Bookmarks for May 21st from 06:07 to 22:34

These are my links for May 21st from 06:07 to 22:34:

Bookmarks for May 8th through May 12th

These are my links for May 8th through May 12th:

Bookmarks for May 4th through May 5th

These are my links for May 4th through May 5th:

Bookmarks for April 30th through May 2nd

These are my links for April 30th through May 2nd:

  • FusionCharts Free – Animated Flash Charts and Graphs for ASP, PHP, ASP.NET, JSP, RoR and other web applications – Flash charting component that can be used to render data-driven & animated charts for your web applications and presentations. It is a cross-browser and cross-platform solution that can be used with PHP, Python, Ruby on Rails, ASP, ASP.NET, JSP, ColdFusion, simple HTML pages or even PowerPoint Presentations to deliver interactive and powerful flash charts. You do NOT need to know anything about Flash to use FusionCharts. All you need to know is the language you're programming in.
  • Raphaël—JavaScript Library – Raphaël is a small JavaScript library that should simplify your work with vector graphics on the web. If you want to create your own specific chart or image crop and rotate widget, for example, you can achieve it simply and easily with this library. Raphaël uses the SVG W3C Recommendation and VML as a base for creating graphics. This means every graphical object you create is also a DOM object, so you can attach JavaScript event handlers or modify them later. Raphaël’s goal is to provide an adapter that will make drawing vector art compatible cross-browser and easy.
  • A Really Gentle Introduction to Data Mining | Regular Geek – List of data mining blogs and related resources.
  • BlackBerry SSH Tutorial: Connect to Unix Server using MidpSSH for Mobile Devices – Notes on using MidpSSH on Blackberry for remote access to servers. Seems to work, although big network lag on my BlackBerry Bold / AT&T.
  • Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 – U.S. law requires the Secretary of State to provide Congress, by April 30 of each year, a full and complete report on terrorism with regard to those countries and groups meeting criteria set forth in the legislation. This annual report is entitled Country Reports on Terrorism. Beginning with the report for 2004, it replaced the previously published Patterns of Global Terrorism.
  • DIY: How To Find Authoritative Twitter Users Plus 100 To Get You Started | Ignite Social Media – Some comments on recommendation metrics for Twitter, trying to use "favorites" mark as an indicator.
  • SIGUSR2 > The Power That is GNU Emacs – "If you've never been convinced before that Emacs is the text editor in which dreams are made from, or that inside Emacs there are unicorns manipulating your text, don't expect me to convince you."

Bookmarks for April 28th through April 29th

These are my links for April 28th through April 29th:

Bookmarks for April 24th through April 27th

These are my links for April 24th through April 27th:

Bookmarks for April 20th through April 23rd

These are my links for April 20th through April 23rd:

Bookmarks for April 18th through April 19th

These are my links for April 18th through April 19th:

Bookmarks for April 13th through April 15th

These are my links for April 13th through April 15th:

Bookmarks for April 12th from 17:02 to 19:13

These are my links for April 12th from 17:02 to 19:13:

Bookmarks for April 9th from 08:07 to 17:53

These are my links for April 9th from 08:07 to 17:53:

Bookmarks for February 24th through February 25th

These are my links for February 24th through February 25th:

Link posts seem to be working again

The automatic nightly link posts from stopped working properly sometime last year. The links would get posted, but had extra “\n” inserted at every line break. Here’s an example. An unexpected side effect of having “ugly” link posts is that I mostly stopped posting links to for a while.

As part of the recent blog platform update, I’ve switched from the “experimental” nightly blog posting to Postalicious, which seems to be working nicely, you can see the new link post style (and the old ones too, unless I get around to cleaning them up) here.

A graph of my tags


Here is a visualization of my tags, by Kunal Anand, who’s been collecting tags and turning them into interesting pictures. Here’s the short explanation he sent along:

1. Each dot represents a tag (aka a node)
2. Each line represents an intersection between tags
3. The center of the visualization (denoted by a colored gradient), represents the heavy set of intersections

It appears that I have a fairly consistent set of regularly used tags, and a fairly even distribution of less used tags that intersect with the most common ones.

For comparison, see visualizations of tags from Brad Feld, Tom Coates, Pete Freitag adds private bookmarks is testing out private bookmarks now.

I’ve been playing with a private instance of Scuttle ever since was purchased by Yahoo a few months back, but have continued using for posting public links anyway.

My links are automatically posted here (except when one end or the other is out of service for some reason), don’t know if that would include the private ones or not. Also don’t know exactly where the private bookmarks might be visible, aside from in one’s own account. I’ll have to give it a try.

Tagnautica – fun Flickr tag navigator

Tagnautica is a fun and interesting Flash user interface for exploring and navigating among tags, in this case on Flickr. After keying in an initial tag, related tags are displayed in a circle, with a sample image from each tag category displayed in a representative size.

When you move the cursor over a tag bubble, it temporarily becomes larger so you can get a look at it. The other bubbles keep resizing as well, giving the interface a very fluid appearance. When you find something you like, you can click on the Tagnautica bubble to view the tag page over at Flickr.

I always enjoy these sorts of user interfaces for semi-random exploration. I’ve noticed that I don’t really use any of the cool visualization tools when I actually want to find something, though. Not sure if that’s because they don’t represent a useful set of questions as implemented yet, or simply because my brain doesn’t work that way.

I find I experience these interfaces more as pleasant interactive art than as useful data navigation tools. One of these days I’m sure something is going to click, though.

How (and where) to download your bookmarks

Last Friday’s announcement that Yahoo is buying has probably got more than a few people thinking about the future of the service and whether they want to keep using it. In any case, as with all of the interesting and useful web services out there, it’s good to take time now and then to back up your personal data, in case something goes sideways and the service becomes unavailable or unusable for whatever reason.

I’m personally planning on continuing to use, although there are a number of interesting tagged bookmarking alternatives out there, including running your own.

The first step is to get your personal bookmark data, which can be obtained through the API. You can retrieve all your saved bookmarks at, which will return an XML file that can be saved to your local system and used as a backup or to import your bookmarks into another web application elsewhere.

The next step is to decide what you want to do with the data. Some alternative tagged bookmarking solutions include:

The following services are based on open source projects, so you can (or in some cases have to) run your own bookmarking system.

Yahoo already runs MyWeb2.0, which presumably will begin to merge with at some point. It has a lot of interesting features, but hasn’t had enough to get me to switch over up to this point. I’ve been wanting private bookmarks and tags on for a while, although I think I’ll be moving those off my desktop onto a roll-your-own server solution.

Any more suggestions? Reply in the comments and I’ll pull them up to the main post.

Here’s an extensive list of free bookmark managers at (via David Beisel)

Yahoo goes after more tagging assets, buys

Yahoo continues down the path of more tagging and more collaborative content. Having already purchased Flickr, this morning they’re acquiring (terms undislosed):

From Joshua Schachter at the blog:

We’re proud to announce that has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we’ll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We’re excited to be working with the Yahoo! Search team – they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. (We’re also excited to be joining our fraternal twin Flickr!)

From Jeremy Zawodny at Yahoo Search Blog:

And just like we’ve done with Flickr, we plan to give the resources, support, and room it needs to continue growing the service and community. Finally, don’t be surprised if you see My Web and borrow a few ideas from each other in the future.

From Lisa McMillan, an enthusiastic user of all 3 services (comment on the blog):

Yahoo that’s delicious! I live here. I live in flickr. I live at yahoo. This is insane. You deserve this success dude. Just please g-d don’t let me lose my bookmarks :-D I’m practically my own search engine. LOL

Tagged bookmarking sites such as can provide a rich source of input data for developing contextual and topical search. The early adopters that have used up to this point are unlikely to bookmark spam or very uninteresting pages, and the aggregate set of bookmarks and tags is likely to expose clustering of links and related tags which can be used to refine search results by improving estimates of user intent. Individuals are becoming their own search engine in a very personal, narrow way, which could be coupled to general purpose search engines such as Yahoo or Google.

I think Google needs to identify resources it can use to incorporate more user feedback into search results. Looking over the users’ shoulders via AdSense is interesting but inadequate on its own because there are a lot of sites that will never be AdSense publishers. Explicit input capturing the user’s intent, whether through tagging, voting, posting, publishing, is a strong indication of relevance and interest by that user. I think the basic Google philosophy of letting the algorithm do everything is much more scalable, but it looks like time to capture more human input into the algorithms.

In a recent post, I pointed out some work at Yahoo on computing conditional search ranking based on user intent. The range of topics on tends to be predictably biased, but for the areas that it covers well, I’d be looking for some opportunities to improve search results based on what humans thought was interesting. As far as I know, Google doesn’t have any assets in this space. Maybe Blogger or Orkut, but those are very noisy inputs.

This seems like a great move by Yahoo on multiple fronts, and I am very interested to see how this plays out.

See also:

Update 12-12-2005 12:30 PST: No hard numbers, but something like $10-15MM with earnouts looks plausible. More posts, analysis, and reader comments: Om Malik, John Batelle, Paul Kedrosky.

Local Tag Cosmos

tag cosmos
I’ve added a local tag cosmos, which shows a tag cloud for posts on this site. Unfortunately, I’m also using tags and bookmarks scattered across, Flickr, Technorati, and other services, which aren’t integrated into the cloud, but this provides a different view of what’s been posted here since I’ve started tagging things.

I’m still evolving my personal use of tags. You can see that I’ve started tagging some posts with “web2.0“, although I’ve been reluctant to turn it into a site category. I don’t like the label, but I recognize that it’s the most popular tag for a lot of “new” stuff at the moment. So exposing the tag makes it more findable.

I’ve been debating reducing the number of post categories in favor of using frequently occuring tags for site navigation, so that recurring topics automatically make themselves more visible. It can be difficult to find things here, partly because I’m posting about a lot of different topics and partly because the categories don’t always organize the posts very well.

Tagging on this site is currently implemented using Jerome’s Keywords plugin for WordPress to apply tags to posts and for generating the tag cloud.

Quick Take on Google Reader

My quick notes on trying out Google Reader:


  • The AJAX user interface is whizzy and fun, and is similar to an e-mail reader.
  • Importing feeds is really slow.
  • Keyboard navigation shortcuts are great.
  • Searching through your own feeds or for new feeds is convenient using Google
  • I hate having a single item displayed at a time.
  • “Blog This” action is handy, if you use Blogger. They could easily make this go to other blogging services later.
  • This could be a good “starter” service for introducing someone to feed readers, but
  • No apparent subscription export mechanism
  • Doesn’t deal well with organizing a large number of feeds.

More notes:
I started importing the OPML subscription file from Bloglines into Google Reader on Friday evening. I have around 500 subscriptions in that list, and I’m not sure how long it ended up taking to import. It was more than 15 minutes, which was when I headed off to bed, and completed sometime before this afternoon.

I love having keyboard navigation shortcuts. The AJAX-based user interface is zippy and “fun”. Unfortunately, Google Reader displays articles one at a time, a little like reading e-mail. I’m in the habit of scanning sections of the subscription lists to see which sections I want to look at, then scanning and scrolling through lists of articles in Bloglines. Even though this requires mousing and clicking, it’s a lot faster than flashing one article at a time in Google Reader.

I don’t think the current feed organization system works on Google Reader, at least for me. My current (bad) feed groupings from Bloglines show up on Google Reader as “Labels” for groups of feeds, which is nice. It’s hard to just read a set of feeds, though. Postings show up in chronological order, or by relevance. This is totally unusable for a large set of feeds, especially when several of them are high-traffic, low-priority (e.g. Metafilter,, USGS earthquakes). If I could get the “relevance” tuned by context (based on label or tag?) it might be useful.

When you add a new feed, it starts out empty, and appears to add articles only as they are posted. It would be nice to have them start out with whatever Google has cached already. I’m sure I’m not the first subscriber to most of the feeds on my list.

On the positive side, this seems like a good starting point for someone who’s new to feed readers and wants a web-based solution. It looks nice, people have heard of Google, and the default behaviors probably play better with a modest number of feeds. Up to this point, I’ve been steering people at Bloglines in the past, and more recently pointing them at Rojo.

I wish the Bloglines user interface could be revised to make it quicker to get around. I really like keyboard navigation. I can also see some potential in the Google Reader’s listing by “relevance” rather than date listing, and improved search and blogging integration. I’m frequently popping up another window to run searches while reading in Bloglines.

Google Reader doesn’t seem like it’s quite what I’m looking for just now, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Wishful thinking:
I think I want something to manage even more feeds than I have now, but where I’m reading a few regularly, a few articles from a pool of feeds based on “relevance”, and articles from the “neighborhood” of my feeds when they hit some “relevance” criteria. I’d also like to search my pool of identified / tagged feeds, along with some “neighborhood” of feeds and other links. I think a lot of this is about establishing context, intent, and some sort of “authoritativeness”, to augment the usual search keyword matching.

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