Monday, December 31, 2007

Get Live Firefox Chat Support from Mozilla over at LifeHacker

I was reading Get Live Firefox Chat Support from Mozilla over at LifeHacker and it reminded me of one of my application ideas from my notebook.

They are offering live Firefox chat support now using an all volunteer support staff. They are just passionate Firefox users willing to lend a hand.

I had made this recommendation for a client back a few months ago to offer this in the venture capital and business planning industries.

Live chat support for any product or product line seems like a good solution that could be offered in many industries in a sort of open source kind of way.

Would take the right company to be open enough to partner with their "prosumers" or other heavy players that way. But definitely a cheap way to run a real clean, honest support program.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Large Companies Using Social Media Marketing

Just saw a commercial from Mountain Dew about their new soda creation web site, www.dewmocracy.com.

It was another interesting usage of Social Media Marketing that utilizes its pro-users or audience to facilitate research and development (R&D). They are encouraging customers to go to the web site and help decide certain characteristics of a new Mountain Dew soda.

It is a pretty simple web site surrounding a kind of game / soda creation application. The site is built in .NET, the application looks like Silverlight, but I am not sure.

Not really impressed with the campaign overall but it is an interesting usage of these new methods.

Shows that the big co's are embracing these principles, now we need to see more of it in the smaller business arena.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Learning Objects and Web 2.0 Applications

I have been spending a great deal of time learning about "learning objects" from a site called Merlot.

Wikepedia defines a learning object as:
  • "Any entity, digital or non-digital, that may be used for learning, education or training"
  • "Any digital resource that can be reused to support learning"
  • "Web-based interactive chunks of e-learning designed to explain a stand-alone learning objective"
  • "A digitized entity which can be used, reused or referenced during technology supported learning"
  • "A digital, self-contained, reusable entity with a clear learning aim that contains at least three internal changing and editable components: content, instructional activities (learning activities), and context elements. As a complement, the learning object should have an external component of information which helps its identification, storage, and recovery: the metadata."
I would like to see any web 2.0 application have a learning object defined for it just like we reference an RSS feed or other media link for a site today.

If it is a web application that is fairly complex or even simple it should have at least a basic set of learning objects for it that the average user can use to learn more about the application or a teacher can use to integrate into their classroom curriculum.

This is something I would like to work more on as part of the Social Media Squad and meeting its mission of Translating 2.0 to the Real World.

My Profile Organization

In a few of my last posts I talk about organizing myself and developing a routine. One thing I am working on is creating a platform and routine that I work on everyday to help organize my world both internally and externally.

I have started by creating an outline in Google Docs that I keep updated. This has all the elements of my world. It is pretty large so I won't list here. But it outlines everything about myself and what I am working on.

I run down this outline at least once per day and and see what has changed and what needs maintenance.

I am using Blogger to keep track of a lot of this and using it as part of the platform for tracking the data. It is one piece of how I use Google as a Content Platform.

I will keep refining this and posting my perspective of this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Google Data API Integration

I was syncing up some of my OWS Network systems with the complementing Google systems today. Such as when you post a blog entry to your blog it will post to Blogger, and when you post an calendar entry to your web site it automatically publishes to Google Calendar.

So I started working with the Google Data API, and I noticed when you click on code samples and references it just sends to directly to Zend Framework. They have created Zend GData which gives you read / write access to the Google Data API's.

It is a very nice set of PHP classes that allow you to work with Calendar, Spreadsheets, Blogger, CodeSearch, and Base.

It saved me a lot of time and energy and gave me nice set of tools to get my systems integrated with Google right away.

Having a daily routine...

Was just reading a post by Ian Forrester called, Is having a Routine good, bad or indifferent?.

It is nice to see other technology professionals struggling with the same problem. I am always working to have a balance between routine and "following the wind".

I would say I lean more toward "following the wind" and less on routine. I always have to work harder to inject more routine into my day.

Part of it is the amount of work I have, and my routine tends to get dictated by the loudest clients. Which is unfair to the rest of my world.

I am sure my Mom would like to see me have more routine that included communicating with her. I think that will definitely be an item I work into my routine more in 2008.

Thanks Ian.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Online Information Storage

I was just thinking how much information I am putting on the Internet. I pretty much migrated to a web-existence completely.

Only think I store locally are temporary files and my music.

I store all my thoughts in my Google Notebook, all my docs on Google Docs. This is a lot of trust. What happens if my Google Account just goes away?

What would make me feel better about the storage of all my information not from a privacy point of view, but from a backup perspective.

I have thought about using another Google Account and the Google API to move the data from my primary account to a secondary or backup Google Account. Would take some time but could be done.

Now I am also thinking about storing at Amazon S3 or Amazon SimpleDB when ready.

I will let everyone know when I make a move on this.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Storefront 2.0

I was playing around with the Paypal Storefront Widgets today and getting my head wrapped around what they offer. They are a flashed based widget that are pretty slick.

You can manage your storefront look and theme and all the details about your products. You can change your settings on whether your storefront is open or closed as well as manage yourproduct inventory and how many are available for saPublish Postle.

It got me thinking about how the storefront is continuing its migration from the home web site. It has the potential to exist beyond the affiliate storefront as well.

You can publish your products and allow people to purchase individual or multiple products anywhere.

Lots of potential here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Google Spreadsheets as a Data Store

I just finished BETA testing the DocSyncer tool which will keep mycomputer synced with my Google Docs account.

At first I had settings turned on to upload .html pages, which was a huge mistake....instantly it started publishing thousands of files of my local workstation, be careful.

Once I did get my 800+ word and excel documents published synced up without any effort I started looking through them and searching on topics. It was very interesting to find some items I don't even remember I have.

The I pulled out a simple JavaScript for pulling a JSON feed from a Google Spreadsheet and connected it to a list of businesses I had for the Portland area. Instantly I had published these business listings on the web using my Google Spreadsheet as a data store.

Very cool stuff, think it will be a while before everyone realizes the potential here.

Amazon Web Services - Simple DB

So I jumped the gun and blogged about the new Amazon DevPay web service and realized I hadn't even mentioned the other latest release from Amazon, the SimpleDB.

This is something I have been waiting for. I was already utilizing Amazon S3 for heavy storage of files, images, and large text blobs. I use MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server for most back-end databases, however 90% of the time I am using only about 10% of the capabilities available to me.

I am looking to add, update, and delete text and numeric data is very small amounts most of the time.

SimpleDB is perfect for this type of small to medium size web site and application deployment.

I am excited about playing around with it more and see if it can become the perfect scalable database platform that I have been looking for.

Another Sweet Amazon Web Services - DevPay

Amazon just added another quality web service to their killer lineup. They released Amazon DevPay in Limited Beta, which is a simple-to-use billing and account service that assists developers in getting paid for applications they build using Amazon Web Services.

Its a layer built on their Flexible Payment Services and allows me to integrate it into applications I build and allows me to create and manage the billing system for the application.

I allows me to take advantage of various payment setups such as recurring and usage-based pricing models.

Interesting addition....I still haven't completely grasped how SimpleDB is going to be worked into my architecture. Lots to do!

Information Architecture

I am working on a web site / web application for Roseburg Forest Products right now. Most projects we do have some level of frustration in getting the information you need to get the project rolling and built to the clients expectations.

I have been going back and forth on the information architecture behind the products. It is pretty complicated and getting past the visual display to the customer is tough.

There are 3 tiers Product Type, Product Category, and Product. However at each level there are many types of PDF files, tech specs, related products, links, etc.

Helping a client sort through this and make sense of it so I can:

1) Create a dynamic database driven system to manage all this data.
2) Have that system build out a public web site.
3) Make the information make sense to the user.
4) Make it all available for download and / or adding to a cart.

This is not easy and especially when the client has existing "non-normalized" ways of organizing their data that makes sense to them, and they are hung up on the visual presentation of it.

Anyways just had to dump some thoughts on Information Architecture and how you really have to get to know your products and company before you can really build a dynamic web application or site for a client.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Facebook Application Development

Been spending more time lately thinking about Facebook Application Development for small businesses.

Was reading Andrew McAfee talking about The Impact of Information Technology (IT) on Businesses and their Leaders and talking about Facebook AS the Intranet.

Was also talking with another acquaintance about the usage of Facebook as a learning platform for K-12.

I really feel Facebook as a big role to play in the next generation of business and learning. The youth have adopted it and I think it will grow from there.

Has a lot of potential because you can still retain some level of control over your application and leverage the Facebook community to reach your audience.

More to come...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Google Apps & Features

Google is really rock'n lately!

I have been really impressed with the line of products and features lately. I was impressed with Android and OpenSocial, but some of the latest incremental features are just working for me.

I really see things slowly coming together.

IGoogle just added the ability to share a tab with other Google users. This really opens up the possibilities for collaboration. Combined with Google Code, GData, and their IGoogle widgets you can really build just about anything. For project management, work pages, etc.

They also added where you can change the layout of your IGoogle page to different column formats.

Another system that is really coming is the contact manager for Gmail and Chat. They have added contact group which I see as the prelude of whats to come. I predict with the introduction of OpenSocial we will see the entire Google Platform take on more of the characteristics of a social network in the next year, allowing for more collaboration.

It's getting good.

It is all coming together...slowly...but surely.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Google Collaboration Features

Really impressed with some of the collaboration features Google is rolling out.

I noticed a little arrow on the tabs on my IGoogle Home Page. Noticed you can now edit and share each tab. Not sure if this was in there before, but it's cool.

So I created a tab with elements that I wanted to share with my wife. I chose to share and emailed it to her, then logged into her account as I can see the tab and all the widgets on it.

Pretty huge piece of collaboration. You can create project, client or group specific tools and share with only those you wish to.

Huge for people who live in their Google Home page and really starts people on a path to having a single social interface to work from.

Also noticed when you edit a tab you can choose a layout for it. Nice for different layout tabs...1...2....3 column layouts.

Very nice Google.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Single Social Interface

Just having a few thoughts tonight after reading several posts on statements made from Yahoo about the future of social networks being email based. Also did some more reading on OpenSocial tonight.

It got me thinking about how I work on the computer everyday. All the tools I use to communicate, network and get my work and play accomplished. With the opening of networks, sharing of information, and applications becoming more modular things are really getting good.

I really would like a single "Social Interface" I could define and use, I broke it down as follows:

My Profile - I want a single profile. I want to have a central platform that I work from to maintain my profile and information about me. One profile and login / security information that I can then syndication across all other applications and networks I use. I want to see all my history and trends on my activity.

Contacts - I want a single point of entry for people in my life. I want to be able to group and tag them as I please. Keep their relationship with me clearly defined and able to interact with them as I see fit.

Individual Communication - I want a single point of entry for all communications and prioritzed by the senders relationship with me. I want to be able to send and receive communications with individuals by whatever method suits me and them. Allow all communication types to operate seemlessly, whether it is an email, SMS, instant message or network alert.

Network Communication - I want to be able to communicate with my network of contacts, friends and family through any way that works for me and for them. Communicating with different groups of network relationship should be easy.

Public Communication - I need to communicate with the general public whether it is making my resume available to the public, blogging, podcasting, writing press releases, or selling my services. I should be able to create content to communicate with target groups and publish or syndicate the content easily.

Information - All the information I need daily to make decisions and educate myself should be right at my finger tips. All my blogs, news, shopping, etc should be within grasp and tailored to what I am looking for.

Schedule - I should be able to easily manage my private and public schedule with ease and syndicate or publish as needed to my calendar, network or to the Internet as needed.

Storage - Everything I store on my hard drive should be in one central place and then be able to distribute where ever I need or want it. My images, videos, music, bookmarks, notes, journal, etc should all be stored as requested and then made private or public and syndicated to whatever network, site or application that I choose. I should never lose data or worry about backups and hard drive failures.

Projects - Project tracking for everything I do from shopping list for going to the store to all my client projects should be easy to access and work on. I should be able to collaborate with anyone I wish and the system will keep me on task the way I like.

Applications / Tools - I really need an application framework that is desktop, rich, and web all at once. Then I can add and remove anything without any effort no matter whether it is free or piad. I should be able to grab whatever application or tool and add to my browser, toolbar, homepage, or anywhere that works for my way of working and the platform I am on.

Just some thoughts on the my single Social Interface to get everything I need done.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sharing the Revenue

That is awesome that there are social media sites and networks starting to share the revenue with their top content generators.

Let's go a step further. How about you pay me for all valid, professional interaction I have.

I should be able to generate video, audio, files, pictures, etc and post them places and share in the revenue from these either being sold or ad revenue from eyeballs.

I want to be able to take part in networks and spread the word through linking, commenting, and other forms and for every action I take it works towards and overall return in cash or other compensation.

If I generate content and you make money, kick me a piece of the action.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Open Platform

To achieve the perfect platform for how I operate and think I don't think one company can deliver by themselves.

To create the perfect suite or set of tools that I need to operate on a daily basis I need different applications that interact and operate on a common standard and interface.

I need to be able to try different perspectives and approaches.

If an application doesn't work for me I need to be able to say NO! This doesn't work dammit, and show me others like it so I can try more.

I don't want to have to worry about my data, it stays with me!

I fire up the new application and it works for me, and my data is all in there.

Sure the bigs boyz can fight over who will give me my base platform. Google works for me, but Yahoo may for you. Windows Live maybe be a better option.

However you need to let vendors share their warez and offer them to me in a safe environment. They can peddle whole systems or just objects and features. Maybe they can perform a service for me. Something like Salesforce Appshare with a more Firefox Add-on feel.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Social Programming Platform

Ok. Now that I have been blogging somewhat successfully (what is successfully), I am starting to develop a rhythm. It is pretty erratic, but it is starting to flow and develop a voice. Well at least to me.

So if you wish to read this blog it is more for my head to keep track and formulate some of the thoughts I am having about my evolution in the Social Media Space.

This blog is based upon a mind map I am creating in MindMeister, and will be publishing it to my Kin Lane web site as soon as it matures a little bit.

So these are going to be pretty random, as I can I will link off the mind map as I publish it and / or I will try to outline off my site and link to each blog in some organized fashion, as I make sense of it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Private Profile Items vs. Public Profile Items

There is a lot of information that exists in a dual format in my public and private life. A lot of what I do I don't mind it being public. That is my personality.

However there are items that I have to or want to keep private. These items I usually want to keep completely private or maybe make portions of it private.

Therefore a separation between all items I work with to have the option to share or keep to myself. Of course everything defaults to being private unless I set a default setting to say otherwise for that item.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tracking everywhere I have been on the internet

Going through my Web History for my Google Profile. A little scary when you look at it. I click into my Web History right from the Google Home Page, well...my IGoogle.

First page it shows my search history for the day...starting at 8am. Hmmm...what to think about this?

I look further and I click on the calendar to view other days. Hmmm...that is what I was looking at last saturday.

If you think about it this is pretty scary. Google knows where I have been and what I am looking at.

You know what I really don't care at this point, maybe someday I will. But really if I do something I don't want someone to know about I am not going to do it on my home or work computer logged into Google. C'mon.

I kind of like it. It shows me my trends. What the hell I am looking at. It will integrate with my bookmarks.

I could create a cloudview of what I do. I would like to be able to share some of my search history with the world. I would like to share some of my bookmarks with the world.

Maybe a neat little public cloudview of what I do on the Internet daily, well what I want the public to see that I do on the Internet daily.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Tracking everywhere I have been on the internet

Going through my Web History for my Google Profile. A little scary when you look at it. I click into my Web History right from the Google Home Page, well...my IGoogle.

First page it shows my search history for the day...starting at 8am. Hmmm...what to think about this?

I look further and I click on the calendar to view other days. Hmmm...that is what I was looking at last saturday.

If you think about it this is pretty scary. Google knows where I have been and what I am looking at.

You know what I really don't care at this point, maybe someday I will. But really if I do something I don't want someone to know about I am not going to do it on my home or work computer logged into Google. C'mon.

I kind of like it. It shows me my trends. What the hell I am looking at. It will integrate with my bookmarks.

I could create a cloudview of what I do. I would like to be able to share some of my search history with the world. I woulPublish Postd like to share some of my bookmarks with the world.

Maybe a neat little public cloudview of what I do on the Internet daily, well what I want the public to see that I do on the Internet daily.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Information Storage Part 2

Wherever my information is stored, whether public or private it should always be redundant.

I don't want to hear anything I've done every disappear or gets lost. I want it always backed up and retreivable.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Information Storage

When I am asked to save something on the internet when using an web application or desktop application I want to asked where?

I want to save it to a public location as part of my profile.

I want to save it to a privation location as part of my profile either in my online environment or in a local environment. A local logical drive.

This should be part of everything I do on the Internet, I should have to think too hard about it.

Should just flow and be where I put it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Track My Comments

I have had this discussion with a few people at different times. I have also seen other people talking about getting information on their commenting.

I would like all comments I make on public sites to tracked as part of my history. I want to know what I am saying out there.

Just like my search history I want to see each and everyday what I say to the general public at large.

Should of course be able to search this information and post cloud views of I am doing out there.

I post comments on Flickr, Youtube, Blogs, Forums, Q&A Site and many other place.

I should be able to see what I have done for the day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Usage of My Public Profile Information

Since everything with my public profile is accessible to the general public in some form, there should be a easy profile page get at my bio and display links to all my public information.

You should be able to see my photos, videos, comments, social networks, etc.

Of course the ones I want you to see.

You should be able to review my resume and work / project history. You should know if I am looking for work or not.

All of this without really speaking to me. However, you should be able to interact with me as well.

People should be able to come get my information from me.

If I am selling products or offering services you should see that. Come harvest my public events. Come gather demographics on me.

If you like a video I have you can license it right there and utilize it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Social Working and Job 2.0

If I want a job or some project work, why do I have to look on so many networks. Sure I can find all the places I want to look these days and accumulate some RSS feeds and monitor these channels.

However why should I? I should just turn on the available light and based upon my resume, work history and profile the work just comes to me. It knows how many hours I want and what sort of situation I am available for.

Employers can submit to talk more with me and begin an interview process.

The flip side!

I want to be able to just cruise for opportunities and see what is out there. Companies should have an open area of their company where they put projects and roles up for availability and I can pick up 2 hours of work, 2 days there.

My resume profile handles interfacing with the companies and lets them know I am qualified. I get the work done, and if all requirements are met money / compensation is awarded to my profile.

The work history goes into my profile and the employer if applicable can comment on my work.

Maybe Monster.com meets Mechanical Turk?

Job 2.0

Monday, October 15, 2007

Social Networking Profile Aggregation

I have seen a lot of discussion about the use of multiple social networks and how difficult it is to maintain your profile across these networks.

I don't want a different profile at each of these networks. I want my one profile and these networks to come to me.

I don't want to have go through a lengthy sign up process. I want to be instantly evaluated upon arrival and either let in.....or what?

Every application should treat me like this. I don't have to fill out a form and check my email to validate an email before entering a retail store or restaurant on the street.

I am authenticated at the door for the public environment or there is a simple ID or visual check to make sure I am a valid user.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Analytics for my Profile

I have this great public profile showing all my stuff.

Now of course I want analytics for all of this. I want to know who is looking at what. What is most popular and what is not.

Show me which images were looked at today, what audio people heard.

I want to be able to do this all without having to grab a piece of code from my Google analytics and paste it on a site.

I just want to know.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Gadgets vs. Browser Add-Ons

While working more and more with my Google Home Page, gadgets and apps I have found that not quite everything I need in my daily operations is available in a gadget or part of the Google Application Pool.

This is alright, it will happen.

In the mean time I am working to build an arsenal of Firefox Add-Ons that help me accomplish my goal. So I am starting this blog to help gather my thoughts on this topic.

Maybe some things aren't mean to be a widget...they need to be embedded in the browser?

We will see.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Moving on From Outlook

This topic got me blogging again on my personal blog at least. I recently migrated from Outlook...for good.

This doesn't seem like much, but I have been using outlook since I think 1998. It has been the cornerstone of my online communication for years. I have each year in a PSD back to 2002.

I finally just wanted to get machine independent and I've made the jump to Gmail full time.

We'll see where it goes, so far so good.

Blogging

WOW...over 2 months since my last blog post on any of my blogs. How disappointing.

I was in the groove for a while and it was part of my daily life. Where did it go?

Just too busy I guess.

Well....here we go and see if I can't jumpstart it again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wikinomics and the Future of the Web


Need to share my thoughts on an amazing book that has really changed and accelerated the way I think about the web. After I read this book I literally was high from what it exposed me to, after I was done it has taken me weeks to absorb what was told.

I recommend everyone to read this book and let it change the way you'll see the future of the Internet. Here is an excerpt from the books site:

Today, encyclopedias, jetliners, operating systems, mutual funds, and many other items are being created by teams numbering in the thousands or even millions. While some leaders fear the heaving growth of these massive online communities, Wikinomics proves this fear is folly. Smart firms can harness collective capability and genius to spur innovation, growth, and success.

A brilliant primer on one of the most profound changes of our time, Wikinomics challenges our most deeply-rooted assumptions about business and will prove indispensable to anyone who wants to understand the key forces driving competitiveness in the twenty-first century.

Based on a $9 million research project led by bestselling author Don Tapscott, Wikinomics shows how the masses of people can participate in the economy like never before. They are creating TV news stories, sequencing the human genome, remixing their favorite music, designing software, finding a cure for disease, editing school texts, inventing new cosmetics, and even building motorcycles.

Check it out now at: http://www.wikinomics.com

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Birthday Wishes

I got 3 birthday wishes today from sites that I have signed up for. Birthdays do not mean much to me, I really do not hold it against anyone for forgetting my Birthday.

I really do not look to celebrate my Birthday. However it does stick in my mind when someone wishes me a Happy Birthday. It is just one of those subtle little items that I remember.

3 different software services I have signed up for using the data I signed up with sent out a Happy Birthday to me.

What a great way to reach a users heart and develop a loyal relationship.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Google Reader Trends

Here is my reading trends for my google reader:

Reading trends

Subscription trends