Sunday, April 30, 2006

Big in Japan

Where are you Big At?

Big In Japan is developed using Ruby on Rails which was released by 37signals as open source. Ruby on Rails is a web framework with clean simple design for programmers to optimize sustainable productivity. Big in Japan has come up with simple focus oriented "prosumer blogging tools" for bloggers who need help. The web 2.0 toolbox consists of:

  • PodServe
  • A great and easy way to create and host your own podcast then list it on Odeo and iTunes.

  • FrankenFeed
  • Much like FeedBlendr you can create one master feed out of all your favorite feeds. For example lets say you want your audience (visitors) to subcribe to each of your members feeds but instead of giving them separate feeds to subscribe to mesh them all up into one monster feed.

  • elfURL
  • They make giant URLs shorter. They also provide free stats and tags to go with them. Anyone who is familiar with tinyurl will know how this works. It take a url that may look like
    and turn it into something like http://www.elfurl/map/1. Give it a try.

    Enter giant URL:

  • InstantFeed
  • InstantFeed is a neat little tool that allows you to receive any web feed (RSS or Atom) via all major IM carriers including MSN Messenger, Jabber, AIM and ICQ. You can add the InstantFeed Button to your bookmark toolbar and let InstantFeed auto-discover feeds on any page or login and add the feeds you want to monitor manually.

  • QwikPing
  • Add your blog(s) to Qwik Ping and whenever you update them just click on the Qwik Ping button and Big in Japan will notify the services you selected. If you prefer you can use their api to insert into your blogging software.

  • FeedVault
  • (Launch Pending) According to the site you can Save and/or share your OPML files. You can keep them safe with Feedvault.

  • MailFeed
  • (Launch Pending) Some people are so about the email. Maybe they don't know RSS from Atom. Keep them up to date via MailFeed.

  • SocialMail
  • (Launch Pending) Email messages via RSS. Forward your email into feeds. Create a group discussion list via RSS.

  • StatsTool
  • (Launch Pending) Roll all your key stats into one central location. Feedburner, Google Adwords, Overture, Amazon Associates, Blogging Tools, in addition to all your Big In Japan stats.

The Review

There are other similiar tools on the Internet but no one matches the Big in Japan toolset. They have integrated the most useful and productive set of tools a blogger is most likely to use. Overall the tools are simple, quick, and productive to use. With the easy instructions included you can't go wrong. The team at Big in Japan really has the Prosumer Bloggers in mind when they developed these tools. With the launch pending on a couple of the tools I can't see why any pro blogger would pass these up. Oh did I forget to mention they're free to use.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


the .

The Internet is littered with social communities and social tools such as and Mobber that it's pretty hard on decided which ones are the good ones and which are the sour grapes. Here enters Yoono a windows application and firefox extension that allows you to search, manage, share, and be informed about the websites you visit.

Let us first start with the small 104kb Mozilla's Firefox Extension that places a small toolbar in your browser and allows you to view and subscribe to feeds the webpage may have, gives you suggestions to other webpages found in its community server, and a surprise me button that will transport you to a relevant website. This extension also synchronizes your bookmarks with the Yoono servers. Now if your like me, the first thing that went through your head was "Oh Shit! Everyone is going to see my private porn selection" nah just kidding, you may have privacy issues, well let me put you at ease and say that by default your favorites are saved to the server and are only visible by you. When you're ready to share them you will need the windows application.

Now the real power of Yoono is the win app. To be part of this Social Search Engine anonymously you will need a nickname or you can be like me and tell people your nickname is chcastro in case you need to find an expert, but, we will get to that later. Once you launch the program and you setup your nickname, configure your browser, and synchronization - import your favorites from the server, export your favorites to the server, or merge your favorites together (update favorites). Then the interface, which looks like its based off msn Messenger, pops up with four tabs, My Favorites, Suggestions, My News, My Community, and its own Internet browser. From the My Favorites tab you can select which bookmarks you would like to publish and which you would like to keep private. The Suggestions tabs is a search engine module that lets you search the published bookmarks from the Yoono server, ranked by the number of time the website has been bookmarked. My News tab is an news module equipped with feed reader and press release editor, to keep you informed on your favorite sites. My Community tab lets you view your subcriptions and your published favorites. In there you can Find an Expert either by nickname or by relevant website.

The companion Yoono Weblog keeps you up to date with the development of the application and extension.

The Review

The interface is simple, easy to use and eerily familiar. The options are easy to read and find (3 clicks at the most). The sharing service is secure and quick to use. The online side of my Yoono gives you limited options to interact with only a profile page and a bookmarks section to share. With a blog section in the works and the fact that its free I recommend it highly.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Is all feedback ethical?

eBay who uses their Feedback Forum to educate its users about trading partners by letting them view their reputations and express opinions about other users. This is eBay's bread and butter due to the fact that it's an Auction Site where consumers are bartering with strangers over a faceless world. By letting its users research their trading partners it makes them feel safer to do business with strangers. The thing is eBays feedback system is closed off to the public. The only thing that affects a user's feedback score is their eBay transactions. This limits users who like to shop online using other services. The demand for third party services to incorporate a feedback system like eBays are expanding. But I don't think eBay will allow its bread and butter to used by others.

According to the buzz around the web 2.0 space there is a little website in beta called Rapleaf. RapLeaf allows its users to post feedback about anyone for anyone by using a unique email address or phone number. In theory lets say I'm a seller of shoes with an indentifier name of LuckySquareFeet users post feedback information about me then other users search for my indentifier to see what others are saying about my shoes or shipping or whatever users are posting. Rating scores are based on positive and negative reviews. My concern is unlike eBay, who can control who is leaving the posts by transactions, Rapleaf is an open system where anyone can leave feedback albeit positive or negative about anyone else. With Rapleaf's fraud prevention and detection plan in place to reduce the situations by feedback challenges and other trade secret methods I believe this system will turn the guerilla marketing feedback system into an ethical feedback.

Rapleaf Launches to the public May 07, 2006.


Blogging, Moblogging, Vblogging all replaced

As the blogging universe expands and the social communities grow its time to unite them into one web logging system. Here enters LifeLogger from Malaysia. Share photos, audio, video, and bookmarks within the community of LifeLoggers and log your thoughts on your own LifeLog Journal. Customize your look inside the sites Garage (control panel) and update your journal via mobile device, email or the site itself. You're able to log unlimited entries, 150 media files a month and upload up to 100mb per file.

The Review

The interface is too simple but easy to use. The links to entries, photos, videos, audio, bookmarks, albums, and tags are quick to find but very plain. LifeLogger is great for beginners who want to be part of a social community online and store all your media in one location but the lack of customization and RSS capabilities makes this site perfect for non-programmers. Even with all that said the potential of this system to integrate the online networking methods is a step forward to tomorrows web.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Bloggers Advocate

Blogging to the Top

Photo: Third Thursday [Jeremy Pepper on Flickr]

Last night in Palo Alto a blogger by the name of Michael Arrington of Techcrunch, a weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new web 2.0 products and companies, pounded the message to bloggers about being passionate about your subject matter.

On a podcast at POP! PR Jots He gives guidelines to passionate individuals starting a blog. Start with a niche market, give credit where credit is due, and build relationships with other bloggers or the public relation reps. In the podcast he also gives a couple of tips of how to come up with stories and how to get in touch with him.

Over at Valleywag, TechCrunch is quoted as saying "Wired's gonna be my bitch" the article has good notes about the Third Thursday event held by Public Relations Meetup Group and goes to state what the likes/dislikes of TechCrunch are.

If there ever was a more passionate blogger of web 2.0 Michael Arrington would still be light years ahead.

Photo: Third Thursday [Jeremy Pepper on Flickr]

Creative Idea of the Month - AJAX Blogging System

An Ajax Blogging System

An online journal where visitors can witness the creative approach to the writers blog post live as well as witnessing other visitors posting comments. The visitors can interact with the writer live as he is writing. Of course this would be a feature that is optional as not to disturb the creative thoughts of the writer. Or it can be a one way mirror where the visitors can see what the writer is thinking but the writer cannot see what the visitors are saying or vice versa. Now that would be some real interactivity for both the website and its users.

For those who would like to know what Ajax is here is what I found in Answers:

(Asynchronous JAvaScript and XML) Using an enhancement in JavaScript that allows Web pages to be more interactive and behave like local applications, which are also known as "rich client" applications. AJAX allows the Web page to retrieve small amounts of data from the server without reloading the entire page.

Prior to AJAX, any retrieval of data from the server required that the entire Web page be refreshed in the user's computer. As a result, systems were often designed with less interaction; for example, to have the user submit a form only at the end, after all fields were filled in. In contrast, AJAX systems can validate one or two items at a time "behind the scenes" without making the session cumbersome, especially over slow connections. AJAX, also known as "remote scripting," allows Web-based applications to be designed like LAN-based applications.

The XMLHTTPRequest Object

The JavaScript function that makes AJAX possible is the XMLHTTPRequest object, which was added to the JavaScript runtime module in the Web browser. It was first available in IE 5, Mozilla 1.0, Safari 1.2 and Opera 8. The XMLHTTPRequest object returns the data formatted in a DOM document. See AJAX engine, rich client, JavaScript and DOM.