WebVisions Day 1 review

WebVisions turned out all-in-all to be a good time. The sessions were great and I came out of it plenty inspired and am trying to review notes and reviews this morning so that I don’t lose track of the important bits.

AJAX Inside Out (Workshop)

Jack Herringon
Slides: http://muttmansion.com/webvisions.pdf
Code Samples: http://muttmansion.com/webvisions.tgz

Waste of time. They should give refunds for this. Not sure if it was a horrible mis-communication between WV staff and Mr. Herrington, or between WV marketing and attendees. This was a demonstration of AJAX, that’s all.


Paul Ingram (slides)
Very inspiring talk on ideas; where to get them, and how to bring them to life. I’ve recently begun trying some of Paul’s ideas myself in regards “private virtual parnerships,” utilizing informal collectives of people to build projects so am glad to hear others are comfortable doing this as well (as opposed to creating formal organzations/agreements and hiring employees and contractors). I loved the Segway video (a hypothetical discussion of the importance of the Segway as if all of the initial hype came true) and will have to try to find that.


Social Architecture: Modeling the Next Generation

Sean Madden (slides)
Emergence, ubiquitous computing, calm technology, genetic algrorithms. Wow, this is heady stuff, and apparently this guy grew up in Tualatin, which is a stone’s throw from where I currently live. The driving point is about making systems more flexible and easier to change/evolve from the community’s use. I encourage you read the summaries below, this was one of my favorite sessions and I need to let this sink in a bit more.


Sensory Trasformation: How to Sip from the Information Firehose (Keynote)

David Pescovitz (BoingBoing blogger among many other pursuits)
Interesting stuff on information overload, ubiquitous computing, predicting the future. I enjoyed it. I’ll have to dump all my RSS feeds one of these days and start over, one of things David does to manage overload and find new and interesting stuff.


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Tracking Web 2.0 revisited

By far my most popular post here was the Tracking Web 2.0 recap of all of the various blogs and listing sites. I went back and cleaned it up a bit creating two separate lists. Also, because I’m starting to have fun creating different subscription lists, I created an opml file to kickstart anybody wanting to start following the Web 2.0 world.

If you don’t want to worry about adding subscriptions, a great resource for keeping up on Web 2.0 is the Original Signal singlegator site.

More Portland sites

I’ve got such a backlog of half-written posts, who knows when they’ll ever get completed. Does every blogger have long list of partially completed stuff? Here’s a quick link list though.

This week has seen a relative slew of new locally produced social sites to launch or that I noticed.

Gone Raw
PDX Web Innovators Ray and Kandace from Needmore Designs launched their newest creation at the Wednesday meeting, which unfortunately I skipped this month, so I didn’t get to see it there. Looks like a nice entry into the social food space and seems like a great site to help people get started and maintain when they go raw. Gone Raw follows Cuppin’ which launched earlier this summer.

Art Face Off
Social networking company for artists, curators and art lovers. (via)

12 Step Space
Recovery oriented social networking. (via)

New Portland Web 2.0 startup

It’s rare that I get to use the Portland and Web 2.0 categories on this blog, so this is big news. The newest Portland Web 2.0 startup, stikkit, will be publicly unveiling at the Web 2.0 conference (via evhead). Looks like a lot of familiar names behind this project, so it should be interesting. Good luck guys.

See previous discussion of the Portland web startup scene here and here.

Web 2.0 Job/Gig/Matchmaking Board Roundup

We all got a good laugh (at least I got a good laugh) out of Richard MacManus’s job board announcement, but reality is stranger than fiction sometimes, as they still just keep coming. So, I thought I’d take a moment to recap. It’s been a while since I’ve actually looked for work, but if I ever need to again, I’m honestly glad there are so many resources available now. Down with Monster.com and HotJobs!

Why search so many places, when these guys bring everything to you? And by everything, I mean everything. Of course it depends on how focused your search is, but be prepared to mine though a lot of listings.

Social networking
What you get when you combine social networking with a job site.

Niche job boards
Sure, they all have their own audience right? Wrong. But, hey it’s easy money so who can blame them. Seriously though, if you’re looking for full-time work in a specific industry/field, these are much more focused than the big job sites.

You’re a contract/freelance web professional and you want to get paid for your work? Check these out. You think TechCrunch is going to add a gig board now?

These don’t necessarily pay, but if you’re looking for help on that hot startup idea or looking for the next Sergey & Larry to hook up with, they’re worth checking out.

Crowd sourcing
Have some time and want to tackle some tasks that may earn you some cash? Then crowdsourcing may be for you.

Green Jobs
This category isn’t really tech/web2.0 specific, but if you’re as concerned about the environment as Al Gore is, then this could be your ticket to doing something about it.

Managing your search
We wouldn’t be truly Web 2.0 without something to manage all of this, what with the todo managers, time trackers, etc. growing like weeds.

What did I miss? Add other job sites/board that you like?

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Dare depressed about unoriginality… yet works for Microsoft?

I think a healthy dose of cynicism is a good thing and I’ve really enjoyed Dare’s blog over the years. In fact RSS Bandit was my first reader and really got me into the whole blog thing. I stopped using it when I realized it was too big of a pain keeping client readers updated and syndicated and switched to BlogLines. Anyway, I about choked on my lunch today when I saw his comment about Web 2.0 sites being unoriginal in their use of AJAX, Tagging, APIs, etc. This coming from from someone who works for a company (and even team I think?) that this week released Windows Live QNA, which is perhaps the most unoriginal app I have seen in a long time (hello, yahoo called and what’s their app back), and is perhaps one of the most unoriginal companies ever (ok, they invented AJAX, I’ll give them some credit).

Admittedly, Microsoft has executed unoriginality better than anyone in history and better than the current crop of Web 2.0 startups, especially since they have paying customers. But, my point is you don’t have to be original to be successful, and Web 2.0 founders will find their way with experimenting with these features. We should all think hard about the value of adding these types of features and strive to come up with innovative stuff, but it’s certainly not sad or depressing to see people give entrepreneurship a go.

Kiko for sale

I can’t say I’m surprised to see Kiko for sale on eBay (via OnStartups). Not that I thought Kiko was bad (though it ran up against Google as noted previously), but because I agree with Dharmesh and think this will become a rather common occurence in the not so distant future.

With all of these Web 2.0 sites coming out, it’s easy for them to fade away and get lost in the noise. When the founders realize that they’re spending all their time on something that isn’t meeting their goals and expectations (whether monetary or something else), they’ll try to sell it and find something better to spend their time on. Why do I think this? Because I’ve had these thoughts about NetworthIQ, and I’m sure there are hundreds of others who have considered it as well. It’s business. Fortunately, I’m not competing against Google and I still have a lot to do before I reach that point.

But, before we get all sensationalistic and start saying this is the start of Crash 2.0, let’s take a step back. The high number of new startups/sites shouldn’t be considered a bad thing that we become too cynical about. If these entrepreneurs succeed, awesome. If not, think of all that’s being learned. Whether it’s gaining skills and experience in software development, or business, these experiences can only make us stronger (as a friend told me, it’s “skill-building”). Nobody is getting hurt, and the good ones will rise above the noise. The Web is not going away. Just be careful, as Rick Segal mentions, not to forget about your day job too soon.

I say ignore all this “bubble 2.0” talk. Investors should be smart enough to identify good risks (note the word “risk”), it’s their job, and there will not be a dot.com public market crash this time because the overwhelming majority of these companies will not go public.

(more on the Kiko blog and of course TechCrunch also weighs in)

Site9 lands funding

A couple weeks back, I noticed a piece in the Biz Journal feed about a web development firm called Site9 moving its corporate headquarters to Portland. I’ve never heard of them and from what I could tell they didn’t look that big to even need a corporate headquarters. But, that’s cool to have another web shop in town, no harm there. Now, they’ve gone and raised some money. Again good for them, I’m happy to see people get a chance to build a business.

But, a couple of things struck me as a bit off. I don’t really understand this software they need money to develop. Pre-built, pluggable modules? Seems like a tough market, as “automatic integration” into an existing website is a pipe dream (though many businesses could very well like to learn this the hard way) and using them to build a site from the ground up is a questionable approach. For proprietary, little-used technology, it would be difficult to find somebody to maintain your site, but I guess Site9, like any good drug dealer (I mean web agency) will surely maintain it for you.

Then they go and try to attach themselves to web 2.0:

“The Web site design and Web 2.0 software development firm”

Hmmm, ok, if you say so. Seems like a questionable use of Web 2.0 that contributes to its derision in cynic circles. Finally there’s this:

“Next-generation features like social networking, podcasting, video-on-demand, RSS feeds, AJAX interfaces and blogs are integrated into the tool.”

A little buzzword happy are we? I mean, c’mon where are the tags? And the APIs? And mashups? How can you be a Web 2.0 software development company without those? 🙂

I wish them luck, but I think their marketing needs some tuning. But, who knows, maybe it works, cuz it got me to blog about it.

More Family 2.0 (I got dissed by cnet)

Back in April I posted (or more like rambled) about some parenting/family sites that were popping up. In a stroke of really, really original thought (I’m being sarcastic here), because they were using what would generally be considered a Web 2.0 approach (collaborative, social, user-generated content, etc.), I called them Family 2.0. Since that time, a blog has been started, Amiglia is using it in their title, and now cnet is running a front page story on it.

Now, how do I say this without sounding petty…. I was essentially the first to publicly spot the trend, nearly two months ago, so it seems like cnet should have tossed a little credit this way (and an upcoming report on the same topic will be doing so). Rachel did in her blog intro, and I appreciate that. It’s disappointing that cnet offers no source and practically claims it as their own idea. Maybe I should’ve trademarked the term 😉 (inside joke for followers of the recent Web 2.0 controversy). Anyway, just remember, you heard it here first.