I've been experimenting with ways to create an uberblog that mashes up a bunch of my friends' blogs, with mixed success.
I was hoping to end up with a list of posts with full text, pictures and movies, in reverse chronological order from about 5 or 6 friends.
Yahoo Pipes got me part of the way there with Grabanjothing 1.0. The feed for this is close to perfect and has complete posts with pictures and everything... but the Pipes display page is truncating posts. Also I can't get the source blog name to appear next to the post title...
Next step was to run it through FeedBurner to get an RSS URL without parameters. Still looks pretty good through an RSS reader. I'm a little stuck on the next step... every RSS to HTML converter I can find seems to just use the description field, so I end up with something like this. Hmm.
Anyway, apologies to the feeds I borrowed for this experiment.
The Machine is Us/ing Us
Everybody's trying everything
Due in large part to the apparently newfound interest of just about everyone I know, instead of blogging here I've been instead messing around with the slew of newish Blog 2.0 services out there. Flirtmapprs, Socialthoughtgrabbrs, Sharemongrs, Picflipprs, Myvirtualcubicleontheweb. At Mark's invitation I started my 5th or 6th blog today (on Vox, which I'd known fairly well in its previous incarnation as a midrange vodka).
It feels to me like all of this stuff is basically the long tail of MySpace, or maybe old school blogs like this one, but maybe one of these suckers will take off and tip over into being a really interesting mass phenomenon. I think a neat (and oh so troublemaking) site would be something that would let you share voicemails out onto the web, but for some reason this doesn't exist yet. I remember listening to a fantastic chunk of This American Life (here, Act 4) in which Columbia University gets a system that lets this happen (and you can add your comments to forwarded voice messages) and all hell breaks loose. Maybe I will try to build a phone app that usurps carrier-based voicemail, which hasn't improved in years.
Anyway, I've been busy, and going crazy. But I'm still very much alive and having fun and stuff. I have to start doing yoga.
Uber web services
Is it possible to create a web service which would allow you to open and edit Microsoft Office documents and other proprietarily formatted documents? There would doubtless be licensing issues to get around, not to mention the technical bear of working across a network... but the benefits would be great and many, not the least of which being the dulling of a big arrow in Microsoft's quiver: their Office software.
I'm picturing something like this: The user uploads their document to the web service. The service translates the file and incorporates its content into the editable section of a page sent back to the user. The user uses the tools on the page to change the file. When it's time to save or export the changes, the user submits the document back to the service, which then makes corresponding changes to the doc and sends it back to the user.
It would certainly be better than having to own a ton of software that you might rarely use. Imagine an online library of powerful editing tools, available via subscription or a per-use "rental" model. A quick Photoshop edit here or there. A neat possibility would be the ability to create custom toolsets which are derived from tools available in many different applications for use on the same document. You could run a Photoshop filter, create some vectors, do some word processing - all on the same doc - then export it as a pdf or whatever format floats your boat. A copy remains on the server for future editing. hmmm...