Sunday, 05 February 2006

Co-comment-logoAll the virtual world's a-buzz with commentary and conversation (ironically, since a lot of the commentary is out of the reach of the service for now) about coComment, a coolio and not-yet-fully-released "Web-2.0" online service that let's you track comments make on blogs everywhere. Or at least it will at some point - only a few blogging platforms are supported right now (and the software this weblog runs on, dasBlog, is unfortunately not one of them), so it's very much hit and miss as to whether or not you can use it, but the promise of an interesting future is certainly there.

I'm using coComment now, and it's pretty cool. You can sign up at the site (look for the "Get Notified" section on the home page), and they're trying to get new invitations sent out as soon as they can.The coComment web site is well designed and the core feature/functionality is a sharp idea. I will say that it's a bit clunky in terms of how the actual user commenting experience works. You have to think about it too much, which is not so good... It puts an extra graphical "button" with your name onto the page that you have to click first, before you click the actual comment submission button. The new button falls to the right of the submit button, so it's a lot like being forced to read right to left and it just doesn't look very clickable - It's just counterintuitive.

You have to click the little blue icon with your name on it first

Brian Benzinger wrote a little GreaseMonkey script that automates the sign-in for FireFox users - It's very nice and you can get it on this page. Otherwise you have to use a "bookmarklet link" to activate the service on any given comment page - another layer of abstraction that would be nice to avoid somehow.

But hey, it is pre-v1.0, so... Anyhow, it would be especially nice if the authors and some creative blog software creators made it even more usable.

It does solve a few problems, mainly being able to find your conversations in the blogosph -- uh, on blogs. Two other things it does is, 1) it allows you to embed a little bit of code in your blog template to display comments that you've made on other blogs, and 2) it allows you to subscribe to a RSS or ATOM feed with all your tracked comments in one place. Adoption will depend on how many blog software authors get into the mix and how many blogs the coComment people decide to try to tackle themselves, I suppose.

Note that, while it's a great start, the real test will be whether everyone will sign up - since that appears to be a requirement in order to actually track everything that might matter. Is there not a better way to do this? Does the RSS comment capability/spec not go far enough?

From their site:

Coming soon..

For advanced bloggers who would like to more fully integrate coComment features in their own blog, coComment will offer:

The ability to add elements of the coComment service to blogs based on non-standard blogging platforms in order to ease the usage of coComment for commenters (automated capture).

The ability to customize the appearance (eg colors, fonts, etc.) of coComment elements, in order to better suit your tastes and needs.



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Sunday, 05 February 2006 13:21:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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UPDATE 2/7/2006: Looks like bmw.de is back in the index - details here...

Google's been saying for some time that it would be paying more attention to search engine spam on web sites, including internationally, and apparently they really mean it. They just virtually executed German automobile manufacturer BMW when they killed the BMW.de domain from their search database and sent their page rank to - you guessed it - zero.

Ouch. That'll teach 'em not to use spammy doorway pages, I guess.

Matt Cutts of Google explains on his weblog. Good to see that if Google's wielding the sword (and I think they can and should), at least it appears that everyone's held to the same high standards. Now if they'd just step it up a notch and do more of the same for all those splogs at blogger.com... But that's a whole different can of worms.



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Sunday, 05 February 2006 11:41:44 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Saturday, 04 February 2006

Rich points to a take-off video. I think you can guess what the storyline is. Heh. Amazing what kinds of funy stuff people can create on their computers these days. Try doing this ten years ago.

Brokeback to the Future

Click the title to watch.



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Saturday, 04 February 2006 21:51:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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I use TurboTax Online - the web-based version of the software you can also buy in a box from Intuit - to do my taxes every year. For someone like me, it does a great job of helping me make sure I cover all the bases and think about everything.

The one thing that's frustrated me to no end in years past was that the State of Oregon never seemed to get it's act together soon enough, and when I'd finish my taxes and then try to file electronically, I'd find out that while the feds were ready for me, Oregon wasn't accepting electronic returns yet. I'd typically be doing my taxes right about now (first few days of February), and Oregon would start accepting electronic submissions in mid-February.

But this year, for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to submit my federal and state returns together, right away and without having to save and come back later. That's the way it should be.

So, as much as I hate to say it, someone in Salem did something right this year. Or at least someone down there didn't do something wrong. Either way, I'm happy about it.



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Saturday, 04 February 2006 19:09:10 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Crusader_evangelist1Rory Blyth makes me laugh so hard, so often. Dude, Rory - you gotta stop... Heh...

In his post the other day, "DO NOT RESIST THE EVANGELIST," Rory warned that unless viewership of his Windows Mobile development screencasts (called TinyThings - and they're great - go here to see them) grew by ten fold, he threatened to eat a full bag of... Oh, here let him say it:

"If traffic to TinyThings does not increase by ten-fold during the next revolution of the planet Earth around its axis, I WILL EAT ONE ENTIRE BAG OF GOURMET LOW-FAT CHEEZEE-POOF SNACKS. IF THE LACK OF TRAFFIC CONTINUES, I WILL EAT ANOTHER BAG EVERY TIME THE EARTH COMPLETES A REVOLUTION"

But it gets worse - if the lack of ten-foldedness (?) continues, Rory will resort to letting a viscous microbe loose on a lone fluffy Ewok, unless... Oh here, just read:

"AND IT SHALL DO SO IF, BY THE TIME THIS PLANET HAS THRICE REVOLVED FULLY UPON ITS AXIS, TinyThings HAS NOT BEEN VISITED BY TEN MILLION NEW MOBILE SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS. AND YOU BETTER MAKE ‘EM ENTHUSIASTIC ‘CAUSE WE DON’T LIKE THOSE MOPEY ONES AROUND HERE."

Yeah, so ummmm - the first day results - well, go see the video:

I sure hope there's ten milllion visitors by day three....



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Saturday, 04 February 2006 08:54:30 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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The power went out at my house last night, due to a rather impressive wind storm. I haven't heard howling wind like that - well - I guess since I live in Missouri. And that was usually due to a tornado.

Anyhow, the power's been out at my place for like 8 hours, and driving down the road into town was a lot like driving through an ocean of tree branches - quite literally. So now I'm in town at Starbucks. 

It was pitch-black dark when I was trying to get ready to leave (had a early doc appointment), and I found that - in classic geek fashion - I have not yet bought a generator (procrastination and cost aversion), and my flashlights (all three) were dead. But of course they were...

So much for the classic, common sense emergency plans. What to do? Well, I have made all these investments in geeky stuff over the past few years, and there's a couple devices I carry around for work. So, what are the Real Geek Tools that can save you in a blackout?

Well, actually, there's just one: The Blackberry 8700.

In the pitch black, a little blinking red light told me not only that I had mail, but also where the device was located. I grabbed it, rolled the thumb-wheel, and voila! Instant night-light! Seriously, the 8700 spills enough light to illuminate the area around you quite well. Up stairs, down hallways, you name it. It's bright when it needs to be.

And it's a phone. And a loud alarm clock. And an email client. And a chat client for everyone else you know who's bumping their heads into walls who has a Blackberry. Go ahead, call your local public utility, check in with them and ask when the hell the power's gonna be back on. You can't watch your TV or use the computer to surf the net or anything, so email is nice. Oh wait - but you can surf the web! Ahhh, Blackberry you rock my wind-swept world. Or something. Yeah. Anyhow, everything works.

If you don't have a Blackberry 8700 and you live in an area where the power goes out with any frequency, you just don't know what you're missing. It's your one-stop-blackout-shop.

Update: The power came back on at 4:10 p.m. Power lines were down all over the place, and it's amazing actually that they got the power back up so fast, considering the damage that was done. Nice job, Columbia River PUD.



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Saturday, 04 February 2006 08:31:50 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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