Friday, April 30, 2004
Web (product) development: Words to live by
Here is a list of (some) common fallacies of some developers in regard to user interface design.
Here's my summary of Oliver's list---read more here.
--User centered design approach is optional.
--Features are more important than usability.
--"Design" is just an emotional and subjective quality.
--Functionality is what the user could do.
--Personal experience is the best advisor.
--Good application design is the primary determinator for good interface design.
--It's OK to reject major changes of the application for minimal interface design improvements.
--A bad user interface alone cannot set the seal on the fate of the application.
These rules are as valid for web sites and web-based services as for software applications--and they are important successful factors--ignore at your peril.
Scraping by start-ups: Advice froma friend
Then talked with another friend who's done start-ups over the past 6 years.
His advice: "If they have money for 6 weeks for 15 people,then they probably have about $150,00-200,000.If they have that,they should immediately fire everyone except for the 3-5 people who can write the plans and work the hours to make the ciompany reinvent itself so they can get some new funding. Everything else should be secondary, and they should use that $150,000 to make sure they can get to that next level."
Berkeley conference: So good to know you
First of all, I had a great time--the discussions were sharp, the speakers smart, and the audience interesting. I listened and learned and talked a little, too.
Some of the people who made great comments were(in no particular order) Dan Gillmor, Vin Crosbie, Mark Pincus, Craig Newmark, and Ken Sands. Ken edits the Spokesman-Review newspaper web site in Spokane, and is doing some very interesting stuff, highly innovative by hugely conservative online news standards
Also got to meet Mark Glaser, who I read regularly in OJR and Tim Bishop, whose blog I enjoy. Chatted with Christian Crumlish and Mary Hodder, and caught up with old friend Marcia Parker and education blogger Pat Delaney (yes, I know,this post is uncharacteristically chatty and social.) Left after lunch and snuck off to have coffee with Phil Wolff, then had the wheel-gripping, mind-numbing pleasure of two hours of traffic heading south from Bezerkeley to San Jose. Yuck.
Carrie Fisher: The best awful is just awful
Early warning passage from page 23, regarding the heroine's attendance at a Hollywood funeral:
"She should've known. The death of a Hollywood producer was not going to be a simple memorial so much as an event--a somber premier to celebrate Jack's ascension to a better place. Where dead agents could convince him he'd reached the elusive nirvana: a place full of decreased hookers and drug dealers, maybe even a triplicate pad or two with a bevy of understanding pharmacists. At the very east a stalled Porsche and grounded G-IV."
Carrie, you turned into a sit com writer along the way--what happened to Buck Henry's clever pal?
9AM Berkeley conf: Revisiting Virtual Communities: The internet impact
Pincus: "The Internet is more and more about generating leads--for a date,a job,a purchase. But all leadsaren't the same--social networks---who you know--are a filter that saves time and creates relevancy. Tribe is an experiment to form groups and then act."
Markos Moulitsas (Kos) is also on this panel(I am too); He describes his evolution from being a political commentator to being an activist, driving readers in to becoming involved inp olitical campaigns (and make donatiosn) for the first time.
Say Kos:"We're trying to use the power of the web to draw people in who can become invested in a political campaign and donate---they're not strangers anymore."
More coverage here.
Discussion: "So why are people becoming more politically involved online? Is this a new group of people, or the same group in a new channel?
Comments from the group: What makes virtual communities work? What's new? (Mernit talks about social identify and FOAF as emerging tools and attitudes).
Craig says "Think globally, act locally."
Question: Do web blogs increase insularity and the echo chamber? Mark says: We're seeing tribes cross and argue passionately about opposing points of view--
at Tribe.there's been much discussion in the groups about freedom of expression.
Kos:"I just don't believe in fair and balanced media.I think it seeps into coverage no matter what is published. I enjoy
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Google files: $2.7 Billion
Psst, Feedster's got the Google IPO watch. And Google news has stories as well., as does Topix.
Yahoo UK: Stupid kid(and poet) tricks
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
My (new) toaster is an SUV
My husband came home this afternoon with a new toaster that, I swear, is almost as big as an SUV.
The Hamilton Beach 24507 4-Slice IntelliToast Toaster, in all for business black,has four double-wide slots for toasting two bagels at once.
(Why wait? Spencer asked.)
It also has two sets of (amazingly complex) dials, far more than I want to see at 7 am.
As Amazon reviewer Fred Brack says "Each pair of slots has separate controls, so at least two diners' preferences can be fulfilled simultaneously. Dials offer six browning settings, from light to dark, and a microchip to ensure consistency, while slide-out crumb trays and levers to lift short slices extra high provide convenience."
Are there toaster fetishists? Is this model the one? (Actually, the customer reviewers on Amazon seem to hate it--"It doesn't toast on both sides!" they complain.)
About.com: Can citizen media= citizen dollars?
"The about.com model was that [online] publishing is now a much lower-cost business than it used to be [offline].
Publishing (not journalism) is now a no-cost / low-cost business because of tools like blogger and typepad.
Peter's solution to spread the $$ around: Syndicate Weblog Content to about.com directory. Compensate webloggers and editors based on ad revenue generated from their writing/editorial activities. "
Share the wealth.
This all relates back to Jarvis' business of blogging shtick. Citizen media=citizen dollars?
Don't eat that--Hungry Girl's diet tips
Are you on diet? Were you on a diet last week? Planning to start one next month?
If you are a part of the population for whom diets are a recurring fact--or a constant way of life--Lisa Lillien's new website and newsletter, Hungry Girl, is worth a look. Lisa's a pretty normal person who cut calories way down to fit into her (Versace) pants, then decided lots of other people would want to share tips and struggles. Viz, Hungry Girl, kinda a Daily Candy for not putting the wrong things in your mouth.
Among the content nuggets (okay, pardon the pun, are the HG Top Ate Snacks Under 100 calories:
1. Steamed Artichoke w/ No Cal Butter Spray
2. Original Boca Burger on lettuce "bun" with a smear of BBQ sauce
3. 4 Celery Sticks with 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
4. Sugar Free JELL-O w/ 2 Tbsp Fat Free Cool Whip
5. Egg White Omelette with Salsa
6. 1 Cup of Frozen Grapes
7. Haagen Daz Sorbet & Yogurt Bar
8. Sugar Free Hot Chocolate with 5 Mini Miss Meringue Cookies
For moire like this, sign up.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Berkeley conference worth a look
I'm part of a discussion on virtual communities (with Craig Newmark and Mark Pincus, among others), and there are additiional panels on disrupting the news industry "living with the genie'--(Whatever the title, it's got Denise Caruso, Howard Rheingold, Richard Rhodes and Michael Pollan, among others), followed by a whole day on China's Digital Future.
Update: Kinja digest for the Berkeley conf.
More random links: Donewaiting.com
San Jose Public Library: The eBook collection
(Now of course I realize that lots of libraries have digital collections and that one of my favorite sites, The Internet Archive, has tons of digital material, but the idea this big public library chain in the heart of Silicon Valley has a digital collection is, well, appealing.)
About.com: I shop, therefore you ad-target me
A year ago, pre-new regime, an executive no longer there explained in detail that About.com's strategy was to be discovered as top-line results in as many search queries as possible, particularly on Google.
Now Peter Horan, new CEO of the unit, is directing that the site have a make-over "in an effort to draw in more readers and build brand identity," as the Reuters story says.
Update: The makeover's here, and it looks like an attempt to grab the iVillage reader. There are 25 new channel fronts, such as Small Business, which promote articles and offers. Within these sections are the guide areas, such as Career Planning within Jobs & Careers. The design is nice and clean, but it seems curiously flat.
Will be interesting to see if usage goes up or what.
Monday, April 26, 2004
Tacoda to form paid aid network based on audience profiling technology
Today's ClickZ story quotes CEO and founder Dave Morgan as saying "There's so much demand from advertisers for cost-effective, scalable advertising that's easy to buy, that's targeted," and "It's more intuitive for a marketer to buy a person than a keyword,"
Some Mernit speculations:
--Tacoda's new product may also be DART-compatible,which could offer sites the capability to synchronize their IAB advertising with paid search links, creating highly targeted advertising solutions.
--It might also be compatible with--or customized to fit--existing classifieds solutions, which would be a fascinating opportunities for news and information sites--particularly local ones--to find ways to win back some of this advertising (I'm thinking of targeted employment/recruitment display ads and auto dealer ads).
--How about applying this new product to ecommerce referral? Targeted CTC sounds like an interesting opportunity to explore.
--And how about hyperlocal? I bet small newspaper chains will be all over this--it should definitely improve their ad serving value.
Great blues band in SF Thursday night; hubby headlines
Fortune: Craig's List flick to air
What's next: IBM and Morgan Stanley weigh in
"This paper, a collaborative discussion by thought leaders from the IBM media and entertainment practice, discusses why industry and market forces will propel media businesses to become more open to business partners, customers and consumers -- opening content reserves and formatting, production processes, packaging and sales options without opening the company to increased vulnerability."
PDF(44 pages) is here. Summary here,
Also about to check out Morgan Stanley's preso on Internet Trends.
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Sunday in Santa Cruz
Every time I head over the mountain, the beauty reminds me why I want to live in California--the idea that all this outdoor goodness is 40 minutes away is fantastic.
We walked along the beach front, took Winston into the paths through the tall grass, and stopped to watch the surfers and kayakers practicing in the bay near the Santa Cruz Surf Museum.
Just a couple of hours, but a great time was had by all.
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Using Google Gmail, and then some
Iím leery enough of the whole thing to not want to make it one of my main email systems (they invited me to be part of a test, after all), but I find myself liking the system and wanting to use it more--Iím just concerned about getting attached to something that might get turned off after a month.
And then some
Iíve also been experimenting with Froogle, the shopping referral engine. Froogle has the potential to become an invaluable tool once the interface and the information presentation are refined a bit and some additional capacities are built around the core product. Iíd particularly like to see Froogle Integrate Googleís local search capabilities, allowing people to search merchant results by location as well as item and price. A syndication API and RSS/XML feeds also seem like must-haves, enabling buyers and sellers to use the Froogle infrastructure to create a trading market of sorts (yes, I am thinking that if this tool was combined with an eBay like auction structure and purchasing system, the results would be killer--and monopolistic in the extreme.)
And finally, I wonder how Froogle would work if its functionality was integrated with local classifieds, powering a far more granular FISBO (for sale by owner) product, which Google could then syndicate to online newspapers as an entry point into helping them get back (and therefore owning a chunk of) their online classifieds business.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Liveblogging: Working up the drive by
"It occurs to me that live-blogging is a new kind of reporting. There's no chance for analysis or even organization, but there is a chance for editing: You type what is of interest as it happens. If you want a completely masticated and digested view of an event, a news story is far better. If you want a complete and unedited view, go to CSpan. But for a quick hit of what's notable (which is what blogs are best at anyway), liveblogging has its advantages.
As I saw the stories about the event today in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Washington Times (links later when I'm not on the train), I realized that, thanks to our geeky tools of citizens media, I was the first to report to the world what these guys said."
Netscape hires, AOL expires?
Of course, the positions seem to be at the CompuServe campus, in Columbus, Ohio, so it is probably understandable that the 450 West Coasters that AOL laid off in December--many of them product managers and tech folks formerly on the Netscape team--might not have been candidates to move to Upper Arlington, OH.
This news is also interesting placed against AOL head Jonathan Miller's vow to the board to trim staff and cut costs in his division...
Uh oh, think AOL's been down this path a couple of times before...
Does repetition guarantee success?
Maybe they should just sell the darn thing before they hire and expire(okay, layoff) another batch of people.
John Battelle sez "So you want to get the most out of AOL? Clean it up and spin it out. Enough said. Move on, Time Warner. The AOL mess is no longer Case or Pittman's problem. It's yours. And if you don't want to run this company, let someone else do it. "
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Houston, I've got GMail
Now have Gmail account.
Please send me some mail at mernit at gmail.com and I'll report back on using it.
In some ways GMail seems like a blog or threaded message board----posts and responses to it are grouped together . The interface is like little notecards.
And they don't want you to delete your mail...That part scares me, kinda like the old Twilight Zone episodes where they feed the hungry humans lots of grub--so they can fatten them up for dinner later. (Translation: The more messages they can scan, the better the targeting, the more money they make on sending you ads.)
Vroom, vroom, I'm intrigued--what if this is another really neat improvement on digital life from good ol'Google?
Prediction: The (very empty) Manage Account screen for my account would be a great place to link in FOAF data and Orkut info...is that tk?
Vin Crosbie weighs in: Is blogging journalism?
Vin has a long and detailed set of posts about discussions of blogging at recent conferences: BloggerCon, Mediamorphosis, Clickz's Weblog Business Strategies conference and the University of Texas' annual Online Journalism Symposium.
His appraisals seem pretty right on, according to lots of folks who've been at more of these conferences that I have, and certainly on target for the ones I've attended (though his view of Mediamorphosis is harsher than mine), but the best part is Vin's insightful and systematic approach to how people ask this question.
(Side note: Vin is definitely on a role these days; his increased presence on his weblog is terrific and he is writing some great items, such as today's post on online news.
Donaton: Time for a new class of magazines?
"...As the debate unfolds over what role, if any, there is for magazines in the branded-entertainment sphere, it may be unfair to hold all titles to standards demanded at the top journalistic tier."
"Cathie Black was right to note that editorial guidelines issued by the American Society of Magazine Editors are "irrelevant" to Hearst's forthcoming Shop Etc. That's not a knock on ASME; its rules should remain tough, and news, business and other journalistic magazines should be judged by their adherence to them. But it does bolster the argument for building a new wall and a class of magazines judged not by an impossible standard but by readers' expectations."
On the money, Scott, as always.
Online news: Recirculation and search as the referrer
His expression became more sober. "Well, that's one of the problems" he replied. "We have lots of information, but we don't know that."
IWe agreed would be useful to know how many people were coming in as a result of a news search to read a specific story, how many came via a headline on the home page or other key entry point, such as sports main, and then where they went--did they read one story and leave, or were they recirculated? And if yes, to where?
The conversation went on in much more depth and got into questions of branding, focus, and strategy (with revenue as the backdrop for everything of course). We parted, agreeding to talk further.
I was reminded of the relevance of these questions to many newspaper sites when I read a post on the online news list from the Albuquerque Journal's Donn Friedman's on how readers enter his site: 28% from a search; 16% from a Google search and a reply from journalism prof Eric Meyer saying that newspaper sites are commoditizing search and "trivializing" their content.
I think I'd put it another way--in a world where sophisticated search tools make it easy to pull up your content, how do online news sites prepare for readers who may bec oming in as the result of a specific link in an aggregated list? T
his kind of user case makes a news story much closer to a blog post than to a traditional article, in that it is discovered as part of a linking strategy evoked as the result of a query (I am thinking of topix and Google News here). So how best to acquire these users, or at least, recirculate them into the parts of the site?
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Diary: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk . This is my first by this (amazingly famous) writer and I liked it and hated it at the same time. Totally compelling, but a bit cheap and tawdry at the same time, with the implied fillip of being deliberately so, as in spoofing a genre. Okay, so what was it really like to read this book? Think Martin Amis rewrites Rosemary's Baby, with the screenplay to be optioned by Reese Witherspoon.
Eastern Standard Tribe, a novel by Cory Doctorow: This one is good. Not great, as in plot gets really formulaic, but a in his understanding of people and technology and his ability to describe both are right up there with William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Neil Stephenson. Definitely reading the rest of Mr.D's books.
Heart in the Wild, a Journey of self-discovery with animals of the wilderness, by Susan Chernak McElroy: Boy, was this a mistake. Not for me. Not when she goes off to talk to Mr. Elk all the time. Oops. Back to the library.
When Fools Rush In: Steve Case, Jerry Levin, and the Unmaking of AOLTimeWarner by Nina Munk. A friend who just left AOL said this was better than Kara Swisher's book, so I got it, but I think I'm ready to put AOL behind me at last, which means I am probably not going to finish it. Just a little too familiar.
Nothing Makes You Free: Writings by Descendants of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, edited by Melvin Jules Bukiet. I can't wait to read this!
My Life as a Fake, a novel by Peter Carey: This also looks great.
The age of Happiness
Your 20's? Fuggedahabout it. That's yearn city.
Esther Dyson: Google's big data sets
Esther writes: "While right now Google is collecting information through AdWords for targeting, there's no reason it couldn't start using advertiser-entered data for display as well, as it already does with data feeds in Froogle. Some companies may start sending these new kinds of feeds expressly, while others might fill out a slightly more complex , domain-specific form when they advertise. Then hotels could start to compete on the basis of their swimming pool hours."
As Esther points out, Google is building the ability to offer more precisely targeted results, both as responses to queries, and as ads. When you think about Google refining this capability and then syndicating it to partners, wow.....that's another way to be the OS, as Skrenta says, for sure. Of course, Yahoo wants to have the same capabilities (don't we all?)
Bloggercon wrap-ups and links
Link highlights: Betsy Devine's top quotes from the journalism session.Brian Strawser on John Perry Barlow's session. Lisa Williams' community notes, as well as Halley, Mary, Jarvis, Frank, Jay McCarthy, and Dave.
What's interesting, from this remove, is that the comments seem kind of muted, and with the exception of some wonderfully rich posts, actual ideas seem sparse(as opposed to the here's who I met and how I felt about it comments).
Was this judged a success by the attendees?
Think so, certainly would like to help do a follow-up on the West Coast.
Update: Seems like one of the key after-shocks of this conference is an awareness--and a certain amount of " Oh shit, what do we do about it?" recognition that blogging is just like life: people form hierarchies based on both friendship and what they perceive to be merit (or like thinking.) Seth Finkelstein has an extensive post about this, with a really interesting interchange with Rebecca Blood in the comments. If you are into reflecting and dissecting this society, this is worth reading, if not...let it go.
Saturday, April 17, 2004
Netscape: Navigator--localized version of AIM Today and AOL.com ?
In many ways, the Netscape Navigator beta reminds me of the AIM Today window and of AOL.com, only with a more localized focus. All have boxes for listings content for news,movies, weather, etc, and all update/refresh periodically so long as there is a persistent connection to the Net.
The AIM team did such an outstanding job (IMHO) building 9.0 and the benefits have appeared in many other products, including the recently refreshed AOL.com, it's interesting to imagine them turning their attention to Netscape and a Netscape-labeled app to run along the IE browser as a way to get more AOL-developed tools and content through the pipeline.
Friday, April 16, 2004
Blogging: It's next generation journalism and I don't care who disagreees
"What really set me on edge was the notion that we should return to the days when only big-J journalists practice journalism and bloggers, well, whatever they did, it certainly wasn't journalism."
Dave, Rebecca, and others have some good posts.
Truth is, I am sick of talking about blogging and journalism.
Why can't we all just practice both?
Remind me of Stephen Spender being asked what he does, and he said "I am a poet."
Not--I write poetry. I AM A POET.
And then later, he mocked himself for wanting the label, not the practice.
Well, I am tired of really smart journos explaining why bloggers can't cut it--and I am tired of bloggers saying they're just as good as journos.
Practice your craft and be done with it, alright?
Mary's tired of this too.
Wild Oats: Translations from the teen-age-ese
Kid: A few of us are going camping. No, about ten--for XX's birthday."
Translation: About 100 kids are going off in the woods, and we're having a rave.
Kid: "We're going out to get some groceries for the trip."
Translation: We're stashing $100 bucks of liquor in the trunk--don't look.
Kid: "Yeah, XX is driving so we can fit everything in the truck."
Translation: I'm going to be so wasted, I couldn't back out of the driveway.
Kid: "I love you, see you Saturday."
Translation: Don't call, won't pick up anyway.
Of course now that I am the parent, it would be wrong to assume that the teens I know are up to no good, so I work hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.
On the other hand, if any of you little f&(*$ are reading this blog, watch out --cause if I discover that any of this is true, not just the product of an overprotective adult's mind, trips to Europe and all good stuff are off.
And you know who you are.
(Okay, that last part was all a joke. Unless your name begins with...)
Ha Ha Ha Still joking
What, you don't think it's funny, too?
Charting a new (software) paradigm
O'Reilly says "...Pioneers like Google are remaking the computing industry before our eyes. Google of course isn't one computer -- it's a hundred thousand computers, by report -- but to the user, it appears as one. Our personal computers, our phones, and even our cars, increasingly need to be thought of as access and local storage devices. The services that matter are all going to run on the global virtual computer that the internet is becoming."
He concludes by asking, "But who owns the data?" and that of course, is what makes gmail critics nervous.
Slate: Library helps transform damaged books into art
Queer Reader Mandorla by Amy Conger courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.
Davis writes: "On a whim, Jim Van Buskirk, program manager of the library's James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center (where much of the destruction occurred), discussed the subject with a few artist friends. They came up with the idea for what developed into the "Reversing Vandalism" exhibit. Artists interested in the project would be sent a damaged book, with the agreement that they would create a new piece of artwork from it. As Van Buskirk and the rest of the library staff spread word of the project to the art community, the response from straight and gay artistswas staggering. That the hate crime, seemingly fueled by religious zeal, had been directed specifically at the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations certainly stirred many to respond. But response was also driven by a deep anger at the notion that someone would so viciously harm books. Art created from the books began to arrive at the library last summer, and in January "Reversing Vandalism" opened to the public."
Thursday, April 15, 2004
E&P Awards: Google News gets finalist status--journos argue
To my chagrin, some list members are upset that Google's automated service could make the list at all, since the service is completely automated.
The best comments so far have come from blogger Adrian Holovaty, who said:
"In 2003, ESPN.com was named Best Internet Sports Service. A prominent feature of ESPN.com is its Gamecast technology, which displays graphics and stats for sporting events in real time. Sure, humans somewhere enter that data, but as far as ESPN.com is concerned, Gamecast is automated. It is made possible by software algorithms.
Also last year, CBS MarketWatch.com was named Best Internet Business Service. That site has an amazing amount of dynamically created market information -- graphics, tables, averages, all sliced and diced in convenient ways. I'm willing to bet that few humans at CBS MarketWatch are involved with day-to-day generation of that content.
The point, as these somewhat contrived examples show, is that many Web sites -- and probably *most* big-media sites in 2004 -- are maintained by algorithms to some extent. Programmers, not necessarily journalists, write the code. Google News just takes that to the extreme.
Please note my bias as a professional programmer, but I'd say a news application developed by computer scientists is just as deserving of journalism awards as a collection of news stories produced by traditional journalists."
I'd agree with Adrian--with the proviso that smart online news folks meet the challenge through determining what kinds of news products algorithms can't create--and making sure to lead with those (this comment is a slap at a community so terrific of blogging that at a recent conference, folks couldn't get off debating "big vs. little" media (ie bloggers and journos, yawn)
AOL Content: Beauty, Fashion, Style--Can't find it on AOL
When I heard that, it sounded like a re-tread of the AOL/Netscape/TW strategy of getting all the content out there for free. On the other hand, AOL may not have too much content beyond the TW properties to whom they are paying a reported $40MM a year for the right to keep their info only for subscribers.
This seems more likely than not, because I just went on to AOL and did searches on three keywords that used to pop up main pages from the women's channel:Fashion, Beauty, and Style.
When I keyworded them at AOL I get--nothing!
Or, more specifically, I get search results directing me out to the web, to non-TW properties such as Style.com ,a competitor from CondeNast.
Clearly, the old AOL fashion and beauty pages,which were not great, have been taken down.
But no one at AOL seems to have taken steps to make sure their keywords go to relevant AOL pages instead of being dumped into a search list.
Basically, this means that unless you key in People or InStyle or Real Simple, you would NEVER find fashion, beauty or style content from those magazines as part of your AOL experience.
Isn't that a little odd? And the opposite of what many editors would consider a good reader experience?
Tina Sharkey and Deanna Brown, if you are running the women's channel, something seems very wrong here.
Mark Golin, and Ned Desmond, if this is about managing Time Inc content, have someone at AOL redirect keywords to find your sites.
And Jim, my friend, maybe you should have your guys keep improving the integration of Time Inc magazines into the AOL framework so subscribers have better access to that content, assuming of course, that members still rule.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
Anil's Bag: What he's packing
" 9 earpieces, counting my four pairs of headphones and my telephone headset. Five microphones, from the headset, the phone itself, my PocketPC's voice recording feature, my laptop's mic, and the audio capture on my camera. Two cameras, one standalone and one in the phone. Three devices capable of playing MP3s: The PocketPC, the laptop, and the phone. (The GameBoy could play MP3s if I bought that accessory, but that seems redundant.) 512 MB of storage total on the various Compact Flash cards. Five independent LCD screens. Two wifi-enabled devices and two bluetooth enabled devices. Six USB devices. Over 100 feet of cables. Total carrying weight is approximately 15 pounds for all of this gear and their associated power cables. "
Note: Anil lives in New York, so he can't stash all this gear in his car.
Whine: I have the cold from hell
I was going to meet some friends tomorrow night, but if I'm like this in the morning, I ain't going anywhere (sigh.)
Amazon's A9 is now alive
Battelle's big question (a good one) is :" How will Google - and more broadly, the entire search-driven world - react?"
Battelle's answer: "It seems to me, Google's position in Amazon's A9 implementation is at best a step backwards. If A9 is as good as it seems to be, every customer that uses and/or switches to A9 becomes an A9 search customer, and, more likely than not, a deeper and far more loyal Amazon customer. (The service incorporates a personal search history and many other really neat tweaks, including a wicked good Toolbar.) In essence, Amazon seems to be making a play for Google's customers"
Battelle reader comments note that Safe Search seems to be permanently turned on(ouch), and that they may not be licensing the full Google data set.
Question: Will A9 show that fewer results-across a rich range of sources--may be better? Stay tuned--I am going to use it for the rest of the week.
Erik Benson's got a good roundup, with comments on posts.
Business models for blogging
Loic le Meur makes a great point--how about getting some feedback from people who are making $$ about their experiences?
This should be verrryyyy interesting.
Do you Googlephrase?
Googlephrasing, for those who didn't know, is an expression coined to describe searching Google for a phrase such as "I have a confession to make" or "I absolutely hate" and seeing what comes up.
Spencer likes to use it when researching travel plans and restaurants, searching for phrases such as " a great home cooked meal" or "off the beaten track" in conjunction with a place name, such as San Francisco.
Mark has some fun ones such as
I've always wanted to go to
there's absolutely no reason to believe
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
'Mitsah Kurtz, He Dead': Om Malik in India
Om has lots of great data--and stories--that bring aspects of outsourcing--both the costs and the opportunities--into vivid detail.
--And the reader posts are really varied.
Dept. of How you know when it's time to take a break
Put it aside today to work on other things. LOTS of phone calls.
I went back to the proposal tonight and discovered, to my horror, that I had somehow managed to delete everything but the first page.
I started trying to get the file back--
First, I restored the system to an earlier today. Nah, that didn't work.
Next, I restored it to Monday, Didn't work either.
Went into the recycle bin and tried to get the file back--the version in there only had the first page too. Waah!
Went online and read about all sorts of system restore programs that work only if you've installed them before you lose something.
Just as I am about to face the zen of redoing this whole thing from scratch, I click on the file and realize it is waaay to big to have only one page.
Where did the rest of it go?
Sure enough, I find out that the whole thing is there--there's just been some glitch in the formatting that's created a batch of blank pages after the header.
Ta-dah! File restored.
Lesson learned: Working too fast, slow down.
San Francisco and New York: More comparisons
Some of his observations: "San Francisco and Silicon Valley are more of a meritocracy than any place I have ever been. Discrimination in SF is based more on one's brain than on one's background. In all my dealings in the Bay Area, I have never been asked, in a business setting, what my father does for a living or what high school I went to."
"A New York friend is far more likely to invite you into his home than a San Francisco friend. I have no idea why, but New Yorkers are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Need a place to stay? Want a meal? Need help moving to a new place? Look no further."
Anyone one else want to comment on this (endlessly fascinating) topic? Posts welcomed here.
Boingboing: New ways to continue the conversation
I hope, however, that this nifty new featurette doesn't supercede Bongboing's use of message boards-the impact of posting and reading those 258 odd responses to Mark's query last week about the site making (mo) money couldn't be achieved with a mess o'links to individual bloggers posts.
Nevertheless, this is great--
Dave. this is really viral--neat implementation!
How it works:
1) Create your post with a permanent link such as this one. Go to Technorati and put that link into the search box--
3) Add the result as the New! See what other blogs are saying about this
4) My example may not have any links--but you get the idea of how easy it is.
Update: Boohoo! Xian and JD and Ross all linked to this post, but the URL seems to get cut off on the Technorati side. You can see the links when you run a fresh query at Technorati, but not in the stored search string.
As Frank Paynter points out, Dave Sifry has far more on this here.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Wayport to wifi McDonald's
Truth is, I don't like Wayport that much either, but it's a start.
Washington Post: SEC will charge AOL
...The SEC is refusing to approve any new stock offerings by Time Warner or any of its divisions while the Bertelsmann issue hangs in the balance."
A friend who (still) works at AOL says "Time Warner just wants to get all this over with and then sell the company."
Condei Rice: Beat off the ticket?
"Fair or not, the impression that Rice created on Thursday will spell the end of her political prospects. She will never win a place on a national Republican ticket as a candidate for president or vice president. No matter how much Republican operatives may try to spin her back onto the short list, it is simply impossible to imagine that Rice, or anyone else, could survive the repeated airings of that exchange in an election year."
Time Mag does Video Blogging piece
Here's Jeff's nut graph:
"Jeff Jarvis, an early champion of vlogging and founder of BuzzMachine.com, a blog that deals with politics and the media, sees great potential in the phenomenon. "Vlogs are a weird, new kind of way that people can document their lives," says Jarvis. "It has the potential to be the farm team for new talent used by big, mainstream media. Suddenly anybody can become an Andy Rooney." Or better yet, an Edward R. Murrow."
Webber says "But you don't need a study to see it coming. Workers would rather take early retirement and gamble that they'll find something better later. Take the example of Verizon. Last year, the telecommunications company offered generous early retirement packages for workers and managers, hoping to trim the workforce by 12,000 people. Instead, more than 21,000 people took the buyout package, including 16,000 managers who thought the company's offer was too good to refuse."
Webber adds: "...Costs are easier to total up than the "soft" numbers. Human-resource experts will tell you the real costs of employees opting out are deep, systemic and long term. The reason is simple: The best people always leave first, because they have the most choices. After the best people leave, the second-rate people get promoted and they have a tendency to hire and promote third-rate people. Follow this to its logical conclusion, and you can see how once-great companies gradually slide into mediocrity and then failure."
The piece is also clear on Webber's ideas that the years of cutbacks, layoffs and wage inequities have burned out lots of American workers who are now more interested in running their own businesses or working in smaller companies that they once were.
Dept of Once You've Had Matzoh...Madonna to observe Shabbat
Even given that fact that many Jews consider Rabbi Phillip Berg's Kabbalah to be a form of fake, cult Judaism, this is hysterical.
(I'm imagining Madge at home in LA in one of those floral print dresses she wore to her book signings, pulling the roast chicken out of the oven and running to light the candles as Demi, Ashton, and all those cute Willis girls look on and Britney--accompanied by on-again, off-again &*%^ buddy Colin Farrell--drops in for sponge cake and dessert.)
Ex AOLer surfaces in Napa, says US tech outsourcing worries are 'Baloney.'
According to the article, he is now a vineyard owner and founder of a local private school, as well as the head of an AOL digital services group (Possible translation from the jargonese: they're still paying his contract out.)
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Now this is cool
eAcademy, or is social networking the new Tupperware?
Of course, this is a little bit like Tupperware--Mr. Deckers is so entranced by it all he ends up launching eAcademy Belgium and winning a pink Cadillac as a reward for his efforts.
Okay, I made the last part up, but my cynicism switches on whenever I hear stories that make new efforts sound quick and easy. Planning, listening, and patience pay off more often than fast, simple, and cheap.
(Via Online Business)
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Owen Wilson's blog?
"Call me Rance.
My life is boring and not worth writing about, except for my knowledge of one thing. So this blog will focus on that thing. It is, for lack of a better word, celebrity. I stumbled onto it by a series of chance events. Suffice it to say, I can tell you what it's like to see your picture on the magazine rack every now and again when you pay for groceries. And that'll have to suffice. I'd like this to be the sort of account afforded only by anonymity. And it that happens, if my identity were revealed, I'd quickly be selling grapefruits -- instead of paying $14 a pop to eat them -- on Sunset Blvd. "
Newsreader ruling: Judge says content aggregation is legal
Jerry Colonna on finding purpose in life
I read Lunar Men a few months ago and was struck by the 17th Century notion that it was proper, desirable even, for a man of learning to study beyond their specialized field; doctors writing poetry and industrialists studying botany, all perfectly fine."
Friday, April 09, 2004
How to fund BoingBoing?
Seems ot me that there are two related questions here:
1) How can BoingBoing cover its costs?
2) Should BoingBoing try to profit from the current commercialization of blogspace? As blogs develop traffic that outstrips some "big media" sites, advertising revenue, transaction and subscription revenue all become real possibilities, and yet BoingBoing, one of the "older" success stories in blog space, was not built to print money in the same way that Gizmodo and its cousins might.
Obviously, BoingBoing has some great options--some immediate scenarios that come to mind are:
1) Find a backer and launch a refurbished web business, with print extensions(John and Mark, I have an idea on what you might do here that I bet you haven't thought of) and other spinoffs if possible.
2) Link with a publisher looking for more web properties and/or for the BoingBoing demographic, and then follow #1.
3) Work the hell out of monetizing both the site and the audience, as much as you can without driving people nuts--and focusing on higher CPM ad assets that don't add clutter, Build a revenue base, show growth as a business case, and then do #1, with far more control over the product and the business (have some thoughts on this one, too. guys both on the revenue and the business case side.)
Summary: BoingBoing is great and should benefit from its own wonderfulness...If I can be of any help--let me know--but hey, getting John B will be an amazing asset for you--congrats.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Virgina Woolf portrait discovered
(Via Amy's Robot Link Factory)
How product development is like roasting chicken
Walking back to the hotel today, after a day spent working on developing a new product, I think about my mom cooking that chicken.
Is that a way of saying this project is delicious?
I suppose so.
My life in tourist land
It's a quick visit into another version of New York. amazing different in tone from staying just 8 blocks away.
Fox's The Swan" New high in trash show lows
After $70,000 or so of services each, one women is chosen to "go on to the pageant;" the other goes home (yes, she gets to keep the boobs, tooth veneers, hair dye, etc.)
Of course, even as I'm busy dishing the dreadful values of this show, I am watching, enthralled through all 30 tacky minutes of delicious story. Who can't be seduced by the idea of having your own team of expert elves turn you into Snow White? And isn't the joy of these women contagious? As silly as it is?
Verdict: Delicious trash. Extreme Makeover to the max.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Charting the hidden agenda: What Google wants
Some girls have all the luck: Mama Lopez wins $2.4M
Our Lady or Ben Affleck?
Journos think the Gambling Man may have taught his almost mother-in-law how to roll dem bones.
Monday, April 05, 2004
iMedia: Bruner on blogging
$830,000 house the norm
Washington Monthly story tells the tale.
Schedule is still evolving, but prelims are here. The last Bloggercon was my first meetup as a blogger, and it was filled with smart people with things to say. I expect this one to be no different, even if I personally don't get enthused about discussions of about A-list bloggers (I think blogging works as nano-media) and politics--lots of other topics--and people--will hold my attention.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
It was the first time I flew SONG, a new Delta division, and I became hooked on a music trivia game that was networked into the Direct TV sets in the seat backs. When we participated in answering the multiple choice trivia questions, your score was logged into the network and reported. Games played in rounds of 20 questions. Everyone was ranked and there was a winner. Once I understood how it worked, I became addicted--especially when I realized that my scores were neck and neck with a couple sitting in seats across the aisle.
I'd heard people talk about designing and implementing multiplayer games on airplanes, but this was the first I'd seen--and it was good fun.
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Why does the Okrut guy look like a cop?
I email the help desk, and they tell me it's an April Fool's joke.
The email message says: "The 'desires' field on your orkut profile is part of
our April Fool's announcement that orkut.com now offers "Telepathic
orkut," a way to add your deepest desires to your profile without the
hassle of typing."
(Obviously I have no sense of humor).
So, I log into Orkut and this Orkut guy illo comes up--and the guy in the drawing looks just like a cop.
Guys, what were you doing at Google today--smoking wacky weed?
Comments on Kinja, the non-newsreader newsreader
Meg Hourihan, who led the team, says she's leaving end of April.
Online blog says Yahoo's name appears in the terms of service (actually what it says is a bit nastier, but let's give them benefit of the doubt.)
Lockhart Steele says skip Kinja.
Techdirt, Fred Wilson, John Battelle, Jeremy Wagstaff, and more.
The outpouring of negative comments--in kottke's comments file, for example-- is worth noting; a sense of resentment--and of dismay at those (annoying) sponsored ad links.
I put five feeds in to start, but when I tried to import my OPML file, it said it was too large--hope that changes post-Beta. I'll keep playing with it--and add more feeds--but I'm not wowed yet...The design is clean...but the little pictures scrolling down beside the blog entries don't thrill me.