Monthly Archives: August 2006

Why Post From a Blackberry?

Dave Winer has recently switched to a Blackberry and is (re-)discovering what it means to read news and post to your blog from a mobile device. As they say, “What’s old is new again!”. I’m glad to see some renewed attention in this area; there is still a lot of room for improvement and innovation here.

Dave hits a few good points, in response to the hypothetical question of posting from a Blackberry:

I’ve seen a few blog posts asking why would you want to post from a Blackberry? After all, you could carry a laptop with you, and of course typing on a laptop keyboard is much easier than typing on a PDA keyboard (it is, no argument there). And maybe it’s a good idea to take a break from blog posting sometimes, maybe it’s a good thing that you can’t post from every conceivable place.

Being able to publish while mobile will be useful (even essential) to a certain type of user. It might not have broad appeal for all the bloggers out there, but if you’re a traveler, or like to push the latest pix, mobile blogging could be a killer app. Being able to publish to your blog would seem essential here, rather than having to join another service. I’ve written before about mobile client blogging apps. Dave is creating a web-based application that looks promising, talking to various standard blog engines.

Microsoft Excel Web Queries (Screencast)

Today I took some free time and created another screencast, this time covering a really cool feature of Microsoft Excel: Web Queries. Web queries let you import data directly from a web site. This is a great tool for importing table-based data for your own analysis or sorting.

In the example recorded today, I use Excel to fetch the Q2 Venture Capital Survey data from the San Jose Mercury News website. You might be interested in this data if you were looking for a job or selling Aeron chairs.

Using Microsoft Excel Web Queries - Screencast -

Getting a Job in Silicon Valley

Guy Kawasaki has a great piece today titled Everything You Wanted to Know About Getting a Job in Silicon Valley But Didn’t Know Who to Ask:

Many people ask me for advice about getting a job in Silicon Valley, so here’s the inside scoop. Not everyone will agree with this advice, and some will outright deny what I’m saying, but if you use these tips you will stand head and shoulders above most candidates.

I won’t reiterate the whole list here, but this is definitely worth reading. He starts the list with a great tip: “Love what the company does”. When I worked at Palm, I was amazed at the number of candidates who had little or no knowledge about Palm PDAs. “My friend has one” was one of the responses I got when asking a candidate what he thought of Palm PDAs. Needless to say he didn’t get hired. Conversely, an engineer on my team had bought a Palm and written a couple of programs for it before the interview; she was hired :)

At Yahoo we face the same situation. Again, we’re dealing with a consumer product (a free one, in fact), so there’s really no excuse for not being prepared to talk about it. In my case I had not been a heavy Yahoo! Messenger user, but played with it pretty extensively before my first interview and had intelligent things to say, both good and bad. That’s probably not the only reason I was hired, but I’m sure it helped.

TypePad Mobile Launched

About 5 months after acquiring SplashBlog, TypePad today announced the release of TypePad Mobile:

Today we’re excited to announce the release of TypePad Mobile, a free application for your Palm, Windows Mobile or Symbian Series 60 smartphone that lets you post photos and entries to your TypePad blogs and photo albums with just a few clicks.

I expect the new software will work very well. SplashData has a history of writing solid Palm OS applications and with this software being integrated directly into TypePad, should provide a smooth interaction for the user.

I don’t have a TypePad account, so can’t really try it out. I’m still waiting for a good mobile blog posting solution for Movable Type. Actually, I wonder if this new software will also support Vox? It would make sense to do so. I just got an invite to Vox yesterday and will be checking it out soon hopefully.

(Via Jeff Clavier)

Going Adobe-Free for PDFs

After dealing with slow startup times and constant update nags with Adobe Acrobat, I’ve decided to take the plunge and go “Adobe-free” for my PDF support.

Instead, I’m now running:

  • Foxit Reader is a free, lightweight PDF reader; I’ve just started using it and it seems to work just fine; it’s been able to read and properly render all the PDFs I’ve thrown at it so far
  • CutePDF Writer is a PDF printer, allowing you to create PDFs from any Windows application; I’ve used this for a few years now and it’s rock solid

Notice I didn’t say “Adobe-free”…I am still running PhotoShop :)