Feedback and Movement

May 26, 2006

It's been almost a month since the first release and overall usage is unspectacular, but not disappointingly so. New things always take time for people to contemplate. However, it would be nice to get some form of external feedback and dialog. There's been a growing consensus within myself that I have a quirky way of doing things. I like doing things different, but at the same time, I'd rather not stray too far into never-never land.

In the absence of feedback, I've found that there are times when I'm not searching for anything in particular, but just want 'something'. Um, yes, that probably sums up a lot of Internet usage, but with respect to Fact200, I notice I've started using it as an RSS newsreader. Fact200 works really well for this because 80% of the stuff through RSS feeds is simply stuff I'm not really interested in. Instead of scanning through titles or summaries to determine interest, I can now scan through actual articles just as fast. In the cases of lots of REALLY random stuff (Craigslist), I can do a quick search to see if any new stuff matches points of interest. As an example, I ride the N-Judah everyday for work. Thus, a search for 'judah' in Craigslist Missed Connections lets me easily see any potential MCs (none so far 😦 ) and adds a Where's Waldo type of spice to the commute.

I've also run into the problem of not having Wi-Fi access on the laptop due to lack of hotspots (The Google/Earthlink deal doesn't make me too hopeful considering I despise Ads). A nice aspect of Fact200 is that it keeps all information locally stored and thus it doesn't need Internet access for either searching or viewing data. I like the notion of 'hot-syncing' with the Internet and then being confident that I have at least a minimal set of information that's always accessible. Webaroo offers this, however their webpack size makes 'hot-syncing' way too inconvenient, not to mention the data in their packs only provides spotty coverage of things that I'm interested in.

I'm thinking of using Fact200's category mechanism to define areas of interest where users can download rss feeds, search result sets, and static URLs all in one action and all from original sources (i.e., not prepackaged webpacks). There might might be one category set for doing research where the links/data are mostly constant. There might be another category set for news or local events that would result in constantly changing data. Because these sets are located on each person's machine, they can customize them to fit their needs.

Another aspect of the Internet I've started using more often is link sharing sites. Actually, I don't really share links (or search for them in these sites) with anyone else except for myself. It's convenient having a centralized site for links and I'm a little surprised that browsers haven't built in access to these sites. However one of the reasons my link list has remained static for a long time is that the whole tagging process is cumbersome. Most of the links in my list do not have tags associated with them.

The current method of accessing links in Fact200 is by searching for content. For sifting through a huge collection of links, this method is probably OK (and if you consider the Internet as a huge collection of links, it is fairly necessary), but when searching for a particular link it can be a little indirect. The library category helps alleviate this a little bit, but it's slow and suboptimal relative to bookmarks. Fact200 needs to work better with fixed, centralized link sets.

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