The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 07:14:23 AM on Sunday, September 30th, 2007

by Chris Miller at 12:29:07 PM on Monday, September 24th, 2007
This is a cross posting from my IdoNotes blog (since it touched both the web conferencing and social networking side).  I try not to do it often but it seems this one is a blurred line.  This posting also came with a challenge of another social networking web conferencing solution in the comments, which I am undertaking today.  They are a competitor to this solution asking me to review what they offer in comparison, so I will post that in the next day or so.

I ran across this site and pinged Carl to jump in and see what we could make of it.  There is the good and the bad.  No, the bad is not this following screenshot that has been reduced down making us look incredibly stupid and goofy.  I look shrunken as I sit in the left frame.
Image:MeBeam made me beam, so to speak

So we were being silly to play around with the features.  Headsets on backwards and others.  When you use the chat room it takes a snapshot of just how you are when you click send.  So the pictures are resized too small for you to see, but Carl and missing pants is bad all around.

Good

Free video conferencing is good no matter how you slice it if it works well.  This one seemed to do just fine.  Now, we didn't get 8 people in the room, but that is next on the list.  You had the choice between hands free audio and push-to-talk type.  Both seemed to function fine.

Creating a room for the conference did not even require registration at this time.  Simply name a room and click invite and it copied the link to the clipboard.  It then uses the Flash connection for your video and audio.  No problem, worked right away for both of us.  No fuss, no mess, no firewall issues, no downloads.  The chat was, well chat.

Bad

It seemed there was a way to record but I couldn't find the button.  Chat worked fine, but needs a bit more ability.  Attaching or sending a file would be nice so everyone could talk.  It still is not a 1.0 release so I imagine more is coming.  I am curious about the bandwidth as this grows, but let's see how it plays out.

So overall, did I say it was free with no firewall issue in the tests?  No tunneling and numerous ports for AV like I got asked yesterday for Sametime

by Chris Miller at 02:34:00 PM on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
I promised a full review in a day or so.  I think I can make it happen even faster. This whole idea has a long way to go.  I do not do well with sports analogies, but they are on the 20 yard line in their own end, 4th and 40 yards to go to get half way there and just threw a hail mary pass to someone.  anyone.  But the quarterback that threw it, tossed it right into the ground, hard.

Let's start simple:
  •  With the number of Yahoo Widgets available, you would think they would find a way to port those over and offer an incredible set of cool toys to start.  This would get them closer to that application offering that Facebook can't seem to stop growing.  Expose what you already have is key here.  I didn't even notice the small text line to find other widgets the first time in.  I thought it only had the 10 that were in the drop down.  Guess what, there was only like 52 in the catalog and quite a few called test.  ugh.
  • There is not a built in Yahoo Messenger widget.  Come on now, you offer one of the better single chat network products and don't even have that on by default?  Shame on you Yahoo .
  • Customization of the layout/color/style - this is not easy for novice users.  They had a box at the bottom to add colors and change CSS.  What happened to point and click color wheels or importing of templates.  Steal some stuff from Yahoo 360 to let your users go crazy.   Here is a screenshot of the customization window.  You can also drag around the components and set them in the order you wish.  I found I had to double click to work while in profile edit mode.  So the beginner user will need some instruction instead of a simple click and drag approach.  You can apparently click the faint squares to change the color with a color wheel.  it appeared to me you needed the darn hex of the colors, but it populates it for you.  The borders are very thin when colored but the advanced CSS will take care of that.
Image:Yahoo Mash is more of a smooshing sound
  • There is a module for  RSS feeds pulls from your other sites.  I do not think they get it here.  People are consolidating sites back down from all the networks and picking their favorite.  You already have large userbase of email and chat users. Let them log in once to you, pull all their other feeds into one (see my buddies at Profilactic, Jaiku and a few others I will discuss) and then export that final feed out.  All their friends get to subscribe once and you get the traffic.   There is a Flickr RSS feed I noticed and humorously it was just a standard box asking for the URL.  Having it do a name lookup would be easier for the user.
  • You do get to assign tags to yourself.  Also, allow others to do so.  Not a bad plan.  Keep in mind all the tags I placed with spaces got merged together.  So some standard naming scheme would be nice.  Otherwise we will have crammed together, dashes and underlines between the same tags and no one will find each other.
  • Avatars versus photos.  While I have a Yahoo avatar assigned, it would not easily let me pick it.  Sure it took me to the Yahoo avatar page, but I couldn't grab the one my chat client already loses.  Points off for that.  You can upload a photo.  Users will find the selection box confusing however unless you read carefully.  You could accidentally change all your profiles in Yahoo.
  • Mash keeps a page revision history for you, but in a weird place.  Not the settings page, but right on your profile view of yourself when you are logged in.
  • Now they do have an idea of Twitter on the site called Pulse.  Not too compelling yet and you can see 'blurts" or updates from friends.  But there is no global or channel ability it seems like Jaiku.

So overall the site really needs some work to catch up, promote and be the place, well to be.  Yahoo is taking a chance here starting from scratch and not trying to buy someone.  I am sure once the beta tag is removed I will revisit it.

by Chris Miller at 11:43:02 AM on Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
I received my invitation to Yahoo! Mash and had a mixed reaction the first time I logged in.  So before I blogged about it I am giving myself a day to actually go through the site and see how it is put together and whether it will make any difference in the social networking landscape.

First impression today (thanks to TallGuy for the last minute invite) was an open canvas with not a lot of direction or a wizard to push new users through.  It did offer me the chance to accept what the invitee set up, or to create my own.  I chose to go with what he set to see how another user would set my beginning page up.  I was not overly happy.

So look for a full review in the next day or so.

by Chris Miller at 03:23:45 PM on Monday, September 10th, 2007
An interesting newsletter from Jott that takes it from a great application to a social networking application.  Which then means I make comment of it on this blog.  Jott, for those unfamiliar, allows you to call an 800 number and leave a quick voice message for yourself or someone in your contacts, and then transcribes it for you to text and as a voice message.  A great way not to forget ideas or to make quick to-dos.  We use it quite extensively after it grew on me.  You can even message entire groups in one call.

Well now they allow you to leave a Jott, but have it sent to Twitter, Jaiku and a few others.  Talk about social networking without the texting.  No more quick SMS based messages, just talk and post.  I love it.  Heck, they even let you look up addresses via Zillow and have it SMS'd to your cellphone.  Is SMS'd a word yet?  I did not see Pownce on the list just yet, but I will not be surprised to see it and Facebook pop up.

Here is a screenshot of some of the current connections they have made.  Darn right awesome I say.  I will play with this new feature and let you know how it changes how much I Jaiku and Twitter.  I know the Zillow will come in handy as we expand our real estate empire.


Image:Jott-makes-Jaikus-and-more

by Chris Miller at 10:18:53 AM on Friday, September 7th, 2007
I have high hopes for all the new social networking sites that are starting up.  This one appeared to offer yet another desktop solution for bringing information together.  Bubbletop is simply a screen, with numerous tabs possible, that had draggable widgets on it that pull information from RSS feeds.  No other social networking is really built in anywhere in the site.  It becomes just another place to try and suck in and manage information.  But after playing with it more, it offers some areas of coolness factor, but they have a way to go.  Read on..

Continue Reading here" BubbleTop is a half bubble buster for now" »


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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.




DatesEventLocation
delayedcustomer visitMinneapolis, MN
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
Jun 16 - 19Lotus Notes and Domino 8 Upgrade SeminarSan Francisco, CA
Jun 21 - 29VacationSome island I am not telling you
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