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Complexity

Amazing… originally published by Naomi Bloom

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The Perfect Out-of-Office Email Response

Normally I hate auto-responders, but this made me laugh:

Hi – thank you for emailing me.

When your email arrived, I was doing one of the following: celebrating
Christmas with my family, bringing in the New Year with friends,
getting married to my favourite person in the world, flying across the
planet, navigating the Indian transport system, riding a camel around
the Arabian desert or looking for jaguars in the Belizean jungle.

Needless to say, I won’t be able to reply to your email. My apologies.

Come think of it, all the above activities can be fun  – with one exception.  Which one?

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NSFW. Or Is It? Koala Sex.

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Look Who’s Talking: ASUS, the Designer Brand

asusnx90 Brand vs. Quality. Which Would You Pay For? – I asked recently, making the case that “trusted old brands” like HP are producing inferior quality, while formerly “no-name cheapo” component maker ASUS is becoming a household name.  They are basically doing what Honda, Toyota (and now the Koreans)  did to the car business.

Sure, ASUS rode a good wave becoming the leading netbook-maker, but they are not stopping there. First it was price, then performance, reliability – now it’s design.

“We are looking forward to leading the PC industry into a new era of thought behind computer design,” said ASUS chairman Jonney Shih, after unveiling four new computers at the event. At one point, Shih seemed to allude to Apple as a role model, saying that an overriding focus on design has been the domain of one company in the industry.   (Source: TechFlash)

Now, who’s “the Brand”?

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The Tablet Debate – Situational Device, Take # 764531276534

image Gotta love the new debate on Tablets – it’s not about the CrunchPad, JooJoo or the Apple Tablet anymore.  It’s about whether we need any.  Joe Wilcox declared that The world doesn’t need an Apple tablet, or any other.

Really?  Well, there was this other guy who famously declared:

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers

He obviously proved to be wrong, but somehow this mistake did not break his career: he was legendary IBM Chairman & CEO Thomas Watson, and the prediction goes back to 1943.  (Too bad the famous quote is likely incorrectly attributed to him – but it’s a better story this way)

I suspect Joe Wilcox will prove to be just as wrong as Thomas Watson (or whoever really said that…).  But I’m not going to argue.. cause I’ve done it a zillion times already.  Hack, I even own the Google search for situational device (but hat tip to Imran Ali who coined situational hardware).   Yes, Joe, the tablet will be a “middle product”, not a phone and not a full-fledged computer, either – and it’s all right. It does not have to be.

How many computers do you have in your household?  None of us would own a monster like the one on the pic – but then computers became personal, and we all got one – for the family. Then we got a few more – 2-3-5 computers are not uncommon in a household.  But what about your digital camera, iPod, iPhone, eBook Reader..etc?  We don’t call them computers, despite the sophisticated processing they all do.

The Tablet won’t be a computer, either. Not in the classical sense of the all-in-one multifunctional machine.  It will be a lightweight, convenient browsing, reading device.  Perhaps a “passive” one – but the most comfortable form of consuming information lying in bed, in a lounge chair, perhaps on a float in the pool :-)   A situational device.  In fact many situational devices: one for the road, one for the couch, one touch-based, on driven by voice .. you name it.  We’ll have many of those.  Not because we need them. But because we can.  And that’s progress.

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SAP Video: Real-time Computing

Cool video by SAP, promoting the concept of in-memory computing.

If only their UI was as cute as their videos :-)

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Bohemian Bankruptcy

P.S. Ah, that FTC disclosure.. I did some business with the Queen .. way back. smile_wink

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Work. Online. (Zoho Employees On the Loose)

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When Design Meets Ergonomics – And When They Fail Together

Styling and ergonomics don’t always go hand in hand.  Look at these cool chairs:

SantosChair

And look is about all you can do – good luck trying to sit in them for a longer period.

But in the case of the latest Mouse War, you have great design, ergonomics and functionality all on one side, and ugly bulkiness and utter uselessness on the other.  But I’m not telling which is which :-)

openofficemouse magicmouse

(P.S. I seriously thought it was a joke – but we’re nowhere near April 1st)

Related posts:

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Tweet Blender Wins Over Twitter’s Own List Widget – For Now

CloudAve readers can now follow the contributing bloggers’ twitter stream in a sidebar, thanks to a cool widget called Tweet Blender.   Finding it was not easy: I combed through at least 100 plugins / widgets, all doing essentially the same: follow a person, or do keyword search.  Either or.. not both.  And definitely not a selection of users.

Tweet Blender came to the rescue (before Twitter Lists): it allows to follow any combination of users and keyword searches. Smart!   But just days after I installed it along came Twitter Lists … so the writing for Blender was on the wall.

Not until Lists got supported in widgets though.. which is what we’re seeing today.  Twitter introduced their List Widget. I quickly replaced Tweet Blender with the new widget, if only for testing at Enterprise Irregulars, another group blog I am editing, thinking it might help with a major problem I have with Twitter API limits.

Here’s the gist of the problem: Every time the widget refreshes, it eats into my API allocation – and it bites big: one API acces per user followed. Over at Enterprise Irregulars we have thirty or so authors on Twitter, so 5 refreshes and I am out of luck (and API).  But the author of Tweet Blender came up with a smart caching solution, turning all blog readers into API contributors:

As of this writing, Twitter allows only 150 connections per hour from a single IP address.
Since TweetBlender works in user’s browser, this means 150 connections from the user viewing the page on your site.
For each screen name in the list of sources there is one connection made. For hashtags and keywords, they all bunched into one search query and only 1 connection is made.
This means: if you have 30 screen names – every update makes 30 connections; if you have 30 hashtags – every refresh makes 1 connection. If you have 30 screen names AND 30 hashatags – every request makes 31 connection.
If you set TweetBlender to refresh every 10 seconds and you have 50 screen names in sources then after the 3rd refresh the user viewing the page would reach the connection limit – i.e. in 30 seconds they will be done and would have to wait for 59 minutes and 30 more seconds before fresh tweets become available.
The more screen names you have – the quicker the limit is reached.
To deal with it, caching is added. When user A gets fresh tweets in his browser they are sent to your server and stored there. When user B gets fresh tweets in his browser (against his own 150 limit) they are also updated on the server. All users that view your page keep the cache fresh.
Once user A reaches his limit TweetBlender switches to cached mode and instead of going directly to Twitter, starts getting tweets from your server. If user B is not yet at the limit then his updates will help user A see fresh content.
The more users view your page and the more evenly the traffic is spread out – the less chances of reaching the limit. All visitors to your site will keep cache up to date and help each other

An absolutely smart solution – but what if I don’t have the API problem at all?  This is what I expected to test with Twitter’s own solution.  But what disappointment…  If you look at Enterprise Irregulars, you probably see the tweet stream – I don’t.  All I see is a blank frame. Sam on Scoble’s blog.  Or Mashable. Or Brian Solis.

I’m out of Twitter API allocation (or so I assume – could not confirm yet).  But while Tweet Blender uses a cache, in fact a collaborative smart cache, Twitter’s own Widget just throws up.  Yuck.  Tweet Blender is the absolute winner.  For now.

I’m writing this post as a tribute to Kirill, Tweet Blender’s developer, also in recognition of his outstanding responsivenes. Read the Facebook threads – he investigates individual installations, comes up with bug fixes overnight – exemplary Customer Service from a one-person team.

But he has just become endangered species.  With gazillion $ in funding Twitter has the resources, and will no doubt come up with a solution to the API / caching problem.  But let’s not write the little guy off just yet:  his product still has more / better features… and I have no reason to believe he will sleep on his laurels. :-)

Update: my assumptions just got confirmed: