FreeYourID.com

I’m probably the last person to talk about this but Scott Kveton posted on his blog that his company, JanRain and GNR (who manages the .name top level domain) has come into partnership to deliver a solution that encompasses a .name URL for you as well as built-in OpenID delegation support.

Check the details at the FreeYourID.com site.

You’ll get a 90 days free trial, after which it will cost $10.95/year.

You’ll get a forwarding email address in the form of yourFirstName@youLastName.name (if its available) as well as a site in the form of www.yourFirstName.yourLastName.name. You can forward that site to whatever page you wish.

The best part is that you automagically get to use this URL (which is rather easy to remember. Duh!) as your OpenID URL in any OpenID enabled site.

The OpenID provider for this service is, of course, JanRain’s own MyOpenID.

I don’t know how much similar services for .name domain (minus the OpenID support, of course) cost per year, but I think this is one of the cheap ones.

The only thing I can add to the discussion in the comments section on Scott’s post, is that if GNR will enable other people using a .name solution to migrate to this new service, that would really make things going. Oh, and they should probably also offer an Email box (which might make this solution cost a bit more, but I think its worth it) because the few people that I know of have a real Email box attached to ther .name solution.

I don’t think that I’ll need a .name solution since I own sandler.co.il which is more than fine by me, but this is great for anyone who doesn’t want to mess too much with settings up domains, sites and the rest.

Bubbles – Clean, round and really refreshing!

Ohad, the leader of a small Israeli software studio named 3D3R, just released a cool little app named Bubbles.

The concept behind it is based on the fact that the new age of web applications doesn’t really play nicely with your desktop, so instead of living up and playing nicely with the rest of your desktop application, web application tend to stack up in your tabbed browser (if you have one of those, if not, get one here).

There is also a review on Yaniv’s blog.

What Bubbles does is to encapsulate your web application in a manner that will make it appear as if this is a standard desktop application.
It does that by hosting the Internet Explorer and operating it externally. A very nice trick.

There is has support for a Gecko (the rendering engine behind FireFox and Mozilla) but it is based on the Gecko ActiveX (no cross platform support).

I think there is an interesting opportunity for this type of application specifically due to the whole Google portfolio related rumors about having Writely as Word, Gmail and CL2 (Google’s Web Based Calendar) as Outlook, Google Base as Access (though I think this stretches it a bit more than what Google Base is actually is) and the mysterious GDrive to store all of the data up in one place.

If Google adds something like Bubbles to its Google Desktop product (or even in a different product), it can integrate seamlessly with Windows on the desktop making the whole Google Office suite (even though it lacks a few things like Excel and PowerPoint) almost native to Windows as Microsoft Office is.

Plus, if it can encapsulate some kind of an API that can be exposed through JavaScript hooks (I think I remember that there are a few, at least in Internet Explorer) that will enable the application to talk with the desktop, that would allow an even better integration with the desktop, for example, allow the application to make the window flicker in the taskbar, allow it to show the bubble help tips, flicker the tray icon and so on.

Anyhow, try it out, send feedback and I’m sure this will eventually become a great addition to the desktop!

Amazon E-Commerce Web Service API

I’ve recently experimented with Amazon’s E-Commerce Service.

In general, it’s a very complete API giving you access to almost every piece of information including titles, images, prices (and historical prices) that Amazon stores.

There were two things that were a bit problematic, in my opinion, which I think should be addressed.

The first thing is the ItemSearch method. This method allows you to search for items answering a set of criterias.
I need to find a few books according to some keywords I got as input.
After looking in the documentation, I’ve started to use the “Keywords” property. The nice thing about it, is that you simply give a least of words (seperated by spaces) and it will return the results.

The problem with it is that its not a “smart” search. It says it will try treat these keywords as keywords or pharses. I searched on two keywords “saw” and “deck” so I inputed “saw deck” and got nothing.

It took me a while to search in the API and find out that what I really wanted was to use the “Power” property which allows entering a more sophisitcated search phrase such as “subject:(saw or deck)”.

This is really annoying and VERY unintuitive. How can I actually know that a property named “Power” is for the advanced search?!

Another issue that troubled me is related to the structure of the API. It seems there is a specific attribute for a lot of the things Amazon is exposing. Perhaps there is a place for a more generic version of this web service. On that will allow a user to get a more “Generic” object or data representation of all the various items Amazon have that will enable Amazon (and other users) to not change the various item specific structures whenever they add new types of items.

Look at the WSDL and the API samples yourself and tell me what you think.

My first post using a Blog Editor

I’ve decided I wanted to find a reasonable blog editor to post from instead of using the web interface of Blogger (which is nice, but not THAT nice)

After long searches and going through a lot of blog editors (some even cost money) I’ve found this one which is called Zoundry which is even written in Python.

It has some neat features in it like:

  • Tags support – including support for Technorati, Del.icio.us, Flicker, 43 things and more.
  • Preview with your OWN template. It even downloaded my template and enabled me to view this post as it would appear in the blog.Anyhow, this is my first post out of it to test it out and see how it is and if its worth using it all the time.