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Social Networking (Demo 2004 Series

Social Networking (Demo 2004 Series – 8) I’ve written a few times about Orkut and LinkedIn and the kind-of-funny-kind-of-strange infatuation with Orkut among the Digerati that seems to have peaked and now died off. Anyway, Friendster was demoing at Demo, so I had a chance to look and talk to them. I learned a few little things:

First off, Friendster has a strong Yahoo influence. I sense that maybe some of the people there came from Yahoo, which tells me that a likely direction for them is to be acquired by Yahoo at some point.

Friendster tries to position itself away from a dating service and more as a general purpose Sociall Networking service. When asked to compare themselves with Orkut and LinkedIn, they claimed to have some millions of users and far more than the other guys. Their comment about Orkut – “it’s 85% men” – tells me something about how they really perceive themselves.

Smiley Queries. Ok, here are

Smiley Queries. Ok, here are two for you to ponder: How do you put a smiley inside parentheses? (And by the way, I am (not) trying to be funny πŸ™‚ And while we are on the topic, does the smiley have a nose, or not, or is it a different kind of smile?


Google Coolness. Well those wacky

Google Coolness. Well those wacky guys and gals at Google keep on coming out with neat new stuff. Check out for a whole bunch of neat new searches. Among them you’ll find Vehcile ID Numbers (e.g. “AAAAA999A9AA99999”) and Patents (e.g. “Patent 5317686”) Follow the link above to see all the other cool encantations.

Is this the return of the command line? After all these years distancing ourselves from the infamous command line (remember 4GLs?) how are we supposed to remember all these weird encantations. GUI anyone?

Comparing this years Demo to

Comparing this years Demo to previous years (Demo 2004 Series – 7A)  As I’ve been writing these little Demo reports from my notes, I realized  that as I have been going to Demo for years (in fact I think I’ve been to almost all of them) I had perhaps an interesting perspective, and this little thoughtlet bubbled in my brain:

In the last few years, the burst bubble seemed to impact Demo by showing down to earth, obvious ROI products and services. This year there seems to be a few more out-there product and service ideas. I thought that was a positive development and perhaps a sign that we are recovering somewhat from the shock of the last 3 years.

Email is not dead (Demo

Email is not dead (Demo 2004 Series – 7) I continue to be an avid follower of what’s going on in the email space. Why? Here are some things to think about:


From my eRoom and Collaboration days, I’ve been very aware of the challenges to achieving adoption. My view is that the challenge exists whenever the adoption of a new application or system requires some degree of coordination between a set of users. Email is by far the greatest example of an application of computers which has very successfully overcome that barrier. I want to learn from that.


Second reason: I’ve observed that the tools we use to work with email (the general striucture email applications, email protocols, email use models) basically were laid down in the 1970’s. And yet, in the past 30 years (!) email’s role in society has totally changed, the volume of email has totally changed, the numbers of users have totally changed, the purposes of use have totally changed. It feels like we are due for a major re-think of the model.


Would it be the merging of Instant Messaging with Email? Might it be the merging of collaboration tools with Email. Might it be some fundamental move away from the Inbox/Outbox/Folders/Compose/Forward/Reply model to something perhaps more appropriate to the new world of email?


Anyway, back to Demo 2004. There were some interesting email “related” applications launched at Demo.


Bloomba Email Client: Bloomba 2.0 is, believe it or not, an Outlook replacement that is worth a look. They are literally and knowingly going head to head with Microsoft. They have a heavy emphasis on searching within the email, which as you know, I think is super important and overlooked. They’ve done a very nice job with the application, and as I say, worth a look.


MailBlocks Web Based Email client: This is a very interesting integration of email, calendar and contact information. I believe that there is also fancy spam filtering technology. But the neatest (and useful to me) feature is the automatic parsing of emails to locate contact info changes and meeting information and proposing them to you as calendar and address book updates. While there are multiple web based mail clients, this one has a neat angle. Very nice. If you are interested in this web based mail client, you should also check out OddPost, which is interesting because it’s a tour-de-force DHTML application that actually creates a real GUI Outlook Express like experience, all with just a browser, and no downloads.