Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Great Uncle

Years ago I had this idea for a web application. After working on it for weeks, I had to abandon it because I could not figure out the permissions. Now I have and in my spare time over the last two months, that is what I’ve been working on.

More later. GreatUncle.com: Never miss a family birthday again.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Don't be Fooled by the Beer Ape

Rolling Rock ain’t what is use to be. Beer Ape is interesting ad by Anheuser-Busch who now brews it on Bud lines in Newark. Not a very responsible business especially for he people in Latrobe, PA. Save Rolling Rock.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cobra Child Becoming Adult

Time to start looking at helping my daughter with health insurance now that she has been on Cobra for a year. This stuff is complicated even for a college education.

Monday, November 06, 2006

KKD and Messy World

Krisby Kream is a buy, says Kramer. Elections are suppose to be open to all, but we have laws to say who can vote. Rolling Stone runs an article on polluting the Antic to save Greenland. It is a messy world and somethings rise above and somethings need correcting. And more. Such is life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Haloween Jokes 2006

Every year I ask the trick or treat kids for a joke. Have a joke, get a big candy bar; no joke, small candy bar. So every year I get more jokes.

Here are this year’s batch. Remember, kids are not politically correct.

  • Why do blonds hate M&Ms? They are too hard to peel.
  • Why did the pilot go to the dentist? To get his chopper fixed.
  • A nun, a clownfish and a homeless person go into a bar with purple carpet. What did the nun say? I’d like a drink.
  • What did zero say to eight? Love you belt  [ 0 8, get it?]
  • What do you call a fly without wings? A walk.
  • Why did the chicken cross the road? He didn’t know – he was a stupid chicken.
  • Blue house is built with blue bricks. Red house is built with with red bricks. Orange house is build with orange bricks. Yellow house is built with yellow bricks. What is a green house built of? Glass.
  • What do you call a fat, lazy squirrel laying on the ground? Ground meat.
  • What do Michael Jackson and XBox have in common? Both are made of plastic and went from black to white.
  • What did one tooth say to the other? We better get dressed up, the dentist is taking us out today.
  • Plane crashes on the Canadian & US border. Where to they bury the survivors? They don’t bury survivors.
  • You go into the bathroom as American. You leave the bathroom as American. What are you in the bathroom? European. [Say it.]

Monday, October 09, 2006

Keith Olbermann Special Comment

Olbermann wakes us up and points out the most recent lies of the President who is endangering this country. I stand by my comment from four years ago that Bush should be impeached over the lack of weapons of mass destruction. But I’d settle for impeaching Channey, at this point.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Old Post Worth Reviewing

Ten Rules of Web Startups by Evan Williams of Odeo, Pyra Labs (Blogger) and Nebraska.

Getting Things Done for Geeks

“It probably takes a backseat only to the Atkins Diet in terms of the number of enthusiastic evangelists.” I’m going to use this guide in 43folders before I rescan the book.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Approver.com

Just saw a great idea for a new web application: Approver.com. It looks like it will be a great way to get a group of people to approve a document and to share ideas. It is that last part that could be exciting.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Keith Olbermann has not given Bush or Rumsfeld a bye on the continued use of Nazi and fascism in their speeches. Everyone, right and left, should appreciate the start of the debate. This should not be allowed to pass unnoticed.

Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Devaluing Labor Day

Harold Meyerson writes a great Op-Ed in WP about the war against Labor since 1973. Wages use to keep pace with productivity gains and now big corporations keep it for their shareholders. He has references to other great articles on the decline of wages and the middle class in America.

These really were the good old days. And we can get back there using anti-trust law and supporting unions even in this age of globalization.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dead w600i

I love my Sony Ericsson w600i cell phone. But it died this last weekend. Tried updating the firmware, with no luck. So SE is having me send it in for “repair.” Customer service was good, but I’m still waiting to see the email about where to send it. Got the RMA number right away.

Now I have to wait to try some of Dave Winer’s mobile applications.

Mobile Devices and Blogs

Dave Winer is at it again moving the edge forward. This time it is with mobile device like the blackberry to read and now post to blogs from these devices. TechCrunch noticed and I say keep pushing Dave!

pbwiki

I've recently been using pbwiki to gather all of my notes on my Zlides project. This is a great service and I highly recommend it. It is free and a great way to try a wiki. Families, businesses and educators are use wikis successfully. Note: this is a completely unsolicited plug.

Monday, August 28, 2006

No Limits to Wikipedia

Don Blake pointed out Infoworld article about Jimmy Wales at Wikimania. While he offered a caveat, he said that the English version might be starting to reach its limit, perhaps eventually topping out at 2 million or 3 million articles.

That is laughable on two fronts. First, every business wants an entry for itself and its brands. Given the number of new brands every year, it won’t stop growing. Second, Wikipedia is now a source of biographies which will mean that it will become the source for obits as well. People aren’t going to stop dying and so Wikipedia will keep growing.

 

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Enjoying Modern Life

What I do at home after work is so different that just 10 years ago. I’m watching TiVo while on my laptop posting to my blog and coding my latest project that the world can use.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Start of UX Week


DSC00004, originally uploaded by razweekly.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

IE Javascript Debugging

Microsoft provides Script Editor to help debug JavaScript in IE. However, it is not part of the standard install of MS Office, at least not when I installed it this morning. Had add components under Advanced > Office Tools > HTML Source Editing. JonathanBoutelle explains how to debug. Note: after installing you need to close and restart IE.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Story about Landis and Not About Doping

It is hard to find a silver lining to the media coverage of Floyd Landis’ abnormal test. But we are learning a lot more about Landis. Ian Austen wrote Landis Has a Reputation for Honesty in NYT. “Sitting in a team bus festooned with sponsors’ logos, the pair took turns reading dark, humorous quotations from a book by Jack Handey while listening to Metallica.”

Friday, July 28, 2006

Floyd Landis' Physican Testosterone Would Make It Worse

Floyd Landis was on Larry King Live. Lance Armstrong was a call in with support. Sitting with Larry King was Dr. Brent Kay, Landis’ personal physician who is board certified in sports and internal medicine.

LK: How do you explain the high level of testosterone?

Doc K: Well, I think that has been one of the problems is that he does not high level of testosterone. That has not been documented. He has a high ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in his urine.

LK: Meaning?

Doc K: Which could be due to an elevated testosterone level. It could be due to a low epitestosterone level. And it could be due to a variety of other factors with handling, with specimen contamination and various other things.

LK: I asked Floyd this. He said it is better answered by you. What does testosterone do for a race driver?

Doc K: For a cyclist it will be my opinion that it will makes it worse.

LK: Worse?

Doc K:  I think that is the crazy thing here. I think everyone really needs to take a step back and look at what we are talking about. Because testosterone is a body building steroid that builds mass, that build mass over long term use of weeks, months or even years. And it is crazy to think that a Tour de France professional cyclist would be using testosterone, particularly in the middle of a race. It is a joke. Ever sports medicine expert, physician, trainer, scientist that I’ve talked to in the last day – really, same opinion. No way. This is a joke.

 

 

 

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Hope and Guess on Landis' Failed Test

I want Floyd Landis to remain a great champion and his final week in the Tour de France to remain legendary. I also think that there is some reasons to believe that he did not dope. 

I agree with Dr. Gary Walder that testosterone “doesn’t really compute.” First, it is a drug that “would have no effect on performance”. Though Austin Murphy quotes a Dr. Moosburger that it could help. Second, if he was a user, earlier tests during the Tour and other races would have shown the usage. Third, because Landis had previous won a stage, he knew that he would be tested at the end of the stage in question. Fourth, because of the risk of even accidental contamination, I would think that there would not be any testosterone within a mile of the team or Landis. Fifth, this is a very complicated test says the Donald Catlin who runs the Olympic drug testing lab at UCLA, so it is no slam dunk. Sixth, unlike the media reports of high testosterone, the level was actually normal and the epitestosterone was low. So I would think that scientific studies on the interaction of alcohol and drugs with epitestosteron and the ratio would be examined (see Washington Post comment by jjouet). Seventh, given his thyroid disease and the approved cortisone shots for his failing hip, there is a slime possibility of someendocrine weirdness. Eighth given the fact that several riders were kicked out at the beginning of the race, doping had to be on everyone’s mind. So why risk it?

 

Austin Murphy talks to Floyd Landis

“Did you do it, bro?” Austin Murphy asks Landis. “No, c’mon man.” Good story by Sports Illustrated writer.

Testosterone "doesn't really compute"

ESPN.com spoke to Dr. Gary Walder of the World Anti-Doping Agency on testosterone and testing.

Q: For a cyclist, what's the benefit of elevated levels of testosterone? Why would a cyclist use it?

A: It's certainly not one of the first-line drugs one thinks of for racing. Steroids can increase strength and improve recovery time and prevent the breakdown of muscle, maybe make him more assertive and aggressive. All of those could have some positive attribute. But most steroids are given in cycles [6-12 weeks] and in context of working out in a gym with weights. It makes no sense to me why an athlete would take testosterone the day of a race when it doesn't work that way. It doesn't make sense in terms of the pharmacology of the drug, and it really doesn't have the attributes that would be attractive to a cyclist -- particularly one running the risk of violating anti-doping regulations.

Everybody knew the spotlight was on cycling. For eight years, the world has been watching cycling particularly closely. It would be the ultimate form of denial, or the ultimate sense of invincibility, to think you're going to evade that. And when the pharmacology of the drug doesn't really, in my judgment, seem like a drug of particular note to a cyclist, it doesn't really compute.

Associated Press has a story quoting Dr. Walder as well.

NYT Better Reporting on Landis

New York Times ran with the headline “Landis Fails Drug Test After Triumph in Tour de France” which is a better headline but it lead with “illegally high levels of testosterone.”  No mention by the writer of ratio except for quoting the Phonak web site. Juliet Macur also quoted Donald Catlin who runs the Olympic drug testing laboratory at U.C.L.A. “This is not a slam-dunk case,” he said of Landis’s case. “There is work to do, and if there’s ever a test that won’t repeat a positive, it will be a really complex analysis, and this is one of them.”

Phonak Cycling Team English Statement

The webiste site repeats the statement in English, Deutsch and Francais.

The Phonak Cycling Team was notified yesterday by the UCI of an unusual level of Testosteron/Epitestosteron ratio in the test made on Floyd Landis after stage 17 of the Tour de France.

The Team Management and the rider were both totally surprised of this physiological result. The rider will ask in the upcoming days for the counter analysis to prove either that this result is coming from a natural process or that this is resulting from a mistake in the confirmation. In application of the Pro Tour Ethical Code, the rider will not race anymore until this problem is totally clear. If the result of the B sample analysis confirms the result of the A sample the rider will be dismissed and will then pass the corresponding endocrinological examinations.

Please understand that we cannot at this time give you more detailed comments.

Tour de France Winner and Testosterone

MSM, in particular the Washington Post headline writers are getting it wrong when the are telling most readers that “Team Says Landis Tested Positive for High Levels of Testosterone”. If you read the third paragraph of the article it was not high testosterone but the team said “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone ratio”. ESPN’s cycling commentator John Eustice corrected the subs on Pardon the Interruption to say that “the testosterone levels are actually low… The epitestosterone levels are actually very low.”  ESPN’s home page also got it wrong with their lead “tested positive for high testosterone levels.” I don’t know the science here, but if you are going to report on the fall of a hero, get the story and the science right.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

MSM and Tour de France

Floyd Landis in the last five stages of the Tour de France has one of the top sport’s  performances of the year. Winning the yellow jersey, then hitting the wall to lose it, then coming back in the mountains to be in a position to win it back in the sprint the following day. Plus, he has a personal story and seems to be embraced by the French though his francais vocabulary est petit.

But does the main stream media (MSM) in America follow this story? Hardly. The Washington Post had their Foreign Service cover the story, not a sports reporter. One of the local TV sports channels didn’t even mention it last night. Most media lead with a story about Barry Bonds not be indicted like the MSM said he would the previous day. So the MSM was the news and not a truly heroic sports story. Jim Caple on ESPN’s Page Two thought this was nuts.  No wonder the term MSM was invented and now it is becoming an unflattering adjective.

Friday, July 21, 2006

User Experience Week 2006 (Aug)

While Europe is on holiday in August, I’ll be at Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week 2006 in DC. In preparation, I’ll be reading of books, blogs and sites plus listening to podcasts. Some creating. And I’ll be writing on my design blog heavily as I prepare. So see you there at multipurposeroom.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No More More AJAX meets River of News

Humanized has a demo of an RSS aggregator that keeps adding more content at the bottom of the page without needing to click on a more button. It is an excellent River of News format with Ajax. I just worked on a 1.2.3.4 script and was thinking about slowly showing more and this is a great example.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

JavaScript Custom Objects - Fun Ajax Stuff

With my recent JavaScript coding I’ve been using more objects. Simon Willison has a complete set of notes from a three hour tutorial – A (Re)-Introduction to JavaScript. I’m reading it Custom Object section and will be reading it again. In this section he provides a step-by-step guide to creating better objects and using the keyword ‘this’ which is always tricky. I found this tutorial while reading  Jamie Orchard-Hays’ post about Prototype’s bindAsEventListener().

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

JSON

Every new document type that gains popularity has many cultural impacts. JSON is a data syntax as is XML. JSON on the Web, or: The Revenge of SML on XML.com is a very good summary with lots of links to details.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Best Friends

Just heard that a dear friend died a few days ago. Heard a few days ago that more Americans than ever say they have no best friend. He could have been a best friend. I’ll miss him. I’ll miss he and his wife as a couple. And his laugh. Halloween will be bittersweet this year. Don’t worry about the future, make your friend a best friend for today.

Rocketboom and Paul is 64

Good business partners are hard to come by, especially in the creative world. Look at Lennon and McCartney or any number of other feuding twosomes. So it seems that Rocketboom has exploded with Amanda Congdon and Andrew Baron feuding and likely ending their mutual success. Too bad. The lawyers will get involved with the 49% issue and probably kill any chance the Rocketboom survives as a brand even with its spot on Tivo. I’m certain we’ll see Amanda again has her name and face are now recognizable.

Scoble brings up money issues as a possible problem at Rocketboom, but more interesting is his discussion of a salesforce. In our advertising driven internet days, never underestimate the need for sales. They are the real partner in any business and one sorely missing from most. Thus the overwhelming success of Google’s Adsense. This is also why many lasting partnerships include a salesperson.

I hope we’ll see alot more advise for structuring startups in the blogosphere in the next few days, even if it repeats classic lessons learned. Good time for Guy Kawasaki and others to speak up.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Engineering Discussion: RSS and Atom

Have the flames died down enough that engineers can now talk about RSS and Atom? I hope so, because there is an interesting post by an Amazon engineer that you can do things with Atom that you can not do with RSS.

Unless the Atom was an exact copy of RSS, that would always be true. The real question is “Can you do something significant with Atom that you cannot do with RSS?” DeWitt Clinton provides a good example of why that is true for those that care about the technical details (like engineers). I might find a case in my coding where that is true. And I’d also look at the Yahoo media RSS namespace in that case. However, for the majority of sites providing new information on a daily basis (e.g., news media, bloggers, etc.), RSS is still the best match.

And as Dewitt points out, for the average user or manager, RSS is a fine term for syndication. Which leads me back to my hope that engineers can now talk about Atom and RSS.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Business Week Tries to Billboard Google's Products

In So Much Fanfare, So Few Hits, Business Week looks the lack of number one products beyond search: News, Gmail, Maps, Instant Messaging, Checkout and more. Google says that they expect several new products to fail. This is the publishing model and should be examine more thoroughly. I’d also like to see a side by side comparision of Google’s products and Yahoo’s. Might as well add in MS, Amazon, Cnet, AOL and a few others. Many of the big and small players follow this publishing model and is should be discussed.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dave Winer Doing S3 Heavy Lifting

So often Dave Winer is working and thinking along the same lines as myself but a few steps ahead. Here is is again talking with Amazon about developing with S3. Keep pioneering Dave!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Future of RSS by Newsgator

Techcrunch summary of Newsgator’s view of the future of RSS. I believe that no enterprise should consider any software that does not produce useful RSS feeds which is the future of RSS.

json

The Ajax community continues to buzz about the json data format. I even went to the talk by … at Ajax Experience which was great, but you can get most of the same info from the web site. After about 3 hours of coding using json yesterday, I’m convinced that it is a big deal and it is a better format that XML for many applications.

So what is the big deal? Any significant use of a new content format has many implications – it is a new extension of man. This would be worth probing using McLuhan’s Laws of Media.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Net Neutrality

Got home from vacation and watched the Rocketboom on Net Neutrality for 6/23/06. This was a great presentation on the issue and call to action. We all have to act against this extortion by the telcos. There television ad about Google server farms with their fake lobby name is a disgusting lie. So please Save the Internet.

User Experience Week 2006

Just registered for the User Experience Week by adaptive path. Design as a field of study has always interested me and adaptive path has really been advancing the subject. User design is what use to be called just design in 1969 when Victor Papanek wrote Design for the Real World.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Google Moves Close to the Resource

I grew up next to a new steel mill. It was built there because of the easy transport of raw materials: iron ore and coal. Then the people came. So it is very interesting to read in the NYT that Google (and Microsoft and Yahoo) building huge server farms on the Columbia River close to the source of the most important resource: electric power. So instead of being on a waterway for transportation they are building on the waterway for the power generation. Different age.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

650,000 domain names and counting

Now you know what to do with all those domain names you’ve been stashing. NameMedia steps out in boston.com article. Sure it is not April Fools day?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy TechCrunch Birtday

Congratulations to TechCrunch and Michael Arrington who I and my son had the pleasure to meet. He was very generous with his time for us on a very stressful day for him. A public thank you and congratulations. I read TechCrunch daily.

Good Enough: What is It?

It looks like in about 10 days that the Zlides editor will be far enough along to invite a few people to take a close look at Zlides. I’m not so concerned about the editor right now as I’m concerned that the simple format of the Zlides presenter is good enough.

Good enough appears to be a principle of web 2.0. So I’ll be on the hunt for a few days looking for posts and articles talking about ‘good enough’.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Distasteful Blog Pattern

Lately I’ve noticed patterns: Ajax patterns, design patterns, UI patterns and others. I’ seeing another pattern. I’ve noticed different lightning rods in the blogosphere and how people respond to them. I’m calling it the distasteful blog pattern.

Here are a few cases. The latest is the pile on O’Reilly about a cease-and-desist letter over Web 2.0 as a Service Mark. Prior to this were charges against Michael Arrington about alleged conflicts of interest and other incredible stuff. Both of these remind me of the ongoing noise level of negative comments about Dave Winer as discussed in WikiPedia (Relationship to the public). And Joel Achenbach and other Washingtonpost.com bloggers are continually being smeared in the blogosphere.

First, I think it is unfortunate. Second, all of these dust-ups involve complicated issues that require more that a screenful of text to explain. We use to hear print journalist complain about the sound-bite not explaining an issue. Now we have screen-text. So third, I think this is a matter of where the technology, in this case a (screenful) blog entry, is getting in the way. Now if you want to be a technology determinist, then that is the way it is going to be. But, if you think that our culture can rise about the technology, maybe will start reading more thoughtful responses built on the cultural wisdom of journalism, solid debate and common decency.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

MochiKit Doesn't Suck

Probably when Bob Ippolito of MochiKit was born the word suck was still considered close to profanity. To him the browser sucks, JavaScript sucks, this sucks, that sucks. Anger can be a useful thing to get the energy to act. I don’t know him to know if really is angry, but it seems like it.

Regardless, he has a nice JavaScript library and if I was using Python on the server, I’d probably be using MochiKit. But I’m using Rails. I understand his issue with Prototype and namespaces and the importance of clean libraries. He has a point. But Fairchild built a better game machine than Atari but does anyone remember the Fairchild game machine? Great design is not always the winner in the marketplace.

Announcement at Ajax Experience

Kevin Lynch from Adobe gave the keynote after lunch. After all, Adobe is the Gold Sponsor. He announced that Adobe has release an open source JavaScript library called Spry. This looks like a good second step for image manipulation. He said the aim for for designers but I’m skeptical until I get some hands one. In fact I’ll have to take a good look at the whole labs.adobe.com and see if I should hold onto my stock.

But no time time. Next session is about to start up.

Ajax Tool Kits

Thomas Fuchs talks about prototype and script.aculo.us JavaScript libararies. Then Stuart Halloway talked about making an Ajax architecture choice which boils down two thing: libarary and data transfer mode. His demo case used prototype and script.aculo.us. So big overlap in the talks. But I plan to go to Stuart’s Rail talk later.

Stuart and Thomas emphasised that unlike all the Ajax books, don’t write this code on your own. Pick a libarary and let them deal with this issues the new browsers will bring to Ajax. So is it prototype/script.aculo.us or dojo? Since the dojo sessions were at the same time, I need more information.

 

Have you ever been Ajax Experienced?

Opening night was not all that Hollywood, but certainly new SF style. Drinks of caffeine or bottle water. Typical nearly all guy event and everyone seemed to think that was normal. Meet guys from Seattle, Bay Area, Maryland (near home for me) and England.

Dion and Ben had a great stand-up with poking some fun at the name of the conference if the Ajax term had not be coined. They pointed out that creativity comes from constraints. (Look at the ‘blue’ period of several painters.) We have all be quite creative with the not so old constraints of XHR et. al. They see Comet as being a big change and expanding the constraints, but I don’t see that yet. The Comet Experience next year? They’ll probably podcast the stand-up and it would be a good listen to Dion and Ben.

Then the had a panel of about 10 people from the speakers at the show. I couldn’t help think about how un-unconference this was. Too bad. Maybe it was the late out (midnight EST) but did not take anything away except there are more Firefox debugging tools that I should be looking at.

So onto the marthon this morning.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ajax Experience

After many hours inside metal shells of planes and trains, I’m in SF at the Ajax Experience. I brought my [z] shirt and after a little rest time I’m into to the show.

Not sure how I’ll blog the show. My battery does not last long, so maybe at breaks. I’ll let the Ajaxians know to take a look here. Hope to show a few people behind the curtain of zlides.com in the next few days.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

TechCrunch on Squidoo

Since my picture made it on the screen capture in Michael Arrington’s review of Squidoo on TechCrunch, I thought I’d comment. (I’m the guy next to the smiley face.) He explains “Why Squidoo Won’t Work” in some detail comparing it to WikiPedia and blogs then stating that “no one person can really be authoritative on a given topic.” I’ll have to mull that over. 

Two months ago I wrote a review of Squidoo. Up until that time I had been fairly active on Squidoo with a couple of top 10 lens. Later I was asked to be on the Squidoo review board. So I’ve more than “kicked the tires” on Squidoo. In the last two months I’ve not done much on Squidoo because of work on my own project.

I’ll repeat from that review that “I believe that Squidoo needs to involve lens readers more.” Others have made many suggestions on how to do that. But that is the first area I’d look to if I was on that crew.  Second, it seems that Squidoo was always a bit cold, that lensmaster pages are secondary. My other suggestion to Squidoo is to add more social networking to the lensmaster pages. The lenses themselves are fine, but I’d concentrate on the lensmaster pages. Why can’t I modify my page like I can a lens. (Compare for example.) See if you can get the lensmasters to take pride in their “home” page and build the community from there. Where are the comments?

In short I think Squidoo still has legs but I agree that it will need some changes to more forward. This crew has already moved Squidoo quite a ways since November and they can probably keep moving it. We’ll know for sure when I do my SuperBowl Ads for 2007.

 

Beta signup for zlides.com starts

Tonight I got the front page of zlides.com to accept email addresses from those people who want to participate in the beta program when it is ready.

Zlides is about displaying and creating presentation blogs. Examples will be available in early June.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dan Briklin Still At It

Dan Bricklin, he father of the spreadsheet, an other things, is still at it. WikiCalc is moving foward and he inspires me to continue working on RealSimplePresentations (Zlides).

Friday, April 28, 2006

Media Blogger Association

This looks like a good group that I’ll probably have to join soon. It came to light when Dave Winer pointed out that Lance Dutson of the Maine Report was hit with a multi-million dollar lawsuit. More sand?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Zlides

Still hunting for a (domain) name for my new projects. Zlides.com is the best so far. Have about two weeks to nail this down.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Three Years of Blogging

Dave Winer had posted that a bunch of people have four years of blogging under their belt. It made me realize that today I celebrate three years of blogging. While blogging has been great, I think using RSS has been the real kicker for the past three years – even if blogger only produces Atom on this site. It was the answer to “What is XML good for?” and I think the key component that kickstarted the Web. 2.0 engine. I’ve used it in several creative endeavors including Real Simple Presentations. So thanks to Dave.

The popularity of my blog has not changed much in three years. Once in a while another blogger will point to an item. Some close friends like Don, Dick and Murch point to my blog. That is all okay because the purpose of writing the blog was to learn about this new medium/technology and McLuhan’s Laws of Media apply. I think I have it now. What a long strange trip it is.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Bucknell versus Memphis: 'Ray Bucknell

Memphis coach hasn’t show his team Bucknell film. “I don’t want to scare them. I don’t want their headspinning.” “They run too much stuff, the hold the ball.” We’ll see at 2:00 EST.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Check Out the Big Brains on Bucknell

Who would have thunk that a west coast paper, the Los Angeles Times, would have the best story and headline on Bucknell’s NCAA win over Arkansas? Headline made me laugh and the story was well written. J.A. Adande did his research. “Kevin Bettencourt wants to be a history teacher.” Talks about Charles Lee honoring 11–year-old ball boy who was killed. And he acknowledges that Bucknell is a pretty good basketball team too.

At the moment, they can claim more NCAA tournament victories than Texas, Alabama, Louisiana State, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Kansas, Syracuse and Iowa over the last 12 months.

Also a good story in the New York Times by Thayer Evans on Charles Lee living the American College Dream. Bucknell just started awarding basketball scholarships three years ago. Lee and Bettencourt, the two star seniors, are not scholarship players.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bucknell Bison - Ray Bucknell

Last year I wrote about Bucknell after missing the Kansas game. And if you want some history, follow the links. However, it looks like I’ll miss the openning game this year because of a conflict. Tivo to the rescue. Go Bison. Ray for the Orange and the Blue. What a thrill!

Professor, time for a sebbatical?

Dave Winer has posted on why he’ll stop bloging. Maybe he’ll stop, but he certainly won’t stop creating and innovating. So Dave, maybe think of it as a sabbatical.

Scripting versus Java

Ten years ago when I starting writing JavaScript programs, very few people took me seriously. Now AJAX is well accepted. There continues to be a debate about Java versus so-called scripting languages like PHP and Ruby. For those IT managers who have been away from coding for too long, this article by Rayan Tomako on lesscode.org should open your eyes. Links to supporting articles too.

“[M]any other extremely talented programmers dismantle all the common hollow arguments for superfluous complexity and replace them with simple methodologies and working code.”

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

RSS Politics by Jon Udell

Jon Udell, former member of the RSS Advisory Board, put in his opinion. I generally favor his views.

Balkanizing RSS and Risking Web 2.0 Development

The most significant change to the Internet since HTML is RSS. Dion Hinchclife of ZDNet comments on the Balkanizing of RSS clearly its importance and the potential risks ahead. He talks of the ecosystem of Goggle News, Technorati, Feedburner, blogs, podcasts and others. (BTW, this is exactly what McLuhan meant by The Medium is the Message.) I’ll add almost everything that we consider Web 2.0 is built on the shoulders of RSS.

Apparently some “bigCos” are attempting to put out significant products that might make simple changes that would change things just enough to break RSS and in turn the flurry of Web 2.0 activity. So this is important for innovation. As Dave Winer points out, there is a Roadmap for innovation, so let’s follow it.

Disclosure. I have a variety of interests in RSS. I blogged for a long time. I’ve written free apps like Bletter.com that use RSS. In my day job I’ve written an entire content management system that uses RSS at its foundation an currently produces two feeds for every directory published. My AllSudoku.com site produces an RSS feed. And my current hobby/Web 2.0 project is built around RSS and OPML.

Which leads me to the point that I think anyone interested in this discussion by definition has an interest in RSS. So I am less concerned with Dave Winer’s discussion about conflict of interest than he is. I’m willing to listen some more to others about this. My experience with standards bodies goes back to when I was the FCC observer in the late 70s for the industry group creating the Cable Television Ready standard which I believe was a success. Since then many, many FCC industry standards went horribly wrong, like stereo AM, and they would make interesting case studies.

Interesting discussion in the blogs so far. I’ll see what is going on in the RSS-public mailing list.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Squidoo Rankings and Review - Feb 2006

Since Squidoo’s launch, I’ve been experimenting with different type of lenses. Now that some are near their 90 day point, I thought I’d provide a non-scientific review.

I’m happy to say that as of today three of my eleven public lenses are rated in the top 100. Surprisingly, SuperBowl XL Ads is still ranked 21st. My other seasonal lenses like Top 10 2006 and Christmas Beers and Ales have fallen to 6,805 and 9,020. Both of these were in the top 100 during their season. So the conclusion is that seasonal lenses can do very well. Reviewing these a year from now will be interesting. Another thing I learned is that renewable seasonal lenses need a generic lens as well: See SuperBowl Ads which will become a listing for future annual lenses.

Sudoku has had the best ride on Squidoo and it is ranked 21st. With Squidoo’s launch, it got picked up in a few blogs and was both a “poster child” and a dart board for the concept of lenses. So unit recently, it was always in the top 10 of lenses. A real benefit is that the lens continues to provide a regular traffic to my AllSudoku.com sudoku games site. It is not clear what the drop in ranks means though the change in how rankings are calculated makes a deference. It may also be that the Sudoku fad is fading.

My Sony Ericsson w600i lens has steadily moved up in ranking to where it is now 63rd. I think that the Squidoo format was a good fit for this topic. And this is becoming a popular cell phone.

My other lenses are basically going unnoticed. Vienna, Virginia, Dave Winer, Love Monkey and McLuhan are in the 2,500 to 5,000 range. It didn’t help that the Love Monkey TV show was cancelled after its third epsisode. And Dave Winer has not linked to the lens I created about his work. But more importantly for Squidoo’s business model is my lenses have less than 10 inbound links.

Overall, I still like Squidoo lenses. I’ve really enjoyed some that others have created and I’ll write those up later. Also, I think that tagging is working which surprises me. I believeSquidoo needs to involve lens readers more. Perhaps digging lenses is need. Or comments. Something to make it easy for readers to explore another lens.

Patently Absurd - Not Enough Sand!

I couldn’t agree more with Rob Pegoraro in the Post about patent law. The spreadsheet was never patented, luckily. I believe it would have set back the entire computer revolution that gave us great productivity gains. Ajaxian reported on a Patents Gone Wild about a patent for online rich media. While I believe we need to protect inventors, this has tipped to the absurd. People are taking speculative investments in lawyers pursuing patent blackmail instead of traditional venture capital. Bring on the sand!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Join the Movement. Bring back Phil Dohahue.

Bill O’Reilly has started a petition to bring back Phil Donahue. The truth is that Bill wants to replace his competition on MSNBC that is on during the same time slot. Bill’s ratings are slipping and he’s looking for the good old day. Nice stunt Bill.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Off For a Walk

I’ve not been blogging lately because I’m working on the next best thing since “sliced bread” or maybe the ATM. But I need more exercise, so I’m going out on a long walk and then I’ll come back to code some more. Maybe on my walk I’ll think up a name for this new Web 2.0 product/service.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

New Web Browsers Announced, sorta.

Yahoo released a UI library for web browsers and this changes everything. Old school was waiting for a new web browser to be released with new features. Now with these libraries from Yahoo and others, we have new web browsers by just including some JavaScript libraries. This part of what makes AJAX so exciting.

They need a demo pages that shows examples of everything. Maybe they’ll do that on the Yahoo! User Interface blog.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Geography Does Fit the Leadership

When you think of a state governor, you this of a high power political executive. When you think of a head politician in a county you don’t always thing the term executive applies. I think we have this hierarchy of country, state, county mindset that effects our view of county politicians. I don’t know how many counties are larger in population than the smallest state, but I would guess that it is more than a 100. So we have to think differently about these leaders.

Years ago I moved into Fairfax County when Jack Herrity was the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. He was a leader. He got things done like they do in Chicago. This county became the economic engine of the state and a great place to live in part because of his leadership.

So locally people will take note of his death, but because our of mindset about state governors, it won’t get as much notice. It should. He did alot for alot of people. He’s appreciated.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Health Insurance for All

Health Insurance is severely hurting small businesses. I’d like to see Universal Healthcare for businesses that provides a level playing field for self-employed to small businesses, to mega-corporations. This would be a big help to the economy and I think better than any tax cut. There are probably some out there.

Microsoft ships RSS platform

Public beta of Internet Explorer version 7 is released. Dave Winer has more on the topic.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Squidoo Lens on Dave Winer

I'm a fan of Dave Winer. ThinkTank was a great invention and I believe RSS changes everything. So I created a Squidoo Lens on Dave.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Yahoo game-changers for 2006

Dave Winer wrote about technology game changers that he foresees. Clone the Google API, BitTorrent and P2P webcasting. Dave is usually ahead of the curve and I note the non-central server view. Worth pondering as time unfolds. Has me thinking.

I think in the coming year and after Dave’s OPML work will be responsible for a new explosion of web creativity. In the last year we’ve seen the RSS creative explosion with memeorandum, top10sources, Squidoo and the like. We’re seeing a glimpse of it with reading lists, but much more is coming on the web and in the enterprise. Exciting times.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Publishing Economy

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, but we now live in a publishing economy. It is nearly every phase of our economy now. So Dave Winer’s comment about publishing ring true. I’ll publish more on this after work.

Monday, January 23, 2006

10 Years of AJAX? No, 10 Years of HTMLjive.

10 years ago on Monday, Jan 23, 1996, HTMLjive was released. This HTML editor written in JavaScript was incorporated into thousands of web sites and translated into many different languages. Most of the first set of books on JavaScript featured it as an example.
 
It may not fit today's definition of AJAX, as if there was a definition 10 years ago, but it was an application. JavaScript was release only one month prior and with little documentation. Given those constrains, it has held up very well for being 10 years old. I wonder how it will do has a teenager. It may be time for a makeover soon.
 
So in honor of the occassion I did some very minor changes to the original. Now that it has grown up a little, HTMLjive also has a new (home) URL. Your siblings RBGjive and GEMjive wish their big brother a Happy Birthday.

JavaScript Birthday: 10 years old and a month

On December 23, 1995, Netscape released the first version of a browser with JavaScript. That was 10 years and a month ago. Since then JavaScript has developed into a respected language and the glue that makes AJAX application like Google Maps and other work. So so a belated Happy Birthday to Brendan Eich and his child – JavaScript.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Superbowl XL Ads Lens

While watching the Steelers and Seahawks, I created a Superbowl XL Ads Squidoo lens. Think I have most of the advertisers listed, except ABC. I’ll have some work in the next couple of weeks keeping it updated.

Internet Neutral

What has sounded like a technical and business issue is presented wisely to show the potential negative impact of changing the Neutral Internet in The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet. This is why the FCC was created and I hope they do their job.

We've come to expect that the people who own the phone and cable lines remain "neutral," doing nothing to influence the content on your computer screen. And may the best Web site win.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Design Goal

In reviewing my list of best books for 2005 I just noticed that design is a common theme. Game design, home design, design patterns and D-school. I’m also working on a post about Good Technology and I’m talking about design in there. I’m thinking that I want to focus more on this topic.

So this presents a problem that I need to solve this year. I now have several blogs including this one. Two others are Multipurpose Room where I have not posted in a few years and Surfing The Laws of Media. So I’ll see if I can find some focus and improve my blogging.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Love Monkey

Is this a tv show or an effort to revive the music business? First, they have a great web site for True Vinyl Records, the record company in the show. Second, the characters are on MySpace: Tom Farrell and Julia Hixon. But it looks like the show is going to feature real muscians in each show with like Teddy Geiger, Ben Folds and LeAnn Rimes. And check out the Other Artists We Love – Aimme Mann, James Blunt, Ben Folds, Eugene, Robbers on High Street, She Wants Revenge and Anna Nalick. Got me listening to new music tonight on my computer.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Web Office is out of the gate

As we move into the contributed content of Web 2.0, collabroation becomes essential. Writely.com looks like it will become THE place to work together to create Word processing documents. WikiCalc is taking care of the spreadsheet. Not sure where the PowerPoint equivalent is, yet. Then an app to make them into a suite. I sense a new new way of sharing that will just keep growing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Digging Digg

O’Reilly Radar answered the critics on digg.com about “stealing” a CSS. This is a great Web 2.0 story for several reasons.

First, digg.com is a wonderful site where the community submits stories and decides which ones make it to the top of the home page. I’ve listened to their podcast on my Tivo a few times. It really is a interesting way to get the latest tech news and points out the power of social software in the web 2.0 world.

Second, I just started reading The Origin of Brands by Al & Laura Ries. (blog) They state that divergence is “the most powerful force in the world.” This is already happening with digg as the O’Reilly story shows with its link to pligg. TechCrunch pointed to a porno version the other day. Here’s a Linux version using the digg model. ituneslove diggs music. Look for many more. Diggs or pliggs will probably become a common feature of some community sites now that there is an open source version.

Third, any new technology “reverses” at some point according to McLuhan’s Laws of Media. For example, a car gets you there faster until there are so many that it reverses into traffic jams when you go nowhere. I think digg is at this point. It was hit by spammers and now the accusations of mob journalism. Maybe having an editor isn’t so bad? (Interestingly, the podcast is an editorial product.) Maybe memeorandum looks better with its robots and spiders? I expect both will find their place and that I’ll continue to enjoy digg.com and their podcast.

Fourth, there seems to be a change of attitude now about CSS. You’ll commonly read in computer books that you should “view source” of other web sites to “steal their code”. Why reinvent the wheel? People have avoided JavaScript code for this reason. However, this attitude may be changing. While accusing someone of stealing CSS has the ring of red/blue politics, this maybe a milestone in Web 2.0 integrity.

Art Rage is one reason why I'll get a tablet

12 years ago I owned a pen computer. It looked very much like the tablet computers you see today with a convertible screen that was touch sensitive. However, the processor was really not powerful enough given that is was a 386 with a black and white screen. I’m anxious to do art again and a mouse does not cut it. It looks like Art Rage is designed for the hand on screen. Thanks to Scoble for pointing to it. Maybe in 2007 I’ll saved up the cash.

Monday, January 09, 2006

You, not Howard Stern, are the Program Director

Sirius and Howard Stern have done great PR. But cut through it and look at the real future of audio programs. It is not broadcasting but podcasting. We know radio is primarily listened to in the car and occasionally on the clock radio. Radio, whether AM, FM or satellite, will compete with hard drive devices (mp3 players) in the car. You’ll subscribe to the programs you want and they’ll automatically (through WiFi or BlueTooth) be in your car. You’ll be the DJ Program Director. Maybe the hard drive device will be on your cell phone that will play through BlueTooth in your car. Look for most satellite, non-music programs, to be available as podcast within three years. And then look for popular podcast to move to satellite too. The action is in podcasts, not radio.

Howard killed the radio star and satellite radio is fighting for dominance against hard drives. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2005 Top 10 Lists

Heath Row was nice enough to highlight my new Squidoo lens on 2005 Top 10 Lists in his Squidoo Blog. It was fun to make. And I won’t feel obligated to update it because it is a snapshot in time.

Why Build a Squidoo Lens?

A reader asked why I built a specific Squidoo lens, but I’ll answer with a more general answer.

I’ve always believed that member contributed content was the key to online sites. This goes back to my first BBS in 1979 and the followup BBS which was entirely fiction: The Storyboard. I then worked extensively with Searchlight BBS in the ‘90s because it brought the features of a BBS to the web. I contributedcontent.com will someday get my attention.

So I write Squidoo lenses for my own interest and fun. My first Squidoo lens was on Marshall McLuhan which is some indication of my deep interest on the subject on new technology. I’m very intrigued by how Squidoo will do in the longterm. How will Squidoo work when the Web 2.0 spotlight is removed? Will Squidoo work as a site because typically people only view a few pages on a site and move on? Will Squidoo lens primarily work as search results? How do lenses fit into the trackback and tag world of the blogosphere? And I really don’t mean to ask these questions specifically about Squidoo, but about member contributed content. This is all part of the reason I like creating Squidoo lenses.

Top10Sources

Was listening to Dave Winer podcast with John Palfrey of toptensources.com. This seems very similar to Squidoo.com where I’ve put together a few lenses (like Sudoku). I’ll refrain from a side by side comparison review for now. Feel free to comment on your view. I do think that they two will compete for the same attention and will learn from each other.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Flyi Flies Off

From Flyi. Just shows that sometimes a great service is not enough.

Today is a sad day for Independence Air.

Today we must announce that we will be ceasing scheduled service operations this Thursday evening, January 5. The financial pressures in the industry have prevailed. We have run out of time.

It has been an amazing 18 months. We set out to challenge the status quo and to re-set your expectations about air travel. We set out to introduce you to lower fares and a new level of service delivered by employees who care. Currently ranked #2 in customer satisfaction among all US airlines, we are proud that we did indeed earn your respect and loyalty. We are proud that we built a brand so universally praised by over 8 million customers. We are proud of the mark we have made.

Customers with reservations whose trips are completed between now and Thursday evening should expect the same great service for which we have become known.

Additionally, we are seeking bankruptcy court approval to automatically provide refunds to customers holding reservations on flights occurring after our shutdown of operations on January 5th. No refunds will be offered for free tickets or vouchers.

Finally, we will be contacting those customers with itineraries that start before and end after our shutdown (including those customers who have already commenced their travel) to offer them the opportunity to change their return reservations to a flight on one of our remaining days of operation if possible. Customers can immediately change travel dates on their own by visiting the “Change Itinerary” section of our website, FLYi.com. All change fees will be waived when travel dates are changed via our website, but a difference in fare could be incurred (unfortunately, this results from a website process that cannot be disabled. Alternatively, if moving the return trip to one of our remaining operating days is not feasible, we are also seeking bankruptcy court approval to refund any amounts paid by these customers for their return reservations.

Please be aware that under section 145 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (November 19, 2001) Congress has obligated U.S. airlines to offer stand-by transportation to passengers holding un-refunded tickets for airlines that have ceased operations due to insolvency or bankruptcy. The Act stipulates that passengers must make their request to carriers serving the same routes as the bankrupt carrier and must do so within 60 days of the cessation of service. The U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled that airlines who offer the stand-by transportation may charge $50 one-way per person to cover related expenses.

Further information can be found on our website, FLYi.com.

Today is a sad day for Independence Air. Today is a sad day for our customers who have gotten used to tender loving service and paying less for air travel. We will miss serving you. Thank you for your vigorous support.

Guy Kawasaki is Blogging

Guy Kawasaki, the Apple evangelist is blogging and I’m subscribing too!

Writely

Gmail was the best use of JavaScript and AJAX in 2005. Just wowwed everyone. Well, you’ve got to take a look at Writely.com. Writely does for work processing what Gmail did for email. Actually it does a lot more. It lets you collaborate with others. Then you can also publish it to your blog or print it or whatever. I’m using it now with four less technical types than me and I think they’ll do fine. There is already another I know group using it without any training.  We’ll see. Sure beats meeting.

But check it out. Maybe start you family history, your novel, or just notes.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Another Video Outlet

Here’s were a star will be born in 2006: http://www.youtube.com/

"Video Killed the Radio Star" 2006 version

When technology allowed cable tv to move from 12 channels to hundreds, the age of public access television became possible. In the ‘70s Sony produced inexpensive, portable video recorders – the PortaPack. People started seeing the possibilities of moving television out of corporate control. Michael Shamberg wrote Guerrilla television and then went on to produce The Big Chill and many other films.

With podcasting it was easy to produce your own radio shows with the help of mp3 players. We  now have new video podcasting, iTunes selling tv reruns, TiVo to go, etc, for video distribution. Video can even be shot with a cellphone or any of the millions of digital cameras sold this past year. So there will be an explosion of video production like what happened in the Guerrilla television days. And we’ll probably see a few new Michael Shambergs emerge, the Dawn and Drews of this video wave. Look for them soon. Television won’t be the same.

2006 Predictions

Mainly technology, but what will probably happen in 2006.
  1. TV shoves out Radio. Podcasting gave new life to radio shows in 2005. It was an extension to the MP3 player boom of 2004. But now cell phones and iPod are accepting video podcasting. So will TiVo and other cable tv DVRs this year. “Video killed the radio star” with a twist.
  2. Musicians will look for iTune alternatives. As a technology is heavily used, it shows weaknesses. Too many cars gave us traffic jams. With iTunes soon to be the major distributor of music, people will look for alternatives. These will probably work with cell phones and have little copy protection.
  3. Cell phones as platform. AJAX really made the browser the new platform. Are there more cell phones than computers on the web yet? This is the new platform. More cell phone games than PC stand alone games this year.
  4. RSS moves behind the firewall.  There will be a lot of action by vendors to RSS-enable their enterprise software which MS has already announced. Everyone will join in. With an RSS reader on every desktop, companies will adapt.
  5. Executive Dashboard will finally make sense as an RSS aggregator. If every employee, every team, every project and every server is spitting out RSS then the executive can tune in. The executives will also be pressured to blog.
  6. Ruby on Rails will get XML or die. Ruby was developed with disdain for XML, but if it flip-flops the the enterprise will adopt Ruby. So it will get XMLed.
  7. Home RFID reader will be sold by major electronic chains. Won’t be a big seller, but home businesses might pickup a few.
  8. GYM will change. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft will change order of their reputations. Just suggesting that one will stumble. Or we’ll add a letter like A or A.
  9. AJAX is Web 2.0. For most users, Web 2.0 will be AJAX. It will be so widely adapted in increments that even the average user will sense a difference. The infrastructure that is really Web 2.0 will be the invisible hand.
  10. HDTV will need universal “set top” box. DVRs like TiVo will be “required” components to HDTV. The clamor will start to allow other electronic products to replace cable TV set top boxes. The “cable-tv ready” set in reverse. If we don’t have to buy our phones from the telco then why do we need to buy their settop boxes?