My pet peeve at the moment, people who quote the number of hits for a particular word on Google as if it proved something. I think it's a lazy way of filling an article with a few more words. Bah humbug!
I've almost finished Naked Conversations, which isn't as racy as it sounds. I've read most of it on the book's blog, as it has been written, so there weren't any major surprises. As an aside though, it did seem somehow longer on the page. Maybe I skip more words when I'm reading on the screen.
Their premise is that almost every company should blog. I'm skeptical (or sceptical, I'm never sure) that every company is interesting enough, or even almost every. However their well researched arguments are beginning to win me over. There's a lot of interview material, with a wide range of people - even those that disagree with them on some points.
There's a major blunder on human geography in one chapter, where they describe the British Isles as consisting of Ireland and England. I think a bit of research is needed on how the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales fit together.
Shel told me that (name dropper!) they were making…
I remember when I got my first book from Amazon several years ago. With it came an Amazon bookmark and for the first time I had something tangible from the internet. The book could have been from anywhere, and the clever packaging got thrown away, but the bookmark meant that I had some evidence of the virtual world I'd been exploring.
It's happened again now. I've got a galley proof copy of a book that I've followed as it's been drafted in public. I've been reading the blog of one of the authors, Robert Scoble, for a while now, and here is something tangible of his existence.
It's a big deal when a magazine or a newspaper has a redesign. Similarly with websites. It's something to do with the fact that it's easy to churn out issue after issue/page after page using the same layouts, fonts etc.
I would have thought that in the dynamic web world you could spend more time with your templates, spending more effort making them work harder for you, so each new page looks like an evolution, or a minor redesign, whereas you haven't put any effort into that page, you just put it in at the beginning. Does that make any sense?
Some thoughts on this competition to use BBC TV listings for something, feel free to develop them into a prototype, so long as I can have your old PC ;-)
What do I want to know? What's on from 9 to 10 tonight? When are the following programmes on: Top Gear Horizon When are programmes on which have photography in their synopsis?
Give me the information in the same format as my VCR: day, start time, end time, channel
Give me an easy way to blog about a programme: to put a unique id for the programme in my blog entry without searching hard to get it, e.g. "get me the id for last night's Casualty". at the same time get me the link to the programme's website, if it exists
And of course, tag my blog entry so that other people can see the tags I've put on it, maybe from the programme's web page.
For some strange reason I'm quite excited about the redesign of theguardian. Ages ago I thought I'd see what people said about their last redesign, but searching for things like "italicised the" didn't turn up any useful results.
The problem: living in Thames Valley, as I do, we get London radio stations. The reception isn't brilliant though, because we're not their target audience. This is frustrating when trying to tune the bedside radio to London based stations.
The solution(s): I looked into DAB digital radio, and the London stations aren't available here, fair enough. I thought about internet radio, using a wireless router providing a wireless connection to a portable device, such as a Palm, with a speaker socket and portable speakers. (I've seen a internet radio gadget on TV, but can't find it on the internet). The trouble is internet radio bandwidth is quite low. In the end I got a piece of blutac and stuck the bedside radio arial (a piece of wire) to the wall. The reception improved. Sometimes you've got to pick the appropriate technology.
Creative Commons, Open Source - I think these only apply to interesting things that people are going want to remix. I don't think I'd want to (cc) my boring technical manual, or open source my extremely-specific application. Tell me if you think I'm wrong.
Tim: I went on a course on customising a Microsoft Great Plains personnel application built on FoxPro. Afterwards I wondered just where FoxPro fitted into the Microsoft family, and why it was needed given Access. A quick Google didn't turn up any answers. Your article confirms what I concluded eventually - a bright but awkward sibling. I find it strange that Microsoft kept it going for so long. If it were VW for example, and you couldn't distinguish the Golf and the Seat Ibiza then sales of the latter would drop and they would revamp it (as they have done) or kill it. I guess with software the installed user base has a lot more momentum than with cars.
That worked. So I customised it, click Gmailed, put my postcode in for weather. It then got me to log into my gmail account, and then went into a forwarding loop to google.com, google.co.uk, google.com, google.co.uk, etc.
It's not just a to do list manager. You can update your progress on things, you can find people who will help you do things. There's suggestion, as per Amazon, "people who have this also have this". There are tags. Even as an unregistered user there's a bit of tracking. One of those "does one thing very well" sites, like flickr.
Two tangential comments relating to the UK, where with our National Health Service there are obviously some different issues as it is centralised:
1. I have a friend who is working in medical monitoring hardware and software. So you take your blood pressure at home with a gadget and then it dials in to the hospital. It is hard to get a monolithic organisation such as the NHS (biggest employer in Europe I believe) to adopt new concepts, let alone technology.
2. I have seen the attempts to impose national systems for, e.g. managing appointments. The trouble is every medical unit has its own quirks and ways of doing things and to develop an all encompassing system is a nightmare. I wonder if this is such a case when you have to make the users work with the system, for the sake of efficiency and consistency, rather than having a system that works with their current working practises.
I think you've hit upon a rich vein of discussion in this particular vertical market.
Kathy Oh yes, so true, I agree, right on, etc. but... when my email program is crawling, and taking 30 seconds to open a document I'll switch my gaze to my second monitor where my favourite blogs are displayed, like this one. Is that so bad? Is there something better I could do in those 30 seconds?
A bit overblown. Jokes don't tend to make it into trailers, apart from the visual ones, so I'll just have to go and see it to save you the bother. Now to find the UK release date... simultaneous with the US. That's what I like. Can't wait.
I'm reading Salmon of Doubt, and, like the Dark Materials trilogy, I'm sad that it's the last time I shall read this for the first time.
Coincidentally I've heard that the trailers for the Hitchikers movie are out, but I'm not watching them until I've written this.
I think the film could go three ways: 1. straight adaptation of the TV series to the screen (unlikely) 2. overblown epic movie completely missing the point and the humour of the original 3. sensitive translation to the film format with some new jokes in keeping with DNA's (as we fans like to call him) style.
Now it's time to look at the trailers - talk amongst yourselves.
Shel: I've been chewing over for a couple of days what's bugging me about this whole idea. I think it's this: will all companies benefit? Will hardware stores and supermarkets really benefit? I work for a charity. Our supporters are mainly over 50. I know there are a lot of silver surfers, but there are a lot of people who aren't. Will a blog reach them? If you don't think all companies will benefit, please say which will.
Robert I've just worked out that it's not arriving on the 3rd Twentyoneber but the 23 March. Can you get the project team to make the date a bit more international? We have the internet in the UK now you know :-)