Part 4 – The Reminiscences of Captain Thomas Chatfield

Just posted more of the Captain’s memoirs. He completes his second voyage as second mate under Seth Nickerson, returns to Cotuit, is married, then heads back out to the Pacific for his third voyage. And hasn’t turned 25 years old yet …

Got to meet Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion today

Kind of cool to walk into a meeting a little late, and the first person to stand up and shake my hand is someone who has been in my blogroll for over a year — Steve Rubel of Micro Persuasion and Edelman.

Steve Rubel

I went totally blogger gaga — “I know you. I read you. You’re A-List man.”  My colleagues were taken aback I think.

Wicked comment spam lately

Like hundreds and hundreds a day. All with this really cheesy praise: “I love the information in this blog and the design is so crisp …”

Thank heavens WP 2.0 lets one do mass executions of spam in one click.

Okay … to hell with the K2 theme ….

The verb of the last two months around this blog has been “to bone” — as in, “Dave is a sucker for new versions of software which he is incapable of installating, configuring, and debugging, and hence his blog, and readers, get “boned.”

K2 — the theme from Michael Heilemann, the designer who gave us Kubrick (which alone, given that Kubrick is my favorite director and man who deserved donations from the public so he could make more Kubrick movies, endeared me to Heilemann and his theme and hence his new theme) — was an utter disaster. It came down to exposing my ignorance of CSS (cascading style sheets for my fellow ignoramuses) and life is too hectic right now for me to dick around with an O’Reilly manual in my lap learning about div tags.

So, when Chris Murry at, emailed today to say he had switched themes, I did the same and was done with it.

IE doesn’t like me.

Firefox is fine, but apparently the K2 beta theme is causing IE to mung the display. I’ll work it today or say goodbye to K2 and go with a generic theme.

Foldera – a case study in Web 2.0 Buzz Generation

Hats off to Richard Lusk, the CEO of Foldera. (full disclosure: I am on Foldera’s advisory board and am a shareholder. The relationship dates to the 2002 when I began advising Taskport, Foldera’s original incarnation, on marketing strategy and fundraising).

Lusk has been hand carrying the concept of a web-based collaboration tool for the past four years, putting everything on the line to get his vision coded and launched to the world. Late last month the product went into Beta, and Richard, one of the more engaging, charismatic individuals I have known, went to work putting into practice the art of word-of-mouth buzz building around his product.

TM Beta
First, while there were the obligatory press releases, Richard took the beta to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, who in turn blogged about and opened up the floodgates — positive and negative — all commenting on Arrington’s initial reaction (positive), some screenshots, and the description of the product.

That lead to Shel Israel and Robert Scoble to blog about it, which further fanned the flames — leading to the news that 400,000 beta requests flooded Foldera in a week. That’s nearly half-a-million beta requests. No bus wraps, no billboards, no spam …

Now Foldera is following the GMAIL model of a controlled beta (remember when people were eBaying GMail invites?) and letting a lot of desire build up before slamming their servers with traffic. I’ve played with the product and it’s utterly the personification of viral. You get a free account, you invite other people open associated free accounts, and the thing spreads. Think Basecamp meets Office meets ….

I won’t speculate on Foldera’s chances in the market. The users will vote on that when the cover is taken off, but as far as rollouts go, this is the best example I’ve seen yet of how to take a new Web 2.0 company out the door. Hat’s off to Lusk for scoring a coup in online marketing.

My career as a forger – Part III

Continued from part II

Frank Abagnale inspired me to keep pushing the limit on my forgery story. My editor was getting impatient and asking for some proof that there was a digital forgery issue, and I needed to keep writing the standard Forbes fare of one page company stories and other projects while working on the forgery piece on the side. I knew that unless I could come up with some great criminal cases — “Forger Found in Apartment with Smoking Laser Printer” — I’d have to demo-or-die as it were and cut my own check.

I flew out to the west coast to talk with some desktop publishing and digital imaging experts and analysts, looking at the state of the art (circa 1989) in scanners, image manipulation software and laser printers. All the great stuff was Mac based, and having just left PC Week, the trade paper devoted to the IBM platform, that was going to be a tough transition for me in terms of technical skills. I had no Mac, wanted no Mac, and could not for the life of me understand how people could function without a two buttoned mouse. Whatever. Forbes wasn’t going to buy me a Mac with a scanner and high end laser printer and going to the local Kinkos to rent time on their machines was going to get me arrested, so I found a Rent-A-Mac service and had $7000 worth of Cupertino’s finest iron delivered to my Back Bay apartment, setting it all up on the dining room table. Continue reading “My career as a forger – Part III”

Lunch over IP: On the relative length of languages

Lunch over IP: On the relative length of languages

Bruno Giussani on the relative length of languages when translated. He points to an online translation forum that carried this nugget:

  • Spanish document: 25%-30% longer than the English source.
  • Finnish document: about 30% shorter than the English source.
  • Russian document: about 30% shorter than the English source (same for Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian)
  • From German into Finnish the character count decreases by 10% and the word count by 40%.
  • From German into Russian: about one-third more.
  • From German into English: about one-third shorter.
  • From Georgian into English: about 45-50% more.
  • From English into Estonian: about 30% fewer words.
  • French is 15-25% longer than English.

Naked Conversations: Foldera Simplifies both the Desktop and Collaboration

Naked Conversations: Foldera Simplifies both the Desktop and Collaboration
Shel Israel — co-author of Naked Conversations (see review below), blogs on Foldera, the collaboration, web services company that launched last month.

disclosure: I am on Foldera’s advisory board and am a shareholder.

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