Twitter, the Coup in Social Media that Is Past Due

In all the buzz over new media, social media, Web 2.0 (fill in the buzz words), there is something that has been really lacking. Sure the various social services out there make a valid attempt at addressing real-time interaction, but the strength of IM has remained the strength of IM – instantaneous.

Recently, the most simplistic, yet so powerful service, Twitter emerged on the scene with one purpose. It’s not to make business connections. It’s not to find like minded companions or to reconnect friends of interest. No, the service is designed with one goal in mind and that is to tell the world “what I’m doing right now”.

If you’re like me, you thought, nifty but useless. Like 43things. Nifty. Totally useless. Especially for business.

However, I’ve been paying attention to Scoble as he has been using Twitter for some time now. He has posted some very entertaining things about it, but in the end my verdict has always been: Nifty, yet useless.

Then someone posted yesterday, I thought it was Scoble, and commented that he uses Twitter because it gives him an eye inside the mind of early adopters. Now that is useful. So I set up my account and to be honest, it’s addicting.

Yes, on the surface it is posting about what I’m doing right now. However, Twitter has provided a number of useful public-facing methods that allow Twitter’rs to engage in the service using Instant Message (AIM, Gtalk, .Mac, Livejournal or the open Jabber protocol) as well as via text messaging from your phone. And with an open API, I’m even able to engage the system using any number of tools such as TwitterPost.

Now suddenly, the social networking paradigm has become instantaneous in a way that other services haven’t.

Already this morning, a number of the people I have chosen to follow (they may not even know – the service is that passive and non-invasive) are carrying on a variety of conversations on a level I’ve not seen in simple IM, nor on social networking sites.

And of course, there is a whole Twitter Optimization (like Search Engine Optimization) that can be used to drive traffic and promote stories. I expect sooner or later, we’ll start seeing spam.

Twitter me This, Twitter me that. Do you Twitter? If you do, feel free to add me as a friend, and I’ll return the favor.

New Series: Practical Advice for writing a Business Plan

I have been thinking a lot about how many entrepreneur’s ask “should I write a business plan?” and regardless of what you think should go in one or what format it may take, the answer is essentially yes.

Then I started to look at all my previous business plans and those I have advised on and reviewed for feedback. Most were written for the purpose of presenting to investors with varying degrees of success. The others were operational and an exercise in strategy and vision to ensure that everyone understand where the company is going so there is proper execution.

Now there are many people that are WAY MORE knowledgeable about writing these types of documents and many have written good blog posts on “writing business plans“. What I would like to do is take a look at this document and provide all of my readers out there with some real practical lessons and how it should be written if it is an internal use document or one for investors.

Look for this start next week and I will do about a section a week. For those of you out there with experiences to share, comment away. For those of you who have written them I hope to make you laugh and I look forward to your perspective and anecdotes.

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Conversation Surrounding Windows Vista

I don’t normally take one post and turn it into another one via the comments, but I am making an exception today. The reason for the departure in usual tack is that I wrote a joking post back in February of 2006 about Windows Vista. The crazy thing is that today it is ranked extremely high for the search term “problems with windows vista” (#2 in Google at this writing). Bingo. Jackpot. The post sat idle for almost a year until Microsoft released Vista and then, what do you know, it now is one of the biggest traffic magnets at this site.

The crazy thing is that since I don’t usually talk about Windows Vista, or Operating System stuff in general, the conversation surrounding Vista stays isolated to that post. And the truth is, regular readers never see the post – even though there’s quite the lively conversation going on over there.

So I’m taking the comments that really have nothing to do with the post, summarizing them here in this post, and turning all of you loose so more people can participate in the dialog. (Spelling and typos corrected)

To start with, commenter “Vandal” comments:

Last time I checked, Mac is the only OS that ever shows up in movies. In any case, Windows Vista is a “œWholly Crap! NIGHTMARE!” “¦ You talk about wanting my $256 back really bad right about now. I could send you a boatload of error “œsnippets” that I’ve taken in Vista Home Premium in the past couple of hellish days since buying it. I’m almost in tears it’s so freakin’ bad. I have a nice clean version”¦still in the plastic”¦of WIN 95. I think I’m going to install it on a dual boot just so I can use my computer again.

Reader “ash” states:

I have a dual core AMD and 2 gigs of ram, at times it runs great. But 3 quarters of the time the system resources are such a hog that it is like i am running on a p3 with 256 mb of ram. Vista is crap right now and i hope for everyones sake Microsoft addresses this issue in the near future, otherwise Mac may be the way of the future. That would be most unfortunate cause all our computers would then look like a little childs computer.Don’t believe the hype of an OS that has been put out 4 years before it was actually ready.

Vizagg adds:

CD burnt on Vista are having problem recognizing in Windows XP. It says file is corrupted, etc. .. Ha Ha.. wasted two CDs.. They really need to think again.

Cruise says:

I have to laugh at some of the comments given about Vista, and i feel for those of you that took the jump to purchase Vista. Bad move. Whats more i can see that more than half of you are computer and OS saavy,so i sit here scratching my head wondering why you would buy it. Take a tip reformat your computers and reinstall Win XP, save yourselves the stress lol.

Keith Brooks makes the comment:

I purchased Vista Home Premium and it truly suck’s . Windows Update takes 8 or more times downloading updates to actually install them.

It has downloaded definition updates for Windows Defender and failed to install them for over 2 weeks.
The Free 3 Month’s of Tech Support that come’s with Vista is a joke. I e-mailed them last Sunday and still haven’t recieved any real answer’s or solutions for the numerous problem’s this o.s. has caused.

I ran the Upgrade Advisor at Microsoft’s website before Christmas and it said my p.c. could handle Vista Ultimate , if I removed X.P.’s Power Toys and updated my Video Card driver.

Now , I get error message’s when I try to use my Lexmark X7170 Printer ,
One Touch 2 portable H.D. and it also doesn’t recognize my T.V. tuner / F.M. radio card.

It recognized all this and said everything I just listed was compatible.

Did Microsoft change the Vista compatibilities since before Christmas when I ran there Upgrade Advisor at there Web Site for it .

What a joke and nightmare rolled into one.

P.S. If your considering Vista repeatedly rethink about it as Aero , User Account / Parental Control’s and Media Center aren’t worth the headache’s for the price any version of Vista cost’s.

Be very careful in your decision making , when it com’s to Vista as it could be another 5 years for the next version from Redmond .

RyanDigitalArtist came up with the latest diatribe:

WINDOWS VISTA IS NOT CRAP, its just a long way from finished, what they seemed to have done was release the beta in the form of a final copy. AND WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE ““> dont you remember when xp came out, it had a million more problems than vista has now. Never forget the past, wait a year then buy it, they should have the major bugs fixed by then and then all will be good.

To which David Nick responded:

Say RyanDigitalArtist?

If all we had in this country to drive were Ford Escorts or Yugo’s and you didn’t own a Yugo because it wasn’t well known, so Escorts were your thing, and then because of the lack of diversity you were forced to endure malfunctions, driving along at highway speeds when suddenly your car craps out on you, and each 5 years you waited for a new version of an escort only to see the same damn thing happen”¦.tell me”¦how long you’d defend Ford because their last Escort had the same problems and it only took them 5 years to work the kinks out?

Seems to me your are defending the indefensible. There is no reason to release Vista when it’s obviously flawed while they have XP and in its current state seems to work. Why not focus on fixing the problems and security with the current one rather than force us to swallow yet another mega-blunder?

Strange eh?

I think it’s best to carry the conversation here? What do you think?

Gnomedex and Events

Since I started at b5media back in October, I truly am experiencing a completely different way of living my life. I mean, I work from wherever I want to, I keep the hours I want to, and I interact with people that are so anti-corporate. More of my life revolves around entrepreneurs and not cube rats. My role is one of influence as opposed to that of being a follower. I travel now, generally once a month, and in general have a more diverse life.

Part of my life as it is now involves conferences and gatherings. I often meet with bloggers and local entrepreneurs as just “par for the course”. But I now have the ability to attend events. And that is something I really, really enjoy. Some of the events I enjoy more than others and others I sadly just cope with. Since last year, I’ve been at WordCamp in San Francisco and Ad:Tech in NYC. The latter is one that I “cope with”. This year, I’ve got a couple events on the calendar already including SXSWi this weekend. I also anticipate attending Mesh in Toronto and Blog World Expo in Las Vegas later in the year.

The big one for the year for me, though, is SXSW. But there’s another one shortly behind – one that probably is not essential to b5media, so it will be one that, if I attend will be of my own design. That is Gnomedex. I really like Chris Pirillo – moreso now as we’ve interacted a fair bit recently and from everything I read, Gnomedex is the epitome of small workshop in a big conference (or is it unconference?) format. And of course, Pirillo is such a ball of entertaining energy, I imagine Gnomedex is just plain fun.

Of course, I need to somehow get my wife to sign off on the $400 plane ticket and $500 entrance fee – but if I can do that, I wonder who else will be there. If you’re planning on attending Gnomedex, please let me know in the comments.

Podcast: Rick Klau of FeedBurner

Rick Klau, Director of Publisher Services, FeedBurnerThis past week, I had the chance to sit down with Rick Klau, Vice President of Publisher Services at FeedBurner. It was a fun interview and he answered some of your questions.

Show Notes:

  • 1:00 Introduction of Rick Klau
  • 2:02 I’m getting better at podcasting, especially with SuicideFan.com
  • 2:40 Rick and Aaron talk football and my prediction that David Carr will go to Chicago
  • 3:30 Head of Publisher Services at FeedBurner
  • 4:00 Google Reader and Feed reporting, user engagement, etc
  • 6:27 Feedburner has the bulk of the “head of tail” feeds in the world, but much to be done with the “long tail”
  • 8:00 How is the distribution of content viewed and FeedBurner’s role in helping producers track that
  • 9:45 Web 3.0? The third dimension of conversation?
  • 11:50 Are feeds really the most effective way to distribute content in a multi-dimensional web experience?
  • 14:53 Social Media. Bringing RSS to the Masses? No one should know what RSS is or mean.
  • 15:58 My Barack Obama, MySpace, Facebook and and social networks
  • 19:38 Shawn Blanc, Kansas City, MO: With most modern browsers supporting XML and many site stats programs (like Mint) counting subscriptions what is the advantage to the average Joe to use FeedBurner to host his feeds instead of keeping the subscriptions internal?
  • 24:36 Jim Turner, Denver, CO: A question for Rick is about email and databases owned by companies. What is Feedburner doing to help companies convert existing email databases into usable RSS databases that can be used to push feeds of blogs, podcasts and videos to their existing clients and subscribers?
  • 26:25 I yell at my dog. (oops) :-)
  • 27:47 What is the “Event Feed” functionality and how do you use it?
  • 34:55 Rick goes to Colorado for Skiiing at Breckenridge
  • Music courtesy of The Fighting Cocks, courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

BlogNetworkCamp Update

Last week, I mentioned that b5media is cohosting BlogNetworkCamp at SXSW. A little update on this – the original time we had setup had several conflicts that needed to be addressed. We have talked to the other participants (9rules refuses to respond to our emails, oh well) and set the time for 5pm on Sunday afternoon, March 11. The Upcoming.org entry has been updated.

We still need a venue. I’m partial to a place like the Alamo Drafthouse – good food (can I get an amen for Texas steak, please?), good beer, useful for groups – but if anyone, particularly local in Austin, has some suggestions feel free to pass them along. We’ll nail something down in the next few days anyway.

The venue has been established. It is Opal Divine’s Freehouse at 700 W. 6th St and Rio Grande St.

WordPress Breach, not Flaw

Just a clarification on today’s WordPress security breach – I’m getting quite a few emails asking me what it’s all about and still yet, I’m reading lots of inaccurate recaps from bloggers (such as this one) around the net. Let me be clear – this is not a security flaw. This is a security breach. The difference is that a security flaw is an error of mistake. It’s code mistakes and overlooked holes. Security breaches are much more malicious and not a result of inadvertent mistakes in coding. This security breach was the result of a malicious hack on the server that modified already released code. Automattic’s liability in this was not having an MD5 hash of the package for comparison – it was not an inherent weakness in WordPress 2.1.

Just so we’re clear, the problem was not in WordPress 2.0.x, or 2.1 – it was in some releases of 2.1.1. Folks who downloaded 2.1.1 before it was breached may be okay but since there is no way to really know who got the bad stuff and who got the good, the safer bet is to just get WP 2.1.2.

EMERGENCY: WordPress 2.1.1 Hacked, Upgrade Released

Please, please, please go and upgrade your blogs right now if you are using WordPress 2.1.1. As Matt outlines, a hacker managed to gain access to the Automattic server with the file downloads and modified core files. The entire 2.1.1 version has been declared compromised and unsafe. Please heed this warning and go download 2.1.2 right now.

Update: Please direct all questions regarding this breach to 21securityfaq@wordpress.org.

That is all.

My Calendar Mashup

Here’s a mashup I just instituted here at Technosailor after some months of trying to figure out how to do it. First, the premise though.

I keep everything calendar related in iCal on my Mac. That is my point of origin and that is non-negotiable. I also need to have my stuff on my Blackberry as well as Google Calendar, because I share several of my calendars with my wife who uses Google Calendar. I am able to sync my Blackberry with iCal in a pretty straightforward way using PocketMac for Blackberry. The problem always came in keeping my Google Calendar automatically updated with iCal.

I tried several things. Gcalsync was a Blackberry application I tried that I hoped would sync the Blackberry Calendar with Google but I could never get it to work the way it was supposed to. There were always java libraries missing or something. Then, Scrybe looked promising but as of this date, I have yet to hear anything more on its development or when and if it will be released. I waited for awhile until Spanning Sync came around. This was sweet and the missing link in my calendar problems.

I downloaded the application and setup syncing between my FIVE calendars and five Google calendars and have been monitoring it for about two weeks now. Everything is getting sent to Google Calendar every half hour like I wanted.

Now the trick was getting my Google Calendar into my blog. Google has this obsession with Atom feeds that I can’t explain and the native WordPress feed parsing library, magpie, doesn’t have Atom ability in the version that is bundled. I could hack something together with SimplePie or some other feed parsing library but I’ll admit to being lazy and not wanting to do it. So I didn’t.

Yesterday afternoon, however, during my podcast with Rick Klau (to be released on Monday), I realized that Feedburner could supply the last little bit of magic I needed. A feature that came out of their Hack Days was the Event Feed under the Publicize tab. It could turn any calendar feed into a chronologically ordered, future-dated only event feed. Then with Buzzboost, under Publicize > Buzzboost, I could grab code necessary to display the HTML rendering of that feed on my blog.

So, using that, I am now displaying my Public Appearances calendar in the sidebar of this blog. While everything is getting a bit cluttered over there, I expect to make more prominent use of this ditty in my future theme that is being developed.

Tell me what you think and if you think this feature could be useful for you.