November 29, 2007
Yesterday, I downloaded the new Google Maps for my E51 E50 mobile. It includes the My Location functionality that uses cell information to give you a rough idea of where you are without the help of GPS. Last night it wasn't working when I was at home - but this morning I'm in the office - and My Location is working. Although the position isn't as exact as GPS would be - it's still pretty cool.
November 27, 2007
1500 children on 30 coaches
Not that this is of interest to anyone outside of my family and friends but I thought it was noteworthy.
Yesterday, the school our children go to set off on their annual school outing. This time to Wolfsburg to the AutoStadt. Now, the original idea was to put the 1500 kids (with teachers and various parents) on a train and move them from Paderborn to Wolfsburg (about 1 1/2 hrs away). For various reasons this didn't work out and the school had to re-organize the outing and put the kids on 30 coaches. Now, finding 30 coaches in the first place was hard enough here in Paderborn, but the logistics of getting the 1500 kids onto 30 coaches at 7:30 in the morning was a feat in itself. Not to mention getting 30 coaches into a convoy on the Autobahn in some sort of orderly fashion.
By chance I was driving back up the Autobahn on the other side when the convoy of coaches was returning yesterday evening - a sight I don't think I'll forget that quickly.
Here's the TV report that aired last night.
November 24, 2007
A laptop for the girl?
My daughter is set to get her own laptop for Christmas - and for price reasons I've had to rule out a MacBook. However, have you ever tried to find a PC laptop in the 500 € price range that looks like something a girl would want? There are enough brand laptops (Acer, HP, Fujitsu-Siemens) around for that amount - but they're all grey, black and ugly.
November 22, 2007
England, bloody England
Sometimes I guess the English football team just doesn't realize what it's like to be English and in the middle of Germany. They don't understand the pain and suffering I've been through time and time again when England played Germany in various competitions - and lost.
Does Beckham even understand what it is to be jeered at by your own sons (half-German) because, once again, football is staying home?
I mean, this time it was in the bag. At least a home draw against Croatia. I didn't even follow the match, because I was already triumphant that this morning when I awoke, things would be different. I would smugly descend to the breakfast table and throw a victory smile at my sons. Ok, Germany was long since qualified - but today, today we would be joining them.
Instead, I cried. And they jeered.
November 21, 2007
Germany to rock the iPhone boat?
While I'm not convinced the court injunction will actually provide Germany with free-for-all iPhones I must say that this is one piece of news I will be watching closely today. My guess is that T-Mobile will slightly change the contract so that the iPhones are network-free after the two years initial contract runs out. According to Spiegel-Online, T-Mobile yesterday stated that they would be announcing changes as early as this morning.
Upadate: T-Mobile have issued a press release stating that the sale of iPhones will continue. They also say that will be complying with the injunction until the case is brought to court which could be in 2 weeks or so. Spiegel-Online has just stated that unlocked iPhones will be on sale in the T-Mobile shops - for 999 Euro - 600 Euro more than the locked version. That's just under $1500 for the unlocked version. Customers who bought the iPhone after the 19th of November can get it unlocked for free.
I travel a lot by train at the moment (unless they are on strike) and so I have a BahnCard which reduces my fare by 50% each time I travel. We pay the yearly fee by way of the money being booked out of our account. Because of that the Bahn doesn't send us an invoice. But of course our tax Dilbert needs an invoice - so I rang and asked for one.
No problem I was told - we will send you an invoice - but it will take a few weeks. Weeks? I thought I'd misheard and asked. "No, sorry, it will take a few weeks and I can't do anything about that and I also can't tell you when the invoice will arrive. But it will."
November 20, 2007
Reading like it's 1984
November 11, 2007
Mess 2.0 - You get what you pay for
My first post about some of the Web 2.0 mess we've been cleaning up over the past eight months or so has to do with the perception customers often have about the cost of building that Web 2.0 social networking site they have laid out on five or six Powerpoint slides (and that topic in itself is worth a couple of future posts).
We have had several customers ask us for quotes on building said portals and then seen them "blow up" when we quote a figure that is a lot higher than the amount they had been considering. Often, customers think that building a Web 2.0 social networking site will cost the same as what they paid for their 10 page corporate Internet presence (which was implemented in Photoshop by a design agency - another topic I'll get to later). Surely it can't be more complicated than that?
Their next reaction is to then go out and find someone who actually thinks they can do it for that price (often a low four figure number). I'll let you guess what then happens.
By chance, TechCrunch has a similar post this morning.
November 09, 2007
Berlin by design
Unfortunately I spent most of my days at the Web2Expo in Berlin sorting out work issues and wasn't really able to take in many of the sessions. That's life. However when I did have a few moments to spare I decided to go and listen to topics I wouldn't normally have done.
And it proved to be a good decision. To be honest sometimes I get rather sick of listening to the Web 2.0 buzzword bingo. Anyway - apart from Tom's talk I went and listened to Matt Webb talk about design and in particular a new radio they are prototyping for the BBC and I heard Mark Boulton's talk on "Better Typography". I also enjoyed the Microsoft keynote on Photosynth. It's amazing when you think about how we are now able to recreate real-world scenarios from the enormous number of photos available on the Web.
I think that's a plan for the future - and I'm sure I'm the last one to discover it - go to a conference but attend talks on subjects you know nothing about. I was actually able to shut up my laptop and just listen in awe for a change.
November 07, 2007
Designing for a Web of Data
This is a big shoutout to Tom Coates for an excellent excellent talk "Designing for a Web of Data" at Web2Expo. I first saw him speak back in August 2004 at EuroFoo and I've been a fan since. Great work Tom!
OpenSocial - film at 11
I'm sort of bemused by all the enthusiasm I've seen over Google releasing OpenSocial. Here in Berlin this has been the subject of several sessions and I've been scratching my head wondering about why this is such a good thing.
So, I'm pleased to see Tim O'Reilly write the following blog post as it echoes what I've been thinking over the past couple of days. And in particular this quote:
If all OpenSocial does is allow developers to port their applications more easily from one social network to another, that's a big win for the developer, as they get to shop their application to users of every participating social network. But it provides little incremental value to the user, the real target. We don't want to have the same application on multiple social networks. We want applications that can use data from multiple social networks.
And I'm wondering just how often the social network will actually want to infuse new applications from external developers into their platform. I can't really imagine a platform like Xing letting developers write applications that can be dropped into the platform - and Xing is an OpenSocial partner. The fact is that any platform like Xing wants to maintain control over what its members can do on the platform (after all it's the paying members they are after). On the other side even though it may be a sound development model to make sure your own applications inside the platform are built using a standard API - I again cannot imagine Xing wanting one of their own applications to be deployed onto another platform.
But I can see the true value in having the same contact list inside say Xing and LinkedIn with a neat icon telling me from where my contacts come from.
Ho hum for now.
November 05, 2007
Not conference blogging Web2Expo
I used to like blogging live notes from the conferences I attended but nowadays there are loads of people doing this and far better at it. So, if you want to follow along with the goings-on at the Berlin Web2Expo - check this out.
November 03, 2007
Berlin bound and cleaning up the mess
I'll be heading over to the Web2Expo in Berlin from Monday to Thursday next week and looking forward to spending a bit of time comparing notes and hearing insight. Because of the Web 2.0 work we've been doing over the last eight months I'm actually pulling some notes together I'd like to present some time in the future. The working title is "Saving Web 2.0 startups - one mess at a time". I'll be posting a few snippets here in the meantime - so stay tuned.