Flipstart from Vulcan (Demo 2004

Flipstart from Vulcan (Demo 2004 Series – 9): This is a weird little device. It’s essentially a Windows XP computer using thumb keyboard. The dimensions are (from memory, now 4″ x 6″ x 1″) It has a 30Gig disk, and fast chip. It also has built in Wi-Fi. It has a port replicator allowing full size keyboard and screen to be attached. The screen is very high resolution. All in all it looks attractive and kind of useful.


But the pitch was that this was a new approach to mobile computing, what you would come up with if you started with a blank slate, etc.


Watching the demo and then playing with it, I have to say that it didn’t really live up to that claim. I heard this comment repeated by several show attendees. To me, it was, as David Roux used to say, “Just a PC with the air sucked out of it.”


(Vulcan, of course, is Paul Allen’s think tank; Paul Allen being to co-founder, with Bill Gates, of Microsoft. At least that’s how I read the geneology.

Open Source, BlogBridge and Offshore

Open Source, BlogBridge and Offshore Development. I’ve been using several neat offshore development options in my work on Blog Bridge, a new kind of Blog Reader that I’ve been working on (very) part time. You can read all about it: here.

There’s a developer in Russia, a designer in China, a programmer in Norway and one in California (ok, not really offshore.) I don’t want to exagerate, each of these folks has done one project for me, mostly pretty small. It’s been an experiment for me to see how this works and how effective it could be. So far so good.

The designer in China redesigned the www.blogbridge.com web site. You can take a look. It was very reasonably priced and the work was professional. Nothing extremelyy fancy, but clearly fancier than I have the skills to do. The three developers did various pieces of Java code, installation script and even a windows .dll. So, real code: again very reasonably priced.

Open Source. As you may or may not know, Blog Bridge is Open Source. I’ve had several people say, it’s open source and your paying someone to work on it? At first this may sound counter intuitive, but really it’s not at all. After all, if I personally work on Open Source stuff, I may not be paying cash, but I am certainly paying with my time. It’s just that I choose to make the fruits of my labor freely available to anyone who wants it. I see no contradiction.

How the heck does a small shop like mine get offshore development going? This is actually quite cool. It turns out that there are several online ‘markets’ where I can post a functional spec or project description and receive quotes from contractors who want to take on the project.

I have been extremely impressed with the quality of people that bid. How do I find out? Well there’s always a bit of back and forth on email while you are considering a bid proposal. By the questions that they ask as well as the answers they give to your questions, it’s usually pretty clear who’s good and who is not.

My favorites of these markets are Rent-a-Coder for development and Elance for design. I’ve used both to good success. But there are some others that I am experimenting with, that might be worth a look if you are interested: Scriptlance.com, TheCentralMall and Assembla Talent.

If you are a tiny organization or even not so tiny, it’s an avenue worth looking into.


David Coursey’s back! Well, I

David Coursey’s back! Well, I guess I may have been the last to notice. David wrote what was my favorite punditry column when he was at Anchordesk. Then he stopped, and I unsubscribed. Now via a pointer from Kevin W.’s blog I come to see David’s back at it, and right there is his analysis of Social Networks. How apropos!

David says that he’s been getting tons of LinkedIn invitiations and that he’s flattered, but he often doesn’t even remember the person. Oops. I will send him an email. Let’s see if he remembers me πŸ™‚

Social Networking (Demo 2004 Series

Social Networking (Demo 2004 Series – 8) I’ve written a few times about Orkut and LinkedIn and the kind-of-funny-kind-of-strange infatuation with Orkut among the Digerati that seems to have peaked and now died off. Anyway, Friendster was demoing at Demo, so I had a chance to look and talk to them. I learned a few little things:

First off, Friendster has a strong Yahoo influence. I sense that maybe some of the people there came from Yahoo, which tells me that a likely direction for them is to be acquired by Yahoo at some point.

Friendster tries to position itself away from a dating service and more as a general purpose Sociall Networking service. When asked to compare themselves with Orkut and LinkedIn, they claimed to have some millions of users and far more than the other guys. Their comment about Orkut – “it’s 85% men” – tells me something about how they really perceive themselves.