There are two new services that I find to be very useful, especially if you are the type that doesn’t like to search for information on your own. The first one is called, Atiki. Atiki is a free service that will actually search for topics and keywords that you tell it to and give you a daily update on its findings from news websites and blogs by email or by subscribing to an RSS feed. The second service I am going to talk about is also created by Atiki and it is called, Techtiki. Techtiki is a personalized page that will return articles from blogs and websites based on topics that you select on your personalized page. By the way, it uses Ajax to grab the latest articles and blog headlines. More on this later, I will talk about Atiki first.
When signing up to Atiki, it will immediately ask you to create a list of keywords. Why? Because the way Atiki works is it will take the keywords that you provide and use them to search articles from websites and blogs and return you accurate results on what you are most interested in. This allows you to just provide Atiki a few keywords, let it do the work for you, and inform you about what it finds. Looking at the screenshot above, you will see the area that you provide your keywords. Don’t get intimidated by the first two fields! The first two fields take advantage of the Concept Strings while the last two are just simple keywords. Sure, you can do seperate keywords, but the magic happens when you use the concept strings. Let me explain how they work. Take a look at the first input field. When making this concept string, I had one thing in mind, blogging. So first in the string comes the name for the concept. This is the “blogging: ” part. After that follows a list of keywords each seperated by a comma. It is like creating your own group of keywords into one keyword. In this case, I used the keywords, “blog, blogging, blogs, blogosphere.” Now, when Atiki does its searching, it will look at the concept string and use all those keywords. To learn more about concept strings, view the concept help section. At first, I found this method a little confusing, but once you do it once, it is really quite easy and noticeably powerful.
Now that you have set your keywords, all you do it wait for Atiki to grab the latest results and notify when it retrieves them. You will not get results immediately though because it works on grabbing the relevant articles with your new strings as the articles come in. Give it some time and you will eventually recieve an email with the results. Not only will you get an email, but the main page and article history page in the control panel will allow you to view results. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed for your results if you don’t want to settle for email. Now, lets take a look at the above screenshot. You will see a list of articles with keywords on the left of them. Yep, you guessed it. The keywords on the left of each article are the keywords that it used in finding the article. You will notice that I am hovering over the word, “blogging.” Remember when I described about creating the concept string, blogging? Well, that’s it! It found the keywords from the concept string in the articles and returned the results and letting me know it was from that concept.
For the most part, the results Atiki returns are quite accurate. But remember, it is only as accurate as you want it to be, which is why concept strings are so important. Overall, I am happy with the results. If I had to suggest one thing though, it would only be that the orange hover for links hurt my eyes on the blue background! This is not a big problem and I do receive results via email everyday anyway and usually do not go to the control panel. If you are wondering, I have been using the service for a few weeks now and love it. Sure, I keep up with a lot of the latest news without it too, but usually I use blogs as my source. Using Atiki, it searches news websites and other sites for me so I don’t have to. Very helpful when keeping up on the bigger news media.
Techtiki: Fresh Personalized TechNews
As mentioned above, Techtiki is a personalized page that will return articles from blogs and websites based on topics that you select on your personalized page. It utilizes Ajax to immediately return results for you on topics such as Web 2.0, Blogosphere, Search Engines, Open Source, to name a few.
What I love about Techtiki is that it is a very minimal page that gets straight to the point, and that is returning you news that you want. You can select multiple topics at one time and it will present you a list of the sites as you click on the topics. The articles are pretty up to date and I can confirm this because of some articles being the buzz today are showing up on it. I can see some big sources appearing, such as BusinessWeek, Boing Boing, Read/Write Web, Wired, Memeorandum, and so on. Another great is the RSS feed. When you select the topics, it will take note of it and create a custom RSS feed depending on your selection. This way, you will always be updated on the topics that you are interested in most. I do have one suggestion for Techtiki. That is to show the articles in groups. The problem is that when you select more then one topic, the results are scattered. I am assuming this is because it sorts by date? This is great, but maybe also add an option to show the results by group and split up the each topic by a divider stating the topic. It just makes things a bit easier to comprehend as you look through the listing.
Techtiki is shiny and new, so make sure to help out the developer by making suggestions in the Techtiki Wiki. I have also discussed Techtiki with the creator and he seems very open to accepting new topics and other ideas that you may have.