Simplicity Defined

There’s nothing like a new iPod courtesy of the I/S department — surely one of the most frivilous pieces of hardware they’ve ever had to install. I think I disappointed the poor person who came into my office bearing gifts when I said I would set it up myself. The rationale for getting the company to buy me the new toy is that I need a player to test our nascent podcasting plans here at CXO and to play with iTunes 4.9’s podcast subscription facility.

After the usual USB plug-in and configuration I moved about five hours worth of IT Conversations and other assorted geek casts (along with some hilarious Tour de France commentary performed by two slightly drunk Brits in a Wayne’s World format) over to the 6 gig mini, then walked it out to the car and set up the Belkin charger/gooseneck holder gizmo and the Belkin FM transmitter.

I tried to listen to an excellent Gillmor Gang conference call featuring Dan Bricklin, Doc Searles, Dan Farber and other, but the cell phone interrupted me and actually wasted 30 minutes of bumper-to-bumper commuting/listening time. Excellent discussion and evidence that great content quality can be delivered with little to no production value.

I got home, changed into my cycling gear, filled up the water bottle, and hopped aboard my fixed-gear — the legendary "Snotrocket", an old Bianchi ten-speed that I spray-painted black and stripped of all gears and non-essentials. Fixed-gears are basically what urban messengers and track racers ride in the velodrome. One gear and no coasting. If the rear wheel is moving, so are your feet. Want to brake? Use your feet.

The nice thing about fixed-gear cycling, other than the purity of no gears to click, is the total focus on cycling and the extreme effort required to ascend hills, etc.


I broke a cardinal rule and brought along the mini so I could finish the podcasts. This is a rule for safety sake — you can’t hear approaching traffic with your ears filled with music or talk radio — but I was on some serious back roads through farmland and gave it a go.

 There was something appropriate about listening to homebrew radio, on a device with one of the simplest user interfaces ever invented, on a homebrew cycle with no extraneous parts.

 Great workout and I filled my head at the same time.

Mens sana in corpus sano

Internet Banner Ads Look to Get More Interesting (and Thus Less Easy to Ignore) – New York Times

Internet Banner Ads Look to Get More Interesting (and Thus Less Easy to Ignore) – New York Times

Worth keeping an eye on. Contextual comparison shopping banners. 

Matt McAlister :: Goodbye IDG, Hello Yahoo!

Matt McAlister :: Goodbye IDG, Hello Yahoo!

"I’ve had the good fortune of working with a bunch of really smart people over the last several years at Macworld, The Industry Standard and InfoWorld. Now I have the good fortune of joining a new team of really smart people at Yahoo. IDG is a great place to work, and I’m sad to be leaving. But I’m also thrilled to be joining the Yahoo team and getting deeper into RSS and open media. Fun times ahead."

Spam Zeitgeist

I use a spam blocking service called Messagefire that sends me a daily report of stuff it’s snagged. I skim it every morning to find any misdirected good mail. Two themes seem pretty hot in the subject line. First is the "jack rabbit vibrator" (I don’t want to know). Today sent a winner, "Hot Latina Wearing Diapers."

 My heart be still.

iPod Your BMW

iPod Your BMW

This is my next mission. To get rid of the transmitter link to the FM radio and integrate the iPod into my X3.


Elementary Principles of Web Design

"Principle 13: Omit Unnecessary Stuff

"Vigorous Web Design is concise. A page should contain no unnecessary stuff, a nav bar no unnecessary choices, for the same reason a sentence should have no unnecessary words and a machine no unnecessary parts."

With apologies to William Strunk and E.B. White.

 One of the producers just came in with a redesign proposal for one of our sites. We went over the page, mostly deleting, deleting, deleting, when I recalled some stuff I scraped this morning from Amazon.

Look at the progression of the famous Amazon horizontal nav, the tabs that launched a thousand imitators.




Today, less is more

AdTension | Doc Searls’ IT Garage

AdTension | Doc Searls’ IT Garage

"There are some other cases of value-increasing advertising. For trade and fashion magazines, the advertising often serves as a form of editorial."

What I said in the previous post — the prevalent pageview model is further toast if Adblocking takes off. And it will. Look at the conniptions caused by DVR technology so people like me can blast over the commercials. I’ve seen surveys of site readers where as many as 75% claim to be deploying ad blockers — no popup blockers — but ad blockers.

Doc is right — it’s the old Cluetrain Manifesto central tenet of the conversation with the audience, not treating them like anonymous eyeballs. 

Death of the Page View Model

Marketers See Opportunity as a Web Tool Gains Users – New York Times

While the silent avalanche of online sweeping over print that has overtaken many MSM publishers in the past two years continues, another equally dramatic shift is hanging over online itself, threatening a publishing model that has sustained the business for the last decade.

I speak of the pageview, that holy measurement that combined with unique visitors represents the canon of reach and popularity among publishers and marketers.

In the vaunted world of Web 2.0, the pageview is dead, done in first by the search driven behavior of users who avoid branded-browsing (typing in URLs and flocking to known sites) and do rifle-shots based on keyword and keyphrase-driven "need" sessions; and now by the "Tivofication" of the online experience thanks to RSS.

Matt McAlister, the online GM at InfoWorld, has sounded the alarm that old online models of building audience and attempting to build pages viewed per sesssion from 2 to 3, to beyond is at risk thanks to the user-aggregated time shifting brought on by RSS and podcasting.

While RSS advertising is at its infancy — think of the days when HotWired started serving 468×60 banners in ’95 — publishers need to start freaking out now, not later, and give up any shred of hubris that they will be able to build audiences within their sites.

The implications of this sift from building pages to building streams is huge, and will have a big ripple-down effect on infrastructure from content management to measurement.

The fact that InfoWorld is now pushing all of its content down the RSS pipe is an indication of McAlister’s conviction that the avalanche is ready to start rolling.

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