Monday, September 24, 2007

Official Google Reader Blog: Breaking up isn't hard to do

They say here that Google Reader has moved on from Google Labs, which I guess means it is no longer Beta:

Official Google Reader Blog: Breaking up isn't hard to do

I'm a bit befuddled by the fact that GMail is still Beta. Talk about perpetual Beta, GMail is the poster child for that. Google needs to step up and take full responsiblity for GMail as a non-Beta app and quit the hedging already. C'mon, even *flickr* is out of Beta for Pete's sake!

Canopus 3

Canopus 3, originally uploaded by Pierre J..

I spent about six weeks, spread across two different trips, in the Tahitian islands back in the early 90s. I was both happy and sad to have been one of the very last backpackers who was able to camp directly on the lagoon on Bora Bora for $9/night (Chez Pauline; while I was there the first 3 huts went up as they began replacing the campground with those awful boxes, and the campground moved across the road). To keep some connection to the islands, I've long subscribed to a feed of Polynesia photos on flickr.

I remember hiking around to see old WWII cannons, but at the time it was hard to connect those islands with the savage war. This shot provides a nice contrast to the usual blue lagoon vistas. Chilling.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails - O'Reilly Ruby

7 reasons I switched back to PHP after 2 years on Rails - O'Reilly Ruby:

That is how Derek Silvers concluded his article over on O'Reilly about a bad experience trying to rewrite his existing PHP site in Rails. How true!

Another key message from Derek's column, though he doesn't say it directly: there can be tremendous value in refactoring, and refactoring does not require porting or changing platforms. All modern languages and platforms are capable of supporting large scale high quality systems. Sure, there are differences, and pros and cons, to each for various applications. But those differences are in the noise compared to the differences in capabilities of architects and developers themselves.

The lesson to me is: if you have a day to spend to make things better, do you invest it in learning a new language or platform, or in improving your own skills? I invest that time in myself. Advantages from switching platform or language can be had, but those wins are usually longer term, and can be undermined by abandoning some of your previously built skills and fluency.

Saturday, September 22, 2007 - The Economics of Content - Magazines Online: A Brief Essay - The Economics of Content - Magazines Online: A Brief Essay:
At the end of the day, magazines are about communities of interest, whether professional or lifestyle driven. If magazines keep that driving mantra in mind, and use the Web for all its is worth, things could begin to look brighter and bigger on the monetary side soon.

I love the sentiment, and I like the enthusiasm to the reader comments to that article. Nice counterpoint to the print is dead crowd. Interestingly, I don't hear these folks saying that online will increase the value of their print mag! I think many in traditional print have been a bit whiplashed by the Web, and think that the play for print mags is to garner additional revenue from online. Look at JPG Magazine for the countering precedent: the magazine and online community can become one. The print version is where the revenue is, but it is the web based community that creates that value.

More to come. And I'm sure small and independent magazine publishers will like what's coming.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Community Building isn’t about Features - Bokardo

Thank you, Josh Porter, for the concise summary of the Businessweek article "Ten Ways Flickr Builds Communities".

Community Building isn’t about Features - Bokardo

Happy unlaunch day at Like It Matters

I liked Brian Oberkirch's mini-rant yesterday, on "putting your head down and executing on ideas that delight the people your app is really made for," rather than cultivating flash and hype. But what topped off his entry for me was his update at the bottom:

Happy unlaunch day at Like It Matters:
[update: OMG, I almost forgot an important sidenote. Too much horserace guy attention at the wrong time may kill you. Witness the 2 year debacle that is Flock. Ill-timed hype & expectation building made their time to experiment disappear and probably killed a potentially very interesting project. Instead, be like Threadless. Do awesome things, and eventually, media will figure out that what you’re doing is cool. By then, you are far enough long that they are less likely to screw you up.]
When dealing with misguided marketing and PR folks, it is not enough to simply say you want to execute and avoid hype. You have to say *why*, and this is exactly why. Hype and attention are indications that expectations of your business have already been set. These expectations are close to impossible to undo. If you are not completely sure what your winning business or technology strategy is, you absolutely have to preserve your ability to change. Premature expectations will inhibit your ability to change and adapt.

Monday, September 17, 2007

8020 Publishing at TechCrunch 40

TechCrunch has an underwhelming mention of 8020 today, in a summary of a session at TechCrunch 40.

TechCrunch 40 Session 3: Community & Collaboration
8020 Publishing is a media company that publishes user generated magazines. They currently have two magazines JPG and the yet-to-launch Everywhere. Members of the 8020 community can contribute and critique the content in the magazines. However, 8020 Publishing still fills normal publishing roles like choosing themes, putting the magazines together and providing the final vote on all published content. The community also gives them a built-in subscription base not to mention loyal online communities.

8020 is aiming to “make magazines better.” JPG Magazine is used as an example.

Launching “Everywhere” Magazine, the “insiders experience”…travel magazine that is submitted by the community.

Then later, seems like hardly a peep about it relative to the other companies in this session, StoryBlender, Flock, TripIt, and MusicShake. All I can say is that there is room to be a lot more visionary about magazines.

Word of the day: hundredopoundoglossopaperotextaphobia

hundredopoundoglossopaperotextaphobia: from our HP Labs Indigo press operator/czar, referring to a syndrome I suffer from.

I may have complained about HP 100# Glossy Text paper once too often! As I tried to explain, "Look, even if you eat your favorite food every day you are going to get sick of it eventually!"

Friday, September 07, 2007

Paul Kedrosky: Apple: More Troubles Today

Paul Kedrosky: Apple: More Troubles Today:
As I said yesterday, in a perhaps perverse way the $100 Apple in-store credit troubles me more than the initial price cut. I could handle the latter -- Steve's playing for keeps, and he wants to make a statement in the cellphone market. He's prepared to compete on both price and features, which makes him a formidable competitor in that cut-throat business. Fair enough. But the credit's belated arrival suggested the iPhone price cut was ill-considered and somewhat rash, not part of the original plan.
I've been fascinated by the whole iPhone pricing phenomenon. Not just the recent price cut "fiasco", but the fact that Apple released it, and pumped it, at the initial price of $599. That's totally crazy. In fact, $399 is really too high for a phone, even a really cool one, to be mass market, which is what Apple wants.

Which leads us to the real reason for this "fiasco", and why I think my favorite financial geek, Paul K, is partly off. This price cut may have been ill conceived, but it wasn't rash. The only way Apple could pass off $399 to mass market consumers as an attractive price was to intro at $599, a totally outrageous price, then cut it by what appears to be a significant amount. "Hey, a phone for $200 off? That must be cheap!"

But I agree that this move was definitely ill conceived, Apple truly botched this one. Not only is $399 for a phone still way out of reach of mass market consumers, this self-inflicted PR shot to the foot will take a lot of work to undo. Jobs will always find a way to make his cult happy about getting screwed and ask for more, but he's got no such sway over the masses he hasn't won over yet -- and he just pushed them a bit farther out of reach.

Ironically, I finally see an Apple product I might buy! I think the new Nano might finally fit my late adopter tastes :-).

Open Letter to Derek Powazek - Bokardo

Derek Powazek seems to be getting a lot of love since leaving 8020, this time Josh Porter whips up the crowd:
Open Letter to Derek Powazek - Bokardo:
I’m writing to ask you if you would consider writing an update to your fantastic book Design for Community. Your book, as much as any other, helps to define what it means to create and curate community online. It’s a great book, but it’s a bit old and hard to find.
Gotta agree! Derek, you should start working on it in, ..., well, ..., how about getting around to it about 3 months from now?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Geotagging links photos to locales | Tech News on ZDNet

Geotagging links photos to locales | Tech News on ZDNet:
'Every photo was taken somewhere. That's almost always part of the story of the photo,' said Stewart Butterfield, general manager and co-founder of Flickr, which now houses 36 million geotagged photos--roughly 3 percent of its total archive.

I remember when Microsoft's WWMX had 10,000 geotagged photos and it was a big deal. 36 million is still a drop in the bucket of all online digital photos, but it is likely an enormous lead that Flickr now has over any other online photo site. This is one of those situations where more content makes their services more valuable, so new content tends to go to that service -- a positive feedback loop that sets up Flickr/Yahoo! to be the dominator in location related services for consumers.