Archive for October, 2006

Windows Live for mobile

I saw a post this am on MobileCrunch during the bus ride from Boulder to Denver (on NewsGator Go! of course) about Windows Live for mobile.  This sounds very cool…

Just grabbed a fill of coffee and browsed to the Windows Live mobile page and about spilled the coffee all over myself after seeing the only ad on the page.  Check it:

Windows Live goes mobile

I’ll be diggin’ in more to this over the weekend, but just had to throw this out in advance…

and you can dig in too:
Digg!

October 27th, 2006

Killer Dev Team and Calacanis Fan Boy

I was poking around Jason’s site looking at the comments on his two posts about the NewsGator ad experimentation from last week - for more info check out Greg’s blog.  Positioned between those two posts is one about MyBlogLog – a very cool social widget thingie.  So, there I was holding position one in Jason’s MyBlog widget.  Weird - take a looksee at what I saw in FeedDemon.

Kevin Cawley, Jason Calacanis, and MyBlogLog

So, if you are looking for more info on the NewsGator ad dealio, as pointed out earlier, Greg gives the low down.  One of the take away from Greg’s post:

“The goal is to make the overall online interface faster to use and more efficient for the 90% case, and we have lots of ideas how to get there.  Over the next few months, you’ll see the online product change and evolve.”

The NewsGator Online team will make it so.  Tim Walker’s group is the most cohesive dev team I have ever seen.  I am not just saying that because I work at NewsGator; I say this because it is true.  I think there are three ingredients that make the team so effective:

1. A great leader in Tim
2. A rock star team
3. And most importantly respect that flows equally in both directions

Tim leads a killer dev team, but who are the Calacanis fan boys?

October 25th, 2006

Anyone Diggin’ Digg

Rumors are floating around that digg is in acquisition talks.  I love digg - I love diggnation even more, btw.

But man, I gotta tell ya if I am a potential acquirer, digg doesn’t look so hot sitting next to YT - YT has set the bar (and price tag) pretty high.

digg vs. youtube

 

 

3 comments October 25th, 2006

Apple for the Cool Kids… Confirmed

A new outdoor mall opened up in town last weekend and I went with the family today to check it out.

The highlight for the kiddos was the Puma Store.  My son, Asher, found a cool hat and my oldest daughter, Emma, loves the shoes.  Ava, well… she was blowing lots of bubbles so I think she liked it too.  My mom and wife Holly were shopping away, and I was just looking forward to Peet’s and the Apple Store.

And it is confirmed… Apple is definitely for the cool kids.  The Apple store is sweet, but I certainly did not fit into the crowd.  The average age in the store was probably 18 or so and it felt like a party in there.  The space was simple, functional, and all about style.  I was very impressed… this is a very cool store!

October 23rd, 2006

Yahoo Answers to the Rescue

Once again Yahoo Answers on my mobile phone saved the day.  Mobile Ask is so cool!

I was at dinner tonight with my folks and brother and somehow we got into a discussion about animals which  led to a debate over the name of baby foxes.  Me and my brother said pups, my dad said welts (or something like that), and my mom said kids.

Mobile Ask saved the day… I typed in “baby” fox and got the answer in a few seconds - kits.  Thanks Yahoo.  My mom was closest to the right answer.  Further digging revealed that pups was acceptable too.  Yeh!

Mobile Ask Yahoo Answers

 

Mobile Ask really came in handy and put this discussion to bed in a hurry.  I am sure you’ve been in a similar situation where you got a nagging question and don’t have a computer nearby to get the answer.  Mobile Ask can make it better… why not just Google you might say.  Well, Google “baby fox” and see what you get – not much hey? Now, think how painful it would be to drill down to an answer on your phone.
Yahoo Answers on my phone is pretty cool.

 

October 23rd, 2006

Mac Life Crisis

You know someone like this… guy with a few kids, works too much, kind of out of shape, but used to be cool.  This guy is definitely not cool anymore, so he goes out and buys a convertible Porsche.  He drives through the hood and past the community playground with some cheesy music blasting.  He’s off to cruise through the hip part of town (probably a University close by) to pick up mac and cheese for the family.  Pulling up to a stop light, a couple of sorority girls drive up and start smiling… wait they aren’t smiling, they’re laughing.   He looks in the rear view to see the tuft of hair used to cover the receding hairline is sticking straight up, and he realizes he was singing some Alanis Morissette song way too loud.  The guy has become a dork and the Porsche is not helping, so he trades it in for a Volvo and life is good again.

I can relate to this cat… I have never purchased a Porsche but used to be pretty hip and I am pretty sure I am kind of lame now ;)   The cool guy gone wrong tipping point came to fruition for me about a year ago, and I tried to revitalize my coolness by getting a new Mac.   In grad school I was a Linux zealot.  I finished school and realized if I wanted to build software that lots of folks could use, I had to switch to Windows… my short stint with the Mac came coincidentally after getting married, buying a house, and having kids.  The Mac is like a Porsche for techies suffering from mid life crisis   But like our friend with the Porsche, my Mac experience wasn’t so good.  The machine kept freezing up on me and was only brought back to life with the old fashion power cycle – yanking the power plug.  Apparently, I am not the only one who has had Mac issues.  On top of that, I am not doing any hard core video, audio, or image manipulation.  I don’t need a Mac.  The Mac is now my wife’s machine and incidentally she calls at least once a week with an issue and the remedy always digresses to the power cycle.

I am not knocking the Mac and that is not the point of this post… Macs look very hot (and that DOES count for a lot) and in all fairness I probably didn’t give the Mac enough time - I don’t have a ton of patience.  Macs, like Porches, are worth every penny when in the right hands.  A Porsche is meant for a single guy in his 20’s who is all about thrills and having fun!  The Mac is the right tool for hip designers who have that distinct eye for style and creativity and need the Mac for its toolset and the inspiration it provides.  I can relate to that… I could easily ride a Huffy to get my cycling fix, but the Trek Madone is just a super sleek ride and I just feel faster when getting on this baby.  I imagine the Mac user gets that same feeling when firing up his or her machine.

If you spend your weekend nights writing/reading blogs and coding you are probably not worthy of the Mac… if you spend your weekends lighting up the party scene you are  a Mac person.  I have a friend who has done design work for me.  He is young, he is cool, he does incredible work, and he uses a Mac.  He is probably out right now partying it up dressed to the 10’s in some cool threads.  I am watching Leno, writing this post, coding a bit…. snooze :) Andy = Mac, Me != Mac

I think Scoble may be experiencing this phenomenon (just started using a Mac) and I know Mike Arrington is suffering from “Mac Life Crisis”.  I heard Mike on the Gillmor Gang the other day saying that his primary machine is a Mac but he uses a Windows box to test all the startups’ wares that he covers (desktop apps of course).  There are several interesting observations here:
    1.  There is a reason all these startups are building for Windows
    2.  Isn’t testing applications Mike’s bread and butter
    3.  What is he using the Mac for… email, browsing, or working all those nifty Ajax apps, hmmm

But please Mike don’t change a thing about what you are doing… you kick butt.  TechCrunch is one of my favorites and your TalkCrunch and Gillmor appearances are killer!  But, Mike - the Mac is not making you cool and oh btw your parties aren’t either… I saw some of the Flickr photos and didn’t see any hot chicks.  People that are worthy of Macs go to parties that have hot chicks ;)  

There are a few exceptions to this phenomenon.  Brent Simmons will always be cool.  David Cohen recently switched to the Mac and this guy is amazing regardless of platform.  Finally, Joe Pezillo is a Mac guy and a completely insane stud in many aspects – Joe is the man!

But, remember for the rest of us out there, the Mac did not make me cool and it won’t do the same for you

    - I use Windows
    - I drive a Volvo
    - I have kiddos
    - I am home on Saturday night
    - My clothes are way out of style
    - I am not fond of shaving
    - I do NOT use a Mac
    - And it is all good!

5 comments October 21st, 2006

Early Holidays and Brotherly Love

The holiday season starts early at my house… it’s my birthday as well as my son Asher (3) and daughter Ava (1) all w/in a few weeks of each.  Emma’s b-day is not until March – she’ll be 6.  My friend Danny was also born this time of the  year – Danny where is your birthday bash on Sunday btw?  It’s a good time of the year to be born.

I am taking a few days off and my folks and bother are rolling into town form Texas.  It’s going to be  a good time.  I haven’t seen my bro in a few months; it will be nice to catch up. He is 18, off the charts smart as well as off the charts eccentric.  He is having a rough go right now trying to find his way.  I worry about my little brother, but I know he will get through this.  He has a huge heart that dwarfs his 6’2” 200 pound linebacker frame.  He is a good kid and will figure it all out!

2 comments October 18th, 2006

IE 7 and RSS Love

Internet Explorer 7 is set to release soon (Yahoo in fact has already made an announcement).  The two hottest features: tabbed browsing and RSS!!!  This is a brilliant thing for RSS and widespread consumer adoption.

The release of IE7 is monumental for the RSS space; Mike Arrington doesn’t think so (see his quote below), but I do!

“Many people have said that RSS in IE7 will mean an explosion of RSS reading amongst non-technical users. I am not so sure that’s the case at all, but more on that later.”

There are several groups I am involved in outside of work that are technology related.  One of those groups is the Boulder .NET User Group.  I recently asked the group (ALL DEVELOPERS MIND YOU) who knew what RSS was…. The answer was less than 10%.  Wow! That just blew me away and this theme carries across all my groups.  Ask non-technical folks what RSS is and they will likely have no clue.

So, as more and more folks discover the power of RSS thru IE 7, they will search out the best of bread aggregators for all their appliances… this will also be good for NewsGator.  And of course, these folks will want RSS on their devices - and NewsGator Go! will fit the bill!
 
Right on IE7.  Give it a go – I have been using the beta for months and just love it!

UPDATE: Dean Hachamovitch announced the release of IE 7 today.  Way to go IE 7 team!

October 18th, 2006

NewsGator Go! - Trimming the Fat

One of the issues that power users face when trying to consume their RSS feeds on mobile devices is the sheer volume of data… A typical power user may have hundreds of feeds and thousands of unread articles.  On a side, I recently heard Guy Kawasaki say that he has 21K RSS feeds – Wow!

Now, I have built NewsGator Go! in such a way that it can handle this load.  But the fact of the matter is that if you have this much data, it is going to take time to fetch and it is going to take time to load.  This is a result of slower networks and limited device memory which forces me to do some creative File I/O (expensive on mobile) in order to handle large amounts of data.

But do not fear, there is a way to address this issue.  Like I said, if you want all your feeds pumped to your device you can do that, but it may make sense to whittle down your mobile feed set to something that is  more manageable.  This is a piece of cake with NewsGator Go!  It is all based around NewsGator locations!

Here is what you need to do:
    1. Go to NewsGator Online and sign in
    2. Go to My Settings | Edit Locations

NewsGator Locations

   

    3. You will see a NewsGator Go! location that gets automagically created for you.  The name will look like this NGMobile-yourdevicename

Mobile Location

       

        a. There is a great option here to enable/disable automatically include new feeds to this location that you should be aware of (I prefer to have new feeds added to my mobile and I can remove later if necessary)
        b. More importantly, you can modify the feed list.  By default all your existing feeds get added to this mobile location so all you have to do is uncheck the feeds you don’t want to show up on your mobile and you are good to Go!

Mobile Feed List

 

This feature kicks butt!  Check it out.

12 comments October 17th, 2006

Stream of News - NewsGator Style

Dave Winer has recently gained much attention over his River of News mobile reader, and this is certainly a good move for mobile and RSS.  Here is a screenshot of the BBC’s River courtesy of Dave’s service.  Very nice!

 Flow the News

A River of News may not be the ticket for me and others for differing reasons… I prefer a richer experience and a more structured view of my feeds. But the River of News does have its place and folks are asking for this feature.  In the next version of NewsGator Go!, I will be incorporating this concept with a slightly different spin… I call it a Stream of News.

I can let the river flow for all my news by selecting the root folder and opening up the fire hose, see below…
Stream of News

Or I can just flow the news at the folder level and read just a tributary of the river… ie, the stream.  And of course, marking articles read synchronizes the article with all NewsGator products.  I can also chose to remove the articles from the list as they are read (my preference) w/o post backs.  Here is what the Stream of News looks like on NewsGator Go!
River of News

I hope this helps and improves the NewsGator Go! experience!

4 comments October 17th, 2006

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