Archive for 2007

A Demo virgin no more

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Demo conferenceI’m just about ready for to head to the airport and fly down to San Diego to attend the Demo fall 2007 conference, which starts tomorrow (not including the cocktail mixer tonight). I’m pretty excited to be going, as this is my first time to check out this well-established and mature “launchpad for emerging technologies” event in person.

I’m quite intrigued to see the demonstration from Glam Media. According to Matt Marshall recently, their network is the fastest growing on the Internet and has overtaken iVillage in users reaching in excess of 17 million uniques in May. Should be interesting to see what they have up their sleeve for a new product/release.

Some of this year’s products appear poised to be bought out by the Google/Yahoo/Microsofts of the world. A good example is Attendi, Inc., who have created a new twist on social search. It sounds like the perfect sort of thing Yahoo! might be tempted to buy, and try to shoehorn into Y!Mash, which actually could be pretty cool if done properly.

Speaking of interesting social networking apps, I am truly looking forward to the spigit demo as well. From at top-level view, it seems to be far superior to the typical amazon voting or digg thumbs approach.

Anyway, this year seems to be yet another interesting year for the social networks and relative app markets. Lots to see and do. I hope to shed more light on the festivities in the days to come.

Y!Mash test drive

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

Mash Social NetworkMy friend Chad, who runs the Yahoo! Developer Network, was nice enough to send me an invite to the Mash beta. I’ve played with it for about an hour, and here are some of my initial thoughts.

First, I was really struck by the stark simplicity of the site. It has the ajax goodness of Flickr in many respects, albeit not nearly as well tested. In fact, the lowly Safari browser (I know, 5% of the market, big deal) can’t even update a profile on Mash yet. But, some pretty slick ajaxness is in there once you move into Firefox or (boooo!) IE.

Most of what you would expect to find on Facebook can be found here at the bare minimum. It will take some time before virus-like apps start to show up like they swarm inside FB, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I suppose we should enjoy the nothingness while we can.

Mash did take a few cues from MySpace as well, however, in the sense that you can customize your profile page’s look and feel in its “Style this profile” section. Font colors, link colors, background colors and images, even custom CSS. So, Mash will start to get “fugly” pretty soon, but that’s probably OK. Time will tell.

The “About Me” section is annoying, and I’d rather just remove it totally. Indeed, Mash really strikes me with its boxy grid as an old-school portal. There are “Remove” buttons on some widgets, but not others. That just makes the ones without that functionality seem all the more annoying and makes me want to crush them into little pieces.

The Settings section has a simple yet clean place to manage your privacy settings, people blocking, notifications and email management. There is an interesting controller called Simple URL, which will convert your Mash URL into a more vanity-like URL, using your Yahoo! ID. Now, is it just me or is that completely crazy? If you don’t go into your permissions and restrict access, changing that URL seems like you would just be begging for spam since your Yahoo! ID is exactly the same as your email address. It’s not like a vanity URL in myspace that you can simply make up – and it should be.

The Pulse page is very much the notification system similar to FB’s, where you can follow all of the Mash activity across your network. Nice that they’ve decided to move that over to another page, although I could see this being a widget I might want to add later to my top-level page and reduce clicks.

All-in-all, though, my initial feeling is Mash has serious potential. The guys over at Yahoo! seem to have built a pretty flexible foundation to add new functionality and applications. Add to that the possibilities of more closely integrating other Yahoo! apps into Mash (assuming that they can all talk together, in a platform sense) and voila! You might have a serious contender.

Yahoo! launches social network Y!Mash

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Y!MashYahoo!’s new social network, Y!Mash, was launched this week.

Unfortunately, in typical contemporary (Google) fashion, you can only join the site by invitation right now.

I’m hoping one of my friends over at Yahoo! will be so kind as to slap me some access.

Pretty please, Chad? Matt?

Hello Star Trek, a MacBook Pro that FingerWorks

Monday, September 17th, 2007

FingerWorks keyboardA buddy of mine, Jason Wong, sent me some pics today of his latest creation: a FingerWorks keyboard-enhanced MacBook Pro!

The much sought-after FingerWorks keyboard can occasionally be found on eBay for around $825. Jason snagged his, brand new (made in 2004) and unused, for a mere $350. The bastard. The keyboard was just sitting in a factory in Virginia, all alone and waiting for someone to touch it. Like a genie’s lamp.

Take a look: it’s all so very Star Trekky. No raised buttons, all flat and smooth and silky. If only the buttons had backlighting…

This keyboard uses the same technology Apple plopped into their slick iPhone touch-screens. The difference, of course, is that this is one big honking keyboard (a super-sized iPhone keyboard, basically). And, it fits absolutely perfectly into the MBP!

It all runs off of existing USB keyboard/mouse drivers, so you don’t even have to install or hack anything.

It also supports “gestures”. For example, three fingers and a “twist” to the right closes a window. Now, that almost sounds painful but I’m sure it’s cool to do it, at least once, as long as no one sees you doing it in public.

I don’t know if I would do this conversion to my own MBP, but I sure want to take Jason’s for a spin (or a twist).

Apple Store credit now available

Friday, September 14th, 2007

Apple Store CreditThe Apple Store credit for early-adopter iPhone users is available now.I was really concerned at first because I thought I was going to need my receipt, and I had already submitted the original to my Finance department.Apple apparently was expecting this, and made the store credit incredibly easy for iPhone owners to collect.  As long as your iPhone was activated through AT&T, all you need to supply is the phone number and serial number of your phone.You’ll receive a text message with a authorization code, and then voila!  A nice little coupon is offered up, which you can either use at a retail outlet or on the online store.So, the big question is, do I get the new Police box set, or the wireless keyboard?