Yahoo! Gives up on Podcasts

Yahoo! Podcasts LogoI was submitting a new podcast (not mine) to some directories today and came across something that completely threw me.

It appears that Yahoo! is closing down Yahoo! Podcasts and they have announced it with the following message on the Home Page:

“Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Sept. 30 Oct 31st, 2007″

I have heard not news or rumour that this was gong to happen. To speculate on the reasons I can only think that the service is not being utilized or that most people use iTunes or some other way to get their podcasts. Sure I don’t know many people that use Yahoo! for podcasts, but I would have thought a company like Yahoo! would not walk away from hosting a directory.

There are still plenty of directories out there and good ones. Podcast Alley for one. Maybe that’s part of the problem, other sites do it better. Who knows, as I said I have seen zero on this move.

So this is all news to me, I’ll be interested to see what the reasons are and if there are plans for something else. Anyone else see this coming?

Update: Date changed to the 31st of October… It gets stranger

Torrents! Torrent Search Mash-up

I found a search engine yesterday that is the latest offering from FreshMash featuring a torrent search engine powered by TRYANT and Yahoo!

Torrents! is a mash-up between TRYNT, an API developer and Yahoo! Using it means that you combine searching for torrents and the powerful indexing of the Yahoo! search engine. Due to the nature of the content though I would be cautious as to where I went from there.

Torrent search engines and trackers usually maintain their own databases. They do this by either accepting user submissions or sending out bots and scrapers. Torrents! is different in that it accesses data that has been indexed by Yahoo! That means a powerful search engine for the torrents you want, as long as you don’t care where it comes from.

Search by topic or name of the media or file that you are wanting. Results are displayed as a list that contain a link to the site that has the torrent. It does not link directly to the torrent. This is where it gets a bit tricky. Because Torrents! uses the Yahoo! indexing it means that the torrent you get in the result could be on any site, good, bad or ugly. The way that I looked at this service was time consuming as every result I wanted to look at I passed through SiteAdvisor’s site details look-up. The “safe” sites that were in the results were mixed. Most I would not recommend anyone visit. One comment on SiteAdvisor in regards to one domain was:

“… If you are using Internet Explorer get out quick!”

Apart from another reason not to use IE I would not want to go there anyway, in addition to the fact that details of the torrent are probably available elsewhere.

Other features include a tag cloud of popular searches and that is about it, after all it is a search engine what more do you want.

In summary, Torrents! will more than likely get you the torrent that you were looking for. But I would be very cautious as to what I clicked on and take appropriate precautions. For me it is not worth it. I would recommend to stick to sites and services that you trust. Judge for yourself but you have been warned.

Torrents! Beta

Trillian 4: Developers Blog

As people may or may not know. I use Trillian as my instant messenger client. I even payed for the Pro version. The developers have been very, very quiet the last 6 months but now they are offering “tit-bits” on their blog for the faithful.

For people that have never heard of Trillian, it is an IM client that works across all networks. I don’t have all the separate programs running like MSN, Yahoo or ICQ (it also covers Jabba and AOL). I just have one that accesses these networks. So what I do have is an identity for each network and Trillian pulls all these together into one client. The good thing about this is that I do not have to run these separate applications and I am not locked into one network or the other. It has a small footprint and it works well. There are also plug-ins that you can get as well. There is a free version if you want to check it out.

The latest version is version three. For ages now the development team have been very quiet about any further development. The rumblings in the Trillian community have been everything ranging from they are not developing Trillian and they have abandoned the users. To whatever they are working on is going to be so good that we will be blown away. I am not sure what the developers have been doing or what their intentions are. I however do not think that they have abandoned their users. That said one criticism of Cerulean Studios is the fact that they offer very little to reassure the user base that they are working hard in development. They offer a blog entry every couple of months.

The latest is a screen shot of the new version of Trillian. But it is a very lame log in window screen shot. I would have loved to have seen the main screen of Trillian rather than the log in screen! I think this is a bit of a cop out and I think that they could have given users a bit more of a preview.

That said it looks like we might see a new version of Trillian before the end of the year. I know that is a wide projection but Trillian have refused to say when the new version will be out… period. I guess given other companies’ (“Vista”) ability to keep to promised time-lines, you can not disappoint people if you don’t give one!

But hey Trillian dudes give us a bit more than a log in screen!

The other minor thing that they have announced is a name change for version four. That being “Trillian Astra”. Sounds like an Aussie car to me… very funny. That announcement is accompanied by another lame web page… [update: this page now relates to Trillian Astra with previews and Beta testers login – changed from the original time this was posted] …please. I really hope we get more than this “…in the coming weeks”.

Update: Removed dead links and reviewed relevance of links. The reason being is the same links have been used for newer content related to Astra.

POPURLS dot com: What a Great Site

POPURLS BannerI was cruising the RSS today and although I had heard of POPURLS in passing I had not visited it until today. I was pleasantly surprised.

This site is a sort of a aggregator for sites that are updated frequently or have RSS feeds associated with them, or some other kind of community contribution on a regular basis. POPURLS summarizes this data into a “all-in-a-view” style. I don’t think that it is everything that comes out of these sites but it is a nice summary. The site has a very nice single page design and you can swap the default white on black to black on white. You can also make the text larger for those of you who are blind. The other cool option is that you can expand the headings to include more feeds or data. Lastly you can hover over a title of an article you get a summary of the article, click on it and a new tab opens with the full text from the site, cool.

POPURLS covers a huge range of sites: digg.com, del.icio.us, furl.net, flickr, reddit.com, tailrank.com, fark.com, youtube.com, news.google.com, news.yahoo.com, newsvine.com, video.google.com, shoutwire.com, slashdot.org, wired.com, odeo.com, nowpuplic.com, metafilter.com.

You will notice that not all the “feeds” are text based. There are video feeds as well and that’s something that average newsreaders don’t do. I think that is a nice addition, so is the fact that there are Flickr photo’s as well. I am not sure what the relationship between POPURLS and the contributing sites is but it makes you wonder how others might get on the list. Just something to think about.

That aside I think this is a great idea and one that finally puts RSS feeds into the hands of “regular” users. While it does not unleash the true power of RSS and aggregation it is a taste and might spark some interest for some people, it also connects you with the information that may enable you to better utilize RSS fully. In addition to these points, even if you were a super geek; it is just a fun site and a great way to have a quick catch up with what is going on in cyberspace and beyond, a cool distraction from whatever it is you are meant to be doing. Have a look you will end up staying a while.