Friday, January 29, 2010

Grownups drive cars

There are guidelines in life that assist assessment of correct behaviour.

For example, grownups drive cars, and children ride bicycles.

Application of this immediately shows that:

Car drivers should take care around cyclists and treat them with respect - you wouldn't want someone being mean to your child.

Cyclists should not abuse drivers or strike their car, adults should be treated with respect even when in the wrong.

If a cyclist does forget themselves then a gentle corrective smack is fine, violence is not acceptable.

Cars have right of way, just as stores serve adults first, cyclists should wait for cars to do their thing first.

Society reinforces these rules by forcing cyclists to wear little plastic hats which would make Genghis Khan look like a nerd, and cyclists themselves help by maxing out on lycra and other geekish apparel.

The only times adults should ride a bike are: after losing their license (society removes adult privileges) , around a camping ground or other park scene, or when severely under the influence. In none of these circumstances should a helmet or lycra be worn.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My take on the iPad

I think the iPad is a game changing device that will sell up a storm and seriously threaten both the netbook and, more interestingly ChromeOS.

Most of the expert comment around the iPad has been tinged with disappointment and focussed on what is missing. The problem is that the expert commentators are experts! What they want, and think they need, is not what a normal person wants and needs. Remember the panning of the iPhone? Same people.

Every non-expert I have been with that has seen the Apple video has immediately wanted an iPad, and they are affordable - comparable with a netbook. I posted earlier about how great my new netbook is and the sorts of things I use it for. This is exactly what the iPad is targeting.

Sure, I am a computer person. I do want to do development, run up big spread sheets, create mind-blowing(numbing) power points. BUT when I do these things I use a real computer. I wouldn't try to do them on a netbook, I might view the odd thing but serious work - of course not. So the iPad will be easier to use, more fun, have lots of cool apps and be a tactile delight - what's not to love???

I confidently assert that this will be one of the hottest products of the year and will rival the iPhone for uptake, and market dominance. I also believe that it will stop the netbook sales explosion dead in its tracks, and make the release of ChromeOS a fizzer. The future of flash is now also a question mark. If sites won't run on iPhone or iPad, it seems likely that most web designers (or at least their customers) will move away to something that is supported - but this is more speculative.

I'm buying one when they become available and I'm betting there a hell of a lot more people like me than like the 'experts'.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tweetdeck Twitter Tool

Just started using Tweetdeck to run my Twitter account (JohnAscroft if you're interested).

What a great little product. I am constantly amazed how much good free stuff there is out there.

TweetDeck lets you set up columns of things you are interested in, so I have columns of - friends timeline, direct messages, mentions and a couple of live searches. Also, you can hook in LinkedIn and Facebook, so I have a column showing LinkedIn updates.

This is pretty cool, so I get an alert whenever anything I am interested in happens and it all just runs quietly in the background.

If you're still using the standard web interface to Twitter, I can recommend this as a definite step up.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Connecting with old friends

Last year I got back in touch with my oldest friend after a gap of about 20 years. I know that sounds funny, but a change of cities and different priorities kind of meant that we had just drifted apart. And then getting in touch becomes increasingly risky and awkward - so we didn't.

But something happened to me (I actually can't remember what), and I realised this was ridiculous so I tracked down an email address and sent one off - and there was no reply. So I thought that maybe he didn't want to pick up the threads again. Waited six months, then thought it was worth one more shot and sent off another email. Which worked! So now we are in regular contact and it has added a richness back in my life.

When you have known someone for forty years (that's a long time), then there is a connection and shared history that is priceless. If started now I couldn't know a new friend for that long unless I live to be very old (and probably won't remember half of it anyway). And even better, it's not just him, there are his brothers and sisters that were an important part of my life growing up. The joy I got from going out to dinner with him and his sister last week in Dunedin was out of all proportion to what you would expect.

So... if there is someone out there that you have lost touch with - make an effort. Someone has to make the first move and as you get older you realise it doesn't matter who and anyway who cares? What's the worst thing that could happen? But then look at the upside - if you re-establish contact and still get on well then you've gained an irreplaceable thing back.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Netbook replaces phone

Just bought an HP mini netbook, doesn't matter, could have been an Asus or anything.

Realised I was spending a lot of time each night looking up stuff on my phone (Blackberry), things like movie reviews, current news, my Twitter and so on. It was never worth going through to the laptop in the office and it's a bit on the big and power hungry side to rest on one's actual lap.

So now I have the netbook and it is so great!! Thoroughly recommend!

Runs ok under XP as shipped, but to really get a great experience I am using JoliCloud which is a cloud based Linux OS. It is very cool and very fast. Reboot times are tiny and I have only had to go back to XP once or twice for specific Microsofty things. It is everything the Google Chrome is promising, but you can get it now, and it's a nice safe install beside Windows so you're not risking anything. If you have a netbook you owe it to yourself to try this out.

Regardless of OS, the whole netbook thing is great. It just sits on the coffee table, waiting to serve. The screen and keyboard are less than a true laptop, but way way better than a phone!

Love the Cloud, sold by Basecamp

So I just signed up for Basecamp project management and it's all going, I've got three projects loaded, two companies staff with access and it all works!

As a business user why would I try to do anything in-house any more. If there's a cloud or Saas offering then lead me to it. We are currently looking at installing Exchange, but now I seriously wonder if we wouldn't be better with Google Apps? We will almost certainly go with to replace our decrepit Goldmine CRM (don't get me started on Goldmine - now there's a company that deserves to lose all its customers and go broke).