Every year, when I attend the Demo Conference at Kierland, I see awesome technology. Remarkably, very few people from Arizona attend this conference, and fewer still are presenters. This year, Viack was the lone Arizona company with a presence. I have never understood this, since there were more VCs at the Demo conference than at the Arizona Venture Capital Conference, and it�s a great way to identify the new hot spaces (and your competition, if you are already in one of them.)
Last year Demo 2003 was all about organizing information: Picasa for organizing photos, and Grokker, a visual, intuitive search engine. This year, the exciting stuff for individuals is around blogs. I’ve been blogging for five years now, but there’s an awful lot of new technology out there for us bloggers. The reigning question was: is there a business model for blogging? But that�s what they used to say about the Internet.
As you know, blogs are another form of information you might want to keep up with, but they�re often hard to find and laborious to stay up with. Google has started indexing blogs, but not many. So in the past few years, aggregators of blogs have appeared, such as http://www.bloglines.com, and they can feed the blogs you want directly into your mailbox.
Feedster (www.feedster.com) , for example, tracks and searches RSS feeds to send you the blogs you want, without you having to go anywhere. It calls itself the search engine that keeps on giving. You can save your searches and it will crawl the Internet looking for your information. You can subscribe to each of its search results forever. As long as you want to receive specific information, you will get it sent to you. And the information from Feedster is coming from thousands of sources, some of them mainstream (CNET or PR Newswire), some of them blogs. This is important for me, because when I do a PR campaign I like to be able to track my results. I can do that by asking Feedster to look for the company or product I�m trying to make visible in the market.
John Kerry’s campaign is using Feedster to raise money, and also to aggregate all the feeds that support Kerry to show that he’s supported by the little people.
Newsdash which isn�t really available yet, appears to be a similar product, but it allows a blogger to post to it from a mobile device, as well as from a conventional web browser. Newsdash will also automatically subscribe you to the newsfeeds you want to receive.
Six Apart’s new TypePad product also allows you to post audio, video, or anything to your blog from the desktop or from a mobile device. I�m going to try it in the next few weeks, so if you usually get this e-zine from my site, http://blog.stealthmode.com or from an RSS feed you may see some changes. Right now, the test site is up at http://hardaway.typepad.com/hardaway/ . Let me know what you think.
Now that I�ve spent a day learning about all this new stuff, I�m going to be trying some of it. I�m already testing a new search-based email client from Stata Labs called Bloomba. It�s supposed to help you find ANYTHING in your email with a maximum of four seconds. And it also searches attachments.
Stay tuned for what I think about it. I�m so ready to get away from Outlook, but not give up its conveniences, that I will try anything. I already tried Netscape and Eudora (didn�t like their non-integrated characteristics) so if Bloomba is anything close to what I need, I�m there.
I�m also going to test the new Chinese competitor to Microsoft Office, called Evermore Integrated Office. When I saw it demo�ed, it blew me away because I didn�t have to open three different programs and windows to collect information for a presentation and then cut and paste. EIO, which the presenter pronounced �YOW�, begins shipping in May and currently runs on Linux and Windows.
At Demo, Chris Shipley asked whether there was a place for products that compete with Microsoft Office, and many people said no, because the enterprise would have such high switching costs. But most jobs in this country are now created by small business, where the switching costs would be minimal, and the savings huge. Also, the time is coming when a Chinese software company won�t need the u.s. market to succeed, because China is its own market.