I use twitter’s web interface more than anything and I hate the fact that I have to scroll down the page to go to search.twitter.com to do a search on a hashtag or on a user or even myself. I’ve seen the experimental twitter search box on other accounts but it’s not appearing for mine yet so tonight with the help of a few friends, I modified an old greasemonkey script to add a twitter and google search box on the top right of the main twitter homepage. Suddenly my twitter experience is so much better. If you have firefox and greasemonkey installed, you can try the script here or if not, download and install greasemonkey then try the script. Let me know if you like it or if I can change it in any way. In the next version I plan to add a feature that will turn all hashtags into url’s pointing to their respective twitter search url’s. I’m also hoping to include the latest treding topics under the search boxes.
Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge.
— Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
I use wikipedia a lot. Today, I donated a small sum in support of this great service. If you use this service, please join me. Click on the Support Wikipedia image and make your contribution so that wikipedia can continue to be excellent.
From Wikimedia foundation : “Your generosity helps ensure that the Wikimedia Foundation continues to make human knowledge free and accessible to the world. The Wikimedia Foundation operates some of the largest and most popular collaboratively edited reference projects in the world, including Wikipedia, one of the world’s top ten most popular websites. Our work is important: we are grateful you have joined with us to help make it happen.”
The perception we have regarding cost of magazines is that the cover price is the cost of the content within the magazine. The truth is that the cover price of a magazine these days reflects little more than the cost of printing and distribution. Few magazines actually make money from the cover price, they make money from selling advertising.
I detest having to pay for a magazine that is 80% advertising. Add to this the hassle of us having to go to the newsstand to purchase the mag and we have a very expensive product, much more expensive than is apparent. So here’s a model that covers all the bases. Free shareable magazines. All my favourite titles are here as well as some I would find very difficult to find at any local newsagent.
Advertisers can still advertise, adverts will still be seen. The internet and my browser takes care of the cost of distribution and the content creation is transferred solely to the advertiser. I pay for nothing but electricity and bandwidth. My end of the bargain is that I have to be exposed to the ads and if I like something, I might buy it.
I have all the choices in the world conveniently delivered to my browser. It’s social in that my friends can suggest content that might be interesting to me and I can in turn suggest stuff to my friends.
This is a great model and it’s truly a game changer. What do you think?
The Athens anti-racism festival is happening right now and it’s being held in Goudi park, right across the street from where we live. Some of you may already know I’m involved in campaigning against commercial developments in Goudi Park and as such we were offered a booth and projection screen at the festival. First off, I was amazed at how many booths there were. It’s unbelievable how many people have a cause they’re passionate about. There must have been hundreds of booths. So many causes.
Image by brettwayn via FlickrOne booth I’d like to mention is the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) booth. For those who don’t know about the OLPC, in a nutshell, Nicholas Negroponte founded and leads a group of people that design and produce a cheap to make laptop.
While chatting to the guys there, I was struck by what I was told. This very noble project is in real danger, it’s being hijacked by commercial interests that support the Windows/Intel platform. Clearly, giving billions of poor kids a linux based PC is a real threat to Wintel so wintel is deliberately sabotaging development of distributed production and distribution of the OLPC.
Now I don’t want to misunderstood, what I’m getting at here is not about the hardware. Frankly if wintel can produce a cheaper box then let them be the winner, let them produce and distribute the the millions of PC’s necessary to bridge the digital divide and educate and empower the world. The software used is OLPC is based on open source software whereas Wintel is not. What you do when you give someone a closed source vs an open source software solution is you limit their options. You limit their opportunity to be creative. You say “let them be creative as long as they’re creative on windows.”
Take 4 minutes to view this great video.
Now if that has whet your appetite, take a look at this: Charles Leadbeater at TED talks
Here’s a great video about Web 2.0, the social / semantic web (4 minutes)
Technology I use 14 Jun 2008 07:45 am
The internet generation is here and many children from as young as about three years are spending more and more time online. This holds both risks and benefits and so needs to be carefully managed so that children are protected from the risks while still being permitted to enjoy the benefits of the internet.
The internet holds great possibilities for early childhood education and for teaching children many new things, but what happens when your innocent little four year old accidentally clicks through to a porn or adult-only website?
Fortunately there are ways to ensure that little James stays on Thomas the Tank Engine website and does not mistakenly click through to visit any adult websites while playing around on the internet and this is done with parental control software.
I say coincidentally because, I went by their offices today and complained about their site not being available for the past year or so. I’ve recently moved to Zografou and have often needed to talk to someone at the council for various things. Naturally, being a geek, I would look to their website to provide a telephone number but there has not been a website live for over a year.
So, today I went to the council offices to make an inquiry about something and right near the entrance I notice a sign pointing to the I.T. Dept. Naturally, I walk in. “Could you kindly tell me what the council website address is please”, I ask. I notice some bare stares from the three geeks in the room. One brave soul comes up for air from his session of bejeweled and says “Oh I think it’s www.zografou.gr” seeking confirmation from his cohorts. I respond like any unknowing citizen would. “Are you sure, because I don’t think it is. Could you show me?”
More blank stares, then a hint of terror. They now know I know there is no site at that address but he perseveres, fingers to the keyboard – DNS error. Not Found.
“See, thats what I get too” I say innocently. Another geek comes up for air. Google to the rescue. A couple of seconds later he calls out, “Found it!”
“Oh good I say”, what’s the address. “184.108.40.206” – before I can say anything the third geek jumps in. “We need to make that address known !!”
“No,” I say, “You need to fix the Nameserver entry to point to your domain”, Cat’s out the bag. They realise I’m a geek too.
The traditional “We’re not responsible for the site, we’re only temporary, I’m only on Stage (work experience) employment” conversation ensues to which I respond. “You’re geeks like me and even if it has been given to a contractor, a bad or non-existent website is a bad representation of you as geeks. So fix it or call someone to fix it.” You’ll have to talk to our manager, she’s not here now but we can give you the name of the person in charge of the contract.”
I go about the rest of my business and a few minutes later, I’m back in their offices, the manager has returned. She’s been told about my little complaint and immediately tells me to take my complaint to the mayor’s office. “Superb!! I’ll see the mayor, I have some other things to tell him too.” I say and off to the mayors office I go.
The mayor was busy. But I made my point and coincidentally, the site is live. Literally 2 hours later. It looks like it was built by Atcom They’re a great company – It’s a good site. I like it. I just hope they feed it before it dies.
Technology 03 Jun 2008 11:19 pm
Attended my first opencoffee event tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. What a group of smart kids, some seniors, some money guys. A good crowd. One minor negative, nothing serious. I felt that 10min presentations aren’t enough for the motivational speakers – give them more time. [Post edited]
Still, the event was great and I’ll make an effort to attend the next one too. I hope to bring along a couple of my geeky pals too. Keep up the good work.
Too many tweets again today. I’m beginning to realise the benefits of this platform. Twitter is fast becoming defacto goodness for all. Guys, it seems youcant handle the load more often than not. Either sell to Google who can handle the load or take the platform peer-to-peer and let everyone share the burden.
I wrote about this almost a year ago :
I think the most used web app for me is probably my Gmail. I use GoogleDocs quite a bit as well. One thing that is missing is a full text search across a users GoogleDocs folder directly from the Gmail interface. Gmail search is brilliant but adding an option to add Docs search would be really great.
“The population of the world, currently six and a a half billion, is due to rise to nine billion by the middle of the century.
The developing world, by definition, aspires to western standards of living. Some economists suggest that nine billion people all consuming resources at peak developed world rates would be equivalent to a population of 72 billion consuming resources at current rates: this is not economically, environmentally or politically feasible.” from the residence sustainable development seminar to be held on 29 Feb 08. Follow proceedings during Live! coverage on the day via the website and U-Stream.
Technology I use 31 Jul 2007 10:08 pm
One full month into my Linux@Home adventure, the experience has been generally positive. While there have been quite significant problems over the last week with browsing, today I attempted a reinstall of the whole OS. Being an old hat at this, I’ve had no data loss since I’ve long made a distinct separation between data and OS files. The re-install confirms there was something going wrong on Ubuntu. Pinning down exactly what was wrong is difficult but it may be an Azureus install I did a week or two ago which might have screwed things up. Anyway, Linux@Home is back up and the speed is up. This thing has become usable once again.
Technology I use 06 Jul 2007 09:58 pm
I am doing everything I used to do through the window. I miss nothing. My Ipod XPerience is better. My PC boots faster. My Skype phone works. I am developing. I love it.
I should have done it ages ago.
Go ahead – Just do it.
Technology I use 06 Jul 2007 09:43 pm
Dissolution of our marriage as of yesterday.
You displayed continuous neglect for me. Total disinterest for my happiness or wellbeing, my basic human rights (internet and email) and most of all my self respect and patience.
It could have been beautiful. Yet, it will never be so.
GOODBYE and GOOD RIDDANCE
I am now a recently divorced single subscriber, I carry no baggage – hey there all you sexy ISP’s come and woo me.
Technology 13 Jun 2007 11:17 pm
Got hit yet again. I can’t be bothered with windows anymore. Thankfully my data and projects folders are held in multiple copies on another internal drive and an external drive so nothing important is getting killed.
I’m switching to Ubuntu Linux for my home PC. So far it’s working great. The only things I’ll miss are my podcasts via Itunes and my home VB development but I’ll do these through a virtual windows machine via VMWare so all will not beÂ lost.
RSI (repetitive strain injury) is playing up really bad this week. I’m changing hands for mousing and switching mouse buttons to give my right hand a little rest. Rest is the only way to recover. Some really good software for helping a recovery of RSI by reminding you to take frequent rests and do stretching exercises is WorkRave but you need to be disciplined enough to use it.
I wish I was.
I had forgotten I had done this, A bot, My Bot –
she did some important work at the time when I needed to remote into a customers PC and asking them to do an IPConfig to get the IP was rocket science for them. MSN messenger to the rescue, a little VB app that reports back various things such as IP, UPtime and who is king and master of the universe. AppName was SSNMSNIP
Today I read Lior Arussy’s little book called The Experience!: How to Wow Your Customers and Create a Passionate Workplace It’s a fun short read that everyone in customer support should read. I found it quite entertaining. A colleague, seeing me with the book asked what it was about so I answered “Customer Relationships.” Her immediate reaction was “Hmm, Everyone in Customer Support should do a stint in a ladies shoe shop at one time or another” A great quote Anne, thanks for letting me use it here although it’s not only about difficult customers on the whole, nor is it about customers who expect the unrealistic. When a paying customer calls Customer Support the chances are that there is a genuine grievance that needs to be addressed and someone needs to own that problem in order to solve it effectively. My rant here really is about the atrocious customer support the Greek ISP’s have been giving their customers of late, passing a caller from one agent to another, not providing a satisfactory solution in a timely manner and generally passing the buck.
You guys suck and until you start taking ownership of the problems you will continue to suck.
What is ironic here is that you’re all the same so we the consumers can’t leave you and go to your competition, they suck just as bad.
[Update] Just this afternoon I had a call from a CS rep from HOL about an aDSL line I’m assisting someone put in. Apparently the customer can’t have aDSL “because his telephone line is on an optic fiber” !!!
Stavros : “What !?! did you just say”
HOL CSR: “Did you not hear me? His phone line is on an optic cable”
At this point Stavros engages in educating the HOL CSR about the final mile.
Her response : “Phone lines are not my problem – OTE obviously can’t provide you with aDSL”
I reply :”Two months ago you told me that aDSL was available on this line and that your company could provide”
HOL: “It’s not my problem I have done all I can”
Stav: “Here is the problem, you sell to me on top of OTE’s lines, you and OTE have a communication problem and you both need to take ownership of that problem and stop transferring it to the consumer, or, you can just say from the outset that you have small tiny text in the contract that you can hide behind and that you might not be able to provide after all”
The conversation continues without a solution. I will revert tomorrow.
Bottom line – YOU SUCK
Technology 25 Apr 2007 02:34 pm
It’s one more device when we should really be converging devices rather than adding to the pool. The P800 was (one of) the first converged devices, If I was to add another device it would be this:
I want an iPod that is wifi enabled, widescreen, 80GB+ of Flash – no more moving parts, No ITunes necessary, direct download to device, IR Port, induction chargable, solar panel on the back, make the surface out of bullet proof lexan, and why on earth do I have to buy a separate microphone anyway.
I use outlook tasks and categories to organise my workload. Sometimes successfully, most times not.
Outlook of course doesn’t call them Tags but Categories. This must be one of the most underused features in Outlook but one that is just so useful for producing historical stats.
So when the beancounters and headchoppers come around soon, I’ll pop open Outlook and prove my worth.
I’m about to write some VBA to pull stats from the categories/tags. I’ll post the code when Im done.
Technology I use 09 Nov 2006 12:31 pm
Started playing with the great software that is Mathcad for another child project I’m getting into. I’m considering trying both MatLab and Mathematica too. They say these two are far more complicated but far more powerful. At this stage Mathcad is just perfect for what I need. The project has to do with Image Processing and a little bit of AI.
More and more staff are streaming audio (music and news) into their offices, sucking upÂ bandwidth and Quality of Service from others. One idea (N!) was to try and bring in one copy of a stream and then run a streaming server from within the network where users can connect to. Then, we won’t need to bring down multiple copies of BBC or CNN or whatever at +32Kbps each time for each user.
AfterÂ some research this evening/morning, I came up with PeercastÂ which seems to do the trick, allowing multipleÂ “Re-Broadcasts” orÂ “Streaming Relays”.Â I’m going to suggest we run a couple of experiments with itÂ next week to see how it holds up and if QoS gets any better while using it.
Technology 03 Aug 2006 03:56 am
Why is it that every time I need to talk to customer service from any (and all) cellular providers in Greece, I need to explain my problem to at least 4 people only to be told that my issueÂ will be dealt with much later than I can possibly find acceptable?
You guys probably have a queue so long that it’s your strategy to pass customers on from agent to agent in order to buffer them while the actual knowledgeable agent is freed up to deal with them.
Instead of stringing me along for 40mins why dont you just say something like this “Hi, Im a junior buffer agent, I can’t help you right now but if you like we can chat about something other than your problem for a while. When the real agent is availble, I will connect you. So, whaddayawanna talk about …..”
Vodafone, Your customer supportÂ sucks – TIM, Your customer supportÂ sucks – Cosmote, Your customer supportÂ sucks
Technology 23 May 2006 12:02 pm
In the everlasting efforts to increase my skillset, today I attempted an install of Win2003 Srvr and Sharepoint Server 2003.
There’s a major glitch in the install which dogged me for an hour or so until I found some enlightenment on a newsgroup. Something about a “hosts” file and SQL. Fixed.
After playing about with it for 30min or so I am fairly impressed, although it does taste a little like a dummies intranet. No doubt there’s tons of coolness I have yet to discover so over the next few days that will be the focus of my attention. Please don’t distract me with puny things like work.
Technology 16 Mar 2006 05:06 am
I Went to the SAP business forum yesterday and had the chance to talk and listen to a bunch of very smart people. I was a little dissapointed that they didn’t have as good a motivational speaker as last year when we were treated to an inspiring talk by Lior Arrusy. No, this time we had the pleasure of listening to Andreas Delgado, a Mexican mountain climber. Not the best delivery, but a nice video – and an interesting story but … come on SAP.
Still, it was superbly organised and held in that most excellent venue, The Megaron. A great demo of RFid and some really good info on CRM. The Intracom and Jansen Clagg implementations of SAP Portal left a lot to be desired. Surely they could have done a little better given the features of this product.
SAP is by far and I mean by far, the best software a company can choose to use to run thier business. It’s also the MOST EXPENSIVE. Every year however, they come out with a more affordable product and a set of smaller implementation times so it’s becoming more and more accessible to smaller enterprises. I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a standard.
Last week I began playing with RubyOnRails
Although there is a single click install package called InstantRails that I have been using, I prefer something more robust.
So, this weekend, feeling rather masochistic, I decided to do a fresh Ubuntu install with Apache, PHP, mySQL, phpMyAdmin, Ruby, Rails, SSH, FTP.
Now my previous experience with linux has been simply to put in the Linux CD and wait for the pretty windows but this time I decided to forego the prettyness of Gnome and do it totally in shell. Well, it’s been a long day but it’s finally running !!! See? Here’s proof !!
Resources I used :
Ubuntu.com Starter guide
Howtoforge.com Ubuntu 5.10 ISP setup
Claudios’ How to install Ruby on Rails on Ubuntu 5.10
Baby Panos loves the PC. He just can’t keep away from it.
So today, I whipped up a little vb app for him that shows pictures of animals and plays the sound that animal makes when he clicks on the picture. He LOVES it !!
I must admit, he hasn’t got the hang of the mouse just yet but he’s almost there, managing to click on a few pics and hearing the sounds. I think his favourites are the dog and cat.
Maria has some tips on improving the app so I’ll get them into version 2 pretty soon.
Technology 23 Dec 2005 02:22 pm
I have many many books. Probably over 2000. I have a really hard time knowing what I actually have and where it is so I’m working on a new idea utilising ISBN and XML and an old barcode scanner I have to catalogue ’em, link ’em, tag ’em, sort ’em, chuck ’em etc.. Im considering using Ruby and MYSQL for this one. Should anyone else be interested in teaming up with me on this new child of mine, just send me a mail and I’ll send you a brief.