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March 27, 2010, 5:14 pm
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A while back, I think three years ago- it must have been around 2007 -
at CES I saw an app running on a Tablet PC called Ergo by a company
called Invu. At the time I thought it had some nice visual effects,
clustering technology, and did some clever deep-web searching.
I saw this iPhone app which was created by the start up spun off from
Invu called Wagumo - although by the looks of it none of the original
developers have gone to this new company, only the old CEO David
Morgan ; who has got an outsourcing organization called DataArt to
build an iPhone version of the original desktop Ergo.
Unfortunately the result is a bit of a disaster. The original beta of
Ergo was improved slightly by progress bars on the search connectors -
so even if you had to go off and make a cup of tea at least you knew
how long it was going to take. On the iPhone version you just get a
rotating ring of death as it whirrs away and maybe after a couple of
minutes if you are lucky it will bring you up the clusters.
The problem is when this program was on a desktop it was bad enough to
try and see the names of each cluster, now it is on a 4" iPhone
display it's virtually impossible. Also for some bizarre reason now
the network diagram slowly rotates to make it even more difficult to
read the names on the clusters.
I persevered with the numerous crashes that eventually got me to the
carousel of results. The scrolling through the pages was quite jerky
and not as graphically stunning as the old desktop version.
Also when you tap on the thumbnail it tries to render another larger
version, but again you just get the rotating ring of death and it just
sits there doing nothing.
In the old desktop version of Ergo you could then annotate the webpage
and email it. In the new version it takes ages to render the webpage,
but if you turn the iPhone on its side to try and fit the whole page
on the screen it doesn't do anything. And since you can't annotate the
page or email it, I suspect it would have been more intelligent for
these guys just to have redirected you to Safari and open the web page
with that instead.
In conclusion this is a real shame. Maybe if the original developers
had been involved they may have been able to create something nice.
I don't think I could recommend it, especially when there are free
browser based apps such as Clusty around which uses the Vivisimo
The original Ergo used Carrot Search Poland's Lingo3G .NET clustering
engine. I spoke to Stanislaw Osinski of Carrot and he said Wagumo
haven't licensed their clustering technology for this version,
although he seemed to think that looking at the clustering it was
theirs ! Oh dear sounds like a potential law suit.
I managed to get a version of the desktop version and it was supposed
to have been re-engineered to have been faster and better. If anything
it seems to be slower and clunkier. Also I couldn't get it to work on
Windows 7. Being a rich client application this isn't surprising.
I can't believe these guys are actually charging for this app, and
anyone would even pay for it. This should be browser based (maybe
Silverlight if they want to use .NET?) but it should be free.
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