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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!

Faraday CEO One of the 30Under30's

Added on by Ash.


There are only a limited number of start-up founders in the world, even less who sets his or her mind to change the very fabric of the internet. Chris is one of them.

When Chris and I founded Faraday Media, it was of extreme importance that just being another startup was not enough. We had to do something meaningful. Something significant. Not happy with fame or glory, we wanted to grow as people - giving back to a medium which had fed us for long time. To take the internet to a new place, just like Google had done nearly a decade ago. Its been a long road for Faraday, and while it hasn't always been easy, Chris' drive and aspiration has bought us to new and extraordinary heights, time after time after time; often at great personal sacrifice. I could never ask for a better CEO, or friend.

It's no secret that Chris and I are the best of friends and it makes me very happy, to congratulate him on being selected as one of the 30Under30's for Anthill, the leading entrepreneurial magazine in Australia.

From the website:

At 26, Chris Saad is one of Australia's most impressive young web entrepreneurs. His theory and practice around web standards - specifically 'DataPortability' and 'Attention Management' - have gained significant traction and are set to have a profound impact on the evolution of media in the digital age. Saad has co-founded several web-related companies and organisations, most prominently Faraday Media in 2006, of which he is CEO. Faraday Media is developing Particls, a technology that learns user habit and taste and delivers relevant information to them via news crawler, SMS, email, flash visualisations, etc. He also co-founded the Media 2.0 Workgroup with 14 industry 'commentators, agitators and innovators'. There's no shortage of ideas or energy in this digitally-minded entrepreneur. One to watch in the years to come.

Make sure you click through to the Article, subscribe to the mag and read the other 29 profiles!

This is recognition to a man whom has dedicated and sacrificed so much for the greater good, a true philanthropist. Well done Chris, you are definitely deserving of this prestigious award and will no doubt be one of many in the years to come.

Individuals from Plaxo, Google and Facebook join Workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.

We are proud to announce the inclusion of Joseph Smarr (Plaxo), Brad Fitzpatrick (Google) and Benjamin Ling (Facebook) to the DataPortability Workgroup.

Plaxo, Google and Facebook together represent the key players in the competing approaches to Social Networking platforms and Data Portability.

Their joint support of the DataPortability initiative presents a new opportunity for the next generation of software - particularly in the fields of social software, user rights and interoperability.

The DataPortability Workgroup is, among other things, actively working to create the 'DataPortability Reference Design' to document the best practices for integrating existing open standards and protocols for maximum interoperability.

This means users will be able to access their friends and media across all the applications, social networking sites and widgets that implement the design into their systems.

We look forward to their contribution to the conversation.

More about the DataPortability initiative:

Our Philosophy: As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen tools or vendors. We need a DHCP for Identity. A distributed File System for data. The technologies already exist, we simply need a complete reference design to put the pieces together.

Our Mission: To put all existing technologies and initiatives in context to create a reference design for end-to-end Data Portability. And, to promote that design to the developer, vendor and end-user community.

Besides these new additions, the WorkGroup includes, among others, Chris Saad (Faraday Media), Stephen Kelly (Peepel), Ben Metcalfe (Consultant to Seesmic and Myspace), Chris Messina (Citizen Agency, Microformats), Daniela Barbosa (Dow Jones), Phil Morle, Ian Forrester (BBC), Kristopher Tate (Zooomr), Paul Keen (NineMSN), Brian Suda, Emily Chang (eHub), Danny Ayers (Talis), Robyn Tippins (Yahoo!), Robert Scoble (PodTech).

For more information:

Please visit the DataPortability site.

Read/Write Web Coverage

Techcrunch Coverage

Welcoming Robert Scoble to the DataPortability workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.
As many of you know, Faraday Media has long been a champion of user rights. We believe the user has an absolute right to own and control their personal information.

As such we created and promoted APML as an open standard very early in our company history. We then started the DataPortability Workgroup. A group dedicated to championing the cause of other open standards by putting them each in context as part of an end-to-end solution stack.

Since then, we have been both gratified and spirited by the support from the worlds thought leaders on the subjects of open standards, social networking and web-based software.

I'd now like to welcome Robert Scoble to the list of supporters and workgroup members. Robert is also a fellow member of the Media 2.0 Workgroup and his tireless efforts to demonstrate how being open, transparent and social can scale to celebrity scales always influences the conversation and helps to shine a spotlight on worthy companies and causes.

Be sure to check out Robert's recent troubles with Facebook data access and my post to the DataPortability workgroup welcoming Robert and summing up the DataPortability position.

2008 - Data, Semantics, Attention

Added on by Chris Saad.
As 2007 rolls to a close, bloggers have started predicting the hot trends of 2008. Data, Semantics and Attention seems like a consistent theme.

Here are some highlights:

Richard McManus (here):
Semantic Apps will become popular in 2008, due to their ability to get better content results and make better data connections. Think search engines like Hakia and Powerset, wikipedia-like efforts like Twine and Freebase, and apps that use semantic technologies under the hood.
We look forward to being involved with the Engagd platform and APML.
The big Internet companies will surprise us all by embracing open standards, and attempting to compete with each other with features instead of data lock-in (OK, this could just be wishful thinking!).
We have already seen Mozilla move in this direction with Weave. Google with OpenSocial. Hopefully 2008 will see true openness with use of existing standards such as those listed at

Marshall Kirkpatrick says (here):
The value of recommendation engines will become all the more clear; the era of data will be celebrated.

People engaged in the new web will do some really awesome stuff that we'll all be in awe of.
He writes in a post about the future of RSS:

For anyone who reads feeds, though, prioritization and personalized recommendations are two things that hold a whole lot of promise.

In 2007 both Bloglines and Newsgator were among the companies who moved towards implementing a simple, open Attention Data standard called APML. A wide variety of other companies began experimenting with other methods of systematizing and automating prioritization and recommendation as well. Expect this to be even bigger in 2008.

Web 1.0 was about Pages, Web 2.0 is about People, Web 3.0 will be about data.

Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins dedicates a whole section to APML (here):
You're going to see bigger partnerships emerge, along that same token, between the APML movement, the OpenID movement, and the big dogs like Microsoft, Facebook and Google. Remember that whole privacy debacle called Beacon? At some point real soon Zuckerberg is going to realize that to keep that very vocal minority of people who like privacy quiet, he's going to need to give them better ownership of their profile and attention data - APML and OpenID will provide ways for this to happen.
Josh Catone writes:
OpenID will be adopted by more startups and larger web companies, but most people (mainstream users) still won't use it - that's a couple of years off.
Perhaps DataPortability will help drive the value proposition.

Alex Iskold writes (here):
Implicit applications, which monitor our habits and automatically infer our likes, will rise.
Looks like 2008 will be an exciting year!

Look forward to working with you all in the near year.

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...

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...

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

Announcement: APML Open Source Libraries in C#

Added on by Chris Saad.
In yet another milestone for the APML Workgroup and the APML format, we have published the first open source libraries for loading and manipulating APML files.

From the site:
APML will allow users to export and use their own personal Attention Profile in much the same way that OPML allows them to export their reading lists from Feed Readers.

The idea is to boil down all forms of Attention Data – including Browser History, OPML, Attention.XML, Email etc – to a portable file format containing a description of ranked user interests.

These libraries are a result of months of R&D and iteration by the Faraday Media development team and we donate them to the community in the spirit of open collaboration and mutual benefit. They are released under the extremely liberal Apache 2.0 license.

We encourage anyone who would like to support or modify the libraries to get in touch so we can help in any way we can.

My thanks to Ashley our CTO and Mike and Paul the two ninja programmers who have been involved with the library and the APML workgroup who's input has helped to create the 0.6 spec.

We look forward to seeing what new and interesting projects get created with this resource.

The repository can be found on Google Code.

Announcement: Track the Web 2.0 Expo using Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
Can't make it to the Web 2.0 Expo? Keep in touch with a special Web 2.0 Expo edition of the Particls Client.

It has a special skin and is pre-set with all the feeds and the right Attention Profile so you can great real-time coverage of the event while you work.

The download is actually the full featured Particls client so you can re-skin it back to the standard skin or add-remove your own feeds and OPML after the expo is over.

More about Particls
Particls is an Attention Management Engine. Check out the screencasts to learn more how it works or check out the website.

Wondering how we did it? Watch a video of Particls (then Touchstone) being reskinned and pre-set in 4 mins here

Announcement: Particls Private Beta released

Added on by Chris Saad.
Hi everyone,

We would like to announce that the first full private release of Particls Beta has been distributed. If you signed up to our mailing list your invite should be in your inbox.

All those months of locking Ashley in the programming box have paid off!

On behalf of all the team I would like to thank all the people who have made this milestone possible. You all know who you are but if I may highlight a few below (in no particular order!):
  • Ashley Angell
  • Nik Seirlis
  • Stephen Kelly
  • Cody Robb
  • Paul Jones
  • Michael McNeil
  • Michael Starky
  • Julie Angell
  • Marty Wells
  • Michael Liubinskas
  • Marjolein Hoekstra
  • Ben Metcalfe
  • Daniela Barbosa
  • Marianne Richmond
  • The Alpha and Beta testers of Touchstone and Particls
Thanks everyone

We look forward to your feedback.

Missed out? Drop me a line and the next 50 requests get an instant invite.

Update: The 50 Slots have been filled. But keep paying attention.

Announcement: Touchstone renamed to Particls

Added on by Chris Saad.
In anticipation of a wider release of the Application, we are excited to announce a new name for Touchstone. Introducing... Particls.

And, of course, a new domain at Please update your links!

Why the name change?
We feel that Particls better reflects our future plans for the product as it evolves into the definitive tool to manage and filter your incoming personal information.

Stay tuned... more updates soon!

Announcing support for Linkedin and Subscription Plugins

Added on by Chris Saad.
Imagine getting alerted instantly when your LinkedIn contacts have a job on offer or when they add a new contact you might want to know.

The latest build of Touchstone does just that. If you have your copy check it out in the Subscription Helper.

Now imagine doing it for MySpace, Facebook, Hi5 etc. The latest build of Touchstone also makes that possible!

Paul has added a feature called 'Subscription Plugins' that allows developers to quickly and easily write little XML files that add Touchstone subscription support to all sorts of services.

Combined with this sort of functionality can be taken to a whole new level - making it easy for users to get alerts from all your favorite web apps - even those that don't support RSS (without the need to write dedicated Input Adapters).

We have included support for LinkedIn already - we look forward to see what the community can come up with. Be sure to email us your plugins.

If you are developer: Read more about it here

Also, since this type of extensibility is a first in the Feed Reading space (as far as we know) we would be interested in collaborating with other feed readers out there to add universal support and working with app developers to build their own plugins for the Subscription Helper. Drop me a line.

Don't have an invite yet? Maybe you should pay more attention.

Peter Kim and Robert Scoble join Media 2.0 Workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.
I'd like to publicly welcome Peter Kim (Senior Analyst at Forrester) and Robert Scoble (Host of the ScobleShow) to the Media 2.0 Workgroup.

Peter and Robert are distinguished additions to the group and I look forward to getting to know them better.


Please be sure to subscribe to the aggregate feed or OPML file to hear their commentary.

Announcing the Media 2.0 Workgroup

Added on by Chris Saad.

“The Media 2.0 Workgroup is a group of industry commentators, agitators and innovators who believe that the phenomena of democratic participation will change the face of Media Creation, Distribution and Consumption. Join the conversation...”

Summary: Media 2.0 is a term used to describe the emerging social media industry. Every community needs some help to grow. The long tail has a head, and conversation needs a topic. So in this spirit, we have gathered a group of people who are passionate about the issues of Media 2.0 to help propel and focus the conversation.

The term "Web 2.0" has become a little worn out lately, but it has had an important and dramatic effect on our industry. It has spurred innovation, driven investment and ignited the imagination of the entrepreneurial community.

The Web (2.0 or otherwise), however, is only part of the Media landscape. An important part of course, however Media includes the superset of people, places and things that can co-existing in and around the web to create participation experiences.

Radio, TV, Traditional Media Outlets, News, Entertainment, Movies, Music, Game Consoles etc all have an opportunity to innovate by 'getting social', and each will be impacted by and contribute to the transformative effects of Media 2.0.

There are underlying issues and opportunities however. Issues with fancy names like Aggregation, Attention, Convergence, DRM, Distribution, Engagement, identity, Participation. These issues need discussion across the perceived Media boundaries and traditional disciplines so that we can all achieve real, integrated results.

To put it plainly, the visionaries, tool builders, emerging social media participants, 'old media' vanguard, investors and marketers all need to speak to each other to help create this opportunity together.

We call this broader ecosystem Media 2.0.

Like the Web, Media 2.0 is about shifting the power from the few to the many. We, the participants, are (or should be) the most important parts of the emerging Social Media. We each have a story to tell and connections just waiting to be made.

The challenge, however, is to help the unsocial media understand how to be social. To help advertisers understand the value of an engaged, trusting participant over a passive audience demographic. To help content creators understand that sharing and remixing is more profitable than DRM and to shine a light on the best innovations and ideas emerging from that very long tail.

Every community needs some help to grow. The long tail has a head, and every conversation needs a topic. So in this spirit, we have gathered a group of people who are passionate about the issues of Media 2.0 to help propel and focus the conversation.

These participants are from a cross-section of disciplines and agendas. Some merely comment, criticize and consult, some develop tools, some live the dream and have started their own Media 2.0 empires and some are fighting from the inside of established media to change the face of ‘business as usual’.

Join us, comment, trackback, nominate your favorite voices for the workgroup and drive the conversation forward.

You can find the workgroup page at

Highlights from my posts about Media 2.0 over the last year:

How did we get here – The Media 2.0 Landscape starting with Radio

Where's the money in Media 2.0 and the Long Tail?

Channel ME - Creating personal media experiences

What does adding Transparency to old media look like? Can the audience handle it?

Time Magazine declares YOU person of the year

Web 3.0 - Are you serious?

The importance of Personal Relevancy in Media 2.0