The Programmable Web | A Quick and Dirty Mashup Review

Mashups and APIs are some of the best ways to get customized, rich data that is not accessible by one site alone.

Mashups use API’s to gather different data streams into ones that allow less user action to useful data ratios. As search-expert Rand Fishkin of Seomoz.org pointed out, “One of One of the best resources out there for finding APIs is ProgrammableWeb’s API Directory

Here are five mashup examples from Programmable Web. At the very least, they should spark inspiration, critisim, or discussion: your pick.

1. Local Blog Search

FeedMap allows you to see Blogs from your neighborhood and subscribe to their RSS feeds after seeing their descriptions and latest posts.

When I searched for Portland, Oregon, I found a lot of blogs, but none that I recognized. Most were under the radar – not the big ones like eROI, or SiliconFlorist:

Sample Result for Portland, Oregon:

Loosely Coupled Human Code Factory – A.K.A. Mercenary Engineer Feed Blog
Recent posts: Your Agile and The Flow

The site has nearby blogs as well as tagging capabilities for each blog. Not bad for finding smaller blogs within one’s area.

2. Auto Generated Event Sites

EventSites allows you to make quick websites for your event.

Test

I decided to make a site for Tweet PDX, and was amused to find that the hours were in 24 hour mode.

Flickr Tags

Excitingly, there was a Flickr tag prompt. I found this to be useful.

Saving the event

I was promoted to register an account with Eventful to create the event, so I did. Another caseorganic landgrab.

Event Dispersal

I really enjoyed one aspect of EventSites; the ability to send the event to Google Calendar, del.icio.us Events, Ping-O-matic, Upcoming.org and Facebook, Myspace and Technorati with a few clicks of a button (assuming you allow Upcoming.org access to EventSites).
Cool stuff.

3. Ask 500 People and Watch the Results

Ask500People shows real time stats of poll questions geographically and numerically as they are asked.
Awesome.

4. A Place Between Us

a.placebetween.us says “Trying to find a meeting place between friends? Enter your addresses and the type of place you want to meet.”

So I did. I said I’d like to meet someone between the Portland Small Business Accelerator and Backspace. It wasn’t smart (I had to enter the exact address as well as the city and state), and the results only gave me Startbucks Coffee.
Good idea, terrible data granularity. So much for that Mashup.

5. Where is the Path? (or street)

Where is the Path is an interesting mashup that combines topographic maps with Google Satellite maps to help you match trails with what they look like in real life, from above.

The interface uses two targets that match up the topo map to the Google map. Not bad. Also works for cities. Might be useful for finding bike paths/alt routes.

Conclusions

If you find an awesome Mashup or set of Mashups, please tell me about it.

You can also send billions of links to @caseorganic if you happen to enjoy Twitter.

Productivity Tip: Using RSS as a Search Engine

newsfire-logo

If you currently use them, RSS feeds are a great way to accumulate timely information from reliable and influential sources. RSS feeds are one of the best ways to keep up on social trends, new tech gagets, people, and business ideas. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, there’s a 3.75 minute Commoncraft Video called RSS Feeds in Plain English.
Newsfire Categories

One of the most useful ways I’ve been able to use RSS feeds has been through the use of an RSS aggregator as a search engine. My favorite platform to use is NewsFire (click to download) for Mac, but other RSS readers exist for Windows, Linux and Gmail.

The best part about Newsfire is that it has a search feature at the bottom right corner of the screen. The search tool allows many blog posts to be searched through at the same time.

This search feature can be used to search through all aggregated RSS feeds.

Categorizing Data:

Newsfire makes it easy to categorize data into groups. I chose Lifehacking-type blogs, Tech News, Design News, SEO, Marketing, Business Development, Usability/Architecture, Local Portland Groups, and Mail/Personal. I grabbed mail my mail from Gmail and my @caseorganic Twitter ID from Summize.

The only limitation is that you cannot rearrange the categories. This will hopefully probably be fixed with NewsFire’s next release.
Newsfire Never Delete Items
The key to using RSS as a Search Engine is going out on the web and finding the best sources that aggregate the best data, and then storing it all in your NewsFire feedcapture device. Then, wait for the data to accumulate. Go to NewsFire –> Preferences –> Feeds, and set “Delete items” to “Never”. If you use Spotlight, you can enable indexing of content so that you can use Spotlight to search your feeds as well.
Newsfire search local SEO

With this structure in place, I can search my RSS reader for “local SEO”, to check news related to these terms. Another option for maxxing out your RSS reader is to subscribe to Twitter topic feeds via Summize. That way, you not only get the topics that are being blogged about, but what everyone in the world is saying about those topics.