Over the last few years, I have been to a whole lot of conferences. They've been in cities like Austin, Phoenix, San Diego, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and so on, and have covered any number of topics.
And over the years, I've started to come to the conclusion--as so many have before me--that the endless panels and keynotes are hardly worth the time it takes to sit through them. After all, how much value is there really in listening to six people talk over each other for 35 minutes?
In the end, as everyone knows, the … Read more
I know this blog is about product design and innovation but let's talk about PR for a minute. Why? Because the way you talk about your product should be part of your design process. The product design ought to incorporate the product story you want to tell. Sometimes, the story even becomes the product. Moreover, some may think PR is immune to innovation, but is in fact a field that is currently going through a series of pretty radical disruptions. The rise of social media has challenged the old way of promoting messages, and today's PR practitioners face … Read more
Backcountry.com has been using open source for years. Last week, it finally gave something back. Unlike other web properties that have built their businesses on open source but acknowledge little need to contribute back, Backcountry.com has also given little back...but at least takes no pride in it. In fact, its press release announcing the code contribution is hilariously self-flagellating:
After mooching off the open source world for 10 years and making millions, Backcountry.com finally threw the Postgres community a bone in the form of a database synching tool curiously called Bucardo....… Read more
Mozilla's WebRunner is a single-serving version of Firefox that strips away all the bells and whistles. There's no Web surfing to be done with this lightweight tool. Menus, extensions, themes, toolbars, and navigation have all been excised, like a sculptor cutting away excess marble.
What you're left with is a Site Specific Browser for Windows, Mac, or Linux that uses bookmark files with the WEBAPP extension. The installer configures these files to open in WebRunner, but there's no "launch program" icon or option. You just double-click on a WEBAPP file you've downloaded or created, and off you go, ready to get to work without getting distracted by the temptation to surf anywhere else.
There are countless blogs across the world, but you can't read them all, of course. With the screensaver application Twingly, however, you can at least see every new blog post as it gets published...sort of. While Twingly appears to be a fascinating application, you may soon be overwhelmed by the random collection of nonsense and trivia--the "Um ... what?" post referenced in my title is a good example.
Twingly, which runs as a Windows screensaver or a standalone application, displays a never-ending string of new blog posts mapped around the world on an interactive globe. Click on any of the scrolling posts on the left side, and a precis of the post and its geographical location (if mapped) are displayed in the main interface. Click on the link in the blog excerpt, and you'll be transported to that page in your default browser.… Read more
Apple has put together a list of 204 Web-based applications for the iPhone in hopes of giving hacking-averse users some additional options for their phones.
The list, spotted by Daring Fireball, highlights a Facebook Web app as a "staff pick" by Apple. During Steve Jobs' presentation to Apple's developers in June, he also called out a Facebook application as an example of all the things developers can create without native access to the iPhone.
Update: The directory is now live. CNET News.com's Tom Krazit wrote up a quick look at it. One funny thing to note is that accessing the directory from an iPhone renders like it does on your desktop browser instead of in a finger, and eye-friendly format. Also, using the much-touted double-tap feature to zoom into the lineup of apps doesn't even center the page correctly. Apparently Apple didn't deem it necessary to make their own iPhone-centric page easier to use. Hopefully the early adopter, tech savvy crowd can handle it. Original story follows.
iPhone users still … Read more
I've been to dozens and dozens of trade shows in my nine years (gasp!) at CNET News.com, but the introductory remarks at ZendCon on Tuesday were unlike anything I've heard before.
Instead of the usual welcome statements and corporate self-congratulation, the audience was given a brief instruction in how to extend the conference activities beyond the San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency to many corners of the Internet. Specifically, Zend set up ways to deal with Twitter, Technorati, Yahoo Flickr, Yahoo Upcoming and IRC, which despite being long in the tooth retains geek retro cred in the Linux … Read more
Christine Rosen calls out the glaring superficiality of "social networking" in the Wall Street Journal: despite multitudinous 'friends' online, social networking isn't actually making anyone friends. Social networking doesn't replace real friends; in fact, it neither augments real friendships nor builds any additional friendships.
Social networks foster a different form of friendship, one that is public, fluid and promiscuous, yet oddly bureaucratized. Sites such as MySpace or Facebook don't allow users to distinguish among various types of personal relationships: your lover, your best friend, your work colleague and your mother are all "friends" in this world and are all categorized in the same way online. The sites encourage a form of relationship socialism -- abolishing class distinctions for the greater good of acquiring as many "friends" as possible...as if friendship is a form of stamp collecting.
Should we care? Maybe more to the point, is it possible to fix social networking to actually make it useful in the real world?… Read more