May 5, 2000 12:54 PM   Subscribe

DeapLeap, Flyswat, Octopus, Backflip, and Clip2 have all been out for a little while now. Personally I've checked each of them out, even used them for a day or two, but none stuck with me. Am I just old fashioned? Will these tools/sites catch on?
posted by chaz (22 comments total)
Have you tried I found it to be the best of the bunch -- but as always your mileage may vary!
posted by shrubber at 1:46 PM on May 5, 2000

Personally, I find Deepleap the most addictive... maybe it's the Pyra-like staffing which provides that extra something. Or has it got more scope? I can't really decide - Deepleap has made a good, solid start but still has a way to go yet(!)

By the way - anyone heard of a tool called Blogger (hehe) - it's by far the most addictive app of the entire bunch - right at the top of the pile.
posted by williamtry at 2:02 PM on May 5, 2000

(in sing-songy schoolgirl voice)
williamtry's a kiss-up!
williamtry's a kiss-up!

posted by wendell at 2:34 PM on May 5, 2000

i found octopus to be too counter-intuitive to be useful. it seemed like too much work to set up the views for too little payoff.

flyswat is kind of interesting, but it only works on the windows/ie platform, and i'm a firm believer that services shouldn't be platform-specific. and you have to download software for it to work, so you can't just immediately use it on any random computer.

and i'm pretty biased about deepleap since i'm going to be working for them this summer :)

i think the important (and i guess obvious) point is that people need better tools to manage, connect, annotate, and save the important and relevant bits of information they encounter constantly on the web. personal information managers don't cut it in the wired, interconnected world.

well, that sounds kind of dumb. i don't know about other people, but at least i feel a need for better web based tools to manage my web based life.
posted by adam at 3:08 PM on May 5, 2000

No, I also feel the need, which is why I bothered to try out all of the sites/tools (and some others) that I mentioned. But so far all of them have seemed to cumbersome to actually use...but of course all of them are in their infancy. Does anyone use one or the other all the time, every day?
posted by chaz at 3:14 PM on May 5, 2000

I'm a deepleap user, and I hope that it will catch on. I think that a difference between blogger and deepleap at present is that with blogger, you can see how people are using it and get inspired (or uninspired) from that. I reckon that when deepleap users can make their wishlists, notepads and bookmarks public in interesting and creative ways, and when there's a possibility for the users to interact more with each other and with the deepleap crew, then it might take of.

Or so I hope.
posted by grestall at 4:28 PM on May 5, 2000

I use deepleap occasionally, but it hasn't really become an integral part of my web experience yet. It could. It certainly offers strong benefits.

My issues with these types of web-based applications is mostly that we have to deal with web-based interfaces. That means having a seperate window open at all times. That means having to task-switch between windows to lay down a bookmark.

I know it might seem like a petty complaint, but it's just a matter of getting used to the interface. And most people aren't very good at getting used to things.
posted by Succa at 5:15 PM on May 5, 2000

I still haven't seen a clientside webapp that helps me organize my info the way I want it organized. And until I get a decent machine to run MySQL on, I can't run any on my servers.
The problem with most of these is that the popup windows are all kinds of fubar'd on NN/Linux. XFree86 counts pixels a little differently than NN, so when NN requests a window of (x)by(y) dimensions, the actual real estate of the content is smaller, and for some reason the scripts specify NO sliders. End result: I can't access the fields and buttons to make the things work.
Whomever gets it right stands to make a bundle though, that's for sure!
posted by katchomko at 5:24 PM on May 5, 2000

Not to too our (my) own horn here, but Deepleap knows when you're using a unix browser and compensates, or at least tries to. Myself and benbrown both run FreeBSD and it works fine under NN 4.61, give Deepleap a try and let me know if it doesn't look right. If changes need to be made that can be done fairly quickly, though I would suspect that there isn't much difference between NN compiled under bsd and NN compiled under linux. The majority of our workstations are Macs or Xwindows boxes, so we get to fight will all sorts of compatability issues. heh. joy!
posted by bryanboyer at 5:46 PM on May 5, 2000

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what Deepleap can do for me (so far the notes seem extremely useful) but the small window bugs me. What it is the rationale for making it non-resizable? I know it can make the html a little harder, but is there I reason I can't at least specify S, M, L sizes or something (then you can just have three templates). Fully resizable would be even better. Or, at least, make it about 5 pixels bigger so that the horizontal scrolls don't show up . . .[At this point he realizes that MF probably isn't the appropriate forum -- we are all getting a little paranoid.]
posted by sylloge at 5:58 PM on May 5, 2000

Just real quick I'm going to say that we are currently exploring both size options (S,M,L,XL [no, not Rem Koolhaus!]) and a fully resizable option.

Also, to Matt, we're posting the site very soon so hopefully we can get these discussions out of Metafilter.
posted by bryanboyer at 6:11 PM on May 5, 2000

naw, it's cool to talk deepleap or the other techs mentioned.

As for the popup window, I can't wait for a IE search bar deepleap version. If I had that and auto-refreshing status for each page I was on, I'd use it non-stop.
posted by mathowie at 6:21 PM on May 5, 2000

That would be cool, indeed. Matt, did you join the wrong team? :-S

The search window is definitely useless; I never used it until I found it's the perfect place for the subhonker weblogs filter. Unfortunately it means that now new windows open with that useless search window anyway. If I could make it something I'd actually use, now ...
posted by dhartung at 6:47 PM on May 5, 2000

I actually love DeepLeap and the people behind it. It's a lot more fun to use the app when you respect the crew who built it.

>>> I use deepleap occasionally, but it hasn't really become an integral part of my web experience yet. It could. It certainly offers strong benefits. <<<

That mirrors my own experience, but not because it's not useful. I simply forget to use it. And yet, how happy am I when I get home and remember that I wanted to look at something I DeapLeaped at work? I really like the online notepad. A LOT! And yet, again, for some reason, I still don't use it. Damn I hate that.

For saving entire web pages, I use the Filo feature of to capture entire web pages, and although i-drive offers bookmarks as well, I prefer DeepLeap's layout.

I tried BackFlip but it didn't stick at all.

posted by fooljay at 7:00 PM on May 5, 2000

I work on many different platforms, using many different browsers. None of the software-dependent services work on all the machines I own, and because I don't have the authority to install software on computers I don't own, they do me little good when away from my computers.

Backflip looked like exactly what I was looking for, but I didn't like their terms of service when I was going to sign up. I chose MyBookmarks instead. Unfortunately, they appear to have merged with Backflip, and did a poor job of communicating this with users (then again, this happened only 2 weeks ago.) Backflip appears to have changed the terms from the original. I don't know for sure, but they don't seem as repellent as they did a few months ago.
posted by Electric Elf at 9:14 PM on May 5, 2000

I will admit to not really understanding what DeepLeap does.

I was casually following the development through Bryan’s My Start-Up Life, so I downloaded the program soon after the beta was released and installed it on my home machine. I couldn’t make head or tails of it. As far as I could see, it allowed me to (a) store bookmarks remotely, and (b) search Google, which is not my search engine of choice anyway, without opening a new browser window. Handy, perhaps, but hardly the revolution we’d been promised.

Somehow I suspect that there’s a lot more to the program, and that I’m just not getting it. That’s no big deal to me, as I can’t miss what I don’t know exists, but given I’m hardly a techno-newbie it makes me wonder how likely the average netizen is to work out what’s going on.

Obviously, DL’s still in beta, and I’m sure both the clarity and the documentation will improve before the final product. But will it be enough to make it a "must have"? I'm starting to think that's unlikely. A product needs to offer a lot more than remote bookmarks and Google to win me over.

I'd be interested to know the numbers on Flyswat, Backflip, etc. Are any making big inroads? Do people think they ever will?
posted by Georgina at 11:58 PM on May 5, 2000

This was a good post. Pay attention Deepleapers: I invested about 1/2 an hour into figuring out what Deepleap does beyond the bookmarks and Google search (and it was not easy). I did that mostly because we have friends in common and I was really curious (charities that the average user will not afford you).Now that I am starting to "get it" it does seem very cool, and there is a possibilty of DL becoming part of my daily routine, but I still couldn't articulate what it does in a way that would really excite people. I need to be able to do that (every one of your "customers" needs to be able to that) for the meme to spread. But the thing is that you (as a company) don't seem to be able to do that yet. Going back to your site again and re-reading, it makes much more sense (I spent, as most people will, about 30 seconds reading the site when I first went there). But after I signed up and opened it the first time, I had absolutely no clue what it did (again, aside from bookmarks and google) and still have to guess which function is behind each tab and icon every signle time I use it. Clarity is what's missing here.(On the other hand, any company which has the VP of Product Development email me for clarification after a MF post is A+ in my books.)p.s. I love that "" works. I am sleepy.
posted by sylloge at 12:30 AM on May 6, 2000

Heh. Titles, titles. Ugh.

Sylloge and Georgina, you're both very right and make valid points. One of the biggest problems we've run into is that there is no real world comparison we can make. I can't pick up a letter and say, "Deepleap is the web equivalent of sending mail," like the people at Hotmail can. The concept behind Deepleap is significantly complex that it becomes very difficult to explain it quickly. But it isn't impossible and we're working on a couple of ways to help explain what it does. One of the ideas we've considered is making a guided tour for people who already have the app. Currently we offer a (very wordy) tour for potential users, but guiding current users through a tour of our services may be a good way to 'show not tell' the abilities of the app. Something much more graphical would also be a big help, I think. (Maybe we can have flash zooming in and out and twirling. Come to think of it, maybe we'll redo the app in flash. Ohh, with Windows streaming media banner ads! Yeah! Yes, that was all sarcastic.)

One of the problems is that Deepleap operates in context which is why everyone sees bookmarks and google. If you open Deepleap on Any Old Page with no selection it will offer those two options. If you open it on an amazon product page, well then, you'll see many more options like comparison shop, find opinions about this product, &c. When you highlight text it gets even better. Playing movies names and public company names both allow retrieval of further information. But like you've both said, no one knows this functionality is there.

I'll be honest and say that we consciously released Deepleap without this very important aspect (clarity of function) being perfectly refined because we knew that this community would allow us some time to work it out. Metafilter is, by and large, comprised of Early Adopters-- the people who find the cool stuff first. Until we have it in perfect shape, those who have found that Deepleap is pretty neat can give it a whirl and hopefully if they get fed up they'll at least give us another chance when we go out of beta.

Two other random bits here: Georgina, we'll be adding the option to choose a default search sometime in the near future.

Stewart, we bought 8 variations of the domain. =)
posted by bryanboyer at 1:10 PM on May 6, 2000

Also, we just recently added some more tools to the default options you get on any ol' page, things like palm conversion and email-to stuff.

I agree with Bryan and sylloge that Deepleap doesn't yet tell the user what it does, which we've been struggling with from the start. The neat thing is, soon, you'll be able to tell it exactly what you want it to do. :)

posted by benbrown at 1:24 PM on May 6, 2000

(scroll up to bryanboyer's post) Rem Koolhaas. With double A. Dutch. Not German. :)
posted by prolific at 5:11 PM on May 6, 2000

doh! that was a typo. I actually dug out my copy of SMLXL to remember how to spell his name.
posted by bryanboyer at 8:43 PM on May 6, 2000

Thanks for the response, Bryan. I'll download the next version and give it another go.

posted by Georgina at 11:48 PM on May 6, 2000

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