Archive for the ‘favorites’ Category

What’s a RIA?

Rich Internet Applications, RIAs, are the talk of Geek Town lately. New development tools from Microsoft and Adobe (Silverlight and Apollo respectively) promise to be the tools eager developers will use to build this new generation of software applications. Are geeks geeking out over an acronym again? Or is there something revolutionary coming down the road from Geek Town?

The citizens of Geek Town have been tossing the term RIA around for years but it has only recently become popular. IMO the term is still being defined. The Wikipedia page describing the term is a collection of loosely coupled facts (some simply wrong) that’s difficult to string together – I think it’s obvious the citizens of Wikipedia are struggling to define it well. My definition of a RIA is fairly general. A RIA is a software application that looks and behaves like a traditional client-side software application but it’s available from any computer with an Internet connection and the data it’s accessing is primarily (off-line mode will be a feature of many RIAs) stored in the cloud. That’s how I define a RIA now but I’m sure my definition, like Wikipedia’s, will evolve over time as well. The technology used to create the RIA isn’t important. Accessibility is the primary driver in my definition.

I think there’s good reason to be excited about RIAs and the changes that are sure to come with them. A RIA combines everything we love about the latest generation of web apps. with functionality we’ve come to expect from traditional client-side software that doesn’t live inside a web browser. Accessibility is what I love most about the web apps. I use everyday – I can access the same information in Google Calendar or Google Reader from any machine with and Internet connection. The current generation of web apps. is great but we’re coming close to reaching the limits of what we can do in the browser. I still use a number of traditional client-side software apps but over the last year the scales have tipped in favor of web apps. Traditional client-side software simply feels bulky, isolated, and behind the times from a design and look-and-feel perspective. Inexpensive hardware is also a driver behind the move to web apps. Installing tradiditioanal client-side software in the traditional way just doesn’t make sense from a convenience or cost perspective for people with access to multiple computers.

For web apps. to evolve to the next level the technology has to change – web apps. need more access – more access to the technology that has, until now, given traditional client-side software a performance advantage over web. apps. For web apps. to evolve to the next level they have to move past the boundaries, living in the web browser, creates. The days of dealing with the awkwardness of the << Back and Next >> buttons that don’t really apply in a Web 2.0 world are coming to an end. This isn’t the end for web apps. as we know them or traditional client-side software – this is the beginning of a development period that will bring the two camps together to build better software for users. RIAs will play a major role in re-shaping how we think about software over the next ten years.


Ebay’s RIA – San Dimas Demo 

Geni Launch Crashes

Yesterday a TechCrunch post pointed me towards a Flash-based family tree creator called Geni. I’m into this kind of thing so I went off to take the new product for a spin. Unfortunately, Geni wasn’t prepared for the traffic that came their way when they were picked up by TechCrunch, Lifehacker, and other sites. Yesterday, I was willing to cut them some slack but they’re still having problems today and I’m loosing patience as I imagine others are. Geni would have been much better off with a limited and more controlled release. This isn’t the right way to do it – you only get so many chances to impress the early adopters and opinion leaders. A release like this leaves people wondering if they should trust you with their data and it will be hard for them to get past the initial bad impression. A lot of web X.0 startups are just a flash in the pan – Geni’s flash is underexposing the picture.

Updated 01/19/07 – still having technical difficulties

Image: Tried to login 01/19/07

Updated 01/21/07: Arrington agrees with my early assessment – TechCrunch Geni Overwhelmed with Early Popularity – notice the last part of the permalink address "/geni-blew-it/." I finally managed to start building my family tree last night using Geni and there’s a lot I like about the service. If they can get past the technical hurdles Geni is sure to be very popular.

Updated 01/22/07: keeps sending me this very generic, not all that informative, automated message. I’ve received 3 exact copies of this message. Suggestion: make it more friendly, informative, and a bit more sincere.

We received an email last week notifying us that the Geni web site had difficulty drawing your tree.  We believe the problem is now resolved.  Thanks for using Geni!


Yahoo! Bookmarks BETA Blows!


Yahoo! Bookmarks BETA blows big time. Thomas Vander Wal reviews Yahoo!’s long overdue update to the popular bookmarking tool and calls it an Alpha at best and I think that’s being generous. A ton of the primary functionality doesn’t even work – it’s bad to the point where I’m abandoning Yahoo! Bookmarks and heading off to for the 1st time and I’ve been using Yahoo! bookmarks for years. Yes, I know, Yahoo! owns but they haven’t managed to screw it up yet – fortunately. Yahoo! gets 0 credit for anything to do with I almost didn’t install the toolbar buttons for IE because the setup was signed by Yahoo! A company with the kind of engineering and QA resources Yahoo! has – has no business publishing crap like this for public consumption. Stay far, far, away from Yahoo! bookmarks BETA. The mess that happend with the recent Yahoo! Toolbar update just adds fuel to my fire. I’m loosing all confidence in Yahoo! and I’m starting to agree with some of the voices that are saying Yahoo! will be the next AOL. Keep it up Yahoo! – good looks will only get you so far.

Update 01/05: Tom Chi, Yahoo! Bookmarks Product Lead, is in the comments. Yahoo! Bookmarks BETA is still totally un-usable for me and I’ve pulled it off 3 of my machines in favor of – which I’m really starting to like. Flame-out

RocketBustI’m not going to say a whole lot about the soap opera (he said, she said) that’s unfolding in front of the entire blogoshere because everybody else (scoble, techcrunch) has more interesting things to say about it. The part that interests me the most about it are Jason Calcanis’ efforts to get Amanda Congdon ( hostess) signed on to the Netscape employee list. Interesting because I thought Jason and Andrew Baron (owns 51% of really went after each other during a recent TWIT (#57) session. Jason has got to be loving the way this is playing out.

Update: and it keeps getting better – now with cool comic from 


TechCrunch Network – Quarterly Goals

Michael Arrington of TechCrunch launched MobileCrunch today – it’s a TechCrunch Network blog. MobileCrunch is the 3rd blog to join the TechCrunch Network (kind or laughing) of blogs – the 2nd was CrunchNotes. Here’s a link to the official announcement.

Launch chronology – quarterly goals?
TechCrunch June 2005 >> CrunchNotes October 2005 >> MobileCrunch January 2006 >>
[ ? ]Crunch April 2006 >>

Oliver Starr (that’s a resume + some) will be heading up the new blog so Michael can stay focused on TechCrunch. Michael is expanding quickly – maybe too quickly. This might sound crazy to some of you but I’ve started to relate TechCrunch to the old Industry Standard days we all so fondly remember.

Is TechCrunch still a blog? IMO – CrunchNotes is a blog, TechCrunch is a business venture. Technically, it fits the definition – but does it fit the "spirit" of what blogs are supposed to be. When does a blog become just another content site? Will TechCrunch be associated with a 2nd bubble much like The Industry Standard is associated with the 1st? Time will tell.

Industry Standard TechCrunch

Blogosphere Smackdown or Calculated Marketing Effort

Set the stage by announcing a product or a service that bloggers might have an interest in.
Audible – WordCast Announcement

Hire Allow somebody with zero PR skills to represent you in the Blogosphere - somebody more interested in promoting their technorati profile than your product or service: Mitch Ratcliffe

Blogebrity (top bloggers) blog and podcast about the announcement:

Blogger-for-hire posts the post that really heats things up (roasting Blogebrity) and the Blogosphere Smackdown begins 11/13: See More on the future of podcasting - the good stuff is in the comments.

Or, was this a calculated marketing effort that unfolded exactly the way Mitch and Audible wanted it to. Mitch’s inflammatory posts and comments created a ton of free buzz around the Audible announcement. Did Dave, Om, Doc Searl, and others play right into a calculated marketing effort? I guess it would be a form of viral marketing – or, does it deserve a new name.


Web 2.0

Web 2.0. Where did the term come from? What does it mean? Is the next bubble forming? How does this relate to Google? How does it relate to Yahoo? Ajax? These are all questions I started asking early in October. Below is a collection of notes and resources I used to start putting the puzzle together. Enjoy.
Definition: Web 2.0 is a term often applied to a perceived ongoing transition of the World Wide Web from a collection of websites to a full-fledged computing platform serving web applications to end users. Ultimately Web 2.0 services are expected to replace desktop computing applications for many purposes.

The concept of “Web 2.0″ began with a conference brainstorming session between O’Reilly and MediaLive International. Dale Dougherty, web pioneer and O’Reilly VP, noted that far from having “crashed”, the web was more important than ever, with exciting new applications and sites popping up with surprising regularity. What’s more, the companies that had survived the collapse seemed to have some things in common. Could it be that the dot-com collapse marked some kind of turning point for the web, such that a call to action such as “Web 2.0″ might make sense? We agreed that it did, and so the Web 2.0 Conference was born. [via]

Popular Web 2.0 Blog:
Web 2.0 Projects:

Tim O’Reilly
What Is Web 2.0
Definition: AJAX
Adaptive Path / Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications
Web 2.0 Visualizations:
Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 MemeMap
Dion Hinchcliffe’s Web 2.0 Visualization
Peter Forret’s Web 2.0 Visualization

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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