mPulse

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Hypothetical Question: Microsoftless Scoble?

THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION ONLY!

If Robert Scoble left (or was pushed out of) Microsoft, would he remain influential?

If so, for how long?

TECHNORATI: ,

Google Maps Fun

Any guesses what they were doing here?

Let’s grab this puppy for a joyride…I mean, we paid for it!

Mmmmm...B2 in Palmdale, CA.



TECHNORATI: , , ,

White Noise Generator

I need to find a software noise generator, as the office I work in has no walls. Looking for reader suggestions, preferably in the free range.

TECHNORATI:

Weird Day..


  1. The weather is dark and foggy

  2. I am EXTREMELY cranked on caffeine (vibrating!)

  3. There is a VERY weird vibe at work today

  4. My resume is here



Should have stayed in bed. When the intrigue rivals a Bond movie, it's time to go home.

TECHNORATI: , , , ,

Monday, May 30, 2005

Technorati Ping Server Acting Up?

I appear to be having some issues when I try to ping Technorati to let them know I have a new post. Both from here and from Ping-O-Matic.

Just me, or are others seeing the same thing?



Ok, now it worked...never mind.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Mead Bright Photos: FOUND!

I found the Mead Brights Hipster PDA case photos!

It's brilliant...but there is still no way to determine who the mysterious "marijane" is....

TECHNORATI: , ,

Comments on “Why smart people defend bad ideas”

Adam Barr makes some comments on Scott Berkun's Why smart people defend bad ideas.

My original comments are here.

Mead Brights and the Hipster PDA

Ok, on Friday, May 27, I saw a very cool hack for the 3" X 5" Hipster PDA -- The Mead Brights Index card dispenser.

I went and bought said device at Walgreens on Saturday.

Thing is, I have no idea who to give credit to!

HELP!

TECHNORATI: , ,

Friday, May 27, 2005

WooHoo! AdSense for Feeds Shot Me Down

Just got my happy rejection letter from Google AdSense saying that I don't qualify for the Feeds Beta.

Couldn't be happier! Ad-free feeds will continue!

Office 2006 — WEB EDITION

This week, I had a conversation that included a discussion of whether Microsoft Office applications should be webified.

I think that this is the only way that MSFT is going to be able to get people to support a new version of their product. A web application running on an IIS server (you think they would make able to run on Apache? PSSSHAW!) would support thousands of users, even remotely (HTTPS).

How? Well, once you load the Web app...the load is effectively off the server until the user needs to save, or import, or merge, or speel...spellcheck. Users get to free up cruft and crap from their machines by only loading apps when they need them, and only the apps they need.

OWA is already good enough to replace the bloatware we call Outlook.

As one lunch companion pointed out, there has to be a version of these apps running in a lab somewhere in Redmond right now.

I would buy access to a new version of Office served over the Web in a heartbeat in order to dump the cruft and creep that currently occupies 300MB of drive space.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Culling the Partial Text Feeds

There appears to be a meme beating its way around the chaos we call the blogosphere, that of culling out the partial text feeds in favour of the full text versions.

I usually check this out when I decide to subscribe. Bloglines will occasionally offer up a selection of feeds to choose from, and if given the choice, I always go with the full text.

Tonight, I began (alomost) mindlessly culling out the partial text feeds. ProBlogger, Moliskinerie and ongoing. LifeHack looked cool, but the partial text feed saw them get the boot.

I agree with Scoble (ugh...I hate saying that!) on this:

I'll visit your site once in a while or whenever one of the bloggers that I read tells me you've written something interesting (which is quite often)


I know why partial text feeds exist. But I have AdBlock installed in Firefox, so even if I click through, you get no benefit. Turn on full feeds.

Do it. Now.



Jeremy Zawodny is on the bandwagon.

New Work Digs

So, last night, while I slept, the company picked up and moved up 128 to Lexington.

So far, the number of disruptions have been minimal. The biggest concern was were to plug in the the Bialetti. That is the sign of a near meaningless move.

Physical location is becoming less and less relevant to me. All I ask is that it's nice.

What does my birthday mean?

Your Birthdate: November 14

With a birthday on the 14th of the month (5 energy) you are inclined to work well with people and enjoy them.

You are talented and versatile, very good at presenting ideas, and you are also very good at organization and systematizing.

You may have a tendency to get itchy feet at times and need change and travel.

You tend to be very progressive, imaginative and adaptable.

Your mind is quick, clever and analytical.

A restlessness in your nature may make you a bit impatient and easily bored with routine, and rebel against it.

You have a tendency to shirk responsibility.


Eeerily accurate...

Via Doc Searls

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Moleskinerie: On Harriet the Spy and Paying Attention

Moleskinerie, my fave online blog of notes and paper-lust, posted a short quote from Harriet the Spy today.

This brought back a flood of memories of the sixth grade. That year, I carried around an old, reporter-style notebook and made notes very similar to those that I had seen and read about in this book. Observations. Comments. Vague thoughts.

It is probably from here that I began to understand the power of everyday events to shape people's lives in a larger way. What does arriving late to school tell me about what happens in the rest of someone's day? What does it tell me about their life outside of the context I see them in?

From here, I developed a sensitivity to how people's behaviour is driven by the forces in their life, and what it tells me about what they are thinking.

The most empathetic and insightful people you know aren't psychic; they are just paying attention.

Microsophist: Being Visible v. GTD

Microsophist (He's BACK) brings up a very interesting point on upward mobility within any large company: It's all about the optics. [here]

What are optics? It's a term I first heard used in reference to the political culture in British Columbia. It described the massaging news to make it look good. Effectively, it means the same as spinning the news.

At any large corporation, it is not about getting things done; it is about looking good and drawing (positive) attention to yourself as someone who manages up well.

The side-effect of this is that leaders that manage both up and down well are seen as unusual.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Lunch with Rick Segal

Had lunch with Rick Segal who was in Waltham on business today.

Lunch was good, and we talked for 90 minutes about all things blogging and technology. It was interesting to meet an Microsoft Technical Evangelist from the good old days.

It was a great chance to meet with someone else who has big ideas, and as my first blogger "meet-up" was a complete success...

...until I demonstrated my complete lack of navigational skills by getting lost and making him late to his 1:30 appointment.

I hate driving in Massachusetts.

Monday, May 23, 2005

SCIENTIFIC PROOF: Inability to understand sarcasm indicates brain damage!

Ok, provocative title out of the way. Referencing article here.

More provocative body text: if a lack of sarcasm indicates that a portion of the human mind is not working correctly, then the vast majority of native-born US citizens suffer from this affliction.

I have a hard time living in a society where a fine degree of sarcasm in not appreciated by so many people. I grew up in a culture where sarcasm and self-deprecation were the foundations of humour.

Maybe I am just missing the finer, more subtle, points of US culture.

Oh Look! A Dinosaur! Call Bill Gates!

Dr. Blaise Cronin (the name sounds like the nom de plume of an agent provocateur), author of a justly ridiculed and narrow-minded critique of blogging, has re-appeared just in time for the Summer Solstice. [here and here]

This man is an island. And he has lost the perspective that come from spending too much time in an ivory tower in Indiana. Pamphleteers and Gutenberg began this revolution. Apparently, in Dr. Cronin's view, the only valid word is the word on paper.

Dr. Cronin: if that is the case, I will be happy to discuss the dismantling your library's computer system so that you can move back to index cards in those sexy wooden shelving units which became all the rage a few years back when those systems were phased out.

Libraries are repositories of information in all its forms. For my generation, books are great, but they often slow down the process of learning as much as we can as quickly as we can, so that we can keep our jobs.

Or has the benefit of tenure made you complacent and snobbish at the same time.

PS: Thanks for visiting my blog -- your personal computer at has a distinct hostname.

Fred Wilson on Burn Out and My Thoughts on Blogging styles

Lawrence Lessig and Joi Ito. Now Fred Wilson says that he is burning out, re-thinking his online musings. [here]

I guess that my personality won't see me slow down for another few months. But I have also chosen a very different style of blogging. I am an aggregator and re-interpreter.

I don't generate a lot of my own inspiring ideas, but I try to synthesize all the information that streams into my head daily, pulling the random threads together.

What are the Blogging styles?


  • Thought Leader / Visionary

  • Disruptor

  • Aggregator / Synthesizer

  • Advocate / Evangelist



The ones that suffer the most likelihood of burn out are the first and the last; they are the ones that give their all.

Fred, you fall into this class. Step back, take a break. You'll still be on my feed list when you come back.

What is GTD?

Here is David Allen's definition.

Figure it has to be pretty definitive.

Great Comment from Adrian Trenholm

Adrian Trenholm:

Coincidentally, I took a client along to Johnnie Moore and James Cherkoff's Open Sauce Marketing workshop and one of the things that sticks in my brain was the comment "blogging changes the blogger."


Wow. Couldn't have said it better.

SoftPro Books in Waltham Becoming Quantum Books

My boss turned me on to SoftPro Books recently. A great little store full of all the geek books you could imagine.

Today I went in to buy The Art of Project Management and Mind Hacks. While I was at the till, I was chatting with one of the owners. As of next week, SoftPro Books in Waltham will be run in the same location by Quantum Books.

One of the owners is off to try and grow his start-up and the other is taking his family to Tanzania for 2 years.

SoftPro will continue to exist as an online presence for most of us, with the Denver, CO store remaining open.

Best of luck to the SoftPro Waltham Team.

The Art of Project Management

Scott Berkun's The Art of Project Management: Buy it.

If it is half as good as Scott's online essays, it will be an amazing read. And he is like a kid in a candy store!

Merlin of 43Folders has a great review of the book. I wandered out at lunch to buy it.

I need to stop reading blogs....

Scoble Defames Apple… JOKING!

Scoble on the Apple on Intel rumour. [here]

Is running Windows on Apple hardware considered heresy? And it would be interesting to see OSX and WinServer 2003 (let's compare Apples to apples) running on the same hardware.

This could be fun.

My original post here.

And Geek News Central agrees with me:

Is this not a interesting possible development. Maybe they have determined they need a little more power under the hood and have decided to embrace some Pentium chips. Time will tell. [Emphasis mine]

Jeffrey Phillips: Getting Unstuck

Jeffrey Phillips has some great advice on getting unstuck. [here]

The last time I got seriously stuck was after September 11. Everything seemed to grind to a halt. So, in order to change gears, I started to play with Linux on my laptop. Eventually I got proficient enough to spend 3 months working exclusively on Linux.

Right now, I can feel the mud sucking my wheels deeper. I wonder what I will discover this time.

Apple and Intel…AGAIN!

Engadget posts on it here. Gizmodo on the same here.

Apple denies this vigorously. However, given the G5 Powerbook meme running around the blogosphere (here), the serious side of this is that unless Apple discovers a new type of physics, they have maxed out their ability to squeeze power out of their chip choice. Cooling the G5 enough to put it in a Powerbook profile apparently still requires a portable tank of liquid nitrogen to accompany the user around in his mobile travels.

Apple is stuck. They have nowhere else to turn to squeeze more power into their portable computing platforms.

They have to decide: Intel or AMD.

It's not a pipe dream anymore. It's a necessity for Apple to remain relevant in the notebook and laptop market.

Dave Winer: Apple and Google NEED to Blog

Dave Winer points out that Apple and Google have suddenly stumbled into potential PR/brand issues in the last 24 hours that could easily be resolved in a customer-focused blog. [here]

I have beaten Apple on more than a few occasions on their lack of blogging cred. [here and here and here]

Google's blog strategy is...well, weak.

Meanwhile Sun and Microsoft are more than willing to jump into the blog pool and take a few bumps and bruises along the way.

If you can't take the heat...you will get burned in the fire.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

On renewal and priorities — Break from Blogging, June 4 3, 2005

In 48 hours, we have seen posts from Lawrence Lessig and Joi Ito reminding us that life is about more than blogging, about more than presentations, about more than being on the road 250 days a year.

What have we gotten ourselves into? Two of the most invigorating minds of the digital generation have declared that they need to focus on what is important, or focus on renewing what made them so driven to begin with.

Perhaps we should all step back and realize that running at the redline for as long as we have been (I have only been running this hard since 1999) is not for us, either personally or as a society.

Maybe it's time to declare Break from Blogging day. I suggest June 4 3, 2005 (a Friday).

Walk away from your computer. Go outside. Go for a walk. Write a long journal entry, ON PAPER. Read a book.

Just don't blog. Don't read them. Don't write them. Just be the person you are.

UPDATE: I am an idiot. Friday June 3, 2005

G5 Powerbook: OUCH!

Look! A G5 Powerbook!



A paltry 18.2 pounds!

Via Neuvo

Moveable Type: The Power of Complexity

Tim Porter hits on why MT may not be the best blog platform for those who prefer to spend more time blogging than tweaking a complex environment. [here]

I use b2evolution, and it just works. I only play with it to tweak the design. The rest of it is handled internally.

What platform do my readers prefer? What makes that platform appealing to you?

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Conversations and Clueless Executives

Rick Segal goes on a riff about blogs and conversations, and how many execs don't get it.

Earlier today, I talked about how Scoble was lucky. [here]

What kind of company do you work for?

SAP: Opacity Rules!

If you thought this was bad, SAP strives to exceed its previous level of obsfucation.

Nicholas Carr quotes from the transcripts at the Boston SAP Sapphire conference.

Let's look through this thing. Remember we had the fridge. We decided to retire the fridge. We're going to talk about a new metaphor from now on. What is NetWeaver and how does the whole thing come together? We talk about what we call the body of information. If you think about how the body of information is constructed, there are multiple pieces in there. It's the mirror, if you want, of what we had with the fridge. The only difference from the fridge is that all the pieces have to work together. The face is the portal. If you think about the brain behind the face, there are two halves. The analytics, the structured side; knowledge management, the unstructured side. The brain is critical not only for storing information but for processing. Anything that comes through the brain gets context. Through this brain, and what's supporting it, is probably the backbone of your body of information: master data management. If you don't have master data management, your body may be there, but it may not be able to move. And that's very critical to understand. Every information that goes through, every transaction that goes through, at some point in time touches master data, and if you don't have a coherent master data strategy and a coherent master data management server, you will not get an agile body. MDM is one of the biggest things that is happening right now in NetWeaver. Through the backbone, you get a lot of events. The events contextualize themselves through master data into the brain and then get back and thrown into the rest of your body. That network is like your nerve system.


Brain. Melting. I. Must. Follow. Blindly.

Via Chris Selland

Business Week: Two strikes in a single day.

My copy of Business Week came today, and promptly went in the trash. It contained a scent sample, and made the whole house curl up their noses.

And then, when I went to their site to express my displeasure, and was greeted with this.



TODAY IS MAY 21, 2005!

Business Week: please get your act together.

Moleskine and Rhodia…and a bird


This is heaven. Don't know where the bird came from....

Via Starfield's Flickr Stream

The Original Moleskine

The Original Moleskine

This is a very heavily used Moleskine. iBjorn writes:
This is on display in my school's library. It is a codex and satchel from Ethiopia, and is probably a couple hundred years old. Codices were first used in the 2nd cent and replaced scrolls.

Via iBjorn's Flickr Stream

Tyme on Scoble: You are a unique and protected species

Tyme hits for six with this posting about how Scoble is unique in the world of corporate blogging.

I have to agree with her on her opinion. In discussing the possibility of establishing a blog at our company, the conversation between myself and the other contributor came down to one final point: could our company handle the content that is necessary to make a corporate blog work?

In most companies, blogging about work, even if you don't talk about futures, financial, and other company confidential information, would most likely get you removed from your desk by a large security person.

And before I get flamed, we all know it's true. Companies, despite lip-service to the contrary, don't like transparency, because they cannot control the message.

As an example, if the corporate commandos at Microsoft discover who Mini-Microsoft is, he will be looking for a new job. I have no doubt about that.

So, Scoble, be glad you are unique. Live in the moment. But keep your resume up to date, because somedy you will need it.

Travis Smith: What? No Moleskines?


Imagine the money we could make at blogger meets and conferences if we filled one of these with Moleskines, Fisher Bullet Pens and Pilot G2/G6 pens.

Via Travis Smith's Flickr Stream

Travis Smith: A Dog and A Kong



Travis: play with this beast!

Via Travis Smith's Flickr Stream

Friday, May 20, 2005

iBook Carrying Case

Ok, Ricky has come up with the coolest little GTD/iBook hack. [here]

This is astounding. Very simple. Very elegant. Extremely useful.

Ricky, I salute you!

Mini-Microsoft: Crap Filling the Pipeline

In his usual eloquent way, Mini-Microsoft sums up the hiring of new dev folks at Microsoft:

# High quality people don't want to work for Microsoft.

# Low quality people are swelling our interview loops to the degree I'm really worried some of them are slopping up on deck and joining the crew.

# The good quality people we do give offers to get hired elsewhere for much better pay (just pay, not benefits - I don't think anyone on this green earth can do much better than Microsoft's benefits).

# Some colleges produce graduates who don't know what a pointer is let alone how to use one.

# H1B visas aren't going to be unfettered anytime soon.


Why does this give me concern for the state of Longhorn and Office 12?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bill G: First the dinosaurs, now this!

Gates: 'Information overload' is overblown

Of course it is, Bill! We all have a staff of 50,000 people to do our bidding so that we can sit back and dream up visionary statements like this.

Bill, thanks to Outlook and Exchange, no one can be free of work at anytime! With information transferred to Mobile devices, we can now forward vital e-mails with FYI to anyone in the world!

Long live productivity! Long live technology slavery!

I can't believe Gates is so far removed from the reality of what his products have unleashed. Maybe it's time to have a Send Bill Gates to Work Day!

And, did I mention that Gates says that Office 12 will solve everything? Or was that Word 6.0?

JWright loses a friend

Jeremy Wright's best friend, Will, succumbed to cancer today. [here]

Jeremy, my thoughts are with you.

Office 12: Dinosaurs Evolve? Here's how!

Over the last few days, there has been the start of Bzzzzz around the sneak peeks people are getting into the new Office 12 for Windows.

I haven't read them. I don't care. Guess I am a dinosaur.

On my work laptop, I am very happy with Office 11 (2003). My wife is very happy with Office 10 (2000) on machine.

Who is Office 12 aimed at? Enterprises are going WTF? Another *%^&%%$&% upgrade that is going to cause things to break and new security holes to appear, due to the new complexities that have not been completely tested?

Consumers? Most home users are likely to say that Ofice 97/2000/XP/2003 work fine for them, so why should they shell out a couple of hundred bucks for an upgrade?

I have an idea that will revolutionize the entire Microsoft Office marketing campaign, and put the fear into the entire marketplace.

Give away a LESS complicated, stripped down version "stock" version of Office 12 to anyone who wants it. Should be able to fit it into something like the 60-80 MB that OpenOffice fits into.

That's right. I have spoken the heresy. The basic Office 12 should be given away for free. If you need/want more advanced connectors/translators/add-ons, they can be purchased and downloaded online for modular prices ($9.95, $19.95, etc).

Why will Microsoft still make gobs of money of this method? Because the core development work for Office 12 is complete. Has been complete for maybe a decade, but at least 6-7 years.

If Microsoft doesn't consider this free download model, Office 12 will be greeted with the response it deserves from the basic consumers and IT professionals alike: WHO CARES?

OFFICE 12 LINK-O-RAMA!

Office 12 to ease lines of communication | CNET News.com

Office 12 and the New World of Work

Office 12 release confirmed for next year

Office 12 release confirmed for next year

Update: Microsoft reveals more details on 'Office 12'

Be cool to the pizza dude

Sarah Adams submitted the first listerner contributed essay to the NPR series, This I Believe. Be Cool to the Pizza Dude captures a very considered, zen-like appreciation for life, wrapped around the idea that basic human respect and dignity arises from being good, and doing good, to all people.

Thanks Sarah.

Via Moleskinerie

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

12 Work Rules to Live By

Skip Angel has taken and expanded Marcus Buckingham's 12 Questions on measuring success at work. [here]

Many of these were eye-openers for me. I have marked it as unread to re-visit again.



1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? (This will check to see if the person's roles and responsibilities have been clearly communicated.)

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? (This will get to the roadblock with tools that the individual is using so the manager can resolve.)

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? (This question determines if the job is taking advantage of the individual's strengths or desires.)

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? (When I saw this question, it was an eye opener and a reminder to give recognition and praise more often. Not to assume that "no news is good news".)

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person? (Another eye opener, does the individual believe that they are getting my attention and I care about how they are doing?)

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? (This will provide information on the individual's mentors as well as for you to see some of the leaders in your organization.)

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count? (This is a great question and will deal with issues where an individual is feeling shut out of decisions.)

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important? (Like the first question, this question really tests the employees on what has been communicated -- in this case, the company vision and strategy.)

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? (This question helps to see how this individual relates to others and their contribution to the team.)

10. Do I have a best friend at work? (Work is a community as sorts, so this is an interesting question to ask and get responses to see where there are tighter relationships between individuals.)

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress? (Just like the recognition question, this is a gentle reminder to a manager to keep up with the progress of people on their team.)

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow? (This question sets the stage on aligning personal goals to opportunities either within or outside of the organization. It also tells the individual that you care about them wanted to learn and grow.)

ClearContext: Clean out what mail?

Scoble is using ClearContext to clear out his Outlook Inbox. [here]

I solved that problem a long time ago. What e-mail?

You have read the book..you flaunt the acronym..what are you doing about it?

Merlin at 43Folders hits for six with this post that, in summary, says
 

GTD: What are you doing to make it happen in YOUR life? 

In the world of GTD, having a Moleskine and a HipsterPDA doesn't cut it folks. It's hard. It requires discipline. It requires dedication.

It's mental exercise.

Having failed at several physical exercise program over the years, I can offer some suggestions.

  1. Don't do it alone. Having a GTD buddy will help everyone stay focused

  2. Set aside time EVERY DAY to do GTD

  3. Post the GTD Flowchart somewhere where you are ALWAYS reminded of it. Here's a good one to use; it's my desktop image

  4. You will stumble. Get up, and review your cards, inbox, and notes. What can you DO, DELEGATE, or DEFER?


You can do it.

Teach. Share. Learn.

Live GTD.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

CanCon a-Go-Go Today on WBUR

Dick Gordon. Stuart McLean. The Connection from WBUR: 11AM-12PM EDT

Two old friends hamming it up. Should be fun.

The Mouse! The Cheese! the Horror!

This is a great idea! Where do I sign up?

So far I have avoided the plague of CEC (read the article); I hope that I will continue this pattern for many more years. Or until we get a cool place for parents to hang out while the kids party.

WiFi, coffee, O'Douls, and comfy chairs...I can see it now! I think that Katherine has hit on Starbuck's next expansion opportunity.

Throw Out Your Job Title

Jeffrey Phillips of Thinking Faster has a great post on why loyalty is still vital in the age where job security no longer exists.

If you have lost the loyalty of your employees or you pigeon-hole your excited and inventive digital generation employees into narrow and rigid job functions, how up-to-date is your resume?

Or maybe you enjoy working for the a government agency.

Jeff Tweedy on Music Distribution

Johnnie Moore posts a great quote from Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, made in an interview with Wired.

A piece of art is not a loaf of bread. When someone steals a loaf of bread from the store, that's it. The loaf of bread is gone. When someone downloads a piece of music, it's just data until the listener puts that music back together with their own ears, their mind, their subjective experience. How they perceive your work changes your work.

Treating your audience like thieves is absurd. Anyone who chooses to listen to our music becomes a collaborator.

People who look at music as commerce don't understand that. They are talking about pieces of plastic they want to sell, packages of intellectual property.

I'm not interested in selling pieces of plastic.


A really big message here. JM asks if you treat your customers like collaborators. I ask the opposite question: Are you selling pieces of plastic? If you are, how up-to-date is your resume?

MySQL: I was NOT losing my mind…ok, not this time

I noticed that a new version (4.1.12) of MySQL was up on their site last night. I grabbed the RPMs (Yes, I am a binary-loving weenie, not a hardcore source jockey) and installed them.

For those of you who install MySQL from RPMs know that it takes 4 packages to get all of the components up and running correctly. I got 3 of the 4 running no problem.

The one that bombed is the one that contains the main server binaries. All sorts of backtrace and coredump type errors, and then no response from the DB. So I re-installed the previous Server RPM, and I am up and running. I just figured I am an idiot and moved on with my evening.

This morning, I went to the MySQL site. Lo and behold, all of the 4.1.12 downloads have been pulled.

I don't feel like such an idiot anymore. And I am not alone: here are the Severity 1 bugs for MySQL 4.1.12. Two of them are identical to what I was seeing.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsgator buys FeedDemon

Go Nick Bradbury! [here]

Happy Birthday to David Parmet

David Parmet has a wife who truly understand the geek nature of her husband.

David recommended the Waterfield Cargo bag (a la Joi Ito) to me, as a possible replacement for my tired (and now too small) Targus backpack.

Sue was rumbling through Technorati, and came across my post.

Sue gave David the Waterfield Cargo for his birthday. [here]



Happy Birthday, David.

PS: I prefer the orange one.

This is a truly cool idea.

Predictive technologies are becoming recogmized as a very important comonent in any large information system. The data that these systems contain is useless, unless the patterns inside can be drawn out.

The Business Intelligence companies take these massive amount of existing data, crunch it, and find patterns within the data. Based on these patterns (or rules), BI systems can begin to extrapolate (LOVE that word!) future behaviour out of the patterns that appear in the new data. These are presented as scenarios to business users who can then take (what you hope is appropriate) action.

This will be very important in so many industries...including the one that I work in.

Via Silicon Valley Watcher

Seth shows us why eBay may have lost it’s way

eBay Stores announces its new logo...SO WHAT?

eBay, this is not something that you should announce. Make it happen, have people talk about it...let it spread. This is not a talking point that Meg Whitman needs to have in her backpocket.

Focus on making your customers happy, one at a time, like you used to.

Via Seth Godin

Some thoughts on early GTD

I am trying to consciously implement a GTD process here at work. Today has been a bit rough, because I am stuck on a task I am not motivated for.

On the other hand, I have been extremely productive in getting the do tasks out of the way. Many small things that usually would have been stalling me are now gone. Now it is the truly large tasks that are getting in the way!

Onward we go...

The Winer Family

I don't know what's cooler: that Dave Winer's mom has a blog; or that she did a smackdown on the city of New York!

Go Eve!

On Intellect, Experience and Employment

Tony Goodson riffs on an idea that Doc Searls threw out there this weekend.

This post brings back very painful memories of looking for jobs in Canada. Every time that I applied for a position, no matter how low in the food chain, the hiring process felt designed to make me feel inferior, especially since I had been let go from a position, prior to returning to school to get further qualified.

The US firms I spoke with (no, it was 1999, a very different time) seemed enthusiastic about my skills and curiousity. Canadian firms, on the other hand, wanted 20 years of experience for an entry-level position at $35,000(CDN).

Now, what I am finding is that many firms search the Internet looking for key words. They don't actually look at your resume. That is why I added the note to the top of my online resume, to force people to understand what I am looking for, what I need in a company.

Any company that is only hiring because of what they think I can do, I don't want to work for them.

I salute you Tony!

Moleskines, Apples, and Puppies: What could be better?

I saw this pic cruising Flickr a few days ago, and though it was very cute.

Moleskinerie posted another shot from this series. They were taken outside the Apple Store in Corte Madera, CA on the day Tiger was released.

See more here.

What to tell the team?

Tom Foster at the Management Skills Blog takes his lessons, and weaves them into narratives that make it easier to understand and absorb the message he is trying to get across.

Today's message is simple:

ItÂ’s relatively difficult for team members to execute your brilliant strategic plan when they donÂ’t know the details.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

GTD: If I don’t do it..?

This is a question that I find myself asking as I try to achieve some level of GTD in my life.

If I don't do it, who will?


This allows to determine if I can do it (in a two-minute window), someone else can be delegated to do it, or if it should deferred.

O’Reilly Conferences: And the Clique Will Inherit the Room

Dave Winer and Dare Obasanjo both go after the relevance of O'Reilly Conferences.

I went to OSCON 2000 in Monterey, CA and thought it was an ok conference. But I was struck by the cliques that were there. And now, it appears that O'Reilly only invites "stars" to its conferences. Too bad.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Be a doctor…

Went in to urgent care today -- I have a sinus infection.

But I saw a new doctor, and I liked her a lot. And I figured out why.

She is a doctor. She doesn't ACT like a doctor. My regular doctor always wears a white coat and maintains a cold, impersonal approach. The doctor I saw today was a human being, and treated me like a person.

A good rule for anyone: be yourself, not the role you think you should play (unless you are an actor).

Yet another Powerbook user! AAARRRRGGGH!

Powerbook envy really kicking in now...Darren Rowse points out his love of the Powerbook, and then points to a fellow Canadian who is learning to love her new Apple laptop.

How long must I suffer! Help me end my pain!

The Old Fort Garry — FLAMED

Jeremy Wright flames the Old Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg. [here and here]

There has been a thread in many blogs that indicates that there is an inverse relationship between the price and "quality" of the hotel, and the services offered, especially to the digerati generation.

As I have said before, I will take a Courtyard Marriott, or some such establishment over a prestige hotel anyday.

My wife and mother-in-law suggest that the 7th Floor party should be forced to rent out the sixth floor rooms directly beneath them as well; if I ran the zoo, that's what I would do!*

* A quote from Dr. Seuss.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Kevin Briody: Rubbing My Face With Powerbook Lust

Kevin Briody rubs my face with another happy Powerbook user. [here]

YEEEEEEAAAAAARRRRGGGHHHH

Tick-tock goes the counter...I need a second and third job....so many gadgets; so much mortgage.

I figure Kevin's great grandkids will be blogging about how my great grandkids finally got a 17" Powerbook...

On Being a Catalyst

Lisa Haneberg has a great post today on being a catalyst within your organization.

This struck home with me because I feel that the word catalyst describes a lot of what I do. I like to try and draw as many threads together as I can, and then help move a project along by helping the truly talented people see how something can be improved, extended or created.

To many classically-trained managers, I appear to be someone who seems to do or produce very little. But what I am paid to do is absorb and process as much information as I can, synthesize new ideas from this input, and then help provide the spark to start, or be the catalyst to accelerate, projects both internally and externally.

I like this job. It suits my nature very well. And I am glad that Lisa has given me a word to describe it.

More on the Geek-Gadget-a-go-go Bag Search

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions on my search for a new geek-gadget bag.

I want the Waterfield. Can't afford it...someone (you know who you are!) suggested that maybe we can get one of their most enthusiastic users, Joi Ito, to seed a couple of us with some VC money to help spread the Bzzzz about these great bags.

Ok, so I can dream...I mean, look at the Powerbook Lust count in the top right corner of the page!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Elizabeth Albrycht on Pigeonholing your Employees

Eric Eggertson has some thoughts on Elizabeth Albrycht's post describing how companies with rigid, hierarchical job titles can't cope with people who know a lot about many things.

I couldn't agree more. When asked for my title, I tend to give a vague response, rather than my job title. I don't want people to think that they can only discuss certain topics with me. As well, I don't want to be restricted in my opportunities simply because of my job title.

I have had the benefit of spending 6 years in jobs that allowed me a great deal of latitude in expanding my areas of knowledge, while still challenging me with interesting internal projects.

I look at those people who get stuck with "she's a programmer", "he's a creative", or "she's in sales" tags as having their entire life experience boiled down into a sound byte.

My life is not a sound byte (or bite); my life is a large canvas, and I am constantly adding to the picture. My life is a library that is always adding new volumes.

Remember that the people you work with are people.

My desk — May 12, 2005

Just for giggles...my desk.

Another OneNote Fan

Phil at geekyinfo is another OneNote fan. [here]

Like I said before, my Moleskine habit covers my note-taking needs quite well.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I have been Moleskined!


One little quote in Moleskinerie, and my stats go through the roof.

For you die-hard Moleskine addicts, such as I, this appears to be the pace to go.

Robert J. Lang Origami

Oh...wow! This Origami is insane!

Thanks to the Frog for the link...an Origami moose?

The end of DNS as we know it?

DNS has been a great hidden mystery to most people who use the Internet regularly. As a Web performance analyst, I see the effects of poorly deployed or improperly maintained DNS services.

Business 2.0 brings this to the rest of you. While sounding a little apocalyptic, it does highlight a problem that those of us who work close to the ground know: DNS is inherently complex and fragile.

Complex in the sense that a single mis-step can bring down a site like Google, or prevent Comcast users from using the Internet (not just the Web). Complex in the sense that the software, even after being re-written from the ground up for BIND 9, requires an incredible level of knowledge and expertise to configure and maintain correctly.

I run caching BIND servers at my home, because I know how easy it is for a DNS outage to take me off the Internet. But the level of knowledge needed to set up that service for 5 computers is incredible.

Services such as UltraDNS and Akamai have made DNS management for large companies a core component of their service offerings. Nominum, home of Paul Mockapetris (father of BIND and DNS), sells a robust and scalable BIND replacement.

The question now is: what next? What could replace the DNS infrastructure? So far I haven't been hearing a lot of conversation about this, because without DNS, nothing will work.

DNS and name resolution using DNS are integrated into EVERY operating system from phones to supercomputers. So is the question not what will replace DNS?, but what will replace BIND?

Don't know....

Podcasts? Why?

Ok, maybe I am only partial digerati. I cannot understand the love and passion generated by podcasts.

And after flaming him, I have to come down hard on the side of Charles Cooper. I can't see how podcasts will change the world.

I did amateur radio in the 80s at CFUV at UVic. Many weird "aaahhhhh...uhhhhh....ummmm..." moments, followed by obtuse humour and loud music.

I have also been recorded and have heard my own voice. Wouldn't want to share that with anyone....[shudder!]

Maybe I am just having a post-customer presentation stupid moment...maybe I will get flamed as well...but if I want amateur radio, I'll hit up a college station.

Big Old Public Apology to Charles Cooper of C|Net

I flamed Charles Cooper in a spur of the moment post a few days ago, and he burned me back this morning.

I pulled the post, because in 20/20 hindsight, and to quote Michael Keaton, "I sir, am an ass!".

Charles, you didn't deserve it; just two smart people coming to the same conclusion at about the same time.

Shake?

Google Content Blocker

Now, pair this up with Adblock in Firefox and poof! Web goes bye-bye!

Via John Battelle

Solution Selling for Consultants

Mike McLaughlin lists ten things that all consultants need to understand bout solution selling.

I see many of these at work in the sales processes that my company is involved in. These rules/concepts are the same for any complex sale, but #7 and #9 are the ones that affect me the most.

PR Agencies Categorized

Michael O'Connor Clarke has started a series that I will be following, especially adter some of the feedback I got over the Fire your PR Firm post last week.

Today's episode in the Seven Deadly Agency Types: The Sweatshop. A very informative read.

The Myth of World Class

Brad Feld helps me extend my list of meaningless phrases that should never be used to include World Class. [here]

Since I consciously started considering every word that I say, and making a very conscious effort to try and use the simple instead of the complex, I find that I am much more aware of what I used to say, and how ridiculous it sounded.

So, when you could say "We have a Best Practices process that is World Class", translate into the Feld-ese: We suck less, and we will help you suck less.

What other phrases are there that we all use to try and fit in? What other crap have we polluted our language with?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Moleskine: Moleskinerie Agrees…

The Moleskinerie (A Moleskine fan/Bzzzz blog) agrees with me that the Stationery is Bad campaign is for only some of the digerati elite. [here]

I got my Moleskine Datebook 2 days ago...I love it. As a member of a corporate culture, the Outlook Calendar is an evil necessity. But I am finding that I am far too tactile to live by that alone. I like being able to make random notes about a day on a piece of paper, and hold it in my hands.

I have many of my old datebooks, and when I look back over them, I can vividly remember the events that I note, remember why a to-do was so important, and have access to the memories with a simple glance.

PDAs and calendaring software allows us to have an extreme focus on the present; journals and physical datebooks allow us to remember the past.

I am off to purchase an Accordion Folder now....

 

If I could, this is what I would boil my travelling package down to. Brian Mitchell has manage to simplify his life to where I am aiming for.

kuro5hin: Excellent personal description of depression

Read this. It is an amazingly well-researched and detailed description of how depression -- bio-chemical depression -- works on a person.

b2evo Upgrade

I have upgraded the blog software to b2evo 0.9.0.12. Downtime was approximately 2 minutes.

Please let me know if you encounter any bizarre behaviour.

Dave Winer: BzzzzzAgent for Gather.Com

Dave Winer is acting as a BzzzzzAgent for Gather.com. [here]

Looks interesting...they are looking for subject-matter experts to contribute content....

READER’S SUGGESTIONS: Need a new Tech Geek Gadget a-go-go Bag

I am in the market for a new tech gadget/Moleskine carry bag. My Targus backpack is to small and unwieldy, and frankly a little unprofessional even for me.

I am looking for a bag that can:

  • Comfortably handle 2 wide-screen laptops (don't have two now, but that Powerbook can't be too many eons away...)

  • Can easily carry a Rhodia notebook, a couple of Moleskines, and a Hipster PDA

  • Room for two books for reading

  • Room for a digital music device, iPod-sized (someday I will have one...)

  • Many pockets for G2 Gel Pens, business cards, wires and stuff

  • Possibly enough room for a change of clothes


No leather. I want something that is as low maintenance as possible. Possibly capable af absorbing the blast of a hand gernade, or the contents of a bottle of micro-distillery tequila without noticable damage.

Let me know what you use, what you lust after.

 

David Parmet points to my dream bag in the comments: The Waterfield Cargo


Oooooo....Ahhhhhh! Michael Hyatt introduces me to a possible candidate in this process: The MegaMedia Bag.


Brian Mitchell suggests the Timbuk2 Commute XL...looks yummy!

Scott Berkun: Art of Product Management

Scott Berkun's Art of Product Management is out. If the book is anything like his reasoned and thoughtful monthly essays, you must buy it.

Now.

Mmmm…let’s call our customers dinosaurs…part 3

Oh look! Brand managers think that the Dinosaur campaign is a clear and concise way to break through the clutter...[here]

...and insult users who have a perfectly functional piece of software (Office 97, 2000, XP) by calling them dinosaurs.

Hugh is right: Branding is Dead

The Leadership Barometer

Skip Angel has a great post describing the concept of a Leadership Barometer.

The Low Pressure description is a very accurate portrayal of management climates I have worked in. A number of managers I have seen in action, in a somewhat misguided attempt to keep us informed, tell the team about the battles they have lost, the projects they have been forced to do, and share their personal opinions of senior leadership.

I don't need to know this. I need to know how things are getting better. The battles we are facing. And how a manager is going to motivate us to achieve great things.

I want straight talk; but sometimes, I don't need all the details.

eBay outage

Ummm...wow. This points to a catastrophic failure in the backup power systems in this hosting facility. [here and here and here]

TDavid makes a very good point: when your systems become large enough, the power consumption alone would stun most people. One article points out that in 2001, a new Qwest facility in Sunnyvale,CA would require enough power to drive 1.2 million families. Another http://www.masselec.com/news/spring_summer_2001/News5.htm about a hosting facility in Billerica, MA talks about having six (6) 1.5 MEGAWATT backup generators.

You have to imagine what the power demands of Google's 100,000 servers must be, even distributed worldwide.

Monday, May 9, 2005

A summary of my day


  1. The organization moved to Exchange 2003. Chaos abounds. Work e-mail should return to normal in about 3 days

  2. We finally got the money out of the CRA for the sale of our house in Canada in October 2003

  3. We finished preparing the house for the arrival of the grandparentals tomorrow

  4. I think I have started a discussion in my organization about talking to our customers like family. I even translated some of their "buzzword" copy into plain English



Bedtime for the shift supervisor here at the NI Factory...

iTunes 4.8

Get it while it's hot! [here]

Via Gizmodo!

Translating the Corporation

After pounding through a number of incredibly clearly written books in the last week, and being completely absorbed in brilliantly written blog posts, I have decided that it is time to start translating the jargon at my company.

From today on, I refuse to speak the buzzwords. I want to have genuine conversations with our customers. I will tolerate their need for buzzwords, but I will translate them into a real conversation, not into a lingusitic power game.

I will challenge my company to dissect its Web site, white papers, and other press material to see if they are spouting empty and meaningless words. I will ask how they would explain the importance of the idea to their grandmother.

I want to take everything and throw it in the trash. I want to start again.

I am starting again.

The Myth of Best Practices

Guerilla Marketing for Consultants links to their latest newsletter where they tee up the myth of Best Practices and drive that meat-flavoured golf ball right into the crocodile water trap.

I hear this from companies and from peers and I want to slam both groups when I hear it. It is an empty, meaningless term. In my business (in most businesses), every consulting engagement is unique. There are certain core concepts that everyone should adhere to, but the solution for each company is unique.

Throw Best Practices out of your vocabulary. Now.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

A Paxil Blog!

Groovy! An entire blog dedicated to the effects of my favourite addictive SSRI! [here]

Go team!

My original Web server — poweroff

I finally powered off my old (Red Hat 9) Web server after nearly 2.5 years of continuous operation. The Web server databases have been moved over to the other old and clunky machine, which happens to have a bigger drive and more RAM.

I will miss the bizarre quirks of that old clunker, but I will re-build her with a massive new hard drive so that she can become my repository of media files.

Eventually. When I get some money.

By then, it should be 4 generations behind the most modern machines.

Sigh...

Database moved.

I migrated the database for the blog to a new machine. Took all of about 15 seconds to complete the transfer.

Let me know if you see any weirdness.

Igor! With a single gram of Governmentium, we can bring the world to its knees!

Read more about this wonderful stuff at Autonomous Source.

Microsoft: The Redmond Moleskine Police

Bzzzzzzzzzzzzz Alert

Looks like Scoble is trying to start some buzz for Microsoft OneNote. [No Link! Do not want to contribute to buzz factor -- read Scoble's post here]

Well, if Microsoft expects me to turn in my Hipster PDA or my Moleskine notebooks, they are out of their mind.

I have tried every form of electronic organizer, address book, PDA, etc. and I have deleted or sold every one of them eventually. I am an old-fashioned pen and paper man when it comes to notes and jottings.

Maybe I am one of those dinosaurs that Microsoft is trying to sell to.

PS: While you are here, please feel free to help me choose a new Geek Gadget Bag. I need all the input I can get!

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Google Hacked

Wondered why I couldn't get my GMail for a while...

Om Malik reports on the Google Domain Hijacking.



Om has heard from Google and it looks like they were doing some DNS work. This is one the oldest parts of the working Internet, and it is the most complex and devious thing to get right. Entire companies have been built around managing DNS.

It is almost as though the people who designed DNS made it obtuse and difficult to manage so they could sell their consulting services to the rest of us.

Change to my Resume

Decided to add something to my resume today.

Is your company remarkable?

Are your employees amazing?

Does your company thrive on employees who think differently?

What was the last book your CEO read? What was the last book your VP of Marketing read?

Tell me about you and your company. Or if you are a recruiter, tell me why you like finding employees for this company (beyond the fact that you get paid for it).

I am looking for companies that are challenging their employees daily. Tell me your stories of success, how you lead your industry, and how you constantly look for new challenges, not simply coast along on the glory of the past.

If it looks like turning the interview process on its head, you're right. I want to know why I should come work for you.

My blah, blah, blah is below. But you are the kind of company who hires based on what's in a resume, I don't want to work for you.

Why? Because I am a square peg, and most companies who hire by resume only are looking to fill triangular holes. I am different, and that cannot be seen in a resume.

Does your company need someone who thinks differently? Does your company need someone who refuses to fit into a job title?

Come on over and talk. Tell me what you are looking for; and I will tell you what my ideas are.

smp
May 7, 2005


Why did I do this? Cause I want to separate the wheat from the chaff. I will not settle for a job. I want to go to work and have a vision. I want to be enthralled, motivated, and driven to go to work every day.

Does your company have what it takes?

Power Outage

UPS devices covered my butt, but I still had to shut down the servers for 10 minutes until the mains came back.

First power outage in this house...

Friday, May 6, 2005

More on Ballmer’s Letter

Hey PR and News Media Folks: What's your opinion on Ballmer releasing this letter on a Friday?

Isn't that the day when old, MSM PR firms tell you to release unfavourable news so it gets lost over the weekend?

Guess they haven't heard about the 24/7/365 media...

Microsoft: More on the Gay Rights Position…AGAIN

According to Scoble, Microsoft is reversing its position on the Washington State anti-discrimination bill. [here]

Not to be harsh, but in my mind, "Too Late, was the cry".

The damage is done. I am happy that they are now coming out in favour of this bill, but this is now tainted by their initial withdrawal of support. This response, no matter how it is spun, is seen as hollow and meaningless.

I am sorry Scoble, I do not share your excitement over this announcement. I expected it, and I am not impressed by the sentiments that are driving Microsoft as a corporation to make this decision.

They should have had spine in the first place; courage after the battle cannot put a shine on the tarnish of cowardice during the battle.



Adam Barr confirms the reversal. [here]

Ballmer's e-mail can be read here.

Kevin Briody

C|Net's take.

Rob Enderle lays down some good vibes for Microsoft. I am still asking where their spine was in the first place...

Dare Obasanjo says "Microsoft definitely does not suck as an employer" [here]; no Dare, they have just shown us what all good political animals already know: the strategic back-pedal is a valid strategy.

Udo and I, talkin' the same language! [here]

TDavid's comments. [here]

David Weinberger. Why, oh why, is nobody critiquing this flip-flop?

Google Accelerator: The Wrath of the Plex

Uh oh! Serious issues are starting to appear with the Google Accelerator, including security/authentication issues.

More here and here and here

C|Net's take.

geeked's take.

Geek News Central

Om Malik hits for six by declaring: So What? [here]

Radar has a learned discussion on the GWA's impact on my other fave whipping post: 37 Signals BackPack. [here]

Tim Yang brings on more 666gle anti-love.

Om Malik hits for the Century by saying: And Why?

BlogNewsChannel has the best wrap-up. [here]

Dan Gillmor chimes in.

James Governor understands the new Google strategy

James Governor hits for six with this gem.

By bringing their correlation capabilities with Web metrics (Urchin) and site visits (Web Accelerator and Toolbar), Google will be able to direct even better, more focused ad placement, based on visitor location, time of day, Originating ISP, "actual" bandwidth, and any number of other metrics that they will have at their disposal.

I am interested, and concerned, with the brilliance of the Google strategy.

Rick Segal: Welcome to Wells Fargo

Dear Rick:

Read your post on the fun at Wells Fargo yesterday.

WF was my bank of choice when I was in California. And after a similar experience wiring money, you know what we resorted to when sending money home to Canada?

Bank draft and FedEx.

Goes to my point that US Banks are the last holdouts from the 19th Century.

I like your solution. The "little people" will solve most of your problems, if you stop micromanaging them. they have the skills and knowledge to make things happen. Management usually does not.

Have fun!

smp

Thursday, May 5, 2005

10th Wedding Anniversary

Blogging will be intermittent (non-existent) today, as you can see in the title.

Talk amongst yourselves...

Siebel CEO Says He Expects A Turnaround

George, this does not mean watching the shareholders heads spin, like in The Exorcist.

And acquisitions? George, your staff is not even comfortable walking across the street to get some BBQ at Armadillo Willy's or a coffee at the Bridgepointe Starbuck's, because they figure when they come back, a new name will be on the building and their pass cards won't work.

SELL! THIS! TURKEY!

Via C|Net

FIRE YOUR PR FIRM!

alarm:clock has great advice for startups: Fire Your PR Firm! [here]

After the presentation I attended last week with a candidate PR firm my company is interviewing, the five points offered up really hit home.



One of the things that David Parmet and I disagree on. [here]

Jeremy Pepper writes more here.

Jeff Nolan comments here.

This is your host on South Park..Part 2

Ok...couldn't resist another run at the South Park Character Generator



Here's the original mugshot.

BeerServer MicroBrew Edition

Mmmmmm .... beeeeeerrr!



Via Tigersprout

ABC: Mainstream Media — Ninth Level

Looks like a double-standard at ABC. [here]

If television was relevant to me, I would probably be doing the dance of joy. Instead, I am simply shouting "Jump! Jump!".

Massachusetts RMV — Helping Identity Thieves since…

DowBrigade points out that folks could have looked up information in the Massachusetts RMV records, through a third-party Web site. [here]

I wonder who the bright spark who came up with this idea was?

GrabIP Back Up…BUT…

GrabIP is back up. YAY!

However, I have limited the number of queries per IP address per 24-hour period to 5. BOO!

Subscription service coming soon...unlimited lookups! YAY!

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Interesting StatCounter “Feature”

I use StatCounter to track the visits to a few of my Web sites. Lately I have discovered a number of visitors that are logged as coming from Private IP Space addresses (10.0.0.0/8, etc.).

I know what's happening here. These folks are behind proxy servers. When they request the StatCounter object, it is actually requested from the proxy server, which then logs their Private IP address, not the one on the external interface of their proxy server.

I also examine my Apache logs and can easily correlate these visitors to their external IP addresses.

A weird "feature", but kind of cool, except if you are the security admin for these networks.

Open Minds in Academia

The Dean of the School of Library and Information Sciences at Indiana University, Blaise Cronin, maintains an open mind about blogging. [here]

One wonders for whom these hapless souls blog. Why do they choose to expose their unremarkable opinions, sententious drivel and unedifying private lives to the potential gaze of total strangers? What prompts this particular kind of digital exhibitionism? The present generation of bloggers seems to imagine that such crassly egotistical behavior is socially acceptable and that time-honored editorial and filtering functions have no place in cyberspace. Undoubtedly, these are the same individuals who believe that the free-for-all, communitarian approach of Wikipedia is the way forward. Librarians, of course, know better.


Books are great. I still love to handle a book or magazine. But almost everything I have learned in the last 2 years has come from the Web. I have learned more about Sales and Marketing through blogs than any MBA program. I have learned how to quickly and clearly communicate complex ideas by putting my ideas on the Web for commentary.

Libraries will always exist; attitudes like Dr. Cronin's will not.

Via Kevin Briody

Google Web Accelerator

Gee, want to make those searches even more powerful? How about we track exactly where every person on the Web is going by tracking them using a piece of software that they install on their own computers?

Google Web Accelerator. The latest from Big Brother those folks at Google.

This also explains why Google wanted to buy up all of that dark fiber. You have to plug your proxy servers into something

Doesn't mean I am not going to try it...

Via Micro Persuasion

O'Reilly Radar has the same paranoid delusions privacy concerns that I do over this product. [here]

John Battelle notes the salient feature of the Google Accelerator at the end of his article.

However, you do start to run all your web surfing habits over Google's servers, and that, of course, makes Google something of a proxy ISP, with access to all the aggregate data that an ISP like AOL or Comcast has on you. Is that a good thing? Well, yes and no. But net net, it has implications down the road. Very soon, Google will know an awful lot about the world's surfing habits, well beyond search. Hmmm.


Search Engine Watch has a straight-forward list of the features -- limited commentary. [here]

Great comments from Techdirt.[here]

More from TechDirt, pointing to a great post by Tristan Louis.

The usually paranoid TDavid seems to be addicted to the revving icon. [here]

Lifehacker comments.

Google Blog Comments.

Darren Rowse hits for six with this quote from Mike Lambert:

Instead of using a random surfer model, Google can use a real surfer model, based on the aggregate web traffic of the people using their Web Accelerator. They can discover /exactly/ how the Google Juice should flow in the real world.


C|Net's party-line, facts-only commentary. [here]

Silicon Valley Watcher is prescient enough to mention that "your browsing history might be just a subpoena away from the nearest FBI office". [here]

More Google Web Accelerator anti-love from Carson McComas. [here]

Mmmm…let’s call our customers dinosaurs…part 2

Rick Segal compares the Microsoft advertising approach to the Marriott advertising approach -- Dinosaurs v. blogging/podcasting. [here]

I am not sure why Microsoft is still running this hideous ad campaign. A few thousand copies of Purple Cow need to end up in the Microsoft marketing department.

Conferences: Location Intelligence and RDBMS Systems

I miss out on all the cool conferences, like Location Intelligence.

Now, I am not much into GIS, but I have a side-interest in IP to location mapping (the now defunct GrabIP project, as an example), and have been working giving feedback on a project that someone has been building using the type of basic geographic information I gather in the IP database I created.

Now Radar is trying to develop a little buzz for PostgreSQL by discussing how many of the GIS firms use it.

I agree that Postgres is far more advanced than MySQL, but for most Web development, the level of transactional complexity that is available in Postgres is far beyond what is needed.

For example, using Postgres for anything that I do is like using an elephant to open a can of sardines. But using MySQL to manage a complex GIS system would be like an orange trying to drive a Porsche.

Each system has its place in the open source world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

BackPack: Ummmm…what’s the fuss?

I don't get the blog fuss that is being raised over Backpack.

Seth is likely bouncing off walls watching this IdeaVirus lift off. This has got early adopter pid IdeaVirus bzzzzzz-agent written all over it.

People...it's a freakin' to do list. Get a Hipster PDA and be done with it.

For what it's worth...more on BackPack here and here and here and here and here and here

Google: Web Analytics Prices Falling

Google drops price for Urchin Web Analytics. [here and here and here and here]

StatCounter gives me what I need, thanks.

IP-Country Database Information Offline Permanently

I have been getting a great deal of interest in the IP-to-Country data that I have been working on over the last few years. However, I have had to take this data down from my site.


  1. The bandwidth costs are starting to become noticeable

  2. My old hardware is starting to creak under the weight

  3. There are commercial sources for this data, and frankly, I say more power to them if they can make money of this; I sure haven't



It's been a depressing week here in the Newest Industry Factory, and we are starting to have to dim the lights in some corners, turn off some of the machines, and [gulp!] consider other drastic measures.

To paraphrase the Bare Naked Ladies: "All this food ain't free".

I apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that I can re-activate these pages in the future.



UPDATE: GrabIP is now back up, but limited to 5 requests in a 24-hour period.

WSJ: Blocked by Subscription Model

Chris Selland linked to an article about Steve Jobs that is in the WSJ. [here]

Chris: See my previous post. The subscription model at the WSJ has foiled your attempt to share this with the rest of us.

NY Times: How much will you pay?

Business 2.0 is asking how much you would pay to read the NY Times online. [here]

My response: why? I don't read newspapers anymore. I would pay nothing to read this online, when I can get news free from Reuters, BBC and Yahoo!, and commentary from blogs.

MSM just does not understand. Their model is broken. It is 300 years old, and it is finally succumbing to it's own dead weight.

The forests of the world are breathing a sigh of relief.

BusinessWeek, trying to support its brethern through it's lame attempt to "blog". [here]

Toolkit for the Technically Aware, Part 2

In this post, I mimiced the list of tools that Brendon Connelly lists.

I forgot to add some of my personal favourites and additions.


  • Cygwin: Makes any Windows machine able to run a linux-like terminal

  • Caffeine. Addicted.

  • Ethereal: If you are a geek, you need this. Packet-sniffing goodness

  • Trillian. Yeah, GAIM is open-source, but Trillian is just that much slicker

  • Firefox. Runs anywhere; need to know more?



I know that most of these are more for the geek side of the house, but a lot of my traffic comes from those folks.

Leave your additions in the comments.

Toolkit for the Technically Aware

Brendon Connelly hits almost on all cylinders with this post. I was shocked to see someone who relies on almost exactly the same toolbox (in a different configuration) as I do.

  • I am off to buy a Moleskine Datebook

  • I use http://www.notetab.com/and vim to do most HTML/PHP/SQL/whatever editing

  • HyperSnap for screen capture

  • SQL in Microsoft/Sybase, MySQL, and Oracle flavours


I have never been able to gracefully integrate a PDA into my life. I have tried 4 times, and all 4 have failed miserably. I am a pen and paper man for contacts, appointments, etc.

Outlook Calendar is good for business meetings...but for the rest of your life?

The one tool that he doesn't mention: Google. I know that it is so omnipresent that it is easy to miss, but if you do fewer than 5 Google searches a day, and you work in high-tech...what do you do?

Trunk Monkey: Coming to a Car Near You

This has the potential to be a really cool meme. I know that the animal rights crowd won't like it, but, ya know...sometimes you just gotta run with the concept.

Trunk Monkey

Thanks to the guys in the NOC for this.

My Browser Stats for the Newest Industry



This is the latest browser statistic breakdown for the Newest Industry. Data is gathered using the StatCounter.com application and is updated in real time.

I will try and post this to the top of the system on a weekly basis.

Thanks to Tim Bray for the inspiration.

The Tyranny of the Managers

Sig hits for 6 with this post on the tension that exists between leaders and managers. [here]

Where do exciting ideas, visions and concepts come from? Leaders.

Who is responsible for stifling the unique voices of leaders? Command and Control Managers.

The common thread I am reading on the business books I am pouring through right now is that you will get farther, be more successful, and get the chance to meet really cool people simply by being the person you are, and not letting your ideas be crushed.

I have discovered that I can bring more to my company by doing less of my "job" and more thinking. I speak in an authentic voice, one that cries out to let our customers kick ass, be remarkable, and make an impact in the world.

Ok, the last statment is not really the case: I really just help companies suck less, and understand how to do it more successfully.

But by doing less jon and being more leader, I feel more fulfilled. And frankly, this role is how my mind is tuned anyway.

Bring me your problems, and I will help you understand what the real problem is.



Seth Godin has another take on this issue. Leaders are the management cultures worst nightmare. They show that the management culture is not necessary for success. In fact, you can succeed without the management culture.

Now, if you think success is only monetary in this case, you are so wrong. For a true leader, making a ton o' cash is secondary to helping shape how people think and how they behave.

Think of the greatest leaders you know. How many were rich? How many became rich AFTER they had been recognized as successful leaders?

Monday, May 2, 2005

Another PowerPoint Nightmare

The firm I work for is currently shopping around for a new PR agency. On Thursday of last week, we went over to one of the candidate firms to hear their approach and how they think they can help us.

35 slides. Densely packed. No information. All about what they have done, not how they think they can help us.

The density of the presentation took 3 days to sink in, and it was only this morning that I realized that this was not a good way to sell me on their potential. And I told the powers that be at our firm exactly that.

The folks at this firm need Cliff.

And a little dose of Kathy Sierra wouldn't hurt! This firm was showing us how they had kicked ass (past tense), not how they would help us kick ass NOW!

And where would I be running to?

Jeremy...things are getting weird at Yahoo. [here]

Non-Linear Thought: Leaving you changed

I am noted for having an unusual way of approaching problems. In fact, over a decade ago, someone leaned across the cube wall to me at my first real project and said "I need your non-linear approach to help me solve this problem".

I still consider that the greatest compliment that I have ever received.

Then I stumble across this post, which quotes the paper Wicked Problems: Naming the Pain in Organizations

"The natural pattern of human problem solving appears chaotic on the surface, but it is the chaos of an earthquake or the breaking of an ocean wave. It reveals deeper forces and flows that have their own order and pattern. The non-linear pattern of activity that expert designers follow gives us fresh insight into what happens when we work on a complex problem. It reveals that in normal problem-solving behaviour, we may seem to wander about, making only halting progress toward the solution. This non-linear process is not a defect, not a sign of stupidity or lack of training, but rather the mark of a natural learning process. It suggests that humans are oriented more toward learning (a process that leaves us changed) than toward problem solving (a process focused on changing our surroundings)."


Have you and your team solved any wicked problems lately?

Johnnie Moore extracts another salient quote from the original paper. He focuses on the last sentence of the large quote above.

I am searching for those things that leave me changed.

Amazon Associates Bookmarklet

Fred Wilson found this. I have been wondering how I could add my Amazon Associates information more easily.

I love having my mind read.

And to prove it works, buy Why Business People Sound Like Idiots. I just finished it. It helps to remind me that everything I try to do at work is right; that being myself, as insane and interactive as I like to be, works.

On to the Purple Cow...then Blink...

Apache and mod_rewrite: More Zombified Idiots Dispatched

I have been seeing a large number of hits with the following User-Agent string in my logs lately:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.5) Gecko/20031007 Firebird/0.7



  1. Firebird hasn't existed as a browser for a very long time

  2. A build date of October 7, 2003???

  3. From 3 separate IP Addresses



This Apache REWRITE rule took care of this issue.

RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} .*Gecko\/20031007.*
RewriteRule ^.*$ http://www.pierzchala.com:9080/ [R,L,NS]


Try the URL...it points to this iptables rule.

/sbin/iptables -A INPUT -p tcp -i eth0 -s 0/0 --dport 9080 -j DROP


I love Linux!