Gmail idea of the day: RSSAlright, I know that i've probably been corrupted by Chris Pirillo on the subject, but RSS is a pretty elegant solution to many of the most annoying problems with the Web, not the least of which is that I don't want to visit any site day after day. As I was thinking about Gmail today, wondering whether to log in and check to see if I had any email to my address there (which is firstname.lastname@example.org) I realized that RSS could be a very cool solution to that problem, one that plagues all the Web-based email systems.
Here's how I'd do it...
First thoughts on the Google Gmail ExperienceThanks to some friendly folk on the inside, I now have a Google Gmail account to explore. In fact, you can send me mail: send it to d1taylor at gmail.com and it should help fill up a bit of my 1GB of space.
So far, it's yet another generic web-based email system, though in the inimitable Google style it's a pleasure to see a web-based system that's not rife with advertising, a problem that I loathe with both MSN's hotmail and Yahoo mail. And there's some typical humor too. Click on the "Trash" item, and it says "No conversations in the trash. Who needs to delete when you have 1000MB of storage!?" Click on the "spam" button and it says "Hurray! No spam here!" (though that might well change).
Hey, now I'm "retrogeek fashion"?!Two nice new reviews of Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, one at news.com and the other at macblog.com. The latter is a more standard review, where it says: "While I'm proficient in basic shell scripting, I found tons of valuable examples in this book, as well as many useful scripts that I've added to my personal script library. If you're interested in the command line and shell scripting, this is an excellent book which will extend your knowledge, and provide more than a hundred ready-to-run scripts.".
The news.com review, though, seems to think my book is a harbinger of a Greater Trend in Computing or something, when they say "Still, it's not just retrogeek fashion that's keeping command-line interfaces around. It turns out they're actually useful--for example, command scripts can ease remote administration chores and automate humdrum tasks." Uh, yeah, guys. Thanks, I think. I just need to figure out how to dress so that I'm not too retrogeek fashion conscious.
Purchase my photographs online!After receiving quite a bit of positive feedback about my online photographic portfolio, and as part of my move towards doing more professional work, I have commerce-enabled my photo site. Now, at the click of a button, you can order very high quality 16x20 prints on top-quality Fuji Crystal Archive Lustre paper, shipped directly to you via UPS. Check it out at Dave Taylor Photography and let me know what you think!
"Wicked Cool Shell Scripts" discussed in ComputerWorldRather than a review, Computerworld has published a nice excerpt of my book Wicked Cool Shell Scripts that includes a useful code listing, among other things. You can read it here, it's from their April 5th issue. Unfortunately, the second page of their article has the code listing a bit messed up, so you can also read the source code to the sample script on my own site: 040-diskhogs.
Did you see me on The Screen Savers (Tech TV)?I had a great experience Monday afternoon visiting The Screen Savers, one of the top programs on the Tech TV network. Why was I on TV? Patrick Norton, co-host of the show, interviewed me about my latest book, Wicked Cool Shell Scripts, and though you'd think that it wouldn't be very interesting to talk about - and demonstrate - shell scripts on a TV show, we had a good time.
I have to say that during the earlier segment of the show they demonstrated a 3D immersive wargame called Far Cry, and then Patrick and I discussed whether the 3D immersive graphically rich version of hangman from my book - minus the 3D immersive graphically rich part, of course, since it's just ASCII - would be a good demo. We decided probably not.
Just as fun: my book is now in their bookcase if you have eagle eyes or happen to be on their set in San Francisco: fourth book from the left. :-)
Ernst & Young + PeopleSoft = miserable managementAs has been reported in other outlets, the Wall Street Journal has a very good article (paid subscription required) about the complete ethical lapse at Ernst & Young that resulted in them being the auditor of record for PeopleSoft while Ernst & Young was also busy working on a joint venture with PeopleSoft at the same time. The SEC penalty: no new E&Y clients for six months.
This is basically the same thing that came back and bit Arthur Andersen too: their inability to separate out consulting work from auditing work. But that makes no sense to me, speaking as a businessperson: if someone is asking you to "check their books" and make sure that everything is properly and accurately reported, how can they also ask you to help them make a different venture a success and - the key question - how on Earth can you be braindead enough to say "yes"?
Establishing Yourself as a BrandGave a very well received talk at the Waterside Conference yesterday afternoon that was about how to establish yourself as a brand when you're an author, but in fact, I think it was actually about how to stand up for yourself and make sure that you are looking out for your best interests. It was quite remarkable to hear smart professionals sharing that they "can't work on what they want because their publisher won't let them" (so switch publishers!) or that "they signed over the rights to their IP and now can't leverage it" (don't sign over your intellectual property without appropriate compensation. Your ideas are the heart and soul of your professional life as a writer/teacher!).
Anyway, I will evangelize about this at another time. For now, I want to offer everyone at the conference - and any other weblog readers, of course - the rough notes from my presentation so you can get a bit of an insight into how I have a master vision of all the projects I'm involved with and how they all (more or less) fit together. To see that, just read on...
A slideshow for a conference presentation? Are you crazy?After thinking about various ways to address the lack of connectivity at Waterside, where I'm slated to speak on what they title as "keeping your backlist alive" but I call "building a brand as an author" I have decided that the easiest solution is to simply take screen shots of various Web sites, PDF files, email messages, etc., that I want to talk about and have a slide show as my presentation. No ubiquitious PowerPoint bullet items, no fancy Keynote transitions, just the wonderful shareware app GraphicConverter in slide show mode.
And for those aspiring authors who are reading this, you should attend the talk! And if not, perhaps you're part of a user's group that could host my slideshow (um, presentation) locally instead? These slides would even work on a PC, I promise.
Appropriately for this weekend, my G5 has been resurrectedNot really an Easter story, but coincidental timing. After two weeks of sitting and waiting for a backordered logic board, my G5 is finally running again, and as a tiny bonus, since Apple sent me replacement RAM as part of the debug process, I now have 2GB of RAM in the unit too. It's remarkably faster with everything, even Red Pill, the terrific screen saver module I have for when I want to feel like I'm trapped in The Matrix. In any case, after 3+ weeks of downtime, it's nice to get my new computer back.
The never-ending waves of spam: now eBay addresses?Got this tonight:
Purdue has it right... the dangers of GMOWondering if genetically modified foods are a good idea? BusinessWeek reports that Purdue University researchers have "discovered that genetically modified organisms may make good eating - but could produce devastating results. When new genes are inserted into a fish's chromosome to make it grow larger, that big fish is better at attracting mates, but its offspring are less likely to survive into adulthood. If such transgenic fish were to invade the wild, they could displace normal males and father a generation of short-lived offspring that could wipe out the species." Now that's something to think about next time we Americans laugh at the GMO concerns of the European Union, isn't it?
A new concept from LinkedIn: BuddySpamI don't know what else to call it, but once a week or so now I get an invitation from someone I don't know to connect with them on LinkedIn, all with the default invitation wording:
"I've recently joined LinkedIn, and I've found it to be a useful online business tool.First off, why do they have default wording? Why not force people to type something, anything in to have the invitation sent? But more importantly, what's the point of joining a professional networking organization if you get connection invitations from people who masquerade as old friends? Seems like a shaky foundation, somehow. And if it's the system that makes it difficult for people to say "Dave, we met at the CIK dinner a few weeks ago and I'd like to connect" then that's an engineering/user interface problem, isn't it?
Nonetheless, it's another speedbump on the success of social networking groups, in my opinion, just as the never-ending waves of spam on Orkut will doubtless just increase as that site becomes more popular too. And Ryze, well, I think they forgot to keep innovating and now it's an interesting idea with some miserable foundational technologies, like its discussion forums.
Clearly this is a tough nut to crack, and crack well. Any other interesting social network models out there?
Sign up and I'll send you one of my books, free!I'm experimenting with a new online training tool focused on the skeptical/trusting continuum and need to get some users signed up. Nothing you won't find interesting and fun, but I do need to get a bunch of people - hopefully at least 100 - to sign up and fill in the enrollment form. Rather than just ask, though, I have a plan that I've been working on for a while with my publishers: I am going to offer a free copy of any one of my books to anyone who signs up in the next 24 hours.
So why not just do it? Not only will you find it interesting, but you'll find it enlightening too (hopefully!) The signup form is online. And thanks!
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