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Filtering by Category: "particls"

Engagd among the top 5 apps in Australia

Added on by Chris Saad.

Ross Dawson has published a list of the top 60 web apps in Australia in the BRW this week. At number 5, our very own - the engine that powers Attention Profiling for the web at large as well as Particls version 2.

This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the development team. A huge thanks to Ashley Angell, Paul Jones and Jon Cianciullo who have been working tirelessly to manage, build and polish the Engagd platform.

Particls itself came in at 21. That will change of course once we launch the new version!

Thanks to Ross for his hard work compiling the list and including us.

Ashley went to Sydney to demo Engagd at the celebration party. By all accounts it was a big success. Somehow he made a developer platform interesting for a non-technical audience. Good work my friend!

Ross Mayfield is asking for Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
Ross Mayfield, Co-founder and CEO of SocialText, is asking for:

"There is a new kind of aggregator, for more real time attention, that needs to be build to work across status services. I'm not sure if it will be built into existing news aggregators, if existing status clients will evolve into them, or it will be something new. I just know it is coming. It will leverage status service providers and Lifestreaming you find in services like Dandelife and Jaiku."
He just described Particls.

An always-on flowing river of updates in a neat little sidebar - powered by RSS.

Emerging Social Fatigue

Added on by Chris Saad.
My friend Marianne Richmond has pointed me to a great video by Jeffrey Sass and a post by Jeff Pulver.

The video is a great little parody of the information and social deluge we are all experiencing trying to keep up with the million social graphs and applications we are participating in.

Jeff writes:

As real-time social media continues to evolve, I will know where my friends are, what they're facing, if and when they need help, when they have discovered something interesting and many other things they care to share at any moment. The people in my social media communications circle represent a group of people I feel much closer to than some other people whom I've known for a long time but never really have gotten to know. Sort of the difference between a well developed character in a novel as compared to someone whose character never gets really developed.

The parody video is supposed to highlight, however, the lack of scalability for all these social interactions. The mainstream will never participate in all these platforms at the same time. They will likely choose a few key apps and stick to them.

The key, however, is to make sure that our Social Graph is portable and our AttentStreams are syndicated.

As Jeff writes:

Over time this experience will only get better as the current high "signal to noise ratio" problems that many of us experience get solved with the advent of widely available social media filtering tools which will be able to be applied against the people/topics that matter the most to us.

A filtered stream of notifications is exactly what we need. Thank heavens for my Particls sidebar.

Opening up Attention Silos

Added on by Chris Saad.
Alex Iskold over on Read/Write web writes once again about the Attention Economy. He eloquently describes the state of proprietary Attention silos and the need for open standards and APIs for capturing and remixing Attention Data and profiles.

He rightly points out that APML could be a key driver to bringing about a more open and transparent ecosystem.

The APML Workgroup is still growing and the first round of APML supported apps are now well underway starting with Particls, then with Engagd and with Dandelife, Cluztr and iStalkr (using the Engagd API).

Read his post to learn more.

Announcing: The new Particls Sidebar

Added on by Chris Saad.
Announcing the all new Particls Sidebar.

The new Particls Sidebar is your personalized, streaming view of everything that matters to you online.

It's real-time. It's animated. It's social. It's always there, keeping you informed.

It can also be set to "Auto-hide" so that it takes up less space while keeping users informed.

It is now the default output adapter for Particls. It joins the Ticker (now disabled by default) and Popup Alerts as part of the bundled set of adapters.

Nick Hodge, a Professional Geek at Microsoft says "I think Particls just changed my life. I've replaced my Microsoft Windows Vista Sidebar with this new version of Particls. Having Particls watch the web for me keeps me on-the-ball, more than caffeine. Well, almost."

Experience your news, alerts and updates like never before. Subscribe to your feeds, type in your interests and watch them stream in like a slick river of news.

Got a better idea? Write your own output adapter. Particls is the best Alerts and Attention Management Platform around.


Coverage has already started...

More chatter about Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
A whole set of blog posts have sprung up last couple of days about the need for a tool like Particls.

Alex Iskold on RWW writes:

"We need a tool, an assistant, that understands our processes, understands what we are doing, when we change tasks and when we finish them. It needs to be with us everywhere - on and off line and on the go. As much as possible, this tool needs to help us juggle our tasks and restore the context, recall and store information and make our life easier for us. This is not Artificial Intelligence, this is basically a glue for all the things that we are trying to juggle and ways we are trying to juggle them."

In response a number of others have chimed in:

This is exactly the goal of Particls. We are not quite there yet - but it's certainly a worthy goal.

Brand Monitoring with Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
The issue of Brand Monitoring is one of those things that is super important, but super hard to get a grasp on. There are tools that measure influence like BuzzLogic and others that let you search for blog posts like Google Blogsearch and Technorati, but a tool that monitors the conversation and alerts you in real-time seems to be hard to come by.

Recently, more and more people are talking about Yahoo! Pipes for brand monitoring. It's not a bad idea. Pipes is a great tool for assembling complicated RSS pipelines and could, with quite a bit of work and understanding, be used to get a pretty good brand monitor going.

Or you could use Particls. Particls is like a Yahoo Pipe dedicated to monitoring topics of interest. Your brand is definitely of interest. So is your high profile/visible staff, and your competitors, and their products, and your suppliers, and their brands.

You want to know everything about everything related to your business so you can react quickly and decisively.

Manufacturers, VCs, Lawyers, Retailers, Startups - you name it. Brand and Business Monitoring is critical.

So don't just think of Particls as your solution for the latest Paris Hilton news - it can also get you the latest M&A news - right along side Flickr photos from your kids.

We actually use Particls to monitor news and chatter about Particls. Many people are actually surprised at how quickly we respond to blog posts and tweets as a result.

Context and Aggregation are king

Added on by Chris Saad.
Daniela recently pointed me to this Bear Stearns report via her blog post.

In it they make the same observations that I and others have been talking about for more than a year.

"User-Generated Content (UGC) Is Not a Fad...
Some investors remain skeptical that UGC is more than a passing fad. However, in our recent online video survey, UGC is the No. 1 and No. 2 most popular content category among men aged 18-34 (M18-34) and among all respondents, respectively. Moreover, if we define UGC as page views only from sites such as,,,,, and (which is quite conservative), we estimate that UGC now accounts for 13% of total U.S. Internet traffic, up from 0%-1% in 2004. Based on these statistics, we submit that UGC is here to stay."

Although using the term UGC is not great, their conclusion sounds very familiar to anyone reading this blog.

"apparent to us that as supply of video content rises, value will shift from content producers to aggregators and packagers of content that can best aid users in finding content that fits their specific interests".

Of course, APML as a way of describing user interests, and Particls as a way of filtering and alerting users about new, personally relevant content, are both key technology pieces to this new media 2.0 reality.

The Attention Economy Vs. Flow - Continued

Added on by Chris Saad.
Steve Rubel posts about his information saturation.

He writes:

We are reaching a point where the number of inputs we have as individuals is beginning to exceed what we are capable as humans of managing. The demands for our attention are becoming so great, and the problem so widespread, that it will cause people to crash and curtail these drains. Human attention does not obey Moore's Law.


My attention has reached a limit so I have re-calibrated it to make it more effective. I think this issue is an epidemic. We have too many demands on our attention and the rapid success of Tim's book indicates that people will start to cut back on the information they are gorging. If this happens en masse, will it cause a financial pullback? Possibly if ad revenues sag as a result.

Stowe Boyd writes in response:

No, I think we need to develop new behaviors and new ethics to operate in the
new context.

Most people operate on the assumption that the response to increased flow is to intensify what was working formerly: read more email, read more blogs, write more IMs, and so on. And at the same time motor on with the established notions of what a job is, how to accomplish work and meet deadlines, and so on.

In a time of increased flow, yes, if you want to hold everything else as is -- your definition of success, of social relationships, of what it means to be polite or rude -- Steve is right: you will have to cut back.

Who is right? Who is wrong? Maybe Steve is just old and Stowe is divining the new social consciousness.

Maybe Stowe is just being an extreme purist (Stowe? Never!) and just needs to recognize that there is middle ground.

Maybe the middle ground - Flow based tools that help to refine the stream.

Our eye scan handle the sun - but sunglasses are nice too.

Track the '08 US Presidential Campaign with Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
Note: All these versions of Particls just install over each other. You don't lose your current settings - they just add more subscriptions and watch words to your profile as you go!

'08 US Presidential Race
I have created a 08' Presidential Campaign edition of Particls because I am personally addicted to US politics. It even has its own cool skin.

Check it out here.

Social Media Analysis
Also I made one based on Nathan Gilliatt's OPML file of Social Media Analysts (even though he didn't include theMedia 2.0 Workgroup in his list!).

You can get it here.

Media 2.0 Workgroup
Incidentally, the Media 2.0 Workgroup has it's own version of Particls. It also has a cool skin. Get it here.

Got your own?
Let me know if you create your own Particls 'Topic Radar' using inTouch and I will post them here.

Continuous Partial Attention Revisited

Added on by Chris Saad.
Stowe has recently written about his ideas of 'Flow' and Continuous Partial Attention (CPA).

His premise is that we are not necessarily information saturated - that our brains are evolving to a point where we can let the information flow over us and stay continuously partially attentive to many things at the same time. He claaims that this is a perfectly natural change in our concentration and mental abilities.

He writes about Linda Stone - the guru in CPA.

"Linda and many others will tell us it will rot our teeth, disrupt family life, and lead to hair on our palms. I for one am not eager to turn off my devices and pay all my attention to one thing at a time, one moment at a time. There are too many targets on the horizon, too many members of the tribe, and too many jaguars lurking in the shadows for that. In my tribe, we don't do things that way."
I'm young - my brain can handle it for now - so I agree with Stowe (to a point) - however he also writes about Linda Stone's concerns about Continuous, Continuous partial attention having deleterious affects on the body and lumps us Attention people into it.

"[Linda's CPA concerns], along with Toffler's Information Overload (it's driving us crazy, he asserted) and the Attention Economy mavens (free information leads to attention scarcity). I don't buy any of it."
I disagree with Stowe on this point. We "Attention Economy mavens" and our focus on Attention are not antithetical to his ideas about information flow.

Actually I think, particularly we here at Faraday Media and Particls, we are exactly in tune with his message.

Information (particularly news) should typically flow - not pool.

Reading news in a folder/item email style metaphor is not as effective for the mainstream as having it flow by.

Note that I say the mainstream. Many of us early adopter control freaks like to read every item and have plenty of time to bury our heads in news readers. But that is not always the case - not all the time. An information flow (river of news, news ticker, popup alerts) is typically more effective.

Our work in the field of Attention is not about fighting off flow, it is about regulating the flow so that the stream is full of good content.

Collaborative Recommendation 3.0

Added on by Chris Saad.

Every now and then someone asks 'Why don't you build Collaborative Recommendation into Particls'.

In case you don't know, Collaborative Recommendation is when a system uses the recommendation of many people to 'decide' that a piece of content is worth seeing. So, like Digg for example, if 100 people vote that something is great (vote is a word I use loosely here), then it is probably worth seeing.

There are a few answers to that question.

  1. Particls is really about filtering noise out - not discovering new recommended content (even though we provide some of that functionality just to get novice users started).
  2. There are plenty of other great collaborative recommendation services out there, stick the RSS feed into Particls and there you go.
  3. Google's PageRank and Technorati's Authority is already a form of Collaborative Recommendation - it isn't really very new.
  4. The next generation of Collaborative Recommendation is actually something different. Let's call it Collaborative Filtering 3.0 or... Peer LifeStreams + Personal Relevancy

You have friends (hopefully); they have lifestreams (or at the very least RSS feeds from all their social/sharing sites) - plug their feeds into Particls and we filter out the stuff you don't care about. What's left? Stuff your friends 'recommended' that you actually care about. Collaborative Recommendation done right.

If you want to add me to your Collaborative Recommendation lineup, you can find me on Jaiku

Announcement: New Particls Build Available

Added on by Chris Saad.

We are happy to announce a new build of Particls that has a number of tweaks and bug fixes.

Download here

The highlights include:

  1. Better international support (especially a fix for the input string error many international users were getting)
  2. An about page
  3. Many little tweaks and bugfixes (learn more on the release notes)

Unfortunately our auto-updater process in the last build was a bit broken so you have to download it manually at Future updates should come through automatically via Auto-Update (unless you turn that feature off of course).

Thanks for your great feedback guys - we are listening! Many of your suggestions will be included in future builds.

Stay tuned...

Faraday/Particls in the Top 10 Web 2.0 Companies

Added on by Chris Saad.
Over on Read/Write Web Ross Dawson has written up a list of Australia's Top 60 Web 2.0 Applications.

In the top 10 are many of our friends in the local scene including Omnidrive, Atlassian, Podcast Network, Minti, Scouta and Tangler.

Particls makes the list at number 9.

Ross is also holding a Web 2.0 event in Sydney, Australia on June 6. Unfortunately, despite being invited to speak, we can't make it. A lot of great people are going however - so check it out.

Attention Metrics and the Enterprise

Added on by Chris Saad.
Tim Bull takes up my post about Audient, Attent and Life Streams and asks how it can be applied to the Enterprise (Tim himself is responsible for adopting cutting edge stuff for his major enterprise employer).

He writes:

"I'm going to add to the call-to-arms from the Enterprise point of view. The ability to understand not just what people click on, but the attention they give to elements of the new, rich media world is crucial. Detailed information that goes beyond "IP Address loaded page X" and various derivatives of this is crucial."

He goes on to write:

"...I think we DO need a standard for aggregating attention data from all the different clients people use during a day, for the very simple reason that in Enterprises understanding what people are using and how they are using it is a crucial part of the delivery eco-system for information. It's the feedback loop that lets you know you're getting it right.

It may be useful for bloggers etc. as well, but I think the problem should be focused on the Enterprise as this is where the "real" need is (I show my bias here, but I don't believe I as a blogger need to know in great detail who looks at what, but as an Enterprise of 160,000 people globally I do need to understand where and how my information is flowing)."

I commented on Tim's post about Enterprise adoption of Web 2.0 technologies and philosophies. I will re-phrase and expand it here...

I agree that Enterprises would greatly benefit from the sort of tools and philosophies that are happening out here on the edge. The marketplace, however, does not make it friendly for startups to target the enterprise.

Most enterprises are wary of change. Even when they are open to trying new things, most (rightly) require many more features to make the solution work in an enterprise environment - which can be a cost that startups can't absorb straight out of the gate.

Even if a startup is willing to tackle these barriers, however, they have to invest in sales and support teams to generate adoption. After all that, most enterprises don't trust small startups and just wait for the big vendors to come with similar offerings.

Attensa and Newsgator are doing a great job fighting to create adoption in Enterprise 2.0 - but they are, by the nature of their target market, forced to be conservative in their implementations and focus on a lot of plumbing and command and control issues that bog down investment in innovation for end-users.

All that being said, however, it is clear that consumer technologies are quickly being adopted by enterprises because those technologies are usually more end-user focused.

There was nothing worse than the old CRM and ERP systems that ended up causing a lot of headaches for end-users because they focused on enterprise objectives rather than making someone's day better.

By breeding technologies in the consumer market and then adapting them to the enterprise, the result is much more user-friendly. They have to be. Because end-users don't have management telling them they have to use the given tool. In the end, enterprises are forced to adapt to the most popular tools. They are still working on getting IM support right.

Getting back to the original subject, however. I agree with Tim that forging an open standard for Audient and Attent Streams can have profound impacts for both the media and for business. It could be based on Attention.XML but it would need to encapsulate far more information than just clickstreams and form data.

Diamond in the Ruff

Added on by Chris Saad.
Ash and I were just talking about how certain songs from 20 to 30 years ago had so much passion and heart and how more recent stuff is mainly so bland and soulless - how these days it was hard to find the diamond in the ruff.

I casually commented back - maybe that's because time has been a filter. The songs that have survived those 20 to 30 years and made it to our time have outshined and outlived any of their mediocre peers.

Perhaps as the sunscreen song suggests, times were not better back then, we just have the advantage of hindsight and time has filtered the noise.

It could be said that the definition of a 'Classic' is something that receives a sustained level of Attention over (relatively) long periods of time [Ashley: Does this mean 11d old items are 'Classics'?].

And perhaps time is the best noise filter of all.

Maybe we can build a time machine into Particls.

Particls in the Wall Street Journal

Added on by Chris Saad.
Thanks to Jeremy Wagstaff who has written up a great piece about Lifestreaming, Attention and Particls Attention Management.

He writes:
"Attention plays a complex role in this new world. Google quietly makes money from the data we unconsciously give out when we do anything online. But then there are the data we consciously put out when we post photos to Flickr, add a post to our blog, or send stream-of-consciousness messages to services like Twitter. Put all this stuff together and you have an "attention stream," painting a picture of what we are paying attention to during our day."

He goes on to explain Particls' role in the Attention Economy.
"Particls ( looks simple enough: a downloadable ticker that runs across the top of your screen, pumping you information. Nothing new about this; the difference lies in what information it presents, and how it appears. Instead of shoveling data at you, Particls tries to figure out what you're paying attention to."

Thanks for your intense curiosity in researching this story Jeremy and the great review of Particls.

Head on over to the WSJ site and read the full thing.