Tag - blogging

I need to talk to you about computers

The bet is roughly that the future of computing:

1. has a UI model based on direct manipulation of data objects

2. completely hides the filesystem from the user

3. favors ease of use and reduction of complexity over absolute flexibility

4. favors benefit to the end-user rather than the developer or other vendors

5. lives atop built-to-specific-purpose native applications and universally available web apps

via stevenf.com – I need to talk to you about computers. I’ve been….

‘Controlled Serendipity’ Liberates the Web

We are no longer just consumers of content, we have become curators of it too.

If someone approached me even five years ago and explained that one day in the near future I would be filtering, collecting and sharing content for thousands of perfect strangers to read — and doing it for free — I would have responded with a pretty perplexed look. Yet today I can’t imagine living in a world where I don’t filter, collect and share.

via ‘Controlled Serendipity’ Liberates the Web – Bits Blog – NYTimes.com.

Amazon quietly lets publishers remove DRM from Kindle ebooks » Nieman Journalism Lab

Without a formal announcement, Amazon.com has started allowing authors to publish their ebooks for the Kindle without digital rights management (DRM), the technology that limits how consumers can use the ebooks they’ve bought.

The change appears to have gone in effect around Jan. 15, when a few Kindle publishers spotted changes in Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. A new option gave publishers the choice to “not enable digital rights management.” A science-fiction author named Joseph Rhea appears to have been the first to notice the change. On Jan. 15, Amazon announced an expansion of its Digital Text Platform to non-U.S. authors, but made no mention of DRM changes.

via Amazon quietly lets publishers remove DRM from Kindle ebooks » Nieman Journalism Lab.

Report: Apple tablet is a shared media device | Circuit Breaker – CNET News

On Wednesday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple's newest gadget could be a hub for all kinds of media: magazines, newspapers, books, text books, music, games, and video. All of that has been speculated about before, but the target demographic and the primary use for the device–which falls somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop–has been more of a mystery. Now it seems we’re starting to have a clearer picture: the device has been purposely designed to be shared between members of a household as easily as possible, according to one of the Journal’s unnamed sources.

via Report: Apple tablet is a shared media device | Circuit Breaker – CNET News.

Education | High-tech electives go online for teens

Washington state high-school students can now opt out of certain traditional elective classes at their schools, instead taking a limited number of online courses in game design, 3-D animation, video production and other technology subjects.

The for-credit classes, free to most students, supplement normal core courses, allowing students to stay enrolled in their high schools while taking some elective classes their schools do not offer.

It's all possible through a new partnership, announced earlier this month, between the White Salmon Valley School District and Giant Campus, a national online technology-education company.

via Education | High-tech electives go online for teens | Seattle Times Newspaper.

Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder

We have analyzed data for 13 countries, for business buyers, and even for voters. My colleagues and I have done profiles for over a hundred clients, profiling Walmart shoppers, non-profit donors, and doctors. In all that time, only one thing has been bugging me: there was no place for Twitter. We fixed that today:

via Social Technographics: Conversationalists get onto the ladder.

On how Google Wave surprisingly changed my life – This is so Meta

At the time, we would also send designs and screenshots by email – needless to say, things would get lost – hardly anything would get done on time, and the most common reply I would get back is that they missed the particular instruction in the mass of emails I would send.

To compound my trouble, we were collaborating across multiple time zones – UK, US Pacific Time, Indian time and Singapore time. Emails would arrive in the night and it is depressing to wake up to 35 new emails from different people.

Then I got my google wave invite. First of all, I didn't really get it. I was not really sure how this would help me. However, after I had a skype conference and one of my partners complained for 15 minutes about how I would write unimportant emails like

“I need a status update next week”

I decided to try something new. All emails that were NOT time critical would be done with google wave, and all important emails could be written normally. We started off doing that.

Things changed.

Suddenly, communication habits of everyone changed. People started grouping their communication into topics and resurrecting old 'waves' when it was about the same topic. For example, if we were talking about bonuses, and then spoke about something else for two weeks, then came back to bonuses, we would simply resurrect the old wave. Business became structured.

via On how Google Wave surprisingly changed my life – This is so Meta.

Official Google Blog: A new approach to China

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

via Official Google Blog: A new approach to China.

Find the cheapest flights …

ITASoftware.com, which provides the technological backbone for many airfare shopping sites, allows users to scan an entire month’s fares for the least expensive rate. (Log in as a “guest” and click on “month-long search.” ) In January, the 28th and 30th were the cheapest dates to fly nonstop to London from New York ($536) for a week’s vacation, according to a recent search. The next best was Saturday, Jan. 23, at $640. To book the ticket, users must go to another site. Kayak.com has a flexible-dates option (registration is required) and a calendar that shows the best fares found by other Kayak users in the last 48 hours. Bing Travel, the Microsoft search engine, offers a similar option, found under “plan trips,” about halfway down the page.

via Practical Traveler – 10 Ways to Cut Your Travel Costs In 2010 – NYTimes.com.

Texas allows schools to use textbook money for tech

C.S.H.B. 4294 amends the Education Code to authorize use of the state textbook fund for the purchase of technological equipment. The bill requires the commissioner of education to adopt a list of electronic textbooks and instructional material that conveys information to the student or otherwise contributes to the learning process. The bill authorizes a school district to select an electronic textbook or instructional material on the commissioner's list to be funded by the state textbook fund.

via 81(R) HB 4294 – Committee Report (Substituted) version – Bill Analysis.

Looking to do a blog redesign

I recently re-did my blog as a hub for my online activity – home page as lifestream, blog page for my own writing, and a clipblog page for interesting things I see around the web.

The overall content is right, but the look is awful. So I’m looking for some redesign help.

I would probably do it myself – I’ve done every iteration of every blog I’ve ever done personally, including one that I rolled my own content management system – but I have literally almost no time right now. And, amazingly enough, I’m not a designer.

Here’s an overview of what I’m looking for … if you think you can help, please contact me!


  • WordPress theme (can customize an existing WordPress theme)
  • 2 column
  • Main column at least 550 px wide
  • simple and “web 2.0” looking (this covers a LOT of territory, I know)
  • blue sky and cloud background (for example, Glenn Hilton’s site looks great)
  • background stays stable, page scrolls over it

Top navigation

  • Lifestream (home page)
  • Blog (all categories)
  • Clipblog (only Clipblog category)

Note: navigation is smart … knows what page/section it’s in and highlights that part of the nav


Home page (Lifestream)

  • Lifestream … use the Lifestream WP plugin (I’ll enable all sources)
  • Sidebar on right
  • Personal info (I’ll edit) with photo
  • tag cloud
  • button links to my primary social networks
  • text link ads (I’ll enable)


  • same as home page, plus …
  • links to archives (can be drop-down, doesn’t have to show all months)
  • last 10 posts on Twitter


  • same as Blog

Forget TV Everywhere, How About Netflix Everywhere?

… streaming video comes with a much lower delivery cost than shipping discs. According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings at NewTeeVee Live, the company spends about $600 million a year on postage for its mail-order business, but the cost of streaming a video title is much cheaper than delivering a DVD by mail — about 5 cents a gig for bandwidth — or about a nickel per movie.

via Forget TV Everywhere, How About Netflix Everywhere?.

Android or iPhone? Wrong Question « abovethecrowd.com

I wonder if this will have any anti-trust implications ….

<blockquote>That’s right. Google will give the carrier ad splits that result from implementing the Google search box on any Android phone. FBR Capital Markets suggests that Google is taking this idea one step further in its November 24, 2009 report titled Implications of a Potential Share Shift to Android-Based Wireless Devices. “Recent support for Android-based devices appears to be correlated with significant up-front financial incventives paid by Google to both carriuer and handset vendors.” FBR goes on to suggest that these incentives may be as high as $25-50 per device. This is simply an offer that no carrier can refuse, particularly when U.S. carriers are currently in the habit of paying $50-150 per handset sold in subsidies.</blockquote>

via Android or iPhone? Wrong Question « abovethecrowd.com.

Official Google Blog: Our new approach to buying a mobile phone

The first phone we’ll be selling through this new web store is the Nexus One — a convergence point for mobile technology, apps and the Internet. Nexus One is an exemplar of what&apos;s possible on mobile devices through Android — when cool apps meet a fast, bright and connected computer that fits in your pocket. The Nexus One belongs in the emerging class of devices which we call “superphones.” It’s the first in what we expect to be a series of products which we will bring to market with our operator and hardware partners and sell through our online store.

Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features dynamic noise suppression from Audience, Inc., a large 3.7″ OLED display for deep contrast and brilliant colors and a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset for blazing speeds. Running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.

via Official Google Blog: Our new approach to buying a mobile phone.

Device turns iPhone, iPod touch into universal remote | The Loop

L5 Technology is using this week’s CES trade show in Las Vegas to debut the L5 Remote, a $50 accessory (paired with a free application) that turns your iPhone or iPod touch into a universal remote control. It’s coming in February.

The accessory plugs into the iPhone or iPod touch’s dock connector. It measures 1.25 x .85 inches. Using a free app you’ll be able to download from the App Store, you drag and drop buttons into place to control your home entertainment devices.

The accessory works without batteries and will control any number of devices within about 30 feet, according to the manufacturer. It doesn’t require independent batteries, Wi-Fi or external power to function.

via Device turns iPhone, iPod touch into universal remote | The Loop.

Daring Fireball: The (i)Tablet

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.”

—Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)

via Daring Fireball: The Tablet.

The Prophet of Cheap – Forbes.com

Negroponte’s latest plan to save the world is a computer that would exceed anyone else’s expectation for performance while costing less than anyone else’s forecast of what’s possible. By 2012 he aims to build a touchscreen tablet PC for poor schoolchildren that uses less power than a modest lightbulb and is unbreakable, waterproof and half the thickness of an iPhone. The projected price: $75.

“Essentially, we want it to be a single sheet of plastic. No holes, no moving parts,” says Negroponte, director of the One Laptop Per Child nonprofit and founder of MIT’s Media Lab. “We want it to be so simple that it hardly has a design.”

via The Prophet of Cheap – Forbes.com.

Secrecy, Privacy, Publicy

There is a countervailing trend away from privacy and secrecy and toward openness and transparency, both in the corporate and government sectors. And on the web, we have had several major steps forward in social tools that suggest at least the outlines of a complement, or opposite, to privacy and secrecy: publicy.

The idea of publicy is no more than this: rather than concealing things, and limiting access to those explicitly invited, tools based on publicy default to things being open and with open access.

Tumblr is a tool based on publicy. So is Twitter. Tumblr blogs and Twitter accounts default to open unless the user takes great efforts, and as a result the resulting communities are based on sharing of posts rather than membership in closed groups.

via Secrecy, Privacy, Publicy – /Message.

Searching For Small Businesses, Coming Up Frustrated

Let’s take my local pizza place. There’s a good one in Newport that I always order from, but I can never remember their number. So like many people, I search for it. But recently when I did this, I had a terrible experience. When I clicked through to the site, there was nothing about pizza. Instead, a pop-up window appeared telling me I had a Windows virus. That’s hard to get, given I use a Mac. Someone, somehow, managed to get control of the pizza place’s web site, the same domain that’s listed on all their boxes.

What’s going on here? How does a local pizza place not realize this is happening? Does anyone from the company ever go to their own site? Trying to help, I even called and explained that something really bad was happening with the site. I was told the owner would call back. I didn’t think he would, nor did he.

via Searching For Small Businesses, Coming Up Frustrated.

Seth's Blog: What Matters Now

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Fred Wilson, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.Here’s the deal: it’s free.

Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. I think it might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or online profile as well. It’s a good exercise. Can we get this in the hands of 5 million people? You can find an easy to use version on Scribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.

via Seth’s Blog: What Matters Now: get the free ebook.

Thomas Friedman: The Do-It-Yourself Economy – NYTimes.com

“The budget was about 20 percent of what we normally would charge,” said Greer. “After one meeting with the client, almost all our communication was by e-mail. The script was developed and approved using a collaborative tool provided by http://www.box.net. Internally, we all could look at the script no matter where we were, make suggestions and get to a final draft with complete transparency — easy, convenient and free. We did not have a budget to shoot new footage, yet we had no budget either for stock photography the old way — paying royalties of $100 to $2,000 per image. We found a source, istockphoto.com, which offered great photos for as little as a few dollars.

“We could easily preview all the images, place them in our program to make sure they worked, purchase them online and download the high-resolution versions — all in seconds,” Greer added. “We had a script that called for 4 to 5 voices. Rather than hiring local voice talent — for $250 to $500 per hour — we searched the Internet for high-quality voices that we could afford. We found several sites offering various forms of narration or voice-overs. We selected http://www.voices.com. In less than one minute, we created an account, posted our requirements and solicited bids. Within five minutes, we had 10 to 15 ‘applicants’ ” — charging 10 percent of what Greer would have paid live talent.

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Do-It-Yourself Economy – NYTimes.com.

Amazon's Kindle winning battle, but Adobe poised to win e-book war

A total of 30 e-book readers rely on Adobe software, including Barnes & Noble’s just-debuted, already-delayed Nook and Sony’s popular Sony Readers, according to Nick Bogaty, senior business development manager for digital publishing at Adobe.

Both PDF and ePub are open industry standards, though the optional encryption and DRM provided by Adobe’s Content Server and enforced by the Adobe Reader are not.

Adobe may balk at the comparison, but its role in the e-book market is similar to the one Microsoft Corp. plays in the PC market: It’ a builder of a semi-open ecosystem of partners to whom it sells publishing tools.

In this analogy, Amazon.com is like Apple: successful, but secretive, with a reliance on proprietary formats like the Kindle’s native AZW that creates customer hassle and lock-in.

via Amazon’s Kindle winning battle, but Adobe poised to win e-book war.

Easily download YouTube movies via Safari

If you’re using Safari, there’s an easy way to download YouTube videos. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window. If you’re also loading other sites, you’ll see a list of them: scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded.

You will certainly notice an element whose size is over 0.5MB (most of the time, over 5MB). Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder (which will probably be called get_video) and add the extension .flv to its name. Now you can play it with VLC or with QuickTime (only if you have Perian installed).

via Easily download YouTube movies via Safari – Mac OS X Hints.