Interesting Things Learned From Google Trends
Now that Google has entered the Alexa space with Google Trends for Websites, the general public has some access to hidden traffic data from Googles vaults. The service get its numbers from a combination of sources including search traffic, anonymous Google Analytics figures and other third party marketing data.

The emphasis is mine, but the Google Analytics figures are critical here.Google Analytics is widely used by many sites, so in theory these figures in the mix should deliver reasonable results based on fact.

So what can you learn from Google Trends for Websites?

Omnidrive joined the deadpool in January

Despite Nik from Omnidrive claiming that May was a record month for Omnidrive, Google Trends shows the site flatlined in January. I checked the front page of Omnidrive: the service is using Google Analytics, so if there was any traffic it would be on this graph.

Propeller is now the number two social voting site.

Propeller (formerly Netscape) moved ahead of Reddit in April for the first time, giving Propeller the number two spot in the social voting space. New comer Mixx is still a fair way behind, but is growing well. If youre wondering why Digg isnt in the chart, its because including Digg squashes the other lines flat.

Silicon Alley Insider is growing faster than the competition

If you take the two market leaders, TechCrunch and Mashable out of the equation, and look at the next biggest startup/ web 2.0 blogs, Silicon Alley Insider is growing the fastest.

People stopped using Megite. All at once

This could be a quirk in terms of the chart (maybe they stopped using Google Analytics?) but for a short time Megite was more popular than Techmeme, then the traffic stopped. Completely stopped. Tailrank is also showing no traffic as of mid April. Deadpool time perhaps?

Digg is more popular than the Australian Press

User generated content hating Australian journalists (not all journos, but some of them) should suck on this chart

Twitter may have officially jumped the shark

The graph seems to indicate that Twitter has peaked and is coming down the other side only just, and it may change.

FriendFeed and Plurk have similar numbers

FriendFeed has solid, steady growth where as Plurk is a rollercoaster. Still, both are looking good

Im catching up to Centernetworks!

Ive always been obsessed by numbers and benchmarking (I spent too long working in jobs with KPIs), and the one site I really wanted to emulate in terms of traffic and position was Allen Sterns Centernetworks. Great site, top bloke, and a great benchmark to aim for. Im getting there. I dont for one minute believe that The Inquisitr is pumping more traffic than Centernetworks, my guess is if I was doing half Id be lucky, but its still really rather cool to have a chart that says Im competitive with Allen. Now I just need some more links to improve the Technorati rank where Im 9023 to Allens 1456. Enough self indulgencemust go back to working harder
june 2008
Obama, McCain Debate Via Twitter
Silicon Alley Insider has the details: "Want to know what Barack Obama thinks about net neutrality? John McCain's views on white space spectrum? Good luck learning about that during any of this fall's official debates. But we're reasonably sure these and other issues will come up via a semi-formal debate the two campaigns are starting up today -- via Twitter."
from google
june 2008
Redesigns and office pics
The facelift continues! Pickled Onion rolled out newly designed versions of his world famous articles site and our network status page. We think you’ll find them more inline with the main site’s look and feel.

In the last podcast, we mentioned our new office and getting some pictures online. Shame on me for taking so long, but we now have a Slicehost Flickr account with a sampling of our new digs. It’s not quite finished, but we’re getting there!
from google
june 2008
Word clouds
It's a different way of looking at text: Wordle, a new (and addictive) Web-based tool, turns any text into a word cloud (via TEDblog). Here is the Wordle version of my recent Wall Street Journal article about the Solar Impulse project:

Put in a list of tags (in this case, my del.icio.us tags) and here is the result:

And the lyrics of John Lennon's "Imagine" produce this:
from google
june 2008
It Gets Worse: Joshua Schachter Leaving Yahoo
We just got confirmation from Joshua Schachter, the founder of delicious, that he has decided to resign from Yahoo!. Mike Arrington just spoke to him and he said that the recent news coming out of Yahoo! pressed his decision to leave now. Joshua also said that the decision was made today, and that he has no future plans but will instead join the gloriously unemployed.
june 2008
Murdoch: Digital Could Make Up 75 Percent Of Dow Jones Revs
Dow Jones gets about half of its revenues from its digital operations right now, and within a few short years, News Corp (NYSE: NWS). CEO Rupert Murdoch expects his subsidiary to receive 75 percent of its revs from its online business. Reuters reported Murdoch's remarks from the Cannes Lions 2008 international advertising festival, where he was joined by News Corp. COO Peter Chernin. He added that he wasn't solely referring to The Wall St. Journal, but the other DJ properties, which include its Newswires as well as financial pubs like Barron's and Marketwatch. Asked about what's surprised him since taking over the company last fall, Murdoch said he didn't expect "how cooperative the vast majority of journalists have been."


WSJ Makes More Editorial Leadership Changes; Creates Central News Desk
@ D6: Murdoch On WSJ: We Can Charge A Lot More; Looked At Bebo For $100M

Check out the best business jobs in digital media. Go here for paidContent.org Job Board.
june 2008
NginX Upgraded In Place
NginX 0.7.2 is now available. I was running an ancient version, 0.7.1 (just kidding).

So, I downloaded and built 0.7.2. Then I followed the instructions at the bottom of this page, which explain how to upgrade on the fly. It’s even cooler than just not losing any ongoing connections (which would be cool enough!). It also can be rolled back just as easily, if the new server proves to be faulty.

This is just too cool! Anyway, welcome NginX 0.7.2, RIP NginX 0.7.1.

Tags: Computers, NginX

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from google
june 2008
72Photos Offers a New, Sleek Alternative to Flickr
For those that are hedging their bets by setting up shop elsewhere, the photo sharing web site called 72Photos is hoping to attract their interest by creating the next gen flickr. The site isn't brand-new, but they've been adding and perfecting their feature set since their initial launch last year when they were known as "XMG Image."
june 2008
First Look: TimesPeople Adds Social Layer To NYTimes.com
I've spent some time off and on today with the latest tool from NYTimes.com: TimesPeople, a Firefox add-on that functions as a combo recommendation engine and low-frills social network. The add-on is part of the beta phase: NYTimes.com promises that it will be "baked into the site" for the 1.0 launch. For now, it works like this: log in as a registered NYTimes.com user, pick a display name and location, add people to your network by searching the TimesPeople database or by letting TimesPeople load contacts from other networks (the only option right now is GMail), start recommending. It's not just about NYT articlesTimesPeople members can share ratings (hotels, movies, restaurants), reviews, and comments. The feed also can be sent to Facebook pages. The site's CTO Marc Frons describes it "as an example of opening up our site as a place for

our engaged community of readers to convene."

If NYTimes.com had added TimesPeople a couple of years ago, I might have been wowed. Instead, it's more like whelmed. Pages with TimesPeople enabled take longer to load and provide less real estate for actual news. (On the other hand, at least the toolbar is only visible when I'm on NYTimes.com.) The idea of claiming people as "My People" whether or not you even know them is a little off-putting. Still, it's another sign of the willingness to experiment. If it winds up only limited to people trying to follow what Times staffers are doingand those staffers actually keep updating, that's probably the lowest form of engagement. But if the service keeps evolving andbig "if" comingif even a small percentage of readers become users by creating NYTimes.com-based networks of their own, the potential is significant. In the meantime, if you're looking for me, try sdkstl.

Video embedded below is of CNET (NSDQ: CNET) News.com's Caroline McCarthy interviewing two NYTimes.com software engineers, courtesy of CNET and Beet.tv:


NYTCo: Focused On Cost Cuts, Digital Growth, And Maybe A Prudent Acquisition
The Future Of New York Times, In Situ
Goldman Internet: NYTCo.'s Nisenholtz: The Rise Of Social Nets Squeezing Prices
New York Times Launching Its Mobile-To-PC Content Sharing Service

Our mobile application for Blackberry and other Smartphones brings you the latest headlines when you're on the go. Go here to download.
june 2008
MarsEdit 2.1.4 available
Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software has posted MarsEdit 2.1.4. The version includes a new dock menu item for easily starting a new post, adds better Picasa support for Blogger users, and fixes some other minor issues.
june 2008
NYT's TimesPeople Social Network: Another Good Idea From The Times
The latest New York Times (NYT) digital feature: TimesPeople, a social network for Times users. Good news: You'd have to look pretty hard to find similarities between it and Facebook or MySpace.

In its current, beta form, TimesPeople is mostly a few features tucked into a Firefox browser tool bar -- not the bloated set of messaging features and status updates that you'd find on most social networks. Think of it as a personalized edition of the "most e-mailed stories" list, plus comments from people you know. You can also display stories you've shared on your Facebook profile; no word on Friendfeed or Delicious integration yet.

Future versions won't require Firefox; we take that to mean that the features will be built into the NYT Web site and won't require a separate plugin. Either way, we appreciate that it's not flashy or gimmicky; it fits well with the rest of the Times' image.

Will TimesPeople bring in new readers? Probably not many. But it could get people to stay on the site longer by giving them a list of stories that their friends have recommended, which they might not have found on their own.

TimesPeople is the latest in a string of good digital add-ons by the NYT - most recently, they introduced TimesMachine, an ad-supported archive of papers from 1851-1922, and allowed users to read stories via text message.

Update: The NYT's Derek Gottfrid points out in comments that TimesPeople members will have RSS feeds of their activity, which can feed into FriendFeed.
june 2008
English soccer pros to play Minnesota Thunder
The Minnesota Thunder soccer team officials announced today the club will play an English professional team for the first time. The Thunder will play the Burnley Football Club at the National Sports Center on July 15th.
june 2008
Videos Live Fast, Die Young On Web
Want to make a splash with your Internet video? Better do it fast: Web clips attract their peak audiences a mere three days after they're uploaded.

That's one finding from a study of more than 10,916 videos conducted by Web video and analytics firm TubeMogul, which looked at the popularity of videos in the first three months of their lives. The big picture: The study's results show that the life cycle of Web video follows a fairly rigid, predictable pattern. After two weeks, video audiences settle into a long, shallow tail, illustrated by the graph below.

For the purposes of the study, Tubemogul included only videos that had at least 1,000 views. Over that threshhold, the videos were selected at random and included some that got significant promotion on YouTube and other sites, as well as a few that, at some point, "went viral." Those videos showed up as outliers, like the video represented by the '+' on day 36 in the graph below.

What does this mean? Well, the notion that YouTube is full of evergreen content that can break at some point, strike a nerve and go viral, is just that-- a notion. Most video follows such a predictable pattern that their total audience can be estimated from number of views and time elapsed soon after a video is uploaded to the web.

Give it a try: Tubemogul used its study to create a views calculator (bottom of page) to predict the ultimate total number of views that a video will receive in a year. That's how we know this "viral video," added June 6, will have 50,675 cumulative views by June 6, 2009:
june 2008
72photos: ProtoScripty Photo Sharing Site
XMG Networks has thrown their hat into the on-line photo sharing ring with the launch of 72photos, an Ajax-heavy site which looks at least partially inspired by Apples iPhoto 08-generated web galleries.
june 2008
LinkedIn Raised Its Big Round; $53 Million From Bain and Others; $1 Billion Valuation
LinkedIn has closed its big round, which it had been working on for a while now in the midst of fielding some acquisition offers from strategics: it has received $53 million in funding, primarily from Bain Capital Ventures, the Boston-based PE firm. Other investors in the round include Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners.

The investors received a combined 5 percent stake in Mountain View-based LinkedIn, and the new financing round values the company at $1 billion, NYT reports, which is certainly heady, but at least for a company which has revenues and a clearer business path than others. The company has been on the IPO-watch list for a while now, but this financing probably delays it, and then the public markets being what they are, waiting out with this 'nuclear winter' round makes sense.

This brings the total money raised by the company to over $80 million and it has said it would have revenue of $100 million for 2008. LinkedIn, which says it is already profitable, will use the investment to make acquisitions and expand its overseas operations. The NYT story also breaks down in more details the revenue sources for the company: LinkedIn will get only a quarter of its projected $100 million in revenue this year from ads; part of it is also the premium subscription, which let users directly contact any other user; and then the third source of revenue is recruitment tools that companies can use to find passive job seekers. Also, the service is adding company groups beyond its current focus on individual business user: One new product, Company Groups, automatically gathers all the employees from a company who use LinkedIn into a single, private forum.

BW: CEO Dan Nye, whose brother, Benjamin, is a partner at Bain ("That was convenient in terms of an introduction," he notes), says LinkedIn didn't need the funds for day-to-day operations. In fact, the company hasn't yet spent a $12.8 million investment it took in January, 2007

Interesting that the company investors did a video about this investment, embedded below (a delicious skewering of the video, by Connie Loizos, here):

Pic courtesy: tychay .


LinkedIn Close To Its 'Nuclear Winter' Round?
LinkedIn: Yes, We Had M&A Talks
Updated: LinkedIn CEO Coy On Sale Rumors; $1 Billion Not Enough

Check out the best business jobs in digital media. Go here for paidContent.org Job Board.
june 2008
Flickr Founders Leave Yahoo
Flickr, one of the few acquisitions that Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) has not messed up, at least on the product side, is now seeing the two co-founders leave: the husband-and-wife team of Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake are leaving the company, joining the mass exec exodus happening at the beleaguered company, reports TC. Fake left last Friday, while Butterfield will leave on July 12. Kakul Srivastava, the director of product management for Flickr, will take over Stewart's role as GM of Flickr. The two were driving a lot of product innovation within the company and Fake was leading the community/social tools development at Yahoo...then again, they lasted much longer that many other founders brought in by Yahoo, or even Google.

ContentNext's EconCeleb Seminar examines what drives the economics of celebrity content. July 23, 2008 at the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood. Learn more.
june 2008
Google App Engine Goes Down and Stays Down
Google App Engine, which launched in April to compete with Amazons web services unit, has been having major problems over the last day. Currently, the application directory and, more importantly, all third party applications (heres our test application), are offline. Developers cannot even log in to the management console.
june 2008
Tiny URLs based on pk
Ive been wanting to make a short url for Pownce permalink pages for an upcoming project. Pownce note permalink pages on the website currently look like this: http://pownce.com/leahculver/notes/2477365/

The generic form is: http://pownce.com/<sender username>/note/<note id>/

While these URLs are pretty descriptive and simple, theyre also a bit long. The note id is really the only piece of information we need from the URL, the sender username is just fluff. Id like to have an alternate URL that is quite a lot shorter that redirects to the final (longer) URL.

I think the following set of characters look pretty good in URLs:
Basically, 0-9a-zA-Z minus the confusing characters: 01loIO.

Now, its fairly simple to convert a base 10 note id to this strange base 56 set assuming that the character order (digit-lower-upper) is maintained. The (very freshman-like) code is here.

The result is something like http://pownce.com/~g7YF/ will redirect to http://pownce.com/leahculver/notes/2477365/

This works very well for finding a note page based off a note id. Its also super handy for making a generic tiny-urlizing service. The only data that needs to be stored is the real URL and a numerical id - the unique primary key for the database row! I have no desire to run a tiny-urlizing service, but this would probably be how Id do it.

Note: Pownce user profile pages are in the form http://pownce.com/<username>/ so a non-username character, such as ~ can signify that this is a note permalink as oppose to a profile page. I like the tilde, its got style a bit confusing for the Unix folks though. Since its the code isnt in production yet, other character suggestions are welcome.
june 2008
Random Musings » NginX Reporting for Duty
Hadar's writeup on switching wordpress to nginx
june 2008
Steve Yegge on Server Side JavaScript
Steve does his thing, and goes in glorious directions, such as how we end up with a scriptable back end, how the JVM matters as a host for these things, SchemeScript, how defineProperty gets around the for .. in issues, Who likes to write their own giant deterministic finite automata to do string matching? Heh.
june 2008
Hydra: Give Your Photos Range
Recently, one passion of mine that has really taken over my spare time is photography. I have been interested in photography for some time now, but earlier this year I really stepped it up by purchasing a DSLR (a Nikon D40 to be exact). I am the type of person who learns by doing, so I purchased this camera not knowing what Aperture, Shutter Speed or what an 18-55mm lens was. These are all terms that I have learned since my purchase, but one term that I only recently started to research is HDR.

HDR means High Dynamic Range, and in photography, is when you combine multiple images with different exposures to create one master image (For examples of HDR images, check out the HDR group on Flickr). When I started to look for software that would help me create HDR images of my own, the one that seemed to come up the most was Photomatix. Unfortunately, I didnt have $99 to spend on it. One day looking through an issue of Macworld, I saw a program called Hydra, which did the same thing as Photomatix, but at a more affordable price.

To get started with Hydra, all you need is your 2 or more images you want combined. Hydra supports all RAW formats that Aperture does (outlined here). Hydra is split up into 2 windows, the first where the photos are displayed, and the second an inspector window.

Creating an HDR image with Hydra can be broken up into three steps. Importing the images to be combined, aligning those images, and then the final merge.

To import photos into Hydra, you can drag and drop them onto the Hydra window, open them from a folder, or use the media browser to find your images in iPhoto or Aperture.

The next step is aligning the images. The neat thing about Hydra, is that it claims you do not need a tripod when taking your images with different exposures. Hydra uses advanced aligning techniques to make sure that even if you didnt use a tripod, your images are perfectly aligned. You can align the images yourself, or have Hydra do it for you.

The last step, and the step that will affect the final outcome of your images the most, is the merging. There are two types of merging that you can do, each with their own options. 8-bit Blend takes 8-bit jpegs as input, and outputs an 8-bit image. You can adjust the smoothness of the blend, and how much of each image is used in the final output. HDR Merge allows you to take 8 or 16-bit images (RAW images) and outputs EXR. EXR carries much more information than even 16-bit images, and preserves every bit of dynamics.

Hydra also comes with an Aperture plugin when you download it, so you can create your HDR images right within Aperture. After you install the plug-in (move the plug-in file to ~/Library/Application Support/Aperture/Plug-Ins/. Create the folder if it is not already there), you just ned to select your image in Aperture, right-click, and select Edit With>Hydra. A box will pop up, and you will be able to edit and save your final HDR right within Aperture.

Now I am no expert at creating HDR images, but so far the results of my testing have been pretty neat. Hydra allows you to export your final image as a JPG, TIFF or EXR. You can pick up Hydra for $59.95 from Creaceed software.

What are your favorite examples of HDR images?
june 2008
Technorati Confirms New Financing; New Business Focus Coming
Blog search engine Technorati, which was simultaneously pitching a sale through Montgomery & Co. as well as a new venture round, raised $7.5 million in a fourth round of financing according to a regulatory filing. Investors include Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mobius Venture Capital and FG Incubation.

I spoke with Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra this evening, who confirms that a venture round has been closed and says that the company will make an announcement next week that includes more information.

Its also clear that the company is refocusing its business. We believe they are launching a blogger-focused advertising network based on documents we published in February. The company has, however, considered other strategies recently, including a blog rollup. Well know more next week.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
june 2008
Technorati Raises $7.5 Million, Crashes
Technorati, the once-promising, but has-been blog search engine, has raised $7.5 million of a $10 million Series D round, PE Hub reports, citing a regulatory filing. Returning to invest more: Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mobius Venture Capital, and FG Incubation, which runs Technorati Japan. Technorati has raised $30 million to date, according to PE Hub.

We must not be the only ones visiting Technorati for the first time in years today. Twice in the last hour, we've been unable to load the homepage due to "backend issues."
june 2008
Capistrano 2.4.0
Capistrano 2.4.0 is now available. Capistrano is the deployment tool of choice for many Rails programmers, but can be used for much more, allowing you to automate remote tasks using a simple task-oriented framework in Ruby.

Install it via RubyGems:

gem install capistrano

You can read the entire release announcement on Jamis Bucks weblog.
june 2008
Celebrating the best in iPhone and Mac software development
Apple today celebrates the achievements of many innovative developers by revealing the winners of the Apple Design Awards 2008. The awards recognize technical excellence, innovation, and outstanding achievement in software development in seven categories. Take a look.
from google
june 2008
Facebook No Longer The Second Largest Social Network
It was sort of inevitable given Facebooks monster growth over the last few years, but April 2008 was the milestone: Facebook officially caught up to MySpace in terms of unique monthly worldwide visitors, according to data released by Comscore and shown above. Both services are attracting around 115 million people to their respective sites each month.

Most of Facebooks user growth, however, has been in international markets - MySpace is still dominates Facebook in the U.S. market, with 72 million monthly uniques. Facebook has 36 million monthly uniques, up from 23 million a year ago.

Facebook added 75 million monthly uniques over the last twelve month, but just 13 million of those visitors are located in the U.S. MySpace added 5 million U.S. uniques during that period - at this rate it will take 4+ years for Facebook to catch up to MySpace in the U.S. market.

Theres a real question about how valuable all these international users are from an advertising standpoint. Well be publishing our thoughts on that next week.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
june 2008
Hands-on with Mobile Twitterrific for Apple iPhone
Iconfactory's Craig Hockenberry has made no secret of the fact that he has been working on an iPhone version...
june 2008
Metallica "ear spanks" management, reinstates online reviews
Metallica demands that early reviews of six tracks from its new album be removed... after the band invites journalists to come listen to them. Update: the band "ear spanks" its management over the issue.
june 2008
AirPort Utility 5.3.2 available for Leopard
Apple has released AirPort Utility 5.3.2 for Leopard. According to the release notes, the package includes AirPort Base Station Update 2008-002, and applies general fixes and compatibility updates for AirPort Utility and AirPort Base Station Agent.
june 2008
Cell Phone Popcorn
I better start using a headset. Hat tip: NewTeeVee Station and Phil Black.
from google
june 2008
For the love of all things holy, will you filthy bloggers please stop doing this?
"Apple is to geeks what breasts are to men." That is the headline on this appalling article which belabors the analogy about breasts and Apple products and adds that "the press and bloggers have been `pussy-whipped' by Apple PRs team" and features the image (above) of boobs on an iPhone. I've blogged about this a lot in the past but I am not going to give up the crusade. Friends, it is wrong to objectify women in order to sell products or drive traffic to your Web site. So please stop doing it. I know most of you agree with me on this, and I know you also agree that the only way to stop these outrages is to keep calling attention to them, every time they happen. I know it's awful to look at it. It makes you sick. As it should. It does that to me too. But we must be strong. Thanks to dear reader Dianna for playing watchdog on this one.
june 2008
WSJ, IAC (Finally) Launch FiLife Personal Finance Site
As promised (several times), Dow Jones/News Corp and IAC have finally launched* FiLife, a personal finance portal/service site that's been more than a year in the making.
june 2008
Iconfactory prepares Twitterrific for the App Store
Our favorite little blue bird has been getting a lot of attention on the Apple site, thanks to its upcoming appearance in the new iPhone/iPod App Store. In their blog, Gedeon Maheux of the Iconfactory talks about the native version of Twitterrific for iPhone and iPod touch.
june 2008
OmniFocus for iPhone will be location-aware
Filed under: Software, WWDC, iPhone
Guy-I-wish-was-my-friend Merlin Mann writes at 43 Folders about OmniFocus for iPhone, a project he's involved with. Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the fact that OmniFocus will be location-aware.
OmniGroup says that by "using your location, OmniFocus can create a custom list of actions to complete nearby. Buying groceries? OmniFocus can show you the closest grocery store and create an instant shopping list."
Pretty sweet. OmniGroup expects that OmniFocus for iPhone will be available via the App Store around the launch date in early July.
june 2008
Paul Steiger's ProPublica Opens For (Non-Profit) Business
While his former colleagues at the Wall Street Journal deal with the reverb from News Corp's (NYSE: NWS) acquisition of Dow Jones, long-time WSJ managing editor Paul Steiger has been crafting a new journalism venture that went live today: ProPublica, "an independent, non-profit newsroom that will produce investigative journalism in the public interest." (Disclosure: Our colleague Elizabeth Osder was involved in the launch as internet media consultant.) The ambitious plan includes Steiger as editor-in-chief, president and CEO, Steve Engelberg as managing editor and roughly two dozen reporters, researchers and others in what is billed carefully as "we believe ... the largest such staff at any news organization in this country."

Set against the backdrop of the changing news emphasis at other publications and the budget cutting, ProPublica proposes to be a news source for other media outlets with plans that calls for offering its investigative reports as exclusives free of charge before publishing on its own site. The risk, of course, is that ProPublica, which plans to highlight other reporting as well, could become an excuse for publishers and editors not to support investigative reporting at their own outlets. ProPublica is funded by the Sandler Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, the JEHT Foundation, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
june 2008
Adium releases new beta version, now even more psychic
Adium has a sweet new beta version available this morning. If you don't automatically see 1.3b2 when you check for updates, then make sure you've enabled "Update to beta versions when available" under the General tab in the Preference pane.
june 2008
Don't tackle your own good news
When we launched the new Backpack, we were going to increase the prices across the board. It was a big overhaul and we felt the improvements were worth it.

But at the last minute, we changed our minds and decided to let old customers keep using Backpack the same way for the same price (or less).

Why? We didnt want the excitement of the new launch to be drowned out by customers upset by a rate hike. We feared the new Backpacks good vibes would get hijacked by pricing naysayers. So we took that possibility off the table.

The result: A decent number of people thanked us for grandfathering them at the same (or a lower) rate. But to most it was a non-story. And in this case, a non-story was a big win. It let the spotlight shine on the good news instead.

Lesson learned: Dont tackle your own good news. The blogosphere can be an unforgiving place. Take pains to eliminate any negative aspects that might overshadow a launch or other good news.
june 2008
This Is A Mistake
Image via Wikipedia

I don't post as much about music and digital technology as I used to. I have come to the conclusion that most artists and their managers get it these days. And the ones who don't are a lost cause. So better to move on and start thinking and writing about something else.

But this post by Bob Lefsetz on AC/DC doing an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart was too good to pass up. Here are some choice lines by Bob on the subject:
To limit AC/DC sales exclusively to Wal-Mart is akin to limiting bubblegum sales to Tiffany.
AC/DC is the biggest band still alive in the minds of teenagers.
But AC/DC cares not a whit about all this, about the new generation.
Its like theyre having a fire sale, trying to get everybodys dough
one last time. They dont understand what they MEAN TO PEOPLE!
What kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where a band wont let
its fans buy its record? One where the only thing that matters is
money? Where music takes not even a back seat, but rides in the trunk?
The closest Wal-Mart to me is almost twenty miles away! Assuming
theres no traffic, thats an eight dollar fuel surcharge on the disc.
But at least Ive got wheels Kids, home from school, music addicts,
but without their drivers licenses, are inured to getting their music
online. And if you wont sell it track by track, theyll steal it that
way. If you dont know this, youre still living in the twentieth
century, still waiting for Napster to come along and blow your mind.

My son Josh loves AC/DC but if it's not on iTunes, it's not going to get on his iPod. Clearly AC/DC and/or their manager is in the category of clueless.
june 2008
Adobe Lightroom Exchange
When you look for plugins and addons to Adobe products, most users would be encouraged to go to the Adobe Exchange site. This is where developers would add and advertise their product, be it free or commercial. Up until recently this wasn’t possible for Lightroom users, but now we finally have a Lightroom Exchange. The featured product there currently is SlideShowPro for Lightroom, but there are many others there from such well known figures ase Matthew Campagna and Jeffrey Friedl. As a user, you should check out what’s available. As a developer you should be adding your product to the list. I know I will be.
from google
june 2008
How To Avoid Creating These Terrible Favicons
Favicons, those 16X16 ico files which represent a particular URL have been known to be pretty, but there are some favicons out on the web that are just plain awful. Despite their size, a good favicon helps out your readers in a number of ways. For instance, if you use FireFox and have a number of tabs opened, each tab displays the favicon of the website that tab has loaded. Also, a favicon that has been aesthetically designed will give your site a better chance of being seen when mixed in with a ton of other websites. Not to mention, a great favicon would inspire other designers as well as possibly having your site featured in a post which discussed the best designed icons.
june 2008
Game Over. Hulu Wins. They Have The Daily Show. And Colbert.
Ok, Ive been ridiculously hard on Hulu from the beginning. But that ends. Today.

Because Hulu is now streaming full episodes of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, from Comedy Central. No more Tivo. No more dealing with BitTorrent. I can just log in and watch the show in 480p, and that makes me very, very happy.

I will never again refer to Hulu as Clown Co. Or mention that Hulu means cease & desist in Swahili. And I will stop making fun of them for stealing Googles mission statement and planning to sell panty hose.

Hell, Ill even let the occasional puff piece in Fortune go by without comment.

Hulu is also adding a few shows from PBS later this month, including NOVA, Carrier, Scientific American Frontiers, and Wired Science. Frankly, I couldnt care less. Ill be watching the Daily Show.

Crunch Network: CrunchGear drool over the sexiest new gadgets and hardware.
june 2008
MacHeist bundle extended with VectorDesigner, more
Filed under: Software
In a co-promote with MacRumors Live's coverage of today's little event out San Francisco way, the MacHeist team has spiced up its 12-application retail bundle with a few new additions: VectorDesigner, SoundStudio (yet to be unlocked) and TextExpander. Add those to the original suite and you've still got a great deal at $49, especially for switchers or those new to the shareware universe. As always, a significant portion of your purchase price on the MacHeist bundle goes to support worthy charities (and another portion goes to support thirsty developers).As a side bonus for those who are ordering the bundle before 10 am Pacific time tomorrow (24 hours after the start of the keynote), there's a lucky 15th app: VoodooPad. If you're up for it, check out the bundle tomorrow morning and you might find something extra in your Mac stocking.Read
june 2008
NginX Reporting for Duty
Last week, my friend Jamie Thingelstad tweeted from the Rails Conference that he was considering switching to NginX (I’ll probably drop the caps starting now) after sitting in on a session about it.
from google
june 2008
Join TUAW on IRC
Filed under: WWDC
There is nothing better than sharing the joy of a Steve Jobs Keynote with fellow Apple fans. That's why several of TUAW's bloggers (myself included) are hanging out in the tuawrocks room in IRC (the server is: irc.freenode.net, channel is 'tuawrocks'). Join us to chat about what we hope to see, the live coverage, and the aftermath.If you're looking for a good OS X IRC client give Colloquy a try.Permalink
june 2008
Musings Over Morning Coffee
So let's talk a little bit about The Speech. No, no, not that speech. We spent the weekend talking about that. I am talking about this speech (Media reviews: "Put McCain's speech against Obama's - and this was a wipe-out.").
june 2008
Rumor: Mac Fusion - a new developer Mac
Filed under: Rumors, Apple
Gallery: Mac Fusion

On WWDC Eve, we at TUAW are hard at work keeping an eye out for the unknown and unexpected. We just received a tip showing what appears to be the Mac Nano computer that we've all wanted -- and it looks to be aimed towards the developer crowd. The pictures appear to show a Mac geared towards developers on Windows and Linux systems. "Leave Windows behind. Build your Apps for OS X" states the title. While we are extremely cautious about rumors like these right before WWDC, we did have a rumor that a "new Mac" or at least an updated Mac might be released.Thanks Jackie!Read
june 2008
Bush's Saturday Radio Address
Congress will soon vote on legislation to fund our troops serving on the front lines of the war on terror.
...there is no reason for further delay...the bill must not exceed the reasonable and responsible funding levels I have requested... the time has come for them to support our troops in harm's way...Our men and women in uniform and their families deserve better than this...our troops are taking on dangerous missions with skill and determination...the men and women of our Armed Forces risk their lives to make sure their fellow citizens are safer...They've earned the respect of all Americans...Congress should pass a responsible funding bill that gives our men and women in uniform the resources they need -- and the support they have earned.
june 2008
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience, and Micheal Lopez, Web DesignerYou may have noticed that Google has a new favicon, the small icon you see in your browser next to the URL or in your bookmarks list. Some people have wondered why we changed our favicon -- after all, we hadn't in 8.5 years(!). The reason is that we wanted to develop a set of icons that would scale better to some new platforms like the iPhone and other mobile devices. So the new favicon is one of those, but we've also developed a group of logo-based icons that all hang together as a unified set. Here's the full set:The design process we went through was rigorous and interesting, so we thought we would share more of it here. We tried in total more than 300 permutations. It was much harder than we thought at first. We wanted something distinctive and noticeable, so we aimed toward transparency or semi-transparency, so the image would have a more distinctive noticeable shape than just a block. We wanted something that embraced the colorfulness of the logo, yet wouldn't date itself. Since we don't really have a symbol that means Google, we felt it best to work with the logo and letters within it. Our design team tried literally hundreds of approaches. You can see some of our explorations here.By no means is the one you're seeing our favicon final; it was a first step to a moreunified set of icons. However, we really value feedback from users and want to hear your ideas that we may have missed. If you have your own notions about the Google favicon, please send them to us. We'll do our best to work them in, and maybe your idea will be the one that people see billions of times per day.
june 2008
Why Amazon Went Down, and Why It Matters
Amazon.coms U.S. retail site became unavailable around 10:25 AM PST, and now appears to be back up. Amazons not naming names all that director of strategic communications Craig Berman would say was that: Amazons systems are very complex and on rare occasions, despite our best efforts, they may experience problems. Berman did confirm, however, that neither Amazon Web Services nor international sites were affected. So what happened? Lets look at the facts. Traffic to https://www.amazon.com was getting there. So DNS was configured properly to send traffic to Amazons data centers. Global server load balancing (GSLB) is the first line of defense when a data center goes off the air. Either GSLB didnt detect that the main data center was down, or there was no spare to which it could send visitors. When traffic hit the data center, the load balancer wasnt redirecting it. This is the second line of defense, designed to catch visitors who werent sent elsewhere by GSLB. If some of the servers died, the load balancer should have taken them out of rotation. Either it didnt detect the error, or all the servers were out. This is the third line of defense. Most companies have an apology page that the load balancer serves when all servers are down. This is the fourth line of defense, and it didnt work either. The HTTP 1.1 message users saw shows something that speaks HTTP was on the other end. So this probably wasnt a router or firewall. This sort of thing is usually caused by a misconfigured HTTP service on the load balancer. But that would happen late at night, be detected, and rolled back. It could also happen from a content delivery network (CDN) not retrieving the home page properly. So my moneys on an AFE or CDN problem. But as Berman notes, Amazons store is a complex application and much of their infrastructure doesnt follow normal data center design. So only time (and hopefully Amazon) will tell. Site operators can learn from this: Look into GSLB, and make sure you have geographically distributed data centers (possibly through AWS Availability Zones.) Its another sign we cant take operations for granted, even in the cloud.
june 2008
Finding the natural size for your company
Popular perception holds that companies must always be growing or theyre dying. Theres either up or down, win or lose, success or failure. I think thats a harmful dichotomy that leads to the death of perfectly viable companies in their quest for constant growth.

Not all companies are meant to have thousands of employees or a billion-dollar market cap. Some companies are meant to be just 10 people or 5 people or just one guy. Thats what their product, niche, or technique is capable of sustaining and theres absolutely no shame in that. Finding your natural size should be a triumph, not a capitulation.

We havent found the natural size for 37signals yet, but I can tell you that its not a thousand people. Its highly unlike to be a hundred. Right now its 10 and its been in that vicinity for quite some time. Our revenues have been more than doubling every year since the beginning, but that probably wont last forever either. Thats okay too!

Chasing growth as an end in itself makes it all too easy to give up optimizing for today: When we break 5 million dollars, well start working less, when were 50 people, well start giving more back to open source. Bah. Growth begets growth and youll end up chasing even bigger numbers and never have the time to do what you really want.

Dont let growth be your primary yardstick of success. You only get to celebrate breaking 5 million dollars in revenue once, taking Fridays off will make every single week a better one. Stop making excuses for why you cant do this or that in the name of growth. Just Do It.
june 2008
Gmail Labs: A Public Stage for Googlers 20% Time
Google invited members of the press to its main campus in Mountain View today to unveil Gmail Labs.

Gmail Labs is essentially a stage for Google employees to develop new features for Gmail under the public eye. Starting at 6pm PT tonight, all Gmail users in the US and UK will see a new tab in the settings area called Labs. The tab will show a selection of beta features, such as Pictures in Chat, which (unsurprisingly) puts portraits in chat sessions, and Mouse Gestures, which allows you to navigate Gmail using mouse gestures.

After testing these features, users will be able to submit feedback directly to the developers themselves. Google will decide to incorporate some of these features into Gmail as default enhancements based on the feedback and total usage of each. This makes potential beta testers out of the millions of Gmail users out there (although not all Gmail features under development will go through Labs first).

Gmail product manager Keith Coleman says that any Google employee can add their creations to this tab once they go through a simple code check. Pretty much any idea will fly, even recreating the game Snake within Gmail, or creating a fun feature that locks users out from Gmail for 15 minutes so they can take a break. Developers are given full access to the entire Gmail code base, so they can modify almost anything (although Coleman avoided the question of whether a feature could be developed that removed ads).

Google isnt saying when they might open the development environment up to the public, but they have shown interest in doing so eventually. The company has encouraged internal development for Gmail by holding a 2-day hack-a-thon, and of course, Googlers are encouraged to use 20% of their time on projects unrelated to their main positions.

Google has traditionally tested feature additions to Gmail within the company by making them available first to other employees. This is the first time theyve opened the testing process and brought in outsiders on such a large scale (however, they have held small-scale usability tests with visitors).

Its yet to be seen whether Gmail Labs will evolve into a more sophisticated development environment, perhaps one that integrates Open Social and other social networking standards. Coleman says this Open Social is something that has been discussed internally, but no announcements regarding its integration are being made now.

Another Gmail PM, Todd Jackson, was also present at the event. See our video interview with Todd here.

Here are some screenshots of the Gmail Labs features that will soon be available:

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because its time for you to find a new Job2.0
june 2008
Freeware Find: IceClean 3.0b
A lot of Mac users don't want to pull up Terminal and type arcane text into the command line, so MacDentro has a GUI front end that you can use to run those commands and keep your Mac cruisin'. IceClean, now at version 3.0.6 has menus for OS X Maintenance, Cleanup, Security and Network, and Utilities, all of which are packed with menu choices or keyboard shortcut equivalents that make mundane maintenance chores simple to perform.
june 2008
Web designers should do their own HTML/CSS
The web is a world of constraints, the materials of HTML and CSS flex and give in ways that encourage particular styles. And being able to understand and bend within that scope is what makes a design feel native. Designers who work directly with the materials rather than through simulated environments like Photoshop are at a distinct advantage for making that happen.
from google
june 2008
Rumor: Mac OS X 10.5.4 to be released 2nd week in June?
Filed under: OS, Rumors There's action on the Leopard update front. We've been told by reliable sources that the next point release of Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5.4) will be released on June 12th. This update will include the usual bug fixes as well as support for the to-be-announced Mobile Me service.In addition, we have reason to believe that this update will also include support for a new piece of Apple hardware. What is this mysterious computer? We have no idea, but we're hoping all will be revealed during WWDC.Read
june 2008
CBS Poll: Bush at 25%; Obama Beats McCain By 6
Let's remember what this November election is about: we've nominated our guy, and they've got the guy with the 100% Bush-friendly voting record in 2008 (95% in 2007).
june 2008
Document Collaboration in Real-Time with SubEthaEdit
Creating and editing documents has, understandably, been a fairly lonely task for bloggers. Fortunately, SubEthaEdit by The Coding Monkeys changes all that by giving users the power to collaborate instantaneously. Multiple people can create and edit content in real-time, and beyond being fun, it is extremely useful as well.
june 2008
Any joy in the Zune division?
It has arrived. The limited-edition (500-only) Joy Division Zune, carrying artwork derived from Factory Records design guru, Peter Savilles, Unknown Pleasures.
june 2008
Report: Mac OS X 10.6 code-named Snow Leopard and will be Intel-only
The next version of Mac OS X is code-named 'Snow Leopard,' and will indeed be Intel-only...
june 2008
Launch: Announcing the new 37signals Affiliate Program (with recurring income)
We've got a very exciting announcement today. We're launching a new 37signals Affiliate Program. This one pays cash and there's a twist we think you'll really like. Read all about it at Signal vs. Noise.
june 2008
Regarding RailsConf 2008
I had a great time at RailsConf this year. While I thought the talks were high quality, the highlight for me is getting to spend time meeting and talking to “Internet” friends I might only get to see once a year.

I thought the focus of DHH’s keynote was great. I’m pleased to see him taking just this kind of approach for his talks. For lack of a better (and less corporate) title, I tend to think of David as the “CEO of Rails,” and I think elevating his talk to this level really works. It’s what we, as a community, should be hearing from him.

Entrepreneurs on Rails

I was privileged to be able to offer a talk again this year, and I was astounded by the number of people who came to hear it. Thanks to all of you! I’m grateful to the conference organizers, Chad, Shirley, and everybody else for accepting my talk, something that fell a bit outside of the normal range of topics for a technology conference.

I hope that it was entertaining and informative to all of those who attended, and I’m really sorry that I wasn’t able to give the talk again on Sunday for the hundreds (!) of you who were kicked out by the Fire Marshall, or who missed it entirely because of the lack of space.

You can download the slides for the talk in PDF format here.

Pictures and Coffee

I’d also like to say thanks to my good friend James Duncan Davidson for taking such cool photos of the conference, and for kidnapping me to Stumptown for coffee and Saint Cupcake for a unique Portland dessert.

Speaking of Portland

I like Portland. It’s a cool city with a climate I enjoy, great food, and the best Zen garden outside of Japan. Unfortunately for me, getting there and back is a brutal business: 12+ hours of tedious, time consuming, and punishing travel. This means I get to spend less time than I’d like, because I have to spend so much time getting there and back. Portland is just about the furthest I can travel from home and still be in the continental United States. Getting to Europe is easier. Don’t get me wrong – it’s worth it, but it takes its toll on this kid from the southeast.

I’m psyched that next year a new venue (Las Vegas?) is being considered. Although I’ve never been there before, don’t gamble, and don’t eat most of the food Vegas is known for, anything a bit more central is a boon for the rest of us.

Next Up

After my talk, many people asked me if I would provide some examples of contracts, NDAs, Product Outlines, and the other documents I mentioned. I do plan on doing this soon, and I’ve got some pretty cool things along these lines planned for for the very near future.

Thanks again, please stay tuned.
from google
june 2008
10k slices and more
Slicehost's 2 year anniversary is approaching and it's been a wild ride. We are proud of how much we've grown and the incredible community that has sprung up around our service. Recently we passed the 10,000 slice milestone and decided to use the opportunity to share some interesting metrics.

High level stats

Active Slices >10,000
Raw Storage >600TB
Active Customers >8,500
60% US, 40% International from 92 countries
16,500 domains hosted

SliceManager stats (last 6 months):

12,190 Slice rebuilds
293,370 Slice backups taken
2,697 Slice resizes performed
1,088 Slice root password resets
3,202 Support tickets answered
14,994 SliceManager requested reboots

Community stats:

Facebook group >500 members
Freenode IRC channel 2,239 unique nicks since inception
23,000 unique visitors per month to articles.slicehost.com
155,000 page views per month at articles.slicehost.com
11,140 forum comments
828 twitter followers
from google
june 2008
RailsConf in 36 minutes
Gregg Pollack has made a great video with interviews of speakers and attendants at RailsConf as a way of giving people who werent there a taste of what it was like. The result is 36 minutes of video and really worth watching. Check it out.
june 2008
At long last, real-time stock quotes are here
Posted by Matthew Simmons, Market Data Gnome, and Katie Jacobs Stanton, Principal, New Business DevelopmentWe're very excited to tell you that real-time quotes on NASDAQ securities are now available on Google Finance. This is an important (and way overdue) development for everyone who consumes financial information. Historically, real-time stock data was not freely and widely accessible. Either buried behind subscription walls or brokerage sites, consumers typically had to live with 15 or 20 minute price delays. In the world of finance, time is indeed money, and it's critical to have timely and accurate data.Providing free real-time stock quotes is consistent with our mission, and we'll continue to work hard to offer tools, features and more real-time data so investors can make informed and timely financial decisions.
june 2008
A Reason To Visit CNBC's Web Site: Real-Time NASDAQ Quotes
Finally, one reason to care about CNBC on the Web: real-time NASDAQ stock quotes. The network has started providing real-time quotes by subscribing to a new service from NASDAQ, "Nasdaq Last Sale," launched this morning. CNBC has long had real-time stock quotes on TV, but quotes were delayed 20 minutes on the Web, as they are on most free Web sites. CNBC says they'll also provide the quotes on its service for mobile phones.
june 2008
Goodbye Litespeed, hello Nginx, says Wordpress.com « Blue Screen Of Duds
Interesting that WordPress, entirely a PHP deal, has switched to nginx.
from twitter
may 2008
HOWTO: Install WordPress on Nginx
Nice step-by-step directions on running WordPress with Nginx.
may 2008
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