Baby Pictures

Sometimes you’ve got to take advantage of having a personal blog. Doing a file transfer between computers tonight and found these. The one with my dad looks so much like me! I promise to return to regularly scheduled posts about stuffy internet matters soon.

Twitter’s Downtime

How much growth has Twitter lost because of all the time it’s unavailable? I have never engaged in sustained use of a web app that is down this much – I can imagine large numbers of other people just walk away and never come back. Everybody says Evan Williams has struck gold in this wildly succesful new service – but I’m sure he knows there’s a real risk of that never proving true do to constant service problems. Good luck to the Twitter folks – I sure wish the site was up!

NetSquared Putting Money Where Their Mouths Are

I used to work for a wonderful nonprofit tech project called NetSquared – great people doing awesome work. They’re about to have the second annual NetSquared conference and here’s the text of an email they sent out – check it out and help them help awesome nonprofit groups if you can. Billy Bicket, the author of the email below and a very smart man, tells me that this year is going to be very different than nonprofit events in the past. I think you’ll agree.

You already know that we are going to do it again.
NetSquared Year Two (N2Y2) is set for Cisco on May 29 and 30. Last year
was a great conversation. This year, it’s all about action.

We will be bringing together the resources – money, talent, and
committed individuals – to accelerate 20 social benefit technology
projects. Those 20 projects will have a chance to compete for cash from
the NetSquared Innovation Fund, which will be awarded at the conference,
following a NetSquared community vote.

There’s a lot to making those two sentences happen. We all have plenty
of to dos – some are ours and some are yours.

Our own Billy Bicket has spent the last 30 days working with key
advisors (find the N2Y2 Advocates, to date, and Advisors here to hone the guidelines
for those 20 projects. When projects are nominated they are posted here

Now, we’re turning the process over to you. We’re looking for a total of
20 Featured Projects. You (or the project itself) can submit nominations
here. On 4/6, we’re closing the nominations; and on 4/9, we’ll start the
voting. On 4/16 we’ll announce the winners. Two reps from each of the 20
Featured Projects will receive an all-expense paid trip to NetSquared.

And that’s just for starters. At NetSquared the Projects will make their
pitches to developers, funders, helpers, thinkers and disseminators.
Every project should receive a big boost and a few will get a nice
dollop of cash on top of it.

So, that’s what you are going to be working on – nominating and then
selecting the projects. Here is what we’re working on back at NetSquared
World HQ: Getting the conference paid for, bringing in the resources to
put dollars into that Innovation Fund, and making sure that conference
is filled with a mix of resource-full folks who want to come together
and make a difference.

So, specifically, please:

1. Nominate a project (which probably means getting the project
sufficiently jazzed to nominate itself [we’ve kept it pretty simple and
non-time-intensive. Cut and paste message for you to send to your
friends and favorites, below)

2. Review the nominated projects as they are entered, so that you can be
an informed voter in the first week of April.

3. Please stay tuned (patiently) about public ticket distribution. Our
motto this year is “no attendees; only participants”. We are working on
outreach to assure that the various needed constituencies are ‘in the
room’. After that, we expect that we will have approximately 50 tickets
open. We will be posting a simple form on the website in April, whereby
those interested in participating can tell us more about how they plan
to contribute to the success of the conference.

4. Are you willing to be listed as an Advocate again this year? Please
drop me a line and it shall be so.

Wow, No More InfoWorld Magazine

I can’t believe InfoWorld magazine is closing shop (“going online and focusing on events”). Editor in Chief Steve Fox has a good take on it over at Info World’s site. I am really going to miss it! That’s my main connection right now to the business tech world. I love several of the columns over there and am majorly bummed at the loss of the physical magazine.

InfoWorld’s been going for 29 years and though I’m all about the online world – I’m unlikely to read it anywhere near as often as I do when it gets mailed to me. I used to read InfoWorld on my breaks at the convenience store I worked at while I built up my tech business. I have a lot of happy memories of that – even if I couldn’t discuss the articles in InfoWorld with as many store customers as I could newspaper stories about things like the world’s ugliest dog (warning: very ugly dog).

Holding and reading magazines is something I do not want to give up. Granted, InfoWorld is the only free industry magazine I get that I regularly read. Some, like everything in KMWorld except David Weinberger, are so bad that I get mad when they show up in the mail.

I must admit, another question that comes up is this: is it a print media thing that’s going on here or is it that InfoWorld’s basic thrust of Enterprise 2.0/Service Oriented Architecture, etc. was fun for me to read but isn’t widely enough accepted in enterprise tech to support the magazine any more? Maybe it’s actually a bunch of crap that us web 2.0 heads like but doesn’t actually work as promised in the business world. I honestly don’t know. I hope that’s not the case but it would be irresponsible not to consider it.

Big Changes at SplashCast

I’m thrilled to write that we made some much needed changes to the player at SplashCast yesterday – the darned thing should really deliver like it’s supposed to now. There’s a whole lot of potential that wasn’t being realized but I think these changes will help. RSS is going to be big; readers here know how much I love RSS – that’s going to be at the center of SplashCast’s strategy and is a major part of why I joined the company.

Here’s my post on the changes over at the SplashCast change; big thanks to Mashable, Centernetworks and Widgets Lab for their unsolicited coverage of the revision.

Here’s the new player – give it a click and let me know what you think of the changes we’ve made:

Feature Request: Pause This Alert

My ongoing list of feature requests for the perfect RSS to IM/SMS alert system got longer this morning. Last night I got a pretty darned fast notification of the NBC/Newscorp partnership story in LA Times – which is great, but now my alert for YouTube in the news is ringing off the hook with follow up coverage of the same story. I’d like to be able to tell Zaptxt to pause that particular alert for like 24 hours, then turn it back on. I’d turn it off, but I don’t want to forget to turn it back on again once this story has passed.

To be honest, I’m also not very happy that it took an hour for Zaptxt to bring me the story in the first place. Mashable and PaidContent already had it. I’ve got the service set to alert me “as soon as possible” so why did it take an hour? I’ll go on the record right now and say I’d pay $25 or something every month for my monitored feeds to be pinged every 5 minutes. That’s not a mass market service or price point, so it shouldn’t be too much to ask for.

Here’s my previous list of feature requests:

1. IM me if I’m online, if I’m not then SMS *and* email me the URL of the feed item if I’m not online (Rasasa and zaptxt each fill different halves of this request)
2. Let me set the hours I want to recieve SMS alerts, outside those hours email me. (rasasa does that)
3. Send me the first 25 characters or however much is possible from the feed item, not just its title ( does that by Skype IM but no SMS is avail)

4. let me unsubscribe from alerts for a particular feed by responding to a text msg
5. don’t send me alerts an hour or two after the item was available – if I select “as soon as it’s available” then send it to me within 15 minutes every time. I hate getting an alert for something only to find that it’s already got 5 comments and 3 trackbacks on it. Experiences like that really mitigate my trust in the service.
6. filter for duplicate URLs, titles or both at my request. (feeddigest can be folded in to existing services if you want to do the leg work)
7. let me exclude particular feeds from my search results. i want to know when my name is used online, for example, but not when it’s in the author field of my own blog.
8. easy integration with Dapper, Yahoo Pipes or some other feed creation tool so I can get alerts from feeds that don’t exist yet would be nice.
9. easy import and export of OPML files.
Is that too much to ask? lol, I trust that if and when more people start using services like this it will be in the interest of vendors to become increasingly sophisticated in what they offer.

Alexaholic now called Statsaholic

Statsaholic isn’t quite as catchy a name as Alexaholic, but you can imagine the objections from Alexa (an Amazon property) to the original name. As of yesterday there’s a redirect and a new name. Ron Hornbaker had high hopes for a more amiable relationship with Amazon, but using the Alexa API and exploring more value added services sounds like a good plan for a site Hornbaker says he built in a weekend. Snap, the creators of the most annoying blog plug-in in the world, are an early sponsor of Statsaholic. If you’ve never checked out Hornbaker’s service, you should. It’s the fastest, easiest way to get comparative Alexa data, as imperfect as that data might be. Cool graphs too. It’ll be fun to see what else is in the works there.

See for example the graph below of Allen Stern’s CenterNetworks (blue line) vs. Boing Boing type site Neatorama (in red).