I'd been intrigued by Delicious Library software ever since I saw the program featured on David Pogue's video blog. This Macintosh cataloging program allows you to create a virtual library of all your books, movies, music and video games. Then you can browse or search your collection, and keep track of books you lend to others. Best of all, you have all your books visually represented together in one place, regardless of where they are physically located.
This was the breakthrough for me. As a writer, I have over 1000 books on shelves all over the house. Along with the advantages of working at home comes the clutter of the office, ported into my own dining room. With Delicious Library, I could box up books I don't need very often and put them out of sight, but not out of mind.
The genius of Delicious Library is that you can quickly, automatically catalog entries for your media by scanning the bar code on each project. Delicious Library connects to Amazon.com to import each item's information and cover art.
Delicious Library worked really well with the optional Flic Wireless Laser Barcode Scanner--which is a necessity for creating a large library--but although this was a virtual project, I still had to deal with the question of how to organize, lug, and store over a thousand books. More on the reality of the project after the jump.… Read more
Hooeey is a new bookmarking and tracking service for your browsing habits. You install a small toolbar in your browser, and it will quietly keep tabs on all your tabs, including which sites you're going to, how long you're staying at each one, and when you're doing it. At the same time, Hooeey adds a social networking layer, letting you share specific sites with others, both on the Hooeey network, and other, larger social bookmarking services like Del.icio.us and Reddit. The goal is to let you centralize your favorites, and make them easier to share … Read more
There's a new social network for gamers called GamerLibrary. The site takes the Delicious Library and Shelfari angle by letting users compile, and show off, their gaming collections, while at the same time adding a request feature to let members trade and borrow games among themselves. The idea is that you'll be able to join with your small collection of games and get others to loan you theirs, assuming they see something they like in your library. Together you build up a larger pool of shared games that can be borrowed or bought on the side.
Of course … Read more
Facebook has several layers of functionality that make it worth using, but my favorite is the once-controversial news feed. Why? I simply don't have time to check each of my friend's profiles for what's new, and the feed does a pretty great job at that without all the legwork or annoying e-mail notifications. FriendFeed is a new service that takes the idea of a news feed and extends it beyond the social network into other social services you're a part of. There are more than 20 to pick and choose from, including social news services like … Read more
Mixx is an upcoming social news service. If you're familiar with Digg, Delicious, and Reddit, Mixx takes a little bit from all three to provide a really solid framework for discovering and popularizing Web content.
Much like Digg, Mixx has a front page with user-submitted stories that have been voted up from an upcoming pool. Where Mixx strays (in a good way) from Digg and others is user customization. When signing up with the service, you pick categories and topics you're interested in. From then on, each and every time you check the service, the front page has the top five stories from each of these categories, giving you a quick overview of what's hot on the site. You can actually accomplish the same thing with Digg right now by setting up RSS feeds from each of the topics into a service like Netvibes, or checking out the Digg page on Original Signal, but it's really nice to have this built in.
So what makes this service promising? It's really just a mish-mash of ideas that work well together. Things like a local news section (based on ZIP code), and groups for users to share content with one another give it a social twist that up until last night, Digg didn't really have. So now that it does, what would make a user of other social news services bother making the switch? For one thing, the UI is extremely simplistic and intuitive. Tags are also a really enjoyable way to browse through content--and like Delicious--give submitters a little more control of how their story will show up in site searches, and how other users can find it.
There are a few things that need work though. For one thing, the site is a little sluggish. It's also missing some tools to help you submit content to the site, like a "Mixx This" bookmark that you can add to your browser toolbar, or a shortcut button to add to blogs and Web sites. The comment system is also a little crippled, with no threading, only "@user" replies that note whose comment you're responding to. While I don't think Mixx will ever overtake some of currently popular social news services out there, it could easily build up its own community of loyal users who are seeking more group-oriented bookmarking, and a quick way to eyeball different content genres at once.
We've got 50 invites to give away, so if you're looking to give Mixx a spin (sorry), there's a sign-up form and more shots of the service after the break.
Update: All the invites have been given away. If you missed out, you can still sign-up on Mixx's front page.
Del.icio.us, the hugely popular social bookmarking service, has finally unveiled its new look. It's the biggest visual change the site's had since its launch in 2003, and the result of nearly a year's worth of work. Besides a face-lift, the service has undergone several enhancements, both in how you browse new links and search through them. Of course, this new site isn't open to everyone. In classic Web 2.0 form, access is limited to a select few in the form of a beta preview the Del.icio.us team is using for feedback before rolling out the changes to everyone.
The site first announced its intentions of a massive re-design in early February, and just a few months back noted some fun statistics about their usability testing lab, which had apparently used more than 2,000 Post-it Notes to organize observations about the re-design. This may not sound too impressive, which is why I'd recommend taking a look at this picture, which gives me headache just to look at.
The first thing you'll notice about the new Del.icio.us is that the name has forgone its dots to simply be known as "Delicious." Besides making it easier for newbies to pronounce, it's also a departure from its roots of a small, independent Web site who was one of the first to pioneer the gloriously cheesy domain name hack, a practice that's even led to a startup that figures them out for you. The other thing you'll notice is that there's more emphasis on tags, and tagging in general, as they've been given a much more prevalent look and presence throughout the site.
The real change, however, is in search and navigation, which have both been streamlined and made faster. The old Delicious search was a tad on the sluggish side, whereas the new search is noticeably faster. The results have also been improved to show you who was the first to save it as a bookmark, along with pushing the tags out to the side in case you feel like drilling down by genre. The navigation now features drop-down menus to let you quickly drill down to various parts of the site, skipping an extra page view or two.
When it comes to actually creating new bookmarks on the Delicious site, the process is like Miss South Carolina: pretty but slow. Despite the advances in page design, you still have to navigate through two separate pages to add a new link via URL. I prefer the newer trend of opening up a lightbox pop-up to let me enter in information, and then getting shot back to the page I was viewing before. There's a handy bookmarklet to add whatever page you're visiting, which is actually the fastest way to add new content to the site short of clicking a site-integrated "add to Delicious" button, but the current system is still prohibitive for batch link uploading.… Read more
The bookmarking and reference service I use most is adding a show-and-tell slideshow feature. Diigo lets you mark up Web pages, then share and export your notes. Its new WebSlides, in closed beta testing, will enable you to create narrated presentations of Web pages that you've saved and annotated.
Diigo is meant to be more practical than something like StumbleUpon, a fun way to discover new sites. Diigo Vice President Maggie Tsai touted Diigo WebSlides at the Office 2.0 conference today as an ideal tool for teachers. Her demo showed off handy-looking recording and playback controls for making … Read more
Featured on this week's Real Deal podcast: Synchronizing two computers. If you want to know how to keep yourself sane if you regularly use more than one PC, tune into this show for a rundown of my tips on how to keep files, bookmarks, and e-mail synchronized over the Web.
Products mentioned:FolderShare LogMeIn SimplifyMedia Orb FoxMarks Del.icio.us Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
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I've been reading blogs since before the term "blog" came into popular use. Pioneers of the format such as Jerry Pournelle (jerrypournelle.com) and Robert Bruce Thompson (ttgnet.com) just called their sites "day books" or "journals," terms carried over from the world of paper and pen.
As a reader, all I really cared about was… Read more