Friday, October 20

Another day, another bad day for MySpace

They should really rename this box on the MySpace homepage. It's not a 'MySpace Announcement Page', it's a 'MySpace Apology Page'.

Every day, I login to MySpace to maintain a few different profile pages (professionally, i'm not a weirdo, honest!).

And every day, something's not working properly on MySpace. Often I'm unable to login for a while, clicking a button produces an error page, and those are just the errors affecting me.

Then there's the errors I haven't experienced yet. Because at least once a week, the little 'MySpace Announcement' box is showing an apology from Tom about what's not working right today, with a vague, fuzzy description of what might be wrong, how long it might take to fix, and a glib reassurance.

If Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail has a one day outage, the tech community is up in arms, it gets reported as front-page news, and the world as we know it is about to end. Meanwhile, MySpace, the world's biggest online community, staggers from messup to rollback and on to the next set of glitches, and nobody bats an eyelid. "MySpace has always been buggy, what's the problem?" I hear people say.

The problem is, with the sloppy dev culture at MySpace, one day they'll do something dumbass they can't easily recover from. A lot of user data will be lost, a lot of advertisers will want a make-good, and MySpace will acquire a reputation as the last place you'd want to trust with your personal information and social networks. Then, if people start migrating to another online community faster than MySpace's organic growth rate, the MySpace snowball may hit the wall.

MySpace developer

A MySpace developer at work.

Thursday, October 19

Rip. Play. Infect?

First McDonalds ships an mp3 player carrying a Windows virus, now some units of Apple's iPod have been infected with a virus loaded on by an OEM doing the manufacture of the little white music machine.

So do we now add our portable music players to the long list of things we have to be wary about plugging into our computers? Unless you're a Mac owner, the answer is yes.

No matter how Apple tries to spin the story into a security issue for Microsoft, it's still Apple's OEM chain that is primarily at fault.

Still, the scariest thing for me is that the virus was included in the pristine, shrink-wrapped, new iPod during manufacture. Something about the psychology of viruses means I never consider brand new hardware as a potential source of viruses. A scuzzy, scarred and nearly-full iPod from one of my many phreaky friends? Sure, I'd think twice about that.

But a brand-new iPod fresh out of the shrinkwrap? That's as close to virginal and pure as a device can be! Handed down from on high! It just doesn't feel right to consider it a home to viruses. Which means all the more risk of bazillions of iPod users on Windows getting mass infections.

I believe the Apple community when it almost universally contends that OS X is virtually impregnable. But it's not my Mac I worry about.

Instead, I worry about what Apple might be forced to do to the iPod and iTunes to protect the bazillions of dumb-ass Windows users out there. Things like hard or soft copy-protection, stupid interruptions along the lines of "are you sure you want to sync your iPod now?" which you'd be forced to accept liability for, and further delays in getting more music labels and more artists selling their music on iTunes Store.

Ick. It all smells of additional cruft to me.

Technology - the next big thing!

Thx to Garth Montgomery for spotting this one in yesterday's Courier Mail. Technology? The next big thing? Where you bin the last 30 years, sweetheart?!

For our overseas viewers, I should explain that the Courier Mail is a newspaper published in the northern Australian state of Queensland. Like the southern states of the US, it's redneck and retiree country, and the rate of change is a little bit slower up there.

Wednesday, October 18

Let's wrap your lunch in... fennel cake!

Q: Is the food at Google getting worse?

A: I was worried for a while. But this summer, three new cafes opened that are phenomenal. Chefs left their Bay Area restaurants to come cook at our cafes. Today for dinner we had avocado wrapped in fennel cake, topped with chocolate chips. It rocked my world.

(From an interview with Niniane Wang, a developer at Google.)

Yeah, that would rock my world too. Possibly also cause me to throw up. They call that "better"?

Thursday, October 5

Going Beserk in Berserker

Now, sometimes it gets so hot and humid in Rockhampton QLD it can drive you a little crazy. Still, it can't be good for real estate prices when you actually call a suburb Berserker.

I wonder if they have a problem with violent crime in Beserker? It could certainly make for interesting news reports. You couldn't be accused of stereotyping if you just reported that the assailant "was a Beserker." If that's where they're from, that's where they're from.

Wednesday, October 4

Yahoo! buys - smart buy

Here's a video I made in about 15 minutes using some footage from my phone of my son Alec re-enacting some martial arts dancing he'd seen at the zoo. The soundtrack is an MP3 from iTunes. The titles, edits, effects and transitions are all from which was recently acquired by Yahoo!

Smart move, because Jumpcut is to user-created content what YouTube has been to user-submitted content. Jumpcut lets you create very complex video projects, for free, in your web browser. With the Yahoo! audience behind it, it may be a real threat to YouTube.

Meanwhile, I give you Alec:

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