Wednesday, November 28, 2007

5 Sentence Rule

Some folks sent me an e-mail recently with their signature linking to the following 5 sentence rule website.

I actually think this should count as e-mail spam in the corporate world. The problem today is sending e-mails has no cost associated with it. Your computer is always on and you most probably have at least one tab in your browser open with your e-mail client open, or you are running outlook/thunderbird. The fact that there is zero cost associated to sending e-mails means people fell the liberty to send mails about anything and I would guess most e-mails are probably less than 5 sentences. The problem is they cc 10 - 15 people which end up causing an e-mail thread with 20 - 30 conversations. I think the five sentence rule is a bad one. The rule should really be would you want to be on the receiving end of your own e-mail or would you send that e-mail to your boss' boss' boss. For folks that are honest, I am sure they will agree a lot of the e-mails they send are unnecessary. Unnecessary e-mails is worse than e-mail spam in the corporate environment. Maybe someone will create a useless e-mail filter based on your reading preferences in the future. I'll sign up for that feature the day it is available.

Should Software Follow the Sauce Business

Today I met someone that introduced me to the TED website. Supposedly, it costs a lot of money to attend these conferences. There is an interesting video from Malcom Gladwell the author of Tipping Point.

It is interesting since software for so long has been a one size fits all solution. With the emergence of platforms such as facebook, open social, etc people finally have a chance to tailor webpages and applications to meet their unique needs. I was in the enterprise world for a long time and we often thought we knew the best way to pick and choose which features should belong in a solution. It seems like that is changing rapidly in areas such as social networking with platforms such as facebook and Open Social, and it will force changes in several other areas as well.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Online Video is Changing My World

I should probably be ashamed to admit it, but I am just starting to realize the power of online video. In the past, I only went to youtube went my buddies sent me an interesting link. I would never go there to randomly check out any videos.

However, over the past few weeks I have been amazed by how powerful app such as youtube have become. Anytime we have some young kids over and we are struggling to find something to entertain them, we boot up our machines and get on the tube and search for some educational and entertaining material. It is better than any toy in the marketplace. More and more institutions are putting their educational training online for the world to access. It is great to be able to access videos from Stanford for free that may cost thousands of dollars to attend in person. Maybe colleges should have tuition plans from now on: a) on campus attendance, b) online only access. The Republicans are following the Democrats with a live debate on Youtube tomorrow. One of the biggest reasons for the Writer's Strike is how the WGA should participate in revenue sharing for content distributed online. It is interesting because the further the Writer's Strike goes on the larger the opportunity for independent producers of interesting content that is available on the net.

By the way, you should check out these youtube flicks:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Check out

Since Jake gave me a shoutout on his blog I need to reciprocate. Jake and I were in the same organization at Oracle for several years, but only started communicating with each other the last few months via a couple of blog and twitter posts. I think he found out we shared similar interests after he read some of my blog posts.

As you probably heard about on his blog ( with a team of 3 people (only 1 developer Rich) they built up a social network within the firewall (formerly known as Connect) for Oracle employees. As soon as it was released, I jumped on it. I actively started using social networking apps earlier this year and started to understand the power of the Social Graph.

Jake enabled us to understand the power of the social graph from a professional perspective. People now say they are more efficient since they have access to colleagues around the clock with tools such as e-mail, and online chatting. However, if you read reports from the people that measure productivity there is a strong belief 30% of corporate e-mail should be considered spam and online chatting in many cases is a deterrent to getting a job done. I am still amazed when folks are able to have 4 - 5 chat windows open and finish up a design document.

With Connect we were able to streamline a lot of communication that would have been done via e-mails or chat conversations. Individuals in my group communicated what project they were working on, or requested help just by updating their status. You could think of it is a microblogging. It reduced e-mail which is always a good thing, and it also allowed you to get a hold of individuals you may never have imagined meeting which is extremely important in a large organization. In the end, everyone feels like they are stakeholders in a larger initiative and more organizationally aware which is just fantastic.

I highly recommend you getting on any social network that you feel would be beneficial to you. If you find it is not that useful, you are probably doing something wrong. This is a bandwagon everyone should jump on.

Invites to the Coolest Web Sites

I have been lucky in the past to know people that get invites to some of the cooler innovations on the Web and they pass one down. Amit from Digital Inspiration has figured out a better way to get invites (

Check out and join the Bloggers Who Like to Get Beta Testing Invites on Facebook.

Unfortunately it looks like there is still a long waitlist for If anyone has a website please hook me up. The hulu service is supposed to be pretty impressive.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Changing Political Landscape

Over the last few days, I made up my mind to expand my knowledge beyond just tech news/gadgets. So while I was looking for podcasts I focused on getting information from the economist, meet the press, wsj, etc. In addition, rather than getting all my news from aggregators such as techmeme, and google news I started going directly to sites such as the econonomist, wsj, and wikipedia. I hope Murdoch really opens up all articles on the WSJ for free soon!

Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time understanding where things stood in the world of politics since there is going to be a historic meeting in Annapolis this week, and the democract primaries are about to get underway in 40 days or so.

It was amazing how many articles, and podcasts mentioned how candidates need to watch their words ever so closely because the internet has increased the level of accountability. Each speech a candidate makes is now on youtube, and can be used to identify candidates that "flip-flop". It is just amazing how powerful blogs, social network, and online media have become in all facets of our life.

To top things off I searched for Obama on Google and noticed how Obama supporters/detractors are leveraging Google ads / Youtube to promote their candidate.
Check out the screenshot:
I remember in prior elections, MTV would hold special events by stars such as P Diddy to raise awareness among the next generation of voters. It looks like search/online media/social networking are going to raise awareness across a much larger group of individuals.

Keyboard Shortcuts on GMail

This has been talked about on several blogs, but I just wanted to share it with a few folks since the keyboard shortcuts are tremendously useful ( I know a lot of you will say this was supported by the GMail Macro Greasemonkey script, but I was never a heavy user of GMail until recently hence my enthusiasm.

If you notice nowadays, accessibility to common actions via keystrokes rather than mouse clicks has become a real fad. The keyboard is the easiest way to access information, and you can see tools such as Enso from, launchy, and Quick Silver trying to make things easier. Check out this presentation from the founder of

By the way anyone with Mac OS X installed, you better have Quick Silver installed. It is the one tool I installed a year ago on my macbook and it completely changes how you interact with your computer in terms of launching applications, maintaining your clipboard, etc. The Search, Firefox, Shelf, and iGTD plugins are just fantastic.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Interesting Articles on a Saturday

We spent most of the day shopping, which means I got a lot of time to browse the web with my iPhone. I am amazed there isn't a commercial of a guy with his girlfriend/wife talking about how the iPhone has made life at the mall better for both individuals.

Anyhow, there is yet another article about the OLPC initiative on the Wall Street Journal ( It is a bit disappointing the big guns: Intel and Microsoft are getting involved only when it may benefit them monetarily in the long run. However in the grand scheme of things it is great for developing nations. More choices, and more money from big name corporations in areas such as Africa and the rual parts of India/China will only benefit the people. In all honesty, I think the OLPC initiative is a great one but it is going to be very difficult to succeed. Computer costs are coming down all the time (i.e. the gOS at Wallmart selling for 200 bucks), and now who is to say an iPhone cannot be used as a machine for young kids to start browsing Wikipedia or building basic computer programs once they release the SDK. It is going to be very interesting the next few years.

I found a couple of other interesting sites/tools as well. I have stopped using as a source of information for tech news the past 2-3 months. One of my colleagues at Oracle got me hooked on and techmeme is much better than digg. Digg has become a gossip column to a certain extent. I guess that is what the user's want. It looks like has come to the rescue. The content is pretty rich in terms of coverage on technology, and the user interface is great as well. Let us see how long it holds up.

I browse the web a lot and some pages I always want to save for later. I have been using the Clipboard/Shef plug-ins with Quicksilver, or just savings pages as bookmarks but I came across the "Read It Later" plug-in on It looks pretty good so far.

Another Great Mac vs PC Ad

The Mac vs PC ads are the only ones we keep watch anymore. Here is another great one. Although, it is not like people have not had issues upgrading to Leopard.

Friday, November 23, 2007

100% Uptime on Black Friday

We're trying to buy something from today, but looks like the site is down. I bet uptime is absolutely critical for retailers on Black Friday. There have been so many stories in prior years of stores scaling up their systems just to deal with the traffic.

The College Season Continues to be Crazy

The college season continues to be crazy. It is going to be even crazier if KU makes it to the BCS championship.

Where are the good podcasts?

I now have a 30 - 40 minute commute every day and need a way to pass time on the drive. I could tune into NPR, but sometimes the articles are a bit bland. I decided to give podcasts a try and went through some of the search engines, and gave iTunes a try. There are some interesting sources such as the Economist, NPR, etc but it seems like they try to focus on the basics. I think that is great, but I prefer some content with some real though provoking angle which takes a position kinduva like what the Scobleizer has been doing lately with his anger towards the Mac. I do not necessarily agree with him, I love everything Apple but it is great to get a viewpoint.

I'll keep searching for some interesting podcasts, and if anyone else knows of any please let me know.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anyone Know a Good Handyman

People that know me are probably thinking I have lost it asking for a good handyman rather than help with a technology related issue.

However, I just moved into a home and being a first time home owner is a real pain. The home we purchased is a bit on the older end and my wife has been at home dealing with issue after issue. It is a real pain when the plumber / locksmith comes an hour or two late (or sometimes never shows up) and still charges a buttload.

I tried searching using all the local search engines, and gave sites such as yelp a try but have not found anything useful. If anyone living in the Peninsula has any good ideas please let me know.

Quick Intro

Thanks to a push from some colleagues at my prior company I started up an internal blog which gained a decent amount of traction. Awareness was raised in a relatively large organization on key happenings and a good amount of knowledge was shared.

I recently changed jobs and a lot of my former colleagues asked me to keep an external blog where I can share tidbits about new technologies I find out about. I do not pretend to have the insight of GigaOm, Scoble, or the TechCrunch folk. I just like to blog about things that interest me, and maybe a person or two will chime in when they are interested.

Now that this blog is available to anyone to read, I must put the standard disclaimer that the viewpoints expressed here are my own, and do not express the viewpoints of the corporations I have worked for or do work for currently. I think I'll need to put a formal disclaimer in the title or somewhere else, but I will figure the legal aspects later.