8785
Dow Jones Makes First Post-News Corp Acquisition: Buys Betten Financial News
Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS), now officially part of News Corp. has made its first acquisition after the deal: it has bought Dutch company Betten Financial News, in an effort to expand its Dow Jones Newswires operation internationally. DJ will combine Bettens corporate and markets coverage with Dow Jones Nieuwsdienst, its Dutch service. Bettens brand is well known in The Netherlands under the Betten Beursmedia News brandname. In addition to distribution via market data terminals Betten has its own website and also provides content to a number of financial institutions

The financial details were not disclosed. More details in the release.
march 2008
Computer Upgrades
Ive been busy the past few weeks upgrading the PC in the house. My PC was a 900MHz dinosaur and MJs PC was a 300MHz dust ball. Yes - Im a technologist running the equivalent of the Ford Model-T. Looking around at what is available and the cost, I decided to continue the Petersen tradition of building my own machines. I ended up buying the motherboards, CPU and memory off eBay. I went with a 2-CPU Xeon 2.8GHz with 6GB of ram for my machine. For the other machine I went with a 2-CPU 2.2GHz Xeon with 3GB of ram. Of course with the Xeon class chips, If I can get a faster chipset, I can always swap them out for more speed. Each machine ended up costing me around $200 to get a server class machine. With me running the different software packages and trying to max out the machine, the most I have been able to do is to get the CPUs up to about 40% utilization.

Most of the machines in the house are running Linux. Im forced to keep a few Windows machines around. Cathy prefers Windows and MJ needs it to be compatible with school. If I had my way, Windows would be all but taken out of this house. I find that Linux has come a long way. It is faster, cleaner and very convenient upgrading the packages.

After an hour or two everyone in the household is able to move around on a Linux box getting email and browsing the Internet. Plus the software that is available for Linux is mind boggling. In fact I find myself installing three or four variants of software that fits a particular function and playing around deciding which one I like.

For the moment, Im stuck with some Windows. But at least with the server class Xeon processors, they function reasonably well.
march 2008
The sleeper has awakened
"Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens." That's one of my favorite lines and certainly applicable to my situation. It's hard to believe that I've been at MarketWatch.com for almost 8 months! What a ride it’s been…and well worth it I’d say. I’ve made the leap from not only a new company but an entirely new industry. From Healthcare to Financial News is quite a change I’d say.
But this hasn’t only been a big change for me, but for MarketWatch as well. The past few months have seen big changes, both the assimilation by a new company (News Corp) and the departure of our CTO (Jamie Thingelstad). Nothing startling has happened to MarketWatch yet, but I’m sure there’s exciting changes on the Horizon.
It’s funny how being complacent stunts growth. I think I’ve grown more over the past 8 months than I have in my entire life.
Maybe the same is in store for MarketWatch...
from google
march 2008
MacFamilyTree - Alzeimers Cure?
Some time ago my uncle developed Alzeimers Disease and as a result suffers from extreme memory loss. As any good family does, we all got together and discussed options on how best to deal with the situation at hand. During one of these discussions my uncle revealed his own fear of forgetting the important people around him. It was this fear that prompted me to compile a family tree, something that could be used time and time again to explain to him who a person was when the time came. Im a software developer, so seeking out software to fulfill the task seemed the best way to go about this problem. Sure enough I found my answer in MacFamilyTree from Synium Software. This software went above and beyond my needs. The amount of information you can store in addition to the standard family relationships is just amazing. Combine this with a slick interface and OS X integration and youve got yourself the best genealogy application around. Adding people and information is as simple as starting with the Family Assistant. You add a person of reference (MacFamilyTree recommends adding yourself), then simply start adding family members from there. You can share your family tree in a variety of ways including .Mac, MacFamilyTree.com or even DVD. MacFamilyTree has is fully GEDCOM-Compatible offering transparent sharing of your family data. Additional features include reporting, charts, and in the new 5.1 release, a very pretty interface. In addition to storing information about a person, media such as images, movies, documents, URLs and music can also be added. This came in handy when talking about my Aunt Clare, as she was a musician (I was able to store songs with her information). There are other some other genealogy apps for the Mac includingFamilyandiFamily,however, none had the feature set and ease of use thatMacFamilyTreeprovides. MacFamilyTree may not have cured my uncles Alzeimers, but it certainly helps prevent an old mans heart from breaking! In my book, its great software worth a look.One thing to note, after installing the application for the first time, I attempted to launch the application via Quicksilver only to find it didnt exist. I then went into my Applications folder and found the item to be there. It gets indexed by Quicksilver as MacStammBaum, probably something to do with the package contents, but this is a little out of my scope. Please post comments if you know how to fix this. MacFamilyTree is available from Synium Software for $49.
march 2008
Shaking It Off - Migraine - Opinion Blog
Jeff Tweedy is primarily known as the lyricist, lead singer and guitarist of Wilco, one of Americas most popular and critically successful rock bands. He is also a lifelong migraine sufferer whose headaches were for decades compounded by bouts of depre
march 2008
Information Wants to be Elite
Newsweek has an article that argues that Web 3.0 is going to be all about injecting the experts back into the information production and dissemination process. I think they've gotten the big picture badly wrong, but the saddest quote in the article is about why one of the 'experts' they interview thinks this change will come about:

Fueling all this podium worship is the potential for premium audiences—and advertising revenue. "The more trusted an environment, the more you can charge for it," says Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis, a former AOL executive who was previously involved with several Web start-ups. It's also easier to woo advertisers with the promise of controlled content than with hit-and-miss blog blather. "Nobody wants to advertise next to crap," says Andrew Keen, author of "The Cult of the Amateur," a jeremiad against the ills of the unregulated Web.

Pretty amazing that the argument is that advertisers are going to fight to prevent the amateurs from taking over information processes so they can protect their advertising revenue. (Newsweek is, of course, heavily supported by advertising.)

It's also interesting that none of the examples they give in the article -- from Google's wikipedia killer to the Maholo search engine -- have any real traction in the marketplace. I think we're seeing a fantasy here. People whose business depends on the elites managing who reads what where and when are arguing that we have to return to that model to make sure "good" information gets out.

I was speculating the other day about how different the world would be if there had been some way that radio and television could have been supported through a fee-based model, rather than the advertising-based model that we have today ...

John
from google
march 2008
Fire the workaholics
Jason Calacanis wants you to save money for your startup, so he has come up with 17 tips on how. The intention is good. Working lean is great and means you probably won’t need outside money. And there’s some good stuff, like don’t buy Microsoft Office and skip the phone system. But there’s also some depressing bullshit like:

Fire people who are not workaholics…. come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. go work at the post office or stabucks if you want balance in your life. For realz

Here’s another take on that: Fire the people who are workaholics! Here’s five reasons why:

Workaholics may well say that they enjoy those 14 hour days week after week, but despite their claims, working like that all month, all the time is not going to be sustainable. When the burnout crash comes, and it will, it’ll hit all the harder and according to Murphy at the least convenient time.
People who are workaholics are likely to attempt to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at the problem. If you’re dealing with people working with anything creatively that’s a deadbeat way to get great work done.
People who always work late makes the people who don’t feel inadequate for merely working reasonable hours. That’ll lead to guilt, misery, and poor morale. Worse, it’ll lead to ass-in-seat mentality where people will “stay late” out of obligation, but not really be productive.
If all you do is work, your value judgements are unlikely to be sound. Making good calls on “is it worth it?” is absolutely critical to great work. Missing out on life in general to put more hours in at the office screams “misguided values”.
Working with interesting people is more interesting than just working. If all you got going for your life is work, work, work, the good team-gelling lunches are going to be some pretty boring straight shop talk. Yawn. I’d much rather hear more about your whittling project, your last trek, how your garden is doing, or when you’ll get your flight certificate.

If your start-up can only succeed by being a sweatshop, your idea is simply not good enough. Go back to the drawing board and come up with something better that can be implemented by whole people, not cogs.

Update: Calacanis reeled it in and reconsidered, sorta. Requiring passion is certainly something we hopefully can all rally about.
from google
march 2008
#84 T-Shirts | Stuff White People Like
Many people and cultures view t-shirts as a simple piece of apparel that can be acquired cheaply and worn in casual situations. For white people, its never that easy. The t-shirt is one of the most complex and expressive items in their entire wardrobe.
march 2008
Video of Apple iPhone Roadmap event is up
Filed under: Apple, iPhone
Couldn't stop refreshing the various liveblogs covering the Apple SDK event? Neither could we. Fortunately, in case you missed any key details, Apple has now posted a streaming video of the entire presentation. Just the thing to watch while you wait, and wait, and wait for your copy of the SDK to download. (Seriously, developer.apple.com is getting hammered like a steel drum at Carnival in Rio.)If you spot anything in the video that you think we missed, let us know below.Read
march 2008
IPhone SDK - What you need to know
Filed under: Other Events, Developer, iPhone
For those expecting a low-level bit-by-byte account of what the SDK means, Erica will return momentarily after a break from her (epic) type-a-thon this afternoon to give you the low-down. While we all wait for our downloads of the SDK to start here at TUAW's globe-spanning offices, let's just recap on what you need to build your next, earth shattering, application for the iPhone and iPod touch:

Mac OS X Leopard
An Intel-based Mac (sorry, PowerPC folks -- this one's an Intel-only show)
Xcode
a free Apple iPhone developer account and the SDK itself -- note that access to the SDK is not going to cost you ninety-nine bucks. It's free, though getting the application approved and out onto devices will set you back the $99.

Sadly, if you're wanting to run off and pick up a copy of said SDK, you're likely to be left wanting. Apple Developer Connection is 'pulling a Twitter' (much like Twitter itself did, during the event) and is totally unresponsive to most visitors. That said, when the ADC site comes back online, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to get in on the SDK (note, existing ADC members need to update their memberships too and sign up as iPhone developers to access the SDK).Read
march 2008
Steve Jobs Made Me Miss My Flight
Or: On my way to San Jose.
On waking, I reach for my blackberry. It tells me what city I'm in; the hotel rooms offer no clues. Every Courtyard by Marriott is interchangeable.  Many doors into the same house. From the size of my suitcase, I can recall the length of my stay: one or two days, the small bag.  Three or four, the large. Two bags means more than a week.
CNBC, shower, coffee, email. Quick breakfast, $10.95 (except in California, where it's $12.95. Another clue.)
Getting there is the worst part. Flying is an endless accumulation of indignities. Airlines learned their human factors from hospitals. I've adapted my routine to minimize hassles.
Park in the same level of the same ramp. Check in at the less-used kiosks in the transit level. Check my bag so I don't have to fuck around with the overhead bins. I'd rather dawdle at the carousel than drag the thing around the terminal anyway.
Always the frequent flyer line at the security checkpoint. Sometimes there's an airline person at the entrance of that line to check my boarding pass, sometimes not. An irritation. I'd rather it was always, or never. Sometimes means I don't know if I need my boarding pass out or not.
Same words to the TSA agent.  Standard responses. "Doing fine," whether I am or not.  Same belt.  It's gone through the metal detector every time. I don't need to take it off.
Only... today, something is different. Instead of my bags trundling through the x-ray machine, she stops the belt.  Calls over another agent, a palaver. Another agent flocks to the screen. A gabble, a conference, some consternation.
They pull my laptop, my new laptop making its first trip with me, out of the flow of bags. One takes me aside to a partitioned cubicle. Another of the endless supply of TSA agents takes the rest of my bags to a different cubicle. No yellow brick road here, just a pair of yellow painted feet on the floor, and my flight is boarding. I am made to understand that I should stand and wait.  My laptop is on the table in front of me, just beyond reach, like I am waiting to collect my personal effects after being paroled.
I'm standing, watching my laptop on the table, listening to security clucking just behind me. "There's no drive," one says. "And no ports on the back. It has a couple of lines where the drive should be," she continues.
A younger agent, joins the crew. I must now be occupying ten, perhaps twenty, percent of the security force. At this checkpoint anyway. There are three score more at the other five checkpoints. The new arrival looks at the printouts from x-ray, looks at my laptop sitting small and alone. He tells the others that it is a real laptop, not a "device". That it has a solid-state drive instead of a hard disc. They don't know what he means. He tries again, "Instead of a spinning disc, it keeps everything in flash memory." Still no good. "Like the memory card in a digital camera." He points to the x-ray, "Here. That's what it uses instead of a hard drive."
The senior agent hasn't been trained for technological change. New products on the market? They haven't been TSA approved. Probably shouldn't be permitted. He requires me to open the "device" and run a program. I do, and despite his inclination, the lead agent decides to release me and my troublesome laptop.  My flight is long gone now, so I head for the service center to get rebooked.
Behind me, I hear the younger agent, perhaps not realizing that even the TSA must obey TSA rules, repeating himself.
"It's a MacBook Air."
from google
march 2008
Regulating Your Keywords
One of the biggest problems with keywords is that there are so many synonyms in the English language. So how do you know that one specific keyword for one specific thing will always be the case? After all, if it's...
from google
march 2008
OmniGraffle 5 shipping now
Filed under: Software, Graphic Design
The Omni Group has announced that OmniGraffle 5 is final and available for download and purchase. OmniGraffle is a brilliant template-based diagramming application that makes it a snap to draw up a flow-chart or schematic. As we noted when the first beta of version 5 was released, the latest OmniGraffle adds many important new features including support for Visio formats, a new layout engine, support for Bzier lines and shapes and much more. OmniGraffle comes in two versions, a standard version for $99.95 and a Professional version for $199.95 with an extended feature set (e.g. greater Visio support, subgraphs and more). Upgrades from previous versions are $39.95 (Standard) and $139.95 (Pro), with other options available for family pack licenses.Update: To upgrade from a previous Pro version to version 5 Pro it's $74.95; it's $139.95 to upgrade to version 5 Pro from any previous version of Standard.Read
march 2008
New iPhone applications to appear tonight
We're just hours away from Apple's bells-and-whistles meeting where it will reveal the real deal on iPhone application development, and new information's beginning to trickle through.
march 2008
Alex King: Fixing a MySQL Character Encoding Mismatch
We ran into an interesting MySQL character encoding issue at Crowd Favorite today while working to upgrade and launch a new client site.

Here is what we were trying to do: copy the production database to the staging database so we could properly configure and test everything before pushing the new site live. Pretty simple right? It was, until we noticed a bunch of weird character encoding issues on the staging site.

It turned out that while the database tables were set to a Latin-1 (latin1), the content that populated those tables was encoded as UTF-8 (utf8). A variety of attempts to fix this failed, but what succeeded was as follows:

Export the data as Latin-1. Because MySQL knows that the table is already using a Latin-1 encoding, it will do a straight export of the data without trying to convert the data to another character set. If you try to export as UTF-8, MySQL appears to attempt to convert the (supposedly) Latin-1 data to UTF-8 - resulting in double encoded characters (since the data was actually already UTF-8).
Change the character set in the exported data file from ‘latin1′ to ‘utf8′. Since the dumped data was not converted during the export process, it’s actually UTF-8 encoded data.
Create your new table as UTF-8 If your CREATE TABLE command is in your SQL dump file, change the character set from ‘latin1′ to ‘utf8′.
Import your data normally. Since you’ve got UTF-8 encoded data in your dump file, the declared character set in the dump file is now UTF-8, and the table you’re importing into is UTF-8, everything will go smoothly.

I can confirm that a half-dozen or so variations on the above do not work. This includes INSERT INTO newdb.newtable SELECT * FROM olddb.oldtable;.

Also, if you’re doing this for a WordPress1 site (like we were), keep in mind that copying over the production database will generally mean that WP-Cache is enabled. You’ll want to remember to turn that off. Yeah.

This is a fairly common issue in older WordPress installs because the MySQL database default is commonly Latin-1, and older versions of WordPress did not specify the character set when creating the database tables (so they would default to Latin-1) and the default encoding in the WordPress settings is UTF-8. [back]

ShareThis
from google
march 2008
One more step
photo by groundzero (CC-licensed)Not every Reader release is filled with exciting new features, but we'd like to think that every little improvement counts. While we've been working on some longer-term things, we've also had time to make some smaller changes to Reader, which we're releasing today:

More languages and countries: Reader is now available in Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Poland, Brazil, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Subscriber counts: If you were curious how many other subscribers a feed that you read has, you can now easily check: use the "show details" link in the top-right corner. Additionally, to see how indie/hip you are, you can use the "Most obscure" tab on the trends page to see the feeds that you subscribe to with the least number of subscribers. Just keep in mind what these numbers indicate.

Increased reading area: By shuffling some things around in the header area, we've managed to squeeze an additional 17 pixels of reading space for feed content. This may not seem like much, but every little bit matters when consuming hundreds of posts a day.

Bug fixes and performance improvements: We've made Reader faster to load when you have more than a thousand subscriptions. The settings page should feel perkier too. Finally, we've squashed some bugs -- most notably, bugs that prevented profiles from loading in certain cases. We also added improved keyboard navigation and fixed a problem refreshing search results. A lot of these tweaks and bug fixes are in response to user feedback that we get in our discussion group, so please keep it coming.
from google
march 2008
Google Analytics Data Sharing: Why Not Go All The Way?
Google Blogoscoped (and the Google Analytics Blog) is reporting that Google is now giving users the opt-in option to share their Analytics data with other Google services, and/or in an anonymous, aggregated way in a new benchmarking service. This is certainly useful for some companies - particularly since Google is only making new services based on this data available to users whove opted in: only users who have opted to share their sites data with Google may use these new or improved services. A screen shot of the options is above - but Ive added my own fantasy third option in addition to the first two that Google announced today. What I want to see is a flat out option for people to share some or all of their Analytics data publicly, without restriction and without anonymitiy. Were seeing startups send us this data more and more often to counter under-counting in Comscore, Alexa and other services. They say theyre more than happy to see us publish the data, so readers will understand exactly how well theyre doing. A lot of companies want this data to be public. Transparency is a good way to gain the trust of the community, and I think Google would be surprised to see how many customers would be perfectly willing to share their analytics data publicly. The logistics of the sharing is less important - it could be done via a widget or an API, or a variety of other methods. But I believe the demand is there. All Google has to do is flip a switch. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
march 2008
Bush's HHH
John McCain increasingly is looking like the hapless Hubert H. Humphrey of 1968. Captive to his own partisan support for a disastrous war; too timid to stake out an agenda for change; passively permitting an unpopular president to embrace him as heir; squandering what little was left of his good repute in shabby political maneuvering. It's Humphrey all over again. McCain is busy tying a dead weight around his shoulders that he imagines is the mantle of the presidency. The endorsement today by Bush went a long way toward sealing his fate.
march 2008
EU To Clear Google-DoubleClick on Tuesday, Google Into Display
After a year's worth of ludicrous scrutiny, the Google-DoubleClick deal will finally clear its last regulatory hurdle next week, the FT says. The EU is reportedly set to clear the deal on Tuesday, about a month ahead of schedule.

Three years ago, DoubleClick couldn't give itself away. Thanks to a global Microsoft-sponsored lobbying effort, however, it and it's soon-to-be parent have spent the last year in purgatory.

So now Google can finally leap with both feet into the world of display advertising. Just in the nick of time.
march 2008
SeaDragon In Silverlight: The Coolest Bit From Mix Keynote One
Hard Rock Cafe Memorabilia Site with Deep Zoom

Announced in the first Microsoft Mix keynote this morning was advanced zooming capabilities in Silverlight 2. The functionality comes from SeaDragon, a product first shown by Microsoft at TED last year.

The demonstration featured the Hard Rock Memorabilia site. It started with what looked like some basic memorabilia shots, then zoomed out to a button on a suit. The seamless image was 2 billion pixels created from many separate images with Silverlight natively providing the stitching.

The crux of the functionality is to provide the ability to zoom in and out quickly without the need to download an entire picture; Silverlight only loads whats required as the user goes to that part of the overall image, saving on bandwidth and in theory providing a quicker and more pleasurable end user experience.

The video above is an interview the Mix crew did with the Hard Rock team that includes a demonstration of the site in action.

To see it live, install Silverlight 2 then visit the Hard Rock Memorabilia site here.
Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
march 2008
Ex-Yahoo Neil Budde lands at the Los Angeles Times
Neil Budde, the founding editor of WSJ.com and former Yahoo News chief has won a new gig at the Los Angeles Times. Despite the woes of print newspapers, trading Jerry Yang as a boss for foulmouthed motorcyclist Sam Zell sounds like a good bet right now.
march 2008
Mix08 Day 1
At MIX08 today, Las Vegas, and it’s in the lunch break after the keynote speach.

 Ray Ozzie and Scott Guthrie spoke a great deal about vision and direction of where some of the tools will come together this year. Something they mentioned is it can seem like the individual parts can seem random as they occur and it was a good chance for them to reveal how it comes together to create a powerful set of potentials.

Silverlight is a key focus of course, even more emphasized than I was expecting, but some of the develepment and creative tooling are much nicer and more powerful than I was aware of. Definitely something to look into.

Silverlight 2 will be coming out with a functionally contained clr engine running ironpython, ironrube, javascript, and csharp within - and it’s targetting mac, windows, linux, and mobile. So it’s absolutely something to take seriously with a huge number of daily downloads that’s ramping up.

 I won’t repeat the list of guest speakers, and you can watch the keynote for yourself, but they have some huge names invested to a greater or lesser extent. Nokia for example will have silverlight mobile on their devices, doubleclick will be supporting the technology as an advertising media, aol will also be using silverlight for some aspects of their site interactivity (email at least).

But I digress! Silverlight was not the main focus of the keynote - rather it was the connectedness that needs to be enabled in the future. Connecting management of applications, information, and media. Personal information and enterprise. I won’t attempt to reiterate here in a single paragraph, again more to come when time permits.
from google
march 2008
Chinese official on SMS voting: txtng votes ripe 4 abuse
Believe it or not, some officials in China are elected by way of text message votes, much as you would vote for your favorite contestant on American Idol. At least one official says that system is being abused, though, and has called for a ban on the practice.
march 2008
Win a Mac mini, hosting and a MacBook Air
Filed under: Hardware, Mac mini
Aside from being a company with a name that's dangerously close to copyright infringement, Macminicolo has long been dedicated to creating hosting solutions for Mac users. In fact, they only host - you guessed it - Mac minis. It's a pretty nice service. Just send them your mini and they host it for you and give you full access (it's all yours, not shared). If you've thought about colocation but shuddered at the cost, this could be your chance. Right now, Macminicolo is running a contest to find the greatest answer to the question: "What would you do with a remote mini?" Start up a new business? Create a non-profit? The contestant who submits the best answer will receive a year's free hosting, a Mac mini and a MacBook Air. As Jeff Probst would say, "Worth playing for?" Yes, Jeff, it is.You can get the details here. Good luck!Read
march 2008
Cogmap offers free online organization charting with private sharing capabilities
Cogmap offers free online organization charting with private sharing capabilities
Cogmap releases private organization charting features freely available to the Internet
Private mapping, integrated data, and other features create the premier Web 2.0 tool for sharing organizational data with co-workers, your social network, and the Internet-at-large
March 5, 2008
News Facts

Cogmap, the organization chart wiki, vaults from offering a public facing wiki of organizational data to adding tools that allow people to build and share private organizational information using drag-and-drop on-line tools and powerful access controls.
Coglink widgets allow individuals to embed individual Coglinks from Cogmap in blogs, social networks, and web sites to share information about people in organization charts across the Internet.
Cogmap offers APIs that allow third parties to mash-up chart data using XML chart information and vCard and hCard data about members of charts.
New commenting and related charts features show how the network feels about charts that interest you.
New indexes are available allowing visitors to explore organization charts geographically, by industry, or simply alphabetical.
It is still all free!

Quotes Attributable to Brent Halliburton
Cogmaps initial release changed the way that business development, sales, and recruiters used the Internet. With the new private mapping features, they can take all of their knowledge online and create social networks around their proprietary data.

Cogmap is the wikipedia of organization charts, bringing information about how the hierarchy of organizations works to the masses.

Originally, Cogmap was built to allow people to share information and benefit from the power of a wiki, but feedback from the cogmunity was that some information needed to be protected. With private maps, all of the information you add will only be shared with your social network.

Private maps allow a network of people to share organizational data among themselves, empowering organizations to share their knowledge quickly and easily.

Coglinks make map information embeddable, extending Cogmaps value out into the blogosphere.

For additional quotes, email Brent Halliburton at brent at cogmap dot com.

Screenshots & Logos

Blog RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/cogmap
Suggested tags: Cogmap, Org chart wiki, Private chart, Organization chart
About Cogmap
With thousands of organization charts and tens of thousands of chart members, Cogmap offers an unprecedented amount of freely available organizational data. Cogmap is a small web site providing user-generated organization chart applications for business people.

Join the cogvolution!

Contact Information:
Brent Halliburton

215.439.0163

brent@cogmap.com

http://www.cogmap.com/

aim: groupcortexer
march 2008
Thank you sir, may I have another?
This has got to be a first. Here in Austin, on the night before that make-or-break Texas primary, the Clinton campaign has set up a filing center for the traveling press corps ... in a men's room. Insert metaphor here.
march 2008
Creating Patchstick for Apple TV Take 2 under Windows
Good news for you Windows folks. Now, you, too, can create Patchsticks for modding your Apple TV without the need of an Intel Mac.

The guys at ATV4Windows have finally figured what thought to be impossible only a few weeks back: a way to create Patchsticks under Windows. Not only that, they even have a video to prove it.

Congratulations, ATV4Windows team.
from google
march 2008
Weblog Tools Collection: Gravatars and WordPress 2.5
Several commenters mentioned on yesterday’s post regarding Gravatars without a plugin that WordPress 2.5 would be having built-in Gravatar support.

And indeed WordPress 2.5 will come with Gravatar (aka, Avatar) support. Within this post I will demonstrate how Gravatars will be used with WordPress 2.5. As a side note, 2.5 has yet to be released as of this writing.

Gravatars in the WordPress Admin Panel
WordPress 2.5 marries theme authors and casual WordPress users together with support for Gravatars in the WordPress admin panel.

WordPress users can access the Gravatars settings in the Settings->Reading panel.

If a theme author has decided to use the WordPress 2.5 function, then WordPress users can easily control their Gravatar usage in the admin panel.

In the admin panel, WordPress users can change:

Whether Avatars (aka, Gravatars) are displayed or not.
Which rating of Avatars are shown.

Avatars in the WP Admin Panel

Please keep in mind these settings will have no effect if the theme author didn’t make use of the WordPress 2.5 function.

And what is the functon you ask?

Theme Authors: Adding Gravatars to Your Theme
The function to add Gravatars to your theme is called: get_avatar. The function returns a complete <img> tag of the Avatar.

The function get_avatar is setup as follows:

function get_avatar( $id_or_email, $size = '64', $default = '' )

id_or_email: The author’s User ID (an integer or string) or an E-mail Address (a string)
size: The size of the Avatar to display (max is 80).
default: The absolute location of the default Avatar.

Some things to note here:

The default Avatar size is 64×64.
The default Avatar is
The Avatars will show only if the user allows them in the WP Admin Panel (enabled by default).
The Avatars will only show based on the rating the user has selected in the WordPress admin panel.

Here are some examples of the function in use:

Example 1 with a default Avatar
echo get_avatar( 1, '80', 'http://mysite.com/avatar/avatar.gif' )

In this example I used a user ID of ‘1‘ and specified the location of a default location. This example is useful if you want to display an Avatar outside of the comment’s section and you have an idea of the person’s User ID.

Example 2 with an e-mail address and size
echo get_avatar( 'myname@mysite.com', '60' )

This example is useful if you want to display the Avatars within the Comments Loop.

If calling Avatars from the Comments Loop (in comments.php), you will want to use the get_comment_author_email function in place of the above e-mail address.

echo get_avatar( get_comment_author_email(), '80' )

Backwards Compatibility
If you wish to develop a theme that displays Avatars for 2.5 and below, I recommend using a combination of the code mentioned here and the code from Connor Wilson’s post on using Gravatar without a plugin.

Your code would look something along the lines of:



if (function_exists('get_avatar')) {
//2.5 code
} else {
//alternate gravatar code for < 2.5
}

Further Reading
For more reading on the get_avatar function, please read Ryan Boren’s Avatars in WordPress 2.5, which he covers several additional points not mentioned here.

Conclusion
The inclusion of the get_avatar function is a nice addition to WordPress 2.5, but it relies on theme authors to include it. If you are comfortable editing your own theme, you can easily add the function into your own theme when 2.5 is released.
from google
march 2008
Mix, Twitter, and Hashtags
I am getting ready to pack and head to Las Vegas in the morning for Mix 08. This year, while I am very interested to learn about all the new stuff that will get announced, meet some new people and see some familiar faces, there is another thing I am very interested to see play out, Mix + Twitter.
from google
march 2008
INeedFlix
Filed under: Freeware, Internet Tools
If you are looking for an application that allows you to manage your Netflix queue with Mac style, then iNeedFlix might be for you. iNeedFlix allows you to (as long as you are signed into Netflix through Safari) manage your queue. You can both move and delete items in the list. iNeedFlix interfaces directly with the Netflix server, so changes will be made almost instantly. This is a very simple application for a very simple problem, however, it would be better if you could be signed into Netflix through any browser, not just Safari -- or have this step eliminated completely. If you are looking for a Netflix application for the Mac that is a little more full featured, then look no further than Netflix Freak.You can download iNeedFlix for free from the developer's website or from VersionTracker.Read
march 2008
An hour and a half with Barack Obama
I've tried very hard to keep politics out of this blog -- despite nearly overpowering impulses to the contrary -- for two reasons: one, there's no reason to alienate people who don't share my political views, as wrong-headed as those people may clearly be; two, there's no reason to expect my opinion on political issues should be any more valid than any other reader of what, these days, passes for the New York Times.


That said, in light of the extraordinary events playing out around us right now in the runup to the presidential election, I would like to share with you a personal experience that I was lucky enough to have early last year.


Early in 2007, a friend of mine who is active in both high-tech and politics called me up and said, let's go see this first-term Senator, Barack Obama, who's ramping up to run for President.


And so we did -- my friend, my wife Laura, and me -- and we were able to meet privately with Senator Obama for an hour and a half.


The reason I think you may find this interesting is that our meeting in early 2007 was probably one of the last times Senator Obama was able to spend an hour and a half sitting down and talking with just about anyone -- so I think we got a solid look at what he's like up close, right before he entered the "bubble" within which all major presidential candidates, and presidents, must exist.


Let me get disclaimers out of the way: my only involvement with the Democratic presidential campaigns is as an individual donor -- after meeting with the Senator, my wife and I both contributed the maximum amount of "hard money" we could to the Obama campaign, less than $10,000 total for both the primary and the general election. On the other hand, we also donated to Mitt Romney's Republican primary effort -- conclude from that what you will.


I carried four distinct impressions away from our meeting with Senator Obama.


First, this is a normal guy.


I've spent time with a lot of politicians in the last 15 years. Most of them talk at you. Listening is not their strong suit -- in fact, many of them aren't even very good at faking it.


Senator Obama, in contrast, comes across as a normal human being, with a normal interaction style, and a normal level of interest in the people he's with and the world around him.


We were able to have an actual, honest-to-God conversation, back and forth, on a number of topics. In particular, the Senator was personally interested in the rise of social networking, Facebook, Youtube, and user-generated content, and casually but persistently grilled us on what we thought the next generation of social media would be and how social networking might affect politics -- with no staff present, no prepared materials, no notes. He already knew a fair amount about the topic but was very curious to actually learn more. We also talked about a pretty wide range of other issues, including Silicon Valley and various political topics.


With most politicians, their curiosity ends once they find out how much money you can raise for them. Not so with Senator Obama -- this is a normal guy.


Second, this is a smart guy.


I bring this up for two reasons. One, Senator Obama's political opponents tend to try to paint him as some kind of lightweight, which he most definitely is not. Two, I think he's at or near the top of the scale of intelligence of anyone in political life today.


You can see how smart he is in his background -- for example, lecturer in constitutional law at University of Chicago; before that, president of the Harvard Law Review.


But it's also apparent when you interact with him that you're dealing with one of the intellectually smartest national politicians in recent times, at least since Bill Clinton. He's crisp, lucid, analytical, and clearly assimilates and synthesizes a very large amount of information -- smart.


Third, this is not a radical.


This is not some kind of liberal revolutionary who is intent on throwing everything up in the air and starting over.


Put the primary campaign speeches aside; take a look at his policy positions on any number of issues and what strikes you is how reasonable, moderate, and thoughtful they are.


And in person, that's exactly what he's like. There's no fire in the eyes to realize some utopian or revolutionary dream. Instead, what comes across -- in both his questions and his answers -- is calmness, reason, and judgment.


Fourth, this is the first credible post-Baby Boomer presidential candidate.


The Baby Boomers are best defined as the generation that came of age during the 1960's -- whose worldview and outlook was shaped by Vietnam plus the widespread social unrest and change that peaked in the late 1960's.


Post-Boomers are those of us, like me, who came of age in the 1970's or 1980's -- after Vietnam, after Nixon, after the "sexual revolution" and the cultural wars of the 1960's.


One of the reasons Senator Obama comes across as so fresh and different is that he's the first serious presidential candidate who isn't either from the World War II era (Reagan, Bush Sr, Dole, and even McCain, who was born in 1936) or from the Baby Boomer generation (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore, and George W. Bush).


He's a post-Boomer.


Most of the Boomers I know are still fixated on the 1960's in one way or another -- generally in how they think about social change, politics, and the government.


It's very clear when interacting with Senator Obama that he's totally focused on the world as it has existed since after the 1960's -- as am I, and as is practically everyone I know who's younger than 50.


What's the picture that emerges from these four impressions?


Smart, normal, curious, not radical, and post-Boomer.


If you were asking me to write a capsule description of what I would look for in the next President of the United States, that would be it.


Having met him and then having watched him for the last 12 months run one of the best-executed and cleanest major presidential campaigns in recent memory, I have no doubt that Senator Obama has the judgment, bearing, intellect, and high ethical standards to be an outstanding president -- completely aside from the movement that has formed around him, and in complete contradition to the silly assertions by both the Clinton and McCain campaigns that he's somehow not ready.


Before I close, let me share two specific things he said at the time -- early 2007 -- on the topic of whether he's ready.


We asked him directly, how concerned should we be that you haven't had meaningful experience as an executive -- as a manager and leader of people?


He said, watch how I run my campaign -- you'll see my leadership skills in action.


At the time, I wasn't sure what to make of his answer -- political campaigns are often very messy and chaotic, with a lot of turnover and flux; what conclusions could we possibly draw from one of those?


Well, as any political expert will tell you, it turns out that the Obama campaign has been one of the best organized and executed presidential campaigns in memory. Even Obama's opponents concede that his campaign has been disciplined, methodical, and effective across the full spectrum of activities required to win -- and with a minimum of the negative campaigning and attack ads that normally characterize a race like this, and with almost no staff turnover. By almost any measure, the Obama campaign has simply out-executed both the Clinton and McCain campaigns.


This speaks well to the Senator's ability to run a campaign, but speaks even more to his ability to recruit and manage a top-notch group of campaign professionals and volunteers -- another key leadership characteristic. When you compare this to the awe-inspiring discord, infighting, and staff turnover within both the Clinton and McCain campaigns up to this point -- well, let's just say it's a very interesting data point.


We then asked, well, what about foreign policy -- should we be concerned that you just don't have much experience there?


He said, directly, two things.


First, he said, I'm on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where I serve with a number of Senators who are widely regarded as leading experts on foreign policy -- and I can tell you that I know as much about foreign policy at this point as most of them.


Being a fan of blunt answers, I liked that one.


But then he made what I think is the really good point.


He said -- and I'm going to paraphrase a little here: think about who I am -- my father was Kenyan; I have close relatives in a small rural village in Kenya to this day; and I spent several years of my childhood living in Jakarta, Indonesia. Think about what it's going to mean in many parts of the world -- parts of the world that we really care about -- when I show up as the President of the United States. I'll be fundamentally changing the world's perception of what the United States is all about.


He's got my vote.
from google
march 2008
Kevin Rose Cant Keep Up With E-mail; Blaine Cook Cant Wait To Speak With a Human
On Friday, I moderated a fun panel at the Future of Web Apps conference in Miami (see photo above). The basic premise was to try to come up with a compelling web app in 40 minutes. There were a lot of good ideas, but the best ones centered around communications and how to use technology to get around the frustrations of e-mail and phone calls. It was clear that the panelists think these communication modes that we rely on every day may very well be in the process of breaking down. (CNets Caroline McCarthy, who was covering the conference, notes this as well).
march 2008
Twitter Meter
Twitter meter let's you query an index of all the words that have been sent to twitter's public timeline and displays a handy graph so you can see what folks are talking about.
from google
march 2008
Play Wordy Birdie on Twitter
Wordy Birdie is a game that works within Twitter. The creator, Dan Grigsby describes it as "part buzzword bingo, part drinking game." You earn points by predicting what words people you follow will use in their updates.
from google
february 2008
WordPress Founder: 25% Of Blogs Are Spam
At the Future of Web Apps conference, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg boasts that his blogging service powers more than 2.5 million blogs, CNet's Caroline McCarthy reports. But he says the company has also deleted more than 800,000 "splogs," or spam blogs, too.

Rough, back-of-the-envelope math suggests that's about 25% of all blogs created on WordPress.com. Significant, but not nearly as bad as email: Anti-spam software firm Commtouch says 96% of global emails are junk (PDF).

See Also:Tumblr's New Homepage: Meet 'Radar'Comments For Sale: $30 Or A Shot At Free Food?WordPress Parent Raises $29.5M
february 2008
Optimizing MySQL and Apache for Low Memory Usage, Part 1
MySQL and Apache can consume quite a bit of memory, if you’re not careful. This post discusses how to reduce the amount of memory they use without killing performance.
february 2008
Optimizing a VPS for Getting Dugg | Hopeless Geek
So after Mac Geekery had a few fleeting moments on Digg’s front page and pretty much killed the server for the rest of the day, I looked into what could be done on this setup to make things work a little better for getting hit.
february 2008
Six Principles for Making New Things
I read a great quote the other day from Paul Graham which I just cannot get out of my head.

I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly. [Six Principles for Making New Things] via [Derek Powazek]

For me, this goes back to my 1000 lines of code post, "if you cannot build an interesting working version of an application in less than 1000 lines of code, you are likely over complicating things". Keep it simple and get it out in front of people. There is always a fear (especially in product development) that you are leaving out the killer feature or an obvious use case. But sometimes the best thing you can do is release it, see how customers use it, and improve it.

Posted to Software
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from google
february 2008
Favorit fixes some of Google Reader's shortcomings, adds own
It's no secret we're Google Reader users here at Webware. We've got a Newbie's Guide for it, and wholly recommend it to folks who want a simple feed-reading experience. That said the product is not without its faults. Earlier today we got a pitch from a cool new service called Favorit that's definitely gunning to take some market share away from Google and other Web based RSS readers. The good news is that it's got a lot of things going for it that others do not.

First things first, Favorit does all the usual things you'd expect--pulling in RSS feeds, providing a directory of new feeds, and giving you tools to share stories you like with others. But that's not what makes it different. Favorit is linked up with Disqus, a universal community discussion service we covered when it launched back in October. This means you can comment on any story on a Disqus-enabled blog right in the reader, and have it show up alongside the rest of the comments on the original story page. Compared with Google Reader, which only shows you how many comments a story has, you can actually read through comments like their own little feed--right in the reader.

That's not the coolest part, though. Favorit is set up like ReadBurner and Streamy to figure out what stories are hot, then promote them to a various hot topic pages. Each story features buttons to vote the content up or down, and even bothers to keeps track of how a story's been voted on. The system employs a small chart that evaluates those votes combined with user attention (time spent reading it) over the past 36 hours. If there were more users taking advantage of the service, it would be a fun way to track the timeline of how the popular stories get hot, similar to that cool DiggCharts visualization we checked out back in May (on a side note, DiggCharts is DOA).

Track how much interest a story's getting both in user votes and readership. A feature that would work well if more people were using the service.
(Credit: CNET Networks)

Besides the comments and popular stories, Favorit has taken a nice open approach to sharing stories with others. Like Google Reader you get your own RSS feed of shared stories. You can also add other users' shared story boxes (called "slices") where you can add stories you think they'd like or set it up to automatically grab stories using Boolean values--it's like setting up a smart playlist in iTunes. Additionally Favorit incorporates several popular social publishing mediums, letting you post stories straight to Twitter, WordPress, Blogger, and LiveJournal.

While I found Favorit to be a little less user friendly than Google Reader when it comes to adding feeds, the reading system is off to a good start. Browsing stories is very user friendly, and Google Reader users will feel right at home with similar keyboard shortcuts and tools to discover new feeds. Where the system currently falls apart is the OPML importing, and subscribing to feeds--the latter of which is nowhere to be seen. You can find feeds by searching for them and browsing the directory, but there's not a clear and easy subscribe button anywhere--something I hope will be amended.

The service is in private beta for the time being, although the creators were kind enough to provide us 200 invites for Webware readers. To manage this we've set up a form after the break and will be giving the first 200 to sign-up access.

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february 2008
March 6th Date Set for Apples iPhone Software Roadmap Event
Apple has sent out an email to the media announcing a March 6th event for laying out an iPhone Software Roadmap that will focus on the SDK as well as new enterprise features. Its not clear whether the SDK will actually be released on that date, or whether it will just be detailed. In either case, Apple has failed to fulfill its promise to release the SDK this February as anticipated. The event will be invite-only and will take place at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, starting at 10am. While nothing has been said about which enterprise features will exactly be discussed, business users are obviously hoping that they will include some sort of Microsoft Exchange support. CrunchBase Information Apple Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
february 2008
CalorieKing - Diet & Weight Loss Software for Mac OS X
The CalorieKing Nutrition and Exercise Manager for Mac OS X is a powerful food and exercise diary coupled with America's largest food database.
february 2008
Rove: don't Hussein Obama
Interesting:
No less an authority figure than Karl Rove has warned Republican operatives from demagoguing Barack Obama's middle name.
At a closed door meeting of GOP state executive directors in late January, Rove said the safest way to refer to Obama would be to use his honorific, "Sen. Obama."
"The context was, you're not going to stimatize this guy. You shouldn't underestimate him," one of the executive directors said. Rove said that the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" would perpetuate the notion that Republicans were bigoted and would hurt the party.
Rove also said that Republicans should refer to Hillary Clinton as "Sen. Clinton," rather than "Hillary."
Rove also urged the GOP to support comprehensive immigration reform or risk losing the Latino vote for generations. He failed there as well.
It says something when the voice of reason within the GOP on demonizing entire groups of people is Karl Rove. But it doesn't matter. His party is dead-set on its "hate pretty much everyone" strategy -- blacks, gays, San Francisco, Muslims, Hollywood, Massachusetts, New York, latte-drinkers, Volvo drivers, and any woman who thinks medical decisions should be left between her and her doctor.
And like Rove knows full well, that strategy is a sure bet for electoral defeat.
Update: And at least one state party -- that of Tennessee -- refuses to play ball.
february 2008
Quarterlife Jumps To NBC, Bombs
MySpace and producer Marshall Herskovitz say that "Quarterlife", the TV-like Web show, is a hit. But when the show jumped to an actual TV network last night, it flopped. NBC drew 3.1 million viewers for the show's national TV debut Tuesday night -- 43% and 48% less than CBS and ABC, respectively, drew during the same 10 pm slot (Fox doesn't broadcast nationally during that hour).

Most worrisome for NBC is that "Quarterlife" lost millions of viewers who watched the show that preceded it. Apparently more people would rather watch fatties than self-absorbed twentysomethings: NBC's "Biggest Loser: Couples" drew 7.4 million viewers at 9 pm, according to Nielsen.

Here's how "Quarterlife" stacked up against the competition at 10 pm:

NBC "Quarterlife": 3.1 million viewers
CBS "Jericho": 6.9 million viewers
ABC "Primetime": 7.7 million viewers
february 2008
Panther Express Closes $16 Million Series B
Content delivery network Panther Express has closed a $15.75 million Series B funding round, led by Index Ventures. Gold Hill Capital and previous investor Greylock Partners also chipped in.

Panther will use the money to grow internationally and to invest more in its network infrastructure. The company competes with Akamai Technologies (AKAM), Limelight Networks (LLNW), and others in the increasingly crowded content delivery industry.

Index Ventures' Ben Holmes will join the company's board. Panther has raised $22 million to date.

Disclosure: Panther Express is our sister company -- Panther CEO Kevin Ryan is SAI's Chairman and Panther Chairman Dwight Merriman is on SAI's board.
february 2008
Yes We Can...
For well over a year I have been a supporter of Barack Obama for president. I was a supporter before he ever announced his candidacy. Back then I loved his passion for people and for service to our country. I loved his candor and his openness. I loved his dedication to his faith and his family. That was a year ago. I still admire and support him for all of those reasons and so many more. A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear him speak in person. I heard that he would be coming to Minneapolis for a rally, and immediately logged on to his site and requested a ticket. I encouraged Kristin to do the same (okay, so I practically forced her). We were supposed to go see him several months ago when he was here, but Kristin was sick that day and we didn’t make it, so I was adamant that I would go to see him this time – with or without Kristin. This time he was coming to the Target Center – which holds 22,000 people. I was a little shocked that they decided to have it there – 22,000 is a lot of people. The doors opened at 1:30, so we decided if we were there by 1:45 we’d be fine. We arrived shortly before 2 and were directed to walk down the street to join the end of the line. As we walked we looked up at the skyway – every one we saw was full of people waiting in line. We decided against going into the warm skyway – figuring the line would be shorter outside in the cold. So we walked. One block – the line wrapped around the building. Two blocks – the line went over a bridge. Three blocks, four, five. It went down a side street and back up the other side. When we were sure it couldn’t possibly go any further, it turned and kept going. Well over a mile later, we finally found the end.
We stood in the same spot for awhile. The wind whipped past us and the cold started to set in. Many people talked about whether to give up, walk the mile plus back, and just go home to watch it on tv or youtube later. Just when I was sure we or someone around us would make that decision the line would move a bit and slowly we made our way back up the path we had just come down. Eventually the Target Center came into view and slowly it was closer and closer.
After about two hours in the cold (no coat!) we made it into the Target Center. Our fingers were stiff and toes were numb with the cold, but we were there in the building. We were immediately directed to head upstairs. We were some of the last to arrive and were seated up high in the “nosebleed” section. That was okay with me. I didn’t need to see every pore on his face – just wanted to hear him and what he had to say to those of us here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. I know this is going to sound sappy, but when he was announced and came walking out and the amazing crowd of 20,000+ people erupted into cheers and applause tears came to my eyes, and I was completely overwhelmed with pride for our state, our country, and for this man that brought so many people from so many different backgrounds together. Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, old, young, fat, thin, rich, poor, democrat, republican, gay, straight…all brought together by this one incredible man.
His speech was amazing – he touched on things important to the nation like security and health care as well as things important to Minnesotans like Paul Wellstone. He has done extremely well in the primaries and caucuses and continues to gain momentum each day.
Why do I like Obama more than Clinton? His fresh look on how to get things done, his hopeful yet honest outlook on the future of this country, his solutions to the problems our country faces, his lack of “real” Washington political experience, and most of all, his ability to bring so many people from all different backgrounds together. Barack Obama is the first candidate of any kind to get donations from me. He is the first candidate I’ve gone to see in person. He is the first candidate that has truly inspired me.
No matter how the election turns out, I know he will change the world. As we were walking to find the end of the line that day a few weeks ago, two older men were walking ahead of us. One turned to the other after walking for over ½ mile and said “this is what change is.” Amen, my friend.
from google
february 2008
Collective Intelligence FOO Camp
I just got back from the Collective Intelligence FOO Camp that O'Reilly organized at Google.  The meeting was great, the people were great, and overall the experience was great. 

One issue that popped up is what exactly people mean by Collective Intelligence.  At a high level, it was clear that everyone meant basically the same thing:

agent -> work
agent -> work
agent -> work                                                                 (some require superlinear)   
agent -> work              ------ combining function  ------> outcome that would
agent -> work                                                                   be harder to produce
agent -> work                                                                   with any individual agent

Interestingly, a number of participants were only interested in examples in which the outcome was superlinear in the number of participants.  I'm not sure why this would be.  Several participants were speculating about what a "complexity theory" of collective intelligence would be like: could we identify problems that are demonstrably more difficult for a collective intelligence to solve than other problems?  

I'm personally more of a "big tent" CI guy.  I think that as long as the result is intelligent, I'm okay with situations in which the individuals agents are providing the real intelligence, and the combining function is simple.  If we want to taxonomize, I can see at least three interesting types of CI: 

 Types of Collective Intelligence

parallel intelligence: many independent agents (e.g., Wikipedia, reCaptcha)
aggregate intelligence: independent agents + combining function that joins the results (e.g., recommender system)
emergent intelligence: the result is intelligent, even if the individuals are not (e.g., ants foraging, leaving scent trails)

Overall, the experience was fun.  I did find it intriguing that we had no tools for applying collective intelligence to the process of creating a "unconference".  For that, we used white boards and markers, lots of sticky notes, and pieces of paper to cover up events that were cancelled.  It would seem easy to do better: people could propose ideas, which would show up on people's laptops. They could say which ones they would like to attend, which would cause them to be scheduled so most people did not have conflicts, and so they would be in rooms of approximately the right size.  If noone wanted to come, they could be cancelled or merged.  It would be fun to see CI in action at a Foo Camp of the future ..

John

 
from google
february 2008
Geraldine Ferraro Leads The Way
I rarely read the editorials in The New York Times. The regular contributors are mostly predictable, and spew venom rather than articulate thoughts. I religiously read the lead-ins in the daily email summary. They typically make me laugh. I don’t know whether the author picks the particular sentence or paragraph, or the editors do (I suspect it’s the editors).

Yesterday (Sunday), Frank Rich had his usual hate-filled opinion piece. I don’t have the summary email in front of me, but I’m pretty sure the lead-in was this:

The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

When I read that lead-in out loud to Lois, she asked me to read the entire op-ed to her, as she refuses to register at the NYT site, even though it’s free.

I admit to being too lazy to check now (this isn’t a normal Political Blog, so please forgive me!), but in the past, I believe that Frank Rich was a supporter of the Clintons. I know that hasn’t been true for a while, but this piece is an interesting hatchet job. Why?

Rather than just make the points that he makes (many of them are excellent, and the entire piece is extremely well written), he has to not only bash Bush (his favorite activity), but he has to ensure that anyone who hates Bush must now hate Hillary as well, since, according to him, they are now one and the same creature…

I wasn’t going to blog about it even though it amused me. Then, this morning, I read this opinion by Geraldine Ferraro. After reading, I couldn’t resist sharing a few thoughts, so why not throw in the Frank Rich opinion as well.

Here was the lead-in that got me to read her entire op-ed:

Superdelegates were created to lead, not to follow. They
were, and are, expected to determine what is best for the
Democratic Party and best for the country.

An interesting premise. I have no idea whether that’s true or not, so I decided to read on. It seems to start off accusing the party of having been populated by cowards (my word, not hers!) previous to the brilliant stroke of creating superdelegates.

Most of the points that she makes are laughable, but in the spirit of not making this a mega-post (I know, most of mine are, like it or not), I’ll pick on a few. Here is the first:

Besides, the delegate totals from primaries and caucuses do not necessarily reflect the will of rank-and-file Democrats. Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls. We have all been impressed by the turnout for this year’s primaries — clearly both candidates have excited and engaged the party’s membership — but, even so, turnout for primaries and caucuses is notoriously low. It would be shocking if 30 percent of registered Democrats have participated.

Where to begin? First, “Most Democrats have not been heard from at the polls.” So, those that don’t bother to go to the polls somehow prefer the elites of the party to make decisions for them, in particular, over-riding the wishes of those that did go to the polls? Could it be that those that don’t go to the polls weren’t active in electing the elites that Geraldine now claims have a responsibility to those same Democrats?

Here’s the next paragraph:

If that is the case, we could end up with a nominee who has been actively supported by, at most, 15 percent of registered Democrats. That’s hardly a grassroots mandate.

So, by her own admission, turnout is greater now than in most years. Sure, this race is closer, but let’s do some napkin math. She claims that 15% does not a grassroots mandate make. Other than in a year when everyone else drops out (think Kerry in 2004), even a wide margin in delegates would likely be at most something like 75-25% (and that’s likely a stretch, or the second candidate would likely have dropped out).

If in that year, the turnout was more normal, it would be below 30%, perhaps significantly. In that case, the wide-margin victor would have less than 19% of the purported registered Democratic votes (75% of the 25% turnout). Should the superdelegates rush in to save the day? After all, the few idiots that turned out to the polls might be wrong…

This next paragraph was the middle one in a string of three related ones:

In the Democratic primary in South Carolina, tens of thousands of Republicans and independents no doubt voted, many of them for Mr. Obama. The same rules prevail at the Iowa caucuses, in which Mr. Obama also triumphed.

So, a candidate that can excite both parties (plus independents), what a horror, better get the party elite to wipe out that kind of across-the-aisle sentiment! Or, perhaps, her intended point is that Republicans and Independents crossed over to vote for Obama just to ensure that Hillary wouldn’t be the candidate, and that they have no intention of voting for Obama come election day. Who knows, as she doesn’t say!

No matter, Obama topped Hillary in South Carolina by 145,000 votes, so he crushed her, even if Geraldine’s assumptions about non-Democrats are correct. But, who cares about those Democrats anyway…

Then this:

Perhaps because I have endorsed Mrs. Clinton, I have noticed that most of the people complaining about the influence of the superdelegates are supporters of Mr. Obama. I can’t help thinking that their problem with the superdelegates may not be that they’re “unrepresentative,” but rather that they are perceived as disproportionately likely to support Mrs. Clinton.

Huh? Is this an admission that they aren’t representative, or is it just a put-down of people who feel that Obama is legitimately creaming her? It might be a smaller turnout than Geraldine likes (even though it’s a larger turnout than usual), but Obama has now won 11 straight primaries/caucases, some by incredible margins. Where are all of the supporters for Hillary that weren’t turning out earlier, because they thought she was the inevitable candidate, but now know that without their vote, she’s toast?

Now we get this:

And I am watching, with great disappointment, people whom I respect in the Congress who endorsed Hillary Clinton — I assume because she was the leader they felt could best represent the party and lead the country — now switching to Barack Obama with the excuse that their constituents have spoken.

Really? It couldn’t possibly be that both Hillary and Bill have blown up in public so many times that it seems statistically unlikely to be an anomaly, and those same superdelegates have legitimately changed their minds on Hillary’s ability to lead the country? Not only does Geraldine know better than grassroots Democrats, now she knows better than superdelegates who switch from Hillary to Barack.

The hit parade continues:

But if they are actually upset over the diminished clout of rank-and-file Democrats in the presidential nominating process, then I would love to see them agitating to force the party to seat the delegates elected by the voters in Florida and Michigan. In those two states, the votes of thousands of rank-and-file party members will not be counted because their states voted on dates earlier than those authorized by the national party.

This one really makes me laugh, sorry, while I pause and catch my breath. So, the same party officials who are clever enough to give themselves superdelegate status, and know better than ordinary folks, should now be ignored (until the convention, of course). After all, who made the rules to not count the Florida and Michigan votes? Which candidates promised to honor that decision, and which candidate (singular!) went back on that promise?

Geraldine is so worried about disenfranchising those voters. She also points out that Hillary won those two states handily. Of course, she conveniently forgets to point out that the candidates all agreed not to campaign in those states. So, she wins (for whatever reasons), and now the other candidates, who might have won had they campaigned, should just accept the will of the people (of course, only if/when the will of the people selects Hillary). Simply amazing logic.

The bottom line is that Geraldine Ferraro has a distaste and disregard for people who want to exercise their democratic right to vote. Why not come out and say what’s really on her mind? Namely: everyone should stay home and let us leaders anoint the next nominee, since we clearly know better than the rest of you!

It amuses me that this is happening to the all-inclusive Democrats, when they could only wish this was happening to the demonic Republicans…

Tags: Comedy, Politics

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from google
february 2008
AuthorHighlight - WordPress Plugin Repository - Trac
Author Highlight is a plugin that prints out a user-specified class attribute if the comment is made by the specified author. It is useful if you would like to apply a different style to comments made by yourself.
february 2008
Powerful CSS-Techniques For Effective Coding | CSS | Smashing Magazine
Sometimes being a web-developer is just damn hard. Particularly coding is often responsible for slowing down our workflow, reducing the quality of our work and sleepless nights with pizza and coffee laying around the laptop. Reason: with a number of incom
february 2008
Delicious Wishlists
Were fans of services that leverage data that youve already collected; re-entering things is not only inelegant, its time-wasting. If youre a del.icio.us user (and most web workers seem to be), you can get double use out of some of your bookmark data with the new site del.ishli.st. As you might guess from the name, the site collects all items you put on del.icio.us with the tag wishlist, making it a place you can send the average internet user to see your wishlist.

Theres plenty more here, all based on parsing del.icio.us information: filtering by tags, images, sort by ranking, descriptions, and ways to add someone elses items to your own wishlist. Its paid for by Google Ads and Amazon referral links. Makes us wonder what other data could be mined from del.icio.us.

Share/Send
february 2008
[Designed] Staircase bookshelf, ice hotel, walkstation, cupcakes, etc.
Polaroid frame
A prototype for a digital picture frame that makes sure the familiar look of a Polaroid photo lives on.

Staircase bookshelf
A “secret staircase” made of English oak, lined with books left, right and center, leading to a loft bedroom.

Ice hotel
A selection of images of the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

Super Mario mushroom cupcake
This Super Mario mushroom cupcake (below right, from this photoset) looks like it could be one of our logos.

AirMail
The AirMail laptop sleeve lets you really store your MacBook Air in a manila envelope.

The AirMail laptop sleeve is handmade out of durable upholstery-grade vinyl, and lined with fuzzy, soft fleece. All AirMail sleeves have the same dimensions as standard interoffice manila envelopes, which will serve to remind you — and everyone around you — that your new MacBook Air really is the thinnest laptop in the world!



Clamp-On Surge Protector
Clamp-On Surge Protector

The Walkstation
The Walkstation is “the fully integrated combination of an electric height-adjustable worksurface with an exclusively engineered, low speed commercial grade treadmill.”

Market infographic
Edward Tufte says this is “an excellent news graphic.”

Click for full size version.

Here is an excellent news graphic that provides enormous historical context, describes rich variation not just a recent average, combines words and graphics, uses annotation to call out important points, and contextualizes recent changes in market volatility. It integrates traditional news reporting with high-resolution (sparkline-like) graphics, and makes no distinction among words, numbers, graphics—the idea is whatever it takes to explain something.

Prepara kitchen products
Prepara makes “chef’s performance tools.”

Our tools are designed to enhance your cooking experience, simplifying preparation and allowing you to enjoy spending time with family and friends around the table, one of the keys to a happier healthier lifestyle.

We strive to make every tool an extension of the cook, with simple elegant designs and kitchen tested reliability and performance. We hope they help you develop a true passion for cooking and entertaining.
from google
february 2008
Bloglines Suffers Major Outage
RSS reader Bloglines has suffered a major outage over the weekend with the service simply ceasing to update any blogs from just before midnight PST February 24.

Threads on the Bloglines forum suggest that the issue is widespread and to date no statement has been issued by Bloglines or IAC/ Ask staff in relation to the issue. A test at 11pm PST shows the most recent stories indexed by Bloglines are over 15 hours old.

Bloglines users are not happy with the outage, with some already signing up for other services, and other comments including such as Remember when they at least showed the plumber?

One commenter claims that Bloglines may be about to be shut down:

A buddy who works at ask.com (owners of Bloglines) says that they are discontinuing the service because it makes no money and there will be an announcement tomorrow.

A shutdown is more than unlikely. But users deserve some attention during an outage of this size.

CrunchBase Information

Bloglines

Google Reader

Information provided by CrunchBase

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
february 2008
Plants that Twitter when they need to be watered
Botanicalls has figured out a way to get plants to Twitter when they need to be watered.
(Credit: Botanicalls)

If you thought it was bad enough that all your friends, and even your mother, want you to keep up with them via their Twitter pages, your plants could now do the same.

That's because the folks at Botanicalls, a group that formed at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program that figured out how to get plants to make phone calls when they need to be watered, have now extended that functionality to Twitter.

"Botanicalls Twitter answers the question: What's up with your plant? It offers a connection to your leafy pal via online Twitter status updates that reach you anywhere in the world," says the Botanicalls site. "When your plant needs water, it will post to let you know, and send its thanks when you show it love."

And if you want to know how to make your plants Twitter their thirst, then hop on over to the Make magazine blog, where Geek Gestalt's good friend, Phillip Torrone, has the how-to information for you.

Now, don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the idea that you can get a plant to Twitter. But, at the same time, I'm a little worried about where this might lead. After all, my cat gets hungry several times a minute. I simply won't be able to handle if he gets ahold of a Twitter account.
february 2008
Google Releases Static Maps API
If you want a dead-simple way to create custom maps without needing to worry about JavaScript or programming then the just announced Google Static Maps API may be your answer. Googles new API allows you to generate the maps using a regular URL (ala REST) along with parameters specifying location, size, etc and it returns a unique GIF image with that map. We have created a Static Maps API profile with the details. Here are some notes from their announcement: The Google Static Maps API returns a GIF-format image in response to a HTTP request via a URL. For each request, you can specify the location of the map, the size of the image, the zoom level, the type of map, and the placement of optional markers at locations on the map. You can additionally label your markers using alpha characters, so that you can refer to them in a key. You embed a Static Maps API image within a webpage inside an img tags src attribute. When the webpage is displayed, the browser requests the image from the the Static Maps API and it renders within the image location. A few other details of note: Usage: A Google Static Maps API query request looks like the following and takes parameters like size (width and height in pixels), zoom-level, type (roadmap or mobile), and any marker placements: http://maps.google.com/staticmap?parameters Usage limits: Theres a query limit of 1000 unique image requests per user per day. For developers that may expect to hit this limit the best strategy is to use a caching mechanism to store generated images on their own servers. API key: The only requirement to use the API is to sign-up for an API key, which works for both this as well as the standard Google Maps API. Google offers a wizard to help walk you through the process of creating a Static Maps map. Share This
february 2008
Announcing LinkedIn Mobile (includes an iPhone version)
Well, this is the first time I'm blogging on our corporate blog and I've got to thank Mario for roping me into this. Today, I'd like to announce LinkedIn mobile for any Web enabled wireless phones that use the wireless application protocol (WAP). What that allows you to do is access LinkedIn from any mobile device ranging from your Blackberry to iPhone (more on that in just a second).

For those of you who can't wait to take LinkedIn with you on your mobile devices, here's how you access LinkedIn on your iPhone or other WAP enabled devices. All you have to do from your mobile device is log into
http://m.linkedin.com/
The beta product includes a version specially optimized for the iPhone and is available immediately in English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese with additional languages to follow.

So, here's a short video overview (3:36) of LinkedIn mobile.

And, here's Jerry Luk, the lead engineer on LinkedIn mobile giving you a quick demo (4:36) of how to access LinkedIn on your iPhone. For those of you who don't have the time to check out the iPhone demo, feel free to check out five key benefits of using LinkedIn mobile (with screen shots below).

LinkedIn Features on your mobile device (as of Feb 24, 2008):

Search LinkedIn profiles (including photos and bio) to help recall and connect with business acquaintances at events and conferences

Research the common contacts they have with other professionals to help make real world referrals and introductions easier

Invite professional acquaintances and peers you meet at events to LinkedIn with just their email address. Exchanging business cards is just not cool anymore!

Receive regular Network update capabilities about your connections while on the go

International versions currently launched include French, German, Spanish, Japanese and Chinese. More to follow.

We're also working on expanding the mobile LinkedIn feature
set to encompass more of the LinkedIn goodness you can access on our
site, including LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Experts. (Click through the above screen shots for a better view of LinkedIn Mobile).

Stay tuned for our announcements on the blog and feel free to leave a comment here with any feedback.Quick Tip: Did you know you can create a shiny new LinkedIn web clip for your iPhone homepage using the + button. Click here to learn more.

Related coverage: Reuters, TechCrunch, Web Worker Daily, CNET/Webware, Mashable, ComputerWorld, Silicon.com, CondeNast Portfolio, The Guardian, Information Week, ZdNet UK, Mobility Site, TUAW, Chicago Tribune, eWeek... and I'm sure there's more to come. Stay tuned.
february 2008
Weblog Tools Collection: New Twist on Premium WordPress Themes
Small Potato of wpdesigner.com fame has come up with a new twist for Premium Themes. Now I try very hard to stay away from promoting premium themes because of their economic nature, especially if there is no direct advantage to my readers. But SP offered a large number of freebies for my readers and I had to pass them on to you.

Small Potato is starting a “WordPress Premium Themes Club” where he plans to offer twelve themes during a period of one year for a price of $5 per year in membership costs. There are four themes in the club and all new members will get the four themes and twelve more over the next 12 months. Now from a users’ perspective, if you like his work, the nominal charge is a good deal for 16 new themes and considering his promotion methods and the quality of his work, I believe he will do well. The themes include support and do not require attribution for use on multiple domains.

Use the code weblogtoolscollection2873ry (good for 500 signups, another 500 will be added as soon as these are used up so that everyone gets a chance) and signup at the following link. You can read more about the club here and preview the current themes here.
from google
february 2008
Thoughts On Choosing Board Members
I am a professional board member. I've been sitting on boards for almost 20 years and I've seen a lot. I've seen some of the best board members in action and have tried to copy them. I've seen some of the worst board members in action and have tried hard to forget them.

Here are some thoughts on choosing board members. This advice is for everyone, but it's of particular use when you are a bigger company, maybe public, and need to fill your board with good people.

Avoid "big names" For the most part, they are useless.

Select people who will attend each and every meeting, who will pay close attention to the business

Select people who have an affinity for your business, who understand your challenges and your opportunities

Avoid putting someone you can control on your board. In tough situations they will have a fiduciary duty to do what's right and you won't be able to control them when it matters most to you.

Don't let conflicts get in the way of selecting the ideal board member. Conflicts will be disclosed and can be managed. Many times the people who will understand your business best are conflicted in some way. There are ways to deal with this problem.

Make sure to have an experienced accountant/auditor on your board and have them run the audit committee. That is no place for amateurs.

Make sure to have at least two or three CEOs of comparable companies on your board. Make sure they are on the comp committee. Compensation issues are best handled by people who understand the talent market.

Select people who have the time to do the job right. Being a board member is a job. It's not a retirement perk. If someone cannot commit to attend each and every meeting and to spend at least several hours a week on your company, they are not the right choice.

Select people who will get along with each other. The very best boards I am on are friendly social active groups. Serious business doesn't have to be stilted and formal. It can and should be fun.

Above all else, look for great judgment and ethics.

Hope that helps.
february 2008
Juno wins indie Spirit top honor
The teen pregnancy comedy "Juno"
has been chosen the year's best independent film at the Spirit
Awards.
february 2008
PCMag Review: Microsoft Windows Vista Service Pack 1
A little over a year after the first appearance of Vista, Service Pack 1 (SP1) is nearly ready for download. SP1 is a useful but not crucial update to the OS, and one that won't greatly affect your computing day, at least not outwardly. The bulk of the development effort has gone toward upgrading security subsystems—elements that enterprise clients find appealing but consumers and small-business users won't really notice (although they'll feel better knowing about them). The bottom line is that there's absolutely no reason not to download SP1 (which you'll receive automatically if you have AutoUpdate turned on), so it's almost a given that it will become the standard in the very near future.
from google
february 2008
A New Blog About Innovation
Well, today, Saturday, you can now check out Minnov8.com -- "Minnesota Technology Innovation News & Insights." After talking about it for months, it's finally a reality. Well, kind of a soft-launch, anyway. Trouble is, starting in January, we all got really busy, but we decided we had enough content in the can, as it were, that we should go, at least with a few posts to get started. (More is coming as we speak.) My first post was about innovation in angel investing, a topic I'm very close to and have also written about here on Tech~Surf~Blog, as well as on GetGoMN.org.
february 2008
Geotagging within Lightroom
Geotag-lightroom-plugin is a Beta Geotagging plugin for Lightroom created by Jeff Barnes. It utilises a feature of the Export SDK, whereby you can create a menu item within Lightroom. The plugin reads GPX information and writes it to the file in Lightroom using Exiftool.
Features include:

Sync photo to GPS using picture of GPS display
Interpolate location between track points
Add geotags to original images or save to new location
While there are some issues, the plugin works “for the most part”. Installation instructions and download information can be got at the Plugin homepage.

(Via John Beardsworth.)
from google
february 2008
Wordpress + Flickr + Creative Commons = Awesome New Plugin for Bloggers
Adding photos to your blog is one of the best ways to enhance your content and attract attention to your writings. The only problem is that finding quality photos to use can be difficult. Bloggers end up going with one of three options: stealing, buying, or using Creative Commons licensed photos. Now, that third option just got easier with the introduction of the Photo Dropper WordPress plugin. This new plugin searches flickr for Creative Commons licensed photos for you to add to your WordPress blog.

There are millions of Creative Commons photos in flickr's database, but finding the right one can take time. The new Photo Dropper plugin simplifies the process by adding a panel to the "Write Post" screen that allows you to search flickr's database for Creative Commons photos.

After entering in your keyword and clicking "search," the plugin will return photos from flickr matching your search terms. Underneath each photo are four links. Three links, "S", "M", and "L", allow you to post that size photo into your blog. The fourth link will open the flickr page in a new window, so you can double-check the licensing requirements if necessary.

The photo which is placed into your blog automatically has text appended underneath it that says "photo credit" and links to the user who is licensing the photo. The small Creative Commons logo precedes the text as well.

Photo Dropper also offers an option for commercial users. In the Options section, they can check the "commercial" check box to exclude photos whose license contains a non-commercial limitation.

You can download Photo Dropper for free from here.
february 2008
MGTwitterEngine
Matt Gemmell:

MGTwitterEngine is a Objective-C class which lets you integrate Twitter support into your Cocoa application, by making use of the Twitter API. The entire API is covered, and appropriate data is returned as simple native Cocoa objects (NSArrays, NSDictionarys, NSStrings, NSDates and so on), for very easy integration into your own application. MGTwitterEngine is designed for Leopard, but should be just fine on Tiger too.
from google
february 2008
News Corp.-Yahoo Discussion Go On. And On.
News Corp. has essentially planted four or five deal guys at Yahoo HQ, working directly with Yahoo business development to try to find a deal to combine MySpace and Yahoo that both sides can swallow. The News Corp. team is led by Jack Kennedy, Fox Interactive Medias EVP Strategy and Corporate Development, says a source with knowledge of the discussions. According to another source, the team was as Yahoo again on Wednesday, and has been there most of the last two weeks.

We reported on what the bid might look like on February 12:

According to our source, the deal structure would spin off Fox Interactive Media (the primary asset is MySpace, but IGN, Scout Media, Photobucket, Fox Sports, AmericanIdol.com, Flektor, Ksolo; plus investments in Hulu, Simply Hired and Snocap are also assets of FIM) into Yahoo, along with a big cash injection from News Corp. and an unnamed private equity fund. The total investment would be valued at around $15 billion.

Yahoo would be valued at somewhere around $50 billion before the transaction, north of Microsofts $44.6 billion bid. That would leave News Corp., plus the private equity group, with more than 20% of the combined entity. Theyd be the largest single stockholder and effectively in control of the combined Yahoo/FIM entity and their nearly 150 billion monthly page views (which would be second only to Google).

As far as we know the potential deal structure hasnt changed, and they are still hung up on how to make the merger work without getting Google involved to take on search marketing. The team was expecting Microsoft to up its bid last week, forcing the Yahoo board to make a move. But Microsoft is taking things directly to shareholders, a time consuming move. That gives News Corp. more time to get their deal to pencil out.

Its possible that at the end of this ordeal well see a Yahoo/MySpace combined company, with News Corp. as the biggest shareholder. But to do that these guys need to pull the trigger on a bid. Its time to make a move, or fly back to LA.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
february 2008
wiki [Slicehost]
We love wikis. You’ll love this one too. It’s full of software tips and tricks, scripts and little nuggets that make your inner geek smile. We’re frequently uploading Slice specific scripts to automatically build and configure applications for you.
february 2008
Twitter Web Traffic Around the World
Click image to see bigger graphTwitter's traffic comes from SMS, Instant Message, Mobile Web, and all those wonderful API projects out there. However, we also have good old-fashioned web traffic. 60% of our web traffic comes from outside the United States and this chart shows the top ten non-US sources.Update: Remember this is just web traffic. It doesn't include any of the other popular ways that people use Twitter. For example, Australia ranks 6th if we look at SMS usage. We'd get altogether different numbers if we looked at instant messaging, m.twitter.com, and API devices such as Twitterrific.
from google
february 2008
Turn Your Favorite RSS Feeds into a Newspaper with FeedJournal [Newsreader]
Web application FeedJournal turns your RSS feed(s) of choice into a newspaper-formatted PDF. You can either enjoy the newspaper-ness of the electronic PDF on your computer, or you can print out the...
from google
february 2008
The New Backpack's First 24 Hours
Yesterday’s big Backpack update was a huge success. It was the best day in Backpack’s history — even better than the last big update in July ‘07 and add anywhere in Oct ‘07.

We usually don’t share numbers, but we thought we’d break tradition and give people a peek into Backpack’s signups, upgrades, and financial performance yesterday.

317 Upgrades

Yesterday 317 people upgraded their Backpack accounts. This includes free → paying upgrades and paying → paying upgrades. Here’s how they broke out:


2 Max ($149/month)
1 Premium ($99/month)
12 Plus ($49/month)
54 Basic ($24/month)
111 Home ($12/month)
137 Solo ($7/month)


61 New Pay Signups

Yesterday 61 people signed up for new paying plans. This means they selected a pay plan on the signup page. Here’s how it broke out:


1 Max ($149/month)
1 Premium ($99/month)
13 Plus ($49/month)
26 Basic ($24/month)
11 Home ($12/month)
9 Solo ($7/month)


We had about 200 new free signups as well, so about 30% of all signups yesterday were pay signups.

$4,131 New Net

Upgrades + pay signups – downgrades – cancellations = $4131 new net revenue for yesterday. On an annualized basis that’s about $50,000/year. We’re very happy with that number.

Thanks to all our paying customers for putting your trust in us. We hope you continue to find the new Backpack useful and valuable. We’re already finding it invaluable in keeping our own company organized (and, man, do we need it).
from google
february 2008
Microsoft suspends distribution of Vista SP1 prerequisite update
Following reports by users of problems resulting from new Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 installation prerequisite update – which Microsoft pushed out via Windows Update last week — Microsoft has halted availability of those prerequisites.

Microsoft announced on February 19 via the Vista Team Blog its decision to stop the distribution of the Vista SP1 prerequisites.
from google
february 2008
My MacBook Etching
So pretty! Id love to laser etch something like that in my own macbook pro
february 2008
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