Embedding is Now Enabled

September 19, 2007

Embedding is now enabled on Listphile. What this means is that any list, atlas or database on Listphile can now be embedded on any website. This is really cool because it greatly expands your reach when you create a list.

Imagine spending the time to put together the beginnings of a helpful resource, and then let people share and distribute it across the web by inserting it into their sites. Everyone still comes back to a central place to made adds and edits (Listphile), but suddenly your list is portable and has a very wide potential reach. This will encourage collaboration, and get your list/atlas/database under more peoples’ noses. Check out how the Open Surf Atlas looks when embedded on my personal site at stevedebrun.com:

Image of embedded Open Surf Atlas

It’s a pretty simple affair: in the right margin of the main page for every list on Listphile, you will see an area that contains the embed code. It’s just like YouTube. Grab the code snippet, and paste it into your blog or website.

Embed snippetOne big caveat: this will not work on blogs that are hosted on someone else’s server (i.e. listphile.wordpress.com, blogname.blogger.com, blogname.blogspot.com, etc.) This blog, because it’s hosted on the WordPress.com server, does not support the embedded code 😦 because the hosted wordpress.com blogs sanitize this kind of code. If you control your server, however, or have your own website, this should not be an issue.

This first release is pretty cool, however we hope to add lots of helpful controls that will allow you to change height, width, colors, font sizes and colors, layout, etc. For now, the embedded list will display as map, list or thumbnails depending on the default setting for that list. And if you feel like peeking under the hood, you can actually control a lot more by tinkering with the parameters in the embed code (height, width, rows, border). Enjoy, and as always, please send us feedback.


Wordie, for your inner word nerd

September 18, 2007

Wordie screenshot

If you are like most human beings, you probably like words, and use them quite a bit each day. Wordie.org, a website created by my friend and cohort John McGrath, is a site made for logophiles everywhere. The site is super fast and fun to use, and it has a growing, vibrant community of smart folks who create lists of words, and do all sorts of other interesting things. In the words of Wordie:

“Wordie is for talking about language. Start by making lists of words: practical lists, words you love, words you hate, whatever. See who else has listed the same words, add citations and comments, and discuss. Try checking out a random word.”

Wordie is a lot of fun, it’s easy to use, and making a list of words is a snap. Hats off to you John.

Crunched and Mashed and Demo’d

September 18, 2007

Crunched and MashedListphile launched, with little fanfare, on Monday night of last week. We wanted to have a quiet first day, then announce the site to the world. On Tuesday, Mashable got wind of our existence and posted this review of Listphile, which we thought was a pretty good start. Then, shortly after, TechCrunch’s Duncan Riley did a write up, and traffic started to pick up a bit more. Numerous other blogs picked up on our existence, and Demo Girl even did a cool screencast of Listphile which was probably more cogent than my ramblings 😉

The best thing about all of this if, of course, the people these blog posts brought to the site, and the amazing variety of lists that were promptly thrown into the mix. Now we regroup, fix bugs and work on a few top priority features (read: embeddable lists in your site).


September 14, 2007

wushi atlas screenshotOver here at Listphile World Headquarters (aka my garage) we are breathless from launching the site and a bunch of activity stemming from some nice blog activity. Thanks for coming by everyone, and special thanks to those of you who have joined and started adding to and creating lists. More on the blogosphere in a bit…

For now, I want to highlight a list that is quickly proving to be a helpful resource. It’s the wushu instruction: north america atlas created by xiongnu_lohon. Xiongnu has even taken the additional step of announcing this resource to the wushu community in a forum on the MartialTalk website. This is so cool, and just the kind of use for Listphile that we envisioned when we cooked this thing up. Thanks for taking the time and effort, xiongnu lohon. Our hats off to you.

Did you know that oysters have terroir?

September 10, 2007

Belon Oysters (from Wikipedia)I can’t say one way or another if oysters experience terror. Though perhaps at the hand of a rabid oyster lover, an individual oyster might experience a form of oyster-terror. I can say, however, that oysters have terroir. Wikipedia tells us, in its quiet Wikipedia-esque-authority-esque way that terroir

“…was originally a French term in wine and coffee used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon them. It can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place” which is embodied in certain qualities, and the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product.”

The concept of terroir is used more often to discuss wines and coffee, but oysters have terroir, too. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of oysters eaten worldwide are one of three species. Their uniqueness comes from their terroir. Local salinity, nutrients, temperature and trace minerals all contribute to an oyster’s flavor, firmness, size and shape. Some terms that are employed to describe an individual oysters taste and texture include “tannic”, “buttery”, “sweet”, “salty”, “firm”, and “briny.” And all of these stem from terroir. And there you have it.

Oh, and if you’re interested in oysters, check out this list-in-progress: Oyster Varieties on Listphile. Time to finish blogging and – yes – track down a fresh oyster or twelve.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

Listphile.com is now live.

September 10, 2007

Listphile home

A little while ago, I started thinking about the world around me — the world of nature, of human accomplishments, history, people, places, products, philosophy, geology, biology — from the point of view of Lists. Kinda simple, now that I actually write it down this way. I find that making lists are a really useful way for me to learn. And I thought to myself, “Why not make a website that enables people to make lists together?” Of course, the specifics have changed and gotten more complex (as they always do), but my hope is that people see the big vision here: Listphile can be used to share and collaborate around knowledge. The Open Surf Atlas on Listphile is the first baby step at creating something on the Listphile platform that a) has lasting value to people who use it, and b) is built by a community of users in an open way.

I guess I should say at this point that my definition of a list is a pretty broad one. As a matter of fact, some people might accuse me of cloaking my wolf (a database) in a sheep’s clothing (a list). To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me, as long as people see the potential of Listphile. I call these things “lists” because I think it’s a non-intimidating way to capture peoples’ interest. The fact that it’s a flexible tool with an open data model blah blah blah can be discovered later, by those who care to dig deeper, who want to customize, who are listing stuff that needs more organizational shaping, granularity. But I digress.

Anyways, I realized that there’s a lot to be garnered, and many fascinating connections to be made, when we use lists to help us organize and understand information. And if we take the power of the internet, mix in the coolness of open APIs and mashup culture, dip into the power of the participatory web, and marry it with this list concept, we can have something that’s pretty cool and useful. That’s how Listphile was born.

My guiding principle in creating this site, this tool, has been my curiosity. I really enjoy using Listphile, as evidenced by my list-interest in surf spots, oysters, Frank Gehry, Yoda (and lots more) and I really hope that other people will be struck by the same curiosity, and the same desire to contribute, to make their mark, to learn, and to look at their reality, at least for a short time, within the framework of a list. </run on sentence>

Without further ado, we humbly offer up to you as the first version of our beta product. Please send us feedback or get in touch with us if you have something to say or you’d like to get to know us. Oh, and by the way, “us” is three guys working out of our respective garages and cafes 🙂

Welcome, friends.

July 6, 2007

Hi friends. Welcome to a private version of Listphile. There are a still a few bugs that you might come across, but hopefully, in aggregate, you’ll get a sense of the potential of this application. Please feel free to contact me directly with any feedback, thoughts, critiques that you may have about this soft Beta. And don’t pull your punches — the more honest you are about the product, the more effectively we can identify weaknesses, missing features, and ways to improve Listphile.

One of the things I have tried to communicate in the video demo is the potential of this application if you approach it with some imagination and a vision to share knowledge widely and freely. Did I do this well in the video? Are there other examples or ways that I can stir the imagination and inspire people to embrace Listphile and use it to its fullest?

Thanks for any and all thoughts, either here in the comments, or directly via email.



Listphilia is up and running

June 5, 2007

Listphilia, the official blog of Listphile.com, is up and running and open for business. You will find announcements, rants, ponderings, pointings and other assorted mental gymnastics on this blog.