April 21st, 2006

Rethinking search

I have something of a love/hate relationship with desktop search tools.

They're something I need - often desperately, but I just can't get on with their user interfaces. They're all the same, just variations on the old folder view. If I wanted that, I'd be using Vista's library views or spending my time working with Mac OS X's Spotlight. Instead, I'm after something that will find contextual links between my various emails and documents, and help me find the most relevant file.

Blinkx comes close to doing what I want, but that final step is a gaping chasm, and "almost" is worse than "not at all". So at the moment I'm using an unholy mix of Lookout and Yahoo! Desktop Search. Two tools that together give me a semblance of what I'm after. But I'm considering dropping them both for Windows Desktop Search, thanks to PHLAT.
PHLAT is a new interface for Windows Desktop Search (enabling search through a user's own email, files, and viewed web pages). PHLAT lets you easily specify queries and filters, attempting to integrate search and browse in one intuitive interface. In addition, Phlat supports a unified tagging (labeling) scheme for organizing personal content across storage systems (files, email, etc.).

It's the closest I've seen to the UI I want - and it gives me the ability to add my own tag-based folksonomy to my files, providing me with my own metadata for my own files. Worth giving a spin, I think...

Interesting Perspectives...

...from wendyg on the issue of advertising on LiveJournal at newswireless.net.
LiveJournal, home to approximately 1.3 million active blogs and 10 million overall, announced this week that it's inaugurating ads on its site, following on from a post on the subject from the founder about six weeks ago.

The general idea isn't all that dissimilar to what Salon has been doing for the last five years with its Premium service: you pay for the value you receive with either ads or money, your choice. LiveJournal has always offered free and paid accounts, basing the incentive to pay on limiting the features available to the free accounts. Now, it will offer an intermediate "Sponsored" level which will include ads. If you're a logged-in paid user you will never see ads; if you're a free or sponsored user (or visitor) you will see ads on LiveJournal's main site and on sponsored journals. No one has to display ads on their journal.

Almost simultaneously, Six Apart, the owner of LiveJournal, announced that it had secured $12 million in venture capital funding. LiveJournal was a cooperative community; now it's a business.
More here.

Missed Blogiversary...

I started this blog on the 7th of April 2002. Four years later, it's still going strong.

2565 entries, 8945 comments, according to LJArchive.The stats package in the archive notes that the most popular word of over four letters (ignoring common words) that I've used is "using". The most entries I've posted in a day is 12, and the most per month is 113...

It's been a blast! And there's plenty more to come...

Thanks for the original invite code tamaranth!