Journal of a Geek

Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Yahoo! Pipes

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I saw there was a lot of buzz going around about Yahoo Pipes, so I decided to check it out tonight. It looks like really cool idea so far. Basically it let’s you perform database type actions on sets of XML feeds. It also let’s you take user input to change parameters on the queries.

The first pipe I made was a good example. I took user input from the text input control and fed it into the Flickr control. Then sent that to the output control. What I got was a page that displayed Flickr search results for that search that I let users enter.

Flickr Search Pipe Layout (image)

As you can see from the layout view in the picture, the pipes are configured using a visual interface. Controls are dropped onto the main area then their output is connected to the input of another control. This is really similar to Apple’s Quartz Composer if you have seen it.

The pipes interface comes with several data sources that are easy to use, but for more advanced users there is a URL builder so that you can create URL’s for more customized RSS feeds. I made a more complex pipe which involves returning the top X articles from Digg and Reddit for a certain key term. The layout is kind of crazy, so I will just provide the link for this one. If you login using a Yahoo account you can view the layout for any of the pipes that have been created so far and you can also build your own pipes.

I would like to see what Yahoo does with Pipes as it gets further developed. So far I think it’s a great idea and can’t wait to see what people can do with it.


Written by Ryan Farnell

February 15, 2007 at 2:11 am

Posted in Web 2.0

Buzz Words

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The other night at Chili’s, I was talking with my friends and the topic of buzz words came up. There are a lot of buzz words flying around on the Internet lately. I got the general feeling from my friends that they feel this words are only hype, and there is nothing really behind them. I have heard of the same thing going around on other websites I read and podcasts I listen to. So I thought I would take this chance to explain of few of the big buzz words.

Web 2.0: This word is being used a lot online. Almost every new website that pops up is claiming to be a Web 2.0 website. Web 2.0 is not actually something you have to upgrade on your own. It’s more of a name for the evolution the web is currently experiencing. Up until now the Internet has really been a sort of one way media, kind of like TV, magazines, books, movies, etc. Someone creates the content and they you look at it. The evolution of this is the way the web is becoming two way media. If you look at things like blogs, social networks, online office apps, and others, the users are creating content for the other users of the service to view.

AJAX: Asynchornous Javascript and XML. Next to Web 2.0 this has to be the biggest buzz word out there. Everyone brags about their new AJAX interface. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are all sporting new interfaces with AJAX. AJAX is actually a mix of technologies, and it’s not really new. AJAX allows web designers to make desktop interfaces inside a browser window. It also speeds up the loading of web pages by allowing the interface to never be reloaded, just the new data that goes in the interface.

Tags: Tags are becoming heavily used heavily by websites such as Flickr, Technorati, and YouTube. Tagging is basically a simple concept where you attach two or three keywords to a piece of media, and it allows for easier searching. Things like videos and pictures cannot be searched like a word document, because a computer is not yet able to recogonize what exactly is in a picture. (Note: Riya is a company working on this.)

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Written by Ryan Farnell

August 2, 2006 at 10:22 am

Posted in Web 2.0

Meetro OS X [Updated]

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Meetro is a new type of instant messenger (as if we need more), that combines the idea of instant messaging with social networks (MySpace, facebook, etc.). The idea is pretty cool because on the Windows client currently it handles all the major messaging services, and let’s you browse the Meetro social network. The OS X beta client came out (could be alpha, dont quote me on that) recently. I thought I would give a go and review it. The sign up and install were pretty easy. It just ask you for a desired user name, password, and your email address. The profile portion for the social network has a MySpace importer to make creating your profile easy. The client has a interesting way to display the people on the network. It shows whatever picture you upload as buddy icon, then groups the people by distance from your location. Everything seemed well, and it stayed online for a few hours, then suddenly i began to get intermittent service. I could sign on for about 10 minutes, then I would have to wait another 10 to get back on. At the time that I’m writing this, I can’t get on at all. I’m not sure if this is just a problem with the OS X client, but it seems difficult to test the software if someone cannot get on. I checked the help portion of their website, but found not information on what the problem could be. So in short Meetro seems like a good idea, but let’s see if they can make it a bit more stable.

Update: It seems Meetro is having trouble keeping up with the demand of users logging in. I can’t fault them for having a lot of business, so I’ll do another review once everything calms down. Thanks for the info Dan.

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Blogged with Flock

Written by Ryan Farnell

June 15, 2006 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Web 2.0

Flock Public Beta 1.0

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So like a week ago I mentioned that I started using Flock. I only really used it for about a day, then switched back to regular Firefox. Well last night the first real beta of Flock was released. In just one week, it has changed quite a bit and is very nice. Mike Arrington also interviewed some of the head guys over at Flock in his podcast this week.  The browser was basically designed on, what is the hard part about today’s services and how can we make them easier?  The main services they focus on are RSS, photo sharing (Flickr and Photobucket), blogging, and favorites sharing.  All of these but RSS require that you have a account at the given service.  It is actually pretty easy to sign for Flickr and delicious (bookmark sharing) at the same time.  They are both owned by Yahoo!, which seems to be Flock’s main sponsor.  Yahoo! is the default search engine used for the upper right search box.  You can easily change it to what ever engine you want in the “Accounts and Services” window.

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Written by Ryan Farnell

June 14, 2006 at 11:33 pm

Posted in Web 2.0

New Stuff

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So there are three cool things I found today that involve Web 2.0.

First Google has launched a preview of Google Spreadsheets. This is basically Excel on the web.  You can do most of the basic stuff from Excel, but it offers collaboration and live chat.  This will be pretty cool if something comes up in class where you need to work on a spreadsheet with a group.  Everyone can see what’s happening with it right from their house.

So next the new thing I learned about today is Wikia.  This site was started by the Wikipedia guys.  Wikipedia is basically a free online encylopedia written by users.  They have a staff that tries to check all the information put on the site.  Wikia is for information that doesn’t belong on Wikipedia.  Wikipedia is about facts, while Wikia is for opinions.  They want to have make a guide on everyone created by users. So there would be a guide to TV shows like 24 and Lost, then another guide for traveling to Hawaii.   

Lastly while listening to a podcast about Wikia, a new web browser called Flock was mentioned. Flock is based on Firefox and Mozilla.  The general idea is to make a browser that works with lots of today’s Web 2.0 apps without as much work.  Like right now I’m posting to this blog without navigationing to the website at all.  It also features the ability to access your Photobucket or Flickr accounts right from the browser window, and drag and drop links of them into MySpace or a blog.

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Written by Ryan Farnell

June 6, 2006 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Web 2.0