Seesmic & Disqus add up to video comments and more

If you aren’t a blogger you probably haven’t noticed this company named Disqus unless you really are paying attention when you leave a comment. But head over to Dave Winer’s blog, click on the comments, and if you leave a comment there, like I just did, you aren’t actually leaving it on Dave Winer’s blog. You’re using Disqus‘s commenting service.

“So what?” you’re probably asking.

Well, there’s a few things that Disqus does.

1. It hooks into FriendFeed. Why does that matter? Well, if you register your Disqus account (like I have) all of your comments left on blogs that use Disqus’s service, will show up on FriendFeed. Look at my FriendFeed stream. You’ll already see my Seesmic video comments that I left on some other blogs.
2. In the past hour they just turned on video comments thanks to a partnership with Seesmic. Go here to see my first video comment left on Dave Winer’s blog.
3. There’s an identity system. I don’t have to sign into comment on anyone’s blog who also has Disqus implemented. For instance, when I went over to and left another video comment there, I didn’t need to sign in. Plus my comments have my picture on them, which makes it less likely that someone will steal my identity.
4. Disqus comments are spam resistant. Because they use a robust identity system across blogs they can kick people off who misbehave.
5. Disqus comments are threaded.

Sam Harrelson was the first one to report the Seesmic/Disqus news on his CostPerNews blog.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this is because the video commenting system is quite nice. Easy to use and easy to watch.

This is yet another piece in connecting us all together in the real time system I call “the World Wide Talk Show.”

Here’s some sites that have the Disqus/Seesmic commenting feature turned on:

More will almost certainly come soon. I’m looking at this technology too. I’ve been talking with Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic (the folks who run my blog) and they are looking at a raft of things to do to make commenting better for users.

So, let the commenting wars begin!

If you are a blog owner, what do you think about Disqus? Like it? Recommend it to other people?


Did Andreessen miss the point of Google’s Friend Connect?

I was just reading feeds and it is 4 a.m. in the morning, so maybe I missed something here. But Marc Andreessen just spent quite a few words trying to convince me that Google’s Friend Connect doesn’t compete with Ning, the service he runs that helps companies build their own social network.

Now, if you compare Ning and Google’s Friend Connect head on, Marc is correct. They don’t compete. Ning is a complete social networking site that you can use without doing any coding. Friend Connect is a platform for building social networking features into existing sites (and more, but I’ll just focus on this one piece for the purposes of being clear here).

Look at it another way, though, and you’ll see that Ning and Friend Connect certainly does compete for the same users: people in corporations who want to add more social features to their existing Web sites. Very few corporate site owners, after all, will want to throw out everything they’ve done just to build some identity, commenting, and social networking features into their sites.

In Ning’s approach you gotta pretty much move your site over to Ning and really rethink things. At least that’s the way it’s always been presented to me.

In Google’s approach you just copy some JavaScript code over to your corporate site and, voila, you have a social network and features added to your site. Watch the presentation on Monday night that I filmed and you’ll see this demoed very well.

Reading Marc’s note, I’m not sure he got what Friend Connect does. That’s OK, I’m a little slow on picking it up too, which is why I videoed the Google event where they showed off what it is so I could watch it a few times and pick up on what they really showed off.

I can see why Marc would want his customers to think that Google’s Friend Connect isn’t a way to build a social network, but it sure looked like it is a competitor of Ning’s.

Now, in defense of Ning (and Ning’s competitors like Broadband Mechanics) Ning does a LOT more than what Google does so far.

But again, I doubt most corporate customers think they need everything that Ning offers. To many corporate customers Friend Connect will be just what the webmaster ordered and THAT has got to be causing Ning’s management to be concerned. Certainly enough to write a blog post trying to distance their offering from Friend Connect.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Marc Andreessen wrote me back already and said that his target market for Ning is NOT corporate customers who want to add social networking features to their sites. Looking at their site it looks like Ning is going almost wholly after consumer market. OK, if that’s true, then Marc has a point.

Compare cell phone to pro camera

You can’t compare a $3,000 digital SLR to a $500 cell phone from Nokia, can you? Well, look at these two photos. Which one was made with the Canon 5D with a 50mm F1.4 lens and which one was made with a Nokia N82 cell phone?

You can visit my Flickr account to see which camera made which images and you’ll see some other comparison photos and other images that I’ve made with the Nokia N82. Make sure you click on the “All Sizes” option to see the full resolution images to really compare.

Yes, if you look closely the images made with the pro SLR are nicer, but that isn’t the point. The point is that photos made with cell phones are getting to be darn good. The worst photo you’ll ever take is the one you don’t take because you didn’t have your camera with you. I don’t know about you, but only photo geeks like Thomas Hawk take their pro cameras everywhere (he shoots with a Canon 5D). I know I carry my cell phone everywhere, but only have my 5D a small percentage of the time, so I’m far more likely to get a shot of something interesting with my cell phone. Speaking of Thomas, he wrote two great posts yesterday. First is on the 10 things he learned from Ansel Adams. The second is about 12 ways to never miss a photo opportunity.

How does the N82 compare to the older N95? The camera is better and I like the phone overall better with one glaring problem: it doesn’t work with AT&T’s 3G network, so doing video on Qik on the N82 isn’t nearly as nice.

Canon 5D beach shots

Beach shot at sunset with new Nokia N82