming this week.

I think they missed one that’s worthy of including, though: SceneCaster. Mashable has a writeup of SceneCaster. I’ll have a video of them up soon.

Why? SceneCaster is aimed at Second Life. But it gets rid of some of the real negatives that Second Life has. What are those negatives?

1. You can’t get more than about 80 people into any one space. This makes it very tough to use Second Life for commercial experiences. SceneCaster doesn’t have those limitations.
2. You can’t embed Second Life onto Web pages or Facebook profiles. SceneCaster lets you do just that, which makes it far easier to navigate around for novices.
3. SecondLife isn’t well integrated into other Web stores of 3D objects. SceneCaster integrates Google’s 3D Warehouse.
4. Kids are kept out of the main grid in Second Life where on SceneCaster each scene is controlled by the owner. So my scenes will allow kids in and others might have different rules.
5. Because each scene is embeded into a Web page we can link to scenes a lot easier than we can link to them on Second Life.

What doesn’t it do that Second Life will? It isn’t a complete world the way Second Life is, although that world gets people lost which causes high churn rates of people who try it for a while and get bored and leave before discovering that there’s a world that might keep their attention.

Downside? Windows only right now (they are working on a Mac version).

Any other Demo companies that we should pay attention to?

Let’s do what we did with TechCrunch 40 last week. I’ll pick SceneCaster as my favorite company that I’ve seen so far.

Anyone want to pick the company that’ll get the most hype coming out of Demo?

Oh, and there’s a TON of news coming through the feeds this morning due to Demo. I’ve put the best stuff on my link blog.

Another cool thing that Read/WriteWeb didn’t mention? YourTrumanShow, which now will be called “VideoMap.” Mashable wrote that up too.

My weird life…

First of all, Jim Long is an NBC camera dude who is on Twitter. That alone is weird enough. But his Tweet tonight?

“thanks new dad!!! how’s the sleep?? hey White House press secretary Scott Stanzel had nice things to say bout you!!

Whoa? Who the heck?

I remember Scott Stanzel from Microsoft. It hadn’t registered that this was the same Scott. Wikipedia reports that Scott left Microsoft in October to join the White House.

Wild! I told Jim “Scott’s a great guy for a Republican.”

Maybe it’s time for a tour of the White House? Jim also told me that Scott is a big social media advocate.

Oh, and I’m getting some sleep, just at random times. :-)

Is FeedHub the answer to information overload?

I’ve been playing with mSpoke’s FeedHub, releasing today at the Demo Conference. I’ll have a video up later today demonstrating the product.

Dan Farber has a review and info up on his ZDNet blog.

I’ve been interested i this topic for some time. Right now I’m reading 848 feeds for my link blog in Google Reader. I’m way overloaded with feeds. Now, imagine I only had 10 minutes a day to catch up on my feeds, how would I do that?

Well, the answer up to now was TechMeme or one of its sisters.

TechMeme actually works great. Tracks thousands of news feeds and every few minutes it remeasures which ones are most important. Problem is that TechMeme only covers tech news. Its sister sites cover gossip, or regular news/politics, or baseball.

But what about 800 custom feeds that you hand picked?

Well, that’s what FeedHub is aimed at.

You put your feeds into it and FeedHub will pick the best stuff to show you out of those feeds.

One problem: for me it doesn’t work. It doesn’t pick the stuff I’d really like to read from my feeds. Almost none of the items match my link blog, for instance.

Now, keep in mind that you’re not supposed to judge FeedHub by its first results. You’re supposed to train it. By using the feed items and clicking on the ones you like, and voting up certain topics, over time it will start bringing ou a lot more stuff that matches your interests.

That’s cool, but I haven’t gotten to that level of commitment with it yet to find out if it really works that well.

I really want to believe in it, though, because I think something like this holds some major keys to information overload and giving us a “custom TechMeme.”

I’ll keep playing with this and see if I can get it to work well for me.

Some other concerns:

1. How big a market is there for a “custom TechMeme?” Not too many people I know are trying to read hundreds of feeds. Certainly not many busy executives who are looking for alternatives.
2. How will they make money? Advertising in the feed items? That’ll make reusing them far less popular and, even, could add its own new noise that’d offset the time savings.
3. What will they do with the attention information they are collecting? Let’s assume that they’ll get everyone who reads feeds to use it, well, then they’ll know more about us and our behavior than even Google does today.

How about you? Any of you playing with this? Are you looking for ways to subscribe to new feeds and get a custom Techmeme?

Oh, one more caveat. It takes up to a day to start working. So if you just try it for a few minutes you’ll have a totally unsatisfactory experience.

UPDATE: Got the videos up here.