Genieo – Another Means for Auto-Curating The News

I have talked about intelligent news readers here in the Studio before, so why not again? Genieo (link here) is another entrant in the arena of relevance-based reporting. Genieo is a desktop application based on proprietary algorithms that “read” user behavior, learn relevancies and feed back content tuned to user interest. That information is viewable through a dynamic, personal content portal, a/k/a home page. From the site:

The company’s vision is to become the leading source of user behavioral modeling, supplying content and application providers with effective means to address their users’ needs, and help advertisers and publishers with targeting personalized ads, with the utmost precision.

The process is simple enough – download the Genieo software and make your settings, allow Genieo some time to pull together your interests and profile and create your home page, and open your browser to your page. It will show, in magazine format, top news headlines, actual and real-time updates and filtered Facebook and Twitter updates. Everything shown will be related to your interests and Genieo will refine those interests over time as you use their service. You can also manually adjust interests to direct the process.

Some cool adds? Genieo will auto-update your bookmarks as you visit sites and manage these bookmarks based on your level of interest and interaction with them, all without interfering with your browser’s own bookmarking system. A Mini Topic Filtering System sifts through all information at the “highest resolution”, continually bringing items exclusively relevant to you. You can pull real-time updates from events you are following, stocks, sports (WORLD CUP!!!!) or developing news stories. Unobtrusive notifications of updates are displayed on your screen as you work. And, of course, there is the ubiquitous ability to one-click share your stories with your networks.

Genieo offers an interface modded for iPhone – simply navigate to my.genieo.com, log in, and get your information iPhone-sized. You can also pull your Genieo feed into your favorite RSS reader.

Lots of relevancy-based coolness from the fine folks at Genieo! Curate your own news now, automatically!

Google Now Sending Scholar To You Via Email Alerts

Google Scholar made a big splash a few months back when it rolled out case law and law journals as an option within its Advanced Search function. People “buzzed” around the new service, wondering if it would be the big “Wexis” killer with its free format. While it has taken some pot-shots in the comparison tests, Scholar is still a more than viable means of securing legal information and is getting better by the day.

Google has taken another giant step closer to besting the big guys with its roll-out of free Alerts for Google Scholar results. Activating an Alert is as simple as running a search and following a few simple steps. After getting positive results, look for the envelope icon on the upper left corner of the page. Click the icon, select the number of entries you wish displayed and that is pretty much it. Alerts work for traditional Scholar results and, most importantly, legal cases and journals!

Alerts will bring you new material as it is entered into the database based on your search query and parameters. Advanced searching is available for Alerts to the same extent available in a regular search.  While you cannot limit your Alert to results from a smaller subset of sources, you can limit Alerts by author’s name or part of a name or from pre-built “collections” listed on the Advanced Search page.

While only available via email for now, Google likely won’t stop at that delivery source. As with traditional Google search alerts, I expect RSS feeds will be coming down the road.

I am unaware of how frequently Google updates its information or the length of the time span between information creation and entry into the Google Scholar system. One of the benefits of paid services is the quick turnaround time on data entry. Of course, speed is an issue with respect to discoverying new case law on a particular question. But, as a supplemental means of securing FREE notifications on legal searches as they happen on issues that do not require up-to-the-minute updates, it seems to me to be  impossible to beat Google’s combination of price and service!

Kudos, Google, to further tilting the legal research playing field in your direction!

Hat tip to Resource Shelf.

Is The Semantic Web A Synonym for Time Travel?

I am a romantic agnostic. I doubt much, but fervently wish that fairy tales would come true. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to the idea of the Semantic Web . That and the fact that I research for a living. The exponential growth in on-line data,  content creation and linking is staring us Web searchers straight in the face. I am guessing that most of us, professional and amateur alike, would love to lay their hands on that particular protocol that cuts through the infinite virtual warehouse and returns, on the first try, the data it knows you are seeking.

I am still holding out for this “impossible dream.” I do think it could evolve. Check out the awesome documentary below by Kate Ray with its “star” studded Semantic cast, and let me know if you do too. Hat tip to Jolie O’Dell at Mashable (link here).

The Semantic Web: What It Is and Why It Matters

Cloud Computing – A Visual Primer

Short and sweet infographic on cloud computing – hits major points for all you visual learners out there. Creation of Wikibon.org, website link here.

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Social Media Revolution – Version 2.0

social-media-button-igifischer-identica-igistv...
Image by Igi’s TV Network via Flickr

Remember this video from last year? Check out this year’s numbers. And be wowed.

Thanks to Eric Qualman and Socialnomics (link here).

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Get Your Writing Style On!

style
Image by delgrosso via Flickr

One search. Forty-nine Style Guides! OnlineStylebooks (link here) is a one-stop micro search engine for writing style guides. Created by Mary Beth Protomastro, who describes:

OnlineStylebooks.com is owned and operated by Mary Beth Protomastro, who has been reading stylebooks since high school. The founder of Copyediting newsletter, she is the copy chief of More magazine and was editor of the Time magazine stylebook. OnlineStylebooks.com is not affiliated with any of those publications.

Mary Beth created OnlineStylebooks.com to help copy editors (including herself) quickly consult a variety of style guides. If you know of a manual that’s on the Internet but not on OnlineStylebooks.com, please tell Mary Beth!

You can enter a search query, or browse style books alphabetically or by subject. The home page also displays a featured style rule – today’s rule is the difference between “repertoire” and “repertory.” Do you know the difference? Check out the link here.

Hat tip to Ray Ward at the (new) legal writer (link here), who hat tips John McIntyre at Language Log (link here).

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Civilizing The Discovery of iPhone Apps

Image representing AppsFire as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

With more than 200,000 apps in the App Store, finding the best of the best is becoming increasingly difficult. iTunes and Genius are not of much assistance and third party sites and services have leaped in to fill the void.

A credible competitor in this field is AppsFire (link here) .With a newly revamped page, desktop tool and download-able iPhone application, AppsFire really streamlines the process of discovering, demoing and sharing iPhone apps and presents a very real challenger to the iTunes monopoly. You can search for apps yourself, or, if you are in need of some expert advise, check out the VIP section on the Web – lists compiled by tech elite and power users. AppsFire also will recommend apps based on your app downloads and history.  The iPhone app lets you compare apps with other iPhone toting friends via Bluetooth.

The AppsFire interface looks great on the iPad. The team is also developing a similar product for the Android marketplace. Take a look at what the tech press has to say:

“there needs to be a way to filter out what you don’t want and find what you do [….] AppsFire may offer just that”
“Appsfire is a service that makes it easier to share your favorite iPhone apps with your friends”
“The must-have App Sharing app”
“AppsFire is an interesting idea [..] It then generates a list you can share with friends”
“The app is a breeze to use on both desktop and the iPhone, and takes app sharing to a new level”
“[Appsfire is] Helping solve the discovery of relevant applications”
“The Perfect Merge of iPhone Apps and Social Media”
“AppsFire is a nice little software piece that[..] can be counted upon for finding apps that might interest you”

And, check out their demo video below:

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Make Your Own Pretty Search Engine Page

Do you like the look of Bing with its photo backgrounds? I do, but I don’t like to be tied to a Bing search.

You can file favitt.com under “visually appealing” first and “productivity and efficiency” tools second, but I found it cool nonetheless. Favitt is essentially a Google custom search page on which you can apply your own skin or photo background, and toggle between different search engines. Choices include Google, Images, Bing, YouTube, News, Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Digg, Last.fm, Yelp, Answers, and Maps. Favitt also allows you to add links on the search page to your favorite sites including FAcebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hot Mail.

It is efficient in the sense that it offers you the ability to toggle between a variety of popular search tools and use quick links for favorite sites. And looking nice while doing it. Favitt promises that new features are coming. We shall see.

Check out my Favitt page here (link here).

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Hoover-ize Your Start Page

One of the features of the mobile Opera browser that I really love is its startpage which shows little thumbnails of your favorite web pages for one-click access. SiteHoover (link here) is a free, web-based app that provides the same service, plus a bit more. From the site:

Imagine a place in which you store all of your favorite websites. Imagine that it is available from any computer in the world. Imagine that it informs you about new stuff coming up on each of your favorite websites…
This place is called a hoover.

The start page consists of little “hoover” thumbnails that you can fill in with the URLs to your favorite web pages. Create as many as you would like and your page starts to look like a window filled with web-panes. Each pane is dynamically updates as the underlying URLs are updated. Cool!

Sitehoover also offers a foldering / bookmarking function – you can create folders and fill with bookmarks. These are not the same as hoovers and do not show on your page, but you can easily access them by clicking the folder links.

Set your Sitehoover page as your homepage on your desktop, or navigate to your Sitehoover on any computer anywhere, and open your window to the Web!

One Step Closer to Efficient Off-Line Reading

I use Instapaper, an off-line reading tool, but not as much as I should. I use Google Reader, an on-line RSS reader, but I often don’t have the time to devote the proper attention to every interesting article. In Reader, I “star” a lot of articles that I plan to go back and consume later, but many times, later never comes.

Enter InstaReader, a free plug-in that bridges the gap. Lifehacker tipped me to the tool, which can be found here. Simply feed the RSS feed from your Google Reader starred items into InstaReader on your desktop and it will automatically update Instapaper with your starred items every few minutes. Load Instapaper into your iPhone, remember to sync before you go off-line and your are good to go!