Thursday, 30 September 2010

Top 9 Things I Want In a Blog Engine

  • self-hosted
  • easily template-able
  • easily customizable
  • supports email-to-post
  • supports XML-RPC
  • supports RSS output
  • internal search engine
  • an writing UI encouraging writing 200+ words at a time
  • an reading UI encouraging reading 2+ essays at a time

Update 11 Oct 2010
Add these to the list;

  • memorable, human-readable URL constructs
  • doesn’t bias how or what I publish

If You’re Going To Accomplish One Thing Today

Stick your head out the window and yell.

Bonus: A super fun Kleptones mashup with Howard Beale [mp3]

Update 13 Oct 2010:
My favorite line from the monologue:

“You people are the real thing, we’re the illusion.”

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

“Remember that time you quit Twitter”


One of the Ebook Backers noticed that while the essays in the ebook (and on this blog) talk about how I zero’d out my Twitter account after a month long hiatus – but as of his reading – I was as active as ever.

Yes – as they say on The Facebooks – It’s complicated.

Since the release of #newtwitter, I’ve noticed – consistent with Twitter Corps intentions – 90% of my interaction with Twitter don’t require an account, or interaction with fellow tweakers.

Add in the reports saying a tweet’s lifespan is between 5 minutes and 1 hour Twitter is too close to screaming into the abyss for me.

@garrickvanburen has been permanently deactivated.

Update 2 Dec 2010:
In the 2+ months since I’ve deactivated my Twitter account – 3 people (out of more than 1300 followers) have noticed enough to ask me about it.

Other Qwitters:

“I’ve been fortunate to escape..” – Daniel Bachhuber

“After the initial thrill of discovering that past and present could be joined together in a synaptic twist of fate, the intoxicating rush of chemicals began to wear off, exposing a hole that drained all of my original enthusiasm, reducing me to a caricature of my former self.” – Stephen Gordon

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Unanimous Support for Unlicensed White Spaces

“The Federal Communications Commission voted 5-0 today to adopt rules for using the airwaves, known as white spaces.”

Some ridiculous NPR story yesterday complained that the crowded nature of metropolitan airwaves prevent this from being useful to the vast majority of Americans.

The point isn’t urban America – the benefit is to rural America.

My earlier posts on the topic of opening up white spaces:

Bringing Me-dia to Rural America

In Bigger News: FCC Opens White Space & Frees iPhone

Out of context, the specific significance of this post’s title is entertainingly vague.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Take California

If there’s a state in the union synonymous with the modern American Dream – it’s California 1.

For the past twenty years, every vocation or avocation I’ve been interested in has had a significant pull from California.

There’s now some evidence California is becoming less attractive to do business in.

“The top states gaining our businesses since January 2009 show Texas in the top spot, followed by Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Virginia and Utah.” – Joseph Vranich in California Business Exodus Now Triple Last Year’s Rate

California’s loss is the rest of the country’s gain.

Attention: Minnesota policy makers – there’s some opportunity here. I’d like to see Minnesota on this list as well. The same business conditions that make it attractive to move here make it attractive to stay here. 😉

1. For cities, I’m sure NYC still holds the #1 position.

iPad vs Kindle – According to Mark Jaquith

I’ve never found myself struggling which to pick, much in the same way that nobody is ever torn between having tea and going sky diving. They are different devices, for different purposes…With the Kindle, you won’t be thinking about increasing your Fruit Ninja high score, or frantically checking and re-checking your e-mail. You’ll be in the only state that is appropriate when reading a book: completely lost in it.

Sort it out

Urinals that sort wee by alcohol content, Darmstadt, Germany.JPG

I assume that the signs are either:
a) a joke commenting on the ridiculousness of sorting waste
b) part of a research study

Both of which, based on my experience, are highly likely in Germany.

Let’s assume for a moment they’re neither.

Instead, let’s assume – there’s some ongoing business value to signage – what might it be?

Perhaps there’s some nuanced difference in how the urinals are cleaned.

Perhaps it’s a way to manage drink sales.

Perhaps this is a clever way to get the mens’ room line to move at a frequency closer to the womens’ room line.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Wide Open Faces: Choosing Fonts for Your Website, eBook, and Mobile App

I’ll be leading a session on font selection & usage at the 2010 MIMA Summit next Tuesday afternoon – Sept 28th.

As you can see from the title – the goal is to get beyond ‘web fonts’ and talk about all the different artifacts we publish and the benefits and challenges of using custom fonts consistently across the board.

Should be fun.

Update – Here’s the presentation:

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Twitter Poured Cement in a Bucket of Rocks

The barrel gets filled with stones whose size represents the size of the market-opportunity. Operating systems and office-applications are boulders; there’s only room for a few of each. Here, a glance, the barrel is full. But, of course, there’s lots of space between the boulders. This space is can be filled with rocks, and the space between rock with pebbles and so on. – Dan Grigsby paraphrasing Eric Sink.

This Barrel of Rocks analogy has been rolling around in my mind quite a bit lately.

Being able to explore the open spaces in an ecosystem and find one that fits is what excites me about new technologies – web, RSS, podcasting, Twitter, web fonts, Apple’s iPad, and even my new Nokia N900. I quickly lose interest if I’m not able to find a space or if it starts feeling like an iron maiden. That’s why I sold my iPad and gave away my iPod Touch – I didn’t find my space.

Last night – Twitter started the roll out of New Twitter. Word is – it’s completely built on their own API platform and formally integrates 16 other services (Youtube, Flickr, etc).

Additionally, Twitter Corp recently acquired a client in each of the major mobile platforms (iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android), and turned off username/password access to applications connecting with the Twitter API, and is migrating to their own URL shortener for all URLs passed around in their service.

Each one of these points makes it significantly more difficult to use Twitter in ways Twitter Corp doesn’t intend (not unlike Apple approving every app in their app store). Each open space is being filled with a Twitter-branded or Twitter-partner service. They’ve poured cement in their big bucket of rocks.

Point #9 of Liz Gannes article at GigaOm tells the real story:

“Another big platform project, Annotations, has been put on hold, because the infrastructure team was working on the launch, Sarver said.”

The ‘Annotations’ project was all about a fuller, more data-rich Twitter API. Of course it was put on hold – in the New Twitter world there’s a significantly decreased incentive to expose the API to non-Twitter-controlled properties.

Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if Twitter just turned off their API at the end of the year.

Reminds me of a prediction I made back in 2009.

“there’s an argument that I live 2 years into the future. If that’s the case – then sometime between now and March 2011, Twitter (the organization) is no longer relevant.


“For the first few years of Twitter encouraged guys like me to write little hack jobs to make it do things they didn’t have time to make it do. So I did. What’s the point if you don’t continue to support that work.” – Dave Winer

Tuesday, 14 September 2010 “Monetizing Social”

There certainly have been experiments, such as’s “Real Time Ads,” which sells a local businesses widget space to display their Twitter feed. This way, the business directly controls what is displayed on the site and the advertising has the potential to be more effective because of it’s social nature and users can engage it. Plus, the local business gets its social accounts exposed to a larger audience and is able to build a lasting relationship with readers. – Vadim Lavrusik,