Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Yet Another Google API, this Time for Visualizations

The Google Visualization API lets you access multiple sources of structured data that you can display, choosing from a large selection of visualizations.

The Google Visualization API also provides a platform that can be used to create, share and reuse visualizations written by the developer community.

You can embed visualizations directly into your website and display attractive data on your website by choosing from visualizations created by the developer community.

The Google Visualization API provides simple Gadget extensions to its API to create visualization Gadgets. Publish these here or in the Gadget directory. Become an active participant in the developer community; reuse and share visualizations with others.

Create extensions to Google products: Write visualization applications for Google products such as Google Docs. With a growing list of products that support Gadgets, syndicate your app.

You can use many data sources with one API. A visualization apps created using the API are able to access any compliant data source with no required code changes to your application. Developers can start building apps immediately using Google Spreadsheets as a supported data source.

Here are a few examples of the visualizations that are created in the Google Visualization API Gadget Gallery:

Google Releases and AJAX Language API

Google added another interesting piece to its API stack. Now with the Google AJAX Language API, you can translate and detect the language of blocks of text within a webpage using only Javascript.

The language API is designed to be used to translate and detect languages on the fly when off line translations are not available.

It is a nice addition to the Google Family of API's and great for internationalization of web applications.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

New Workstation Setup

I just got a new levovo Laptop. It was presetup with Windows XP.

It took me 30 minutes flat to setup completely for my needs.
  1. Installed my web development environment.
  2. Installed my database development environment.
  3. Installed Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger.
  4. Installed Firefox.
Done, everything else I do is web-based. All my email, docs, files, everything is either on Google, Amazon Web Services or some other Web Service.

Almost there in accomplishing my goal in living online.

Man I love it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

LinkedIn Offers Company Profiles

LinkedIn just announced they are offering that, "Now Companies too have profiles on LinkedIn".

I have always used LinkedIn as a business facing presence for myself. It has linkages for all my employees?

Now, you'll be able to see over 160,000 profiles of companies on LinkedIn, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profit organizations as well as LinkedIn's own Company Profile page.

Company Profiles on LinkedIn is an overview of a company's industry data in combination with LinkedIn data along certain key metrics.

Seems like a logical step to me.

What can it do for a business to have a social network profile on LinkedIn?

Widgets and Social Network Applications are Temporary

I was just driving home tonight and thinking about all the widgets and OpenSocial applications I have been developing lately.

Starting thinking about the limited distribution OpenSocial Applications and the wide distribution of widgets.

I was playing with a real sweet Flash Distribution that was driven from XML. I was thinking about the different ways I could distribute it on web sites and social networks.

Of course I think about how to make some use it and adopt it.

Then I thought, is it really necessary to have some continue using an application?

Can they just add it, get some value, and send back?

If 100 people use and adopt it or 10,000 use it and lose it...what is more valuable.

Just curious.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Amazon Launches New Web Service for Fulfillment

Amazon added another layer to their stack of web services to. They added the Amazon Fulfillment Web Service (Amazon FWS) which allows merchants to tap in to Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers and logistics. Merchants can store their own products to our fulfillment centers and then, using a web service interface, fulfill orders for the products and ship a product to a customer.

There are two sets of APIS – Inbound and Outbound.

The Inbound service gives merchants the ability to create and send shipments to an Amazon fulfillment center from your vendors.

The Outbound service gives merchants the ability to ship products from Amazon FCs to their customers. This service revolves around the concept of a fulfillment order. The order contains a destination address, a shipping speed, and a list of item/quantity pairs to be shipped. The createFulfillmentOrder function is used to initiate the shipping process.

They are moving forward in basically offering a wholesale version of everything the do in-house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Google Reader and Google Notebook as My Knowledgebase

I use Google Reader and Google Notebook on a daily basis. I read and consume feeds from 300+ blogs daily. I scan, read, visit and participate in many of the posts.

I then either tag the blog entries in my Google Reader.

Or I visit the blog and highlight some or all of the text and add to my Google Notebook.

I keep huge amounts of information in both of these.

With the combination of tagging in Google Reader and organizing in notebooks in Google Notebook and keep track of meaningful information.

Both give me a search tool to then pull this information up at anytime.

What a great database.

Liveblogging, Reminders, Tasking and Calling Myself

I have been using Jott for that last few months to record tasks, record events, publish blogs, and other general communications by calling Jott and leaving a voice mail or "jott" and it translates and sends to the link that I dictate.

I am pioneering using this for live blogging of events and sending out user generate reporters.

Today I came across Utterz which is a simlar to Jott, but adds in the pictures and videos but utilizes a larger list of links you can post to.

Utterz seems like a true live blogging tool, where Jott seems like a personal assistant and publishing tool.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Legal Rights Involved with Photography

I enjoy taking pictures of anything and everything. I am always curious about the legal rights of taking pictures of people and places.

I just read a great post called Photography and The Law: Know Your Rights which contained the The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography.

It has great information about some common misconceptions surrounding the legalities of taking pictures of people and places.

Google Adds Maps to Google Chart API

Google released a new update for the Google Chart API. It allows you to create maps with specific data areas based upon what you pass.

You can highlight states, countries and other elements and display summary or other data regarding those elements.

A nice feature added to the API. The have a lot of features hitting the pavement lately across their web applications / API.

My Social Graph and Social Index

So I have several spurts in trying to understand, track, and ultimately evolve my social graph and my social index.

For anyone not following these areas of study, here are some definitions:

Social Graph Definition: Social Graph is the network of connections that exist through which people communicate and share information.

Social Index Definition - Social Index is a measurement of the value, size and velocity of a social graph.

I have tried several ways to track my social graph and social index, and recently there has been several tools released to assist. Such as Google Social Graph API, MyBlogLog, Plaxo, FriendFeed, and Disqus.

I'm sure there are more that I am forgetting about. These tools all provide some missing link in tracking my social graph and its value. I'm still trying to pull it all together, but unfortunately it is becoming like managing my social networks, I 'm developing fatigue.

Defining my social graph fatigue! It is getting clearer than ever before, but I still need to squint to see anything even slightly clear.

More to come on this...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Adobe AIR Applications

So recently I have installed 2 Adobe Air applications. I installed twhirl a twitter client built on the Air platform, and now I just did Snippely a snippet code tool from MooTools.

I really like the install process which is very smooth and makes installing new apps so easy.

I really like the application itself too. They are very sexy, clean interfaces and lightweight. They have all the functionality of a desktop application but seem like a browser web app as well.

Interesting blend, would like to find time and play with developing Air apps myself.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Flash Mobs

Was just reading a cool post about Flash Mobs on Ignite Media. Very cool concept.

Is it social media?

Is it art?

Is it protest?

Ignite Media defines a flash mob as:
  1. You gather a group of people (through text messages, Facebook groups, emails, whatever) and ask them to come to a particular place at a particular time;
  2. You all do something for a short period;
  3. You simply disband and go about your business.

Here is the video they posted that gives a good example:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Youtube Approach to their New API

I wrote earlier about Youtube's new API. I am really happy they updated it. It has several features that I feel are key to using their platform.

However in thinking more about it and reading other posts about it I realize their approach and openness is the real gem.

Youtube understands the basic 2.0 concept that user activity should not have to occur on your site. This is a very tough concept for some players to understand.

Key player still think that they can force or entice customers to join their social network, use their tools, and participate in activities only on their site.

Understanding that you need a quality site presence as well as a quality presence on the open Internet.

Google and Youtube gets this and made their API refelect this. You don't have to upload, search, and view videos on Youtube.

Youtube Releases New API

Youtube finally has reworked their API to allow for uploading of videos. This was a huge problem in integrating YouTube in Social Media Campaigns.

Here are some of the things you can do with the YouTube Data API now:
  • Create a web front end to let people view videos about specific topics.
  • Create a desktop application or plugin that plays videos in a customized environment.
  • Add related, dynamic video content to your website or application.
  • Customise the Flash player to fit the look and feel of your site, device or application
  • Add feeds of videos from each of YouTube's 18 international domains

The upload was the biggest addition for me. It is something that I have wanted for a while now.

However the cool new chrome JavaScript player is pretty awesome too. You can really customize and embed a new user video player experience in any site.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Wordpress Installation and Hosting on the Cloud

Just got a request to install Wordpress blog for a client that will potentially receive a large amount of traffic.

So I opted to use the Cloud Hosting Platform by Rackspace. Took me less than 10 minutes to setup the site, install, and configure the Wordpress blog.

In my admin interface and added a new web site, chose to use PHP 5 as core technology and chose mysql as the database.
  • Once setup and created a MySQL database.
  • I FTP'ed the unzipped wordpress contents.
  • Updated the wp-config.php file.
  • Ran the install.
Then I was done. A scalable Wordpress installation that will handle a large volume of traffic and hosting is cheap. I could offer as low as $4.95 / month.

May just do that.

RSS Tracking and Analytics Using Feedburner

I have bee spending the week finding many types of RSS feeds for different purposes. I am building large lists of them under different topics and tracking the source of these feeds.

I am noticing about 1 in 10 feeds are using Feedburner or any type of tracking for it.

Though I am happier at the amount of quality data available via RSS it concerns me that people who have employed RSS do not understand the the value of tracking their RSS consumption and usage.

I really think there is a huge need for continued education around RSS in all age and business levels, it is really not understood by the masses.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chris Anderson of Wired and Michael Arrington of TechCrunch

Was just watching and enjoying a show of Charlie Rose that had Chris Anderson of Wired and Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.

Chris was very informative and I'll have to watch again.

Michael Arrington was impressive. He covered tech as social issues in a way that kept me listening.

Will write more about. Good show guys.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Alltop...Guys Latest...

Was just checking out Guy Kawasaki's latest project Alltop.

The site layout instantly sucked me in.

Couldn't get past the grey bar layer at first. Actually after i got over forced me to really focus on the content.....interesting approach.

The sites that are already in my sights within the categories I care about were nothing new. However the introduction to a few new categories was nice.

Fresh information....fresh approach.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Location Tracking Using Yahoo's New Fire Eagle

I was checking out Yahoo's new release, Fire Eagle. It is a secure and stylish way to share your location with sites and services online while giving you control over your data and privacy. Applications and users can respond to your location and help you to discover more about the world around you in real time.

It has an API allowing applications to be developed that will allow you to interact online based upon your location. This could be huge and bring the type of innovation that Google Maps gave us.

Definitely a scary thing for a lot of users, however the younger crowd will embrace.

Stowe Boyd got an early invite and has some nice screen shots of Fire Eagle.

Google Launches a Contacts Data API

I have been getting happier with the contact management tools available in Gmail...and some of the integration with other Google Applications.

I would like to see more social networking and social graph management tools, like their recent social graph api release.

Now Google has added another simple, yet powerful tool to their API arsenal. A common contact list has helped power applications like Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Calendar, and with the launch of the Google Contacts Data API, you can access this list with other external applications.

Based on AtomPub, the Contacts API can be used to read, create, edit, and delete contact information stored with Google.

Learn the details from an announcement post on the Google Data APIs blog.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Marketing Using Facebook

Was just reading Facebook Marketing Opportunities over at Digital Podcast.

I am currently playing around with several strategies for marketing our companies products on Facebook.

His statement about 8 ways to market on Facebook really stood out, and I have seen reciprocated on several other core marketing blogs:
  • Application Development
  • Group Participation
  • Paid Groups
  • Targete Ads
  • Newsfeed Advertising
  • Beacon Advertising
  • Guerrilla Individual Targeting
I am also exploring other methods for targeting around social graph marketing to specific measured social graphs for a focused but broad reach.

Why We Give More Weight to Facebook Application Development Over MySpace

I was just reading MySpace Developer Platform: Jim Benedetto, MySpace on Jeremiah Owyang's blog. He is at the Social Graph Conference in San Diego. I wish I was there.

Anyways he was posting a bunch of information about the MySpace development platform and it really shows an impressive approach on their part in reaching out to the developers community.

Their approach is much better than Facebook.

Yet we still give more priority to building Facebook apps and maintaing our presence there than we do on MySpace.

It is primarily because of the demographics. It will be interesting to see who stays ahead in the Social Networking race.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Browser Add Ons

I am pretty addicted to to Firefox Browser Add-Ons. I have many of them to the point of add-on overload.

I use them for adding items to my Google Notebook, Amazon S3, CoComment, and much more.

I syndicate and share to many social networks, social bookmarking, and other sharing sites.

I do all this through Firefox. So recently I have been using Firefox for a primary business function which requires a cookie. So I need to use Internet Explorer for my personal online view.

I pay attention to my Google Information and other stuff. All of a sudden I feel lost without my add-ons. I try to right click to add things to my Google Notebook, I try to share. NOTHING.

So I go to search the Internet Explorer Add-Ons. There really isn't much? Whats the deal?

Why is there such a movemtn behind firefox on this? I couldn't live without my browser and add-ons? Is this not ordinary?

Internet Exlporer still has like 60+ % market share. Why isn't there a browser add-on movement?

I am working on the specs for a firefox add-on specification. I worry that mainstream doesn't get it and will never adop browser toolbars and add-ons.

Browser Tools have become more important to me than desktop tools. The only desktop tools I stil use are Dreamweaver. Everything else is in my browser.

I know I am not the normal. Is this weird.

Just trying to understand why Internet Explorer with such huge market share does not have the add-on following?