Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is it hot in here? Apps to help your macbook laptop stay cool

Working at Strands has presented the unique opportunity to work in an all Mac shop, which is fun seeing all the MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs around the office when I’m there. But, as many people quickly discover, these things get HOT, like burn your lap and destroy your child producing ability hot (not to mention the possible damage to the hardware itself). The question was posed at work with the ultra modern social media tool of “send email to whole company” about how to keep things cool. Based on the responses, seemed like information worth sharing.

Three apps were mentioned as ways to help boost the fans and monitor temperatures:

I installed smcFanControl and even after a day noticed pretty significant temperature reduction.

But, I was also reminded of a discussion on Stack Overflow a couple weeks back where Joel recommended an alternative approach to the heat problem, undervolting the CPU, with CoolBook.

So, there’s some options, and make sure you do some research first, wouldn’t want you doing any damage or voiding any warranties or anything.

WebVisions wrap-up

This last Thursday and Friday was the annual WebVisions conference here in Portland. 2008 marks my 4th year in attendance, and I definitely look foward to it every year. You can’t beat the price, it’s one of the cheapest conferences around and with it being local, there’s really not much excuse not to come and check out at least a few sessions and a keynote. Plus it’s a great chance to catch-up with my local developer and entrepreneur friends and meet some new ones.

My main point of feedback for the organizers if they read this. PLEASE PUT KEYNOTES IN THE MORNING!

All in all, WV was pretty good, though it didn’t feel as inspiring as the last couple of years. After last year, I made sure to avoid the workshops. As far as the sessions go, I was entertained and picked up some great info and good tips to follow-up on, but nothing that made me want to carve out a day or so to really think through. I can’t quite figure out why exactly, but one thing that I noticed that I didn’t read a single live-blog or blog post during the conference, it never even occurred to me. That’s a major shift from years past. Why didn’t it occur to me? Make a guess, Twitter. In years past, reading about the conference, during the conference has always kept that mind-buzz going.

Twitter is now the primary forum for conference back channel and instant recaps. Only problem was, Twitter was down for a good portion of the conference, so there was little in terms of immediate response loop. The conversation has migrated from the blogosphere to Twitter, but when Twitter is down, the conversation dies.

Here’s a quick round-up of the sessions I attended. Slide decks for at least some of these available on SlideShare. Other roundups can be found on the Silicon Florist.

RSS: Bleeding Edge Tips and Tricks
I only caught the last half, and I’ve seen Marshall talk about RSS before, but even then I still managed to pick up some new ideas, a testament to Marshall’s ability to keep finding new ways to digest more information, faster.

Drupal: This Aint Your Father’s CMS
I’ve just picked up Drupal in the last couple months for a project at Strands and this was my first opportunity to hear about it and ask questions after having actually spend considerable time working on it. I missed most of the actual presentation, but there was lots of time for q & a which was well worth it. Plus, we got to learn a little bit about OpenSourcery, which was new to me.

Going Fast on the Slow Mobile Web
Great update to Jason‘s talk in February at PDX Web Innovators. Cloud Four has been doing a lot of research on the performance capabilities of mobile phones, and a lot of that fresh new data was included here.

So You Want to Run a Startup
The startup story of SlideShare. This is my first time seeing Rashmi speak and I think it was a good session. Focus on metrics to measure success, understanding the size of your market, pros/cons of different business models, adapting plans to how the business/site/community take-off, and developing key advisors/investors. SlideShare is the poster child of web 2.0 in that it is a pure ad-based business model and its marketing strategy was to get on TechCrunch. They may just have been one of the few to succeed at that, as it they seem to growing nicely.

Star Wars Kid Is Your New Bicycle: The Changing Lives of Memes
Andy Baio’s talk attempting to identify how memes spread. This was definitely the most entertaining session, and I have to admit I hadn’t heard of a couple of the ones mentioned. But, I certainly remember Star Wars Kid and Numa Numa. Bottom line, I don’t think we can ever predict what’s going to truly go viral.

WebVisionary awards
I was excited to finally make it to an after party for WebVisions for the first time. This was a fun event and I managed to meet several tweeps for the first time. But, something that I’ve gotten used to with WebVisions, the online component of these awards is lacking (no nominees or winners listed as of now, but the lack of online presence is something that WV overall has struggled with to the point of giving up this year IMO, and this is a web conference). There was no transparency on nominees and with a couple multiple-award winners (Substance and Colour Lovers) I have to question the value of these awards. Not to take away from the winners, but with that, the apparent lack of nominees and the entry fee the awards just seemed kind of cheap. I suppose that’s why they rushed through them so fast. The ceremony itself was well done though.

Can I get a yay Windows? No?

The glowing apple is becoming ubiquitous. Is this indicative of the conference experience these days?

First a picture from RubyConf held earlier this month:

Reminded me of one of Jason‘s pics from Gnomedex this summer:

I wonder how the audience pics at DevConnections (.NET conference in vegas 2 weeks ago) compare.  Now, why didn’t I buy Apple stock when I first started noticing the geeks and their MBP or PBs back then?

Infrequent Round-up

When there’s some down time it’s nice to get a post out and then not worry about keeping up with the latest goings-on throughout the week so much here. I’ve pretty much gone the Twitter route for a lot of stuff I may have tried to turn into a post before. You can follow me there if you’re so inclined.

Local Signal
Had a couple days to myself last week and was able to wrap up a number of loose ends with Local Signal. First, I implemented session tracking, so items are bold if they are new since the last time you visited the page. Second, I fixed some bugs with the click tracking. I was using an AJAX call in the link’s onclick event, making it completely unobtrusive and not having to resort to those ugly redirect URLs. You can actually see the link when hovering over. Problem was that the AJAX handler was not getting the call in time, before the the browser followed the link. It only worked when opening a link in a new tab or window. Moving the AJAX call to the onmousedown event of the link fixed that. So, that enabled the “popular” pages to be completed. Only, nothing is really popular enough yet to be of very much use, so they’re hiding out at the moment. You can tack on “popular” as the page (in lieu of news, biz or the others) if you’re really curious.

The home page is the only outstanding item at this point before I start pimping it out to a larger audience. Content will continue to evolve as well, but it looks like there are a number of people checking the Portland news page daily, as that page along accounts for half the traffic to the site. I’m contemplating some type of local editor program to have a local representative in each city to provide the best sources and help publicize it.

NetworthIQ
Despite being on auto-pilot as I worked on Local Signal, we had our 2nd biggest traffic event ever this week, adding several hundred new users. The Australian news portal news.com.au ran a great article on why and how people are using NetworthIQ to help improve their finances. The community is still growing strong and has really taken hold without me really doing anything, which is cool to see. I still have a todo list a mile long, but at least it will still be there when I come back around to building it out. In the coming weeks I really need to focus in on the revenue model beyond low paying ad networks, adsense, and link ads. That may actually involve doing some real market research and talking to people *gasp*. While I still got a kick out of seeing the traffic come, and the exposure is great, the rush was nowhere near when the NY Times article ran a couple years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long). A big reason for that is that it really only means literally a few dollars more in my pocket and I know it’s not really going to do a whole lot to put me in a place where I can work on it full-time. It needs to be where when one of those hits, it will mean significant revenue.

The site also got hit by the big Google crack-down on paid links, with our PageRank going from 5 to 3. Organic google traffic accounts for 20% of overally referrers so it’s not something to take lightly, but the drop so far has not revealed a corresponding drop in our SERP rankings.

Ignite Portland

Unless you were living under a rock, or not in Portland, it was hard to miss this week’s big event. Todd and I headed down there and I really enjoyed it. I knew 4 of the presenters, so it was cool to see them do well and I thought pretty much all of the speakers did great. It was also nice to see many familiar faces from PDXWI there. Looking forward to the next one.

The only thing I can remember disagreeing the whole night was the Les Schwab bit. I think they had good service a couple years ago, but the last few times I’ve been there, I’ve been tremendously disappointed at the service and the workmanship (I waited an hour to get a new battery, only for them to tell me it was fine, when I knew for a fact it wasn’t and had to get it replaced soon after elsewhere). I think they’re losing their way, but they have tremendous goodwill still, so it may let them thrive anyway. Despite this, I’m not disagreeing with Scott’s premise, I’d love to see more services from a gas station, but gas and tires are different animals (gas being more cost-sensitive since we buy it more frequently).

Occaisonal Round-up

Local Signal

Continuing to fill out the local content (mainly news, biz and sports) for all the cities in Local Signal. In marketing news, the site was added to the Programmable Web mashup directory which helped drive a nice amount of users this week. There’s a great new logo, produced by Craft Is The New Black. Turns out there are brother-n-laws who are in fact good designers. It’s pretty cool to be sitting around with the family and get some real progress made on a project. Those usually don’t go together very well. Popular items coming this week I hope.

PDX Web innovators

We had a great meeting last week with Kevin, Michael, and Bryan (sp all ok?) from StepChange giving us the ins and outs of widgets, the economy around them and the development of them. Like others have commented, I thought it was one of most productive discussions yet, with the brains cranking on great new ideas. Justin has the round-up, and be sure to take a look at his excellent new design while you’re there.

Ignite Portland

The popular Ignite series is coming to Portland this month. Looks to be a fun night.

Weekly round-up

It’s Friday already, here’s some news to note from the past week or so.

Silicon Florist marks its first month – The best new blog around, if you live in the Portland area and are interested in web/tech, this is a must read. I left a comment about how reading Silicon Florist reminds me of the early days of TechCrunch, Read/Write Web, and Mashable when I was always anticipating the next post to see what great new stuff was coming. I’ve become a bit jaded following the general web 2.0 blogs lately, with their growing need to be businesses and post constantly, and I rarely get excited about anything that is posted there anymore, nor can I ever hope to keep up. So having a locally focused blog makes me feel so much more connected again.

Marshall leaves SplashCast to join Read/Write Web – Speaking of Read/Write Web, Portland’s most famous web guy makes the jump to one of the top Web 2.0 blogs. I love this move. Marshall’s one of the top minds on web analysis and news and it’ll be great to have him back covering the whole web again. BTW, as part of his consulting practice, he’s now offering a social media starter kit which will be great for anybody interested in learning how to corral the vast information on the web. Also, if you’re already fully up to speed on finding news and feeds, but you find too much of it, check out his post on how to read feeds more efficiently and avoid information overload.

CLIQ beta announced – Portland’s StepChange group launches a beta program for CLIQ, a new blog community widget that lets you share content from your “clique” of bloggers. If you’re interested in widgets, either developing or the bursting economy around them, Kevin from StepChange will be speaking at the October Web Innovators meeting. Also, as you can see on my site here, I’ve added a CLIQ widget that features Portland Web/Tech bloggers. If you’re interested in joining, sign up for the beta, or let me know and I’ll send you an invite to the Clique.

Portland Web Innovators on OpenIDAdam put together a great topic and place and the turnout was fantastic. OpenID has many challenges ahead to reach mass adoption, but its great to see people tackling this important area. Special thanks to Jive Software for hosting. I haven’t been as active this year in the Web Innovators but am thrilled to see it thriving now.

Advanced Operators posts its 4th topic – AdvOp is a great new community that brings bloggers/technologists (lots of Portland ones) together every week to focus on a single topic in the form of blog posts and comments. Like Silicon Florist, its another great way to get connected to those around you, and that share your interests. I haven’t participated yet, but hope to one of these weeks, and I enjoy following the threads.

The Casey controversy

You may not have heard (or care much, but I do) that the University of Oregon is bringing back varsity baseball after a 28 (or so) year absence. I think it’s a wonderful thing, though perhaps 10 years too late for me, but still nice to not have to root for the arch-rival come spring time. You may also know that the Oregon State baseball team won their second straight national championship in a stunning run through the College World Series back in June. Their coach, Pat Casey is perhaps the hottest coach in college sports and it came to light this week that the Ducks had maybe tried to woo Casey down to Eugene with their deep pockets. The Ducks denied this report, but it’s still an interesting issue.

Kelly emailed me today and mentioned the subject so I thought it be worth a reply here.

I could go either way on this. For one, big deal if the Ducks tried to woo him, I don’t see that as an etiquette violation. Casey has built OSU into a dominant force, and maybe he’ll win another national title at OSU, but what if he were to undertake the challenge of bringing UO baseball to national prominence and succeed. Then he would prove that without a doubt he is one of the greatest coaches in Oregon sports (and college baseball) history. Nothing like cementing a legacy. He could always turn the job down if he chooses.

On the other hand, I’m perhaps one of the few people who do not like Casey. I can and do respect what he’s accomplished, but hey he didn’t let me on their team and I’ve been known to hold a grudge or two, it’s one of my weaknesses. So, to see a coach I don’t like, coaching my favorite team would not thrill me. If it turns out as reported and the Ducks start with a fresh name with Oregon roots, I think that would be outstanding.

Let Civil War rage year round now. Though since the Ducks will probably suck the first couple years, at least we’ll crush the Beavers with our competitive cheerleading team (the other sport added along with baseball, which just so happens is only the 2nd competitive cheer team in the country). On the plus side for me, whenever it comes up that I played and coached baseball at the U of O, it’ll sound a heckuva lot more impressive without knowing that it was Club Baseball.