danbricklin.com/log

Starting July 24, 2000
PDA, keyboard, and cellphone, Gnutella sharing data, Happy Birthday, Jonathan!, Meg Whitman interview on News.com, BigDoc for Palm, Visor files, Friend-to-Friend Networks, More thoughts on P2P, P2P isn't why Napster has lots of songs, Cool bookmarklets and yet more on sizing, More on sizing the browser window, Wallpaper for making web sites, Sailing in Newport, Trellix's "Tell the world" direct marketing campaign: Send them a TV, Stowaway sighting
24Jul00-23Aug00
2000_07_24.htm
Wednesday, August 23, 2000
PDA, keyboard, and cellphone
Dan Gillmor discusses his use of an HP Jornada, Stowaway keyboard, and cellphone in today's column. He shares my enthusiasm for the keyboard.

I believe forms of computing other than a desktop will be important and like to track them. I was a user of some of the first laptops (a Radio Shack RS-100 -- programmed partially by Bill Gates -- and a Data General/One). The use of a PDA with a keyboard (like the Stowaway or RIM) instead of a laptop is of great interest to me (as my regular readers probably have seen).

A use that will be of interest to many people would be note taking in school. Laptops are heavy, expensive, easily stolen, and have limited battery life. Stories and observations from anybody who has used such setups (PDA and keyboard in class) would be welcome.

Monday, August 21, 2000
Gnutella sharing data
John Markoff wrote an article in this morning's New York Times about a Xerox PARC study of Gnutella users. Here we have actual numbers about how Peer-to-Peer sharing works -- who shares and who is a "free rider". Read the details in "Free Riding on Gnutella".

Happy Birthday, Jonathan!
Today is my brother's 45th birthday. Like my mother and a few other relatives, he reads this log (and contributes ideas), so I'll use it once again for personal reasons. Happy Birthday, Jonathan!

Jonathan smiling
My brother, Jonathan

Thursday, August 17, 2000
Meg Whitman interview on News.com
News.com's interview with Meg Whitman of eBay was quite interesting. She got hammered about Napster and P2P ("Some say that peer-to-peer e-commerce or file-sharing technology will revolutionize the face of the Internet--and have drastic consequences for centralized marketplaces such as eBay. Are you afraid of P2P technology such as Gnutella?"). The discussion about global issues (selling internationally) was also worth reading about.

Wednesday, August 16, 2000
BigDoc for Palm, Visor files
I set up a Handspring Visor with the Targus Stowaway Keyboard and ended up trying the BigDoc program to read the Doc-format files on a Windows PC. See the August 16, 2000, entry in Living with the Stowaway Keyboard.

Friday, August 11, 2000
Friend-to-Friend Networks
Today's Dan Gillmor column inspired me again (that's one reason I read his writings). He says that Aimster is very clever and I agree. It also brings up a variant of Peer-to-Peer we should think about, though Bob Frankston cautions me not to get too excited because there are problems here, too.


Thursday, August 10, 2000
More thoughts on P2P
Yesterday Dan Gillmor had another Peer-to-Peer column. He talks about "...a multi-directional collection of computers and networks that lets anyone create and distribute information as easily as we browse the World Wide Web today." He points to Clay Shirky, who wrote articles such as "Content shifts to the edges", as a source.

I usually agree with much of what Dan writes, and looking at Prof. Shirky's writings I surely agree with an awful lot of his insightful material. However, I detected some fanning of the hype flames for P2P that needs some moderation. So...another essay.


Monday, August 7, 2000
P2P isn't why Napster has lots of songs
In yesterday's column, Dan Gillmor states:

What matters more about Napster is its architecture, the way it works...Suddenly, you can be a Web site yourself -- a publisher -- creating content on your own computer...And venture capitalists are scurrying to finance entrepreneurs who are working on similar technology, which has taken on the "peer-to-peer" buzz phrase.

- Dan Gillmor, San Jose Mercury News

Photo of Napster download progress barWhile I believe very strongly in the importance of Peer-to-Peer architecture to the Internet and its future, and my company is built around personal web site publishing, I don't believe that's as important here except to the lawyers. I believe that Napster's benefit is the breadth and depth of its database and not where it is stored. (In fact, a different architecture would be better for users.) What's special is how Napster got that database filled, by people looking out for themselves.


Friday, August 4, 2000
Cool bookmarklets and yet more on sizing
Window sizing is such a hot topic! Harshal Chhaya writes from Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay -- check out Mumbai-Central.com):

I use a couple of bookmarklets to re-size my browser in a single click. I have these Javascript scripts on my 'Personal Toolbar' (Netscape) and 'Links' (IE). I can quickly re-size any browser window to either 640x480 or 800x600 with a single click.

The bookmarklets.com web site he refers to has lots of Javascript snippets that do cool things that you can run from your Favorites/Bookmarks list. They include: list the unique words in the selection alphabetically, pop up a list of all the links on a page, read cookie for site, and many more.

(I'm actually posting this Thursday evening, but it's Friday in Mumbai.)

Thursday, August 3, 2000
More on sizing the browser window
One of my readers, Mike Duffy, writes that he uses a little freeware utility, BrowserSizer from ApplyThis Software. Sounds useful, though I like the wallpaper as a reminder that you need to check (you see it every time you look at your desktop), even if you use a utility to do the actual sizing.

Mike's web site has his background, which includes working on Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (he later became executive VP of Mindscape) a program I used to recommend to people to learn to type -- it worked well.

Tuesday, August 1, 2000
Wallpaper for making web sites
My brother Jonathan suggested that I share with you a trick that I shared with him and that has served him well in his work.

While I usually work on computers with 1024x768 pixel screens (the LCD of a laptop or flat panel desktop), I know that I should check how my work will look on the 640x480 and 800x600 screens of many others. To help me do that, I've set my Windows desktop wallpaper to a simple image that includes an outline of where the other screen sizes are. I can just size my browser (or other application) window to fit within those borders to see how things will look. I made the file with Windows Paint with the help of the cursor position information it shows in the bottom-right status area while you're drawing. It gives a good approximation of what others will see, though I know people run with different settings and different browsers that sometimes take off even more window space, and many Macs often run with even smaller windows.

Vertical lines labeled 640x480 and 800x600
Part of desktop wallpaper for sizing browser windows
You can see what it looks like by looking at desktopgrid.gif. You can use a copy of that version or, if you aren't running Active Desktop, you can use the BMP version which is in desktopgrid.zip.

Monday, July 24, 2000
Sailing in Newport
Last week I got to participate in a customer/partner event hosted by LavaStorm, a company that builds large web sites for others. I was a "celebrity captain" on an old America's Cup 12-meter racing yacht, even though I know nothing about boats. For people who like boats or wonder what they're like, I've posted pictures and a write-up.

Read my story about Sailing in Newport.

Sailboat under a big bridge leaning over  Me in sunglasses and hat holding big wheel steering a boat
One of the boats we raced against, me looking like I know what I'm doing (I don't)
Trellix's "Tell the world" direct marketing campaign: Send them a TV
Companies are always trying to find ways to "cut through the clutter" and get potential clients to notice them. LavaStorm's day sailing in Newport was one such way. The company I work for, Trellix Corporation, tried something totally different that many people think is a prime example of a well done direct marketing campaign. We figured out exactly who we wanted to reach, produced a video just for them, and FedEx'ed it to them along with a TV/VCR to play it. People on the sailboats commented to me about this "TV giveaway" and wanted to know details, so I've written it up.


TV on a box that says M E E T
The TV and box people received
Stowaway sighting
I saw a Stowaway keyboard being used with a wireless Palm VII on a sailboat. Many of my readers are interested in that stuff, so I took pictures and wrote it up. Read the write-up in Stowaway sightings.

Keyboard and Palm VII next to opening of the hold of a sailboat
Sending email from the deck of a sailboat with a Palm VII and Stowaway keyboard

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