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.

Feb 3 2011

Has Google Jumped The Shark?

Everybody knows that Google’s search results have suffered due to spam, content farms, black hat SEOs, social media marketers, trolls, and gypsies. As Google’s search results continue to degrade due to spam content and its social networks (Orkut, Buzz, Wave) have floundered Google been on the attack against the competition, not so much on the technical front but in the press. It was just a few months that Google lashed out at Facebook over import/export of user data. Now Google has its sights on Microsoft Bing. It was only late last year when tech journalist started to notice Google copy feature which appeared first on Bing, see here and here. Now Google, in an orchestrated and designed PR stunt accuse Microsoft Bing of copying Google’s search results.

Google's Home Page

Google's Home Page

Just like Microsoft, Google uses thousands of data points from users online usage from web crawlers, social media, ad networks, analytics, clickstream, retweets, likes, trends, and other methods. Google uses a lot of different data points to improve their search results, not just crawling from a href to a href. Google has tracking information on users, from every side of the click. Google often has and collects information when a user clicks a link on its search result page and on the visited page (if that site uses any of Google products such as Analytics or Adsense). Google is sitting pretty collecting data from every angle, because it has the market share to do so and tells competitors “No Soup for You.” The orchestrated “synthetic” outrage from Google and associated Bing sting borders into monopolistic behavior.

Is using Twitter’s firehose cheating? In a black and white world, were using calculators in a test is considered cheating, then using Twitter’s firehose is cheating. If using Twitter’s firehose is considered cheating, then Google cheats too.


Dec 29 2010

Random Thoughts December 2010

No explanation required, here are some random thoughts that occurred to me during the past month. These ideas are usually to long to force into 140 character limit of Twitter but not fully develop to merit their own post.

Which is worse, a developer that will fight you every inch when you ask him to add a feature that upsets the balance of his understanding or the isometry of his code or a developer when asked to add a feature simply does it without question?

It is estimated that up to 90% of Internet traffic is spam. For some product searches up to 80% of Google results are spam because of black hat SEO.

In the span of year a typical teen on Facebook would have written more text than the whole of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and would contain more drama than Shakespeare’s plays combine but it won’t be considered literature.

I travel for business a bit. I usually stay in the same hotel chain, if not the same hotel. I would like the hotel check-in process to be as easy as Foursquare check-in. In fact, if I am already in their reward program, and if they already have my credit card, they already know all pertinent information about me, why do I even have to check in or out at the front desk? Here is a million dollar idea, have a way book a hotel from you iPhone, you are immediately given a room number, if available, and your credit card in file or reward card is used to open the hotel room door. There is no need, unless you need more towels, to deal with the front desk.

Saying that listing to rap long enough will make you want to shoot someone is like saying that listening to country long enough will make you make love to your truck.


Dec 29 2010

Captcha This, Byatch!

Google announced the development of an autonomous self driving vehicle that has the potential of revolutionizing and maximizing the use of roads, fuels, and other resources. I wondered out loud, via Twitter, what other struggling industries might need some of Google algorithmic-minded engineering.

  • @techknow: In addition to moving into the automotive industry, Google should get into the airline business and revolutionize it from the ground up.
  • @SchemaCzar: Google did get into the airline biz a few months ago by buying ITA Software.
  • @techknow: You are right, I totally forgot about that acquisition. Okay, the business they still haven’t entered into: home loans! They could fix the mortgage industry

Spam and spambots are a big problem for website operators, but their solutions to get around spambots is hurting the web just as much as the spam. Personally, I despise captchas. Captchas are those cryptic and distorted letters or words that look you have to type to prove that you are a real person when signing up for a web application or service. I recently had to do an eye test and I have 20/20 vision and I have trouble entering captchas, imagine the accessibility issues that people with disabilities have to deal with because of these.

  • @techknow: I get personally insulted when I am prompted to prove my humaness with a captcha. It makes me wanna bust a cap-tcha on some webdeveloper!!!
  • @AaronBoynton: I so agree! There are better ways #downwithcaptcha
  • @techknow: The worst part is that I start thinking that maybe I am a robot because I can’t read the damn captcha. A robot with poor vision.

I’ve written about missing features in Foursquare and other location based web services before. There is little or no utility in checking into a location though Foursquare. In check into hotels more than I check into Foursquare. In check into a restaurant more than I check into Facebook Places. I want to be able to check into a restaurant and make an order. I want to check into a hotel and check in without talking to the front desk. I want to check into a parking structure and pay for parking. The following conversation started with that idea.

  • @techknow: I would like the hotel check-in process to be as easy as Foursquare check-in.
  • @ButtercupD: cool would be something similar Fastrak for bridge tolls–what about frequent guest card and walk in and autochecks you.
  • @techknow: We should patent that. ;)

I was fortunate enough to get a free CR-48 Crome notebook from Google. People outside of Google had the opportunity to sign up for one and this was the first raffle/lottery that I have ever won. This is the first time I have ever heard of a company making available a test pilot product to people outside of the company in this fashion. I think it was marketing genius and Google engineers will mine a lot of real life usage data from pilot users.

  • @techknow: My Google wish came true, and it came in a UPS box!
  • @aaronhalford: aw, everyone is getting a CR-48 but me. Enjoy it!
  • @techknow: Thanks! I hope you get one too! I also wish that Apple had a similar program. I also wish for world peace.

Nov 24 2010

Everything is Social

People are by nature social, they have always been so. Prehistoric people were social, Neolithic people were social, the Mesopotamians where social, the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Barbarians, the Elizabethans, and even web 1.0 developers where social. By design, our technology has also been designed to be social, from written language to books to email to instant messaging. In fact, everything is social. Just about every physical object can be used in a social setting, rocks, bullets, and flowers.

Blogs too are social, it allows one group of individuals to share information and knowledge with a whole set of people, who in turn can comment, share, and add to that information. But since Facebook, social is sometimes meant to mean something different. Most features in Facebook have a element of social spam that forces a response. I people that first discovered Facebook because they received a spammy email from Facebook saying that someone they might have known, most likely some one they had an email correspondence, had joined Facebook. Facebook’s first spam social behavior was to email everyone in every of their users contact list, this behavior is the same as the Melissa virus. Facebook’s first element of social spam is borrowed a mass-mailing macro virus.

Everything is social and if everything is social, everything that is connected has a social graph. Facebook has managed to capture people and their relations to their friends, family, coworkers, church members, etc. Facebook has coined the pseudo geek speak social graph to describe a persons relationship to their friends and family. If everything is social, then everything has a so called social graph.

For example, since blogs are social it has a social graph of all the people have have posted comments. If Mark Zuckerberg would have designed WordPress, the blog platform I use for my blog, then each person who left me a comment would receive email telling them that if they wanted to participate in recent blog posts and even unsubscribe to the email they would need to sign up. WordPress.com and Discuss, the hosted commenting service, has millions of emails of people that have commented on blogs! If they choose to exploit and zuckerpunch all those people they can.

Everything and everyone is inherently social, technology like Facebook is not making users any more social it just simplifies how we interact with each to the like button.