Category Archives: interweb

Google hijacked?

Strange coincidence after my last post: Suddenly, I can’t get to Google anymore. It seems to have been replaced by ‘SoGoSearch.com.’
google.gif
Update: Odd. I restarted my computer, and it’s working again. Guess the problem is on my end — which raises another question: is there any way for others to affect the OS X routing table? I’m using OS X 10.4.2, Firefox 1.0.5.

Firefox in the NY Times

As a loyal user and evangelist of FireFox since v.7, I think their drive to get an ad in the New York Times is a wonderful thing. The irony of it is that they’re probably going to get way more exposure from all the meta-commentary about how they paid for their ad than they will from the ad itself.

Everyone is on the lookout for the next big movement; and nothing says ‘big movement’ like having your customers clamor to donate money for you to advertise your product.

Second post from NetNewsWire

I finally upgraded to the full version of NetNewsWire last night, and I’m quite pleased. I’ve used the lite version every day for months; it’s hard to compete with a free version of your own product, but I’ve found that the full version is worth every penny. The weblog editor in particular is really well-designed. Great stuff, Brent.

Things to improve:

  1. Integrate with the image publishing capability in Movable Type
  2. Make it faster. It’s gotten better recently, but I still find it slower than I’d like.

On truth and net-savvy desktop apps

Tim O’Reilly is a bright guy, but many of the things he’s quoted as saying in this Wired article are either false, or betray a fundamental lack of understanding about the kind of customer understanding and tradeoffs required to develop successful software products.
Speaking about the growth of Apple’s desktop apps that expand the application beyond the desktop, he says:

“Apple is the first old-world computer company to get this,” said O’Reilly. “Apple has started to take that network concept, the idea of reaching beyond the single device, and they’re starting to build that into their applications.”

While Tim is absolutely right in his belief that desktop software is heading this direction, he’s pretty mistaken in his belief that Apple is the first innovator. QuickBooks has done this for at least three years, with integration of online bill presentment, merchant card services, website creation, etc. etc. He continues:

However, O’Reilly said the implementation of this idea is often inconsistent. For example, O’Reilly noted that songs can be bought online through iTunes, but it is not possible to buy stock photos through iPhoto, Apple’s digital photo repository.

C’mon, Tim. One of the major reasons iPhoto has been successful is because it was designed with a very clear goal in mind: helping consumers with digital cameras organize, print and share their photos. It’s not a tool for graphic designers, who are the prime consumers of stock photography. What percentage of digital camera owners do you think have ever had the need to buy a stock photo?

Likewise, iTunes allows music to be shared automatically across a local network using Rendezvous, Apple’s zero-configuration networking technology, but there’s no equivalent service in iPhoto for sharing pictures, O’Reilly noted.

But there is! It’s called .mac, and it enables iPhoto users to share photos by uploading them to the web. If you asked digital camera users whether they’d rather share their photos with people on their home/local network or over the web, the vast majority would say the latter. And that’s what iPhoto and .mac do.
iTunes is different. though. Its sharing model is design to help families and small groups of people to avoid the hassle of duplicating MP3 libraries for all the different points in the house or local network where they want to listen to music. Sure, some of them would like to share them over the web, but that’s simply not going to sit well with the recording industry — a key partner for Apple in the store.

Dave Winer and the integrity of Bloggers

I caught roughly the last third of the session Dave Winer held last night at Harvard (also documented here, here, here, and here).
It was a really good session, with some interesting people and conversation. A couple things were quite apparent:
1. As Steven Johnson pointed out today, the blogging community is incredibly precocious and self-aware. There’s a very clear belief in the importance of the movement and its power to change things.
2. Only two women in the audience out of about 35 total participants.
One of the more interesting threads of discussion revolved around questions of integrity and the obligations of the blogger to his audience. Dave pressed Dan Bricklin on the unwritten rules Dan uses to filter what he writes about on his weblog.
What struck me most about the exchange were the radically different ways people perceived their weblogs. Dave seemed to see blogging almost as a professional obligation — to him, integrity meant a coherent, rational system of deciding what to post, and what to filter. In this scheme, bloggers must be conscious of their audience, and blog in such a way that exposes their process and their rules.
Dan, on the other hand, seemed to view blogging as a much more personal thing — that he posts when he has time, as much for himself as for anyone else, and in a way that is decidedly unprofessional (which is not meant here in its usual, pejorative sense — merely that he doesn’t sense a great obligation). This different sense of obligation translates to a very different interpretation of integrity; where Dave thinks it means “not whole,” Dan thinks it means “not false.”
Which brings us to one of the great things about the web. Both can coexist, and people will decide who they want to read for themselves. So far, I probably fall on the unprofessional end of things, in part because my occupation requires a certain level of circumspection, and probably also because I haven’t yet made a consistent habit of it.
Anyway, last night’s session was interesting — thanks to Dave for holding the discussion.

Konfabulator

Yes, everyone is linking to it. But few things have recently given me as much geek pleasure as Konfabulator, an engine for creating beautiful little Javascript apps on Mac OS X to go out and get structured data of some sort. Hard to describe, but the little apps in this screen shot should give you a little idea.