Wordle just makes 'word clouds', and a beautiful job it does too. You can customise the layout and colours and you can either paste in the raw text from anything, or link to your Delicious links page, like I did here:


It's more of a novelty than a useful application, but it has got me thinking about putting more effort into organising my tags.

I'm a big fan of Tumblr and use it for my lifestreaming site, foomandoonian.net.

One of the neat features of Tumblr is the pre-defined formats for different types of posts: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio and video. These are all very useful, but I've always wanted to have a 'list' option as well.


The internet loves lists, whether it's the Top 10 Firefox addons; 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me, The 250 Greatest Movies or The Ten Best Top-Ten Lists! In my opinion, the list format would fit in perfectly with the Tumblr ethos.

If you would like to see lists added, please show your support at my Get Satisfaction suggestion page.

It is easy to become an OpenID provider, and hundreds have popped up. Even if you don't know what an Open ID is, you probably have one. The challenge for providers is to add a little extra into the offering. To use marketing jargon, they need a unique selling point.

claimIDClaimID have one of the best, in my opinion. Quite simply, ClaimID lets you manage your online identity by 'claiming' ownership of the various places on the internet you appear.

If you can edit the source code of a page, then you can use a MicroID meta tag to verify ownership. Otherwise you simply list pages, like your del.icio.us bookmarks, Twitters, Google Reader Shared Items and anything else you want people to find. It is also useful to keep track of the more obscure sites you may have a presence on, if only to remind you of them!

Check out my ClaimID page for a working example.

There is, of course, the ubiquitous RSS feed, bookmarklet, tag support, basic social networking features, a blog widget and all manner of microformat goodness, including hCards, ensuring that the service is future (and geek) proof.

If you're anything like me, you probably sign up for every new Web 2.0 service you see. ClaimID is invaluable for keeping track of everything and is a single source to point people who want to know where to find you online.

Here's another great web service that does something incredibly simple, incredibly well. Awesome Highlighter lets you highlight content on any website, add a note and store that information for later reference.


Then you can share a short URL (like http://awurl.com/jmmppy93267)with others that links to the page, with all your highlighted text and notes. Twitter is supported, naturally, along with Facebook, Delicious, Live Journal and Tumblr, making it simple to share whatever you find.

So there you have it. If you don't need all the power and flexibility of Evernote, then you have Awesome Highlighter. Enjoy.

Since I have been away from my home PC for a few weeks, and am back using XP, I wanted to try Windows Live Writer. Very impressive it is too! I can write blog posts using my own blog styles, add tags, pictures and all the formatting I like. It is easily far superior to using the Blogger interface and also beats publishing from Google Docs, which I tried, but it added too much rubbish code. Here's hoping Mozilla, or someone, can come up with something just as nice.


I have been building up a list of useful Twitter tools to write another roundup. Twist is worth highlighting here though. It provides a simple analytic overview of whatever you search for, taking its results from the Twitter public timeline.


Above is a comparison search for 'plurk, pownce, jaiku, twitter, friendfeed' showing results for the last month. This is interesting because you can see when interest for Plurk spiked. It's dropped right down again now, but it's still fresher in peoples minds than the other services. Apart from Twitter, of course.

twitter plurk friendfeed

Compete also shows the spike, and makes it pretty clear that Twitter has gained a substantial lead in this space.

It will be interesting to see if Plurk gains any momentum. They turned down an interview with Leo Laporte on net@nite recently, so I guess they aren't ready to scale. I get the feeling they lack the mainstream potential of Twitter, anyway.

It's easy to miss a reply in Twitter, especially if you don't use one of the smarter clients like Twhirl. Here's a short but sweet tip that will help you never miss a message directed at you...

Pop over to Summize. If you're not familiar with Summize, all you need to know is that it's a really slick search engine that keeps tabs on conversations in Twitter. We're going to do a simple search for any mention of your username, so go ahead and enter @YourUsername (If you want to include your own tweets in the results, leave off the @).

Handy, eh?

Now bookmark the results page for future reference. Ideally, put the bookmark in your toolbar so you're just a click away. In Firefox, don't forget that you can use the RSS feed to make a Live Bookmark. Super handy!

Despite being generally out of touch with internet news, I have not failed to notice the dramatic uptake of Plurk recently. I didn't sign up immediately because of a negative gut reaction (I don't really have much 'emo-ness' to express) and a reluctance to commit to yet another social service.

Obviously, I couldn't resist - find me here (or get an invite here).

I rather like the odd cartoon graphics (even the zombie dog). The qualifiers and the karma system are neat features too. I'm not sure about the timeline yet though - it feels too tricksy and not practical. A more polished version of the mobile interface would be much clearer. The ajax trickery is well implemented, but it feels slippery to me, and I feel like it would be easy to miss posts. Maybe I'm just not used to it yet.

The interest in Plurk is probably more about users frustrations with Twitter than anything else. I imagine we'll be seeing a lot more microblogging alternatives popping up this year - and if they are all as innovative as Plurk, we'll have a lot of fun trying them!

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