Monday, April 30, 2007

Tax Freedom Day
Tax Freedom Day falls on April 30 this year, two days later than the recalculated date for 2006, but it's about par for the past four decades.

So basically everything you have done since January 1 was to pay for schools (good), hospitals (good), roads(good) and world domination of the US government (hmmm...).

Enjoy your last day of servitude today people....tomorrow you get to go to work to pay the mortgage, car repayments, insurances..... so remind me again why do we work and not live on beaches in grass huts?


Friday, April 27, 2007

Pulp Muppets

Just came across this....worth a second post for the day.
Have a great weekend everyone.


Major Mojo

.....beware before you read this..... I haven't installed this yet....continue at your own risk

So how cool is this MojoPac application, take any USB2.0 storage device (eg hard drive, flash drive or even your ipod....are these things freaking everywhere or what)

You can then take this storage device, walk up to any Windows XP terminal connect and basically you are running your own desktop complete with your own environments such as apps, docs, shortcuts etc.

Looks like I have a new project to play with next weekend.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gun Deaths in the USA

As an Australian the following graphic is horrifying and almost beyond comprehension.
In 2004 (the last complete year statistics are currently available) an average of 81 people died every day in the USA from gunfire.

In 2004 a total of 29,569 Americans died in the USA from gunfire.

Is this country nuts or what?????


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh the irony

You know it's funny who drops in on this blog, (yes I'm talking to you Mr Cisco who drops in every weekday around 7pm PST).

Anyways....check out the irony of this particular visitor and the search term that led them there. (btw the post they were checking out was


Asterisk Multi Level Status API

Lol - You know it's funny when members of your own family ask.....what exactly do you do for work again?

And it doesn't matter how many times you explain's still greek.

So i was writing this email below when the question came up yet again "what are you working on today"...... (if you have no idea what Asterisk is check out or or )

I'm not going to try an explain all of the connotations in the email below but lets say it's a rather interesting concept about how some of the things I've been thinking about lately might help add additional functionality to Asterisk in a way never considered before........ yep like I said - it's all greek.


From: [] On Behalf Of Dean Collins Sent: Monday, 23 April 2007 7:37 PMTo: Russell BryantCc: Asterisk Developers Mailing ListSubject: [asterisk-dev] RE: Multi Level Status API

Hi Russell,

Great idea to send this out to the ast-dev list, the more input the better.

As discussed on the Asterisk Talkshoe call last Friday (it’s on 12.30pm usa est -5 gmt every Friday for 45 mins in case anyone else on the list wants to join us) it was very exciting to hear that you will be working on “status” across multiple asterisk servers.

Just a recap for people on the list who weren’t on the call, my question was “if you are going to implement Status across multiple servers why stop at just on or off as a query result (russell’s initial comments were you could tell if a handset was on the phone/off the phone, eg busy / free OR logged in/logged off he also mentioned the main driving reason was to check voicemail message to be accessed or nil message).

My suggestion in order to make status truly a substantial feature would be to implement ‘tier’ levels of status in order to take advantage of the new services such as Iotum’s Talk Now.

Eg. I’m available to take calls but only priority calls, send all level 2 or below calls to voicemail.

Or to take advantage of jabber/messenger/sms messaging applications. I’m available to take text messages but not phone calls.

My real desire would be to have a published API for tiered status so that people could write applications against this. Eg a softkey on my Polycom can now move me into “priority only calls” against this code.

This would allow people like Lumenvox to write code that would take an inbound call, convert to text then deliver this to my “text” application rather than my handsets voicemail.

I hope this published multi level status API is of interest to you and welcome your comments or from the rest of the list.

Dean Collins
Cognation Pty Ltd
+1-212-203-4357 Ph

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Russell Bryant []
> Sent: Monday, 23 April 2007 11:23 AM
> To: Dean Collins
> Subject: Re: introduction
> If you would like to have any further discussion about presence type
> features outside of the developer conference, then let's take it to the
> asterisk-dev mailing list. It is best if we give the entire development
> community a chance to contribute to the discussion.
> Thanks,
> --
> Russell Bryant
> Software Engineer
> Digium Inc.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Google "My Maps"...just for you

Google have always had some form of mapping interaction overlay (google up Cognation pty ltd on google maps and you'll see what I mean).

But now they have implemented this on a whole new level. Check out google My Maps.

Basically this application allows you to share maps with your friends and family (I placed mine on my website), you're able to add routes, notes, points of interest and thumbnail photographs (supposedly...wouldn't work when I went to add a thumbnail photo but you can check out the photos I took on my online photo album-I've got a feeling it may have been because of the extended urls).

There was no indication Google were hoping to place advertising on your map...I can only assume this is coming.

Either way neat concept; Have fun checking out a walk I took on Sunday from my apartment on 72nd and York up to central park with my wife Jodie and Lou Lou our dog.

P.S. Btw by the time I finished all this would I do it again...hmmm maybe not, probably as only a few members of my family have flown over so it's a good idea to get a lay of the land however you can tell it is very early days for google My Maps as the tools are a little clunky.

P.P.S. Make sure you click on the map in satelite view as well, adds a new perspective.

Friday, April 20, 2007

'Voip'ify Your Website

One of the coolest things about my job is I get to play with some of the coolest hottest new toys around ( :) always looking for more consulting gigs).

I'm always looking for new ways to use technology to help people sell more, be more profitable, work smarter, reach out to their clients and customers.....

So when one of my clients launched Corraleta (which is the worlds most advanced Click-to-Talk Java SDK solution for website contact pages.

I'm kind of stoked working on something that changed the way people would communicate with company websites, it's a very cool piece of technology.

Yes Google has their Click-to-Dial solution, but that uses simple "two legged outbound calls" which is so last generations technology, and yes Estara have their Click-to-Talk solution but that's Active-X so only works on Microsoft browsers.

Mexuar has the worlds only Java Click-to-Talk solution and the coolest part was we were able to sell it cheaper than anyone else.

Now here comes the cool part, we've been selling for a few months and things are humming along, we have big companies like Lavalife using it, and a whole heap of smaller companies as well who until now couldn't afford this technology.....and we have a few 'Major' companies sniffing around looking for a potential buyout.... (fingers crossed) all is good.

Then a customer comes along and says - hey guys, can I use Corraleta for this? - and we fall over.

It's so simple it's so perfect and I cant believe we as the developers never thought of it. (it's a hidden page off the main site so you can only get there from this link).

Basically Mexuar is just a way to turn any java compliant browser (eg 98.5% of them) into a softphone - so think of it like Skype but without the executable file to download, install, and then configure.

Our java applet is only 125kb. There is zero configuration. In 10 seconds or less you are talking with the person at the other end of the phone.
(and yes they don't need to be on a pc, they are answering the call on a real phone and because it's IP the call is free all the way from your browser out over the internet to their pabx and then on to their handset). BTW click here if you want to try it out on a 24 hour recording rather than waking me up at 3 in the morning :)

So this guys said....Does there need to be a person at the end of the call... Cant I just put them into a conference room..... Wow-why didn't we think of that?

So basically you can now voip enable any forum, web site, social networking community, any web site that you have lots of people visiting if you want to add a new generation of communication for your website buy a Corraleta license, install it on your server and then when people are visiting your site they click a link, a popup browser will connect them into a conference room and then your visitors can all talk to each other for free with no configuration or install while they are browsing the rest of the site.

So think about this - you run a motorcross site. 24 hours a day people are visiting your site, they may spend 5-10 minutes kicking around reading forum posts etc then leave.

Now add Corraleta - when they visit they can be chatting to whoever else is on the site at the same time. They can talk about particular articles or maybe even comment on each others posts but they are going to be spending way more than 5-10 minutes just browsing around.

Longer visits, more banner advertising revenue, more chances to buy your product.

And the coolest part about it......a customer pointed it out to us.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Web 2.0 You Are Either In Or You Are Out

You know web services are a funny thing, people are building applications and data feeds and they all have their own motivations for doing so, some are distributing content they want to disseminate because it draws people to their other products, some are doing it for advertising dollars.

Either way, we are building mashups that while we don't expect them to last as long as Kongo Gumi ( we do expect them to be around for a while.

So what happens when someone turns the data flow off?

The basics of the story between Amazon and Statsaholic are this, Amazon set up a data feed, Statsaholic took that data feed and did something so cool to it that people would go to view the data there rather than Amazon.

Amazon get pissed and start pushing the small 'upstart' around, first kicking it off the original domain and then starting to block it's feed via their servers IP address (lol- the thing about data feeds it's an all or nothing - Statsaholic asked other people to provide access from their servers and the whole web 2.0 community rallied behind the underdog...funny thing that).

The old adage "it's not your grandfathers axe" really rings true about web services, it's not your grandfathers internet anymore.

If you want to make a commercial decision to open up your api's and make them accessible to people then that's your choice. We wont be spoon fed marketing pr bites in nice easy to digest pieces the way you want.....we'll tear chunks out of your data, mash them around and create pure art. If you are smart you stay on the cutting edge and adopt the very best for yourself making yourself stronger....and the circle will begin again - if you're dumb you'll do it with a subpoena. or out, it's your choice but make up your mind - your EC2 and S3 products were just so fantastic it blew me away last year but what you are doing to Statsaholic is just childish.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Canada - the nicer littler brother

Interesting article - I've been meaning to work into the blog some thoughts on Canada for a while so this seems a good start.

I'm not going to be able to summarise all of the points I want to make but for any Aussies reading this let me just say this...if you are coming to the USA make sure you make it to Canada as well.

Every Canadian I have met, pretty much we as Aussies, have an instant rapport with them in 10 mins or less, I have no idea what it is about them that can be so different to Americans but I haven't met a Canadian yet I didn't like.

The next thing I need to get across is's really big and most of the people only live on the edge of the border near the USA (sounds like a rather largish island I know with a desert in the middle of it).

The other thing (and I forget the exact number but I got it from the Canadian trade commissioner) is that about 60% of their GDP is reliant on the if a big border went up between the two countries they would be screwed.

Another interesting thing I saw on tv recently was that with oil prices being as high as it has been lately, all of a sudden I keep hearing about Canada having the black sands of Alberta (basically similar production process to getting oil from shale - lots of it, just expensive to extract). The weird part was all of a sudden Canada doesn't need any external oil, they have these massive 30 year reserves and until last year I had never heard about it - it's the weirdest thing, like one day waking up and finding a basement full of money when you didn't even know your house had a basement.

And lastly there was a segment on 60 minutes about a Canadian city right on the border (i forget which) but they were talking about border control with the USA but there was an interview that stuck in my mind about a black American family (mum/dad/2.3 kids) who were at an amusement park where basically they were talking about how they always came up to Canada every few weeks (I think it was about a 2 hour drive from their house) they were commenting on the reason they kept doing this was that as a black family they seemed to have a lot less issues in Canada and just accepted for who they are :)

Like I said weird how many similarities as to why Aussies and Canadians are similar.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Drug Dealers V's Geeks

Well I thought it was kind of funny :)


Monday, April 16, 2007

Speed Factoid

Here's an interesting factoid I learned over the weekend;

  • We can speak on average 4 times faster than we can type
  • We can read on average 10 times faster than we can listen

So basically voice driven typing is good....voice driven listening is slow. Kind of makes you wonder what in the brain is controlling all this.

P.S. As for today's mood music :)...... cause I can.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Smack for Saturday

What can I say - I love Bettie Serveert and Smack on a Saturday....what can be wrong.
Have a great weekend everyone.

P.S. I dont but with driving riffs like that what could be wrong.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Technology's History Lessons

Great article on technology's biggest flops....or were they. So many of them listed here have almost come full circle into a new iteration or at least a derivative of.

I love reading history or review articles, it makes you realise in hindsight what is and what wasn't important.

Picking just three of my favourites;

Apple Newton - great technology, great implementation, sold relatively well, without it we wouldn't have Palm, Treo or now HTC. Considering the lineage between this and the newest version of Palmtops whats not to love. I'm planning on ordering a HTC Advantage to supplement my HTC 8525 any day now

Beenz - Virtual web currency, eg I write something-you pay me beenz to read it, I use beenz to download a music track or pay for the rights to use a photograph or similar.

We need this now more than ever - the internet has fallen into a defacto kind of ad sponsored virtual currency in that content is paid via 'sponsorship' (and not just web content check out my post on spiceworks last week) I'm actually working on something to facilitate this into a new level (shhhh :) at the end of the day people still need to pay rent and eat. We (web 2.0 providers) cant plan on buyouts forever.

I think beenz was a great concept at the right time and even had the right backing and funding but just missed by the slightest of margins. Google may not be what it is today if it had taken off.

Push Technology - Sure Shoutcast has fallen but who are we kidding, between RSS and XML about 50% of what I read online each day is pushed in some format or another from somewhere else before it gets to my browser and it's only going to get bigger.

Now for my pick of the biggest and the baddest of the bunch - The Net PC.

Yep I'm early on the curve and no I don't know of anything specific yet but.... Net PC or a derivative is going to come back bigger and badder then ever. If you've got some funny money lying around this is where I would be looking to take a punt. I'll keep my reasoning for another more extensive post but I'm happy to take any bets from any takers.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Software Patents

I'm a true believer in the Patent system. I think that intellectual property rights should be respected and that true 'innovative' development should be rewarded.

I also think that US Patent system is 'borked' and that the issue is now starting to affect commerce and development - as such Congress may start to pay attention to fixing something that's been broken for a long time.

(BTW here's a thought - how come patents are issued on a country by country basis? how about we shut down the USA patent system and move it to Singapore or Moscow and make it a 'Universal' patent system with a single application enforceable globally?)

There is an court case currently between Verizon and Vonage (one of the most successful VoIP companies in the USA) where Verizon are claiming to own very generic (IMHO) patents about taking a voice call from voip to the pstn.

I just came across a great article that summarises it today, and one of the quotes from it summarises this issue perfectly

"Verizon can’t make the Internet go away with a patent lawsuit".

Anyway, read, enjoy - let me know what you think.


Monday, April 09, 2007

The amazing 'Beer Fridge'....but not for the reason that you would think.

So a few weeks ago a viral video started circulating on the internet and eventually CNN ran this article.
An engineering graduate has built a contraption to help remind him of campus life: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control.

Now at the time I noticed something but didn't want to post about it as I wanted to see where it eventually got to.

Go watch this video and then come back to the rest of the post;

Did you notice it?

Yep in the top right hand side of the Metcafe Video page was the figure $6,750 that the guy who produced this video has made by people going to the Metcafe page and downloading the video (and watching the associated banner ad on the side).

So a guy spends about $400 on parts, 150 hours labour, lets say an hour shooting and uploading the video and makes an average of $42 per hour for his time (plus I think Miller Lite have picked it up for a separate amount).

Not going to make him a millionaire but certainly puts a new spin on User Generated Content.


Sunday, April 08, 2007


Interior decorators hijacked an F train yesterday morning, transforming Car 5929 into a cozy living room with curtains, flowers, throw pillows and rugs.

The four artists behind this guerrilla installation, dubbed "No Train Like Home," boarded the F in Coney Island at 7:38 a.m. carrying brown paper shopping bags filled with decorations and lots of double-sided tape.

Way cool, definitely a 'New York Art' kind of thing. Maybe someone can take this on board and do something similar in Australia.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Celebrity Life in New York

Kevin Costner
415 Lafayette St
Apr 4th, 2007 @ 9pm
Kevin Costner drinking and dining at Butter.

Boy, oh boy, was he enjoying that food. He is a FAT, HUGE, WHALE. I actually didn't believe it was him until I heard him talking. What happened? I'm traumatized.

Lol - man seriously who would want to be a celebrity with websites like out there.

mmmm french fries :)


Great article in Billboard this week about how one of the most forward thinking artists in the business Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails (check out today's mood song - bottom right - warning might not be everyones cup of tea - NSFW) who has long been a critic of the RIAA's campaign against piracy.

The basics are this, NIN created an amazingly innovative campaign for the release of their new album;

"which has encompassed everything from cryptic phrases on T-shirts to Orwellian Web sites to MP3s found on USB drives in bathrooms at NIN concerts."

Fans who found these as yest unreleased songs on the USB keys began swapping tracks and creating an amazing buzz about the band only to have the RIAA send cease and desist letters - lol, these are songs the band wanted out there as part of an underground marketing campaign.

I can only imagine how tortured a creative artist must feel to come up against this from the very people who are supposed to "protect the rights of musicians and recording artists of America".

Yeh right.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Way to go Pepsi

FEEDING INTO YOUNG CONSUMERS' DESIRE to discover and personalize, Pepsi is offering all consumers a chance to design a can and win 10 grand.

The winning design will appear on 500 million Pepsi cans in national distribution, the company says. Beginning this week, consumers can access the "Design Our Pepsi Can" promotion at,

How cool a marketing campaign is this, you still have to print something on the cans anyway so apart from the campaign costs probably not going to cost much for all of the customer interaction they are going to get.

It's when you come across a campaign like this that you realise how easy it is to interact with your customers if you just stop what you are doing and reach out.

When was the last time you put down what you were doing and just talked to your client? (or even better walked up to someone in a supermarket with one of your products in their shopping trolley?)


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Content is....

Content truly is King....or is that a Prince....or maybe an it's definitely a Duke.

lol - I remember back when I first found out about a company called Akimbo (who? yep thats right .....a potential Harvard business case in what not to do when you have such a huge lead over everyone else it's not funny) and started looking in the Australian content market space for suitable video content to license for IP distribution.

Now you have to remember this was back in 2003 (it's insane how short a time ago that was and how much the market has changed).

So in 2003 basically I was able to go to anyone who had suitable content and present them with a proposal to distribute their video on a 50/50 rev share arrangement and as it was "new revenue" that was outside of their current licensing deals was money for jam.

Reading these two articles today made me realise how much the market has changed in such a short time frame.

P.S. Interesting article on Joost that I came across this afternoon a few hours after I wrote this post

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spiceworks - killer app for network management?

I love how someone can take a look at 3 or 4 different areas of technology that are well known and well documented and then basically have an 'ah ha' moment and create something unique no one else have developed.

These guys really have developed a killer app.

Inventory Everything on Your Network
Discoverer the Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs and servers, routers, printers and any other IP-based devices on your network. Gather all of their relevant technical data plus the software, patches and services on each machine. Add important data such as the number of licenses you have, the purchase price and physical location. Keep track of other assets such as mobile phones and even office furniture. All without agents. And, all inventory information is stored locally and securely on your network - so there's no concern about sensitive data flying across the Internet. Learn More

So whats it all about?

Well basically SpiceWorks is a "Killer App" for network management. Once you install it on any desktop that has administrator rights to your network it goes out an 'discovers' things (yep even things like IP phones and UPS devices).

This is "technology area" number 1 - all of these api's are well known and have been available for some time but putting them together in a this format is as far as I know is unique. eg. I've been able to query my 'machine information' using Speedfan for sometime - however being able to do this and then collect everything from every computer on one simple web page for my entire network is fantastic.

Being able to collect MAC addresses or Software licenses in a single location is worth the price of entry alone. Knowing what the 'free space' on each of your hardware drives and what your network is doing normally requires 3 different applications alone.

Technology Area Number 2 - they use Ruby on Rails to deliver a lightweight highly modifiable interface. ROR isn't new by any means but more and more I'm seeing it pop up on 'portal' applications that hook into deeper code underneath in such an elegant way that is pure gold.

Technology Area Number 3 - "Ad Supported Applications", although this software is working on an internal browser page on your computer behind a firewall when you access the various web pages you're presented with advertisements which make the developers money - which enable them to eat - which enables them to keep coding - which gives us even more killer features.

Now I've posted more than a few times that I think banner ads are a waste of money but this is such a targeted defined audience that the value of this "segment" is extremely valuable for people trying to target to network administrators. The value of this network grows exponentially for every new user they have install the application (and has potential to offer further interactions using the Corraleta click-to-talk technology but more about this another time).

There are more than a couple of other neat aspects to the application but that's enough for here, by this stage of the blog you've either decided to download it or not depending on if your run a network (or manage people who do).

Shoot me an email or post here with your thoughts.


Monday, April 02, 2007

WTO rules USA gambling ban illegal (again),7204,21488765%5E15322%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html

Basically the USA is being slammed by the WTO for illegally manipulating in the laws of another country (Antigua) yet again.

This has been an ongoing case, nothing happened last time - probably nothing will happen again. However this round has reached the stage that the WTO can now place sanctions on the USA eg. every car that Ford tries to export from the USA they will place a $100 'fine' up until the projected amount that Antigua is losing each day.

Personally I think they should target Cisco routers and switches or some other IT company (Are IBM still making servers in the USA?) as this is semi related to the IT startups in the Caribbean that are being directly affected.

This may not change anything but at least the $4m dollars a day being raised would keep a lot of VC's in Margaritas.