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June 30 2011

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December 22 2010

Zootool, the visual Delicious

Doy you know the feeling when you stumble over a new web service and you classify them immediately in the two categories: Just functional and Well, this is good designed?* 

Zootool Rhino

Zootool is a bookmarking service developed by Bastian Allgeier that definetly belongs in the second category. It makes fun to use it, and that’s how all web apps should feel like. (On a sidenote: It’s astounding how many iPhone apps would fall in the second category compared to their Android equivalents.)

In a few words, Zootool works like delicious with thumbnails from the pages you bookmark - videos get displayed onsite. One could say it’s a tumblr replacement. I don’t know about that, but Zootool is the place where I will put my found internet pics in the future. (Now if only Ffffound would offer a simple exporter.)

Furthermore the developer told me via mail that they are planning to release new features and pro memberships (which you could get inofficially right now). Here an extract from the email in german:

Aktuell gibt’s folgende zusätzliche Features:

- uneingeschränkter Bookmark Import**
- Instapaper Sharing
- Abschaltbare Werbung
- unbeschränkte Anzahl an “Packs”
- Email-Posting (jeder Pro User erhält eine persönliche Email Adresse, an die er neue Einträge per Email schicken kann)

In nächster Zeit sollen außerdem noch folgende Features nach und nach dazu kommen:

- Posterous Support
- Öffentliche Packs
- Eigene Screenshots
- Statistiken für die einzelnen Einträge im Zoo (Views, Comments)
- Smart Packs
- Notizen

Unser Preissystem ist ziemlich simpel: 25 $ für ein Jahr, 40 $ für 2 Jahre.

Es wird außerdem demnächst ein Rewardsystem geben, mit dem man sich seinen Pro-Account zeitlich aufstocken kann, aber dazu später mehr. 

So if you haven’t decided yet where to go with your delicious bookmarks, I would suggest you try the service.

[Update]

A visual service needs a good-looking RSS feed in my opinion. Zootool offers feeds, but the thumbnails are only a miniature of the actual image. So I made one that has the original image (if available) embedded by using the Zootool API.

Zootool Pipe with better media support

Just replace my username with yours and click on “Get as RSS”.


* I have to add that design includes usabilty for me.

** At the moment also available for free memberships, due to the Delicious/Yahoo-PR-Disaster.

December 18 2010

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December 03 2010

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November 28 2010

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November 22 2010

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October 08 2010

Evernote, the next-generation file system

For years there have been an ongoing discussion, especially in the unix community, about what and who the next generation file system should be. Some say XFS, others prefer the Solaris ZFS. (Everybody agrees, that the current used ones are lame.) Of course, this discussion is way to geeky for the mainstream user who only want to store their files securely.

Evernote

The other day I sat before my favourite note-taking tool, Evernote, and realized that this is not so far away from what I want.

So what are my requirements for a new file-system?

  • Sync all files stored on different devices instantly

Check. Evernote does this, but only in 15 minute intervalls. Real-time world anyone?

  • Offline access and editing on all devices

Check. And by all devices, I mean really all. Now, the iPad has a file system.

  • Access and editing with basic web browser

Check (well, one could argue their web frontend isn’t well designed, but it does the job).

  • Handle all files regardless of file type.

Basic requirement, but only doable with Evernote if you have upgraded to Premium

  • Automatic file versioning

Nope. Only manually. In their defense, deleted notes go to a reycle bin and can bes restored easily.

  • Easy import and export with current file systems

Check the importing part. Export is possible, but only as HTML without the former structure.

  • Easy sharing and collaboration

You can share a whole notebook, but not a single note. Also a No to collaboration (two or more users working simultanously on one document). Definetly room for improvement.

  • Option to categorise items with folders AND tags

Check. Sub-Tags are also available.

  • Option to bundle information snippets in one entity

Check. You could throw and combine every file in one note. PDF and Pictures are displayed in full preview.

  • Advanced Search options & search within content

Check. Also a point where Evernote shines. Missing is the ability to search within files, like done by Google Desktop.

Well, as you can see, Evernote comes really close to rule everthing that handles information for me in the cloud. What do I mean by that? As most web users I have trillions of profiles that all store some sort of information for me. Delicious has my bookmarks, Mag.ma my videos, FFFFound my images, and so on…This could all be done also with Evernote. No separate tag architectures, only one app… beautiful, right?

If the team only would realize that…

For example I had the idea to migrate my bookmarks from delicious and read later-articels from Instapaper, because there are only URLs with tags and this could be done via Evernote.
But no, everytime I search a bookmark I have to click on the actual item to access the note, then click on the link….it’s not comfortable.

Another thing with the bandwith limit. Even if I would pay for the service, the maximum amount is 500 MB per month. It would take 5 months to get only my stuff from Dropbbox (free 2GB) up to Evernote. How should I get a paperless office with such a limitation? Why can’t their be a flexible pricing, like a 500 MB package fro $5? Everbody who needs more could buy as many packages as he likes. 

I think the Evernote team itself hasn’t realised that their app could be a game changer in how we deal with digital information.

July 08 2010

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July 06 2010

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June 30 2010

How to be independent from iTunes

I’m a heavy iTunes user. And no, I’m definetly not proud of it. Since I bought my first iPhone I hate Apple every day that they forced my into the relationship with iTunes, the RAM-eating syncing hassle, especially on any Windows system.

But enough with all the whining and enough with all the promises that may be true someday - I need a solution for my daily life, now. Let’s see what we can do to bypass the software.

So the iPhone was the first device that relied in many cases to the cloud to get all its features to work.

I will tell you nothing new that you can already sync Mail / Contacts / and Calendars via the web. It just works seamingless, e.g. with Google services.

Apps are also available via the App Store App. (In fact it occurred to me several times that I loaded an app-update in iTunes, synced both, but the iPhone still hasn’t got the updated version.) If you additionally want to get past the 20 MB restriction on mobile networks, you have to be a Jailbreak user.

For Podcasts there are a number of apps available which let you download or even stream episodes with the iPhone, my favourite is Podcaster 3 (formerly known as RSS Player, which was formerly known as Podcaster 1), because of the incoming push notifications when a new show airs.

For Movies and TV series there’s the fabulous AirVideo. Saves also space on the flash drive. Another solution could be the recently announced Hulu+ app, which let you stream a lot of American TV Series. Also not free, but worth the consideration are the streaming service put.io or for german television lovers MobileTV.

Music is also very important, radio apps like Last.fm or Pandora are not enough for me. The perfect solution are streaming services like the well-known Spotify, MOG, steereo or muziic, which is based on YouTube. If you still want to sync your music library locally there’s even more Jailbreak goodness with PwnTunes. PwnTunes turns the iPhone in a USB device that is recognized on any PC, just like a mp3 player where you can drag & drop your music files.

Photos easily backed up via the official flickr app or a third party uploader like Pixelpipe with access to many services. For documents there’s Dropbox, Notes are anyway stored centrally in Evernote.

For general access to the iPhone filesystem, including adding Wallpapers or Ringtones, I highly recommend the free i-FunBox software. It’s like SSH-ing into your phone, but without the need for hacking your phone.

Other iPhone software for replacing the compulsory iTunes Backup mechanism are listed on this site.

Did I miss a use case in your daily life where you still have to sync? Any other suggestions for staying sync-free?

June 13 2010

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WIN

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June 06 2010

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June 05 2010

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May 31 2010

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May 18 2010

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May 14 2010

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Read between the lines.

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May 12 2010

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April 25 2010

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April 17 2010

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