Archive for June, 2008

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Firefox 3 CPU issue: del.icio.us extension to blame

Several folks, including me, have experienced increased CPU usage on Firefox 3, especially on OSX. Try disabling it, going back to the bookmarklet. -m

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Bill Gates as the new Yahoo! CEO

Even though the timing is about perfect, it’s not gonna happen But if it did, would that be awesome or what? -m

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Two kinds of tension

All writing depends on conflict (without which there is no story), but there’s more than one kind. The obvious kind is steadily building tension with unknown outcome. The battle between good and evil in most stories is like this, though admittedly the good guys usually win.

More subtle is “dramatic irony” where the reader knows what’s going on while the characters don’t. A really effective writer weaves these together for maximum effect, for example Stephen King’s _The Stand_. -m

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

dvorak difficulty: passwords

Day 3 and the first real difficulty: I can’t type most of my passwords except by muscle memory.

Overall, though, I’m enjoying the challenge, even if my postings are conspicuously short. :-) -m

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Review: The Instant Productivity Toolkit

I hoped for something fresh, but this from Len Merson is only warmed-over GTD. Avoid–go for the original. -m

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Going dvorak

I taught Anita some Python this weekend, and was peppered with questions like “where is the key for the two little lines?” “You mean a quote mark?” “Yeah.”

I’m going through much the same now. Moments ago I changed my keyboard layout to dvorak. Why? I type alot. Variety helps keep carpal tunnel at bay. And a few mental flexibility exercises definitely won’t hurt. (I’ll keep using qwerty at work.) Some observations:

  • “the” is really easy to type. It just flows out.
  • OSX has a key mapping that preserves qwerty layout when the cmd key is down–useful for muscle memory on cut, paste, open, close, tab, etc.
  • Expect more typos the next few weeks. :-)
  • ABCD is highly recommended.
  • Pointer fingers go on “u” and “h”. Without the little bumps on the keys, it’s hard to get your hands oriented. Two small pieces of tape help.
  • I’m getting better at this already.

-m

Friday, June 20th, 2008

RDFa is a Candidate Recommendation

The result of tons of work by lots of smart people. Go forth and implement. And I need to put in a plug for Metadata for Grandma which (indirectly, as it turned out) influenced the spec. RDFa is already a big deal, used in places like SearchMonkey. The subset of RDFa used by SearchMonkey is 100% conforming to the CR.

I’ll have more thoughts and perhaps implementation notes on this later. -m

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Do I still Yahoo!?

A common point of debate within Yahoo! was whether employees should feel compelled to use Y properties (“eat your own dogfood”) or whether said properties should have to compete on pure merit to earn internal usage. But in any case, there’s always pressure, even if subliminal, to use internal products.

I’ve free of such influence for six weeks now. What Yahoo! services do I still use? Which ones not so much?

Yahoo Answers: not so much. Even the 1 point-per-day for visiting doesn’t entice me. If I had a burning question that would be a good fit for a community answer, I’d go back.

Yahoo Mail: all the time. I used Yahoo mail long before I worked there, and I’ll be using it long after.

Yahoo News: almost daily. Still a good collection of global, national, and local news.

My Yahoo & Finance: multiple times daily. I’ve peeked at iGoogle, but the Y is too comfy, and the competion isn’t easy enough to get comfortable with. But often the page takes up to 30 seconds to load. If that doesn’t improve, I’ll leave.

Yahoo Search: still my default. But only because of tweaks I put in place with SearchMonkey. The baseline quality of results is right on par with Google. I still recommend Y search to friends and family.

Yahoo Maps: rarely used. Google maps is just better, particularly street view.

Yahoo 360: Abandoned. Tons of site bugs, no fixes on the horizon. In fact, they’ve announced shuttering of the service, to be replaced with some unspecified alternative. But who knows when that will happen? So the Meadblog is on hold until further notice. I’ll still check once in a while for postings from friends and family.

Yahoo front page: Still use it to check whether wireless is working. Most often with ping, not HTTP though. :-)

What Yahoo services do you still use? Comment below. -m

Update: a few more inspired by the comments.

Delicious: still use, mainly through the browser extension.

Flickr: still use, but I’m not much of a photos guy. I’ll be using it again shortly to upload screenshots for a blog-post tutorial I’m writing.

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Yahoo! Mobile: outgunned and outflanked

According to Ars Technica, Google captured 61% of mobile search market share in the first four months of 2008. Yahoo! came in at a distant 18%, so pretty much reflecting desktop search market share. This is due, of course, to Google being the default provider on the iPhone, and the iPhone being the biggest bulk of mobile internet usage.

So Jerry (or whoever is on deck as CEO), you should probably look into this mobile thing and see what’s up with leadership there and whether anything is salvageable… -m

Monday, June 16th, 2008

Netflix giveth, Netflix taketh away

Here’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know. Netflix has gone on record as saying that although their Instant View library, viewable online or via the hardware Roku player, is much smaller than their DVD library, they’re working hard on closing the gap. For instance, one quote says “adding titles at light speed”. But some titles are disappearing over time.

Just today, the Leslie Neilsen flick Wrongfully Accused (the tale of the one-eyed, one-legged, one-armed man) went offline as of today. Yesterday I watched it for free online. I’d really hate to see the kinds of negotiations that must be going on in back rooms between the studios and distributors these days…

If you have an Instant View queue, check it out. Under the “Availability” column, check for dates when your selections go offline. Blank means it’s safe for the time being. -m

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

MLUC08 Day 2

During a Q&A session today, I asked a panel of MarkLogic users about whether they saw metadata (and specifically RDF) as becoming an important factor in the near future. Fair enough question, having just come from the SearchMonkey project at Yahoo! The answer:

A qualified yes. Having a strong metadata store and query engine isn’t a crushing must-have-today need. But that day is coming… -m

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

MLUC08 Day 1

Other than training sessions today was the first day of the Mark Logic User Conference. And I was surprised by the feel of it: very much like a industry XML conference. Many familiar faces were there, like Norm, Zarella, Kurt, and  Eliot. The sessions were somewhat more narrowly focused around MarkLogicy things, of course, but it still had that feel. I got alot out of the sessions I attended, and had great hallway conversations.

I’ll post more details when I’m not exhausted (which isn’t likely to be any time this week).

Things to check out: the tweets, the liveblog, and don’t miss the CEO blog (don’t worry, he’s a math/physics guy. It’s worth reading.)-m

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Join me at the Mark Logic User Conference

I’ll be up in San Francisco the rest of this week at the Mark Logic User Conference. If you’ll be there too, be sure to look me up. -m

Monday, June 9th, 2008

The comedy stylings of the Windows Vista Blog

For instance, The Business Value of Windows Vista. Seriously, Vista for “speed and security”? Or mobile? The comments on this post alone are worth the click. -m

Friday, June 6th, 2008

Who this blog is for

I’m reading Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide. It’s a more business-ey kind of book than most Web 2.0 faire. So it jumped out at me the section “Who this book is for”. I hate these sections, even though they are quite common.

Why would I need a book to tell me who it’s for? Isn’t that kind of insulting?

Back when I was a product manager, I needed to coordinate an even, and I pushed back on the marketing folks who wanted a detailed list of who should attend. “It’s self-selecting,” I said. “Anyone who can look at the event description and determine that they should be there is in the target audience.” The suggestion didn’t go over well. -m

P.S. Yes, my book has a “who should read this” section too…

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Microformat search done right

From the Yahoo! Developer blog, new search keywords you can use to hone in on indexed microformats.

For example, to see every hAtom-bearing page that mentions ‘dubinko’ use the query [searchmonkeyid:com.yahoo.uf.hatom dubinko]. Works similarly for hCard, hCalendar, hReview, and XFN. I’m sure more are coming soon too. -m

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Behold the awesome statistical power of CNN

I was on the right page at the right time and spotted this:

CNN screen grab

WIth zero votes for any candidate and zero precincts reporting, CNN calls it. Now, I’m no stats expert, but this one seems a bit extreme. Comments? -m

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Apple Mobile Me? (But watch out for falling SCO)

Rumor is that the .Mac service is being renamed to “Mobile Me”. Great, in it’s present state, it’s always been the kind of thing that’s completely useless to me, even aside from the annoying name.

But watch out: everyone’s favorite gang of bankrupt litigious weasels, the SCO group, in a desperate effort to prove they they have a broader business plan than making up claims about owning open source software, already have a mobile-related product called “Me, Inc.“. On the plus side, these guys are so deep into their bankruptcy proceedings that they probably don’t have the mettle to go up against Apple at this point. But neither do they have much to lose for trying… -m