One challenge any community site faces is how to let users express themselves. It is hard to express the sum total of any individual on a web page, but in the virtual world that interface is the one chance a user has to connect with another human being. The challenge for designers is making the profile look good. In most instances the profiles end up cluttered and in the MySpace instance where users are allowed to customize the look of their profile the site ends up with some of the ugliest pages ever created. However, I'm not convinced that is a fault in their system. If you look at most teenagers rooms they would likely qualify as a superfund cleanup site. Their online profiles reflect that.
The following is a list of profiles from all types of social networks. Some are general networks like Facebook. Others are niche networks like Bakespace. One thing I find interesting is how each niche site tries to let the user express themselves in a way that is unique to the site. For examp...Continue Reading →
I've been writing code all day, again. Luckily I enjoy writing software. There are moments when I and the computer don't get along. On those days I consider becoming a garbage man or maybe a bulldozer driver.
Just keep me off the bull dozer on the days I don't agree with my code.
Anyway I've observed some interesting situations over the years. When I worked at Sorenson Vision the guys that worked 8am-7pm made fun of the 'long haired hippie' types that we hired from Apple. They didn't start work until 10am. How ridiculous.
I was young and stupid then. I am old and stupid now, but I have realized that when you write software the most important thing you can do is to (cliche alert) have your head in the game. Unfortunately, for my poor wife she has observed this in action.
There are only a few moments when I am not writing code. For some reason I write the best code on Sunday mornings in the shower. The trick is keeping it in my head until Monday morning. I wri...Continue Reading →
We are looking at ways to integrate the new Teachers Without Borders site with Google docs.
Turns out that you can open: documents - .pdf, .doc, .txt, .html, .rtf and .odt spreadsheets - .xls, .csv, .ods presentations - .ppt
By feeding the file url to this google url:
Here's an example if you needed to view a W4 form from the IRS url:
Use this url:Continue Reading →
One of the most difficult tasks when putting up a new site is picking the right host. Moving hosts later on is terribly difficult so choosing the correct hosting company is as important as selecting a business partner. I've collected about 30 hosting companies in my delicious bookmarks. Some are specific to a platform others are really cheap. I recorded them because they looked interesting.
The latest movement in web hosting is towards cloud hosting. This is the holy grail for the user and for the hosting company. Imagine a web host that scales as you grow. Everyone would love nothing more than a host that could handle getting slammed by Digg.
Amazon's ec2 service offers scalable services, but it is not a simple as your typical web hosting company. The Ruby gem ec2onrails will simplify the process of getting your Ruby on Rails application up an running. RightScale builds on ec2 to make it easy to deploy your application. They add a dashboard and make it easy to load balance and...Continue Reading →
I wrote three Facebook apps and I have ideas for several more. The most successful was the House Plans application I did for ThePlanCollection.com, but in the Facebook world you can't count a couple thousand users as especially successful.
When Open Social started up I felt like I needed to go sign up for a MySpace account so that I would be ready for when the next big thing showed up. So far Open Social feels like that high school party the nerdy guy threw and two or three other nerdy guys showed up but come Monday morning it will be the joke of the high school. I turned off email alerts for MySpace because I grew tired of the offensive bot spam. I tried playing with Orkut because that was the first platform that supported Open Social. Orkut feels like the Twilight Zone. I tried Twitter for a while. It is a cool service, but I forget its there unless I am bored and the only thing handy is my phone and I want to post about my boredom. How's that for boring.
There are countless ...Continue Reading →
A friend of mine was surprised that I don't have a Flickr account. I am try to keep up with the cool kids and keep accounts on many of the so called web 2.0 services. So why don't I have a Flickr account?
We use Picasa. How very uncool of us. The reason why however has to do with how we manage our photos - all 60,000 at last count and growing. For years we tried to manage our collection using Adobe Photoshop Elements. However, the application strained under the weight of so many pictures and soon became completely unusable. Before Photoshop Elements there wasn't really a mainstream application and I considered writing my own, but I already have enough code to write and so I gave that up. There were many applications from small independent developers and many were even recommended by users on various forums. However, none was simple enough for my wife to use.
Then Google bought Picasa an...Continue Reading →
I haven't posted a lot lately. A lot of people with blogs say that and they suck because of it so I guess I suck too. Instead of being a radical nut job I am moving back into being a developer nut job. In addition to working on eduCommons at work I have been focusing on scrumdidilyumptio.us. If you want to know what it does click on the link. I think it's cool. I am also gearing up to work on another interesting project that will gather data from all your favorite blogs/bookmark sites/ and maybe even your gedcom data. It might just be cool. I have more or less quit playing Battlefield at night and have been focusing on a project I call ggugg. It will be an interesting way to manage your personal life. I think. I'll post a link when its ready to go. Of course I am still working on The Plan Collection. House plans are still a hobby and something fun. So ya, I am like busy.Continue Reading →