Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

Urbanspoon’s Demise

Author: Lyle

I had been a user of Urbanspoon for quite a long time – I think it was the first app I downloaded on my first iPhone (iPhone 3, if I recall). I was great when traveling for finding a place to eat, and I eventually started adding reviews there and placing Urbanspoon tags on my travel log.  Urbanspoon has recently been absorbed by something called “Zomato“.

The transition has apparently not taken Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 8.08.35 AMmy account with it, I’m unable to log in.  Even as a new user of Zomato I can’t get it to recognize the city I want to search – it seems to think I’m in London, with no way to change this.  The location change widget just cycles on a cryptic “Peabody, Peabody”.   I looked at downloadingthe iPhone app, but the reviews are terrible.  The Urbanspoon user base seems to have mostly bolted, based on the reviews on line and comments on news articles (most are advising to move to Yelp).  This may be a lesson on mismanagement of integrating an acquisition in the long run.

I’m not sure where I’ll move to for searching – most likely Yelp – but I am glad I’ve been keeping the bulk of my content in an app I control directly.

When your web site allows comments you find that you get many notes from your readers that praise the quality of your work:

Submitted on 2014/04/19 at 6:38 pm
May I just say what a relief to discover someone that really knows what they’re discussing on the
internet. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
A lot more people must read this and understand this side of the story.
I can’t believe you’re not more popular since you surely
possess the gift.

Submitted on 2014/04/20 at 5:34 am<
It’s really a cool and useful piece of information.
I am happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

Submitted on 2014/04/20 at 1:49 pm
I visit day-to-day some websites and websites to read articles or reviews,
but this webpage presents quality based writing.

 

These are, of course, automated posts from millions of machines across the globe searching for ways to exploit comment mechanisms.  They seek to create many links back to sites they are promoting; selling things or trying to pump up Google rankings or something. When you think of all the years of technology, hard work to deploy networking systems between homes and cities, and the monstrous amounts of electricity it takes to keep all these computers running its kind of depressing to think that half of the world’s computer resources are for the purposes of spamming.

How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username — Medium.

(Found this article through a link on LinkedIn)

This is a recount of someone who lost their Twitter account through extortion.  A good read, with real useful advice.

I was going in a direction of trying to reduce the number of Email accounts I have to maintain, but when using email addresses to control accounts, it seems like having them point to “unchangeable” domains (gmail.com, yahoo.com, me.com, etc.) is a good strategy.  And, having common exploit apps with personal information (Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn) use the same Email account for management seems like a problem (maintain multiple systems as the administrator account).

While linked systems provides great convenience, the mechanisms for authentication of transactions continues to be a major weakness, relying on common ID numbers and communication links which can be lost or redirected.  There isn’t enough economic incentive for service providers to change because the cost to them is very minor and is just an expense for doing business.  The impacted customers go through huge time and financial loss.  The recent ID theft at Target and Neiman Marcus might be the beginning of a conversion to stronger systems, but a lot of inertia to move large institutions makes this a long process.

Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: BIC Cristal For Her Ball Pen, 1.0mm, Black, 16ct MSLP16-Blk.

Gotta love Amazon for having the sense of humor to leave these comments on line.  This might be the funniest thing Amazon is selling.

Data Proliferation

Author: Lyle

From DOGHOUSE | Someone help..

Gizmodo pointed me to this, its got to be a universal problem for anyone who has had to upgrade technology.  All your media, messages, and data get scattered across a dozen file formats, storage technologies, and physical locations.  One answer would be to consolidate everything to one; not possible.  Another would be to be very good about moving and converting every time you buy a new piece of equipment; also not possible.

What bothers me most is the proliferation of Email accounts.  Its a lot of work to move an Email account, which is probably why I still know people with aol.com domains.

Click on the link – informative and funny.

The oldest April Fool joke in the world has been the fake news story.  The problem is that on the Internet more than half the material is fake, so its not funny, it’s just annoying.  Just give it a rest and do something more important, like rigging a bucket full of confetti on top of a doorway.

I’m taking a class right now (more on that later), and in the assignments for the week was buried:

“So many. I had not thought songs had undone so many.”
(Extra credit for recognizing the quote I just mangled.)

When I was in school, answering this question would have required being fairly well read in things I normally don’t read.  Of course, in this current, very modern time of 2013 when we’re all walking around with a network terminal in our pocket its a simple matter of plugging in the quote above into your browser.  In seconds, Google returns what many college poetry majors spend years learning.

Naturally, this kills the value of recognizing the quote (but perhaps the credit is a tiny fraction of a point, reflecting the effort of recognizing).  The more important thought is how Google impacts mental processing the way the electronic calculator has impacted doing math in your head.  Just like no one spends time working arithmetic, perhaps soon no one spends time remembering facts.

Book Report: iWoz

Author: Lyle

iWoz, by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith, 2006, published by W. W. Norton, 288 pages. ISBN: 0-393-06143-4 (find book)

I was given this book with a note inside telling me I would probably like it, “but what an ego this guy has”. I thought that was funny; if someone decides to write an autobiography, of course they have a big ego. And, started reading. And, very quickly understood what the note was referring to.

The style of the book (and the two person authorship) shows the book was mechanically built from conversations by Steve about his life. And, as it rolls through his early life it is a lot of references to the accomplishments of a boy and filled with “greatest ever” and “no one else” comments. This gets old very fast, and a lot of people would be left with the impression of his ego. If you plow through the book you will get to a different place, especially if you understand the knowledge it takes to design electronic circuits of the complexity to make a computer.

wpid-photo-2013-01-12-09-50.jpgSteve is really a unique person, and also was lucky to grow up in a unique time. The pace of product development today and the complexity of devices make it very unlikely that a single individual could sit at a workbench and put together something that has the impact of a personal computer did around 1977. While the personal computer would eventually be built by someone, he did it first with no or almost no assistance. The design and concept of the product is still relatively unchanged 35 years later, and is as common to life as a telephone and completely altered the dynamics of information access, technology investing, and patent law. I think Steve can be forgiven a little ego.

So, whether you like the style or not, there’s lots of great first hand explanation of the history of the personal computer, founding of Apple the company, and the lifestyle of an entrepreneur. Along the way you’ll get an understanding of the history of a central person in all this and how he was positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. Steve also comes across as a person who actively promotes passion for your work and to not follow conventional thinking. I enjoyed the book a lot and its a pretty fast read.

What was missing was Steve’s thoughts on the iPhone revolution. The book was published in 2006, so the iPod had not yet shown its impact on the music business and the iPhone was still sitting on the drawing board. I would have enjoyed an updated version to get Steve’s thoughts on these events (you can find them in more recent articles) as well as what drove him to enter Dancing with the Stars.

Another article from Paul Graham, who always has something good to say, and always writes it very well.  This one has a great concept on living in the future and imagining what you would need as a source of inspiration for new company ideas.  His comments on how the best ideas come from people trying to solve their own problems is spot on.

Missing the Mark

Author: Lyle

The Phantom is going through a lot of artist change lately.  They even seem to be missing the skull mark on the bad guys.

Commentary on The Phantom, as published in The Washington Post, February 7, 2012.