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symfony Web PHP Framework
Based on the best practices of web development, thoroughly tried on several active websites, symfony aims to speed up the creation and maintenance of web applications, and to replace the repetitive coding tasks by power, control and pleasure.
january 2008
ImTOO DVD Ripper for Mac - Mac DVD Ripper Rip DVD on Mac
ImTOO DVD Ripper for Mac is versatile Mac DVD ripper software to rip DVD on Mac, can rip DVD to all popular video files on Mac OS X fast and easy. The Mac DVD ripper software ripping DVD on Mac, can rip DVD to MPEG, rip DVD to AVI on Mac OS X with great D
january 2008
How To Become A Hacker
The Jargon File contains a bunch of definitions of the term ‘hacker’, most having to do with technical adeptness and a delight in solving problems and overcoming limits. If you want to know how to become a hacker, though, only two are really relevant
january 2008
BumpTop 3D Desktop Prototype - www.bumptop.com
See http://BumpTop.com for more information. BumpTop aims to enrich the desktop metaphor with expressive, lightweight techniques found in the real world.
january 2008
Macheist bundle completely unlocked
We've covered this year's Macheist a couple of times already, but they hit a milestone today and all the software, including heavy hitters CSSedit, Snapz Pro, and Pixelmator, is now unlocked. Whatever else you might think of the concept, it's a mighty good deal for all this software. I just purchased it myself and received the serial numbers immediately (excepting Cha-Ching which will shortly release a new version with new serials).
january 2008
MacHeist II: Now Includes Snapz Pro X and Pixelmator
MacHeist II is shaping into another really great success this time around as they quickly approach their target of $100,000 for charity. The screenshot and video capture utility Snapz Pro X (a $69 program) was just recently added to the bundle, which seemed to cause a flurry of purchases. I think in the next 24 hours or sooner we should see the bundle fully unlocked and Pixelmator also added to the package.

Update: The recently released image editing app Pixelmator has also just been added to the bundle, making it an extremely attractive offering at only $49. Also a portion of the money collected is going to several worthy charities.

Below is a list of what is included for those who dont know. Check out Marvins MacHeist II software round-up for more details on each program.

1password - A really useful password manager.
CoverSurta - The popular iTunes controller app.
Cha-Ching - A great money and finances manager.
iStopMotion - Stop motion photography application.
Awaken - A really nice alarm clock app.
Speed Download - A Mac download manager.
AppZapper - The Macs missing application uninstaller .
TaskPaper - A to do list manager.
CSSEdit - The best CCS editor for Mac.
Snapz Pro X - A screenshot and video capture utility.
Pixelmator - image editor (just added!)

Check out the MacHeist site to get your bundle before the deadline is reached (9 days away currently).
january 2008
Wallstrip Host Lindsay Campbell Leaving Show, Staying With CBS
Lindsay Campbell, the face (and voice, and much of the brains) of Wallstrip, is leaving the Web video show. But she'll stay with the same employer: Lindsay has a new job at CBS Interactive, which bought the finance/stock show last May. This makes sense: At the time of the CBS deal, the conventional wisdom was that Quincy Smith had purchased the show in part to secure Lindsay's services for future projects.Lindsay hasn't told us what she's going to be doing, but we expect to learn soon: Look for an announcement from the site Monday morning. We do know who's replacing her: Julie Alexandria, a NYC-based actress who's guest-hosted for Wallstrip before. We can attest that Julie is smart and capable, which is good a thing, since she has some talented shoes to fill.Update: NewTeeVee's Liz Gannes says Lindsay, along with Wallstrip producers Adam Elend and Jeff Marks, will be working on something called Moblogic.tv.
january 2008
Things Are Looking Good At Startup Schwag
Youll either think this is lame (not target market) or so cool youve wet your pants (target market) and act accordingly. The first attempt at the model by Valleyschwag didnt scale and folded. Startup Schwag isnt relying on the companies to produce the stuff, though (thats where Valleyschwag ran into trouble when they got too big), they do it themselves with the companys permission.
january 2008
Vecsys-Research, speech processing, speech recognition home page
Vecsys-Research develops speech processing technologies for multilingual, large vocabulary speech recognition (speech-to-text), automatic audio segmentation, language identification and speaker recognition. We also develop core speech recognizer engines f
january 2008
A Plan For Minnesota
Minnesota can attract well-known software/IT companies to establish Minneapolis/St. Paul based “outpost developer offices.”

Repeatable Pattern
I’ve noticed a pattern of well-known software/IT companies locating development offices (as opposed to, say, sales offices) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.

Adobe is, perhaps, the best known success story: they’ve had a presence in Arden Hills for some time that produces some of their marquee products.

Dow Jones’s Minneapolis office is the home to over 100 developers who’ve built for a large swath of Dow Jones’ online offerings.

As part of my involvement in the local developer and software business communities, I’ve become involved in working with Microsoft to create a product development office here.

Less formal, though no less important, is Sun’s investment in Minnesota: Sun has been quietly hiring some of Minnesota’s best software minds to lead initiatives — some public, others as skunk works — that form the basis for the companies resurgence.

Seagate, Oracle, Veritas and others have engineering offices here too.

Larger Pattern
Though these companies were drawn to Minnesota for a variety of reasons they share a common theme:

Minnesota provides an environment where serious software can be built at a significant discount over coastal alternatives.

Interestingly, the pitch for Minnesota here runs parallel to the value proposition offered by “Indian outsourcing,” though without the negatives.

India Looked Good On Paper
The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman’s oft cited book, illustrates the pre-conditions that made India appear to be an attractive location for outpost developer offices early this century:

Indian culture/society hold engineers in high regard, and India’s institutions are geared towards producing a renewable supply of well trained, employable, productive engineers. Good engineers paired with what was, effectively, free broad band and lower wages, India held great potential.

To a limited extent, that potential was realized: Large enterprise software development projects — those ERP projects/implementations with armies of undifferentiated developers that consultancies sell to giant multinationals — fit well into this model because the physical distance, the many time-zones that separate the participants, and the language difficulties could be overcome by enormous specifications, volumes of documentation, and Process with a capital-P.

However, companies whose product is software — and this point is critical, i.e., places were software was not a side-effect, were it was not used to support the business, but where bytes were the business (whether installed software or web based) — did not generally succeed in India.

For these folks, all of the front-loaded specification work and the delays in communications that a dozen time-zone bring, cause the process to fall down. You can’t build software this way when software is your product. I won’t attempt to provide a comprehensive explanation of why, deferring instead to 20+ years of research and literature, exemplified by The Mythical Man Month.

Enter Minnesota
We, Minnesotans, have had success building software-as-the-product. It’s illustrated by the examples above and from home-grown success stories like Digital River.

Our culture that values engineers. We have institutions to nurture them. We are a wired state, as evidenced by Popular Science when they recognized the metro area as the Top Tech City.

Developer salaries are at least a third lower in Minnesota than on the coastal tech centers. All in, fully loaded, it costs less than half as much to build software here as on the coasts.

Also, we’re at most two time zones or a few hours flight away. I am, in fact, writing this from an airplane on my way to New York, where I’ll be putting the theme of this essay into practice:

For the last few years, I’ve largely made my living building new software products/services for established coastal companies.
Their examples illustrate the sweet-spot in the market that we should target to draw software companies into Minnesota:

Sweet Suite Spot
My clients are venture backed companies transitioning from “emerging” to “established” status. Their stories follow a similar pattern:

The company is founded/funded to produce a narrowly-targeted piece of software. They succeed, building a “best of breed” application in an emerging space. As the broader market that their product lives in matures, buying-behavior changes: people move from buying best-of-breed applications to buying a suite of applications.

An “historic” example of this is the office-application suites. Recall that the choice used to be “Wordperfect vs. Word,” followed by a later choice of “Lotus 1-2-3 vs. Excel.”

When a company emerge as a market leader, with stand-alone best-of-breed product, only to find the market moving towards buying suites then they very quickly need to flesh out the empty pieces in their roster. They will license other people’s products to fill the gaps where they can and they’ll build the rest.

In the office-suite space we’ll examine the winner: Microsoft bought PowerPoint and developed Excel.

There’s a certain unsubtle difference to building out the suite vs. building a new idea in a virgin space: You’ve got a crib: your competitor has done the work to test out what works in a word processor and what doesn’t, so your job is a bit easier.

But it turns our that building out a suite turns out to be very nearly impossible for companies at this (or any) stage. It took the collective total of their entire engineering team arrive at this point; it’s impossible for them to double down and develop new products with their fully utilized existing team.

At this point, it becomes a balance sheet issue: they need to fill in their suites at minimal cost.

To these folks I say, “Enjoy Minnesota! It’s all here.” We’ve got the talent and we’re affordable.

We can build on our success stories. They won’t come to us, but we can actively recruit these businesses. Identifying them won’t be hard. It’ll take a directed, block-and-tackle sales job pairing the incentives that state’s economic development policy makers can offer with folks like me to literally drive the message home, door-to-door, in Silicon Valley and get these companies here.
from google
january 2008
Indie Fever
Something is changing. In the past few years, more and more of my developer friends have started talking about “going indie.” That is, going out on their own to develop, market, support, and profit from their own software. Many years ago, while I was working at Apple, the notion of striking out on one’s own was not even on the table for most developers I knew.

I met Peter Bierman in 1994 or so, while I was a contract quality tester at Apple, in the System 7.5 team. I was 19 and finishing college. Peter was a young intern. Together, we were by far the youngest people in our department, and among the youngest people either of us knew in the entire company. We had Apple fever, and the future stretched out as far as we could see, working in the safe and exhilarating comfort of those corporate walls.

I didn’t meet Jens Alfke until much later, though his name was familiar to me because he had been the author of a piece of software called Antler Notes, which Apple had acquired and was including in the forthcoming 7.5 release. Today, you know it as Stickies. Over the years that followed, Jens played greater and lesser roles inside Apple. He left for a while, came back. Developed iChat. Developed Safari RSS. You know, little things here and there, that hardly have any impact on the Mac experience.

In those old days when going indie seemed like such an unlikely goal for the future, people did still leave Apple. Even happy people, who loved Apple, and wanted to see it prosper. At that time it was far more likely however for people to leave the company to join a startup venture. Startups were widly popular. After all, this was the dawn of the dot-com boom. So several of my Apple developer friends ended up shipping off to companies who promised big IPOs and the opportunity to be a big fish in a small pond.

Going indie provides the opportunity to be a very big fish in a very, very small pond. In fact, the only way to extend the metaphor successfully is that as a new indie entrepreneur, you’re going out on a limb, hoping that you’ll find a pond even big enough to support yourself and your family. You might roll around in muddy shallows from time to time, gasping for air and hoping for rain, but in any case, you’re the big fish and at least you run the show.

Within the past week, both Peter Bierman and Jens Alfke, two long-time Apple employees and passionate Mac developers, have decided to become big fish in their own ponds. They’ve gone indie.

Peter Bierman: I’m leaving Apple to start my own Co.

Jens Alfke: I’ve left Apple, and I’m now working on my own.

What? Did these guys get together and coordinate this? I don’t think so. The fever is running rampant through the Mac community, and people are catching it everywhere, including inside Apple. I know at least two other people personally, who work at cushy jobs in multi-billion-dollar companies, who are also threatening (read: building up determination) to strike out on their own.

As an Apple aficionado and stockholder, it concerns me to some extent that Apple is losing such qualified developers, and that they may be poised to lose even more as the fever spreads. I suspect that the draw of indie living has only barely scratched the surface at companies like Apple, where currently only the most ambitious and free-spirited individuals are leaving the nest. In the coming months and years, I expect to send congratulatory notes to other of my past colleagues, and I further expect that many qualified people who I’ve never met are also at this time making up their mind that it’s time for a new adventure. What will Apple do without all these amazing people?

The good news is not everybody is cut out for the indie life. A great number of Apple’s amazing employees are perfectly content to continue cranking away on the next super-fabulous Apple thingy. In fact, the vast majority of people I worked with ten years ago, are still employed in Cupertino. Furthermore, while Apple may lose a person here or there to the indie life, there are plenty of people knocking on the door, eager to get their chance to “live inside the castle.”

But most importantly of all, those individuals who leave Apple, and choose to develop Mac software on their own, aren’t really leaving Apple. We’re a major component of Apple’s success. Just ask anybody who’s ever been converted to the Mac because of an amazing indie offering. As I quipped on Jens’s blog, all of us who develop for and promote software on the Mac are working for the “biggest Apple team of all.”

Welcome to the indie team, Peter and Jens!
from google
january 2008
Cross-Site XMLHttpRequest in Firefox 3
John Resig has written up documentation of Cross-Site XMLHttpRequest that discusses the W3C Access Control working draft which Firefox 3 implements.
january 2008
ZFS beta now on Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard
Noel Dellofano, part of the ZFS development team at Apple, has posted ZFS binaries and source code...
from google
january 2008
The deal with shared hosts
Most Rails contributors are not big users of shared hosting and they tend to work on problems or enhancements that'll benefit their own usage of the framework. You don't have to have a degree in formal logic to deduce that work to improve life on shared hosting is not exactly a top priority for these people, myself included.

That's not a value judgement. It's not saying that shared hosting is bad or evil. It's simply saying that the Rails contributors generally don't use it. By extension, it's not something that we are personally invested in solving as a traditional "scratch your own itch" type of development.

Improve what is for profit and fun
I'd love for Rails to be easy as pie to run in a shared hosting environment, though. I'd love for Rails to be easy as pie to run in any environment. In that "more people could have fun learning Rails and deploying their first hobby application" kind of way. But I don't need it in the sense that I'm going to put in the work, personally, to make it happen.

Others might, though. The Dreamhost guys in particular sounds like they're experiencing a lot of hurt running Rails in their shared hosting environments. That should be a great motivator to jump in and help improve things. The work I do every day to improve Rails is usually about removing hurt. Heck, it's currently in the slogan on the Rails site: "Web development that doesn't hurt".

Second, it sounds like they have a substantial economic interest in making the shared hosting scenario for Rails easier. I read that a fair number of their customers are going elsewhere because they can't get Rails to run well at Dreamhost. Before they leave, though, they probably tax the support system quite heavily as well. So there's direct costs, lost revenues, and probably also a great upside waiting if Rails ran great on their system.

That's both a personal motive for having a less stressful day and a profit motive for making your business more money. Sounds like a match made in heaven for someone like Dreamhost to get involved and help do the work to make Rails a great shared host experience. They might not have the man-power in-house today to make that happen, but I'm sure they could easily hire their way out of that. If the plan they want to pursue is a better mod_ruby, I'd start looking at that project for people who've contributed and ask if they'd like to earn a living improving the state of affairs.

We'll work with you if you're willing to work with us
Again, I'd love to see someone tackle this challenge and would be more than happy to work with a group pursuing this to get their results into Rails or working with Rails the best way we can. Consider that an open, standing invitation.

In exchange, I'll ask a few, small favors. Don't treat the current Rails community as your unpaid vendor. Wipe the wah-wah tears off your chin and retract the threats of imminent calamity if we don't drop everything we're doing to pursue your needs. Stop assuming that it's either a "complete lack of understanding of how web hosting works, or an utter disregard for the real world" that we're not working on issues that would benefit your business. Think of it more as we're all just working on the issues that matters most to our business or interests.

The alternatives
Now if you're a user of shared hosting and you're not satisfied with the results you're getting — and you're not getting good vibes that things will be better — there are alternatives. Lots of them in fact. And it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. Self-service VPS outfits like Slice Host has plans starting at $20/month that runs Rails great (I use them to run this site). RailsMachine has a Rails-specific setup for $75/month. And for the more high-end stuff, you can get great setups from Joyent, Engine Yard, and tons of others.

So as a programmer looking to deploy Rails, you have tons of options in all price ranges. If you're a shared host looking to capitalize on a framework that's driving a lot of demand, it would seem that your best option is to actually get involved and help the community help you.
from google
january 2008
OpenID and DataPortability.org to gain major support
Momentum appears to be building behind the related notions that users should have a single set of login credentials to sign into mostperhaps even allof the web sites that they frequent and that they should be able to easily move their personal data between different social networking services. These ideas have gained so much traction recently that groups like DataPortability.org and OpenID have made many pundits' lists of "what will be hot in 2008." But while reports this week show that OpenID and DataPortability.org are gaining support from giants like Google, Facebook, IBM, and Verisign, a number of lingering questions about security and privacy remain.
january 2008
Newsgator turns NetNewsWire free for everyone
Filed under: Software, Cool tools, Freeware
Wow. I don't know who hadn't bought NetNewsWire yet, but if you haven't, consider your wait vindicated: most of Newsgator's products, including NNW, Newsgator Online, and FeedDemon (the Windows version of the popular RSS reader) have all gone free with version 3.1.Brent Simmons, NNW's creator, is reportedly happy about the change, to say the least, and Newsgator isn't any less thrilled themselves-- they say that not only are they excited to spread the love around to everyone, but that they'll also be using "attention data" collected from the software (which hopefully sounds more ominous than it is... right?) to "deliver a better experience for everyone." Not so happy might be the folks who've paid for the products in the past-- Newsgator is offering an automatic refund to anyone who purchased them in the past 30 days, but anyone before that just has to live with the fact that they paid $30 to use the software at the time (not that it was a bad deal back then anyway). Those who subscribed to the Newsgator Online service will run out their current subscriptions, and then continue on without charge.Version 3.1 of NetNewsWire features an updated interface with new toolbar icons, some performance and memory enhancements, and the ability to archive news items as HTML files, viewable in any browser. It is now available, for a completely free download, over on Newsgator's site.Read
january 2008
Ask 37signals: Why did you restart Highrise?
Johni Brown asks:

Can you describe initial direction you took when developing Highrise, before you started over? How did it differ from today’s Highrise? What aspect of it were you unhappy with, and why?

The primary problem with the first version of Highrise was that we didn’t use it ourselves. It was built on fantasy requirements of what some people might need one day. That’s an incredibly hard way to build software. And it certainly isn’t our way of building software.

Here’s an early (ugly) screenshot from the initial direction. Lots of unstyled stuff, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the complexity we didn’t like.



The focus on “some people” lead us down the path of “they might also need this” and “it would probably be cool to have that”. Before we knew it, the create a new note screen had a barrage of options that needed to be set before you could post. It was too cumbersome, too slow, and surprisingly too rigid despite trying to be flexible. (The aha moment for us was contrasting the ease of getting data into Campfire vs Highrise at the time).

Getting too clever with language and permissions
We also got lost down the rabbit hole of cleverness a few times. We wanted categories for your notes that would align to natural language. I forget the specifics exactly, but it was akin to “David has completed a phone call with Jason”. Where “phone call” would be the category. But how do you figure out what the joining words would be when the category is “fax”? “David has completed a fax with Jason” doesn’t really work. We tried too hard for too long to be clever on wording when it really doesn’t matter all that much.

The second rabbit hole was permissions. Permissions is always a deep, dark dungeon that you really would rather not venture into. But some times dragons need slaying and so we did. We started out with a ridiculously flexible system that allowed you to mix and match any number of groups and people together. You could have a note visible by “Marketing, Programming, John, and Jane”. That proved to be incredibly complex on both the implementation side and the UI side. But for a long time we couldn’t let go because we were caught up chasing edge cases.

The promises that got us back on track
So when we finally realized that this wasn’t going to work, we rebooted the project with a number of promises:

Design for yourself, make everyone on the team want to use Highrise—not just Jason talking to journalists, but Ryan dealing with his mechanic as well
Not every edge case needs solving—yes, there might be a case where having both Marketing and Jane see something but not Joe, but it’s not worth the complexity of enabling that case.
Start using the product right away—a lot of “what ifs” and “wouldn’t it be cools” just go away when you actually start using something and discover what really matters.

As you can see, these lessons are nothing new. We’ve been preaching these ideas for a long time, but living them is so much harder. When we let the core principles of Getting Real slide, not even we could produce software worth a damn.

Got a question for us?
Got a question about design, business, marketing, etc? We’re happy to try to provide some insight into how we’d tackle the problem. Just email svn [at] 37signals dot com with the subject “Ask 37signals”. Thanks.
from google
january 2008
Jason Fried discusses Highrise, red flag words, opinionated companies, and benevolent dictators
Jason Fried was recently interviewed on John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

We spent a fair amount of time discussing the workings of their newest offering, a CRM app known as Highrise…As is usually the case, 37Signals chose to do some of the primary CRM functions elegantly and leave the others to, well, others. It’s worth a look.

And let’s play some catchup: Here are summaries (posted by others) of a couple of Jason’s 2007 conference presentations…

2007 MIMA Summit Wrap Up mentions red flag words like need, can’t, easy, just, only, etc.

The afternoon Keynote was an eye opening look into a new way of working: silent. The guys at 37signals have found out that talking to each other is a big productivity killer. To help fix this, they have days where no one is allowed to talk. Their example was to think of it like sleeping. If you constantly get interrupted, you never get a good night sleep. Work is the same way. By being silent and only communicating via IM or email, you are more apt to get into the zone and crank out more quality work in a shorter amount of time.

Another tip was to avoid meetings as they can be toxic. Some meetings can be an hour long, but really, the meeting could be 15-20 minutes and have the same outcome. It seems people are more apt to fill the time than have shorter meetings.

I have to say, Jason had some great ideas. I’m not convinced that they’d work out for all companies, but there was one take away that I can start doing today; and that’s avoiding “red flag” words. Words such as need, can’t, easy, just, only and fast are all words that don’t come across well in communication as it means you’re making assumptions.

“We just need this one feature.” “It should be easy to just add one more thing.” “Let’s do it fast and get it done with.”

These types of statements make it appear as if the sender is assuming that the receiver’s job is simple. The receiver may feel insulted or under-appreciated. Avoiding those “red flag” words can help out communication quite a bit. I know I’m going to print them out and do my best to try and avoid them.

Jason Fried: Say No More sums up the Mossberg/Fried interview at The Business Innovation Factory.

Mossberg began by saying they weren’t going to be talking about technology, but it quickly became clear that he meant they weren’t going to talk about technology from a technical standpoint. Instead, Mossberg focused on what Fried knows best: what makes technology good. Anyone who has read anything from 37Signals can guess Fried’s answer: simplicity.

Fried introduced 37Signals as a company that makes software for small businesses, but quickly corrected himself, “We don’t really think of it as software,” he said, “we think of it as tools to get things done.” 37Signals focuses on the simplest way to solve a problem and then “gets out of the way,” said Fried. The problem with traditional software is that it often gets in the way. It gets complicated, bloated, and hard to use.

The reason, argued Jason, is that the software industry is structured to build crap (borrowing the term Mossberg used to describe Outlook). Software is designed to make money on new versions shipped every year or so, and in order to convince users to keep upgrading developers feel pressure to add new features. 37Signals, on the other hand, offers its software over the web as a service. When people are paying a monthly fee, the company can release updates on a continuous basis and focus on making things work as simply as possible, rather than adding more features.

Always the skeptic, Mossberg didn’t buy it. How do you balance your mantra of simplicity with demands of self selected vocal customers who want more, he asked. How do you avoid feature creep?

Echoing a post he made on his company’s blog this morning, Fried said that good software needs editors. The same way a museum needs a curator or a writer needs an editor, software development too demands a leader with a clear voice who is willing to say, “no.” “You have to be a hard ass,” said Fried. 37Signals is what Fried calls an “opinionated company.” They believe in their way of doing things, and users who agree with those ideas will have a great time using their software. Another company built in this mold is Apple.

“But Steve Jobs is a dictator,” said Mossberg of the comparison to Apple. “And I love that,” said Fried. “I think it’s unbelievably fantastic.”

In their book Getting Real, 37Signals talks about making software for a core group of customers. “The customer is not always right,” they write. “The truth is you have to sort out who’s right and who’s wrong for your app.” The number one person who is right for you app is you, the developer. If you’re not making software that you would use, and is built with your vision in mind, then the software will suffer because as a result. As Fried told the crowd here, “Fundamentally, people need to say no more.”
from google
january 2008
Why HD Won't Save Radio, And Why Fred Wilson Thinks It Will
HD radio, terrestrial radio's perennial "wait till next year" magic bullet, gets a lukewarm reception from the WSJ ($), which allows that "HD Radio's Prospects May Improve". But even that's too generous. A more accurate headline: "Regular Radio Screwed, With Or Without HD Radio".That's because even if HD Radio succeeds -- meaning that you, some you know, or someone you've heard of ends up listening to HD Radio at some point -- it won't help CBS, Clear Channel (CCU) and the rest of conventional radio industry solve its fundamental problem: Competition for listeners' attention from the standard litany of new distractions: Internet, satellite, games, iPods, etc.HD Radio - which isn't actually in "high definition" - is supposed to sound better, but the main attraction to broadcasters is that it lets them jam extra channels into your receiver. Theoretically, that will let them diversify their programming and give listeners more choice. But more channels don't mean more revenue, because the number of listeners doesn't increase. In a best-case scenario, HD Radio just slows down the erosion of radio's base.Update: Fred Wilson, who's an investor in HD Radio developer iBiquity, says that HD is great and that when your car, iPod or iPhone comes with HD built in, "consumers will be able to tap into the thousands of new free radio channels that have been launched using HD technology in the past couple years. And when they do that, they'll see how great digital radio is."But digital radio better be pretty awesome. As Fred noted earlier in the week, his kids have long abandoned conventional radio for their MP3s:The only time they listen to radio is when we have it on in the car for short rides. If its a long ride, we almost always plug in the iPod and theyll take turns DJing. Jessica is an amazing DJ if I may say so myself. She has mastered the art of gracefully moving from The Beatles, to the Arctic Monkeys, to some obscure new band Ive never heard of and not miss a beat. In my generation, shed have been working the high school or college radio station. Now shes more likely to start an mp3 blog.
january 2008
Opera coming to the iPhone
An Opera developer has stated that they are working on an iPhone version of their browser to be released alongside the iPhone SDK whenever it comes out.
january 2008
The OpenID Train Steams Ahead: Google, IBM and Verisign Said To Be Joining
TechCrunch UKs Mike Butcher is reporting that Google, IBM and Verisign are in late stage discussions with the OpenID Foundation. This news comes on the same day that Google, Facebook and Plaxo joined the DataPortability Workgroup.

Google has been testing OpenID with its Blogger platform since late last year, but this is said to be a more general implementation across core Google properties.

OpenID was originally developed by Brad Fitzpatrick, previously at LiveJournal and now at Google. Its likely hes pushing this internally. If he gets Google on board, then OpenID has very rosy prospects ahead.
Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
january 2008
Microsoft To Buy Norwegian Search Firm Fast Search & Transfer For $1.23 Billion
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will buy Norwegian web and mobile enterprise search software firm Fast Search & Transfer in a deal that values the company at 6.6 billion kroner ($1.23 billion), reports Bloomberg. The software giant will pay 19 kroner ($3.54) for each Fast share.
january 2008
Apple's preps iTunes 7.6 with support for movie rentals
Apple Inc. at the Macworld conference next week will show off a new version of its iTunes jukebox software that bundles support for a digital movie rental service slated for an introduction at the same time, AppleInsider has been able to confirm.

...
from google
january 2008
PDF Now an ISO Standard
Stephen Partridge, the business development Manager for Acrobat has announced on his Adobe Blog that the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) voted to approve Adobes PDF as an international document format standard. The ISO standard number is ISO32000.

This means that as an ISO standard, Adobe will no longer have sole control over what is already the de facto standard for creating, editing, sharing and commenting on documents between multiple platforms. Adobe will be just one of many implementers of that standard. Adobe expects to participate on the ISO committees determining changes that should be included in a revised standard, said James King, a senior principle scientist and PDF architect at Adobe.
january 2008
Skin type
The alphabet rendered with folds of skin
You have to wonder, does someone just wake up one morning and go, you know what would be fun? Strapping some clothespins to my face! Because if I have to pick up a pen to write the letter K one more time, I'm just gonna fall right over.

Armstrong Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
by dooce in Links
january 2008
The Internet is going to get a whole lot slower next week
However, next week, Apple will almost definitely launch its iTunes movie rental store, and millions of people will start downloading like they never have before. One and a half hour movies can get up to one gigabyte in size. Contrast that to a four megabyte iTunes music file which is 250 times smaller. This is a huge amount of data.
january 2008
Measuring Cup: A Free OS X Recipe Manager
Recently my wife (the proud owner of a new MacBook she procured over Christmas) tasked me with the job of finding her a recipe manager for OS X. Her only pre-requisites were that it had to be cheap, easy to use, and not something that would slow her down. After a couple cups of coffee, and some plowing around on Google I managed to find something that fits right in with her give it to me free ethos - Measuring Cup by Shallot Patch.
january 2008
The Truth That Dare Not Speak: The CES Keynote Sucked
Another year and another keynote speech at CES tops the headlines on Techmeme. The team over a CrunchGear did a good job under the circumstances live blogging Bill Gates and others from Microsoft as they spoke on stage, but its a speech no one is yet seriously telling the truth about.

The Microsoft keynote at CES sucked.

Sucked is not a word I usually throw around with glee abandon, but after sitting through the live stream on the Microsoft site that insisted that I had to install Silverlight to watch it, my only reaction at the end was to yawn. And from what I can gather from the crowd, the CrunchGear chat room and Twitter, I wasnt alone.

Was Bill Gates to blame? Its always awe inspiring to see the second richest man alive on stage, a man that has created so much and who has literally shaped the digital history of the world, and yet the best presenter with an empty hat cant make rabbits magically appear.

There were some interesting announcements. Silverlight will get a big boost from the tie-in with NBCs Olympics coverage, and the image recognition demonstration towards the end was cool tech wise, particularly with the tie-in to Windows Live 3D Maps (still the best product on the market), even if the demo unit looked like a radar gun, or a copy of War and Peace. The digital roast of Bill Gates with video of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was probably the highlight in terms of fun, but thats about it.

We saw a demonstration of Windows Live Events, a service that was launched last year; amazing, they all sync in together, just like most of Microsofts other competitors. Bill Gates demoed Surface, one very cool Microsoft product, but he showed how you can design a snow board with your hands.let me say that there were no shortages of WTFs on Twitter and the CrunchGear Live chat room at that stage.

There was a demonstration of Microsofts Sinksorry Sync product in Fords. Wow, an MP3 player that hardly anyone owns works in a car that most people wish they didnt own once they buy one (and Id note, the last comment is from experience.)

Apparently the XBox 360 made more in sales money wise than the Wii, but what they didnt add is because the Wii is a whole lot cheaper.

Its hard to cover the rest, it was as passionate as a dead wet fish, and about as interesting visually as a Podtech video.

The big question is how, in 2008, have we come to a point that Microsoft is so bereft of new ideas and innovation that what was once the most important keynote speech of the year turned out to be a complete dog? Its not for a lack of good people, there are many in Microsoft doing a great job, and theres even some good technology and products being created (Silverlight and Windows Live Maps being two examples) and to those people I say dont take this personally, its not personal, its just that if people dont have anything interesting to say, theyre better off not getting on stage and making us yawn. Ill be in San Francisco for the Steve Jobs keynote at Macworld next week and I doubt that Ill be writing a similar post.

For those who watched or listened to the keynote, what did you think?
Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
january 2008
McCain: I'm a bazillion years old.
"Wilford Brimley is our response to Chuck Norris," McCain said on his campaign bus. "He's huge in every way."
january 2008
Minneapolis Facebook Developer Garage
A quick note for anyone in the Twin Cities and interested in the Facebook craze: Slantwise and Best Buy are sponsoring a developer garage here on January 15th.

Members from Facebooks platform team will be giving an overview of Facebooks application ecosystem and providing a few tips on best practices for developing applications. Local developers will also be showing off their latest creations.

If youre interested in attending (or presenting/demoing), head over to the event registration site for more information. You can also register on Facebook at the Minneapolis Facebook Developers group page.
january 2008
IPv6: coming to a root server near you
Just before year's end, ICANN/IANA sent out a short message saying that "on 4 February 2008, IANA will add AAAA records for the IPv6 addresses of the four root servers whose operators have requested it." The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is mostly responsible for the global Domain Name System, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the part of ICANN. That means that as of February 4, 2008, it will (theoretically) be possible for two IPv6 hosts to communicate across the IPv6 Internet without having to rely on any IPv4 infrastructure. It's been a long journey to get to this point.
from google
january 2008
Dan In The New Year / Focus on Flow
I’ve been reflecting on how I spend my time and I’ve concluded that the structure of my day isn’t conducive to flow.

Quoting wikipedia:

Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.

People are happiest and feel most satisfied whilst in flow. The “fully immersed” part is the key and, parroting Nat Torkington a bit, we live in an era of continuous partial attention that disrupts immersion. So, no flow.

I’d deliberately side-stepped IM and Twitter, but without consciously noticing it, I let my email and blogs reading habits — distractions on their own — to become interrupts.

So it’s time for a change.

My friend Dan Buettner — an honest to god explorer and, these days, an expert on making lifestyle change stick (see his work as longevity/life-expectancy activists) — tells me that our psychological makeup can only absorb a fixed amount of change.

You’ve got n-units of changeability that you can spread out; spread it too thin and none of it takes.

Given that, I’m keeping this simple. For the new year I will:

1. Arrange my work and leisure to be uninterrupted, or as nearly so as is possible.

In practice, this means I’ve set my email client to only check for new mail when I prompt it to do so; I’ll only check it once a day. Similarly, I’ll only check blogs once a day and with a time limit.

I tried this out over the holidays. It was difficult to avoid the temptation to check email or see what’s new on programming.reddit.com, but after a longer-than-expected withdrawal period I found the change refreshing.

Whereas before I was always running off to check my email or see what’s new in blogland, now I can code/write (during the day) or read a book (at night).

Having large, productive blocks of time is helping me achieve my second “Dan In the New Year” objective:

2. Favor sleep

Previously, I’d get to the end of the day and feel unsatisfied. One of the ways I feel satisfied when I’m creating and learning, so I’d go looking for something new to read about in blogland and, before I knew it, it’d be 1:00am.

The thing is, with this new schedule I’m still consuming the same volume of email and blogs; strangely, I can get into flow doing email or blogs as a stand-alone activity because I give it the same uninterrupted approach that I’m giving the rest of my time.
from google
january 2008
Zed Shaw Puts The Smack Down On The Rails Community
Wow, you don’t see rants like this every day. Zed Shaw, who created Mongrel, a library and web server that just about everyone uses to serve rails applications, is basically a God in the Rails community. In a post today called “Rails Is A Ghetto” he tears into a number of leading Rails developers, the community in general, and a number of startups (and Google).

The post is long but highly entertaining, even to those of us outside of the core community. Basically, Zed just started a shitstorm that is going to reverberate through that community for months.

Most entertaining quote: “This is exactly what makes Rails a ghetto. A bunch of half-trained former PHP morons who never bother to sit down and really learn the computer science they were too good to study in college.”

And: “After Mongrel I couldn’t get a gang of monkeys to rape me, so forget any jobs. Sure people would contact me for their tiny little start-ups, but I’d eventually catch on that they just want to use me to implement their ideas. Their ideas were horrendously lame. I swear if someone says they’re starting a social network I’m gonna beat them with the heal of my shoe.”

And: “Then there’s the social network idiots. They all have a social network plus something fucking stupid to sell, but of course no MBA can actually code so they come running to me. However, there’s a slight problem. You see, I have a business degree you cock suckers. If you tell me that your social network will take on facebook because it includes baby pictures then I’m going to laugh in your face. They are an established player with CIA backing. You won’t wipe them out.

Google was a total riot. They offered me a job twice. I went with it, and they never responded. Probably because the job they were offering me—someone who’s been coding for 21 years, 15 professionally—was as a junior system administrator. What the hell does a junior sysadmin do at google? That’s probably like mopping the floor at a glory hole in Queens. I told them to review my resume and offer me a real position.”

And (last one): “With Rails I get scrawny cock suckers with carpal tunnel syndrome talking to me like they’re gonna eat my young. Their feeble PHP infected minds can’t grasp advanced shit like objects or closures. When you combine stupid businesses with stupid people using a stupid framework based on a big fat fucking lie on a shitty platform you get the perfect storm of dumbfuck where a man like me can’t find work.”

Photo credit: James Cox.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
from google
january 2008
What Software do I use on the Mac?
I am still a border line noob on the Mac, but with so many friends/co-workers jumping in, I figured I put together a list of what software I am currently using most often on my Mac.


TextMate - the text editor that can do everything, including blogging this post. Seriously, this thing does so much I broke down and bought a book...a book about a text editor.

Fusion - virtualization tool that enables me to easily do my dev on Windows and hang out in OS X the rest of the day. To be fair, I have not tried it's closest competitor, Parallels, but I have had no issues with Fusion and it supports dual processors.

Transmit - simply the best FTP program I have ever used. I have not pulled the trigger on buying it yet, but I am getting close. Cyberduck is a really good free FTP (and open source) client for OS X. It is what I am using now until I convince myself to spend $30 on a FTP application.

Adium - multiple protocol chat. Really nice tab UI. I am not a fan of the web cam support especially with all the goodness baked into iChat. I only use it sparingly to talk to family, so it is a non-issue for me.

TextExpander - I just recently started to use this and love it. Add the HTML packet and blogging in TextMate gets much better. In addition, if you are like me and spell horibbly, check out the auto spell check library. It will cost $30 after 30 days, but so far it seems worth it.

1Password - one thing I missed from my windows was the great FireFox extension OnePassword. Sadly it does not work on the Mac. Thankfully, there is a better solution, 1Password. This little tool can handle just about any form and does a killer job of managing lots of different content. What's even better is that it works across multiple browsers (FireFox, Safari, Camino) and can be accessed without visiting the site. In addition, it also syncs with my iPhone and they are beta testing a site which which will give you access to your passwords when you are on the road. It cost about $30.

OmniFocus - a great tool for organizing what needs to be done. It still in beta, but should be shipping soon. I am also playing with Things which is very nice as well, but I think like the structure of OmniFocus a little better. In addition, for just simple tasks there is Anxiety which can be used with OmniFocus as well. It costs $40 during the beta and will go to $80 once released.

Flip4Mac - allows you to watch WMV via Quick Time

Isolator - simple tool which blacks out everything except for the window you are working on. A great way to remove distractions. I need one of these for real life. :)

Plaxo - not really software, but a vital tool for me. I use Plaxo to keep my Address Book and iCal synchronized with Exchange. Basically, I have Outlook running on another machine at home. Whenever something changes, it syncs it to Plaxo. Plaxo is also running on the Mac and syncs any changes. Finally, since Outlook also syncs with Exchange any changes made on the Mac show up there as well. Way more complicated than it should be, but for now it enables me to use the native Address book, calendar, and email client.

Quicksilver - I am sure I am just scratching the surface here, but it is a great tool for switching between applications and tasks. It really should just be bundled in by default. I was using my brother's MacBook on Christmas Eve and kept ^ + Space.


Transmission - I do not use Torrent very often, but when I do, this has been very solid and easy to use.

Twitterific - Way better than the Twitter web site. You can use it for free but have to see an ad every hour or so. The ads do not bother me (actually some are very helpful believe it or not).

ZigVersion - really nice SVN client. Free for non-commerical usage. TextMate as a built in SVN client as well, but I have not had a chance to explore it yet.

iWork - While I can use Microsoft Office via Fusion (and BootCamp) I really like having the option to use something more in sync with the rest of the Mac. So far, I have liked the experience quite a bit. It does not come with all of the bells and whistles you get with Office, but I have yet to find a missing feature I really needed.

Witch - Witch lets you access all of your windows by pressing a shortcut and choosing from a clearly arranged list of window titles. The standard task switcher in OS X is way better than Windows, but Witch takes it up an other notch by letting select a specific window from any open application.

FireFox - did I really need to list this one? :)

Growl - Growl is a notification system for Mac OS X: it allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications.

Remote Desktop - With Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac, you can connect from your Macintosh computer to a Windows-based computer and work with programs and files on that computer.

A couple of quick tips:

Search around for discounts. There are lots of ways to get N% off of most of these tools. For example, a site called MacSanta had 20% TextMate and 1Passwrd.
Also check out Amazon.com. You can find things like iWork and Fusion for about $20 cheaper than on regular sites.

See also Jason Alexander's list which is what help me get started.

Anything I am missing?
from google
december 2007
Need a Baby Name? Nymbler Has A Hunch About What You Might Like.
Any parent knows how hard picking a name for a baby can be. The Web makes it easier to research names, but the majority of baby-naming sites simply overwhelm you with too many choices. You can check out the most popular baby names in the U.S., map those names around the world, look to celebrity baby names for inspiration, or even graph a given names popularity over time. My wife and I have gone through this exercise twice with our own three-year-old and one-year old boys (Sebastien and Emile). All I remember from the process is scrolling through endless, brain-numbing, alphabetical lists that made one name seem indistinguishable from the next. We ended up going offline for our final inspiration.

A better approach is a site called Nymbler. You type in names that you like but arent quite perfect enough, and it suggests a bunch of similar names based on origin, sound, meaning, and overall style (as defined by baby-naming expert Laura Wattenberg). Then you can refine your search further by indicating whether you love or hate each suggestion. Maybe you like some of the currently in vogue names for girls (Madison, Sophia, Emma, Olivia), but want something more distinctive. Nymbler spits out Madeleine, Ivy, Angelina, and a dozen others. Some of them are awful, but keep clicking through and you are likely to find a few gems to put on your list of finalists.

Turns out you are having a boy instead, but you only came up with a list of girl names? No problem, Nymbler can make connections between names of either gender. For the same list of popular girl names above, Nymbler comes up with Silas, Jasper, Theo, and Pierce.

What makes Nymbler interesting, though, is that it is just a demo for search and discovery technology called a Hunch Engine that was developed by Icosystem. Founded by complexity scientist Eric Bonabeau, Icosystem is a Boston-based consulting firm with about 25 people, about $4 million in revenues, and is nicely profitable. Its main bread and butter comes from helping Fortune 500 companies like Eli Lilly with drug discovery or Harrahs Casinos with data mining consumer behavior. But Bonabeau recently told me that he plans on transitioning Icosystems business in 2008 towards more of a software model by taking some of his custom algorithms and turning them into more generic software that is easier to deploy.

His Hunch Engine uses behavioral clustering to make personalized suggestions based on no more than two or three clicks by a user. How can I help you make better decisions, especially when you dont know what you are looking for? asks Bonabeau. That is the goal of the technology. And it can be applied not just to baby names, but to image search, shopping suggestions, drug discovery, or any other data-mining task.

For instance, Bonabeau showed me another Hunch Engine demo for a photo editing application. It took a fuzzy, dark photo and then displayed a grid showing different editing enhancements. With a couple clicks, what was a throw-away image became legible without the user having to know anything about photo-editing. This could come in handy as a user interface for mobile devices, especially camera phones that tend to take crappy pictures. Well be keeping an eye on Icosystems to see what Hunch Engine apps pop up in 2008.

Icosystem
Loading information about Icosystem

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
december 2007
SEED almost sold out
Along with Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners and Carlos Segura of Segura Inc. and T.26, we’re again presenting a one-day conference on design, entrepreneurship and inspiration on Chicago’s IIT Campus. The date is Friday, January 18th.

We’ve sold over 120 seats so far so there are just a couple dozen left. For more on what it’s all about, check Mike Rohde’s illustrated notes from the first Seed and a couple reviews too. And this guy is going to SEED instead of MacWorld.
from google
december 2007
Here Comes Trouble: The Thin Edge of SIP
Vint Cerfs Facebook profile includes a picture of him wearing his favorite t-shirt: it reads IP on Everything. Cerf co-authored the 1973 paper that led to TCP/IP being used as a means to interconnect previously incompatible computers and networks associated with the ARPANET. Increasingly, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is playing a similar role as the common denominator interconnecting diverse communication devices and networks. And although the protocol geeks either love or hate SIP, its rapid adoption makes it impossible to ignore.

Although Microsoft and Cisco offer competing visions of the future of communication, they both support SIP. Skype rose to fame via a proprietary protocol, but Skype utilizes SIP as the means to connect with the telephone network. Several dozen device manufacturers from Nokia and Philips to Sony and Siemens offer SIP-enabled devices, and virtually every other consumer electronics company on the planet plans to roll out SIP-enabled devices over the next 12 months. Ten million SIP-enabled phones have sold to enterprise customers. Avaya, Nortel and Siemens may argue over who has the best features, but they all support SIP.

The entry-level price for an SIP telephone fell to $40 in 2007 from $400 in 2002. Chip manufacturers like Texas Instruments and Broadcom already have third-generation functionality in the pipeline. Best Buy et al do not currently carry SIP phones, but web sites dedicated to SIP-enabled products (e.g. telephonydepot.com) arrived in 2007. Hundreds of companies (e.g. Betamax Group) bridge SIP calls to the traditional telephone network. Fring provides free software that turns mobile handsets into SIP clients enabling voice and IM functionality via Wi-Fi and 2G or 3G data plans.

The patent woes of SIP-based Vonage seem to have squelched the stream of SIP VoIP startups for the time being. For some 20 years, the TCP-IP protocol that Vint co-created achieved very little in the way of public awareness until the arrival of Mark Andreessens web browser. Cheap telephone calls represent SIPs thin edge, but SIP still needs its web browser moment.

Solutions exist for the early obstacles encountered by SIP, such as NAT and firewall traversal. Adobes plans for integrating SIP into Flash may go a long way toward unleashing more creativity. SIP continues to evolve with peer-to-peer SIP arriving to challenge client-server SIP during 2008. Yet we remain in the horseless carriage phase, in which everything gets framed in terms of the old model. SIP phones do little more than replicate the features and functions of traditional telephones.

In any case, to quote Victor Hugo, Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come. In the 100 years between 1876 and the 1980s, the painfully slow pace of innovation associated with wired telephone monopolies meant that a mere 600 million people were able to use the telephone as a means of communication. Over the next 25 years, competition between cellular carriers increased the pace of innovation enough to allow the technology to reach two billion people. Now, an even faster pace of cost performance improvements positions an infocom ecosystem of SIP devices as the solution to bring communication to four billion people. The time has come for SIP.
december 2007
Improve Your Blog by Showing Up
Today Seth Godin (top blogger and author of many books including The Dip) tells us (in his usual succinct style) what he did in 2007 to improve his blog the most.

I showed up.

Underrated, but important.

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december 2007
The Rich Are Different
Michelle Leder at footnoted.org specializes in reading company reports and looking for those little special treats given to those folks who have their feet at the top of the corporate ladder.
december 2007
Gravatar: Your gravatar: it’s not just for web pages any more!
Simon Menke wrote a Mac OSX 10.5 plugin for the address book which brings gravatars off the web site and into your contacts. Simon intuitively grasped something that we were planning on highlighting after doing some more work with the gravatar site and processes: gravatars are something that can be used almost anywhere. Sure the most common place you’ll see them now is on blog comments, but the sky truly is the limit. Way to go Simon!
from google
december 2007
Wii
The Petersen household has the Wii. If your like me, playing video consoles was about 15 years in the past back when the Sega Genesis was the leading edge. I have to tell you the Wii level sets the playing field for everyone. In our house my son is very good with the video games and it can be a challenge to play against him. The full motion action that is required to play really resets the playing field so the novice gamer has a chance to compete.

I want to have the Wii installed in the basement. However I have to finish painting the basement and I have to build a set of shelves to hold the games. So for the short term I put the Wii on the TV in the family room. Playing the Wii on a 52″ TV is an experience in of itself.

The first game we played was bowling. All four of us played. What a trip to be swinging your arm to get speed on the ball. The second game was”Dance Dance Revolution”. This game has a floor mat and you have to dance to songs. You’re rated on your timing and accuracy of your steps. Watching each family member take ther turn only to have the Wii tell us we failed at dancing. It was hysterically. By the fourth or fifth attempt we were able to be rated a “D” or “C” on the beginner level. If you want a good workout, I would recommend “Dance Dance Revolution”. After each game you could feel the tiredness in your legs and your breathing increase. We tried one game at expert level. It was a cruel joke to even attempt it. I would love to see someone play the expert level and be rated decently.

I’ve heard that a few people have been injured in playing the Wii. After playing it for a few hours, I can honestly see where bodily injury could occur.
from google
december 2007
Short Simple Semantic Web Introduction Video
You might want to prepare yourself for 2008 by becoming a little bit more aware of Semantic Web technologies because i have a feeling we will all continue to hear more and more about them in various spaces including the Enterprise, Consumer and Government space. Via the Creative Commons weblog, a pointer to a short video explaining the Semantic Web in non technical terms that i think does a good job at giving you an idea of why you should be nodding along when you hear your colleagues and clients talk about Semantic technologies.The video was put together by Digital Bazaar a company that provides technology platforms that enable digital content to be bought and sold via the Internet. According to thier blog, they have been involved with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) over the past several months working with the RDFa task force, chartered by the Semantic Web Deployment group. (follow this link If you can't see the embedded video)While cruising through the Creative Commons Weblog i also learned that they recently enhanced the RDF/XML they serve for each license.
december 2007
Google Reader needs GPC
Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

There’s a few ways I could take this.

1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Now, I almost took the stance that the users are wrong. Except, well, in this case they aren’t and the Google Reader team should change the way this feature works.

Here’s how.

When you share a feed item you should have a choice about whether it is made really public (like my feeds are) or whether you keep them for just certain friends to view. Google needs to look to Facebook for leadership here.

If I don’t want you to see some content on Facebook I can lock you out while letting other friends see it. That’s “GPC.”

Facebook has GPC. Google Reader does not.

Social networking services that don’t have GPC will increasingly piss off users and chase them away to competitors that DO have GPC. Look at why SmugMug is so popular (and why its users PAY for the service!) A big part of it is GPC.

But, to the users you still are idiots for not understanding that when Google says “public” Google MEANS public. I’m not sure how much clearer Google could have made it, other than to maybe put a disclaimer that says something like “this feed might look sorta private right now, but we reserve the right to put this feed into public view at anytime for any reason. If you don’t want your shared items to be seen by everyone, please don’t share them.

I think the Google Reader team knew that it was going to have a problem here, though, because they gave its users the ability to delete all items in their shared item feed. Scary feature, too. I’ve spent thousands of hours building up that database and I almost used it by accident cause it sounded like a good feature to try. Yikes, glad I thought a little bit more than I usually do that night.

Anyway, Google Reader team: please enable GPC. Your users will keep yelling and screaming until you do. I know, cause a few of them have yelled and screamed at me about this feature.

UPDATE: I just signed in and there are 444 items shared with me from my friends. That’s not even counting the feed items that come to me just because of my almost 800 feeds. Yikes! Demonstrates that even Christmas can’t stop the information glut we’re seeing.
from google
december 2007
Ruby 1.9—Right for You?
As is becoming a tradition, Matz announced the next major release of Ruby on Christmas day.

Let's start by thanking both him and the entire Ruby core team for the efforts to get us here.

So, should you go and put this new Ruby to work right now? Let's see:

The Upside

This release contains a boatload of new features. Mauricio Fernandez has an impressive list (soon to be updated).

Performance: this new Ruby runs on the new YARV virtual machine. For most compute-intensive applications, you'll see significant speed improvements.

Support for string encodings and transcoding. Every string in Ruby can now have an associated encoding (ASCII, UTF-8, SJIS, and so on). You can transcode the contents of a string (for example converting ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8).

Integrated RubyGems and rake

Cool new goodies such as Fibers

and so on and so on.

The Downside

This is a development release, not a production release. It has known bugs, and there'll be more to come.

It contains several incompatible changes (block parameters are now block-local, String is no longer Enumerable, "cat"[1] now returns "a", rather than 65)

It is more rigorous that 1.8 when it comes to detecting invalid code. For example, 1.8 accepts /[^\x00-\xa0]/u, while 1.9 complains of invalid multibyte escapes

Because of this, and based on my experience working on the third edition of the PickAxe, a whole bunch of existing gems and other libraries are broken.

So, Should You Use It?

In production? Probably not yet. It isn't intended for production use, and there will be some rough edges.

For development? Maybe, but take note of some of the issues with gems and other libraries. If you rely on third party code, make sure it has been tested against 1.9.0 before taking the plunge. That goes for Rails users, too.

Now, if you're a library developer and gem maintainer, this is the perfect time to check out a copy of Ruby 1.9 and make sure your code is compatible. Over the coming months, more and more of your users will be basing their applications on 1.9. The future success of your gem requires compatibility.

For experimentation? Absolutely! The new features are wonderful. Not only do they make writing Ruby code even more enjoyable, they also open up whole new avenues to explore. How will fibers (both asymmetric and symmetric) affect they way we code? Let's all find out by playing with them.

My Recommendation

Download 1.9 (either as a tarball/zip file, or directly from the Subversion repository). Build it and install it, but not as your default Ruby. Instead, use the --prefix option to put it somewhere else (I store it under my home directory, so I don't need to be root).

$ autoconf
$ ./configure --prefix=/Users/dave/ruby19
$ make
$ make install

Then, I just add /Users/dave/ruby19/bin to my path, and I'm using my nicely sandboxed version of Ruby 1.9.

$ PATH=/Users/dave/ruby19/bin:$PATH
$ ruby -v
ruby 1.9.0 (2007-12-26 revision 0) [i686-darwin8.11.1]

If I install gems with that version in my path, they get installed into the sandbox, not globally. If I use the sandboxed version of Ruby when building extension libraries with extconf.rb, those extensions install into the sandbox. But, if I suddenly have to look at a problem in production code that means I have to use Ruby 1.8, I simply fire up another shell with my original PATH, and it's as if Ruby 1.9 doesn't exist.

1.9 is the future of Ruby, and it's a future that will be mainstream very soon. Start playing with it now, so you'll be up to speed when Matz creates his first production release.
from google
december 2007
Delete My Bleeping Account, Facebook
I just cancelled a few accounts on various social networking services. For one, I never used them. For another, the intrusive (and possibly illegal) nature of Facebook's "Beacon" service - as well as the difficulty of opting out of it - had me alarmed at how far the next venture by the next site might go. I wanted out, once and for all.
So here's how the cancellation process went for each:
Friendster: Easy to find instructions on how to cancel. Extremely easy to cancel. Just fill out one web form and you're done.
MySpace: Easy to find instructions on how to cancel. Click through a few confirmation pages, get a confirmation e-mail, click a link there, confirm once more on the web and you're done. Very easy.
Facebook: Ah, Facebook. The real champion. Impossible to find instructions on how to cancel. Searching the help system for "cancel account" or "delete account" only shows instructions for "deactivating" your account. Deactivation is not deletion - it merely puts your account in limbo and allows you to restore it at a later date. So if you are concerned about, say, the security of Facebook's servers, deactivation does nothing for you.
Ultimately, if you Google around, you will find that you have to e-mail Facebook directly to request deletion of your account. When you do, they will respond by telling you that you must "remove all content" from your page in order for them to delete you. I think this includes just about everything - friends, groups, messages, etc. (My understanding comes from this blog post.) This could be an arduous process if you have a lot of account data.
However, I also believe this to be a completely phony roadblock. I simply responded to the e-mail by saying I had no profile content (I didn't have much on there, but I did have a few friends). I didn't, however, touch a thing. I received a response saying that my account was deleted. So it seems pretty clear that this whole "content deletion" business is b.s.
Elapsed time: Three days. (NB: I sent in my request on a Friday.) It took just minutes to delete my account on the other two services.
As I say above, Facebook's Beacon service was the key reason for wanting to delete my social networking accounts. The fact that this issue has even got MoveOn up in arms tells you it's for real. So I suppose it should come as no surprise that the worst offender both hides information on how to delete your account and makes you jump through numerous hoops (some possibly bogus) to actually delete it. (I'm aware that Facebook now claims to offer a universal opt-out, but the company's constantly shifting stories and Beacon UI have not filled me with confidence.)
A word to the wise: A few years ago, AOL was investigated by the NY Attorney General for making life incredibly difficult for customers who wanted to cancel their accounts. AOL was forced to clean up its act and pay a seven-figure fine. Facebook is already on the new AG's radar, so they'd be smart to change their ways sooner rather than later.
Anyhow, I'm sure my fellow Kossacks have stories to share about their travails in cancelling online accounts, whether on any of the above sites or on others. If you've wrestled a particularly thorny account to the ground and have any tips to share, please do so.
december 2007
More Hypocrisy from Huckabee
Mike Huckabee recently weighed in on the destruction of the infamous CIA interrogation tapes.
december 2007
Blockbuster (BBI) Surrenders to Netflix, Jacks Prices
Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes was serious about making Blockbuster's mail order business profitable--or letting Netflix kill it off. Last month he told investors he'd rather focus on the 20 million people who visit a Blockbuster store than the 3.1 million members of Blockbuster Total Access.He also said he'd raise prices. Give him credit for follow-through: Yesterday he said he'd jack up prices for new mail order customers and some existing ones by 40%. The increases of $2 to $10 will take effect next week.Predictably, NFLX shares surged 9.5% in Thursday trading. But we're not sure why -- BBI had already said it was going to retreat from the mail-order business, because it can't figure out how to make money there. Last quarter the company dropped -- or lost -- 500,000 mail-order customers.We're also not sure how far apart NFLX and BBI are re: long-term strategy, either. One day, both of their models will look quaint, because consumers will be downloading or streaming their flicks. But it's not clear if either one of them will have a leg up at that point -- no reason that Apple, or Comcast, or a host of other players won't dominate that business.Earlier: It's Official: Netflix Destroys BlockbusterBlockbuster Q3: Underperforming Low Expectations
december 2007
Apple Rumor Site Think Secret Shutting Down On Settlement
Think Secret, a popular source of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) gossip and news, will be shutting down, per a settlement of a trade secrets lawsuit brought by Apple in 2005. In a statement, publisher Nick Ciarelli described the agreement as "amicable", but offered few details. Apple, which gets a lot of PR mileage from Steve Jobs' keynote product announcements, has been fighting a multi-front effort to stamp out news leaks. The suit against Think Secret was separate from a broader effort to force blogs to reveal their company sources. As noted in the statement, Think Secret was not forced to reveal any of its sources as part of the agreement. Announcement.

Not surprisingly, the news has prompted some very angry reactions:

-- Techdirt: "The guy behind Think Secret notes that he never gave up the source, and calls this settlement amicablebut it sets a horrible precedent for plenty of sites, and may create quite the chilling effect on reporters and bloggers alike. It's really a shame that Apple even decided to pursue this vendetta, and the fact that it ends with Think Secret being shut down completely is a travesty."

-- Rex Hammock: "'Positive solution for both sides'? There's another side here. My side. (I'm speaking collectively for readers, of course.) And there's nothing positive about this settlement for my side. Think Secret itself is an amazing story and I've already called its creator one of my heroes. It was started in 1998 by a 13-year-old middle-schooler in New Woodstock, N.Y. named Nicholas M. Ciarelli who used the clever alias Nick dePlume. ... One thing is certain: Nick Ciarelli is to online journalism what Lebron James to the NBA. He's already changed the game and he's barely started playing. Oh, and another thing is certain: this sucks.

-- IPDemocracy: "Even if Ciarelli had support from public interest groups and free speech advocates, litigation is one of the worst things that can happen to an individual, behind only death, disease and death of a loved one. The torture of litigation is magnified by some geometric multiple when a giant corporation guns for a sole person."

Update: Bits: The site's closure is part of a settlement of a suit that Apple filed in 2004 in an effort to stop Think Secret from publishing what it called trade secrets. In March 2005, Think Secret responded by filing a motion under a California doctrine that is meant to prevent baseless lawsuits that inhibit free speech. These are known as anti-Slapp laws, short for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. The case has essentially been on hold since then, with all hearings postponed. Ciarelli told Bits: "We mounted a very aggressive First Amendment defense. Apple basically took no action to move the lawsuit forward. It is because they knew they were going to lose." He declined to discuss terms of the settlement, other than to say he was "very satisfied." Several lawyers who followed this case closely said Ciarelli's claims of satisfaction indicate that he received a substantial cash settlement.
december 2007
Delicious Library: Buy Now, Upgrade Later for Free.
As you might have guessed after we shipped Delicious Library, we've been working on Delicious Library 2. Shocking, I know.We've had some nice previews on Theocacoa, Ars Technica, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and, of course, Apple.We're working our butts off on version 2 ever since we shipped version 1, but there have been delays - first off, because we had two very major free updates to version 1
from google
december 2007
Factiva Downplays FT Subscription Fee; Impact From A Free WSJ.com Is Uncertain
Factiva customers who want continued total access to the FT.com will have to pay for a second, separate subscription, reports our sister site PC:UK. The change is part of the FT's decision to give casual readers free access to 30 articles per month. The new structure takes affect in April, when users of paid aggregation services like Factiva, Alacra, LexisNexus and others will have to pay for the FT Content License. Subscription prices start at $3,796 (1,990) for corporations that want access for 10 or more employees; the price decreases as the number of users increases. By comparison, premium individual subscriptions are $299 and $398 (includes print edition).

Karin Borchert, Factiva's VP for global content and customer operations, told me that she doesn't expect Factiva to feel much of an impact. "If they're a casual user, they might just opt to go straight to FT.com." Factiva's customers are different and use it because it provides unfettered access to news material. Also, while acknowledging the FT's U.S. and global presence, she added that "the majority of the interest is in the UK."

Affect of a free WSJ.com?: As for how the service might be affected should its sister News Corp./DJ pub WSJ.com go free, Borchert said: "The organization at the WSJ.com has different goals than the FT. Either way, it's too early to say what decisions will take place in terms of going with a free, ad-supported model in place of subscriptions."

Our UK editor Robert Andrews has more on FT's thinking at PC:UK.

Related

FT.com Seeks Subs By Asking Factiva Users To Buy New Licence
FT.com Drops Pay Wall For Casual Readers; Subs Remain For Others
DJ Acquiring Reuters' Interest In Factiva For $160 Million; Will Use Full Control To Lessen Print
december 2007
Romney: I invented the Internet.
No, not this time. But we do have a story line that's riper and more grounded in reality for the "serial exaggerator" narrative the campaign press used to love so much.
Blue Mass Group does the honors:
Mitt Romney will stop at nothing to score political points. Even if it means lying outright about his father.
I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.
Uh huh.
He made a similar statement Sunday during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." He said, "You can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our lives. My dad marched with Martin Luther King. My mom was a tireless crusader for civil rights."
Right. Got it -- dad marched with MLK. Even David Broder says so, and supplies some corroborative detail intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. (BMG bonus points for identifying the source of that phrase!)
As Mitt Romney recalled in his address, his father was able to remind people that he had marched with Martin Luther King Jr. (through upscale Grosse Pointe, Mich., in support of open-housing legislation).
Problem is, it's not true. None of it. As the Phoenix's David Bernstein reveals ... in some superb digging, George Romney never marched "with" -- i.e., in the presence of, at the same place at the same time -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
And the capper:
Faced with the unfortunate reality that Mitt was making things up, his campaign has retreated into a hilarious Humpty-Dumptyism about what it means to "march with" someone. You see, it doesn't mean that you were actually there. It means that, well, you participated in a march about a related topic on a different day, and maybe you thought about the guy while you were doing it.
Mitt, in other words, was "speaking figuratively, not literally."
Oh. My. God. This jackass will literally say anything.
In other news, I "figuratively" wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Hammurabic Code.
UPDATE: For those interested in salvaging Romney's tale, here's an excerpt from the above-referenced Phoenix article:
This 1968 Grosse Pointe appearance is the one that Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom initially insisted, in email exchanges with the Phoenix, was the event in question. Fehrnstrom cited the Broder column and "the Romney family recollection."
Of the many contemporaneous and historical records of the Grosse Pointe speech, none make any mention of George Romneys attendance. It is unlikely, if not implausible, that his presence would have gone unnoticed: not only was he governor of the state, he had just, weeks before, dropped out of the race for President.
And, Mitt Romney would not have known about the event, let alone had a chance to "see" it. He was at that time in the middle of his two-year mission for the Mormon church in Le Havre, France. By his own description and others, he was cut off from virtually all contact with his family; and at the time, Kings Grosse Pointe appearance was no more than local news.
And the Phoenix's own update:
A spokesperson for Mitt Romney now tells the Phoenix that George W. Romney and Martin Luther King Jr. marched together in June, 1963 -- although possibly not on the same day or in the same city.
december 2007
FTC Gives Go-Ahead to Google-DoubleClick Deal
This just in: Googles $3.1 billion merger with DoubleClick has been cleared by the Federal Trade Commission, which said it saw neither current nor potential competitive problems with the deal. Australia and Brazil have already cleared it as well, but Google cannot close the acquisition until the European Commission, which is still examining it, gives the OK.
december 2007
Twitter Downtime On the Upswing
Even after moving to a new data center, Twitter has been undergoing some growing pains. Royal Pingdom reports that the service has been down almost a total of six days since it began monitoring the service last February. Downtime so far in December has exceeded almost any preceding month, with nearly 11 hours of downtime, compared to 9 hours in November. I guess everyone is trying to get onto that Tweeterboard. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.
december 2007
Apple, Think Secret settle lawsuit; Think Secret will no longer be published
Apple rumor site Think Secret has published a brief press release which...
from google
december 2007
Oh My God Apple Killed Think Secret Those Bastards
Apple and Apple blog Think Secret have settled their long running legal dispute over leaked Apple secrets, and under the deal Think Secret will cease operation.

According to a statement from ThinkSecret (via CrunchGear)

Apple and Think Secret have settled their lawsuit, reaching an agreement that results in a positive solution for both sides. As part of the confidential settlement, no sources were revealed and Think Secret will no longer be published. Nick Ciarelli, Think Secrets publisher, said Im pleased to have reached this amicable settlement, and will now be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.

On a bright note, until the bitter end Think Secret never gave up their sources; Think Secret editor Nick Ciarelli should be praised for continuing to take the high moral ground, despite the cost. Sadly Think Secret joins the TechCrunch Deadpool.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
december 2007
Parallels vs. VMWare: Benchmark results
Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, OS, Switchers
Like it or not, lots of us who own Intel-based Macs have to run Windows from time to time. Although Boot Camp is pretty fantastic if you need to run a processor intensive application (or you want to play games), virtualization is the more attractive solution for users who need to access productivity applications, like Microsoft Office 2007, but don't want to have to live in the Windows environment. The two big players in the virtualization field are VMWare's Fusion and Parallels' Parallels. Both applications let you install a Windows XP or Vista virtual machine on your Intel Mac without having to leave OS X, both offer a level of integration between the two operating systems and both retai for $79.99 (USD). So, which virtualization program is the fastest? Well, that's what MacTech attempted to find out in their exhaustive benchmarking trials, comparing Fusion 1.0 (build 51348), Parallels 3.0 (build 5160) and Boot Camp head-to-head-to-head in a variety of different computing tasks.So what's the bottom line? Because of how the software if designed to integrate between the two platforms, Parallels came out ahead in many of MacTech's tests. For certain more processor heavy uses, VMWare, thanks to its ability to take advantage of both cores, came out the best. For networking performance, Boot Camp was king. While I found the benchmarking tests very interesting - and useful - prospective buyers should be aware that in the middle of MacTech's testing procedure, all three Windows options for OS X were upgraded. With the release of Leopard, Boot Camp came out of beta and VMWare is now at version 1.1 and Parallels was updated on December 5 to build 5582. I know just from my own unscientific experience, Fusion 1.1 improved significantly in speed and overall performance from version 1.0 and while I was a big fan of Parallels under Tiger, I have "switched" to Fusion for Leopard.Trial-versions are available for both programs. Remember that in order to use Windows XP or Vista, you need a valid user license.Thanks, Rich.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments
from google
december 2007
Viacom, Microsoft In $500 Million Ad, Promo Deal
Microsoft and Viacom will work together on ads and promotions for videogames and TV shows. The deal's terms were not disclosed, the AP reports, but the companies said the deal has a "projected base value of $500 million for the first five years" from revenue sharing, guarantees, and content licensing.Microsoft (MSFT) will be able to use some of Viacom's TV and film content online and in its videogames. In exchange, it will purchase ads on Viacom's broadcast and Web properties, which include Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, etc., and will also have exclusive rights to sell ads on some of Viacom's Web sites.But without any more detail, that $500 million is an almost value-free number: Note that the two companies aren't saying that MSFT will guarantee Viacom a minimum payment for the right to their inventory, a la MSFT's deal with Facebook and Google's News Corp./FIM/MySpace deal. APFollowup: CNBC talks to MSFT exec Kevin Johnson, who says there's some sort of guaranteed payment in the deal, but won't elaborate.
december 2007
IAC, Brightcove In Video Pact. What Took So Long?
Barry Diller's IAC says it will use video platform Brightcove to publish web clips across all of its sites, and that it has started doing so with Ticketmaster, Citysearch and 23/6, the news parody site it co-owns with Huffington Post. The news here, to us, would be that IAC didn't already have a deal: We assumed that since Barry had a board seat and a minority stake (via IAC) in Brightcove, that this would have happened long ago. Can anyone explain?
december 2007
Google Talk Gets One Step Closer To The Ultimate Babel Fish
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation. Douglas Adams, Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy Google now offers instant machine translation in Google Talk, a step on the road to the ultimate Babel Fish. The new service is used by adding a translation bot to a Google Talk chat, for example adding en2zh@bot.talk.google.com provides a translation from English to Chinese. The bot can be used as a direct look up tool for a translation, or in a group chat for translation on the fly as part of a conversation. For a two way conversation two bots are required, one for the English to other language translation, and one for the other language back into English. A full list of languages available (and codes) can be found on the Google Talk blog here. The service also supports translation from non-English languages to other non-English languages as well, for example French to German and back again. Lets hope that unlike the Babel Fish in Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy that Google Talk doesnt start any conflicts; given that the service is pulling data from Google Translate some of those translations may end up being rather interesting to say the least. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
december 2007
TextExpander: Video Review and Giveaway
Every day, I find myself typing commonly used phrases over and over again. Whether it is my address, my name, my email, or even Thank You. While it may not take long to type these things, at the end of the day, I find that a lot of my time goes to these tedious, repetitive phrases. Then I found TextExpander. TextExpander allows you to choose short snippets that you can type, and they will be automatically expanded into longer, more commonly used phrases. Whether you use this for your address, email, name, or HTML tags, is up to you.

While there are many applications on the Mac that can do things like this, TextExpander is the most advanced, allowing you to set the cursor and clipboard as well as use other variables. Let me show you how powerful TextExpander can be in your workflow.

SmileOnMyMac, the developers of TextExpander, have generously offered 2 licenses of TextExpander to giveaway to our readers. In order to enter this giveaway, you must comment on this post with 3 of the most repetitve phrases that you use every day. Make us laugh. Alternately you can add some suggestions on what features you would like to see with TextExpander. If you dont win a license, and see that TextExpander could be useful to you, you can purchase one for US $29.95 from their store.

The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Saturday, December 22th, with the winners being announced shortly after that. Good luck!
december 2007
Looking for a CTO? Can't find one? Here's why
One of the reasons people work at startups to begin with is because they feel like their work will be a lot more rewarding versus working in a big company. If their work isn't highly valued by the people that start the business, then what's the point of even working for a startup? No one's going to join a business team as the CTO for a 5% stake in the company or if your first thought is, "I don't want to give that much away."
december 2007
Google Wants To Index Your Videos
Google has launched Sitemaps for Video, an extension of their webmaster sitemaps program that will assist webmasters in having their videos indexed by Google. To be indexed, webmasters must create a sitemap page that provides a list of videos on each site that is compliant with Googles sitemaps protocol, which since November 2006 is standardized with Yahoo and Microsoft as well. Webmasters then simply submit the URL of their video sitemap to Google for indexing. Google has continued to improve its video index beyond its early days when it started as nothing more as an index of Google Videos. Webmasters keen to see their videos indexed in Google will undoubtedly welcome this move, and Googles video index will be the richer for it. Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.
december 2007
Report from Iowa Part Two: James Madison Rolls Over in His Grave
I arrived in Iowa late tonight to volunteer again for the Edwards campaign and was startled to find former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on TV telling me that the most important thing right now is not politics but to celebrate the birth of Christ (I am not making this up: that’s a quote). A [...]
from google
december 2007
Jon Stewart Targeting Jan. 7 Return?
We hear from a well-placed but second-hand source that "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart plans to go back on the air Jan. 7. Comedy Central says no decision has been made on whether Stewart and Stephen Colbert will return, and a writer on one of the shows told us they are unaware of any plans. But we hear that all "Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" employees -- except for writers -- been told to show up for work Jan. 7, whether a strike is resolved or not, and we find this plausible.
december 2007
New Version of Akismet
There is a new version of Akismet out today, and this time it looks like they are taking some cues from their competitors and users in adding new features:

Version 2.1 main new addition is the ability to filter by comment type, as seen here:

Theres also a new hook so other plugins could add addition tabs to the sub-nav as well Im curious to see what people end up putting there. If you use that hook for a plugin, be sure to let me know so we can blog about it.

Check out the full post, as well as the download link on the Akismet blog.
december 2007
GPS dongle coming for iPhone
We've posted a couple of times about "virtual" GPS solutions for the iPhone that depend on cell tower identification, but now The partfoundry has announced the real deal. They will be offering a GPS dongle for the iPhone based on the SiRF Star III chipset. Needless to say this will require a jailbroken phone and the software "will be open source/community based." They've already got a prototype working (video embedded after the jump) that can report its location and send it to the Google Maps application.
december 2007
Turn Leopard's Screen Sharing into a better Apple Remote Desktop lite
Today, Macworld's Rob Grifiths shows us how to turn Leopard's built-in Screen Sharing into a full-fledged screen sharing application - with a lot of he features that are sold in Apple Remote Desktop. It only takes a few lines of code in the terminal.
december 2007
Dow Jones CMO Ann Marks Leaves As Well
The executive shakeup at Dow Jones (NYSE: DJ) continues, as it is in the second official day of life under News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) Ann Marks resigned from her posts as the chief corporate marketing officer and SVP-CMO for the consumer-media group. Her resignation was effective immediately; no successor was immediately apparent, reports AdAge. She was responsible for circulation, single-copy sales, brand marketing and public relations for the companys consumer businesses.
december 2007
Technorati Now An OpenID Authentication Provider Plus Another Beneficial Update
Technorati has announced that the account you setup on Technorati can now be used as an OpenID provider. Ian demonstrates how to use your Technorati profile to authenticate a blog on Google's Blogger service.

I am pretty sure I would never use my Technorati profile to authenticate as an OpenID provider, but it's a good marketing bit. It's a good way to show that your profile could be used in this manner -- something many might not know about (I didn't). Technorati also began supporting OpenID for profile creation in October 2007.

Another update they have made over the past day which I do find beneficial is the addition of a URL link on the authority pages. In the past, some of the headlines linked directly to a site, but the majority of the time, the story linked to the site's Technorati profile. This was a huge frustration factor for me as I want to see what the site says about me or a client, not the site's profile page. Now (as shown below) they have the link to the profile and directly below it the full URL linked to the actual site. Bravo!
december 2007
Hey, We Won!
Best Web LittleCo of 2007: Twitter: "Twitter is undoubtedly new and disruptive. In a year in which you can count on one hand the number of disruptive Web products (iPhone would be another), Twitter stands out..." Facebook wins the Best Web BigCo of 2007.
from google
december 2007
Welcome, Mr. Murdoch: Here's Your Page Views
In the months leading up to Rupert Murdoch's WSJ takeover, some of the Dow Jones crew insisted that WSJ.com might keep its subscription wall -- even though Murdoch clearly intended to tear it down. Now that reality has set in, it will be fascinating to watch WSJ.com turn all of its focus on advertising metrics like uniques and page views.Baby steps first...
Today's WSJ.com features a clumsy "slide show"
presenting some of the big names named in the baseball's Mitchell
report. Online publishers love slide shows, because they turn a single
story into multiple page views. But in most cases, they don't do users
much good, because they make it difficult to navigate back and forth
between bits of information, instead of presenting it to them in one
shot.The WSJ slideshow isn't terrible in this regard -- it lets you know,
along the bottom of each slide, that there are 8 other slides, and lets
you click directly to them. But compare and contrast with the NYT.com's
awesome presentation,
which delivers thumbnail images of all 81 players named in the steroid
report, on a single page, and makes it easy to jump back and forth
between the main page and individual bios. If you've got any interest
in baseball at all, you're going to spend some time here.

Make no mistake: The difference between the two papers' presentations has nothing to do with ideology and ownership -- just experience. The
NYT has been trying to build its online audience for many years, and
reports like today's are the result of a lot of time and money spent on
those efforts. The WSJ, which hasn't paid nearly as much attention to
this stuff, has a lot of catching up to do. And Rupe will make sure they
move as fast as possible.
december 2007
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