Off the Grid

December 21, 2006

I will be off the grid visiting family through Wednesday, December 27 in rural Ohio … land of dial-up internet where the closest broadband is more than a 20 minute drive away at a Starbucks in a truck stop! I do have my Samsung Blackjack for email and web surfing “emergencies” 😉

Happy Holidays!


Techies Working from Home in Portland

December 15, 2006

There are many techies working from home offices here in Portland. In my case, I work for Compiere, a bay area open source company, and there are many others like me along with technology consultants, entrepreneurs, analysts, and others who wouldn’t mind working at a “real office” occasionally. While I love my home office, it might be nice to have something other than a coffee shop where I could squat when I have company in town or every other Tuesday morning when my housekeeper is here. Shared office space would also provide a place where we can meet with other local technology workers to network, share thoughts, get feedback on crazy ideas, etc. by the “water cooler”.

The co-working idea could be popular here in Portland where we have so many independent technology workers. If you are interested, Raven started a co-working in Portland wiki where you can sign up or get more information about the idea.


The Distro of the Beast

December 14, 2006


If you’ve ever wanted a Linux distro of the evil variety or a distro for Iron Maiden fans, you might be interested in this version of Ubuntu:

“Let him who hath understanding reckon the distro of the beast,
for it is a Linux distro,
its distro is Ubuntu Satanic Edition.” (Quote from Ubuntu Satanic Edition)

Thanks to Todd for pointing this out!


How Many Cartoonists Does It Take to Change a Lightbulb?

December 12, 2006

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is awesome. Here is a link to his most recent blog entry detailing his failings as a “handy person”:

Beneath the cabinets in my kitchen is a row of fluorescent lights that illuminate the countertops. One of those lights has decided to go all Baghdad on me. It crackles and pops and blinks for the entire time it is on. You might be thinking this is no big problem. All I have to do is change the fluorescent bulb, right?

I have a confession.

I am not. . . mechanical.

Or to put it another way:

Q. How many cartoonists does it take to change a light bulb?

A. More than the number living in my house.

My problem is that the light bulb is encased in some sort of impenetrable container with no indication of how it opens … (Quote from Scott Adams on Dilbert.Blog)

Enjoy!


O’Reilly’s New Compact Definition of Web 2.0

December 10, 2006

Web 2.0 has always been one of those nebulous concepts that has been difficult to concisely define. Each person seems to have a slightly different idea about what is and is not web 2.0. Tim O’Reilly’s original essay, What is Web 2.0, was quite lengthy, and he is now trying to define web 2.0 using a short, easy to remember definition:

Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them. (This is what I’ve elsewhere called “harnessing collective intelligence.”) (Quote from Tim O’Reilly on O’Reilly Radar).

I am not sure that this is a business revolution as much as it is a consumer revolution that businesses can take advantage of by building “ applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them.” I think the key to web 2.0 is how the expectations of the users are changing. Only a few years ago, most consumers saw the Internet as a passive medium, like radio and television, to be watched and enjoyed without any direct involvement. Many consumers now expect to be able to participate in the online environment by commenting, uploading, or participating in the content in a number of ways. I think that the key to web 2.0 is consumer driven participation and interactivity. Businesses need to understand this fundamental change and focus on building online participation into their business models.

I do think that O’Reilly has a great start toward a more concise definition of web 2.0.


Portland Free Wireless is Live!

December 7, 2006

I have not been close enough to downtown to try it out firsthand, but several areas in Portland now have free wireless access from MetroFi. Click the image below to get a high resolution image (with zoom).


Clearspace Collaboration Environment from Jive Software

December 5, 2006

I was lucky enough to get an early preview of Clearspace from the Jive Software team, a local Portland, Oregon company. They have just starting talking about Clearspace on the Jive Talks blog with a recent post from Sam Lawrence. They have not yet released details, and portions of the product were in varying stages of completion when I played with it, so I will not go into any specific details here.

What I will say is that this product is cool. It is intuitive to use and has a “web 2.0” feel to it with modern collaboration functionality built into the system from the beginning. None of the retrofit feel that older applications have when someone tries to cram a bunch of new technology into an ancient product. This will be a product to test drive when Jive launches it in early 2007:

“The idea for Clearspace actually came from our customers, who through their conversations with our sales, marketing, professional services and customer support teams had been asking for many different collaborative feature additions to Jive Forums and Knowledge Base. Some of these were very specific, others borrowed from a lot of the collaborative elements of completely different point solutions. At the beginning of last year we took a big step back and realized that the sum of what was being requested was a completely new, much more comprehensive product.

So, a year ago we faced very tough decisions. Up to that point we had planned to address our customer requests through a combination of improvements to our existing products and/or building a couple of totally new products. Our big decision was was whether to build three products or one. The more we talked about it the more we recognized the massive benefit that could be realized by a single, unified, flexible architecture– sort of like that quote from Lord of the Rings–”one ring to unite them all.” (ok, it was really “rule them all” but that’s too harsh.)” (Quote from Sam Lawrence on Jive Talks)