Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moving to the Next Challenge and Shifting From Web Programming

I waiting a while before I started blogging about this topic until everything was in place. It seems all the pieces have fallen in place so I am going to start on this new path.

Tomorrow 2/1/2008 is my last day a lead web application developer at Palo Alto Software. I gave notice 2 weeks ago and on 2/6/2008 I will be started a new job with Altrec in Redmond, Oregon.

I am shifting my career a little after almost 20 years as a programmer. The first ten years was primarily database programming with the last ten years building web applications.

Now I am changing course a little bit, I won't ever stop programming, I am shifting into more of a Social Media Architect. I am taking my knowledge of data and API's, coupled with web application development and most recently AJAX development, and marrying it together with a passion for social media.

All that equals Social Media Architect.

I am excited about working with Altrec and assisting them with their social media, API, and other technical needs for the future. I haven't started yet so I really don't know exactly what will happen.

Anyways I just wanted to draw the line in the sand on the blog here.

I will miss working with all my friends at Palo Alto Software, it has been a great couple of years.

Defining My Social Media Index and Settings Some Benchmarks

I was reading, Quantifying the Impact of Social Media: Where the Edelman White Paper Got it Right, Got it Wrong and What We Should Do Next, by Jim Tobin today.

I have been reading all the same white papers and following all the same discussion of Quantifying the Impact of a Social Media Campaign as well as experiencing it real time with social media campaigns I am part of.

As a social media consultant you need to be able to convince your clients that you'll deliver, and you need some way to measure success and failure.

Also establishing the influence of individuals and groups is a huge part of deciding where to spend resources during a social media campaign.

I like Jim's approach to the discussion. He picks apart several prominent opinions on the subject, but doesn't leave it there. He provides solutions, one of which that really caught my attention:

To move the social media index forward, we’ll need a system that serves as the white pages of social media with RSS.

So I thought about my situation and how I would like to define my social media index and what my reach is.

As a social media professional I prefer my presence be high profile and this part of my online activity I am not concerned with privacy.

So I am going to start tracking my social media index and recording all my activities on the net and record this analyzing.

So I started up a simple study today using Google Docs as the tracking mechanism. You can check it out more at: QISM. I look forward to any involvement and comments from you folks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Marketing through Reputation Management

I monitor my reputation basically on a daily basis as part of my routine. I Google myself and see how things are stacked and if there is anything new.

I have a pretty unique name so I pretty much dominate all the listings.

Today a new profile site showed up on my first page called Disqus. Just pretty much a social network profile and it aggregates comments from me around the Internet.

Will evaluate the tool more later.

Not sure if it was a conscious effort on their part or it just happened, but it occurred to me that you could target prominent Internet users in this way, but publishing a page or starter profile for them and show up in their rankings and spike their interest a little more. Enough to maybe get them to signup?

This page on Disqus had a big "Claim this Profile" button that lured me in, I am a sucker for social networks and big sign me up buttons.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Facebook Platform Application Development Fatigue

ReadWriteWeb is posing the question Have Facebook Apps Peaked?

The hype is gone and what is left? Not to many useful tools that we can use.

Next we should see a bunch of truly usable business applications that we can use in our everday life. I would like to to see some truly Web 2.0 IT applications that I can utilize for projects and conducting business on a daily basis.

Hopefully now that the Facebook bubble has burst and they seem to be opening up to integration and data portability, we can get real and create some truly useful Facebook applications.

Google Checkout has a New Order Report API

Nice example of how Web Application Development should occur.

Gmail Greasemonkey API issue and Social Programming

I really like Google approach to extending their applications beyond their core features and encouraging research and development by the masses.

I was just reading a post on the Official Gmail Blog: Gmail Greasemonkey API issue. They outline how they have updated Gmail Javascript to load in an iframe.

They talk about how this change may create some side effects in how some scripts work.

They fully embrace the fact that Greasemonkey is a widely adopted method of extending applications, including most of the core Google Platform Applications.

I just am really impressed how they allow and even work with the masses of hackers and coders out there, who are wanting to get the most out of applications they use.

This type of open research and development and social programming is great, and I feel it is one of the reasons why Google continues to stay at #1.

New Flash Widget Builder from Sprout Builder

I was just playing around with the new widget builder from Sprout Builder, I found it over on Techcrunch - Sprout: The Online WYSIWYG Editor for Flash.

It is a damn sexy flash tool for building widgets. It is to do and obviously targeting the non programmer wishing to deploy and syndicate their content and brand.

It is a nice drag and drop interface and you can create, deploy, and track all the widgets you deploy.

These tools are really going to come into play in 2008 when the average business starts integrating widget syndication into their social media marketing strategies.

I am going to build a couple of them tonight and see what I can create.

I will post some more once I get one deployed.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Should a Social Media Consultant Train or Stay on with a Company.

I was reading a blog entry by Lisa McNeil called The Marketer’s Foray Into Social Media, where she talks about her experiences with clients and the top questions they ask.

Anyways, the post was great. I noticed a comment at the bottom by Geoff Livngston the author of Now is Gone. His comment asked the question:

Shouldn’t a social media agency ultimately enable to company, not stay on? But the monitoring and coaching component seems to be necessary for the long-term.

This is such an important questions. I've talked about my frustrations regarding building web sites and applications for clients being very tough because of the lack of involvement on their part. The standard response is, "just build it I really don't understand this stuff".

I keep saying how critical it is for the site owner to be part of the development and understand their site and make it reflect them.

This is only getting more and more critical with the need to develop social media marketing strategies. Your social media marketing voice has to reflect your company and it takes key decision makers being involved in daily decisions and activities.

As a social media professional it is your responsibility to train your clients and get them intimately involved with their campaign and the decision making process. Train them to execute in house and not use you as a crutch just because your an "employee'.

Video Interview with Author of Now is Gone

I just finished reading Now is Gone last night by Geoff Livingston. If you are thinking about getting involved in Social Media Marketing from a professional standpoint this is the book to read.

It is tailored as a primer for the executive or marketing professional that is looking get more aware of social media and the conversation that is occurring out there.

Here is a video interview with Geoff Livingston, author of Now is Gone. Check it out.

50 Social Sites That Every Business Needs a Presence on

Everyone is a little intimidated and overwhelmed about where to start with your social media marketing campaign. There are so many sites and so few metrics for evaluating your success.

You really can't ignore social media for your company anymore, if you do your competitors are going to eat your lunch. So where do you start?

InsideCRM just released a great list of 50 social media sites that every business needs a presence on.

It is a pretty comprehensive list with a great introduction to each. They cover the following types of Social Network Sites:
  • Social-Media/Social-Bookmarking Sites
  • Professional-Networking Sites
  • Niche Social-Media Sites
  • General Social-Media Sites
  • Job Sites
It is probably more sites than the average business can handle, but it is a great place to start.

Perfect Example of Application Built on Top of Amazon Web Services

Sonian is about to launch their new data archive services dubbed the Sonian Archive SA2.

The server runs almost completely in the Amazon Cloud. It was designd to be a highly-scalable cloud application that specifically used four fo the Amazon Web Services:
Their goal of the application is to help mid-sized companies do a better job of archiving internally generated digital content for storage management and electronic discovery.

I would like to see a case study on this deployment, it looks to be a perfect deployment of web 2.0 application that full embraces Amazon Web Services.

Interesting Tools for Evolving Your Social Graph

I was reading, Delver Comes Out Of Stealth With a New Twist on Social Search on Techcrunch tonight.

Delver is a social graph search engine that allows you to easyily connect with people.

Delver is attempting to solve two key search-related problems:

The first is that current search engines do not take into account the identity of the searcher.
The second is that current search engines do not allow users to search for information created and referenced by their own social graph.

Delver seems to be part of the first wave of social graph tools that will allow you to manage, grow and track your social graph.

Google Playing Around with Offline Usage of Google Docs

Came across a post of Google Blogoscoped today on Google testing using Google Gears for offline Google Docs access.

This would be huge in taking more market share from Microsoft Office. It would allow users to work with documents much in the same way they do with the desktop Microsoft version.

They seem to be only testing it out right now and will be initially making it only available for Google Docs and not for spreadsheets or presentation.

This is something I would us a lot, been enjoying it for my Google Reader.

Using Facebook as a launching point for your new application, and injecting work into your employees social networking habit.

Was reading the post on Techcrunch this morning called Huddle uses new apps and Facebook to take on Basecamp.

Its interesting on several levels to see another Basecamp competitor as well as someone leverage facebook as a marketing tool for their new web applications. How launching a Facebook can be a tool to drive new users to your application.

I think it is also very interesting from the usage of Facebook and other social networks in the workplace. I mentioned the article in the TimesOnline called Learn to love social network sites about workplace usage of social networks. Huddles new application introduces potential value for the workplace in applications that run in social networks.

I keep saying how companies need to embrace employees usage of social networks from a moral standpoint, work efficiency, and from their social media marketing strategy.

Many firms fear social websites will waste staff time. But they can bring benefits by helping collaboration and the spread of ideas

Great article in the Sunday Times Online called Learn to love social network sites, it is about the widespread perspective of social networks and how allowing them to be used at work will contribute to employees wasting time and losing money for companies.

It talks about how many companies have banned social networks all together for their workers, and how this can back-fire for many companies.

It moves into talking about what benefit allowing employees to use social networks can bring for both internal and external operations.

They even start diving a little into some Wikinomics and talk about crowdsourcing and other 2.0 concepts.

Check it out, it is a good read.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Companies and organizations and their approach to social media

Was just reading some of Now is Gone by Geoff Livingston. There is a great paragraph I just came across that really sums up a lot for me:

Companies and organizations should look at social networks as a way to engage potential community members outside of the confines of a corporate URL. By participating intelligently and building value, a company can create a great conversation with its constituents as well as future customers. Further, they can encourage them to take actions and engage them within the confines of the company's own social media initiative.

This really covers the essence of where a social media campaign should operate; outside the corporate URL.

Its not just directly with your customers, but with your future customers.

Some of these concepts are very tough for traditional PPC marketers to grasp and directly measure the ROI.

Facebook opens up Javascript Library for their API

It isn't quite embracing OpenSocial, but with their latest joining of the data portability as well as now opening up the JavaScript client library which allows you to make Facebook API calls from any web site, Facebook is getting closer to being fully open.

Since the library does not require any server-side code on your server, you can now create a Facebook application that can be hosted and ran on any web site.

Almost all Facebook APIs are supported except for Photo Upload Profile Set FBML.

It pretty much opens up for building applications that run on the Facebook platform and you can extend them off to any web site.

Curious to see how this would flow, but you could basically put a version of Facebook anywhere you like such as Google Home Page and any other home page environment.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Demographic bidding using Google Adwords

Ever wish you could show your ads to a specific group like women aged 25-34? Want to see how your ads perform with certain demographic groups and then adjust your bids accordingly?

Google is introducing a new demographic bidding feature from AdWords. Demographic bidding helps you display your ads to specific gender and age group audiences on some sites in the Google content network, giving you more control over who your audience is and greater insight into how your ads perform with certain demographic groups.

They will start testing this feature over the next few weeks with a selected group of advertisers in the U.S. and U.K.

There are two ways you can use demographic bidding:
  1. First, you can modify your bids for a particular audience segment, such as increasing your bid for 25-34 year-old males by 230%.
  2. Second, you can ask that your ads not be shown to certain demographic groups if they aren't meeting your ROI goals.
If you're an AdWords advertiser located in the U.S. or the U.K., you can sign up to try out demographic bidding. You can see which partner sites offer this feature and learn how to get started by visiting this site.

This will be another tool in your analytics toolbox for your Google Pay Per Click Campaign and a great tool for a social media marketing campaign as well.

2008 is off to a good start for blogging

In 2008 I have started really using Blogger as an extension of my idea and content platform.

With this post I now have 42 posts for January of 2008 which beats the 41 entries I posted in the entire year of 2007.

Really feeling my voice this year.

New Youtube Features from Google

The Youtube team recently release a couple of new features for the Youtube video platform.

They added: New View for Videos tab which improves the video browsing experience by fully exposing the search options on the videos page. This makes it easier to find what you're looking for quickly

Also Added a display of the most recent comments you have made on YouTube videos, choose the new 'My Recent Comments' setting on your profile page. On your channel page, users can also click 'View All' to see all comments you have ever made.

Google features rolling out all over the place

Friday, January 25, 2008

Using Amazon Web Services for Facebook Applications

Not everyone knows you can about the Amazon Web Services Platform let alone that you can use it to create highly scalable applications for Facebook.

Amazon Web Services is an ideal hosting environment for these applications. Developers can start small, test and prove out their ideas, and then rapidly add processing and storage resources as they develop an audience.

Amazon is talking about building Facebook Applications on AWS and you can visit a new page on Building Facebook Applications on the Amazon Web Services Platform, you can find step-by-step instructions for registration along with links to tutorials, and even a pre-built EC2 AMI.

Nice to see them working to promote and educate people on how to use the AWS Platform to inexpensively build highly scalable Facebook applications.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Google and Jotspot

I wish Google would go ahead and make their move with Jotspot. I have a Jotspot account, but I forget about it when using all my other Google Applications.

Hopefully soon they get Jotspot integrated withe the rest of the Google Universe.

A Wiki environment will really tie everything together.

Jive Software advances XMPP and opens up possibilities of decentralized open source communications

Was just reading Could Instant Messaging (XMPP) Power the Future of Online Communication? at ReadWriteWeb.

Enterprise collaboration company Jive Software posted today about a theory it's advancing on the rise of XMPP (called Jabber in IM) for powering communication services hosted in the cloud. The company also announced that it will include what it says will be the first XMPP-powered document sharing and collaboration tool in the forthcoming 2.0 release of its product Clearspring.

Jabber has long been the one true IM standard...but where they are headed with XMPP has serious promise.

The endless possibilities of a decentralized communication standards are huge and will truly be some of the next killer apps we see.

I have seen a lot of talk about using micro blogging and twitter for disaster recovery during earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, etc.

However with the recent failure of Twitter during MacWorld it leaves this in question.

Think of the possibilities with a standardized, open source, decentralized communication standard for IM, microblogging, file sharing, picture sharing, video sharing and more for disaster situations, large events, and more.

Good stuff.

2d Code - QR code and two dimensional bar codes, news, views and analysis.

After posting about cellular and mobile barcodes yesterday I received a comment from a guy who started an online magazine on the subject. 2d-code @

From their home page about the magazine:

In Japan QR codes are found on everything from business cards to fresh lettuce. Now they are coming to the West and advertising and promotion will never be the same again. 2d Code will keep you informed as it happens, with news, views and analysis.

If you are interested in the QR code phenomena you can participate with us in several ways.

  • Mention or write about this website on your blog
  • Send us your sightings of QR or 2d barcodes
  • At the bottom of each individual news item there is an opportunity for you to comment or leave a message
  • At the top of each individual news item you can email the item to a friend or colleague.
Great resource to introduce and follow the subject of mobile two dimensional bar codes. I highly recommend you check it out and subscribe to their RSS Feed.

I really think this is an under-realized technology and topic in this country, and if we learn from the Japanese on how they use we can solve that problem off our online / offline lives and how that relates to social media and online marketing campaigns.

Example of Social Media in Podcast about Choosing a Doctor in the Digital Age

Was listening to NPR today and a podcast on Choosing a Doctor in the Digital Age. It was great about how to use online review sites to find out what people are saying about doctors.

Health consumers are increasingly shopping online for doctors through peer-based sites like,, and even local city search sites.

Great example of how grassroots growth in online usage is influencing how business is conducted. More evidence on how businesses should be paying attention to social media and how it influences their business.

Review sites and Question and Answer sites are becoming more and more important for consumers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Al-Qaida Using Social Media by Opening up for Web Questions

I was just listening to an NPR story about how senior Al-Qaida press department has asked supporters to submit questions on a message boards.

Supposively they are to be answered by Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Many jihadist and terrorists posted questions about he organization and what they should do?

Seems everyone is seeing value in social media.

Camera phone and other cell phone bar code technology

Some very interesting stuff in two-dimensional camera phone barcodes out there on the Internet.

Was reading the NY Times Articles on Mobile Phone Barcodes and it referenced a couple of technologies like Semacode, QR Code and Qode, and barcode technology maker Nextcode.

Here is an introduction to Two-Dimensional Camera Phone Barcodes that explained the technology to me.

There are plenty of big players in the game trying to push camera phone and other cell phone bar code technologies in the is country such as Microsoft Launches Windows Live Barcode Beta.

What is Windows Live Barcode?

Windows Live Barcode is a set of services that transfer information between various media (PCs, billboards, magazines etc.) and handsets via Quick Response Code (QR Code), a two-dimensional barcode. It provides a new method for people to exchange information and enjoy various online services on handsets. Windows Live Barcode aims to enhance handset utility and provide you with more convenience and flexibility.

The technology is big in Japan and is used in many daily activities. Here is a definition of QR code:

What is a QR Code for Mobile Devices? - A QR Code is a two-dimensional bar code introduced by the Japanese company Denso-Wave in 1994. QR stands for “Quick Response”. QR Codes are most common in Japan, and are the most popular type of two-dimensional code in Japan.

These two-dimensional images are truly the missing link in taking your social media campaign off line or bringing your off line campaign online.

Mobile Phone as Your Physical Link and Communication Device

I was just reading this article from the NY Times on the future of hand-held mobile devices (well for us in the US, others are using it).

It talks about using your cell phone / hand held as a physical communication device in the real world.

With wireless and blue tooth communication, your cell phone could be used to communicate with businesses and individuals out there in the real world. You can bookmark locations, get more information, profiles, and sign up and communicate with others without actually talking directly to them.

You can purchase and check out at a store without the long lines!

This is definitely the answer to social media marketing campaigns and solving problems with extending and tracking your campaign as users come and go online.

You can have a sign or billboard and the user points their mobile phone at it and it bookmarks your web site and later they can visit you. just tracked a click through from an off line medium.

Lots to flush out here, many ideas.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Application Idea using the Google Platform

Had a new idea on how to use the Google Platform today. Reading so much about micro-blogging and twitter these days in the blogosphere.

Was reading how non-profits can use micro-blogging and how it could be used in disaster and emergency scenarios until I read how Twitter failed during the MacWorld conference.

So I was building upon an old idea on how you could use Google Notebook for micro-blogging and I thought even better you could use Google Spreadsheets.

You could build a widget or firefox add-on for micro-blogging and it would store all your entries for a day in a single spreadsheet.

This way you would have ownership of all your data and neatly organized and searchable.

Then using the Google Data API you could syndicate and share your feeds and existing Google Data Widgets and Code to access your feeds.

There would need to be some sort of registry of users and it would have the path and address to get your latest set of entries and offer all the features of Twitter, etc.

Just a thought on how to build a micro-blogging on the shoulders of giants.

Social Media Content

I am stilling sifting through all the blogs I read and information I gather on a clear definition in my mind of what describes all the content I generate around the Internet.

My social graph is a definition of my relationships and my communication with these people.

I have been reading more on the social media index and how you can rate someone using this methodology based upon several key areas:
  • Blogs
  • Multi-Format
  • Mini-Updates
  • Business Cards
  • Visual
  • Favourites
  • Flexible weighting
However this addresses highly public organizations or people with distinct presence. I have a blog / site that I maintain, but I am no means Techcrunch.

What sort of definition describes me and the content I publish all over the place at:
  • Social Networks
  • Video Sharing Sites
  • Image & Picture Sharing Sites
  • Social Bookmarking Sites
  • And much more
What single definition describes my user generated content distributed all over the Internet?

Once I can define I can continue to define a metric and ultimately a measurement of this presence.

Organizing my Information and Maintaining Relevance

I have talked a little about how I organize my information using the Google Platform. I use Google Reader and Google Notebook to do all my research and thought gathering.

I then use Google Docs to group and further refine my thoughts.

I am working more with using the collaboration features to work with others to refine these thoughts in Google Docs as well.

I have a constant problem with information and topics I would like to keep relevant getting buried and forgot about, and unless I search for them I don't remember.

I have discovered the Blogger is kind of my validation of my thoughts and ideas and anything that makes it to Blogger has a kind of higher value on my network.

My tagging structure and and posts gives me a kind of index to my higher thoughts.

Importance of a Social Networking Strategy in 2008

All signs point to increased growth and popularity of social network in 2008. New regional and niche focused social networks are popping up everywhere and new users are getting involved everyday.

This is definitely a space that businesses cannot continue to ignore and at least need to come up with a basic strategy for having a presence on the major social networking sites.

With the economy slowing, spending may decline however users will be online more and more regardless of their spending habits.

So engaging these users in there social spaces whether they are spending or not will still grow awareness of your brand, services, and products.

And when spending occurs you will be fresh in their minds and active in their worlds.

So don't ignore getting your social network campaign going this year at least in a basic form.

Create your own television ad for Cheerios

Everyone is getting in on the social media marketing game and encouraging users to generate video content seems to be a favorite.

Cheerios is encouraging users to create their own TV video spot and call it The Cheerios Circle of Help. They want you to help spread the cholesterol health news and in 6 weeks you could have your own TV spot.

Definitely a great usage of user generated content, viral marketing, leading into some traditional television marketing.

Check it out if you get some time at the Cheerios 4in6 TV Contest. Good example of viral social media basics.

Definition of My Social Graph

I keep talking about what my single social interface, which I have been wrestling with as part of my social graph. Figured I better clarify for some of you what the social graph is?

A social graph consists of who an individual is connected to based on the type of connections, such as work, friendship, interests, and location.

I am still grasping the definition of my social graph as I participate more and more on social networks and in the social media space.

In my single social interface definition I try to define communication with my social graph in another perspective based upon Individuals, Network, and Public.

That could be a mix of many different people across my social graph.

I am also still fumbling with how all my content and information fits into this picture and where does it show on my social graph as I create, share and collaborate within my social graph?

It is great to see different people perspectives on the social graph how they work to define it as well.

Pownce the New Sharing Application

I went ahead and signed up for Pownce tonight, they were coming out of private BETA tonight right at midnight. So who can refuse such a trendy launch....

I also got a glimpse of their site as they were making changes I assume and it was minus the CSS style sheet. I cleared my cache and reloaded to see if it came around but it didn't. They have a really nice looking site.

For those of you who don't know Pownce is a application where you can send music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all on our web site, or install a lightweight desktop software that lets you get out of the browser.

It is a pretty interesting little application that allows you to import your contacts from your major networks using Plaxo it looks like.

I like how they describe how Pownce is made, check it out.

They have an API as well that lets you access the user information, friends, and notes for the account.

Still wrapping my head around how this fits into your daily activity, but I am sure it will come to me. Looks like it is another piece of the puzzle in helping me get control of my social graph and further complete my single social interface.

Will share information about it as it comes out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Google Platform for Writing

I use the "Google Platform" to help me build and evolve my central "content platform". For either one project or across all of them.

I too am a software developer so I approach very similar.
I have been using Google Platform to organize and publish my thoughts for some time now. I have wanted to start blogging on how I do this and work to organize my thoughts in a way I can share with others. I was reading Development Approaches to Writing?, by Fred Stutzman today about his development process approach to writing. So let me start with a basic post about this and I will work to refine.

Everything starts in Google Notebook, because I can harvest from a web page or blog with just a right click and it keeps the reference to the original piece. I can also just capture my own thoughts as I am surfing using my firefox add-in as well.

I can then organize these "notes" into notebooks by relevancy. I can further refine and handle the evolution by scripts using the Google Notebook API.

Then as information and throughts mature I migrate to Google Docs with a simple right click in Google Notebook.

Once in Google Docs I can refine more formally and with the assistance of others if necessary through collaboration.

Then I can also organize data in spreadsheets and evolve aspects into presentations.

From there I can publish to blogger, PDF, a book or whatever publishing format I wish.

I like the Google Platform because of how the applications compliment and work together, however the API is the biggest piece that allows me to work with things programmatically using scripts.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Google Features - Google News and Videos

It is fun finding new Google Features. I never really know when they come out, but when I find them they are new to me so I am blogging about them.

I was reading Google News as I do daily and noticed a little + sign next to one of my Recommended for Kin Lane articles.

So I click on it and I get a news video from Youtube related to the news article.

Definitely blurring the lines between what I think of as traditional news journalism and new media.

Definitely an important view of how important a Universal Online and Social Media Marketing Strategy can be.

The more content you have on a topic the more prominence and exposure you can get.

So when you publish an article, publish related photos, videos, and any other related content you can find.

All the players are really cross referencing everything.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Share my Google Docs with my Gmail Groups

All right I have a couple of new Google Features for Google Docs tonight. In addition to Taking an ordered list in Google Docs and highlighting and publish as a Google Presentation, I would like another one:

I am working about 40+ documents in Google Docs right now. I would like to share them all with someone and have them help me work on some and generally allow them to acess them.

So what do I have to do? I have to go through each Google Doc and share it with this contact.

It would be much easier if I could just share them with a group.

New Google Docs Feature

I have been using Google Notebook pretty heavily. I use it for about 80% of my data gathering in combination with the Google Notebook Firefox Add-on.

I have permanent and temporary Google Notebook Folders for different purposes. I will export a notebook from a Google Notebook to Google Docs using the export feature available in the top right corner under tools.

It really helps me internally publish gathered information to allow it to be more refined using Google Docs. Also now I can collaborate with someone on the refinement.

A new Google Docs feature along the same lines that would be nice is:

Taking an ordered list in Google Docs and highlighting and publish as a Google Presentation.

I have created an ordered list in a Google Doc representing some topic, and I think...."This would make a nice presentation."

It would be nice to highlight an ordered list and right clicking and be able to publish as Google Presentation.

It would take each <> in the <> and make a slide with a caption of the text within the <>

Then I would save a great deal of time extending a Google Doc or a portion of the Google Doc as a Google Presentation.

Just a thought on a new Google Feature, thanls for making it happen.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Costs Of Being A Creative

I was reading a post by Stowe Boyd called The Costs Of Being A Creative. This blog post really rings true in my world.

I am constantly battling with my development life. I was taught that if you are a programmer that you are similar to being an accountant or insurance salesperson. I can't remember where I first got this perspective, but it was ingrained in me somewhere along the way.

Only in the last five years I realized I am a creative. I always just thought I was weird. Programming just doesn't happen, I can't always make it happen between 9-5. I can't just turn it on or off.

Sometimes if flows so hard I have trouble controlling it. I get ideas before I go to bed and end up not falling asleep until 4-5 am.

Other times I sit down to a project that has to be done and I can't create anything, my "mojo" is gone.

I battle with the guilt that when I am exploring, reading and playing with API's, code and other systems I am not working and because it isn't paid time it is a waste.

This time is so valuable in growing my awareness, skills, and overall focus of my work time. However most clients, bosses, and my wife most of the time would just rather have me on task.

Being and managing creatives is not easy and straightforward.

LinkedIn's Refreshing Approach to Data Portability and Platform Openess

LinkedIn is just doing it the way it should be done. They fully embrace data portability as well as understand that they need to open their platform up via API's and taking part in OpenSocial.

They provide what average users need in data portability as well as privacy.

They also understand what us developers are looking for in a business class social networking platform.

Check out their perspective by reading their latest blog post Who Owns Your Data? (hint: you do).

Bebo Social Network Application Development Platform

I went ahead and signed up for Bebo Social Network tonight. I was reading a blog post on Techcrunch called Bebo’s Platform Now Open for All Developers and thought I should go ahead check it out for myself.

I belong to most of the major Social Networks now and was reading the other day on how Bebo was named as best social networking site in a survey and is beating out Facebook

It is a very clean application similar to Facebook. Which I like. That is one thing about MySpace that really bothers me is how it is so cluttered and just crappy looking.

I like the video, music and authors sections that really highlights the major aspects of our social worlds.

They don't have too many applications right now, I noticed one business application allowing you to podcast.

This gives me yet another social network profile to manage, but hey it all increases my presence.

Will keep poking around and see what it has to offer.

GigaSpaces Infinitely-Scalable Application Platform

Was introduced to GigaSpaces today by a friend at the University of Oregon. What an amazing application platform. It truly an infinite scaling application that just doesn't handle the back-end tier, it tackles the business layer as well.

This is similar to the technology that Google and Amazon have built for themselves and their offerings.

They also have an GigaSpaces Amazon Machine Image (AMI) that is publicly available, and there is a white paper available for the GigaSpaces EC2 Machine Image.

Gigaspaces support for Java, .Net (C#), and C++. They are also working on a presentation layer that works with the likes of Flash / Flex, AJAX, and Microsoft Silverlight.

They are reworking their pricing right now, however their target audience is the small business and startups so it should be affordable. They also have a community version available of Gigaspaces.

I am going to do a little more homework here.

New Email to Groups Feature of Gmail

Google quietly release another cool feature of Gmail today. Now that we have groups under the Gmail contact manager, you can email to groups of contacts now instead of just to individual contacts.

Seems they are really growing their contact manager system and introducing more of the relationship management features moving towards social network management.

They continue bringing it together.

Data Portability - Overview and Introduction

I am formulating my thoughts around data portability and how it will affect life as I continue to become 100% web-based in my work and personal life. I thought as I am working through it I would talk about here and help users understand their data portability, the standards and why it is important to have.

So this first post I guess is about what is data portability. So in this Web 2.0 world we are increasingly interacting with other people and services online. Our data is spread all over the place. I create a profile at probably 1 site a week and sometimes more. I also publish photos, images, news, blogs, comments, and much more all over the place.

All this information represents me and who I am. I shouldn't have to repeat myself at each site and I should retain some sort of ownership or accessibility to my data.

This is where data portability comes in. My profile information as well as the content I publish on the Internet should be portable and I should be able to move from site to site and / or back it up and keep it on my machine at home.

The are several standards for data portability I will be talking about next such as APML, OpenID, Microformats, RDF, RSS, OPML, and Oauth. You can find information about all these standards at

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Calling in and Managing some of my Systems

So I signed up for a system I really think is going to become a big part of my daily life. It is a voice to text voice mail system called Jott.

It is one of the best ideas and well built systems I have seen in a while.

The core of the system is I can call a number and say a word that references a name or link and then talk for 30 seconds and it translates the voice mail to text and registers it as a "jott" in the system.

Then based upon the word reference that I say it will email the text and a audio file link to the name of the person I say.

Or I can create links that go to specific applications and say that keyword and then it takes that text translation and publishes to that link target such as Blogger, Google Calendar, or Remember the Milk.

It also has a developer program for creating custom link targets, I am going to build one for Google Notebook.

Give it a try. I am thoroughly enjoying it. We'll see if it sticks.

Web-based Existence being a Developer

So in the last year I have completely move online. Everything I do is web-based. Most of my world exists underneath my Google Account.

However I use many other web services to get done what I do everyday. I can sit down at any computer pretty much and access my world online and get busy.

One area I am lacking is a web-based code editor to manage develop my sites and web applications. I utilize the OWS Architecture for managing a lot of the content on our sites and build out our dynamic web sites using a CMS system.

Though when it comes to building applications and writing code I really don't have many options. So recently I found a Edit Area a free web-based Javascript Editor.

The main features are:
  • Easy to integrate, only one script include and one function call
  • Tabulation support (allow to write well formated source code)
  • Search and replace (with regexp)
  • Customizable real-time syntax highlighting (currently: PHP, CSS, Javascript, Python, HTML, XML, VB, C, CPP, Pascal, Basic, Brainf*ck)
  • Auto-indenting new lines
  • Line numerotation
  • Multilanguage support (currently: Croatian, Danish, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese)
  • Possible PHP gzip compression (compress the 12 core files to one file of ~20Ko)
  • Allow multiple instances
  • Full screen mode
  • Possible plugin integration
  • Possible save and load callback functions
  • Possible dynamic content management
  • Can work in the same environment than "protype" and "mootools"'s like libraries.
So I am going to start integrating it into some of my work and servers. I will let you guys know how it goes. It will be nice to have this last piece of my world moved online.

Joining the Conversation

Joining the Conversation is one my new catch phrases. It just sounds good, and it really means so much to me in the 2.0 world.

I have seen it so many places lately and describes so much about my approach to Social Media Marketing.

Marketing these days is not about broadcasting our message to an audience, it is about joining the conversation.

I have had lots of problems with business owners and clients not getting involved in their web site development, online marketing projects, and social media campaigns. They usually just say they don't understand it and want you to do it for them.

Joining the Conversation and requiring a site owner to get involved and provide regular interaction with site development and marketing efforts will be a common theme of mine in the future.

I just posted about gathering my comments and conversations as I place them using coComment and Firefox Add-on / Web Application combination.

Joining the conversation as part of a social media marketing campaign requires oversight and senior involvement from the client. The message has to be consistent and intelligent and have a voice.

The content you place on the Internet will stay there and represent you represent you and your company so it is a form of advertising as stated by Brian Clark of CopyBlogger in his blog If Content is the New Advertising, What does your Advertising say about you?

You have to put a lot of thought into that as you join the conversation.

Managing Service Relationships for Personal and Business

I was reading John Udell's post on Managing Service Relationships, talks about managing your service profiles and choosing to receive or not receive paper bills, renewing your accounts etc.

I have pondered this on several levels and thought about how nice it would be to have an application that would aggregate all your relationships under one interface.

So this is really an application that could be offered on 2 levels.

Personal Service Relationship Manager - Would allow me to track all my service relationships that I enter into. So this would go beyond managing my login information across networks like with OpenID. This would be a tool to manage the entire relationship and give me updates on when my relationships are expiring, keep track of SLA's, billing accounting, auditing, etc.

Business Service Relationship Manager - Now this would go with my rants on Small Business IT 2.0 as well as Enterprise 2.0 initiatives. The more 2.0 relationships you enter the more IT tracking you will need. Every API you use, every hosting account, domain you buy, DNS account, and every service relationship you enter as a business needs to be tracked and evaluated.

My wife and I were doing this during our Christmas holiday. We were figuring out what we needed to spend before the end of the year to balance out our taxes. So we were organizing what we have spent and part of this is going through every account we have and analyzing our service relationships. This took a while. Wouldn't it be nice if we just had one interface or report to do this like my American Express account?

So there you go, another application for you all to run with. I don't have the time. Make sure I get a mention.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Application Idea for Maintaining my Social Presence

I have sen talk about maintaining the information you post all over the Internet and how people really don't think about the value of the information they have on the sites they use daily.

If you spend most of your time on Facebook and you have a history of your friends and daily interactions for your entire time at college. This is valuable, you may not think about this now, but when you are 35 and are looking back, the value will be huge!

What happens if they shut down your account. All this information is lost.

I have talked a lot about my information online and how to preserve it, however I talk more about my vital business information that I don't want to lose. Until now I really haven't cared about the random information.

I have started using coComment to track all my commenting on blogs and forums around the Internet. It is a great tool that I use through my Firefox toolbar and it records all comments I place. It gives me access to this through their web interface.

So here is the application idea: Toolbar interface that would track everything I do. Of course with proper settings. It would take a copy of all files, images, comments, messages, emails, etc. and store that somewhere for historical purposes.

Of course everyone is going to scream privacy for something like this. So you have to ask yourself when does privacy outweigh preservation of my history and information.

Just a thought.....someone run with it.

Yahoo Life and a Single Social Interface

Reading several posts on Yahoo's CES announcement about Yahoo Life! at Mashable - Will Yahoo Life! Revolutionize the Way We Use E-Mail?, and Read/Write/Web - Yahoo! Life! and Go 3.0 Announced at CES - is Yahoo! Back in '08?, and ZDNet - Jerry Yang offers sneak peak of Yahoo’s future: Life!.

Looks like Yahoo is inching closer to have a version of my Single Social Interface that gives me a one stop place to manage my social Internet.

I really think they are onto the next generation of Social Internet Adoption. The next wave of users have embraced and adopted Internet and Email. They don't fully understand social networks and need a simple interface to interact with the social world.

I enjoy Google and their platform for doing this, however it is something I have to assemble and build from all the Google parts, it doesn't have a single interface ready to go with a pretty name like Yahoo Life!

Nice work Yahoo.....

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Big Think and My Ideas

I was just playing around with a site called the Big Think. It is a Youtube for ideas. Having various business, social, and whatever ideas flowing out constantly naturally I think this is a great idea!

So I setup my profile and I am going to start putting my ideas in here and storing them.

I decided long ago to stop keeping them in my notebook and start publishing them. As I post them I will write a little blog entry about them and put it here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Embedded Presentations with Google Presentations

I have started building OWS Network system based presentations using Google Docs Presentations. This helps me explain to customers how they can manage their systems using our tools.

I noticed you can now publish the spreadsheet as an embedded presentation. This is nice for presentations that I will be publishing within sites.

I will have to try and see if I can upload these to other sites and / or reference them from other sites.

Wiki and Social Community Deployment Platform

I was just playing around with Deki Wiki a free open source wiki and application platform for deploying enterprise scale applications.

I was blown away with the functionality of this. It has all the great Wiki characteristics, however it goes a step further and truly is an application deployment platform.

It shares some common characteristics with my Original Web Solutions Network Platform. They embraced a web services architecture just like I did as well as utilize Amazon S3 for core storage needs.

They built the business layer using PHP and the Web Services data layer using Microsoft C#. It can be deployed on a Windows or Linux platform.

It is truly a sweet application and I hope to get the chance to deploy one soon.

Better Folder Organization for Google Docs

Noticed today that Google slipped in the ability create sub folders now in your Google docs management.

Definitely a nice feature to allow me to better organize my Google Docs and keep them meaningful and combined with he search you are able to find exactly what you need.

Amazon Digital Content Platform

I was reading through my blogs today and came across the post from Download Squad on Amazon Launches Software Downloads.

I dug around a little more and saw where you can manager your Media Library on Amazon including E-Docs, Amazon Shorts, Unbox Videos, Kindle Books, Kindle Newspapers, Kindle Blogs, Kindle Blogs, Amazon Mp3 and Software Downloads.

Found it interesting that they give you an area to manage all of your digital material that you purchase through Amazon as a customer.

Then I thought well there must be a flip side to this service and logged into my Amazon Web Services account and foudn I could sign up for the Amazon Digital Text Platform. This allows me as a publisher to publish my digital text content. It talks like it is exclusively for E-Books and for Kindle, however beyond the surface it looks like you could manage all your digital content here and post for sale on Amazon.

I will play around with more and see what comes of it. I am interested in publishing some of my micro / mini books here on various technology and marketing topics. Let you guys know how it goes.

Google Home for Your Kids

A while back I started helping my daughter Kaia build her blog at She really likes making pictures and stories and posting there from time to time.

Recently she has been learning to read and write more so she started to want to chat with me and got on her mom's IM and would talk to me at work.

So recently she said she wanted to chat with me on her own chat. So I set up a Google Account for her and setup a Gmail account so she can email and use google chat to talk with me.

I live on my Google Home Page so this was a great way for her to interact with me. I taught her how to use it and she now uses the IGoogle as her start page and chats with me.

It got me thinking of other advantages of having my kids use a Google Home Page such as family bookmarking, and monitoring their web behavior using Google Web History.

More to come on this topic.

Increasing Amazon S3 Data Transfer Performance

The Amazon S3 team is now beta-testing support for an important low-level networking feature which has the potential to significantly increase the performance of large data transfers to and from S3, particularly for long distance data transfers.

Per the thread in the Amazon S3 Forum, early results from the beta testers are quite good with reported speedups of 4x to 18x! If you are moving large amounts of data into or out of S3 then you will definitely want to implement this feature.

For me the Amazon S3 performance has be acceptable for 90% of my projects, however I have had a few clients who chose not to use the service when they complained about performance speeds during prototyping.

Eager to see what the Amazon Team comes up wtih.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A slimmer, more fit web site. The universal approach to content.

I was just helping my wife setup a new site for the new Local Search Marketing Service she is offering, called Oregon Local Search.

I was enjoying at how simple the site is. It is simply:
  • Home
  • About
  • Services
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact Us
I basically says:
  • Here is who we are
  • Here is what we offer
  • Here is some information to answer your basic questions
  • Here is how to get a hold of us
It keeps what you are offering to your customers real easy to understand, which is essential for a service based business.

I used to help clients build massive sites with large directories and volumes of information trying to increase the keyword relevancy of the web site.

Now with a Universal Approach to Search Marketing you want to put that information out on the Internet and join the conversation by posting your videos, pictures, news, whats new, events, products, and more and link back to your simple, easy to understand web site.

Application Ideas: Google Project

I have this notebook of application ideas that I have from time to time. Its overflowing with lots of stupid ideas.

So I am just going to start posting them here and see if someone has done something like it out there or maybe someone will get motivated and do it for me.

Most ideas I have if I perform a little due diligence, I can find someone who is doing something similar. However some I think are unique.

Here we go:

I would like a Google Project Tracking solution to bring all my users, email, tasks, blogs, videos, docs, notebooks, events, and all my other stuff under one umbrella on the Google Platform. It would work nicely with Remember the Milk task system.