miércoles, 30 de enero de 2008

Mozilla - Ten years after

Spanish highlights: el sujeto del extraño peinado es Mitchell Baker, el CEO de Mozilla. Estos dias se festejan los 10 años del browser (originado en Netscape, para los nostálgicos). No todo es fiesta: seguramente estará en las noticias el porqué de la pulseada Mozilla vs Explorer.

Esto no es más que otro capítulo de la vieja lucha establishemnt empresa-céntrica vs la libre iniciativa. Al final del día, mis amigos que saben dicen que Mozilla es muchísimo mejor. El futuro, según cuentan las propias autoridades de Mozilla, es Firefox 3: "moverse" en la información


Those were the days, my friends... when Netscape was released. January 1998. Ten years ago Internet was still rising, only a hundred or so of millions in the whole world, dotcom collapse didn´t occur yet, plenty of investment in Silicon Valley and here in LatAm watching how portals and ISP were adquired by major telcos.

But something is still going on. The "way we see the web" (WWSTW, and I´d like to be given the credits of this in other ten years) is still an issue. Is there any analogy in other fields? Explorer works "fine" in most applications but Mozilla excels. Explorer fails in more socialized versions of the web (try new Facebook apps in Explorer). But as perversity is the name of the game, most of designers thinks most in Explorer while doing their job.

Flashback, ten years ago. How was the feeling, then?

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (January 22, 1998) -- Netscape Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: NSCP) today announced bold plans to make the source code for the next generation of its highly popular Netscape Communicator client software available for free licensing on the Internet. The company plans to post the source code beginning with the first Netscape Communicator 5.0 developer release, expected by the end of the first quarter of 1998. This aggressive move will enable Netscape to harness the creative power of thousands of programmers on the Internet by incorporating their best enhancements into future versions of Netscape's software. This strategy is designed to accelerate development and free distribution by Netscape of future high-quality versions of Netscape Communicator to business customers and individuals, further seeding the market for Netscape's enterprise solutions and Netcenter business.

What about the future? Perhaps this slide talks by himself. According to Mozilla developer Alex Faaborg the idea is to move around the information -far beyond bookmarking or even RSS feeds-. According to Alex, microformats are the answer to this issue - but which ones will Firefox natively support? Alex outlined 3 fundamental types: identity (hCard), geo (geo, adr), and calendar (hCalendar).

martes, 22 de enero de 2008

Facebook in a nutshell -or two-

If you are familiar to this blog you`ve realized by now that I don´t like Facebook very much.
I have two reasons for that:
  • There is always a continuous crossing of boundaries (personal vs professional).
  • You always have to check on new indiscrete applications -or just avoid them-. If not carefully understood their impact, this applications may invade your "friends" space.
Having said this, here´s a list of Facebook characteristics that may be of some help, or as I put it, "Facebook in a nutshell".
  1. The Wall is merely a space. It is placed on each user's page allowing friends to post messages for the user to see. One user's wall is visible to anyone with the ability to see their full profile. Many users use their friend's walls for leaving short, temporal notes.
  2. One of the most popular applications on Facebook is the Photos application, where users can upload albums of photos, tag friends, and comment on photos. About 60 million photos are added each week. That means 5 terabytes of disk space.
  3. A somewhat naive feature in Facebook are gifts. They are displayed in the website's gift shop. Frinds can send "gifts" –which are small icons of novelty items- to each other by selecting one from Facebook's virtual gift shop and adding a message. Gifts given to a user appear on the recipient's wall with the giver's message, unless the giver decided to give the gift privately, in which case the giver's name and message is not displayed to other users. Facebook users are given one free gift to give upon account signup.
  4. Facebook includes a "poke" feature which allows one user to send a “nudge" (in the Messenger sense) to another. According to FAQ "a poke is a way to interact with your friends on Facebook" (...) "People interpret the poke in many different ways, and we encourage you to come up with your own meanings." In principle this is intended to attract the attention of the other user. Some users take it as a sexual advance. This interpretation of the feature inspired a popular Facebook group titled "Enough with the Poking, Lets Just Have Sex", which, as of December 2007, has more than 340,000 members.
  5. The "status" feature allows users to inform their friends and the Facebook community of their current whereabouts and actions. This very much resembles Twitter functionalities.
  6. Facebook events are a way for members to let friends know about upcoming events in their community and to organize social gatherings. Events can be open, closed, or secret. When setting up an event the user can choose to allow friends to upload photos, video, and posted items.
  7. The Facebook Platform provides a framework for developers to create applications that interact with core Facebook features. Now there are more than 10,000 applications. Some metrics have changed along the months, as Facebook changed the way in which the popularity of applications is measured, in order to give more attention to the more engaging applications. There is some criticism about the attention some applications received only by growth; in fact they were highly viral, yet useless applications. This effect deserved the name of "cornucopia of uselessness." OK, my judgement is biased...
  8. Facebook released an application of its own for sharing videos. Users can add their videos with the service by uploading video, adding video through Facebook Mobile, and using a webcam recording feature.

Since I have some passion for contradiction, I have recently joined the Keira Knightley Atonement Green Dress Appreciation Society Facebook group. Useless? Well... it´s another Facebook application, you see.

martes, 15 de enero de 2008

MacBook Air vs Sony Vaio

The VAIO, as an ultraportable machine with long battery life, is impressive. The integrated DVD drive is a plus, too. A Sony Vaio IS TINY by definition (not designed for huge fingers).

The MacBook Air, on the other hand, will be an impressively portable, basically-full-size computer. It won’t feel small and tiny like the VAIO but it likely won’t weigh you down much (about 1.5 kg) either. Both laptops have similar perfomances based on Corel 2 Duo processors with some advantage for MacBook. Same happens with RAM: Apple’s comes with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM. Sony’s comes with 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM.

Finally, Sony’s site has the VAIO listed at $2099. You can currently get it at Best Buy for $1849. The MacBook Air is $1799, launch price.

miércoles, 9 de enero de 2008

Jennifer Lopez charts

"A Jennifer Lopez chart is an informal technical analysis term used to indicate the rounding bottom in a stock's price, especially as seen on a chart or graph. The term is inspired by singer and actress celebrity Jennifer Lopez, who is known for having a curvaceous figure".

No fun at all. Quote belongs to Investor Words. I wonder about some Angeline Jolie index.

martes, 8 de enero de 2008

Facebook: Are you a Zoosker?

So the big-big benefit of Facebook is letting developers push their content into Facebook home with zero effort. Good try. And what about the users? Do they know what are they using?

In real life you don´t try new medicine unlees it is advised -your doctor, a friend, whatever-. In Web 2.0 you´re just at one click away of installing unknown apps in your Facebook profile. Throwing snowballs (is it as stupid as I reckon?), promote hotness (whatever it is), bother all your LinkedIn connections trying them to get Facebook-ed, or just buy installing Zoosker -proposing yourself for "socializing" in its purest form.

In a recent Yahoo! post a married woman asked simply "What would you do if you find your husband added the 'zoosk'application on Facebook? Most of the answers were "talk to him, he probably didn´t meant to do it". That´s the problem with easy integration of features, not to mention the long-discussed surrender of personal information. "Zoosk is a fun way to socialize and meet other singles in your area" says Facebook. Once you click it, it´s not only that you sex appetite seems to be reloaded; everyone is informed in black and white that you are -so to speak- craving for casual sex.

One final comments from a user. "I haven't got 15 single friends to invite to this stupid app, and I shouldn't have to bug the ones that have no need for it just so I can use it!". As I see it, I have only two issues about this apps
i) the instant spread of the app to all contact list -maybe you didn´t want to-
ii) the blur between personal and professional activities.

As we have seen many times, the second issue is a key factor in Web 2.0 developments.