Ideas for Websites and Web Features

12:15 pm PHT

Here are some ideas for websites or web features that I’ve been thinking about lately. I might probably implement some of them, but it’d be better if there were already ideas like these out in the wild already.

Metro Manila Al Fresco Dining Guide

You can call this website “Ang Presko!” since they both have the same etymological roots.  =) I’ve noticed that in the past few years, al fresco dining has become quite popular despite the tropical heat and the long rainy season we have. Eastwood, Greenbelt 3, Blue Wave Pasay, and The Fort Strip, are just some of the places that have sprouted up in response to consumer demands. (Myself, I prefer eating indoors where there’s air conditioning rather than out in open air where the smokers are.)

Anyway, I have not seen any local site cater to the al fresco dining public. The best candidate for this is but they don’t specify whether a restaurant or bar has an al fresco section.

Social Networking with Mutual Interest

Nope, that’s not a financial feature. What I’d like to see in social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace is a way to specify that you’re interested in someone without letting the other person know that you’re interested in him or her unless he or she is also interested in you. It would help cultures where people are generally shy (like Filipinos).

People are sometimes shy in sending messages to strangers in these sites since they don’t like the feeling of rejection, or knowing the other party isn’t interested because the message sender hasn’t received a reply. With this feature, you can send messages or whatever and not worry that the sendee will know you like him or her, unless he or she also liked you as well. Wouldn’t this be cool?

Song DB

I have never seen a music reference site whose primary data unit is a version of a song. Gracenote CDDB only catalogues CDs, while tracks releases in general (and provides excellent info as well), However, neither site tells you that this song in this album/compilation is exactly the same song in another album/compilation.

The All Music Guide (AMG) comes close in that it can tell you in which releases a song by a particular artist can be found. However, it doesn’t provide the information on a song version basis, which is important in the hip hop, R&B, and electronic music genres. Those genres generally have a lot of remixes and versions for their songs. Versions are lumped together under the base song in AMG. + Google can almost do the job, but it can’t tell you whether two versions of a song in two releases are, in fact, the same version. The “Original” version of “Sunlight” by DJ Sammy in this release (track 4) is most probably just the “Sunset Mix” like the one in this release (track 2). But you couldn’t tell at all from the site alone.

Notes can also be added for each version so that you can learn to tell versions apart. For instance, the radio version of Alanis Morissette’s “Hands Clean” is only 3:52 long while the album version is 4:31 in length and is exactly like the radio version except that the chorus repeated a few times towards the end of the song.

Categorized Ratings

One problem with free-for-all ratings systems such as those used in the Internet Movie Database is that you don’t know why a person rated a movie 8 stars while the another person rated it 4 stars. The person who rated it 4 stars might say that the movie sucked because it has no interesting plot, but the guy who gave it 8 stars agrees that it had no plot but gave it 8 stars anyway because it had great special effects and action, which he feels is the point of the movie, not the story itself.

Free-for-all ratings system then tend to have much much more steeper bell curve distribution in ratings than is normal. Imagine the same thing happening for music sites. Alternative music fans would rate bubblegum pop songs abysmally while classical music enthusiasts would rate techno music unfavorably. Ratings would then be mostly in the middle zone.

What we need is a way to categorize ratings. So movies would be rated in terms of acting, story, humor, effects, etc. I know that many websites already do this but improvements can be made. For example, using my music site example, nu metal music should be rated in terms of nu metal music instead of just plain music. (People who don’t know about nu metal shouldn’t be allowed to vote.) That way, nu metal fans can get recommendations from other nu metal fans about the best music in their genre.

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