Software, Digital Content, Geopolitics, Economics & More from of a Libertarian Serial Expat and Entrepreneur
Like so many people, I let my blog, which I had started relatively early at the end of 2000, fall into a state of utter neglect as various social networks took over in the late 2000s. But in the past couple of years I went through a conscious effort to improve my information diet, and that took me back to where I started: a careful selection of handpicked RSS feeds consumed via an RSS reader, many of which are blogs from entrepreneurs and interesting companies.
Despite applying the same upstream filtering to my various social media streams (i.e. I don’t follow celebrities and other noisy crap in Twitbook+), I find their information density way too low. If anything, the current crop of self-centered, ephemeral social media show the lasting value of a good blog with a purpose. Read the rest of this entry »
As far as we’re concerned we’re making sure we don’t just play around too much and actually fully use a tool before considering implementing yet another one. Right now we’re focused on Clicktale, mostly for its forms analytics. A bit slow but if you’re into analytics, you owe it to yourself to try it.
There are other tools that we’ve been using for a while, and yet others that we might test later. I’m sure I’m missing many but here’s a list: Read the rest of this entry »
Living through a major earthquake: pretty scary.
Realizing your family, yourself, and your property don’t have a scratch: priceless.
My thoughts to the families of the deceased, wounded and homeless. Te quiero Chile.
Update three years later: I had posted this after the 8.8 earthquake on Feb. 27, 2010 in Chile. We live about 350 km (215 mile) north of the epicenter, so we felt a pretty long ~M7 earthquake on the Richter scale. Not tsunami traumatic, but definitely scary nonetheless (the noise!). This will remain a strong memory for life for sure. Oh, and the aftershocks (we’re in the upper part of that collection of 458 aftershocks, with a bunch of M5s-M6s right where we live).
I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time, mostly because we’ve kept ourselves quite busy hunting for, then buying and renovating a house in Concón, Chile. After 5 months of remodeling, we finally moved in last month and we’re very happy to have made that choice which satisfies both our heads – we’re convinced it’s a great investment over the long run – and heart – outstanding direct view on the ocean, lots of space, our kids love it. There’s easily two or three years of additional work ahead to get our dream home out of it (and home office – did I mention we’re across the street from the Pacific ocean?) but we’re starting to be nicely settled already.
On the web publishing tech front, we’ve been working with ExpressionEngine for a bit more than a year. We like it for the most part, but still have several unresolved issues: Read the rest of this entry »
I just bought a prepaid data package from Claro, one of the three mobile telcos here in Chile. After fumbling with their settings (their APN for prepago banda ancha is bap.clarochile.cl, not bam.clarochile.cl) I’ve just completed a successful call with my Teliax account on my Nokia E71 to my Vonage account. The chain involved goes something like this:
Nokia SIP call -> Claro 3.5G network -> internet cloud to the US -> Vonage -> more internet cloud back to Chile -> Tutopia DSL -> Cisco ATA 186 -> Philips VOIP841 wireless phone (for whom Vonage is my “landline”, I also have Skype running on it).
There’s probably 20,000 miles worth of roundtrip involved, with data packets going through air, copper and fiber. Try to visualize it. Read the rest of this entry »
Quick notes on apps I’m using with my E71 smartphone:
doesn’t do push. I’m not able to push the new tasks in Gmail yet, but email/contacts/calendar is quite nice already.
I’m planning a trip to the US in April/May (Denver and Miami) and want my phone to support me as much as possible during the trip. I usually rely on a good old piece of paper with all the necessary addresses and phone numbers and what not, but I hope it will act mostly as backup from now on.
Update: I’ve set up Teliax and made a couple test calls, seems pretty good so far. Vonage has seemed on the brink of extinction since pretty much they got started and Skype has never worked quite as well for me (some calls are great, some are crappy, it’s always been more uneven in my experience). Plus, Vonage’s soft phone is not cheap and I’m not sure there’s even one for smartphones. More options means more resilience means less headaches and downtime.
Also: E71 tricks.
Update about push email: Seven sends SMS to the UK in a kind of sneaky way behind your back, and it doesn’t work seamlessly with Devicescape Easy Wifi (at least for me). Not sure it’s going to be my long term solution, especially given it won’t work with messages stored on external memory. I tried Emoze but it doesn’t seem to manage folders, at least not the free product. Next: Profimail.
Gmail + Gears if finally happening. The pieces are really starting to be put together by Google here. Good move.
To help other people from being sold a device that’s not going to be maintained by its manufacturer, let me warn you that some versions of Nokia’s E71 smartphone sold in the US (aka E71-2 NAM) have not received any firmware update since the product was introduced on the market last year. Meaning, known bugs have been fixed for some customers, but I and others are left hanging dry. That’s rich for a $400 unlocked phone sold by one of the biggest ecommerce players in the consumer electronics world (Newegg.com). It’s not like I bought the phone for cheap from the grey market and unlocked it with an unsupported hack.
Nokia is aware of the problem but doesn’t even have a deadline to fix it. I thought they finally meant to be a competitive player in the US but it seems I was wrong. Also, apparently Nokia is too poor to py for decent upgrade servers.
Looks like Palm is back in the game so if Nokia doesn’t get their act together I’ll be on the market again soon for an unlocked phone that can work worldwide and is actually properly supported by its vendor.
02/15/09 update: proceeded with the finally available update. Going through applications to see things are working fine, Gmail settings didn’t make it even after backup/restore (since the E71 doesn’t save user settings through firmware updates – yeah it’s stupid at that price range).
After Zoho, Google. Now we’re talking: System Status Dashboard, Quota Details Page, and a Billing Sneak Preview. These quotas and billings make me think Google must have hired someone who used to work in the mainframe business at IBM. There’s a pretty decent roadmap and feature release log too.
Someone knows what they’re doing in this Google department. If they manage to stay aligned with Salesforce.com, the Google Apps/Force.com combo could really threaten Microsoft and Oracle a few years from now.
Google Apps + App Engine + Gears + Chrome + Native Client + network investments, they’re not toying around. There’s a deliberate web application strategy at work here with more chances to succeed than Netscape ever had in the 90′s. This is a much, much better direction for Google than weak wiki-based offerings or pondering whether to buy Digg.com. I’m starting to be excited again by a refocused Google that seems to gain from the pressure brought by the recession. It helps that Yahoo and Microsoft have been more inept at search marketing than I thought was possible, but Google is starting to show fresh vision and good execution outside of Adwords.
Kudos to Zoho for introducing a detailed dashboard monitoring the health of their online applications. I’m very pleased to see more and more web app vendors delivering on transparency I advocated as early as 2001 for online apps and services.
At Watershed we have our own mini health portal with tabs for our internal and external apps. Most of our vendors now at least have some sort of blog keeping track of scheduled downtime and unforeseen issues. We’re lobbying those who still don’t so they get on board. And this is part of my default checklist each time I’m considering potential online software vendors.
Off-topic notice to the non-existent readers mourning the long-gone days when I used to blog more often. You can get more frequent Olivier fixes on Twitter. One liners work well for me as I rarely find the time to research and write longer blog posts anymore. Speaking of micro-blogging, we’re also satisfied Yammer users, which is really filling a gap for distributed teams.
I'm CEO of an online/mobile trade publishing firm in the marketing and defense verticals. We strive to make news and data digestible and useful in an environment that is noisier by the day.
This personal blog mixes my thoughts and interests on politics, business, publishing, software, and more. Over the years I have posted items that turned out spectacularly wrong, and a few posts that better stood the test of time.