Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ubuntu Linux to have single command LAMP setup

For those of us who have struggled with getting all the "bits" to work together in a setup, the news of a certified LAMP release will really make site setup easy. This has proved to be a particular problem for me in Windows - WAMP has had all sotrs of hiccups.

news/lamp - Ubuntu Linux
The Server Edition of the June 1st 2006 release of Ubuntu will include a mechanism to set up a standardised, certified and supported LAMP server with a single command. The feature reduces the setup time for companies providing hosted LAMP services as well as making it easier for organisations to set up and maintain their own LAMP standardised servers.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Test smarter - less is more

Leading with a quick demonstration that it is not possible to test some systems (at least in a realistic timeframe), this is a controversial discussion of what should be tested, and when testing might not even be attempted! Hmm.

Test Smarter, Not Harder by Scott Sehlhorst - developer.*, Developer Dot Star

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Make your site valuable - make money, achieve or get visited

Web 2.0 is a great marketing label. What does it mean? This debate reminds me of a Pharmacist friend of mine. He would always buy a particular line of expensive perfume for his Chemist shop, because he noticed that it was a good mover... until he put in a new accounting system that showed that it went all right, but no-one ever paid for it. Visitors are not automatically the clients you want. They may not be making you money, or helping you achieve your business outcomes.

The Myth, Reality & Future of Web 2.0 ( is a broadband weblog edited by Om Malik, senior writer at Business 2.0 magazine... ) discusses the discrepancy in views between the group that want the first lot of visitors (presumably so they can sell the website for a bucketload of money), and those with a real business model that focus on scalability, monetizing model, competitive strategy and those other things that are the real factors that determine the success of a facility.

Nick Wilson from Performancing (my new favourite read) spells out exactly how to strategise a launch of a web site using web 2.0 in Using the Web2.0 Bandwagon to Jumpstart a Real Business

There's no doubt that dumb as we may find some of the web2.0 "oooh, i made a website!" silliness out there, if you pitch it right, and get a kick start from blogs like TC and others where the blog/web2.0 crowd is dense (pun not entirely unintended) you can get an awful lot of link love. And I'm thinking that if you're smart, and build your site with Search in mind, you may just be able to jump the "tech gap" (the gap between your first 25k users and real users.)

Real users .. hmmm. I'm finishing a business strategy web site document for a client this weekend (as you can tell because I just HAD to do a blog post instead) that is having to address this very issue - creating a collegiate community with a membership that achieves the business outcomes - almost to the point of excluding the public. These two papers have affected that thinking (well, that's my excuse anyway).

e-Business strategy example - the impressive

Are you interested in looking at generating some income from your blog?

Worlds Largest Community of Professional Bloggers |

Nick Wilson - one of the founders of performancing outlined their thinking:

"The original idea for Performancing was to build an ad network. Not another Adsense clone, and not another text link ads clone (my partner Patrick already runs the largest company in that market), but something we felt bloggers would really like, and that stood an excellent chance of success. Somewhere during the planning out of that network came the idea that it might be better, if we involved the blogging community in what we were planning more. After all, if we really want you guys to like what we do, who better to help plan it? Of course you can't do that unless you have some folks to talk to about it, so we figured we would do the sensible thing, and start blogging on subjects related to advertising, making money, writing compelling copy and all other aspects of what we would consider "professional blogging". By building up a community of like minded bloggers, bloggers like ourselves, that were interested in making money from their blogs, we would eventually have a great bunch of people to bounce ideas off of, and help us shape the money making end of this business. I hope that makes sense. My point is, that we think YOU are the best people to decide what you want from an ad network, not us. So, we started posting, and unsurprisingly, found some great folks that were willing to share their experiences and skills with the community to the benefit of us all. (dont think for a moment that I, Chris or anyone else here knows all there is to know about blogging, that just isnt possible heh..). Then along came Performancing Firefox Whilst dreaming up ways to get our site noticed, I came up with this small idea to build a neat firefox extension. A little harmless "linkbait" to help get a new blog off the ground, and noticed by some of the big kids. That extension has become a monster! To this date, its the most fun thing I've worked on, and has gone a long way to prove my belief that involving the community in the production of tools and services for the community is a strong idea."

Is LINUX ready for desktop users?

That is certainly the contention of this author who installed ubuntu linux for a grandmother. - Ubuntu for your grandmother.
Yes my friends, I kid you not, for all of those who are afraid to dip their little toe into the great Linux-Lake let us reassure you : If your grandmother can do it ? So can you. Before we start , let me clarify : We are not talking about turning your Linux machine into a clustered database server with SQL, PHP, Apache, Samba and what have you. We are talking about the advantages of using Linux .. as a desktop.

The new Apple Pro Site is a must visit - whatever your design tools

The Apple Pro website is a "must visit" for design professionals, no matter what tools we use. One design area that has really caught my eye is the discussion of colour in design by Jody Turner.

Apple - Pro - Insights and Ideas / Color - Jody Turner: Cultural Emotions, Creative Engagement
"Studio Culture of Future Jody’s history spans 25 years in design, including Nike Trend and Starbucks Store Concepts. As current CEO of L.A. based Culture of Future, Jody explores current market concerns, linking them with consumer evolutions and insights."

Although that description sounds full of jargon and remote from practical use, the pages are really excellent examples of applying colour to design and why the choice was made.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Website (and business) design example

Read this article with netflix open in the next tab of your browser ..

Netflix - Keeps It Reel
Since Netflix does all of its business via its website, it realizes the importance of constructing a clear and concise site to match its brand. And there is a good case to be made that has no current equal.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Technorati Description of Blog Statistics

For an interesting summary of changes in blogger behaviour, languages and trends, this is a really good, succinct read: - FRONT PAGE - Sifry's Salient Points
David Sifry, the charming CEO of Technorati, has some interesting things to say on the current state of the blogosphere -

"Late last month, I gave a high-level overview of the growth of the blogosphere, covering the overall size of the data sets that Technorati tracks, the number of new blogs created each day, the number of posts per day, and the issue of splogs or spam blogs.

To recap, here's the highlights of Part 1:

Technorati now tracks over 37.3 Million blogs
The blogosphere is doubling in size every 6 months
It is now over 60 times bigger than it was 3 years ago
On average, a new weblog is created every second of every day
19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created
Technorati tracks about 1.2 Million new blog posts each day, about 50,000 per hour

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Salon - The Impact of Open Access on Public Health

Open versus pay models - interesting life and death discussion from "the way the world works". (May need to watch an ad for Salon content if not registered).

But imagine if life or death did ride on getting the full text of a document, instead of, say, just the abstract? In an editorial in the most recent Bulletin of the World Health Organization, "The Impact of Open Access on Public Health," we are presented with just such an anecdote.

"Arthur Amman, President of Global Strategies for HIV Prevention tells the following story: 'I recently met a physician from southern Africa, engaged in perinatal HIV prevention, whose primary access to information was abstracts posted on the Internet. Based on a single abstract, they had altered their perinatal HIV prevention program from an effective therapy to one with lesser efficacy. Had they read the full text article they would have undoubtedly realized that the study results were based on short-term follow-up, a small pivotal group, incomplete data, and were unlikely to be applicable to their country situation. Their decision to alter treatment based solely on the abstract's conclusions may have resulted in increased perinatal HIV transmision.'"

The reporter in me would like a little more specificity in this anecdote -- some names that could be fact-checked, for example. It sounds almost too good to be true, as if custom-designed for the purposes of the four authors of the article --- who are all employed by the Public Library of Science, a pioneer in publishing peer-reviewed open-access academic papers. But even as a hypothetical, the story would still illustrate a crucial point. When you inject the topic of public health into the domain of intellectual property you immediately fling yourself into an arena where ethical responsibilities and economic interests clash.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Impact Lab - China's Latest Shopping Craze: 'Team Buying'

New trend in China use of web combines flash mobs and aggregated buying power to negotiate bargains on retail floor. Could work in big population centres, but maybe also for primary producers - bulk tree stock, sprays, fodder... hmm...

Impact Lab - China's Latest Shopping Craze: 'Team Buying': "Last month, Fiona Li did what millions of Chinese shoppers do to find a bargain: she went online. A few clicks later, she had a lead on where to buy the consumer goodies her brother wanted for his new apartment. Instead of reaching for her credit card, though, she jotted down a time and a place: 8 p.m. at a downtown electronics store.
That evening, Ms. Li and her brother joined 15 strangers at the store to demand a group discount on a new television, refrigerator, and washing machine. Salespeople grumbled at the tactic, but the group refused to buckle. After two hours of haggling, and several walkouts by group members, the store manager agreed to a 10 percent markdown on the three items.

Li, a marketing assistant, went home with a smile on her face. 'We wanted to save money, and finally we did it,' she says. 'It's in our nature, whether we're rich or poor, and if we can save money this way, why not?'

Welcome to China's newest shopping craze, tuangou, or team buying. By combining the power of the Internet to compare prices with the stealth tactics of the flash mob, team buyers are driving hard bargains in the world's hottest economy. Dozens of team-buying websites have sprung up to catch the trend, which first began in online forums and chat rooms.

Typically, shoppers looking for the same items find each other online, then band together offline to negotiate special deals on electronics, home furnishings, and automobiles. Some team buyers approach store managers beforehand, others simply show up and flex their collective muscle."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Cultural Flexibility and Information Management - How the World Works -

Successful strategies in Information Management Technology are key to organisations and Countries. Developing supporting cultural attitudes within an organisation or Country is an important step. Korea with its 75% penetration of broadband will be a fascinating experiment. This Salon article (may need to view an ad) discusses one aspect of developing the support culture.

How the World Works - "Finns and Brazilians alike flourish in the interstices of the Internet. Both see great value in the hacker ethic, the sharing of information.

This is not merely about the prevalence of Brazilians on social networks like Orkut, or Finnish expertise at cryptography. Nor is it the odd historical fact that Finland is the birthplace of the free software operating system Linux and Brazil's government is one of free software's biggest international supporters. It goes deeper: One can make an argument that both countries are at home in the realm of digital culture for unique historical and cultural reasons. The reasons are different -- grounded in utterly dissimilar material circumstances -- but the results are fascinating, predisposing two nations that could not be less alike to swim like one school of fish in the information technology seas.

Finland, the home of Nokia and Linus Torvalds, has received quite a bit of attention for its info-tech prowess. When I visited Helsinki six years ago, doing research for a chapter on Finland in my book on free software, one I.T. entrepreneur explained his theory as to why this was so by reaching deep into Finland's prehistory."

Friday, May 05, 2006

Well... just one more

Interactive table in a club in Omote-sando in Tokyo, Japan.

100% computer vision based. No sensors.

Apparently driven by advertising management routine. Interactive advertising changes from table to table according to time and people.
If I keep placing posts like this I'll turn into a gadget freak - it's time to stop - but isn't it interesting?

And now for some pure gadgetry

This is a video of a multi-input touch screen. The software concepts behind it are pretty impressive, although I suspect the consumer computer market is some way off. A standard touch screen allows one input at a time. This allows multiple people to use it or to pick up a signal like fingers squeezing or separating to shrink or enlarge image areas.