Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday's cool site to visit - Flash showoff :)

Sometimes you have to wander outside your comfort zone to find 'the neat stuff'.

While it's become readily apparent that there are A LOT of talented designers and programmers out there, there always seems to be someone hiding quietly in the wings.

While I admit I'm still stuck on the new PicLens extension (featured here on Friday), yesterday I wandered across a website created by 28 year old Paul Neave in the U.K.

A long-time Flash developer, he's launched with an eclectic mix of Maps, Space, Games, Flickr pics and more.

This isn't a killer app.  It is a fun site to check out.

(Turn your sound on!)

The 'launchpad' is here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lots of Internet Marketing Gurus on Twitter !

Looking for Internet Marketing Specialists to follow on Twitter?

There's a post on Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim blog that you may want to check out.

The post started in January and is still going strong.

Of course, those adding themselves to the list are 'self-proclaimed gurus'.  Some are SEOs. Others use other online marketing methods.  Many of their linked websites are good, a few great, while others are relatively new.

Regardless, it's an interesting take on the state of the online marketers space.

You may want to add yourself ?

The post, and all of the people and companies that have added themselves to the comments, can be found here.

It's no secret how I feel about Friendfeed.  If you engage any of them, you may want to ask them if they're on Friendfeed.  If you're one of them ... go ahead and feel free to post your Friendfeed address right below this post?!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

More Babies Please

We spend so much time reading and watching 'bad news'.

One of the really cool things about the blogosphere is that it brings us some good news, humor and fun as well.

For those that still aren't on Friendfeed (huh?), a few new people came into the world this past week.

First it was Louis and Kristine Gray's twins, Matthew and Sarah, and then, just a few days later, Friendfeed co-founder Paul and April Buchheit's new arrival, Thomas.

I found the posts and photos absolutely refreshing and enjoyable. 

One of the best things about the Internet has always been the one on one interaction.

It simply doesn't get any better than this.  So, thanks for sharing ... to both families ...

May you enjoy the same excitement and happiness that my wife and I experienced watching our daughter grow up over the years.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

PicLens for Firefox. Awesome. Period.

The latest version of PicLens for Firefox caught me somewhat by surprise. It's awesome. Period.

There have been previous rave reviews of PicLens but how many of us really take the time to try all the stuff out there, or read all the reviews?

A few weeks ago I reviewed Gina Trapani's Gmail2 for Firefox. The response was great and I'm just glad, despite it's widespread exposure on LifeHacker, we helped a few more of you find it.

So, as part of our 'Free stuff to play with the weekend' series, along with fresh Beta releases and 'Free Software That Works', we're adding 'Great Firefox Extensions'.

I was trying out more than a few extensions that are now compatible with Firefox 3 earlier tonight and was immediately captivated by PicLens. The new categories feature lets you easy 'surf' photos and videos in News, Tech, Business and more, and don't have to be on a PicLens-enabled website or blog anymore.

Moving your mouse (with the left button down) lets you surf thousands of current videos and photos with ease. It's fun, fast and easy to find the content you want, as well as international productions.

Tests were done in Firefox 3.0 using Windows Vista SP1 with this past Tuesday's Vista stability patch (Yes, I'm finally messing with Vista SP1 too ... but that's another post :)

You can download a copy here or from the new Firefox extension page.

Try it. Drop a note in our new Disqus - powered comments (or on FriendFeed).

You're gonna love it!


Stock Watch for Today : YHOO

By all accounts, Sue Decker will be announcing the much anticipated reorganization plan for Yahoo! later today.

With the stock at almost pre-Microsoft-offer prices this week, it will be interesting to see the investor community and shareholder reaction to the plans .... and whether or not there will be layoffs.

Time to buy yet?. Really tough call. Nobody really knows what Icahn or Microsoft will do next (as of this post).

Best place to watch pick : Kara Swisher at All Things Digital for this one.

Will going social help Mixx?

Yesterday, Mixx announced they were adding a social community format.

Mixx has been around for a while, has been picked up as a 'viable' bookmark / voting site by some major newspapers, and still has yet to really get out of the gate.

The social community concept probably isn't the best direction for them. There are plenty of social sites out there and people are already spread to thin trying to follow them, or wanting to.

If you want to stand out, do something different. Innovate. Add value that others haven't.

The reason Mixx works for some is that it remains small. If you get 'voted up', it only takes 30 or 40 votes to hit the front page.

The problem with Mixx is with their policies.

I'm sure, on occasion, you've sent a Digg or Stumble on your own (or a friend's) blog post.

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with it.

The blogosphere is growing and even if you've got a huge following, in reality, you've got a better change of being voted up on any social bookmarking site if one of your 'buddies' notices a piece you wrote, or you vote yourself there first for exposure and discovery.

Rarely do we see this being talked about anywhere because nobody wants to create the impression that any of these sites are being 'gamed'. In some cases, like any other space, they are. Mixx's solution is bad and it's part of what's holding them back.

The first time I voted 'myself' on Mixx, I received a prompt and courteous reply. "We don't do that here. It helps maintain the integrity of the community". So, here I am, being totally transparent, using my full name everywhere, and I have no integrity. It was a fast turn off.

The fact is, you will almost always do much better if someone else votes for your piece first on any social site. I have a problem asking people to do it. In the few cases where I have (which is what most people do), I've done great. It's still wrong.

It shouldn't be necessary and it certainly shouldn't be policy. An article should stand on it's own merits.

I still vote occasionally on Mixx if I happen to be there and see a really good article or in particular, someone new who I think needs a little help 'breaking out'.

I still keep the Mixx link at the bottom of these posts. Why? It's still easy to go viral on Mixx but I won't 'vote my own'.

You don't get notes from Kevin Rose saying "Don't Digg yourself pal". Instead, he joins your community so you notice what he's writing. Maybe that's where Mixx is going with this.

If you 'Digg' this piece, feel free to Mixx it ... and we'll all see what happens.

As for me, show me something new with exiting potential (yes, like Friendfeed) and I'll be all over it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Brief: Amazon acquires

In a statement today , (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced the pending acquisition of online craft and hobby retailer,

Georgia-based is privately-held and has been online since 1999.

" has built an impressive business by providing great products and excellent service for sewing and crafting enthusiasts," said Chris Nielsen, vice president of the Home & Garden store. "Over the years, we've seen a growing interest in this segment from our customers. Our acquisition of will allow us to offer a greater variety of fabrics and accessories to crafting customers."

Launched in 1999 by Stephen Friedman, has developed a significant and loyal customer base of sewing enthusiasts, and today offers a comprehensive line of fabrics in all three major fabric categories, including apparel, quilting and home decor."

Terms of the deal, which remains subject to shareholder approval, were not disclosed.

edit June 25 PM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stats, Reality and Google's New Tool - Google Ad Planner

(Note: Updated below)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that possibly as early as today, Google will be introducing a new 'tool' that will provide visitor stats on websites (and blogs) to advertisers. The service will be free.

This is much bigger news than it seems on the surface.

Advertisers and advertising companies have been in a difficult position for a while.

The good news. There are now more places to find 'your market' than ever before. Cable TV, Satellite, Local Cable, Radio, Web Portals, Websites, Blogs, Social Networks, and more.

The bad news. Who's data can you trust?

Imagine yourself buying ad space.

You could compare Alexa, Compete, Quantcast, Comscore, Nielsen Online and others.

In most cases, the stats are very different.

Obviously, Google wants your ad money. What better way to get your business than to help you effectively target your campaign with a 'better' tool.

It's bigger than that. The landscape could (and probably will) change overnight. Ad agencies and others will be realigning their procedures and campaigns within weeks (if not days).

The bare fact is, unless someone makes a huge error (which is unlikely), Google's data will probably be better. Much better.

It's not because they're HUGE. It's not because they can track 'whose searching for what'.

It's because their stat monitoring software is already embedded in tens of thousands of websites and blogs.

Google Analytics was an outgrowth of the company's acquisition of Urchin. It's in use almost universally. Why? It's free and it's excellent.

Then there's FeedBurner. Another Google acquisition. Every minute of every day delivering feeds from blogs and websites, large and small.

This blog uses both.

As the next few days play out, it's going to be very interesting to see what the product looks like, how it's implemented, and the reaction, from advertisers, and the industry as a whole.

Update 11 AM ET: Google has released details on the new Google Ad Planner on the Official Adwords blog .

Monday, June 23, 2008

Is Your Office Really Green?

It happens almost every week. I walk into an office somewhere and see 3 things:

1) The workstations and network are a serious mess.
2) Everything is still being printed.
3) There's no secure back-up (or restore) plan.

As computers assume 'people functions' more and more, small and large businesses need to adapt and understand what's going on.

One tech guy with all the 'keys' is a BAD IDEA.

So here's some stuff for managers and small business owners to think about:

1) Is your network getting slower and slower for no apparent reason?
2) Are you printing (and spending unnecessary time filing) for no reason?
3) Do you back-up OFTEN? ... and in the case of medical office, large business etc ... Is a copy of that back-up taken off-site and/or in a fireproof box?
4) Can one person take down your entire infrastructure? Is there anyone else that knows how to fix it?
5) Is your wireless network locked down?

While, to some, this all may sound obvious. Apparently it's not.

Finally, if you're going web-based with your data or back-up....
Have you read the terms and conditions?

Every time I think that everyone's getting it (particularly doctors' offices), I stumble across another nightmare waiting to happen.

Pass this one along to a friend. They may thank you for it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to Feedburner

Since I started this blog late last year, it has, for the most part, experienced steady organic growth. Without a few of you, who enjoy it and mentioned it, it would have taken much longer. There's a healthy balance between 'search' and 'other site' referrals as well.

There were a few plateaus along the way. That's always intriguing. A few 'one day wonders' (where the hits just went totally ballistic), and yes, there were a few times where things tapered off.

This blog is not monetized. I don't obsess over the analytics. I do try to deliver what I originally promised ... that "within a week or two, you can go to work, and look like you know everything about everything to your boss":).

The tools have always been here .... but I did change the 'delivery mechanisms'.

The blogroll (lower right) is still updated monthly with people that I and people I follow closely read. Obviously, it can't be all-inclusive.

New and interesting (some really fascinating) people, blogs and websites emerge every day.

The 'shared feed' is still updated numerous times each day. Headlines from around the web in one place. It's easy and informative.

Occasionally, 'we' break a story here. Going back to my brief journalism days, that always feels good. It's not the primary mission.

I blame this week's 'taper-off' in unique visitors entirely and squarely on Louis Gray. Not to mention the fact that this simple piece went through two edits because my eyes weren't working ?!)

In the very early stages, it was Louis that turned me on to Friendfeed. Unlike Twitter, I became totally 'involved'. If you're anything like me, and have a need to know 'everything about everything', don't go there. Go to a movie.

While I'm fully aware I've mentioned Friendfeed more than a few times here, I'm constantly finding new uses for it. From networking to discovery, even a little business :)

Friendfeed has become my 'first read' in the morning. I honestly don't see that changing any time soon.

I seriously hope you guys (and gals) are reading in between the lines here, because we're not just talking about a passing fad. We're talking about a success story, potentially Friendfeed's .... and / or yours.

Learn the curve. You won't regret it.

Am I going to change things here? Not for now. I'm having way too much fun ... while really delivering more here than ever before here.

It's simple. Subscribe to the direct feed and/or the shared feed.

Like what you read here? Why not join the conversation?

Finally, I hope obviously, I was having a little fun above. My sincerely congratulations to one of the people that continues to deliver cutting edge web stuff and info to all of us on their success story yesterday.


Edited: June 22 PM

Friday, June 20, 2008

Brief : Apple upgrades Safari

In a week that saw the final release of Firefox 3.0, an upgrade beta for Flock (using the newer Mozilla engine found in Firefox 3.0), and Opera trying to jump out in front with their all new version 9.5, Apple is now onboard with Version 3.1.2 of Safari for Windows.

If you've never used it before, Safari for Windows basically will give you a 'decent' idea of how your website or blog will look on a Mac. It's lightweight and feature rich.

Finding release notes on the Apple website (at least for me at this hour :) on this latest maintenance version of Safari was difficult .... but an educated guess based on usage since last night is (1) security improvements and (2) speed improvements and/or (3) Vista compatibility issues.

For those who wish to have the latest and greatest on their box, that's the scoop from Apple.

PS: It's FAST!

Update: This is what happens when I look at TechMeMe after a post :) The release notes are here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A peek behind the scenes - Firefox Download Day

It was a truly one of the great web PR campaigns.

Mozilla's Firefox Download Day had people waiting up until midnight Tuesday for 'the big event' (only to find out that Mozilla's midnight was actually 10 AM PST).

People were literally counting down on Friendfeed, Twitter, Pownce, Plurk and elsewhere, and were tabulating the reported download totals online.

There really was a sense of excitement in the air.

The reality is that many web aware applications such as Sun's Java Update and Adobe's Flash Player probably eclipse this number many times over (not to mention Microsoft's auto-update).

It didn't matter. This WAS Mozilla's day. The 'event' dominated most of the tech news websites all day (and managed to paralyze a few servers and ISP's during the first hour :).

Just after the launch, the Mozilla creative team launched a new set of easy to follow information pages. Some really great looking how-to guides.

John Slater, Creative Director at Mozilla maintains his own blog here. He posted a few photos during the day to his Flickr stream here (Yes, including the now-infamous cake from Microsoft's IE team). Yes, you too can now see the Firefox team eating lunch !

Seriously, Slater's blogroll makes for some interesting reading and bookmarking.

His team's artwork is pretty cool too.

Kudos to the gang at Mozilla for creating the buzz. One of the biggest to hit the Internet in some time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Operating System or Browser is Perfect

Or ... more facts before you get confused by another weird article somewhere ....

I was reading a piece last night on a prominent tech site that made me stop and think. The author (I really try not to 'call people out' so I won't) was saying "Don't download Firefox 3.0 because it's not time tested yet".


While this may hold true for some operating systems (I used to wait out some new stuff for clients while testing it myself and reading .... before deploying them) ... If a well-known company or organization goes through one or two Betas THEN one or two Release Candidates, you can pretty much rest assured the stuff will work on most boxes.

Firefox went through three RC's (all reported here :) and is already in development of Firefox 3.1.

No Operating System is perfect.

The same author noted 'his prediction to wait out Windows XP SP3 was right'. Huh? There were one or two problems with SP3, mostly having only to do with AMD based motherboards. The percentage was very small and it was fixed.

This stuff is normal.

XP SP3 is an excellent Service Pack, introduces some new and important improvements, and rolls up all the previous patches and Service Packs into one.

There will always be new security challenges. They will be discovered and patched quickly .... whether it's Microsoft, Apple, Mozilla, or the thousands of cool freeware and shareware developers out there.

Microsoft has been criticized for these 'problems' for years. Have we seen anyone else come up with an operating system that runs on so many different hardware configurations? There's a reason.

Next: Everybody makes mistakes.

Read the release notes or 'known issues'. It's possible the developer already knows about the flaws. There are ALWAYS flaws.

Worried? Back up your stuff. You should be anyway!

Every once in a while someone will come out with something 'new' that will start crashing things, yes, even in the final version. The good news is we have so many developers now watching, it's reported to the company or in the media much faster than in the past.

Whammo ... "Fix issued by Microsoft".

So, to all the editors out there. Please read the stuff your people are writing before you let it 'go to press' and get shared to tens of thousands of people. That's where we're going and it's not stopping any time soon.

Have a question?

Post it on Friendfeed. It's not just for early adopters. It's for you. Join the discussion and don't ever be embarrassed to ask anything. You know the old saying, and ....

... if you don't ...

ask! :)

Update PM June 18 - New Firefox 3.0 page with just about anything you want to know about it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Adobe Air upgraded to version 1.1

Adobe Air, the desktop client platform used by Twirl, Pownce, and numerous other popular applications just released an improved version 1.1.

Numerous bug fixes, additional languages, memory improvements and more.

You can download AIR and /or review the wide variety of applications using it here.

An additional page with a wider variety of AIR based apps is here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ultra cool - Talk to Twitter - Twitterfone

'Discovery' is becoming more and more interesting every day on the Internet.

It's changing at a rocket pace and the ways I come across items that are important to me, and / or that I want to share with you, never ceases to amaze me.

Last night I watched a 'Twitter post (Twit?) go by (from Emily Chang) that said 'via TwitterFone'.
Is Verizon selling this?
I want a Twitterfone !

There are some people that when they are messing around with something, I take notice. Chang is among them.

Twitterfone launched on May 6. It has evidently been reviewed by TechCrunch and a few others. I must have missed it. (Too many feeds??).

A few quick e-mails with Pat Phelan followed. Pat was engaging (funny?) in our brief exchange. I really dig people that just tell it the way it is.

Twitterfone was founded by Pat, David Marcus, Florian Seroussi, Ivan MacDonald, and Sean O Sullivan. It is in closed Beta, but, ugh, I have a 'few' invites :) Hit me up on Twitter or Friendfeed. The first five or six I read (It's kinda crazy today?), and you too can mess with this absolutely very cool addition to the Twitter app family.

You can also request one on the Twitterfone website.

The best part?

Emily's post which read "Can I speak 140 characters?".

Update: Please use DM on Twitter in this case if you'd like an invite. Thanks.

eBay API BIG change - New PayPal tools

The eBay Developers Conference runs today through Wednesday at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

It is important for eBay to make a strong showing here. Wall Street is waiting for 'something' from the internet auction company. The numbers haven't been great lately and Amazon has been 'all over everybody'?!

The news is already news trickling out from some of the live bloggers.

1) The eBay API. eBay will be allowing developers to integrate their applications directly onto the eBay website. Project Echo, as it's been dubbed, will be announcing more details later today.

2) eBay owned PayPal is also making some news. Paypal will be embracing developers as well with an all-new 'Developer Central' expected to be online is just a few weeks. A promised grab bag of free goodies including a marketers 'library', sample code, training and education materials, and, of course, a new 'Reference Transaction' API.

We'll include some others more in-depth info from the conference in the shared feed (at right) over the next few days. eBay has an anxious (hungry?) audience. We'll see if any of this is quickly embraced.

Note: Apologies for the original raw, unedited post. Some difficulties with Blogger this morning.

Update; A variety of more 'in-depth' pieces on the eBay conference are now appearing on TechMeMe here

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend thoughts on Twitter and FriendFeed

About a week ago, finding myself spending more time on FriendFeed than on Twitter the past few weeks, I tried Eric's Twitter to FriendFeed contact importer.

It worked flawlessly but all of a sudden, I found myself a little overwhelmed with my new Friendfeed stream. Yes, overload.

They are two different services that at least, I use for different reasons. The activity in my main feed became, well just weird, so until I got around to deciding how I was going to deal with it, I temporarily blocked Twitter feeds from Friendfeed (You can still see them any time you want by going down to the bottom of the page and tapping 'Hidden Posts').

I haven't yet gotten around to my ideal solution (there are numerous including Duncan Riley's Greasemonkey scripts, having the new version of Twirl open at the same time, and many others).

Late last night I tapped on the FF 'hidden Twitter' link only to see I had missed more than a couple of 'tweets' that were interesting or important to me. If you're blocking, you may want to give some thought to this ... and, of course, your suggestions are always welcome below on Disqus or on Friendfeed.

Friendfeed made LOTS of progress this week with numerous fixes and improvements, among them, blocking (finally). You can block individual users so you will no longer see them and they will no longer see you. Most of us know this comes in handy, and more importantly it's self-moderation which is a whole lot better than having a team of moderators. I actually have learned to 'like the noise', but there's always a few that you want to bid a fond farewell to.

Blocking (not yet 'officially announced') can accomplished by clicking on the individual's name and on the next screen, you should see the block option.

Here's one more to think about.

I take a little time to 'clean up my FriendFeed mess'. What I mean by this is, that on occasion, a post draws no reaction or just 'sinks'. Other times, duplicate posts appear from my blog(s) and then someone's shared feed, fragmenting the comments. If there are comments, I tend to leave what's there there. If not, I usually give it a few days (some take up to 3-5 days to get noticed), then delete them. (They're still on my blog and probably on my shared feed).

None of this is really time consuming and keeps the stream at the lower right on this page interesting.

Finally, I usually try to dig up some cool free software for guys (and gals) ... to check out on weekends.

This weekend is an exception. I hope all the Dad's (the good Dads :) have a GREAT Fathers Day and enjoy some quality family time this weekend. I'm looking forward to it.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Google wants to know what YOU think

In a post today to the 'Official Google Blog',

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grab the Buzz - Opera 9.5 goes final

With the Firefox Download Day now set for June 17th, Opera unexpectedly took their new look and feel (our coverage just a few days ago here) out of beta today.

Version 9.5 was just posted to numerous download sites around the 'net.

More information (and a cool splash screen :) have been posted to Opera's website here.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why Disqus will be huge

Disqus is turning up on more and more blogs every day.

The buzz hasn't stopped ... and it probably won't.

Success is an ever changing formula on the Internet (and competitors are always waiting in the wings). One of the basic keys is 'getting in everyone's pocket', or in this case, on everyone's website or blog.

There simply is no better example than Google's Adsense. It's EVERYWHERE (and it's also a huge piece of Google's bottom line).

While Disqus may not have the resources that Google does, it does have a solid base of prominent bloggers already using the commenting system, including Mathew Ingram, Loic Le Meur, Louis Gray, Dave Winer, Sarah Perez, and Fred Wilson just to name a few. (There are THOUSANDS, so please excuse me if you're not in this post ?!).

Disqus is already crossing demographic lines - marketing, advertising, venture capital, software developers, and, it's being used by both young and 'older' bloggers.

The adoption rate is high and the exposure is intense.

The Friendfeed factor.

As those that have been watching this space know, almost everyone that is publishing to, or 'feeding', are seeing more comments there than on their own blogs.

Not a problem for Disqus. Your comment stream can be imported into Friendfeed. More exposure for all.

As always, the key will be if Disqus can monetize. In this case, I can actually see numerous ways it can be accomplished, because of the way it's embedded in blogs, that wouldn't see a significant backlash by it's users. (Potentially a much more difficult proposition for Twitter, MyBlogLog, etc?).

Feel free with your thoughts, here (with Disqus), or in a just a few minutes on Friendfeed :)

Better GMail 2.0.5 is just cool

I've never been big on 'skins'.

I don't change browser skins. I rarely even change my screen background.

Last night, I was sifting through some of the 'popular' Firefox 3.0 compatible extensions (and testing out a few).

I had never used Gina Trapani's Better GMail before (and was curious whether it delivered anything more than the recent GMail Labs update).

Wowza! A few clicks on and off, and a better, very cool looking GMail .... (and it works just fine with the new GMail labs functions on or off).

Trapani is perhaps best known as the lead editor of Gawker's

Your new web address could be CBS

CBS (NYSE: CBS) is on the move. The only question now is ... what's next ?

If it's up to Les Moonves, your new web address will be CBS.

The first announcement, which passed somewhat quietly yesterday, is that CBS has received regulatory approval for it's tender offer for CNET Networks (our previous coverage here).

Yesterday also saw the 'premier' of AOL Radio powered by CBS Radio.
(AOL's deal with XM satellite radio expired at the end of April)

It seems that CBS is taking some very solid, calculated shots at the web .. that just make sense.

The all-new AOL Radio powered by CBS is NICE. The layout is clean, easy, and provides access not only to the CBS Radio Network but many popular affiliates as well, and some very popular music stations.

Without any further speculation on my part (think,, full TV shows now on the new , etc., etc.) .... let's just say it's time to keep a close 'eye' on CBS.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Microsoft introduces SteadyState

Earlier today, prior to the release of what is said to be a significant 'Windows Update Tuesday', Microsoft introduced SteadyState, a refined tool to manage shared computers.

The tool replaces the 'Shared Computer Toolkit' and is billed as having numerous improvements many driven by user suggestions.

It is available now in the Windows Download Center.

While the documentation is a little misleading (it shows Vista as the host operating system) , the program does run on XP SP2 and SP3.

Review in brief: One of the simplest, most useful, MS-based group tools to date. Just about anyone can use this. Includes the necessary stuff (only) that your IT guy (or gal) may neglect (like turning off USB ports in a business environment!). This is a must try time-saver.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Steve Jobs : Trust me

As the technology press descended on WWDC 08 Apple Event earlier today, an who's who of reporters, commentators, video bloggers and others were delivering the big news, that was, to a great extent, already anticipated.

You can find it in any one of about 5 or 6 stories in our 'shared feed' (Those guys were there :). Need more? Check out this page from Gabe Rivera's TechMeMe.

After almost 3 decades, when Jobs speaks, it's still huge!

I took a quick look at the new WWDC rooms on, then decided to do something new and different.

Anticipating a volatile environment in the stock and commodity markets (after Friday's run-up in oil and the subsequent downside market plunge), and having a little curiosity about the latest iThing , I turned off the computer, poured a cold one (It's hot on the east coast!), turned off the computer, and turned on the TV. (The screen is bigger?)

First on CNBC! "Exclusive interview with Steve Jobs". Jobs looked pretty good and very relaxed. There were some good questions about the new low pricing of the next generation 3G iPhone and whether it would deliver on the bottom line for Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL).

Jobs smiled, "I think we've done a pretty good job delivering for our stockholders over the past decade. I'm confident they trust us".

Did he just dodge the question?

Still, the 'king' of PR. Amazing.

Microsoft to shut down Live Expo classifieds

Microsoft is closing their Live Expo free classified listing service on July 31, according to a note posted to the website.

Live Expo has been perceived by most as Microsoft's competitor to Craigslist, and had been integrated as part of the family of products.

No formal announcement or press release was made by Microsoft.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Browser Wars revisited - Opera fights back

Opera is a web browser that's been around for a long time. Once ad-supported, the browser went free some time ago and has been adopted by numerous mobile carriers, most in Europe.

With Microsoft ready to unleash Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 in the 3rd quarter of this year , and Mozilla going for the Guinness Book with highly-pledged download day coming very soon (as well as Apple's Safari which has grown as it is embedded in the iPhone), it appears the Opera team wasn't going to standby and watch.

Last week, Opera unleashed version 9.5 beta 2 which unveils a new look, a variety of features (some similar to the latest incarnation of Firefox - 3.0 RC2) and also does extremely well on Acid 3 testing.

Here in the US, Opera has pretty much always has less than 1% of the overall market. The new look could give it a little traction. The browser also had some difficulties with Microsoft's alternative to Adobe's flash, Silverlight, which has been fixed in this release.

Sidebar: Silverlight Version 2 Beta 2 was released Friday, but it is not yet in the Microsoft download center.

The browser landscape as we see it.

There's simply no question that Mozilla is reshaping the playing field with the recent release of Firefox 3.0 RC2. It's fast, loaded with features, highly configurable, and carries very low resource overhead. As far as speed, Safari comes in Number 2 but some security questions have recently been raised about Safari for Windows. Internet Explorer 7 is cool, especially if you add the new (but very Microsoft specific) 3.0 Silverlight toolbar, BUT you will need a machine with decent resources. IE7 will lock-up on some machines running XP2 and XP3 with limited resources.

Opera can now probably capture enough of the market to stay viable. The beta Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 should not be installed on any mission-critical boxes as it is still very much a developer preview (and is somewhat unstable).

Flock is planning to upgrade to the new Mozilla engine after the 'formal' release. The 'social browser' is an interesting alternative and recently added more features.

Is the tide turning in the browser market?. While IE is installed by default on most computers sold worldwide, it appears Firefox has a good chance of grabbing a very significant market share (outside of the blog and tech community) once 'download day' comes. RC2 is stable, uses a completely new engine and .... just works.

(Update: Microsoft Silverlight 2 Beta 2 can now be downloaded here and Scott Guthrie's excellent tutorial is here)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Duncan Riley's scripts for Friendfeed Rock !

More and more people are embracing Friendfeed.

Steve Rubel, among many others, are commenting that they're now spending a lot more time using Friendfeed. Robert Scoble and Louis Gray have been spotlighting the service since it launched.

A few days ago, Duncan Riley (formerly of TechCrunch and now publisher of Inquisitr) decided to write a little code and share it with the community.

A series of Greasemonkey scripts that allow you to launch Friendfeed and have one-click, tabbed access to a variety of services and websites, among them iGoogle, Gmail, ReadBurner, TechMeMe, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, and MORE.

When looking at the download count tonight, I was a little surprised.

Despite the fact they were only a few days old, they had gotten a pretty good buzz. Downloads were OK but, at least in my mind, should have been higher.

Possibly it's because if you go to the Firefox extension page for Greasemonkey, it says it's not yet ready for Firefox 3.0 RC2.

It lies.

If you use this Greasemonkey link (that appeared on Duncan's first release page), the most recent scripts the Inquistr website work just fine (At least here, on an XP SP3 platform).

It really doesn't matter what you prefer to use for your custom start page ... iGoogle,, MSN, Yahoo .... It's really nice to have those little tabs available when you wander over to Friendfeed.

If you've never used Greasemonkey before, or are technically challenged, just Google it. There are plenty of good tutorials.

Duncan is archiving and updating the actual scripts themselves at here.

There's our 'something to mess with over the weekend' segment for this week. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

New dynamic blogroll from Blogger

Earlier today, Google's Blogger team launched the updated blogroll component that has been in testing in 'Blogger in Draft'.

The new dynamic blogroll can include favicons, last date updated, and even of snippet of the blog's latest post.

SEO gurus might want to note the mention of PageRank in today's release which can be found here.

Just Thanks.

Thought a few of you that have been 'active' here might enjoy this ... (even though your comments seem to have migrated entirely to Friendfeed?).

Subscription growth ala FeedBurner.

Think we're lookin' a little more consistent here than the stock market :)

Thanks to all.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Firefox 3.0 RC2 released prior to the 'big event'

It's not part of the Guinness Record download event, but Mozilla just upgraded Firefox 3.0 RC1 to RC2.

Users of the RC1 browser can simply tap 'help' and 'check for updates' to upgrade to the latest Release Candidate of Firefox 3.0.

Some of the features of Mozilla's next generation browser can be found here.

The new download page for Firefox 3.0 RC2 can be found here.

Icahn takes to TV - Updated

In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, Carl Icahn has took his case for a Yahoo! takeover directly to shareholders and the investment community on television earlier tonight.

Icahn appeared first on CNBC's Fast Money and then on Fox Business News.

The CNBC panel quickly embraced the somewhat rare phone call from Icahn and started firing questions.

Is he 'chatting' directly with Yahoo - Yes
Where should the buyout price be - probably Mid 30's
Who should buy the company - Microsoft

In after hours trading Yahoo! (NasdaqGS: YHOO) shares were trading up at $26.96 at 5:38 PM ET.

Fox Business Channel

Update: Replays on the interviews have been posted to the websites above.

The best example of media convergence yet

Sometimes, I actually still actually get my news from TV.

It relaxes me. It's a 'different tube'.

Here in the US, we have the liberal news, the conservative news, and more recently, the Headline "I'm not sure what I am yet" news.

DirecTv has a cool channel (102). It's 8 news channels on one screen and you can zip back and forth to see who's spinning what?

Did I say spin?

What better time than Obama's speech (and, of course, the in-depth analysis and debate !).

I couldn't help but notice CNN's reference to The Huffington Post , at least ten times.

If you don't know what the Huffington Post is (Yes folks, there are still people that don't), you do now. It's the powerful and undeniable cross-media effect (that no doubt CBS is planning with their CNET acquisition).

The best part.

I know I'm going to run into at least one person in the morning at the local convenience store asking where they can get a copy of The Huffington Post.

Comcast's Fancast open to all

Comcast's Fancast video streaming website, which began in beta in January is turning up the heat (and using Twitter to do it!).

Fancast is essentially a front end to Hulu (I LOVE Hulu! :), but it also adds some additional programming, as well as a TV programming guide and other features.

Logging on tonight, I expected to see "You are not in our viewing area" when I entered my zip code. Instead, it provided me with several choices (including DirecTv and Dish Network satellite listings).

Like Hulu itself, navigation was a no brainer, but as opposed to other online TV listing websites, it was nice to be able to flip from TV listings to on-demand online video ... and the extraordinary, constantly growing library at Hulu.

You can check out FanCast here.

Microsoft Windows Search 4.0 now out of beta

Microsoft Windows Search desktop search tool 4.0 is out of beta.

The desktop program, which had been released as a public beta in March, was posted Tuesday to the Microsoft Download Center with different versions for a variety of MS operating systems.

Details on the new Windows Search (with download links) can be found in the Knowledge Base article here.

Other Microsoft releases this week included a new version on Microsoft Installer (Version 4.5) and Windows Server 2008 VHD's.

For those that have been asking, it appears more-than-likely that the next public beta of Internet Explorer 8 will be forthcoming in the third quarter of this year.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Next for Yahoo. Carl Icahn seeks to oust Yang

After the closing bell today, billionaire investor Carl Icahn made it clear (in an interview with the Wall St Journal), that he is pursuing his battle for control of Yahoo's board, with the clear intention of removing Jerry Yang as CEO of the company.

Icahn and numerous colleagues have been accumulating Yahoo stock over the past few weeks.

Yang and company have spent the better part of the last two months positioning Yahoo! (NasdaqGS: YHOO) to try and repel any further bids from Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT).

There were mixed feeling among employees and stockholders on both sides of the latest Microsoft / Yahoo chapter, although most felt it was a 'done deal' from the start because of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's outright tenacity as well as the significant premium that Microsoft was offering to Yahoo! shareholders.

Icahn is no stranger to the tech sector waters. As recently as April of this year, Motorola made a deal with Icahn.

Yang appears to truly believe he can build on Yahoo's platform and deliver value for Yahoo's shareholders having recently put forth a new 3-year plan. Yahoo! has also seen numerous internal changes in the past few months and the company has continued to roll out new products along with enhancements to existing ones.

Yahoo! has now moved their annual shareholder meeting to August 1st. While Microsoft publicly is showing significantly less interest, there's little doubt that numerous conversations are once again being held behind closed doors.

Walmart launches free classifieds online

The world's largest retailer is testing free online classifieds.

Walmart Classifieds quietly launched in Beta late yesterday.

While some have speculated that Walmart may be targeting Craigslist, it seems more likely that the mega-retailer simply wants to make it easier for you to sell your old stuff ... so you can buy new stuff.

Currently, the Walmart product is using an API from Oodle.

Neither Walmart nor Oodle have 'officially' announced a joint venture.

Walmart Classifieds is live now on the web and can be found here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Google - Real time streaming stock quotes for all

In a move that no doubt woke up more than a few CEO's this morning, Google took yet another unprecedented step early this morning.

Google Finance is now delivering free real-time streaming stock quotes to all, for free.

Typically, in the past, if you wanted real-time Internet quotes, you needed to have a brokerage account that offered them, or you paid for the service. Stock quotes were readily available on hundreds of websites but they were delayed by 15 minutes.

This is a huge move by Google, and the reaction by the financial community websites will be very interesting to watch as the day unfolds.

Update: The announcement has now been posted to the Official Google Blog and can be found here.

Update 2: The real-time stock quotes are being provided by the NASDAQ stock exchange only (so far) and are also available on CNBC and The Wall St Journal Online .

Correction: Yahoo Finance receives their quotes from BATS, and is not part of this pilot program.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Art of Content Discovery and Sharing

Take one look around the 'blogosphere' and there's simply no doubt that more people are blogging than ever before.

With the mainstream media now mentioning blogs (and many incorporating them into their websites), most people now know what a blog is (and not just those of us who have been 'living here' :).

It's Primetime!.

More people than ever are reading blogs for information, opinion, reviews, similar interests, and more.

Conversely, I've also noticed some long-time bloggers that seem to be burning out or doing some 'strange' new things to get noticed. They're stuck deeply in the same groove. For lack of a better way of putting it, they need to take a vacation, come back, and look at the landscape objectively.

The reality is that there are many ways to 'stay noticed' in a growing space, with more 'visibility vehicles' arriving on the scene every day.

Shared feeds are rapidly gaining in popularity, although there's still a very small group of 'us' doing it. These 'shares' continue to get spotlighted on 'share aggregators' and so-called lifestreaming sites such as ReadBurner, RSSMeMe, LinkRiver, FriendFeed, MyBlogLog, and numerous others.

While many of the old Internet marketing rules still very much apply, like everything else on the web, it's changing.

Every day, I discover a few new interesting blogs. I follow them for a while to see what they will post next. If they're really good, I start sharing them.

Discovery has gotten much easier but that doesn't keep me from 'just surfing' or doing a blog search in a defined category. I want fresh shares and interesting content. That's something that I might not find on a major aggregator or social network, but may find in someone else's shared feed or someone's Lifestream. I also use my own blogroll at least one a week (and update it accordingly about once a month) to see who is new on the scene and what they're saying.

There's a lot of brilliant people out there. Just a small portion will get noticed over time.

A few moments ago, I wandered over to a relatively new blog that I had read about over the weekend. The author was prolific and he was networking among those who he thought he should be.

Here's my advice, plain and simple:
  • Be genuine.
  • Keep your ego in your pocket.
  • Make your headline interesting (but don't hype it).
  • Engage others with similar interests.
  • Write about stuff where you really know what you're talking about and / or stuff you LOVE to write about.
  • Don't try to 'game' search engines, Digg, TechMeMe or other popular sites. If you're sincere, they will find you. If they don't right away, another blogger will and a mention could send your stats flying.
  • Forget the one-day wonder posts. They may 'etch your name' for a short while but it's your subscriptions, and those who share your feed(s) that will keep you there.
Finally, don't get jaded. I met 4 people this past week whose websites by all rights should be in Google's top-10 in their space. They had never heard of SEO. Despite some recent posts (by others), that market is alive and well!