Asia’s Obsession With Lists

Last week the WSJ asked me to dig around for sites in Asia-Pacific that are building on the new Obsession with List making, as reported by Katherine Rosman. Here is the result (subscription only), and are some of the sites I came up with. I’d love to hear more from readers, as I’m sure I’ve missed lots.

  • China’s answer to 43thingsAimi — looks a lot like it, right down to the colors and design. Compare 43things
    with Aimi:
  • Japan has been more creative, with some pretty cool looking sites including Ultra Simple Reminder, check*pad and ReminderMailer.
  • Australia’s reminder service Remember the Milk is Big in Japan — 15,000 active Japanese users have signed up since its launch in July. Omar Kilani, the guy behind it, tells me “the service is also available in both Simplified and Traditional Chinese and we have a soon-to-be launched Korean version as well.” I’ll keep you posted on that.
  •  Jon Anthony Yongfook Cockle, a 26-year-old Briton based in Tokyo, has developed a very cool, simple reminder page called OrchestrateHQ, where users can enter quick reminders in either English or Japanese. He’s also about to launch a suite of simple Web-based applications called Jonkenpon (nothing up there at the time of writing).
  • Lastly, from the guys at Alien Camel, a new service called Monkey On Your Back which allows users to make a to-do list for things that they want other people to do:
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It’s Not Always About Online

Software developers used to write programs that looked and worked great on their big-monitored, big-powered, big-hard drived computers, forgetting that most of us have small screens, weak computers and no disk space. Now, with Web 2.0, they’re writing programs that assume we’re always online. Well, we’re not. Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network, trying to retrieve his flight booking in a hurry, highlights the dangers of relying on something like Gmail when either you, or it, isn’t always online:  

Pull up Gmail to check my booking. Gmail down. GMAIL DOWN??!??!?!?! Get a message saying “sorry, gmail is down. we’re trying to fix it. please check back in a few minutes.”I don’t have a few minutes. Need to get my ass to the airport or miss my flight. Jump in car. Check Gmail again from my mobile while I’m driving (don’t crash don’t crash oh don’t crash) – still down.

Yes, he probably should have printed it out at the time. Yes, he should have saved a copy to his hard drive/phone in case. Yes, we shouldn’t rely on free email services, however big and snazzy the company. But the truth is that (a) Cameron is as human as the rest of us and (b) we use these services as if they are a service, which they’re not. They’re a luxury that only exist as long as the company want them to exist, and as long as we’re online. 

This second lesson is easier to remember if you live in a part of the world where most of the people are not online for most of the day. This is partly because it’s not that kind of culture, and it’s partly because the quality of cable Internet here is so low. But this is a good thing, because it means I never rely on online email for important stuff, and because it means that whenever I find something good I save it somewhere I can retrieve it whether or not I’m online.

Bottom line: I love web-based applications like Basecamp. But I’m never going to build critical tasks around them so long as I can’t access them, or a recent backup of them, when I’m offline. This is one area where the likes of Groove have an edge. And while the argument may follow that one day everyone will be online, I’m betting that one day, too, everything will come to a shuddering halt when the Internet fries one day and we’re all scrambling for our offline backups.

Oh, Cameron made his flight ok, by peering into his offline backup. In this case his brain.  

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Firefox Moves To Mass Market?

NetApplications, a ‘leader in Web-based applications that measure, monitor and market Web sites for the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME)’, says (no permalink available) that Firefox “continues to sway users away from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer”.

Firefox reached 8% during the month of May up from 7.38% in April. Firefox’s gain is Microsoft’s loss whose base dipped to 87.23% in May down .77% from April of 2005. Safari also gained a modest tenth of a percentage posting 1.91% in May 2005. Most other browsers experienced little change during the same time period.

NetApplications says IE is losing “an average of .5 to 1% loss of users each month.”  Notes Dan Shapero, Chief Operating Officer of NetApplications: “FireFox is gaining traction with early adopters and its popularity and adoption rate are starting to tap into mass-market acceptance as buzz continues to build.”

May 2005 Browser/Market Share:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer – 87.23%
  • Firefox – 8.06%
  • Netscape – 1.64%
  • Safari – 1.91%
  • Mozilla – 0.58%
  • Opera – 0.51%
  • Other – 0.07%

The data was collected from over 40,000 global Web sites.