I stumbled across a pretty cool web application today. It won’t have as many users as Google Docs, but I can see an occasional need for something like this. It’s called Awesome Highlighter, and it is an online web tool that lets you highlight a website, then share that highlighted website with others.
Check it out. Here is a screen shot of what one of my blog entries looks like normally when you first look at it:
So you go to awesomehighlighter.com and put in the URL that you want to highlight, it takes you there, but it gives you a set of tools, like a highlighter that has color choices, and sticky notes. You highlight and add sticky notes and then click Done. Then it gives you a tiny URL that you can visit and share, and the highlighted version of the web page is there at that tiny URL. Here’s what the above blog entry looked like at the tiny URL after I highlighted a few words and added a couple sticky notes:
Pretty cool, huh? I could see how this could come in handy every once in a while when you’re trying to show someone something, but you’re not right there face to face to point to it and you’re not necessarily in a position to do desktop sharing or something like that. Nice job, Awesome Highlighter!
I’m noticing that many of the Internet Blogs that I come across fall into one of two categories … neither of which seems to me to be of much value in the grand scheme of things. My own blog that you’re reading right now is no exception.
There are the “all about me” blogs which simply tell the world about the author and the author’s family and the author’s life and things that the author has done and accomplished. (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=32) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=35) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=38) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=41) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=43) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=53) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=67) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=74) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=77) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=88) (http://leucht.com/blog/?p=112)
Then there are the “this is cool” blogs which simply tell the world about cool websites or cool products or whatever. (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=7) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=8) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=103) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=107) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=110) (http://www.leucht.com/blog/?p=114)
Huh, I just realized that I have about twice as many “all about me” posts as I have “this is cool” posts. Guess I’m a little more vain that I was hoping.
What’s the real benefit to society of an “all about me” blog, anyways? Our families and friends might get a kick out of reading them, but we could really take care of that by sending them emails and calling them more often. Don’t we really publish “all about me” content just to make ourselves feel better?
And don’t get me started on all the “this is cool” blogs out there. I could spend 24 hours a day looking at all the cool sites that bloggers try to get me to check out. And I agree that many of them are very very cool. But the Internet is not getting any smaller last time I checked, while at the same time my waking hours still remain constant. It’s a losing battle. I need a larger and larger filter to keep me focused and to minimize my time online. It’s hopeless for me to try to check out all the cool sites that are out there and to add the coolest ones to my ever expanding list of cool bookmarks.
How huge and how watered down will the Internet have to get before the general public starts losing interest?
Over the past few days, I’ve spent most of my lunch break looking for missing aviation pioneer Steve Fossett. Did I hop in a jeep/plane/helicopter and go cross country searching in the Nevada desert? No, I looked for Steve Fossett from the comfort of my office cubicle. If you want to help with the massive online search effort, just visit Amazon’s Mechanical Turk website, sign in, and start looking at the newly released satellite images: http://www.mturk.com/mturk/preview?groupId=9TSZK4G35XEZJZG21T60
If you’re kinda geeky like me, and don’t mind looking through a virtual microscope for the good of science, you need to check out StardustAtHome! It’s pretty cool!
What’s in it for me?
“The discoverer of an interstellar dust particle will appear as a co-author on scientific papers by the Stardust@home collaboration announcing the discovery of the particle. The discoverer will also have the privilege of naming the particle!”
I’ve looked through my fair share of microscopes in my old failure analysis job, and this is actually quite fun for me. I would suggest that anyone who has 10 or 15 minutes to spare every day during their lunch break ought to review stardust samples too. You might just discover something “out of this world”!