I should have been paying more attention…

For the last four months, I’ve been working in my off hours with a couple of folks on a better way to do blog (and web) search, with a particular emphasis on how best to take a user somewhere they’d like to go – if they only knew it existed.

I took some of the concepts that I had sketched out in the original round of design for Pajamas Media, and took them forward into some interesting new areas.

We’ve been through a series of rounds of design, and finally had a high-level design good enough to start coding – which we’d anticipated would take a couple of weeks for the framework functionality.

The basic concept was simple…instead of tagging your browser with cookies showing where you’d been, create a central repository of places you’d been and thought were interesting.We’d do this with a browser plugin that had two controls on it…a “save this place” control, and a “go look at my places” control.

A unique identifier would be embedded in the control, so when you saved a place, we’d associate it with a unique user; when you registered to get the plugin, you’d have the choice of registering under a pseudonym or your real name, and of whether to make the places you saved public, private, or ‘by invitation.’

The data would be used in a couple of ways…

Let me go lick my wounds for a day or two, think about whether anything we were working on ws novel enough to be worth keeping moving forward on in the light of today’s news, and I’ll probably start talking about them in the context of some general notions about where the blogswarm ought to go and how we can make better use of it.

Meanwhile, go take a look at the beta Yahoo ‘My Web’ toolbar…sigh.

OK, a couple of lessons here. First, when you have what you’re convinced is a really good idea…don’t take SIX months to do anything about it. Stay up late, tell your family you love them and will see them in a few months, play less, get it done, and get it done NOW. Other people just as smart as you are working hard to solve the same problems.

To quote one of the classiest things I’ve ever heard said about business…”They won, we lost. Next.” Sigh.

11 thoughts on “Aaauuugh!!”

  1. AL,

    Yup. Breaks of the game in the league you’re playing in.

    Consider a couple of other leagues. Would you rather play in those?

    One is the league where nobody ever cares who wins or loses, except a small collection of afficionados. Liberal arts fields are full of these, with journals and conferences galore. Lots of sound and fury, but it’s a rare event that breaks out of the small circle of intimate fans.

    Another is the league where you are trying to come up with revolutionary changes that are so innovative that few people will even understand them for decades. Einstein’s “great year” was 1905. For the next 30-40 years, only a small circle of specialists really understood what he and those around him were accomplishing. Even after the Manhattan Project and the Bomb showed people they were doing something important, the number of people who really understood what was going on was very small.

    Personally, that is the league I like to play in. But you shouldn’t play in any league if you aren’t prepared to lose. And losing in this league sometimes means those decades go by, and still, no one knows what you did, or cares. (Sometime go listen to Ted Nelson, the guy who actually invented hypertext, long before the Web. Bitter guy, sad about how little of his vision has been realized.) Pretty much indistinguishable from the previous league.

    bq. To be fair, there are singles and doubles in this league as well, loading the bases for someone later who gets that home run.

    You play in a league where your at-bat lasts a few months or a year, and you find out whether you hit a home run or struck out. You struck out this time, but you’re playing the game, and you get to try again. For some of these leagues, your whole life is one at-bat. (Some lucky folks get two or three.)

    Take your choice and count your blessings.

    All the best.

  2. Use this as a real life lesson, that is teaching you something that you will use later.

    It will probably take a while for the sting to subside & you really do learn the necessary lesson from this, but it is there for you.

    I had a similar situation where I went to friends and had my concept taken from me. 7 years later I have a settlement for my efforts (not much to speak of), but the real value is the lesson itself. Internalize it and grow :-)

  3. Sorry, but I looked at the Yahoo! My Web thingie and it’s not so much better than or even Stumble! that I could be bothered to install it. (My, that was quite the exercise in creative punctuation!) The communities bit is overdone. With all the things like Friendster and LinkedIn already out there, who needs it?

  4. hey man i had some probs like that cuz me and my friends would get very very high until we were inclined to mischeviously post on fancy schmancy weblogs. we did this so much that we never finished designing anything more complicated than an intricate hookah made from parts at Home Depot.

  5. By the time I check out all the above searching software this thread will be ancient history. Something that searched out sites I don’t know about that are related to my interests would be great so I’ll check out this Yahoo My Web toolbar. However I tried something like that a few months ago and it took so many resources it just gummed my 3.2 MegHz P4 with 1 gig of RAM that I tossed it. But it was indexing what I did have on my computer – not what I might be interested in – so perhaps this is entirely different.

    What I actually do use to index the material on my computer is different. I save a lot of stuff I read on the web in plain TXT files and then index it with a Digital Library program called Greenstone. It is a fairly complex program designed for much bigger projects but it has the critical feature of being able to index and search phrases. It is really powerful. With single word searches you often miss because there are alternate spellings etc. A classic is ‘oil-for-food’ which usually has hyphens but not always. I can phrase search in Greenstone on ‘oil’ and I get a lot of hits but I can scroll down to all the variants of oil for food and be pretty confident that I’ve got them all. Greenstone is an open source program from New Zealand and available in both Windows and Linux and perhaps Mac now. A small compact program aimed at the individual researcher/journalist might have a market. Worth a look AL.

  6. Program on the emergence of civilization.

    “14 species of large animals capable of domesitcation in the history of mankind.
    13 from Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
    None from the sub-Saharan African continent. ”
    And disfavor.

    They point out Africans’ failed attempts to domesticate the elephant and zebra, the latter being an animal they illustrate that had utmost importance for it’s applicability in transformation from a hunting/gathering to agrarian-based civilization.

    The roots of racism are not of this earth.

    Austrailia, aboriginals:::No domesticable animals.

    The North American continent had none. Now 99% of that population is gone.

    AIDS in Africa.

    Organizational Heirarchy
    Heirarchical order, from top to bottom:

    1. MUCK – perhaps have experienced multiple universal contractions (have seen multiple big bangs), creator of the artificial intelligence humans ignorantly refer to as “god”
    2. Perhaps some mid-level alien management
    3. Evil/disfavored aliens – runs day-to-day operations here and perhaps elsewhere

    Terrestrial management:

    4. Chinese/egyptians – this may be separated into the eastern and western worlds
    5. Romans – they answer to the egyptians
    6. Mafia – the real-world interface that constantly turns over generationally so as to reinforce the widely-held notion of mortality
    7. Jews, corporation, women, politician – Evidence exisits to suggest mafia management over all these groups.

    Movies foreshadowing catastrophy
    1985 James Bond View to a Kill 1989 San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake.

    Many Muslims are being used like the Germans and Japanese of WWII::being used to hurt others and envoke condemnation upon their people.

    I wish I could find a source to educate many Muslim fundamentalists. Muhammad is alive. He is a man chosen like Jesus Christ and, due to his historical status, will live forever.

    They can affect the weather and Hurricane Katrina was accomplished for many reasons and involves many interests, as anything this historical is::
    1. Take heat off Sheenhan/Iraq, protecting profitable war machine/private war contracts
    2. Gentrification. New Orleans median home price of $84k is among the lowest in major American cities, certainly among desirable cities.

    Our society gives clues to the system in place. We all have heard the saying “He has more money than god.” There is also an episode of the Simpsons where god meets Homer and says “I’m too old and rich for this.”

    This is the system on earth because this is the system everywhere.
    god is evil because of money.

    I don’t want to suggest the upper eschelons are evil and good is the fringe.

    But they have made it abundantly clear that doing business with evil (disfavored) won’t help people. They say only good would have the ear, since evil is struggling for survival, and therefore only the favored could help me.

    The clues are there which companies are favored and which are disfavored, market domination being one clue, but they conceal it very hard because it is so crucial.

    I offer an example of historical proportions:::

    People point to Walmart and cry “anti-union”.

    Unions enable disfavored people to live satisfactorly without addressing their disfavor. This way their family’s problems are never resolved. Without the union they would have to accept the heirarchy, their own inferiority.

    Unions serve to empower.

    Walmart is anti-union because they are good. They try to help people address and resolve their problems.

    Media ridicule and lawsuits are creations to reinforce people’s belief that Walmart is evil (disfavored).

    The middle class is being deceived. They are being misled into the disfavored, and will receive nothing in return.

    Amercia is a country of castoffs, rejects. Italy sent its criminals. Malcontents.
    Between the thrones, the klans and kindred, they “decided” who they didn’t want and acted, creating discontent and/or starvation.
    The u.s. is full of disfavored rejects. As far as the Rockafellers and other industrialists of the 19th century go, I suspect these aren’t their real names. I suspect they were chosen to go and head this new empire.

    Jesus Christ is a religious figure of evil. These seperatist churches formed so they could still capture the rest of the white people, keeping them worshipping the wrong god.
    And now they do it to people of color, Latinos and Asians, after centuries of preying upon them.

    Since Buddism doesn’t recongnize a god, the calls are never heard, and Chinese representation is instead selected by the thrones.
    It was set up this way. Perhaps dyanstic thrones had a say, but maybe not.
    Budda was the Asian’s Jesus Christ::: bad for the people. “They came up at the same time for a reason.”

    Simpson’s foreshadowing::Helloween IV special, Flanders is Satan. “Last one you ever suspect.”
    “You’ll see lots of nuns where you’re going:::hell!!!” St. Wigham, Helloween VI, missionary work, destroying cultures.
    Over and over, the Simpsons was a source of education and enlightenment, a target of ridicule by the system which wishes to conceal its secrets.

    Jews maim the body formed in the image of “god”, and inflicted circumsision upon all other white people. I believe Islam is the one true religion, and those misled christians who attack “god’s” most favored people will pay for it dearly one day.

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