Merlin Mann has just announced his involvement (as a member of the advisory board) with Stikkit, which looks like a really interesting new web application. I am still watching their screencasts and trying to figure out how (if) I could make use of this, but I’m already especially interested in how they extract data (like contact information, event dates, and such) from freeform text. I do wonder how robust it is and how easy it is to correct Stikkit when it makes a bad guess about what kind of information you’re entering.

Anyways. Have you played around with Stikkit yet? What did you think?

Posted February 6th, 2007 in Miscellaneous.


  1. Michael Buffington:

    Hey Lyle – thanks for the mention of Stikkit.

    We like to think that Stikkit thinks just enough, but not too much, about the freeform text you enter. We’re not trying to do any articial intelligence, but we do make a pretty big effort to determine what words you use in context with other kinds of words. Given the right patterns, it’s quite capable of determining a lot about what you’ve written. Consider the following string:

    “- call Jeff Taylor tomorrow at 4pm”

    With that one, very simple, string Stikkit knows that it’s at first a todo item (because of the -, which indicates an undone todo) followed by a peep (a contact named Jeff Taylor) and an event for a specific date and time. If you don’t have a peep for Jeff Taylor already, it creates one, and then Stikkit watches for information like phone numbers and email addresses in context with Jeff Taylor, and adds those little bits and bobs to his peep Stikkit.

    You can of course capture more simple or more complex data as well, but I think you get the idea.

    You can turn Stikkit off entirely by preceding everything with a !!, or for a single paragraph by starting the paragraph with !, or you can turn Stikkit on just for specific paragraphs by starting each like so:

    “stikkit, call Jeff Taylor at 555-555-1234″

    I’d love to see a follow up blog entry with your impressions after having used it for a while, and of course, I too am interested in what your other visitors think.

  2. Lyle:

    Will do, Michael. I noticed that when I added a Stikkit with the text “Sophia Bannister’s birthday on 2/10″, it did add the event to my calendar (yay!) but didn’t add a new peep for her (boo!). Perhaps Stikkit needs at least some kind of contact information (like a phone number or e-mail address) before it will add a peep.