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.