E-Quill could be the simplest killer app I've seen September 28, 2000 2:01 AM   Subscribe

jason mentioned this on his site, but E-Quill could be the simplest killer app I've seen in some time. It's IE 5+ (PC only too?) only, but is worth the install. It might just be the ultimate tool for metatalk about threads like this one
posted by mathowie to MetaFilter-Related at 2:01 AM (19 comments total)

The E-Quill is a VERY cool tool, and it looks as though they're going to be working on some more secure versions of it in the future.

More secure being an E-Quill server for a LAN, so rather than marking up pages in development (which is a big No-No for many corporations) they can remain hidden from the prying public's eyes.
posted by cCranium at 5:55 AM on September 28, 2000


I've been sending marked up pages to co-workers ever since I saw this on jason's page. I like it a lot.

I certainly do think that it' could definately serve a purpose on metafilter, but didn't think of it before.

just like me- leave it to other people to think out of the box, and for me to hop on the bandwagon. :-)
posted by TuxHeDoh at 8:22 AM on September 28, 2000


Heh. The first thing I did when I saw Jason's post was markup a page I was working on and sent 'em to my boss saying "We need specs on this this and that, and how should that table go and what about this spacing, and why is this colouring off?"

Unfortunately, I got mildly reprimanded for having internal information outside the firewall. Where reprimanded is "Fuck, that's really cool. Too bad it's not on our servers"

I sent an email to the E-Quill (tangent: I so totally respect them for using E-Quill instead of eQuill. I don't know why, but that lowercase 'e' or 'i' just really irritate me) feedback thing 'bout an enterprise solution, or other products.

Apparently they're going to be beta-testing the enterprise versions with some companies, but I imagine they'll want fairly large web development firms/departments for it, from the email I got.

Since the company I work for's rather small, with only one site, we probably haven't got a chance of being a beta tester, but I'm still pushing for it, it's a very cool application.

I love the fact that it uses like, 10 pixels by 30 pixels of window space, too (when you minimize it, that is) it's just very sleek. I almost never see it, and haven't noticed any kind of performance hit by having it installed.
posted by cCranium at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2000


I think it's a perfect tool for discussing threads. good idea, matt.

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 8:48 AM on September 28, 2000


whoops. due to the auto-login stuff, my equill demo gave away my password (which has been changed). I'll rework the comment posting mechanism tonight to show keep that encrypted and hidden.

So now, the link is to a screenshot.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:54 AM on September 28, 2000


Tell me how it differs from ThirdVoice, which I hated, and I'll be convinced. It's password-protected, yeah, so the exchanges are limited to whoever's explicitly authorised? But all the comments are based on their servers. And it's IE5+ only. Hmm.

Even then, it raises the ThirdVoice legal question: is it "fair use"?
posted by holgate at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2000


It isn't password protected. You're sent a URL.

What's ThirdVoice, and where do I find it?

Oh, that's ThirdVoice.

Well, after having simple glanced over the "What is it" page I would have to say there's an astounding difference.

ThirdVoice looks to be some kind of "Browser Assistant" device, adding an extra layer of functionality and relationships to web pages and stuff, making browsing easier.

E-Quill lets you mark-up a page with notes and lines and stuff, and share the marking up with other people.

Those are both fairly simplistic explanations of each product, but E-Quill can greatly enhance team web-based development (buzzzz buzzzz... sorry! enhance! ick!).

For instance, the client whose product I'm working on has someone else designing the page layouts, we do the backend, and make it all work. During the design phase, those designer people slap together a prototype, it gets sent to the client's CEO and my project leader, the two of them, over the phone, poke and prod at the design, then send a list of changes to the designers.

With E-Quill, they could theoretically just scribble lines out and write notes on the page for changes "Too much white space! Our logo isn't big enough! There's no way in hell all that data can be generated in a reasonable amount of time" etc., etc.
posted by cCranium at 2:31 PM on September 28, 2000


E-Quill lets you mark-up a page with notes and lines and stuff, and share the marking up with other people.

Which is what ThirdVoice used to be -- looking at the site, it's changed substantially from its first iteration, which allowed the same kind of "stickies" over a site, viewable if you had the browser assistant installed. There was a big hoohah on Dave Winer's site last year about it, and lots of discussion about the way it allowed "controversional" sites to be publically annotated withough the control of their owners.

So it looks like they dropped the facility, though uTOK is still around.
posted by holgate at 2:53 PM on September 28, 2000


Yep: from the FAQ


Frequently Asked Questions


Third Voice Overview

1.What is Third Voice 2000?
2.Why do I want Third Voice 2000?
3.How does Third Voice 2000 work?
4.How is Third Voice 2000 different from the original Third Voice?
5.Where can I use Third Voice 2000?
6.Will the new version of Third Voice work with the old version?
7.How long does it take to download Third Voice 2000?

Orange Underlines

1.What are orange underlines?
2.How do orange underlines work?

Explore, Shop, Discuss

1.What information do I get if I click the "Explore" button?
2.What information do I get if I click the "Shop" button?
3.What information do I get if I click the "Discuss" button?


Preferences, Username, Password, and Login

1.I'm not a fan of spam. Is there any way to block it?
2.Can I have more than one username?
3.How can I change my Third Voice password?
4.Can I customize my Third Voice?
5.How do I log in to Third Voice?


Third Voice Groups

1.What is a Third Voice group?
2.What is a Third Voice topic?
3.What is a Third Voice message?
4.How can I post a topic or message?
5.Can people respond to my posts?
6.Can I edit or change the content of my topic once I've posted it?
7.How long will my topic or message stay active?
8.Can I email one of my topics or messages to a friend or colleague?
9.How do I respond to a message?
10.How do I attach my post to a specific word on the page?
11.Why can't I attach a GIF or JPEG to a post or reply?


System Requirements

1.How will I know if I have the most recent version of the Third Voice software?
2.Will Third Voice work with any Web browser?
3.What operating systems are currently supported by Third Voice?
4.What operating systems are NOT currently supported by Third Voice?



Getting Started

1.What is Third Voice 2000?

Third Voice 2000 is the free personal Web assistant that turns words on any Web page into Active Words -
words that users can click on to instantly open gateways to the Web's top content, commerce and
communities. From stock quotes and product comparisons to Third Voice communities engaged in compelling
discussions all over the Web, Third Voice 2000 brings the Web to you.

2.Why do I want Third Voice 2000?

Third Voice 2000 is Web surfing the way it was meant to be. Third Voice 2000 offers you an experience that
is:

Relevant -- Third Voice 2000 gives you the specfic information you want, sorted in a logical way by
people--not computers.
Intuitive --People think and communicate using words, not URLs. Third Voice 2000 lets you use the
Web the same way.
Quick --Third Voice 2000 delivers information to you with just one click of any word or phrase. You
don't have to leave the page you're on. Third Voice delivers the information via the Third Voice
Viewer, to the right of your browser.

3.How does Third Voice 2000 work?

Once Third Voice 2000 is downloaded, simply click any word or phrase you see underlined in orange. Clicking
these orange underlined words--Active Words--launches the Third Voice Viewer, which contains listings of
direct links to content and Web pages related to that word. Third Voice lets you:

Explore further information relating to that word, and get answers to questions you have about it.
Get details on public companies, sports teams, musicians, etc.
Shop for a product (if the word or phrase is a product name) and compare prices across a range of
e-commerce sites. Find product reviews, product details, access to auction sites, etc.
Discuss themes related to that word with other Third Voice users across the Web. Participate in
discussions on topics like sports, politics, current events, class assignments, research, etc.


4. How is Third Voice 2000 different from the original Third Voice?

The original Third Voice allowed you to annotate words or phrases on any Web page and discuss content. Third Voice 2000 lets you take any word or phrase on any website, and use it as a launchpad for discussions, shopping and exploring. Third Voice was the first company to provide users with a voice on the Web. Third Voice 2000 now gives users a choice.

::

So it's been completely repurposed. At least eQuill has learned from ThirdVoice's mistake -- that open forums, especially anonymous ones, suffer from high rates of entropy ;)
posted by holgate at 2:59 PM on September 28, 2000


oh, arse. Netscape's cut and paste is a mess. could you please trim that, mathowie?
posted by holgate at 3:00 PM on September 28, 2000


Matt: How did E-Quill reveal your password? I went back and loaded your page from my cache and didn't see any security problems on it. I've been sending marked up pages to people today, and I'm wondering if I revealed any of my own passwords in the course of doing that.
posted by rcade at 3:15 PM on September 28, 2000


When I pulled up Matt's page, it had his username and password boxes filled in - and thus, I suppose anyone could've posted under his login.
posted by hijinx at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2000


yeah, if you viewed source, you could see my user/pass combo.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 4:46 PM on September 28, 2000


I think the biggest difference between the old Third Voice and E-Quill is the URL that appears in the Address bar. Under Third Voice, it was the URL of the original page, and a Third Voice user couldn't view that site without annotation. Under E-Quill, it is a URL at the E-Quill site, and you only see the annotation if you go to that site. The original URL can be viewed normally.

It's less invasive, though I think some of the critics of Third Voice also would not like E-Quill.
posted by rcade at 5:03 PM on September 28, 2000


Do you guys think there's any point in fearing that company projects (semi-top-secret-doo-ha's) will be in danger of getting out before they're actually launched? It does say that E-Quill reserves the right to take a peek at the pages every once in a while, but already from this conversation I get the feeling that this isn't a completely hack-proof app.

Still, even if I can't use it for work, you can bet I'll be using it for play.
posted by mockerybird at 3:03 PM on September 29, 2000


>Do you guys think there's any point in fearing that company projects (semi-top-secret-doo-ha's) will be in danger of getting out before they're actually launched?
It does say that E-Quill reserves the right to take a peek at the pages every once in a while, but already from this conversation I get the feeling that this isn't a completely hack-proof app.<

and therein, I suppose, lies a business plann.

enter the super-secret, ultra unhackable E-Quill Enterprise Version

rcb
posted by rebeccablood at 5:00 PM on September 29, 2000


... said version which I'm currently seeding thoughts of purchasing into the higher-ups where I work.

It's a good plan. Give away something that works very well for individuals, get the individuals hooked and wanting to use it, and the individuals with influence will get their corporate counterparts to shell out.

Methinks it'll be the business plan of choice for the next 2 or 3 years for many companies, and probably be a very succesful business model.

Certainly better than banner-ad driven revenue.
posted by cCranium at 9:48 AM on September 30, 2000


I hope they have a version for something besides I.E. soon.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 10:47 AM on October 1, 2000


I tried downloaded and installing this app but then all of the sudden norton popped up wanting to quarentine the .cab file...

??
posted by jessicamg at 9:20 PM on October 1, 2000


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