What a week. Yes, I wrote about new companies (and there are some very interesting ones), but every day brought more heartbreaking news about Hurricane Katrina. By late Thursday night, I was reading one thing on blogs and hearing just the opposite from our federal and state leaders. Like others, I just couldn’t focus on writing about new companies, and I took Friday off from blogging entirely.
The weekend has brought better news – record donations from US citizens, aid is flooding in from most of the world, and more people are being rescued. But there is still a very long way to go before things are back to “normal”. And now the political shit-throwing will start in earnest.
If you can, consider donating to the red cross or other charity of your choice, and for the bloggers out there, see the red cross banner page where you can put up an image and link for those wishing to donate.
I spent the week in Palo Alto. I am moving to the area this month and finding a house to rent took a long time. I did find one, though, in Atherton, and I’ll be moving in on September 12. We’ll be having an open TechCrunch party there sometime in October, and all are welcome (a wiki for the party will come soon and I’ll announce it on the site).
I also had some great meetings this week. Keith Teare and I met with Susan Mernit at a wonderful wine garden she recommended in Palo Alto. I’ll be back there often. We also met with Nicholas Chim, the creator of Personal Bee. During our talk, David Hornik walked by and hung out with us for a bit as well.
And possibly the most interesting meeting of the week was with Sam Schillace, one of the founders of Writely, an ajax powered online word processor that is getting a ton of buzz. I really think the “Ajax Office” concept is here to stay, and Writely is one of the best early solutions out there.
Here’s this week’s summary:
Pandora (update), Attensa, Gahbunga, Ojos, Google Purge, Writely, Skype (update) (I’m surprised this functionality hasn’t gotten more buzz), Kiko, Kiko #2, Free Wikis, Technorati (update), Findory, Iconize Me, Google Bendi, PocketMod
Chris Sherman at SEW writes a comprehensive review of RSS search engines:
Many people mistakenly refer to RSS search as “blog search.” While it’s true that many blogs offer RSS feeds (automatic feed creation is a feature of most blogging software), not all blogs have feeds. Furthermore, RSS can literally be used with just about any kind of web-based content. RSS fundamentally is a relatively simple specification that uses XML to organize and format web-based content in a standard way.
Fred Wilson writes about where his readers come from, and reveals some very interesting data on the relative popularity of Email v. RSS feeds. The bottom line is that only about a third of his readers access his content via RSS. The rest come directly to the site, or read his daily emails.
Web Page Views in August: ~90,000
Web Visits in August: ~60,000
Web Unique Visitors in August: No Idea, but I’d guess around 10,000
Email Subscribers: 1055
RSS Subscribers: ~5500
The fact is that of the approximately 17,000 people who make up my audience, only a third of them use RSS. And my readers are probably more technical than the average reader (only half use Internet Explorer for example and almost 40% use Firefox).
Ajax and other online office type applications are springing up all over the place. Richard MacManus goes to the trouble of finding many of them and writes about them here. To be honest, there aren’t any good full-suite solutions yet. AjaxOffice is just a web page with a stated intention. Writely has an excellent ajax word processor, but needs to build the rest. How long before the big guys jump in here?
People are demanding new functionality. I have a source that tells me its coming, and soon.
Richard MacManus (did I mention I love his blog?) takes a post (and the comments) by Barb Dybwad (another terrific blog) and comes up with a comprehensive list of mobile RSS readers. Good stuff. I also think the Attensa mobile product will be a winner once it’s released since it’s run on the same engine as their other readers…resulting in wonderful post syncronization at last.
You can now purchase a swiss army knife with a 1 gb usb drive built in. How cool is that? Pretty cool.