tecznotes

Michal Migurski's notebook, listening post, and soapbox. Subscribe to this blog. Check out the rest of my site as well.

Jan 31, 2006 2:41am

gone pale

I inverted the color scheme on this site - hopefully I will still think this was a good idea in the morning.

Jan 30, 2006 1:51pm

magic beans

Sometimes I wonder whether “Getting Real” is a 37Signals plot to eliminate competition through unqualified absolutes masquerading as business advice.

“Why bother with that frumpy old cow, when you can have these magic beans?

Jan 27, 2006 1:48pm

announcing AttentionProxy

In working for Root, I found that snooping on my own browsing history can be a fascinating, know-thyself activity. The only AT-approved recorder for this activity is a FireFox plug-in, which is a D-R-A-G because I prefer Safari. So, I wrote up a local HTTP proxy after talking through a few caveats with R0ml. I've been testing this for a few days, and I think it's ready to be tried out more widely.

This has been a great Twisted Python learning experiment.

If you're already using the Attention Trust FireFox extension, and you're on a mac, and your machine is used by you alone, and you're not afraid to twiddle with Python scripts or know someone like this, give AttentionProxy a whirl. Documentation is enclosed.

Jan 27, 2006 12:43pm

four things

I have been called out, and I must accept the challenge under pain of social rejection.

Four Jobs I've Had

  1. Popcorn popper and floor cleaner, Capitol 16 Cinemas in San Jose
  2. Pagemaker jockey, TCI
  3. Gopher, U.C. Berkeley Moffett Library
  4. Technology director, Stamen Design

Four Movies I Can Watch Over And Over

  1. Master And Commander
  2. Kontroll
  3. Heat
  4. The Incredibles

Four Places I've Lived

  1. Wroclaw, PL
  2. New Haven, CT
  3. San Jose, CA
  4. Oakland, CA

Four TV Shows I Love

  1. The Simpsons
  2. Newsradio
  3. Connections (James Burke)
  4. Daily Show

Four Places I've Vacationed

  1. Kazimierz Nad Wisla, PL
  2. Anacapri, IT
  3. Sec, CZ
  4. My own head, Casa Zimbabwe, Berkeley, CA

Four Of My Favorite Dishes

  1. Flaczki
  2. Wienerschnitzel
  3. Almost anything containing sausage from Munich, DE
  4. Two especial tacos (carnitas, carne asada) with refried beans and hot salsa, Pancho Villa

Four Sites I Visit Daily

  1. My RSS reader, Reblog
  2. Slashdot
  3. Cute Overload!
  4. Google

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

  1. No
  2. Place
  3. On
  4. Earth

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging sorry!

  1. Eric (yeah, I know you stopped, I don't care)
  2. Thomas
  3. Peter
  4. Kenyatta

Jan 23, 2006 11:38am

dion channels marc

Dion channeling Marc Andreessen:

But I assert that Ajax encourages, even enables, software creators down a path that is inherently disruptive to the greater software world. Here's why: 1) The End of Software Upgrades, Fixes, and Security Patches. 2) Software and Data Available Wherever You Go. 3) Isolated Software Can't Compete with Connected Software. 4) Deprecation of the Traditional Operating System. 5) Software That Is Invisible.

This is basically Andreessen's comment from 1995 that Netscape would "reduce Windows to a set of poorly debugged device drivers." This is clearly not a new argument, and Ajax isn't exactly the core of the change -- HTML was ten years ago, then Java, then Flash. I think it's significant that many of the same people making this claim (myself included) are also hardcore Mac fans, following Apple's developments on OS X closely. To me, this shows that a movement towards networked applications as Dion describes makes the local client software even more important, because it alone makes or breaks the networked software. For years, Microsoft exploited this by subtly breaking Explorer's capacity for internet applications, and is now finally getting their asses handed to them by the bastard child of Netscape that happens to offer a better user experience.

For me, Ajax is disruptive because it places non-monopoly browsers in a lead position, and returns Explorer to playing feature catch-up again.

Jan 21, 2006 1:21pm

ning blah

I was wondering the same things as TechCrunch:

What happened to Ning? It was the perfect service at the perfect time. Mashups are hot right now. Really hot.

Not sure I agree with the second part, though - Ning didn't seem like the perfect serice for any time. The kinds of people who know what mashups are and how to build them are already conversant in Javascript, PHP, or Ruby. They don't need a Fisher-Price sandbox to play in, especially one that doesn't appear to be as easy as it claims.

How many webservice permutations can there be? Do people even use mashups once the initial wow-factor rubs off? Does Ning's potential developer audience simply realize that the way to independence for a service is to control its own database, and rightly avoid the padded play area?

Jan 19, 2006 2:22am

content infrastructure

Two related posts on algorithms and infrastructure:

To be sure, Google's road map of evolving search services is being guided by algorithmic strategies that are foreign to the creative likes of publishing, filmmaking, television production, marketing and advertising. But a willingness to embrace the new math and science of connecting with and selling to consumers and advertisers will make artistic media's leap onto the digital broadband fast track quicker and more profitable.

-Diane Mermigas

This is the same point that I made with a client company last week in Florida. It's not enough to be a content company anymore, because it isn't the content that makes money in the old media world -- it's the infrastructure that produces the bundle within which the content is delivered. And that infrastructure is basically irrelevant now.

-Terry Heaton

I don't want to zeldman all over this, but I've been under the impression that actual makers of films, music, articles, and stories are already on top of this shift towards unbundly creative works and basic economics of attention. The great misfortune of the content cartels is that they're still thinking in terms of "delivering" "content" to "consumers". It's a very mass-production way of looking at the world, and it's really poorly adapted to the internet.

Heaton is right that it will be necessary to understand the customs and tendencies of unbundled media to operate in that world, but he's wrong to use the word algorithm. An algorithm is bounded, defined, predictable and reproducible. Unbundled media is anything but - who could have foreseen the success of Crazy Frog (thanks Rael) or developed the pop-hit formula for Lazy Sunday? This stuff comes out of nowhere, and reaches furthest when detached from its source and reinterpreted.

Jan 18, 2006 6:14pm

heavy into blogging

From an earlier chat...

  • me: sweet 404
  • mf: people are so testy
  • me: ?
  • mf: the name of his site makes me wish i were gay
  • me: "dive into mark" "don't mind if I do"
  • mf: i'm sure you don't remember "heavy into jeff"
  • me: I remember Kevin Nealon's hilarious review of it on SNL's Weekend Update
  • me: maybe pilgrim should s/dive into/heavy into/g
  • mf: yes!
  • me: "Heavy Into Python"
  • mf: noone else does!
  • me: "Heavy Into Greasemonkey"

Jan 17, 2006 12:53pm

bokardo on infoviz

Joshua believes that information visualization is a trend to watch in 2006. I'm not sure it's a trend, so much as continued growth process. After all, information visualization was also one of Tim O'Reilly's trends to watch in 2005, and we didn't see any tectonic shifts in the area this year.

I think Information Visualization is similar to the recently funny-popular Bill Gates computer speech predictions. The wave keeps threatening to break, but never seems to quite gather the necessary momentum. Meanwhile, designers continue to do interesting work in the trenches, interfaces slowly grow new visual displays of information, and software users keep raising their expectations of charts, graphs and UI's. I think this is one trend that's never going to feel "huge" (in the way that one of Tim's other trendspottings, Ruby On Rails, did), even while continuing to expand dramatically.

My personal prediction for infoviz in 2006 is that there will be a shift from Tufte-style static information displays to live ones, that show data in flux or afford manipulation. Developments like AP's Measure Map date widget or open-source libraries for generating well-understood display styles will drive this change by helping non-designers get in on the action. It will be some time (2-3 years) before a designer or researcher blesses this shift with a book on dynamic information visualization that rivals Tufte's in elegance and reach.

Jan 16, 2006 2:48am

karateka flashbacks

Memories of fourth grade visits to the Apple II computer lab at Worthington Hooker Elementary are flooding back:

Jan 13, 2006 12:51am

dj on rb

Reblogging is nothing more than fast blogging, so it's no coincidence that making your content friendlier for rebloggers has the pleasant side effect of making the user experience more pleasant for all of your readers. These observations come from the time I've spent on the Eyebeam reblog and designing and developing a new reblog (or 3) that should launch soon. The reblog tool is basically a newsreader in a browsers that's bound closely with your blogging platform. The output looks as much like a feed reader as it does a "regular" blog. The spirit of blogging is to blur the lines between reading and writing, and reblog is a tool which makes that blurring even more profound.

David Jacobs, Tips for Reblogging

Jan 12, 2006 2:07am

SMS lame

Textmessage.cc ("free text messaging service") seems like a cool idea, but has three fatal flaws:

  1. "Phone Number: __ (NO Dashes - Example: 6239121233". I don't know what's living on the server, but allowing any input and scraping out the non-numbers is an 8-character regular expression in Perl. Why do sites insist on enforcing easily-scrubbed input formats like this? Not as maddening as my other web-form pet-peeve: phone number entry fields broken up into three INPUT's (area, prefix, etc.) and "enhanced" with Javascript to bounce you forward as you type. My tab key works fine, thank you.
  2. "Please choose the receivers cell phone service provider". My phone never asks me to do this when I'm sending SMS from my handset, why should I do it here? I don't even know what providers many of my friends use, nor should I have to.
  3. Received messages contain "textmessage.cc" signature. Not really a fatal flaw, but still mildly annoying.

I still haven't found a reliable way to send SMS from my computer without knowing provider gateway e-mail addresses in advance, and these seems to periodically change for some providers.

Jan 10, 2006 9:43pm

RFA

RFA (Request For Art): calling Jason Salavon

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Recent Entries

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  2. blog all dog-eared pages: human transit
  3. the levity of serverlessness
  4. three open data projects: openstreetmap, openaddresses, and who’s on first
  5. building up redistricting data for North Carolina
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  7. baby steps towards measuring the efficiency gap
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