October 16, 2008

Remembering Jon Postel

Vint Cerf wrote about Jon Postel a decade after he passed.

I worked with Jon at USC/ISI and he was a great man with lots to teach. I was still working there when he passed away and there was not one person in the entire office with a dry eye.

Anyway, check out the article. Many people know who Vint is but Jon insisted on working in the background and keeping his privacy so you probably don’t know a lot about him.

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February 15, 2008

Mobile World Panel on Apple’s Success

The Mobile World Panel had an interesting analogy in trying to describe the iPhone’s success:

Panelist Mike Yonker, general manager of worldwide strategy and operations for Texas Instruments’ wireless terminals business unit, said that the way for the user to get the rich content now available on a mobile handset is through the “search” function. But this isn’t so easy. He compared the limitations of a mobile handset to a full personal computer screen.

Searching on a computer, he said, is like going to a store, where the customers sees every product displayed, and can make comparisons, touch the products, even try things on for size. Doing the same search on a mobile, he said, but like trying to shop in the same store but “through a drive-up window.” No matter how much stuff is in the store, you can only find out through the cashier at the drive-up window.

The dilemma, left unsolved by the panelists, was how to squeeze the user through that window, past the cashier, to sample all the things in the store, without guilt, while still feeling grateful to the cashier who seemed, all along, to be standing in the way.

Everyone agreed that, so far, only Apple has been able to turn this trick. For users, “the content is the core,” said Lipman of Power2B somewhat ruefully, “and we have to get out of their way.”

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October 12, 2007

Los Angeles Tech Events

The LA tech community has been working on putting together various events such as Twiistup and Lunch 2.0.

Today, YellowBot is hosting Lunch 2.0.

Vani & Ask, after getting the idea from Erik and Chad, started a new blog to talk specifically about Los Angeles tech events.

I also created a public Google Calendar that you can subscribe to in order to track these events and have added all for them as publishers to that calendar:

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September 30, 2007

Lunch 2.0 Coming to the San Fernando Valley

There have been Lunch 2.0 meetings all over the place. Last month, This Next helped host it (with the help of Andrew Warner) in Santa Monica…the first time it was in Los Angeles (finally)!

YellowBot will be hosting Lunch 2.0 next in Burbank. If you’re in LA and can make it, make sure to RSVP. Otherwise, make sure to spread the word (send emails, blog about it, etc).

More information about Lunch 2.0 here.

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September 14, 2007

If You Have An iPhone…

If you have an iPhone and haven’t done so already, make sure to:

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June 27, 2007

Marchex Launches 100,000 Local Sites

Marchex, the SEO/SEM and web development company that bought openlist (formerly local-i, has
launched a bunch of local mini-sites.

Here are a couple of examples:
1. 90210.com. It is a Beverly Hills site. Marchex claims to own approximately 96% of all the US postal code domains. The only ones I have come across as available for sale recently have been postal code zipcodes which would provide little to no use to people looking to optimize for local.
2. Gary’s Auto Service in Denver, CO.

Both sites are powered by openlist data…I sure saw this one coming.

This is sort of a domain parking meets SEO meets local search set of sites.

It looks like open list will be converted as a portal to all these other
domains:

By late September, Marchex said it plans to launch a new version of a
site called Open List (http://www.openlist.com) as a consumer destination
site. It will contain an overview of links to its local network, in a bid
to drive repeat traffic.

With all of these sites, I wonder if they’re concerned about Google’s duplicate content penalty or if they think that will be tempered by all the type in traffic they get with those premium domains…they *must* have thought about it since they are in the SEO space.

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May 31, 2007

Snap Names Acquired By Oversee.net

A number of developers (mostly Perl developers) I have worked with have been recruited by Oversee.net in downtown Los Angeles. Oversee.net predominantly started by registering domains (sometimes tasting them) and using them to make money off of clicks. They have since used some of their premium domains to host various sites and services, building them out with content and tools.

Jeff was one of the first employees. They have since exploded to hundreds of people and now they are expanding.

From an email I have received from Snap Names, a domain drop catching service:

To SnapNames Customers:

I’m writing to inform you that SnapNames has agreed to be acquired by Oversee.net. Oversee, a company already familiar to many in the domain name industry, is a technology-driven online marketing solutions company that offers an impressive array of services to domain name owners. You can learn more about the company at www.oversee.net.

It’s important that you understand there will be no changes to the way SnapNames provides its services. This is a combination of two industry leaders with outstanding reputations for serving domain name investors and customers at all levels.

We were attracted to Oversee for many reasons, including the opportunity to offer SnapNames customers a greater breadth of service offerings. Together, the two companies can provide services that support our customers’ needs throughout the entire life cycle of a domain name, including procurement, monetization and sales.

This transaction is expected to close in mid-June. There is more information available on our Web site at www.snapnames.com. Of course, we’re always available to assist you in any way we can, and encourage your questions and comments. Our support team is available to you here:

On the Web: http://snapnames.custhelp.com
By e-mail: support@snapnames.com

At SnapNames, you will continue to find the world’s largest selection of expired domain names. You’ll find no changes to your account or the way you do business with us. We value you as a customer and thank you for your continued business.

Sincerely,

Sudhir Bhagwan
Chief Executive Officer

Hopefully they don’t keep the best domains for themselves and continue allowing others to use their service to bid for some of those domains. :-)

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February 28, 2007

Adobe To Go Online

Adobe has decided to go online by providing both image editing and video editing software online.

Seeing as Adobe has their flash product, they will most likely use flex instead of a pure AJAX implementation.

Adobe has said they’ll be providing a “lite,” online version of Photoshop within 6 months. They’ve already moved into online video editing by adding flash-based video editing to Photobucket through a partnership with them.

While premium services/features, image storage, plugin purchases and other services may be great revenue streams, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen says he expects to make money a different way:

Chizen envisions revenue from the Photoshop service coming from online advertising.

He intends for this product to be better than anything else out there and envisions converting users to his site before Google enters their space.

…but I have to ask one question…has he done his homework to see just what the click-through rates are on these image-editing sites??? People are there to get some work done and are not looking to click on ads. Adding premium services would be far more beneficial. Imagine having a button offering a feature there and, when you click on it, you’re taken to a subscription sign up…far more effective.

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January 18, 2007

Myspace’s History

Inside Myspace is a good article detailing how they upgraded their systems over the years, how they were founded by former Friendster employees, and how they beat them at their own game:

At the time, Anderson and DeWolfe were also members of Friendster, an earlier entrant in the category MySpace now dominates, and they decided to create their own social networking site. Their version omitted many of the restrictions Friendster placed on how users could express themselves…
In a recent interview with Fortune magazine, Friendster president Kent Lindstrom admitted his service stumbled at just the wrong time, taking 20 to 30 seconds to deliver a page when MySpace was doing it in 2 or 3 seconds.

As a result, Friendster users began to defect to MySpace, which they saw as more dependable.

Pretty interesting if you’d like to read up on their success and what pitfalls they came across as they rapidly expanded.

As a side note, Myspace is offering spyware for parents to monitor their children to prevent things like this.

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December 27, 2006

Geocoding Tool for Virtual Earth & Google Maps

Would you like to be able to geocode Virtual Earth and/or Google Maps without the hassle? Or how about any application requiring the use of javascript?

Well, you can use this API for it:

It is a javascript API and you can call it like so:

The base URL is:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/

To enter a freeform location (you have one entry box that accepts any address format such as street address, zipcode, city/state, etc):
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?loc=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountai n+View+CA++94043
In other words, just use the “loc” parameter. Currently, only the US is supported for freeforms….I have to decode all potential formats for non-US addresses.

If you would like more accuracy (or international support), break the text entry fields up into multiple fields. Mix and match and use whichever you’d like from the following parameters:
address (street address)
city
state
zip
some examples:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=burbank&state=ca
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?zip=90069
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?street=48+Leicester+Square&city=London &country=UK
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=sydney&country=au

The default URLs above are for the Google Maps API. To use the Virtual Earth API, construct the URL the same as you would above and add the following parameter “&ve=1″ … for example,
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=burbank&state=ca&ve=1
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?loc=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountai n+View+CA++94043&ve=1

Alternatively, if you choose to use neither Google Maps nor Virtual Earth (or to have better control to do what you want), you can set a callback parameter with ‘cb=<MethodName>’ like so:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=hollywood&state=ca&cb=MyJavascrip tMethod

Some intillegence is there to try to guess the appropriate one…however, if you prefer to override it with your own, you can add the parameter “level=
For example:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=burbank&state=ca yields Google Maps zoom level 4
but you can force it to zoom level 1 by using this url:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?city=burbank&state=ca&level=1

Default behavior is for an alert to happen onerror (currently there are only 2 errors: ‘location not found’ and ‘Please provide a location’). To override this behavior, you can specify a callback for errors by adding a parameter ‘cbe=<function_name>’
For example, the first link below will provide an alert error but the second one will use the specified callback:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?cbe=MyError

If you are not very familiar with javascript and how to leverage this, you can take a look at some of the source of some of the sites using them:
Virtual Earth example
Google Maps Example

Basically, you’ll either use a “script src=<URL>” or

var s = document.createElement( “script” );
s.src=<URL>;
s.type = “text/javascript”;
document.getElementsByTagName( “head” )[0].appendChild(s);

Recommendations? Errors? Feature requests? Post them here and I’ll try and fix/add.

UPDATE: You can now lookup information and geocode by IP Address.
To lookup by the requesting IP address, just add “by_ip=1″ like so:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?by_ip=1

To get city/state info, use a callback:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?by_ip=1&cb=IpLookup

To lookup an IP address by passing it in, rather than using the requestor’s ip:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?by_ip=1&cb=IpLookup&IP=66.249.66.98

Keep in mind, when using IP addresses, that this info isn’t always very good and, in fact, many IP addresses will not have any data. I have built it in to try looking up by IP address when the by_ip=1 parameter is used but to fall back on the other lookup info (i.e. loc or city infor passed in) if the IP address lookup fails.

To try it out, check out the virtual earth or google earth geourl sites and click on the “Guess by my IP Address” link.

UPDATE: API now supports &phone= as well as &format=.
The phone parameter tries doing a reverse lookup to find an address then geocodes that address for you.
The format parameter accepts “XML” or “json” to output in those corresponding formats. Here is an example utilizing both of these features:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?phone=8188463111&format=json
The above is a lookup of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce phone number.

So what am I asking in return for use of this tool?
Well, I’m asking (but not requiring) a reciprocal link to either the localsearchmaps.com homepage or to this blog’s homepage.

Any usage limitations?
Well, if you overburden this server, I might throttle you or even shut you down if you abuse it (never happened yet!). If you think you are blocked, feel free to email me and I will unblock you as long as we clear up any issues.

UPDATE: I have added a new feature as of 2004/02/24. You can now do a reverse lookup of lat/long to address. It currently is much more limited in area and in accuracy than other components of this framework and its performance/response time is not that great yet so use with caution and I will improve over time (feedback always welcome).
To use it, just specify a latitude and longitude in your request like so:
http://geo.localsearchmaps.com/?format=json&lat=34.209539&long=-118.32 5116

Like this service? Help make sure it keeps a good level of service (or even improves it) by donating:


… or how about just a link back to me or localsearchmaps.com?

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