Ben Hammersley has shut down the Lazyweb, but the key insight that it embodied still endures:
…if you wait long enough, someone will implement that wacky idea you had… (or already has!) Alternatively, that if your blog has enough readers, a reader will know and provide the answer to a question you are too lazy to research yourself.
I make no claims to a vast readership, but I am certainly lazy. So when I imagine a web service that must exist somewhere, I ask clever people like you where to find it. The service I’m thinking of this week is paperback release schedules. I love books, but I don’t often buy hardback books. I don’t like them. They are less pleasing than paperbacks in several dimensions: bigger, heavier, harder to handle, more expensive, harder to flip through (if it has those silly ragged pages), and you’re always having to worry with that stupid paper cover thing that wants to fall off. But since they are more profitable, publishers are clearly motivated to sell them exclusively for as long as possible, and so I’m often in the position of seeing a new hardback book for which I want to buy the paperback edition. I want a web service that lets me register my interest in, say, Philip Ball’s new biography The Devil’s Doctor: Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science, and then emails me when the paperback edition gets released. Does such a service exist? It seems like it should, but my Google scrying glass was cloudy and my searches came to naught.
On a related note, since I consume a good many books by audio these days, I want a similar service that will notify me when a given book is released in audio form (unabridged editions only, naturally).