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Archive for the ‘TechStuff’ Category

“I’ve learned that big projects have three stages: fantasy, dream and plan. The fantasy stage is all in your head, obviously, but eventually you decide you’re ready to get a little bit more real. The dream stage is where you actually start thinking about the project in practical terms. After the dream you start planning and doing, and that’s when reality strikes. You never succeed in fulfilling a fantasy, almost by definition, because its’s just a fantasy. But the fantasy is what catches the imagination and provides motivation.” — Ugo Conti, in an interview by Todd Lappin for MAKE Magazine.

Much has been written about the impending demise of journalism. No doubt, papers and magazines are in trouble, and with them the usual revenue stream of the professional journalist.

Ellen Goodman wrote a recent column in which she made a great call that crowdsourcing leads to the basing of facts on opinions, instead of opinions on facts. There is truth to this. The famed ‘many eyes’ approach of open source software works best when all the eyes are dispassionately looking for truth, and not spin.

I believe though that journalism has a fascinating future. The key is trust, and for readers to be able to make informed judgements. Goodman pointed out that there seems to be no consequence for bloggers who make things up. Some consequence exists, in that other bloggers may write about their lack of veracity, and individual readers reduce their trust level, but it doesn’t reduce the number of links to the lying blogger’s page and thus does not reduce their PageRank, which is essentially Google’s level of trust that they have something useful or interesting to say.

The web may need an explicit TrustWeb, where users and webmasters/bloggers can state their level of trust in a website or even a website author (the latter requiring some of the semantic web technology that allows more explicit markup of relationships between things). Initial work has been done on Trustwebs (search on Guha + trust web) in a controlled setting. To have a distributed trustweb may come out of semantic technology, or it may get done as some kind of a hack: <a href=”somesite” trustlevel=-8 rel=nofollow &rt;this guy is ridiculous </a&rt;

If TrustRanks become public (and perhaps disjoint – there may be different named trustwebs that propagate separately) you can bet having a high trust level will get a dollar value attached – either from associated advertising or from micropayments from readers. Then abusing the reader’s trust will once again have an immediate consequence to the writer – maybe even more so than an irate boss.

One of the holy grails of programming is the ultimate personal organizer, that place where you can put all your stuff and find it exactly when you want it. In some incarnations it knows what you want before you do; in others its a passive but perfect file cabinet.

Many efforts underway to create the beast are focused on it as a web 2.0 or 3.0 application.

However. To be a really great organizer, the beast has to be FAST. Really fast. Like, no typeahead loading delays, no popup windows, no round trip time, no being down when my Net access is down. The speed should be like the best of the old DOS apps while the feel should be like the slickest and least intrusive modern software. It also has to have large amounts of my personal information stored privately and instantly.

Can this be done in right in a web browser? Ideally it should also have access to my email, and my hard drive. It might be web-enabled, but maybe it HAS a web browser rather than BEING a web browser. I want something like Klipper on massive steroids. Remember everything I highlight, plus all my emails, any web page I bookmark, and make it really really easy for me to make notes about anything and everything, and retrieve them all in a faceted, sortable, searchable way. Fast. Did I say that already?

The real telecommute jobs are often found squirrelled away in forums specific to certain frameworks or languages. Here’s a few that are useful to check:

StackOverflow telecommute jobs are high quality and posted often
Dice telecommute jobs if you like big companies that can afford Dice if you prefer startups (click on ‘advanced search’ to filter for telecommute only)
AdaFruit Job Board
Python job board tends to be in Europe
37 signals job board
crunchboard (extracted from craigslist)
CodeIgniter Job Board (PHP)
Drupal Jobs
WordPress jobs