Author Archive

Only in the bay area …



Only in the bay area …, originally uploaded by Cale Bruckner.

Tivo powered Prius


On a jet plane …



On a jet plane …, originally uploaded by Cale Bruckner.

I’m on a jet plane headed for San Francisco. I’ll be at Stanford for
the week attending a b-school program designed to promote innovation
in teams.


Yahoo! IM for MAC

I just noticed that Yahoo! IM for the MAC (v. 3.0 BETA) has a built-in active spell checker. Awesome. I don’t think this is available in the PC version.


Webvisions

I’m at the Webvisions conference in Portland Or today and possibly tomorrow if the sessions don’t bore me too much. I typically stay away from conferences like this because I think they just don’t go deep enough but this was close to home so I thought it was worth a shot and the $250 registration fee.


Lists of Twittering journalists – good people to Follow

Thanks to my-creativeteam.com for lists of Twittering journalists part 1 and part 2. I’m following a few of these now.


firefly demo on scripting.com

Wow, take a look at the firefly demo Dave Winer has up on scripting.com – neat. firefly makes it easy for you to interact with the other people viewing the web page you’re on.


Mark / by Chuck Close / acrylic – amazing


Where am I?



Where am I?, originally uploaded by Cale Bruckner.


Internet Tubes Plugged by 2010 Says AT&T

U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has claimed that, without investment, the Internet’s current network architecture will reach the limits of its capacity by 2010.

c|net AT&T: Internet to hit full capacity by 2010

Prediction: Google launches GoogleNet in 2010. GoogleNet eventually replaces the Internet as we know it today. GoogleNet and SkyNet are basically the same thing. Google Bots start walking the streets for real – tatooing ads on our foreheads.

Google Bot
image from: Google Blogscoped


South Park Internet Stars Massacre

Internet Stars slaughtered in South Park episode. Farewell Tron Guy.

Update: Bummer, they pulled the video.


1st iPhone picture post



1st iPhone picture post, originally uploaded by Cale Bruckner.


iPhone – Got one

I picked up an 8g iPhone from our local at&t store on Friday and three days later I’m glad I did. I love it and I can’t believe I waited this long.


Shero

Just heard a cool new word for the 1st time – shero, a famale heroin. Dr. Steven Rogers used the word during the Microsoft Small Business Summit.


Elkhorn Rod and Reel

Elkhorn

Yesterday I wrote about a great customer service story over on the Bplans Blog. Check out Great customer service makes a difference for Elkhorn if you are a business decision maker interested in great customer services stories. If you are a fly fishing enthusiast considering a rod or reel from Elkhorn Rod and Reel the story will probably be enough to get you to click that “Buy Now” button on the Elkhorn website.


Gotta DIGG! – The Song – Viral Promotion Tactic

Kina Grannis’ music video, “Gotta DIGG!” , is getting some attention in the blogosphere – TechCrunch pointed me towards it. Kina is a finalist in the Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest – the winner will get a music deal with Interscope and airtime for their music video during the Super Bowl. Targetting DIGG users was a very smart way to spread the word on-line. The contest is a smart way for Interscope to to find new talent for their label – I think we’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing in 08. Social networks, like Facebook and Myspace.com, are providing record labels with a very effective tool for developing new talent.


Microsoft Auto

Microsoft Auto will team up with Ford in 2008 to bring us Ford SINK. I got a laugh out of this video that spoofs the service. Learn more about the real deal on the Windows Automotive site.


Office Live Workspaces Beta Announced – Snore

Office Live Workspaces

Scoble posted a video interview yesterday with a couple managers from the Office Live Workspaces (OLW) team – they talk about the service, the future of the service, and walk us through a demo. Microsoft announced the BETA for (OLW) yesterday. Sign-up here if you’re in to this kind of thing – Windows Live ID required. Personally, I have very little need for a service like OLW.

Office Live Workspaces is an improvement over previous versions of Office Live which were more small business oriented and very SharePoint like but the service has a huge anchor tied to it – it requires Microsoft Office.

I have multiple copies of Office 2003 and 2007 so I’m by no means an Office hater but I use Word and Excel less and less as the months pass. Instead, I’m using services like Google DOCS and Google Calendar more and more. Why? Primarily, because I can access the services from almost anywhere without any system requirements other than a decent internet connection and a browser. Access from anywhere is important to me because I use multiple computers on a daily basis – I simply can’t afford to spend time keeping client-side software current on all these machines.

Collaborative functionality is another major reason why I’m using services like Google DOCS more and more. If I need to collaborate on a document with a team, I’m going to use Google DOCS. I’m done passing Word and Excel files around in e-mail – constantly trying to track changes and a mess of files with files names that get more and more creative as the collaborative process continues.

Microsoft is losing the ability to provide me with products that work the way I want to work. I understand why they have to protect Office – it’s a cash cow and all that – but that huge anchor is going to really screw them up in the long-term if they can’t put it down and move Office forward at a faster pace and in a revolutionary as opposed to evolutionary way. How hard would it really be for Microsoft to offer the Office suite as 100% web-based solution? I’d pay for that and they’d probably get more out of me over the years than they do currently for Office.

Office Live has been in the works for two years – a good decisive strategic decision to make Office available in the cloud two years ago would have Microsoft in a better position today. Make the decision and implement guys before it’s too late. Office Live Workspaces – Snore.


Joel Spolsky and Fog Creek Send 37Signals Passive Call For Help

Joel Spolsky, CEO of Fog Creek Software and author of the popular Joel on Software blog, wrote a post the other day that would piss me off if I was Jason Fried – Jason is one of the founders of 37Signals which publishes a bunch of very successful web-based software applications.

In Joel’s post, Where there’s muck, there’s brass, he starts off talking about how everybody has a “gnarly problem” – spending way too many words talking about bread and his childhood; which he apparently spent making bread.

Work that makes you unhappy is what I mean by “a gnarly problem.” – Joel

He goes on to say that the market pays for solutions to “gnarly problems.” Apparently, one of Fog Creek Software’s gnarly problems is getting their bug tracking product, FogBugz, to run on their customers’ own servers. FogBugz is available in hosted and “serve yourself” configurations. Fog Creek deals with the “gnarly problem” of getting FogBugz to run on their customers’ own servers because apparently the market is willing to pay for it. This is where Jason and 37Signals come in.

Earlier in the week Jason published a post titled Installable software? – a response to a question re: whether or not 37Signals had plans to produce installable versions of any of their applications. Jason’s response – unlikely. You can read his post if you want to know the details of the why. Here’s a summary of the why.

If we built installable software we’d have to spend a lot more of our time on technical support, write a lot more documentation, slow down our development process, and lose a fair bit of control over our customer experience. For some companies this wouldn’t be a big deal, but for us it would be a real drag. – Jason

I think Jason did a great job of summarizing the benefits of a centrally distributed application with cross-platform capability. I think this is the future of software. I think Jason and 37Signals made a good strategic decision to NOT offer installable versions of their applications. I make my living developing software for Windows systems and we spend a ton of time just making sure it’s going work on all the different available flavors of Windows – it’s a huge time suck. 37Signals thinks they have better things to do with their time and I agree.

Joel on the other hand, IMO, thinks 37Signals is making a mistake. That 37Signal’s customers want an installable version. That 37Signals isn’t going to grow significantly if they don’t try to solve the same “gnarly” problem Fog Creek is solving by offering installable versions of their products. Joel also seems to think they could start offering installable versions if they simply hired one extra employee – wrong.

So unless they (37Signals) deliberately want to keep the company small, which is a perfectly legitimate desire, they might eventually lose their reluctance to do things that seem gnarly. – Joel

Joel is wrong. Jason is right. 37Signals doesn’t need to produce an installable version of their product to grow. I think 37Signals can grow at a healthy pace selling subscriptions to their very functional and useful web-based software.

Joel makes a number of other comments that I’d find insulting if I was Jason. Yes, he throws in a few complements re: Jason’s design skills but doesn’t give 37Signals credit for producing software that works – there’s a major technical accomplishment here above and beyond the great design accomplishment.

The one thing that so many of today’s cute startups have in common is that all they have is a simple little Ruby-on-Rails Ajax site that has no barriers to entry and doesn’t solve any gnarly problems. So many of these companies feel insubstantial and fluffy, because, out of necessity (the whole company is three kids and an iguana), they haven’t solved anything difficult yet. Until they do, they won’t be solving problems for people. People pay for solutions to their problems. – Joel

FogBugz began it’s life as installable software. Today, FogBugz is available as a hosted solution. More people still buy the installable version over the hosted version but that’s starting to change. I think Fog Creek will see more and more of their customers moving to the hosted solution. I think Fog Creek developers will start to favor the hosted version over the installable version. The installable version will eventually go away.

I’m sure Joel – like a lot of software publishers is feeling vulnerable. Maybe that’s why he lashed out. Technical barriers to entry are coming down – it’s getting to the point where it’s pretty easy (and inexpensive) for a few kids and an iguana (Joel’s words) to reverse engineer a software application and drop it on a server somewhere. Fog Creek is better off if their customers think “installable” is a requirement – that’s harder to copy – there’s a barrier there. These days, it’s less about the software and more about marketing. That’s a hard thing for some software publishers, especially the veterans, to get their head around.

Joel should probably be taking advice from Jason as opposed to sending it in the other direction. I’m in FogBugz (the installable version) and Basecamp hours per week and FogBugz could use a little love from 37Signals. Oh and we’re still trying make time to upgrade our FogBugz installation – it’s becoming a gnarly problem for us.


Eddie Vedder – Into The Wild

Eddie Vedder - Into TheWild

My high school days blew past me with Pearl Jam in the driver’s seat so Eddie Vedder, Pear Jam’s lead singer, is firmly rooted in my heart strings. A couple of weeks ago I was reminded of just how much I love his vocal work when I went to see Into the Wild with a good friend of mine. Vedder laid down tracks for the movie exclusively (as far as I can tell) and it made the movie just that much better. A great soundtrack for a great movie – I highly recommend both. I promptly downloaded it from the iTunes music store. Thanks for making that easy Steve.


Lessig On TED

The post Copyright Extremism Begets Extremist on Tim Berry’s blog, Planning, Startups, Stories, pointed my browser towards a TED presentation by Stanford Professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig, very eloquently, uses a series of historical stories to support his argument that existing copyright law is impeding creative expression in a digital world. Lessig did a good job of presenting the problem, a potential solution (CC), and hope that things will change in the future if history has anything to say about it (BMI).
Copyright law, like patent law, needs to be reformed. It’s broken and it’s stifling the creators. Given the importance of IP to our economy; you’d think this would be a higher legislative priority. Unfortunately, I think the legislative branch isn’t equipped to keep up with the speed of the information economy. Reform will start at the source (the creators) and work it’s way up through the system. Will? Has.


About palmIT

palmIT is authored by Cale Bruckner [LinkedIn], President at Concentric Sky, and former SVP Product Development at Palo Alto Software.

Cale Bruckner

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