Saturday, December 10, 2005

Yahoo gets Flickrlicious

In addition to buying Flickr, Yahoo has now bought I can't wait to see the improvements that come out of this! Hopefully we won't see too many downsides.

And this just on the heels of checking my Google email and seeing the Google web clips fiasco - how the heck do I read all of my feeds through that interface? I guess the concept of context-appropriate RSS based on what you're currently writing/reading an email about is nice and all, but I wish they had invested that energy instead making it so I could just read my RSS in Gmail, instead of needing to go to Google Reader (which I don't use because of that lack of integration or any other good features).

However, as part of the noise over the Yahoo acquisition, I found two other social bookmarking sites to try out: Simpy and Spurl. Of the two, Spurl is the only one that held my attention - and hey, you can have your own AdSense ads! That to me is when all of this community-building on the web will be great - when we're given the chance to profit from our community contribution.

Or wait, are those ads provided by Spurl, for their financial gain? I'll have to check it out more...

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Firefox: Craigslist favicon is a peace sign

Mouth, you remember Foot? Foot, you remember Mouth? Great.

I've switched to Firefox, against my previous postings, and one side result is that now I see multi-tabs of each site's favicons. It's a refreshing brand reminder that Craigslist's icon is a peace sign:

I can't wait until either eBay makes dramatic improvements to his already-great site, or Microsoft Fremont renders it obsolete, so we can see what else he has to offer when he's not watching the servers.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Consolidated RSS - not yet

I tried out SharpReader tonight, a new tool that supposedly does threading better than Memeorandum. Ideally it would consolidate the repeats I've been posting about, but here's a screenshot:

So I get a ton of error messages (20 more above those ones), and when it does group, it's solely based on who wrote it (Blog Maverick/Mark Cuban) regardless of the topic. This isn't what I'm looking for - I'm seeking a tool that wraps all of the "Ray Ozzie" Microsoft articles up to one line that I can choose to expand out, and it would group the threads by topic regardless of who the author was.

RSS, meet Yahoo Mail

Ouch - RSS, meet Yahoo Mail, but they won't have any early adopters buying in...
"And there is no OPML importing." Who wants to start their RSS feeds all over?

Monday, November 28, 2005

FeedLounge - only Firefox supported

Cool - after admitting in a previous post that I use IE instead of Firefox, I go to check out FeedLounge and see this icon:

Tagging my RSS feeds doesn't really do it for me anyway, as I like the dynamic mix and don't want to peg each feed into a certain genre (unlike my bookmark tags, which are more on a one-off basis of consistency). Nonetheless...

I know everyone keeps saying this, but I love what the new browser wars are doing for the industry and coming improvements.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I wish my RSS aggregator provided slim feeds

Contrary to everyone else's opinion in a comments thread I was participating in (but can't find now), I wish the posts that got fed into my aggregator were all slim and sleek for quick scrolling through. I limited my outgoing post feeds to 100 characters, and here's what it looks like:

Pretty slick, eh? More than a title, less than a pontification - there's just enough there for the user to have a taste for if they want to click through. Now if only I could do the same for my incoming feeds...

NEWS: Changing blog name to '200 minutes'

NEWS: I'm changing the name of this blog to '200minutes', to be found at

The premise is that most people in civilized society have about 200 minutes, or around three hours, per day where they can choose to focus their time once they've gotten home from work, eaten, paid the bills, kissed the kids, and/or whatever other top priorities folks have. My goal is to find technological solutions that can streamline and maximize those 200 minutes, by removing inefficiencies and personalizing the web for each user.

Prime example: scrolling through my RSS feeds, I see things I'm interested in but are the same posts again and again from different sources, like this...

And this...

Yes, this happens every day - I'd say at least 20-30% of posts I pull in each day are duplicates I've already seen just within my own aggregator. Those are the sorts of things 200minutes will try to sort out for you, with your excellent feedback to keep me on target, of course.

The one downside is this: If you like this blog, you'll have to subscribe to the new RSS feed. This is the last post you'll see if you're only subscribed to the Convene feed.

I will come back and post the RSS address here for the new feed once it's set up, but by then it will be too late - the post will already be sitting in your RSS aggregator without the update. So everyone come to at least once to subscribe to the RSS feed.

Update: Here's the new RSS feed!

Things that I don't post about

I may be the only one looking at this blog, so there are certain things I don't spend energy posting about because I don't think they provide enough personal value. For example:
  • almost anything with the words "innovation" and/or "attention"
  • posturing between business system organizations (like the memos from Marc Benioff from and Bill Gates/Ray Ozzie from Microsoft)
  • posturing between political organizations
  • most features/updates/etc. that I think are overhyped

Those four bullet points, though, are a lot of what show up in my aggregated feeds. Between not posting about them and posting the one-off gems to my bookmarks, not a lot makes it to this blog (though I'm still working on getting a daily posting of my social bookmarks into this blog).

I realize some of those would make good posts (why I think AHAH is not going to catch on, anything related to George W. Bush and/or the Middle East, etc.), but I don't see enough value resulting from even the potential comments on those topics - so I don't write them up. I think this is a good thing, and it works for me at least. Any feedback?

Google video applicant

I applied to a position at Google recently - but thank heaven this isn't me:

The comedy gold hits at around 2 minutes 30 seconds.

Blogger image size - default is medium

Fyi for anyone using Blogger to post, the default image size is Medium - during my previous post, I updated my Blogger image default to be Large. You can see it's still not huge, but better than before. It's pretty obvious how to change it on the screen where you're uploading an image, I just hadn't noticed for some reason.

I'll go back and update prior posts to have Large images for better readability.

Google Analytics stats for this blog

I thought it might be interesting to post some stats I'm seeing for this blog. (Yes, I know there's nobody visiting the site, no need to rub it in.) Anyway, here goes:

Overview -

I know the pics aren't very big, but you can see that the Google Analytics tools are pretty slick. From the overview, you can see that not many people are consistently coming to the blog, from both the traffic view on the top left and the new/returning view on the top right. You can also see that I have an international following from the map in the bottom left corner.

Most interestingly, I can see from the pie chart in the bottom right corner how readers come to my page. In my case, most users are coming from the j-walk blog, where I post sometimes in the comments. There's a healthy amount of traffic just from Blogger itself, as well - I'd guess this is from the rotating blog recommendations on their front page, as well as from the "Next blog" feature you see at the top of the page. Lastly, there's a big chunk of readers coming from Other, which I haven't figured out a way to drill down into yet for more details.

Browser/Platform types -
More than half of my current audience uses Internet Explorer (including myself), though all of the combined versions of Firefox have a healthy representation. I actually wonder how many people there are like me - tried Firefox, enjoyed it, but switched back to IE due to all of the security issues Firefox had earlier this year and haven't made my way back to it (and won't until I see IE version 7).

Screen resolutions-
This was exactly what I was hoping I wouldn't see - people using a vast and varied array of screen resolutions. Plus that 1400x1050 is undoubtedly skewed by the fact that I use it, and I'd guess a healthy portion of those (11!) visits are mine - although I did hear that Google Analytics filters out your own visits, so maybe not. Do I need to worry about catering to those ten users limited to x768 (it is about 30% of my audience so far...)?

It's fun to play with this as I start to get traffic to the site - it also jumped some from my post yesterday (after I'd already taken the above screenshots), and I'll aim to do a follow-up post of what pages people are visiting.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Pulling my own feeds into RSS

Wheee - I need to post more, it was so bizarre to start reading my aggregated RSS feeds and come upon a post where I was like "hey, this is something I'm interested in" -- only to realize it was my previous post, now being fed into my Newsgator.

By the way, anyone know why my image shows up so small? I doubled the size in Photoshop, and there are no size limits specified in the post HTML - so why is it still tiny? It might be a Blogger size limit, but I could swear I've seen bigger pics in other people's posts...

Moment of Zen: "Just in case has more rewards than just in time"

I had a Zen moment this morning - thinking about how much more often I end up getting good results by following a "just in case" (semi-conservative) approach instead of a "just in time" (cut it close) approach.

This is true for my system development work, for my Texas Hold'Em poker game, for my Risk games against friends, for when I'm headed to an appointment, and all sorts of other times. Sure, I'd love to win a crazily aggressive poker hand or skid into the parking lot just in time for my appointments, but those situations rarely end up playing out out in a winning fashion. Plus I hate being late/irresponsible/etc., which happens often when trying to live by "just in time." I still get hit by it sometimes, but awareness is the first step.

This isn't to say you should always be conservative - but I think that maybe if you can get in the habit of living by "just in case", then when an opportunity comes up for you to get more risky, you have mojo/control built up in your favor. The best examples I can think of for this are the ones where there are limited tangible resources - armies, poker chips, etc. If I've spent them all on previous stupid risks, then I don't have enough left to optimize the golden moments where it really makes sense to try to grab a bigger slice of the pie.

So I boiled it down to this: "Just in case has more rewards than just in time". Do you agree?

(On a side note, I thought there might be a better quote already out there, so I did a search. I didn't find one that tied the two phrases together well, but I did find this stellar 'Dignity is Deadly' post simply because one of the 'prior posts' had the two phrases in it. Totally unrelated to the subject of this post, but I really liked the bubble graph of the difference between a startup and a 'professional' corporation.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Desired Craigslist feature: "Email post owner"

I have been a loyal user of Craigslist for years, and recently the Denver version too - but it would be great to have an "Email post owner" hyperlink up in the top right corner.

I can click on a link to email a post to someone else, but what about emailing the person that created the post to discuss what they posted? I have to separately open my browser to access my email account, copy and paste their anonymous ID, copy and paste the subject and body of their email, and then type what I want.

All that to respond to the "49ERS vs. Texans (mission district) $60" post that I started from.

Too many steps, and I can't figure out why. Maybe some sort of security, but so many other sites have a setup where you can put in your name, email, and message, and it routes to the original person posting...