Thursday, March 02, 2006

Moving to

This blog has moved to

Also check out a few of my other travel and history blogs:

Online Highways US Travel
Oregon Coast
Retire USA Retirement Information
Retirement Blog
Travel and History Blog
US History Website
US History Blog
History and Civil War Blog

Time to move my posting to the superior WordPress environment. Given how simple and easy it was to set up and that it's free I'm not clear why Yahoo and/or Google have not scarfed them up or copied that format. I think Yahoo *supports* wordpress but why don't they just buy it and then they'd be better than blogger.

I'm wondering how indexing will be affected as I have copied stuff over to WordPress so now it's running at both Blog spaces. If I were Google I'd favor Blogger over other formats and favor Google's new free pages over others because they are easier to keep track of and therefore harder to spam. Also this would be more stabilizing for the company than simply treating all pages equally. However, much to Google's credit, I think they really tend to favor equal treatment.

JoeDuck's Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Edgeio is brilliant ... and will fail.

Please CLICK here for the JoeDuck blog, which has MOVED

Edgeio is a brilliant technical idea with brilliant backers and exceptional buzz and it will ... fail.

This is a company made in Silicon Valley by Silicon Valley for Silicon Valley and it simply won't play in Peoria or even NYC.

"Ma and Pa to sell that kitchenware all you have to do is tag your blogs!"

I had a personal demo of Edgeio at the recent MashupCamp from its creator. He's clever and passionate about this very good theoretical concept of using simple blog tagging to develop alternatives to traditional listings/classifieds systems like EBAY or Craigslist. He's also got master VC dude Jeff Clavier behind him.

So how can this fail? Easy. People don't see the small fees at EBAY as a barrier to listing. It's the technology that is the barrier and unless Edgeio can build a MUCH better than current site that consolidates *existing* listings into a free format I don't see this lasting more than a year or so. I actually hope I'm wrong, because Mashups like Edgeio are a nice innovative way to restructure the web.

JoeDuck's Blog

WordPress vs Blogger & thank you Todd

Thanks to the advice of Todd over at his blog suggesting I change formats, and the fact that Uber Blogger Scoble switched to it I'm going to switch to WordPress blogging very soon. The biggest challenge with blogger is that you can't categorize the posts which is VERY helpful even as the author looking back to see what you already wrote.

Todd by the way, has one of the best SEO blogs out there. This is because he's one of the top SEO guys anywhere. He often speaks at conferences about "link building" and is always insightful about complex SEO topics.

JoeDuck's Blog

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Content is ... Pawn

Not only is content's role as KING becoming questionable, I think we may be entering an era where content has effectively very few "rights" attached to it, and instead it'll all be about the aquisition, distribution and organization of data rather than it's creation. I have mixed feelings about this as we spent a LOT of money assembling a LOT of data at Online Highways and it's clear a lot of it got nabbed by other sites and scraped into "made for adsense" sites that use legal snips of information to displace more legitimate and better sites in search rankings.

I think Mashups may become king very soon and that's probably .... OK with me.

JoeDuck's Blog

Myspace perspectives from Danah Boyd

Danah Boyd is a social networking researcher who also works at Yahoo. Easily one of the brightest observers in this space though I'm not yet convinced that she is a *wise* observer of these things. I'd read her blog and realized she'd have valuable perspectives on Myspace. Here is a great summary of her perspective, though I'm concerned that there may be a generational issue of "parents have the RIGHT and OBLIGATION to know about those tracking and marketing to their kids (e.g." that she can't see cuz....she's young and has not yet had the shot 'o wisdom and insight that comes from having children running around in potentially dangerous environments.

JoeDuck's Blog

Is a safespace?

On CNN a child psychologist warned that NO child should have a "web page", and that, a social networking site popular mostly among teens, was a dangerous environment that could be used by predators to "profile" potential victims.

It sure seemed to be an exaggeration, and since I actively encourage my own 16 year old to develop websites I thought I better find out a bit more. The buzz in the industry is that Myspace and friendster are getting replaced by facebook, which I understand is more popular for college students looking for dates. Partly for this reason I hadn't been paying ... enough ... attention to myspace.

But indeed my son had a page and so did many of his friends. Nothing too provocative from that group, but the psychologists concerns were justified in other respects as I learned browsing the listings and content and by signing up for my own Myspace account. Here are the interesting features that I guarantee few parents are aware of and would concern many greatly:

* Extensive personal information, often including pictures and names of friends, crushes, school and city specifics.
* Discription of sexual orientation. This includes the term "swinger".
* Easy picture upload.
* Crappy age verification. Easy to make up things to "get in", so many of the age listings are almost certainly false. This fact or ALONE raises many serious legal issues as minors are posting volumes of suggestive material with no oversight.
* Advertising for adult sites. I didn't see any ads (yet) for x rated material, but prominent were ads for "intimate dating" which is euphemistic for sex match services. I don't object to these ads in the adult space, but actively advertising sex dating to teens and preteens should be of concern to any clear thinking parent.

There's more but I'd urge any parent to browse the site. An upside to the detail is that you can learn about your own kid's friends and other aspects of their life they might not share at the dinner table. I'd argue that the most important factor is whether this environment is getting abused rather than whether it *could* be abused. For that I'll need to research a bit.

JoeDuck's Blog

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Moderation in all things

Provocative thought for the day:

Change is coming from the WRONG set of ideas. It's coming from both the positive and negative "exciting" stuff like wars and conflict, concerts and rich people. Change SHOULD be coming from a careful examination of what is working the middle class mundane lives that most people in the developed world lead - the tried and true stuff. How do we bring this boring but workable stuff to the rest of the world?

*Bringing mediocrity to the world* is going to require great thinking and great innovation - wild and speculative innovation included. I sure like projects like Dean Kamen's power/water devices which are a great way to make boring mundane but ESSENTIAL change happen in the 3rd world.

.... jeez, he introduced it at the TED conference a few years back... maybe I'm WRONG about TED. If it's spreading this kind of innovation I'm....WRONG.

FOCUS defines a LOT of the world. What we as people, nations, groups, businesses choose to focus on defines a lot about us.

It's much easier to focus on big controversies or big positive events than it is to focus on the mundane, daily grind events. YET, it's our own mundane daily grinds where the stuff is happening that we need to pass along to those for whom the daily grind is .... life threatening.

JoeDuck's Blog

Have I been *a bit* too hard on the TED Conference? I've been reading more. It's certainly great to see discussion of the project to document human rights abuses with digital cameras (Peter Gabriel), see the history of TED includes awards to luminaries in smart, scalable development like Bono, and much much more. TED conference blog

But there's still a HUGE problem with such events which provide economic barriers to entry that are so great they insulate the TED community from....the real community. Sure these guys have mechanisms to hear from and about AIDS children in the Congo, poor Chinese factory workers and Indian farmers, but the voices of these folks are absent as conferences like TED set the agenda for what some would call progressive change. (yes they have some free spots but they appear to be tightly controlled and very limited. This is a choir who likes to hear themselves preach).

I'm always amazed how well intentioned wealthly people often create microclimates of compassion that miss the big picture. TED is better than that, but certainly we need to find ways to have the most influential discussions about critical global issues take place on the global stage, not the 1000- at-$4400-per-person-half-caf-cappucino crowd.
(no offense to the full caf cappucino folks)

JoeDuck's Blog

You say Bobsleigh tomato, I say Bobsled

Bobsleigh vs Bobsled

You learn something every day. As with Soccer vs Football, we Americans like to name things differently from the rest of the world. Olympic Bobsledding is, for most in the world, Olympic Bobsleigh".

JoeDuck's Blog

Thursday, February 23, 2006

TED conference? Get out your wallet.....

What a contrast between the hyper energized Mashup Camp with college students, internet legends, and free admission (hey, I did donate some cash!) and the fancy pants Technology Entertainment Design Conference which I ... had to miss because I 1) had never heard of it and 2) didn't care to pony up $4400, by INVITATION ONLY, to hear a bunch of very rich people talking about ... something. With a barrier to admission like that you've got to wonder what these folks take away from the experience.

If your request is accepted you will be entitled to purchase a TED pass for $4,400. We welcome to TED a wide variety of leading thinkers and doers from all fields of endeavor.

... who are rich/gullible enough to pony up $100 per hour 24/7 for the duration of the conference. ... thanks but....I'll pass.

JoeDuck's Blog

Top 100 blogs

OK, for the benefit of the few who read THIS blog I thought I'd throw out a list of the "A list blogs" that are read by .... more people than you can shake a stick at.

Interestingly I'm thinking Blogs are quite DEficient as a conversational medium because you've got the blog OWNER in control and the commenters in a very weak position. Tim Berners Lee, who invented the internet even before Al Gore, wanted a "two way conversation". We are NOT there yet and I think a sort of wikified blogging niche mashup forum environment, where people with similar interest sets will come together in unstructured but highly motivating and unstructured but facilitating and enabling ways, will eventually rule the internet.

I hope so and in fact will work towards this goal in the travel space.

From TECHNORATI: Top 100 blogs

JoeDuck's Blog

SONY Brain Blast ....

Wow - how did I miss this news from last April? SONY has patented a process by which impulses would be shot into the brain to enhance or even CREATE sensations including tasting and emotion. The idea is that this will jazz up the game experience. Cool.

The extension of this type of technology is taking us out of control of our own senses and placing machines in charge of that department. I think it's neat, but if I were one of those worried about Orwellian developments in technology I'd be worried....

Worried until until SONY blasted my brain with "calm down, don't worry about this, BUY SONY" impulse into my brain and I'd live happily ever after on my couch with a game console and watching SONY TV sets.

Sony's Sensory blast o matic
article in New Scientist

JoeDuck's Blog

What to make when you CAN make ANYTHING

Still reeling from the mashup vibe. The game has changed from what type of web environment can we AFFORD to build to what type of web environment do we WANT to make? With only minor exaggeration it's now possible to create pretty much any website application you can imagine online very cheaply using existing APIs and existing data, and only a modest level of programming skill or support.

In the travel space this has huge implications because there are no great sites out there. Expedia and Travelocity are busy pitching vacations to people rather than building a rich interactive travel experience. Better sites like TripAdvisor and Virtual Tourist remain kind of clunky and lack the comprehensive approach though I still think VT is tops due to it's community focus, though they appear to have too few people (of the 600,000 members they claim to have) actively participating to be robust enough to compete on a global scale for traffic. Comprehensive sites like our Online Highways are too dull and closed and lack community.

So, what will we do now that we can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in travel?

Stay tuned!

JoeDuck's Blog

Safe at Home after Mashup Camp

Wow.... my overstuffed brain is still smoking from MashupCamp down in sunny Silicon Valley. As much as I enjoy trips down to the closest thing to a home the internet will ever have via a scenic 6 hour drive, it sure is nice to come home to small town Oregon where mashing is done with potatoes and not computer applications.

At the event Venture capitalist Peter Rip observed that many of the mashup concepts were probably too dependent on other programs and platforms to be viable business models. I think he'd agree that the strongest use of the mashups is to add value to an existing model, allowing it to do VERY complex things with data sources and serve users in powerful new ways that are no longer expensive - in most cases free. All this through the APIs that Yahoo, Google, and MSN are stumbling over each other to get out into the developer community.

I'm loving this aspect of the new web because we already have a viable travel website with tons of data but it still sucks in terms of providing the user with a richly interactive, map and information intense experience. Mashups may allow us to do much, much better.

THIS cost to benefit advantage is, for me, the very profound and destabilizing aspect of mashups, and I think this advantage has yet to sink in outside the development community, where people are really getting .... excited.

Bubble web, aka web 1.0, placed spectacular and foolish values on the *implementation of the idea* behind a website. It assumed, somewhat correctly back then, that it cost a lot in time and money to develop even modest web applications that crunched a lot of information in complex ways. Few of those companies attracted enough user attention to work as the "if you build a clever site they will come" model died in spectacular and well-deserved fashion.

The great thing about 2.0 / Mashup Web is that we are approaching a model where the cost to crunch and publish massive amounts of data is approaching zero, and the number of applications to do this in clever new ways is exploding. A9 search, for example, is adding a new "vertical search engine" every day or so. Ironically A9 still shows Google search results yet Amazon, which completely owns A9, is releasing APIs and the ENTIRE hugely massively gigantic Alexa crawl upon which you can build a true global search engine. Still a confusing world changing at dizzying pace.

Not always FUN but always EDUCATIONAL!

JoeDuck's Blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

GooglePlex Party? Sure!

Mashup Party ... at the GooglePlex. MashupCamp ended on a high note with an invite from Google's Adam Sah (who works on the Google Home page API) to head over to Google for a party. I'd been there in July for the Google Dance but this time enjoyed a tour of the main building. I'm always so impressed by the dedication of the Google engineers to quality, their company, and innovation on the internet, and tasty snacks.

I'm still digesting the overwhelming amount of information at MashupCamp. Congratulations to the winner and the runner up. Clear is this - Mashups are going to fuel a LOT of innovation and it's happening VERY fast.

JoeDuck's Blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Speed Geeking Session

Here at Mashup Camp part of the open conference concept is the upcoming "speed geeking" session which will showcase about 23+ mashups that are competing here for the "best mashup" award - a niagra server from Sun, delivered by.... the president of Sun.

If you want NEWS and VIEWS about this event I'm not a good source - go to the project Wiki which is HERE and Programmable Web, John Musser's superb site about Web 2.0 and such things. John is here and very dedicated to providing a great 2.0 resource, though I think he's got a tiger by the tail and may need to choose between that and his day job (consulting) soon.

SpeedGeeks / Mashup Contest entries:
#1 Dave -
Dave Brooks - Bungee Labs
Robert - FlySpy - Airfare Search
Yogi Benjamin -
? - mobile phone communities
Taylor - - mp3 podcasts, concert info.
David - Rrove - social bookmarking with locations. Google maps.
Masterbeta ? - Google maps.
Universal submit - events data mashup with competitors to add events to eventful and OTHER sites....
Itunes + Ical Calendar - where and when for performers.
Bart and Frank - - Mobile phone application sends train times by phone. DC and SF.
CommerceNet Labs - MIFFY micro formats editor. Suckup vs Mashup.
Computer disposal mapping mashup.
#16 Brian - Online Training blogs? for runners, weight training, etc. Mashing with map/topography.
#17 Adrian - Created BEFORE the Google API. This guy is *good*.
Mosez - mobile ap for ?
Weatherbonk and Skibonk. Weather and maps and satellite stuff.
Jeff Marshall, FrozenBear Attendr for MashupCamp. Social interaction at gatherings.
Yoz? - fast social networking mashup maker
Yoz - UK Govt Data Mashups. - ebay and maps

JoeDuck's Blog