Thursday, December 28, 2006

Where's the blog been?

I haven't had time to write proper entries lately, but as is the trend with most busy bloggers, i'm still actively posting to Flickr and, so if you don't already have these links -- here they are:

Flickr -

Delicious -

If, for some reason, you prefer the delicious links in a daily blog posting, check out Kaigani's Arbor Vitae

Of course, I have plans to combine all this into a shiny new homepage in 2007 ... but so does everyone.

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Microsoft Hates Old People

That's the only conclusion I can come to after trying to clean up my mother and grandparents' PCs over the holiday.

Working alongside my shiny new MacBook, the juxtaposition of desktops and user experiences made me realise how unfriendly Windows is for the non tech-savvy.

First of all, is vendor problem. I advised my mother to get an HP and she did the same for her father. However, while I was familiar with HP in the workplace -- I wasn't aware of all the crap they package into their home version.

You get a 'control centre', photo apps, scanner and printer apps, and of course the obligatory check for the latest online updates that launch at start up.

Second is the damned-if-you-do, damn-if-you-don't antivirus problem. My grandfather was installing all sorts of malicious software without realising it, so my mother (as instructed by the IT dept at work), installed Symantec's Norton Antivirus.

I don't know why the IT depts and general public have not gotten the message that you should stop using Symantec products! (Why? Check here.) It's a bloated piece of junk.

Finally, the lack of any reasonable tools for novice users to do things like clean up their desktop, registry, start-up applications. I can barely do all this.

Maybe Vista can fix all this -- but probably not, because the core philosophy is different between Microsoft and Apple. When you start up a Mac, it feels completely personalise -- it's all about what you can do with your pictures, media, etc. When you start up a PC it feels like you've been given a machine on loan from HP or some other vendor. They've set up all the shortcuts they know you'll want (such as Britainnica Online) -- most of which are 30-day trial versions.

The PC start up experience feels like you're battling with the machine to undo all the weird stuff someone else has put on it -- it's not your machine, really.

My advice - get a MacMini for your loved ones.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

On his blog, Malcolm Gladwell tackled one of the three subjects that shouldn't be written about by the faint of heart: race. (The other two being religion and politics).

One of the assumptions in his post prompted me to make a comment.

In a follow-up post Gladwell, took into account comments like mine and reflected on them.

This is what's so great about the blogosphere. I've had countless people recommend Blink and Tipping Point to me, and in the past this would be a 1-way transmission of information from Gladwell to me.

Now, it's a conversation. It's a great feeling to think that I made a small ripple in his mental ecosystem that may collide with other bits of information and emerge in some form through one of his future books.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wow -- it's a Wii

I've really wanted a Nintendo Wii since I saw the Tokyo Game Show previews on YouTube. However, with all the fanatics camping outside of stores overnight and pre-ordering the system, I thought it would be well into 2007 when I would finally be able to get one myself.

In the meantime, I'd picked up a DS, and today I thought I'd get another game for the plane trip back to the States.

At Game, I get in the queue with a copy of Cooking Mama DS (yes, really), when the manager comes out and says:

"If you're in the queue at the moment, we have enough Wii's in stock for everyone, but there is a limit of one per customer"

It took a moment to sink in -- every where I'd been today, including this store, had 'sold out' signs posted over their Wii display.

The only catch was that I had to buy 2 games and an extra controller -- but I was planning to do that eventually anyhow. And to top it off, the manager came out from the back with a box of Zelda games -- which is what I wanted but hadn't seen.

So that's Christmas sorted for me then.

view the photo set

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Gliffy - Collaborative diagrams

Gliffy is like a collaborative online version of Visio.
You can create and share masterpieces like this:

Did I mention that I hate Visio?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Know your ABG's

Adding a greek letter to your name is a prerequisite in the web 2.0 world.

It's so common that it has lost all meaning. 'Beta' used to mean you were testing something for a period of time before it went out to the public.

For a time, Flickr was correctly using 'Beta', when it was invite-only and actually being tested.

Somehow, since then, 'Beta' has come to mean that the site is still being developed. Or, more likely, it means that it has no source of funding or sustainable business model -- so they can go to the VCs and say "we need funding to get out of beta"

'Beta' should not be a badge of honor. It's confusing to anyone outside of the industry (and who knows what 'alpha' and 'gamma' mean).

If I were Riffs, I'd be worried that I did become successful, and everyone was calling me 'AlphaRiffs'

So -- stop it. The web is constantly under development by its very nature, either you're bug testing and shouldn't be open to the public, or you're live. Enough of the greek alphabet.

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