Saturday, September 07, 2013

More than a Bookmarking App

I always wanted a better bookmarking app, a better version of Delicious, and I wonder what could it be.

Bookmarking

Old Delicious

The first bookmark app that got me excited is Delicious, where I could see how many people bookmarked the same link as I am. At the time I was using it, Delicious doesn’t even have a browser plugin to easily bookmark a page, where I have to visit Delicious page to add a link (much like HN), but it’s already wildly popular. Delicious has a few goodies:

  • Store bookmark on Internet (before the age of Cloud and Syncing), so we wouldn’t lost all the precious links when the computer fail.
  • Number of people who bookmarked the same link is a vote which signal the “authority or importance” of the link (much like submission and up-voting by HN or Digg)
  • The tagging might be chaotic, but it does allow browsing for import links for a specific category.
  • The front page shows hot links, which is good for reading and browsing (much like HN)


New Declicious

The new Delicious didn’t show hot links unless I signup. They didn’t show the number of people who bookmarked the link in the listing, unless I link on the link for detail.

The hot tags are Egypt, breakingbad, redskins, Olympics, recipes, which didn’t interest me. I realize the early communities of Delicious are techies, thus I found the links relevant. Now Delicious is like Reddit (cover everything from gossips to politics), where I wish it was like HN.

The bookmarking features work quite flawlessly, yet I am still not happy (perhaps I am looking for more than just a bookmarking app). I can follow people and find out what link they bookmarked.

Somehow the new Delicious just didn’t feel the same anymore; perhaps the expectations had changed since I last used it 10 years ago, perhaps the community behind it isn’t the same anymore.

Kippt

Kippt used to be simple bookmarking tool, until they decided to pivot into something called “make your information workflow and archiving effortless.” which I didn’t get it. It annoys me once in a while by prompting their “social” following feature. I don’t object to the feature, but I don’t link to be interrupted by opening the kippt page when I try to bookmark a page.

Chrome Bookmark

Isn’t chrome bookmark good enough? It is fast and simple, and sync seamlessly with mobile devices. Somehow I never quite used it, unless on mobile devices, because it require much more effort to bookmark on mobile browsers using third party tools.

Perhaps it lacks a webpage I could browse my links (Google Bookmark doesn’t seems to integrate with Chrome Bookmark), or perhaps I miss the social and hot links discovery part of Delicious.

Discovery

An important aspect of the Old Delicious is the “social” side, or more precisely the discovery of hot links which interest me, which I would end up bookmarking it.

Digg

In a certain sense, Digg as a news aggregator site have the discovery side of bookmarking app like Delicious, where we could see hot and trending links on the FrontPage. Why I didn’t use Digg anymore? The techies had left, and the gossips and entertainment had taken over.

Reddit

I never joined Reddit because the hot links on the front page didn’t interest me. I read somewhere the essence of Reddit nowadays is in the subreddit (focus topics) due to its grown size. I just added the subreddit into my feed reader.

Hacker News

I use Hacker News actively, because it has quality links thanks to the techie community (felt a bit like the Old Delicious, without the fancy features of tagging and bookmarking).

Lesson Learned: In order to discover the things you like, you need to attract the right crowd.


PS: as much as I like Hacker News, it's still very much a niche as compared to Reddit

Feed Reader

I like Google Feed Reader, where it had the social aspect of following my favorite blogs, and I get to discover good reads from time to time. Nowadays I used Feedly, it works well.

Not Just Bookmarking anymore

I thought I wanted a simple bookmarking tool, but it isn’t that simple anymore. I wanted a tool which keeps my favorite links and help me discover new favorite links (and find useful resource page).

  • A simple tool for quick bookmarking, accessible from anywhere.
  • Discovery of hot links like Old Delicious, Hacker News (need to attract the right community)
  • Follow my favorite blogs, writer, and topics like a feed reader.
  • Group similar links together to provide useful information for a specific topic. E.g. tagging, subreddit, Wikipedia page, etc. In a certain sense is like people keep a page to list relevant resources, e.g. Resources for Android Development, Best IDE for Python, etc.

I always thought of building a “better” bookmarking app, and now I realize I actually wanted a Delicious + Hacker News + Google Reader + Wikipedia.

PS: a quick google on "Bookmarking Tool" yield little meaningful results, perhaps it's not something people care about these days.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Why the Government doesn't listen to me?

Plenty of times Government did do some funny things

  • Spying on the entire nation in the name of national security, irregardless how vulnerable the citizens feel about it
  • Treat people like terrorist suspect with no dignity when going on board a plain
  • When someone reveals dirty secrets about the government, that person is deemed to commit treason against the country (or the government?)
  • Censor the Internet and limit freedom of speech, where you are not allowed to talk bad the government
  • When the people try to voice up, the government threatens to put these people in jail through charges like disrupting the peace, treason, racial sensitivity, etc.
  • When the people try to question the government, the government put up reasons like “this could not be questioned”.

It seems to me that the Government feels insecure, thus act defensive when feels threaten by the people, they very people they are entrusted to protect and take care of. Perhaps I am na├»ve and didn’t understand the concept of the Government. I thought the Government is a custodian to represent the people, and to act in the best interest of the people. Somehow I felt most government’s priority is to stay in power. What is possibly going wrong here?

Maybe Thomas Jefferson and I are wrong

“The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors.” ― Thomas Jefferson
“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." ― Thomas Jefferson
Perhaps Thomas Jefferson and I are wrong about the purpose of the government, or maybe Tyranny is still a form of government though not favored by the people. I am not sure what kind of vow the elected representative of the country takes when they take the office, but I sure hope someone has the power to make them accountable.

Why I feel the government is not doing very well "to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness"? Is this the primary objective?

Maybe I am not “the People”

Maybe I am not the intended People of the country, supposing I am the minority and everyone else thinks that the government is doing a great job. Many people could voice their discontent on the Internet, but many more didn't voice up, and even more didn't use the Internet.

When the Government proposed a law which I think is stupid or dangerous or both, how could I as the people stop it? We could do a petition or protest, but we could hardly gather the active support of 5% of the population; the government could claim that they have consulted all stakeholders and the majority support it. In fact, it was our elected representatives who pass the law. The government didn't see any unhappy people, did you?

It’s very hard to prove the Voice of the People, where it’s only actively polled once every 3-5 years during the election. Usually the ruling party shall be the upper hand in government election (access to media and resources, using government machinery for party, last minute favorable policy for the people, electoral divisions, etc.), where the results could easily skewed 10-20%. In another words, it would take 60-70% of favorable votes for the opposition to win.

Do we have a mechanism to effectively reflect the voice of the people for each intervals and events? How do we prove a policy or law is indeed stupid and dangerous in the eye of the people?

Maybe the people are too stupid?

Some people believe that people are too stupid to take care of themselves, what’s more about knowing what’s good for the country. If the people don’t know, who knows better?

Would you agree if the government give you free money even though it would bankrupt the government in the long run?

I have poor financial management skill, thus I hire a financial manager. One day the financial manager I hire thinks that I am too stupid and decided to steal my money. The people don’t know how to run a country, so we elect a government.

If the people could be stupid, the government could be a cunning smart ass, and I am betting the latter is more dangerous.

Why someone want to be the Top Public Servant?

I am in the committee as caretaker of my apartment building, where I don’t get paid, facing complaints, and with plenty of work to do. Why did I take up the role? Because the apartment operation and finance is on the verge of collapsing and there is no one else to pick up the shit. I always wonder what’s the reason other people are taking this role?

Why would you want to take up the top post of the Public Servant, where you have to serve millions of people who are literally your boss, and didn't get paid quite well given your responsibility? Why you didn't become the CEO of corporations where there are thousands of minions under you, and it’s not uncommon to be paid millions of dollars in remuneration?

People say you could get power and money by being the top public servant …

Why teacher get paid so little when they about responsible of educating our future leaders? Why our top public servants get paid lesser than CEOs while being entrusted with more power and money?

Why not we make it a policy that top public servants are paid as well as the CEOs (at least a few million per years, depending on the country’s performance), but are not allowed to be super rich (somehow manage to amass 10 extra million per  year from “business” during the tenure). If your business is prospering rapidly, I am sure you don’t have the time to run the country. If you immediate family fortune grows exponentially during your tenure, I am sure you would like to retire and spend the money with your family.

Do you know the fortune of the top public servants? Is it reasonable given their salary?

Public Servant should be paid well given their responsibility, but it’s unreasonable for them to get mad rich due to their position.

The People always complaint

A Korean friends told me the people always complaint about their government (including Korea), and the Singaporean taxi drivers complaint about their government as well.

Perhaps it's human nature to never be satisfied. Nevertheless, there is still so much room for improvement to build a better country, and I am afraid some of the current trend and policy is leading to a downhill path.

Please enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.