Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Google 'messy interface'

Google are renown for clean lines in all of their applications particularly their start page; So can any one explain this new strategy to me?

Are peoples short term memories so short that we jumped away from the Yahoo's of the world to seek purity in the all knowing all clean algorithm of the mighty Google?

(btw if you are going to pick a home page design - definitely go for the Mark Ecko design).


Saturday, April 26, 2008

CBS Viral Video show

So someone from the team left a comment on my site about how they should be voted for an oscar because of their clip about viral videos here "Cakke".

That’s not that big a deal…..what is a big deal is this story about how they recently sold the rights of that song for $750,000 to CBS. Wow does that make their editing time worthwhile or what!!!


Thursday, April 24, 2008


Yes so everyone reading this blog that is my address book would have received an email from 'Boxbe' this weekend.

No it's not a virus. No it's not spam. No it's not another social network.

It's an 'alpha stage' product that while has really interesting potential seems to be still working out the kinks.

Basically Boxbe is a SF based startup that through an outlook plugin (or yahoo and soon to be gmail etc etc) adds a toolbar that will enable you to separate out spam from your inbox.

It works in the theory using sender address verification, so if you send me an email and you aren't in my outlook address book or in my 'approved guest list' it sends you an automated reply email asking you to fill out a robot detector captcha test.

If you don't do this then I still see the email but it's placed into a 'holding folder' that I can check and manually approve any time but without me seeing this in my inbox helps weed out spam.

So whats bad about it?

Well I sent an invitation to Alec Saunders and he blogged about it as good as I could so check out his blog here

Basically they send an email to everyone in your 'approved list' and whilst that's ok, it's confusing that this is going to happen and also confusing wording in the email people receive - they should just read then delete the email but it makes it sound like you have to sign up to the service otherwise your emails to me wont get through.....

That's bad enough but they then send a second email 2 days later for people who didn't sign up......

I’ve been getting emails from people who received the ‘2nd day’ invite with requests to please get me off this list from my 1300 or so Outlook contacts.

I think people are used to ignoring a ‘first email’ (though a few people did query me about ‘whats Boxbe’ when i first sent them out the initial invite) but getting one 2 days later makes them think that they are on some continual spamming list.

I also have to comment that whilst Boxbe support has been fairly responsive to my initial comments when I asked how do people delete accounts…….that there has been no response.

Not that I’m ready to cancel my Boxbe account, for the moment after about 3-4 days it seems to be doing a really nice job of separating all but self sent domain spam (eg someone purporting to be sending you an email from your own domain). Everything is is being nicely separated out and although I’m reviewing the ‘boxbe isolation folder’ about 4 times a day I feel this will settle down to once a day soon.

Far better than the spam protection that comes with outlook/exchange.

So I’m thinking I might keep it…..though the jury’s still out, Will post more on once I make my final decision - just hopefully someone at Boxbe works out they need to be a little less 'aggressive' with the 'viral' nature of their emails.

If you have a good product that solves the worlds spam problems, trust me they will come.


Clay Shirky

A couple of weeks ago at the Newtech meetup here in NY I was introduced the first time to someone who radically lifted my personal expectations of what I should be doing with my IT knowledge.

Clay Shirky apparently was really well known by the 500 or so people in the room but I hadn't heard of him before. After listening to him for less than 10 mins I realised why he was so warmly received.

Someone recently posted an audio file of the discussion so feel free to click below to have a listen for yourself and let me know what 'you personally hear'.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

(unfortunately the audio isn't great as it was captured by someone in the audience on their cell phone or something like that - it's one of those spontaneous events where you wish for years later you had a proper recording of the event but as far as i know this is the only recording - and they missed the Q&A at the end that had the majority of the good points raised around what 'we' should be doing about this).

I was very inspired and heard there is an expectation (not a burden but more of a tax), that I as a literate, educated, well trained IT person should, if not must, give back to the world something that utilises my personal skillsets to the best of my ability something in IT that radically changes the world as we know it.

It was for me personally a very inspiring session.

If you enjoyed his point of view you might want to check out his book on Amazon, i purchased it online that very night and this blog post was going to be a review of his book but after 3 re-writes of what I was going to post originally I just couldn't cover it in a way to do it justice (which is why i sought out the audio file).

You should click below and check it out.
Clay Shirky - Here Comes Everybody


P.S. someone sent me this video its a much longer version of the same topic he presented on but it was much more powerful at Meetup because of the Q&A (and was shorter - I also think Clay may have been more nevous giving the talk in front of the Berkman community).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Well what do you know, you learn something new every day.

So you know the scene in "The Chronicles Of Riddick" where the sunrise of the planet is bringing a fierce firestorm sweeping surface of the planet that they are trying to outrun....

Yeh you know the one, so I always thought whilst an exciting scene, was absolute BS.

Anyway so I'm watching a documentary on planets that have highly elliptical orbits (an orbit where the planet does not orbit in a near circle like earth but one where planets circle swinging close into their sun then far out in an egg shaped movement) there is a planet called HD80606b that has a highly elliptical orbit of 111 days and as it swings in close to it's sun, a firestorm of several thousand miles an hour sweeps in both directions from the 'sunny' side to the dark side.

After a period of about 12 hours this dissipates into an entire planet engulfing storm before cooling down again while it swings out the long lobe of it's 111 day orbit.

I guess that would mean you'd need to stay indoors that day or up the SPF factor on your sunscreen several thousand percent.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

23 degrees

23 degrees thats the number of degrees the earth tilts in order to change New York from Winter to Summer and back again (I'm not sure if thats just at the poles or equal everywhere - my geometry is a little rusty but you get the point).

So I'm out taking Lou Lou for a walk today, the sun is shining, the grass is green (and growing rampantly - the baseball diamond across the road is being mowed every week now), the flowers are blooming and it's hard to realise that less than two months ago if you were outside without a jacket you would be freezing.

It makes you realise how big a fluke it is that earth is as inhabitable as it is. And should something happen, meteor, earthquake, tidal wave or otherwise that it would be easy for things to be very very different.

If you've never seen the documentary "Guns, germs and steel" you should - really compelling insight as to why somethings are the way they are.

Also makes me wonder why we are wasting billions of dollars in petty squabbles when we should be racing for other inhabitable worlds.....but thats a post for another time.

Just wanted to say spring time in New York how sweet it is.


Friday, April 18, 2008

227m page views on 15 sites

Interesting figures at the end of the article 15 sites 227m page views in the month of March.

Sure there are a lot of mouths to feed in running this but that’s not a bad business not bad at all. :)

Would be really interested in some intelligent revenue guestimates on tese figures if you think you have some thoughts.


Dreaming in 'Australian'

Had a really cute thing happen in a dream I had last night.

Most of the dream was totally non-eventful, and there was certainly no visual cues as to where it was, I cant even remember what most of it was about.

But at one stage in the dream I remembered that I was paying for a coffee and as I handed over the cash I realised it was an Australian plastic note. Even when it happened I thought isn't that cute I'm "dreaming in Australian" then went on with the rest of the dream.

I don't know why I wanted to blog about this but I thought it was cute.

(oh and for the Americans who have never been to Australia - we developed the worlds best 'paper' cash notes and that technology is now licensed by a number of countries around the world - the greenback may be king but man is it ugly).

Just think it's cute/weird after almost 4years that i would still dream that way.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Facebook Spooky

So Facebook kicked off a new feature a few weeks ago called "friends you should know" or something like that - anyway at the time I thought cool, saw one or two people that I'm real life friends with and thought "wow they are on facebook as well - yep I'll 'FB friend' them", not being a big "friend collector" i tend to turn down most friend links I get especially on linkedin etc.

Anyway so every day when I log onto FB I see a new face or two and think cool but dont play around with it much.

Until today, when you click on see all you get to see a whole swath of people.

Now for the spooky part, someone on this page (and no not saying who), I only just emailed 3 days ago aboutt a work related thing - and have only ever received 2 emails. As far as I know - no one else in my group of friends has anything to do with this person as she works somewhat outside the IT space. Facebook 'beaconing my outlook emails'?


BTW has anyone else noticed that the Facebook 'Feed' or posts of items other people are doing - has slowed down dramatically in the last few months, eg less people are posting less items to Facebook? has the fad of FB worn off?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The growth of mobile content in the USA

Russell Beattie Throws In The Towel On Mowser; And Doesn't Believe In The Mobile Web Anymore
Tricia Duryee
Tuesday, April 15, 2008; 1:00 PM

In April 2007, a mere year ago, Russell Beattie started Mowser, a mobile browser that would render Web sites correctly for the mobile phone. Today, he's publicly calling it quits, writing a lengthy message on his blog explaining how he hasn't been able to raise funding and the growth on the site has been flat or falling for the past couple months (and 80 percent of it was for porn anyway). The former Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Mobile evangelist takes it a step further and says others should quit, too. "Beyond the fact that I'm irretrievably in debt, the general answer is that I don't actually believe in the 'Mobile Web' anymore, and therefore am less inclined to spend time and effort in a market I think is limited at best, and dying at worst. I'm talking specifically about sites that are geared 100% towards mobile phones and have little to no PC web presence. Two years ago I was convinced that the mobile web would continue to evolve in the West to mimic what was happening in countries like Japan and Korea, but it hasn't happened, and now I'm sure it isn't going to."
He goes on to spell out his argument, using statistics that others would say are signs that there is in fact a mobile Web developing. The iPhone isn't catalyst for change, instead he writes that "all it did is point out that there never was one to begin with." Some figures provided by M:Metrics verify his beliefs?the research firm found in the U.S. that 85 percent of iPhone owners browsed the web vs. 58 percent of smartphone users, and only 13 percent of the overall mobile market. "Let me say that again clearly, the mobile traffic just isn't there. It's not there now, and it won't be." But I think that's the extreme. He doesn't actually believe that people aren't interested in getting information while on the go, but that they want an identical experience to the Web, not a re-formated abbreviated one. That's different than saying the mobile Internet is dead. It means full browsers could succeed. "Mowser was always meant to be a short term bet against Moore's law, filling a specific near-term need and building a base of traffic to later expand to other cloud and proxy services. Well, the traffic never arrived naturally to allow the site to grow without funding," he wrote.
Still, we are still far off from the billions of phones in the market getting full Web browsers, so it would be hard to say that no one in the meantime will be interested in a partial Web. Marshall Kirkpatrick
on ReadWriteWeb has a hard time believing it, too, and personally likes mobile friendly Web pages, and reads them often, he says. What do you think? Is the mobile Internet dead?

Wow - one guy decides that startup life isn't for him and this is supposed to throw a whole shadow over the industry.....hmmm I don’t think so.

I like Russell, I've been a long time reader of his blog and an occasional user of his Mowser application.

I think the key point here is that...."Mowser was filling a temporary problem", with the release of the iPhone and the imminent massive model variants of the Android OS on the Horizon and the sure but steady improvements in the Windows Mobile 6 OS I think Russell is throwing in the towel as handsets are getting "good enough to no longer need Mowser".

Now do I think he threw it in too early with only 12 months operation - sure but thats because I'm a serial startup entrepreneur with 2 listed companies under my belt.

As an employee of one of the worlds first mobile browser specific analytics applications just for mobile content, I for one, am seeing huge growth in mobile content.

Amethon's clients are seeing traffic build month on month, and yes I think a lot of that has to do with better quality handsets and better quality browsers and most importantly higher data speeds with somewhat more reasonable flat rate unlimited data plans.

With a better user experience more people are finding the convenience of accessing content on the move .....or standing still but getting it right where they are standing with a mobile device never far from their hand ....

The best part about this mobile content is the volume of advertising coming into the space is funding a better user experience, and with tools like Amethon Mobile Analytics users analytics information and a solid roi can be demonstrated against this advertising spend.

Am I sad to see Mowser go, yes - Will Russell bounce, for sure - one of the smartest pioneers in the mobile business, Do I think USA consumers are a little behind eastern consumer patterns in mobile content consumption - YES but that has more to do with carriers and handsets than personal desires and usage patterns.

The mobile space is just taking off, with all the fallouts and successes that there was in the desktop browser wars in the 1990's.

Watch this space and get in early......your customers are waiting.

Dean Collins

Lypp/37 Signals Mashup contest - or why I like 'use my tools contests' for market stimulation
37signals VoIP Mashup with Lypp
We are less than one day away from opening the doors to the 37signals VoIP Mashup with Lypp. Tomorrow at noon (Pacific) the contest starts.
Developers, build a mashup application or mashup your existing application using both the
Highrise API and the Lypp API and win stuff. This is a great way to show off your Ruby-fu and win some great prizes.
Best app:
$3000 Apple gift certificate
20,000 minutes of call time from Lypp (approx value: $1800)
12 months subscription for a Highrise MAX account (approx value: $1800)

This is not only a great example of why mashups in the corporate space are going to be huge in 2008/9 but also an example of exactly how new products like this should be launched.

By encouraging a 'sandbox derby' where for a limited time developers/users/customers are encouraged to come over and not only play with your 'toys' for free for a limited period of time but also possibly win cash and prizes - they win but also you get market awareness levels raised and get to stress test your tools to see how they may be adopted in the market.

Besides what better way to launch some tools then see what customers can come up with when really encouraged to be creative.


Monday, April 14, 2008

To Vista or not to Vista

I came across this article today

Here's my reason for sticking with XP;
I'm a geek and I would love to upgrade to Vista, all my hardware is pretty much up to speed though laptop might need an upgrade but with the hard drive bitlocker encryption I would feel a lot safer when out and about with my laptop about loosing it.

But here is why I wont upgrade and the one and ony thing holding me back, licensing.

Being a geek I tend to change hardware a lot, some ram here and there, a new video card occasionally - upgraded cpu's when pricepoints fall etc etc.

So if I change two of these items....I'm up for a new vista license. Yep thats right, Microsoft in their wisdom have deemed that should you change more than 2 items of hardware your old license is now null and void and worth nothing.

hmmm somehow I'll stick with my 5pack of windows xp licenses that I bought ages ago and although I've never had more than 4 machines using my licenses at the same time I always know that should I remove one of those licenses I can run it on another machine.

Sorry MS, no amount of marketing or wishful thinking is going to make me change until this restriction is lifted.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Broadband Infrastructure Costs and what to do?

Martin Geddes writes a really interesting blog - often with fairly insightful vision.

He recently posted something about bandwidth auction costs that I've posted a reply to (but not yet online until he approves it). But you should go check out his article here

My comments submitted are below;

Excellent analysis about the costs not 'disappearing'- I cant help but think if 3g spectrum costs were cheaper then data throughput in countries where carriers got a little carried away (pre-crash) on their bidding would be higher/cheaper.

The carriers now need to recoup these wireless infrastructure costs somehow / somewhere and when you consider how vital to the well being of the economy/industry that connectivity is you almost wish for a more 'planned economy model' to delivering Internet bandwidth.

Anyone have any thoughts on if this is possible to implement for landline broadband.....nationalisation coup of carriers by the US marines maybe :)

Dean Collins

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Kobe 'Ikea' Monorail

Wow check out TrendHunter for a link to a super decked out 'Ikea' Monorail.
How long do you think this would last here in New York?


Monday, April 07, 2008

Improv Everywhere

The guys knock one out of the park this time (if you haven't heard of the Improv Everywhere group search my blog for other posts in the archive).
Basically they turned up a little league game between the Mudcats and the Lugnuts and turned it into a major event bringing cheer squads, a jumbotron and even had the GoodYear blimp fly over the game.

Can you imagine how buzzed these 10 year olds would have felt.

This truly is the power of social networks.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

Windows Mobile V's iPhone

Here's an interesting factoid for you;

Windows Mobile runs on 140 models of handsets with 160 operators in 55 countries.

It's real nice that the Apple iPhone is about to announce their 3g version which will make it their second model of handset but if I was developing applications for a global market I know which platform I'd be building for.

Now the Android OS that's going to make for some interesting competition.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Happy Friday Music Update

Well it's Friday again and I realised i haven't done a "Friday Music" thing in a while so...... for your listening and viewing pleasure.

In the Mood Music of the day box on the right is some of the tracks from one of my all time favourite cd's that I've been listening to lately - The Eels "Shootenanny" which trust me sounds way cool jacked up loud (and yes it's meant to sound over distorted like that). This is definitely my favourite cd of theirs.

(for those of you in NY they just played the Highline Ballroom which I missed out on getting tickets for).

However the clip below is from their debut album which I love just for the clip.



Rainy Days :(

There are days like today where you realise why Australia is "the Dry Continent", it's because it doesn't rain that much.

You get used to it in the end but man I am so sick of crappy weather in New York. It's finally starting to warm it's just warm and raining instead of cold and snowing.

There's a reason it's so green here.... all this water crap keeps falling from the sky.

Australia yes it may suck having to hand water your gardens and stuff like that but the alternative can be a drag after a while as well.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Skype 24 Hour Rolling Analytics

Totally stumbled across this really interesting post

I cant comment on how accurate it is but looks like someone has tried to do some really interesting research on number of skype users compared to people awake on a rolling 24 hour basis.

Would be interesting to see some other applications tracked against this - twitter posts per minute maybe?


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dont They Get It I'm Going To Die

Wow what a really powerful exhibition - I really wish I was in London to see this exhibition
Nothing teaches us more about life than death itself. Journalist Beate Lakotta and photographer Walter Schels asked 24 terminally ill people if they could accompany them during their last weeks and days. From these vigils came a series of insightful descriptions and photographic portraits taken before and after death.

For those of you lucky enough to be in London be sure to get down and check this out between 9th of April and 18th of May.

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE, UK
+44 (0)20 7611 2222

For those of you not there check out this link with some samples.

I love some of the quotes that go along with these - really gets to the core of what it's about to be alive.