Xoopit Turns Gmail Social and Organizes Your Email Files


Tonight I started testing out Xoopit, a web-service that integrates with your Gmail account and organizes the social content within.  It's in early development, and so it has limited features and only seems to index the most recent few months of my email, but the results are very cool.  Now I can browse through all of the photos attached in my email like they're a photo album.  I can also view all of the Youtube videos that have been linked to in emails, and see a list of all of the files that have been attached.  This essentially indexes, archives, and organizes all of the media associated with your Gmail messages.  Right now this basically only works for YouTube, Flickr, Picassa, Shutterfly, and Kodak, but more support will come and I'm sure more features will come. Also, there is no detailed information about the actual contact with your friends, such as seeing send/receive rates, response times, etc.  There is some "info stream" and content prioritization if you log in to your account on the Xoopit website, but this should all be integrated into Gmail.

So far Xobni doesn't seem to have broken Gmail or slowed it down.  It leaves itself pretty un-intrusive up at the top of the Gmail interface.  If it continues to show no negative impact on my email consumption, and doesn't break after a few weeks (like other Gmail integrated extensions), it has a chance to be a mainstay.  I'll report back on my experience overall.

A few months ago I tried out a service called Xobni that completely wowed me right at the start.  It did similar things stripping out and organizing media, but more importantly it brought "conversation view" that is so popular in Gmail directly into Outlook.  It also provided instantaneous search, and showed social information around contacts such as what I listed above in a wish-list (quantitative rankings, response times, etc.).  The biggest feature it had was that it identified the phone numbers and addresses that people included in emails and filled this information in on the contact cards within Outlook, almost like magic.  Xobni had a chance to revolutionize Microsoft Outlook, and it still could, but unfortunately it slowed Outlook to a crawl, and given how slow it is already with company-server integration, Xobni's negative impact in this area forced me to un-install it despite all of it's other great features.  Hopefully Xobni and Xoopit both continue to grow in feature set and become more efficient.

[Xoopit via Techcrunch]

ESPN.com losing it's hold on online the sports world?

Compete has a graph of the recent change in traffic trend between ESPN and SI.com - it looks here like Sports Illustrated online is finally catching up; for me, SI.com simply too unfriendly.  Also, the brand elements and writers that I'm used to from ESPN.com, ESPN News, ESPN Magazine etc. give returning to ESPN a comfortable feel.  I still want to see ESPN post the archive of "Today's top 10 plays", but other than that, I don't have huge complaints about the site.  Is anybody switching over to SI for online sports news?  What about other sites?


Using Fotolog for a once-a-day photo journal

Thanks to this interesting post by Fred Wilson, this weekend I've been thinking about the 'once-a-day' phenomenon:

"There's just something about limiting yourself to one a day that creates something special. You don't want to waste the opportunity on something average, so you carefully select the one thing you are gong to showcase or possibly create. And when viewed over time, it's way more than that. It's a timeline to your life. Jerry told me that Jamie went out with one woman for a while and during that period, you'd see her in many of his daily polaroids. Then one day, she just stopped showing up. That's life and that's the power of one a day. "

kskobac's photo from 3/29/08After reading the post, I decided to try out Fotolog, the once-a-day photo / blog / journal site that was featured in the article.  Basically the rules are you can only upload one picture per day, it gets dated on a time-line, and you can write a post within the 10-minute window after you upload.  This limits you to making one comment or capturing one moment about your life at a time, and choices have to be made.  I had ideas for today that I wanted to put up, and only one slot, so I have to choose whether to waste another day's slot on going back.  Also, I am thinking about what parameters I want to put on this: Can I post a picture that pre-dates my last photo?  Can I post another person's photo (properly attributed) that represents my thought for the day (I probably don't take photos myself that often)?  I'm going to give this a try for a few weeks, to see if I have the discipline to post a few times a week at the very least, and how I feel this reflects/ads to my life.  I welcome thoughts on the once-a-day concept, and the potential rules that will define my experience.  Oh and if you use Fotolog or want to join in, drop me a comment also.

You can follow along here

On a separate note, I am cross-posting restaurant reviews on both Google Maps and Yelp, until I see a reason to use one over the other (Tonight's review was Jane). 


Watch Every South Park Episode Streaming Online for Free

You can now legitimately watch all of the South Park episodes online for free - from the official South Park Studies website. All of the episodes are available on demand, and all of the partial-clips are available for sharing. For South Park fans, people who want to get into the show, or if you missed an episode that everyone is talking about, this is a great deal. This type of back-log archiving is what all studios should be doing - it's the easiest way to help prevent people turning to Bittorrent, and it won't stop the people who want DVDs from purchasing them. It all comes down to what's easiest for consumers, and creating an easier option that you can monetize is just smart business.


The 2008 Union Square Pillow Fight

After last year's hilarity, I couldn't stay away from the return of the Union Square Pillow Fight 2008 - and apparently no one else could either. There were about four times the number of people in attendance, making the pillow fight flow over the steps and practically into the street around Union Square. It was, again, one of the funniest things I've been witness to, and amazingly good natured - you didn't get hit if you didn't have a pillow, you didn't get hit if you had your camera up, or if you were just resting yourself, even if you were surrounded by the fight itself. We lasted about 40 minutes, and it was still going full force when we left. Check out the video of me walking right through the pillow fight, and the pictures of the whole thing. You'll notice a man painted in blood singing anti-war songs; apparently there was a rally scheduled for the same time, and it got dwarfed - a few people from the rally came up to us after and asked if we'd help plan their events, since the pillow fight seemed to get more audience and have more success (we had nothing to do with it of course, but apparently we seemed in charge?).

The videos | The pictures

3 2008 union square pillow fight new york 007


Iverson returns to Philly for the first time

Allen Iverson

Allen Iverson returns to Philly to play against the Sixers for the first time since he was traded over a year ago. I hope to see Philly fans cheer for him when he walks onto the court, I hope to see the Sixers beat him while he's on the court, and I hope that they come together after the game. ESPN has several features discussing Iverson's career, and I think they got it right. He is a one of a kind player, he has never shown anything but heart, he makes you believe that he tries with every ounce of his energy, and that is what makes him so inspiring as an athlete. 2000 - 01 NBA season is one of my favorite memories, hanging out with 20 friends every playoff game, people who didn't care about basketball getting into every minute as he went one-on-one with Vince Carter. I thought when he was traded that it was the right thing for Iverson and the Sixers both - while I never wanted to give up seeing him up close, and I never wanted to root for him wearing other colors, I don't think he or the Sixers would have found any more success than they had in '01 together (at least with Billy King around), and they needed to go their separate ways to realize their own dreams. Philly is a team still in Iverson's vision - grit, effort, hustle - and they're winning, but with no-name players, and no single all star. Iverson is shooting a higher percentage, passing more, and turning over less than he ever has. If the Sixers make the play-offs and the Nuggets don't it will be Ironic, and somewhat unfair given how well the Nuggets have played compared to the East teams. I'm psyched about the Sixers success and I'm sad for Iverson that he may not see the success he deserves. I have only love for him as a player, and I hope the city shows him love too.

Make sure to read Sheridan's article on memories of Iverson, specifically his Olympic re-cap.

Also check out the statistical projections that show the Sixers as slightly favored over the Nuggets tonight.

The Elephants Walk through Manhattan

Last night we went out to see the circus elephants emerge from the mid-town tunnel and walk down 34th street of New York City.  After all of the hype, it was kind of a let-down!  We waited in a large crowd from 11:45 till 1 AM for anything to happen, and then 5 elephants appeared and disappeared within seconds.  I guess it was a "check it of the list" thing.  [two pictures here]


Sixers Flying Up the NBA Power Rankings

ESPN - NBA Basketball Power Rankings - National Basketball Association: "11 (14) 76ers 33-34 March Madness, indeed. The Sixers are 7-1 this month and 15-4 since falling 12 games under .500 on Feb. 4. That adds up to some tasty revenge for not having a single representative in All-Star Weekend events."

The sixers have almost broken the top-10, are almost in the top third; this is a far cry from their 28/30 ranking back at the end of the first month of basketball, when Andre Iguodala was quoted as saying "We suck in practice too"; no they're flying up the standings, playing with hart, showing improvement across the board.

And they're winning against big teams; it doesn't mean they're going to beat them in the playoffs, but it's enough to give me hope. I couldn't be more psyched.

The Open Book World vs. the World of Information Overload

Mark Cuban has an interesting post about how "information overload" is a myth, that we've moved to such a point of aggregation (think Techmeme) and access (think Google) that we no longer have to worry about when where or how to find information - we know that when we need it we are sure to find it. That life is now an "open book" test.

It's an interesting thought - in reality, we have so much access, that we can become experts or catch up on any subject at any time. I haven't been to a library in years, and researching something happens every day. But now with all this access, I am acutely aware of just how much information is out there, and it comes at such a rapid pace that I tend to feel - if I don't read ALL THE TIME I'll fall so far behind that it will be too late to catch up.

Techmeme for example is great, it aggregates the major tech headlines, and for most people that should be enough - but if I don't read in detail the 80+ feeds I have saved every day, I'm worried that what slips between the cracks of Techmeme (a personal Techmeme built ontop of Google Reader would be a game-changer) will be more important, and if I don't catch it today then it will be burried by 200 more articles tomorrow.

I have, for the most part, given up books - but I read for hours a day, between blogs, news sites, email, twitter and more. With greater access, I feel a need to consume faster and consume more, and rather than getting easier, it's getting burdensome. At some point I need to step back and accept the idea of "open book" life, it seems the only way to manage the information overload.


Hulu opens to public, get free TV and movies online now

Hulu, the joint venture between Fox and NBC, leaves private beta today after over 5 months of being closed to the public.  Now at the time of launch, video content has been ramped up to include current and old TV shows, as well as movies, from a myriad of partners including Sony, WB, MGM, Universal, the NBA, and many online TV shows.  The quality of the episodes and clips (see above) is great, and the interface is pretty strong as well - much easier than dealing with the regular TV station websites. 

Still, it's not a fully polished product.  Unless I'm missing something, there's no way to save just the list of shows you want to look at - since most people will likely return for the same shows week after week, this seems like a necessary feature (you can add shows to a playlist, but if you add "family guy", for example, every episode and clip that is on Hulu will be added to your playlist).  Also I don't see an easy way to jump directly to the list of full movies - with now over 100 to choose from, again this seems like an important instant option.

Also - episodes come and go as individual shows see fit, so this isn't a dependable archived content site.  It really should be housing most back episodes of shows, as giving users the opportunity to catch up to current on a show they had never watched is a primary function and growth point for networks.

Still, you should definitely give Hulu a try - it could significantly change your opinion of online video for the better.


Cliff Jumping and Mayan Ruins in Mexico

This weekend Angela and I went out to Riviera Maya Mexico for a quick vacation - originally I was expecting to spend the entire time on the beach, relaxing at the resort, and the first day we did that; but then the following day we went out to see Chizen Itza, the main pyramid of the Mayan Ruins that is now on the list of the 7 wonders of the world. 

Afterward we visited an underground cenote, and took twenty foot jumps off a side cliff into the water - by far my highest jump to date - I can't say for sure how much higher I'd be willing to do, but I was definitely pumped up and I'd like to say I'll try out something higher next time.