Mashup Camp 7 Wrapup

As I Posted about last week, I attended Mashup Camp at the Computer History Museum this week. It has been a packed couple of days. I mentioned before I was not really considering entering the Speedgeeking Contest that occurs at each Mashup Camp. Last Spring’s Mashup Camp I was a bit depressed to come in last place, but this contest was different, this time they had one top prize (A MacBook Pro) awarded by attendee voting, but then the individual providers sponsoring the event also had their own contests of who had the best mashup using their service.

Even charged with that information, I still felt like I didn’t want to enter the competition, not really because of the agony of defeat, but because of the work that would be involved to do a mashup. However, when I heard about the Wet Paint Injected API, I knew I could in a relatively short period of time, write an awesome mashup using this service, and so I started considering it on Monday evening, a few hours later, I resolved myself and knew I had to give it a shot.

Mashup Camp was fun, especially the Speedgeeking and the Keynote from Tim O’Reilly, but the highest point of all for me was when the representatives from WetPaint announced in the closing reception that my mashup had won the Wet Paint Best Mashup Contest!

I’m so excited about this, that I’m going to cut this blog post short and go celebrate. Thank you to Wet Paint for both putting up an incredible Wiki Injection API for adding wiki content to pages (rather then adding pages to wikis), and for choosing my project for the Win, and thank you to the organizers of Mashup Camp for organizing a great Unconference.

I'm Attending Cloud Connect January 20-22, 2009The Organizers of Mashup Camp have announced another event at the Computer History Museum in January called Cloud Connect, and I’ve already registered for that one, so if you come, I’ll see you there.

Wet Paint Prize and SwagUPDATE 2008-12-03: I just noticed the WetPaint team’s Blog Post wrapping up their experiences at MashupCamp and wanted to thank them for the prize (which arrived Today via FedEx), and for the card which is now pinned to the wall of my Cubicle. Check out their tales of upgrades to First Class at the end of their post, which I presume is on Virgin America, due to the mention of Massage Chairs.

Amazon Kindle Reader for the iPhone

I wish I was posting this as a follow up to an announcement, but actually it’s a suggestion to Amazon on how they can make more money, sell more Kindle books, and make more people happy.

Amazon KindleFor those of you who don’t already know, the Amazon Kindle is an ebook reader that uses E-Ink technology to display content on a screen. What’s cook about e-ink is that once it has rendered the screen’s contents, it takes no power to keep the content on the screen. The result is that battery life of the kindle is measured in “page turns” instead of hours. The Kindle is also cool because it has WhisperNet, provided by Sprint, which lets you have books you purchase from Amazon’s kindle store be sent straight to the Kindle, without the need to plug the kindle into your computer. The Kindle also gets a special email address where you can email documents to this address and have them appear on your Kindle for a nominal fee for reading. All in all, it’s a fantastic product, it only has one little problem, the price. The Kindle is $349 (previously $399), available only from Amazon, which is still a bit steep for an up-front cost before you start buying books from the Kindle store to put on it.

Amazon, I know you want to sell Kindles, but your bread and butter will always be the books themselves. My suggestion is that you write an iPhone app that can read the Kindle book format and will validate like a Kindle to your own DRM. You could sell this app in Apple’s app store to make even more money, I’m thinking something along the lines of $20 to $40. This way people with an iPod Touch or iPhone (which is quite a lot of people, including yours truely) can start buying Kindle books without a Kindle, and get the enjoyment of having instant access to literature the way only the elite Kindle owners do. The iPhone already has access to the internet, so it could support all of the functionality of Whispernet without any difficulty from you the developer. The iPod Touch has WiFi, so even it can download books directly when it’s on a hotspot.

Amazon can even take this one step further. Amazon already partners with Apple’s iTunes Music Store as a place to purchase content from it’s own Audible.com, once someone has purchased your iPhone app, partner with iTunes again and have people able to shop for books right through the iTunes music store, making it even easier for iPhone owners to purchase your Kindle books.

What I think Amazon may find surprising if they did this, is that it probably would bolster sails of the Kindle devices itself, not only the Kindle books.

See I’m a bit leery of buying a Kindle, and buying Kindle books, knowing that those books are locked to the Kindle. If I could start buying those books now, and reading them on another device, I’d probably later buy a Kindle knowing it’s a better platform for reading them on.

It’s also not exactly outside of Amazon’s business model to offer their digital products to other platforms either. In March, 2007, I blogged about Amazon and TiVo teaming up to make Amazon Unbox Videos (now known as Amazon Video on Demand) available on TiVo boxes. I immediately started buying Unbox videos when I never had before. Incidentally, I’d love it if Amazon Video-on-demand Videos were playable on the iPhone as well, and I’d probably buy a lot more videos from Amazon if they did, but I think that might be a bit of wishful thinking.

So come on Amazon, release an iPhone app that can read Kindle documents and you’ll have even more of my money then you do now, and I’d bet a whole lot of other people’s money as well.

All Primed Up – Amazon is Brilliant

I’ve been a member of Amazon Prime for over about 2 years now, and I was just thinking today what brilliant marketing it is. By paying a nominal yearly fee, I get free two day shipping, or really cheap next day shipping on everything I buy from them, but does it save me any money? See before I was an Amazon Prime member, I used to make sure that my Amazon orders reached the $25 minimum to get free “Super Saver Shipping” so I didn’t pay for shipping in the first place.

However now that I’m an Amazon Prime member, I find myself buying things on Amazon I would normally have gone to a store and spending not only my time, which is getting less and less, but in many cases more money. Now when I need to buy something, I find myself saying “Let me check to see if Amazon has it”, and if it does for the same or less price, I buy it there. What’s amazing is, a lot of the time, Amazon has it cheaper.

I’ve got to hand it to Amazon, by coming up with a system that gives people faster shipping, they’ve got me looking to them first, instead of last for the things I need.

If you haven’t tried out Amazon Prime, Check out their free trial and see how much happier it makes you about getting the things you want

Hours away from Vacation

I’m mere hours away from taking a little vacation to Las Vegas along with my wife, and my roommate. Tomorrow morning I will board a Virgin America flight (I’m much looking forward to trying them out), for Las Vegas.

I’ve got a lot of fun planned, including one last trip to the Star Trek Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton. In fact making a final voyage to the Experience was my primary reason for visiting Vegas this month. This will be my fourth Voyage there (blogged about before on my blog, I’ll edit this post with links to my old posts later), and I’m sad it will be my last, but unfortunately the Experience will be Closing on September 1st permanently, so I had to make one last trip. This will be Mike’s first trip to the future, and he’s eager to see what he has only heard about.

But this trip won’t be all Star Trek, on Thursday Night, Barbara and I will be seeing Mamma Mia. We’ve seen the movie and are both looking forward to seeing the play as well. On Friday Night we will be going Medievil, and enjoying the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur, another great treat.

In addition to all that planned fun, we are also going to get to see my parents, who are in Vegas right now, and our vacation plans are thankfully overlapping enough that we can see each other.

I’m looking forward to a very enjoyable trip.

Interview with Nick Moline published in PC World Magazine!

Ok, I admit it, I haven’t been a subscriber to PC World magazine in a few years, even before I became a member of the Mac camp, but I’m really excited to say that a couple interview questions with me are now published in PC World! in an article about Google I/O. It was very cool to be able to do a Google News Search for Nick Moline and actually find an article that I’m a part of, even if it is just a couple sentences.

7-11 Gave me the Finger… and other stories…

7-11 Gave me the FingerApril is here, and that can only mean one thing… practical jokes. Tuesday was April Fools day, and as usual, the jokes and pranks were out in full force. Some of them elaborate, some of them simple, and most of them funny. One of the more elaborate ones this year was a promotion done by the Nestle corporation.

Nestle had displays made up containing rebranded Butterfinger candy bars. The announcement on the display read that effective immediately Butterfinger candy bars are to be known as “The Finger” and to search the phrase in Yahoo to find out more. What was impressive is that the display actually contained a number of “The Finger” candy bars and they were giving them away for free. A great publicity stunt for April Fools day. Searching for the finger on April Fools day on Yahoo gave a link to a video on Yahoo! Video that outed the joke. It may be stupid, but at least I got a free candy bar out of it, as well as a chuckle (just for the record, I wasn’t fooled for a moment, it was obvious to me that it was a joke, though apparently some people thought they were serious).

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Happy New Year 2008!

Has it been a year already? It seems like such a short time ago that I sat up at 2 a.m. in a hotel room in San Simeon, CA writing about 2006. I claimed 2006 incredible and, an “oddity” in my life as for the first time in recent years I was not alone and sad on New Years Eve.

Tonight I’m starting a little early, it’s 11:31 p.m. right now as I type these words (I imagine it will take me a bit to finish writing this post) on New Years Eve, and I’m capping yet another amazing year in the life of Nick Moline.
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The infamous Carl Sandberg, not the famous.

Coworkers have recently encouraged me to get onto facebook. As people who know me well know, I’ve never been a big fan of Social Networking sites, so I resisted facebook for a long time, just as I resisted MySpace and Linkedin. Actually I resisted facebook longer, as I just got my profile up last week. I have always thought that social networking sites were a waste of time, that anyone who wanted to get ahold of me would easily find me on my blog.
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Riding on air

I’m not sure why I’ve never done this before, but I’m writing this blog entry from the air, literally. Barbara and I are on our way to Texas to attend my brother’s wedding. David is getting married on Saturday in Houston. We are on our way to my parent’s house in Arlington at the moment and will drive down with my parents on Friday.

We should be landing in about a half hour or so, after flying for a total of about 3 hours and 15 minutes, and I don’t have too much to say at the moment. I’m sure to post pictures of the wedding up soon.

Note, while I wrote this on the plane, obviously I had no way to post this from the air so I’ll hit the Publish button when I get to my parent’s house.

It’s not Brain Surgery

Brain Surgery
Often when someone wants to indicate that a task doesn’t take a genious, they relate the task to one of two professions, and so two common phrases you will hear on a regular basis are “Hey, it’s not Rocket Science” and similarly “Hey, it’s not Brain Surgery.” This seems a strange way to start a blog post, but trust me, you’ll understand in a moment.
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