Microsoft Popfly

Microsoft’s new free ecosystem in alpha is named Popfly.  The alpha service currently has a waiting list.

It provides for the creation and hosting of mashup content in a community (Popfly Space) using building ‘blocks’ in a non-developer-orientated UI.  Finished projects can be hosted (by the provided embed code or directly to sites that support the MetaWoblog API) on other communities (that support iframe) or as Vista Sidebar gadgets. 

So for example, at the basic level you can create and publish your own slide show or psuedo 3D photo sphere or Virtual Earth view (with photos geographically positioned) that pulls pictures from a Live Spaces or Flickr account.

Presentation can be done with Silverlight 1.0, AJAX, or DHTML (see my posts on this for more information on Silverlight).  It is a web-browser client-side technology (not for creating say ASP.NET server-side applications).

The Popfly Creator is an online tool for creating the single-page mashup applications, including the ASP.NET AJAX client library.  It graphically shows the blocks and how they are connected up.  There are javascript editing options (including intellisense!) for advanced users.

Users can create and share their own blocks, and there appears to be a possible monetization opportunity there too (see the FAQ).

There is also rudimentary cross-user anonymous application data persistance (e.g. for voting results).

The service is aimed primarily at non-professional developers to build things without code, but there’s also a plug-in for Visual Studio (all versions) called Popfly Explorer.

See the Popfly website and video for more information.

[Via: Robert Scoble]

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What is Engadget?

Apparently, according to an Engadget post today, they got their Apple delay news wrong yesterday.

I think there are two things about Engadget that I’d like to comment on:

  • It’s acting like it is a reporter (which given today’s television news isn’t necessarily a claim I’d want to make), when I thnk it should go with an angle of being a group of geeky enthusiast bloggers.
  • It seems to have become increasingly verbose in each post – not many bullet point specs present – which makes it time consuming to read; more so than it should be.  I just want to see the facts (especially about product reveals and solid availability) rather than creative monologue/opinion.  I know this gives it style (and makes it ‘Engaging’), but it just feels like it’s getting in the way now.

What is Engadget – a review site, a rumour site, a technology commentary site, a gadget launch site?

The apparent statement that Engadget workers can’t have stocks in companies that are reported on is interesting. If Engadget has so much power (in a way that would seem to have precipitated this post today after their apparent mistake) that their commentary can affects markets (and potentially attract investigation), then perhaps it needs to be diluted or dis-integrated in some way.  Perhaps they should just go with the facts, and become more of a central gadget product/service release feed specifically sponsored by the manufacturers, perhaps with a (stock-clean) reviewing service as a separate entity. 

Except for the verbosity, I actually take Engadget as a decent news/rumour feeds for gadget enthusiasts.  I feel though that the line between news and rumour is somewhat for the reader to decide, rather than relying on potentially reported hearsay.  If I see something I like on there, I’m happy that they let me know, but I also go and look for the official product/service page, since without that, it’s not obvious how I can purchase something to add to my horde.

With power does come some responsibility, which one can choose either to deflect (perhaps with disclaimers, footnotes or just a clear standing) or absorb (possibly to build fame, credibility or loyalty) along with the consequences that comes with it.  What will Engadget become (if anything different) and how will it weigh the responsibilities?