The LinkedIn Announcement

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June 2, 2011 at 9:44 amCategory:Social Media | Technology

Not a “surprise” announcement, by any means. Ever since they’ve been around, they have pushed us to get our profile up to 100% completion. This included, of course, getting recommendations from colleagues.

And then, their IPO on May 19th, 2011. All kinds of cash flow. So now, they are formalizing their business model in an obvious vs. their previous badly hidden way.

This includes a button which basically lets job applicants send employers or recruiters their profile information, as I understand it. So, this couples Linked In even more tightly with the job application process. Their little button can expand across the web like the, well, “Like” button.

So what does this mean to the job application process? It expands the influence, or tries to expand the influence, of Linked In so that when you think “I want to apply for a job,” you automatically think “Cripes, where is the Linked In Apply for this position button?!?!”

Just like Facebook is trying to make you think, “I need to contact Jill Jetson, so I’d better log on to Facebook and leave her a message.” In the case of Facebook, you could use e-mail, but it’s a bit more inconvenient, and in the case of Linked In, you could go to a job board and try to remember your password and upload your resume again, but it’s a bit more inconvenient.

In this Web 2.0 World (which sounds better than Multitasking Hell World), don’t underestimate how much people appreciate a little less inconvenience.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame, Twitter-style (You’ve been plpED)

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May 26, 2011 at 12:37 pmCategory:Social Media

Like everyone else (right?), I get so excited when I see I’ve been mentioned on Twitter.

“OMG! Someone loves me! What did they retweet, what did they say?”

Then you go look, and you’ve been sucked in by a paper.li page (or a page based off the paper.li architecture).

I really don’t see the point of these. I retweet someone who is more famous or gets paid to write the content attached to the link I retweeted, and I get my name associated with the paper.li page? (I’ll call it plp for short from now on.)

Even with careful searching, I am hard put upon to find my name on the plp itself. I’m sure the casual visitor to the plp will not see ANYONE who got their name mentioned on Twitter for the page.

Vanity is all very nice, but content being pushed out without a useful purpose is…pretty much the state of the “Cloud” right now. The signal to noise ratio gets lower by the hour sometimes, it seems.

But hey. If you’re measuring your online success just by the number of mentions you get (hi Klout and Empire Avenue! How are ya?), then this is just great. For me? I’d rather interact with humans. But if you enjoy getting plpED, then don’t let me ruin your enjoyment.

A Yo-Yo Career

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May 16, 2011 at 9:09 pmCategory:Personal Post

With all this multitasking at work, there are certain expectations made of you. The expectation that you can instantly and without hesitation shift gears and suddenly begin doing something totally different from what you’ve been doing for the past long time.

You’re a yo-yo doing “The Sleeper”? Well, now it’s “Around the World”! Back to the “The Sleeper”, but not for long, it’s now time to “Walk the Dog”!

(Sleep! Walk! Around! Hmm. That really was unplanned.)

I don’t think going from being a non-thinking paper pusher to a vibrantly creative problem solver in the blink of an eye is possible. They involve different approaches to life. One or the other will suffer as you transition back and forth between them.

This resource crunch isn’t good for employers or employees. A vibrant company is only achieved when both sides recognize that.

I Have a Vision

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April 13, 2011 at 6:15 pmCategory:Personal Post

It’s always interesting when someone in control of part of your life has a vision of a thing or things they can do to improve it, but for whatever reason they refuse to share it with you.

“I can’t talk about that now.”
“Other stuff needs to happen first.”
“Reply hazy, ask again later.”

(I would seriously respect a “leader” who gave me the last response.)

If it’s really my circumstances you want to improve, then you could at least paint me some broad categories until the approval you need comes rolling in. Otherwise, I’m just going to think the only visions you have are the ones involving you and an 80 foot yacht.

A World Full of Apple

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March 25, 2011 at 7:56 pmCategory:Technology

We now enter the mobile shakedown wars. Once-mighty RIM, now dancing around to keep and regain market share. Microsoft, late to the game with a strong mobile product. HP, with Palm’s WebOS and a dream.

And, of course, the two behemoths, Apple and Google. Apple with their closed ecosystem, and Google with their fake open Android ecosystem. Can anyone topple these two Titans?

Maybe Amazon, with the rumours of their own tablet? The thing that pushes mobile device sales is content to put on said devices, and Amazon is nothing if not filled with content. I read this little rumour on another site today, and frankly, it makes a lot of sense.

Whoever can deliver the killer content will win. So why not Sony? Why not a Sony tablet? They have a catalogue full of things people want to see and hear.

Ok, but…the one who can deliver the best streaming content will win.

The TTC and Your Customer Service

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February 9, 2011 at 11:35 amCategory:Personal Post

So I’m standing here on a really cold winter day entering this blog entry in a really cold subway station.

To be fair, it’s Vic Park, and it’s under construction, and so that neccesitates open walls. Add to that the fact that the subway platform has, is, and always will be open to the elements, and let’s just say I’m typing this as fast as I can so I can put my gloves back on.

We as customers of the TTC really have no choice. If we want to use this subway station as part of our travels, we have to put up with whatever is going on with their construction. And the smells and sights. As long as what is happening doesn’t fall under the category of criminal negligence or endangerment to life, we have to put up with a lot.

But, if there was a competing transit service out there, one that didn’t make me wait around in a meat locker while I was waiting for my low frequency bus, then guess where I would be? Even if it cost me a dollar or so more.

So, are you really the only game in town? And if you are, is interacting with you pleasant for your clients, or are they looking out for someplace that understands them better?

All right. My forefingers are turning numb.

At The Four Seasons

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January 31, 2011 at 7:59 pmCategory:Technology

I haven’t had overpriced hotel food for a while. And I needed to spend some time before the TSPUG presentations began.

SharePoint is a fun beast. As a user, I see the surface of what it has to offer. Then I come to these Toronto SharePoint User Group meetings to get a handle on some of the tech behind it.

The highpoint of the evening is a set of ten minute presentations. All these SharePoint experts getting up and sharing their knowledge through demos and talks.

A good time. And as for the cafe at the Four Seasons, the dungeness crab salad is recommended, the sweet potato gnocchi not so much.

The RSS and the Browser

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January 2, 2011 at 9:22 pmCategory:Technology

So, Mozilla is going to yank out the RSS button from the next version of Firefox. Their reason: lack of usage.

If you’ve ever worked in coding, you know that ripping a piece of code out of something is almost as much a pain as adding new code. There is testing involved in both. Sometimes doing regression testing is more painful than testing new functionality, although in the case of an RSS button, it seems like mostly standalone functionality.

Still, ripping code out takes work. Even if users aren’t using it that much, why bother? I can think of two reasons:

  • Mozilla wants more screen real estate for some even better piece of shiny stuff that will make RSS users not lament the loss of the RSS button
  • Business analysis at higher levels has decided that anonymous browsing of peoples’ Web sites is not desirable. All input should be first filtered through a corporate aggregator, like Facebook, or Twitter. This lets the corporation track what interests users, and serve up ads and other revenue attraction interfaces designed  to pull money out of people based on their aggregated browsing habits.

I echo the last point based on what I read here. The point made there is not that the technology behind RSS is bad, but that the user interface to access RSS is barely implemented on most websites. You get a cryptic little button which looks like the end result of a snail race, and then the average end user winds up not clicking on it. The fact that it’s a crappy implementation winds up being interpreted as “It’s not a function people need”.

Basically, it’s like having a little hole in the wall restaurant that serves delicious food cheaply and quickly, but the owners never spent any money on the front of the shop, so people walk by the concrete facade with the sign saying “RFF” (Really Fine Food) because it looks ugly and they can’t be bothered to figure out what it means if the business owner didn’t care enough to put an effort into it..

I mean, this is basic usability. This is like, first year usability. Don’t make your users struggle excessively  to figure out what something does. And don’t make it difficult for them to do a task when they do figure out how to start it up.

Dave Winer was talking about forking a branch from the Mozilla code and making a version that implements RSS properly. Heck, I’d install that. But at least Mozilla had an RSS button. Goggle Chrome doesn’t support it. I’ve never seen such a thing in any version of Internet Explorer either.

RSS is an invaluable service, and it’s not going away, because it powers too much stuff. But here’s hoping some bright people get to work on something that seems to have been ignored, making it accessible to the average non-technical user.

The Main Site is Updated!

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December 28, 2010 at 12:09 pmCategory:Announcements

Phew. Finally. It’s a lot prettier now, and serves as a good foundation when I want to layer more fancy stuff on later.

I think fancy eye-popping sites are OK, but all I want to do is get my business info across.

The site looks way better in Chrome/Firefox because I am using some special CSS3 tricks that are only viewable in those browsers. It looks OK in IE, but I am showing a bias here in my design choices, I admit.

SVN Made Simple

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December 27, 2010 at 12:45 pmCategory:Technology

I use Subversion for source control at home. No real reason, except that I started with it many years ago and it is fairly popular.

I use git in other places, and git seems pretty good too. git is more lightweight, but I do like the TortoiseSVN Windows plugin for graphical goodness.

Anyway, I always get a bit confused when I first set up an SVN repository. Until I came across this. It’s a bit dated, but still a good summary.