World Wide Web

RSS Overloaded

I don't know why have 192 feeds in my account. 90% of these feeds don't give me any useful information. If I don't touch it for a day, I get “RSS overloaded”!

Will be releasing my blogroll soon. Have a look at it.

World Wide Web

Gmail now supports old browsers

Just read that Gmail now supports older browsers as well. But I guess it took them quite some time to do that. People would be fed up by now and would have switched to the newer version of IE or would have switched to Mozilla in order to use Gmail.

World Wide Web

Still using IE?

Here are 101 reasons why you should use Mozilla rather than IE.

So should we wait till IE7 (Microsoft has that in news) for these and more things to come?

World Wide Web

Semantic Web

Found a good article on Semantic Web at Scientific American. A good introduction to Semantic Web I should say.

Another good and related article is Markup Languages and Ontologies.

World Wide Web

Hats off Google thanks for preventing comment spam

I had written about Blog spamming some time back. I found many of my friends getting spammed through comments. Well, search leader Google has come up with a technique to prevent this.

Interesting read: Preventing comment spam from Google blog.

World Wide Web

If Google came up with an RSS Reader

What would it be like if Google came up with an RSS Reader?

* It would first buy the domain “greader” or something similar.
* It would have an index of more than 8 million different feeds.
* It would offer 1 GB space for storing posts.
* It would have an excellent search feature for searching posts.
* The interface would be simple, but at the same time powerful.
* We would be able to mail any post just at the click of a button.
* It would allow us to filter posts and also label them for future reference.
* It would also allow us to make blog entries (of course the service would be integrated with Blogger.)
* It would integrate greader with other offerings like mail, groups etc.

And finally one thing…

Guess what?

Ya, you guessed it right.

It would be Beta forever. 🙂

World Wide Web

The need for Integrated Work Environments

This is in connection with my previous blog entry. The reason why I use Yahoo tools is that all tools are available in one place. I can access my mail, address book, RSS feeds, notes, bookmarks, photos etc.

But when I saw Newsgator, it made me think again. Is it a good solution? True, many of these features are not used in a professional environment (you would probably be using some groupware like LotusNotes), but the point worth noting is that a single provider approach is usually not feasible.

But then it would mean, using multiple providers, each with a different user id, a different password. No wonder I have made a note, which reminds me which id's I have created online!

Now, how about a solution where you are able to make all these User_id and password entries in one place and then let the software take over? You get all the data in one place, although the data is coming from different providers. You are able to customize the front-end to suit your tastes.

Well, that is what an Integrated Work Environment is all about (according to me). You tell it what you want, where to get it from and how you want it to be displayed and it does it for you. Got the idea?

Does such a solution exist? I don't think so. Let me know if there is one.

World Wide Web

For those of you who have started RSSing

I have been using RSS for the last 4 months or so, and I have faced some problems with the way I use it (I use My Yahoo and now My MSN as well. Don't ask me, “Why 2?”. Techies always like having more than one for some unidentified reason. For this reason, they usually have a dozen email ids. 🙂 Anyway, let's continue…)

* My Yahoo just displays a summary of the RSS feed at the maximum. So if I need to read the entire feed then I have no choice but to actually go that site and find out. I think mentioned this sometime back.
* I cannot distinguish between RSS feeds that I have already read and the ones that I haven't.
* I cannot save a feed for future use.
* I cannot email a particular entry to someone else. (I can only tell them the feed link.)
* The entries are refreshed everyday (I have customized My Yahoo to display atmost 5 entries and a short summary for each). So what if I need to see the last 2 days' entries?

Well, apparently the problem is not with RSS but with the way I have been using it. My Yahoo and My MSN provide RSS support, but apparently they are more concerned with integration of various services that they provide (mail, address book, etc). Atleast, this is true with My Yahoo.

I found a better solution yesterday. I was on the lookout for a reader specializing in RSS, that is able to satisfy my requirements.

And I entered “online rss reader” and I got a million (I don't know exactly how many) sites. Newsgator won the race. A quick registration and I was done. It has the following features:

* Easy and quick registration (not like MSN 🙂 )
* Quick feed adds.
* Import feeds (using some new format OPML. Haven't heard of it before.)
* Store feeds in separate directories.
* Distinguish read and unread entries.
* Pretty neat interface.
* Store entries, mail them to friends etc…

To summarize, it looks somewhat like a mailbox with all unread mails (I mean feed entries :P) in bold and all feeds displayed in a separate column to the left. And ya, you don't have spam here!

One interesting feature I saw was that it was able to display some images as well! I am not quite sure how this is supported in RSS. Gotta find out. Anyone out there who knows?

World Wide Web

A blog entry 50 years from now

Once upon a time during the beginning of this century man came up with a concept called blogs to convey his ideas and experiences. This concept survived for about 10 years. Now it is no more.
(This blog entry would never make it, for, in my opinion, 50 years from now, there would be nothing called blogs :))

I don't mean to say it would stop, but it would surely be replaced by something much better or there would never be a need for it and so would actually stop.

World Wide Web

A query language for searching websites

It does seem stale that you just write a set of words to query for a particular piece of information. For example, consider a query such as:

“Were there any video releases in the last one week that had XYZ(say an actor) as the lead role?”

Suppose we want to query this on normal search engines (what are abnormal search engines?!), we would probably write (disregarding useless advanced search options):

Search: “video release” XYZ -some-date-

Can we make it more specific? Probably we can, but the point is that there is no relationship between “video release” and XYZ whatsoever.

What could be a better query? How about using SQL-like queries to make our searches more specific?

It is possible and that is what semantic web, ontologies and a whole bag of technologies deal with. I am surely not going into the depths with these terminologies in this blog entry, but would like to hint on what modern searches could be like.

While modern English language interpretation would probably take a while to develop (we as SE's know the problem inherent in natural languages right?), it would surely be possible to develop a search engine which would be able to perform SQL-like queries.

For ex, it might be possible to put forth a query such as:

ALL(dom(video)) WHERE (video.leadrole=XYZ AND video.releasedate< -some-date- AND video.releaselocation=INDIA AND ! While whatever I have written above is directly off my mind (without any analysis whatsoever), it makes perfect sense right? It would mean: "Get me all the video releases which have XYZ as lead role and the release date is less than -some-date- and the release location is INDIA and it does not have ABC as an actor in it." The result? It might vary. While search engines might show a list of relevant sites as they do now, they could also take us directly to some particular relevant site as in "I am feeling lucky" of Google. (Then there would be more lucky people around 🙂 ) How's that? Amuzed? I surely am. And what's this going to use in the backend? XML of course. In fact there is an ontology language by name OWL, which is based on RDF, which is based on XML! And finally an update on the new search/RSS tools: A ticker from Yahoo – This ticker is able to present all the news feeds in box in your taskbar. So there is no need to view the RSS feeds in browsers. It is also able to show you the feeds present in your My-Yahoo page. Just let it tick…

I also hit upon another search engine called Mooter, which arranges the search results in clusters. Worth giving a try.

Eurekster – a group search engine, which learns from previously made queries.

And a last one in the list is, MyGoogleSearch, which is able to “guess” and extract keywords from a “similar” web-site. Not quite accurate, but worth giving a try.