Patrice-Guy Martin, editor of our French-language magazine Direction Informatique, alerted the rest of us to the beta mash-up engine Yahoo Pipes. Pipes is essential a design-your-own-newsfeed service, which allows you to pluck RSS, databases, search engines and the like, combine them, sort them, filter them, and customize a feed to your browser, which you can publish for others to use.

It. Is. Painfully. Easy. Once I’d convinced myself it really was that simple, I set up a pipe to scan four categories of Canada Newswire in about 90 seconds. I set up a job-scanning pipe feed for a friend in about 30 seconds.

Curious … Anybody out there mashed up a feed on Pipes? I’d like to see what you’re doing with it and examine the potential that I’ve only scratched the surface of.

Meanwhile, for entertainment value, here’s a video from DraftFCB showing how your average Second Life avatar would behave in the real world. Thanks to Paul Ferriss from Marketing Magazine for the link.

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Dave Webb is a freelance editor and writer. A veteran journalist of more than 20 years' experience (15 of them in technology), he has held senior editorial positions with a number of technology publications. He was honoured with an Andersen Consulting Award for Excellence in Business Journalism in 2000, and several Canadian Online Publishing Awards as part of the ComputerWorld Canada team.