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New social bookmarking tool

The technology is being deployed in a wide variety of applications.


NETSPEAK FEATURES a few new social bookmark services and introduces a simple tool developed for helping netizens float personal social book services.

The success of social bookmarking technology proves beyond doubt that one can generate content easily by enlisting the services of people actively involved in an endeavour. The technology, initially used for storing/sharing bookmarks, is being deployed in a wide variety of applications.

The on-line service, Conneta (http://www.connotea.org/), discussed earlier in this column is a good representative of this trend. Conneta, developed for helping scientists store/share links to scientific articles and other scientific materials, is progressing well.

Lots of Net content are stored as PDF files and an on-line service meant only to store/share links to PDF files will naturally be useful. The collaborative service Yummy (http://yummy.printfu.org/) that allows you to store/share links to PDF files is a good product. If you scan through the service's home page regularly you will come across several PDF files with valuable content.

Another on-line service with social networking component came to this author's notice recently is H2O Playlists (http://h2obeta.law.harvard.edu/home.do). A playlist is a list of on-line/off-line readings and other materials on a specific subject. For instance, a student of computer science can create a playlist for his/her subject with links to articles, books and other materials. The H2O Playlist service allows anyone on the Net to create a playlist and share it with others. The playlist created with the service automatically becomes a public property.

The news story aggregation service, Common Times (http://www.commontimes.org/), built for helping a common reader post links to news threads of her choice is yet another outcome of the `social book marking' wave sweeping the Net.

You may also check out the new social bookmarking service Blinklist (http://www.blinklist.com/).

Building a service

The services mentioned so far are all public ones over which you have little control. If you want to implement such a service for your organistion, but do not have the necessary technical skills, take a look at some of the social bookmarking programs available on-line.

The open source program suite Scuttle (http://sourceforge.net/projects/scuttle/), developed using the scripting language PHP, is an easily implementable package. To set up a collaborative service based on this package you need access to a web server with PHP/MySQL support.

You may also note that among the several services mentioned above, two (Conneta and H2O Playlist) have hosted programs that power those services for free download.

Gmail goodies

In the past, NetSpeak had featured the software Gmaildrive (http://www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm), developed for creating a virtual drive around your Gmail account. If you like to have a web based Gmail drive that can be accessed from any machine, check out the on-line service XmailHardDrive (http://www.xmailharddrive.com/beta/index.html). To upload a file on to your Gmail account, access XmailHardDrive and log-in with your Gmail account details. A file uploaded thus can also be e-mailed to others using the service's `Fling It' feature.

XmailHarddrive also features the Gmail notifier software Xm2RSS, which regularly scans your Gmail box for new mail and alerts you.

A browser add-on

When you use the search output (from a search engine like Google) you generally access the first link in the result list, then move over to the next and so on. If the browser can load the links in the search list automatically and keep all of them in the local storage, you can accelerate the search process. The Windows XP/2000 based browser add-on `Browster' (http://www.browster.com/) helps you do this easily.

When we invoke a search (with a Browster enabled browser), Browster pre-fetches all the links in the search output. As the pages have already been downloaded in this manner to your machine, you can view them almost instantaneously. Along with each link you will find a Browster icon. If you move the mouse over the icon attached to a link, a Browster window will pop up showing the complete web page. Through this Browster window you can view each page in the search output by clicking on the `Next' button.

A blog hosting service

The availability of several free blog-hosting services is considered a major reason for the phenomenal success of the Blog technology. Recently this author tried out a free blogging service promoted by an Indian entrepreneur that helps you float blogs of the type http://your-name.krify.com. The Kirfy (http://www.blogs.krify.com) blog-hosting service offers almost all the features normally found on a blogging service and is quite fast to access.

Talk digger

At times you may be curious to know details of people who link to your favourite site or blog stories. One method to find out this information is to use a search engine with an appropriate command. For instance, the Google command `link:your-site-name' fetches you the details of all sites that mention the site `your-site-name.' Apart from Google there are other general search services like MSN, Yahoo and so on. There are also special search engines such as PubSub, Technorati and Icerocket. So, a meta-search service that probes several search services and unearths the relevant information from them will help you a lot.

The free meta-search service Talk Digger (http://talkdigger.com/) scans many search engines for finding the web pages that link to a given site and displays a search engine-wise output on a page. To get details of people who link to a site, enter the site's name in the input box and press the `Dig It' button.

J. MURALI

E-mail the author at: jmurali@gmail.com

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