Lojic Technologies

Archive for April 2007

How to Succeed in 2007

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Business 2.0 has an article on How to Succeed in 2007 “We asked 50 of the brightest minds in business how they do what they do – and how you can cash in on their advice in the year ahead.”

Here are a few snippets. There seems to be an inverse correlation between the value of the advice and the age of the company.

Sergey Brin
Co-founder, Google

Simplicity is an important trend we are focused on. Technology has this way of becoming overly complex, but simplicity was one of the reasons that people gravitated to Google initially.

Richard Branson
Founder and Chairman, Virgin Group

That may well be pragmatically right, but I still think it’s morally wrong, and I suspect that anything that is morally wrong is ultimately bad for business.

Howard Schultz
Chairman, Starbucks

In the early years, we tried everything we could to exceed the expectations of our customers. But we knew that to achieve that goal we had to first exceed the expectations of our people.

Chad Hurley
Co-founder, YouTube

Listen to the community and adapt. We had a lot of our own ideas about how the service would evolve. Coming from PayPal and eBay, we saw YouTube as a powerful way to add video to auctions, but we didn’t see anyone using our product that way, so we didn’t add features to support it.

Kevin Rose
Founder, Digg

Letting users control your site can be terrifying at first. From day one we were asking ourselves, “What is going to be on the front page today?” You have no idea what the system will produce. But stepping back and giving consumers control is what brought more and more people to the site.

Reed Hastings
Co-founder and CEO, Netflix

Truly brilliant marketing happens when you take something most people think of as a weakness and reposition it so people think of it as a strength.

Helen Greiner
Co-founder and Chairman, iRobot

Venture capitalists like to invest in things that have succeeded before, but when we started iRobot, there weren’t any successes in this industry. We were turned down by every major VC across the country, but we just kept knocking on people’s doors until we found the visionary types who understood our passion and agreed there was a market in the making.

Stewart Butterfield
Co-founder, Flickr

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there has got to be a reason for what you’re doing. You actually have to care about what you’re doing. The business has to be about something.

Tim O’Reilly
Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media

1. Be first. This is one of the immutable laws of marketing. Who was the first person to fly across the Atlantic? Lindbergh. Who was the second? No idea.

2. If you can’t be first, create a new category so you can be first. Who was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic? Amelia Earhart. New category. We didn’t have the first Web conference out there, but when we applied “Web 2.0” to the category, we created something new.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 12, 2007 at 10:32 pm

Posted in business

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One million spams per day

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In November 2004, Microsoft’s second-in-command Steve Ballmer made some headlines by mentioning that Chairman Bill Gates was getting four million spams per day. At the time, I was dealing with a little spam problem of my own – I was getting around a million spams per day. I found it a little comforting that my problem wasn’t quite as bad as Bill’s. However, a couple of weeks later Ballmer corrected himself, saying he mis-remembered the stat and Gates actually gets four million per year.

This means I was getting one hundred times as much spam as Bill Gates.

Nevertheless, after filtering we both get about the same amount: around ten spams per day in our inboxes. Ballmer says that Microsoft has an entire department dedicated to protecting their mailboxes from spam. At ACME Labs there’s just one guy, one server, and a T1 line. And yet my filters are a hundred times as effective as Microsoft’s. How do I do it?

Would you like to learn about effective spam filtering? This guy may be able to teach you something.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 12, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Posted in internet

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Twitter is built with Ruby on Rails

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I didn’t realize that Twitter was a Ruby on Rails app when I started researching it recently. This post on DHH’s blog informed me of that. The entry references an interview with a Twitter developer about their scaling issues.

By various metrics Twitter is the biggest Rails site on the net right now.

And from DHH’s blog:

Twitter is an amazing success story in terms of rapid user uptake and flattering press. I had a chance to speak with the team a while back about the wild ride they’ve been on. At that time they were fielding spikes of up to 11,000 requests per second across some 16 cores with very little caching thrown into the mix to mitigate. No wonder their site had been feeling slow.

Since I’m currently developing a Ruby on Rails app that has some significant performance requirements, it’s good to see that they’ve been able to handle 11,000 requests per second even if they’re struggling with scaling issues.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 12, 2007 at 9:34 pm

Posted in communication

Tagged with , ,

twitter, jaiku or neither?

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I don’t know if you’ve caught the buzz, or even heard of, Twitter or Jaiku, but a few hundred thousand people seem to be addicted to it. I think I first heard about it from Robert Scoble. I guess Leo Laporte of TWiT fame talked it up and boosted the subscribership. Then Leo thought the Twitter name was too similar to his TWiT (“this week in tech”) and was worried about trademark issues, so he made a big deal about leaving Twitter for Jaiku and a bunch of folks followed him (and brought the jaiku servers to their knees).

My initial assessment is that there is a lot of over-hype, but I do think they can provide some value in ways that email, IM and blogging can’t. In some ways, Twitter/Jaiku is to blogging as IM is to email – with some overlap.

It reminds me a little of the LinkedIn buzz a few years ago. I tried it out and got bored, so I thought I’d see how big I could grow my network for the fun of it. I linked up with a few networkers who had huge networks and I soon had over a million people in my network which basically defeated the whole purpose of LinkedIn, although I have to admit it was fun getting the reactions from people with tiny networks who linked to me and suddenly got an incredible boost. Likewise, Robert Scoble has 2,700+ “friends” on Twitter with pages of updates scrolling by at a ridiculous rate.

On the other hand, if you use LinkedIn as it’s intended and only link to people you know well, it can be really useful. I do use it that way by dealing with referrals from trusted sources and ignoring the ones from strangers. Unlike twitter/jaiku, LinkedIn doesn’t (or at least didn’t) make it easy to delete folks from your networks, so I’m stuck with the strangers. Similarly, if you only add people you actually know and interact with regularly to your twitter/jaiku account (unlike Scoble), it might have some use.

On the other hand (?), Kathy Sierra has some really good points on the matter 🙂

I can’t tell if twitter or jaiku will take the lead, or if they’ll both flop. I’ll post both of my accounts and see what happens.

My twitter account

My jaiku account

Feel free to add me on either one. I should warn you that everyone’s first impression of twitter and/or jaiku seems to be that they’re lame; for some that impression changes. I’m still on the fence.

UPDATE forgot a few twitter related sites:

Twittervision

Twitterific

TwitterCamp

Twitterholic

Granted, these may not be that useful, but I do think it’s cool that Twitter has published an API that allows the development of applications to produce and consume “tweets”.

Update 2: I just added a twitter badge to this blog page – you can check it out in the sidebar to the right. Is that cool, or what? I’m referring to the technology, not the content of my updates which by nature will be boring 🙂

Written by Brian Adkins

April 11, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Posted in internet

Tagged with , , ,

del.icio.us

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In my opinion, del.icio.us is one of the more useful Web 2.0 applications. In a nutshell, del.icio.us allows you to do the following:

  1. Easily create a bookmark/favorite for a web site that’s stored on a remote server
  2. Add tags and notes to your bookmarks
  3. Export your bookmarks from del.icio.us
  4. Provide an rss feed for your bookmarks
  5. Provide an rss feed for your tags
  6. Search del.icio.us for web sites that have been bookmarked by others
  7. Use blogging utilities

Let’s consider some of the implications of the above.

1. Remote bookmarks

By storing your bookmarks on a remote server instead of in your browser, you gain three significant benefits. First, if you use more than one computer (or upgrade to a new one), you’ll never have to synchronize bookmarks between computers or suffer from having an important bookmark on a computer other than the one you’re using. Second, by storing your bookmarks on a remote computer that is professionally managed, you’ll have a backup of a very important set of information. Third, you can easily share your bookmarks with others. del.icio.us allows you to mark bookmarks as private, so you can pick and choose which bookmarks you’d like to share, and which you don’t.

2.Tags!

Web 2.0 is all about the tags 🙂 Seriously, hierarchies can be useful, but for bookmarks, I feel that assigning a set of tags to a bookmark is much more useful than trying to place a bookmark in a particular spot in a hierarchy of bookmarks. del.icio.us allows you to edit your tags, rename them, etc., if you don’t get it right the first time. This is particularly powerful in conjunction with searching other peoples’ bookmarks – just think of how awkward it would be to search through each person’s peculiar hierarchy.

3. Export your data

This feature was absolutely essential for me to use del.icio.us. I wasn’t about to add all my bookmarks to a remote server only to be held captive by del.icio.us. Fortunately del.icio.us allows you to export your data, so you can take your bookmarks and go home whenever you want.

4. RSS feed for bookmarks

This feature is quite useful. It allows you to add an RSS feed of your friend’s bookmarks to an RSS reader, so you can be notified of new bookmarks your friend has recently added. Usefulness depends on the person whose bookmarking you’re following 🙂

5. RSS feed for tags

Same as 4, but for following new tags instead of bookmarks.

6. Search

del.icio.us has some great searching facilities. Since del.icio.us knows about a ton of sites that have been bookmarked by people, it can provide intelligent search capabilities that can exceed a purely mathematical approach such as Google in some cases.

7. Blogging utilities

Link rolls, tag rolls and badges, oh my. del.icio.us allows you to place a tag roll on your web site (note my tag roll does not reflect my priorities 🙂 ).

It also allows you to display your latest bookmarks:

my del.icio.us

Get Started

Sign up for a free account on del.icio.us. They make it easy to import your current bookmarks/favorites. If you’d like to share your bookmarks, let me know your account name when it’s setup.

You can see my del.icio.us bookmarks here

And my bookmark RSS feed is here

If any of you existing del.icio.us users would like to share your bookmarks, either post a comment with your account, or email me privately.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 10, 2007 at 8:02 pm

Posted in internet

Tagged with , ,

Why you should be using RSS

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Since I’m about to let a bunch of people know about my blog, I thought I’d help out anyone who might not be using RSS. You really should be using RSS. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below; I have no idea who that guy is, but he’s right (well, at least about RSS). Here it is in a nutshell. Instead of going out to a bunch of web sites for news, information, etc., let your RSS reader do that for you and compile a list of new articles in one place that you can scan through and read only the articles that interest you. It will save you a lot of time – even if you only read one news or blog site.

Take this blog for instance. You’d be crazy to keep coming back here to see if there’s new content that interests you. Just add the RSS feed (it’s at the bottom of the page and says Entries (RSS) ) to your RSS reader and it will let you know when a new article is posted, and if the title interests you, check it out, otherwise, ignore it.

I have a favor to ask of those who are reading this and are already using RSS. Post a comment with the name of the RSS reader you’re using, and if you have any links to helpful RSS tutorials, post them too. If you’re not using RSS, you may want to check back in a few days and read the comments. You could add the comments for this article to your RSS reader so you’ll be automatically notified when a new comment is posted, but that’s a bit of a catch-22 🙂

UPDATE: definitely check out Eric Holter’s article on RSS in the comments below.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 9, 2007 at 11:20 am

Posted in communication, internet, video

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Bad Math Causes Explosion at CERN Collider

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Although this article was of interest to me, I really got a kick out of one of the comments on slashdot.org. If you don’t want to read the article, just realize that the explosion released a lot of helium gas…

hello operator?
click!
Operator, this is not a …
click!
bob – Bill have you called the police?
bill – Of course bob, they hanging up.
bob – What? Call again.
bill – Damnit bob I sound like a chipmunk, you call this time.

Written by Brian Adkins

April 9, 2007 at 10:45 am

Posted in entertainment

Tagged with