Rip-cord

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Today I announced my resignation from Factiva. I’ve been contemplating a move for several months now and the starts aligned in such a way to open up a door for me (thanks Mie!) at Six Apart, the folks who put out the software that allows me to create this site. I’ve had a good run with Factiva, starting in 1996 with a stint at Dow Jones based in Tokyo, the birth of a Factiva, relocation to the Princeton headquarters, and a two year run at managing the flagship product, Factiva.com. Everytime things got a little boring, Factiva always managed to find something interesting for me to sink my teeth into. A lot of thinking went into this decision and it’s become clear to me in this process that an incremental change of job title is not enough and it’s really time for me to shift gears and jump into a new company.

I made the decision last night to accept Six Apart’s offer and while waiting for my boss to get off the phone so I could tell him of my decision, I strolled down to the credit union to close my account. I was grilled by the teller there for my reason’s to close down the account:

“Why do you need to close your account?”

“I’m transferring (me not wanting to break the news before telling my boss)”

“A lot of people keep their accounts even if they are located elsewhere”

“I’m, err, actually transferring to another company.”

“That’s ok, you can even get your new company to deposit their paychecks here, I just want to inform you of your options.”

“Um, that’s ok, I’m actually going to be quite far away.”

“That’s not a problem, we have electronic. . .”

“No, really, that’s not necessary. I just want to close out the account. . . ”

“OK then, but you know there’s a $5 charge to close your account. Good luck to you.”

Today was a day of telling selective people the news – after the first few, it became easier and easier to broach the topic. I feel like a skydiver who has just pulled the rip-cord and now am reaching terminal velocity for what I hope will be a safe landing – GERONIMO!

Tyler’s Dinosaur

Tyler's Dinosaur

Three things came together to bring this picture online. (1) Tyler had the idea to draw a picture of a dinosaur, (2) my parents had to buy a digital camera, (3) my parents had to learn how to upload & email pictures.

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Lego Spiderman

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Last weekend Dav mentioned that he was so impressed with the quality of the animation these days that he thinks we’ll see animation films will represent a greater percentage of movies released each year. Once you have the models done, much of your upfront costs go down. No actor’s strikes to deal with either.

In what can only be called a milestone for “brickfilms,” stop action films based on Lego characters, BoingBoing.net points to this amazing rendition of Spiderman 2.

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Oops!

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The New York Post jumped the gun on their morning edition and picked the wrong horse for the Democratic Vice Presidential nomination on their cover story. The offending file was quickly removed from their web site but not soon enough for Reuters to pick it up and get a comment from the Post’s rival across town, the Daily News.

Media sources said the News sent a case of champagne to Post editors and a note, “Congratulations on your front page. Have a nice day,” with a smiley face. The barb refers to a Post advertisement near the Daily News building showing improved circulation figures, with the words “have a nice day” and smiley face

Meanwhile, my sources in the Blogsphere scooped the popular media with this mention on a US Airways forum:

John Kerry”s 757 was in hgr 4 pit tonight John Edwards vp decals were being put on engine cowlings and upper fuselage. :up:

I think there was a story on how the AOL Time Warner merger almost broke early because someone in the copy shop that printed up the signs for the press announcement almost leaked the story to the press. It was squelched but only just in time.

How rumor becomes reality – some operations are better at fact-checking than others.

The Independent on Search

Charles Arthur, who writes for the UK paper, The Independent puts the Search conundrum in plain English,

Yet it’s strange that it’s a lot easier to find something on the web than on my desk; and easier to find something on the web than on my computer. You would think one would store the things that are most important in the closest, most accessible locations; after all, you don’t leave your wallet and car keys at the bottom of an unlit stairwell locked in a safe while keeping your entire wardrobe within arm’s length.

Instead, Google, halfway around the world, is the default for a lot of the horsework, looking up phone numbers, checking facts, finding references…. But why do we let computers make our lives hard for us? Partly because we”ve let them remain stupid. The graphical user interface, with its metaphors of “files and folder and desktop”, has remained unchanged since 1983 when Apple introduced it with the Lisa. . .

I believe it was Bill Gates who once admonished his developers that it was ridiculous that it took longer to find a file on a local hard disk through Windows than it did to find a document among billions on the open web via Google. This became the rallying cause behind including a SQL based file system for Longhorn.

Email is broken

Peter Coffee writes in Goodbye to Email that spam, phishing, and the hide-and-seek games that spammers play in trying to outwit new email filter schemes is causing so much headache that some Enterprise IT manager’s are looking at alternative communication channels such as application-to-application links.

. . . the fraction of e-mail comprising spam rose from 58 percent in December 2003 to 64 percent in May, according to measurements by anti-spam provider Brightmail. That’s an annual growth rate of 83 percent in spam per desired message, but total distraction grows even more quickly as people use e-mail more often: Nucleus Research estimates the average worker receives 29 unwanted messages each day, more than twice the figure of 13 that the company found a year ago. . .

The blank slate of e-mail has given enterprises the freedom to visualize and experiment with future communication tools. Now that those rough sketches have taken form, it’s time to produce more rigorous blueprints, using more focused and less readily abused technologies such as Web services. E-mail will still have a role but not as the central nervous system of the 21st-century workplace.

The breakdown of email as the "killer app" is driving next phase in the evolution towards business-to-business integration that is driving developers to pick up where they left off in building some of the "connectors" promised with systems such as Microsoft’s BizTalk Server but updating their work with more standards-based, web services interfaces. Such an evolution will only serve to hasten the availability and use of the web as platform.

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High-Tech Tour

The 101st Tour de France started on July 3rd and Lance Armstrong will be going for an unprecedented sixth consecutive win. It’ll be a sprinter’s race for the next two weeks (yesterday’s finish of Stage 2 ended was clocked at speeds of 67 kms!) leading up the mountains where the men are separated from the boys. In the meantime, here’s a post on the latest gadgets at use in the peleton.

I’ve already signed up for SMS pages of the daily results.

Search, not Sort

Wired files this story on Apple’s announcement of Spotlight.

In Jobs’ scheme, the hierarchy of files and folders is a dreary, outdated metaphor inspired by office filing. In today’s communications era, categorized by the daily barrage of new e-mails, websites, pictures and movies, who wants to file when you can simply search? What does it matter where a file is stored, as long as you can find it?

Microsoft is already doing this with something called “Search Folders” on Outlook 2003, Apple is extending that paradigm to the entire hard drive and indexing in the background to improve performance.

Spotlight Developer’s Kit

Just dug around a bit and see that Apple will be providing a Developer’s Kit to extend Spotlight’s search engine to other applications.

But the search engine also works contextually within applications such as Apple’s Mail, Address Book and System Preferences—and Apple is giving developers at WWDC a software development kit to help them build Spotlight into their own applications.
eWeek, June 28th

I guess they’re going to reach out to their developer’s community to connect Spotlight to the internet. This should be interesting.

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