Memeorandum Is Exceptional

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Company: Memeorandum
Launched: September 2005
Location: Mountain View, CA

I’ve been using Memeorandum for about a month (since Bar Camp in August). Gabe Rivera, the creator, gave me a private demo and set up a demo site for me (no longer active). Like Robert Scoble, I was hooked immediately.

This is a HUGE thing to me. If you are a busy executive and only have five minutes a day to see what the blogs are saying, this is THE PLACE to come to every day.

Memeorandum is the result of Gabe’s frustration with tracking blogger conversations about a given topic. Search engine weren’t producing intelligent results, and links from blogs didn’t tell the full story. So like any good entrepreneur, he set out to tackle the problem. And boy did he come up with a compelling solution. It’s one of those sites you just keep coming back to, every day.

The Service

Memeorandum is a way to track blog conversations relating to political or tech issues (Gabe can and probably will add additional verticals in the future) in a highly effective manner. When you go to the site you see what is being talked about the most in the blogsphere at that moment. The most highly linked articles appear at the top and in bigger font sizes. Less popular items are below. Super-popular items eventually are pushed down as newer popular stuff goes up.

Here’s how it works: A post is written. People start to link to it. If enough people link and it becomes very popular, it goes up in the “New Item Finder” area in the top right. If more people link, it will go up in the main area. If a link includes conversation and discourse (substantial text in addition to the link), the linking blog is noted underneath the popular post.

All of this is automated, which is the really beautiful part of the service.

Memeorandum is very low noise, too. It tracks about 2,000 blogs today – only content from those blogs comes up on the site. Yes, it’s a limitation, but it results in very relevant and high quality results. Gabe will add more quality blogs over time.

It sounds complicated, but it is a very useful way to monitor conversations about popular things going on in the blogosphere. Things went crazy last week, for instance, when Google launched its blog search engine. Memeorandum sorted it all out, in near real time (it updates every 5 minutes), and presented the information in a logical way.

Additional Reading

Memeorandum blog SEW blog, Dave Winer, Richard MacManus, Jeff Clavier, Barb Dybwad, Robin Good

  • Stephan

    I don’t think Microsoft will throw out code they paid some coin for just because the operating system is not their own.

  • Batchu

    I don’t agree with that. Did microsoft throw away hotmail source code? I am sure hotmail is not written in microsft technologies either. Even if microsoft wants to throw away powerset’s code, they will do it after integrating with their search over a period of time.

  • Rob Olson

    @Batchu – Microsoft purchased Hotmail in 1998. Hotmail ran on a mixture of Solaris and FreeBSD systems until late 2001 reported it had finally been moved to Windows NT. That was around 3 years. I don’t think it was until 2005 when Hotmail that rewritten from scratch using Microsoft technologies.

    Hotmail was a standalone system for the most part. Microsoft plans to integrate Powerset’s NL search into their Live search in at least some aspect by the end of the year. For that to be feasible Powerset will continue running on their Unix platform for the foreseeable future.

  • Jim

    Microsoft has used Linux in the past on both current and legacy projects, and I doubt they are going to re-develop Powerset (at least right off the bat) just to conform to their standards.

    @rob – Microsoft can keep Powerset on its current platform while maintaining a high level of integration via low level API’s.

    On a dreamier note: maybe, just maybe (we can all hope) that this will trigger a Visual Ruby. :D

  • Rob Olson

    @Jim How would a “Visual Ruby” be different from their current efforts with IronRuby?

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  • Jesse Ezell

    Keep in mind that Microsoft doesn’t have to rewrite a single bit to use PowerSet functionality. The Ruby on Rails part doesn’t mean jack, since Microsoft will be rewriting the UI to match the rest of the properties anyway. That’s an easy task. The complex code lives behind the UI and they don’t have to rewrite that any time soon. All they have to do is pop in a webservice or two on those unix servers and they can access everything PowerSet has to offer quite easily from Windows servers.

    Memcached is just distributed caching tech, wouldn’t be a big deal to run a bunch of unix servers to handle caching regardless of the platform, since the communication with the cache happens with simple network calls. There are plenty of memcached .NET client implementations that can talk to unix memcached servers.

    As for rewriting, IronRuby would be sufficient. Already, it is significantly faster than the latest release of Ruby for many things and they haven’t really don’t a lot of perf tuning. Most likely, just diverting resources to work on IronRuby perf / stability would be a much faster solution than trying to rewrite anything. Microsoft loves using beta technology on their servers (large amounts of traffic were running on Windows 2008 under Virtual Server while it was still beta), so it’s silly to think they wouldn’t try something like this. In fact, porting any of the code from Ruby would just be retarted, since it would provide no real value.

  • GirlPhobia

    I completely agree that Powerset must be assimilated before Microsoft will consider it to be theirs. That probably means throwing away whatever tangible stuff they’ve built and redoing it all in C#, ASP.NET, Silverlight, etc. However, Microsoft is pretty experienced at pissing away money to convert open source web sites to proprietary ones over several years. Remember that when they bought Hotmail it was all running on BSD Unix servers. So who knows, maybe we’ll see Powerset on some time in 2012.

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