What do you get if you cross a blog with a wiki? According to cyn.in (pronounced “sign in”) you get a “bliki” which has to be one of the more annoying acronyms of the year.
Cyn.in describes its service as “an enterprise bliki service that allows teams, companies or communities to manage, organize, store, version, search through, collaborate & discuss upon, share and publish … all [of] your rich content, audio, video, images, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, archives and any type of files.”
Cyn.in is a YASSS (Yet Another SaaS Service) that combines content storage and management (creation, versioning), collaboration, organization, and searching with alerts and RSS feeds.
Once you have established an account and provided your basic details you can access your “site,” which is identified as a subdomain of the cyn.in domain.
Across the top of the user interface display (the UI uses a mixture of AJAX, XML-RPC, and Flash) in your browser is a ribbon that offers: creating a new note; accessing your dashboard; browsing your Web and personal spaces; browsing your shared and personal notes; managing your settings and information; managing your site configuration; and a search field.
The whole UI is well engineered although the designer seems to be fixed on the use of large fonts which uses up more screen real estate than is strictly necessary.
When you create a note (full WYSIWYG editing and display are supported) you can add up to four of what cyn.in calls SlashTags. These tags are hierarchical and allow you to create tag paths such as “home/work/project1/” which makes organization potentially much easier (home is the name of the root of all site SlashTags). When you save the note it gets added to the space you select (intranet or public) and your tag hierarchy gets updated.
One minor problem is that any new SlashTag paths you create are not visible until you save the note so if you already have, say, “home/work/project1/” and you add the SlashTag “home/work/project1/notes” you won’t see the new branch “notes” when you create another SlashTag until you save the note.
Once you save a note it becomes visible in whichever space it was assigned to and you can browse spaces by selecting SlashTags. These spaces defined by SlashTags also have RSS feeds associated with them that include a basic RSS feed, a Podcast feed for MP3 audio files in the selected SlashTag, an Imagecast feed for images, and a Filecast feed for all files (including images and audio) in the selected SlashTag. You can also be notified of note changes by e-mail.
The dashboard provides an overview of your site’s contents and makes navigation very easy. You can comment on notes, edit them, and examine information about them.
So how does cyn.in compare to competing services? The company provides a useful comparison matrix, and as far as I can see the feature comparison is accurate and cyn.in wins hands down.
Free cyn.in Professional accounts are limited to two users, 25MB storage and 125MB bandwidth per month. For more users and storage pricing of cyn.in Enterprise accounts starts at $30 per user per month with each user adding 1GB disk space and 5GB data transfer per month to a site’s total.
Cyn.in is definitely a powerful idea but as it falls between blogs and wikis I suspect it will take some serious marketing to get people familiar with the concept. Indeed, the cyn.in Web site goes out of its way to show examples of how the service can be used.
I haven’t yet used it with a group of people but I suspect that cyn.in would be a great organizing mechanism for projects that are somewhat freeform in terms of content. I recommend checking out cyn.in – it could make collaborative group work much better.