Monday, 24 October 2005

Time to think

With Chizuko and Arata in Japan for the last 2 weeks, I've had a lot of time to catch up on where the industry is and do some thinking about projects of my own that might have some potential. I've been up late reading specs, and trying out new software. Flock has introduced me to social bookmarking, something that sounded like a fad to me before, but with it built into the browser, I am finding it useful, if only to keep my bookmarks in sync between the different PC's I use.

The other main features of Flock are a built-in RSS aggregator, but it is not as good as BlogBridge which I've also discovered recently, and a built in blogging client, which looks suspciously like Qumana, but does not work with Roller, so is useless to me. Qumana on the other hand does work with Roller, but not with non-Latin languages, so for now I'm sticking with the web based "editor" built into Roller.

Part of the thinking about projects I could start has been thinking of names. The main criteria is whether a domain name is available. I thought briefly about placing dot's strangely, a la, but then I thought of the first site I'd heard of that did that - (not linked for a reason!), which put me off that idea. If I hadn't been put off already, I would have been today, after reading about the upcoming social bookmarking site Too much bandwagon jumping for me, and with the .com on the end they seem a bit confused about whether they want to be a hip Web 2.0 co.mpa.ny or a so last millenium dotcom. I'm sure the VCs are banging down the doors.

Looking at the latest buzz around Web 2.0, my impression is that tagging is to the Semantic Web what the web (or HTML) is to Xanadu. Its the inferior technology that comes along much later and steals your thunder. Its a simpler idea, and is here now and gaining mindshare quickly.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jason,
I'm contacting you on behalf of a website company based in New Zealand. We did a random google search on the Shin Kansen train, and found yours. We presented a couple of images to our client and yours was one of it. Our client hasn't made a decision on the final image, however, we would like to explore the opportunity of using the image and what terms and conditions we could agree on for a web base usage of the image. There was no direct email address on your site hence adding a comment to your blog. The url to the image is

The following are my contact details:-
+64 9 3774626

Let me know what your thoughts are on this.

Anonymous said...

Well, there are no VC's banging at our door for magnolia quite yet, but I can give a bit of background on why we went with the domain name we did.

First off, on our identity crisis about whether we're all hip to the web 2.0 thing or just another last millenium dotcom. Our team has feet in both sides of that divide, and while we're excited about stuff coming out of web 2.0, we're also a business. So yeah we think we're both, and we think they can go together nicely.

Second, some background on the name itself... We settled on Magnolia for a name early on because we like the idea of unfolding experience, just like in the PT Anderson film, and we like the sound of the name itself. We would have gone for in a heartbeat, but if you go there and see who owns it, you'll know right away that we weren't going to get it from them. So the dots-in-the-middle idea seemed a good way to get the name we wanted, but also gave us a way to nod to, who we have big respect for because they started the whole social bookmarking thing. Hopefully when we launch in January what we have to offer will make up for any domain name offensiveness :)

So, is tagging the semantic web but in rattier clothes than we expected? I don't think so, but I think it's potentially a part of its real, functional beginnings. Semantics will be a lot more than keywords, and folksonomies are too chaotic to guide machine decision making on our behalf alone.>