8785
Muxtape With Coverflow Using Fluid
Naturally I have combined these three to-dos into one. Below is a quick tutorial on harnessing the power of Fluids new thumbnail plugin to create a simple Muxtape application with sweet coverflow previews of the featured mixes. Video after the ju
april 2008
TweetDumpr
This is a hideous tool that can be used to export your entire Twitter timeline to a CSV file, readable by any spreadsheet application (Excel, Numbers, etc.). Exported data includes the tweet plus a timestamp of when it was sent.
april 2008
Most unpopular president since polling was invented
Mr. 28% is now the most unpopular president in Gallup history.
President Bush has set a record he'd presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.
In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove. The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.
The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.
You know what makes this number particularly amazing? Bush, post-9-11, notched the highest approval ratings in Gallup history. So he literally went from the most popular president, to the most hated. The whole country is celebrating their Bush Derangement Syndrome!
And McCain is eager to follow in his footsteps.
april 2008
Are you sure you want to be in San Francisco?
Techies, VCs, and the press are always swooning over the glory of the Bay area. This is where all the excitement, the money, and the people are, they say. And that’s true to the extent that your great big idea fits the current cultural mold of that environment.

If you’re looking to build the next web 2.0 social media eyeball-collecting application, don’t want to worry about boring details like revenues, and hope to either flip to Google for an early $20 million or get that Facebook billion-dollar valuation, the Bay area is exactly where you want to be. No where else do you have the connections, the people, and the atmosphere available to make that dream happen.

But this strain of startups is a highly inbred line that holds more risks than most people realize. It’s not that they never work financially, enough people are sipping Margaritas on sunny beaches from towering buyouts to prove the contrary. And it’s not that they don’t work socially — I personally enjoy YouTube as much as the next guy. It’s that the Bay area pipeline for building web businesses isn’t optimized to carry much else than these stereotypes.Other people’s money
If your idea for a web business is more along the lines of the mundane “product * price = profit” (3P) variety, I think the culture of San Francisco and that famous 20-mile radius around Stanford is anything but helpful. I might even go as far as say it’s downright harmful.

The flush availability of other people’s money is simply too tempting. When you’re not spending your own money, it’s easy to splash on a big open office on day one, a staff of 10+ in no time, and have few worries about paying the bills on the 1st of the month. It takes away much of the urgency to make money that I think is critical to build sustainable businesses. It gives you too many resources to be satisfied building simple tools for niche markets. Everything becomes about catching that huge wave.

Fighting for talent
And besides the simple temptation of having a few million dollars in the bank account — even though they’re not really yours and probably never will be — it breeds an asset bubble for everything else. When tons of half-baked startups out there have a million-dollar bank roll, they’re going to be looking pretty sharp when shopping for talent.

If you’re a programmer or designer working in this area, you probably have more than a few friends or acquaintances who got filthy rich simply being on the ground floor of Google or YouTube or some other company that either made them a millionaire through acquisition or IPO. Are you really going to be interested working for a company that simply aims to make a few measly millions for the first couple of years? Why settle for something that’ll take 5, 7, 10 years to mature when you can instead just hop from company to company every 6-18 months in search of that lottery ticket.

So while there is undoubtedly legions of good people available, you’re unlikely to be able to hire or retain them in an environment where every business magazine cover of is telling people that the next billionaire is even younger than the previous. No wonder people feel stressed out to make it huge before they’re 30 and will jump at any opportunity that looks like this might be it.

But where else?
If San Francisco, the Bay area, and Sillicon Valley aren’t good places to start a web business of the 3P variety, where is? Well, I’d say just about any place but. Basecamp came from Chicago/Copenhagen, FogBugz from New York, Campaign Monitor from Australia, Shopify from Ottawa, Freshbooks from Toronto, Blinksale from Texas, and there are tons of other applications of the same ilk that come from all over the world.

So stop worrying to much about where you are and start worrying about how you’re going to make your business succeed the old fashion way: Through having a better product than the competition that people are willing to pay for.

P.S.: None of this means that it’s impossible to build a web business in San Francisco that makes money by selling a product. There are plenty of examples of that too. Like TypePad or FaxItNice. This is an argument that the area is overrated as a great place for starting a company.
from google
april 2008
1,800 MySQL Servers with Two DBAs
Here’s a statistic I love, Facebook is running
1,800 MySQL Servers with only 2 DBAs. Impressive. I love seeing services show how
far you can go towards admin-free operation. 2:1,800 is respectable and for database
servers it downright impressive. This data from a short but interesting report at: http://www.paragon-cs.com/wordpress/?p=144.

 

The Facebook fleet has grown fairly dramatically
of late.   For example, Facebook is the largest Memcached
installation and the most recent
reports I had come across have 200
Memcached servers at facebook.
 At the Scaling
MySQL panel, they report 805 Memcached
servers.

 

1,800 MySQL Servers, insulated by 805 Memcached
servers, and driven by 10,000 web servers. Smells like success.

 

                                               
--jrh

 

Thanks to Dare
Obasanjo for pointing me to this
one.

 

James Hamilton, Windows
Live Platform Services

Bldg RedW-D/2072, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington, 98052

W:+1(425)703-9972 | C:+1(206)910-4692 | H:+1(206)201-1859 | JamesRH@microsoft.com

H:mvdirona.com |
W:research.microsoft.com/~jamesrh 
| blog:http://perspectives.mvdirona.com

 

 

From Perspectives.
from google
april 2008
Who Are The Biggest Users of Amazon Web Services? Its Not Startups.
Amazon loves to talk about its Web Services because it positions the company as a bold innovator bringing cloud computing to the unwashed masses and other companies still stuck in the land of legacy data centers. But it is coy when it comes to details about the actual business behind Amazon Web Services, which includes its S3 storage service, EC2 compute cloud, and SimpleDB online database. During its fourth-quarter earnings call, Amazon offered up the tidbit that Amazon Web Services (AWS) now uses up more bandwidth than Amazon.com proper, but not much else. You could infer, however, that the business is not yet very large, accounting for less than $131 million of Amazons $5.7 billion in revenues that quarter. The revenues may be small, but they are no doubt growing very quickly. So who are using these services? A high-ranking Amazon executive told me there are 60,000 different customers across the various Amazon Web Services, and most of them are not the startups that are normally associated with on-demand computing. Rather the biggest customers in both number and amount of computing resources consumed are divisions of banks, pharmaceuticals companies and other large corporations who try AWS once for a temporary project, and then get hooked. That surprised me. These are the types of customers you wouldnt expect to see running their data through a hosted service. But apparently the cost advantage of paying by the drink versus buying new hardware and staffing up to do a random data run is convincing them to trust more of their data with Amazon. It goes without saying that these are the types of companies who demand the highest security for their data. Banks and drug companies. And they have a lot of data to crunch. You just hear more about the startups because many are increasingly putting their entire businesses on Amazon, and the economics of cloud computing really levels the playing field for them. They also tend to be more open about their data practices. But cloud computing is already going much deeper than the startup world, and gaining adherents in big IT organizations. Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
april 2008
Wall Street Journal Paper Redesign: Launching Tomorrow; Broader Focus
The much-anticipated Wall Street Journal print redesign is launching tomorrow, as this long Newsweek story writes about, including positioning it as Rupert Murdoch's full frontal assault on the New York Times (NYSE: NYT). The series of editorial and design changes, which is more evolutionary than revolutionary, will include:

-- lots more news stories on politics and national and international affairs on page one.

-- the entire A section will become as a catchall for general news.

-- the second section, Marketplace, now becomes home to the Journal's coverage of corporate America, getting its own ascendancy of sorts.

-- the third section, Money and Investing, remains the showcase for news of the financial markets and investing.

-- the op-ed section will grow to three pages from two.

-- a culture section is under development for a fall debut in the Journal's weekend edition, and Murdoch has added a weekly sports page.

-- the online redesign is slated to launch this fall, not in the next few weeks as we reported first. Meanwhile, the umbrella, as we reported, has now started appearing on all WSJ Digital Network sites, which includes WSJ.com, Barrons.com, MarketWatch and others.

As for Murdoch's own involvement in WSJ, if you had any doubts, here it is: "Rather than entrust the job of all this to subordinates, Murdoch has been devoting half his time since acquiring Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) to reshaping the paper. He has become a regular and jarring presence in the Journal newsroom: ever since he appeared unannounced on Easter--to, as he puts it, 'set an example'--top editors have been dragging themselves into the Journal's headquarters across from Ground Zero on Sundays."
april 2008
TwittEarth Makes Twitter A Global Experience
Twitter visualizations are nothing new, but they always provide a great way to waste some time. The newest, TwittEarth, is eye-candy at its finest - a mesmerizing and mostly useless diversion that sticks you in space and whips you around the globe to see a new geo-located tweet every ten seconds. Tweets are accompanied by small, goofy icons that remain static on the map, eventually providing an interesting representation of usage distribution.

The app itself is very simple at this point. There dont seem to be any settings to speak of, and there isnt any way to stray from the default view. Users can login to the application and send their own messages, but its far more fun to zone out and watch tweets pop up around the globe.

TwittEarth is available as a Windows screen saver (a Mac version is on the way), and was created by Digitas France SA.

Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
april 2008
Google Website Optimizer Opens Up
One of Googles lesser-known web developer tools is Google Website Optimizer. That may be because until recently you could only use this tool in conjunction with a Google AdWords campaign. Now, however, the tool has relaunched as open and standalone, complete with its own blog. If youre involved with site design and development, its worth getting to know how this works.
april 2008
Chris McCormack, Macca Conference Call - April 17, 2008
For those that were not on the Chris McCormack - Macca call last night (April 17th, 08) here is my brief synopsis of it ( I was in the midst of packing for a wedding, uploading IMAZ pics, and eating some cookies so I missed some parts):

-First off Macca sounded just like you see him in tv interviews: super relaxed, eager to share about anything and everything, not holding back on answers, and once again displayed his encyclopedia-like knowledge about our sport and fellow competitors. He was very open to sharing and I think he probably went over the time limit he was getting compensated for.

-He has just finished a 10 week base period and is moving into harder stuff ahead of Wildflower (can we get some live ST coverage of Wildflower? Come on slowman!). The other 2 focus races he mentioned were Ironman Germany and obviously Kona.

-Speaking about his bike vs run he really went into detail about why he has backed off on the bike at Kona after winning other Ironmans off the front. For Kona he said he figured out that he needed to stay under 155 hear rate till right about 4 hours and then allowing it to rise modestly heading back into town.

-Bike setup: He mentioned that for him Ironman is all about comfort. He specifically mentioned Tjorborn and Chris Lieto as guys whose plan is to ride hard and hold on for the marathon (“you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out their plan”). The questioner asked him specifically about why he was so relaxed and unsteep (ST steep crew where u at?) - Macca mentioned that coming from short course (along with Crowie) that he had moved from a more relaxed setup to his current one that is not as steep as the Normans or Bjorns of the world but allows him to run fast.

-About Bjorn – he said that Bjorn has “beautiful bike splits” in his aggressive position but then has “horrendous marathon splits” so what Macca has decided is to position himself in a way that allows for optimal running (by the way, this is exactly what Greg Bennett told me at Chicago Tri last year, interesting for me to hear two very opposite athletes that are considered “run specialists” at different distances offer the same critique - video interview with Bennett over at www.youtube.com/iwilltri )

-He mentioned the ability of him and Tjorborn and current guys to go to the lab and get tested. For Macca it was water, weight, and sweat rate. For Tjorborn it was the heat issue. He mentioned that for everyone it is different strengths and weaknesses and since he is a biger athlete he’d ever be able to win off the front at Kona cause he would not be able to run well (he said at the beginning of his Kona experiences he couldn’t even put together a measly three hour marathon cause he had ridden too hard). He mentioned Crowie “not even wearing an aero helmet” and how each has to play to his strengths.

-As the heaviest triathlete to win Kona (80kilos), he mentioned that he loses a lot of water during the race (one reason why Mark Allen counseled him to train up in Boulder - to “become a camel”) and on the nutritional side will take 440 calories (I was surprised by the 440 exact # but Macca is VERY number based/analytical) for first three hours of bike and then reduce to 350 calories and less as race progresses.

-Caffeine: Peter Reid got him on coffee (“I had never had a cup of coffee before coming to America mate”). He says he will drink tons of coffee, then quit cold turkey for 3-4 weeks before Ironman, and then take the double caffeinated clif shots (I guess Clif makes him a special blend) that really give him a boost. He has a Red Bull at run special needs which gives him an extra boost.

-Mental Toughness: he talked a lot about Mark Allen helping him in this area – I wish I had taken more notes but I stopped writing and just listened – this is heavy stuff where the boys and the men get weeded out, if you have read/listened to MA you know he is big on it and Macca spent a good deal of time on this… “when I was coming out of transition in ‘07 running 5:30s people were yelling and saying I was going too fast, and that is when I remember what MA had told me – you can’t doubt yourself, you have to press on. I had worked for this moment, it was my moment and I was not going to second guess myself.”

He talked about seeing Crowie give him a wave (I am guessing at the turn around?) and how he didn’t wave back because he didn’t want to give any energy away – this is something that MA has talked about in the past and I think Peter Reid too. “It was my moment, I kept telling myself don’t screw this up, you have to finish.”
Sorry I don’t have more notes about this but it was pretty inspiring and insightful to listen to him replay his Kona mental moments.

-Macca seemed to be so aware of everything around him during the race - he mentioned knowing how guys would ride, how they could run (he thought Lieto was running a very smart marathon) . Crowie ran 1:30 into him at the end but that was when Macca knew he’d win and had started to celebrate.

-Ironman pain: he went off for a while about embracing Ironman pain, the dark moments we all go through – he said that MA helped him to embrace that. That you need to mentally embrace the pain and realize it will pass and then will probably come back but that is part of racing. Once again I wish I had more notes but I was paying attention and not writing…

Overall I was impressed again with the studious, humble, open, and transparent he was. I have interviewed a few pros now and they obviously all need some level of “I want to be 1st” to survive” – so before the Macca haters get on here and tear me apart I just want to say that yes he can be cocky and we all know that too (he admits to it) - but his passion for triathlon is very infectious (listen to the full ironmantalk podcast at Roth last year!) and he is quite the student of the sport.

He is a very good ambassador for our sport in the same vein as Greg Bennett and Michellie Jones.
from google
april 2008
Super Hot: Muxtape With Coverflow
MP3 "mix tape" site Muxtape has been my preferred source of new music for the last few weeks now, in large part because the simple interface is such a joy to use. Now, internet and organic root-beer lover Colin Sproule has come up with a great way for Mac users to get an iTunes-style Coverflow preview of playlists on the site.

The improvement in user experience for this already fantastic app is remarkable. Check out the how-to video embedded below. It's also a great example of several brand new apps all put to use together.

Sproule demonstrates how he used the deceptively "site specific browser" Fluid to make what's almost a Rich Internet App on the desktop, dedicated here to Muxtape, and then pull in the CSS of Muxtape previews and turn on Coverflow. The end result is super hot. Notice also the great screencast production technology, Sproule uses the popular new screencasting tool Screenflow. Here's a screenshot , below that is the video about how you can put this on your Mac in minutes.

You can also skip the Fluid part and just download the completed "app" from Tom Martin's blog. You'll still have to make the CSS edit yourself, though.

If you've wondered why you'd use Fluid to make a standalone browser for a single web site, this is a great example. Following Sproule's instructions was remarkably easy, it took me less than five minutes and added a wrinkle to my internet experience that I expect to use regularly.

I struggled for awhile until I realized that my Mac needed a software update and that solved the problem of previews not appearing right away. For some reason still, a couple of the pages aren't fully previewing - but this is a much better experience than the standard Muxtape black box.

This really inspires me to try some more things out with Fluid, including perhaps a standalone FriendFeed browser - since the newly released AlertThingy really aint doing it for me. Update: While walking my dog and listening to Newsgang talk about politics and Twitter, I realized that to be honest it was through AlertThingy that I saw a Growl popup about Engtech Digging Sproule's post about this. Sometimes I drown in a soup of input and forget exactly where I first find things. I apologize for that.

The Coverflow feature combined with Muxtape is really great though.
april 2008
MyOpenID for Your Domain - The Easiest Way to Use Your URL as an OpenID
OpenID, a technology that allows users to sign in to new supporting websites through a single trusted ID provider of their choice, is notoriously hard for non-developers to implement and in many cases use. One of the biggest challenges may have been eliminated, however, by the recent release of a new service called MyOpenID for Domains.

The service makes it remarkably easy for anyone to create OpenID accounts through their own domain, using the MyOpenID authentication service.

For example, my new OpenID is http://openid.marshallk.com/marshallk, based on my personal site marshallk.com. It was really easy to set up and now I can offer other users of my site their own marshallk.com OpenID as well. (Hi Mom!)

How It's Done

MyOpenID for Domains lets you set up OpenIDs in one of two formats: Wildcard subdomains like member.yourdomain.com or as a single subdomain + path like openid.yourdomain.com/member.

I chose the single subdomain plus member path because I want to be able to use other subdomains for other purposes.

It's really easy to set up either path. For my WordPress blog I just filled out the form below, then I had to call my webhost (Bluehost - great customer service, terrible uptime) and ask them to make a small edit to my DNS record. I gave them this information:

Name: openid.marshallk.com
Type: CNAME
Value: www.myopenid.com

They made the change needed, basically setting up a redirect, in less than 5 minutes. Other hosts will let you edit your own DNS info. I then posted a page on my blog with a particular URL and a short code for MyOpenID to detect. That's it - I was done. Now I can use my own domain name as an OpenID. The next step was to make sure that my user identity page was looking spiffy.

If MyOpenID ever closes its doors, it will be easy for me to edit my DNS record back and keep my OpenID URL from becoming a 404 out of my control. I'll also now be able to verify that I am in fact the owner of marshallk.com.

Limitations of the Service

This is the easiest way I've found to use my own domain name as an OpenID. There are other ways to do it but they've always given me far more trouble than they should. This service from MyOpenID is also an easy way to offer and administer OpenID accounts to other users of a particular website.

MyOpenID is a good OpenID provider. MyOpenID for Domains does require that you use their service in particular, however. There are many different OpenID providers offering many different advanced features. Check out SpreadOpenID.org for a comparison of many different providers.

As you can see below, my MyOpenID profile is now tied to my domain. All I need now is the ability to put HTML links in my summary info, display recent items in an RSS feed of my choice on this page and some other customization options. Then I'll be doing great.

Watch this space for more forthcoming news on big increases in OpenID usability.
april 2008
Dow Jones Acquires Business Networking Tool Generate
Dow Jones has started its acquisitions again, now as part of News Corp (NYSE: NWS). it has bought a much-talked about company in the business social networking space: the Boston-based Generate Inc. Financials of the deals were not disclosed. As part of the acquisition, DJ will form a new business unit called Business & Relationship Intelligence in its Enterprise Media Group (which is headed by Clare Hart) that will focus on bringing Generate-powered solutions to market in the enterprise sales and media segments. Generate co-founder Tom Aley will lead this new group as SVP and managing director, while co-founder Darr Aley will become VP, marketing and business development, of the new unit. All Generate employees will join Dow Jones.
april 2008
A peek at In/Out, an internal app at 37signals
For about the last year we’ve been using an internal app we developed called In/Out. This tool grew out of our need to keep track of what people are doing right now, plus the last few things people have completed.

We used to do this in Campfire. At the beginning of every day people would check [in] with a list of things they wanted to do. At the end of the day they’d check [out] with a list of things they actually did. It was a good way to see what people had planned for the day, and what actually happened that day.

Twice a day updates weren’t enough

But once in the morning and once at the end of the day wasn’t really enough information to know what people were working on right now. So we often asked “Matt, what are you working on?” or “Sam, what’s keeping you busy right now?” We knew there had to be a better way. Interrupting people just to find out what they were doing was counterproductive.

In/Out was born

So we built a little tool in a couple days called In/Out. In/Out let everyone set their current status (“Working on the Affiliate Program” or “Preparing for my presentation on Friday”), plus In/Out allowed you to make journal entries for the things you’ve finished (“Updated book proposal” or “Modernized list reordering” or “Deployed Backpack calendar reminders”). People were encouraged to be as specific as they wanted to be.

One screen, left and right

Your stuff was on the left and everyone else’s stuff was on the right. It was a one-screen app with everything right in front of you. It was killer. We quickly got a handle on who was busy on this and who finished that.

Here’s what it looks like:

Other people would find this useful, yeah?

We had been thinking of releasing In/Out as its own product, but it would require a fair bit of work which we knew we’d never get around to. We’d have to build a site, allow people to sign up, and deal with all the other stuff that comes with launching a brand new product. We knew In/Out had a lot of value, but we just had more valuable things to spend our time on right now.

Coming to a Backpack near you?

Over the past few days we’ve been working on adding the In/Out concept to Backpack. It seems like a good fit since relaunching Backpack as more of an intranet and workgroup tool.

So we’ve retired In/Out internally at 37signals and are now using the version we built into Backpack. It’s not public yet — we’re going to use it for the next few days and see how it feels. If we think it’s a good fit we’ll likely launch it publicly as part of Backpack sometime in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned.
from google
april 2008
This is why we love Microsoft
Because honestly, what other company in the world makes videos as cheesy and awful and outdated as this? I mean honestly. It's like they're trying to be awful. And it just keeps helping our business. Leopard anyone?
april 2008
Google Releasing Google Earth 4.3 Today
Today Google will be releasing a new version of Google Earth: Version 4.3.
april 2008
Apple TV 2.0.2 Update is here, no one knows why
Two weeks after Apple release the 2.0.1 update for the Apple TV, the company has released yet another update. And just like the 2.0.1 update, nobody knows exactly what this update is for.

Some members of the MacRumors forums have reported (http://www.macrumors.com/2008/04/14/apple-quietly-releases-apple-tv-2-02-update/) that the user interface is much smoother now. Other than that, there are no obvious changes.

If you think you know why Apple released this update, please shed some light.
from google
april 2008
Check Your WordPress Security
Matt Mullenweg from the WordPress team has posted a message about the security of WordPress, which MarsEdit users who run WordPress should take a look at. It’s particularly timely because there are a number of attacks going around that impact older WordPress blogs that haven’t been updated to to the most recent version.

In my customer support for MarsEdit, I have been seeing these security problems pop up quite a bit lately. The so-called “spam injection” attacks often inject spam links at the oblivious expense of how these links might mess up the XMLRPC interface which blog clients such as MarsEdit use to interact with your blog. It’s gotten to the point where error messages from the blog such as “Parse error. Not well formed.” are almost certain to be symptoms of such a spam injection attack. Updating to the latest WordPress almost always fixes the problem immediately.

Matt’s advice is pretty basic: update to the latest WordPress, and check your posts for signs of tampering. But it’s nice to have advice “from the top,” so to speak. I will be glad to see this wave of blog-attacks pass us by as more and more users get updated to the latest release of WordPress.

I commented on the post, suggesting that what WordPress would really benefit from is some kind of automated updater, so that users can easily update without having to worry about whether they’re doing it right or whether they’ll mess up their blog. The great news is Matt replied saying that they are in fact working on such a feature for 2.6.

Looking forward to a built-in automatic updater for WordPress! But in the mean time, be sure to stay current so you avoid the nasty attacks that are going around.
from google
april 2008
Robert Reich on Bitterness and the Press
In response to the fuss over whether it was elitist of Barack Obama to observe that some people are bitter that their jobs have been eliminated and replaced, former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich writes:
I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, 61 years ago. My father sold $1.98 cotton blouses to blue-collar women and women whose husbands worked in factories. Years later, I was secretary of labor of the United States, and I tried the best I could which wasnt nearly good enough to help reverse one of the most troublesome trends America has faced: The stagnation of middle-class wages and the expansion of povety. Male hourly wages began to drop in the early 1970s, adjusted for inflation. The average man in his 30s is earning less than his father did thirty years ago. Yet America is far richer. Where did the money go? To the top.
Are Americans who have been left behind frustrated? Of course. And their frustrations, their anger and, yes, sometimes their bitterness, have been used since then -- by demagogues, by nationalists and xenophobes, by radical conservatives, by political nuts and fanatical fruitcakes to blame immigrants and foreign traders, to blame blacks and the poor, to blame "liberal elites," to blame anyone and anything.
Rather than counter all this, the American media have wallowed in it. Some, like Fox News and talk radio, have given the haters and blamers their very own megaphones. The rest have merely "reported on" it. Instead of focusing on how to get Americans good jobs again; instead of admitting too many of our schools are failing and our kids are falling behind their contemporaries in Europe, Japan, and even China; instead of showing why we need a more progressive tax system to finance better schools and access to health care, and green technologies that might create new manufacturing jobs, our national discussion has been mired in the old politics.
Read the whole post -- it's a Jon-Stewart-on-Crossfire moment that should be on television, not just Reich's blog.
april 2008
Tips for getting the most out of Backpack on the iPhone
Just Another iPhone Blog recently posted "Tips and Tweaks Make 37signals Backpack A 'Must Have' iPhone Application." It discusses using iBackpack to make your Backpack pages look nice on your iPhone and also links to a Forum post that shows how to add a custom Backpack icon to your iPhone home screen.

I came to Backpack to solve a specific work issue/need but am finding it to be an incredibly powerful and useful web-based application. I now use it to communicate with my colleagues and reduce the amount of telephone we play when information is incorrectly transmitted. I use it to collect pictures, manage a to do list, store files and documents for easy access anywhere anytime. I used it to collect ideas, information, slides and random thoughts as I prepared a talk I gave at a conference last week. Best of all, it is not only powerful but it is easy to use. In fact, it is the first time I pushed my colleagues toward a new technology that they did not initially curse me about.

The problem is- while Backpacks pages are fully accessible from an iPhone or iPod Touch they are a bit too difficult to manipulate easily.

Fortunately, some incredibly smart folks have created some amazing add-ons that make Backpack one of the most iPhone-friendly and powerful applications around.

Justin Michael at violetpixel.com as created iBackpack. iBackpack is code that optimizes Backpack pages for viewing and use on an iPhone. He has posted screen caps on his site that show the difference...

Justins code make each page easily accessible, fully readable. It makes adding, editing and changing the information on a page a breeze. It makes Backpack one of, if not the, best iPhone organizational tools around.

But that left an additional issue. Once I optimized my pages using iBackpack I created direct links to some of my most-used Backpack pages on my home screen. They work great but look downright ugly.

Luckily Grettir Asmundarson at tinypineapple.com created a lovely little iPhone icon and has shared it with anyone who wants it.

Now Backpack works great AND looks great on my iPhone. It has become my most important organizational application in a short period of time and I have no doubt that will only increase as 37signals and other creative folks find new and powerful uses for it.

How do you add that custom Backpack icon to your iPhone home screen? Grettir offers step-by-step instructions at the Backpack Forum.
Its not the most elegant solution, but it will do for now

(Note: If your iPhone typing skills are anything like mine, steps 1 and 2 may be easier to do on your computer.)

1. Go to your Backpack Home Page.

2. Add a divider anywhere on the page. When youre prompted for a name for the divider, enter the following:

<link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="http://www.tinypineapple.com/backpack/images/apple-touch-icon.png" />

3. Go to your Backpack Home Page on your iPhone.

4. Tap the plus (+) button at the bottom of the iPhone screen and choose Add to Home Screen.

5. Name the new Web Clip Backpack. (The generic icon on the left will be replaced by the new icon after a few seconds delay.)

6. Tap Add in the upper right-hand corner and your new custom Backpack icon should appear on your Home Screen.

When youre done you can remove the divider you added in Step 1. The icon will stick around until you delete the Web Clip from the Home Screen.

Thanks Grettir!
april 2008
Test Regular Expressions Online with RegExr [Search Techniques]
Regular expressions are archaic-looking, extremely specific, and amazingly helpful for finding the right data, files or whatever else you need. RegEx, a free online regular expression tester, lets...
from google
april 2008
Caffeine control
Filed under: Freeware
We're once again talking about Caffeine from lighthead Software (makers of Papaya), the freeware menubar app that keeps your screen awake. It's now at version 1.0.2 with one new feature that makes it even more useful: time-limited activation.

A command-click on the coffee cup icon in your menubar presents a menu that allows you to set a variable duration for Caffeine to be activated. Got a 10 minute video to show a friend, but your screen is set to dim or go into Screensaver before the end? Set Caffeine for 15 minutes and forget about it.

We covered Jolt a while back, and this feature was available... for a small, $5 fee (of course, it's worth mentioning that half of those five dollars are donated to charity). But Caffeine has caught up and it remains free. Update your copy or take it for a spin at lighthead's website.
Read
april 2008
Where Are All The Google Data Centers?
There are 36 data centers in all19 in the U.S., 12 in Europe, 3 in Asia, and one each in Russia and South America. Future data center sites may include Taiwan, Malaysia, Lithuania, and Blythewood, South Carolina, where Google has reportedly bought 466 acres of land.
april 2008
Passenger (mod rails for Apache) launches
The guys at Phusion has finally wrapped up Passenger, their mod_rails-like module for Apache. Its looking like a great, easy solution for people who want a more PHP-like deployment story. Just dump your files in a directory setup with a vhost and off you go. Touch tmp/restart.txt and the application is restarted. Doesnt get much simpler than that.
april 2008
DROPCLOCK
DROPCLOCK IS AN AESTHETICALLY INTRIGUING MOTION CLOCK SCREENSAVER. EVERY MINUTE OF REAL TIME IS NUMERICALLY EXPRESSED WITH HEAVY HELVETICA DROPPING INTO WATER IN SUPER SLOW-MOTION.
april 2008
Rails premieres on GitHub
GitHub has now officially launched and Rails is right there at the premiere. The Rails repository now lives at rails/rails and you can check it out with:

git clone git://github.com/rails/rails.git

If you dont have git, or dont enjoy running it on your platform, you need not fear. Weve set up an automated task to produce a zip file of Rails Edge thatll be kept up to date all the time: http://dev.rubyonrails.org/archives/rails_edge.zip. This is also what weve made the new rake rails:freeze:edge use.

This also means that development on the Subversion repository has stopped and will no longer be kept up to date. Well keep the Subversion repository around for some time for people to transition off svn:externals, though. But if you want the latest edge, youll have to use either git or the new zip files.

Well also soon go live with our new ticket management system, which will be running on a new version of Lighthouse. When that happens, the Trac installation will follow the Subversion repository into legacy. Well still keep it around so we can work through all the patches and tickets that are there, but everything new will happen on the Lighthouse setup.

We hope youll enjoy this upgrade to the Rails collaboration infrastructure. Were really looking forward to the onslaught of marvelous patches that the Git lords have promised us will flow from the mountain now.
april 2008
Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2 (Beta 3)
Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2 lets you connect from your Macintosh computer to a Windows-based computer or to multiple Windows-based computers at the same time. After you have connected, you can work with applications and files on the Windows-based computer.
To learn about what's new in Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2, please visit the Microsoft Web site.
from google
april 2008
why i deleted my twitter account
[A cartoon from 2007 etc.]It's no big deal. I liked Twitter. But I found it too easy.

I think my time would be better spent drawing cartoons and writing books.

That's just how I feel.

[UPDATE:] This story seems to have made it onto the front page of Techmeme. Lots of people talking about it. Wow.

[UPDATE:] An archive of my Tweets can be found here.

[UPDATE:] A couple of hundred e-mails later, I restored the Twitter account. You can read again it here.
from google
april 2008
Statistics on Friendfeed usage provide interesting insights
Over on his blog Alexander van Elsas has taken some time and wrung some FriendFeed usage stats. He says his reasons for doing this were fairly straightforward. He wanted to see if that actions of users are shared with others without intent, that is the person performing the action is intentionally sharing, the content that gets shared is usually less valuable.

Alexanders conclusion once he had sliced and diced the data that FriendFeed was really nothing more than a techie bloggers echo chamber. Although not all doom and gloom about the service he does have some suggestions that even make FriendFeed a serious contender for Techmemes spot as the leading resource for bloggers.

All in all it is an interesting read and well worth taking some time to look it over.

Conversation Tags: FriendFeed, statistics
april 2008
Two Ways to Expand Your Twitter Network
In watching people sample Twitter, Ive come to one conclusion: those who end up finding it a useful service tend to be people who build up a network of a few dozen to a few hundred people. If you only have a few Twitter friends, your chances of getting help when you need a question answered, or having something interesting pop up when you check in, are low enough that the service seems worthless.

Two recent web applications are designed to jumpstart the process by helping you find new potential friends quickly. Twubble looks at your existing friends and recommends other people who they follow. Twits Like Me looks at the text of your tweets to find other folks talking about the same things. Of the two, I found Twits Like Me to be more useful, but theyre both worth a good look if you feel the need for more activity in your Twitterstream.

Share/Send
april 2008
Economist CEO Leaving, Replaced By Ex Online Boss
The Economist Group CEO Helen Alexander is leaving the publisher after 23 years to become an adviser to private equity house Bain Capital. Her replacement, from July 15, will be Andrew Rashbass, a former MD of Economist.com who joined as CIO from DMGT's Associated Newspapers in 1997, the same year Alexander became CEO, The Times said.

Online advertising grew 15 percent year-on-year in the six months to September 30 and now makes up 17 percent of all revenue at the group, half of which is owned by FT parent Pearson (NYSE: PSO). Economist.com traffic was 2.6 million users in September and online is one of three group priorities for the year. Articles older than 12 months are behind a premium pay wall.

Related

Economist Ready To Try 'Social Networking' Again
Earnings: Online Makes Up 17 Percent Of Economist's Revenues
april 2008
Gary the Great: Vaynerchuk sets the example of how to succeed in business today
Gary Vaynerchuk is a legend in the making.

Gary is best known for his wonderfully passionate video reviews on his self-styled Wine Library TV. But hes much deeper than that. Gary is an incredibly shrewd businessman with and innovative and intuitive business mind. Gary understand the next generation of promotion as well as anyone Ive ever seen.

Hes a master of the things that really matter now.

1. A master of the product he sells. He understands everything there is to understand about his product. He knows the business, the process, the flavors, the appeal inside and out. Hes immune to dogma he has his own opinions about his product and his industry.

2. A master of PR. Without a PR firm hes been on Conan, Ellen, and Nightline. His video reviews are watched by over 60,000 people a day. A good portion of those people dont give a damn about wine either. Theyre there to see Gary go. Hes talked about at wine conferences, tech conferences, print media, new media, everywhere. This is not an accident.

3. Hes a master of community. His wine reviews routinely get well over 100 comments. Some topping 300. His obsessed fans, affectionately branded the Vayniacs, are as passionate as he is. Through link ups, Facebook friending, and relentless Twittering, he gives them the fuel, attention, and love they need to keep the fire burning. And he reminds them that he appreciates every moment of it.

4. Hes a master of his own brand. He endlessly promotes Wine Library, his familys wine shop, and his own brand on camera, off camera, and through merchandising. He genuinely believes you can help people by being true to yourself. When you think of Gary you think of authentic passion. Is there a better quality for any brand? Heres some more great advice from Gary at Strategic Profits Live.

5. Hes a sharer. Gary shares all day long. He understand that when you share you get back more in return. But fundamentally hes not really sharing to get back, hes sharing because he loves to give. He loves giving his opinion on wine, business, life, etc. He wants other people to be successful.

On top of all this, Gary is just one hell of a nice guy. Ive recently gotten to know him and the one thing that really stands out besides his ridiculous energy is his generosity and overall desire to see others do well. Tara Hunts interview is a great example of this. I look forward to learning a lot from Gary. I hope you do too.
april 2008
32 Unique RSS Icons usage
Almost all the blogs contains at least one small RSS Icon, which sometimes create nerves to us, if we can`t find it to subscribe. So, most of the advanced in design bloggers, create for their blogs unique RSS Icons to distinguish from the rest of blog’s content.
from google
april 2008
evri.com - search less. understand more.
Using semantic understanding of content, EVRI is building the data graph of the web. We'll use this to create interesting and meaningful connections without having to search. In fact, we think people should search less, and understand more.
april 2008
How To: Getting Started with Amazon EC2
As the title of this article implies, this article is meant to be a beginners look into tinkering with EC2. Just because you will be able to host a page on EC2 at the end of this article does not mean you should start using it as your only server. Many
april 2008
Lightroom 2 Beta - Five Favorite New Features
In last week's blog I was looking over the fence at Apple's Aperture 2.0 and noted that it might give us a glimpse of things to come with Lightroom - and well, it did. The good news is that Lightroom...
from google
april 2008
IPhone WebKit Goodness: 3D CSS Transforms and ontouch events
Apple is secretive. I normally don't mind so much, as they always come through on yet another cool Mac product. If I could know one thing though, it wouldn't be when the next Macbook Pro is coming out, or when we will see the 3G iPhone. Instead, I wish I knew the attentions in the battle of "what can we develop with on the iPhone".

We started out with only being able to use JavaScript, and folks like Joe Hewitt quickly mastered the restrictive tools such as meta viewport and co.

Then we got the final word of the iPhone SDK, and the Cocoa developers rejoiced as they went from being the cool kids to the "now you will pay me to help in the land grab yO".

There was one shoutout to the WebKit lovers. We got ongesture* events.

Now we got a glimpse of new updates for the iPhone Ajaxians:

Safari 3.1 showed us CSS transforms, which are 2D. On the iPhone though, we can now do 3D transforms which means you can do true coverflow through the browser.

The other new thing I found are new touch screen events. We already knew about the ongesture* events, but now there are ontouch* events, and new DOM interfaces Touch, TouchList, and TouchEvent.

This is great progress.

The optimist in me thinks: Wow, WebKit is going to be a first class citizen and Apple will continue to open up more and more of the innards as JavaScript APIs.

The cynic in me thinks: Yeah, they will support it, kinda like how Java is supported on the Mac. One poor bugger has to do all of the work and make people care. In this case, when Apple starts making 30% on all of the native applications, what will their incentive be to help people develop apps using the Web?

The hope is that they realize that the Web is the long term winner, and that they want to win in that market too. Please, Mr. Jobs.
april 2008
TwitterLocal Peeks into the Real World
For the most part, despite a few geographic mashups like twittervision, Twitter users have existed in some amorphous location best known as cyberspace. But a new service, TwitterLocal, threatens to actually drag Twitterers into the real world.

TwitterLocal is simple to understand: you enter a city, state, or postal or zip code, and a radius (1 to 50 miles) and it pulls down the public tweets from everyone in that locale. You can get the results in RSS, on the web, or via a desktop Adobe AIR application. Itll be interesting to see whether this changes the Twitter dynamic at all: would you be more or less likely to participate if you knew your real-world neighbors could be watching?

Share/Send
april 2008
Git - SVN Crash Course
Welcome to the Git version control system! Here we will briefly introduce you to Git usage based on your current Subversion knowledge. You will need the latest Git installed; There is also a potentially useful tutorial in the Git documentation.
april 2008
Comcast to Twin Cities: Want WideBand? Gonna Cost You Big
Comcast, the largest cable company in the US announced today that it is going to start selling a 50 megabits per second (down) connection in Minnesotas Twin Cities region. The connection with 5 megabits/second upstream capability is based on DOCSIS 3.0 technology and will cost $150 a month. Cablevision, Surewest and Verizon have been offering similar high-speed yet very expensive connections for a while now.

The so-called Wideband connection is getting a lot of attention today, though the service is unavailable in larger Comcast markets like San Francisco, where 16 Mbps is as fast as you can go. Comcast promises that it will make Wideband available in 20% of the market it serves by 2009 and rest of the country in 2010. Talk is cheap! Since we are still waiting for TiVo on Comcast and instead suffering through a painful DVR experience, I am not holding my breath about WideBand showing up on my doorstep anytime soon.

Just a random observation: these expensive Wideband connections are attractive for a demographic that Comcast may label bandwidth hogs who might see their connections throttled.
april 2008
Playboy.com Goes Mobile with iPhone-compatible Version
Playboy, Americas favorite magazine (for the articles), just announced an iPhone version of the Playboy.com website. The site features an iPhone-esque UI and includes a HotorNot clone, a nightlife adviser, and Playboy Radio, an MP3-based online radio show. Check out CrunchGear for live coverage including the crowning of Miss Playboy Mobile.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.
april 2008
Ha Ha, Your Medium Is Dying: Mocking Financial Magazine Videos
Ha ha, your medium is dying! Financial-news print outlets seeking relevance have added video to their web sites. But their work is pretty much the opposite of YouTube gold. Brett Erlich, apparently just this guy who loves web videos, makes fun of the work
april 2008
Introducing the Stock Screener
Posted by Daniel Switkin, Software EngineerI'm very happy to announce that today we are introducing a new stock screener to Google Finance. If you haven't used one before, a screener is an advanced search tool that lets you find companies which match a set of criteria. For example, you could search for large companies with a PE ratio less than 20 which pay at least a 5% dividend. Or you could screen for small tech companies with strong 5 year growth. It's entirely up to your investment strategy.There are a number of new and cool features I'd like to mention. Anytime you make adjustments like setting a value, removing a criteria, or limiting the search to a single exchange, the list of results updates automatically. The search is completely live -- no buttons to press. We also have blue and white histograms so you can see the distribution of all companies for a particular value--for example there are far more companies with a market cap below one billion dollars than above. You can either grab the sliders or type exact values to the set the minimum and maximum for each criteria.Once you have run a screen that you like, you can bookmark the page or email the link to a friend. Since not all of the criteria may be familiar terms, we've included definitions in the Add Criteria wizard, as well as a help icon next to each line. As always, please let us know how you like it. We're hard at work on new features and want to incorporate your suggestions. Happy screening!
from google
april 2008
Amazon Launches SMS Buying Service
Amazon has launched Amazon TextBuyIt, a service that allows Amazon customers to purchase items via mobile phone text message. To use the service, customers text the name of a product, its description, or its UPC or ISBN number to Amazon (262966). If Amazon stocks the item, the user will get the first two results sent to them. To purchase am item, users reply with 1 or 2 and are prompted for their email address and zip code. The service then calls the user and completes the checkout process using an automated voice system. Like regular Amazon orders, users can later track the item from Amazon.com. The service is free to use, however items that are available as Deal of the Day or have a Gold Box Discount will not be discounted when purchased through Amazon TextBuyIt. The obvious application for the service is price comparisons from within a physical store; customers in Borders for example could SMS a book title to see whether Amazon stocks it for less. Expect to see people texting Amazon from a store near you in the coming months. CrunchBase Information Amazon Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
april 2008
Need A Job? Make $1.20hour Tagging Photos
New service TagCow caused a bit of a stir over the weekend. The product seemingly solves the problem of auto-categorization and tagging of photos, something that seems to still be beyond the processing power and software skills of most startups. Users upload photos - thousands of them if they like - and within a few minutes the photos are returned with stunningly accurate descriptive keywords that facilitate searching and browsing later on. The product worked so well, and the site had so little description of the technology behind it, that I speculated that humans were doing the work in the background. And.I was right. A reader sent in a tip that they saw the service on Amazons Mechanical Turk service, which is a web service that gets people to do things that are fairly hard for computers to do. TagCow is actually a perfect fit for Mechanical Turk. Users are paid 4 cents to properly tag a group of five photos. I tagged a few photos with TechCrunch twenty times each, collected my 4 cents, and moved on. My guess is it would take about two minutes to properly tag the five photos. That means if you work steady and without breaks, you can make $1.20/hour. More if you are speedier. CrunchBase Information TagCow Information provided by CrunchBase Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.
april 2008
Lightroom 2 beta Available
Version 2 of Lightroom is now available as a public beta, allowing the the photographic community to provide feedback on new features and workflow enhancements. It's hard to believe that Lightroom 1.0 was released just over a year ago and Lightroom 1.1 shortly thereafter.  It really feels like the beta process never stopped and we've received a ton of great feedback through the feature request submissions, customer conversations, forum discussions, tradeshows and targeted customer visits. We're glad to continue the process by releasing this version before it's final to get your opinions on our progress.  This is different from the previous Lightroom beta in that we'll be targeting feedback on new enhancements and aiming to release the final version sooner than we did in the previous year-long beta.   I've provided a few key notes below but I strongly recommend reading the entire Release Notes document available on Labs.adobe.com.

Beta Eligibility

Q: Who is eligible for the  Lightroom 2.0 beta?
A:
All Lightroom 1.0 customers.  Lightroom 1.0 customers can download and install Lightroom 2.0 beta for use throughout the beta program

Q: What about customers new to Lightroom?
A:
Anyone can download the Lightroom 2.0 beta and try it for 30 days

Q: How can new customers try the beta for the entire program?
A:
An invitation program  through labs.adobe.com allows Lightroom 1.0 customers to invite friends  to try the beta beyond  the 30 day trial until the beta expiration date

Q: When does the beta expire?
A:
August 31, 2008

 

IMPORTANT NOTES, PLEASE READ

Primary Known Issues


Lightroom 2.0 beta will not upgrade Lightroom 1.x libraries.  The beta is intended to be used for testing and feedback purposes.  Lightroom 1.x and 2.0 beta libraries will be migrated to the finished version of Lightroom 2.0.
While data loss is not expected, this is a very early ‘beta’ quality build and you should always work on duplicates of files that are securely backed up. 
Lightroom 2 beta will not overwrite or interfere with a machine that currently has Lightroom 1.3.1 installed. 
Develop settings applied in Lightroom 2.0 beta are not guaranteed to transfer correctly to the final version of 2.0.  This is particularly true for localized corrections.
The new Photoshop integration functionality is only available with Photoshop CS3 (10.0.1) and should only be used for testing purposes.  Metadata associated with the original file may not carry over to the subsequent file saved from Photoshop
Additional known issues are listed in the release notes.

New Features
Library


Streamlined Library Layout
Smart Collections
Powerful Filter Bar to search and refine images
Suggested Keywords for simplified keywording
10k pixel size limit raised to 30k pixels
Output-based Collections


Multiple Monitors:


-Four flexible modes for an alternate window:  Grid, Loupe, Compare, Survey
(Check out the Live Loupe mode!)

Photoshop CS3 Integration: 


Open files in Photoshop as a Smart Object
Select multiple images to merge as a Panorama
Merge multiple exposures into a single Photoshop HDR image
Load multiple files or virtual copies into Photoshop as separate layers in a single document.

Export Functionality:


Auto-add exported images to the Lightroom catalog
Auto Output Sharpening for images on export

Develop Module


Non-Destructive Localized Correction for dodging and burning specific areas of an image
Post Crop Vignette
Basic Panel Keyboard Shortcuts
Improved Auto Adjustment
Improved memory handling through 64-bit support on OS X 10.5 and Vista 64-bit.(Not limited to develop module)

Print Module


Picture Package for multi-page layouts

Print Module output directly to JPEG

Enhanced Print Sharpening based on PhotoKit Sharpener algorithms
16-bit Printing for Mac OS X 10.5

Additional Resources


Lightroom video tutorials by Julieanne Kost:  Lightroom 2 beta Tutorial Part I and Lightroom 2 beta Tutorial Part III. (Part II is on the way)
Lightroom 2 beta preview by Ian Lyons
Lightroom Tasmania Adventure
Lightroom 2 beta review by Uwe Steinmueller at OutbackPhoto.com.
Lightroom 2 beta review for our French-speaking photographers
Photoshop Cafe provides a feature review and 1 hour training video.

What about Lightroom 1.4?
Trust me, we haven't forgotten about the photographers who are awaiting a replacement to the Lightroom 1.4 update that we released and subsequently pulled from Adobe.com.
Lightroom 1.4.1 and Camera Raw 4.4.1 are currently undergoing additional testing before we release them in the first half of April. Thank you for your patience.
from google
april 2008
Its Lightroom 2.0 Baby (Beta that is)
Hey folks! I bet Ive got one heck-of-a surprise for you today. Ready for it? Adobe has released Lightroom 2.0 beta to the public (no, this is not a belated April fools day joke). Today kicks off Photoshop World and not only is Adobe going to demo the 2.0 beta but theyre letting everyone have it and download it for free. The first question everyones going to be asking is whats it all about. Ive included my top 10 favorite features in 2.0 right here. However, NAPP has an entire learning center website all set up with videos (by Scott Kelby and myself) on all the new features. Ill give you the links at the end of the post.

First, the top 10 list1) Localized Corrections (AKA: Dodge and Burn) - If Lightroom 2 came out and this was the only new feature Id upgrade in a heartbeat. Localized Corrections is the non-destructive dodging and burning that weve all wanted for so long. But I have to say this - its so much more. It goes WAY beyond what I expected from dodging and burning in Lightroom (which is why its called Localize corrections and not just dodge and burn) and I think youre going to love it.
2) Better Photoshop Integration - Now you can open your files as Smart Objects, Merge to Panorama or even export straight to Photoshops HDR from Lightroom.
3) Post-crop vignetting - if youve ever tried to darken the edges of a cropped photo with the lens vignetting slider youll know it doesnt really work. Thats where the post-crop vignette comes in.
4) Multiple Monitor support - can you say Finally!?
5) Picture Packages in the print module.
6) Output Sharpening in the print module and it really works this time around. Ive seen tests compared to Lightroom 1 and the print sharpening is noticeably better.
7) Smart Collections - Collections were great in LR 1 but smart collections make using collections a lot easier.
8.) Printing directly to a JPEG file in the Print module. So if you send your photos off to a lab now you can save the files right from within Lightrooms Print module.
9) Suggested Keywords - Get this Lightroom will start suggesting keywords to you once you start keywording your photos. Its weird to explain so make sure you stop by NAPPs learning center to see it in action.
10) OK, Im going to give you two here. First theres a new filter panel in the Library module that makes getting to your photos easier and faster because its right there with your photos (instead of tucked away on the left side panels). Next, the Slideshow and Web modules both have Content panels as well as Collection panels. So now you can very quickly switch slideshows without having to jump back to the Library module and choose different photos.

Now for the links to find out moreI know I promised some links so here they are:
- Download Lightroom 2 beta here
- NAPPs online learning center
- John Nacks Blog
- Scott Kelbys blog

Kelby Training Online Training Course
If youre already a Kelby Training subscriber then you can also check out my Lightroom 2.0 beta Power Session. It covers all the new features in Lightroom 2 beta and you have access to it immediately as a subscriber.

As you can imagine, with Photoshop World this week and Lightroom 2 beta launching things are pretty crazy and sure to get crazier. Ill have a lot more news, tips and tutorials as the weeks go on so make sure you stay tuned. Thanks for stopping by and thanks so much to all of the Photoshop World attendees whove already came by and introduced themselves. Take care!
april 2008
A taste of what's coming in Rails 2.1
Rails 2.1 is not far off the horizon and weve been adding a ton of extra deliciously nice goodies in preparation of its release lately. As always, the good Ryan Daigle has been keeping a watchful eye on the changelog and has been documenting some of the new features. The latest stars are:

Gem Dependencies
Dirty tracking with partial updates
has_finder in the form of named_scope
Built-in timezone support
Better caching infrastructure
april 2008
Bad Neighborhood - Webmaster and SEO Tools
At the request of several friends in the community, I made the main tool (the Bad Neighborhood Link Checker) public, so that anyone who was concerned about who they were linking to could enjoy the benefit of it, and this site was born.
march 2008
Minnesota Mulch & Soil
We began in 1985 as Scott County Nursery. Since then we have become one of the leading distributors of mulch, soil, and compost in the Upper Midwest. Westrive for the highest quality of product, service, and customer satisfaction.
march 2008
Participate Everywhere, Manage Centrally
Yesterday, a meme was started by Loic Le Meur where he discussed the de-centralization of his social media life and that he posits that he wants it all centralized back on his blog. I commented there and had no his post would spawn ironically a fully de-centralized conversation on the topic ranging from his blog, Twitter, FriendFeed and a number of other blogs.

My view before getting to the solution, we must get back to purpose of blogging or participating in social media in any way. Is it to become a destination yourself? Or is it, as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, to “execute on being you” and building your personal legacy. I’ve always thought of it in terms of the latter, to participate and being part of the conversation, but never the ultimate destination. We must put ourselves in the role of the consumer, centralizing them to go hundreds of locations to consume content. This is why RSS is so popular to distribute the content and why aggregation is so dominant to bring it back together for them.

Which brings me to my next point? Loic stressed centralization as the solution but one of his primary reasons is because the conversation is happening in all facets of his social media life and he cannot keep track of it. My hypothesis to solving this is not that each blogger become a content destination at their blog but rather a solution must developed to solve that problem. Perhaps FriendFeed and Disqus are two early solutions attacking this problem; the space certainly needs to evolve further. Brad Feld discusses the notification solution proposed by Josh Kopelman which I found very provactive.

I tent to agree where this discussion is heading. I want to be social media involved in a number of places, not have everyone come one place to get it. However, I DO want to manage it all in one place. I would love a “notification dashboard” that is perhaps built upon web services against all the APIs available. I’m imagining a social media Bloomberg of sorts but fully interactive. Here are some of the things such a dashboard could do for me:

Tell me when I being replied to in any venue?
Provide me an aggregated bio or links to information on who is “friending” me.
Notify me when a friend or someone I often have discussions is actively taking part in a conversation, where and in context
Let me reply back to conversation directly from my dashboard but in context like Disqus
Use attention data to provide me a priority on what I should look at first versus the less important
Use semantic techniques to provide me with relevant content and similar conversations
Use sentiment on the conversations so I have knowledge about where there is agreement or disagreement in the conversations
A method to “educate” or send things to my dashboard when I stumble upon something interesting so I can have things waiting in a queue for me

Anyone interested in building this, let me know. Should be simple. Just a merging of all of the latest technology trends into one central application. But let me manage centrally but participate everywhere.
from google
march 2008
Motionbox Goes HD
Video-sharing and storage site Motionbox is now offering some users an HD option. The NY-based service's premium members, who pay $30 a year, will be able to upload and play HD videos; the company promises that the site's free users will also see a noticable upgrade in the quality of their standard-def videos.

We don't think conventional video-sharing sites like YouTube and the YouTube-wannabees need to offer HD, but this makes sense for Motionbox: It's targeting users who are shooting home movies and the like with "near-HD" cameras, and want a place to share those clips with a handful of their friends and family.

Gearhead details from the release:

The HD player takes full advantage of Adobe Flash Player's capabilities and the exceptional H.264 video format. Major advances to Motionbox's server-based video rendering engine enable Web-based editing of full 1080p video, with AVCHD support coming soon.

See Also: YouTube In HD? Not Really

Video-sharing Site Motionbox Raises $8 Million Series B
march 2008
Is Tagcow the Future of Photo Recognition and Tagging?
Ok, now I have no idea exactly how this works and I'm still trying to figure it out, but this could be something very, very cool. On Thursday I got an email from a company called Tagcow. Tagcow claims that they can automatically tag thousands of photos for you. They are using the Flickr API and are set up so that you can either upload photos to their own site or link your Flickr account up to their site where both descriptive and people tags can be added to your photos.Tagcow has some demo videos on their service here.I tested the site out yesterday using my avatar and uploaded the photo to their site. The photo was tagged with man, Canon, camera and mirror. Very accurate descriptive tags of the photo. So I decided to take the Flickr plunge yesterday and linked my flickrstream up to their site via the Flickr API authentication and have started to see tags coming back on my flickr photos.Take the photo above. I tagged the above photo myself with the following tags: How Berkeley Can You Be Parade, How Berkeley Can You Be Parade 2007, How Berkeley Can You Be 2007, parade, car, art car, art, and Disney.Tagcow added four additional tags to the photo above: figure, witch, wicked, and toy.Ok, those are *excellent* additional tags to add to that photo.Now I have no idea if Tagcow is using some sort of Riya-like photo recognition software or if they simply have a bunch of people manually tagging away my Flickr photos in the background, but either way this seems really, really cool.I'm not sure on the economics or business model of Tagcow but the application for a site like this in terms of image search seems pretty huge.I'll blog more on Tagcow after I understand a little more about how their technology works. This definitely may be a company worth watching.Update: More from TechCrunch here.More from Incremental Blogger here.
march 2008
WordPress 2.5
WordPress 2.5, the culmination of six months of work by the WordPress community, people just like you. The improvements in 2.5 are numerous, and almost entirely a result of your feedback: multi-file uploading, one-click plugin upgrades, built-in galleries, customizable dashboard, salted passwords and cookie encryption, media library, a WYSIWYG that doesnt mess with your code, concurrent post editing protection, full-screen writing, and search that covers posts and pages.
march 2008
Apple slips out Apple TV 2.0.1 update
Preparing the Apple TV's viewers for the weekend, Apple on Friday night patched its media hub to version 2.0.1.

The fix, available through the Apple TV's own update utility, is not documented by the company and appears primarily to be a maintenanc...
march 2008
Legacy is greater than Currency.
Legacy is greater than currency and your Social equity is more important than your financial equity. There are some of the things I cover in todays THOUGHT! I pray that every person that watches this thinks about their Legacy when they make EVERY Decision in their lives!
march 2008
Apple seeds Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update to developers
Apple Inc. this week began testing Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update, a third maintenance and security update...
march 2008
It Should Be Free?
I love several of the podcasts produced by Leo Laporte’s TWiT Network. He’s doing a great service to a variety of communities, and I particularly enjoy the MacBreak Weekly show, which features regulars such as Merlin Mann and Andy Ihnatko. The typical show includes a light-hearted roundup of the week’s (sometimes scarce) Mac news, and some regular features such as a weekly “picks” where show panelists are invited to share a Mac application or other product which they’ve found particularly valuable.

I have been very fortunate to have my own products picked by panelists on the show, and even by Leo himself! It’s a great honor to hear your own name spoken through those tiny earbuds, as you’re listening to the podcast. I was also flattered to recently hear Leo quote my twitter feedback to him about the excellent FLOSS Weekly.

On this week’s MacBreak Weekly, Leo chose for his pick an application called Pukka, which is a Del.Icio.Us client developed by my friend Justin Miller of Code Sorcery Workshop. Congratulations, Justin! Leo made a great case for the usefulness of the application, describing how it makes adding web pages to Del.Icio.Us so easy and pleasant, even celebrating the cute smooching kiss sound it makes after it does its job.

But what I found most interesting and, as a software developer, somewhat disappointing, was the way in which Leo seemed embarrassed by the fact that the application is not free. After explaining how cool it was, he hastens to add that he doesn’t know if it’s worth $14.95. “It doesn’t do much, I just love it!” He summarizes the joy it gives him by declaring “Pukka is simple. It just does what it does.” But later, when repeating the price and contact information, he hastens to inject that it “should be free.”

Now this is particularly interesting, and I don’t mean to pick on Leo, but it’s a topic worth thinking about. The majority of the show up to this point had been spent chatting with Patrick Wilson of the band Weezer, about his take on technology and, among other things, the business model for selling music to the public. During the chat, the entire MacBreak Weekly crew discussed the danger to the music industry that comes from younger listeners having a built-in expectation that music should be free.

Leo Laporte is one of the most supportive advocates for independent software developers that I have had the pleasure of (virtually) meeting. But on this episode I believe he has inadvertently helped to perpetuate the same kind of thinking about software that the panel had just finished expressing concern about with regard to music: the idea that the hard-earned fruits of somebody’s creative labor should be free.

What Does It Mean To Be Free?

Before we can understand why Leo and many other people like him have grown accustomed to expecting things “for free,” I think we need to try to develop an understanding for what it means to be free. In the English language it’s particularly difficult because we use the word to describe two fairly radically different concepts: the freeness of liberty and monetary freeness.

The free software movement recognized this problem early and has reduced the distinction to a couple of catch phrases. To determine whether something is meant to be free as in liberty or in cost, they ask whether it’s “free as in speech” or “free as in beer.” I return to this sometimes myself when trying to make sense of something’s freeness. But I also like to use the more explicit phrases “free of restrictions” and “free of cost.” Some things are neither and some things are both. You might find it easier to evaluate in which way something is free by substituting one of those phrases for the word free.

Although the freeness of restrictions is significant to software, particular as it pertains to open-sourced software which other developers are invited to use, for the topic at hand I’m mostly interested in freeness of cost. It’s freeness of cost that Leo was alluding to when he suggested that Pukka should be free, and it’s freeness of cost that I think many consumers are becoming more and more expectant of on the web and with computer software in general.

Freeness of cost feeds an ongoing expectation for more of the same. But there are so many varieties of cost-free products, that it’s worth exploring in some more detail what it really means to be free.

Five Ways Of Getting A Beer

The aforementioned “free as in beer” metaphor is valuable in that it helps distinguish monetary freeness from liberty. But consumers and developers run the risk of misunderstanding this freeness if we don’t elaborate on the variety of ways in which something can cost money, be free, or fall someplace in between. Each comes with its own tradeoffs, hurting or helping customers and vendors in their own particular ways.

Without thinking particularly hard about the idea, I came to the conclusion that most of things we receive possession or ownership of, we get through some combination of the following five avenues. I’m sticking with the beer analogy because otherwise things get way more complicated, and this blog post gets even longer than it already is.

You walk into a bar, and you get a beer in your possession by:

Pure Payment. The classic mode of acquisition. You choose your favorite brew, and the bartender pours it for you. You get maximum control over the choice of product, and the vendor gets maximum compensation. Mutual gratification. See also: market price, supply and demand.
Subsidized Payment. The bartender recognizes that by occasionally giving you a “free beer,” you will continue to buy beers, and may even start promoting the bar. The product is free for a moment because the vendor is virtually guaranteed it will pay itself back. Very gratifying for the customer, tentatively gratifying for the vendor. See also: loss leader, senior discount, government programs, insurance.
Pure Charity. Your friend arrives to find the four of you, all close friends for years, sitting around a table. Great news: he’s buying! You’ve just been the recipient of pure charity, which comes with few or no strings attached, but which gives you very little control. Don’t like Pabst Blue Ribbon? Too bad, that’s what he’s buying. At least it’s free! See also: open source, birthday gifts, dinner parties.
Subsidized Theft. You think you’re so smart. You discovered a tap at the end of the bar that almost nobody has their eye on. When the bartender isn’t looking, you can grab a free pint of whatever happens to be on tap. You don’t actually enjoy what’s in there much, but hey, at least it’s free! You enjoy the benefit so much, you insist on coming to this bar and always instruct your gigantic social group to meet here. They buy tons of drinks, and the bar prospers not only in spite of, but ironically because of your theft. See also: file sharing, mix tapes, some software piracy.

Pure Theft. You’re passing by the back entrance of the bar when you notice a few full kegs of beer just sitting there. Later you come back with a friend and roll one into the back of his pickup. That night, you call all of your friends to share the great news: party at your house, free beer! Not only will you not be meeting at the favorite bar this weekend, you just cost them a keg’s worth of profit. See also: resold pirated goods, fenced car stereos, muggings, home robberies, etc.

I realize some of these scenarios are a little far fetched, just to make the beer analogy work. But the “see also” items are meant to inspire you to think about the other transactions in your life that fall into one or more of these categories. For instance when you go to a web site and read the news for free, you’re participating in a subsidized payment. The advertisers just happen to be paying for the content for you, in exchange for your attention to their products. Likewise, a big software company such as Apple might give you “free” software such as GarageBand or iMovie, which is actually subsidized by the cost of the new computer you just bought.

You Get What You Pay For

When Leo suggests that Pukka “should be free,” I believe what he’s suggesting is that because the application is simple, and because it works with a popular free web service, that it should also be free as in pure charity. But this makes some hasty assumptions about the product and the developer. If the product were “free as in charity.” Would the product be as good as it is? Would the developer have income to survive?

In short, if the product were free as in charity, would the product even exist, and be good enough to mention on MacBreak Weekly, where Leo could wish that it was free? Don’t get me wrong, there do exist many, many fantastic products of charity. And there also exist many total pieces of commercial crap. But the mechanics of the transaction are most obvious and, in a sense, honest, when they are reduced to pure payment.

Going back to the bar analogy, let’s consider the free peanuts that you might see in bowls at many such establishments. These subsidized freebies are a tasty snack, and furthermore encourage customers to continue buying beers. In New York City and other large cities, you’re liable to find street vendors on many corners, peddling peanuts and other snacks that are quite similar in quality and quantity to what you’ll find for free in some bars. “These peanuts are great, but they should be free.” Try telling that to the guy standing in the cold on 34th Street!

Software costs money, time, and resources to develop, just like many of the other products in our lives. And just like those peanuts on the bar, many companies with other things to sell you are in a good position to give away freebies that help to promote their business; to encourage you and your friends to give them money for different reasons.

But smaller companies don’t often have the variety of products … [more]
from google
march 2008
If I worked at CNET, this layoff memo would make me want to quit
CNET CEO Neil Ashe sent this all-hands memo to explain to his charges the changes that CNET is making to be successful. The memo looks like it came straight out of a Dilbert strip. Ashe says CNET must "embrace change" and "drive greater efficiencies in the business." In addition, a management task force has evaluated CNET's "organization and resource alignment." How about writing a memo in actual English? That seems easier and a better way to spend everyone's time. At least Jerry Yang's memos had that funny e.e. cummings-esque no-capital-letters charm going for them. Ashe's anodyne euphemisms? They make me glad I don't work at CNET or any other huge conglomerate for that matter.
march 2008
Do It Yourself .Mac - The Network People, Inc.
Many of the reasons I do not find .mac useful are the same reasons I encourage others to use it. My needs are different than the average computer user. This is not an "I hate .mac" article but rather an explanation of the motivation and methods I used to
march 2008
CalendarServer - Ubuntu Wiki
This page explains how to install Apple's [WWW] Darwin Calendar Server (also called DCS, and the basis for their iCal Server) on Ubuntu Gutsy.
march 2008
Safaris latest WebKit public build first to score perfect 100 in Acid3 test
With build r31342 WebKit has become the first publicly available rendering engine to achieve 100/100 on Acid3...
march 2008
PaidContent Shakeup Hiring Management, Rafat To Editorial
LA-based blog PaidContent.org is hiring a Dow Jones and Yahoo Finance veteran, Nathan Richardson, as CEO, Valleywag says. The company is also said to be adding a sales manager. Founder Rafat Ali will focus on editorial.

It is not yet known whether the PaidContent management shakeup is a planned evolution--or whether Rafat was defenestrated. ; )

*UPDATE: This post was intended to be tongue in cheek, but as a commenters noted, the first version came out snarky. Apologies! Truth be told, we think this is a smart move by PaidContent. Rafat is the company's strongest editor/writer, and every minute he spends on business is a minute lost to writing, researching, etc. TechCrunch made the same move quite successfully last year, and we expect a lot of growing blog networks will follow suit.

See Also: PaidContent Blog on Block?
march 2008
PaidContent blog network hires Dow Jones, Yahoo veteran as CEO
ContentNext Media, the parent company of blogtrepreneur Rafat Ali's media news site PaidContent.org has named former Dow Jones executive Nathan Richardson as the company's new CEO. He's pictured here in his days as general manager of Yahoo Finance. Most recently, Richardson has been doing volunteer work in Liberia for the International Rescue Committee. The move will free Ali from his role as CEO to focus on editorial duties. Look for the company to announce another senior-level hire by early next week. The move makes it clear that company is focused on continuing to grow independently and Ali certainly won't be selling it to TechCrunch investor-slash-journalist Michael Arrington anytime soon. Update: More on the company's as-yet-unannounced moves after the jump.
The other new hire will be a senior sales manager, who previously worked in a similar position at Forbes according to a source familiar with the company. (Forbes sales contact Kevin Getzel is my wild guess.) Also, the board of directors will be adding a new member, "a well known name in entertainment and media." And what convinced Richardson to give up his good works in Africa? Death threats from armed rebels. Sounds to me like a smart move. (Photo by John Abbott)
march 2008
WSJ Staff To Move Into News Corp HQs?; Online Model Set For Now
The new Dow Jones (NYSE: NWS) CEO Les Hinton gave his first public interview to The Australian, and though no revelatory points, some reiteration of current policies, and a hint that various DJ units would be working more closely together with News Corp in the near future.

On WSJ and News Corp working together: "One option is moving the WSJ and a large number of the Dow Jones Newswires people into (News Corp's headquarters in) midtown Manhattan...We haven't made a final determination on it, but it is a way of getting them alltogether."

On WSJ.com's business models, it looks like it will remain subscription for most part, as has been mentioned by Murdoch before, with some free parts. He said the premium revenues, in "ten of millions" of dollars, was too hard to give up. Also, on the traffic side, "In January and February we had over 23 million unique visitors to the site...a40 per cent increase year-on-year in actual audience".
march 2008
What You Need To Know About WordCamp Dallas
I and a couple hundred other WordPress and blogging enthusiasts are gathering outside of Dallas, Texas, for a foot stomping and roaring great time this Saturday and Sunday.
from google
march 2008
« earlier      later »
_brief _feature

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: