October 29, 2008

LinkedIn applications are here

A while ago a group of us were chatting about LinkedIn and how it still didn't offer a lot of the social network doo-dads that others sites, such as Facebook, does. Since then there has been a slow procession of functionality creeping into my Profile.

First there was Answers, which let you post, & reply to, questions from other users.  Then, after a redesign, came Groups and the ability to update your status.

Now LinkedIn has introduced Applications.  This lets you embed applications along the same lines as Facebook.  They are business-oriented; SlideShare, Company Buzz, and Huddle to name a few.

I've added SlideShare but I'm getting a lot of server errors when viewing which I'm hoping is down to volume at the moment.

It'll be interesting how far they go along this route and truly become a "Facebook for business".

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October 23, 2008

The connectedness strikes again...

So I'm catching up on my RSS feeds and I saw that Jon Hicks posted about one of my favorite bands, Stars of the Lid.  They are releasing a film (not until 2010 mind you) of what looks like a series of live performances, similar to Sigur Ros's excellent Heima.

Stars of the Lid . teaser 1 from ZF-Films on Vimeo.

Now the people that made this also had some footage of dancers, shot on the amazing new red camera (which I just read about in Wired). When I took a look at that, I recognized the background as W6th in Cleveland, just outside my old employer, Optiem.

MorrisonDance pt.l from ZF-Films on Vimeo.

Never take for granted how people will find you on the internet. Now if you'll excuse me it's time to add some Dead Texan and SOTL to a favtape of mine.

October 20, 2008

Nice touches at Huffduffer...

Catching up on my early morning tweets I saw one from Jeremy Keith about the launch of a new site, Huffduffer.

Its an interesting premise. Build your own RSS feed of sounds that you've find whilst traversing the Internet. You can then podcast your finds and subscribe to others.

Not so much as of a social network, more a network of social sounds. I could see @disquiet and @warrenellis making interesting use of this.

One nice touch of the design was the sign-up form.
Nice sign-up form
I like the way its laid out, working like I'm filling it in on paper rather than just a series of HTML form fields. The choice of fonts for the filled in information is nice too.

GatherOne other thing I noticed. From the minimal information I gave at sign-up, virtually all of my other Internet places showed up in my profile. There is at least one that is not mine, but someone I worked with who took over my work blog, which could explain it.

Jeremy has said that By its nature, this will never be a popular, mass-market site. But, as is the case with most things built to scratch a particular itch, which is sometimes the best thing.

For the coders out there it shows what you can do with some PHP, HTML5 and microformats.

October 9, 2008

Geolocation creeps ever onwards

Today marked Sprint’s WIMAX coverage of Baltimore. Though service has been reported as being a bit spotty (about 70%), when you are in a zone the results are fantastic! Mario Armstrong on NPR reported using his laptop and running a TV show as well as NPR shows and some other apps without loss as he was driven around.

Add to this the news that Mozilla is looking to have geolocation in Firefox 3.1 and you have some new interest in the whole internet of things and ambient findability. You can try Geode from Mozilla Labs and start seeing what's around you.

October 5, 2008

Is this the end of Twitter as we know it?

As a reader of Simon Willison's blog, I came across this tool that he created with Natalie Downe - Tweetersation.

Now this tool lets you combine peoples conversations on Twitter in one time line.  Pretty cool.  So I can now just enter a few peoples names or id's and I can see the whole conversation I caught the tail end of.

How does this fit with the title? Well, more and more I'm seeing Twitter being absorbed into or used by other tools/applications.  Most Web2.0 social sites let you post to or display from Twitter.  Other people are building tools to show the mood, locale, to search and monitor, and general pull or push whatever they can through the API.

So is that what Titter should resolve itself to be - Just an API to hang communication on?  Maybe that could be it's business model.  How many people are actually logging in to the Twitter website as opposed to using it through something like HelloTxt or their phone, Snitter, Flock or Twhirl.

As netizens shift from shiny object to shiny object I believe Twitter will still be there.  I just don't think we'll be as aware of it's presence as we are now.  It'll just be that thing we use to communicate.

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October 1, 2008

Getting the mix just right...

So it's been a tad quite here recently.  One of the reasons was that my Mum was over from England for a visit - her first in 4 years.  She dutifully brought gifts for everyone, but the one thing I asked for her to bring was a Pork Pie.  Odd request maybe, but it's been 6 years today since I lived in the UK and I could get them anytime.

pork pie packagingYou may also thinks its an odd thing to write about here.  Well I suppose the Pork Pie (though excellent) isn't the thing I wanted to write about.  It's how the manufacturer's talk to their customers.

Take the packing.  Usually ignored as we've skimmed the "instructions" for eating & storage a thousand times, but with this brand you should pay a little attention.  They obviously have a sense of humour with tid-bits such as:
Where to put this pie (apart from your stomach!) Fridge, good. Airing cupboard bad.

You can also contact their horrified customer service if your pie is in less than great shape.

The company that makes these particular pies are Pork Farms and you can see the humour continue as they took part in the 2007 UK Comedy Awards. They have TV ads that carry this through as well.  I decided to be cheeky and email them, letting them know how much I missed their products and if there was anywhere in the USA I could get them.

I expected an automated response, but was surprised I got an email from a real person the next day, asking for my physical address.

A week later I signed for a registered letter from the UK.  From Pork Farms.  In it was a nice note explaining why they couldn't ship stuff to the USA but that were happy that I liked the product.  Also money-off coupons I could use for my next trip over to the UK.

Gary Vaynerchuck is always saying that part of his success is answering every email.  This communication and connection helps to build his brand.  Pork Farms found their voice, through humour, which goes from packaging, advertising and the promotion of the company.  They responded not only electronically but physically, sending something to me - someone who can't buy their products, is an ocean away, and is essentially a non-customer.

This is the kind of connection that most companies miss as they think an automated email is good enough.  Next step for Pork Farms would be to start reaching out into the social web. And shipping to the USA of course.

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