11 Hours Left To Claim Your App.Net Username...

App netYesterday, App.Net hit its funding goal of $500,000 USD and at the time I write this it has cruised over $745,000 with 11-ish hours left to go!

As I mentioned in my report into FIR podcast episode 660 back in July, App.Net is an interesting experiment into seeing if a real-time social communication platform can be created without advertising and instead through soliciting paid members.

One note... App.Net is NOT just another "Twitter clone". Here are two good perspectives on why App.Net is different:

In my report into today's FIR 664 episode, I spoke about what this successful funding means... and about the ecosystem of applications that is already developing around the App.Net alpha.

This is excellent to see... and definite congratulations are due to Dalton Caldwell and the whole crew!

IMPORTANT NOTE: App.Net may or may not take off wildly (obviously those of us backing it hope it does!)... but if it does and you would like to use the same username you use on Twitter, you only have until midnight US Pacific TONIGHT to back the project and claim your username. As Dalton Caldwell writes:

Please note that once the backing period is over, users will no longer be able to “claim” their Twitter usernames. From that moment forward usernames will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis. We implemented “claiming” as a fringe benefit for our backers, not as a go-forward plan. I want to make sure that latecomers are not surprised and disappointed to see that they can no longer get their preferred username.

If you'd like to claim your username, you can go to https://join.app.net/ and sign up as a backer... yes, it will cost you $50 for a year... and yes, the project may or may not turn out to go anywhere... so you have to make your own decision as to whether or not it's worth the investment.

For me, I gladly backed the project because I see it as potentially offering more competition into the space... and I was a huge fan of the original idea of Twitter as an API-centric social communications platform. I've been disappointed with the change in Twitter's focus, and I'd like to see where App.Net goes.

What do you think? Will you back App.Net? (Have you already?)

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The Internet Cries Out Its Collective Wail of Anguish At The Passing Of Steve Jobs

There are no words... although many are being written.

On an intellectual level, perhaps, we knew it was coming. When he stepped down as CEO back in August, we knew Steve Jobs was in trouble. No one who is as much of a control freak as he was would step down unless things were really not going well.

But still...

... emotionally we hoped against hopes that His Jobsness would somehow cheat death and stand up on stage yet again to give us...

"one more thing"

... one more time.

But... icon, visionary, leader, maker that he was... he was of course only human.

With all the mortality that implies.

And so ever since the word of his death started spreading last night, the Internet has been awash with the collective cries of anguish.

Techmeme, at this precise moment, is a wall of tributes to the man.

Many are incredibly moving... incredibly poignant... incredibly powerful...

"#ThankYouSteve" has been at the top of the Twitter trends. Google has changed its home page to have a link over to Apple's page. Wired has turned its home page into a wall of quotes about Jobs.

Everywhere a thousand other tributes are being posted.

A powerful day of tributes to a man who did so much to change our industry and indeed our world.

I don't know that I can personally add more than what I wrote back in August...

Thank you, Steve Jobs.

He leaves us with a legacy of design...

... of remembering that we need to focus on form as much as function (if not indeed more)...

... of thinking not of what features we need to add to a product or service, but rather what features we need to remove to make the service even simpler and easier to use...

... of remembering to focus on the user experience...

... on the need to embrace the "magic" of what we are doing and to create products and services that truly amaze and delight us...

... and to not settle and to live each day as if it were our last.

If you have never watched his powerful address at Stanford in 2005, take 15 minutes and watch this video:

One of Apple's best known advertising campaigns was the "Think different" series - and they had videos with a narration about "Here's to the Crazy Ones". The folks at 9to5 Mac found a version that Steve Jobs himself narrated:

Naturally, there have been several remixes of this commercial text (although not Jobs' narration) with images from Jobs' history. Two I found moving were this one:

And this one from Gizmodo:

Gizmodo stevejobs tribute

And yes, I admit to shedding a tear or two as I watched these...

There were a zillion tweets about Jobs... and one that I'll close with is simply this:

Twitter stevejobs

R.I.P., Steve Jobs.

Thank you.

P.S. GigaOm ran a nice collection of quotes from Silicon Valley leaders.

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My FIR Report for October 3, 2011

Shel and Neville were recording Monday's "For Immediate Release" podcast episode over the weekend, so my report has already been sent in. This week I covered:

Of course, to hear all of that, you'll need to tune into Monday's edition of the FIR podcast after Shel or Neville posts it. Enjoy!

Heading out to Enterprise 2.0 conf next week in SF...

enterprise20-2009-boston-1.jpgOn Sunday evening I'll be heading out to San Francisco were I'll be speaking at both Enterprise 2.0 and VoiceCon next week at the Moscone center (they are co-resident). As I outline on a page on the Voxeo Talks blog, my talks at Enterprise 2.0 will both be on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. The first is:
11:15 am–12:00 pm – Case Studies In Enterprise Micro-Blogging Micro-blogging is taking hold within the Enterprise. The social aspects of real-time messaging promise to improve productivity, knowledge sharing and community-building. Organizations pursuing “Enterprise Twitter” solutions however face numerous issues: *What is the business case (including metrics and ROI)? *What are the policy, security, compliance, and discovery implications? *Are there best practices to help with employee adoption? *What application scenarios work best? e2 Moderator – Irwin Lazar, Vice President, Communications Research, Nemertes Research
Speaker – Brad Garland, CEO, The Garland Group
Speaker – Dan York, Director of Conversations, Voxeo Corporation
Speaker – Scott Mark, Enterprise Application Architect, Medtronic
Speaker – Wim Hofland, Manager, Inspiration and Innovation, Sogeti Netherlands

It should be an interesting discussion, particularly because my views on "enterprise micro-blogging" have evolved a good bit (and not necessarily in a positive direction) since I wrote my long piece a year ago about Yammer, Present.ly and Laconica.

Next up, and on the same general theme, is a "reactor panel" that is a bit of reprise of a similar panel at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston earlier this year, although with different participants:

4:15 – 5:00 pm – The Future of Social Messaging in the Enterprise The rapid rise of social messaging services such as Twitter creates challenges and opportunities for end-user organizations. How can end-user organizations utilize social messaging to improve external and internal collaboration? What’s the role of social messaging in a unified communications and collaboration architecture and how are UC&C vendors incorporating social messaging into their products? How can organizations embrace social messaging in a way that is consistent with needs for security, governance and compliance? Will the rise of public social messaging services render investments in unified communications moot? Join us for a free-wheeling discussion into the all of these topics and more. e2 Moderator – Irwin Lazar, Vice President, Communications Research, Nemertes Research
Speaker – Akiba Saeedi, Program Director, Unified Communications and Collaboration, IBM Software Group
Speaker – Dan York, Director of Conversations, Voxeo Corporation
Speaker – David Sacks, CEO, Yammer
Speaker – Eugene Lee, CEO, Socialtext
Speaker – Paul Dunay, Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing, Avaya Inc.
Speaker – Vivek Khuller, President and CEO, Divitas

Again, it should be an enjoyable session... particularly if we get to have a bit more of a discussion.

Both sessions are "slide-less" in that we as participants are not showing slides... just discussing the topic.

On Thursday morning, Irwin Lazar and I also have a "Deep Dive" on "Web 2.0 in the Enterprise", although interestingly that is going on over on the VoiceCon agenda.

Anyway, if you are out at either Enterprise 2.0 or VoiceCon, do drop me a note and perhaps we can connect somewhere out there. You can expect, of course, that I'll be tweeting from the show on probably both @danyork and @voxeo.

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Social media: Where brevity is appreciated, where clarity and simplicity win

This morning by way of Skype's publicist Chaim Haas, I learned of Renee Blodgett's interview with Robert Scoble Skype's chief blogger Peter Parkes (direct link to video). The interview itself was quite interesting as Peter spoke about the role blogging in particular plays within Skype and about his role as "chief blogger", as well as how it has changed since he began in 2006. Robert Scoble also gave his perspective on how corporate blogging has evolved. It was an interesting discussion.

One phrase of Peter's, though, stuck out in my mind as being so accurate about Twitter and really the whole current state of social media:

It's actully quite refreshing to be able to work in an environment where brevity is appreciated, where clarity and simplicity win.

Indeed. A nice concise summary.

As I wrote about way back in December 2007, using Twitter is my daily lesson in attempting brevity. As I wrote there, it's hard for an old-school trainer who wants to be sure that everyone completely understands to learn the art of conciseness and brevity. I keep trying ;-)

The full video, which is worth watching, is here:

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Twitter's SPOF Stupidity Continues: Ever hear of redundancy?

twitterlogo.jpgWhile much of the blogosphere is currently dwelling on how great it is that Twitter is postponing its maintenance to allow Iran-related communication, my mind is still reeling from reading the Twitter blog post, particularly this part (my emphasis added):
A critical network upgrade must be performed to ensure continued operation of Twitter. In coordination with Twitter, our network host had planned this upgrade for tonight.

Like Chaim Haas, my reaction is... why is that "network host" singular?

Given the millions of people now using Twitter on an ongoing basis... given the incredibly large ecosystem of applications and systems linking in to Twitter... given the very real communications uses that Twitter has evolved to have... given all of that:

why does Twitter not have redundant connections?

This is really "Network Infrastructure 101" when you are supplying a hosted service. Anyone providing a cloud-based service should ensure that they have redundant network connections... redundant providers... redundant everything. Coming from a company (Voxeo) that provides a hosted application platform, it boggles my mind that Twitter would need to take its system down for "network maintenance". We would never do that... our customers wouldn't stand for it!

And that is perhaps the issue... we have customers... Twitter has users.

We ensure that we have multiple redundant providers and networks... because our customers pay us to ensure that their applications are always available. Twitter can get by on "best effort" - and on a single network provider - because no one pays...

Twitter continues to be a massive...

Single Point Of Failure

One company... providing a messaging infrastructure... obviously based on one network provider.

This is my personal frustration with Twitter. I've been using it for now 2.5 years or so and continue to see so many benefits to Twitter, yet as someone who has been involved with computer networks for 25+ years, the very idea of a SPOF is hideous. I'm much more interested in distributed architectures like what we see with Laconi.ca and Identi.ca,(As I wrote about a year ago.) or what Google seems to be promising with Wave.

Yet Twitter's simplicity... it's directory of users... it's easy APIs... it's ecosystem... all of those things keep us using its services...

So while I commend Twitter on listening to their users and postponing their maintenance window... I ask as a long-time user -

why do they need a maintenance window?

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Initial thoughts on Nambu as a Mac Twitter client

nambulogo.jpgRecently in a bit of frustration, I decided to shift from using an Adobe AIR-based Twitter client on my Mac over to using Nambu, a native Mac OSX app. My frustration is due to the fact that all of the major AIR clients - Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck and Twhirl - seem to suffer from the problem of consuming a serious amount of CPU usage on my MacBook Pro. I don't know if this is an inherent issue of using the AIR abstraction layer, which is another layer sitting on top of the operating system, or if the problem lies more in the programming of the applications themselves.

Whatever the case, in frustration this week when my CPU was yet again high and the Activity Monitor showed that the second highest app was one of the Twitter clients, I went off and installed Nambu to give it a try. (The application which is inevitably sucking up the most CPU on my Mac is Firefox... which is why I'm dearly waiting for the real build of Chrome so that I can find and kill off tabs of poorly-written web pages!)

So far, I've been very pleased with how Nambu works. Most importantly for me, I can use multiple Twitter accounts. (I tweet from both @danyork and @voxeo and occasionally a couple of others.) All in all the experience is very similar to that of Seesmic Desktop or TweetDeck. There are, though, some differences which I thought I would note here while I think of them:

  • "Compose" field is at the bottom of the screen, versus the top as in TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop. (Not bad, just different and takes some getting used to.)

  • "Compose" field doesn't stay open after you tweet. So if you flip to the Nambu window you can't just click in and start typing. You have to either click the "Compose" button at the top or press Cmd+N to start a tweet.

  • Both TweetDeck and Seesmic (and other Twitter clients) have this UI component where you can go over the picture of someone and have actions right there to either reply, retweet, direct message, etc. In Nambu you have to either click the gear icon on the opposite end of the tweet and then go down to a menu choice... or click on the tweet and click on one of the buttons on the menu at the top. (For me, one value in a desktop Twitter client is speed and the ability to just quickly scan through and act on various tweets. Single-click action buttons are nice for this.)

  • Inability to resize the columns. Ideally I'd like to see more columns on the single page (so that I can visually monitor a bunch of searches at the same time). I'd like to make the columns smaller if I want. (Note that I can't really resize the columns on Seesmic or TweetDeck, either.)

  • "Sent" column doesn't differentiate between tweets/replies and direct messages. All are just shown as "sent". It would be nice if there was a visual clue as to which ones are direct messages.

  • When you click on someone's twitter name, such as "@danyork", you get a list of their recent tweets - but I couldn't see any way to reply to a tweet from that window. I had to click a button to go to their Twitter page to do that.

  • That I could see, there was no "in reply to" feature that would show that a tweet from someone was in reply to another tweet. Now... Nambu does have a VERY cool feature that replies to a tweet are threaded underneath the main tweet... if you can find that original tweet. If you can't find that tweet, though, you are left not easily knowing what the original tweet was.

Again, overall I've been quite pleased with Nambu in the few days that I've started using it... I'll write more here as I use it more.

Comments are, of course, welcome.

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140 Character Conference next week in New York...

140charconf.jpgAre you interested in the disruptive role that Twitter is playing in the media / communication landscape? If so, are you planning to head to Jeff Pulver's 140 Character Conference next Tuesday and Wednesday, June 16 and 17, 2009, in New York City?

Alas, my schedule takes me elsewhere (Orlando, Florida) next week, but if I were available, I'd definitely try to be there at the event. The schedule looks great and the speaker list (aka "cast of characters") is a veritable "who's who" of the social media space.

It truly does look like Jeff has put together a great show... and I expect we'll see LOTS of twittering early next week! (You will be able to watch here: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=140conf )

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Revisiting "The Dark Side of Status Updates" - a home potentially burglarized after Twitter updates

Back in November 2007, I wrote a post here called "Twitter is Terrific for Thieves - The Dark Side of Status Updates" about the danger in giving away too much information on Twitter (and Facebook, etc.) and how that could potentially lead to someone burglarizing your home. At the time it led to some interesting conversations on Twitter and in the comments.

Fast forward 1.5 years and many million more Twitter users... it appears (and I must emphasize appears) that precisely that kind of thing did happen in Arizona:

Home burglarized after owner 'twittered' he was leaving town


The homeowner very unfortunately was robbed of thousands of dollars of equipment. The Twitter connection was mentioned here:

"Every one of them that reads my tweets that I sent out knows that I was heading out of town," said Hyman, "I've got it set-up where Twitter goes into Facebook, so it could be someone I know about on Facebook."

However, and this is the part that needs to be emphasized, there is really no way to know if the thief/thieves were watching Twitter or if it just happened to be a random theft. As the article says:

Unless the crooks are caught, Hyman said there's no way to know for sure if this was a random act or if he was targeted.

And that's exactly right. It might have been someone who saw equipment in the house through windows. It might have been someone who knew there was a tech business operating out of the house. It might have just been someone randomly breaking into homes.

Or it might have been someone monitoring Twitter.

We may not ever know. As I mentioned in my original post, though, it's important to think about what you say in Twitter or Facebook status updates. Do you really want to tweet that you home is going to be vacant for the next two weeks? Do you want to post the update that you had to leave the 72" plasma TV on the back porch until you could clear up the wall space? :-)

Ah, the brave new (open) world we all live in...

P.S. Hat tip to Todd Van Hoosear for re-tweeting about this Arizona article

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Have you looked at the Twitter Fan Wiki lately? Amazing number of tools...

239F0ED3-565A-4A5B-8B96-F77D463A8AB2.jpgWow! Have you looked at the Twitter Fan Wiki lately? It is at:

I wound up there late last week for some reason and realized that it had been many months since I had visited the page... what an incredible number of apps built around Twitter! There is no official "count" that I could see, but dumping the page source to a file and grepping for <li> in the relevant part of the file gave a count of close to 700 listings.

If you haven't taken a look at this view of the Twitter ecosystem lately, it's worth a look. (And if you are looking for topics for your blog, you could just start at the top reviewing Twitter apps and you'd have no end of things to writing about...)

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