Google is asking for feedback on the redesign of its "Reader" RSS aggregator.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Google is asking for feedback on the redesign of its "Reader" RSS aggregator.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Even with these directions, I couldn't make it work. And Barbara Brundage/Dave Pogue/Tim O'Reilly's "Missing Manual" isn't helping either. What a waste of money this program has been.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
I use it strictly to play music.
Some day, Apple will learn to make one of these portable music thingamajigs that doesn't crash. They just need some more time to iron out the kinks. They've only had seven years so far.
The attached image is a Google search showing how common this problem is. The second hit is from 2004, The third hit is an Apple doc on the topic, linked to a movie they made on the topic.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
When I click "Yes," that would be a good time for iTunes to ask me to name the album. Instead, it doesn't, it just starts importing the CD, so I end up with a bunch of tracks named "Track 01" "Track 02" etc. and with blank album names. So I can't tell apart one imported CD from another and the tracks become lost, one mix CD indistinguishable from another.
The workaround, by the way, is to select all the tracks on the CD (don't wait for them to be imported, this works with an import in progress), select File/Get Info, say "Yes" to the scary confirmation dialog, then enter the name of the mix into the album field and hit "OK." Now you'll be able to pull up the mix CD just by typing the name into the iTunes search field while browsing your music library. If you feel like naming the tracks, you can do that later, whenever.
Same thing tonight, I wanted to bitch about the product "In Stock" lie.
They really don't want to hear feedback from customers. Nothing you can find on the site, no form, no email address, nothing.
Friday, July 04, 2008
This would actually convince me to use a frequent-shopper card and provide accurate information for it. Every time I made a purchase, a record (in some open standard format) would be emailed to an address of my choosing. In this fashion, I could build a household food database.
A sufficiently sophisticated grocery chain could even make the purchase history available via Web app, though the email option should still be there so other tools could be used.
An ambitious customer could even use a handheld scanner at home on items as they are thrown away. This would allow you to have an accurate, available-from-anywhere database of what is in your fridge and/or pantry. A scanner would also allow you to scan in purchases from other retailers (i.e. wine from your local wine shop, cheese from the cheese shop, etc).
And of course you could enter data in manually. With the right interface, this wouldn't be such a pain. With one click, for example, you could record the repurchasing of anything you've ever bought before.
If a bar-code scanner were built into an iPhone or Blackberry, one could quickly check whether a particular item is already in the cupboard at home, or even find out if one is being charged a reasonable price.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Many people encouraged me to simply pirate Adobe Photoshop. I don't believe in doing that sort of thing, and I've heard good things about Adobe Photoshop Elements, which costs about $80, so I bought it. Out of my own pocket, since I'm a contractor.
Today I went to install it. Here, in full, are the directions, provided by Adobe:
"Close any Adobe applications open on your computer. Insert the installation disc into your DVD drive and follow the on-screen instructions."
Well, guess what? When you insert the DVD, NOTHING HAPPENS.
OK, so I open the Readme file. This contains NO INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO INSTALL THE SOFTWARE. There is a section called "INSTALLING" but -- whoops! -- it never actually explains how to, uh, do the install. It just lists system requirements, some things you're not allowed to do and some things that might go wrong.
Normally, I would just drag the App on the DVD to the Applications folder on my hard drive. But 1. there's a bunch of different folders and icons and 2. Adobe Elements is known to not use this Mac convention.
I go looking through the manual for a phone number to call. There is none. IM? None. Email address? None. AT LEAST A WEB URL?? NO!!
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I stopped my Fortune subscription several weeks ago due to time constraints, but I'd love to buy just the issue with Steve Jobs on the cover (see Gruber and FSJ for details). Fortune's publisher Time Inc. should make buying a magazine as easy as buying a song on iTunes. Better yet, actually sell magazines through iTunes since I already have an account there. Or Amazon.
And yes I'm talking about a physical paper magazine, not a stupid PDF or whatever. Mail it to my house, bill my credit card. This would be much preferable to trying to hunt the specific issue down in stores or signing up for an unneeded subscription that clutters my house, adds a little stress to my life and hurts the environment.
Over the course of a year I may very well end up spending as much as or more than I would have on a subscription. I'm fine with that.
As I've said before, the print media business will recover only once publications start paying attention the basics, like how they are sold and distributed.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Though all indications are that Blogger's API still sucks because it does not allow image uploading, the blogging application I use, ecto, has worked around this by uploading my images to Flickr automatically when I drag them into my posts. This is not ideal, since it pollutes my Flickr feed with random images for my blog, but it's better than no images.
I'm going to stick with Blogger for this blog because I don't have the energy to move it and ecto in version 3 is now much more smooth about working around Blogger's image limitations. It also now supports tagging in Blogger.
If/when Tumblr supports apps like ecto, I will move the blog off Blogger.(UPDATE: Another way Blogger sucks with ecto and other third-party tools: If you have Blogger set to "convert linebreaks" in the standard online Blogger posting form, that setting will *also* apply to posts from ecto, even though they are sent in HTML via the API. When you change this setting to work properly with ecto, it makes all your prior posts screwy. Dumb dumb dumb. If your blog is short, just republish all your old posts via ecto and you are golden.)
I continue to be fascinated by OPML thanks to my new job, where I deal with OPML files a lot. Late last night I couldn't stop thinking about OPML-related products. I am now convinced this format will revolutionize search and social media.
Here is how I would beat Google (at search) and get rich using OPML, had I the time:
- Build an RSS reader that supports "live" OPML subscriptions using OPML URLs, as discussed here, with the ability to pull in arbitrary sections of the outline. It should similarly support "live" OPML export.
- Figure out who people's friends are and where their friends' OPML files live. We care about these files even if they are not being viewed in the reader in any way. One way to find these files by allowing people to specify their friends ala social networking. If their friend uses your reader, you already have an OPML file for the person.
- Build a search engine off of this reader that is personalized for each user. It searches all your feeds, of course, but it also searches your imported OPML feeds, then your non-imported friend OMPL feeds, then the cosmos of sites/URLs closely related to all these feeds, then the Internet at large.
The key idea here is to augment Google's PageRank with something I'll call FeedRank.
PageRank ranks pages based on the number of links to each page. FeedRank ranks pages based on how close they are to your feed reader.
FeedRank gives heaviest priority to your feeds, next-highest to feeds of others (OPML) you subscribe to (live OPML folders), then the feeds of others who are like you (OPML of your friends). Only then does it look at links on the Internet.
FeedRank is more resistant to tampering than PageRank, because while PageRank ranks baded on links culled from the entire Web, including tons of sites placed there with the intention of gaming PageRank, FeedRank would contain the crucial added information of who you personally have chosen to trust OPML is key to the concept because it it allows you to increase the number of feeds in your cosmos by an order of magnitude thus providing fuel for FeedRanking. Note that while you'll want to read some of the OPML feeds (ala Dave Winer's Reading Lists idea, which I call "live OPML folders"), others will just be in your account for purposes of building your personal search engine.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Then when you try and actually hook your hard drive up to the $180 router and you get an error message, you find out it doesn't support external drives for the latest versions of Windows like XP, 2000 and Vista (those using NTFS, the modern standard for Windows hard drives). NOWHERE did Apple disclose this, not online and not in the damn manual for the product.
An honest marketing pitch would read, "Turn your external USB hard drive into a drive you can share with all the users on your network by reformatting it and destroying all the data."
Oh and of course they've already obsoleted this product.
Oh and also? This "easy to use" brand new router didn't work with the software that shipped with my brand new Mac. I had to install a second AirPort Utility beyond the one already on the hard drive.
And no I'm not going to format the drive, it contains all the data from my old computer, and from at least two online accounts.
(PS Not even the tech specs of Airport Extreme divulge that NTFS is not supported.)
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Jesus Google, easy images is the single biggest reason to use a third-party app in the first place. Why did you bother even building the API??
Anyway, not a big deal. Blogging is just the single most important medium for human communication in the future. Not anything Google needs to be competitive at. Or, like, build a platform for.
(I am about 2X faster, at least, in ecto than through a Web interface, including Blogger's.)
- Allow me to view an OPML file on the Web live, as a folder, in Reader. I have an OPML list I have to reimport every couple weeks and it's annoying, I have to delete the old feeds associated with the prior version of the OPML file and then save the file to my hard drive then import the new feed then tag the imported feeds. The person sending me the file should just be able to update it on his Web server and the changes propagate instantly to Reader.
- Tag or otherwise group imported OMPL instead of just dumping into my account with no way to see what's newly imported. This is so basic.
- Allow me to export just a folder as OPML, not everything under the sun. And sharing on the Google Reader network is no substitute for this feature, my buddies/coworkers are not all on Reader.
- Likewise, allow me to import just one (or N) sections of a particular OPML file.
- Allow me to export a particular folder as OPML url, not just as a file.
OPML is one of those things that seems like an esoteric feature until you really, really need it and then you need it bad, working properly and smoothly, full featured.
- Joel On Software
- Steve Yegge
- Daring Fireball
- Philip Greenspun
- Paul Graham
- Scripting News
- Signal Vs. Noise
Monday, January 28, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Pretty lame for an ultra-mobile product with "Air" in the name and with an easy market in iPhone owners. At the very least, Apple should enable MacBook Air to use an iPhone net connection via bluetooth.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
- It will become Apple's best-selling notebook by the end of the 2008 holiday season and will rank as one of the top 5 selling notebooks in the U.S.
- A disproportionate share of sales will be to women.
- A disproportionate share of sales will be to iPhone owners.
- MacBook Air will replace the original MacBook within 18 months and, eventually, a larger version will replace the MacBook Pro 15.
- By the end of 2010, the MacBook Air will be the best-selling notebook in the country. (It may have been renamed just "MacBook" at that point.)
This will not matter. People will pay. And then the price will come down, and more people will pay. And so forth.
It's not about the specs, which are good enough, it's about fashion, design and aesthetics.