Seattle startup scene

Enterprise Web ConferenceOne of the big shifts we see taking place here on ProgrammableWeb is how open APIs and mashups are moving from primarily a consumer Internet phenomenon to becoming a force in the enterprise as well. The whole rise of “enterprise mashups” exists at the confluence of a set of trends including software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing, and the model of web oriented architecture (WOA) in which the RESTful design principles that underly the Web itself are influencing enterprise architecture and design. To help provide a forum for learning about and discussing these topics, ProgrammableWeb and InfoQ have teamed up to offer a one-day event covering these emerging trends and practices: the Enterprise Web Conference. The event will be held in New York on October 28th and London on October 30th.

The Enterprise Web is a full day conference consisting of two tracks: a REST track that dives deep into REST, AtomPub and web oriented architecture from folks working in the trenches, and an Enterprise Mashups track that tackles this rapidly evolving world of open APIs, tools, and techniques for building mashups behind the firewall.

The speakers for this inaugural event include:

I’ll be hosting the mashups track and speaking on the state of open APIs as they relate to the enterprise.

The sessions are almost identical across both events, some of which include:

Enterprise Mashups Deep Dive
Get the whole picture on enterprise mashups from high-level architecture to best practices, tools and techniques

Intro to REST via Atom and AtomPub
Covers the basics of REST - the reasoning behind HTTP and it’s scalability based on those principles, with examples from RESTful and non-RESTful protocols.

Open APIs
This session looks at the landscape of open APIs, who are the leading providers, what are the technology trends, and how do these fit within an enterprise context.

Starbucks
Explores the fundamental REST concepts and show how they can be used to create robust integration solutions - with all those - ilities that we love, but without all the complex middleware.

Mashup Patterns
Based on the upcoming book “Mashup Patterns” from Addison Wesley, this session will look at the spectrum of the essential mashup patterns and anti-patterns.

REST and the rest of the internet
Combine REST with other architectural styles, over a combination of transports for improving internet service integration efficiency.

Mashup Security
Key security and governance issues around mashups, best practices and the latest tools and trends.

REST, Erlang and YAWS
This talk covers how to use Erlang to implement reliable, highly- concurrent HTTP-based services using the Yaws web server.

REST Overview
A few basic techniques that work to publish a huge variety of objects to the web.

RESTful Design: Patterns and Anti-Patterns
Liss the most common patterns and anti-patterns of applying REST design principles, covering issues such as the (un)importance of URI design, resources vs. representations, and the role of hypermedia.

AtomPub
Discusses how a large telecommunications company has developed RESTful and Web-friendly services side-by-side with more traditional WS-* services.

Visit the conference site at http://enterprisewebconf.com/ for more details. We hope to see you there!

Enterprise Web Conference

by John Musser at September 15, 2008 05:19 AM


When it comes to food, we first eat with our eyes before we even take a bite.  On that note, each week we’re going to feature a tasty photo taken from Menuism’s Food Porn Section.  So the next time you’re dining out, whip out that digital camera, take some pics, upload them and maybe, your photo will be the next Menuism Featured Photo of the Week.  If you want some food photo tips, check out The Art of Being a Phoodie!  This week, let your eyes devour henry_reardon’s photo taken of the Seafood Allora dish from Allora Ristorante in Marlborough, MA.


by abbymenuism at September 15, 2008 04:45 AM

There are several “vintage” motels along Highway 99 in Seattle. I decided to pull over and take a few pictures but there are dozens more and I’ll try to take more over the coming year. I like old motels. Photographing them. Not staying in them.

Klose-in Motel

Green Lake Motel

by Administrator at September 15, 2008 03:20 AM

Doc Searls intention economyDoc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and widely-read blogger and a columnist, revisits the 'Intention Economy' in a post this morning.

The Intention Economy grows around buyers, not sellers. It leverages the simple fact that buyers are the first source of money, and that they come ready-made. You don’t need advertising to make them.

The Intention Economy is about markets, not marketing. You don’t need marketing to make Intention Markets.

.....

The Intention Economy is built around more than transactions. Conversations matter. So do relationships. So do reputation, authority and respect. Those virtues, however, are earned by sellers (as well as buyers) and not just ‘branded’ by sellers on the minds of buyers like the symbols of ranchers burned on the hides of cattle.

The Intention Economy is about buyers finding sellers, not sellers finding (or ‘capturing’) buyers.

What's this got to do with law firm marketing? And lawyer blogs? A lot.

  • Lawyers don't need advertising to make or get clients. Lawyer advertising wasn't even allowed until the Supreme Court decision in Bates versus Arizona.
  • Lawyers get work as a result of networking via conversations, relationships, and having a reputation as a trusted and reliable authority.
  • Lawyers need to proactively do something to get work this way -- you don't sit back and let advertising, marketing, business development, and PR professionals network and reputation build for you.
  • Clients find and hire lawyers who network, build relationships, and create a word of mouth reputation as an authority -- lawyers don't capture clients through marketing.
  • Blogs and social networking tools (Twitter, LinkedIn, FriendFeed, Legal OnRamp, Facebook et al) are the perfect medium for reputation building and networking. The use of these mediums (if that's how to characterize blogs & social networking tools) is not marketing as law firms know it. They are tools used in conversation - just as your mouth and ears are used in offline conversation.

    Use blogs and social networking and you'll have clients seeking you out, as opposed to vice versa. God knows that's always something I hoped to achieve in my prior life of 17 years of practicing law.

    As you know when meeting me around the country, everything I know about blogs, social networking, and the like comes from following folks a lot brighter than me. Doc's one of them. I look forward to meeting him in Santa Barbara or Boston one of these days. It'll be an honor.

    by kevin@lexblog.com (Kevin) at September 14, 2008 06:18 PM

    Eyejot's CEO David Geller joined Computer Outlook's John Iasiuolo Sunday morning for Java with John. Computer Outlook is broadcast "LIVE" Monday thru Friday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm Pacific Time and Sunday mornings 10:05 am to 11:00 am Pacific Time on Fox News Radio Station KDOX – 1280 AM. It can be accessed through www.computeroutlook.com and is simultaneously streamed over the internet by Tech Outlook Central Internet Radio Network www.techoutlookcentral.com.

    by David Geller at September 14, 2008 05:33 PM

    I'm seeing more and more companies using Twitter, not only for strengthening relationships with customers, but also for customer service. Customer service both for broadcasting service messages via Twitter as well as via an RSS feed from Twitter Search to customers' 'tweets' about the company's service.

    The latest is Washington State Ferries (WSF), which I ran into tonight as part of monitoring the terms 'Seattle' and 'Bainbridge Island' on twitter search.

    WSF is using Twitter to broadcast customer service messages like the one here alerting users that the 8:10 ferry running tonight from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, where I live, is going to be late. WSF just started using Twitter today so that's the reason for only 2 followers.

    Twitter customer service

    An example of a company listening to customers talking about the company's service is BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).

    I was returning from San Francisco to Seattle Wednesday night. Sitting on a BART Bus that drives you from the Oakland Airport BART Rail Station to the Airport, I tweeted the following:

    29 minutes later I get the following email alerting me that Bart is now following me on Twitter.

    Bart wants to know what customers are saying about them.

    And Bart is responding in some pretty cool ways to riders 'tweeting' about Bart. Look at the direct responses (they begin '@twtterusername') from Bart in Bart's Twitter feed below. Bart is building fans - though it may scare folks when they get that first direct 'tweet' back from Bart after just 'tweeting' about Bart.

    Twitter law firm client service

    Recently, an airline saw a 'tweet' by a complaining customer stranded by a delayed flight. The airline sent a direct tweet to their customer that if the customer could quickly get to another gate, they could catch a flight which would get them home sooner. Imagine all the people following the passenger on Twitter who were now going to hear about how great this airline was?

    How are you going to use Twitter for client service in a law firm? If you're a large law firm I'd sure be listening to who is mentioning your name on Twitter via Twitter search or a Twitter application like Tweetdeck. I'd be doing the same for all controversial and high profile matters you're involved in - for the names of lawyers, clients, and subjects.

    I'd also be prepared to respond via Twitter, where you ethically can, to what what is being said about you and the relevant subjects you're monitoring on Twitter Search. Both for client service as well as PR. PR because a lot of people, including reporters are listening to Twitter.

    Watch what's going on at Twitter guys. You may pick any number of good ideas.

    Have some ideas on how Twitter could be used by law firms for client service? Share them in a comment.

    by kevin@lexblog.com (Kevin) at September 14, 2008 05:52 AM

    I was working at El Diablo coffee in my beloved Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle and couldn’t help but notice how seriously they take that devil/diablo stuff. Pretty cool. Serious coffee art.

    El Diablo.

    by Administrator at September 13, 2008 11:47 PM

    We’re a group of entrepreneurs in the Seattle area who give and seek advice on running technology startups. We meet about once or twice a month. This is targeted at founders of, employees of, or those folks interested in joining local techno...

    by STS Admin (admin@97.113.64.173) at September 13, 2008 09:48 PM

    Looks like the crew from ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are busy in Toledo, OH, tearing apart Aaron and Jackie Frisch’s home at 6044 Edgedale, Circle, Toledo, OH (watch host Ty Penningon smash a toilet on the front lawn) and building a new one in just five days.

    According to the Toledo Blade’s article about the Extreme Makeover, the house was valued at $135,000 by Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez (our Zestimate is $130,000). She says this house could affect the neighborhood’s overall property values, which will be reassessed in 2009.

    It’s very rare that a brand-new home of this magnitude would be in this neighborhood that clearly has no comparables,” Ms. Lopez said.

    The Frisch family is on vacation to Disney World, courtesy of Extreme Makeover, and will be given the keys to their home on Sunday. But, to the general public, we won’t see this finished house until airtime sometime in November.

    Check out these Extreme Makeover Homes on the market, and some that are in foreclosure.

    by Diane Tuman at September 13, 2008 07:00 PM

     

    Event: NWEN Pub Night  [link]

     

    Date: Thursday, September 18, 2008

     

    Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

     

    Venue: FX McRory's, Seattle

     

    Price: $20

     

     

    by Marcelo Calbucci at September 13, 2008 09:00 AM

    Legal News - LexBlogosphereToday saw an almost surprising number of quality blog posts as Friday's are usually a little bit slower than the rest of the week. This made picking out the better ones a little bit tougher than normal. It's looking amazing out in Missoula, MT; hope your weekend is starting off just as good.

    by colin@lexblog.com (Colin O'Keefe) at September 12, 2008 11:51 PM

    Two major Kennedy compounds are on the market at the same time: First, Ethel Kennedy’s home in McLean, VA, is for sale for $12.5 million and Washington Post’s “Reliable Source” column is reporting that Eunice (Kennedy) and Sargent Shriver’s Potomac home is going on the market on Monday.

    The Shriver home at 9011 River Rd, Rockville, MD 20854, is reported to be listed for $11.8 million. In case you’re confused as to the who’s who here, Ethel was married to the late Bobby Kennedy (brother to President John F. Kennedy) and Eunice is sister to Bobby and John and mother of journalist Maria Shriver, who is married to the Governator — California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    by Diane Tuman at September 12, 2008 09:26 PM

    Everyone at Zillow (and maybe across the country) seems to be stuck on mortgages.  With the launch of Mortgages Unzipped on Wednesday, the Zillow team is drinking the jumbo loan Kool-Aid and dreaming of APR’s, mortgages rates, a mortgage blog, mortgage help…the list goes on and on. TGIF. Heck, with all this press, Fannie and Freddie may even pop up on the “Top 1000 Baby Names” list for 2009 ( FYI: Fredd(y) is currently #620).

    If you haven’t had enough of mortgage speak this week, then check out the Zillow Discussion Boards and chime in over the weekend with your questions and opinions on Fannie, Freddie, and the like. There’s a great conversation going on “Govt bail out Freddie and Fannie, what does it mean for me?” that breaks down the news in plain English. I found it helpful — hopefully you will too.

    For more info on everything Mortgages, tune in to Mortgages Unzipped and Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.

    (Image courtsey of About.com)

    by Whitney Tyner at September 12, 2008 09:19 PM

    The New York Post reported today that Lisa Utzschneider, a Microsoft advertising sales executive, is moving to Amazon.com as senior vice president of national ad sales. The Post cites e-mails announcing the move sent Thursday.

    September 12, 2008 07:00 PM

    OK, this doesn't really have a lot to do with Sampa, with our whiz-bang technology, or our plot to take over the universe.  But it does touch a subject that lots of our users care about, and it's an excuse to post a great pic.

    This entry is the first in what may turn out to be a recurring series of posts about how to shoot great pictures of your kids.  The kind that are light on photographic expertise but heavy on the "adorable factor."  The kind that call out to be shared with loved ones... on maybe, umm... Sampa?

    Today's entry is:
    The spin-kid-around-while-holding-camera-shot



    Advantages:
    You're guaranteed to capture a genuine look of delight.
    You won't need to use any candy bribes to get your kid to hold still and smile.
    It's physically impossible for them to pick their nose while the shutter snaps.

    Disadvantages:
    You need to use two arms.
    One of those arms needs to be very strong.
    Parents can get dizzy quickly.
    Other kids nearby will nag you mercilessly until they get a ride too.
    Good luck trying this with a teenager.

    The Camera Setup:
    If you have a snazzy camera with manual settings (like last month's contest winner), you can simply set the exposure setting to around 1/60th of a second, to get just the right amount of background blur.  If you have a simpler point-and-shoot camera, you'll probably get the best results by just setting it to "portrait" mode and avoiding very bright sunlight (to give your camera a chance to use a slower exposure time).

    The Technique:
    For small children, hold both their wrists together so that you can swing them around with one hand.  For bigger kids, hold one forearm and have the child hold onto your forearm tightly with both hands.  Swing around fast enough that both feet (your kid's feet, not yours) leave the ground.  Snap a picture in mid-spin with your other hand.

    Sound fun?  The little guy above thought so.  We hope you get some great shots using this technique, and invite you to share them with your friends & family on Sampa.  And if you have ideas for other simple, iconic ways to compose and shoot great kid pictures, we'd love to hear about it.  Just send an email to feedback@sampa.com and we'll credit you in a future article.

    by Dave Sampson at September 12, 2008 06:29 PM

    Back in May, I reported on the strange tale of Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn who was charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after paying hunters to kill 32 bison that had wandered onto his Colorado ranch.

    by johncook@seattlepi.com (John Cook) at September 12, 2008 05:39 PM

     

        A few days ago while having a distribution channel discussion, the topic of brand dilution came up if you don't sell directly to the customer and somebody said "you lose control of your brand"... And an automatic trigger fired on my head... "you don't have control of your brand!".

     

        I'm not a brand/branding expert, but I read enough books, talked with enough branding experts and went trough enough pain to know a thing or two about branding. If you think your brand is your logo, tagline, font style and corporate message, then yes, you control it, but you are wrong about what a brand is.

     

        Brand is the perception that people have on their head of what your company, products and services represent. Unless you have a mind-control device, you can't control exactly what people think about your product. Case in point: GM. Do you think GM wants to have a brand of poor-quality, gas-guzzlers cars? But that's people perception.

     

        The only thing you can do is to influence how people see your brand. It takes time and a lot of effort to shift that perception from point A to point B. It's much eaiser to start from zero than from an existing perception (if done right).

     

        The last thing I can say about branding is that actions speak louder than words. Translation: Your product/service will build (or ruin) your brand much faster than any marketing campaign.

     



    Check out: Marcelo Calbucci Blog | Seattle 2.0 | 90 Weeks | Sampa


    by Marcelo Calbucci at September 12, 2008 03:05 PM

    While I call Kirkland (a Seattle suburb located on the East side of Lake Washington) my home today, I was born and raised in a small town in central Washington. Also known as the “Apple Capital of the World” for the valley’s production of apples that are enjoyed around the world, Wenatchee is situated between the Cascade foothills to its West, and the Columbia River to its East.  Given the location and four seasons, Wenatchee is an ideal destination for outdoor recreation.  A few attractions worth calling out:

    • Mission Ridge is less than 20 minutes away and offers great skiing.
    • There are a handful of premier golf courses, including Bear Mountain, within a short driving distance.
    • The Columbia River attracts visitors from far and wide, whether they’re looking to water-ski, camp or fish.
    • The Apple Capital Recreational Loop Trail, the 10-mile loop which runs both banks of the Columbia River, is used by cyclists, walkers, joggers, and skaters, as well as cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter.
    • Last but not least, Lake Chelan is less than an hour away as well.

    When I was growing up, apple, cherry and pear orchards surrounded the community. Over the last 15 years or so, a good number have been sold and converted into housing developments. Due to the rise in maintenance cost and ability to make a profit, many farmers opted to sell.

    None the less, the Wenatchee Valley, which includes East Wenatchee as well, is beautiful and made for a wonderful place to grow up. Small-town feel but not too small (population for the area today hovers around 75K).  I have good memories of trick-or-treating in our neighborhood, spending summers up at Lake Chelan, and skiing at Mission Ridge. Every spring, my family would attend Apple Blossom festivities, including the food, fair and parade.

    Also worth noting, Forbes.com named the Greater Wenatchee area the country’s 43rd best small place for business and careers, making it the highest-ranking small metro area in Washington.

    Oh, and did I mention the world’s largest apple pie was made in my hometown? That’s right, back in the summer of 1997 and citizens of Wenatchee gathered to create the dessert that weighed in weighed in at 34,438 pounds - about two tons heavier than the previous record-holder cooked up in Chelsfield, England, in 1982.

    Zillow Housing Index: N/A
    See Wenatchee, WA homes for sale

    by Elizabeth O'Connor at September 12, 2008 12:00 PM


    Trying to figure out where or what to eat this weekend? Check out your fellow Menuismer’s Gutchecks for inspiration!

    HayleyM ate aloo gobi, vegetable biryani, naan, kulfi.

    EatingIsMyLife ate ginger cod and steamed chicken.

    coconutlimeblog ate a yummy pulled pork + slaw.

    FlavorFinder ate lamb chops, new potatoes, blue cheese crumble salad and fresh figs.

    GreenTallahassee ate yogurt and organic blueberries.

    borvuli ate oatmeal cream pie and milk.

    thaifreak ate cherry delight cheesecake.

    FoodMassecre ate cinnamon toast made from bakery bread.

    typewriterninja ate halibut in soy broth at home.

    graymale ate grilled steak and asparagus.

    If you want to make next week’s list, keep eating and be sure to update your gutchecks!

    by abbymenuism at September 12, 2008 07:46 AM

    Big Fish Games has reeled in the biggest venture financing deal in the state this year.

    by johncook@seattlepi.com (John Cook) at September 12, 2008 07:01 AM

    Seattle's Big Fish Games today is announcing a huge $83.3 million financing round that the fast-growing company will use partly for acquisitions and international expansion.

    It's the state's biggest venture financing deal of the year, so far, and raises the question of whether Big Fish should still be called a "casual" game company.

    Although Big Fish is profitable and growing steadily, the cash puts it in a better position as consolidation comes to the $2 billion industry producing mainstream PC games.

    The deal isn't a normal venture round. Three investment companies, led by London-based Balderton Capital, are acquiring $83 million worth of common stock in the company.

    Those investment companies are buying shares from a handful of angel investors who contributed $8.7 million to help launch the company, plus new shares that are being issued.

    From that perspective, the company's evolving from its roots as an angel-funded startup to a more mature business.

    "We are in the early innings and this is a generational move,'' said Chief Executive Jeremy Lewis, a Goldman Sachs veteran who took over last fall when founder Paul Thelen became chief strategy officer.

    Big Fish didn't need the money to keep growing. It's profitable and growing 100 percent a year, reaching sales of $50 million last year.

    The company claims to distribute more video games worldwide than any other online gaming site. It also releases a game a day, including titles produced by its own studios such as "Azada" and "Mystery Case Files."

    Most of the company's business is games played or downloaded online, but its boxed PC games have a big presence in major retail stores including Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. It's also begun developing games for Nintendo platforms.

    Thelen started the company in 2002 after leaving RealNetworks, which has since built a casual games business that it's considering spinning off as a public company.

    Big Fish could be in a position to also go public within a few years if its growth continues.

    In the meantime, the company's considering expansion in Europe and recently opened a small development office in Vancouver, B.C.

    In Seattle, the company last month moved into new offices shared with F5 along Elliott Avenue where it employs 310 and has room for 450.

    There are plenty of smaller fish in the casual games business in Seattle and elsewhere that could be acquisition targets, but Lewis declined to get specific.

    "This gives us more of a base from which we can fund potential acquisitions,'' he said.

    Balderton's general partner, Mark Evans, is joining the Big Fish board.

    "Big Fish Games has a remarkably deep and talented management team and the company is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the worldwide growth of online interactive entertainment,'' he said in the release.

    Other firms involved are General Catalyst Partners of Cambridge, Mass., and New York-based Salmon River Capital.

    September 12, 2008 07:00 AM

    Lat49Want to make money from Flash map mashups? One new alternative comes from Lat49, the online ad network for interactive maps, who have just added support for integrating ads into Flash maps. As we covered last year, Lat49 enables map mashup developers to layer geographically relevant ads onto third party mapping platforms like Google Maps and Yahoo Maps. The contextual ads can be placed on top of and alongside the maps themselves. They also offer developers an API for finer control over the ads (details at our Lat49 API profile).

    As an example of a commercial mashup application using their new Flash platform, see HotPads.com, a rental and real-estate search site shown below (HotPads profile).



    As developers continue to look for additional ways to monetize mashups this sort of geo-centric, but platform independent approach can provide one more money making option.

    Related ProgrammableWeb Resources

     Lat49 API Profile and Mashups

    by John Musser at September 12, 2008 05:58 AM

    Lawyer Twitter

    Tweet a link to the home page of your website. Then follow it up with tweets of links to blog posts reporting car accidents involving serious injuries to people you do not represent.

    This blog post linked to from Twitter is particularly impressive.

    Lawyer Twitter

    Man, it's going to be harder than I thought trying to get the legal profession a good name.

    by kevin@lexblog.com (Kevin) at September 12, 2008 03:47 AM

    Have you heard? Yammer is Twitter for corporations. On Monday it launched. On Wednesday, it won TechCrunch50’s top prize. By this morning, Yammer was reporting it had signed up 10,000 people from 2,000 companies. This afternoon, the great Dan Fabulich of Redfin asked if we could start using it.3037015813m.jpg

    Of course, Dan was only being polite: the appeal of Yammer’s business model is that anyone can start using it (Redfin only has to pay to control it). And even if I’d said no, another Redfin employee would have started using it anyway.

    So I said yes. And then thought: what does this mean? And what have we done? 

    What Does Yammer Mean?
    What Yammer means to me is first that there’s a new model for selling enterprise software, and it resembles nothing more than George Soros’s efforts to undermine the Soviets by air-dropping fax machines behind the Iron Curtain: tools are downloaded and used, with executives & IT only later having to accommodate the facts on the ground. The whole question of whether Yammer is actually productive is beside the point, because it’s so easy and fun.

    Yammer also means something more, that email is broken: overwhelmed with spam, cumbersome to open, with responses feeling like an obligation rather than an option. If you want to deliver a message to someone, almost any other medium is more likely to get noticed: IM, Facebook, Twitter, RSS.

    What Have We Done?
    But the bigger question about Redfin’s use of Yammer is what have we done?

    While I am glad to try a new technology — Dan is such a fearless pioneer — I worry that Yammer might be worse than work, and worse even than no-work. At least when you’re browsing ESPN.com, you feel bad about it. Yammer happens at work, and it sounds like work — you can always tell when someone is writing an email, IM or Twitter, because their typing is so much faster and noisier — so people think it is work, with one crucial exception: it may not get work done.

    I’m not sure I buy the talk about collaboration. I’ve seen passive-aggressive arguments happen over email and (less over) IM — Skype’s workrooms are the exception; they’re awesome — that could have been avoided or settled in a few minutes face to face; will Yammer be much different?

    As it is, I have elaborate fantasies about outlawing the whole Internet for hours at a time, or even for an entire workday. When I marvel at how a historical colossus like Theodore Roosevelt (definitive naval history of 1812, four-volume history of American frontier, a staggering number of slaughtered animals, U.S. President) or Honore de Balzac (dozens of coffee-fueled novels, written from midnight - 3 in the afternoon, while standing up) had time to accomplish so much, I usually attribute it to talent, servants — and no Internet.

    Staving Off a Coup
    But whether a shot at greatness is in anyone’s cards, I don’t have the guts to pull the plug on email, IM or Yammer for even a minute: there would be a coup, and Cynthia Pang would mount my head on a stake outside the Dexter-Horton building by the end of the day. I think a lot of executives who are asked about IM or Yammer agree to it for the same reason: they don’t want to seem like Scrooges or Luddites, and they’re not sure they could stop anyone anyway. And truth be told, we want our Yammer too.

    Gentle reader and Dan Fabulich (who is, by the way, mutantly productive and far less curmudgeonly than I am) what do you think? Is Yammer good or bad for actually getting work done? Once we actually start using Yammer, we’ll report back on the results. Right now I’m not sure — but I’m excited to use it anyway.

    (Flickr credit: soldiersmediacenter on Flickr)

    by Glenn Kelman at September 12, 2008 01:53 AM

    Brett Favre Green Bay Packers

    Remember well the priest getting us out of mass in time to see the Packers' game. That after part of the homily was dedicated to Coach Lombardi and the boys.

    Maybe that's why Vince was hailed as the Pope in Green Bay.

    by kevin@lexblog.com (Kevin) at September 12, 2008 01:40 AM

    The next installment of the Windows ad campaign, starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, is scheduled to air tonight during the CBS show "Big Brother" (8 p.m.). This one follows the debut last week, which got mixed reviews -- at best -- but also lots of attention.

    Please share your impressions of the ad in the comments.

    Update, Friday morning: Finally getting around to embedding the video:

    September 12, 2008 01:15 AM

    Now we know what they're up to.

    The second Bill Gates-Seinfeld ad that's debuting tonight during "Big Brother" on CBS is a million times better than the freaky churro spot that kicked off the $300 million Windows campaign last week.

    Tonight's ad explains that Gates and Seinfeld are on a quest to reconnect with real people, just like Microsoft is with the campaign.

    That's why they were hanging around the mall in the first ad, which in retrospect seems intended only to get attention with its obtuseness.

    Episode two has Gates and Seinfeld staying with a "normal" family. After experiencing "real life," Gates asks Seinfeld to remind him why they're doing this (the question everybody asked last week ...).

    "We need to connect with real people," Seinfeld said,

    He reminds Gates that "you and I are a little out of it. You're living in some kind of moon house hovering over Seattle like the mother ship. I got so many cars I get stuck in my own traffic."

    (Maybe for episode 3, they should help a family pay their monthly bills and avoid foreclosure...)

    You can read the ad as a parody of the consumer focus groups companies like Microsoft obsess about.

    By embracing ordinary people -- and contrasting them with the awkward rich guys -- the ads are also a populist comeback to Apple's "I'm a Mac-I'm a PC" ads that feature a hipster mocking an ordinary guy.

    Is it enough to make mainstream consumers get excited about Windows again? I wonder how many will just scratch their heads and wonder what's going on.

    Here it is, via the commenter below:

    September 12, 2008 01:15 AM

    Twitter for Lawyer Law FirmsRick Georges posted today that Twitter may work for guys like Kevin O'Keefe, but not for the day to day practicing lawyer like him.

    Rick's post followed Chuck Newton's comments that 'A small part of [Twitter] might be beneficial but most of it is not.'

    Bottom line is individual lawyers need to decide what works best for them. Some will find Twitter a good fit in their quiver of networking, PR, business development, and marketing tools. Others may not. But let's not lay out rules that this works or that this doesn't to legal professionals who may be looking to us for wisdom.

    I just don't buy that for everyday practicing lawyers Twitter is not useful. I was told as a small town lawyer in rural Wisconsin in 1996 that the World Wide Web and the Internet were no place I should be wasting my time. 'No one uses the Internet, especially the blue collar type clients I wanted as a plaintiff's personal injury trial lawyer - and especially in rural America where no one has even heard of the Internet.'

    Well, turned out folks were wrong. I figured out by the seat of my pants, guided by a love of helping folks, how to answer relevant law questions at AOL, archive the questions and answers at my website, lead law chats at AOL, and more. Doing so lead to plenty of good work and a state wide reputation in 18 months.

    Imagine meeting local reporters and business people you could not even imagine would be using Twitter as a customer service, relationship building, or investigative tool. They're there. Imagine local people following you (people you do not know) that think you are a pretty good person/lawyer and spreading word of your law blog posts around the community via Twitter.

    Will it be most reporters and most community members that you'll connect with through Twitter? Of course not. Who cares? I'll take 1% of them who amplify my message. It doesn't suck.

    I didn't get Twitter the first, second, or third time I looked at it. I thought for a year plus it was the dumbest thing ever. But when I saw a lot of business people, far brighter than this kid, talking about how Twitter worked for them, I kept experimenting with Twitter.

    At some point Twitter clicked for me. It can click for everyday lawyers too.

    Give me Twitter as a practicing lawyer in any town in America and I'll run laps around offline marketing and many lawyers using blogs alone.

    For guys like Chuck and Rick who think the 'Tweets' (140 character limit) are unmanageable, use Twhirl or TweetDeck (my preference) as an application to access Twitter. Your Twitter home page, something I never go to, is unmanageable as a means of following conversation on Twitter.

    For me Twitter is nothing like Chuck's experience that it felt like listserv content overload. I'll take Twitter over the blather I hear on some listservs. On Twitter I control who I want to listen to. I can even group those I follow by subject and monitor only words I want to see.

    Twitter's been a good ride for me. And though I am not an everyday lawyer, Twitter is now in the top three tools generating new business for LexBlog. I don't see why a practicing lawyer can't do the same.

    by kevin@lexblog.com (Kevin) at September 11, 2008 11:18 PM

    Yeah, what is so special about Grand Junction?  I lived in Denver for 7 years and made the occasional trip through Grand Junction, yet had no strong desire of relocating there.  Here at Zillow, we spend a great deal of time looking at numbers, trends and analysis and have noticed that Grand Junction, despite the troubled economy, has shown a 4.9% growth in the median home value since this time last year.  As the national economy continues to struggle – the U.S. is down 9% compared to this time last year — Grand Junction continues to grow.

    My initial theory of Grand Junction’s growth revolved around the ski industry, mostly because that’s why I moved to Colorado.  With a bit of homework, I found that Aspen and Snowmass were more than two hours away, which is not an efficient commute for mountain staffing.  There are a few smaller ski areas closer but hardly enough to explain Grand Junction’s growth.   So, what is it that makes Grand Junction so special?

    After some digging it became clear, but first, let me provide some background.

    Grand Junction and the western slope of Colorado have the largest concentration of oil shale in the world.  Oil shale can be mined and processed to produce oil.  It’s much more expensive to produce oil from oil shale, but in the gas crisis of the 70’s, Exxon set up shop in Grand Junction to do just that.  However, when the crisis concluded and traditional means of getting oil became more affordable, Exxon left as fast as it arrived.  Twenty-five years ago, Exxon pulled out of Grand Junction on what became known as Black Sunday, and left 2,100 workers without jobs.  Black Sunday plunged the Western Slope — including Grand Junction’s economy — into a depression that took many years to recover.  Understandably, Grand Junction is reluctant to get excited about the latest boom.

    Interestingly enough, the Piceance Basin, located northwest of Grand Junction, is an energy rich formation loaded with natural gas.  Natural gas — unlike the oil shale — is a commodity that may be more sustainable.  And it doesn’t hurt that most of the money is private compared to the government-subsidized oil shale project of the 70s.  It’s unclear if there is a rebirth in the oil shale mining projects from the past, but it does seem that natural gas reserves are a bit safer than the oil boom of the 70s.

    As the national unemployment rate is rising, Grand Junction is busy recruiting workers out of state in an effort to fill energy-related jobs.  According to the Denver Post, as of July 2008, Halliburton, an oil field services company, had 100 open positions with an average annual salary of $50,000.  As the number of jobs increases, the available rental properties drops and the need for new housing increases.

    What’s so special about Grand Junction? … It has GAS!

    by Peter Quinlan at September 11, 2008 11:18 PM

    ValleyWag reports that Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has sunk money into Bellevue's Finsphere and New York's Aviary

    by johncook@seattlepi.com (John Cook) at September 11, 2008 11:18 PM

    Forget about E Ink devices. The newspaper industry ought to give its subscribers the Scan Toaster, a gizmo that burns news, weather and images onto pieces of toast.

    It was created Sung Bae Chang of Sejong University in South Korea for a design competition by Electrolux, seeking ideas for appliances that could appear on the market three to five years in the future.

    The toaster was named a finalist in July, but it's making the rounds on gadget blogs now, since Electrolux uploaded this image to Flickr Wednesday. (A better picture, showing the news printed on toast, is at The Register.)

    toaster.jpg

    September 11, 2008 11:04 PM

    Legal News - LexBlogosphereToday seemed a little bit slower than most Thursday's but LexBlog's bloggers still managed to put out quite a few well-done posts. Below are some of the best from the past 24 hours.

    by colin@lexblog.com (Colin O'Keefe) at September 11, 2008 11:03 PM

    Detroit made headlines with its $1 house last month and now we have a new kind of real estate story out of Detroit: vigilant neighbors fighting back and taking things into their own hands. The Wall Street Journal reports today vacant homes in the historic and stately Boston-Edison neighborhood, where automaker Henry Ford lived and prospered, are being watched and “protected” by neighbors to prevent decay, vandalism, and burglary.

    Organized by an 87-year-old neighborhood association, some do unpaid duty mowing lawns, trimming hedges and picking up litter outside vacant houses. Others park their cars in the driveways of empty houses to make them appear to be lived in. The association’s Web site promotes mansions in need of new owners. Some members have volunteered to rush to the scene when burglars are breaking into empty houses.

    In other cities, the WSJ reports:

    • In Cleveland, OH, a neighborhood group in the Slavic Village area organizes lawn mowing at vacant homes and encourages youths to paint cheerful designs on boarded-up windows.
    • The city of Los Angeles, CA, is training neighborhood leaders to report signs of deterioration in vacant homes so action can be taken before blight spreads.
    • Just Cause, a nonprofit group in Oakland, CA, pressures utility companies not to shut off the water of tenants whose landlords are in foreclosure.

    Homes in Boston-Edison are large and stately (here’s Henry Ford’s former house) and probably in need of some work (maybe lots of work), but it’s fascinating to look at these homes (photos above and below) and imagine a day in time when powerful figures such as Ford, Sebastian Kresge (five-and-dime store chain that eventually became Kmart), Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr, and labor leader Walter Reuther lived.

    by Diane Tuman at September 11, 2008 09:44 PM

    Another report from CTIA, this one by Fierce Wireless, covers a Seattle-centric session with Craig McCaw and John Stanton, hosted by Steve Largent. Here's Tricia with more reporting (but a weaker photo ...) from the same event, which happened yesterday.

    September 11, 2008 08:28 PM

    Tricia Duryee, who broke the story on mocoNews of T-Mobile's plans for an Applesque App Store, has more details today in a report from CTIA.

    An excerpt:

    "Today, T-Mobile does not provide APIs to developers, and that will be the same for the developer program. However, "the intention is that we'll open this up over time." This will include things like location-based services, access to a person's contacts, MyFaves or access to the camera. "We are looking at basic apps initially." For now, the program will support Java, RIM and Windows Mobile, but not Android or Sidekick.

    September 11, 2008 08:00 PM

    Computerworld ran a fascinating story about the top distruptive technologies we'll see in 2025, as predicted by U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Among the technologies with potential to cause a noticeable "degradation or enhancement in one of the elements of U.S. national power" are:

    "1. Biogerontechnology, involves technologies that improve lifespan. Think of Dorian Gray. If people are living longer and healthier lives, it will challenge nations to develop new economic and social policies for an older and healthier population.

    2. Energy storage systems, such as fuel cells and ultracapacitors, would replace fossil fuels."

    There was no mention whether any of the technologies would help locate Osama bin Laden by then.

    September 11, 2008 07:43 PM

    Pawing through Redfin’s Facebook page for some employee pictures we could use to decorate a jobs flier, I came across this little beauty:

    fanphoto.jpg

    It was taken at a Red Carpet home-buying class (which has become a huge hit, usually with over 100 attendees). Why do I love this photo?

    1. The main character is wearing a polka-dot shirt and what appears to be a pocket-square.
    2. He is gesturing with a half-eaten burrito.
    3. He looks insanely charged. We were supposed to ask everyone’s permission before taking photographs. I wonder what we asked him?
    4. The person to his right, Redfin’s Marco Vargas, is trying to maintain a traditional pose, smiling dutifully.
    5. The person to his left seems genuinely amused. I love her smile. She must be his friend.

    Any guesses on what’s really going on here?

    by Glenn Kelman at September 11, 2008 07:29 PM

    We've just deployed an important new personalization and privacy feature on Eyejot that allows you to include links that will help your recipients reach you through services such as AOL, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Skype, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

    The privacy change we've made is that we're now hiding your email address on the message viewing and user pages. Your email address has been replaced with a link to a pop-up email form. Recipients and visitors will still be able to contact you, but they won't be exposed to your personal email address on these pages.

    by David Geller at September 11, 2008 06:59 PM

    Following up on a review of Seattle's Earth Class Mail from earlier this month, David Pogue of The New York Times today offers exceprts from letters from readers who sent postal mail to the columnist's account with the company.

    by johncook@seattlepi.com (John Cook) at September 11, 2008 06:24 PM

    If you’re in New York City this weekend, there’s a cool conference-ish event happening called Interesting New York. I’ll be one of the speakers. My talk is called: “Cheese, wine, and software? How software is crossing the artisanal divide.”

    And even if you’re sick of me, definitely come by as there’s tons of other speakers. All seem, well… interesting. And the whole day is only $35.

    Check it.

    And I still haven’t figured out where I’m eating on Saturday night. Suggestions welcome.

    by Hillel at September 11, 2008 06:04 PM

    A few years ago I met 2 business acquaintances that were (and still are) evangelical Christians.  They grew up going to evangelical right wing camps while I went to Outward Bound.  Their parents listen to Rush Limbaugh while mine listen to NPR.  They have pictures of George W. hanging in their office.  And while I don't have any pictures in my office -- if I did have a political photograph I'd be more likely to have a Bill Clinton or Obama photo.  They vote Republican and I vote Democrat.
    I've gotten to know these guys and had dinner with one of them last night.  I realized that this person not has become a very good friend but he has forced me to redefine my own prejudices about the far right.  They're not ALL irrational speaking in tongues hypocrites :-)  Just kidding!  While I ultimately disagree with the conclusions he reaches, there is a lot that we agree on about the past 8 years.

    • He agrees that the war in Iraq was a mistake and is a mess.
    • He think energy independence should be the main agenda for the country and that George W missed this as the great opportunity of his presidency post Sept. 11
    • He agrees that Republicans have led the country astray economically -- both with the war and with the level of spending the country has undertaken. 
    • He agrees that the Republicans (and Democrats) are hypocritical.  He agrees that personal freedoms need to be protected (though he's pro-life) from government. 
    • He agrees teachers are underpaid. 
    • He agrees that Maker's Mark on the rocks is a great drink.

    I appreciate the friendship I have with these two guys -- and the fact that the friendship has challenged my own preconceived notions about the world and the US political climate.

    by asack at September 11, 2008 06:03 PM

    When it comes to places to retire, living near the water is tops on many people’s lists. CNNMoney.com just released a list of 6 terrific towns on the water for retirement. We took their list and matched it up to our real estate information. Here’s a quick snapshot:

    1. Dunedin, Florida— Located on the Gulf side of Florida, less than 5 miles north of Clearwater, FL.
    About Dunedin
    Zillow Housing Index: $175,000
    See Dunedin, FL homes for sale

    2. Beaufort, South Carolina — If you’ve seen the Prince of Tides or Forrest Gump,  you’ve seen Beaufort, S.C.
    About Beaufort
    Zillow Housing Index: $222,000
    See Beaufort, SC homes for sale

    3. Sequim, Washington — Hey! Sequim is near Zillow! Well, kinda. Pronounced “Sqwim,” this little place is no longer a secret around Seattle, WA.
    About Sequim
    Zillow Housing Index: N/A
    See Sequim, WA homes for sale

    4. Durango, Colorado — And you thought Vail, CO, and Aspen CO, had the market on natural beauty. Animas River runs right through Durango, attracting kayakers and fly-fishermen.
    About Durango
    Zillow Housing Index: $387,500
    See Durango, CO homes for sale

    5. St. Joseph, Michigan — See the name Michigan and you think c-c-c-cold. And guess what? It is cold in the winter, but those memories fade when the gorgeous summers along Lake Michigan roll around.
    About St. Joseph
    Zillow Housing Index: $97,000
    See St. Joseph, MI homes for sale

    6. Marble Falls, Texas — Move over, Austin, TX, this little gem 47 miles away is about to steal your thunder.
    About Marble Falls
    Zillow Housing Index: $498,500
    See Marble Falls, TX homes for sale

    by Diane Tuman at September 11, 2008 04:52 PM

    Here’s the thing: I wouldn’t have written the post that John Casasanta at taptaptap wrote about the VCs that are approaching him, but as Chris Rock would say — I understand.

    A sample from John’s post:

    “The vultures are out and and they taste blood. The iPhone’s one of the hottest things around right now and there’s little sign of its popularity letting up anytime soon. And the venture capitalists want in… badly. The fact that the iFund™ exists is overwhelming evidence of this.

    Ever since my post discussing our sales stats we’ve gotten our share of VCs trying to court us. They desperately want a piece of the action and they’re pounding the pavement with full force.”

    John goes on to recount the typical dialog with the VC where the VC guy (and it’s usually a guy) asks: what if you could do what you just did but x 100. John responds that he’s having a hard time finding even one great programmer. The VC then suggests that while great ones may be hard to find, perhaps a decent one will do. And right there is the problem.

    The VC guys aren’t bad guys. They have a business model and they’re pursuing it. And in some small percentage of cases they can be a catalyst for companies that generate major wealth and sometimes wonderful products as well. The problem of course is that the VC business model depends on scale. They look for business opportunities that can scale exponentially. And John at taptaptap knows full well that with scale there’s almost always a non-trivial degradation of quality. John also knows that the tradeoff presented sometimes by certain folks in the VC community that you can either have scale and wealth or you can have quality and much less wealth is a false one in many cases. And more importantly, John cares a lot less about making something big than he does about making something great. And John knows that he can make lots of money making something small and great.

    To use a comparison from the food world. Alain Passard is not a celebrity chef, but he is world famous among lovers of fine food. He cooks in Paris at a restaurant called L’Arpege. Wolfgang Puck hasn’t done regular cooking at any one of his ~10 million restaurant instances in many many years. When the money guys came to Puck and asked him if he wanted to put his name on frozen food lines, airport eateries, and anything else you can think of, Puck said yes, yes, and yes. And while Wolfgang Puck may be able to personally make a mean pizza, you can bet that the dudes working at his airport outlets are producing something that’s not nearly as good. (In fact it sucks.) And I would bet good money that when the money men approached Passard and asked him to put his name on varous products, and build an empire, he told them to fuck off. Wolfgang Puck probably has a lot more money than Alain Passard. But I bet Passard is not doing badly by any stretch. Dinner for two at his Paris restaurant can run over $1000.

    Puck has his place. The guys looking to create big businesses have their place. And Passard certainly has his place.

    John’s trying to make something special. And when someone comes to him under the pretense of wanting to do business with him but proposes a path that not only would destroy what John feels is special about his effort, but so clearly identifies the proposer as someone who misunderstands John and his company, John gets insulted. Just like I’m sure Passard is every time he gets approached. (In my mind I imagine a lot of swearing in French spoons getting thrown, and him riding up to his farm North of Paris on his Vespa. Apologies in advance to my French friends for my stereotyping of their anger.)

    In the comments of John’s post you can see that the reactions aren’t all positive:

    “This is good advice packaged but packaged in a terribly destructive way. I certainly try and design my startups to work well on bootstrapping or angel money, delaying institutional VC indefinitely. That MO tends to be much better for founder equity and employee returns, user-responsive product design, growing at a speed that is good for the company, etc.

    On the other hand, WTF? Take a cold shower or something. The level of anger being displayed here has no place in this discussion or this community.”

    I don’t know that the level of anger has “no place”… after all, it’s on the internet. And clearly there’s a place for all kinds of anger on the internet. That said, while I wouldn’t have written this post myself, I do understand where it comes from.

    Note: I do think in rare cases it is possible to scale something large and keep a high quality bar. But you have to vastly reduce the complexity of what you’re producing. Sorry for all the food examples, but In-n-Out Burger comes to mind as a perfect example. I think in that case some of the best venture folks would be perfect partners for a guy like John to work with and make something big AND high quality.

    UPDATE: I changed the references from Tapulous to taptaptap. Duh. Sorry. Thx Aaron.

    by Hillel at September 11, 2008 04:13 PM

    Microsoft is working with BlackBerry maker Research In Motion to put Live Search on the popular line of smartphones. The deal could help Microsoft in its struggle to gain market share for its Internet search engine.

    September 11, 2008 04:12 PM

    Disclaimer: I'm a Marketing Sherpa Affiliate. I was not paid for this review. But if you buy the book from this link I will get a bit of cash. Pretty please?

    I re-read this book every year, and make most of my staff read it (or at least try to) as well.

    There are plenty of books out there that talk in broad generalities about internet marketing. They say great stuff like 'Write great content' and 'Offer value to your visitors'.

    Duh.

    The Bad

    First, this book is HUGE. I would've ruptured a disc lifting it if they weren't already ruptured. Read the whole thing, no matter how daunting it seems.

    Second, sometimes it gets almost too specific. The book offers amazing detail (see 'The Good', next) but it doesn't always show you the high-level view.

    Unless you're a marketing geek like me, though, you aren't going to care.

    Finally, it costs $497. It ain't cheap. But it earns its money, I promise.

    The Good

    The Landing Page Handbook offers real, actionable advice, including things like:

    • The best positioning of a 'hero shot' image.
    • Button colors that get highest conversion rates.
    • Results of multi-variate testing.
    • Best typography and use of bullets.

    It's like a step-by-step course in great landing page design.

    I'm not exaggerating - 90% of what I know about creating great landing pages comes from this book.

    [ Buy the Landing Page Handbook ]


    September 11, 2008 03:09 PM

    Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell is selling his waterfront mansion in Medina, but don't read too much into the listing.

    Liddell told me he's not leaving town; he's just moving into a different house.

    Maybe he's tired of mowing all that grass leading down to Lake Washington.

    The house has five bedrooms, five baths, four fireplaces and two docks on an acre of no-bank waterfront, all for just $13.85 million. It looks like the biggest lot on the northern point of Medina, that finger of land you see to the left when you're heading east across the Highway 520 bridge.

    Windermere agent Tere Foster's listing describes it as a "street to water acre paradise" where "waves roll gently up on the beach, as the sunset dances across pavilions of glass. A magical dreamscape lays claim to 174 feet of waterfront."

    If Liddell gets close to the asking price, the house will return more than his Microsoft stock has since he bought the spread in 2005 for $9.6 million.

    Speaking of Microsoft mansions in Medina, the company's former wireless boss, Pieter Knook, has dropped the price of his place down the beach from Liddell's.

    Knook's property - with a bigger house on a smaller, steeper lot - is now listed for $7.89 million, down from $8.68 million in June.

    September 11, 2008 08:00 AM

    A wide array of content and functionality has been incorporated into the ever-growing number of mashups out on the web today. From enterprise mashups to proof-of-concept hacks, developers and would be developers are leveraging the power of mashups to provide information in new and compelling ways.

    Mashups are still a relatively new phenomena, and as this new type of online application evolves it will become increasingly more important to ensure that your mashup adheres to a variety of best practices. Summarized below are five key best practices that you should strive to use in the development of your mashup.

    Security

    Perhaps the most important yet often overlooked part of a mashup is security. Mashups are inherently Web 2.0, which means that your mashup will likely rely on AJAX. AJAX is a great set of web development techniques, but it also poses a avriety of risks for end-users, including cross-site scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgeries (CSRF) and JSON Hijacking, and more. The Open AJAX Alliance has a great white paper on AJAX and Mashup Security that outlines specific security risks and best practices to address these risks. IBM and AJAXWorld have additional information on AJAX security as well.

    In addition to securing mashups against AJAX vulnerabilities, end-user information also presents another security risk. A good number of social networking and social media sites provide APIs that allow third parties to access information for a specific user or users.

    Consequently, there is a risk that a mashup may expose user credentials (including passwords, emails, etc.). The best way to avoid this scenario is to use open web standards such as OAuth or OpenID for user authentication/authorization. Regardless of whether either of these standards is used (or the site that provides the API supports them), a mashup should be designed to minimize the exposure of user information as much as possible. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has a wiki that includes a Guide to Authorization, and Niall Kennedy provides a good primer on the subject as well.

    Compatibility

    Mashups are applications, but they are also web sites. Depending on the target audience, a mashup may have reach across various types of users, who utilize different browsers and operating systems. An enterprise mashup developed in-house for a specific browser and operating system used throughout an organization will be less likely to require application logic to address differences in browsers (and differences within the same browser on different operating systems). However, a mashup developed for public consumption is likely to be used by a diverse base of end users, each with browsers that may require server-side and/or client-side modifications to your mashup code.

    Whether it be CSS, JavaScript, HTML, or server-side scripting, chances are that modifications may need to be made to accommodate how a browser renders and interacts with a mashup. Apple’s Developer Center summary on web page development best practices provides some good guidance that is relevant for mashup developers.

    Performance

    As with compatibility, a mashup’s client-side and server-side performance can greatly affect an end user’s experience. On the server-side, site performance can be compromised under high loads related to complex database queries, high user loads, or memory-intensive server-side scripting. Invest time in optimizing queries and code, and balancing user load.

    Additionally, a mashup may load more slowly on certain browsers, depending on the content type and whether there is any JavaScript code being processed. A great example of this is seeing a browser freeze when trying to load a large number of map markers using the Google Maps API. Gear mashups towards limiting memory-intensive processes in the browser, and break up data/information into smaller sets using strategies such as paging.

    Attribution

    As evidenced by our API Directory, there is an immense amount of content that is accessible via APIs. Each API typically carries terms of use that specify who can use content, how the content can be used, and how the content should be attributed. There are several attribution licenses out there, including Creative Commons and the GNU Free Documentation License.

    Developers should be aware of the terms of attribution for any content, and adhere to the attribution method specified by those terms. Note also that some API methods include query parameters that can be used to specify what type of content should be retrieved (e.g., Creative Commons Share Alike vs. privately copyrighted).

    Legality

    In addition to attribution, developers should be aware of the terms of use for APIs used for mashups. Some APIs, such as the Google Maps API, have terms of use that explicitly state that the API can only be used for “services that are generally accessible to consumers without charge.” Other APIs, such as Yelp’s API, have terms of use that prohibit use of “the Yelp API or any Yelp Content in a manner that is directly competitive in nature with the Yelp Site”. Be aware of how an API’s terms of use will affect development and accessibility of a mashup, and consider the potential legal consequences of violating a provider’s terms of use.

    A mashup should also take into account other legal considerations, including copyright violations (just because its accessible via an API doesn’t mean that the content may not be infringing upong copyrights), content for mature audiences, and accuracy of information; be sure to use relevant disclaimers and site policies to address these legal considerations.

    There are certainly other best practices that are emerging in this space. Do you have additional thoughts on these best practices or additional ideas for mashup do’s and don’ts? Please share them in the comments section below.

    by Andres Ferrate at September 11, 2008 06:54 AM

    In a good news, bad news move, Korean video-game giant NCsoft is laying off 12 people at its Austin, Texas games studio and 58 at another studio in Brighton, England.

    But the company is simultaneously opening a new office in Seattle, where it's basing a new subsidiary called NC West . It will be responsible for NCsoft operations in the U.S. and Europe. The office will be primarily a business office, managing publishing, from a city that's more convenient to headquarters in Seoul.

    September 11, 2008 06:33 AM

    With the growing popularity of neighborhood blogs there is also a growing popularity in monetizing what for some is a hobby and for others is a full time gig.

    As Urbnlivn, my Seattle condo blog, continues to suck hours of my week and continues to grow in traffic I too am turning to advertising to make blogging less of a chore and more like a paper route.

    What’s frustrating is that their isn’t a Seattle neighborhood advertising network that connects local businesses with local blogs and handles the commerce and other aspects of this niche advertising segment.

    Instead I’m left to visit a number of local blogs to try and determine local standards for ad size, placement and cost. I’m also struggling in Paint.net to provide my second advertiser with a visually pleasing ad thinking that the effort isn’t really worth the $50.

    Here’s my research so far on the Seattle neighborhood blog scene:

    B Town Blog: 200px × 150 px and 728 px × 90 px. Starting at $50/month.

    Capitol Hill Seattle: 468 px × 60 px, 160 x 240, 125 x 125. $3 to $10 CPM or $25/month

    Seattle Bubble: 250px × 150px. $75 and $225 per month

    West Seattle: Varies, but most around 160px × 160px. $0.60 CPM

    And of course the standard really should be dictated by Google. 468px × 60 px, 120px × 600px, 160px × 600px, 200px × 200px, 250px × 250px, 300px × 250px, 336px × 280px.

    by Matt Goyer at September 11, 2008 05:53 AM

    If you think that Fannie and Freddieare the mortgage story of the week, I hope that you’re sitting down. OK, maybe Fannie & Freddie are the big news of the week but while the long-term impact of the fed’s takeover is up for debate, I have no doubt that Mortgages Unzipped, a new blog about mortgages, will assist borrowers.

    As homeowners, we have got to get smarter about our mortgages. Yes, I mean you - and me - for many of us, our mortgage is the single largest line item on our monthly budget. And I, for one, have personally come to realize that I knew almost nothing about my mortgage when I bought my first home. I think that applies to most borrowers. Mortgages Unzipped is hosted by Zillow but the blog is authored by mortgage professionals - people we can learn from!

    We’ve asked 15 mortgage pro’s to write Mortgages Unzipped. It’s a very smart and experienced group. And as you read the blog, you’ll learn that our authors each have something unique and important to say. Andy Jolls, for example, has a lot to say about your credit score - and he does it on video. Brian Brady, Todd Carpenter, Dan Melson and Rhonda Porter are trailblazers; some of the first mortgage professionals to start blogging and using social media (you can catch Brian’s mortgage rate updates on twitter, for example.) We’re very fortunate to have their support.

    Zillow’s mortgage discussions have been on fire since the mortgage marketplace launched. If you ever need a second opinion on a mortgage quote, I recommend asking the lenders in Zillow Discussions. I’ve cajoled a handful of them into taking their advice to the blog. Jennifer Monastero , Rob Cochems, Andrew Adams and Martin Wareing are faces I look forward to seeing on Zillow - and who I know will thrive as writers on Mortgages Unzipped.

    Mortgages have presented a new learning curve for Zillow and I would personally have been lost without the help of my mortgage mentor, Joe Dahleen. Joe can teach! While Zillow has been learning the mortgage game, mortgage brokers have been learning how to blog. I’ve learned so much from mortgage bloggers these past 6 months that selecting the dream team for Mortgages Unzipped was easy. I guarantee your that you will also learn something from Matthew Kelly, Justin McHood, Mike Mueller, Michael Taylor, Tom Vanderwall.

    We will be highlighting great content from Mortgages Unzipped on this blog and throughout Zillow.com- but the best way to stay in the loop is to subscribe to the blog (via feed or e-mail.)

    Now - go and get smarter about mortgages!

    by David Gibbons at September 11, 2008 02:57 AM

    Real branding is really hard, and I suck at it.

    brandedouch.jpg

    So, I've had to come up with simpler, faster ways to make sure that, when I'm hired to do some internet marketing, I don't pick up a client's brand, rip it into a thousand tiny pieces and shove it into the garbage disposal.

    Here's a quick test I use to see if my brand assumptions are on track:

    The Hiring Test

    1. Imagine you're hiring your very first employee.
    2. Figure out three phrases that describe the perfect hire.
    3. Make sure they're more specific than 'fast' or 'smart'.

    For example, at Portent I always aim for: 'Intellectually curious', 'creative thinker' and 'honest'. It so happens that that's a pretty good picture of Portent's brand, too.

    I am not suggesting this is a complete brand profile. That would be moronic. But this is a good way to make sure you're not about to destroy your brand.

    September 11, 2008 01:15 AM

    Legal News - LexBlogosphereWell, it is finally Wednesday and the week is already more than halfway done. As with every day, here are the 10 best posts from all of LexBlog's bloggers. There are some really interesting ones in there so feel free to click through and possibly even leave a comment.

    by colin@lexblog.com (Colin O'Keefe) at September 11, 2008 01:10 AM

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    cuban kitchen 2, originally uploaded by a sack of seattle.

    This is a second photo of a cuban kitchen. I may have taken the photo....but can't be sure. And yes, it's a picture of a pig that lives in the kitchen. Supposedly, this pig acts as a very effective compost solution. That is, of course, until the pig becomes Christmas dinner.

    by asack at September 11, 2008 12:28 AM

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    cuban kitchen 1, originally uploaded by a sack of seattle.

    This is a photo of a cuban kitchen. I may have taken the photo....but can't be sure and don't want to make any statements that might land me in trouble in the US.

    by asack at September 11, 2008 12:26 AM

    NCsoft Corp., the Korean developer of massively muliplayer online games, is establishing a new subsidiary for the U.S. and European markets that will be headquartered in Seattle. The new unit -- tentatively dubbed NC West -- will be led by Chris Chung, Jeff Strain, David Reid and Patrick Wyatt. Chung and Reid previously worked at Microsoft, while Strain and Wyatt previously worked at Blizzard Entertainment.

    by johncook@seattlepi.com (John Cook) at September 10, 2008 11:12 PM