Category Archives: Uncategorized

xfruits: RSS feeds on steroids?

Small note to highlight this nice service: xFruits
This allows you to do different things with existing RSS feeds:

  • Aggregator RSS : umtiple RSS feeds transformed into one feed
  • RSS to Web: display in a plain web page an RSS feed
  • RSS to mobile: same for mobile
  • Post to RSS: publish through email
  • RSS to PDF: display a feed as a PDF document

Some grayed features, so probably comming in the next monthes are:

  • RSS to mail
  • File to RSS
  • Composer?

The RSS aggregator and RSS to PDF are in my view the most interesting and innovative usage.
As an example, here is the xFruit result of this RSS feed as a PDF: xFruits
The result is clean and could be used as a document in some meetings for instance. This open some interesting idea of usage, especially in the enterprise…

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Microsoft MAX as an RSS reader

Microsoft MAX is a photo album creation tool from Microsoft…It includes an RSS reader tools. The result is really awesome, as you can see here…Unfortunatly, after the first waoow effect, it appears that the feature is not really useable and less usefull than a good feed reader, for two main reasons:

  • Lack of feedback about what have been read or not.
  • Reading the full article exit from the application and open the web browser…..

powered by performancing firefox

Mashup vs Widget?

Following the announce about the founding of “Mashery“, an interesting start-up that will create “resources” for developers, API providers and Mashup users, I was wondering if such company was targeting Widget developer or Mashup developer?
So, came the question of what is the difference between a Mashup and a widget, after all, they seems both some technology that could be used to create a new web page/service?

The actual situation:

  • a mashup, is a new web service, usually a web site, created by aggregating existing Web services. Typically,  a service tot display renting house on Google map is a mashup, taking information both from a renting site, and from Google Map, aggregate them, and displays them
  • a widget, is a “micro application”, that do a small individual task and that can be put as a component in a desktop or a web page. But some widgets can be a mashup…

So what are the real differences between the two? Today, a mashup is more a programmer affair, while widget is more an end user technology. The other actual difference is that most of the time, the newly creating service imply that there is glue between all data sources (for instance, some code to put house locations on Google map) while widget does not speak each other: the clock widget does not talk with your flickr badge widget, etc…

  But the limitation starts to fade down, and I think that this will slowly disappear, and I am quite sure that there is probably tons of widget that act as “mashup”.

  • It will be easier and easier to create new composites application, based on third party app for everybody, and not only technical people.
  • The question will be again business model? One trend in Widget industry is to provide money to developer according to widget usage, based on revenue like advertising. But the value come also from the data itself, the initial provided one. If the mashup/widget creator get some revenue from his creation based on external data source, these external data source could ask for money too….

This latest part will be an interesting challenge in the future, and I think that the value of company like Mashery will be also to be able to manage the value chain and provide fair revenue to the entire participant….

Update: waow, what a sync, I was ready to post the article when Techcrunch pointed out this new start-up, dappit. Seems to be very close to what I describe as the ability to create Mashup for end user.  But I’ve tried to use it and was not able to extract easily simple information for an HTML table, so I do not share Techrucnh enthusiasm. But this just means that there is still a lot to do, but direction is here

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PhotoSynth: check the applet

 PhotoSynth research project from Microsoft has been announced some time ago, but I’ve missed the fact that there is a live applet to play with. It’s worth a try:

 That’s definitevelly an interesting idea, especially in terms of user generated content. Use this thousands of picture taken everywhere in the world to create the ultimate 3D model of the world (something that GoogleLab have missed? ;-) ). Additionnaly, geotagged photo will contains a lot more information to facilitate such content creation…

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MySpace security measure disables viral spread of widgets

Does not seems a “big” news, but this may impact a lot some emerging business: apparently, the latest version of Flash (9) allows administrator to disable link to “external” site. This has been used by MySpace to block some outgoing link to services like YouTube…Is MySpace becoming a closed garden?
Read full article: MySpace security measure disables viral spread of widgets

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XMLSucks? .. Maybe

I am using
XML since several years, and I’ve wondered several time why this is a so
complex description language. For me, the biggest issue with XML is that it
fails in an area where it should be perfect: being human readable. Reading a
complex XML document is a nightmare, writing/modifying XML based configurations
files also, and even with some tools, its seems just a complex way to do simple
things.
I was thinking that I may have some “personals” issues, with XML, but
it seems that I am not alone, and this site proofs this: http://xmlsucks.org/
(but you have to use it anyway), contains what I think is a very good
presentation of PRO and CON of XML. It’s a 2002 document, but still valid in
think, especially with the conclusion:

  • XML does suck technologically, but:
  • the technological problems can be managed
  • the political and commercial advantages of working with the same open
    standard as everyone are enormous
  • XML is here to stay…

And there is no dubt that due to the interoperability, there are a lot of advantages of using XML, it’s just that it could have been done even better….

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The future of board games….

This post has nothing to do with wireless, but interestingly, there is a lot of noise and buzz around touch screen these days. There was this nice “MultiTouch” demo, and a lot of buzz around the next iPod having a touch screen based interface..

I’ve put together some of the piece I’ve seen on this topic, as the most interesting topic in my views is the impact of these touch screen for gaming. Mitsubishi released a product that it’s not really a touch screen because the display is coming from a video projector, but the spirit is here. Several “players” can touch simultaneously the screen, and there is a nice demo with WarCraftIII.

Philips also showed at the last CeBit an LCD touch screen prototype.

This is the premise of the next generation of board game, who will mix the coolness of video games and the social approach of board games. First, you can embed thousands of board games in a single unit, you can mix video, and you can interact with physical objects. And it allows the creation of a lot of new and interesting games… An example of this is the “Neon Race” project where the game interact with the object that you put in the playfield, and eventually “crash” into them…Great concept!

Lastly, some are working also on “force feedback” desk, like the ProActive Desk

Philips picture from Gizmodo blog, Mistubishi from IGN site…

What’s wrong with RSS

RSS is quite interesting, but suffer from a lot of issues, and I start to be a little fed up to heard only one voice, the one that promote the usage of RSS as the only ubiquitous communication form: could be used to deliver email, download code, etc….I even read some proposal to use RSS to notify of presence, location, etc…

Why not, but the main issue is that RSS is NOT a notification mechanism, it’s a stream that needs to be pulled (and not pushed) to get an update. There is no subscription mechanism, so update depends of you’re refresh rate, which is completely non-optimized.

Some solution emerges. For example, RSS aggregators can be “pinged” by RSS issuers, to notify that the RSS stream has been updated. And if you subscribe to an aggregator (like Google reader) that he must be able to optimize update for his subscribers. Nice, but this solves only the issue for the aggregator, and not if you want to have a direction connection with the feed.

 
So, the current architecture of RSS force you to check very frequently the RSS feeds to get real time update of something. That’s a complete technical non sense: that’s fine if you do a daily, or eventually a hourly check. But if you build an IM client on top of this, than the network load will be huge for very few information.

What is missing is a real subscription mechanism, where you can subscribe to a feed, and get notified of the update of this feed. From a practical point of view, it’s like receiving an email, or an SMS, or being “pinged” when a feed is updated, this would be a good next step.

So before such solution emerge, be caution and do not use RSS to try to solve all your subscription/update problems….

 Good luck….

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The end of the OS?

Why bother about your operating system, mac, windows, or whatever? What it really important today, in your digital life, is your data….Do you really care about your OS, or do you care about your pictures, movies, documents, and so on…
There is three different category of (multimedia) datas:

  • Your personnal data, that you have created. Typically your own photo, video, but also your documents….
  • The data that you own. Typically, the music/video you bought. Ideally, you just bought the right to view these data, for a spefici support, or for a specific time, or foerever….
  • Everything else: what is free (the Web generally speaking)..

And what you see know, is an emerging generation of “media players”, that are gradfually replacing the “old generation” of PDA, Smartphone, etc… This generation (PDA and such) was an OS centric generation. Designed by engineer for geek, very powerfull to do complex tasks, but unable to do simple ones. This dinosaur generation is dying, and the new one is now data and user centric: the ipod, the mobile phone, etc… these are now real mass market device, (may be technically more powerfull than the previous one) but focused on your data: mp3, photo and now video…You do not care really of the OS of these stuff, but you care about data imperobaility. In other words, to be able to listen to your music whatever is the device…
I predict that is where is going the OS, and the internet. Your OS will be a commodity, with a few of common but good applications, to manage your data, share them, download them, etc…

Mobile Interface to Google Map

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I’ve just played the past weeks with google Map, and I have made a nice interface to Google Map(!)
I will publish more technical information on how to create such application, as there was some interesting problems.

But you can already take a look at the application, available here: http://j2memap.landspurg.net or through your Wap browser at http://wap.landspurg.net.

This has only been tested on SonyEricsson, and probably works only these device!

But the application is quite cool, you can navigate either through map or satellite pictures, do search on google, see the result and even give phone call to the result of your search!

Google and Sun

Google and Sun just made an announcement that they enter in an agreement ( http://www.google.com/intl/en/press/pressrel/sun_toolbar.html ) to integrate Google ToolBar in some Sun products, typically JavarunTime environment and OpenOffice….

Google, and probably Yahoo, are in my views preparing the next revolution of the OS. In fact, they are killing the need for a specific OS. With most of their tools being server based and really useable (which was not the case during the first wave of “web based tools”, some years ago), they just need a good web browser.

Then, what is missing really for an average end user? A few enhanced application (maybe a word editor,) or some games (but not core gamer games), and this can be done easily using Java…

Then, why do we really need a complex, heavy and costly operating system to run a web browser?

What might be interesting in the future is that this gives a good opportunity for new and innovative operating systems. The only requirement for such system: be able to run a web browser and a JVM, and then you will fill 99% of the requirement of a Google or Yahoo centric world….