Creeva’s Shared items in Google Reader

January 2, 2008

by — Posted in Lifestream Archive

Creeva’s shared items in Google Reader
/////////////////////////////////////////// 2008: Web 2.0 Companies I Couldnt Live Without Posted: 01 Jan 2008 01:02 PM CST
This will be the third annual post on “Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without.” The first post, for 2006, is here. The 2007 post, written a year ago, is here.
This is a list of the products I tend to use daily. Some are for work (WordPress, Delicious, Google Docs, etc.), some are for fun (Amazon Music, Amie Street, etc), and some are useful for both (Digg, Skype, YouTube, etc.). But I use most of them every day, or nearly every day, and I would not be as productive or happy without all of them.
The list changes a bit from year to year, and is also getting longer (see chart). Five products have been favorites all three years (Flickr, Netvibes, TechMeme, Skype, WordPress). Five more were favorites last year and this year, but not in 2006 (1-800-Free-411, Amie Street, Digg, Gmail, YouTube). Two were off the list last year but are back now (Delicious, Technorati). And there are seven new products on the list (Amazon MP3 Store, Facebook, Firefox, Google Reader, TripIt, Twitter, Zoho). Some of my picks might be surprising, like Firefox just being added to the list this year (I used Flock previously and was unhappy with Firefox on the Mac, but the 3.0 beta is performing very well). Some of these are close calls (I love Pageflakes, but just not enough to fully switch from Netvibes, for example). And there are a bunch of startups that didn’t make the list to keep it short. I’ve put a few “almosts” at the end to round out the list, as well as a couple of favorite gadgets.
Here’s the current list, in alphabetical order, of products I use every day and couldn’t live without:
Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.

/////////////////////////////////////////// MeeMix Opens Beta To Public, Has Much Work Ahead Posted: 01 Jan 2008 10:26 AM CST
Tel Aviv, Israel based MeeMix, which we first covered in August, is kicking-off the New Year by moving their taste-predicting Internet radio service from closed to open Beta.
Internet radio is already a very crowded space dominated by entrenched startups like and Pandora. Smaller players and recent entrants such as SpiralFrog, Jango and Slacker are not increasing the breathing room. MeeMix wants its share of the pie, too, and is keeping its crosshairs focused on the U.S. market and its dominant revenue potential.
MeeMix’s public beta launch is marked by the addition of new features:

Meeps: Comment-based conversations users can have regarding a song, album or artist.
Station Home: Every MeeMix station now has a dedicated page allowing users to interact in its context and shape its playlist. Mee Feeds: This is basically MeeMix’s version of Facebook’s News Feed. The feed indicates songs favorited, stations rated, friends added, etc. Mee Journey: Users can see other members’ public log or “journey” of actions in MeeMix. Station Gift: Users can now send other members a station as a gift. The station is then the “property” of the recipient who can customize it without affecting the original station. Twitter Integration: Users can update their Twitter accounts with songs they’ve listened to, their favorite stations, etc.
MeeMix claims to have doubled its music catalog, but a search for my personal favorites ‘John Coltrane’ and ‘Miles Davis’ came-up empty. The same searches on Jango and Slacker both came-up positive.
I would like to have seen the addition of “genre” to the channel creation wizard which is still limited to artist and song. A widgetized player also would have been a welcome addition, especially the desktop kind.
In my original post, I hypothesized that licensing its engine could become MeeMix’s core business. Looks like this might not be far fetched as the company says they have been approached by a mobile operator for the purpose of powering a taste-based cellular music streaming service. The company has also shared with me some interesting offline deals on the horizon that should keep MeeMix’s potential on a positive note for 2008. We’ll post another update soon. In the meantime, let us know how you think MeeMix compares to the competition.
Update: MeeMix also sent out an email to some users today saying that they will be discontinuing the service in Israel for now due to licensing issues (Thanks Orli):

Meemix Loading information about Meemix… Pandora Loading information about Pandora… Loading information about… Slacker Loading information about Slacker… Jango Loading information about Jango…

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

/////////////////////////////////////////// The Glory, Bliss and How-to of Screen Scraping for RSS Posted: 31 Dec 2007 10:57 PM CST
Wired has an awesome top story today on the world of startups utilizing scraped data from big companies to offer new layers of value for their own users. It’s a roughly objective piece that I highly recommend reading but it was also inspiration for me to finally record a screencast on the subject (see below).
I love RSS, probably more than anything on the web. If you’re not familiar with the concept, see my very old definition of RSS and my almost-as-old post on teaching people about RSS.
Not every page on the web publishes an RSS feed, though. Thus the need for these wonderful screen scraping tools. I’ve written about a variety of tools you can use to create a feed for a site or page that doesn’t have one. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to pull out the big guns. In those cases, it’s time for Dapper.

Dapper is a company founded in Israel, now venture backed and was named in the aforementioned Wired article. It is the sweetness.
Dapper will let you pull data from almost any web page and get it in a wide variety of outputs, including RSS, email, iCal, a Google Gadget, CSV and Google Maps. Is that incredible or what?
Let’s let the video do that talking. I have an awful cold (it’s almost better, Mom!) so please excuse the very rough voice. I made the following screencast using JingProject, setting up an RSS feed of search results in for articles tagged from ReadWriteWeb.
Clicking on the image below will open up another window so you can view the 4 minute video full screen.

If you’re as excited about Dapper as I am, you should check out DapperCamp, a two day free conference all about Dapper coming up in early February in San Francisco. IBM and Mindtouch are sponsoring the event and Mitch Kapor is keynoting it. It looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Take that, Wired Mag ambivalence! Really, though, you should read that Wired article – it’s a good one that discusses some issues that are going to be very big once more people figure out how exciting data portability is.

/////////////////////////////////////////// January 1st, 1808: Slave Importation Banned In US [Great Moments] Posted: 31 Dec 2007 05:06 PM CST
Considering we spend a good deal of time focusing on legislation that protects consumers and/or (usually or) businesses, we thought it appropriate to point out one of the big historical moments of trade law, not to mention human rights—tomorrow marks the “200th anniversary of Jan. 1, 1808, when the importation of slaves into the United States was prohibited.” Hey, it didn’t stop the madness, but at least it was a start.
Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University, argues in an Op-Ed piece that it was in fact this early shaping of the US slave-based economy that helped prevent an even more disastrous human rights scenario by the time the Civil War erupted:[Without the ban,] it is plausible to assume that hundreds of thousands if not millions of Africans would have been brought into the country.
This most likely would have resulted in the “democratization” of slavery as prices fell and more and more whites could afford to purchase slaves, along with a further increase in Southern political power thanks to the Constitution’s three-fifths clause. These were the very reasons advanced by South Carolina’s political leaders when they tried, unsuccessfully, to reopen the African slave trade in the 1850s.
More slaves would also have meant heightened fear of revolt and ever more stringent controls on the slave population. It would have reinforced Southerners’ demands to annex to the United States areas suitable for plantation slavery in the Caribbean and Central America. Had the importation of slaves continued unchecked, the United States could well have become the hemispheric slave-based empire of which many Southerners dreamed.Awww snap! Take that, dead Southerners of the 19th century! Y’all didn’t get your empire! Happy new year.
“Forgotten Step Toward Freedom” [New York Times]
(Photo: Getty)

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