Archive for February, 2006


Too Hot to Hoot

Friday, February 24th, 2006

Michael O’Connor Clarke instigated a great get-together in Toronto last night with Stowe Boyd as the main attraction.

Sutha Kamal snapped a photo of me in my new geeky threads.

Toronto really does have quite a few cool internet folks. I’ve gotta find these things more often.



Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

A great time was had at TorDemoCamp3 last night. Maybe as many as 100 people crowded into the Tucows office and saw demos of some great projects, then progressed to the nearby Liberty Cafe for extended yappage.


  • DrProject: Wiki / Issue Tracking geared to academic use. This project comes out of University of Toronto. I’m impressed that they are actually teaching students how to use source control and project management tools, something that most people learn only after having entered the workforce. A tool made by academia for academia, tailored to fit.
  • OpenBlueNetworks Jewelry Search application. Robin Gambhir has used his family’s 40 years of jewelry business experience and knowledge to build a smart search service that really caters to the retailers.
  • Nuvvo: John Green is at the helm of a young dynamic team that is putting a Web 2.0 face on eLearning. Interestingly, this too is a web-facing extension of a successful family’s accumulated knowledge and experience in a particular field, with expert guidance from John’s parents, Norm and Kathy Green.
  • Geoff Whittington turned his need to network and share with people of different skills and experience into a portal for knowledgeable and talented resources to share and to find each other.
  • BlogChat: I demonstrated the little blog-meets-chat application that I built in 2002 as a means to chat on my own blog, and then developed into a hosted service with my colleague Tim Aiello so like-minded bloggers could join the fun.
  • BlogWare: Tucows’ own hosted brandable blogging service is sold by resellers, much like the rest of Tucows Registrar and hosting business. With a dev team including A-list blogger Joey deVilla, this too is a tool built by the experts in the field.

Maybe you can see the trend here – these applications are all being built by people who know their intended audience, because they ARE the intended audience. In that way, they’ve all got a huge advantage, because the untold hours of toil necessary to make a startup work don’t add up to a minute of hard labour in their minds – it’s their passion.

You could see the passion spilling out of them at the Liberty afterwards. I look forward to getting involved again with the BarCamp gang. Thanks mucho to David Crow for organizing and Tucows for hosting.


Will chats on blogs ever reach critical mass?

Friday, February 17th, 2006

I’m going to go to DemoCamp on Monday to demo BlogChat and get a feel from the dev community whether there is any traction in “chat meets blogs”.

Tim and I have been running BlogChat as a free service for four years now and while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, it has had some consistent followers and users even though it hasn’t been promoted or marketed to any extent.

With some recent buzz about chats and blogs caused by 3Bubbles and Campfire, the tipping point may be on the horizon whereby enough people get to know about it that the minority of people who care to use it beyond the first day becomes a large enough pool to sustain a business model. It certainly hasn’t been that way so far.

What do you think? Will blog-based chat become de rigeur or will it forever remain a niche service? The jury’s out for me, I don’t know either way, I’d like your comments.


Don’t Squish Squash

Friday, February 17th, 2006

Hey, Phil, by all means, don’t squish Squash before it’s had a chance to play out.

I’ve been blogging for a long time now and I’ve been consistently inconsistent. Months of nearly streaming flow followed by weeks of silent ebb. Glorious moments of sharing and collaboration. Rants, observations, laments, odes, screeds.

It’s a bit like a marriage. Just because it changes after a while doesn’t mean that it’s no longer valid, it’s just progressed on to another stage. Stick with it and it will work out well for all concerned.

Phil’s finding new ways to collaborate to make it continue to work – he’s suggesting ensemble blogging. Sounds like a good idea to me.

I’d better not try to extend the marriage metaphor to cover it is all I can say.


Tiny bubbles

Monday, February 13th, 2006

I’ve just been chatting over at in their new Ajax chat app. It looks like a good start. With Jeremie Miller involved, it should have some legs, and they seem to have some buzz support from the valley VC forces. I wrote pretty well exactly the same app in 2002 and called it BlogChat. It has many more features and Tim Aiello and I have been running it as a side project for four years now.

My experience tells me that most people don’t care beyond the first week have a chat in their blog, but then again, 7 years of Remote Scripting advocacy on my part told me that nobody cared about building rich web UIs with asynchronous javascript calls, and then along came Jesse to prove me wrong. It’s all about marketing and being in the right place (Bay Area) at the right time (Web 2.0/Ajax hypefest).

Good luck, guys – really. I know what it takes to launch and you’ve come a long way. It’s a bit like pregnancy and childbirth – just when you’ve finally got to the release milestone, you realize you’re only at the beginning and what a long slog you have ahead of you.


Hi-tech Boondocks

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

My parents live in Parry Sound, a small town on Georgian Bay in Southern Ontario’s cottage country. It’s not a backwater by any means, but not particularly famous for its leading-edge tech community, to be sure.

Imagine my surprise when my friend Shane McChesney pointed me at the Parry Sound website to find a really cool Ajax-driven related-search-results popup that is triggered by selecting any of the text on the page.

As Shane says, this Ajax stuff has certainly crossed the chasm when you find it in such hitherto unexpected places.


Update and scan while you still can

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

Yet another virus is set to cause havok this Friday for Windows users.

Have you heard about the new Unix virus? It comes in source form. All you have to do is visit a website that hosts the virus, right-click and save the file to your hard drive, untar it to a temporary directory, run ./configure, make, make test, then su to root and run make install, then run the program. Poof – you’re infected.