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Social Network for Feelings? April 10, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, social networks.
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At first, many of you will think Moonri.se is a silly and useless idea. Who would want a service that is basically a twitter for emotions and feelings? Can’t we just post how we feel already on Twitter, our blogs and other mediums? Sure, we can and we do, but Moonrise does it in a more powerful and compelling way. Most of all, it’s fun too.

There’ve been a couple of services that provided the ability to share your current emotional status, but none of them provided nearly as many different ways to convey your feelings as Moonrise does. It allows you to include other elements to reflect your current mood such as photographs, videos and even your favorite quote. This last option isn’t a surprise when you consider that the founder and architect behind this service is Amit Kothari, who also founded QuotationsBook, which is a social network for quotations and covered in “Quotations 2.0“.

Feelings 2.0

The most exciting part of all this is that there will be an API available soon to moonrise which means it will become a conduit for other apps and services to share feelings. They are also “developing a feature that lets you bookmark or post feelings about a URL via a small button you can put anywhere. This will be more meaningful than digg, and also a different way to bookmark links”.


Final Thoughts and feelings

I will admit that I’m a sucker for this kind of thing because I’ve always been a touchy-feely kinda guy. I believe words and emotions are powerful things. Why not use everything technology has to offer to share how we are feeling? Why not use photo’s, videos and quotes to reflect our emotions? Here’s some more information from Moonrise about why it’s a good thing to share our feelings. http://moonri.se/site/about.



Twitter Hashtags and Groups April 4, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Social Media, social networks.
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As your list of friends grows on Twitter, the amount of messages that scroll across your screen increases exponentially. Pretty soon it becomes impossible to catch messages directed your way in real-time. Ultimately you have to resort to backtracking or using a search tool like TweetScan (R.I.P Terraminds!). Increasingly members of the Twitter community are demanding better ways to filter and group all of this information. One of the new solutions has been Twitter Hashtags and channels.

What are Hashtags?
Hashtags are a way to group twitter messages together according to subject matter, similar to the concept of Twitter groups or tagging. You follow @hashtags and then use the pound (#) symbol to tag the tweet, for example: #SXSW.

Here are the best blog posts about the history of twitter hashtags and channels:
Bublicious’ Tools for Monitoring Conversations in Twitter
FactoryJoe’s Groups for Twitter; or A Proposal for Twitter Tag Channels
Factory Joe’s Making the most out of hashtags
Twitter Fan Wiki on Hashtags

Important Hashtag Links & Information

Hashtag CheatSheet

  • follow #tag: subscribe to all updates tagged with #tag
  • follow username#tag: subscribe to all updates tagged with #tag from a specific user
  • leave #tag: unsubscribe to a tag; you will still get updates with this tag from your friends
  • leave username#tag: unsubscribe to a specific from a specific user
  • remove #tag: completely remove all incoming posts tagged with #tag, even from your friends
  • #tag message: creates a status in the #tag channel
  • #tag !message: creates a status that is only visible to people subscribed to channel tag #tag

Twitter Tagging

I’ve always thought it would incredibly useful if we could tag our friends on twitter just as we tag blog posts or bookmarks so we could filter what we see at any given moment.

For example, I would tag some friends with Social Media, Utterz or Baseball. We could then filter all tweets according to these tags for any given moment.

It would also be useful if we could tag each of our tweets so that they could be indexed, searched and filtered just like our group tags. It would be invisible so it wouldn’t appear as ugly as Twitter hashtags with its # symbols spewed all over the place.

Twitter Groups

While hashtags and channels look and smell like twitter groups, they are not the same thing. They are like distant second cousins.

I still wish there was a way to create true groups for twitter that we can manage as well as public groups that we can join.

Obviously, it would be done thru the use of tagging.

In the mean time, here’s an early attempt at Groups for Twitter. I say close but no cigar at this point.

Excellent thread on twitter groups

TW_Groups Service

Follow @TW_Groups

Cool Twitter Search Engines

These excellent search engines for Twitter work very well with hashtags and channels in addition to basic searches.



Final Thoughts:

I believe there will many new ways to filter and search our Twitter stream of data. Some of these are already being accepted by twitter members. Look for group tagging to make its way down the pyke soon!

AntiSocial Network March 10, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Comedy, Comic Strips, IT Happens.
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While having lunch without my trusty laptop and its aircard, I rather enjoyed being outside with a new book I’ve been meaning to read. It was a pleasant change of pace being “offline” and “disconnected” from the world for a brief period of time. Sure, I still had my Blackberry but I turned it off and pretended to be in 1991. Ah, ignorance is indeed bliss!
I got to thinking that this might become a regular routine for me and wondered how many others felt the same way.

Then I had the idea to do a new installment for my I.T. Happens comic strip regarding this notion of being offline and perhaps antisocial. How many would join a network of people who are tired of always being connected and socialable?
I know, antisocial types wouldn’t want to belong to any network. 🙂

Anyway, I just think it’s a good thing to be Net free sometimes and get our head out of the cloud (among other places).
Get some fresh air (without any Adobe or Macbooks)!

By the way, after sharing my thoughts on this on utterz, someone shared the following link:
http://nosoproject.com/about !!! I guess I’m not the first to think of this.

(Click to enlarge)it-happens-n5.png

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You 2.0 February 23, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Social Aggregators, Social Media, social networks, Web 2.0.
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It can be overwhelming when you consider the magnitude of your digital life today. In the past, you just needed to know your name, social security number and perhaps some other basic information such as your phone numbers and home address. Today, thanks to the amazing Internet and all that it has to offer us, we have an ever-growing mountain of “stuff” to remember or manage.

How does one do this without going nuts or losing great big chunks of precious time? I will try to share some thoughts on how to make your digital life more managable and thus all the more enjoyable. Ultimately, it will mean more free time for your offline life. These articles will be part of my Quality vs Quantity series which will adhere to the “Less is More” school of thought. Think ZenHabits meets LifeHacker with a sprinkle of twitter fairy dust (No, nothing to do with Robert Scoble!)

Here’s my You 2.0 map from MindMesiter that will give you an overview of what I plan to cover. I will continually change and update this map as it is, just like us, a perpetual work in progress.

I’m continually learning and growing so look for this information to do likewise. The goal is to provide a detailed breakdown of each module on the map, eventually. Please feel free to contribute to the project by sending links and suggestions whenever you think you might have a better way to do thing. After all, this is called YOU 2.0.

The Road Map to your reinvented digital self: You 2.0

Identity Management: Identity Crisis covers ways to take control of your online profiles and personal brand. Using OpenID is the key to the fine art of Less is More.

Contact Management: How do you manage your ever growing list of contacts? Identity Crisis also covered this ground with Plaxo and its powerful contact management and sync features.

Favorites: I Got Your Favorites Right Here covers the best social bookmarking sites around today.

Instant Messaging: Meebo: IM Legend covers the ways Meebo can reduce the headaches of multiple messenger accounts with a single login.

Email Management: Inbox 2.0 covered the future of email aggregation by spotlighting fuser.com and its ability to consolidate numerous email accounts and social networking messages into one one.

RSS: Feed Me, Seymour revealed a unique way to make Google Reader grab all of your own personal RSS feeds and share them.

News: Is it better to Digg your news or Mixx it up? This will examine the future of news delivery.

Blogs: Finding ways to improve managing your blog(s).

Websites: Streamlining your website. Registering your Personal Brand with a domain name.

MicroBlogs: What are the differences between all of the micro-blogging services? Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Tumblr, Utterz, etc.

Social Networks: Social Networking Aggregation is the key to controlling this runaway train of digital information. Identity Crisis covers Plaxo with Pulse and some other aggregators.

Music: Virtual DJ shows the best ways to stream your music library and access it from anywhere in the world.

Photos: Is Flickr still king or can PhotoBucket or some other challenger dethrone them?

Videos: YouTV examines some of the best ways to manage your video collection and broadcast it from one place.

LifeCasting: What’s the right tool for you? Seesmic, Utterz, Ustream, Qik?

Phone: The future of the phone is extremely exciting as I will look at services like GrandCentral, YouMail, Pinger, Jott and more.

Message Forums: Forums + Web 2.0 = Tangler covers the new age message forum. It isn’t your father’s message board anymore.

Summation: The Quality vs Quantity (less is more) Series will strive share the best aggregation tools and services available today in an effort to make your online life more managable and thus more enjoyable.

You 2.0 map

Create Your Own LinkedIN Network for the Enterprise February 21, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Enterprise, Networks, Semantic Web, social networks.
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LinkedIN is a fantastic networking service for business contacts, but wouldn’t it be even more useful if you could build your own version of this service within your own enterprise? Obviously, you would start with the relationships internally among all employees and then have links to their external contacts outside your firewall to other companies, social networks and other email systems. Everything would evolve from within your internal Outlook or other corporate email system and ultimately extend to external email systems such as Yahoo, Gmail and more.

Well, you can do this and start for free thanks to Visible Path which has launched an innovative new service that does exactly this. Seeing is believing and a picture is indeed worth a thousand words so checkout their 2 minute screencast. I think you will be impressed as I was with what they do. I truly believe that they are onto something big here which will all be part of the future of the Internet and the Semantic web. Another positive move is Visiable Path’s decision to embrace OpenSocial standards which is a great sign for its future on the web as well as on the Enterprise.

Social Networks for Book Worms February 15, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Books, social networks.
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Yes, even book lovers have their own social networks these days. The two best sites appear to be Shelfari and Library Thing. All others don’t stack up (ha ha..er..um sorry).

Here is a quick review:


BookBump is described as the iTunes for books. The interface is the best around but it doesn’t have all of the web 2.0 sharing features that Shelfari and others are offering. Still, if all you want to do is manage your book collection and you don’t care about sharing book collections with others, then BookBump could be the right service for you.
Here is a screenshot of its excellent user interface for managing your book collection:bb_managepic.png

***Pai’s Pick***

Shelfari has a nice look and feel and offers many features all for free. Your book collection is displayed cleverly on a virtual bookshelf (hence the name).

There are several types of collections or shelves you can create:

  • Books I’ve Read
  • Book I’m Reading
  • Books I Plan to Read
  • Books Owned
  • Books Wishlist
  • Favorite Books

Another unique feature is the Groups (Book Clubs) you can create or join to discuss and share reviews about different types of books.

You can creature customized widgets to display whatever you want on your blog or website. Here’s an example of my shelf (only two books added thus far):

LibraryThing has a huge amount of book titles to choose from, but their free account limits you to only 200 books. It’s $10 a year for unlimited books which is dirt cheap.
The website itself is nowhere near as impressive as Shelfari and doesn’t offer as many features or types of collections you can keep or share.

Catalog with Amazon, the Library of Congress or 175 other world libraries. Import from anywhere. Get recommendations. Tag your books and explore others’ tags. Put your books on your blog. Enter 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

BookMooch is not really a social network for book lovers as the previous two sites are. What it really offers is a bartering/trading system where readers can exchange books to earn points which they can use to get more books to read. The service is free with the only costs involved are the shipping fees to mail books to other members, who will return the favor (in theory). Interesting concept, sort of a NetFlix for books.

SwapTree is similar to BookMooch in that you can swap books but it also allows you to exchange other items such as Music, DVDs, and games!

Final Thoughts:
Shelfari appears to be the clear leader when it comes to social networks for book worms. It’s an excellent way to track which books you’ve read or want to read.

How to Build Your Own Social Network in the Enterprise for Free February 1, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Enterprise, social networks, Web 2.0.
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Believer it or not, you can actually build a social network for your enterprise for free. Thanks to Microsoft’s free Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and free SQL Server 2005 Express database, you can design and deploy an entirely new collaborative intranet or social network for your company that features many of the hottest web 2.0 features such as wiki’s, blogs, RSS feeds, calendar sharing, document sharing and more. Not only is it all free, but it can all be setup and ready in just a couple of hours. I know because I’ve done it.
There is confusion when it comes to Microsoft SharePoint. Most people automatically think of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 Server which is extremely expensive and not Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) which is free! Obviously, you get what you pay for when it comes to features and performance, but WSS is perfect for many companies, especially small to medium-sized organizations that cannot afford the expense that a fullscale SharePoint deployment costs. One of the reasons that makes SharePoint so expensive is its reliance on Microsoft SQL server, which isn’t cheap. The good news about the free WSS is that it uses the free Microsoft SQL Express 2005 database, which is robust enough for most environments.Here are the most important differences between WSS and MOSS.

  • Search across site collections – In WSS, each site collection is an island unto itself.  MOSS adds the portal umbrella that pulls together those separate site collections and allows for searching across them.
  • Personalization – MOSS allows users to have individual, personalized sites; WSS doesn’t.
  • User Profiles – MOSS allows you to import, store, and update personal data on your users, it’s not available in WSS
  • Audience Targeting – MOSS allows you to target content to specific user groups; WSS doesn’t.
  • Crawl and Index sources outside of SharePoint for searching- MOSS allows you to return search results for indexed sources such as file shares, web sites, Lotus Notes databases, and much more; WSS can only crawl and index WSS sites.
  • Search administration and customization – MOSS gives its admins much more control over the configuration of its search engine; WSS doesn’t.
  • Extra Site Templates – MOSS provides additional site templates (and workflows) for content management and portals
  • Business Intelligence – allows you to track key performance indicators and build BI dashboards into your team site. The dashboards can assemble and display business info using Excel spreadsheets, SQL, or integrate with line of business applications. Excel Services in MOSS go beyond simply displaying Excel spreadsheets, you can actually stream parts of a spreadsheet, showing or hiding various parts.

Note: The crawling, indexing and searching “weaknesses” of WSS can now be resolved by using Microsoft’s Search Server 2008 Express which is also free! Here is an exhaustive feature comparsion matrix for all SharePoint versions. Also, keep in mind that you can always upgrade from WSS to MOSS if/when the time (and BRINKS truck) comes!

Best Features for the Enterprise Intranet (Social Network)
It is amazing just how many features there are in the free SharePoint version (WSS 3.0 SP1). Most companies make SharePoint their intranet, thus becoming ground central for communication for all employees. Here are the most popular and useful features that you can use with your new SharePoint intranet.

Top Navigational System
There is usually a tab for the main home page and each department. This is merely an example, so the names of the departments and tabs will be different for each company. Here is what the typical navigational system for a SharePoint intranet looks like:

Quick Launch Components
Here are the most popular components used in SharePoint on the leftside of the browser and called the Quick Launch. Keep in mind that these components can all be used within each department’s portal! For example, you will find all of these elements on the intranet’s home page for all employees as well as in each department’s private area. Thus, H.R. can post public news and events on the main site for all employees to see and private information within their locked down area.

  • Announcements: Usually placed on the home page at the very top. Company news and announcements go front and center here.
  • Calendar: All company events and activities go into this public calendar. Holidays are usually added as well.
  • Contacts: All contact information is centralized in this public address book. It can include information on employees, vendors, partners, clients, etc.
  • Tasks: Action items and people assigned to them.
  • Projects: Basic tracking information for project tasks, including Gant charts
  • Wiki: Yes, you can launch wiki’s at will in the enterprise! They can be public wiki’s or private wiki’s for projects.
  • Blog: Yes, blogs are part of this free SharePoint as well. Companies use them for news updates or for project status updates.
  • Message Board: If you need a good old fashioned message forum then here it is.
  • Image Library: Control all authorized images, logo’s, etc.
  • Forms Library: Maintain all official forms and templates in the forms library.
  • Shared Documents: Ah, my favorite feature of them all. Companies can now have their own ECM (Enterprise Content Management) system for free!
    Create centralized depositories for all company documents and files and let SharePoint control versions and updates. Makes searching and finding documents much easier.
  • Surveys: Excellent way to take company polls on any subject matter.
  • Meeting Workspace: Powerful feature that assists with meetings. Documents decisions made, task assignments, agenda notes, and more.
  • RSS Feeds: Just about everything can have its own RSS feeds and email alerts!

Note: These are just some of the many features and components that are available for Windows SharePoint Services! See the links section below for more template examples available for free from the web!

Outlook Integration
WSS allows users to access just about any information thru their Microsoft Outlook 2007 client with seamless integration and synchronization.
Users can link SharePoint calendars, tasks, contacts and document libraries. Watch the videos below to see just how easy it is to do.

SharePoint Links
Here are some useful links that will provide information and tools that will make your new SharePoint intranet more stable and powerful.
Official WSS Homepage
WSS Overview
Download WSS 3.0 with SP1
Download All Free Templates
Template Previews
SharePoint TechCenter

SharePoint Videos
Windows SharePoint Services Overview:
Here’s how to setup a SharePoint Wiki.
Here is a video that demonstrates how easy it is to link a SharePoint calendar with the Outlook calendar.
Here is how to link Outlook 2007 with SharePoint Document Libraries.

Final Thoughts
Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) is powerful set of tools for the enterprise at any cost. The fact that WSS is free and easy to install makes it a no-brainer when it comes to deploying a versatile intranet or social network in the enterprise. If nothing else, WSS can help lead the way to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 solution which has even more enterprise class features with greater levels of load balancing, availability and complexity. In the mean time, deploy your own Enterprise 2.0 today!

Vizster: Visualizing Social Networks January 12, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Semantic Web, social networks.
Tags: , , ,

Vizster was a project from 2004 developed by Jeffrey Heer and Danah Boyd that focussed on Visualizing social networks.

I don’t know whatever became of this interesting approach to viewing social networks, but I hope someone continues their impressive groundwork. I have no doubt that we will all see this technology implemented in the Semantic Web (aka web 3D, my term).
Yes, the Semantic Web will be mostly about A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) and smarter search engines based on more intuitive databases, but I also contend that interactive visualization will be a major component of the future of the web.

Here is a screenshot of Vizster:

Here is their Research paper in PDF format

Seeing is believing. Checkout this short screencast to get a glimpse of the future:

I believe we’ve already started to see various forms of its implementation. Here is an example of one site that I enjoy called MusicMesh that resembles Vizster with visual nodes and links. In this case it connects music artists to their albums and songs along with a mashup of YouTube for the connected musicvideos. Brilliant use of a visual tool and mashups to deliver a unique experience and useful and entertaining result.
Notice how each click delivers numerous “intelligent” changes including: wikipedia entry for the selection, reviews, amazon listings for purchase as well as the music video on YouTube. It also displays other artists it “Thinks” you would be interested in based on your selection. This, my friend, is the heart of the Semantic Web.

iMedix: Social Network for Patients January 11, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Health, social networks.
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iMedix is unlike any other social network you will ever join. It isn’t just a social network for patients, but more accurately for anyone who is interested in health and medical information.

It’s primary reason for being, you will quickly discover, is to help people connect and communicate with others who understand what they are going through medically. I must admit that it is quite startling the first time you receive a friend request from someone who will bluntly reveal, “I am interested in brain cancer. I have a Glioblastoma multiforme tumor.” Talk about different from MySpace!

The other unique and unusual aspect of this social network is the member profile pages. Once again, you will see listings unlike any you’ve ever seen before. Here is an actual profile of a member:

The interests are all hyperlinked to pages that will share useful information regarding that interest as well as members who also share the same interest. Those members could either have that medical condition or simply doing research on that subject matter for a friend or family member. You can chat with them live if they are online of course or add them as a friend or simply send them a message about your shared interest. It is truly an eye-opening experience.

Now, before you close this webpage and run for the hills towards your bright and perky Facebook account to erase the depressing features of iMedix, I am pleading for you to hold your horses and continue to read this review. Granted, there are a lot of sad and heartbreaking elements to iMedix, but I love this service and what they are doing. I think it is a brilliant stroke of genius and an important community service for everyone. Sooner or later, everyone’s life will be impacted immensely by a medical condition, be it your own or someone you know in your life and God forbid, a friend or relative.
I will admit there is a personal reason why I feel so strongly about this website. My sister-in-law lost a three-year battle with ovarian cancer during the holidays and I know that I would have been on iMedix a lot had I know of its existence while she was still with us. Even if iMedix doesn’t always provide information that leads to a cure, it still provides a valuable service: communication and contact with other people who will understand what you are dealing with. That feature alone makes iMedix a truly worthy service to humanity.

The Time of Your Life (Online) December 31, 2007

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Social Aggregators, social networks.
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Circavie is a service that lets you create visual timelines of anything you want to document online. Each entry can include hyperlinks, images, text and even comments.

You can navigate the timelines via the arrows at the bottom of the screen or by clicking anywhere on the timeline and scrolling left to go back in time or forward for the future.

Example timeline: History of Blogging

Another example: Fred Lippert and Family

http://dandelife.com is well-known for its TimeLine feature that displays your stories and online activities chronological order. It looks something like this:

Dandelife does much more than Circavie because it can also serve as a social network aggregator and include your streams from other services like Twitter, Flickr, delicious and more.
You can view your friends’ network streams as well.Here are three screencasts that show more of Dandelife’s features: http://dandelife.com/demos