Friday, December 29, 2006

Blizzard in Boulder (2006)

We have gotten just over three feet of snow here in Downtown Boulder over the past week. I haven't seen snow like this in Boulder in over ten, maybe 15 years; it's great!

Of course we had several itinerary resets with friends and family coming in from out of state for the holidays, but eventually things settled and everyone made it into town. DIA closed completely for a day and a half.

A friend of mine twisted my arm enough and finally got me to take up cross-country skiing which has been a blast. We've been touring around town on the streets and sidewalks. Earlier today we made it over to North Boulder Park where the Nordic club sets up a track throughout the park. The local paper ran a decent, albeit horribly titled, article about the Park and club today.

My son received a "flexible flyer" sled for Christmas and we've been pulling him around town on it. He's been having a good time on it, and it's really fun to think about our daily "walking" routine including a sled.

It has been a winter wonderland here this season. Part of me hopes Colorado will start seeing serious winters like this again. The past decade has had such mild winters, things have been kind of boring.

Blizzard in Boulder (2006)

We have gotten just over three feet of snow here in Downtown Boulder over the past week. I haven't seen snow like this in Boulder in over ten, maybe 15 years; it's great!

Of course we had several itinerary resets with friends and family coming in from out of state for the holidays, but eventually things settled and everyone made it into town. DIA closed completely for a day and a half.

A friend of mine twisted my arm enough and finally got me to take up cross-country skiing which has been a blast. We've been touring around town on the streets and sidewalks. Earlier today we made it over to North Boulder Park where the Nordic club sets up a track throughout the park. The local paper ran a decent, albeit horribly titled, article about the Park and club today.

My son received a "flexible flyer" sled for Christmas and we've been pulling him around town on it. He's been having a good time on it, and it's really fun to think about our daily "walking" routine including a sled.

It has been a winter wonderland here this season. Part of me hopes Colorado will start seeing serious winters like this again. The past decade has had such mild winters, things have been kind of boring.

Blizzard in Boulder (2006)

We have gotten just over three feet of snow here in Downtown Boulder over the past week. I haven't seen snow like this in Boulder in over ten, maybe 15 years; it's great!

Of course we had several itinerary resets with friends and family coming in from out of state for the holidays, but eventually things settled and everyone made it into town. DIA closed completely for a day and a half.

A friend of mine twisted my arm enough and finally got me to take up cross-country skiing which has been a blast. We've been touring around town on the streets and sidewalks. Earlier today we made it over to North Boulder Park where the Nordic club sets up a track throughout the park. The local paper ran a decent, albeit horribly titled, article about the Park and club today.

My son received a "flexible flyer" sled for Christmas and we've been pulling him around town on it. He's been having a good time on it, and it's really fun to think about our daily "walking" routine including a sled.

It has been a winter wonderland here this season. Part of me hopes Colorado will start seeing serious winters like this again. The past decade has had such mild winters, things have been kind of boring.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Keyboard navigation, forms and frustration.

I'm a keyboard navigator; mice are for kids. As much as I think keyboards are one of the most horrible invention for input, there forever faster than a mouse when you're driving complex actions on a computer. As a keyboard navigator, I live and die by keyboard shortcuts.

I need Firefox/Gecko to solve something that industry has solved in most other applications with "auto-save." As the web becomes more and more "2-way" and users are entering more and more data into web forms (blog entries, comments, discussion boards), that data is at risk of being lost. Google's (I'm sure someone else did it first) done a great job with docs.google.com in this regard; I never have to think about saving. They've correctly taken it to the extreme of literally disabling the ability to save something; everything's always "saved." I've lost several hours over the past few years to accidental keyboard shortcut conflicts or fat fingering. While editing text in a form, and using character/word selection keyboard combos to select text for deletion/overwriting, I can't count how many times I've hit the browser back/forward navigation keyboard combos, and as a result, I've lost all the text I'd entered into a particular form. Incredibly frustrating.

From blogs to wikis, I suspect we've taken a step backward with respect to data safety while editing; this needs to be fixed.

I'm writing this entry in a text editor that supports auto-save. When I'm done, I'll copy/paste it into my blog editor. This is a sad workaround to something the browser should just solve for me.

I realize it's a non-trivial problem, basically getting into serializing user added text alongside a page that has all sorts of security/privacy knobs and dials to prevent just this sort of thing, but, it's needed.

If I keep losing work, my fault or not, while working on wiki pages, I'll eventually stop using them.

I need an "auto-save" equivalent for forms on web pages. It needs to work with SSL pages, HTTP GET, and POST. Thank you.

Keyboard navigation, forms and frustration.

I'm a keyboard navigator; mice are for kids. As much as I think keyboards are one of the most horrible invention for input, there forever faster than a mouse when you're driving complex actions on a computer. As a keyboard navigator, I live and die by keyboard shortcuts.

I need Firefox/Gecko to solve something that industry has solved in most other applications with "auto-save." As the web becomes more and more "2-way" and users are entering more and more data into web forms (blog entries, comments, discussion boards), that data is at risk of being lost. Google's (I'm sure someone else did it first) done a great job with docs.google.com in this regard; I never have to think about saving. They've correctly taken it to the extreme of literally disabling the ability to save something; everything's always "saved." I've lost several hours over the past few years to accidental keyboard shortcut conflicts or fat fingering. While editing text in a form, and using character/word selection keyboard combos to select text for deletion/overwriting, I can't count how many times I've hit the browser back/forward navigation keyboard combos, and as a result, I've lost all the text I'd entered into a particular form. Incredibly frustrating.

From blogs to wikis, I suspect we've taken a step backward with respect to data safety while editing; this needs to be fixed.

I'm writing this entry in a text editor that supports auto-save. When I'm done, I'll copy/paste it into my blog editor. This is a sad workaround to something the browser should just solve for me.

I realize it's a non-trivial problem, basically getting into serializing user added text alongside a page that has all sorts of security/privacy knobs and dials to prevent just this sort of thing, but, it's needed.

If I keep losing work, my fault or not, while working on wiki pages, I'll eventually stop using them.

I need an "auto-save" equivalent for forms on web pages. It needs to work with SSL pages, HTTP GET, and POST. Thank you.

Keyboard navigation, forms and frustration.

I'm a keyboard navigator; mice are for kids. As much as I think keyboards are one of the most horrible invention for input, there forever faster than a mouse when you're driving complex actions on a computer. As a keyboard navigator, I live and die by keyboard shortcuts.

I need Firefox/Gecko to solve something that industry has solved in most other applications with "auto-save." As the web becomes more and more "2-way" and users are entering more and more data into web forms (blog entries, comments, discussion boards), that data is at risk of being lost. Google's (I'm sure someone else did it first) done a great job with docs.google.com in this regard; I never have to think about saving. They've correctly taken it to the extreme of literally disabling the ability to save something; everything's always "saved." I've lost several hours over the past few years to accidental keyboard shortcut conflicts or fat fingering. While editing text in a form, and using character/word selection keyboard combos to select text for deletion/overwriting, I can't count how many times I've hit the browser back/forward navigation keyboard combos, and as a result, I've lost all the text I'd entered into a particular form. Incredibly frustrating.

From blogs to wikis, I suspect we've taken a step backward with respect to data safety while editing; this needs to be fixed.

I'm writing this entry in a text editor that supports auto-save. When I'm done, I'll copy/paste it into my blog editor. This is a sad workaround to something the browser should just solve for me.

I realize it's a non-trivial problem, basically getting into serializing user added text alongside a page that has all sorts of security/privacy knobs and dials to prevent just this sort of thing, but, it's needed.

If I keep losing work, my fault or not, while working on wiki pages, I'll eventually stop using them.

I need an "auto-save" equivalent for forms on web pages. It needs to work with SSL pages, HTTP GET, and POST. Thank you.

Companies, large and small.

I'm a few weeks into working at me.dium, and the differences between a big multi-billion dollar company and small start-up are really sinking in. The excitement level here is invigorating. Knowing everyone in the company provides a level of mission, and capability, understanding that large companies lose. Big companies can obviously scale, but distance naturally grows between the board's goals, and what the troopers on the ground are doing day in and out. That's probably fine most of the time because a big company has big dollars (cash or debt) to spend on the inefficiencies, and gets itself from point A to B. A small firm literally can't afford these inefficiencies for very long (though it has others).

I'm loving the tight coupling between dollars and activity at a startup. Every dollar matters and people are aware of the value received in exchange for that dollar. Large companies (at least those I've been involved with) abstract the connection between that value and the actual dollar spent into oblivion; you lose track of the revenue-expense feedback loop which is vital.

I'm really enjoying the constant push/pull of the fight-to-live atmosphere here. Minute to minute, things change. Your assumptions in the morning can be drastically different in the afternoon. While challenging, it's great mental exercise; a true growth opportunity for all those involved.

Personality dynamics are present at all times; this is both good and bad. In a large firm, you can carve out a portion of the organization to include/exclude folks. You can build your own "click" (not that I ever did this (I hope), but peers of mine certainly did) or navigate to a "safe place" in the firm. In a small firm, everyone's in the room, all the time. You're forced to deal with any conflict and friction, right there, on the spot; much more healthy in the end.

Onward and upward!

Companies, large and small.

I'm a few weeks into working at me.dium, and the differences between a big multi-billion dollar company and small start-up are really sinking in. The excitement level here is invigorating. Knowing everyone in the company provides a level of mission, and capability, understanding that large companies lose. Big companies can obviously scale, but distance naturally grows between the board's goals, and what the troopers on the ground are doing day in and out. That's probably fine most of the time because a big company has big dollars (cash or debt) to spend on the inefficiencies, and gets itself from point A to B. A small firm literally can't afford these inefficiencies for very long (though it has others).

I'm loving the tight coupling between dollars and activity at a startup. Every dollar matters and people are aware of the value received in exchange for that dollar. Large companies (at least those I've been involved with) abstract the connection between that value and the actual dollar spent into oblivion; you lose track of the revenue-expense feedback loop which is vital.

I'm really enjoying the constant push/pull of the fight-to-live atmosphere here. Minute to minute, things change. Your assumptions in the morning can be drastically different in the afternoon. While challenging, it's great mental exercise; a true growth opportunity for all those involved.

Personality dynamics are present at all times; this is both good and bad. In a large firm, you can carve out a portion of the organization to include/exclude folks. You can build your own "click" (not that I ever did this (I hope), but peers of mine certainly did) or navigate to a "safe place" in the firm. In a small firm, everyone's in the room, all the time. You're forced to deal with any conflict and friction, right there, on the spot; much more healthy in the end.

Onward and upward!

Companies, large and small.

I'm a few weeks into working at me.dium, and the differences between a big multi-billion dollar company and small start-up are really sinking in. The excitement level here is invigorating. Knowing everyone in the company provides a level of mission, and capability, understanding that large companies lose. Big companies can obviously scale, but distance naturally grows between the board's goals, and what the troopers on the ground are doing day in and out. That's probably fine most of the time because a big company has big dollars (cash or debt) to spend on the inefficiencies, and gets itself from point A to B. A small firm literally can't afford these inefficiencies for very long (though it has others).

I'm loving the tight coupling between dollars and activity at a startup. Every dollar matters and people are aware of the value received in exchange for that dollar. Large companies (at least those I've been involved with) abstract the connection between that value and the actual dollar spent into oblivion; you lose track of the revenue-expense feedback loop which is vital.

I'm really enjoying the constant push/pull of the fight-to-live atmosphere here. Minute to minute, things change. Your assumptions in the morning can be drastically different in the afternoon. While challenging, it's great mental exercise; a true growth opportunity for all those involved.

Personality dynamics are present at all times; this is both good and bad. In a large firm, you can carve out a portion of the organization to include/exclude folks. You can build your own "click" (not that I ever did this (I hope), but peers of mine certainly did) or navigate to a "safe place" in the firm. In a small firm, everyone's in the room, all the time. You're forced to deal with any conflict and friction, right there, on the spot; much more healthy in the end.

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Stress, and 24 Ring-tone

Awhile ago I started using the "24" television show ring-tone after reading about it on Brad Feld's blog. As a huge fan of the show, I thought it'd be fun to have the ring-tone. However, something struck me this morning that has caused me to want to revert to something else. I realized that my blood pressure and excitement level are rising when the phone rings (beyond the usual fanfare associated with the phone calls I receive). I hadn't put two-and-two together though until today. My mind and body have associated the stress level I achieve while watching the show, with the ring-tone. So, I could be having a perfectly relaxing time, and when the phone rings, I'm thrust into an excitement level akin to juggling hand grenades under enemy machine gun fire, while providing instructions in sign-language to a comrade trying to disarm a dirty bomb in a subway moving at 200km/hr.

Goodbye "24" ring-tone; I don't need that much stress during the day!

Stress, and 24 Ring-tone

Awhile ago I started using the "24" television show ring-tone after reading about it on Brad Feld's blog. As a huge fan of the show, I thought it'd be fun to have the ring-tone. However, something struck me this morning that has caused me to want to revert to something else. I realized that my blood pressure and excitement level are rising when the phone rings (beyond the usual fanfare associated with the phone calls I receive). I hadn't put two-and-two together though until today. My mind and body have associated the stress level I achieve while watching the show, with the ring-tone. So, I could be having a perfectly relaxing time, and when the phone rings, I'm thrust into an excitement level akin to juggling hand grenades under enemy machine gun fire, while providing instructions in sign-language to a comrade trying to disarm a dirty bomb in a subway moving at 200km/hr.

Goodbye "24" ring-tone; I don't need that much stress during the day!

Stress, and 24 Ring-tone

Awhile ago I started using the "24" television show ring-tone after reading about it on Brad Feld's blog. As a huge fan of the show, I thought it'd be fun to have the ring-tone. However, something struck me this morning that has caused me to want to revert to something else. I realized that my blood pressure and excitement level are rising when the phone rings (beyond the usual fanfare associated with the phone calls I receive). I hadn't put two-and-two together though until today. My mind and body have associated the stress level I achieve while watching the show, with the ring-tone. So, I could be having a perfectly relaxing time, and when the phone rings, I'm thrust into an excitement level akin to juggling hand grenades under enemy machine gun fire, while providing instructions in sign-language to a comrade trying to disarm a dirty bomb in a subway moving at 200km/hr.

Goodbye "24" ring-tone; I don't need that much stress during the day!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Datacasting

I'm not sure when Ambient Devices released it, but they've got a cool chipset you can buy and provide data to arbitrary devices over radio waves. I've always loved this company! They build analog things that leverage digital data; the perfect mix. It's sad to me that we're sitting around looking at text, graphics, video, on LCD displays, with totally unnatural keyboards under our hands. We're in a much better place once all these computers (in the traditional, CPU, display, peripheral devices sense of the word) are out of our lives and we get what we want, blended in with life. Ambient gets this.

Dare to dream.

Datacasting

I'm not sure when Ambient Devices released it, but they've got a cool chipset you can buy and provide data to arbitrary devices over radio waves. I've always loved this company! They build analog things that leverage digital data; the perfect mix. It's sad to me that we're sitting around looking at text, graphics, video, on LCD displays, with totally unnatural keyboards under our hands. We're in a much better place once all these computers (in the traditional, CPU, display, peripheral devices sense of the word) are out of our lives and we get what we want, blended in with life. Ambient gets this.

Dare to dream.

Datacasting

I'm not sure when Ambient Devices released it, but they've got a cool chipset you can buy and provide data to arbitrary devices over radio waves. I've always loved this company! They build analog things that leverage digital data; the perfect mix. It's sad to me that we're sitting around looking at text, graphics, video, on LCD displays, with totally unnatural keyboards under our hands. We're in a much better place once all these computers (in the traditional, CPU, display, peripheral devices sense of the word) are out of our lives and we get what we want, blended in with life. Ambient gets this.

Dare to dream.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Me.dium, Flash, Ajax, native and speed.

One of the things I was looking forward to in my next company was not thinking about the battle between Flash, Ajax/DHTML, and more raw/native rendering technologies. It turns out I can't escape it :-). I'm now working for Me.dium (cool idea, cool people) and we're facing the same battle. Ajaxian just did a great writeup on what Me.dium's up to. We're blurring the line between client-side app and web-based and have currently built our product using Ajax. We just fixed a bug that drastically improves our performance (so update your extension to get the latest), but the debate rages on as to whether or not we should stick with Ajax or move to something else.

We need the usual... cross-platform and cross-browser support. We need highly performant apps, and we need to consider ourselves a web-based app so we're not updating client-side bits every time we want to make a change.

We also need the ability to zoom our UI which implies vector based graphics (e.g. not Ajax :-( ). This requirement could push us into Flash in a hurry. We could use more native/raw rendering, such as canvas, to do what we need, but then we'd have to build an entire framework (layout, data-models) ourselves which is more work than anyone would prefer to get into.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to escape the madness of rendering technologies.

Me.dium, Flash, Ajax, native and speed.

One of the things I was looking forward to in my next company was not thinking about the battle between Flash, Ajax/DHTML, and more raw/native rendering technologies. It turns out I can't escape it :-). I'm now working for Me.dium (cool idea, cool people) and we're facing the same battle. Ajaxian just did a great writeup on what Me.dium's up to. We're blurring the line between client-side app and web-based and have currently built our product using Ajax. We just fixed a bug that drastically improves our performance (so update your extension to get the latest), but the debate rages on as to whether or not we should stick with Ajax or move to something else.

We need the usual... cross-platform and cross-browser support. We need highly performant apps, and we need to consider ourselves a web-based app so we're not updating client-side bits every time we want to make a change.

We also need the ability to zoom our UI which implies vector based graphics (e.g. not Ajax :-( ). This requirement could push us into Flash in a hurry. We could use more native/raw rendering, such as canvas, to do what we need, but then we'd have to build an entire framework (layout, data-models) ourselves which is more work than anyone would prefer to get into.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to escape the madness of rendering technologies.

Me.dium, Flash, Ajax, native and speed.

One of the things I was looking forward to in my next company was not thinking about the battle between Flash, Ajax/DHTML, and more raw/native rendering technologies. It turns out I can't escape it :-). I'm now working for Me.dium (cool idea, cool people) and we're facing the same battle. Ajaxian just did a great writeup on what Me.dium's up to. We're blurring the line between client-side app and web-based and have currently built our product using Ajax. We just fixed a bug that drastically improves our performance (so update your extension to get the latest), but the debate rages on as to whether or not we should stick with Ajax or move to something else.

We need the usual... cross-platform and cross-browser support. We need highly performant apps, and we need to consider ourselves a web-based app so we're not updating client-side bits every time we want to make a change.

We also need the ability to zoom our UI which implies vector based graphics (e.g. not Ajax :-( ). This requirement could push us into Flash in a hurry. We could use more native/raw rendering, such as canvas, to do what we need, but then we'd have to build an entire framework (layout, data-models) ourselves which is more work than anyone would prefer to get into.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to escape the madness of rendering technologies.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Hiding my stuff

With two little ones running around now, I find myself literally hiding the things that matter to me throughout the house. Too often do my things go missing, that if I don't squirrel them away, they'll get sucked into the child vortex of play. I guard my hiding places like I'm stashing gold bullion or something. The location of belts, sun-glasses, phones, wallets, checkbooks, pens, gadgets, clothing, keys, and many other items have to be consciously considered now. I do miss just being able to put my things wherever I wanted, without risk of them disappearing. However, it's great how "my things" are coveted by my children; too cute.

Hiding my stuff

With two little ones running around now, I find myself literally hiding the things that matter to me throughout the house. Too often do my things go missing, that if I don't squirrel them away, they'll get sucked into the child vortex of play. I guard my hiding places like I'm stashing gold bullion or something. The location of belts, sun-glasses, phones, wallets, checkbooks, pens, gadgets, clothing, keys, and many other items have to be consciously considered now. I do miss just being able to put my things wherever I wanted, without risk of them disappearing. However, it's great how "my things" are coveted by my children; too cute.

Hiding my stuff

With two little ones running around now, I find myself literally hiding the things that matter to me throughout the house. Too often do my things go missing, that if I don't squirrel them away, they'll get sucked into the child vortex of play. I guard my hiding places like I'm stashing gold bullion or something. The location of belts, sun-glasses, phones, wallets, checkbooks, pens, gadgets, clothing, keys, and many other items have to be consciously considered now. I do miss just being able to put my things wherever I wanted, without risk of them disappearing. However, it's great how "my things" are coveted by my children; too cute.

Chapstick

I overheard my son and wife in the other room a moment ago. My son walks into the room and she asks, "what happened" (a common question throughout the day with a 4 year old)? He says something along the lines of "I painted my body with Chapstick." She asks "why," to which he responds, "I wanted to be a tiger with stripes."

Love it!

Chapstick

I overheard my son and wife in the other room a moment ago. My son walks into the room and she asks, "what happened" (a common question throughout the day with a 4 year old)? He says something along the lines of "I painted my body with Chapstick." She asks "why," to which he responds, "I wanted to be a tiger with stripes."

Love it!

Chapstick

I overheard my son and wife in the other room a moment ago. My son walks into the room and she asks, "what happened" (a common question throughout the day with a 4 year old)? He says something along the lines of "I painted my body with Chapstick." She asks "why," to which he responds, "I wanted to be a tiger with stripes."

Love it!

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Being vegetarian; sort of.

I've been some sort of vegetarian for about a decade now. I did an eight month stint as a vegan several years ago, had a quick adventure as a fruitarian which lasted no more than a week, and now generally categorize myself as a pesco-vegetarian.

Over the years there have been a variety of reasons for taking on a non-standard American diet, but none have been as motivating as the generally pathetic state of beef and poultry farming. The quality of meat in the U.S. is so disgustingly poor that I can't even think about eating a steak, or having chicken. In truly Capitalistic form, we've made the production of beef and poultry so efficient, and cheap, that the quality of the product has been decimated. I would gladly sit down to a cheese-burger if I had confidence in it having been a grass-fed, hormone free, free range cow to begin with. Sadly, I can't count on any of those three things being true.

After an fortuitous visit to Diestel Turkey Ranch in Sonora, CA, I started eating Diestel Turkey several years ago. I witnessed quality Turkey farming there, and can only hope that other livestock farmers follow suit.

Being vegetarian; sort of.

I've been some sort of vegetarian for about a decade now. I did an eight month stint as a vegan several years ago, had a quick adventure as a fruitarian which lasted no more than a week, and now generally categorize myself as a pesco-vegetarian.

Over the years there have been a variety of reasons for taking on a non-standard American diet, but none have been as motivating as the generally pathetic state of beef and poultry farming. The quality of meat in the U.S. is so disgustingly poor that I can't even think about eating a steak, or having chicken. In truly Capitalistic form, we've made the production of beef and poultry so efficient, and cheap, that the quality of the product has been decimated. I would gladly sit down to a cheese-burger if I had confidence in it having been a grass-fed, hormone free, free range cow to begin with. Sadly, I can't count on any of those three things being true.

After an fortuitous visit to Diestel Turkey Ranch in Sonora, CA, I started eating Diestel Turkey several years ago. I witnessed quality Turkey farming there, and can only hope that other livestock farmers follow suit.

Being vegetarian; sort of.

I've been some sort of vegetarian for about a decade now. I did an eight month stint as a vegan several years ago, had a quick adventure as a fruitarian which lasted no more than a week, and now generally categorize myself as a pesco-vegetarian.

Over the years there have been a variety of reasons for taking on a non-standard American diet, but none have been as motivating as the generally pathetic state of beef and poultry farming. The quality of meat in the U.S. is so disgustingly poor that I can't even think about eating a steak, or having chicken. In truly Capitalistic form, we've made the production of beef and poultry so efficient, and cheap, that the quality of the product has been decimated. I would gladly sit down to a cheese-burger if I had confidence in it having been a grass-fed, hormone free, free range cow to begin with. Sadly, I can't count on any of those three things being true.

After an fortuitous visit to Diestel Turkey Ranch in Sonora, CA, I started eating Diestel Turkey several years ago. I witnessed quality Turkey farming there, and can only hope that other livestock farmers follow suit.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Working remotely, telecommuting.

After working for bi-coastal companies, remotely, since 1999, I am excited to be working for a local company now. While I would consider my remote situation with Netscape, then AOL, highly successful, it took an immense amount of energy and resources to make it work. Furthermore, my ability to impact corporate direction was certainly impeded, and I was not able to pursue all of my career aspirations. Finally, these impediments have been removed, and I no longer have to contain myself.

Role and travel:
The amount of travel you have to do is purely a function of your role. The more self contained and independent your role is, the less travel you have to do. The more broad and people-influential your role is, the more travel you have to do. I fell into the latter bucket, so I had to travel, generally, at least a couple of times per month; sometimes more, but sometimes less. I found regularly scheduled travel to be a nightmare, and preferred a more fluid schedule. The former just made me feel like a commuting chump. The latter made me feel like I was in control of my schedule.

I've managed a global software engineering team, and it worked great. I've also been a programmer while working remotely, and it worked great. The act of software engineering can take place anywhere. Is it convenient when everyone's sitting in one building; sure, but it's not a requirement?

When you get into management and advisement roles, things get a little more difficult, and travel kicks into overdrive. One's ability to influence is still largely a function of physical presence. You have to be there to show others in the conference room who you are, what you think, and why you're taking them in a specific direction. You have to be walking the halls to impact the human side of working together. There are exceptions to these rules, and they generally fall into the "chief" level job categories. There are many successful CEOs that travel non-stop. They're able to do so simply because the buck stops with them. They don't have to influence people to get them to do things, they simply have to ask them to do things.

Throughout my telecommuting tenure, I broke it down like this. In descending order, the most effective means of communication are simply: face-to-face (requires travel), video conference (Kinko's/FedEx solutions, webcams, etc), hardline phone (good 'ol copper-wire twisted pair), mobile/soft phones (e.g. Skype), instant messaging, and finally email.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting you can't influence and impact projects remotely. It's all just a function of your industry and role. Open Source projects are prime examples of massive projects that succeed in an incredibly distributed work environment.

Video-conferencing:
Working at AOL, we had on-campus video conferencing solutions of the million-dollar-per-room variety. While they provided incredible video and audio, using life-size screens, and rooms designed for video-conferencing, there is a new breed of solution coming to the industry that is looking to be much better. Business Week recently wrote a good article outlining where things are headed. One of the great things about most of these high-end solutions is that Kinko's/FedEx can generally link you into the corporate/home-office using their in-store solution. This means you can drive to your local Kinko's office and connect to your companies' video conference solution for roughly $250/hour, rather than spend $1,000 traveling to and fro; great savings.

Peer-to-peer solutions, such as iChat/iSight, are great for just that, peer-to-peer. However, if you have a group conference taking place on a regular basis, it's nice to step it up to wide-angle lenses, and more dedicated hardware.

Availability:
Being remote, you have to be more accessible than your average Joe. Getting creative with call-forwarding scenarios is advisable. You also need to go out of your way to be highly responsive to calls, IM, and email. Lag-time in communication can be a big issue if you're not physically present. All of this can be a drag because you have to stay on top of your availability more so than if you were bumping into people everyday.

Cost:
Don't stay in a role that requires a lot of travel for too long if you have to travel on the cheap. Crappy connections, flights, airlines, cars, and hotels, will drive you into the ground. I was lucky and was able to travel comfortably, and it was still a back breaker. Traveling any lower on the scale was un-imaginable to me.

Upside:
I really enjoyed spending time in some great cities across the globe. Those experiences have been incredible, and I would trade them for anything. If it weren't for corporate travel, my world would be much, much, smaller.

Working remotely, telecommuting.

After working for bi-coastal companies, remotely, since 1999, I am excited to be working for a local company now. While I would consider my remote situation with Netscape, then AOL, highly successful, it took an immense amount of energy and resources to make it work. Furthermore, my ability to impact corporate direction was certainly impeded, and I was not able to pursue all of my career aspirations. Finally, these impediments have been removed, and I no longer have to contain myself.

Role and travel:
The amount of travel you have to do is purely a function of your role. The more self contained and independent your role is, the less travel you have to do. The more broad and people-influential your role is, the more travel you have to do. I fell into the latter bucket, so I had to travel, generally, at least a couple of times per month; sometimes more, but sometimes less. I found regularly scheduled travel to be a nightmare, and preferred a more fluid schedule. The former just made me feel like a commuting chump. The latter made me feel like I was in control of my schedule.

I've managed a global software engineering team, and it worked great. I've also been a programmer while working remotely, and it worked great. The act of software engineering can take place anywhere. Is it convenient when everyone's sitting in one building; sure, but it's not a requirement?

When you get into management and advisement roles, things get a little more difficult, and travel kicks into overdrive. One's ability to influence is still largely a function of physical presence. You have to be there to show others in the conference room who you are, what you think, and why you're taking them in a specific direction. You have to be walking the halls to impact the human side of working together. There are exceptions to these rules, and they generally fall into the "chief" level job categories. There are many successful CEOs that travel non-stop. They're able to do so simply because the buck stops with them. They don't have to influence people to get them to do things, they simply have to ask them to do things.

Throughout my telecommuting tenure, I broke it down like this. In descending order, the most effective means of communication are simply: face-to-face (requires travel), video conference (Kinko's/FedEx solutions, webcams, etc), hardline phone (good 'ol copper-wire twisted pair), mobile/soft phones (e.g. Skype), instant messaging, and finally email.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting you can't influence and impact projects remotely. It's all just a function of your industry and role. Open Source projects are prime examples of massive projects that succeed in an incredibly distributed work environment.

Video-conferencing:
Working at AOL, we had on-campus video conferencing solutions of the million-dollar-per-room variety. While they provided incredible video and audio, using life-size screens, and rooms designed for video-conferencing, there is a new breed of solution coming to the industry that is looking to be much better. Business Week recently wrote a good article outlining where things are headed. One of the great things about most of these high-end solutions is that Kinko's/FedEx can generally link you into the corporate/home-office using their in-store solution. This means you can drive to your local Kinko's office and connect to your companies' video conference solution for roughly $250/hour, rather than spend $1,000 traveling to and fro; great savings.

Peer-to-peer solutions, such as iChat/iSight, are great for just that, peer-to-peer. However, if you have a group conference taking place on a regular basis, it's nice to step it up to wide-angle lenses, and more dedicated hardware.

Availability:
Being remote, you have to be more accessible than your average Joe. Getting creative with call-forwarding scenarios is advisable. You also need to go out of your way to be highly responsive to calls, IM, and email. Lag-time in communication can be a big issue if you're not physically present. All of this can be a drag because you have to stay on top of your availability more so than if you were bumping into people everyday.

Cost:
Don't stay in a role that requires a lot of travel for too long if you have to travel on the cheap. Crappy connections, flights, airlines, cars, and hotels, will drive you into the ground. I was lucky and was able to travel comfortably, and it was still a back breaker. Traveling any lower on the scale was un-imaginable to me.

Upside:
I really enjoyed spending time in some great cities across the globe. Those experiences have been incredible, and I would trade them for anything. If it weren't for corporate travel, my world would be much, much, smaller.

Working remotely, telecommuting.

After working for bi-coastal companies, remotely, since 1999, I am excited to be working for a local company now. While I would consider my remote situation with Netscape, then AOL, highly successful, it took an immense amount of energy and resources to make it work. Furthermore, my ability to impact corporate direction was certainly impeded, and I was not able to pursue all of my career aspirations. Finally, these impediments have been removed, and I no longer have to contain myself.

Role and travel:
The amount of travel you have to do is purely a function of your role. The more self contained and independent your role is, the less travel you have to do. The more broad and people-influential your role is, the more travel you have to do. I fell into the latter bucket, so I had to travel, generally, at least a couple of times per month; sometimes more, but sometimes less. I found regularly scheduled travel to be a nightmare, and preferred a more fluid schedule. The former just made me feel like a commuting chump. The latter made me feel like I was in control of my schedule.

I've managed a global software engineering team, and it worked great. I've also been a programmer while working remotely, and it worked great. The act of software engineering can take place anywhere. Is it convenient when everyone's sitting in one building; sure, but it's not a requirement?

When you get into management and advisement roles, things get a little more difficult, and travel kicks into overdrive. One's ability to influence is still largely a function of physical presence. You have to be there to show others in the conference room who you are, what you think, and why you're taking them in a specific direction. You have to be walking the halls to impact the human side of working together. There are exceptions to these rules, and they generally fall into the "chief" level job categories. There are many successful CEOs that travel non-stop. They're able to do so simply because the buck stops with them. They don't have to influence people to get them to do things, they simply have to ask them to do things.

Throughout my telecommuting tenure, I broke it down like this. In descending order, the most effective means of communication are simply: face-to-face (requires travel), video conference (Kinko's/FedEx solutions, webcams, etc), hardline phone (good 'ol copper-wire twisted pair), mobile/soft phones (e.g. Skype), instant messaging, and finally email.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting you can't influence and impact projects remotely. It's all just a function of your industry and role. Open Source projects are prime examples of massive projects that succeed in an incredibly distributed work environment.

Video-conferencing:
Working at AOL, we had on-campus video conferencing solutions of the million-dollar-per-room variety. While they provided incredible video and audio, using life-size screens, and rooms designed for video-conferencing, there is a new breed of solution coming to the industry that is looking to be much better. Business Week recently wrote a good article outlining where things are headed. One of the great things about most of these high-end solutions is that Kinko's/FedEx can generally link you into the corporate/home-office using their in-store solution. This means you can drive to your local Kinko's office and connect to your companies' video conference solution for roughly $250/hour, rather than spend $1,000 traveling to and fro; great savings.

Peer-to-peer solutions, such as iChat/iSight, are great for just that, peer-to-peer. However, if you have a group conference taking place on a regular basis, it's nice to step it up to wide-angle lenses, and more dedicated hardware.

Availability:
Being remote, you have to be more accessible than your average Joe. Getting creative with call-forwarding scenarios is advisable. You also need to go out of your way to be highly responsive to calls, IM, and email. Lag-time in communication can be a big issue if you're not physically present. All of this can be a drag because you have to stay on top of your availability more so than if you were bumping into people everyday.

Cost:
Don't stay in a role that requires a lot of travel for too long if you have to travel on the cheap. Crappy connections, flights, airlines, cars, and hotels, will drive you into the ground. I was lucky and was able to travel comfortably, and it was still a back breaker. Traveling any lower on the scale was un-imaginable to me.

Upside:
I really enjoyed spending time in some great cities across the globe. Those experiences have been incredible, and I would trade them for anything. If it weren't for corporate travel, my world would be much, much, smaller.

Moving on.

I've finally moved on from AOL. I can't believe it, but it has been nearly seven years since AOL bought Netscape (my previous company). My new company is Me.dium; out to change the world. The upside is that Me.dium has a very good shot at doing so. Many huge hurdles, but none of them insurmountable; at least at this early stage in the game when there is literally no hindsight yet.

It was a trip seeing the following in my email client, after so many years of "get mail" succeeding.




Moving on.

I've finally moved on from AOL. I can't believe it, but it has been nearly seven years since AOL bought Netscape (my previous company). My new company is Me.dium; out to change the world. The upside is that Me.dium has a very good shot at doing so. Many huge hurdles, but none of them insurmountable; at least at this early stage in the game when there is literally no hindsight yet.

It was a trip seeing the following in my email client, after so many years of "get mail" succeeding.




Moving on.

I've finally moved on from AOL. I can't believe it, but it has been nearly seven years since AOL bought Netscape (my previous company). My new company is Me.dium; out to change the world. The upside is that Me.dium has a very good shot at doing so. Many huge hurdles, but none of them insurmountable; at least at this early stage in the game when there is literally no hindsight yet.

It was a trip seeing the following in my email client, after so many years of "get mail" succeeding.




Wednesday, October 25, 2006

TV, Tivo, the net, and political ads

I just caught the tail end of a political advertisement on television as I was skipping commercials while watching a sit-com. I had the same out-of-touch feeling I had several years ago when Tivo first came out and I realized I had no idea what movies were playing in theaters anymore, because I was skipping all commercials, which included movie trailers.

I used to get some sense of election issues and races from television, but that's no longer the case. I'm pretty pro-active when it comes to knowing the issues, so I tend to do a lot of research on the net that gives me the data I want. Politicians and campaign initiatives are going to have to shift a significant portion of their traditional television "ad-buy" to the net to catch my attention. Snail mail political mailers still get my attention though; they're some of the only snail mail I read anymore.

Television ads are dead. HBO and iTunes win.

TV, Tivo, the net, and political ads

I just caught the tail end of a political advertisement on television as I was skipping commercials while watching a sit-com. I had the same out-of-touch feeling I had several years ago when Tivo first came out and I realized I had no idea what movies were playing in theaters anymore, because I was skipping all commercials, which included movie trailers.

I used to get some sense of election issues and races from television, but that's no longer the case. I'm pretty pro-active when it comes to knowing the issues, so I tend to do a lot of research on the net that gives me the data I want. Politicians and campaign initiatives are going to have to shift a significant portion of their traditional television "ad-buy" to the net to catch my attention. Snail mail political mailers still get my attention though; they're some of the only snail mail I read anymore.

Television ads are dead. HBO and iTunes win.

TV, Tivo, the net, and political ads

I just caught the tail end of a political advertisement on television as I was skipping commercials while watching a sit-com. I had the same out-of-touch feeling I had several years ago when Tivo first came out and I realized I had no idea what movies were playing in theaters anymore, because I was skipping all commercials, which included movie trailers.

I used to get some sense of election issues and races from television, but that's no longer the case. I'm pretty pro-active when it comes to knowing the issues, so I tend to do a lot of research on the net that gives me the data I want. Politicians and campaign initiatives are going to have to shift a significant portion of their traditional television "ad-buy" to the net to catch my attention. Snail mail political mailers still get my attention though; they're some of the only snail mail I read anymore.

Television ads are dead. HBO and iTunes win.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

ASKO W6222 Clothes Washer

We recently bought a new washer (ASKO W6222) and dryer (ASKO T712), and although we knew we were buying highly efficient units, there's a fringe benefit with the washer that I wasn't expecting. The washer heats its own water, something it can do given how little water it actually uses, so it doesn't pull hot water from the hot-water heater. We have a small, 40 gallon, hot-water heater and we used to have to think about timing laundry with other hot-water activities, such as my spouse taking a bath; no more!

ASKO W6222 Clothes Washer

We recently bought a new washer (ASKO W6222) and dryer (ASKO T712), and although we knew we were buying highly efficient units, there's a fringe benefit with the washer that I wasn't expecting. The washer heats its own water, something it can do given how little water it actually uses, so it doesn't pull hot water from the hot-water heater. We have a small, 40 gallon, hot-water heater and we used to have to think about timing laundry with other hot-water activities, such as my spouse taking a bath; no more!

ASKO W6222 Clothes Washer

We recently bought a new washer (ASKO W6222) and dryer (ASKO T712), and although we knew we were buying highly efficient units, there's a fringe benefit with the washer that I wasn't expecting. The washer heats its own water, something it can do given how little water it actually uses, so it doesn't pull hot water from the hot-water heater. We have a small, 40 gallon, hot-water heater and we used to have to think about timing laundry with other hot-water activities, such as my spouse taking a bath; no more!

Saturday, October 7, 2006

House paint - Benjamin Moore Eco Spec

We just completed a major remodel on the back half of our house, and for the second time, we had the painters use a low VOC paint from Benjamin Moore called "Eco Spec." We are so impressed with this product. The paint quality is fantastic, and you can move back into the painted room the same day in which it was painted because there are no rapid curing solvents used in the paint. Good for the body, good for the environment, and you can mix whatever colors you like.

House paint - Benjamin Moore Eco Spec

We just completed a major remodel on the back half of our house, and for the second time, we had the painters use a low VOC paint from Benjamin Moore called "Eco Spec." We are so impressed with this product. The paint quality is fantastic, and you can move back into the painted room the same day in which it was painted because there are no rapid curing solvents used in the paint. Good for the body, good for the environment, and you can mix whatever colors you like.

House paint - Benjamin Moore Eco Spec

We just completed a major remodel on the back half of our house, and for the second time, we had the painters use a low VOC paint from Benjamin Moore called "Eco Spec." We are so impressed with this product. The paint quality is fantastic, and you can move back into the painted room the same day in which it was painted because there are no rapid curing solvents used in the paint. Good for the body, good for the environment, and you can mix whatever colors you like.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Love

To my son...

Love is the pressure between our hands as I hold yours while crossing the street.
Love is me catching you as you fall off a rock you were climbing.
Love is you walking just a little too far ahead.
I love you "too much."

Love

To my son...

Love is the pressure between our hands as I hold yours while crossing the street.
Love is me catching you as you fall off a rock you were climbing.
Love is you walking just a little too far ahead.
I love you "too much."

Love

To my son...

Love is the pressure between our hands as I hold yours while crossing the street.
Love is me catching you as you fall off a rock you were climbing.
Love is you walking just a little too far ahead.
I love you "too much."

Options Backdating: score one for the little guy!

All of the recent SEC investigation into stock option grant backdating started with some research done by a professor, Erik Lie, at the University of Iowa. I love it when the little guy can cause such positive change just by speaking up.

As if it weren't hard enough to predict the value of publicly traded stocks, greed and corruption have made it effectively impossible. Unless a public company complies with a base set of accounting rules (granted, many of the actual rules are flawed), there is no way to value it.

Erik's work, over time, will minimize the obfuscation that backdating causes in a publicly traded companies stock price; thanks Erik!

Options Backdating: score one for the little guy!

All of the recent SEC investigation into stock option grant backdating started with some research done by a professor, Erik Lie, at the University of Iowa. I love it when the little guy can cause such positive change just by speaking up.

As if it weren't hard enough to predict the value of publicly traded stocks, greed and corruption have made it effectively impossible. Unless a public company complies with a base set of accounting rules (granted, many of the actual rules are flawed), there is no way to value it.

Erik's work, over time, will minimize the obfuscation that backdating causes in a publicly traded companies stock price; thanks Erik!

Options Backdating: score one for the little guy!

All of the recent SEC investigation into stock option grant backdating started with some research done by a professor, Erik Lie, at the University of Iowa. I love it when the little guy can cause such positive change just by speaking up.

As if it weren't hard enough to predict the value of publicly traded stocks, greed and corruption have made it effectively impossible. Unless a public company complies with a base set of accounting rules (granted, many of the actual rules are flawed), there is no way to value it.

Erik's work, over time, will minimize the obfuscation that backdating causes in a publicly traded companies stock price; thanks Erik!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What a beautiful day!

Fall is around the corner, and my favorite weather of the year is here. Sunny with a touch of crispness in the air makes for great bike rides, hikes and walks. I love it here!

What a beautiful day!

Fall is around the corner, and my favorite weather of the year is here. Sunny with a touch of crispness in the air makes for great bike rides, hikes and walks. I love it here!

What a beautiful day!

Fall is around the corner, and my favorite weather of the year is here. Sunny with a touch of crispness in the air makes for great bike rides, hikes and walks. I love it here!

Monday, August 28, 2006

"Daddy"

It's over! I'm officially called "daddy" again by my son; hurray!

After about two days of consistent, kind, rebuttal each time he called me by my first name, he woke up yesterday and called me "daddy" all day long. All I did was respond "please call me daddy" each and everytime he did not.

Voila!

"Daddy"

It's over! I'm officially called "daddy" again by my son; hurray!

After about two days of consistent, kind, rebuttal each time he called me by my first name, he woke up yesterday and called me "daddy" all day long. All I did was respond "please call me daddy" each and everytime he did not.

Voila!

"Daddy"

It's over! I'm officially called "daddy" again by my son; hurray!

After about two days of consistent, kind, rebuttal each time he called me by my first name, he woke up yesterday and called me "daddy" all day long. All I did was respond "please call me daddy" each and everytime he did not.

Voila!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Daddy, my name.

A few weeks ago, my four year old son stopped calling me "daddy," and started calling me by my first name; and I don't like it one bit! It happened after his first sleep-over, which included his three cousins who just moved to town (ages ten, seven, and five). All of the cousins call me by my first name of course.

At first it was cute, but now it's driving me nuts! I never gave it much thought, but now I realize I want my kids to call me some derrivative of "dad" from now until the end of time.

I figured I'd give it a couple of weeks to see if it wore off, but, the opposite happened. He seems to be reinforced in his use of my first name. The other day I started stopping him everytime he called me by my first name. "Please call me 'daddy'" I tell him consistently (several dozen times per day). I sound like a step-father trying to convert a child to their new "daddy" as a result; ugh!

I'll persist with the proactive cajoling as it's having some affect; I can't take it anymore!

Daddy, my name.

A few weeks ago, my four year old son stopped calling me "daddy," and started calling me by my first name; and I don't like it one bit! It happened after his first sleep-over, which included his three cousins who just moved to town (ages ten, seven, and five). All of the cousins call me by my first name of course.

At first it was cute, but now it's driving me nuts! I never gave it much thought, but now I realize I want my kids to call me some derrivative of "dad" from now until the end of time.

I figured I'd give it a couple of weeks to see if it wore off, but, the opposite happened. He seems to be reinforced in his use of my first name. The other day I started stopping him everytime he called me by my first name. "Please call me 'daddy'" I tell him consistently (several dozen times per day). I sound like a step-father trying to convert a child to their new "daddy" as a result; ugh!

I'll persist with the proactive cajoling as it's having some affect; I can't take it anymore!

Daddy, my name.

A few weeks ago, my four year old son stopped calling me "daddy," and started calling me by my first name; and I don't like it one bit! It happened after his first sleep-over, which included his three cousins who just moved to town (ages ten, seven, and five). All of the cousins call me by my first name of course.

At first it was cute, but now it's driving me nuts! I never gave it much thought, but now I realize I want my kids to call me some derrivative of "dad" from now until the end of time.

I figured I'd give it a couple of weeks to see if it wore off, but, the opposite happened. He seems to be reinforced in his use of my first name. The other day I started stopping him everytime he called me by my first name. "Please call me 'daddy'" I tell him consistently (several dozen times per day). I sound like a step-father trying to convert a child to their new "daddy" as a result; ugh!

I'll persist with the proactive cajoling as it's having some affect; I can't take it anymore!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Geeks, the web, and demographics

I just got an email from a friend who said "I read your blog. I enjoyed the bits that weren't over my head :-)". I realized I need to be blogging about non-technical stuff (I thought I already was :-)). The timing of my friend's remark coincides with a thought I had about digg.com the other day, which applies to much of the "cool stuff" on the web these days; the web is still too geeky. digg's categories are flooded with what a technically inclined demographic would "dig"; just one step removed from slashdot.org.

I fit into some technically inclined demographic, but most people don't. I worry that we're still not building solutions, sites, applications, and tools for the masses. Of course there are the social networking sites of the world, which put simple "profile" pages in the hands of the relatively non-technical (and relatively young demographic; I'm in my early 30s), but still, most people don't, or can't, even use those.

Sometimes I think we're (the technically inclined web using, and building demographic) all in some self fulfilling cycle, and it's all the same demographic kicking up all the same dust over and over again. I subscribe to the belief that in order to move the planet forward, such a demographic does need to exist (Apple Inc, first movers, geeks, etc) in all fields, but I guess I find I don't always fit a specific demographic, and I find myself, as a builder of technology and applications, just wanting to be a user sometimes; and a happy user at that.


Oh great! Another geeky blog posting. I need to get a handle on this. Maybe two separate blogs.

Geeks, the web, and demographics

I just got an email from a friend who said "I read your blog. I enjoyed the bits that weren't over my head :-)". I realized I need to be blogging about non-technical stuff (I thought I already was :-)). The timing of my friend's remark coincides with a thought I had about digg.com the other day, which applies to much of the "cool stuff" on the web these days; the web is still too geeky. digg's categories are flooded with what a technically inclined demographic would "dig"; just one step removed from slashdot.org.

I fit into some technically inclined demographic, but most people don't. I worry that we're still not building solutions, sites, applications, and tools for the masses. Of course there are the social networking sites of the world, which put simple "profile" pages in the hands of the relatively non-technical (and relatively young demographic; I'm in my early 30s), but still, most people don't, or can't, even use those.

Sometimes I think we're (the technically inclined web using, and building demographic) all in some self fulfilling cycle, and it's all the same demographic kicking up all the same dust over and over again. I subscribe to the belief that in order to move the planet forward, such a demographic does need to exist (Apple Inc, first movers, geeks, etc) in all fields, but I guess I find I don't always fit a specific demographic, and I find myself, as a builder of technology and applications, just wanting to be a user sometimes; and a happy user at that.


Oh great! Another geeky blog posting. I need to get a handle on this. Maybe two separate blogs.

Geeks, the web, and demographics

I just got an email from a friend who said "I read your blog. I enjoyed the bits that weren't over my head :-)". I realized I need to be blogging about non-technical stuff (I thought I already was :-)). The timing of my friend's remark coincides with a thought I had about digg.com the other day, which applies to much of the "cool stuff" on the web these days; the web is still too geeky. digg's categories are flooded with what a technically inclined demographic would "dig"; just one step removed from slashdot.org.

I fit into some technically inclined demographic, but most people don't. I worry that we're still not building solutions, sites, applications, and tools for the masses. Of course there are the social networking sites of the world, which put simple "profile" pages in the hands of the relatively non-technical (and relatively young demographic; I'm in my early 30s), but still, most people don't, or can't, even use those.

Sometimes I think we're (the technically inclined web using, and building demographic) all in some self fulfilling cycle, and it's all the same demographic kicking up all the same dust over and over again. I subscribe to the belief that in order to move the planet forward, such a demographic does need to exist (Apple Inc, first movers, geeks, etc) in all fields, but I guess I find I don't always fit a specific demographic, and I find myself, as a builder of technology and applications, just wanting to be a user sometimes; and a happy user at that.


Oh great! Another geeky blog posting. I need to get a handle on this. Maybe two separate blogs.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Ajax Design Patterns - Book Review

Ajax Design Patterns, by Michael Mahemoff, has been a pleasant surprise. Michael separates the hype and buzz from the technical reality behind building modern web applications and content.

He does a fantastic job exploring patterns that have emerged over the past few years in web development. The usual suspects are covered, but he also addresses alternatives (old and new) to the trends. His conveyance of relevant historical elements has been very useful and helps with the flow of the book.

If you like the masochism surrounding the Java vs. DHTML vs. Flash debate, there are constrasts and comparisons throughout the book, with relatively unbias perspective. As an old browser developer, of course DHTML/Ajax wins in my heart!

This book is not just a breakdown of acronyms and trendy frameworks. It has real flow and thought about the over-arching impact the techniques have on web apps. With that said, there are plenty of code examples and live online demos; its not just a high-level perspective either.

Love it!

Ajax Design Patterns - Book Review

Ajax Design Patterns, by Michael Mahemoff, has been a pleasant surprise. Michael separates the hype and buzz from the technical reality behind building modern web applications and content.

He does a fantastic job exploring patterns that have emerged over the past few years in web development. The usual suspects are covered, but he also addresses alternatives (old and new) to the trends. His conveyance of relevant historical elements has been very useful and helps with the flow of the book.

If you like the masochism surrounding the Java vs. DHTML vs. Flash debate, there are constrasts and comparisons throughout the book, with relatively unbias perspective. As an old browser developer, of course DHTML/Ajax wins in my heart!

This book is not just a breakdown of acronyms and trendy frameworks. It has real flow and thought about the over-arching impact the techniques have on web apps. With that said, there are plenty of code examples and live online demos; its not just a high-level perspective either.

Love it!

Ajax Design Patterns - Book Review

Ajax Design Patterns, by Michael Mahemoff, has been a pleasant surprise. Michael separates the hype and buzz from the technical reality behind building modern web applications and content.

He does a fantastic job exploring patterns that have emerged over the past few years in web development. The usual suspects are covered, but he also addresses alternatives (old and new) to the trends. His conveyance of relevant historical elements has been very useful and helps with the flow of the book.

If you like the masochism surrounding the Java vs. DHTML vs. Flash debate, there are constrasts and comparisons throughout the book, with relatively unbias perspective. As an old browser developer, of course DHTML/Ajax wins in my heart!

This book is not just a breakdown of acronyms and trendy frameworks. It has real flow and thought about the over-arching impact the techniques have on web apps. With that said, there are plenty of code examples and live online demos; its not just a high-level perspective either.

Love it!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tagging my pictures.

I use iView Media Pro for my photo management, and it supports tagging. Over the past several months I've been actively tagging new photos as I transfer them from my camera to my iMac. It was challenging coming up with a taxonomy that my wife and I could agree on; both in terms of depth and terminology. From a "people" standpoint, we resolved to use our families' first names, then bucket everyone else in as "Friends" or "Family." I've found a disturbing pattern in actually tagging however. With each transfer, I spend 2/3s of my time tagging the pics (one pass over all photos for each tag), and 1/3rd deleting the bad pics. That's a pretty poor management ratio if you ask me. No real surprise, but actually "tagging" my pics diligently is a real pain. Furthermore, if you're not going to tag 100% of your pics, then don't bother tagging at all. Reason being, if you want that pic that had your son and spouse in it, and it wasn't tagged to begin with, you're going to have to view all pics (maybe between some date range) to find it.

Tagging is an all or nothing deal I'm finding, and it's very time consuming. The value of having my data tagged is very high however, so I'll continue doing it; it's just painful.

Tagging my pictures.

I use iView Media Pro for my photo management, and it supports tagging. Over the past several months I've been actively tagging new photos as I transfer them from my camera to my iMac. It was challenging coming up with a taxonomy that my wife and I could agree on; both in terms of depth and terminology. From a "people" standpoint, we resolved to use our families' first names, then bucket everyone else in as "Friends" or "Family." I've found a disturbing pattern in actually tagging however. With each transfer, I spend 2/3s of my time tagging the pics (one pass over all photos for each tag), and 1/3rd deleting the bad pics. That's a pretty poor management ratio if you ask me. No real surprise, but actually "tagging" my pics diligently is a real pain. Furthermore, if you're not going to tag 100% of your pics, then don't bother tagging at all. Reason being, if you want that pic that had your son and spouse in it, and it wasn't tagged to begin with, you're going to have to view all pics (maybe between some date range) to find it.

Tagging is an all or nothing deal I'm finding, and it's very time consuming. The value of having my data tagged is very high however, so I'll continue doing it; it's just painful.

Tagging my pictures.

I use iView Media Pro for my photo management, and it supports tagging. Over the past several months I've been actively tagging new photos as I transfer them from my camera to my iMac. It was challenging coming up with a taxonomy that my wife and I could agree on; both in terms of depth and terminology. From a "people" standpoint, we resolved to use our families' first names, then bucket everyone else in as "Friends" or "Family." I've found a disturbing pattern in actually tagging however. With each transfer, I spend 2/3s of my time tagging the pics (one pass over all photos for each tag), and 1/3rd deleting the bad pics. That's a pretty poor management ratio if you ask me. No real surprise, but actually "tagging" my pics diligently is a real pain. Furthermore, if you're not going to tag 100% of your pics, then don't bother tagging at all. Reason being, if you want that pic that had your son and spouse in it, and it wasn't tagged to begin with, you're going to have to view all pics (maybe between some date range) to find it.

Tagging is an all or nothing deal I'm finding, and it's very time consuming. The value of having my data tagged is very high however, so I'll continue doing it; it's just painful.

Friday, July 7, 2006

John Brown and supply chains

I just viewed a talk by John Seely Brown (of Xerox Park; former Chief Scientist) given at CTC 2006; yummy stuff.

He really highlights the detriments of traditional U.S. supply chain management; namely that focusing exclusively on price, over-time, ruins the supply chain. Sure walmart gets the lowest price to the consumer, but they destroy lower level industries (labor markets for example) in the process. I tend to think about "cost" in life, not price. This thinking comes out when I do personal vacation travel. Rather than use mileage-type "points" to stay places and fly places for free, I'll pony up for non-discounted rates so the supplier's cost (the airline/hotel) is much lower to serve me, and hence the quality of the product is much higher for me. If I book a hotel stay somewhere for free (using points), I'll get a crappy room, and won't have any leverage when I need it.

He gets into recording meetings for archival and re-use purposes. I've done some of this (fully disclosing my doing so of course) during some conference calls using a product called PhoneValet by Parliant Software. It's pretty useful. We do this with email all the time, but video and voice are generally not archived well, if at all. I don't do it regularly, but I think its just because I'm having trouble getting into the usage pattern. Also reminds me of something I saw a few years ago in which we would all be wearing small video/audio recording devices, perhaps in a necklace form-factor. These devices could be on 24/7, and could literally record our lives. Forget what you did last Tuesday? Replay it! Forget what Joe said at lunch? Replay it! Fun Big Brother implications of course, but kind of an interesting notion.

John Brown and supply chains

I just viewed a talk by John Seely Brown (of Xerox Park; former Chief Scientist) given at CTC 2006; yummy stuff.

He really highlights the detriments of traditional U.S. supply chain management; namely that focusing exclusively on price, over-time, ruins the supply chain. Sure walmart gets the lowest price to the consumer, but they destroy lower level industries (labor markets for example) in the process. I tend to think about "cost" in life, not price. This thinking comes out when I do personal vacation travel. Rather than use mileage-type "points" to stay places and fly places for free, I'll pony up for non-discounted rates so the supplier's cost (the airline/hotel) is much lower to serve me, and hence the quality of the product is much higher for me. If I book a hotel stay somewhere for free (using points), I'll get a crappy room, and won't have any leverage when I need it.

He gets into recording meetings for archival and re-use purposes. I've done some of this (fully disclosing my doing so of course) during some conference calls using a product called PhoneValet by Parliant Software. It's pretty useful. We do this with email all the time, but video and voice are generally not archived well, if at all. I don't do it regularly, but I think its just because I'm having trouble getting into the usage pattern. Also reminds me of something I saw a few years ago in which we would all be wearing small video/audio recording devices, perhaps in a necklace form-factor. These devices could be on 24/7, and could literally record our lives. Forget what you did last Tuesday? Replay it! Forget what Joe said at lunch? Replay it! Fun Big Brother implications of course, but kind of an interesting notion.

John Brown and supply chains

I just viewed a talk by John Seely Brown (of Xerox Park; former Chief Scientist) given at CTC 2006; yummy stuff.

He really highlights the detriments of traditional U.S. supply chain management; namely that focusing exclusively on price, over-time, ruins the supply chain. Sure walmart gets the lowest price to the consumer, but they destroy lower level industries (labor markets for example) in the process. I tend to think about "cost" in life, not price. This thinking comes out when I do personal vacation travel. Rather than use mileage-type "points" to stay places and fly places for free, I'll pony up for non-discounted rates so the supplier's cost (the airline/hotel) is much lower to serve me, and hence the quality of the product is much higher for me. If I book a hotel stay somewhere for free (using points), I'll get a crappy room, and won't have any leverage when I need it.

He gets into recording meetings for archival and re-use purposes. I've done some of this (fully disclosing my doing so of course) during some conference calls using a product called PhoneValet by Parliant Software. It's pretty useful. We do this with email all the time, but video and voice are generally not archived well, if at all. I don't do it regularly, but I think its just because I'm having trouble getting into the usage pattern. Also reminds me of something I saw a few years ago in which we would all be wearing small video/audio recording devices, perhaps in a necklace form-factor. These devices could be on 24/7, and could literally record our lives. Forget what you did last Tuesday? Replay it! Forget what Joe said at lunch? Replay it! Fun Big Brother implications of course, but kind of an interesting notion.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Hybrid automobiles

I just had a nice experience on my scooter. I'm very aware of the fumes and odor coming from cars around me when riding around town. This morning, I was behind a Toyota Highlander and noticed that I couldn't smell any exhaust. I looked at the badges on the back of the Highlander, and sure enough, it was a hybrid. As I followed the Highlander down the road, I imagined a world without such an oil dependency; what a better place it would be.

Now I just need an alternative fuel scooter.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Where 2.0 day two

Steve Morris gave an interesting presentation describing the "disappearing data problem." He explained how public data, geo-spacial data in particular, is rotting away in decomposing physical formats, or incompatible/proprietary file formats. There's a lot of it, but whether it will be usable is a major challenge. There are a handful of data translation/conversion/revitalizing firms out there, contracting to bring data into the present, and to attempt to future proof it.

Someone mentioned that someone else is looking at combination SD storage/WiFi cards that will automatically encode lat/lng into images that a camera takes; the lat/lng encoded via WiFi node triangulation or a more simple MAC address location lookup. Furthermore, the card could transmit the images to the network for the user. Way cool idea. I wonder how much of a battery drain the cards would be.

Ron Langhelm from FEMA did a great job illustrating how big of a challenge disaster relief can be when you show up to a location sans power, clean water, streets, or infrastructure in general. His job is to act as an incident cartographer. Imagine showing up in New Orleans during the Katrina flooding in 2005, and having to update various agencies as to the extent of the damage, and predict how much more worse things are going to get (e.g. how much further the water is going to spread, 2D, and how deep it's going to get, 3D). They use a variety of off the shelf tools/products, and build whatever else they need, in the field.

I had a good conversation with someone at Mozilla who has built a JavaScript object that understands GPS (constrained by whatever GPS capabilities the device that Gecko is running on has of course; generally very limited right now). I urged him to carve out some time at the next Where 2.0 to talk about the GPS Service. What a great way to get developers thinking about location via traditional web development tools/languages!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Great hotel experience!

As I was checking out of the San Jose Fairmont hotel this morning, the Registrar asked me if I'd had taken some cashews and M&Ms from the mini-bar; I was shocked! Usually the front desk is clueless about mini-bar purchases. I had the cashews the day before, so someone could have known I'd taken those, but I'd literally grabbed the M&Ms just minutes before checking out; no-one could have known I'd taken them.

I asked him how he knew that, and it turns out the mini-bar in my room had weight sensors which detect when an item is removed from its place. Very cool!

Although I suspect it was expensive to deploy throughout the hotel, I'm pleased to see the stagnant hotel industry innovating. I'm constantly double charged when I buy something from the mini-bar because I tell the Registrar at checkout, then the maid indicates that an item was taken as they clean the room. The weight detection is a great solution to this problem; nice work Fairmont!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.

Where 2.0 day one

Here's my summary of day one, of two, at the Where 2.0 conference in San Jose, CA, USA.

It's the data! If there's a recurring theme at the Where 2.0 conference this year, it is data. From geo-spacial format and feed standardization (e.g. GeoRSS) to its sources. Comparing and contrasting this year's conference to last year's shows how far things have come. Formats and standards are emerging, albeit at low levels, when last year everyone had their own. With that said, one area that continues to plague the mapping/geo-spacial technology and product space is the walled garden of mobile network carriers. Sadly, handset, latitude/longitude, based applications are still far from reality; carriers didn't even bother attending this year's Where 2.0.

The keynote was delivered by Mike Liebhold, and he discussed two primary points: one, standardization of data types among anyone that has geo-spacial data, and two, his desire to see the Star Trek tri-corder become reality. The first point is a given and obvious; it needs to happen. The second point is pretty neat. He shared with the audience how he views meta-data as he views the world around him. He sees the data associated with everything he sees. So, for example, if you see a glass on a table, you imagine its associated data: color, type of glass, weight, date of production, location of production, etc. Pretty wild. I find myself doing this sometimes.

I thought it was cool that Mapstraction is providing a mapping API abstraction above Google, Y!, and Microsoft mapping APIs. With a single-line code change, you can swap out which mapping API you are using.

Imity is building a Bluetooth based phone application that detects Bluetooth devices (e.g. phones) that are near you, and builds a buddy list that you can navigate and send messages to. They're using the Bluetooth radio range as a mechanism to derive a "social network" around where you are.

Things are moving along in the space at large though. Not as much hype/buzz in the air this year, as compared to last year.

Google maps API announced support for geocoding (both AJAX and REST access). They've also introduced enterprise, paid, services for the API as well; phone/email service and support, full control over presentation (no ads!), US and Canada only, pricing is based on transaction counts.

How much of the web is rooted in geography? Last year the MetaCarta CEO said that 80% of the web references a physical location. This year he said the "average web-page has three good geo-references." There was another guy that has done some New Zealand GIS system construction who said that 20% of the web references a location. Clearly, the jury is still out.