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January 2005 Archive

.Mac SDK

posted by DL Byron on January 31, 2005

dotmacThis week Apple announced an SDK for .Mac. That's fabulous news for Mac users, switchers and those thinking of switching. Why? Because one of the least publicized features of switching to Apple is the .Mac membership and membership does have it's privileges. .Mac offers a shared network drive (mac and pc), virus protection (don't need much), homepage, syncing, exclusives, and more.

Two of the features I use all of the time are iDisk and HomePage. iDisk is a public FTP that I share with my friends and clients. If a client or friend needs to send me a huge file, they just log onto my public iDisk from a Mac or PC, upload it, and they're done. Using the .Mac HomePage, my family easily puts photos and movies online in a few clicks. Why that's important is that the family can create their pages and not wait for me to finish some honking client site and get to them. They just publish away, as you can see on our galleries. Note the pug photos are always popular.

The .Mac SDK is important because .Mac can become even more integrated and innovative. For example, you could sync RSS feeds to your account and have them on the go, wherever you go, or more importantly, a cross-platform sync between Mac and PC calendar applications. Now that'd be something very useful.

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Marqui Podcast

posted by DL Byron on January 30, 2005

Eric Rice has posted the podcast on our discussion with Marqui. We discuss the success of their blogosphere program, what the purpose of it is, ethics, why they don't have a blog component in their system, their competition, and more.

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Nofollow is no Solution

posted by DL Byron on January 28, 2005

This weeks Blogospheria included nofollow, an attempt to thwart spam by reducing page rank. Nofollow adds a rel attribute to the anchor tag that search engines read as don't follow and therefore don't increase page rank. Right. Nofollow is DOA, as is the hype and blog headlines announcing it. I heard the thud as I read exactly what nofollow was and was very surprised there wasn't more criticism. Possibly everyone else was hand-wringing over blog ethics, pronouncing themselves citizen journalists, or geeking out over Technorati Tags, which are almost completely useless for business.

The problem with these blogging memes, or the "it" plugin of the week, is the work involved. Do I write more posts and sell more product or spend a day on nofollow, Technorati Tags, and whatever else the blogosphere pronounces as "cool." Like, for example, don't Skype me. I've got iChat for that. I don't know if Skype harvests my email, but I wouldn't be surprised, and now I get emails from people wanting me to sign up for a telephony service I don't want or need.

The assumption that spammers are not going to spam because of nofollow is ridiculous. They'll spam as they do and may just create their own "follow" networks to boost their own page rank. They've already worked around every spam blocking attempt I've done.

The comments that I've approved are good and I want Google to follow them -- good Google Juice for everyone. A plugin that changes every link in my comments to nofollow spills the Google Juice. That's not a solution, it's just Blogospheria.


Credit to Zeldman for the term Blogospheria. And more criticism of nofollow:

Another Update

As predicted, a porn site, Only Celebs, has set up their own blog to link to themselves and boost their own page rank — found via TypePad’s recently updated blogroll. Check the links. They’re all to a porn site. They’ve set up their own “follow” network on TypePad’s network. Ironically, in this case, I used nofollow in the link.

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After the Blog Business Summit

posted by DL Byron on January 26, 2005

I spent most of the day keeping up with all the blogging (2,113 posts and counting) and commenting on the Blog Business Summit site and didn't get to post here. Word. That's not a bad problem to have and live blogging like that was a first for me. As I posted, people were blogging it at the event and posting before sessions were even over.

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Blog Business Summit Day One

posted by DL Byron on January 24, 2005

Good buzz in the lobby during sign up, an absolutely beautiful morning, and it's going to be a great event. I'll post notes here as the event proceeds. I'm speaking today with Molly on blogging engines.

Shook hands and said hello to (so far)

  • Marc Canter
  • Scoble
  • Nick Finck
  • Molly.com
  • Jason Fried
  • Feedburner
  • Syndic8
  • Chris Pirello
  • Jon Froda
  • Debbie Weil

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Cheesy Mac

posted by DL Byron on January 23, 2005

There was much Mac talk at Scoble's Cheesy party. Every new conversation I heard was Mac-related, but we didn't stay that late, so it could went to Tablet PCs and Xbox by the end of the night. iPod this, Mac Mini that. I thought that maybe we should start a Scoble Mac Mini fund and get that man a Mac. And, right as the CTO of Amazon walked out the door, Scoble said, "that was the CTO of Amazon." Damn, I wanted to ask him about Eric Meyer, Clip-n-Seal, and more.

More Scoble

Scoble is keynoting the Blog Business Summit. I'm speaking there in a couple sessions and will blog it.

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Meeting Marqui

posted by DL Byron on January 22, 2005

Many of the Marqui bloggers and Marqui staff will be at the Blog Business Summit next week. I look forward to meeting them, chatting, and asking some questions. Number one is, “so why doesn’t Marqui have a blogging component?” And then, “let’s talk about blogging as a platform and CMS …”

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Eric Meyer Loves Me

posted by DL Byron on January 19, 2005

Eric Meyer At least that what Amazon.com tells me. I've spent much time on Amazon.com lately, managing our new Clip-n-Seal storefront and Amazon is constantly showing me Eric's book. Now, it's a great book, recommended reading, but page after page, day after day, working on Amazon and there's Eric. I even tried going to pages on Amazon where I thought Eric would never go, the opposite of Eric, say, designer moccasins from Isaac Mizrahi. Clicking around in garden tools? Nope -- still get Eric's book.

I'm not a Tivo owner, but I bet that's like My Tivo Thinks I'm Gay, where Tivo suggest shows it thinks you'll like based on what you've watched.

Amazon.com is a constantly suggesting wonder, but I wish I could turn that shit off or set a preference to something like, "suggest only lingerie that Terri Hatcher wears."

I didn't make that page

Another feature of Amazon is the Page You Made (there's Eric right on top of the list). Ok, on that, Dear Amazon UI Designer person, I did not make that damn page, I made this page and a bunch of other ones like it.

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Design Timeline

posted by DL Byron on January 19, 2005

The Design Timeline illustrates 10 years of web design. I remember arguing over inline images and how to paginate documents on the web. I also participated in a committee that debated whether to standardize on Netscape or stay with Mosaic. What do you remember? You can add it to the timeline.

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A nonprofit, unbiased robot poster that sucks

posted by DL Byron on January 15, 2005

Or iUpload calls people names

Marqui's blog is getting some traction with lively comments and responds to a critic and competitor who called them pond scum (note to David Carter: try reaching a little deeper for a metaphor next time. How 'bout, "poo poo pants," or something). Marqui and iUpload, as well as other critics, will be at the Blog Business Summit and that's sure to make for some lively debates. Personally, I don't know where this unbiased web is and I think it's a fantasy to think there is one. If your blogging, be a pundit, state some opinions, make some noise, and get paid to do it if you want. That's certainly better than regurgitating the same story you saw in your RSS reader and pretending your blog is the most unbiased.

I'd like to see a blog, with no opinions, no Adwords, no agenda to either promote some obscure fetish or sport or raise page rank. It'd have to be written by an non-profit, unbiased robot and man that'd suck.

To Marqui's Blogosphere program, Nick told me he has a Marqui filter now, where if he sees a post about Marqui, he immediately marks it read. Understood. Enough about paid bloggers, time to move on.

Interested in meeting Marqui and others? Wondering if iUpload will call some one a bad name? Attend the Blog Business Summit. It's next week and here's a 395.00 deal on registration.

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While traveling …

posted by DL Byron on January 13, 2005

While traveling, at the crack o' dawn, to the Macworld Expo for various meetings and to help Broback with his blogging presentation this went down

  • Code for guest pass airfare with airline was invalid, delay figuring that out with ticketing agent who was confused as to why my code would be invalid, as was I.
  • Paid full fare to try and make the flight, rushed to security.
  • “e-selected” because of last minute purchase and one-way (it wasn't supposed to be one way), which means full-on security check of baggage and body.
  • Missed flight.
  • Approached counter to inquire about next flight, overhear counter agent say, “standby passengers annoy me.” I say, “I’m one of those standby passengers and I’m about to annoy you further.” She shoos me away to customer service at another gate.
  • Said “serenity now” quietly and breathed deeply to calm myself.
  • Explained to customer service agent that I’m stressed, attempting to mellow out, and tell the story, noting the bitchy counter agent.
  • She inquires, is also confused about my ticket, checks several things, and offers another guest pass round trip - nice agent, very nice.
  • Relaxed a bit, give bitchy agent the stink eye when I walk past, coffee, a few emails, wake up a sleepy Broback with my status.
  • Board the plane.
  • Run from plane departure to taxi, jarring ride to meeting.

More on the meeting and Macworld in another post.

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The Importance of the Mac Mini

posted by DL Byron on January 12, 2005

Mac Mini I was really bummed out to not watch the Macworld Apple Keynote live (here's a podcast of it). I've done so every year, for like 4 years. About 15 minutes into the keynote, I was hitting various mac fan sites for reports, and my friend Lenn announced in iChat that he was in the press room at Macworld. "Ok, cool!" and he offered to document the keynote as it unfolded, "flippin' awesome." Lenn rules. Highlights from the chat include the often rumored, much discussed, "headless mac," actual name Mac Mini.

Lenn P says: Mac Mini - Shows the hardware, it is simple and beautiful. Has a slot loading optical drive, firewire, USB 2. DVI & VGA output. Size is STAGGERINGLY small and beautiful. Bring your own display, keyboard, and mouse. Comes with Panther and iLife 05. Two models $499 for first one, second is $599. The most affordable Mac ever. Jan 22 in stores and on the Amazon Mac Store

Talking Points

Later in the day, one of my switcher friends asked, "what's a headless mac?" Good point. For the less-than-zealous mac fan, a "headless mac" is a term the press gave to a Mac computer without a monitor attached. Apple has finally entered the $500.00 computer price range. Countless articles about that strategy are being written now, if not already published. While the pundits debate it, what it means is one less barrier to switching to the mac. For the switcher evangelist, a few talking points:

  • It's for the halo effect, targeted at Windows iPod users, and for your PC friends who pop off about Apple's prices, Apple now makes a cheap little PC.
  • While inexpensive, the Mac Mini is good. Fans say, "the mini completely rocks!"
  • A hidden market will emerge from techno-geek-pros who use Windows and Linux and who would spend $500 to have a Mac to test.
  • Go to the Apple Site. They're totally aiming the Mini Macs at switching Windows users.
  • Nobody cares about clock speed. They just want to post photos and mix little home movies and not worry about viruses and spyware.

I think that last point, "not worry about viruses and spyware," is the most important. Earlier this week on NPR, Walt Mossberg, called on the the PC industry to address security issues." He said, "users shouldn't have to be their own IT department." In a demonstration between a PC and Mac, he showed NPR's Steve Inskeep that there's no spyware on the Mac and unlike windows, Macs were written to be a networked computer, with security in mind. Microsoft is hard at work correcting their security problems, but OS X is unix-based and inherently more secure for one simple reason: any application that wants to install prompts you for an account name and pass and has to be verified.

The most recent switcher I've talked to, switched for that exact reason. He was exhausted by spyware and viruses and didn't want to worry about it anymore.

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The Attack of the Claymates

posted by DL Byron on January 10, 2005

Andy Kaufman In response to several different blogs/bloggers taking themselves way to seriously (A nice holiday “fuck you” from Winer was one of them), Eric Rice and I were chatting about how the blogosphere needs an Andy Kaufman blogger, like what Andy did with wrestling, as the world’s first Inter-Gender Wrestling Champion. By chance, in a completely unrelated conversation, Manis wrote me to tell me about the funniest example of comment flooding he’d ever seen. If Andy Kaufman were to blog, I think this would be it. And, what’s really interesting about this is that I’d never paid attention to Clay Aiken until the Wonkette post on how Clay hates children and is mean to them. Here’s the background from Manis:

Will Carroll is a baseball writer specializing in baseball statistical analysis. He applies statistical theory to performance stats to evaluate major league baseball players. A rather dry subject sometimes, but Will and his contributors are sharp, funny guys who liven up their posts with some well-placed wise cracks. When one blog contributor dropped a throwaway line about the size of singer Clay Aiken’s penis, he doomed the blog to an attack of “Claymate” comment flooding.

The first several comments are from humorously humorless “Claymates” (their own term) who accuse the author of coveting Clay’s (they almost always refer to him by his first name only) size and of invoking Clay’s name to drive hits to the author’s website. But then the Claymates start to fight amongst themselves like the Orcs of Isengard and the Orici of Mordor in The Two Towers

Nasty Isengard Orc guard: “He’s a Christian man! How dare you soil his name!”
Brutish Mordor Orici captain: “Man of God or not, he’s got a huge dick!”

It’s surreal. If not Sublime. The Attack of the Claymates or When Claymates Attack.

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SVN added to the Freshness Founders Club

posted by DL Byron on January 10, 2005

Our friends at SVN, scooped our Amazon announcement today. During the roll out, Jason was incredibly patient with our constant, "hey check this out, is this cool, and does that photo look ok?" questions. Jason is always helping out and we appreciate it. If we had a Freshness Founders Club, SVN would be our first honorary member.

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SEO Smackdown

posted by DL Byron on January 07, 2005

Marqui responded a couple weeks ago to the controversy about their SEO whitepaper with a thorough post. Kent Lewis takes on the harshest criticism from Robin point by point. I’m following up now because of this quote from Kent:

“The source code could be cleaner, but it’s elegant as CMS code goes.”

I’m running a CMS now, Movable Type, and the code couldn’t be cleaner. In fact, I think as evangelists, we’ve done a terrible job of explaining the platform benefits of blogging, one of them being elegant, clean code.

There’s also another factor at work — marketing v. technology. That’s always a struggle and with blogging now equated with marketing, issues like SEO whitepapers are going to come up. In an related email thread, I’d warned Marqui that “Designer geek, fan boys/girls, will be all over that claim of clean CMS code.”

To their credit, Marqui is learning from blogging, as Janet states in the post. We’ll see if their programmers learn from blogging systems. Or at least blog about what this is and how that’s considered “clean.”

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Fear of Bold

posted by DL Byron on January 07, 2005

Fear of Bold Where Veen has organized his life into happy little folders, my aggregation is an ominous, overwhelming amount of bold. I fear the bold because when I open Bloglines and see all that bold, I pause, not click on anything, and move onto something else. However, after the rush of praise, eventual comparisons to Pointcast, incredible information overload, and serious doubt from me that anyone was actually using it (besides Scoble), RSS is finally becoming useful with new, improved RSS readers applications like Basecamp, 43Things, and CNN’s feeds.

RSS Countdown

I''ve replaced that "fear of bold" with the "RSS countdown" using Newsfire, a rocking little app. While it has it’s own issues, it works for me because it doesn't use the mail application metaphor. It’s two panels, not bloated, and aquafied. If I see the countdown going way up in my dock, I find the feed with the most items (like the nonstop posting at Endgadget), and change it to ping every 12 hours and expire after one day.

A quick check and the feed countdown is up to 908, whoa, must be CES and the nonstop geek posting.

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Desperate Housewives Lingerie

posted by DL Byron on January 03, 2005

La Perla After a diligent Google search, Pam finally found the source of the lingerie on Desperate Housewives. It's Italy's La Perla fashion group. We thought it was Agent Provocateur. For the lingerie fan, two different styles, but both very hot. It's also a good way to break up all the dull business blogging posts.

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