Saturday, March 10, 2007

20 must-have Firefox extensions

Some extensions I hadn't heard of here. Definitely worth a looks-see.

20 must-have Firefox extensions

Thursday, March 08, 2007

FeedMiner: A Work In Progress I Hope

I was excited to see a new feed finder, hoping they were perhaps onto something the others have missed. At this point it seems FeedMiner has missed it too.

There's no ubiquitous "BETA" tag anywhere so either its creators are as sick of seeing them as we are or this is meant to be a finished product.

I tried two searches one specific and one general. I chose "fantasy baseball" ('tis the season) and "technology." Results for "fantasy baseball" were:

  1. Fantasy Baseball : CBS Fantasy Sports: Good!
  2. Velocity Sports Blog: Sports, yes, but nothing about fantasy or baseball.
  3. Fantasy sports podcast: It would be nice to keep podcasts and news feeds separate here, but at least this is somewhat relevant, if not specific to baseball.
  4. McSweeney's: What? Not even close.
  5. On Fantasy Sports: Not bad. Specific to the Baltimore Orioles mostly, but the columnist also discusses the rest of the league. Not Top Five-worthy though.
  6. Will Carroll Presents: Will Carroll is a baseball writer, yes. However this feed appears to have expired two years ago.
  7. - Fantasy sports: Good!
  8. Amazon: baseball: This is an feed for books about baseball.
  9. Wisch List: This is a non-sports Chicago Tribune Columnist.
  10. Copyfight: A legal blog.

So I'd give those results a 3.5 out of 10 for accuracy. I would do a lot better if I did a regular Google search for "Fantasy baseball" and then checked if any of the sites had RSS feeds. Pretty poor.

For the general search "technology" the results were a bit better but I was alarmed to see the #1 result was a spam site. The rest of the results were largely the technology feeds for major news sites. Not bad, but hardly interesting.

Needless to say, I'm unimpressed with Feedminer's results. It also offers no bells an whistles like exporting results as OPML or saving good results to a personalized page. I have nothing against the stripped-down Google approach to search, but the results better be damn good.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Who's Your PollDaddy?

As a lifelong PollMonkey/SurveyMonkey fan, I figured I'd check out another alternative in case I've been missing out. A new Web 2.0ish site called PollDaddy offers slick looking, easy-to-create polls for free. The polls can be embedded using javascript or Flash and offer a few skins to choose from (presently 14).

They do look slick and create the polls is pretty simple using a three-step wizard. I encountered a little bug with adding the last question in a list, which was quickly resolved. You can cusomize the look and feel of the poll if you know a little CSS, which seems a bit techie for widespread use. I think they'd be better offering an intermediate solution between editing code and selecting a skin. Perhaps a checklist (Bevel: Yes or No, Chrome:Wood:Plastic, etc.) and a color/font picker.

Ultimately I created the poll below in about two minutes. I still prefer PollMonkey, but the next version of PollDaddy might become a contender.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Many Eyes are Better than Two

I just discovered a very intriguing site via The site is called Many Eyes and announces itself thusly:

"Welcome to the alpha version of Many Eyes! View your data, ask questions, and share your discoveries. Harness the collective intelligence of the net for insight and analysis."

Naturally, that does nothing to explain what it is. What it is is a community of data-philes who share and visualize information. For instance, someone uploads data about the unemployment rates in the U.S. by state. Now the data is available for everyone and anyone can go create a visualization of the data using Many Eye's intuitive interface. For instance I could easily create a bubble chart from the data where the states with the higher rates have larger bubbles.

Basically you choose your data set (by browsing what's there or searching), click a chart type, preview it, then publish it. You can tweak certain parts of the chart as well.

If you'd rather just browse though, there's plenty to see. The chart below shows companies by NAICS (industry classification) code in a very cool treemap. You can right-click on each section to blow it up and see the sub industries with in the main industry.

It would be nice to see this kind of community-based analysis show up in other places. I think some of the major news agencies might benefit from checking out some of the stuff people are coming up with on sites like Many Eyes.

Great E-Mail Marketing Resources

Thought I'd collect my favorite e-mail marketing sites and blogs into one neat package. Some of the sites below require registration, but most are free to the world. I subscribe to all of them through RSS or e-mail, which is infinitely helpful in keeping up with them and not getting overwhelmed.

In addition to what's below, I tag a lot of Email Marketing stuff on, which is always available here:

Clickz Email
Frequently updated and widely-referenced, probably th best single source of email marketing information.

MarketingSherpa (sign up for the email marketing newsletter)
They offer a paid subscription and sell some nice studies, but the free content in the newsletter is fantastic. They also specialize in stats and benchmarking information found in few other places.


The deliverability kings offer up topics on a variety of "getting to the inbox" stuff and list management.

Campaign Monitor Blog
An e-mail marketing system vendor with a lot of insight from the reseller's perspective.

ExactTarget Blogs
A top notch e-mail service provider's blog on a wide variety of topics from a smart bunch of practitioners.

MarketingProfs (paid subscription and well worth it)
I unabashedly love, not just for email, but a variety of resources, including a terrific email vendor matrix. Great content on email and much more.

Email Marketing Best Practices
I just discovered this gem and already feel pretty comfortable recommending it. Tamara Geilen covers everything from design to spam legislation. You could spend a lot of time here.

Email Universe
Targeted at email newsletters primarily, but a lot of great advice about best practices in email.

Email Experience Council're new and they're building up their cache quickly. Join and get involved. The site has some good resources as well as a mission.

Never Look at a Dollar Bill the Same Way Again

This has nothing to do with technology but it's so weird, funny, and unique I had to mention it. It's a rap about the life of George Washington and it's utterly ridiculous in the best way possible. Also, the audio is not safe for work.