Eclecticity: Dan Shafer's Web Log : Where author, poet, sports fanatic, spiritual teacher, and dabbler in things Pythonesque and Revolution(ary) Dan Shafer holds forth on various topics of interest primarily to him
Updated: 11/13/02; 1:49:34 PM.


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Friday, October 4, 2002

What am I Missing When it Comes to the Value of Web Services?

Web services growing pains expected to continue. Concept still maturing and awaiting 'killer app,' panelists say [InfoWorld: Top News]

Those who are in the industry are seeing less potential and more problems than I am. Generally, that's a clear indicator that I'm wrong. But here I think the problem is business myopia. I think Web services in some form are going to spawn the killer app in the consumer space, not the b2b space. That's where I'm earnestlly seeking a product niche I can fill.
10:30:16 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

It's About Time Someone Tried a Copyright Bill for Consumers!

Bill: Copyright Power to People. Another digital copyright bill debuts in Congress, this time seeking to expand consumer freedom to copy digital works for their own and others' not-for-profit use. Michael Grebb reports from Washington, D.C. [Wired News]

Hear! Hear! I like this bill a lot. I like the idea behind it even more. It's time the media moguls stopped being allowed to hide behind their "we're just interested in protecting the artists" bullshit line. That dog ain't gonna hunt.
10:27:24 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

A Weblog Devoted to OS X Insights

I'm watching Ken Bereskin's Radio Weblog because he focuses on OS X stuff and seems to do a good job of coming up with cool insights.

The new toolbar Search field in the Finder is one of those features that you look back on and don’t understand how you could have ever lived without it. Whether I'm looking for presentations, scans, fonts or even preference files, you simply type in the partial filename in the search field and hit return. Presto - the window shows the results. Note: If you have upgraded to Jaguar from a prior release of Mac OS X, you might have to add the Search field to your toolbar by choosing "Customize Toolbar..." from the View menu.

(Ken has an animated screen shot, too, but I didn't want to take up space with it here. Check it out here

[Ken Bereskin's Radio Weblog]
10:24:51 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

If AOL Really Gets This, It Could Dwarf Everything They Already Do

AOL Introduces Mobile Communicator. America Online (NYSE: AOL) has announced the availability of its Mobile Communicator, a two-way paging device designed to give customers ready access to instant messaging and e-mail services. [osOpinion]

AOL is huge. I'm not a member but a lot of my non-techie friends are. The majority, in fact. They perceive it as easy to use and they perceive it as having content they can't get any other way. But they really use it because "everyone I know uses it and I can AIM them."

With a mobile device that allows you to AIM when you're not at your computer and to handle AOL email, this could be an order of magnitude bigger. These guys are smart. Unfortunately.
3:55:06 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

I've Always Wanted an MIT Education!

All the World's an MIT Campus. Anyone can get a sneak peek at an Ivy League education on the Web for free now that MIT is posting a sample of its courseware online. By Kendra Mayfield. [Wired News]

Great idea. All universities should follow MIT's lead here. Knowledge is free (or wants to be). I can't wait until some wag turns that open content into an app that gives you a lot of the additional value of attending MIT. Then we'll see what "open" really means, won't we?
3:52:39 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Jon Udell Sees a Resurgence in Desktop Apps

Jon Udell takes a look at a cool desktop app for net news gathering and sees in it "we are about to enter a golden age of desktop software." He gets more points (not that he gives a crap about whether I give him points or how many, but, hey, you make do with what you've got, right?) for also mentioning wxPython, which is at the heart of my favorite cross-platform serious development tool, PythonCard.

I think Jon's right. (And I'm sure he's relieved to hear that!) Web services and P2P networking are going to revive desktop applications. The "killer app" that makes this explode is probably already being worked on. Maybe even by me. Who knows?
3:50:24 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Inspiration is a Great Tool...and Its HTML Generation is Wondeful

Michael Wilson reviews outlining tools:  Inspiration, Mind Map Pro, and Tinderbox. [John Robb's Radio Weblog]

I found the article interesting, and it's admittedly a very early look at thee tools, but either the demo version he's testing has something missing or he just blew this one. He says:

Inspiration allows you to export a diagram as either a graphics file or as html. The html export suffers the same delusion as the one in Mind Map Pro: It generates a graphic file and some boilerplate html to go around it. There are, however, several greyed out options in Inspiration's export menu. Damn shame their trial is so crippled.

If I had the background I would have done this overview in Tinderbox and just generated the html. I do NOT have that background, so I did it in Inspiration 7, but had to manually re-enter everything into OmniOutliner and export it from there.

You can export HTML from the outline view of Inspiration that creates some very useful pages. It's the best FAQ-creating tool I've seen, hands-down. It'll auto-build the top TOC for the FAQ. I have come to really rely on Inspiration for lots of stuff...and I'm not up to Version 7 yet (soon, though!).
3:39:59 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Googlefight? What the hell's a Googlefight?

Bizarre idea, this. There's a site called Googlefight where you can go and type in your name and the name of someone else and then ask Google to tell you how "popular" you are on the Net (i.e., how many references Google's search engine can find for you). Apparently, this is becoming a huge thing. My buddy Robert Scoble keeps finding people to compare himself to.

Hey, Robert...I kicked your butt, too! Dan Shafer: 37,400 - Robert Scoble 15,800. Ahem, but as you properly point out, if you put quotation marks around the names...whole new game, dude. Dan Shafer: 4,340 - Robert Scobole: 13,000.

Who cares? But this is fun, no?
3:37:03 PM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Yale Plans Conference on Weblogs and the Law

Under the heading of "nothing is safe from the lawyers," Yale University Law School is planning a conference called "Revenge of the Blog" on Nov. 22.

The topics listed are a little too cute and (I suspect deliberately) obscure to tell us what the point of the conference is or what the agenda will be. But it's probably worth keeping an eye on. Dave Winer has indicated he may go or see if one of his erstwhile team will attend and monitor stuff. Keep an eye out.
3:31:22 PM  
  Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

Information Overload?

My good friend Mitch Axelrod and I were just talking about information overload. He's been saying that he thinks the information age is dead but doesn't know it yet. We've reached a point, he says, where we spend too much time getting rid of information from our email inboxes and Web site recommendations because we just don't want it.

I agree on some level. I think information intermediation (information brokering, information agenting) is a wave of the future. People want "agents" who will help them filter through the mass of information flowing to them. News feeds begin to do that for me. I stay in touch with the world of science via the New York Times science news feed, for example.

Weblogs or some variation on them are going to be a major influence there, I'm convinced.
10:04:17 AM    Add your viewpoint [ comments so far]

© Copyright 2002 Dan Shafer.

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