Archive for September, 2005

Woogle, Toogle & Rollyo

30 Sep 2005

“Woogle is a search toy based on the ever popular Google Image Search. It creates image messages out of the words in the phrase you entered. The URLs are obfuscated so that you can pass them to your friends without them being able to read the message till they view the page.” – They hope we enjoy passing cryptic image messages!

For instance : The phrase ‘I love Google’ looks like this if you enter it in the search box :

I love Google

Very closely related with Woogle is Toogle, a search spin-off Nathan blogged about last year in his old blog. [Check Here] - Toogle is a Text version of Googles Image Search. Currently it creates images out of the very term that was used to fetch those images, later we will endeavour to create images out of the search terms entered by users past and present. But for now please, go play. [Check out Toogle]

Toogle Search 4 Toogle Funny thing : If you search Toogle for ‘toogle’ you get a text-rendered
Firefox logo. ;)

Nice post on [SearchEngineWatch] about Rollyo, the customizable sitesearch tool.

“In a nutshell, Rollyo allows the user to take up to 25 urls and create a search tool (what Rollyo calls a Searchroll), that search ONLY these domains. The database your pulling sites and content from is powered by Yahoo. Of course, you can edit and modify your Searchroll at any time. ”

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Posted in 2.0 +, Search


DropVoiceMail Meets BubbleTalk

30 Sep 2005

Something my mobile service carrier has been offering for as long as they exist is the nice option to drop a spoken message in someone’s mailbox without actually having to talk to them. A nice way to show you care (enough to call, but not enough to talk to you, that is) – I never really used it, but I know pre-pay users that actually do. It saves them money if the card is almost empty. Amongst youngsters you could implement it like this: you leave a message on your mother’s mailbox, saying you tried to call her a zillion times to let her know you won’t be home for dinner and will be staying at a friend’s house (m/f), and your battery is running low. Your mother, totally unaware of the fact this service exist will get a text message, alerting her from your voicemail. So then you turn off your phone, and you can blame it on the carrier and get away with it. Don’t forget to tell her you love her. :)

Why this trip down memory-lane? It seems this very old feature is becoming hip again, remarketed, so to speak. Perhaps the technical wrapping is different this time, and it seems it’s not yet for America, but Singapore technology company Bubble Motion and Ericsson have joined hands and have started to market a ‘voice SMS’ messaging service that eliminates the need to type in a text message, and simply allows you to do it with your voice. The service is going to cost slightly more than a text message, but it should ‘only’ cost half the cost of a regular cellphone call.

“Users of the voice SMS service usually just want to send a message in the form of voice instead of text. The recipient’s phone doesn’t even ring for a voice SMS; the recipient is alerted with a beep and can retrieve the voice message by pressing the star key. The technology has been dubbed bubble talk and plans call for Ericsson to market the service in Asia and Europe at the outset. The service has already been classified as the next ‘killer app’ in mobile services in the aforementioned markets, but it remains to be seen if it will catch on with the masses.” [ TheWirelessWeblog] – [BubbleMotion]

Related News :

“Available now at, the Personalise Skype service allows Skype users with the latest version of Skype for Windows 1.4 to download pre-recorded voice clips and sounds to use as a ringtone or to customise any of the default sound events in Skype . There is also a wide variety of pictures and avatars.” [Ringtonia]

A bulletproof cell phone? LG makes the case for it. Funny story, clever marketing.
Read it on [Textually] – Easy texting and short life. [Martin on Movil] – ZYB is the service that was included in the Maxthon browser, which I’m still using (and still like). One of the good things about ZYB was that when you installed the ZYB desktop client you could just right click any text on the web and get it to your cell. It took just two clicks. Too bad it had to go. Martin thinks the company sort of sold their technology and then closed their books. Read his story.

A completely free web resource that generates morse code MIDI tracks playable on most mobile devices from whatever the user types in, is available here. [Ringtonia]


Movil Tiny Messenger Launched

30 Sep 2005

Tiny Messenger is the codename of movilAPI based bookmarklets to Send SMS’s without the need to login to the private area. A bookmarklet is a small JavaScript program that can be stored as a URL within a bookmark in most popular web browsers, or within hyperlinks on a web page. Because Microsoft Internet Explorer uses the term favorites instead of bookmarks,bookmarklets are also less commonly called favlets or favelets.

tiny As you can see there is no mobile number shown in the display and the contacts list will only show the first name of the contacts you’ve added in your movil profile. This is because we are very keen on keeping your personal details safe.

Even if it is your responsability to take care of your own key and data, and you should use this application only on your personal computer or trusted network, we are reluctant to take any personal detail or number outside the API. This way we feel that our details are secure and not exposed.

One thing that differentiates this API key from others is that you can regenerate it anytime. So even if it happened that you left a bookmarklet on a public computer or you published it somewhere, you can generate a new one at all times, automagically disabling the old one and any other trying to use it.

We don’t want our users to publish their keys or to use them on a public site, it will be their choice, but due to the nature of the bookmarklets and passing the key we must assume the possibility that your key was stolen. That’s why we’ve provided an easy way to regenerate it and create a new one. For free.

So how does this work? First of all, you need to be a member of the movil community. If you aren’t, you can get in touch with me, and I’ll invite you with an invitation key, which -after validation- allows you to participate in the movil community, with all the benefits present. Movil almost covers the entire world. For a list of all carriers supported : click here.

We’re currently looking for betatesters from Canada and the US to try the service. Someone who likes messaging and mobile phones who would be willing to help us to do some tests for different mobile carriers. We will provide the credits for messaging worldwide and access to the system. If you feel that you can do it, just get in touch with us.

We really have to update some things on the carrier list, for instance in Belgium: Proximus, Mobistar & Base work fine now. There were some minor errors at first, but they’re all gone. If your provider/carrier isn’t listed, you can send an email to the movil wizzard and we’ll see how fast we can connect you.

Installing the API?

Go here first, and generate a key. You have to login. If you’re lost, go to : API, then chose API settings, then you’ll see the generator. You can leave the ‘expire after’ blank and the GMT set to zero. The system will automigically take over your time zone.

You now have a key to play with, using the API. You might want to know how to actually implement this, and you’re right. Read it here. Need code samples? We have them here.
Got problems? Send mail, we’ll come to the rescue.

If you just want to see how it looks like or use it from within your profile, you can go to My Movil, then click the Tiny Messenger link. Normally you should see three boxes on the right, for your personal use (we can’t stress that enough).

The first one is to send sms (text) messages to your contacts, from virtually anywhere. I’ve putted my bookmarks on my desktop, and it works fine. Saves you the time to login and go to the sms center.

The second bookmarklet is the as “Send SMS” but copies the title and link of the page you are browsing to the body of your message. We’ve done this for the bloggers. If you posted a really important message, and you need the feedback urgently, users can send you a text message. Be carefull, this isn’t secured yet and it’s only a test. Abuse is still very likely to happen, so we don’t encourage ‘public’ use. Intranet use however reveals the page the user is on, so if there’s an error, you’ll instantly know where.

The third link sends an SMS only to your mobile. Use them only in corporate intranets or trusted networks where the people needs a fast way to contact with you, yourself et toi. Really. There’s no ’send to’ option. This message goes straight to you.
Be careful where you leave it. Have fun, and welcome to movil. We’re gonna take you places. You just watch us.

Validate an invitation key (email or sms)
The Movil Community - Where it’s all happening
Movil Development Blog - Experiencing Mobility & Social Software.

Domain Names we sell to people who’re into mobile stuff.

Martin’s HTTP Request class was nominated to the PHP Programming Innovation Award among all the classes approved for publishing in the PHP Classes site during the month of August of 2005. [Read More]


R|Mail Over 5000 Subs

29 Sep 2005

Yey ! On Friday, September 24th we’ve passed 4000 subs. That’s a lot. I was thinking to write a good article about that, but I had tons of things to do, and way too few hours a day to do so.
I really intended to write, but then on Monday, Randy said the number subs already was 4700, with about 3500 feeds crawled. On Tuesday R|Mail noted 5000 subscriptions. And as the stats are showing today, we’re at 5290. All I can say is : Wow ! Talk about a fast growth !

Another funky thing that happened : if everything goes just right and you have a new or updated rss file ready, and the R|Mail bot just happens to crawl the feed and Outlook just happens to connect to the remote server on just the right time, things can go really fast. I was timing the average delivery rate for R|Mail with a few people to see if Randy really pulled it off good, and we were all struck with amazement. Nine seconds ! 9 ! That’s how long it took for the e-mail to arrive. Okay, it happened only once, that’s true. The other times it was between 2 and 15 minutes, which I still think is reasonably good. I’m really satisfied.


Randy has launched a blog too, ‘the R|Mail blog‘, affiliated with the KBCafe. He invited me to post stories there every now and then. I promised him I would whenever I could :) But the main function is to have a channel for all these users to interact with us and for us to have a forum where we can dump related posts or service notifications for about R|Mail.

Join the revolution today ! Put an R|Mail button on your blog, have your readers informed almost instantly of new blogposts you made !

[Read the R|Mail Blog]

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Posted in Tools


Handsets & The Swatch Effect

28 Sep 2005

Last year I’ve done a rather thorough paper on the history and marketing actions of Swatch. As the Swiss market became under fire of the Asian competitors, a lot of craftsmen decided to throw in the towel, and a lot of brands came up for sale. Swatch was one of the more clever companies that merged quite a bit of those brands into a holding, and by doing so they helped overcome this crisis. The watch market, however, is one of great competition and the one thing Swatch did that totally made the difference was creating a segment around their product.

In the mid 70s, the Swiss watch industry was in the midst of its worst ever crisis. Technologically speaking, the Japanese competition had been outclassed in 1979 with the launch of the ‘Delirium’, the world’s thinnest wristwatch with a limited number of components.

Its answer to the crisis was Swatch, a slim plastic watch with only 51 components that combined top quality with a highly affordable price. It first went on sale in 1983. Now, nearly 200 million units later, it is the most successful wristwatch of all time and SMH, the parent company, is the largest and most dynamic watch company in the world.

What does this have to do with mobile phones? Well apparently, according to an article in the BBC News : “As the developed world reaches mobile saturation levels, easy-to-use, cheap handsets will be crucial for vendors“, so says a new report from research firm Informa Telecoms and Media.

“Increasingly operators will offer own-brand handsets which could mean cheaper phones for consumers although it will also mean they are locked in to the services provided by their operator.

Mobile vendors will continue with their so-called ‘Swiss Army knife’ approach, loading phones with extras such as cameras, music players, Bluetooth and, increasingly, mobile TV.

Many operators are trialling mobile TV at the moment but there are still many issues to be ironed out, such as how deals will be struck between handset suppliers, operators, broadcasters and regulators.” [Read More]

So history repeats itself. The market is saturated in the developed world, and in the lower regions of this market, where consumers have less money, the battle is fought hard. This is the largest segment, with the highest number of possible subscribers/buyers. A battle worth fighting.

A very cheap, very low-priced alternative for the phone-deluxe, very soon in a town near you.

THE quote of the article that really hits the spot :

“If you have a device with a digital TV receiver and you have paid your license fee why can’t you receive television for free?” asked Mr McQueen.

I’ve uploaded my paper about Swatch, it’s in Dutch. If you can use it, be my guest.


The GreaseMonkey Update

28 Sep 2005

Here’s some nice GreaseMonkey plugs for FireFox I recently read about :

Prevent clicking on your own ads. Once it’s installed, if you try to click on your own ad, nothing happens. Which is cool, for once.
“It could save you from those oh-crap-I-just-clicked-my-own-ad panic moments.”
* via [AdMoolah]

ScreenGrab is a Firefox extension which lets you make screenshots of web pages
– full web pages, that is, without any need for you to scroll down.
* via [GoogleBlogoscoped]

Andy Edmonds prepared a hack that makes some of MSN’s advanced search syntax more accessible, specifically to developers. The hack is a Trixie / Greasemonkey script that modifies the MSN Search interface at run time with javascript.
* via [Findory]

In the how-do-they-do-that corner :
Platypus, The Greasemonkey Script Generator.
Very Related : How To Monkey With the Web
The software that lets you rewrite your favorite sites, by Paul Boutin.


BXL Connection, Blog Dinner v.3

27 Sep 2005

After the Geek Dinner (Jan 2005) and Blog Dinner (Jun 2005) in Ghent – organised by Smetty – it is now time for the Brussels connection.

Peter Forret
is organizing (together with Bart VH) the very first
Brussels Bloggers Dinner. (Which will be happening on October 7th)

“All you bloggers, vloggers, photo- and groupbloggers and other podcasters are kindly invited to mingle with your peers at the splendid International Press Center aka Résidence Palace. This meeting is rather casual and informal (no smoking required) and open for all Belgian-based bloggers (NL/FR/EN). It will feature some light and short presentations (topics still to be chosen – propose your own on the site!) and an equally easy-to-digest pasta meal (10 euro for pasta + water ad lib and a coffee). For those who work late or have other dinner appointments, you are still welcome to drop by around 22h and see what you’ve missed.

Subscription is required so we can plan the catering: you can add your name to the ‘WillAttend’ wiki page.”


The stylish patio of the place to be.

* I’m there.


Marketing Kids With Virgin Mobile

25 Sep 2005

Virgin aims directly at the kids to get them to buy their latest phone and join the Pay As You Go Service they’re offering. The strategic tools for kids they’ve put online to start a marketing campaign inside the living room consist of stickers, T-Shirt iron-ons, dekstop wallpapers, email blasts (- a formatted marketing b2b-communication in 4 examples, totally off the point but really funny, with a disclaimer stating Virgin Mobile isn’t the sender of the email (!) -) a weaseler (a thank-you card with instructions how to ‘deliver’ it), the instigator, a DIY cut-and-fold-phone to pretend you’re using it already and a Business Pressure Point Presentation of which I’ve added some slides below :




* Check out the branded site : The Enlightenmentkit.

‘Here is yet another brilliant one from Virgin Mobile. The usage and application of the key insight – ‘pester power’ of kids, is what amazed me the most about this idea.’ [CustomerWorld]