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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Web 2.x: The Scratchpad

by Ken Newquist / April 15, 2008

I'm giving a brownbag presentation on what's new on the Web at work tomorrow, looking at the best of what's come out since this time last year. What follows are the rough draft of my notes. I've persnally used about half of these sites; the rest were suggested by the Tribe on Twitter. I'm still looking for suggestions, so if you have any, please feel free to post a comment.


  • Netvibes | Me: A double-sided portal that allows for public and private views, as well as friending associates.
  • iGoogle: A personal page with no external web presence. Content can be organized into tabs, Google App integration is a plus.
  • Mahalo: A human edited search engine, with the goal of having 10,000 handcrafted result pages for the most popular topics. Firefox toolbar allows users to create user and topic pages.
  • Shyftr: RSS reader that allows users to share and comment on each other's feed items.


  • Twitter | Me: Still the most popular microblogging platform around, twitter has battled uptime and performance issues almost since it's creation.
  • Jaiku | Me: Purchased by Google, it's the lead competitor to Twitter. It allows replies to posts, which gives rise to threaded discussions within the site.
  • Pownce | Me: Microblogging combined with file-sharing.
  • Digsby: Desktop client for tracking instant messages, email and social network updates.


  • Google Docs Create documents online, edit them in real time with other people, create forms that feed Google-powered spreadsheets, and use data in spreadsheets to display graphs on a web page.
  • Evernote: Sychronizable note-taking system for Mac, Windows and mobile devices.
  • Twidda: A team whiteboarding application, allows people to chat and talk in real time, draw on the canvas, and co-browse web pages.
  • Voicethread: Creates group conversations around images, docs and videos.
  • GrandCentral: Voicemail tools.

Social Networking

  • Facebook
    • Games: Slayers vs. Zombies vs. Pirates
    • Outside Apps:, GoodReads
  • GoodReads | Me: Similar to LibraryThing, GoodReads networks like-minded bibliophiles. Readers can place their books on a variety of shelves, write reviews of those books, and create discussion groups.
  • SocialThing: A social networking aggregator that combines posts from services such as Facebook and Twitter into a single timeline
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One other one that I thought of that's not on your list that I know I pretty much take for granted now is Google Docs. It's not brand new, but a lot of people still don't know about it, and certainly don't take advantage of a lot of its features, especially collaboration.

I agree -- that's a good one too. I think I'll touch on it when I'm showing off iGoogle; I've got Google Docs & Reader as dynamic panels in there. If I have some time, I'll throw together one of those nifty new Google Forms that collects data from a form and sends it into Google Sheets.

And then I want to see if I can create one of those dynamically-generated graphs that you can stick on a web page, which is updated based on a Google sheet.

Ah Google, is there anything you can't do? :)

I love their offerings, and I love the way they let their tech go in the wild.

I'm just still leery of using public services to store stuff I might want access to in 20 years. Yes, even the mighty google.

I use LJ and google reader and gmail.
I also continually want to run my own blog again, and run my own mail server.

Agh~! Complete control vs. community! Maintenance vs. 'it just works'!

The tugging! I feel it!

I agree; I like Google Docs when I'm on the road, or when I need to collaborate on a document with someone else, but I keep backups of everything on my local machine; as soon as a doc is finished, I copy it back down. I need to start IMAPing gmail as well; that's probably the one area I'm weakest in terms of online backups.

Google's good, but not so good that you don't need redundancy. :)