Archive for the 'trends' Category

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Yahoo! Keitai

A few more tidbits on the Softbank Mobile turnaround, for which helped architect the mobile platform.

SoftBank phones have a “Y!”-button which links to Yahoo!-keitai. Yahoo-Keitai! offers a list of official sites, new services (e.g. a new communicator service), and also access to free mobile internet sites through the YAHOO directory, as well as access to YAHOO services, such as YAHOO-auctions.


Friday, January 26th, 2007

Bill de hÓra: REST API pattern

my new publishing technique is unstoppable – but why limit to blog posts?

GET Introspection URI
   scan the list of workspaces for the collection you want to post to
GET to Collection URI
   read the nice [atom] feed 
POST to the collection URI
   push an item formatted as [a nice atom entry]
GET or HEAD to item URI
   grab the item
PUT or DELETE to item URI
   change or delete the  item


Friday, January 26th, 2007

Opera Mini turns One

Congrats to Opera Mini on its first anniversary. I just installed it on my new SLVR, and the download is an astounding 98k. Why can’t more software be this lean? And yes, Y! search came as the default. -m

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

My .02 on Wikipedia and nofollow

The nofollow setting on an outbound link should be a user-editable option, subject to the same community process that all other content on wikipedia already is. (Site guidelines, dispute resolution, restricted editing on certain articles for unregistered users, etc.) By default, links would get nofollow, but over time, they could be ‘blessed’, perhaps after a certain amount of time or human review. Wasn’t this how nofollow was supposed to work in the first place?
The community process works. Why maneuver around it? -m

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Open Questions

And a few not so open…

Q: Does the iPhone (or specifically the desktop-grade Safari browser) make the “mobile web” obsolete?

A: The “mobile web”, as we know it today, will become obsolete without any help. Things change. Devices improve. That said, the context in which one uses the web is different, and there will always be a need for some sites to have mobile-specific versions, even after the day every mobile browser is desktop-grade.

Q: Does the advent of desktop-grade mobile browsers mean that today’s mobile development is meaningless?

A: No. The race is on today, and the winners will be those who can make the most users happy. That includes users who–for several more years–won’t own hardware capable of desktop-grade browsers. The winner on this playing field will have any easy momentum play to carry over to the next one.
Q: Will the iPhone “cannabalize” iPod sales?

A: Goodness, no. People who buy one will be either 1) buying it instead of an iPod, or 2) not. The Cingular CEO said it was a “multi-year exclusive” deal, signed sight unseen. In other words, Apple had incredible leverage to get a good deal. Their subsidy on the 2-year contract is probably significant, maybe in the $300 range, possibly a lot more. So would you call selling a $800-900 device instead of a $200 one cannabalization?

Q: What does this mean for XHTML-MP and XHTML Basic?

A: That’s a tough question. In the end, it will boil down to momentum. Today’s successful mobile development necessarily involves XHTML. Once browsers get better, nobody is going to re-write their sites in worse markup, though some might attempt to merge with the main site. (Another open User Experience Design question is the degree to which it will be possible for one site to work in a different, mobile, context.)

Q: What does this mean for Mobile Web Best Practice and mobileOK?
A: Like the “mobile web” both of these specs-in-progress will become obsolete without help. But now they are going to look increasingly obsolete at an accerated rate.


Monday, January 8th, 2007

Yahoo! + Opera = Crazy Delicious

(Press release) Starting today, Y! is the exclusive search partner for Opera Mini across more than 100 countries. The release also names “oneSearch”, going live later in Q1–definitely something to keep an eye on. -m

Sunday, December 31st, 2006

New Year Resolutions

I don’t.

If you resolve to do something, don’t wait for a certain calendar date–just do it. -m

Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Evil record companies, circa 1900

This “click-through” license on an Edison-style phonograph cylinder has been making the rounds. But don’t miss the front side: a giant photo of Edison himself, and his name in the largest font possible. As the photo caption says:

They really weren’t concerned with artist promotion, I guess.

From day one, the record companies have been more concerned about their own well-being than artists, it seems. -m

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Letting the Sushi out of the bag

ZDNet Asia offers a rare glimpse inside Yahoo! Mobile, including the code name for a current project I’m involved with. Read on to get an idea why I keep saying to expect big things soon in this space. -m

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Number portability arrives in Japan

A brief nod to the east: now Japanese mobile users have the option to switch carriers while keeping their existing number. This development is triggering a new round of competition among the carriers and bringing in a new era of free content, something we take for granted in the U.S. -m

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

DRM backlash proceeds

Check out this site from Dreamhost: Files Forever. All files are DRM-free and can be re-downloaded at any time. Expect to see more of this from an unhealthy market that wants to break free from artificial constraints. Currenly in beta and open only to Dreamhost customers. -m

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

Yahoo! + SoftBank: watch this space

Today Softbank Mobile launched a new mobile service, delivering tons of Yahoo! Japan content, powered by Yahoo! US technology, to Softbank Mobile phones. This is notable for a few reasons:

  • In the past, content of this caliber been inside paid walled gardens in Japan. Opening this up could be the tipping point for a shake-up in one of the most amazing mobile markets.
  • This is the first time a carrier has been in so close with a content provider. If this works out (and leading signs are very good), it could be a model for the rest of the world.
  • I’ve seen some of the new hardware from SoftBank Mobile. The phones are great and–through tight Y! integration–go a long way toward solving longstanding UI problems related to the mobile web.
  • Number portability is coming to Japan, I believe beginning today on October 24. Once this gets momentum, user bases could shift rapidly. Today is the ideal time to be playing a strong card.
  • Apple rumors continue to swirl around SoftBank. I’m giddy at the thought of iPods accessing the web through my code. :-)

So, watch this space. More good things are coming. -m

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

XHTML Print is final

Another example of a small, useful spec defined in a language humans can actually read and understand. It also seems incredibly useful to be able to print basic things without going through the multi-megabyte printer driver madness that everyone else seems to be going for. -m

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Hack Day cometh

Another cool thing on the way: this Friday is the first public Yahoo! Hack Day. I’ll be out on the lawn for sure. If you’ll be there–look me up. Since the presentations come rapid-fire at the end, here Chad Dickerson has some tips on presenting in 90 seconds. -m

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

Yahoo’s Pop Hook: I like where this is going…

Spotted via Weinberger. Hiawatha Bray of The Boston Globe writes about Yahoo’s continuing foray against DRM, led by David Goldberg. -m

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Turning Point

For the first time today, I momentarily wished that jEdit had a particular Emacs key binding, not the other way around. -m

Wednesday, September 6th, 2006

Mark Birbeck: ‘Ajax makes browser choice irrelevant’

A must-read posting from Mark Birbeck, who knows a few things about XForms and Web Forms 2.0.

He talks about the respective approaches embodied in XForms and Web Forms 2.0, and concludes that the primary difference between them has little to do with simplicity. He goes on to analyze differences in how developers and users view browsers. Go read it, it’s worth it. -m

Friday, September 1st, 2006

Should hospitals censor internet access?

Most of the censorship stories you hear on the news involve public libraries, but right now I’m writing this from a hospital, which has free wi-fi. Someone providing a service like this has latitude to do pretty much as they please, including censorship, but is it a good idea?

The system here evidently consists of a monitor observing every HTTP access, either forwarding it on or bouncing to another server, one that seems to be down. That second server, referred to only by numeric IP, has yet to ever actually respond, so trying to load any page with a blocked site requres a lengthy timeout of about two minutes before landing on a browser error page with a URL something like this:

Let’s take a look at what kind of sites this inane system prevents hospital visotors from viewing directly:

  • (“Personal Pages”) — because honestly, who in a maternity ward would ever need to upload pictures of something?
  • (“Dating&Personal”) — because who in a maternity ward would consider posting to a blog?
  • as a (“Portal Site”) — because who, away from home for a few days, might want to check up on news of the world around them?
  • (“Personal Pages”) — thankfully, this dangerous and immoral content too has been shielded from the eyes of maternity ward visitors.

At some point, somebody must have pointed out a flaw in their system–that any named site can also be viewed through a numeric IP. Instead of actually thinking about the problem, they also banned all numeric IPs, even for sites that would otherwise work.
The upside to retarded filtering is that it’s easy to get around. Techniques that work here include using a search engine cached page, Coral Cache (, SSH tunneling, VPN, and adding a new entry to hosts to access the same site under a different name. The access is so slow, however (hmm… in a way another form of censorship) that the strain of the additional measures often leads to timeouts and various other errors.
Fortunately, the filtermasters haven’t caught on to yet, thus allowing this post to appear. I hear that site is pretty subversive.

What’s the net?

  1. It’s obvious their list of sites to filter is woefully generic, not at all adjusted to the environment in which people will be actually using the system. And still, I’d wager they’re paying someone fistfuls of cash to keep updating the generic list.
  2. I can imagine there are a few sites on the internets that wouldn’t be appropriate in this environment.  The majority of well-adjusted adults are perfectly capable of choosing not to visit those sites.
  3. In cases where supervision is needed, it is effective on a one-on-one basis, often parent-to-child. Witness how many ways there are to easily bypass the filters: software, particularly bad software, isn’t clever enough to replace human judgement.
  4. Yay for the mobile web, which allowed me to upload my pictures anyway.


Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Rumor: Voda and Goog on the rocks

Interesting, but not surprising. The source article talks about revenue share unhappiness, but that seems like a bit of a stretch for a deal only inked six months ago. There’s some more interesting analysis in there as well.

It was the open secret in the industry that both Voda and T-Mobile were beginning to have their doubts about their marriage with Google. Now the honeymoon is over rumors are mounting that both operators are ripe for a new union with Yahoo or a white-label solution – or both.

My opinion is that folks are starting to realize that there’s a lot more to life than being really, really ridiculously good at search. -m

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

Python @ Yahoo!

This is excellent: a Python Developer Center at Yahoo!. -m

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006

Thunderbird thinks this message might be an email scam.

Hmm, this seems like a new feature, auto-installed after my last mail client restart. Unfortunately, there’s no “what’s this?” link for further information.

I find it interesting that the scam message wasn’t also labeled as “Junk”. Also, for some reason, the word ‘scam’ feels unexpectedly slangy in this setting. Great feature, I just wish I was a little more transparent. -m

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Wireless Japan Expo

A few pics up on Flickr. Still recovering from travel, more soon. -m

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Rich Web Application Backplane

Yes, the devastating two-pronged attack is in full swing. Link. -m

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

The right way to do Ajax is declaritively

Write up by Duncan Cragg. More and more momentum is building for this meme. -m

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Virtual PC is free

According to the authoratative site. Looks like the virtualization markup is getting interesting. -m

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Billable Events

A little bit back, Cringely had a brilliant column about billable events and the last mile. Everything the telcos (and others) do these days is primarily aimed at creating billable events. This includes the net neutrality debates.
In fact, at&t is so skilled at revenuing, they can generate billable events out of nothing at all. Here’s a short quote from a recent phone bill:

The FUSF pass through fee charged to some customers has been reduced and credit may be due. Due to the large volume, any applicable credits generated in 2005 or 2006 may appear on a future bill. The average one-time credit will be less than $1.50.

No problem manufacturing extra charges in “large volume” since at least last year, but when it comes to refunds (and very partial refunds from the look of it), it sure takes a long time.

Speaking of long times, another thing the telcos aren’t very quick about is transferring service. Took them 11 days to establish service at my new address, with a $37 billable event to boot. But I’m back online now. If you’ve sent email in the last 2 weeks and haven’t seen a response, it might be a good idea to resend. -m

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006


All right, nofollow is officially gone from here, using the DoFollow plugin. Enjoy. -m

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

rel=’nofollow’ IS a failure

My earlier nofollow post is now officially the most-spammed blog posting I’ve ever written. All this despite a moderation system–the spammers are getting zero benefit from all this. Deterrent techniques are not working; there will always be some small percentage of “unprotected” sites that the bad guys are happy to exploit.

Adding insult, even after I moderate posts, the links still have nofollow applied (by default in WordPress). Later, I’m going to post some analysis on how and why nofollow fails. If you have any ideas, post them in comments below. -m

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Linking from HTTP headers

From mnot: the return of the Link: headers, last seen in RFC 2068, and a new header, Link-Template, which has me salivating over the possibilities.

I wonder, will this lead to better libraries for dealing with HTTP headers? Or at least better developer understanding of the benefits of not just taking whatever Apache or Tomcat or whatever yields by default?  -m

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

Show me your mixer

Hey Podcasters out there…post a picture of your mixer on your blog or favorite photo sharing site. As a bonus, you’ll have a “backup” of your settings for future reference. Give it the tag “mixerpic” so we can all find it later. -m