Kalooga - Discover the web. This is simply a visual search engine. It's also an irritating search engine, because while it proudly says that it searches through 50 million photo galleries. What this means in practice is that it appears to group sets of photographs together. I ran a search for a particular ruined building and true, I got lots of results, but they were split into small groups, which simply meant more scrolling and looking.
I also wasn't impressed that it didn't cover resources such as Flickr either - at least from the searches that I ran. Can't see me becoming a big user of this one to be honest.
Ask your friends anonymous questions!. Not quite sure I'm believing this, but here goes... the site explains: "We all have questions that are very hard to be asked directly
and in many cases we are afraid that by asking a question we can get
ourselves in a strange, uncomfortable or embarrassing situation and
therefore we avoid asking them.
In other cases we would like to surprise someone and if we
could ask for a clue in an anonymous way, it would help us in preparing
the perfect surprise.
GoaQoo is a free and simple application that allows users to ask anonymous questions from their friends.
The identity of the person asking the question is fully protected, only
the short description or nickname that is provided at the “Sender” item
is disclosed to the Recipient. The e-mail of the sender is kept fully
confidential and it is used only for notification purposes.
All the questions are confidential, only the sender and the
recipients have access to it. They can be opened on a special, password
protected webpage and the links and access codes are sent in private
e-mails. No other person can open the questions and answers besides you
and your friend."
I talked about Tizmos over in my Web 2.0 applications weblog and thought it might be quite useful for listing resources - for training as much as anything else. It's basically a start page, using large thumbnails, and you can create public pages - this is mine, which is a listing of a few search engines. I'd have liked tabs, but you can add in your own keywords and limit what appears on the screen to appropriate thumbnails. I think it's a really nice resource and one that I'm quite tempted to use myself.
Startpage Web Search. Startpage, the world's most private search
engine, and its E.U. brand, Ixquick, today announced the release of a new proxy
service that allows users to surf the web with complete privacy. The proxy lets
users browse websites safely and anonymously, without passing on any private,
personally identifiable information to the websites they view.
The Startpage proxy is a free service that works in conjunction with the
Startpage search engine. When users perform a search, they will
find a clickable "proxy" option below each search result. When this
option is selected, Startpage acts as an intermediary to retrieve the page and
display it in a privacy-protected Startpage window.
The proxy offers complete anonymity, since the user never makes direct contact
with the third-party website. The user's IP address is invisible to the viewed
website. In addition, the website cannot see or place cookies on the user's
Details on the new Startpage Proxy service, along with a video explaining the
service by Startpage's US spokeswoman, privacy expert Dr. Katherine Albrecht,
can be found on the "Ixquick Proxy Explained" page:http://startpage.com/proxy/eng/help.html
Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by
removing the clutter around what you're reading. This is a work of
minor genius. We all get faced with pages that are too small to read
properly, or too dense, or covered with adverts or other extraneous
material. These same pages are also usually a real pain to print out.
Along comes this tool, which is a simple add-on to your browser bar.
First of all, decide how you want to read material - the style can be
newspaper, novel, eBook, Inverse of Athelas, size from extra small to
extra large, and the margin from extra narrow to extra wide. Once
you've made your choice, drag the bookmarklet into your browsers
bookmark toolbar. When you get to a page that's difficult to read,
click on the bookmarklet and the magic happens. You can turn this page
from the BBC:
Into something that looks like this:
I had chosen 'newspaper style, medium size and wide margins' as my default - a slight annoyance is that if you wish to change this it's necessary to delete the bookmarklet and go back to the site, choose new settings and save over. Another slight issue is that Readability doesn't work well with front pages, such as the BBC site - it works much better once you get into an article and are faced with a reasonable body of text.
However, to balance that out it works with Arabic and Hebrew text by keeping the flow of text correct, and the latest version boasts a 99% success rate. This really is a superb took, and I can see just how well it's going to work with people who have visual difficulties, children, and users who rely on screen readers. The resource has been going for less than a year and is produced by Arc90, who can be followed on Twitter. Take a look - it'll take you two minutes tops and I guarantee you'll find it useful!
Interesting article on the BBC site entitled: Council Twitter users face rebuke because some of them have been using social networking sites - Twitter in particular - to 'mock other members' during meetings. The BBC further reported "The council said in a statement: "Employees or councillors using social
networking sites to send inappropriate messages could be referred to
the standards committee."
I'm pleased to see that they're also developing a social media policy, which is sensible. However, I doubt that it's going to be any use to anyone, since they don't appear to understand a basic - it's not the resource that's the problem - it's the attitude of the users. If your users understand what they can do with these systems, what their responsibilities are, and the importance of using them correctly this wouldn't happen.
Now let's look at the BBC take on reporting this. They've gone for the easy sensational line as is to be expected. 'Councillors in Cornwall could face being reported' (my emphasis) - so they've not been reported then. Moreover, the Council actually hasn't received any complaints, and one councillor who read the tweets said that he didn't think they were inappropriate. So no-one has complained, no-one has been hauled up before anyone, so BBC - please tell me exactly what IS the story you're attempting to cover, because I really can't work it out.
Movie title stills collection. I seem to be looking at a lot of visual stuff recently, and here's another example. Opening and closing credits from thousands of films from 1900 to now. You get the main title and the end (which almost always contains the words 'The End'). Not sure of the value of this one, though it will be of interest to media studies students perhaps, and also people who have an interest in movie fonts.
Unfortunately the only way of searching the collection is by decade and then scrolling through, which is a shame, having said that, it's a one man band operation, so it would be churlish to be too hard on it.
Well, now we know. Well, we know some of it, though there's still lots of things that are not entirely clear. I thought I'd take a look at a few of the plusses and minuses of what I've seen this evening, and make up my mind a little bit.
Physical appearance. Well, it's just a big iPhone, which is what I'd expected really - though it's a lot thinner and the weight isn't too bad at 1.5 or 1.6 lbs. The edge, or bezel doesn't cause me a problem either, although a few people are moaning about it already.
No multitasking. This is a pain I guess; no listening to music while wandering around the web, or reading the morning newspaper. For me, this one of the really big minus points about the iPad. Does this mean that I won't buy it? It's certainly not a deal breaker in the slightest - if I want to listen to music I've already got my music player - my iPhone. And if I'm going to be using it for what I'd intend to - as an eBook reader, it's not an issue.
Lack of camera. I honestly don't get why this is a problem for some people. It's not meant to be a camera! It's too big to be a camera - can you really see yourself trying to use it to take a photograph with? And you've already got a camera on your phone, or some other sort of camera. Sure, a webcam for video meetings would be nice, but there is an option to add one on as a peripheral, though I agree, that does mean more lugging around of devices. If you take photographs you already have a camera, and if you don't, you're not going to want one. Time to move on...
Keyboard. Until I can actually try the keyboard I have no idea what it'll be like, but I can just about type on my iPhone, so something rather larger isn't going to be a problem at all. Major issue there is going to be typing on the surface that I'm looking at, so I'm pleased to see the external keyboard, but again - there's that issue of dragging around more peripherals. But let's face it - if I want a proper keyboard and a webcam then I'm going to use a laptop. Why people are trying to turn the iPad into a laptop, or complaining when it's not one when it's not supposed to be, defeats me.
No HDMI plug. I'm not going to be plugging it into my tv anytime soon, why would I care? It's an annoyance that there are various other plugs that I'm going to need for it, USB adapters and so on - which again is just adding more to the dragging around.
No flash. Annoying, certainly, limiting the browsing around the web and streaming videos. It's an annoyance on the iPhone, and it'll be more of that on the iPad.
The battery. 10 hours video time and a month on standby IS impressive, if it's accurate. Even if it's less than that, it's still not bad at all. Though of course, the battery is going to be integral to the unit, which could be a pain if there's an issue with it.
I'm really keen on the idea of using it as an e-Book reader. It's the first item that I've looked at which actually makes me think I'd really actively enjoy reading from it. Again, I can read from the iPhone, and this is going to be a better experience. Not so keen that the iBookstore is US only at the moment - until I can buy a book there and then, download it and just start reading, I'm not going to be buying one. That for me IS a deal breaker. I want to go onto a site, choose a book that's been published today, download it and start reading there and then. Download the morning newspaper? Grab my favourite magazine - absolute requirements for me.
Is this going to kill the Kindle? I think it will, yes - at least if the Kindle stays in its current incarnation. Simply can't see the value in buying one, certainly not on price comparisons.
Price. £450 or thereabouts for the largest size wifi (without 3G) is going to be fine by me. I don't need instant connectivity to the net - I have a laptop/dongle and iPhone combination for that. Though the idea of running around with iPhone, iPad and laptop and dongle and any iPad peripherals is not a great idea. I suspect that I'd use it at home on my wifi, download what I need, power it up and be on my way. We don't yet know about dataplans in the UK, but I doubt I'll be tempted, unless my provider is intelligent enough to work out a dataplan that includes the iPhone.
There's a lot of interest in the use of the thing in academiaalready - just try a twitter search and see what I mean. On a tangent - I wonder how long it's going to be before someone publishes the Harry Potter 'Daily Prophet' onto it.
So - will I get one? I expect so, once I am reassured that I'll be able to download books/newspapers/magazines when they come out at a reasonable price when I want them.
Searchtastic.com - search Twitter history and export tweets to Excel. Searches "historical" tweets from months ago. Exports search results to Excel. Allows searches for a particular user and the people that user follows. Shows popular topics during the last 24 hours in a hash tag cloud. Hash
tags, like #followfriday, indicate the topic of a tweet. They derive their
hash tag cloud independently of Twitter's trending topics.
BoardGameGeek | Gaming Unplugged Since 2000. Not a type of resource that I blog about very often (or never, in fact, but there always has to be a first time I suppose), but if you ever need information on board games, this is the site to visit. Nice search function, and an impressive amount of detail about each game. This includes year published, who by, artwork, # of players, playing time, suggested age range, description, images of boards and pieces, marketplace value and so on.