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June 2007

ISBN 9788883705533

Notes from the GuardNEEDED: six Moleskine plain reporter notebooks [ISBN 978-88-8370-553-3]. These notebooks (shown at left) contain 240 plain pages with the last 24 sheets detachable. This notebook inspires me by holding notes, sketches and drafts. I need three to carry me through the year.


Competitive Advantage Through Information

SEVERAL REASONS PULL me to OpenCoffee sessions in Ireland. Getting competitive advantage by exchanging information has to rank as a strong recurring theme. However, the information bubbles out only in exchange for some engagement. In my case, I engage with an alert system (a calendar item from Upcoming), then I sync the alert into my mobile phone and I scroll through the week to remind myself of an upcoming OpenCoffee in Limerick or Cork. It takes some effort to get to these casual meet-ups since both involve 80-minute trips on Irish roads. Like a train running on schedule, all the activity ends quickly at 1PM and the reflection begins. In my case, important follow-up continues on the heels of our Irish OpenCoffee sessions because we're trading information on potential collaboration. It appears that three companies from Limerick OpenCoffee will jointly produce a piece of technology that integrates elements of their own into a mash-up of their services. When this happens, we will have an excellent example of building a product through information sharing.

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OpenCoffee Table Topics

Walking Limerick OpenCoffeeWHEN I WENT to Reboot9, I went to mooch but my intent to gather more than I gave actually told people how I mentally prepare for all industry events. I have a short list of things I want to learn and I have another list of people I would enjoy meeting. It's time well-spent if I combine the two. And today, I try that with Limerick OpenCoffee (venue shown at left). Prodded by James Corbett's short list of things he wants to hear, I'm headed to the coffee dock with (1) reflections on Reboot and (2) how Cork drinks its OpenCoffee. I want to meet attendees who do not look Irish and discuss how they feel and what they do when encountering members of the Garda National Immigration Bureau. If they don't mind, I want to record some of their comments for a podcast that some Chinese and Americans want to hear. For as I have learned, Ireland does not become the Land of A Thousand Welcomes until after you have your bags cleared through immigration and customs. In a world connected by social networking, each nation state has instruments that work to prevent face-to-face contact. You have probably seen that yourself, without needing a blogger to tell their story.

OpenCoffee the world over, including Limerick.
Jaiku channel for Irish OpenCoffee.


Three Years Older

George Likes His RealTODAY IS ANOTHER day that causes me to think how different my life might have been if my dad (at left, RIP) was born three years ahead of his older sister. That would have placed him right in the middle of World War II as an infantryman, perhaps in time for D-Day. As things unfolded, Dad walked Germany three years after the last round fell. He helped repressurise the kegs at his newly-adopted local Gasthaus down the street from Ellwangen Kaserne. When he prepared to hang up his hospital gear and turn in his canteen on 27 June 1950, President Truman announced that the US Army and US Navy would respond to a United Nations request and deploy to South Korea. Two of my uncles went. They operated bulldozers in minefields before returning to Iowa to farm.


Need Peanut Butter

A CHORUS OF GROANS coming from Mike Kiely, James Corbett, Conn O Muineachain and Keola Donaghy echo into podcasts with Mitch Joel, CC Chapman and Bryan Person. As James Corbett explains, all of these commentators lament "the ongoing fragmentation of social media into more and more social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc)". Mike Kiely thinks we are slipping into a situation where there is "too little  butter over too much bread" and I agree. I feel like a joiner--worse, I feel like a lemming--when hooking into Facebook for fun things and LinkedIn for business things. I agree with Conor O'Neill that I won't be a true Facebook user until RSS feeds flow from every section I want to monitor on Facebook. That's the only way to sustain a social community. RSS feeds are the sticky peanut butter to hold things together.

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Bets on iPhone Failure

UPDATED 28 JAN 08: Adrian Weckler says, "Figures from Britain revealed that Apple and O2 failed to reach target sales of 200,000 in the mobile's first two months on sale there. Analysts cited the high cost of the mobile, intense competition from rivals and the long contract period on a single network required to purchase an iPhone. Two weeks ago, Jobs put a positive spin on the phone's initial sales figures, claiming a market share of 20 per cent in the business-focused smartphone market. Jobs had planned a target of 10 million iPhone sales in 2008, approximately one per cent of the global phone market." [1]

CHECKING WITH IRISH bookmakers, it's possible to get odds on the iPhone failing--just like it's possible to get odds on for nearly any other wager you want to place. I want to bet on something related to the iPhone's battery and am looking at the 150/1 chance of the iPhone spontaneously combusting. With a battery you cannot remove and a charger connected to a mains outlet aboard Irish Rail, you could overboost the recharging voltage into the phone and at least get the battery to smolder. If it does not spontaneously combust, you could get some good odds on the battery going flat. I've practised this technique already with a Dell laptop and although I didn't get combustion, I got melted plastic and acrid odors. Fellow passengers blamed the result on bad coffee served by the online catering staff.

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Uncorking Secrets

FOUR YEARS AGO, I read some of William Gibson's thoughts in the New York Times. Gibson wrote that it has become difficult for anyone--anyone at all--to keep a secret. Four years ago, my first entry on Typepad said, "in the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner". Since that time, I've uncorked a few secrets from old negatives and slides, sharing dozens of them on Flickr. I'm doing it as a kind of digital foot locker that sits in my dusty attic of memories, knowing that sometime in the future, one of my daughters might enjoy knowing more about me and the places people never knew I visited.


BMW Clunking Noise When Warm

WE HAVE A dull thumping noise that occurs at slow speeds in our seven-year-old BMW 318i. The noise sounds like it happens in sync with tire rotation and it happens only when the car is in motion or when it is settling after coasting to a stop. It also occurs with a more noticeable level of volume and it happens with turning. All these things occur only when the car is warm after 90 minutes or more of running on roads warmer than 20C. So we're underneath the car while it's up on a rack, examining the A-Frame to see if anything looks out of place. The right front stabiliser link is looser than the left front link so after 116,000 miles of use on shitty Irish roads, we're replacing that. It looks like a previous owner did something with the rack and pinion steering assembly so now we're tracing all components that might have been replaced (or forgotten) when that unit was dropped out of the car. I've seen situations arise where mechanics forgot to reinstall suspension components. We're going to assume that's happened or that incorrect torque was applied when reinstalling parts that were removed earlier. I'm also considering replacement of both ball joints since that would probably remove some play from the steering wheel.

And after we sort out the irritating little thumping noise on the BMW 318i, we're getting prepared to replace the Flex Disc Guibo to prevent the differential from failing. It's so irritating when you put the car into gear and nothing happens but the noise of a blender underneath.


Twitter Meets Podcasting

REGULAR LISTENERS to our tech podcasts from Ireland will know that three different companies have been talking in Limerick OpenCoffee about ways to produce valid interruption actions. One sure-fired way to interrupt people in Europe is to ring them on their mobile phones since cell phones are recognised as the pre-eminent interruption device. Now Dave Winer has hand-rolled twittergrams, audio enclosures for Twitter messages. I've sent several audio files via Twitter already but Dave Winer extends that model in his development of a back-end web service that harvests audio files pointed to by the AT sign in a twitter message. This is an evolving service and way alpha in capability. However, if bolted onto a voice alert system alongside a capability that allowed you to talk your tweets, services like Twitter or Jaiku would be on every phone that had MMS capability. I'm going to talk about what I mean after we finish hanging two tricky sheets of wallpaper first. Although it's not obvious from what I've said below and what's been mentioned about twittergrams on Twitter, this technology could give anyone with a mobile phone the ability to publish their voice on the internet using just their mobile phone. It would take one press of a button to start recording and another press of a mobile phone key to send it to a preset web service. I've played with this and know that when Twitter goes audible to the masses, it's easier to use than the calendar on your mobile phone.

Dave Winer -- "Twitter Meets Podcasting"
Inside View -- Tech podcasts from Ireland
Bernie Goldbach's first twittergram [169 kb MP3 file]

Bonus Link: Photos from OpenCoffee in Ireland.


Summer. Time.

BECAUSE REGULAR READERS are expressing frustration with too much to read and not enough time to do it, I am throttling back on my blogging and encouraging readers to follow my tidbits as newsfeeds. I am driven to doing this because I think I need to help people conquer their time deficits. Besides, astute viewers know I'm declining in readership. My composite reads, views, and listens have more than doubled since 2005 but I've dropped 1000 daily readers since April 2007. Now, 2500 daily visitors drop by only once a fortnight. So if the audience has found better reading elsewhere, I am not gong to write for the screen. Outside, the summer sun give me longer days. The garden, in dire need of major structural work, beckons. So I will go there, returning to the shade with a digital dictaphone that can record my musings faster than I can type them. I'm calling time on this blog for most of the summer. I'll still make a few posts every week but I've got to focus on launching a few projects behind the scenes and that means diverting time and energy to the real world.

While writing this, I'm reading how Tom Murphy cannot stay abreast his lifestream and Neville Hobson cannot cope with requests from new friends through social media. Like me, they have to cut back. Unlike me, they don't have a baby on the way and a garden launching invasive seeds into the summer breeze.

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