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Archive for September, 2007

Why Desktop Computers Matter as Laptops Speed Up

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Transhumanism, Uploading, User Experience on September 27th, 2007 by leodirac – 12 Comments

I just got a new MacBook Pro of my very own which is undoubtedly the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. I hear a lot of people saying things like “I don’t think I’ll ever get another desktop computer again.” But to me there is one very good reason to own and use a desktop computer: Desktop computers can provide greater bandwidth connections between your brain and the net than laptop computers can. I’ll explain what this means. We’re quickly approaching a world where we’re always connected to the net in some manner or another. As we all know, the bandwidth…

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FeedHub almost solves RSS Infoglut

Posted in Geek, Infoglut, Social Computing on September 26th, 2007 by leodirac – 3 Comments

A new feed digestion service FeedHub is attempting to solve RSS Infoglut. By RSS Infoglut, I mean not being able to keep up with the all the posts that show up in your feed reader. I recently posted a proposed solution to subscribing to more feeds than you can keep up with after rumors that Google might have hit on the same solution I had been thinking about building. FeedHub is promising in that it is explicitly trying to solve this exact problem that I’ve identified. Scoble refers to it as a Custom Techmeme. But I’m fairly sure FeedHub won’t…

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Google Calendar for the 28-hour day

Posted in Hacks, Personal Growth on September 25th, 2007 by leodirac – 2 Comments

XKCD is a rad web-comic. Today’s makes passing yo-mama jokes while discussing the concept of the “28-hour day.” It’s an interesting idea. Six 28-hour days make up a week. 6 x 28 = 7 x 24 = 168 hours. {math corrected} If you sleep 8 hours out of 28, then you’re getting 48 hours of sleep a week, which is equivalent to just under 7 hours of sleep a night on a regular schedule. (6 hours 51 minutes). Personally, I’m optimal at about 7 hours 25 minutes a night on a long-term basis, but I can go 6 hours a…

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Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Posted in Computer Science, Geek, Google, User Experience on September 20th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Gmail feels like it is slowing down to me. Maybe my standards are going up. Or maybe gmail’s user base has grown to the point where the servers to run it cost real money to Google, and they’ve throttled the computing resources to an “acceptable level of performance.” But it bothers me when I hit the “archive” button and I have to wait half a second for the UI to respond. Sometimes even a couple of seconds. Why does it take so long? Just to get that line off my inbox screen? The answer lies in computer science. Gmail is…

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Why Google Gears matters in an always-connected broadband world

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Geek, Google, Tech Industry, User Experience on September 19th, 2007 by leodirac – 1 Comment

An obvious trend in this industry is towards more pervasive internet access with bandwidth steadily increasing. The build-outs of WiMax networks, 3G cellular networks and metropolitan WiFi efforts promise to offer broadband-class connectivity to all major cities in the US within the next couple of years. Suburbs and extended metorpolitan areas will quickly follow. Even airplanes should have reasonable net access before too long — Virgin America will have it next year. In this environment it’s tempting to design products that assume customers will always be well connected. It is certainly easier to build compelling services to users that have…

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Tab management in Firefox — my strategies and some requests

Posted in Hacks, User Experience on September 18th, 2007 by leodirac – 4 Comments

Sometimes when I’m using firefox and I open a link in a new window, somebody will ask me “why don’t you use tabs?” I do use tabs, but I use windows as well. I like to group sets of related browser tabs together into OS windows. This organizational structure makes it easy to multi-task. I might be researching something I want to buy, and I’ll have lots of tabs open in a single window with the various options I’m considering and the related research. When I’ve made my choice and have purchased something, I can easily close all those tabs…

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How to rescue an old dying Windows Mobile 5 phone from code-rot

Posted in Gadgets, Geek, Microsoft on September 14th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on How to rescue an old dying Windows Mobile 5 phone from code-rot

Those of us who have been around the block know that Windows systems accumulate cruft as they age and just generally get slower and less reliable until you wipe the OS and start over. I realized recently that Windows Mobile 5 is no different. Here are the steps I took to clean off a machine that was so far down the path of destruction it was almost unusable Oh, Treo running Windows, how can you suck so badly? After having my Treo 700W for a while, it started to get noticeably less stable. First it stopped receiving e-mail. Then it…

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Why build your app in Facebook?

Posted in Analysis, Facebook, Social Computing on September 12th, 2007 by leodirac – 4 Comments

Almost every information service can be made more valuable by the addition of social networking metadata. So if you’re thinking about launching a new information service you currently have three choices in this regard: Build your app without social networking data Start from scratch with your own social network Integrate your app with Facebook The third choice is so simple, it is the obvious best choice for most new information services. As I see it, this is the fundamental power of the Facebook platform and why they’re going to go very, very far.

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Solving RSS Infoglut through Social Filtering

Posted in Analysis, Democratization of Information, Facebook, Google, Infoglut, Social Computing, User Experience on September 12th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Solving RSS Infoglut through Social Filtering

This morning Scoble linked to a leaked video out of google describing some new features to be added to Google Reader. I don’t like re-reporting other-people’s news here, but I can’t leave this one sit because it strikes so close to home for me. The ideas they describe sound exactly like what I’ve been thinking the world needs out of a feed reader — features to manage infoglut using the social network. What I’ve been thinking about building in my copious spare time is a web-based feed-reader that assumes you over-subscribe to feeds. That is, it expects you to “subscribe”…

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Chronological Blogging

Posted in Geek, User Experience on September 11th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Chronological Blogging

Blog engines always display posts in reverse-chronological order. This is appropriate if the content stales quickly and readers are mostly interested in what the most recent thing is. But it’s often unhelpful if you want to use the blog engine to develop a static piece of content. In many such cases, the author wants the reader to consume the content in the order it was written. Examples of content that works better this way include: Stories or fiction Instructional content Reference material For all of these, first-time visitors should be presented with the first post, which would include the most…

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