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Announcement: Particls goes into Public Beta

Added on by Chris Saad.
After many months of anticipation, we are happy to announce that Particls is going Public Beta today.

For users: Particls is a filtered news reader or widget that learns what you care about and alerts you to important news and information while you work. More at

For bloggers and site owners: Particls allows bloggers and site owners to create a custom version of the application. Particls will share revenue with partners. More at

For developers: Particls is freely extensible by developers. Reach into corporate databases and web APIs to grab and display data in new and interesting ways. More at

How much is it: Particls is a free download with some ads. Later, an ad-free Pro version will be available for a small subscription fee. It is free for Partners to create custom versions.

What's new in public beta: Particls is now no longer invite only. Anyone will be able to download it from the download page. Also, bloggers can now embed Particls widgets on the blog sidebars or create white label version of Particls. Learn more here.

Got a Mac: We love Mac - A Mac native version is coming. Here are some instructions to use parallels or watch the demos.

Sending feedback: The Particls team loves feedback - get int touch via: Email, Tangler, Twitter, and of course, right here in the comments

A little about Particls - for end users
The web is just too big. No one has time to keep track of all the sites, conversations and interesting bits and pieces that are out there. We each have real work to do and lives to live!

Particls helps you track your favorite sites and applications by displaying desktop alerts for important changes.

Subscribe to the sites you like best, and then when they change you're notified. Particls can even work out how important the new information is and display an alert that is proportional to its importance to you.

For example, general information might be displayed on a news ticker, important stuff might appear on a popup alert and urgent information might be SMS'd to your phone.

Think of it like a highly advanced widget or filtered feed reader.

A little about Particls - for bloggers and site owners
Through the Particls partner program, bloggers and site owners can create a custom version of Particls. They can change the skin, default feeds and default Attention Profile to give users their own branded desktop notification system.

By integrating Particls into their site, partners get more return traffic, their brand on desktops everywhere and a share of revenue.

This service is free for partners to participate in. Learn more at

A little about Faraday Media
Particls is owned and operated by Faraday Media. Faraday was founded by 2 'Twenty Something' Australian entrepreneurs.

Faraday Media focuses on helping users deal with information overload by creating tools that generate a highly personalized view of worldwide information and entertainment media.

The company has been in operation since July 2006 (product development started earlier in January 2006). In that time it has launched Alpha and Beta versions of Particls to over 4000 self-subscribed testers, secured Angel Funding and attracted attention from global media and financial services brands as well as high-profile technology leaders.

The company has also been an active contributor to the community founding the APML and Media 2.0 workgroups and open sourcing some of its software.

More Information

More information for bloggers can be found on the website or contact Chris Saad (Co-Founder/CEO) at

We would like to thank all those who have made it possible for us to get to this major milestone. Your generous help and advice has been always been very much appreciated.

Coverage has already started:

Read/Write Web
The Podcast Network
Daniela Barbosa
Daniela's awesome Video (must watch!)
Emily Chang
Interview with Chris Saad on Gizbuzz

Controlling the message in Media 2.0

Added on by Chris Saad.
I am very late to the story where Microsoft’s PR agency sends its memo on a Wired journalist to the journalist himself (the dossier is here).

Read an insightful commentary on it by Jeremy Wagstaff from the Wall Street Journal.

To me this underscores the level of command and control large companies try to exhert over the message of the day in the Media. A level which, in the face of Media 2.0, has been severely diminished

While orchestrated media campaigns can still be waged by PR companies driving the message for mainstream media outlets and A-list bloggers (with B and C list bloggers following the Techmeme cluster) the great long tail means that something worthy of discussion is still discussed and covered - it still gets ink - somewhere.

Take the launch of Peepel yesterday. The coverage was huge. It seemed like every blog was talking about it (with notable exception of Techcrunch - I think Michael has something against Aussies from Brisbane).

I know that Peepel is a startup and I assume like all startups they don't have a Microsoft level PR firm pulling the strings. Yet they still managed to get plenty of coverage. Coverage that mainstream media would have never provided.

With feed readers and new content discovery/delivery tools like Touchstone, that coverage is being heard by people who are interested. We can now each have our message heard by people who want to hear it.

The leveling of the playing field and the increased diversity of voices can only be a good thing for innovation, understanding and the human race in general.

Mojo, Magic, That certain something

Added on by Chris Saad.
As we inch closer to Beta it gets easier and easier to start stressing out. "Have we made the right choices?", "Will people understand what we were trying to do?", "Did we achieve what we set out to achieve?", "Will people like it?".

We would, of course, never be susceptible to such self-doubt - because, you know, we're so good.

The real indefinable question to me is how do you communicate the fire inside to people who don't know you from a bar of soap. How do you show them that big vision over there, without overwhelming them.

Maybe you don't. Maybe it somehow comes through in your work and the product speaks for itself.

Tara has a great post about what Mojo. That certain something that makes a product and a company great. It's something you feel in your bones that is beyond words or any single element of design or execution.

She lists some things one could do to tease out their mojo. I think, however, you can't fake Mojo - you either have real passion for what you're doing or you don't.

Here is Tara's list:
  1. Have a higher purpose. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s essential to mojo to believe in something beyond your own needs.
  2. Don’t be a commodity. Commodities don’t have mojo, they compete on price, efficiency and speed. Mojo is terribly inefficient. (I’m planning to write more on commodity vs. craft again soon)
  3. Work as a team. If your employees aren’t feelin’ it, your customers won’t either. Treat your employees as members of a team. Reward passion.
  4. Be part of the customer community you are serving. Use your own product, interact, use competitive products, work to further the industry you are in.
  5. Operate on passion, not ambition. Ambition is great for making barrels of money on undercutting and destroying your competition, climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, etc. It ain’t mojo.
  6. Give a damn. This is kind of tied to everything else, but people with mojo never have to have “because it’s the better thing to do” explained to them.
    Commit to excellence. Obsess over details. Experience. Be bothered by one customer’s bad experience. Work hard to do better.
  7. Get slow. Ever notice how people with mojo never seem to be rushed or distressed? They seem reflective, introspective, they take their time. Think slow food, slow marketing, etc.
  8. Believe in your gut. Stop thinking 100% with your head. Fritz Lang once said, “The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!” We really don’t value it enough in the world of business. I suppose heart isn’t as profitable…but I’m not advocating maximum profitability here…

I do hope that the Touchstone Beta speaks for itself and that our Mojo shines through. If not however, I think I can count on a few friends (you guys and girls reading this) to help clarify things until we sort out the glitches!