Archive for the ‘off topic’ Category

Working Hard? Hardly Working…

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Have you ever been so bored at work that you wanted to poke yourself in the eye with a pen? Did slamming your head into a desk seem like an attractive option? Well then, you may be thanking me by the end of this post.

Now, put down that pen and stop staring at that desk…

With such lame job duties and a vast ocean of Internet information goodness at your fingertips, it seems very easy and seductive to slip into ‘the trap’. Once you hit Digg, Wikipedia, or other such shiny objects (also known as websites), it is very easy to lose track of time and eclipse 0% productivity levels. Then, along comes your boss, and KAPOW… you get chewed out.

Sound familiar? I bet it does. It’s never happened to me though… well… there was this one time…

The problem here is that your boss can easily spot such obvious websites from over shoulder.

Now what if you could browse all your favourite websites, in text, in a Microsoft Word document… or a look-alike document.

The solution is workFRIENDLY. Just visit the site, type in the URL of your favourite site, WorkFriendly logoand the system spits out a text version in what looks like a Word document. Then you can read up on the latest news, info, and posts from your favourite sites without putting your ass on the line.

Try it out. Then use it at work.

This brought me to a lucrative potential business idea. What if someone created a similar interface, but for an embedded IM client like MSN Messenger or AIM? I bet millions of people would exploit this service and chat from within their ‘Word’ document. These chats would maintain worker morale and keep the boss seemingly happy. Say goodbye to productivity. Slap on Google AdSense and there is a business model to be had.

I can’t wait to get hate mail from bosses and managers. Let the games begin.

Not Your Typical Playground

Saturday, November 25th, 2006

This isn’t your average walk in the park. You won’t see any kids running around. This playground is where the big boys come to play.

Two serial entrepreneurs, Mark Dowds and Bobby John, are opening what they call an Indoor Playground logo“Indoor Playground”. This hotbed of resources, creative minds, and an entrepreneurial setting was created to help spark creativity within the Toronto tech community. This local ‘hang-out’ will facilitate the exchange of ideas and form a catalyst for many. I really look forward to seeing the evolution of this hub and how it comes to fruition.

Full-timers, part-timers, and drop-ins will enter and exit the facility on a regular basis, making it a very dynamic centre with huge amounts of resources circulating at all times.

The space itself is 2,000 square feet and located at 364 Richmond St West (Richmond and Peter). Renovations are nearly complete. It stands on the fifth floor and houses an outstanding view of the city. The expected launch date is sometime in January.

The community forum (at Ning) can be found here.

Sponsors will be approached to help offset some of the costs.

I’ve always had the idea of doing something similar down the road once my financial position was a little more secure. It’s great to see someone actually doing it. I wish them all the best and I can’t wait to see the projects that stem from this playground.

I can’t wait til we see this type of facility in Victoria…

MTW Hits 10,000 Page Views

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

MappingTheWeb has officially broken through the 10,000 page view total for the month of November as of Monday.

After steady, consistent growth since launching in late September, the blog has since surged Graphin terms of traffic after been ’stumbled upon’ several times. For those of you unaware of this term, there is a toolbar produced by a company called StumbleUpon, which allows you to rate sites with a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Essentially however, the application can potentially drive huge volumes of traffic to websites (which i was lucky enough to receive). Here is more on StumbleUpon from Wikipedia.

In addition, the RSS subscriber base and Alexa rank are also moving in the right direction.

Apparently people read this blog? Dunno why. Weird.

Time to party and celebrate? Not yet. Maybe when I get 1% of the traffic TechCrunch gets…


Content is King

Thursday, November 16th, 2006

It is becoming more and more apparent that a media-oriented website (music, videos, photos) needs to, number one, focus on content. Everything else can come later. The interface, user experience, support, blah blah are all secondary to the content itself.

This is nothing new, but something often overlooked and in many cases ignored. The companies who are able to reward publishers of good content will succeed. Those who fail to do so will crumble in their dust.

Why does everyone go to YouTube? Their experience is great? It may be, but that’s not YouTube logothe reason. People go to YouTube because they know they can find any video they want. At least in my experiences, 99% of the time I searched for a video on YouTube, I found it. The other 1% was mostly due to copyright infringement, in which case the site had to take down the content.

Flickr is a great site too, in terms of user experience and interface. But yet again, it is not Flickr logothe real reason why so many flock to this photo sharing mecca. The quality photos and beautiful stills are the reason.

I’m going to be really honest here. MySpace is ugly as sh*t. It’s the new GeoCities. I’m MySpace logosick of the flashing text, tiled backgrounds, and completely customizable layouts. I nearly had a seizure the other day checking out a profile. Nonetheless, bands and singers have populated the site with millions upon millions of songs, mixes, and tracks - and this community continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Why? The music, of course.

Even sites not focused on media, such as Craigslist and Wikipedia, are great examples. They’re both not overly attractive, eye-catching sites. But people use them because of the content, whether it be a job posting or an encyclopedia entry.

The moral of the story is to focus content above all else. I know that this has been mentioned over and over in the blogosphere, but I don’t think it can be downplayed one bit. Anyone who overlooks this concept will be flattened in no time. Mark my word.

WiFi Prediction

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

I met a friend at Starbucks today and the topic of wifi came up. With many coffee shops HotSpot iconand cafes now offering free wifi to customers, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes the industry norm. At present, some establishments charge for the service, but my guess is that as times goes by and prices decrease, free wifi won’t be seen as a privilege or bonus - it will be expected.

Now, let’s take this one step further to a city level. Already, many US cities have implemented or will implement free city-wide wifi networks. These cities include, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Hartford, Mountain View, and Portland to name a few. In addition, several Canadian cities are also venturing down this path. The most notable and leader in this area (of all places) is Fredericton, New Brunswick. Not exactly a corporate hub. Nonetheless, this small Eastern Canadian city has pioneered the free citywide wifi movement. Expect others to follow.

In my opinion, it is a very smart move if it can be budgeted properly. A city can benefit from a more informed and resourceful population. However, if the costs and infrastructure far exceed the expected rise in productivity, then the timing may not be right. But as broadband costs continue to plunge and wifi becomes an industry standard, my bet is that we will see more and more cities launch free wifi networks.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed and laptops ready.