Google buys Pyra Labs

Google enters the world of blogs. Dan Gillmor’s scoop:

Google, which runs the Web’s premier search site, has purchased Pyra Labs, a San Francisco company that created some of the earliest technology for writing weblogs, the increasingly popular personal and opinion journals.

The buyout is a huge boost to an enormously diverse genre of online publishing that has begun to change the equations of online news and information.

Developers of blogging software have been finding user-friendly ways to help readers of weblogs and other information find and collect material from a variety of sites. It’s in this arena that the Google-Pyra deal may have the most implications.

Laos’ Jhai Project

From WSJ comes an update on the Jhai Foundation’s work in Laos to bring computing and communications to the villages:

Custom-built computers — running on bicycle-powered generators — will transport villagers from rice fields to chat rooms and Web sites world-wide. They will be able to monitor rice and vegetable prices, sell handicrafts and e-mail relatives.

The project, expected to launch as early as this spring, gets around the lack of phone lines through a clever application of the increasingly popular WiFi technology, which is used to wirelessly connect laptops, hand-helds and other devices elsewhere.

For the first time, villagers will also be able to make phone calls, using Internet-based voice technologies. And because much of the project is built around nonproprietary, or “open source,” software, villagers will essentially own the system.

The ingenious system — not much different from a school science project — comprises five computers built with discarded microchips. They connect to the Internet with a radio network and are powered by hulking batteries attached to stationary bicycles imported from India. One minute of pedaling yields five minutes of power.

All five will use WiFi to send data wirelessly to a central radio transmitter and antenna dish at the school. From there, microwave signals will be zapped to a treetop antenna on a nearby mountain ridge and routed to a dial-up Internet account at a nearby hospital, which has two of the region’s few phone lines.

The network, designed and built for about $19,000 plus donated labor, will cost about $21 a month to operate, Mr. Thorn said.

Continue reading

Team Blog

In a discussion on Groove 2.5, Jon Udell provides an insight into the future of RSS: “From an enterprise IT perspective, I realize, the term “team blog” sounds a little vague. So let’s nail it down. Those inbound RSS feeds needn’t be only internal or external weblogs. They can also deliver customer feedback, system status reports, business intelligence — you name it. And the output needn’t be a weblog that you hope will make the Daypop Top 40. Think of it, instead, as an internal “k-log” that selectively exposes team activity to the larger organization.”

Its what we have been thinking of and working on for the past few months. We are putting some of the building blocks together:

Event Builder, which can create events from changes to an ODBC-compliant feed (thus enabling enterprise events) and create an RSS feed for subscription
RSS Aggregator, which can bot various RSS feeds and split them up into the individual events, and also enable users to manage their subscriptions
News Readers, which can deliver the RSS items into an RSS viewer (also called a News Reader)
News Reader-to-Blog, which completes the event flow by enabling a reader to post the item to a blog using the Blogger API, with the blog itself generating an RSS feed for subscription
Digital Dashboard, which provides an aggregate view of all my subscribed events (email, IM, RSS items) and a writing area

This is the base for building an Information Refinery and a collaboration platform in the enterprise.