SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—A star-studded cast of bloggers on Monday kicked off the annual DEMO emerging technology show here, introducing five new blogging and RSS tools that are designed to make blogging more ubiquitous, easier to manage and even more corporate.
Two of the more interesting products focused on “Mobloging”—technology that adds mobility to the act of the blog. The founders of Six Apart, creators of the industry leading Movable Type blogging software, rolled out an addition to their Typepad consumer blogging product that allows users to post photos or audio to a blog from virtually anywhere.
The software appeared easy to use. Camera-phone-enabled users need simply snap a picture, and e-mail it to a preconfigured address—which creates an entry in their blog automatically. Although this process is somewhat unwieldy on a cell-phone, Six Apart has created a custom application for PalmOne Inc.s Treo 600 and other Palm devices, which makes it easier to blog photos remotely.
The new moblogging capabilities are available today for all but the basic Typepad customers; and basic support will be added in two weeks, the company officials said.
At the same time, Six Apart will add support for receiving new blog entries from multiple email addresses, which lets a group of camera-toters update the same blog.
Taking the Moblog concept one further, WaveMarket introduced its upcoming WaveBlog service, which takes the concept of “warchalking” to the blog and cell-phone market. Warchalking is the practice of marking sidewalks and walls near free wireless access points, similar to the hobo signs of a past generation.
Users who subscribe to the WaveBlog service can create location-aware blog entries, which can then be viewed and read using a map-interface.
In addition to creating location-aware blog entries, the WaveBlog service also includes an alerting feature. Customers will be able to subscribe to popular location bloggers, and then receive updates when new content is posted.
Company officials demonstrated how its service could be used by party-goers in San Francisco, following in the footsteps of a party hipster. The service was also demonstrated being used to avoid traffic tie-ups and to locate speed traps.
Although its difficult to precisely determine location using the current cellular infrastructure in the United States, WaveMarkets service is currently being used by SK Telecom in Korea.
By 2005, though, cellular companies will be able to determine location within 50 meters using cell-tower triangulation, or via handset-based GPS. WaveMarket officials said the company is currently working with cellular providers, who will deliver the service. The company expects at least one U.S. cell provider to roll it out in the next quarter. A monthly fee yet to be determined.
Dashing towards RSS News
Although blogging was front and center, new RSS capabilities were also shown at DEMO 2004.
Due this spring, NewsDash will be free to use. In addition to providing a clean interface to find, subscribe and read feeds, NewsDash will let bloggers create automatic entries from RSS feed items. NewsDash will join Yahoos My Yahoo service and other Web-based RSS readers.
Meanwhile, as RSS moves from single feeds to aggregation, the popular blog and RSS search engine, Feedster LLC, introduced FeedPaper, a new way to search and display RSS pages. FeedPaper lets users create their own custom RSS aggregations using up to 10 separate feeds, along with a search term.
Once a FeedPaper has been created and stored, the aggregation can be accessed just like any other Web page, subscribed to with an RSS reader, or searched.
Although anyone can set up a free FeedPaper at the Feedster site, the pages are limited to searching through just 10 RSS feeds. The company said it has worked with a number of organizations to create more advanced FeedPapers that can track information coming from a wide range of sources.
Feedster showed one FeedPaper for John Kerry that tracks and lists news and blog postings about the presidential candidate. Other politically-oriented aggregations can be found at Feedsters political page.
The company also offers a complete list of all the Feedpapers that have been created on Feedsters site.