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Rex Sorgatz

The Grey Album is less great in retrospect

jul 2
2006

Fimoculous 3.0

It's time to clean up around here.

This is the first redesign of Fimoculous in a couple years. Although it might look like I've merely thrown a bunch of widgets on the page, it's actually intended to signal a notion that I've lately been bouncing off people: the future of blogging is self-aggregation.

In a sense, we're going back to the future. Blogs are starting to take on more of a "personal homepage" feel -- a collection of media, writing, lists, reviews, events, geography, etc. In other words, we're introducing structured data into what was previously just a text-based form. Certainly, you see this in Six Apart's release of Vox, and you also see it in places like MSN Spaces. But that's just the start -- someone could probably start a whole business based around the idea of personal pages that do nothing except aggregate personal content from various online services (and don't think I haven't thought about it).

This shift wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the prolonged advance of webservices and APIs. This page, for instance, uses webservices from Amazon.com, Upcoming.org, MNspeak.com, and Flickr.com -- and there are several others I'm considering. There are potential disadvantages to using all these external utilities to store your data (such as making it searchable) but there are also possible solutions to those problems (such as personal indexing).

The Tour

+ To the left is the link factory. Somebody is immediately going to gripe that there's no longer a single list of today's links, but please try out this taxonomy before turning on your pretty hate machine. Maybe I'll add ways to sort the entire list later.

+ Everything at the bottom of the page is aggregation. (Except the "Conversation" box, which is still hand-coded until I figure out if I should use Co.mments, CoComment, or something else to track my conversations.)

What If...

+ If I had a GPS device that could transmit my location as a machine-readable file (anyone know of such a thing?), then I could broadcast my location.

+ What if I exposed metrics and user data? Or included Technorati data of others talking about the same topics? And then, what if I graphed it!?

+ What if I included vanity searches?

+ Upcoming.org's API includes GPS data, so I could at least start mapping the location of events. I haven't looked into it yet, but maybe Dodgeball would give me some geo-tagged data too.

+ If friggin MySpace would adopt any kind of API (Tom, you are not my friend), I could do cool stuff, such as show my recent adds, friend mashups, etc. (I coincidentally met Marc Canter of People Aggregator at Gnomedex last weekend. He's been on the forefront of web standards, but I worry that MySpace will be a long uphill battle to join.)

Once you start thinking of your life as aggregation potential, you start to wonder about all kinds of possibilities. ("How dangerous would it be to expose my clickstream?") Although this isn't revoluationary thinking, I like the idea that this site updates even when I'm not explicitly creating content for it. When you start to think about your blog as a receptacle for capturing all parts of your online life (and perhaps even your non-digital life), you can start to imagine a constantly updating page of personal data. To get metaphysical for a moment, the self-aggregator becomes another version of you.

10 comments

I agree with pretty much everything you say in the second paragraph. I was about to set to work on something that would aggregate all my friends' content on one page, and then Vox came out, and it seemed that wasn't so necessary any more (as long as Vox catches on, of course). I'm not sure I love the redesign yet -- it makes it hard for me to quickly see what's new -- but I like that you were thinking creatively about it. Maybe it will grow on me. ps. The "Link Factory"? Ahem: http://amysrobot.com/archives/2003/06/today_we_are_la.php

posted by adm at 12:08 AM on July 3, 2006

Thanks, adm. Unlike most of the things I steal, I totally subconsciously stole "link factory." And yeah, I'm not even sure myself if these categories are the right way to get. Let's call it an experiment...

posted by Rex at 2:19 AM on July 3, 2006

3.0 rocks!

posted by jg at 11:34 AM on July 3, 2006

So I've made a bunch more tweaks in the past few days. I know the taxonomy/architecture is a little crazy, but I'm sticking to it. Let me know if you see other problems.

posted by Rex at 9:02 PM on July 5, 2006

You're already one of my aggregators and I really appreciate it. You, Hugh, Niall, Thomas, Lawrence, Malcolm ... etc. I'll probably subsribe to you one day. ;-) Re your comment: << someone could probably start a whole business based around the idea of personal pages that do nothing except aggregate personal content from various online services (and don't think I haven't thought about it). >> Why not take a leap of faith and submit this idea to the new crowdsourcing app venture CambrianHouse.com and see if they'll have it built for you? Shazz

posted by Shazz at 12:34 AM on July 6, 2006

Hey, Rex, I like this site, but please no more links to anything by Klosterman. Holy shit he's stupid. Did you read that article he wrote about Gnarls Barkley in the Sunday Times Magazine a couple of weeks ago? Evidently, Chuck K. thinks Burton and Green's methodology is unusual, even radical, as opposed to what it is, i.e., pretty much normal in R&B and Hip-Hop. And I think he mentioned Steve Albini (!) and not, for example, Scott Storch, Jermaine Dupri, Kanye West or any number of sensatonal producers working today. Plus, Klosterman's book, something or other and "Cocoa Puffs" was so bad I threw it away. But do keep up the good work, Rex, and have a nice night.

posted by BrianP at 8:13 PM on July 6, 2006

Rex, I totally love this. How cool would it be to have a completely customized personal aggregator as my home page? Instead of a file with 50 favorites, I could have one page with all my aggregated headlines. Very cool.

posted by Jason at 9:38 AM on July 7, 2006

I love the redesign, Rex, but I'm a Fimoculous fanboy from way back.

posted by david at 1:34 PM on July 7, 2006

Google Alerts told me that CityPages told me to look at Fimoculous. ...here I am!!! Sexy, Rexy! In the words of the near dead Roger Ebert, "thumbs up".

posted by Weierd at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2006

Yay! you finally got a favicon, my life is happier now

posted by Dik at 1:00 PM on July 15, 2006




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