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Pecha Kucha in Seattle

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 23, 2006 - 6:11am
Brady Forest and Bre Pettis, pals here in Seattle, are organizing a great sounding evening here in Seattle next week. They are calling it Ignite Seattle. At first I was confused, as I work with a volunteer group called Ignite which focuses on encouraging girls to explore tech careers and take tech classes in high school.

This has a tech edge, but men are allowed too. ;-) It is an evening of play, exploration and thinking. Here's their introduction.

Come to Ignite, a short-form, almost-unconference event. Seattle needs the occasional gathering of the geek tribe to spark new ideas and keep the mojo fresh. Be a part of it!

What we have:
The date: Thursday, December 7; Starts at 8PM
A bar to call our own for the night - LowerLevel
No cover
One stage, two rooms
Wifi throughout

What you provide:
Ideas that need bouncing around
Projects you can’t put down
Musings you need to set loose



Now one part of this is Pecha Kucha , what looks to be part peformance art, part knowledge or idea sharing. 20 slides, 20 seconds on each slide. Hmmmm, tempting to throw my hat in and play.

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Thoughtful Discussions

MasterMaq - November 22, 2006 - 8:29pm

I went for dinner earlier tonight with Megan and some of her family to celebrate her second University degree (today was the convocation). So first of all, congratulations Megan! You now have two degrees before I have my first.

The dinner was good (Olive Garden) but the discussion was better. We talked about all sorts of things, but almost all the topics were problems that we were trying to figure out the cause of. Do students do poorly in school because of their parents? Why can't you apply for a passport online? Things like that. I don't think we were able to agree once! The discussion was really lively and interesting though.

As I thought about it more on the way home, it occurred to me that maybe there would be less problems for us to chat about if there was more thoughtful discussion taking place. A lot of times it seems like decisions are made without any real thought or discussion going into them.

Anyway, something to think about. Time to work on the essay I have due tomorrow!

Categories: Attendees, Speaker

More Audio from my Australian Adventure

Full Circle Associates (Nancy White) - November 22, 2006 - 4:08pm

A few more podcasts from my time in Australia are up. I am still avoiding listening to them. Denial? The photos are pretty funny.

Welcome to LearnScope - PowerPoint Slides, Audio, Pictures: "International online facilitator and founder of Full Circle Associates, Nancy White, conducted a speaking tour across Australia during October 2006. Nancy was in Canberra on Friday 20 October and conducted a presentation and workshop before an enthusiastic audience.

1. Presentation for managers - with the emergence of more individually focussed tools that enable connection, how do we find the balance between the individual and the community? (1 hr duration)

2. Workshop for practitioners - the eight competencies of online interaction. (1.5 hrs duration)

You can download Nancy's PowerPoint presentations and listen to MP3 recordings of both her presentation and workshop below.

The Nancy White national speaking tour was organised and sponsored by the E-learning Networks Project of the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.

For more information on Nancy's speaking tour, trip and adventure to Australia, visit her blog http://australianoctober.blogspot.com/index.html

Nancy White's ACT PowerPoint presentations
Nancy White's ACT MP3 audio recordings

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The fabulous Canadian Teen Idol Robin Sparkles

Jeff Sandquist - Microsoft Evangelist - November 22, 2006 - 12:34pm

Just in case you missed this from Monday night's How I met your mother. You've got to love the subtle jabs at Canada and 80's Teen Idols in this piece.

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A Couple of Bloggy Books for the Holiday

Blog Business Summit - November 22, 2006 - 11:40am

I’ve been told that I’m a workaholic. I’ll go in on a Sunday afternoon if it’s required. I’ll even meet up with Steve the day after Thanksgiving for some pre-CES planning. But I will absolutely, under no circumstances, check my RSS reader or post to any blogs (except for maybe, TeresaCentric) on Thanksgiving Day. There’s too much cooking to be done and football to be watched.

I will, however, be using this weekend to enjoy two bloggy books that I’ve had hanging around for a while now. One is John Battelle’s The Search about how search has revolutionized business and culture. I’ll also be thumbing through Maria Langer’s Wordpress 2, because I’ve been told that it’s a very comprehensive guide to anything I’d ever want to know about my favorite blogging platform.

So that’s it! Happy Turkey Day, kids. Don’t eat too much stuffing and pass out on the floor in a food coma like my Uncle Mike.

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Breaking news: IE7 being pushed out today

Larix Consulting - November 22, 2006 - 11:08am

I've been running IE7 on my laptop since Beta 2 and installed the final version as soon as it was out, today though my other computer (Lorraine's and the kids' machine) ran the updates as scheduled and lo and behold I was prompted to update to IE7.  So this is the big day.  The day that RSS is supposed to start taking off.  The day a lot of Internet users (since a lot Windows users rely on IE) are going to see orange RSS buttons and tabs for the first time.

Should be fun.

Funny this hasn't caught the eyes of Techmeme yet.

Updates:

I send out an e-mail to my bloggy friends about this and one friend commented that this post is a wee thin.  Well that was intentional.  I wanted to get this out fast then then update a bit. Denise has already blogged it this morning, but she hasn't had a chance to try it yet.

Couple things to note.  First, when you are forced to update, okay forced might be a strong word ... but I think it's a good idea to update, it will take several minutes and you will have to reboot.  Second, odd that this comes just before American Thanksgiving.  Maybe Microsoft figured that with the lower overall load (people having family time vs computer time) that the servers wouldn't get swamped.  If true, that's pretty smart.

Now as a (pretty) long-time IE7 user and a long-time tabbed browsing fan there are a few things in IE7 to learn and get used to.  First, make sure tabbed browsing is actually turned on.  I don't think it is turned on by default, so you'll have to go to options and do it.  Ah, options ... which brings me to another important thing ... the default menu bar is not visible by default (I think this is to give more browsing room).  Fear not, the stuff you need is under Tools next to the tabs.

For Tabbed browsing, crtl-t creates a new tab.  So does clicking the little tab next to farthest right tab.  Oh and that little tab with the four squares on it?  Gallery view.  Let's you look at a small version of all open tabs.  You can switch to a tab or close it from there.

Couple tricks that I like to use.  First, when closing IE with more than one tab open it will ask you if the next time you open IE if you want to re-open those tabs too.  I usually click the yes box.  But ... if you want to really save something for later, you can create a Favourites group of all open tabs then re-open them all at once from the new Favourites sidebar (the star).

RSS.  Well RSS handling is a little weak.  IE wasn't really designed to be an RSS reader.  Yeah, you could use it like that if you only have a few places to keep up with, but I don't recommend it. But ... at least people will see the orange RSS symbol more and more.

Compatibility on websites shouldn't be a huge problem.  I haven't seen any major glitches in months.  Now, plugins are a different story.  Some might not work and others might crash IE.  I'd proceed with caution, unless you just updated them.

Well, that's what I have thus far.  Post is a tad richer now.

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Notes for 11/22/2006

Alright.  SO 2 more weeks till my class is done.  And my paper is now done, so I'm actually able to breathe now.  WOO!

Here we go....

  • The Conservative government is going to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage.  I have an idea for them:  GET OVER IT.  It's not affecting you, so leave it alone.  And besides, the more married couples there are in Canada, the more people you can tax in a higher bracket.
  • Today is my graduation again.  Yes, that's right.  Again.  I'm a hero
  • I wrote 3700 words in the span of 4 hours.  I'm again a hero.
  • Borat on Saturday?  Yes, I think so...
  • As Mack has already commented, we will needs passports to enter the US by air as of January 23rd.  I understand their concern, but really...do they think I'm going to blow them up with Timbits or something??  I think not.
  • The former “mighty” Ducks are in town next week.  Along with the douchebag defenseman.  Let's make it a night he'll never forget. 
  • Go see Half Nelson.  I reviewed it here
  • Go check out my Twitter page.
  • I'm the best haiku poet ever.
       The Brits were flummoxed
       The Boers had better guns
       Empire starts decline

That's it that's all.  I'm out; time to get to work.  I think. 

Joel is wrong about Windows Vista's off switch

MasterMaq - November 21, 2006 - 10:18pm

Normally I agree with what Joel Spolsky has to say, but not today. His latest article, Choices = Headaches, smells like a lame attempt to bash Windows Vista just for the sake of it. He takes issue with the "fifteen" ways you can shutdown Windows Vista, though only nine of those apply to non-laptops. Here's what he says:

I'm sure there's a whole team of UI designers, programmers, and testers who worked very hard on the OFF button in Windows Vista, but seriously, is this the best you could come up with?

Joel apparently doesn't think you can just press the power button - yet that's exactly what I'd bet most people will end up doing. You can read all about the power button in this CNET News.com article which, by the way, was published over a year ago. Here's a choice quote:

And with Vista, Microsoft plans to make it so that a PC seems more like all the other consumer electronics out there. Pressing the power button will give users the feeling they are either turning the machine on or turning it off.

So it really is as easy as Joel would like. And for crazy people out there like myself who want all the shutdown options, they are still there, tucked away neatly in a little menu.

I guess Joel's main problem is having too much choice. Personally, I'm a fan of choice. The research I have come across is pretty divided on whether choice does more good or more harm. That said, Chris Anderson's The Long Tail certainly makes more choice seem like the way to go. His newest catchphrase - the economics of abundance - conveys this idea really well too.

Note: I haven't tried Windows Vista since the early betas, so I don't know if the power button functionality has changed or not, but I haven't come across anything to suggest that it has. Joel doesn't say anything about it in his post either.

You can read more about this story here and here.

Joel on Software  
Categories: Attendees, Speaker

Passports required for U.S. entry starting January 2007

MasterMaq - November 21, 2006 - 8:16pm

I guess this means I am going to have to get my passport renewed. Today, the U.S. Homeland Security Secretary revealed that the United States will start requiring travelers entering the country to show passports beginning January 23rd:

The department had been expected to institute the passport requirement for air travelers around the beginning of the year. Setting the date on Jan. 23 pushes the start past the holiday season.

The requirement marks a change for Americans, Canadians, Bermudians and some Mexicans.

No more driver's license or birth certificate to gain entry. The article mentions that only about one quarter of Americans have a passport. I wonder what the numbers are like here in Canada?

Yahoo News  
Categories: Attendees, Speaker

Jeff Jarvis Hugs Dell

Blog Business Summit - November 21, 2006 - 2:51pm

The unthinkable has happened. Jeff Jarvis sent some love Dell’s way. “What’s so nice about it is that they take the time to read the blogs and get to know the customer’s needs there so they’re ahead of the game when they make contact,” he wrote.

If Dell can turn their reputation around like this using a blog, any company can do it.

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Wordpress Search Engine Optimization in Just a Few Clicks

Blog Business Summit - November 21, 2006 - 2:28pm

Wordpress theme developer Derek Punsalan recently came up with the incredibly cool idea of developing a WordPress template that is automatically optimized for top search engine performance.

I’m going to download it and play with it a bit. I want to see whether the design is easy to control.

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Wordpress Takes off the Gloves, Takes on Six Apart

Blog Business Summit - November 21, 2006 - 11:55am

Automattic, the company that administers Wordpress.com, has launched a Wordpress enterprise-level blogging platform.

ReadWriteWeb sums it up pretty well:
It’s pretty plain that Automattic is taking on SixApart with both the Enterprise Edition and the continued growth and expansion of wordpress.com. Right now SixApart has the lead in marketing and probably resources, but Wordpress is a strong innovator and has an open source platform to attract developers. This little battle is far from over and it’ll be interesting to watch it unfold!There are a lot of fantastic blogging platforms out there, each with their inherent strengths. I like Wordpress for its flexibility. It’s unbelievably easy to design a very attractive, original blog just by making CSS and PHP tweaks to existing templates, which are available in a number of repositories.

Personally, Wordpress is my favorite system to work with. But I recognize that there are inherent advantages and disadvantages with every blogging platform. I’m eager to get my hands on a copy of their enterprise software to see what can be done with it and what its limitations are.

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Edmonton Technology Startups

MasterMaq - November 20, 2006 - 9:03pm
When it comes to technology startups, it seems as though Edmonton can't hold a candle to Toronto, Vancouver, or even Ottawa. Very rarely in my travels, physical or virtual, do I hear about really interesting tech things happening in Alberta's capital city. Yet I know there must be. I mean, surely we aren't the only ones, right? Nah, there's others...we just need to help each other become more visible. So the first step is to identify all the interesting tech startups (or established but relatively small companies) based in Edmonton. I've started tagging some, such as Zigtag, Nexopia, and ProExams, at del.icio.us using the tag edmontontech. I encourage you to do the same! Or, if you're not into the social bookmarking/tagging thing, leave me a comment or email me with your Edmonton-based tech companies. I suppose step two would be getting together with some of the companies to see what kind of interest there is in making our neck of the woods more visible to the rest of the world. I'd like to start changing Edmonton's image with respect to tech startups. We have a great economy, relatively low living expenses, and lots of smart people. We're just not regarded as all that great a place to start a tech company. But first, step one. What Edmonton-based tech startups do you know about?
Categories: Attendees, Speaker

Edmonton Technology Startups

MasterMaq - November 20, 2006 - 9:03pm

When it comes to technology startups, it seems as though Edmonton can't hold a candle to Toronto, Vancouver, or even Ottawa. Very rarely in my travels, physical or virtual, do I hear about really interesting tech things happening in Alberta's capital city. Yet I know there must be. I mean, surely we aren't the only ones, right? Nah, there's others...we just need to help each other become more visible.

So the first step is to identify all the interesting tech startups (or established but relatively small companies) based in Edmonton. I've started tagging some, such as Zigtag, Nexopia, and ProExams, at del.icio.us using the tag edmontontech. I encourage you to do the same! Or, if you're not into the social bookmarking/tagging thing, leave me a comment or email me with your Edmonton-based tech companies.

I suppose step two would be getting together with some of the companies to see what kind of interest there is in making our neck of the woods more visible to the rest of the world. I'd like to start changing Edmonton's image with respect to tech startups. We have a great economy, relatively low living expenses, and lots of smart people. We're just not regarded as all that great a place to start a tech company.

But first, step one. What Edmonton-based tech startups do you know about?

Categories: Attendees, Speaker

links for 2006-11-21

The Last Minute (Duncan Rawlinson) - November 20, 2006 - 8:20pm

What's a Yahoo! to do?

MasterMaq - November 20, 2006 - 7:08pm

Almost every day now I read something about Yahoo! and its "problems" and/or "options". Those are in quotes because it seems people are very divided on Yahoo! - some think it's in trouble, others don't. I've been a Yahoo! user since the days of the grey page-background, and if you count sites like Flickr and del.icio.us, I'm still a pretty active user. Allow me to put on my Yahoo! pundit hat for a moment.

I guess Yahoo!'s main problem is Google. Now that there's a search-media company consistently outperforming Yahoo!, it makes them look old and stagnant. It's actually pretty unfair, because let's be honest, no one has the kind of growth that Google does. Yahoo! actually does pretty well in terms of search traffic, advertising dollars, and all that other stuff, but where they seem to be lacking is in respect.

So what's a Yahoo! to do? Here are the most commonly suggested strategies I have come across:

Replace CEO Terry Semel
This suggestion is actually fairly new, and if you read Eric Jackson's open letter to Yahoo!'s founders, it starts to make sense. Seems to me this is a relatively short-term fix though.

Buy AOL
Apparently Yahoo! has approached Time Warner about purchasing AOL. I think this would be a good deal for Time Warner, and a not so good one for Yahoo!. It would bring the failed AOL Time Warner merger to a complete end, but it would only provide a minor increase in Yahoo's traffic and advertising, all things considered.

Buy Facebook
This rumor has been floating around for months actually. It might bring some more eyeballs to Yahoo!, but it would do nothing to help transform or improve the company. And besides, from everything I've read, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) is no Caterina Fake (Flickr founder).

Merge with eBay
The two companies might seem complimentary because of their completely different focuses, but that might present a problem rather than a solution. I agree with Fortune: I think this one is unlikely, because I think integrating eBay and Yahoo! would prove extremely difficult.

Sell to Microsoft
This one is my favorite, and it has a long history too, first appearing in June. Microsoft certainly has the cash, and it turns out that the two companies are fairly well-aligned - Yahoo! has made heavy investments into IE7, is a PlaysForSure supporter, and has hooked up with Microsoft on a number of initiatives ranging from Sitemaps to Instant Messaging. According to the latest comScore data (released today), a combined Microsoft-Yahoo would have around 40% of the search market compared with Google's 45%. Of course, there are some easy to spot problems with this deal - mainly that Microsoft has invested heavily in Live Search and adCenter already. That's not a total deal-breaker though.

Stay the course
The people that don't view Yahoo! as floundering like this suggestion. Sure Google is #1 for now, but it can't stay that way forever, right? Seems like this is Yahoo!'s currently preferred course of action. If they could somehow turn around their disappointing sales and profit numbers, this one might be the best option after all.


The Microsoft option is especially appealing to me, because it would have extremely broad ramifications for the industry. It also seems somewhat unlikely, given Microsoft's huge investments in their online properties (MSN, Live.com, etc). That said, purchasing Yahoo! would instantly make them the leader on the web, a position they have long sought after. I wouldn't be surprised if Yahoo! ended up staying the course though, and in the end, maybe that's better for everyone - Yahoo! included.

Update: Here is more excellent commentary on Yahoo's current situation.

Categories: Attendees, Speaker

What's a Yahoo! to do?

MasterMaq - November 20, 2006 - 7:08pm
Almost every day now I read something about Yahoo! and its "problems" and/or "options". Those are in quotes because it seems people are very divided on Yahoo! - some think it's in trouble, others don't. I've been a Yahoo! user since the days of the grey page-background, and if you count sites like Flickr and del.icio.us, I'm still a pretty active user. Allow me to put on my Yahoo! pundit hat for a moment. I guess Yahoo!'s main problem is Google. Now that there's a search-media company consistently outperforming Yahoo!, it makes them look old and stagnant. It's actually pretty unfair, because let's be honest, no one has the kind of growth that Google does. Yahoo! actually does pretty well in terms of search traffic, advertising dollars, and all that other stuff, but where they seem to be lacking is in respect. So what's a Yahoo! to do? Here are the most commonly suggested strategies I have come across: Replace CEO Terry Semel This suggestion is actually fairly new, and if you read Eric Jackson's open letter to Yahoo!'s founders, it starts to make sense. Seems to me this is a relatively short-term fix though. Buy AOL Apparently Yahoo! has approached Time Warner about purchasing AOL. I think this would be a good deal for Time Warner, and a not so good one for Yahoo!. It would bring the failed AOL Time Warner merger to a complete end, but it would only provide a minor increase in Yahoo's traffic and advertising, all things considered. Buy Facebook This rumor has been floating around for months actually. It might bring some more eyeballs to Yahoo!, but it would do nothing to help transform or improve the company. And besides, from everything I've read, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder) is no Caterina Fake (Flickr founder). Merge with eBay The two companies might seem complimentary because of their completely different focuses, but that might present a problem rather than a solution. I agree with Fortune: I think this one is unlikely, because I think integrating eBay and Yahoo! would prove extremely difficult. Sell to Microsoft This one is my favorite, and it has a long history too, first appearing in June. Microsoft certainly has the cash, and it turns out that the two companies are fairly well-aligned - Yahoo! has made heavy investments into IE7, is a PlaysForSure supporter, and has hooked up with Microsoft on a number of initiatives ranging from Sitemaps to Instant Messaging. According to the latest comScore data (released today), a combined Microsoft-Yahoo would have around 40% of the search market compared with Google's 45%. Of course, there are some easy to spot problems with this deal - mainly that Microsoft has invested heavily in Live Search and adCenter already. That's not a total deal-breaker though. Stay the course The people that don't view Yahoo! as floundering like this suggestion. Sure Google is #1 for now, but it can't stay that way forever, right? Seems like this is Yahoo!'s currently preferred course of action. If they could somehow turn around their disappointing sales and profit numbers, this one might be the best option after all. The Microsoft option is especially appealing to me, because it would have extremely broad ramifications for the industry. It also seems somewhat unlikely, given Microsoft's huge investments in their online properties (MSN, Live.com, etc). That said, purchasing Yahoo! would instantly make them the leader on the web, a position they have long sought after. I wouldn't be surprised if Yahoo! ended up staying the course though, and in the end, maybe that's better for everyone - Yahoo! included. Update: Here is more excellent commentary on Yahoo's current situation.
Categories: Attendees, Speaker

Murdoch Cancels O.J. Simpson Book & TV Special

MasterMaq - November 20, 2006 - 2:57pm

Besides providing fodder for the late night television shows, nothing good could have come from the book by O.J. Simpson, titled "If I Did It", nor from the related television show that was to air on Fox. Faced with incredible outrage over the project, News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch announced today that both book and TV show are canceled:

"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," Mr. Murdoch said in a statement. "We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown-Simpson."

If O.J. Simpson really wanted to confess, why not just come out and say so? There's no need to make a mockery of the legal system and drudge up old wounds in the process. I applaud Fox for choosing decency over profits. I'm all for free speech, but there's no need for anyone to profit from Simpson's pseudo-confession.

NYTimes.com  
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