Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

MinneDemo reactions

I'll try not to be excessively Minnesotan. Unfortunately that means I might get sarcastic.

Nabbit: I can see their office from here! (Almost) You select a radio station or TV channel and they tell you information about the song or commercial that just played. Then you can spam your friends with this information or buy something.

They push the social angle heavily as why they're better than Shazam, but I don't buy it. (I think one of my coworkers at Kealia was at Shazam; if not them, then somebody else in that market.) I actually like picking from the N most recent songs identified by channel, but I think you need audio fingerprinting too. Not compelling enough to visit their site instead of "Nabb"ing a commercial seems like a complete non-starter. This is why we have YouTube. "Social search". He augments search engine results with previews (cool) and peer rankings (meh). If you're not happy with the search results, you can spam your friends with your keyword query and see what they come up with! Researchr will pull responding Twitters (that include its special code, bleh) into a single-page discussion. Why do I need his site to post an AKICILJ? I really wanted to like this one. It's a single CMS that can manage a large collection of sites. Say your favorite coffee chain wants to give local branches control over some of the content on a site-specific website, while maintaining a standard style across branches and pulling content back and forth. This is a great idea.

But I hated his design examples. A recurring theme was that pages with some particular piece of information (a recipe, a blog post) also contained titles + first few lines of all related pieces of information, as a sidebar or huge footer. He seemed to make some claim about this helping them with their SEO, because "killer" got included in a page this way and ended up as a high rank on google for "killer chocolate chip cookies." (I can't find it there now, but this is a page from the example site illustrating the repetition of the entire category at the bottom of the page.) He provided several other examples of high Google rank due to this style of design, which seems more like automated link farming than anything that actually benefits me.

SocialBrowse: HATE.

Normal people play stupid games on Facebook, post links to Twitter or their blog, and chat on IM. BUT! WOULDN'T IT BE AWESOME IF YOU COULD DO THOSE ALL AT ONCE IN YOUR BROWSER?!?!ONE!1!!

A sidebar that gives real-time updates as your "friends" spam you with links and comment on pages. Links on a page that have been shared by one of your friends are highlighted. Plus you can play dodgeball.

Let's step back a second here. My advisor liked to tell a story about routers. Routers aren't there to forward packets, all appearances to the contrary. They're there to stop packets from spamming the entire network, by breaking up broadcast domains into managable units. I suggest that the entire spectrum of social networking software has gotten things completely backwards by making it easier for your friends to spam you with time-wasting linkage, when it ought to be concentrating on the reverse.

The previous version was a Firefox plugin but this was not sufficient to ensure world domination; thus the next version has a browser-inside-your-browser that will work in IE and "any other browser". They used Y Combinator money to commit this atrocity against mankind.

On the other hand, it was a really solid demo.

enStratus: This one actually made sense to me. It's a tool for managing Amazon EC2. It automatically brings up replacement VMs (although he did a horrible job of demoing this), provides finer-grain access control, and implements transparent file-system encryption. ("credentials outside of the cloud" sounds good but only if you're more worried about a subpoena reaching Amazon than a startup going bust and taking your keys with them.)

Coming April 18th: CloudCamp Minneapolis.

ArcStone Association Management Portal: Unobjectionable. Seems to solve a real problem--- they provide a back-end database for membership lists, a web tool for fiddling with said database, and web APIs with convenient plugins/code libraries for various web development environments.

ZippyStat: Fun! And not in a bad way!

A simple web app for recording and graphing statistics. Not yet open to the public. Might be fun to hook up a hand parser and dump poker bankroll information into it (except we already have programs that do that.) Unfortunately data input seems to be the part he's thought about least. There might be some value if (continuing the theme of the night) when you spam your friends list or Twitter with e.g., running mileage, it was automatically picked up by the statistics database.

SendOnCue: Defer sending an email until a later date. Really slick plugin makes it work within Gmail. I can't help but think that there are a few other people in this space already, but I can't come up with the names.

Action Chess: An iPhone game. Not enough gameplay demonstrated, although I did actually appreciate hearing about his design + seeing some of the Objective-C code.
Tags: minnedemo, software, spamomancy, startup
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