As I, as well as many others, tend to search on peoples names to see what I can find out about them, I thought I’d see where I was last week, based on my full name. On Google, I’m listed at 16, surprisingly I’m number 1 on MSN (but only .com, can’t find me on .co.uk) On the other’s I tried, I was not on the first 5 pages. So I added my name to the metatags. Today, there’s no change on google or MSN, but on altavista and Yahoo I’m now Number 1. Given this, I thought I better put together an About page. Sometime. This week. Perhaps.
I don’t particularly like portals. I look at the default pages of excite, or yahoo or the many like them and just get turned off and move along rapidly. When BT upgraded to BTYahoo, I got sent emails and phonecalls trying to get me to upgrade the software to their broweser, with one of the selling points being the BT home page that would bring me everythng I need – in other words a portal. I declined to upgrade on line and got them to send me a CD. They ticked me off their list..the CD is probably under the bed somewhere, still unopened.
I use MyYahoo! mainly for one reason – an online version of the Outlook calendar at work. As mobile technology is something we lack, the only other way to access appointments would be to carry the laptop around with me and boot it up. Instead I synch the calender and when I wake up in the morning check on the home PC (always on) whether I have to rush to catch the train or can take it easy. The only other content I have on it are the night’s TV programmes and my horoscope for a laugh.
And, finally to the point of this post – A look at Google’s latest offering – Fusion. A portal by anyother name, they seem reluctant to call it that. It’s still at the Labs phase, so the offereing is not yet comprehensive.
Look and Form
The look is pure Google, simple, clean lines. The personalisable elements are confined to a section below the search bar. This can leave plenty of white space on the page. The interface is neat, with the modules/widgets (what do I call them) able to be picked up by the mouse and dragged around the page to be dropped elsewhere. This was my first disappointment, I wanted to drag the elements to the corners of the page, but the functionality is confined to a middle strip, and only to certain positions – it’s a three column layout. So all I can do is order within a table. MyYahoo has the same restrctions, content can only be placed in certain areas. The difference here is that placement is drag and drop on the page instead of from an editing page.
Another annoyance is that if I only have one row, I don’t appear to be able to drop the widgets down the page, creating space between them and the search box. SO the page now looks clutter. I’d like to jsut have a few of the options on the bottom of the page.
Google has an editing page too, to add or remove the widgets. Currently, the choice is very restricted – only 12 option:
- 5 News feeds (NYT, BBC, Wired, Slashdot and Google News)
- Stock Market feeds (you can chose your stocks)
- Driving Directions; provides UK as well as US.
- Trivia – both Word and Quote of the day
- Weather feed – not working today
- Gmail feed – also not working yet
In comparison, MyYahoo has around 36 content items, one of which is a completely customisable RSS feed. So Google has a lot of catching up to do here. Understanding that it is a new beta, I guess this is likely to change.
Normally, if I’m online, I have 2 pages open by default – Gmail and Bloglines. So if I was to change to use this google consistently I’d want the gmail interface to work and the feeds to be configurable so that I keep keep track of all my feeds through one widget only
So I only need to have one page open which covers most of what i use now. Provide calender synching in another, then I’ll be really happy. I’d still likely to go and use lots of other pages to do the other things though.
aka as GTD Tiddlywiki, I just want to call it Tiddlywinks. A nice, all in one HTML file that is wiki-sh in nature but can be run from the desktop, for To do lists and any other kind of lists you want. It prints to small sizes, to allow easy to carry notes. For fans of GTD and Life hacks; my favourite source being 43 Folders, where tips are given to improve your life in small ways.
Via David Weinberger found this neat trick of an embedded or popup mini browser – Scott Mathew’s Bitty Browser. Using iframes, it allows a window into another site, either embedded like the one below or via popup buttons. Not a new idea, but a branded wrapping.
Open “Recursiveness” in a new window
Postsecret is good. And scary. Everyone has secrets – would you share yours online?
I don’t really use a mobile phone too much; it’s provided, and paid for, by my employer and is really a basic model from Nokia whose only real functions are texting and calls. So I look at the ever increasing market of phones that do everything and wish I could get mine updated (and I could go and get my own phone, but I’ve got other things to spend my money on when I have a phone that works). But not everyone wants the gadgets and gizmos. Vodaphone are launching 2 new models that are very simple – calls and texts only – in response to customer calls. (via BBC). I agree with this – sometimes all you will ever need is the ability to make calls
I believe I’ve signed up for Reboot7.0 taking place in June in Copenhagen. I say believed as, so far, no invoice or confirmation has been received after a week. In this I’m the same as Tom, as well as a few other people. Trusting that all is well, everything else is booked – flights, hotels etc – so now I just need to turn up and enjoy (hopefully…)
In a change from the normal weekend routine, I spent today out in the open air, acting as regatta control for the Army regatta. Teh Army hold rowing camps and regattas every year and for about the last 10 years I’ve gone along, coaching the groups of squaddies who get ‘volunteered’ by their officers and helping organising the competitions. This year, I could only make the regatta, but turning up this morning was like I had nver been away. It’s the same team every year so we just got down to it and handled everything that the day could throw at us. Unlike open regattas, many of the people who compete have only been in a boat for 2 weeks – so it can get intersting in poor weather. The idea is to get everyone having fun and joining in, in fact 1 guy raced 7 times in the day. The weather did its usual – wet all day until the racing stops and then brightening up to be very sunny. And it’s strange being addressed as ma’am all day – just look official and the squaddies assume you’re an officer…or at least they are not willing to take the chance that you’re not!
So now I’m home and feeling very tired. However, unlike during the week, where it is mental tiredness, today it’s physical. Far better feeling, but where’s the footbath!
The BBC have finally discovered Flickr….got reported on its Click Online programme this morning. They compared it to the social network sites that ‘were so popular last year’! Of course, the BBC have to say: “People put all sorts up on these pages, so obviously discretion should be used when surfing with minors.” Here and everywehre else. At least they have the view that you are surfing with minors instead of minors being perfectly cabable of surfing on their own
have an extremely interesting article about downloading TV programmes. It references Battlestar Galactica, which aired in the UK 3 months before the US. The programme had been captured and loaded up on the web within a few hours of being broadcast, where many US-based viewers would download. According to the rhetoric from the entertainment industry, this should have damaged the US viewing figures? Not at all:
While you might assume the SciFi Channel saw a significant drop-off in viewership as a result of this piracy, it appears to have had the reverse effect: the series is so good that the few tens of thousands of people who watched downloaded versions told their friends to tune in on January 14th, and see for themselves.
The BBC may have been subject to a similar effect after the first episode of Doctor Who got leaked; the first screening drew far higher figures than was expected.
But media companies continue to try and clamp down on this, tying things up with DRM and lawsuits. Control is the aim, with content only allowed to be experienced in the way the controllers want it to be – offical channels, this edit, this way only of seeing or hearing. No creativity allowed here, at least not by anyone who does not attmept to joint he club. So the crackdown on filesharing sites, or on the technology that allows the files to spread. It’s an arms race…and the entertainment companies are not sure of a victory.
The BBC have 2 stories about how the genie is still out, roaming out of its bottle and never looking like it will go back in. The first is of a predictable example – The Revenge of the Sith has and is available on the internet for download. It appears that this is a leak from Lucasfilm, not a copy taken from a screening.
The second is less predictable – the pirated streaming of football games. There’s a strange situation (to me anyway) of football matches not been shown live on TV on a Saturday afternoon, because it may harm attendence figures. So they are recorded and shown later. But they are often shown live abroad. Some enterprising fans capture the overseas feed and stream it live across the web for people to watch – and charge for the priveledge. The FA and Premier League have been shutting down sites that offer the stream but are now talkign about lawsuits. I think they’re missing a trick – people are willing to pay for this, so why not join in and offer it? But then again they would be guaranteed the £1.5bn in revenue from broadcasting rights.
As Mindjack suggestes, there’s no going back – we need to work witht he technology and not against it.
Update: I write that, and then I find this from Wired – the ‘personalisation’ of DVDs. So, you buy a DVD, you get fingerprinted at the store and an RFID tag is updated, and then going forward only you can unlock the content via a player which accepts the same kind of identification. So no lending it out to friends, so watching ti anywhere else except on a player that reads the tag, no inheriting you fathers wnormous collection of DVDs inthe futur – once you’re gone, no-one else can touch them!
Got sent a work avoidance site today from Lee – The Gematriculator. Using the infallible methods of the Gematria, it looks at words and calulates how good or evil they are. This site comes in at 53% evil; me, however – I’m all of 96% evil!
There’s a planned announcement about the re-organisation tomorrow at work, covering the level above me, including the person my role reports into. Three people, including my current boss, have warned me that what I will hear may not be to my liking and to think about my reaction. Which means, in all likelihood, that my new team lead could be someone I once said to whom I would not report. Things could get interesting.
I see that Google have now released an Adsense for Feeds. That raises an interesting question for me, after saying that I would rather pay the licence fee for the BBC prgramming than see ads inthe programmes/radio/website. So would I have the same positionwit ads in RSS feeds? I’m not sure. It’s certainly easier to gloss over the ads in the feeds that I read. Doc Searls feed has no content so I switch to the site to read the blog; Slashdot has ads but they are in a different font, layout so I now just skip over them. Will this change as more feeds add ads? They’ll become more intrusive…and we’ll get ways to bypass them.
I signed up to go this Geek Dinner taking place in London in June, as organised by Scoble, Hugh and Lloyd. I’ve watched the numbers grow and the limits increase 3 times, with the total committed now approaching 100 people. That’s a lot of people for a dinner where one of the drivers for people to go is to meet people they know/read only online. So what can be done to share the experience?
Following in Channel 9’s footsteps, I suggest it gets videoed…let’s get a vote about who should star and then get them filmed, in a nice, low-key manner throughout the night in various conversations (can you do low key with a camera?). A good edit later, you have Geek Dinner – the Movie.
I’d offer to do this, but run into 2 key difficulties – no camera and no capability to edit anything, so I may not be the perfect choice for this 😉
I’ve been playing around with the Flickr Daily Zeitgeist (as in adding it to the right column), but for the time being I’m going to leave it off the menu, as it can be quite slow, however cool it may be.
Stephen, I don’t mind been sucked up to, even if it is to get a bottle of Scotch 😉
Great to see that IBM have formalised what I see as a very sensible Code of Conduct for all its employee bloggers. Now to start the discussions internally to see if we can move beyond the current ‘do not mention the company at all’ policy we have here.
The Motion Picture Association of America are releasing shorts into cinemas to try and educate people about the ‘evils’ of piracy, in showing the impact such activity may have on the everyday people who work on such movies, instead of the multi-million pound earning studios. But r4nt.com is listing three spoofs of these, illustrating the impact on 3 alterative film workers – zombies, script doctors and fluffers. I find the last particularly funny – especially as I was not aware this job existed. You learn something new everyday! (via BoingBoing)
Great. I’ve not had a job for the last few weeks, or rather, I should say, the whole company has been re-organising, it’s finally got to our section and since the middle of April everyone has been in limbo in that all roles are being opened up and you have to re-apply for your job. The uncertainty was supposed to close down last week at the end of the consultation period, but not yet it seems. Just came into work to see a bulletin that for the level above me it is complete and they can now go put names into the roles. For my level and all there others, the unions and employee groups have requested another 2 weeks. Oh well….