You may recall my post from a few months ago about taking part in the making of Bad Ass Squares 3. The movie is now live:
Some quick random March updates and thoughts:
- The knee is healing nicely… still a long way to go.
- March in London is still cold, big surprise. I cannot wait to get back to the states at the end of the month, though I had some great visits with friends this month.
- We had our 12th London Ajax event on March 8th. Check out video from Nikolai’s talk on EmbedJS.
- Dojo 1.6
will be live soonis live, and EmbedJS and OpenCoweb recently joined the Dojo Foundation.
- We saw the queen drive by today in London… she was wearing a crazy peach outfit.
- SXSW looks insanely fun this year.
So, the prognosis is in, and my left knee is in bad shape. I’m having surgery on my left knee, roughly the same surgery I had on the right knee in ‘99. This time is a bit different… it hurts a lot less, but is worse than before, and I won’t destroy my patella tendon to replace the ACL.
Recovery time is a week or two for walking, a few months for running, and a year or two before I’ll feel completely comfortable with sports like skiing. Ah yes, skiing, the wonderful sport where I finished ruining said knee.
So I’ll be going under the knife on Friday, February 4th in Arizona, and recovering thereafter. See you in March.
My parents like to make fun of how I cannot live without my iPhone 4, to the point where they bet me last night that I couldn’t ignore it for an hour. They were wrong, I made it two hours!
That said, we’re all becoming much more used to doing many things at once, and this has definitely carried over from work to our real lives. We’re watching the Bears play American Football on my Dad’s birthday, being from Chicago it’s obviously a mandatory event.
That said, I looked up and realized that my Mom is also reading a book, I have my laptop open and my phone churning away with SMS, Facebook, and more, and my Dad is playing Klondike solitaire at the table while watching the Bears generally suck the first half away.
I mean, if we were at a party maybe it would be different, but it’s funny that the game isn’t compelling enough for any of us to just sit here and watch it. I’m not sure if this is normal or just genetics! Football does have far too many commercials and delays in action, but still, it’s definitely different than what I would have expected years ago for a playoff football game of my favorite team.
For anyone reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, this post is auto-imported from my blog at http://dylanschiemann.com/2011/01/23/multitasking/.
Lately, I’ve noticed Facebook apps getting more and more aggressive with the information they’re requesting, without providing much information at all about what their doing with said information. So I’m rarely approving new apps as a consequence.
This weekend’s news that an option will now exist to allow apps to request access to your address and phone number is a bit troubling. As someone who had their house robbed in 2010 (with the criminals later caught due to sheer stupidity on their part, and my luck), the last thing I want to do is give out this information conveniently, just to have access to an app.
Part of the problem I have is the “Allow or Don’t Allow” being the only two options. I would prefer a system that allows me to install an app, but only allow one or some of the permissions being requested. I know, trust is difficult and Facebook has tried to simplify it, but by giving the option for increasingly invasive information, and apps asking for it, the answer is going to be no, regardless of how great your app may or may not be.
For anyone reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, this post is auto-imported from my blog at http://dylanschiemann.com/2011/01/16/all-or-nothing-why/.
Alex Payne has a new blog post on the problem with creating and/or using User Hostile Platforms, which argues against using platforms like Adobe AIR, other cross-platform widget toolkits, and non-native cross-platform mobile app platforms.
What’s interesting is that I completely agree with Alex’s introduction, as well as his concluding paragraph:
Doing things the right way is hard, which is why most businesses take the lazy path and settle for mediocrity. People respond to quality, though: they reward it, in no small part because quality such a rarity in today’s marketplace. Do right by your customers and they’ll do right by you.
That said, the main thing being blamed in his post for said mediocrity is the platform being used, when in reality, high quality apps in general are hard to create and require solid development teams with excellent focus on user experience. The problem in my opinion is that platforms like AIR and PhoneGap lower the barrier to entry for web developers in creating native desktop and mobile apps because they allow developers to leverage their existing web technology expertise, but they do not lower the overall barrier to entry for creating amazing user experiences. Instead they just have different issues to solve.
Most developers stop before they reach amazing or extraordinary, regardless of the path they went down to get there. And that’s where being lazy and/or settling for mediocrity is evident. We simple see more bad apps created with lower barrier platforms because more people can use those tools to achieve mediocrity.
The CES demonstration of iHealth is really impressive (great interview by @hermioneway and the presenter). It’s a great example of a nice user experience, and a simple health care measurement tool paired together through our new ecosystem of mobile devices. And at only $99 and for sale soon at the Apple store, I think this will do phenomenally well:
It reminds me of a finished version of Uxebu’s experiments with HumanAPI. Nikolai Onken gave a fun set of talks in 2010 while wearing a home-made heart rate monitor that would communicate with the iPhone over bluetooth. Their approach currently requires jailbreaking an iPhone (to get the iPhone to allow Bluetooth sensor data to be sent to the phone), and uses open web tech (HTML/CSS/JS/Dojo/PhoneGap).
Slides from SWDC 2010:
I would love to see a set of APIs for mobile web app developers to create applications that can sync with other types of sensors and monitoring devices. I’m sure people are working on ways to sync nanobot readings to your iPhone or iPad now!
For anyone reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, this post is auto-imported from http://dylanschiemann.com/2011/01/08/mobile-technology-and-improving-healthcare/.
I spent a lot more time reading than writing this week, because there were so many great things to read, while trying to avoid the #lessambitiousfilms meme.
Well, I didn’t completely resist with the Animatrix. I was thinking Godfather Part 3 might be another ironic version of the meme (where the name of the movie itself is a less-ambitious version of another movie).
Anyway, about that reading… Aim for a lifestyle, not a jackpot. Of course, my definition of lifestyle is working more on the things I love, but I digress.
Could connect be Microsoft’s iPod. It’s really strange to think of Microsoft as the underdog, hoping to get a halo effect from tech unrelated to Windows or Office.
Plex App, a better media center for Mac OS X and iOS than iTunes? More immediately interesting to me than the Mac App Store.
Quora got a lot of buzz. The reasons given really aren’t about why Quora is a great service, but about trends indicating it might be gaining popularity. I see it as being like WikiPedia, but without the formality and limitations on what’s worthy, while still being somewhat restrictive in preventing spam. That said, it’s not that interesting, because the site doesn’t support private sharing of answers, or limiting answers to friends. That said, I do think the site has arrived, given the awesome Cwora.com spoof.
Paul Buchelt talks about his first 3 years of angel investing, including strategy to: 1) Assume you’ll lose your money, 2) Plan on investing in a large number of companies, and 3) attend YC demo day (he’s now officially involved with YCombinator.
How to make ajax apps crawlable is a nice explanation of why you’re seeing so many URLs on Facebook and Twitter with #! in them.
Dave McClure’s top 10 tech investing trends for 2011: Disagree with #1 (group deals, still lots of opportunities like Kupoz), agree with #2 (location services), agree with #3 (crowdsourcing, which I think is actually how #1 succeeds with sales), disagree with #4 (URLs for in real life, I think this trend is further away), disagree with #5 (don’t see the investment opportunity here yet, though I somewhat see the need), agree with #6 (video, mobile devices and video recording are making it easy than ever), agree with #7 (apps, no kidding, though I think native web apps will make a strong come back on mobile devices), agree with #8 (though I think this was true the past five years as well), agree with #9 (though I see tremendous competition here), and disagree with #10 (Facebook, I think the major growth opportunities have passed until they make the platform truly great for app developers; instead, the best opportunity today is Facebook integration on other apps.) On the last point, I’m curious to see if the premise of Facebook hype will fade is valid. Basically the premise is that the jumping the shark moment is when the founders start to sell off their stake in a major way. I hadn’t really thought of this point before, and need to think a bit to see whether I buy this premise or not.
Monopoly as an interview question. It replaces a previous question I enjoyed of how to build a map directions system.
Google will become an AI company. Will it rename itself SkyNet? Seriously though, I think they’ll need acquisitions to make that happen, and really they need to start with a major overhaul or fix to their search algorithms as they are flooded with content spammers. Duck Duck Go might be interesting, though their value proposition is not following your every move, so I think they believe Google already is an AI company.
Without the Stress. I wish this site was around when applying for a UK visa. It looks to be super handy for getting a passport quickly as well. The founders are fun as well.
URL design, explaining how to properly design URLs on a level I haven’t seen previously.
American Civil War turns 150. Interesting discourse on whether the civil war was about slavery or succession from the union, and its impact on us today.
How to be liked instantly gives away my secrets. Seriously though, interesting article.
Mozilla rejects native client. I disagree with the author’s point, and agree with Mozilla, as Native Client breaks the open web and disincentives the world to make browsers faster.
Open Cola teaches you how to create your own cola drink. It’s fun to see open source permeating non-software industries.
Minimalism is not an intellectual strategy raises some awesome points, basically that clutter and inspiration lead to great ideas, and all true innovation and inspiration were the result of this, and not an empty desk with just a few devices on your desk.
Cambride University refuses to censor a thesis discussing flaws in chip and pin. Good to see a university defend a student’s thesis that mentions flawed security.
For anyone reading this on Facebook or elsewhere, this post is auto-imported from http://dylanschiemann.com/2011/01/07/avoding-lessambitiousfilms/.
I’m trying to determine if I’m more productive when I’m 5-8 hours ahead of most of the people I work with, or more productive on roughly the same schedule.
Pros for being in US:
More hours for overlap, making communication more efficient.
Nights are more free with less obligations.
Pros for being in the UK:
Less hours for overlap, making communication less distracting.
Mornings and early afternoon are more free with less obligations.
I think this brings up the bigger point, which is that certain types of work are better done in solitude, whereas other work is best done with minimum friction for overlap. When I have things I feel I have to do or want to work on (which is especially true at the beginning of a year), any noise that gets in the way makes me grumpy, regardless of how many hours I might spend in the gym to connect with my inner zen.
So, one day in, and I either need to block off more hours during the day without interruption, or wake up at 2am each day. Or I just need to accept that the first week of the year is always chaotic when everyone gets back to it, and revisit this next week. For now I’ll just let out the loudest yell of relief that the first Monday or the year is over!
If you’re reading this on Facebook, this post is auto-imported from http://dylanschiemann.com/2011/01/03/time-zones-and-distractions.
Some random tech thoughts from recent reading:
A nice article from the people at Redfin appeared on TechCrunch on Hybrid Startups. I’ve often argued that people spend the most money on tangible things, and only pay for software when it’s super compelling or addictive. This article talks about how startups that create something that’s both digital and a physical product or service are perhaps easier to defend once they’re successful.
Kris Zyp of SitePen has been working on many many projects, one of the latest being ComposeJS, perhaps the Dojo 2.0 replacement for today’s dojo.declare.
I rarely agree with articles in the Economist, though I feel mildly guilty when I walk by their London office just a few blocks from my flat. But their article on the proliferation of choice ties in nicely with my “getting too meta” point in my random thoughts from 2010 for 2011 post. Basically, we need to make choice less difficult, without losing the power of many options for many types of people.
I always like a good article about subtle ways to get people to do what you want them to do. Neuro menus and restaurant psychology discuss how restaurants do this with menus. So next time you’re in a place and wonder why you’re drawn to just a couple of dishes on the menu, ask yourself why and order something else. And no, don’t fall for the reverse-reverse psychology trap, or you’ll never decide what to eat.
Build Apps not Businesses
Build Apps not Businesses reminds me that not everything has to be immediately productive or directly useful. Always a good reminder for me when I’m working like a maniac.
SimpleGeo’s tools are really impressive. We need to add support for this to Dojo and Dojo Mobile.
Google Font Directory and Ubuntu
It’s great to see the Google Font Directory include the Ubuntu fonts. This, TypeKit, and a few others have really started to transform the fonts we use and see on the web, and in a much better way than our previous generation of hacks like sifr.
I’m curious to see if Forrst can carve out a niche not currently served by Stack Overflow or Quora.
Uncertainty in Romance
Ok, I consider some types of medical research to be techy. Such as the recent study on uncertainty and romance. Per the study, the women in the study were least likely to like men who only like them an average amount, more likely to like a man if they’re told that the man likes them a lot, and most likely to like them if they’re told that the man either likes them an average amount or a lot (what they call an uncertain condition). This brings new meaning to the value of sending mixed signals.
The EFF is always putting up the good fight, one of their latest points being on Traitorware, software or hardware that stores details about you or sends them off, without your consent.
For those reading this on Facebook and elsewhere, this post is auto-imported from http://dylanschiemann.com/2010/12/30/random-tech-thoughts-and-reading/