The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 05:05:06 PM on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
I came across yet another aggregator site called Soup.io (my page test) from Y Europe.  Adding accounts was quite simple from the start and they allow you to change many parts of the UI.  You can even modify the CSS, skins and even a custom domain.  I will shoot a soup domain over later through a CNAME record.

One thing that I didn't like is the default page that you get while adding feeds.  The feeds are not chronological, but by the feed it seems.  Also, the input box for quick microblog posts was black on black.  Black on black?  take a look below

Image:Playing my my Soup.io and seeing if it needs any seasoning

So let me see what I missed in making this work to give some more feedback.

by Chris Miller at 03:56:56 PM on Thursday, October 25th, 2007
As this and my other podcast are listed on iTunes and numerous other directories, some always ask what my Yahoo podcast link is.  So I jumped over today to get the link and found this banner on the top of the page:
Image:Yahoo makes another blow to them and social networking (or sucking sound).  Closing Yahoo podcasts

We apologize that we are shutting it down?  That looks like a link to more information, but no it isn't.  They just underlined it.  One more strike for Yahoo in shrinking their value to users.  3600 bombed, Yahoo Mash I already talked about and now another move to get people away form coming to their sites.  What next?

by Chris Miller at 02:26:01 PM on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
This one is a winner folks..

Image:CoMapping - find your way there

When you think about saving time, too many of us overlook simple organization of what we have to do each day.  Not too many of us have the same exact flow each day, there are tons of little things to get done, calls to make, appointments to get to.  So having a living map can really simplify and organize your life.  In walks Comapping at a prime time that people live in browsers a good portion of their computer time.

I was already a big user of MindManager software, so a web-based version through CoMapping caught my eye for team collaboration.  If you have not played with mind mapping software, they have a live demo you can actually play with to get a better feel.  The ability to do all this via a web interface is nice and gives flexibility to many people installing and running the same software to simply brainstorm.  It runs on both Windows and Mac with some incredible cool auto sizing and formatting technology for your screen.  They call it Intelligent Auto Focus.

Features I loved:
  • One cool feature was the ability to grab a portion of a map and instantly start sharing it in presentation mode.  This takes you from a brain dump, to forming the ideas to presentation in as fast as you can type and spellcheck.
  • Access control abilities for the map that also allow you to invite others and even send reminders
  • Change control logging
  • Built in templates
  • Hotkey navigation
  • Viewers of maps do not need to be paid members
  • Maps are kept up to 3 years of the end of your account

Now let's blow this out of the water.  This group got another grant to keep going and this feature sums it all up;
This program allows you to continue to use of the application during both temporary and permanent loss of internet connection. In such a case, Comapping notices that the network connection has been lost, notifies you with a red light in the corner, but allows you to continue to work. Comapping will save your data in memory and when you regain internet connection, it will automatically notice this, and synchronize your data in a seamless manner. If you do not regain internet connection in your session, don't worry: The data is also stored locally, and next time you start the program, you will be asked whether you'd like to recover you offline work.

In other words: Comapping supports offline usage today without the need for things like Google Gears or Firefox 3.0 (with SQLite), Adobe Air or Silverlight. It works out of the box using your browser only.

by Chris Miller at 01:49:30 PM on Wednesday, October 17th, 2007
I read with high interest how a team came together and built a Web 2.0 type site that launched in just 54 hours.  An impressive feat for sure.  So I gave it a few days and stopped by as shown below:
Image:Is ScrollTalk scrolling by?

I made two separate visits to the site and found the same result.  People have read about it, but didn't get it.  While some of the UI needs to be polished, the idea is a change to scrolling live chats.  It doesn't fall under the category of persistent chat, but adds a new ability to tag words or people.

I read their help and liked the analogy that this chat is one big room, but in that room you can single people or topics out to have conversations.  All at the same time some of the main chat is filtering in like you could hear background noise.  This lets you jump into other topics.

I happened to catch one of the business development guys from ScrollTalk on the site and suggested such items as a blog widget I could have on my blog and even moving a couple UI items.  I also tossed out the idea to let you link to other profiles you have on the Internet so you do not have to recreate one since this site isn't about profiles.  Past that the login page needed a bit of work, but the chat itself works great.

I clicked the word tags and it adds it to a watch list and highlights the lines that include that word. (as shown and pointed out in the image).  Well, I take that back.  I added more words hoping for alternate colors or more highlighting and that did not occur.

A list of users on the site in some sidebar would be good so you could grab then and add them as friends.  I understand clean UI's, but even an expandable box would be welcome.  What happens when this site becomes so popular that you cannot select or catch up.  A pause button might be in order also.  I can see clicking the wrong word or person when the chats start growing.  Even some alert ability for registered users would be nice when certain keywords or persons are in.  A widget brings this to the forefront.

I think this site would be a welcome addition to any group, community or blog that wants some live chat ability on your topic without having to code it yourself.  But at this time, not a place to just hang out in all day.  I will keep tabs on them and revisit, but for the initial launch, scrolling by.

by Chris Miller at 03:07:08 PM on Monday, October 15th, 2007
I received an email asking me to try out this site that sends emails at a future date and time for you.  With 2 versions, free and paid.  Free gives you some limits, like only 3 pending messages at one time with a tag line on each email, no atachments and plain text only.  Paid gives you a bunch of other options.

Why didn't I bite right away?  While sending an email at a future date is a great thing so you do not forget, putting my credit card number in for a site with a .nu domain to go pro or having a tagline that says I scheduled this in advance, defeats the purpose.  So I gave up quick on the site, sorry. I have some Glubble work to peek at still.

by Chris Miller at 07:28:24 AM on Friday, October 12th, 2007
This product is a Firefox add-on for family friendly web search results.  How they decide what is family friendly or what to grab is the first thing that came to mind when I read the site description.  You, as the parent, create a Glubble World for your child.  You basically add safe sites and they can request new ones to see as they come across them.  You then approve and add those sites.  You even become a little community sharing sites and links.

I am curious how they handle their statement on searches across Google and Yahoo!.  I presume there is some filtering they provide that will need to be updated as time goes on.  The site even claims image search filtering if you read it correctly.  Their claim overall is that you, as the parent, build the walls of what your child sees, not relying on the vendor to do so.  I like that theory, I really do.  It is just that most parents have no clue either.

The downside is that it only runs on Firefox.  What the heck do you do with IE?  You still need to then install a software on the workstation that prevents certain sites or configure parental controls for IE.  Overhead they do not disclose on the site.

They are looking to go live this month, but the beta is open and they take feedback.

I just had one of those "Ah ha!" moments!  I read more on their FAQ and blog and now see how they do search results.  The child uses the same Google and Yahoo searches but it only returns what is in their Glubble World.  So for a free package, I say give it a try.  Install was easy.  I did not have time to hook the kids, grandparents and everyone else together to see a total Glubble World, but it seemed to be pretty straight forward.

Oh, make sure you install in the same user account the child uses.  We have a parent account and child/family account with restricted rights.  You need to install this in the user account that the child will use and then you set the basics there.

So the final take...  if you want some new innovations that offer free services to help keep your kids a little more safe on the world wide web, then here you go, get it.  Learn to use Firefox if you are stuck on IE and add a whole new world of plug-ins.  Remember, whatever site you add to the Glubble World exposes them to everything that site offers.  So keeping your kids from the people you see on the NBC news specials won't work if you still let them hang out in places my MySpace in their Glubble World.

by Chris Miller at 10:21:23 PM on Wednesday, October 10th, 2007
The obligatory "what to expect" podcast where we introduce ourselves and the upcoming podcasts

by Chris Miller at 07:01:01 AM on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007
So I signed up and took a peek at SpaceTime.  A beta search engine that is more graphical in nature.  Well let' be honest on a first impression.  It was a resource hog (yes they had minimum specs but a 2GB of RAM laptop with decent video should run a search engine).
Image:SpaceTime - I felt overpowered and lost in space
Then we move on to what I thought of the search.  It really is not an engine, but a 3D kind of window that goes through the other searches like Google and tosses them out as 3D pages in a panoramic type view.  You can then bring each page up with it caches the others behind it.  The text was too small to read in each one so you end up clicking anyway.  They did bring up Flickr and others when I performed the search, but to no fun on this end.
Image:SpaceTime - I felt overpowered and lost in space

By the way, you actually have to install this, not run it from the browser.  That sucked.  I don't see this changing the way I search compared to a few other smaller interfaces that are coming along.  I need a web interface, nothing to download and the UI has to be cleaned up.  Yes it is beta, but I think I was expecting something else coming in.  If I am able to do a search, that means I have Internet already so make this thing happen in the browser.  I couldn't see this as my desktop search engine in it's current state.


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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

Also Known As: Chris Miller (when awake)

Boring Certifications: (only because someone asked twice)

  • Workplace Collaboration Services 2.5 - Team Collab and Messaging
  • Domino 7 Certified Security Administrator
  • PCLP ND7
  • PCLP ND6
  • PCLP R5
  • PCLP R4
  • CLP Collaboration (soon to be retired Aug 2006)
  • random former R4 exams
  • CLI for numerous admin areas including Domino, Sametime and Workplace
  • CLP Insane

Yes, I write some of those dreaded admin cert exams you take. I won't say which ones so you don't come looking for me, but I will say they are the real good recent ones that have been coming out.

Weapons/Equipment:

  • At work an IBM 2 GHz
  • At home a plethera of 6 machines with various Windows versions and Red Hat on a wired/wireless LAN
  • A Toshiba E740 with 802.11b (yes geek toy)
  • An Apple 40GB iPod that is filled to the brim
  • Compaq RioPort MP3 player (now in storage)
  • An EBook (REB1100) also for travel (Love that darn thing)
  • Verizon and they always seem to know how to find me, damn cell

Animals:

One dog, a Pug. He has been on this world before and seems to understand slippers and a fine cigar. Mind you that is him in the chair and not me.

Let us now also add a deranged cat that is in the process of being toilet trained. Update: Toilet traning was very very close.

Music:

Non-stop. At my desk, in my car, walking to work and back to my car downtown. In the house there is a crazy zoned set-up for you home automation geeks.

I am a self-proclaimed MP3 fiend, to which I have tried rehab 4 billion times to no avail. Next is the MP3 hard-drive for the car that I found. Now what kind of music you ask? I will never tell.

Languages:

  • Incredibly fast English
  • Very slow Spanish
  • Emoticon-ese
  • Learning Korean
  • HTML
  • Advanced Sarcasm

Geek class special abilities:

  • Notes/Domino overdrive
  • Workplace
  • Sametime
  • Active Directory (huh? kidding)
  • Quickplace
  • LMS, LVC and the other L's of elearning
  • Windoze junk
  • MS Exchange versions
  • LAN
  • TCPIP
  • Server Iron
  • Yeah, yeah it goes on some

Skills:

Get back to you here

Spells:

Hershey’s Stomach of Holding: Jess and I are fighting over who eats more chocolate. TWDUFF can help me out and vouch for me.

Character Bio:

This will take far more time than I have today. I will start with I was born and still live in St. Louis, MO. Even though for a couple years I was never, ever here and always on the road, this is smack in the middle of the US. Everything is just a few hour flight. That part is nice. No beach/ocean/coast isn't the best. But with the travel I make up for it.

Don't Panic

Looking to find me in person? Here is where I will be.




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Mar 31 - Apr 4Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarCopenhagen, Denmark
Apr 30 - May 2Admin2008Boston, MA
May 10 - 15Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarLondon
Jun 4 - 6Irish Lotus User Group 2008Dublin, Ireland
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