Tuesday, August 30, 2005

BlinkList Updates - What is new

While I was not able to update our blog as much as I would have liked during my relocation to KL, our developers have been busy churning out new enhancements to BlinkList.

Here are the latest changes to our site.

BlinkList new features

You can also follow this link to check out our frequent updates going forward. In the future, I hope to just show this via an RSS feed on the right navigation so that I don't have to repeat myself on the blog since this information will now always be provided on blinklist and via a feed.

However, there are some exciting new updates. Plus, as you can see, this is not just the sexy stuff. We are trying to just make BlinkList better and better every day:

Recent updates

Aug 26: International Language Support: Blinklist can now handle international characters like Chinese, Thai, Korean, Cyrillic etc. Hello World!

Aug 25:� Intelligent Tag Rename: Now you can rename a tag (after selecting it) by double clicking on it's name. Rename it to an existing tag name and your tags get merged. Or choose a new tag name and all your links for that tag get filed under the new tag name.

Aug 24: After importing your Del.icio.us or IE/Firefox links you can now choose to instantly make all your links Public. This was a requested feature from Del.icio.us users migrating to Blinklist.

Aug 24: You can now download and save all your links. This new feature will allow you to generate a BlinkList compatible RSS 2.0 XML file so that you can safe keep your bookmarks and its tags on your local machine. You'll find this in "My List" under options.

Aug 23: You can now Import your Links from Del.icio.us

Aug 22: You can now jump to new pages by just clicking on the Page Number and editing it. Ajax is cool!

Aug 20: You can now move forward and backward using the Ajax-based Page Control buttons on the upper-right menu. This is experimental. We may or may not continue with it. It speeds up loading and looks cool but does break the back button. It allows causes our Alexa rankings to look significantly lower than normal since Alexa rankings are based on page refresh, which we've essentially eliminated.

Happy blinking! Plus, please remember to tell all of your friends about our site and keep the suggestions for improvements coming.


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MindValley team unites in Kuala Lumpur

Hurray! Our team has finally united for the first time at our office in Kuala Lumpur. As most of you know, I sold all of my stuff except for two suitcases and just moved out to KL to join the rest of our development team.

While I am sure that we will one day have an office in Silicon Valley again, I am excited about joining our strong team in KL. I was already jazzed up about all the cool things we are working on but now that I have met the team face to face and now that we are together, I am even more energized than before.

Let the fun begin! Just so you know, in September we plan to roll-out several exciting new features on blinklist to take it to the next level. We also plan on launching a new beta site to give users the ultimiate start page on the Internet.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

BlinkList adds ability to import del.icio.us bookmarks

Just wanted to announce that we released the ability to import bookmarks from del.icio.us. This is important for all users that started with del.icio.us and had no ability to move their bookmarks over to www.blinklist.com. After all, it is understandable that nobody wants to start from scratch.

So, now that this will no longer hold you back, I hope that all of you are going to give us a try. If you do, please let us know your thoughts on how we can keep making the service better and better.


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Friday, August 12, 2005

BlinkList adds critical (still hidden) features

One of the most requested features for BlinkList has been the ability to add the ability to search for multiple tags. So, we have just added the following search features:

1) AND - ability to drill down and search for multiple tags by using the (+) plus sign between two tags:

Example 1: tag 1+tag 2
Example 2: Ajax+Php
Example 3: news+tech blog

As you can see from example 3, the AND feature works for any tag, including tags that have multiple keywords. The AND feature is critical to narrow down search results and find exactly what you need and want.

2) OR - the ability to expand a search by using the (|) sign between two tags:

Example 1: tag 1|tag 2
Example 2: blog|blogging
Example 3: tech blog|tech blogs

The OR feature is great especially when there is some tag fragmentation. For example, some users use the tag 'tech blog' and others use the tag 'tech blogs' to describe something similar.

Now you can simply earch for both to make the finding experience faster and more efficient.

Lastly, we have also rolled this feature out on both the public and the personal user pages. This is one of the most requested features that we received. We still need to show it on the UI (i.e. add the advanced search feature link so users can find this on the site).

However, you can already take advantage of these features now so if you have read this blog, you can get started right away! :-)

Lets us know what you think and how we can keep making BlinkList better and better.


Blink It

Thursday, August 11, 2005

BlinkList embraces AJAX (in action)

If you are interested in learning about AJAX, then one of the most important posts you can read is by Adaptive Path here.

BlinkList is also quickly turning into one of the best resources to find the latest and greatest information on AJAX since we have lots of power users that are leading AJAX developers. http://www.blinklist.com/tag/ajax/

We have long been big fans and proponents of AJAX because it can dramatically increase the usability of websites. Since AJAX is still new, I thought many people might want to see AJAX in action. There are 5 areas where we are currently using AJAX on our BlinkList site:

1. Pagination with AJAX
2. Favourite STAR
3. Tag rename
4. Copy, Edit, and Deleting links within Blinklist
5. Submitting Comment

1. Pagination with AJAX

Forget having to browse from page to page. With AJAX, new data can be sent between a users browser and a server, without having to do a complete reload of a users page. One of the best examples of AJAX on www.BlinkList.com is browsing through links. If you want to see the next page of search results, just click on the ">" (arrow) and you will see how the page is refreshed using AJAX. This makes browsing through search results faster and easier than before.

Of course this implementation is not perfect yet. It suffers from one of the most common flaws of Ajax design - namely it makes the back button useless. There are ways around this and we'll be experimenting to find a solution.

2. Selecting Favorites (starring links and tags)

One of the unique things about BlinkList, is the ability to mark (star) your favorite links and tags. Once again, we used AJAX to enable this feature. The benefit, users no longer have to click on a button such as "submit" to initiate and save the action. It all happens automatically.

3. Tag rename

We also allow users to rename their tags, incase they want to make changes. However, instead of having to send users to a different page, we can simply enable and bring up this feature via AJAX.

This helps us keep the UI super clean, simple, and easy to use. This is one feature where the advantages of Ajax can be very easily demonstrated.

4. Copy, edit, and deleting links

The benefit of using Ajax to enable these features are the same that as above. The complexity is hidden from the user. To them, the act of copying, editing, or deleting links is just seamless.

It also improves speed. Before using Ajax, the user would have to waste 2 clicks to delete a link. Now this is done with one click. Less time plus prettier effects.

5. Commenting on links

One of the new areas we are working on is allow users to comment on links. Once again, we are using AJAX to enable this. There is no major user usability advantage in our use of ajax here. Ajax is simply used to allow the comments to appear instantaneously. In addition we use some javascript, courtesy of script.aculo.us to create the smooth transition effect.

It's pretty obvious that we are using AJAX for almost all features where the user either submits or requests new data from blinklist. The clear advantages are speed and elegance As we move to web 2.0, we believe AJAX will play a central role.

If you have any questions about our implementations of AJAX or suggestions for improvements please do let us know.

Mike, Vishen and Jiangti

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Friday, August 05, 2005

Custumer says: "BlinkList is essentially the poweruser’s del.icio.us"

We got another great customer testimonial today. Here it is:

"The second thing you’ll notice is the new Blinklist feed on the side. Blinklist is a site very similar to del.icio.us in that it’s a social bookmarking network. Blinklist is essentially the poweruser’s del.icio.us, and it gives me a lot more tools to do what I want easily." Source

Tha amazing thing about the review is that the customer thinks of BlinkList as the poweruser's del.icio.us. That is a huge compliment and I have to give all the kudos to our stellar team of developers. They have and continue to work magic on the site!

Plus, I am very happy to see that people are starting to use BlinkList for their blog / link roll. It certainly is a super easy and fun way to syndicate lists of links.

Another blogger also wrote:

"Just found an outstanding social networking tool. A lot easier to use than technorati. Blinklist - Gallop on over to the site." Source

Once again, I am super surprised because I never thought about BlinkList and Technorati as being in the same market. However, I guess our "public" page is turning out to be lots of fun to read and browse for cool / fresh new info.

To our community I say: Thank you for spreading the news about BlinkList and let us know how we can keep making the product simpler and more fun.


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BlinkList adds ability to leave comments

Just wanted to let you all know of a new feature that we rolled out on blinklist today. We just added the ability for users to leave comments on a site, whether they want to blink it or not.

I would say that right now this feature is in alpha so be gentle and kind. :-)

There is lots of ways we are going to improve it over time. What you will see is that we are essentially developing a quick overview page of each site that is being blinked. This will include a preview of the page, other blinkers that have also blinked the page, as well as user comments.

There will be additional information on each site overtime to make blinklist more fun and engaging to use.

Given that this is brand new, please check it out and let us know how we can improve this feature and make it even more interesting.


Blink It

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

30% of clicks are fraudulent - Google what is going on?

I just came across an article that stated:

"As much as 29.5% of clicks on Google's AdWords ads could be fraudulent."

I personally just don´t understand why a company like Google that says "do no evil" will not give their advertisers more transparency and information on what is going on with AdWords. Very disappointing. To read more about the latest study click here


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Customer says - Ditch your del.icio.us list and migrate to blinklist

I stumbled upon another exciting BlinkList review today.

Here is a very flattering quote that we received:

"First off, ditch your del.icio.us list and migrate to blinklist. Why? It’s tagging system makes more sense, the interface is more intuitive, and it just looks better. "

If you want to read the complete review just click here

Very exciting stuff!


Blink It

Monday, August 01, 2005

BlinkList Review - "one of our favorite social bookmarking sites"

We got another excellent review by TechCrunch. These guys do nothing but profile Web 2.0 companies and it is great to see that they are very excited about BlinkList. Here are a few quotes from their review:

° "BlinkList is a social bookmarking service built on ajax.

° "BlinkList is very buttoned up and has some excellent features."

° "Overall, BlinkList is a worthy addition to the ranks of social bookmarking services, and one of our favorites. It doesn’t have the user base of del.cio.us, or all of the functionality of Shadows or Simpy, but it does have unique features that none of the others have. It could very easily get traction."

To read the full review click here:
BlinkList social bookmarking profile

Thank you TechCrunch for taking the time to check out and review BlinkList!


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