Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sometimes I remember why I like fat clients ...

As everything moves to the big bucket of bits that we call the internet, people get very accustomed to having access to their data wherever they have a browser. It's a wonderful thing.

Generally.

Then you get a time like now where all of a sudden you can't access your email for a while because someone at Google tripped over a power cord. That blows and makes you wonder if thin clients are really that much better.

Then it works again and you go back to living your little happy life until the next time someone spills coffee into a keyboard and you can't access your finances.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Job Spam

So, I've been doing the normal job hunting, updating my Monster resume, adding my resume into Yahoo! HotJobs, and checking some other job boards.

Within 24 hours of my resume hitting HotJobs, I got deluged with the usual spate of "financial advisor" and "make money at home" offers. Honestly, they're just thinly veiled spam. These are just spammed out offers -- there's no relevance to my resume or experience. These companies just have some agents that run and look for new resumes and then send out the spam.

It's not nearly as nefarious as normal spam, since they don't continually email you. But still, it's pretty annoying. I'm sure the same thing happens when you first post on Monster, but my resume has been on there for a while, so I don't remember.

Anyway, I'm pretty unimpressed with the whole HotJobs interface and experience. I just don't think it's nearly as effective as Monster right now. Then again, Monster has the wonderful habit of logging me out every day (even though I've checked to keep me logged in) and then forcing me to go through those stupid advertisment/signup forms that try to trick you into signing up for the Army.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Advertising and Podcasting

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I listened to the most recent Gillmor Gang podcast today. They had on Ron Bloom of Podshow, who are attempting to monetize podcasting. I'm not so sure it'll work as they expect it to. In fact, I think it might fail because it violates one of the things that has made podcasting great: I don't have to listen to advertising.

As I posted in the comments over on the Gillmor Gang blog:
I’m particularly surprised that no one brought up the fact that one of the reasons (I feel) that podcasting has worked so well is that there is *no* advertising (or it is at least minimal).

The AdSense model works because I can ignore the ads — I don’t have to give them my attention, or I can get more extreme and block them using Adblock or Greasemonkey. If the podcasts I listen to started to insert 30-60 second pitches, what separates it from the dying radio model? Even if it’s targeted, I’m still there to listen to the content. If the hosts start to overtly pitch products that are targeted to me, well, then I’m going to give them a lot less attention.

Scoble started to approach this when he talked about Adam Curry’s Sirius show and how it’s missing the wrap arounds that Curry would do on the Daily Source Code that at least gave you the impression that he actually listened and said “wow, this is good, other people would like this.”

Obviously it’s early, but I was just really surprised that this fundamental question wasn’t discussed. I’m not against compensating the producers, I just don’t know if this advertising model is going to work on the audience that listens to podcasts any better than the giant Flash ads that we’ve all learned to block.

Cool iPod / Podcast Feature

So I'm listening to the most recent Gillmor Gang podcast on my Shuffle as I'm running this morning. I get maybe 40 minutes into it and then get back to my home.

I hook the Shuffle back up and it sync'd up the location that I had paused the podcast at. I was able to start playing the show back from iTunes right where I left off. Maybe this is widely known, but I'd never stumbled upon this. Damn cool.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Random Job-related Stuff

Now that I don't work there anymore, I can point to this other blog I created/wrote for: http://www.gildblog.com. I think it came out ok, considering I know nothing about the "leadership development" field. But, considering I don't think anyone else in the company did either, maybe that's not surprising.

WebMailCompose is a fantastic Firefox extension. Now I can click on mailto: links and have them pop open a Gmail compose window. Quite handy when you're job hunting on craigslist.

Speaking of job hunting, I'm not really sure what I want to do. But I've found some interesting stuff out there, so maybe I'll get lucky. In the meantime, I'm probably going to try to get my blog to come up first when you search for me via google. Or at least close to first. So I'll throw a link into myself: Ryan Toohil.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fun with Yahoo! Groups

Not trying to bury the lede, but last week pretty much my whole department got laid off. Exciting times. Honestly, I didn't really want to be there, so it wasn't terribly surprising nor disconcerting. The writing was on the wall when they completely cut the funding for the project I had been brought in to work on. I'll write more about this someday. The events over the past 1.5 years are ripe for many a posting.

Still, I liked the people I worked with, so that part sucked. I decided to follow the example of one of my co-workers from my previous job, who had set up a Yahoo! Group so ex-employees could easily keep in touch. It works really well, and Yahoo! had bought out eGroups (I think that is who it was) and built up a little more onto the interface. And the price is right -- free.

So I set it up and invited some co-workers. Or ex-co-workers I guess. Smooth as silk. Then I say to myself "Hmm, I'd love to be able to add this to My Yahoo! page or my aggregator of choice." I do a few searches and lo! Yahoo! Groups support RSS! Fantastic. The help page says to go to the Group homepage and there should be both an XML and Add to My Yahoo! badge.

Negative.

I search around, try to figure out what setting I need to tweak. Finally, I stumble upon it -- in the Yahoo! Groups help section it mentions that if your messages aren't set to public, you can't get the RSS feed and cannot add to My Yahoo!.

That makes no sense to me. Surely the RSS feed can live behind authentication, just like 90% of the other Yahoo! features, right? Why can't groups with private messages simply have RSS feeds that require authentication. For 95% of users, they're going to access the feed through their My Yahoo! page anyway, so they will already be authenticated, i.e. they won't ever realize that they need to be authenticated to consume the feed because they have to be authenticated to use their aggregator anyway. For everyone else, if they're smart enough to setup an aggregator, surely they can figure out how to access a private feed. I mean, I can do it for my Gmail, why not for my Yahoo! Groups?

Anyway, I'm going to throw this out here and hope that Jeremy Zawodny or Jeffrey McManus are doing Pubsub or Technorati or Feedster searches for their names. I guess email would be the normal way, but I don't want to add noise to (what I assume) are already overflowing mailboxes.