Friday Fun: Early Edition Happy Memorial Day!

I think summer has officially arrived in North Texas which means pool time and grilling out. Enjoy a long and relaxing weekend. 

Google Latitude – Location History
Location services are a hot topic and you can't escape Foursquare and Gowalla. They aren't the only players in the location space and Google has been steadily releasing updates to their services. The latest update keeps track of you location and will even visualize your history on a map. It sounds kind of like big brother but if you enable alerts you will be notified when others are nearby. (via Gizmodo via TechCrunch)

Google Wave – Live Blog
Since Google Wave was released I've been trying to find an excuse to actually use the tool. ReadWriteWeb used Wave to do a live blogging event. The guide they created is pretty interesting and I seems quite fitting for covering a live event. I'd have to look but I suspect there are some interesting Wiki applications for Wave. 

New Facebook Privacy Update
If you haven't heard about the updates this week there is no shortage of sites and blogs running down the update. Facebook has their own overview and Lifehacker provided some additional clarification on what these changes mean and how to control your content. (via Consumerist)

Run, Run, Run
My wife has started training for a 1/2 marathon and she is starting to figure out that not all music is ideal for running. That is where Cadence comes in. Using your iPhone you can set your beats per minute (BPM) and the app will only play music that fits your preferences thereby taking the work out of creating your own playlists or listening to so-so music from a running podcast. (via TUAW)

I need more power
Several months ago there was a concept floating around that would allow you to use a standard wall outlet and put USB ports on the plate. Well, the real version is going to be a little more expensive but safer and still allows for standard plugs too. You can charge two low power devices or one high power device via the USB plugs. (via Engadget)

IHG Testing Cell Phone as a Key
News of IHG testing out the use of a cell phones as the door room key made some waves even in the tech blogs. USA Today posted the story first and has some interesting comments on the idea. Concerns about technical glitches, safety and loss of customer contact were balanced by those that just want to get in a room or try out something new. Gizmodo Mashable

Apple News
If you know me you know I dig Apple the news that their market cap recently passed Microsoft was not totally surprising but seeing the MSFT has lost 1/2 of its market cap since Ballmer took over was surprising. If you are considering an new iPhone you might want to wait a couple of weeks. Rumors are floating around that the 4th Generation is on the way. DO NOT buy the 3G version currently on sale for $100 at Wal-Mart. 

How do kids get lost in music these days?

How did you discover music as a child? For me it was simple, my dad is an audiophile. Not in the true sense of the word, but when he was younger he bought a pretty nice "high fidelity" tuner so he could connect up his Teac 3300SX, like this one, and his turntable. I have vague memories in the late 70's of pulling out my dad's record collection and listening to a record or playing one of his "mix tapes" he had compiled on the reel-to-reel. At that point in my dad's life he was into the Eagles, America, Chicago, The Carpenters and other similar "lite rock" acts that were around at the time. As a kid how could I pass this stuff up? That deck has some bouncing needles and cool lights sitting in the dark cabinet.The turntable was even cooler since it had an a deep orange speed strobe light. The tuner had a green panel for tuning the radio. The setup is only as good as the speakers, when mom and dad weren't home, and the headphones. I don't know what he spent on all of those components back in the 70's but they weren't cheap and I even used his speakers through college. 

The conditions were perfect for a kid like me to explore the musical world my dad had built for himself. I don't know how or why I chose to play "Saturday Night Fever" but I probably wore that record out. The cover art isn't much to look at but the music was such a departure from the "Christmas Together" from John Denver & The Muppets and the "lite rock" LP's. That soundtrack opened my world to a whole new style of music. The next album on the frequently played list was "Spirits Having Flown" by the Bee Gees. I think this was less about the shrill falsetto of Barry Gibb than it was about the hooks in the music and the gate fold packaging that I could take in while listening. That would have been 1979 and I was just discovering radio. Even more music and styles out there to choose from. The magic of radio was that the DJ always made you feel like you were part of the conversation. Perhaps social media 1.0 would fit radio, but that's another conversation.

Eventually my dad gave up on new music and stuck to oldies. Even preferring the AM oldies broadcast from time to time. So I began to explore the radio for more options. It was during this time that Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, Grand Master Flash, The Clash, The Cars and more started to filter through the radio. Eventually my passion turned to work leading to a great gig at the college radio station. [Long live 107.1 KWBU] I also worked at a local classic rock station and then realized that a DJ's life is not for me. This recounting of my history with music doesn't even include the saxophone and piano lessons, church choir [I still can't sing worth a dime] and my brother's playing Tuba for many years. So how are my kids exposed to music?

I have lots of LP's but they are kitchy and I don't have a turntable [accepting donations], my CD collection is stuck in books with no cover art [goodbye jewel cases] and there is only one concert poster hanging on a wall. In fairness I started them off with U2 pretty early since their brand of rock/pop is pretty universal. With everything stored digitally there is little room for them to discover a flavor of music they enjoy. Perhaps a service like Pandora will help them explore so new areas. My kids don't need to like what I like. I just hope they have a way to explore the world of music and find something their own flavor. In our increasingly digital world, this seems much more difficult.

Friday Fun: Two Weeks in a Row? Hold the Press

I know I shouldn't be surprised by this but can May be nearly done? In this recap we'll take a look at some of the news from Google announced this week and some fun diversions.

Google News
There are lots of stories out of the Google I/O event this week. What I found particularly interesting was the opening of some of their API's for anyone to use. Some examples are listed below but Google has also released API's for Gmail, Buzz, Wave and a number of other products recently. Google has effectively given startups and small businesses the ability to leverage the infrastructure of an Enterprise. The potential is there for small and medium size businesses to no longer fear a massive CRM investment since Google is doing all of this for free.
Latitude – Is a location API that can leverage user location and location history for an application.
BigQuery – Allow users to use Google's infrastructure to analyze large datasets. 
Prediction – This API will use Google's prediction algorithms to provide predictions to an application. 

Google TV is sure to be a hot topic this shopping season but the living room is a mess with the number of companies involved. This post from John Paczkowski provides a great overview of some of the players that have tried and failed and why Google is facing a difficult road ahead.

Android Froyo was announced and provides all sorts of updates to the phone operating system that will really push Apple. One report I read pointed out the Google has been trying to catch up to Apple since they first announced Android and this release leap frogged right past the upcoming iPhone OS 4 release.

There was much more that came out from the event that I'll take a look at in the future. 

Facebook Community Pages
This is an interesting development that could affect Brands trying to make a name for themselves in Facebook. Community pages are a combination of Wikipedia entries and Facebook user chatter. These pages can have an unintended consequence as noted by Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) at the Altimeter Group in this blog post. The issue for brands is confusion with Facebook and difficulty responding to comments in the pages. Facebook users can find themselves posting content to these pages unwittingly if their wall posts are public. Try searching for "My Stupid Boss" on Facebook. 

Openbook = People Put Weird Stuff on Facebook
Have you ever wanted to search Facebook public content just to see what sorts of weird and embarrassing things you can find? Look no further. This post from Consumerist sums it up nicely.Try it out for yourself. (it might be slow)

Gowalla and IHG Tag Team
Barb De Lollis reported on a promotional campaign that will give Gowalla users a message about their summer promotion when they use the application to "check-in" while visiting one of their properties. It is interesting to see some experiments with location based platforms. The Las Vegas Hilton has been playing with Foursquare as have a few other hotels listed on Hotel Chatter.

Wowzers! This Video is Mesmerizing.
This video really feels like it should be on display in the World of Tomorrow. This is fun eye candy.

Mobile Ads Work (sort of)
This post from Gizmodo refers to a longer post from GigaOm and studied the effectiveness of mobile ads on different platforms and found that Symbian, think old school (2007), mobile phone ads are still the most effective for advertisers. There are a couple of obvious reasons for this but again it serves to show that Smartphones, think iPhone and Android, still have room to grow. The recent announcements from Apple and Google will likely make a more significant impact for their respective platforms in coming years.

Mobile Sensors – Sniff, Sniff
Researchers as UCSD have developed a sensor that can detect airborne toxins and alert the cell phone user. It may not be in the next Google enabled phone from HTC, but there could be some interesting applications for this type of sensor. 

Try On A Virtual Watch
I'm not sold on Augmented Reality in its current state. However, this idea from Tissot is not terrible. It is a little cheesy.

Read Write Web Mobile Mobile Summit 2010 #RWWSummit

This is the keynote presentation from the Read Write Web Mobile Summit and contains some great information related to mobile. Slide three is great for putting some perspective on the use of mobile phones around the world. Smartphones are all the rage right now, but the reality is that most of the world has not grabbed the smartphone revolution. 

You can find the original post where this deck is included here:

I somehow managed to sneak into a couple of pictures during the event taken by Chris Cameron.

I might be trying to shoot laser beams from my eyes or I'm trying to understand the proposed session.

Another great shot of me trying to figure out what in the world I'm going to next. There were so many great topics but not enough time.   

I love this picture as we were having some great discussions around mobile websites, apps or development platforms 

Friday Fun: The Second Comeback…maybe

The last time I sent a Friday Fun email was, well, I can’t really remember but it was a long time ago. There has been so much happening in the world of the web I felt convicted to get back in the saddle and try sending out a few things that caught my eye this week.

Mobile On the Rise

This recent blog post was really pretty interesting and thought some of you interested in mobile might find compelling as well. The CDC, yes that one, released some stats on homes with mobile only. Of interest is that nearly 25% of the US has ditched their landline service. When you add to that stat another 15% of the US receive almost all of their calls on their mobile it really shows how pervasive mobile technology has become. It is also worth noting that the nearly 50% of adults aged 25-29 are wireless only.


Touch the Web

Touch enabled websites are expected to hit 1.1 million by the end of 2010. These numbers are revised from an earlier report that expected touch sites to hit a million by the end of 2011. That is a pretty big jump. Consider the number of touch capable devices that can interact with web objects and the trend should continue. We are not just limited to phones. Now there are screens like the ones in use at some Courtyard by Marriott properties.


Google Moderator API

This might be a little more technical than most of you but I’ll try to keep it simple. Google Moderator is a community site where users can set up polls, suggestions, feedback, etc in a moderated forum. Similar to how to how My Starbucks Idea works. Using the API from Google you can now create your own site using their system. Starbucks is using for their implementation. You can see a sample that I created here without using the API.

Don’t Be A Square, Get Hip

I think I heard that phrase on one of my parents’ old records. Square is a company founded by one of the Twitter guys is using a little device that plugs directly into your phone so you can accept credit card payments. This is a great option for small businesses to reduce the overhead for processing credit cards and gives a loyalty function for repeat customers. It is an interesting idea and challenges the traditional retail model. Similar to how the Apple stores do not have cash registers, but people walking around the store that can process your payment for you.


Web Pages On The Desktop

This story is for Mac users, but those on PC’s may recall the Microsoft version called Active Desktop. The idea is pretty simple, you have a portion of your desktop that includes a live website that you can interact with. In this blog post TUAW reviews a solution for the Mac OS that is a little different, but offers some nice features.

Charge Up!

If you are an iPad owner you already know that your iPad requires a stronger electrical output than a standard USB port can support. The solution is a charging system that will allow you to charge and iPad and an iPhone at the same time. To be fair this is not specifically for either Apple device, but any device that has those type of USB charging requirements.

Lean Product Management for Web 2.0 Products @danolsen #w2e

Lean Product Management for Web 2.0 Products

Dan Olsen – Your Version, Inc

Good overview of Product Management and while it is intended to be targeted to lean startups, the content is applicable to any product manager managing web products. The session included several questions regarding customer interviews vs. focus groups. I find it interesting that we still find value in the sitting potential customers down and asking open ended questions when building our products. We can never assume we can figure out the thought patterns inside the heads of our customers.

Building Event Based Systems for the Real-Time Web – Paul Dix @pauldix #w2e

Building Event Based Systems for the Real-Time Web

Paul Dix – @pauldix

Event Based: data update -> do something
Batch: need data -> calculate
Real-Time: data update -> notification
Scheduled: occasionally -> do stuff
Event based = real-time

Avoid building self contained monolithic systems
Loosely coupled systems will scale (complexity, team size)

Definition by example
SQL Databases (relational db)
Event based: triggers
Batch: count, sum, min, max
Real-time -> counter cache
Schedule? cron, at, schtasks
It is broken and self contained, monolithic

Distributed Systems
Event Based: messaging, publish, subscribe, amqp
Batch: MapReduce, Hadoop
Real-Time: messaging, publish/subscribe
Scheduled: delayed replications, data backups

The Web
Event based: 
Batch: polling
Real-time: web hooks, web sockets, pubsubhubbub, rsscloud
Scheduled: check every 1 hour

Distributed (internal) Systems
Service Calls – Used to be SOAP, now REST is more commons
Ex: Feed Reader (on fetch)
Tightly coupled and could cause impacts to other systems

Rabbit MQ – AMQP
Exchanges –