Stilgherrian’s links for 29 May 2009 through 08 June 2009. Yes, another delayed posting which will give you plenty of Queen’s Birthday holiday reading.
- How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live | TIME: Yes, TIME magazine’s cover story is about Twitter. It starts extremely badly: that clichéd, lazy trope about people tweeting what they had for breakfast. Despite that inexcusable slackness, it’s a useful addition to the cornucopia of Twitter-based articles.
- 10 Things I would do differently | Still A Newspaperman: Written with the benefit of hindsight, a former newspaper journalist considers how he’d have handled running a metropolitan newspaper. He’s spot on in many ways.
- Can the EU play Battleships? | Global Dashboard: Is it time for Europe, as a united entity, to develop a naval strategy? The article’s illustration is also a remarkable example of period gender stereotyping.
- How IT Can Save Africa | SAP Network Blogs: While clunkily-written, this piece outlines why getting decent IT to Africa isn’t a “waste”, but in fact a core element of getting rid of poverty.
- How Twitter’s Staff Uses Twitter (And Why It Could Cause Problems) | ReadWriteWeb: It turns out that the staff of Twitter don’t use it like “power users” like me use it. Could this affect the tool’s development?
- The oldest sculpture ever discovered is a 36,000 year old woman with really big breasts. Is anyone surprised? | 3quarksdaily: Dubbed the “Venus of Hohle Fels”, this 6cm tall sculpture us about 36,000 years old. And it has large breasts.
- Live Streaming Video From Livestream.com: The live video streaming service Mogulus has re-branded as Livestream. That should Hoover them into some generic wordspace, yeah. (Google it!)
- Spootnik: A tool to automatically synchronise information between 37signals’ Basecamp (which use extensively) and OmniFocus (which intend to use).
- Tom’splanner: Another software as a service start-up, this time about “creating and sharing project schedules”. Their website’s menu bar is the clichéd list of Home, tour, product Info, Pricing and — of course! — “Buzz”, so it must be good. Sigh.
- How Journalists Are Using Twitter in Australia | PBS: Julie Posetti’s rather reasonable article which responds to “the views of resistors and detractors” who argue that “Twitter isn’t journalism”. “Sound familiar to veterans of the great blogging vs journalism debate?” she asks. “Of course Twitter isn’t journalism, it’s a platform like radio or TV but with unfettered interactivity. However, the act of tweeting can be as journalistic as the act of headline writing. Similarly, the platform can be used for real-time reporting by professional journalists in a manner as kosher as a broadcast news live report.”
- Light Rail to Summer Hill | Metro Transport: The other Monday, yet another proposal for a new transport line in Sydney went to NSW state cabinet. This one involves extending the existing light rail line by 3.7km from Lilyfield to Summer Hill by converting the Rozelle freight line. It also has the advantage of running through the state seat of Balmain, where sitting Labour member Verity Firth runs the risk of losing to The Greens in the 2011 election.
Stilgherrian’s links for 19 March 2009 through 29 March 2009, posted not-quite-automatically in a great lump for your weekend reading pleasure:
I really must think of a better way of doing this…
- The World As Seen From Chang’an Street | Strange Maps: A nice piece of work from The Economist, in the style of Saul Steinberg’s ironic as well as iconic The World As Seen From New York’s 9th Avenue.
- A battle rages for control of the internet in China | PM: ABC Radio’s current affairs program PM covered the Grass Mud Horse phenomenon on Thursday.
- Conroy’s Blacklist Responses | TinyPic: A satirical take on who Senator Stephen Conroy planned for his appearance on Q&A.
- “conroy fail” T-Shirt Design by disgruntled [2807035-3] – RedBubble: Available in 15 colours, and only AUS$30.
- Song of the Grass Mud Horse (Cao Ni Ma) | YouTube: One version of the song, with handy subtitles showing both the respectable words and the anti-censorship subtext.
- Blocking the Net | SBS Insight: Senator Stephen Conroy has a chance to make up for his stumbling performance on Q&A with a guest spot on SBS TV’s Insight this coming Tuesday 31 March at 7.30pm (plus repeats).
- Podcast of The Tangled Web: Beyond an Internet Filter | Peter Black’s Freedom to Differ: The audio recording of New Matilda‘s public forum on Internet censorship, with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Irene Graham of Libertus.net fame, and Nic Suzor from Electronic Frontiers Australia. The panel was chaired by the infamous QUT law lecturer, Peter Black.
- Right To Know Free Speech Conference | Alliance Online: The record of a liveblog of Tuesday’s “Right To Know” Free Speech Conference, run by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
- 60-foot penis painted on roof | BBC News: An 18-year-old has secretly painted a 60ft drawing of a phallus on the roof of his parents’ £1million mansion in Berkshire. It was there for a year before his parents found out. They say he’ll have to scrub it off when he gets back from travelling.
- How do you get others onboard with using 37signals tools? | 37signals: I love 37signals’ tool Basecamp for managing communications on client projects. One perennial problem, though, is getting people to actually use it, rather than just replying to random emails.The comment stream for this blog post has some useful thoughts.
- DBCDE wouldn’t agree to blind filter trial: iiNet | iTnews Australia: iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said the ISP had told the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) that if customers knew they were being filtered, they were more likely to attribute any problems to the filters. This would likely skew the results of the trials. Several customers calling into iiNet’s call centre already to complain the filters were slowing their connection speeds, even though the ISP isn’t part of the trials.
- David Weinberger: 4.5 lessons from Twitter| The Huffington Post: Amongst the flood of articles about Twitter, here’s one which offers some genuinely new observations, well expressed.
- The Tangled Web | newmatilda.com: On Tuesday night, newmatilda.com hosted the first in a series of public forums about internet regulation in Australia. If you’ve managed to miss the raging “clean feed” debate, here’s Rachel Maher’s overview to get the conversation started. Obviously nowhere near as good as mine.
- iiNet quits Conroy’s filter trial | ZDNet Australia: “It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the government simply describes as ‘unwanted material’ without an explanation of what that includes,” [iiNet CEO Michael] Malone said in a statement.
- Google submission hammers section 92A | New Zealand PC World Magazine: In its submission regarding the controversial new s92 of New Zealand’s copyright law, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.
- Stilgherrian on Lateline | TwitPic: I look rather scary when appearing later than life on someone’s 42-inch TV.
- Mandatory internet filtering. It’s not a debate. | Wazzapedia: In summary: The pro-filter lobby are offering a solution to the “problem”. It’s not enough for the anti-censorship campaign to demolish their argument — if we don’t start offering an alternative workable solution as part of our strategy, we will ultimately fail.
- Govts website black list leaked on internet | Lateline: I appeared on last Thursday night’s ABC TV program Lateline as part of a report on the leaking of a secret blacklist of naughty websites.
- Blog, Podcast, Vodcast and Wiki Copyright Guide for Australia | CCI: I think the title explains it all. A handy reference for everyone, it’d seem!
- Social Collider: Whatever this visualisation is visualising about my Twitterstrean, it’s pretty. I’ll come back to this later.
- World War II: If Maps Could Fight | Strange Maps: A cartoon and cartographic interpretation of World War II by artist Angus McLeod.
- Metropolitan Skin | Out to Space: Some of ’Pong’s photos are in this this exhibition on the video displays at Sydney’s World Square (George Street) through to 25 March. Also featured are images by Robert McGrath and Vitek Skonieczny .
I like it when software-writers pay attention to the little things.
- When changing credit card details in my Basecamp account, the system noticed that I also had a Highrise account and offered to update that at the same time. Thank you, 37signals.
- When I installed the new version of OmniFocus, it pre-selected the option to delete the installer files once it was completed. Thank you.
- When Miro TV updated itself to a new version, it re-started and continued playing the last video I watched from where we left off.
If I listed “Moments of Software Unjoy”, it’d go for pages…
In just two months, Twitter has become one of my core communication tools. Non-Twitter instant messaging and Facebook have all but disappeared from the mix. Here’s why.
Actually, before that… If you don’t use Twitter, or if you’ve taken a look but don’t “get it”, watch this 2.5-minute video Twitter in Plain English from those wacky Canadians Common Craft. Love their style.
Like the character in the video, I was sceptical about Twitter. Why do people need to know every little detail of my life? Who cares? I said as much to Perth’s Twitterati late last year. But then I actually tried using it — and I “got it” immediately.
Continue reading “Thoughts on Twitter”
[Update 10 March, 1030 AEDT: I’ve written a follow-up article which, while bound to piss off a few people, explains precisely why I’m so concerned about this issue. There’s also my first follow-up, written on the weekend.]
“Chalk and cheese” is how I’d describe two approaches to staff management I stumbled across this week. One treats staff as trusted contributors to a shared enterprise, the other as disposable work-droids from which you squeeze every last effort.
Jason Calacanis (pictured) has started various firms, including Mahalo, a “human-powered search engine”. (Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either.) In How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips) there are some good tips — like outsourcing accounting and worrying more about good chairs than tables. But to paraphrase the bad ones:
- Hold meetings at lunchtime so people never get a mental break from work.
- Don’t provide phones so staff have to use their own.
- If someone shows signs of working hard, buy them a computer for home so they end up working nights and weekends too.
- Buy a good coffee machine — not because you’d like to give your employees good coffee, but to prevent them “wasting time” getting it from a nearby barista.
But that’s not the worst…
Continue reading “How do you treat your staff? Like 37signals, or like this prick?”
I’m writing up my notes from today’s strategic planning session, and I was suddenly struck by the clarity of information design in Basecamp, our project communication tool. This really is one of the cleanest and most elegant user interfaces I’ve ever used.
Things of note about this screenshot:
- The content dominates the page, not some loudly-screaming logo or “web page header”.
- The hierarchy of the information is very clear. It’s immediately obvious which label is attached to which object, and what’s more important.
- It’s simple, easy on the eye — so you can work on this all day.
Which all makes it a fine example of Web 2.0 design.
Plus for some reason I really, really love the way the photos of the whiteboard make a lovely abstract pattern.