Friday, December 16, 2005

My name is Furl.

Here is a cool tool alert - Furl. And by the way, Furl holds no relation to the TV show - "My name is Earl." (From Furl's website...) "Furl is a free service that saves a personal copy of any page you find on the Web, and lets you find it again instantly by searching your archive of pages. It's your Personal Web.

Furl offers the best ways to share the content you find on the Web, and recommends new Web pages that may interest you. You can also search Furl to find the best sites that other people are saving."

So how does it work? You add a bookmarlet link to your browser and when you come across a website you want to store in your "virtual file cabinet" (so to speak), simply click the bookmarklet and up pops a small window. (See below) From that window you can tag the website with keywords, rate the information, classify the info, cut and paste a portion of the page (even save a duplicate copy of the page) and email the results to a peer. Once the data is collected, it is instantly searchable.

I have been using Furl for awhile, long before it was acquired by Looksmart and it has always worked flawlessly.

Digability rating: Highly recommended.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Introducing... MSGoogle?

Hmmm... I wonder what kinds of new search technology, online gadgets and web advances will come out of this? The possibilities are staggering, yes? Read below...

Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. are setting aside their bitter animosity to back a new Internet research laboratory aimed at helping entrepreneurs introduce more groundbreaking ideas to a mass audience.

Sun Microsystems Inc. also is joining the $7.5 million project at the University of California, Berkeley. The Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed Systems, or RAD, lab was scheduled to open Thursday and will dole out $1.5 million annually over five years, with each company contributing equally. Staffed initially by six UC Berkeley faculty members and 10 computer science graduates, the lab plans to develop an array of Web-based software services that will be given away to anyone who wants it.

Conceivably, the lab's services could help launch another revolutionary company like online auctioneer eBay Inc. or even Google, which has emerged as one of the world's most valuable companies just seven years after its inception in a Silicon Valley garage.

"It's interesting to have Google as one of the founding investors because one of the big questions (the RAD lab is trying to address) is, 'How do you get the next Google out there?'" said Greg Papadopoulos, Sun's chief technology officer.

The lab already has created something highly unusual - a bond between Google, the maker of the Internet's most popular search engine, and Microsoft, the world's largest software maker.

READ: Google, Microsoft to fund new Internet lab

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If its banned by Google, its good?

Here is an interesting snippet from an article I read today...

"An unusual metasearch service named launched its public beta on the Web in October. By November, its novel approach to search got it banned from Google's listings."

Read: Illustrates Search Engine Ups and Downs

So, what is (pronounced "gotta-be") is a metasearch engine for RSS feeds. You can search for feeds on a topic dear to you and have them delivered to your desktop or mobile device. Which incidentally, is what got them in trouble with the Google. (Go figure...)

So after reading about them, I decided to look them over and see what kind of value I can glean out of it. (Tip: Check out Windows Live for managing your blog collection.)

Hmm... searches blogs... hmmm... How can I use that info to my advantage. I know! I will see who (if anybody) is laying people off and then position myself to scoop up the talent the target company could not afford to keep on. But who? Hmmm... since this is all hypothetical (and since there is a newspaper next to me with appliance ads) I will pick Whirlpool to pick on.

Now one thing, a somewhat "cool" thing about is that you don't gotta-be (pun intended) at their website to use their service. You just have to know their special syntax. For example, take a gander at this:

By adding that URL into your browser, you are asking to search multiple RSS feeds (blogs) for mentions of the terms "whirlpool" and "layoffs" in the same posting. By default it will check feeds on such engines as MSN, Icerocket, Yahoo and Google (among several others). You may notice that I used a dash (-) between the terms "whirlpool" and "layoffs." This was intentional as it tells that you are searching for two different terms.

Now let's say that you wanted to search for a particular phrase or phrases in conjunction with certain keywords. Not a problem! To designate phrases, just use a period between each word of the phrase and a dash to sepeparate the phrase or phrases (and keywords) for each other. In case you just said, "Huh?" Let me give you another example.

With this example, you are asking to search RSS feeds (blogs-again) for blogpostings that discuss "whirlpool", "layoffs" and the phrase "arkansas plant." I did not notice any word limitations on the search, so this could work as well...

Although by now you understand what I am doing, I will explain anyway. With the above URL you are searching multiple blogs for the terms "whirlpool," "layoffs," "economy" and the phrase "arkansas plant."

Of course, you could bypass all of this and go to the homepage and type in your terms that way. However, if you are out and about and you are itching to search blogs on your mobile device, then might come in handy. It is (afterall) ideally designed for mobile devices. Check out this quote from their "About" page.


It was borne out of several frustrations. If you've ever tried to visit a Web site over a mobile device, you know it's a pain in the knuckle. The domain had to be simple to key-in from anywhere. is 4232.2233 on most cell phones and PSPs. Normally, when you want to find something online, you have to choose a Web site (wait for the page to load) enter the query (wait for the second page to load) then see results from that provider. With "," you insert the query *AS* the subdomain!

Then, there's having to visit several sites just to get the results you want. Often, this isn't feasible when you're on-the-go. Even when you're sitting with a laptop or chained to a desktop, it's still a time-consuming process. We all love the individual search services, so why not bring 'em together? Okay, that's what we did. searches all of its categories by default. To focus your search to a particular niche, you have to visit the site. Here is a list of the categories you can use to further target what you are looking for.

amazon blogs default entertainment geeky health jobs multimedia news photos random research shopping social

If you are turned on by this and want to keep closer tabs on them, check out their updates blog.

Digability rating: Add this to your bag of tricks.

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UPDATE - 12-19-05!

I just received a psychic update from Glenn "The Great One" Gutmacher who points out that "" has changed a few things since I initially blogged about it.

Using the syntax in the way I mentioned above, for example: is no longer working. (Bummer!)

However, flipping the search this way will:

Thank you Great One!

Birth of a sourcer? (My little rant...)

When I was young, I had always loved libraries, even before I could walk. As I got older, I liked to go to libraries and ask to look at their library cards. Later, in June of 1999, I was given my first library card by the Anacortes Public Library in Anacortes, Washington. This library card sent off a amazing journey for me that included endless hours on the computer, sending emails to libraries or addressing envelopes to send to libraries (can you believe the cost of stamps)! Today, the collection grows almost every day, as a steady flow of library cards finds it way into my mailbox. It has grown to an enormous rate of over 1,000 cards! I hope to grow it into the greatest collection of library cards in the world!

Hmmm... he loves to research (even if it is for library cards), I wonder if I am witnessing the birth of a Sourcer? Click here to read his The Great Library Card Collection.

I noticed recently, well, not just recently, that many companies see Sourcers only as Junior recruiters. (Hey, start off as a sourcer and then move up to Recruiter 1st Class!) Whenever I see that I immediately recognize how the skill of Recruitment Research is undervalued. (Fortunately for me, Microsoft is not one of those companies -Yay!)

You know what would impress me? If I see a staffing firm (searchfirm, whatever) seeking a sourcer without the carrot that it is a way in to better things. (Not to undervalue recruiting!)

I would be impressed if they required something more than just a certification (from a certain company) and actually tested them on their searching skills. (I mean, how do you know that the person with the certification did not just "show up" and stayed awake long enough to get a piece of paper?)

Hey, it would even knock my socks off to see a searchirm require someone with a background (or degree) in Library Sciences and pay them something more than $35,000.00. And in case you are such a firm, let me give you a clue. Hire a Junior Recuiter OR a Sourcer, but do not try to force two jobs on one person (especially without doubling the salary as well). And oh yeah, stop thinking that online research is irrelevant to phone research and recognize the value in both.

Sorry for the rant... A buddy of mine was insulted and I had to vent. (blush - excuse me!)

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

How to source like big brother...

A little birdie told me about RIYA, a company whose face-recognition technology automatically tags people in photos so you can search for just the photo you want. And here is the Wow! factor, you can search for these photos in your photo album, your friend's photo album and ON THE WEB! Oooh...

What am I oohing about? Imagine you are looking for a lost love from highschool and all you have to go on is a highschool yearbook picture. Scan your picture, upload it to Riya and it searches its system and then the world wide web for that person's face! Oh, lookee there, your long lost love's picture on the cover of a "Girl's Gone Wild!" video. (Gee, aren't you really sad now that you lost touch with her?)

Howzabout this scenario... Say you are looking for SATCOM engineers and are getting nowhere with your usual methods, but you discover the homepage of Joe Schmo from CoCoMo. Joe is a SatCom guy without a resume linked to his homepage (sad face). He does however, have pictures of himself at a SATCOM seminar/tradeshow along with co-workers and people passing by in the crowd. Hmmm... Why not take that picture, upload it to Riya and track the attendees of the seminar/tradeshow to their homepages and offer them your wonderful opportunity?

Or... License this puppy out to Homeland Security (or Jack Bauer) and scan the internet for no-goodniks who cheesed for the camera or, were in the background of a family photo and did not realize it. How cool would that be? Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Riya also recognizes text in a picture. Why care about that? Well, what if you wanted to verify when a picture was taken? For example, you could use Riya to take a closer look at the headline of a newspaper someone was holding in the background. (Dewey for President? This photo was not taken yesterday. It is a fake!)

"Wow!" you say, "Can Riya really do all of that?!" Umm... to some degree, yes. Click here to check out all they have to offer and by the way folks, their service is FREE (and in Alpha stage).

Digability rating: WoW!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Alexa Web Search Platform Beta

Here are some highlights from a recent WSJ article.

An Inc. unit plans to allow software and Web developers to request customized data searches when it scans the Web to seek new information, something that other commercial search engines generally don't allow.

Alexa Chief Executive Bruce Gilliat said its new service will give developers access to specialized content, let them create more exciting applications and, in some cases, alleviate potential work for start-up companies.

For instance, someone who wanted to build a podcasting search engine could use Alexa's tools and computers to request specialized audio files that were newly available on the Web. That would allow the entrepreneur to spend more time coming up with a way to search for relevant podcasts, Mr. Gilliat said.

Rainer Typke, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student in the Netherlands, developed a search engine that lets Internet users identify music knowing only the melody and has already been using Alexa's new service. With it, he has been able to significantly expand the number of melodies on his Web site,, to 1,000 with very little labor, Mr. Typke said. People who use his Web site to identify certain songs will find keywords so they can name that tune and, if interested, follow links to buy relevant music CDs on Amazon's Web site. Mr. Typke receives a commission when a visitor to his Web site makes a purchase on Amazon's.

Check out: Amazon Revs Its Search Engine

Why does this matter? With Amazon's Beta, anybody can create new search services without having to invest millions of dollars in crawl, storage, processing, search and server technology. End result? Expect lots more searchengine apps on the horizon for '06.

Digability rating: Alexa Web Search Platform Beta is something I will keep an eye on.

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Sourcing new clients (with Kung Fu!) Haaiii-yah!!!!

So let’s imagine that you are a Staffing Agency or Search Firm (to-may-toe/ toe mot-toe) struggling to get along or just getting started in the marketplace. The competition is fierce and the clients seem few and far between but fortunately, you are reading this clever blogpost of business development tips.

(Insert the theme to the 70’s TV show, “Kung Fu” and imagine a bald-headed, Kung Fu fighting Shaolin monk imparting sacred knowledge to you.) “In order to have a prosperous recruiting business grasshopper, you must sell your services to those that are willing to buy.”

“And how do I find potential clients open to retaining my services, old wise master?” you ask. “And how can I get ahead of my competition that is feverishly trying to find the clients I am so diligently seeking?”

Although I am not a Shaolin Monk (nor do I play one on TV), I will attempt to answer this question with my own bit of wisdom.

Research is the short answer but, here is the extended reply:

For argument’s sake, I will assume that you are an IT recruiter - pretty tricky since a huge chunk of technical projects are being shipped overseas. Tough break if you have X number of consultants on the bench. Maybe its time to quit recruiting altogether… and maybe not?

Consider this…

Information Technology was all the rave during the Dot-Com era, but it is a new day now (or is it? Helloooo Web 2.0) and for some, recruiting nurses is the buzz. However, that is not the only game in town. Or is it? For the answer to that, let’s trot down to the Department of Labor (DOL) and put your hard earned tax dollars to work. Besides administrating unemployment benefits, the DOL monitors the labor market nationwide, statewide and locally. Why not do a bit of poking around to see what industry is the most viable in your neighborhood and beyond.

Ah! I sense that some of your eyes are glazing over, so let me give an example for clarity’s sake. I am in Atlanta, GA, so I visit the Ga. Department of Labor’s website in search of business.

This is what I see:

Right away I notice a link that says “Workforce Professionals.” (See the arrow?) I click it.

Right away I notice that there is a lot of good info to exploit. However, my eye zooms in on the #1 most frequently asked question: “What are the fastest growing occupations in Georgia?” So of course, I click that too.

I skim through a quick paragraph of info and see, “Six of the 20 fastest growing jobs are related to health services and five are related to computer technology.” I click the “Georgia Occupational Trends In Brief” link and a nice little report pops up with data substantiating their claim. How nice of Uncle Sam to do such due dilligence for me (and you - wink).

Should I rest satisfied with only this knowledge? Nope! I also want to check out the “Georgia Economic Indicators, Monthly Report” to see which industries have the money to pay me now and “Georgia Regional Occupational Trends” to see where in the state my services are most needed.

Let’s say I read all of this information and figure that the WIRELESS industry is going to explode in the coming months. Knowing this, I can position myself as a supplier of talent to the Wireless industry. I better get started right away before everyone else catches on (wink).

The Department of Labor is a good beginning, but it’s not the only spot for this kind of thing. Have you ever heard of “The Dismal Scientist?” Bookmark this website! It’s a keeper.

Visit the Census Bureau Economic Programs which monitors what sectors are hot and which are not.

Check out the Economics Statistics Briefing Room! This is what the President reads when he considers the state of the union!

The friendly folks at will keep you current with their live market analysis.

Okay, what if you are feeling a bit too antsy? What if after reading all of that you say to yourself, “Self, you are just too lazy to do all of that research, act on it and stay current on all of that stuff.” To that I would say, there are any number of tools designed to motivate you. Anything that helps you put the hours in to make the best strategic move might prove very worthwhile. However, if you were still unwilling, I would bring to your attention Plan B.

Plan B is to conduct a survey of old clients (if you have any) and those you would love to be your clients to gather data more directly. I can imagine the bewilderment in some of your eyes, so let me give you a play-by-play.

Scenario #1 – No clients at all

1. There are plenty of websites in cyberspace to which writers may submit their work. They are called “Free Content” sites and they generally operate as a place where online magazines can get free articles for publishing. (Take a peek at this link for example: Whether or not you are a great writer is irrelevant to utilizing this technique.

2. Contact the Gatekeepers and explain that you are writing an article (which you are) on industry trends. Ask Gatekeeper if you could forward a questionnaire for the purpose of routing it to specific workers/management (see the example at the end of this post).

3. Hopefully the gatekeeper will forward the questionnaire. Make sure that your questionnaire requests that all answers be emailed to you. (This of course creates a link for future contact that will enable you to follow-up after your article is completed. Who knows what can happen then?)

Scenario #2 – Old Clients

This is easy. Just call your old contacts, see where they are, ask them for their forecasts for the next quarter and begin preparing now. No gimmick needed when you already have an “in” to exploit.

Name: Job Title: What are your job functions? Do you anticipate hiring in the next quarter? If yes, in what areas? What do you think will be the future of your industry in the coming months?

Thank you for your answers! Your response will be added to a survey of employers that serve your industry. By submitting your opinion, you will automatically receive notification of this survey’s results. Please send your comments to: John Q. via email to:

You like? Happy Hunting...

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Monday, December 12, 2005

Pagebites is sourcing with cold-hard cash...

Check out this sourcing method Pagebites just implemented.

We will pay you for your time: PageBites is hiring, and we are willing to pay you $100 to interview with us.

Who we are looking for: Smart and hard-working programmers who want to help us improve PageBites. We want someone who can join our team immediately. You must have (or be working towards) a degree in Computer Science. We are located in downtown Palo Alto, CA, so you need to be in the Bay Area.

What you need to do: Upload your resume to PageBites. You can sign up for an account here.Send us an email at with a link to your resume and the subject line: "I want to work at PageBites."We will select qualified candidates for a phone screen. If you pass the phone screen, will bring you in for an interview and pay you $100.


Well, I must say that this is a clever ploy because it works on so many levels. Let me count the ways...

1. It is something different! It breaks through the clutter of the everyday jobposting.

Geeks have been emailed and phoned ad nauseum for gigs ever since the first computer crashed. As a result, many flat out ignore the siren song of better opportunity and regard recruiters as a nuisance (which is why many of your blind emails and cold calls go unanswered). But since Pagebites is flashing C-notes as an incentive to just talk, then a geek may very well try her/his luck at the roulette wheel of career chance. Afterall, who else is tossing (potential) greenbacks just to chat? (Hmm... How many geeks will think about all the other phone interviews they have given for free?)

2. This is buzzworthy!

If I could do the stuff Pagebites was advertising for, I would turn my resume in and tell my buds.

"Dude," I would say, "Try your luck over at Pagebites. Whomever wins, buys the beer."

(And then we would chuckle like Beavis and Butthead as we continued playing my XBox 360.)

The flipside about this is that Pagebites will attract geeks who have NO intention whatsoever in joining them as they only want the money (for the weekend, or maybe the holidays). Not neccessarily a bad thing as a requirement to playing Pagebites' job lottery is to upload your resume into their system. This serves (of course) to increase their inventory, making them a more attractive offering to their customers. More resumes translates into more traffic from recruiters and with more traffic, the potential to make more money increases as well. (Ka-ching!)

Pagebites has a win-win plan here. I would be very curious to see how it all pans out. (And how many people take them up on their offer.)

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