May 23 2011

Retweet April 2011

From time to time I just blast tweets about software development, project planning, team dynamics, or whatever else comes to mind. Here is a synopsis of recent tweets and rants. If you want to follow the conversation follow me at techknow and/or juixe.

Software Development

  • Thread.sleep(28800000);
  • You don’t need a PHD in PHP to be a great Web Developer.
  • Not Another Expression Language. There should be one expression language to rule them all.
  • I am not afraid of rolling up my sleeves and debugger.
  • It’s a thin line between feature and bug.
  • Code is a blunt instrument.
  • We ain’t afraid of no code block.
  • Web designers are modern day alchemists.
  • If developers are a dime a dozen, then product idea people are a silver dollar a dozen.
  • I don’t read romance novels or non-fiction before going to bed, I read programming language technical specifications.
  • New Name For Rock Band: Death By SQL Injection
  • Let there be code.
  • Just code it.
  • Code the future.
  • Crack the code.
  • Don’t be a code donkey.

Team Dynamics

  • Are you a value creator, subtractor, divider, or multiplier?
  • AWS failure is the perfect storm to the cloud.
  • Stress is excess, we don’t need it in our lives.
  • You can’t buy the scrappy mentality.
  • Scale your thought process.
  • The right time is right now.
  • Strive to do what you do well better.
  • People don’t scale and multi-task as well as computers do.
  • Give a man a thought, and he will think for a day. Teach a man to think, and he will think for himself.
  • You don’t want someone to reinvent the wheel, you need someone that makes it turn!
  • Everyone has great ideas, what is needed is great execution of great ideas.

Product Placement

  • Is Automattic, the company behind WordPress, working on an ad network? With millions of WP blogs out there, maybe it should.
  • Jiffy Lube peeps are great at up selling you on add-on services.
  • Forget HAL 3000, I’m afraid of my iPhone 3000. “I’m sorry Dave, but I’m afraid you can’t do that and I’ve notified the authorities.
  • Google announcing that better ads are coming to GMail is like the power company announcing that a better billing system is coming.
  • I feel like I get more snail mail spam than email spam. I wonder if GMail can also filter out my snail mail spam.
  • If you add up all the zero-day holes in Adobe products, you get a lot of days spent patching and upgrading buggy software.

The Valley

  • Welcome to the Blubble 2.0.
  • The trouble with the blubble.
  • I think we are in a #bubble when a website for listing free crap is valued at multiple millions of dollars.
  • Don’t pivot while you pitch.
  • How do you monetize the bubble?
  • Ah, Silicon Valley, the land of vanity startups, founders with ADD, fan boi VCs, me-to products, one trick apps, companies on pivot mode…
  • Bubbles are like snow flakes, there are no two alike, so we can conclude that this tech bubble I’d different from previous ones.

General Technologist

  • If Arthur Miller were alive today he would have written a sequel to Death of a Salesman called Death of a Social Media Marketing Ninja.
  • You know your service or product is successful if GOOG wants to buy you for a billion dollars, FB copies you, and if MSFT doesn’t get it.
  • Any lawmaker who proposes any bill related to technology should be able to correctly setup a wifi router, Facebook privacy settings, …
  • My iPhone knows too much about me. I think I want a dumb phone, instead of a scheming evil genius phone that is tracking my every move.
  • If TinyUrl was a utilities company it would force upgrade everybody to use smart grid meter and charge us extra to use green friendly links.
  • Twitter management seem to play musical chairs with titles. It seems like everyone at the company has had a turn at being CEO.
  • There are different degrees of open in open platforms, from marketing buzzword open to data portability open.
  • What I learned by reading Rework by 37signals: Emulate drug dealing celebrity chefs and up sale the by-products of what you do.

Jan 22 2011

Three Sentences

A family member has over 20,000 unopened emails in her inbox. I get just as many emails and I average somewhere between 5-10, depending on the day/time of the week. I don’t claim to subscribe to the Inbox Zero movement but I try to keep my inbox clean and manageable. I have a complicated email system that I have setup for myself. I use Google Apps for Domain to host the email address for my websites. I commonly use in about 5 email addresses, most of these are tied to one inbox in GMail so that I can send and receive email from all these accounts by logging in once. I also use folders, priority mail, and star important email to try to manage all incoming messages. I am quick to remove myself from mailing lists that I am no longer interested in, I am quick to spam unsolicited emails, and I am quick to delete emails. In addition to all these technology tools and tricks, I’ve started following the Three Sentences discipline.

Three Sentences devotees claim to threat email responses like text messages, so instead of long verbose letters each email response is simply three sentences. I think of it like Twitter for email. There is also a Four Sentence and Five Sentence variation of this, the key is to stick to a disciple of writing short concise emails that get to the point at hand.

Jan 4 2011

The Google Chrome Notebook

Google publicly announced Chrome OS in back in July 2007. They’ve been busy building a lightweight browser-powered and cloud computing-enabled Operating System. Recently in, December 2010 Google announced a test pilot program for a Chrome OS notebook dubbed Google CR-48. On the day of the announcement, some insiders already had the CR-48 in hand but Google also opened up the test pilot program to the general public via a signup form. The signup was targeted to developers, educators, and individuals alike. By way of a Christmas miracle, I was able to land a Google CR-48 and have been using it for days now.

As soon as the details of the Google Chrome Notebook were made available I was immediately in love with the Google CR-48. It’s basically an ultra light weight cloud computing client running a slimmed down web enabled Operating System. The CR-48 is as portable as an iPad but with a full keyboard. The CR-48 has a smart track pad that supports iPad-like touch gestures. The CR-48 is always on, just like an iPad or Mac Air, so there is no boot up time when all you want is just check your email or post a tweet. That said, the CR-48 is not a official product and that is evident by the simple black frame, it’s even without a trace of corporate logo or Intel inside sticker. Because the CR-48 is not a official product, I won’t say much about the industrial design and finish of the hardware other than to say that unlike the iPad, it has a USB port and a SD slot.

Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook

Google Chrome CR-48 Notebook

As soon as you open the CR-48 it turned on magically and prompted me to sign in. Unlike the iPhone or iPad, the CR-48 doesn’t require you to connect to a computer before you can use it. After some setup steps, you can sign in and take it for a run. As soon as you log into the device, you will see a Chrome browser taking up the whole screen with a single tab. It does take some time to realize that the CR-48 is a laptop with just one application, a browser. That is all it is, a browser. There is nothing to see, move along, it’s only a browser. Your desktop is your default page as shown in a Chrome browser. It merits repeating, the Chrome CR-48 only has one installed application, a Chrome browser.

As soon as you log into the CR-48 you find a browser in full window mode and if configured correctly with your home’s WiFi, you can start surfing the net. I’ve been using the CR-48 for reading blogs, checking email, liking status updates on Facebook, and accessing the web applications I use on a daily basis. Google does have a Chrome specific Web Store where you can install free and paid applications but I’ve not found anything of interest.

Aside from the technical specification of the Google Chrome CR-48 notebook, what is more interesting for me is that this is the first cloud computing client, a sort of Web 2.0 Thin Client. I am a avid user of Google Docs, GMail, WordPress, and other online services that have a large amount of my data in their respective ‘cloud.’

Realizing that this is a cloud client, privacy issues and data mining concerns immediately become apparent. It is already known that Google saves user searches and that with this and other identifying data they modify search results. It is already known that Google Adsense ads are targeted to the sites you visit. Can you imagine how valuable your browser history and usage statistics is to a company like Google? Google has a large amount of identifying information with from all angles of your browsing experience, from Google Search, Google Adsense, Google Analytics, and now Chrome and it’s Chrome notebook. I can see a future where Google would be giving away Chrome and Android-based devises for free because they can collect so much valuable information and up sell users with highly targeted ads.

The CR-48 is a great little notebook but a machine like that would never replace my laptop. At this time and with it’s current specifications, it can’t handle the hundreds of pictures I am known to take over a weekend, it can’t handle the gigabytes of video I take on a trip, and as great as Google Docs is it’s still not Microsoft Office. I see the CR-48 as a great web surfing machine while TV surfing.

Mar 28 2010

Check if Someone Hacked Your GMail Account

The Chinese government might not be trying to hack your Google Mail account but maybe your ex has. The most common security violation is a significant other or an ex hacking into, logging into without authorization, into a email account. Google Mail has a small feature that allows you to check the activity for your GMail account to see if there are unauthorized logins.

Once you have logged into GMail, scroll all they way to the bottom, between the Google copyright and the available storage capacity you will see a line that reads like the following: Last account activity: 33 minutes ago on this computer. Details.

Clicking on the Details link will popup a window that shows you activity history for your GMail account. The Details page will list the IP address of each time you account was accessed, the date/time of each login, it will show the number of logins from the current session.

You will get a different session each time you login, for example when you use a different computer, etc. Since you can track the date/time, IP address, and session for each login you should be able to verify the activity of your GMail account. This should be enough information for you to spot irregular activity.

From the account activity Details page you can log out from all sessions by clicking the “Sign out all other sessions” button. This will log out all sessions from all computers, for example if you forgot to logout from your schools computer, etc. Signing out from a session would require users to sign back in with your username and password. If you spot irregular activity in your mail account, you should consider changing your password.

If you find mysterious IP addresses in you account activity you can Google for any number of web sites that can track an location to your IP address. These services are not accurate to the city, it might report a city 20 miles away from the actual location but location to IP address services might provide additional hints to track down the location of where your account was accessed.

Feb 13 2010

Buzz Overkill: One Day with Google Buzz

Aside from my initial shock of Google’s blatant privacy oversight, I immediately jumped on the bandwagon. I learned that if you can’t beat them, join them, and if you going to join them might as well try to get some new followers in the process. Using a Google Mail account that I do not user as my primary private emails, I updated my public profile and began following as many technology influencers as possible. During the course of a full day of using Google Buzz, I buzzed mostly about Google Buzz. Here is what I was buzzing about the first day of using Google Buzz.

  • With any new service there is always a land rush for the vanity url, profile name, and followers?
  • The short for Google Mail is GMail. The abbreviation for Google Voice is GVoice. Will Google Buzz be shorten down to GBuzz? What about Guzz?
  • Google Buzz is a new opportunity for the race to reach 1,000,000 followers. I hope @aplusk hasn’t heard of Google Buzz yet as it would give me a head start.
  • I expected Microsoft to blatantly copy Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare before Google.
  • When Twitter first came out Leo Laporte and Kevin Rose had the most followers for the longest time because the early adopters where mostly technologists. But once celebrities and mass media discovered Twitter, and after the stop laughing at the concept, they quickly gained the most followers and brought on new users. Leo Laporte currently has over 6K++ followers. Just wait until Britney Spears gets her buzz on.
  • I am not sure how Google will combat the additional spam I expect because of Google Buzz and Google Profiles. But I imagine, spammers and marketers are already hard at work developing spam bots that will follow everyone possible and then it is very easy to figure out peoples email address by adding at at the end of you profile user name which is public, visible, and searchable.
  • That is the plural of buzz? Buzzes?
  • What is the verb of using Google Buzz? Buzzing? Like, “I can’t talk cause I am buzzing right now.”
  • What I like about Buzz is that it has not been taken over by marketing and SEO bot accounts, just like the early days of Twitter.
  • Does anyone else notice that when you are commenting on a Buzz post the page jumps up and down, kinda like flickering, due to all the updates happening around where you are commenting? There are soo many updates below and above other posts that my comment text box jumps to fit in storm of other comments around it.
  • If you don’t like the flickering, I get’s me dizzy after a while, click on the post’s time stamp in the upper right corner. The link is to the page for this one post and it does have the jumpy flickering visible when commenting in the middle of your stream.
  • I think that Google and Facebook are in a battle for your friends. But it feels more like a Belfast brawl cage fight… Google and Apple are battling it out in in the mobile space with tit for tat guerrilla warfare… i.e. you can use the word ‘Android’ to describe you app on the Apple App Store. Now Google will suck a lot of the hot air valuation from Facebook. I think Jason Calacanis stated that Facebook lost half it’s value because of Google Buzz… and Microsoft is trying to pick a fight with Google in the search space with Bing but it is not getting much traction.
  • I still have not connected my other services into Buzz. I see some people have but they get multiple buzzes (buzz posts) for the same content. It seems like some sort of feed recursion, where the Facebook comment get’s read in by FriendFeed, then read in by Twitter, then feed into Buzz two or three times for each original post, sometimes one buzz post has the same content duplicated. I feel like I need a network architect to help me sort it all out… LOL.
  • Following along and contributing to a conversation is so much easier on Buzz than Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
  • Not missing Farmville updates on Facebook. This is the longest time I have gone without finding random alien cow on my wall.
  • Now that I filter out Buzz messages in my inbox, I can’t find the buzz threads I commented on.
  • I’m going to buzz my facebook to tweet my tumblr post on myspace and blog about it.
  • Remember when following someone meant stalking… Now it means, friending.
  • Having a buzz attack.
  • My tweets are still no popping up on my buzz.
  • Not liking how tweets show up on my buzz stream, a bunch at a time, in the middle of the night, hours after they were first tweeted. I thought Google had ‘realtime’ access to tweets. I thought Google has access to Twitter’s firehouse.
  • There are a few reasons why I like Buzz over Twitter. The ability to edit buzzes after they have been posted and commented on, and the ability to post more than 140 characters at a time. What I don’t like is that, unlike Facebook, you can’t delete comments left on you posts from trolls or stalkers or folks buzzing on their own supply. Even after you block spammers their comments are still visible in your posts.
  • There is a lot of negative reaction regarding the privacy failures with Google Buzz. I think that the problem with Google Buzz is not that it is integrated in GMail. The problem is the defaults of Google Buzz, including auto-follow, and public profiles, and the inability to use a public profile name other than your private GMail user name, the blocking functionality does not seem to work, etc.
  • Google pulled a Facebook move in terms of privacy… Their motto of ‘do no evil’ did not stop them from doing something so stupid.
  • How does one get verified on Google Buzz/Profile? I certify myself. Does my mom need to call Google to verify my identity? What else will Google verify? What I really need is an alibi and some receipts from a convenience store in Albuquerque, New Mexico for last night.
  • Ansel Adams would not have had used Flickr, Shakespeare would not had has used Twitter, Ghandi would not have had used Facebook, and Columbus would not have had used Foursquare.. But I am sure they would all have had used Google Buzz.