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.

Mashup Camp, Next Week

Mashup CampNext Week, I will be attending parts of Mashup Camp at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA (across the street from Justia Headquarters).

Nick and Dan at Mashup CampLast spring, I went to Mashup Camp with my coworker Dan, and competed in their SpeedGeeking Best Mashup Contest. Dan did rather well, scoring 4th place with his iPhoneLocator Facebook App (although he’s rather disappointed as only the first 3 places won prizes), and I unfortunately came in last place. I haven’t decided if I’m going to compete again or not, but I can guarantee you if I do, I refuse to get last place again.

This years event looks like it will be fun however, including a Keynote by Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, which, among other things the company does, is my favorite publisher of Technology books.

I’m way behind blogging about this, as Dan blogged about it back in August

iPhone 2.1 Software – So far so good

So I upgraded to the 2.1 software this morning on my iPhone. There aren’t any new features, but the array of fixes that Apple promises with the new update are much needed, if it turns out to work.

  • Increased Call Stability
  • Better Battery Life
  • Faster Backups
  • Faster interface

I’m reserving overall judgment, but so far it seems to be working just like Apple said it would.

  • I turned backup back on and the backup part of iTunes sync was done in about 5 seconds, as opposed to the HOUR or more that I’ve experienced before.
  • Since getting everything synced the way I want it, I’ve had it unplugged for several hours with both 3G and Wi-Fi on, as well as periodic checking of email, and my battery gauge still shows full.
  • The opening and closing of applications, particularly the contact list on the Phone app seems much snappier.

I’ll let you know later on if it really has made an impact on the few negatives that were remaining on the iPhone 3G, but in the mean time, how about some news from the other side of the fence. Microsoft has released their second Seinfeld & Bill Gates commercial, and while it’s not going to make me switch back to Windoze, I have to admit, it made me chuckle a little bit.

For the sake of completion, here’s the first video:

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.

Google Chrome will probably support Firefox Extensions! – UPDATED

Well I feel like an idiot, as the commenter below pointed out, the link I mentioned was a bookmark itself, not a “get bookmark plugins” link, but it was showing up in my list of bookmarks, which means that, as the commenter said, this bookmark had been imported from Firefox, and was not actually an indication that Google Chrome was intending to support Firefox Extensions.

The truth of the matter is I was so surprised to find the link, that I didn’t think about logical reasons why that link might have been there. I spun up a fresh copy of Windows on VMWare after the commenter posted, and did an installation of Google Chrome where Firefox had never existed. The link I mentioned below did not exist, which means the commenter was right, it did indeed come from an import of Firefox bookmarks. I’m big enough to admit that I’m wrong.

For archival purposes, my original, incorrect, blog post is after the break. My review of the things I like about Chrome still stands, although my foolish thought that Chrome will support Firefox extensions does not.

Continue reading “Google Chrome will probably support Firefox Extensions! – UPDATED”

Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar

I love Google Apps for Domains, I use it for all of my domains, I’ve even setup holodeck3.com with the Partner edition so that my users can get @holodeck3.com email accounts and services through them. Google does a lot, for free, and they do it well. I’m also a Mac an an iPhone user. I am never without my iPhone, and only rarely without my laptop.

Google has, over time gotten a lot better at providing me with services I need in order to keep my world more in sync. I was glad to be in the early adoption crowd of users for IMAP on GMail, and the first person among my group of friends to get IMAP support on my Google Apps for Domains accounts. This has helped a lot as my iPhone is now what I use for email when I’m away from my laptop, and in fact I find myself not going to the computer quite as often when I’m “off duty” because of it.

I love Google Calendar and prefer to have my calendar events in Google as opposed to simply a local Calendar on my computer or phone, however when I am at my computer, using iCal is so much easier then using Google Calendar (and having to keep yet another browser window open), and then of course there’s the little matter of keeping my calendar on the iPhone so I have my events easily at hand. Google has long allowed you to subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal’s ics format, but this was one way, only allowing you to read your Google calendar in iCal, not make changes to it. Until very recently the best way to keep iCal in sync with Google Calendar is to use Spanning Sync, a $25 program (use this link and you can get $5 off!), that keeps your calendar in iCal in sync both ways with your calendar on Google.
Continue reading “Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar”

Blogging on the iPhone

I’ve blogged from my iPhone before so this isn’t exactly new, but this post was written using the new WordPress iPhone native app just released in the app store today. I like it!

As an update I still haven’t acquired a new iPhone 3G, but JMac seems to have finally joined the iPhone revolution and now has one. Welcome to the club JM, I’m very jealous that you got a 3G before me.

Google I/O – Part II – The Opening Keynote

Google is following it’s trend from last year’s Google Developer Day by posting up videos of all of the sessions on YouTube, but so far I can only find the Opening Keynote. They promised that they would upload them all within a week, so expect more parts of my reviews of Google I/O as they become available. Continue reading “Google I/O – Part II – The Opening Keynote”

Google I/O – Part I – Google App Engine

This week I, as well as my Wife Barbara, and my co worker Dan, went to Google I/O. People who have read my blog for a while may remember that last year I attended Google Developer Day around this same time in San Jose. This year Google decided to expand from a single day to a whole two-day tech conference and move it to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Continue reading “Google I/O – Part I – Google App Engine”