Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 28, 2007
Good reading for anyone raising venture capital, developing a pitch, thinking about thinking big.
More on Google Calendar Sync for Blackberry, what syncs and what doesn't, copied in its entirety from a post to the Google Mobile Help Group Forum (LINK) from "Deckrider" (LINK). (My previous post on this sync product here: LINK)
I've tried to summarize what does and does not sync based on what
I've read here. (The things I claim _are_ syncing are from first hand
experience.) If you find that more things work than are listed here,
please add them for everyone's benefit.
- new items added to your BlackBerry (after Google Sync
installation) get added to your Google Calendar
- new items added to your BES* Calendar (after Google Sync
installation) get added to your Blackberry and thus, your Google
- all items in your Google Calendar get added to your BlackBerry if
they are within the sync window
- all items in your Google Calendar get added to your BES* Calendar
if they are within the sync window
- some (all?) items in your BlackBerry Calendar prior to (the
first?) Google Sync installation on your BlackBerry
- items restored to your BlackBerry Calendar via the Desktop Manager
- items synced from another calendar to your BlackBerry via the
*BlackBerry Enterprise Server
Interview with Steve Fambro, founder and CEO of the three-wheeled electric vehicle startup Aptera. (LINK from Popular Mechanics, via Earth2Tech.)
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I've been testing out the new Google Calendar Sync ap for BlackBerry. Here's what I've found. But first my set-up:
- Windows XP machine with Outlook 2007
- Windows 2003 Server with BlackBerry Enterprise Server
- Blackberry 8800
- Google Aps for Domains, including Google Calendar
It works great, with some key caveats. Essentially, the BlackBerry device is serving as the intermediary between Google Calendar and the Windows Server, completely avoiding Outlook. What this means is that I don't have to ever open up Outlook again!* I use GMail for mail. Now I can use Google Calendar . . . well, at some point in the future I'll be able to do so. Challenge is that events that were already in my system do not sync, except in rare unexplained cases. Events newly added since I installed the Google Sync ap sync fine. But what can you expect with a 0.42 version ap? LINK to the Google Sync page.
*Actually I still do have to use Outlook, for other reasons, such as syncs between Outlook Contacts and Salesforce so I can get my contacts into my BlackBerry. Please, will Salesforce and Google get it together a little bit more?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
For those who don't know, BlackBerry Enterprise Server is middleware that sits on top of an Microsoft Exchange Server software (or Lotus Notes Domino or other products). It provides management tools for IT admins for BlackBerrys in their organization and it serves as a translator between the BlackBerry devices and Exchange. With BlackBerry Enterprise Server installed you can get full wireless sync of calendars, notes, contacts and e-mails. If your organization limits itself to simply the consumer version of the Blackberry service, you'll merely get your e-mail pushed to you and will have to manually sync, by cable or Bluetooth, your calendar, notes and contacts.
Recently, BlackBerry has lowered the price of its server product in an effort to reach down to much smaller workgroups and organizations. Consequently, a greater number of internal and outsourced IT professionals will need to know how to manage this software and this book is good place to start.
I emphasize "start". It is pretty easy to set up a BlackBerry server. But it's also pretty easy to set it up wrong, as I learned after months of wondering why our server wasn't populating calendar entries correctly. I finally realized that you have to create a special login for the BlackBerry server and that our outsourced IT professional, unfamiliar with BlackBerrys, had neglected this important step. If he'd started with this book he'd have got off on the right track.
So, good book, clearly written, easy to follow, well indexed. My criticism however is that if you approach IT like many small businesses do, which means following instructions only in retrospect and having to trace your mistakes backwards, you may find this book slightly frustrating. What I would have wished is that it provided a more comprehensive list of common problems and mistakes. I'm sure that the writers have a long list of things that typically go wrong. This would have been helpful. Unfortunately, without such a compilation, you'll have to sift through all the user forums and plus RIM's own site to figure out what mistakes you're making and why it's taken you four hours to get the your boss's damn new BlackBerry Curve up and running--only to discover that if you'd just left it tethered to the server a little longer, the thing would have started to do it's activation sequence correctly. This is a book to start the BB Enterprise Server process with, not a reference manual to diagnose problems.
A lot is changing in the world of smartphones. In the US, Apple's iPhone outsold ALL windows mobile devices combined in Q3-2007 and almost outsold all BlackBerrys (LINK). But when I did finally get that Curve up and running I recognized the value of the BB Enterprise Server. Virtually everything transfered to the new phone and it was up and running, a seamless copy of the previous device. That sort of enterprise management is what gives RIM some measure of an edge. So, go RIM! and if you make the investment, throw this book on the requisition as well. But don't ask me what that cover picture on the book is supposed to signify!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
As noted in PCMag, "while surveys show more than 90 percent of iPhone users are happy with the device, several executives have gone on the record, including at the Reuters Media Summit in New York last week, as saying it is too vexing to tap out long e-mails on the touch screen." LINK
But the article also talks about companies writing business software for the iPhone. A leading example is SAP, which is releasing an iPhone version of their software ahead of the version for Blackberry: "The first generation of the iPhone software will load business contacts, information on sales prospects and account data onto the device . . . SAP decided to introduce the iPhone software ahead of programs for other devices at the request of its sales people, saying they prefer using iPhones to the other devices." LINK
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
"Facebook's business model is the opposite. It pits Facebook against its customers. The amount of money that Facebook can make is defined (and constrained) by the degree to which its users will allow themselves to be exploited." LINK
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Cool new Google feature! They can Know Where You Are via the Google Maps program. Downloaded it to my Blackberry 8700 and voila, little flashing blue icon shows where I am. No GPS required. Very nice. See here: LINK.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
Honda Clarity. Worth reading even if you could care less about cars. LINK to Jalopnik.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
But what I don't understand is why, with all their billions, they have to make such an important video seem like a cheap infomercial? Do they somehow think it will be more authentic if they use distracting backgrounds from the bowels of Google's offices? And does Sergey Brin have to wear a grey t-shirt that looks like it was just pulled out of the dirty clothes hamper and seems like he's been chewing it around the area of the neck? I hope that Android applications don't come with the same aesthetic. Just because Apple polishes everything they do to the finest point of perfection, you don't have to foreswear taking a shower in order to stand in contrast to them!
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
If you want to understand why Microsoft is about to open a 700-employee software development centre in Richmond, British Columbia . . . (more at: LINK)
Monday, November 05, 2007
It refers to a feature in the new Apple Leopard operating system that seems to be universally disliked by users. What interests me is the acceptance of what appears to be a design flaw because it represents an element of the passion for good design that is evident throughout the Apple operating system. The reviewer's final comment: "If you want an OS with more innovation and cohesion than Vista then you need to learn to live with a bit of willfulness."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Monday, October 29, 2007
I've showed Blackberry-Facebook to multiple friends. Only two got it. One was excited for one of the reasons I get excited: it's just a really nicely executed ap, a cool bit of programming. The other was mildly intrigued because it made him think about uses of handheld tools like that for business. He isn't a Facebook user. I showed him how you access your list of friends. And then he asked if you could see their calendars. And of course you can't. But a "Facebook for business" should and could. And that gets to the crux of the opportunity.
Will businesses start wondering how they can use Blackberry-Facebook for something more than social networking? Someone, someday is going to create a really good networking tool for business, particularly for our free agent nation. But unfortunately Blackberry-Facebook is just a glimmer.
LinkedIn is somehow supposed to be the business social networking tool. But for me it has devolved to a fancy resume posting tool. And I don't need my resume out there.
Facebook has glimmers of possibility.
Wouldn't it be great if you could put your business network on Facebook, like you can on LinkedIn, but selectively interact with groups of contacts? Whether you're fully free agent, and working with multiple clients on multiple projects, or you're working within a company on multiple projects, wouldn't it be great to create groups of people for particular projects as easily as you can create groups in Facebook? Wouldn't it be wonderful to selectively show your calendar to these groups, so that it was showing Busy/Free or all Details on a need-to-know basis by group? Wouldn't it be great if you could update your status (like in Facebook) quickly on the fly so different teams could know where you are or what you're doing? And wouldn't it be great to have an inter-office or inter-project e-mail system like you do in Facebook, that beautifully integrates with your POEmail (PlainOldEmail) system, like it does with Blackberry Facebook? Wouldn't it be cool if you could see everyone's calendars too, all within the same system? And the key would be, without any implementation of an Exchange server, a Blackberry Enterprise server, or anything like that but a system that business and personal contacts can all easily hook into.
How does Facebook use Facebook internally for their own business purposes? What business networking tools are there that I'm missing?
Bruce Coldham, founder and principal of Coldham & Hartman Architects, has been practicing environmentally responsive architecture for more than 30 years.
He contends that the concept of "Zero Energy" is a phrase that is used fast and loose these days. There is a lot of arm waving and wishful thinking.
What is a zero energy commitment, really, and who does it challenge? Why bother to decentralize power production at the level of the home rather than produce it at some central location?
And while we're challenging assumptions, is it possible to design and build a house that provides a net energy gain? Can a house be an energy producer? A community? A town?
Following the Element22 salon format, Bruce will share his experience and insight in a short presentation, which will be followed by a facilitated discussion and question and answer period.
Come early. Stay late.
Register (ideal but not necessary) at Facebook to say you're attending: LINK
Event located here:
View Larger Map
Sunday, October 28, 2007
As a result of this analysis, his estimate of Apple’s 2009 revenue increases from $36.2 billion to $42.8 billion. And the company’s net income per share increased by 14 percent. The bottom line: Mr. Munster’s target price for Apple’s stock, which today sells for around $184, goes to $250. (He had it pegged at $220).
Even though RIM launched last week a universal Facebook application for Blackberry (universal in this context meaning "any wireless carrier") they still have only a limited AOL Instant Messenger, available only on certain carriers. And of course, like with the Facebook ap, whoever is in charge of their website does their best to first make it almost impossible to find and then when you do, makes it difficult to figure out that it won't work with AT&T and certain other carriers.
There is a great GoogleTalk ap for Blackberry and an ap for Yahoo! IM too (I haven't tested that one). But no AIM that's universal. However, today I was happy to discover a $20 alternative, beejive. To my great surprise it seems to be fully functional, integrating not only AIM but GoogleTalk, ICQ, Jabber, Windows Live and Yahoo! It's a beautiful implementation with an Apple iChat look. (The screenshot posted here from their site doesn't do justice.) Amazing that RIM hasn't pushed this application as free and standard, because as evidenced by their Facebook ap they're trying to push their demographic down. You'd think they would have made sure they had an easy AIM ap. Download directly to your Blackberry (LINK) and you should be chatting away in no time.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Friday, October 26, 2007
"Going native in a networked world is extremely difficult. What makes the experiences of say teens so vibrant is cluster effects. They're using the technologies with their friends. It's not about them and the machine. It's about them and their friends interacting through the machine. One of the things that I figured out really quickly is that having a profile did me absolutely no good. I needed to have friends who would interact with me so that I would get what it was like to experience the technology as a mediating force. Thus, I have dragged my friends kicking and screaming into using these tools just so that I could get it. Using these tools in my own social framework is not the same as experiencing what teens experience, but I needed to feel the social awkwardness, the consequences of power relations, the gulp factor when a comment was taken out of context, and the uh-ohs involved in expressing information in a persistent and searchable manner in the face of broad audiences. And this required my friends to be involved." LINK
Monday, October 22, 2007
ATLANTA, Oct. 22 — For more than five months, the lake that provides drinking water to almost five million people here has been draining away in a withering drought. Sandy beaches have expanded into flats of orange mud. Tree stumps not seen in half a century have resurfaced. Scientists have warned of impending disaster.
And life has, for the most part, gone on just as before.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
There's also still the huge problem of where to put the waste. But as Rudy Giuliani suggested recently, if a bunch of European socialists can figure out what to do with the radioactive leftovers, why can't we? "France is ahead of us in nuclear power," he said recently, with the same sort of disgust he might use in reporting that the Red Sox were ahead of his beloved Yankees. "Eighty percent of the electricity in France comes from nuclear power." LINKPoint is, a reason that France has so many nukes is because of centralist authority. Nukes are the opitime of a centralized approach to solving the energy crisis, vs. a decentralized and locally democratic approach. If Rudy wins, we can expect still greater authority centralized in the hands of Washington, overriding the wishes of local constituents who may have no wish for a nuke in their backyard or down the street.
"As the 20th century progressed, many water managers came to believe that the 1950s, which included the most severe drought years since measurement of the river began, were the marker for a worst-case situation. But recent studies of tree rings, in which academics drill core samples from the oldest Ponderosa pines or Douglas firs they can find in order to determine moisture levels hundreds of years ago, indicate that the dry times of the 1950s were mild and brief compared with other historical droughts. The latest research effort, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in late May, identified the existence of an epochal Southwestern megadrought that, if it recurred, would prove calamitous."
Read more in this sobering article from NYTimes Magazine: LINK
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
- Mini Clubman chief designer, Gerd Hildebrand.via Metacool. Read more here about why I love that comment there: LINK
In other words, if the United States gives an award to the Dalai Lama.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Friday, October 05, 2007
But a really interesting, low-cost alternative is emerging. RIM is launching what appears to be a basic Enterprise Server solution . . . al beit only in Spain so far. From their press release:
Madrid, Spain and Waterloo, ON - Telefónica and Research In Motion (RIM) today announced plans to introduce BlackBerry® Unite!™ -- a free PC-based software offering that will allow small groups, such as a family or small office, to stay connected and enhance communications and coordination. In addition to wireless email and web browsing, BlackBerry® Unite!™ software will provide groups of up to five users with mobile access to shared calendars, pictures, music, documents and other desktop content through BlackBerry® smartphones*. LINK (via Engadget)Hopefully it will migrate back to North America
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Monday, October 01, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Germany’s environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, took a detached view of the [President Bush climate change] conference, noting that the Bush administration would be gone in less than 18 months, and that it was unlikely to change its position. He said he spent two days this week discussing climate change with Democrats in Congress with an eye toward the post-Bush future. LINK (NYTimes)
And from an Al Gore e-mail to his list:
On Friday a friend of mine forwarded me an e-mail from Martin McGuiness, special assistant to the president for legislative affairs. At this point, we expect the White House to spin every issue to its advantage, but this quote in Mr. McGuiness's email stood out:
"This administration has done more for the environment and addressing energy security and climate change than any other in history."
While the claim that George Bush has done more to address climate change than any administration seems ridiculous, I am always willing to welcome converts to our movement. If this administration has finally come around on the climate crisis, then now is the time for them to take action.
Let's join together and demand that the Bush Administration commit to an international treaty that would cut CO2 by 90%. LINK
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
Except for a few rare folks lurking in the back closets of the Wall Street Journal Editorial page, everyone accepts that global warming is happening. The question is: what can we do about it and does what we do really matter? Even in the best case scenario of significant reductions in carbon emissions, global warming is with us for the next few centuries, at least. We should not only be trying to foster changes in the way we live, we should be planning for a future world that looks very different that today. What questions do we need to ask? What are the opportunities that such a change is likely to offer?
On October 3, we'll create a collaborative salon to discuss these issues. The event will be headlined by my brother, Eric Steig, a climate change scientist based in Seattle. He's also a founding member of the blog Real Climate, recently named by the Guardian newspaper as one of the top ten green websites. RealClimate bills itself as "a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists".
More details to follow. In the meantime, take a look at the recent Thomas Friedman article which gets directly to the issue (LINK).
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Yesterday, September 19, press releases hit the geek "2muchtech" websites like GizModo, Engadget, Boy Genius. They said that finally the Blackberry 8820 was being released on September 20. This is a long awaited phone, the first Blackberry with WIFI. But BOTH the AT&T and Blackberry hyperlinks in the press release . . . WERE DEAD LINKS. They didn't even go to a page that said something like "being released tomorrow". I'm sure the logic was "well, since it's being released on the 20th, we won't make those Web pages live until the 20th". But the press release got onto the Web on the 19th! So effectively, both AT&T and RIM pissed off the early adopters, the folks who's love they need, and showed what complete marketing buffoons AT&T and RIM indeed are. Had someone at Apple done such a thing, the entire team would have been permanently exiled to Siberia!! AT&T and RIM deserve to have Apple eat not only their breakfast and their lunch but their dinner as well unless they clean up this sort of behavior.
(But I still want an 8820 instead of a iPhone . . . at least for now.)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
What if I told you that a secret project conducted more than 60 years ago held the true origins of the modern computing era? And that the country behind this project did such a good job erasing its tracks that it did itself a disservice? And that many of the things invented during this project would only be realized with modern-day PCs?More: LINK
It sounds like a made-for-TV movie, and it should be, and finally -- Now The True Story of Colossus Can Be Told (cue announcer and swelling music).
The world's first electronic digital computer wasn't developed on American soil but presaged by nearly two years during an intensive British top-secret wartime effort called Colossus. A team of engineers built the room-sized computer for a single purpose: to decrypt German military radio transmissions. The original designer died without ever receiving any acknowledgment or acclaim accorded to many of his American computing counterparts, yet he was responsible for the first implementations of program-controlled logic, parallel processing, variable programming, hardware interrupts, optical reading of punched paper tape, shift registers and other things that are now common to the PC lexicon. Some of these innovations took a decade or more to implement elsewhere by others.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The glaring error in "Cool It," and the one that disqualifies the book from making a serious contribution, is that Lomborg ignores the main concern driving the debate. Incredibly, he never mentions even the possibility that the world might heat up more than 4.7 degrees. Although he claims IPCC science as gospel, in fact the scientific body gives no single "standard" estimate as its official forecast for this century's warming. Instead, the IPCC provides a range of up to 10.5 degrees -- more than double the number on which Lomborg bases his entire argument. (LINK)
My climate change scientist brother taught me long ago that stats like 4.7 degrees have a high degree of uncertainty, which means that they could not be that bad but equally they could be much much worse. And if so, we're in really big trouble. Consequences are too big to take the Lomborg gamble.
I have to admit though that I warmed to him a bit by the way he responded in this interview in Salon (LINK):
Interviewer: Don't you think it's kind of odd that the Bush administration invited [Michael Crichton] to the White House to talk about climate change?
Lomborg: They did? Yeah, that is weird.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
boyd: "But what I don’t understand is why so much of the tech crowd who lament Walled Gardens worship Facebook.”What I really want is something more and different. I find FB tiresome and banal (maybe that's just my friends . . . but I am linked to Scoble). I find LinkedIn overly restrictive. What I want is something that will allow me to flexibly annotate in private my own take on my network of contacts--how they relate to each other etc.--regardless of whether the contact is in the network or not and have it update and sync with those contacts who are in the network. In other words, I'd love to have a LinkedIn like system in which I can keep track of my business connections and other people's business connections, but add into it my own data, my own connections whether they're on the network or not. This would be like a personal CRM system (Customer Relationship Managment, like the wonderful DayLite) that's connected into the broader world. Plaxo sort of does this, by allowing you to sync up all your own contact data, and if a person is on the Plaxo network (or other networks like LinkedIn) connect also with that live contact data. But what Plaxo needs is the greater toolset of a CRM (connecting contacts to companies, to projects, to opportunities and tracking historical relationships), the business orientation of LinkedIn and the open source elements of FB. I guess I'm dreaming . . .
Scoble response: "Because there isn’t anything better. It’s like why we are so gaga over the iPhone. The iPhone is locked up tight and doesn’t let us play. But it is so superior to the alternatives that we’ll put up with all the walls."
Sunday, September 09, 2007
When will the current accepted American standard for cars change to something other than a combination of speed and size? Certainly the Mini is a change in the right direction. The Fit too. And the Prius is #11 best selling car (or something like that). And my favorite small car, the Miata, is one of the very rare cases of a car not changing in size since it was introduced 17 years ago. But we've still got a long way to go. My Miata has actually gotten smaller over the years, at least proportionally to other cars on the road. I think the American obsession with 4x4 do everything big cars has at its root a deep paranoia: should catastrophe appear, or I just want to escape, I can take virtually all my possessions with me and hit the road.