Quality Reads

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ADOBE, Adobe, adobe...

Two quick notes on Adobe. First, They've revamped their website...and damn does it look sweet. Check it out. Second, I noticed a side note in the Flex 3 tracking log a couple weeks ago that mentioned something about "Blaze DS". The name sounded pretty intriguing to me at the time but I didn't have any details to go on. Today they finally issued a press release, it appears Blaze DS is an open source Data Service manager, a Lifecycle Data Services-Light (that's a mouthful). The platform will provide Remote Object access to new server-side languages (PHP, Ruby, etc.), basic data-push, and syncing functionality to Flex 3 (still in beta). No word on its level of integration with Flex 2, the most current full-release of Flex. This should open the door to a larger "open source" crowd that might have been dissuaded from using Flex without an integrated server-side component. Looks like another solid move by Adobe to bolster their development ranks, we'll see how it plays out as more information becomes available.


PS - This information comes from a number of scatter sources so forgive any misinformation I might be spreading.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Gmail Upgrade Has Arrived...

...at least for me. I'm not sure if everyone can see it yet. Below is a sneak peek ofa the new Contact Manager. If you're working in a small shop it looks like it can be a decent little CRM.
As for the main interface, not a whole lot has changed except for the inclusion of a dropdown menu.
The interface changes are nice but the main upgrade is speed. You'd almost think this is running on the desktop, near seamless experience. They actually prompted me to shut off Firebug just so it wouldn't ruin the experience. The Net Monitor intercepts all the incoming requests slowing things down a bit.

I'm sure I'm missing a couple items but that's all I have to report for now. Hope you get to check it out soon!


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Basecamp JS Injection

I've used Basecamp on and off for a couple years now. Generally, I thought it was a great application: secure, well-designed, simple & efficient. That is until I ran into this little beauty today.

In case you can't figure out what you're looking at, thats a lightbox with an Iframe pointing to pierinc.tickspot.com. No, that's not a new feature for Basecamp that you missed out on. One of my colleagues, today, noted that he could enter HTML into the Todo list. Immediately, I was like uh-oh...I wonder if I can....out come the <script> tags. You can insert html script tags right into the Todo list and it doesn't get sanitized. A little scary if you use Basecamp for larger projects, perhaps with a developer you don't completely trust.

After a little inspection of the DOM and playing around, I "mashed up" tickspot, our time tracking application, with basecamp so I can kill two birds w/ one stone. Beyond the security risk, this could actually be kinda fun. Tossing anything I want onto my Basecamp page for easy access. I still think Basecamp is a great application but this a serious no no. I had higher expectation from the 37Signals folks than this (perhaps its a feature...lol).


PS-I don't have a picture of it but the first thing I did was animate all the <div> tags. I had them flying all around the page...great way to freak out your boss ;)

37Signals Support responded with this message:

Basecamp intentionally allows HTML (and JavaScript) because many ofour
users find great value in being able to use that. We're fullyaware that this
allows for XSS attacks, but Basecamp is based on thenotion of trusted parties.
You should only allow people into thesystem that you believe won't hack your
system (just as you shouldonly invite people into your office that you don't
believe will stealfrom you). If your friend becomes a foe, you can revoke their
accountand change your login credentials. Just like you would simply not letthem
into your office.

If this was a public system, it would definitely be different. You can't
have a public forum today without carefully dealing with XSS issues.

In the 3+ years we've operated Basecamp, we've never had a single suchcase
occur, though. So it doesn't seem like it's a big problem. And I know many of
our customers would scream murder if we removed the option to use HTML in their
messages, as they've become accustomed toover the past 3+ years.

I'm not sure I total agree with the sentiment of leaving security up to your users but its certainly a refreshing change from the pervasive concept of the "low-trust" internet.

==>If you're into javascript...hack away!

Friday, November 02, 2007


If you're wondering why I haven't been posting here as often as I used to, I've been tied up on my new website Shakakai.com. Its a site that was created with two main goals:
  1. To aggregate all the content I'm generating over the web, be it blog posts, tweets, del.icio.us or digg tags, and a host of social website content.
  2. As an experiment into using Google as Content Delivery Network ( commonly referred to as a CDN)
The former point isn't particularly groundbreaking, everyone is cranking out mashups nowadays. The latter is a radical restructuring of how a website is built. Rather than construct and consume services for my own view layer, I'm capturing all the dynamic content for the site in RSS feeds. Then using Google's AJAX feed API, I'm using request the content from Google rather than my own server. As long as I optimize my JavaScript code, I should see a massive reduction in the bandwidth consumed per visit (in theory). This loose coupling of data from the view also serves to enforce proper MVC development practices while moving much of the application logic to the client.

There's a couple things I need to watch out for taking this approach:
  1. Accessibility - When building out the view, you need to actively review the accessibility of the markup you're using. Its very easy to blow off the standards when you're waist deep in JavaScript.
  2. Load Time - Minimize the amount of JS that gets loaded up front so the initial load time appears extra snappy. Then switch over to on-demand loading for any additional functionality (e.g. a "donate now" button)
The site is still in its infant stages but I hope to make a major dent in the development effort by the end of the weekend. So check in sometime next week: www.shakakai.com


Friday, October 26, 2007

The Developer Blog's Alive!

We've got some hot post action over at the Pier Dev Blog. Swing over and check it out.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Pier Interactive Developer Blog

My company, Pier Interactive, just launched a developer blog. We're still working to fill out the content but if you're looking for more advanced articles on Flex and AIR it should be a superb resource. I currently have two posts up:
Speaking of developer articles, was anyone else let down by the extremely basic tutorials up on the new Adobe Developer Connection? I know AIR is still technically "new" but Flex definitely isn't. Where's the Enterprise-grade development posts? --> http://developers.pierinc.com (that's right I plugged it twice, I'm shameless).


Friday, September 07, 2007


If you're a ColdFusion developer, then its a safe assumption you've visited the ColdFusion Developer's Journal on Sys-Con. Over the past year, their frequency and quality of posts has been on the decline (perhaps in conjunction with their readership). Adobe took notice and recently pulled their support from the publication. Apparently that was the final nail in the coffin because Sys-Con just announced CFDJ has been axed.

The quality of their content aside, I'm a little surprised Adobe allowed this to happen. CFDJ was the premier ColdFusion publication and really the only one that comes to mind as I'm writing this article. Is this a reflection of Adobe's commitment to CF or just a fitting end to a subpar journal? I don't mean any offense to the authors of CFDJ. There's a long list of great reads from the journal, over the years, but lets face facts. Sys-Con's user experience is probably the worst of any website I'll admit to frequenting. Perhaps a new blog with a better format and design will fill its place (hint, hint). Check in with pierinc.com in the next week for all the info.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Client-Side Error Logging

If you've done any amount of server-side scripting (CF, PHP, RoR, .NET, etc.), you already know the benefits of error handling. It allows you to capture unusual, sometimes unforeseen, errors that can occur in your script and handle them gracefully so your users get proper feedback on what just happened. No matter how great a programmer your are, something out of your control will break your code. Its your responsibility to build in a safety net so your users don't break their neck when they step off the correct path.

Since most developers would generally agree with my sentiment, why don't you see AJAX applications properly handling and logging client-side errors. The application that sticks out for me is Gmail. At least once a week I'll see a host of non-fatal errors pop up. Why? Can't errors that bubble up to the application scope be captured? Yes.

Be better than Google. Here's how:

var ErrorLogger = Class.create();
ErrorLogger.prototype = {
initialize: function(url, opts){
this.url = url;
this.active = true;
this.opts = opts;
window.onerror = this.onError.bind(this);
onError: function(msg, URI, line){
var body = 'URI=' + escape(URI) + '&line=' + line + '&msg=' + escape(msg) + '&brw=' + escape(Object.toJSON(Prototype.Browser)) + '&pv=' + escape(Prototype.Version);
if('onError' in this.opts)this.opts.onError.apply(this, arguments);
var opts = {
onSuccess : this.onSuccess.bind(this),
onFailure : this.onComplete,
postBody : body
new Ajax.Request(this.url, opts);
return true;
onSuccess: function(){
if('onSuccess' in this.opts)this.opts.onSuccess.apply(this, arguments);
onFailure: function(){
this.active = false;
if('onFailure' in this.opts)this.opts.onFailure.apply(this, arguments);

What's it doing? Well, first off this is a Prototype Class so you need to include prototype.js in order to use it. Here's the breakdown:
  1. The window.onerror event is set to call ErrorLogger.onError. When an unhandled error bubbles up to the window scope, onError will be called to handle it.
  2. Three arguments are passed into the onError function ( msg, URI, line ) and an Ajax request with some additional browser information is constructed and posted to the URL specified in the constructor.
  3. Lastly, the onError function returns true so the browser knows to disregard the error.
Can you just show the syntax for use? No prob.

<title>Logger Test</title>
<script type="text/javascript" src="prototype.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="ErrorLogger.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
var er;
var init = function(){
er = new ErrorLogger('TestResult.html',
onSuccess : function()
$('btn').setStyle({'backgroundColor' : 'red'});
onError : function()
alert('An error occurred on the page. Run for your life!');
<body onload="init()">
<button id="btn" onclick="nonExistentFunction()">Throw Error</button>

When you click on the button labeled "Throw Error", the ErrorLogger class will gracefully handle the error and post some useful debug information to your server. From there you can do whatever you want. Personally, I just toss it in a log file that I monitor. All that in less than 1KB, not bad.

I've tested it on IE6/7 and FF2. Its definitely not production ready quite yet but I'll throw an update up with my final version in a day or two.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Add A Blog Search Feed to Google Reader

If you're like me your Google Reader RSS Feed Reader is filled with great blogs site ( Lifehacker, Mashable, Techmeme, etc.) While I'm not ditching any of my favorite web filters, sometimes I want to get my information direct from the source, or just another source. Here's a handy trick to keep you ahead of the curve.

Go to Google's Blog Search. Note the RSS/ATOM links on the side. Toss those in your Feed Reader and you're ready to go.

Oh, did I say this was difficult and time consuming? Definitely not.

Very useful? You know it.


PS - Depending on the search query, you may run into some spam. Play around w/ the advanced search options to get things working right.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Got Some Free Time?

Great list of top notch Flash sites: http://flashprayer.blogspot.com/

Steer clear during work hours...lest your lose your whole day (which may or may not be a good thing).



PS - AIR Tour on Friday in Boston.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Simply awesome.


Check out the source.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Code Highlighting

If you're in the market for a code highlighter, I just ran into a good one that handles PHP, Java, Javascript, Perl, SQL, HTML, and CSS. To rock this on your blog/website, all you need to do is include the javascript source in you page header and add a textarea tag like so:

<textarea id="myCpWindow" class="codepress javascript linenumbers-off">
// your code here

Notice the language to be highlighted is included in the class declaration. There's a couple other useful features (such as copying code to the user's clipboard) that can be found here. To make life even easier, I've written up a quick ColdFusion custom tag to create the textarea declaration and include the appropriate content (sorry, non-CF users). Here's the code:

<CFSETTING enablecfoutputonly="true">
<CFIF ThisTag.ExecutionMode eq "Start">
<cfparam name="attributes.language" type="string"><!--- Language to Highlight --->
<cfparam name="attributes.file" type="string"><!--- relative file path --->
<cfparam name="attributes.readOnly" type="boolean" default="false">
<cfparam name="attributes.lineNumbers" type="boolean" default="true">
<cfparam name="attributes.autoComplete" type="boolean" default="false">

<cfset attriList = "language,file,readOnly,lineNumbers,autoComplete">
<cfset attriKey = StructKeyList(attributes)>

<CFFILE action="read"

<CFCATCH type="any">
<CFTHROW detail="Double check the file location. The error occurred trying reading the specified filed.">

<CFOUTPUT><textarea class='codepress</CFOUTPUT>
<CFIF attributes.readOnly><CFOUTPUT> readonly-on </CFOUTPUT></CFIF>
<CFIF NOT attributes.lineNumbers><CFOUTPUT> linenumbers-off </CFOUTPUT></CFIF>
<CFIF NOT attributes.autoComplete><CFOUTPUT> autocomplete-off </CFOUTPUT></CFIF>
<CFLOOP from="1" to="#ListLen(attriKey)#" index="aIndex">
<CFIF NOT ListFindNoCase(attriList, ListGetAt(attriKey,aIndex))>
<CFOUTPUT> #ListGetAt(attriKey,aIndex)#='#attributes[ListGetAt(attriKey,aIndex)]#' </CFOUTPUT>

<CFSETTING enablecfoutputonly="false">

You can use the tag like so:

<cf_syntaxify <-- whatever you name the tag -->
id="testID" />

Any attribute you define in the tag that is not param'ed at the top of the custom tag will be passed onto the <textarea> tag. Note the id attribute in the above example.

There are a couple other code highlighters available, most notably the one released by Google, but the simplicity of CodePress is immediately apparent once you check out the docs. Let me know if you run into any problems w/ the custom tag (I haven't tested it extensively yet).


Friday, August 03, 2007

The Cross-Over Point AKA FU Money

Hackzine has a great post on money management. They discuss the often sought after (little talked about) situation known as FU Money. The point where you earn more in interest on your investments than you spend in living expenses. Its a really simple concept that most people don't think about until they're old and gray (Hackzine begs to differ).

I've come up with a new response to "What's fueling this whole Web 2.0 frenzy?" FU Money, obviously!

Have a great weekend.


CF8 Logos...

Rey Bango just posted a bunch of CF8 logos. If you're working on a ColdFusion 8 powered project (I know I am), then you may want to snag one of these. I'm hoping to have some info on my *hush* *hush* AIR derby project by Monday.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ning :: Full Source Access

API's are great from a security standpoint but creativity takes a backseat in the process. What happens when you come up with an idea/concept that the original developer never thought of? With a standard web service, nothing. With Ning, you can write your own API .


Perhaps I'm blurring the truth a little bit. Ning doesn't really provide an "API" like other web applications, they've created an application layer that ANY community user can edit. Their API is exposed via PHP, a very untraditional approach to open development that begs the question: if Ning can do it, why can't you? or me? or Google?

If you could provide all your company's information/resources in a system like Ning, would you?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Drag & Drop in AIR

I just ran into a great article by Alastair outlining the use of Native Drag & Drop functionality in AIR (w/ a little RoR mixin). The documentation for Native D&D is very spotty, there are more mistakes then anything else. So, if you haven't learned the hard way yet, let me make your life a little easier: http://blog.vixiom.com/2007/06/29/merb-on-air-drag-and-drop-multiple-file-upload/

Here's a simple test application you can use to get started:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<mx:WindowedApplication xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" layout="absolute" creationComplete="init(event)">

import mx.events.DragEvent;
import flash.desktop.DragManager;
import flash.desktop.DragActions;
import flash.events.NativeDragEvent;
import flash.desktop.TransferableFormats;
import flash.filesystem.File;

private function init(e:Event):void
//add the event handlers
this.addEventListener(NativeDragEvent.NATIVE_DRAG_ENTER, onEnter);
dropPanel.addEventListener(NativeDragEvent.NATIVE_DRAG_DROP, onDrop);

public function onEnter(event:NativeDragEvent):void
//Check to see if the drag item is the right format

public function onDrop(event:NativeDragEvent):void{
// Cast the drag & drop data as an array
var files:Array = event.clipboard.dataForFormat(flash.desktop.ClipboardFormats.FILE_LIST_FORMAT) as Array;
for each (var f:File in files)
// check out the file URL

<mx:Panel id="dropPanel"
title="Drop Files Here"



Also worth a read: http://coenraets.org/blog/2007/06/air-to-desktop-drag-and-drop-two-simple-utility-classes/

I'll let you know why I'm reading up on D&D in a couple days :)


***Updated for AIR Beta 2***

Sunday, July 22, 2007

CT-CFUG Presentation

Just a quick heads up. JB and I are giving a presentation on Adobe AIR at the Connecticut ColdFusion User Group on Tuesday night (July 24th, 2007). If you're in the area and up on technology, you might want to think about stopping in for our jam session. I hear there's going to be some free Adobe swag in it.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Nokia Didn't See This Use Case Coming

Adam Prestin pointed me to this crazy picture earlier today and I had to re-post it.

No this phone wasn't modded out by some MAKE afficionado. Its actually a terrorist/insurgent/{insert political spin here} bomb timer from Iraqi, apparently a very common one too.

Its a good thing they missed the call.

(Thanks Adam)

Bubblemark Animation Test Confirms It

Alexey Gavrilov compiled a nice set of performance tests for all the major RIA development platforms (Flex, Silverlight, JavaFX, AJAX). Flex (aka Flash) performed like a champ in the browser arena, which isn't horribly surprising considering how long its been around. Both Flex & Actionscript are up to, or on the way to, version 3.0 and Flash is rocking numero nine. I do have to admit that I'm impressed by Microsoft's progress on Silverlight. After the Flex 2.0 release, they must have recognized the enterprise level development capabilities that Flex brought to the table and jumped right on the issue. If they had taken a look at the crazy flash apps Pier was doing back in 2001, they might have foreseen this RIA trend long in advance.

Here are a couple surprises:
  • JavaFX is 4.4 times slower than Flash.
  • Firefox + Silverlight (CLR) — 99 fps
  • Flex and AIR peform at the same speed (as I previous reported)
While it looks like Silverlight is going to be a strong contender from a performance standpoint, I'm going to hold my opinion until they release the first non-Windows version.

Check out the complete results here.

PS- I also enjoyed reading Alexey's initial experiences w/ Flex. I distinctly remember dealing with each one of the issues he mentioned. Good times.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

There's an Advanced DataGrid!?!

I guess in all the excitement surrounding Adobe AIR, I missed out on a huge feature available in Flex 3, the Advanced DataGrid.

If you're working w/ alot of data in your Flex/AIR applications like I am, you need to check this component out. It may just save your life/sanity.

Here are some of the main features:
  • Multi-column sorting
  • Tree View (basically a tree component mashed into a DataGrid)
  • Cell Formatting
  • Summary Collections (allows you to perform a calcuation on the DataGrid columns and output a result)
  • Column Grouping
Seriously, half the work I'm doing right now could be handled with this component. Check out some of the details here or the Flex 3 docs here. This is the type of great stuff I expect from the Flex team. Now if we could only get the CS3-to-Flex skinning integration to work properly everything would be brilliant.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Performance in AIR

If you're like me, you might have thought that Adobe AIR (formerly Apollo) would provide a more powerful computing platform for desktop RIA development. Well, you'd be wrong. After running a number of performance tests ranging from long-running financial calculations to CPU intensive UI effects, AIR and Flex executed at approximately the same speed (~2% in favor of Flex -- insignificant).

While I must profess a little disappointment, I don't think its a huge downside of the platform since Flash provides so many other core competencies. However, you need to take it into account whenever you are about to perform a lengthy IO operation. The user interface will freeze up when saving/generating multiple files. At Pier, we've been popping up a modal window just prior to all IO ops to keep the user from trying to interact w/ the UI during the freeze.

My suggestion is take the time to setup you IO framework so you don't have to code a custom modal on every operation.


Saturday, June 30, 2007

Execution Times in Apollo vs. Flash

I just wrapped up a 12hrs. coding session at work. We're creating an application that provides ROI (return on investment) calculations to prospective technology clients. Its standard practice these days to sell software based on value even though selling on features is a heck of a lot more fun, which is where the ROI calc. comes in handy.

Behind the calculator's UI, there are a plethora of events being generated to update the key benefits used by the buyer. As we've continued to work on larger calculators (more benefits), the processing time in AIR has lagged even when the Flex seems to run unhindered. So tonight I did a little testing to see how significant the difference was, I was shocked to learn that AIR executed the same functions as the Flex application at a speed ~ 54% slower. The "native" application is running slower?!? Even more bizarre, the execution time goes back to normal when I load a secondary SWF inside the AIR application to handle the calculations. Very weird and disheartening to say the least. I don't have the tests at home otherwise I'd post them but if anyone has a reason for this discrepancy. Do tell.

You can expect the source for my tests tomorrow. Until then, you might want to think about creating a wrapper for calling functions w/in a SWFLoader. Here's a useful article about how to make calls from the child app. to the parent.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Living in Boston...

I guess I haven't taken the time to make mention of my new job (or write a post for that matter). I packed up my bags about a week ago and made the long haul up to Boston, actually it was three short hauls. Besides the psycho that yelled at me for "borrowing" her parking space while I moved my furniture into my apartment, everyone I've met has been great. A trend I'm sure can't last forever but I'm enjoying it for now.

My new company, Pier Inc., creates Rich Internet Applications using Flash (Flex, AIR). We've got an impressive list of Fortune five clients and skunkworks to boot! I've got to get back to work for now but you can expect some great Flex/AIR tutorials to follow.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Managing Markers in Google Maps

I just spent the last four hours trying to coerce Firefox into properly displaying 600 markers on Google Maps (using GMarkerManager). In the end, I came up with the same response "too much recursion", FF's words not mine.

My original process was to create the map, so users have something to look at, then make an XHR call for all the markers I wanted to place on it. Logical, I thought at the time. For some reason, making the XHR call after the map is instantiated seems to freeze up my computer (dual-core Mac). A very bad sign considering the average user doesn't have the power setup that I do. I tweaked a couple functions to improve performance but nothing seemed to work.

Then I found this web page (and demo) which provides a VERY simple solution. Load the data up front then initialize the map. Presto, GMarkerManager kicks in and everything works perfectly. If you don't feel this answer is satisfying...I hear you. Frankly, it doesn't sit well with me either but it works and the load time isn't horrible.

Hopefully, someone will see this post and avoid getting brutalized like I did.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Is Google Expanding Too Quickly?

I want to say no. Really.
I want to believe that Google is the company of the future. Nimble, smart, and opportunistic. Shifting resources on a dime to push whatever technology is on the horizon.
Then I get a reality check:
You'll notice something strange in the top left corner of the page. Yep, thats some Javascript for their Google Analytics account. Upon further inspection, I discovered they forgot the closing script tag. Pretty sloppy. I'm not saying I haven't thrown pages up before they were ready or that I don't make mistakes. But come on. Someone should have QC'ed the page and noticed that.
I guess the future isn't today.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Updated: Custom Event System for Prototype

After using my original Event System for a little while I realize that I structured the original Classes all wrong. For some reason, I though it was a good idea to pass the event dispatching responsibilities off on the Event object itself. Bad idea. So I updated the code, all 2K of it.

Here's the update:

* @author toddcullen
CustomEvent = {};
CustomEvent.Events = {};
CustomEvent.Events.Base = Class.create();
CustomEvent.Events.Base.prototype = {
initialize : function(){
this.type = "CustomEvent.Events.Base";
CustomEvent.EventController = Class.create();
CustomEvent.EventController.prototype = {
initialize: function(){
this.listeners = $A([]);
addEventListener: function(n, f){
this.listeners.push({name: n, callback: f});
removeEventListener: function(n, f){
this.listeners = this.listeners.without({name: n, callback: f});
dispatchEvent: function(n, e){
for(var x=0; x<this.listeners.length; x++){
if(this.listeners[x].name == n){
var EventController = new CustomEvent.EventController();

You can create any type of Event you'd like. Its just an object you pass from the event target to the listener. Here's an example usage where I created a DataEvent Event Class:

* Data Event
CustomEvent.Events.DataEvent = Class.create();
CustomEvent.Events.DataEvent.prototype = {
initialize : function(data){
this.type = "CustomEvent.Events.DataEvent";
this.data = $H(data);

Event.observe(window, "load", function(){
EventController.addEventListener("BasicEvent", testListener);
EventController.addEventListener("DataEvent", testListener);

Event.observe('basic', 'click', dispatchBasic);
Event.observe('data', 'click', dispatchData);

function dispatchBasic(){
var event = new CustomEvent.Events.Base();
EventController.dispatchEvent("BasicEvent", event);
function dispatchData(){
var event = new CustomEvent.Events.DataEvent({info : 'HELLO WORLD!'});
EventController.dispatchEvent("DataEvent", event);
function testListener(event){
alert("event type:"+event.type);
if(event.type == "CustomEvent.Events.DataEvent"){
alert('event data: ' + event.data.inspect());

The HTML is simply an anchor with an id of "data" and an anchor with an idea of "basic". This system is really useful for an HTML UI that has to be flexible. Minimize/eliminates the need for objects to know about each other. They only need to "know" about the EventController.

Snag the full demo here.


Apollo/Gears Integration

Check out this press release on Apollo/Gears integration.

Gotta run!

Seriously, I have to leave this time.

Gears is Great for Bandwidth

Real quick post, I'm on my way into the office.

Most people are aware of the growing bandwidth issue facing ISP's. With high def videos and full scale web applications, people are using more bandwidth today per capita than every before.

Enter Google Gears, reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for large scale web apps by downloading it once and serving the static files locally.


::I'm working on a versioning system right now, so applications will know when to update themselves to the latest version::(Its apart of the API)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google Closing Web-Desktop Gap

Right on the heels of my post concerning "Universal Search", Google just announced a new project bringing the web and the desktop closer together. Google Gears is a development platform where online applications can be made available offline or provide additional processing power to an online application. One of the major limitation of javascript is its single threaded processing. If you have a resource intensive operations occurring on a web page, the UI will often freeze until the operation is complete. Obviously, users don't understand what's going on in the bowels of the application so this can create a significant development barrier. Google Gears provides an API to hand off the resource intensive operation so the UI doesn't freeze up and users are none the wiser.

Here are the three main features of Google Gears (straight from Google):
LocalServer LocalServer
Cache and serve application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc.) locally
Database Database
Store data locally in a fully-searchable relational database
WorkerPool WorkerPool
Make your web applications more responsive by performing resource-intensive operations asynchronously

From my brief inspection of the API, this makes me rethink my whole opinion of Apollo. You can develop one website with hooks into Gears that gracefully degrades if its not installed. With the Flex/AJAX bridge, you could even have a Flex website that communicates with the Database and WorkerPool. Whoa. Pretty sweet.

I'll post some more thoughts, once I get some time to digest the idea.


Search in a Foreign Language

I happened upon this hidden gem in Google Translate. I know Google just announced their "Universal Search" concept but I hadn't actually noticed any new features to back up the claim. That is, until I ran into the aforementioned page.

As you can see from the screenshots, you can specify your native language and the language you want the results selected from.

Based on my search for "Silverlight" in Japanese, I'm not sure how relevant the results are yet. Here are a couple quick questions I've got running around:
  1. What's the time line to integrate this feature into Google search classic (or iGoogle)?
  2. What's the purpose behind serving both the translated and original version on the search page? If I'm using a translator, I obviously don't know the language very well. In what situation would I need the original next to the translated version? Besides learning the language.
  3. What type of search requires specifying a foreign language? Perhaps as someone English speaking, I am not Google's target audience for "Universal Search".
Like all things Google, Universal Search is still in Beta.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

OOP in Javascript

Ran across this great article by Ray Djajadinata (Microsoft Developer). Its a shame this wasn't around when I first started getting into advanced Javascript development two years ago. Could've saved me hours of trial and error.

If you still don't fully grok OO Javascript, check out the section explaining how prototyping works. Great stuff.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Prototype Custom Event System

Perhaps I have a little Flex envy but the DOM event model is woefully ill-suited to handle dynamic single page applications. To remedy the situation, I've written an extension for Prototype to provide a Custom Event messaging system. Its designed to work as a mediator between your AJAX controller and services. The concept works something like this:
  1. A user clicks a button (or interacts with any UI component) and a DOM event is triggered. Typically captured using Event.observe.
  2. The controller receives the DOM event, checks the state of the application, and gathers any data required by the model.
  3. Then using the Custom Event framework, a Custom Event is broadcasted with all the data the Model needs to perform its actions.
  4. The Model receives the Custom Event, processes its service call (or data storage etc.), and then uses its own Custom Event to broadcast data back to the controller.
  5. The controller then updates the view accordingly.

Custom Events are not a replacement for the Event object. Its really meant to aid in the loose coupling of the Model from the Controller in your client side code. Now that you've heard my spiel. Here's the code:

CustomEvent = {};
CustomEvent.Events = {};
CustomEvent.Events.Base = Class.create();
CustomEvent.Events.Base.prototype = {
initialize: function(){
this.listeners = new Array();
addEventListener: function(f){
removeEventListener: function(f){
this.listeners = this.listeners.without(f);
dispatchEvent: function(n, d){
var data = this.setupData(d);
l({name : n}, data);
setupData: function(d){
return $H(d);
CustomEvent.EventController = Class.create();
CustomEvent.EventController.prototype = {
initialize: function(){
this.events = new Hash();
create: function(n, t){
var args = arguments[2]?arguments[2]:null;
this.events[n] = new Event.CustomEvent[t](args);
addEventListener: function(n, f){
removeEventListener: function(n, f){
dispatchEvent: function(){
var n = arguments[0];
var d = arguments[1] ? arguments[1] : {};
this.events[n].dispatchEvent(n, d);
destroy: function(n){
var EventController = new CustomEvent.EventController();

Here's how you would use it.

EventController.create("test", "Base");
EventController.addEventListener("test", myTest);

function myTest(evt){
alert('Event Name: '+evt.name);

Base is just the Basic custom event. Extend it to specify a unique data structure. Trigger the event with the following code:


I still need to tweak the code little bit but so far its been very useful. Hope this helps someone else out.


Monday, May 21, 2007

RE: Tips on Life

I've been posting recently about other's superb writing and honestly when you can't out perform someone else in the short-run, acknowledge their efforts and learn what you can from them. It'll make you a more insightful individual in the long-run.

Keeping with that philosophy, here's a great read from lifehack.org (not to be confused with Lifehacker): http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/10-simple-ways-to-save-yourself-from-messing-up-your-life.html

Very solid read.



Sunday, May 20, 2007

High Performance MySQL

Quick post.

Two former/current Google Yahoo! Engineers, Derek J. Balling & Jeremy D. Zawodny respectively, released some great tips for performance enhancing your MySQL database. This was actually published back in 2004 but I just got around to reading it over the weekend. It breaks down the basics of Enterprise/Scalable MySQL development, below are some of the topics:
  • replication
  • load balancing
  • data backup
  • security
FYI, you can check out a preview here.

Web Development in Iraqi?

I ran across this job posting and HAD to make a comment. Remote web development is common place due to great applications like Basecamp, Vyew, AIM/GTalk, etc. With that in mind, why would you possibly need to send some to Iraqi for web development?!? I understand that certain circumstances require a physical presence but I'm sorry I don't think the risks equal the rewards for this one.

Hmmm... I wonder what the hazard pay is like. I'll update this post if I find out.

No, I'm not going to Iraqi. Well... not unless the pay is insane. jk.

Review: Advanced Actionscript 3 with Design Patterns by Joey Lott and Danny Patterson

Just finished up the aforementioned book. Great stuff! They cover topics such as OOP in Actionscript, RIA MVC implementations, and a myriad of design patterns (such as Iterator, Command, Decorator, State, etc etc etc). Most of the first half of the book acts as a refresher course but the design patterns from page 103 on are an absolute must use!

The only thing I found strange was after all the "advanced" design patterns were over, they cover Regular Expressions!?! I didn't realize my RegEx chops made me so l33t. Anyway, if you want to make your code more extensible/reusable give it a look.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

RE: Mmm! I love raisins made with SELECT * FROM [Equipment Table]! (pic)

Awesome error. Could someone sue for false advertising!?!
I re-posted the picture from here.
Not trying to steal the credit but their server is really slow (front page of digg).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

AS3 MySQL Driver

I'm posting at work so I don't have much time to expound on why this is awesome. If you don't "get it", think Apollo Flex apps (Yes it works in Apollo).
Time to beef up on Embedded Systems

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Make Your Own Browser w/ Apollo

I had a couple minutes on Sunday to play around with Flex/Apollo. In less than an hour, I had this mini-browser working nicely. Check out the source code below for an example of databinding and the Apollo mx:HTML tag.

My blogger application is shaping up nicely. Expect to see the source code for that within a week or so. Yay, yay, I keep pushing it back but it'll be really sweet once its finished.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<mx:ApolloApplication xmlns:mx="http://www.adobe.com/2006/mxml" layout="absolute">














left: 30;

right: 30;

bottom: 10;



<mx:Model id="browserObj">







private function updateLocation(_loc:String):void{

trace('Address: ' + _loc);

browserObj.location = _loc;

trace('HTML Page Location: ' + htmlPage.location);




<mx:Panel styleName="main" label="Apollo Browser">


<mx:ComboBox id="protocol">



<mx:String>http:// </mx:String>

<mx:String>https:// </mx:String>

<mx:String>ftp:// &lt;/mx:String>




&lt;mx:TextInput id="address" styleName="address" text="http://www.google.com/" />

&lt;mx:Button label="Go!" click="updateLocation(protocol.selectedItem + address.text)" />


&lt;mx:HTML height="{this.height - 100}" id="htmlPage" styleName="content" location="{browserObj.location}" />



This is not my concept of a well-coded/designed application, it is simply a test app. Take it for what it is.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Can We Say Irony?

I was evaluating Railo for a new application I'm developing at work when I saw this. Evaluation Complete :(

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Blogger API Updated!

Google just updated their Blogger API docs. Very exciting news for me since I'm working on an Apollo application that can manage a blogger account from the desktop.

Eventually, it will be able to post, update, and delete posts. Plus, with the API additions, you'll be able to review & approve comments. Pretty sweet.

I guess I'll have the jump on my competition!

Check it out.

Yahoo! Messenger built using Flex

Yahoo! Messenger was released today. All in all, its a great Flex 2 application but my computer definitely hung for ~ a minute the first time it loaded. It might have something to do with the fact that I'm rocking IE7 today. Vista and Firefox haven't been playing nice.

If you use Yahoo! Messenger, in any form, this is worth checking out.

Ted (Flex Evangelist) has further coverage.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun with Javascript & Images

If you've got a couple free minutes to play around, check out this amazing javascript library: Loupe.js .

all you IE people out there will feel excluded/dejected after clicking link.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Update: First Apollo App

So I decided this past weekend to switch my first Apollo application from a desktop version of Google Notebook to an application to manage my Blogger account (posts and all!). Ever since the Mac Blogger widget stopped working ~6 months ago, I've been hoping some other application would pop up and fill the void. No such luck. So I just have to take matters into my own hands. Wish me luck.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mouse Mouse?!?

After I read this post, all I was left with were questions.

Who has time to make something like this?

Is this how someone spends their weekend?

What do these people do for work that would allow them to use a mouse mouse (totally wouldn't fly in my office)?

Bizarre. Awesome but bizarre.

Quick Questions About the Weather..

Does anyone actually tune into the news at 11 because of the weatherman's ad teaser? "Will you be able to hit the beach this weekend....I'll let you know at 11."
You'd think they'd try to sell me on something I can't get from Weather.com in less than 30 seconds.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Quick Look At Silverlight

If you haven't heard yet, Microsoft is jumping into the RIA scene with Silverlight (previously known as Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere). Silverlight uses XAML, an XML markup language similar to MXML, and a subset of WPF codebase to provide rich interactive user interfaces. This puts Microsoft in direct competition with Adobe's Flex. So the question for anyone just jumping into the RIA revolution is which should I choose, Flex or Silverlight? Here's my quick analysis:

  • Flex runs on Flash 9.0 available in about ~50% of browsers currently.
  • Adobe makes a concerted effort to release their latest Flash player for those other operating systems, Mac and Linux.
  • Flex 3 is in beta. The third iteration of a game changing development platform.
  • Flex is a compiled language making dynamic application generation difficult. Although there are ways to get around that.
  • If you are a ColdFusion/Java developer, server-side integration is a nominal task.
  • Easily convert your Flex applications into desktop apps with Apollo.


  • Tight .NET integration. Utilize the same tools to develop a desktop app, web app, or Silverlight app.
  • Silverlight is an interpreted language. You can easily generate dynamic applications on the server-side since XAML is just a text file.
  • Comparable RIA platform to Flex.
  • All Vista users have Silverlight pre-installed. Requires the .NET framework version 3 so XP users have a number of extra steps to get things running.
  • Applications are a smaller download size, approximately 50-60% smaller.
  • The Silverlight plugin is only a 1.9MB download compared to 2.2MB...Ok, when I started writing this line I thought difference would be more significant.

In the end, the deciding factor for most developers will be the server-side language of their choice. But one things for sure, there will be an interesting battle ahead.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Apollo Test App

As my Apollo test application, I've decided to create a desktop version of Google Notebook. By itself, Google Notebook never really impressed me. It lets you save a snippet of HTML in its original format. The problem is you need an internet connection and an open browser to view it. May as well just bookmark the page.

So my Apollo test application is going to use the Google Notebook API to save a copy of your clippings to your computer's file system. That way you'll have access to your Notebook online or off, with or w/o a browser open.

It'll be my weekend project so expect an update next Monday. A whole desktop app. in one weekend. Craziness.

A couple Apollo links:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Apollo Alpha Released At Adobe Labs!

Real quick post with one intent, to direct you to Adobe labs. Apollo was just released and how sweet it is. Develop desktop applications for Mac and Windows machines using "web" technologies (Flash, Javascript, and HTML). I guess HTML is not just for the web anymore.

If you are a Web Developer, you need to check this out.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

ColdRails Now Hosted On Google

I've released the first version of my ColdFusion MVC framework. You can find it on Google Code at http://code.google.com/p/coldrails/
ColdRails features integration with two other well-known ColdFusion projects:
In addition, I've embedded a system into the view component to seamlessly manage your javascript and css files. Of course, what contemporary framework would be complete without some nifty ajax integration. I'll have more details in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Quick Website Concept

A blogging system based on skiing experiences. Every post must be tagged as a particular mountain. It should probably include a mobile API so people could post pictures and text to the blog while still on the mountain. The main website would have hooks into bestskiweather.com, perhaps displaying pictures from the mountains with best recent snow totals.
From there I'd probably approach a couple of the large ski corporations for advertising. Even though we provide information on a wide range of ski mountains, the website provides a ski buzz. There's always powder somewhere to get you pumped up.
What's good for all is good for one.

Plus, due to the user tagged content, providing companies with targeted advertisment space would be relatively easy.

Don't forget about equipment reviews.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sunrise at Alta

Its snowed 5 times in the past 7 days. Can you sense my excitement?
Snapshot of Alta at 7:15AM.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Southwest Does It Right

I gotta give Southwest a little praise, I just had one of the best customer service experiences of my life. My company's email server went down this past week (major pain). So when I booked my flight on SW for a trip to Houston, I didn't get the confirmation email with all the useful Flight numbers etc etc. I called up their 800 number and *gasp* I didn't get put into a phone tree. I was routed immediately to a customer rep. I froze for second trying to remember why I called. When you're expect a game of telephone Guess Who? a human voice can be quite a shock.
So this post just goes to show that good, old-fashioned customer service can create some worthwhile buzz marketing. Well...OK, maybe not be as useful as an article on Boing Boing or the like but it has to be worth something.
I should also mention the revamped SW website is very sleek. Definitely Web 2.0.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Great Example of What Web 2.0 Can Do...

There are an amazing number of Web 2.0 clones out there doing stuff with RSS feeds or colloborative writing or web-based IM. OpenCongress.org is taking a different approach turning inaccessible information into something useful. Get a snapshot of the Congress' docket in a matter of minutes. I haven't had time to exhaustively check the website so it might have an underlying political agenda. In concept its a great idea. Post your take in the comments.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Management Style

I started to notice a re-occurring theme with one of my bosses (yes, I have multiple), every time he gives me work it always has to be done yesterday. Luckily, I don't have a problem working under tight deadlines pimping out a Delorean. My other two bosses provide a nice cushion of 1-2 days before any of their assigned tasks become due. Why, when they're all in the same business, can two individuals setup goals for their subordinates earlier than Boss #1?

One concept, two words: Goal setting. I think most motivated individuals are very good at identifying short-run tasks and long-run goals for themselves. Yet, that same behavior doesn't translate when they become management. As a manager, you're not setting goals/tasks for yourself as much as your team. The best managers have to realize that their time is best spent keeping their subordinates plates full and collective eyes on the prize. Returning to my original statement. My first boss, nay anyone who calls himself/herself a boss, has to take the time to not only plan strategically for the company but their team members. No plan is worth its weight if you don't communicate it.

Be Proactive Not Reactive.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Implosion of the Decade a Month Late

Silly me. I forgot to post the video of the New Haven Coliseum implosion a month ago. You can actually see my apartment building in the opening frame of the movie. Its just above the coliseum. I was standing across a bridge on the right side of the opening frame.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Where's the Web Headed

I originally saw this video on John Battelle's Search Blog. Definitely worth a watch for anyone who thinks there's more to Web 2.0 than hype.

Cheers to Michael Wesch, PhD for putting it together.

A Little Skype Toolbar Gotcha

Things have been straight hectic since I got back from Ireland. Two big deadlines staring me right in the face. To make sure my blog keeps rolling on, I have this little Skype Toolbar gotcha. I've been using Google Docs a little more recently since I've been bouncing between a number of different computers (with different OS's). The Skype Toolbar for Firefox has a nice feature where it turns all the phone numbers on a webpage into a click to call link (obviously you need SkypeOut for this to work on all numbers). Seems like a nice feature, in walks Google Docs.
Nothing breakthrough here. Just a Google Doc with a phone number on it. Check it out after I save and re-open the document.I guess you shouldn't be suprised by this. Skype converted the number into a single click to call. However, what you may not immediately notice is that the HTML version of this document has been edited by Skype to include the link. Below is what happens after saving and reloading again.

Whats that garbage around the phone number? Unloaded image icons?! I don't want that in my document. Since Skype works on your browser, Google Docs thinks that the changes were made by you and saves them accordingly. Check out what it looks like in print mode.

The unloaded image icons are having children. Great. Just what I need on all my business documents.

Since I rarely expand the Skype Toolbar, I never noticed this button before. It turns off the phone number highlighting. Problem solved.

Moral of the story: Know your Firefox extensions.

Yes, I know. Ridiculously quick resolution. I told you I'm busy.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Off to the Emerald Isle

I've finally accrued some vacation time and I'm going to take full advantage. I'm off to Ireland. Dublin to be more precise. I'll be gone until the 11th so don't expect much from the links above. Pictures to follow.


The Intersection of Time & Money

I'm in the struggle of my life. The struggle to find that happy middle ground between time and money.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Prototype's new Website

Prototype, one of the most widely used javascript frameworks, just moved to a new website. They did a great job filling out the API documentation and the site is very well designed.

There is only one thing missing, Search! The documentation doesn't have a search portal so I knocked out a Custom Search Engine (over at Google Coop). Check it out here.

Yes, the URL is ugly but you can add it to your Google Personalized Homepage and never have to type it again.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Return of the Command Line

I'm trying out Enzo, a new product from Humanized. You can think of it as an ever-available, command-linesque, efficiency tool. It handles common tasks such as spellchecking, google searches, opening files & applications with amazing speed. If you're always looking for a way to squeeze an extra ounce of productivity out of the day, check out Enzo. You'll thank yourself for taking time.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Can Business meet Web 2.0...

So you're working at a company that could use some collaborative applications. I'm in the same boat. Pitching a major expense to your boss may or may not fly depending on your position. I know I like to point out free/cheap options where ever possible. Here's the catch, how do you suggest using a Web 2.0 company that doesn't seem to have a viable business plan. What do I mean by that? If you're looking on their website and you can't figure out how their making any money, their business plan is suspect. Bringing me to my main point, I can't justify using a company if I don't know they're going to be around next year and beyond. I'm speaking strictly from a business setting. Almost everyone at my company falls into the category of non-technically inclined, which I'm convinced means "don't read" and "no patience".

What do you do?

You want to provide people with the tools to keep their jobs manageable. At the same time, you don't want someone to take time to learn an interface that might be gone next year. Its not like a desktop application that is physically installed on someone's computer. When a website goes down, its gone along with all the information you have stored there.

Quite the catch 22.

Has anyone else gone out on a limb and integrated their operational process with a Web 2.0 company? If so, how're things going and have you run into any serious pitfalls yet?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Filter :: A New Format

After a couple months of semi-regular posting. I've decided to switch gears with my blog and focus on being a "filter" (note the Google Reader Items above). I'll still be posting at least once a week but my current project is taking up most of my free time. The project is based on Adobe's new cross-OS platform Apollo. Very exciting stuff, I'll keep you up-to-date on my progress.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Is Wazap worth 7.9 Million?

I realize the gaming industry is big money, 12.7 Billion. So any substantial funnel for gaming information, such as a search engine, has a huge marketing potential. But I'm not impressed with Wazap.com. They just received $7.9 million in second round funding. That brings their total to $11.9 million in funding for a product that looks exactly like a Google Coop Search for Gaming information. If I had $7.9 million laying around and I was that enthusiastic about the idea, I'd set out to create my own site. For less than half that amount of money, a decent web development group could build a new search portal from scratch and purchase a 30-second commercial during the Superbowl. I'd definitely end up ahead in exposure (at least in the US) and $$.

I could be underestimating Wazap in a couple areas, such as their draw in Germany, China, and Japan. Perhaps its a powerhouse site and I don't even know it. Also, I didn't play around with their search functionality for more than a couple minutes, its all in German.
To decide for yourself, check out the links below:
  • Wazap :: Main Site
  • Wazap :: Translated to English (via Google Translate)

Friday, January 12, 2007

2 Strikes Against the iPhone

Lets be honest the iPhone is pretty sexy. It has the figure of a widescreen tv, the fun-loving persona of an iPod, and the warm embrace of OS X. So whats wrong with this picture.

Two things so far:
  1. Closed API, no third party application development
  2. Cingular -- Worst Customer Service Ever
Originally, I thought the iPhone would have a scaled back version of Mac's OS X allowing for some very exciting development possibilities. I was picturing myself on a beach in the tropics, "working" on the iPhone with one hand, sipping a rum and coke with the other. Then, today I read an article citing the iPhone will have a closed API. Buzz kill. No natively installed applications. Time to break out the Safari-capatible web apps.

As for Cingular, they just suck. Take a look at the hassle you have to go through in order to get out of one of their contracts. I wish the phone industry interpolated a little more than it currently does. So I could take the iPhone to any provider I wanted.

In the end, I'll probably still get one but I'll hate myself for it....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Over-Marketed Early-Adopters

Warning....This falls into the rant category.
I just glossed over this list of the Top 100 Web 2.0 sites posted on digg. People have been prophesying the Web 2.0 burst for a year or so but for the first time, after checking out this list, I think I agree. Below are all the websites from the aforementioned list which actually charge for their service:
  1. Sprout (Hosted Email Management)
  2. Jajah (VoIP)
  3. Skype (VoIP)
Wow, I stopped looking for paid services because I had to include Jajah and Skype just to make a list. They barely charge for their services, only for certain long-distance phone calls. How are the rest of these services structured? All advertising-Based?!? Unless you have massive, consistent web-traffic, most organizations can't convert an advertising-based business plan into a substantial, sustainable revenue-source. Keep this statistic in mind. The combined yearly revenues of Digg, Del.icio.us, and theFacebook.com don't match the daily revenue of a single Costco.

Web applications that intends to use advertising should have a strong reason built into the product. Pandora, a web-based personal dj, is a great example. A flash music player only takes up a small section of webpage providing ample advertising real estate. Also, its radio-like nature gives it precendence in the advertising-based business realm. They are utilizing a proven approach that traditional companies are open to.
Another thing Pandora seems to get right is they're selling ads for their web space in house. It amazes me how many advertising-based sites seem to be using Google Adwords. Horrendous. FYI, if you run one of those websites, a 900 pound gorilla is gobbling up the majority of your income.

Why don't more websites charge for their services? Some argue that people don't like to pay for online services -- advertising is the only way to create a cult-like following found with the big 2.0's.

Why don't more people purchase online services? I always have concerns when purchasing an online service that I'll read an article tomorrow telling me about a comparable FREE application. If you really standout from the crowd that shouldn't be an issue.

Checkout all the duplicates:
  1. Personal RSS Feed Aggregators
    1. Tiny Tiny RSS
    2. Klipfolio
    3. Google Reader
    4. InstantFeed
  2. Web-Base Microsoft Office Replacements
    1. ThinkFree Office
    2. Zoho
    3. Google Docs & Spreadsheets
    4. EditGrid
  3. Video/Photo Sharing (one of these is a fake service, see the bottom for the answer)
    1. Flickr
    2. VideoSift
    3. MotionBox
    4. Dabble.com
    5. Vimeo
    6. FotoFan
    7. YouTube
...and the list goes on

The defining characteristic between Web 2.0 winners and losers will be tangible product differentiation in the eyes of the average user. Tangible as in: x integrates with y much better than z does. Moreover, tangible in the sense it that the average person can understand its purpose. You can't get someone excited about Google Reader if they've never heard of an RSS/Atom feed...even worse, if you explain the concept and they don't understand why its useful.

PS-FotoFan was the fake service listed under Video/Photo Sharing

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Timing Your Vacation

Scott Berkun had a great post on how to select the best dates for your vacation. I must admit that I enjoyed working the week between Christmas and New Years. Zero phone calls. Euphoric. I'm getting my R&R right before things kick back into full swing (Feb. 3-11) with a trip to Ireland. Yes, the Guinness factory is on my todo list. To use an Irish phrase, should be great crack.

*This is a definitely a strategy of the GTD (Getting Things Done) clan.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Goals in 2007

I have read a number of blog posts about people's goals for 2007 and it got me thinking about what I want to accomplish. Here's my list:

  1. Finish RSScholar, my web-based RSS/Atom feed creator, and release it publicly. The concept is to allow professors, students, and intellectuals alike to easily tag and share journal articles. I hope to have the beta version finished before the end of the week.
  2. Continue to establish my presence as an operations guru. I've found many small business don't take full advantage of the current technology revolution (web, software, and hardware). Its amazing how much time you can free up with a little integration. I hope to expand my consulting business 200%-300%, which is a little deceiving since I'm working full-time with one company right now.
  3. Get out west and enjoy at least one amazing powder day. I love my work but you have to keep everything in balance. I'm thinking Alta, Jackson Hole, or Big Sky (you never have to fight a crowd in Montana).
  4. Enjoy Life.
I wish everyone the best in the new year. I'd love to know some of your New Year's resolutions, comment away.