I use Google calendars for recurring reminders but it takes a couple of minutes to set up. What if you want a free, quick way to get a reminder in your inbox without even having to sign up or register for anything? Followupthen will do it for you, simply by sending an email to them with a timeframe (eg [email protected]) in the TO: field. It does handle recurring reminders too. I haven’t got the slightest idea how these guys will make any money but they’ve done a pretty good job of taking the complexity out of automated reminders, assuming I have access to e-mail and an Internet connection.
For anyone who is wondering if they have what it takes to create their own startup, this essay from Paul Graham (one of the founders of Y Combinator) is a must-read. In it he talks about differences he noticed on a recent trip to Africa between the way animals behave in the wild and how they behave in zoos, and how these differences are mirrored in many of the people who come Y Combinator’s way.
Then there’s the junk food/working for a large corporation comparison:
If people have to choose between something that’s cheap, heavily marketed, and appealing in the short term, and something that’s expensive, obscure, and appealing in the long term, which do you think most will choose?
It’s the same with work. The average MIT graduate wants to work at Google or Microsoft, because it’s a recognized brand, it’s safe, and they’ll get paid a good salary right away. It’s the job equivalent of the pizza they had for lunch. The drawbacks will only become apparent later, and then only in a vague sense of malaise.
And founders and early employees of startups, meanwhile, are like the Birkenstock-wearing weirdos of Berkeley: though a tiny minority of the population, they’re the ones living as humans are meant to. In an artificial world, only extremists live naturally.
The essay applies not to programmers. If you’re happy where you sit, no need to get your feathers ruffled. But if you’re starting to feel sluggish, this might spark something.
Robert Scobel has a pretty comprehensive set of tips on how to get the most out of Google+, culled from his own experience so far with it. Might be invaluable to pass along to friends and relatives who are less than tech- or social media savvy. A lot of people have been somewhat skeptical of Google+ since it was released but one thing’s for sure: many early adopters and so-called “thought leaders” have embraced it with open arms, many of them declaring that for various reasons they see it as superior to Facebook–gasp! At any rate Google seems pretty committed to it and it probably behooves us to at least put an hour or two into getting it set up so we can at least spout informed opinions regarding it at cocktail parties.
There are five new features in the latest WordPress version (3.2) that make it quite a bit different from previous installations. For instance if you are running PHP 4 or MySQL 4 you’ll find that you have to upgrade to PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0 in order to install WordPress 3.2. Read all about it over at Mashable. Think of how far WordPress has come in the last for five years, from being one of the many blogging content management systems out there to becoming in some ways the de facto standard for creating not just blogs but web sites even created for large-scale commercial usage.
Here is a pretty lengthy list of dashboard widgets for developers and web designers who work on the Mac platform. I was not aware of Image Shackle and ColourMod; take a look to see if any of these will make your professional life easier. We have done many, many lists of Firefox extensions that can take the place of standalone applications in our workflows and other small personal management tasks in the last few years. The widget concept is clearly another idea whose time has come, with basically the same motivation: perform defined, fairly limited tasks with a very small piece of software and do it very well. So far this functionality is limited mainly to OS X but I have a feeling you’ll see it in Windows before long as well.
If you are a front-end developer, take a look at Chris Coyier’s helpful little list of one-page apps that are sure to make your job easier. I was not aware previously of several of these slick little one-web-page bits of help: web developers should go take a look at Border-radius.com which makes it outrageously simple to round some of the elements corners but not all of them, or copyPasteCharacter.com, which is the name would indicate, invites you to simply copy a symbol and pasted right into your website.
I’ve always thought that helpful one-page websites that function like widgets or even a bit like browser extensions were especially helpful especially if you have a bookmarking system that makes them easily accessible.
With Onesheet, Brenden Mulligan aims to create a way for bands to set up a web presence in under a minute. I think he succeeds spectacularly. Create a single-page site, connect it to third-party services you have for your band (ReverbNation, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc.), and it automatically reflects all future updates to those services. The concept is the opposite of Mulligan’s ArtistData project, which helps artists syndicate band info across the web from one spot.
This is really impressive, and clearly he has a model to help various entities with multiple social media presences create a sort of meta-presence with no extra effort.
As Engineering Director of Google+, I wanted to take a moment to explain why we’re growing the system slowly. First, we want to make sure our infrastructure scales so the service remains fast and reliable. Second, we want to ensure that bugs are fixed while there are still a relatively few people in the field trial.
Come on Dave, there is a number three reason and everybody knows it. Why not admit that you’re creating free buzz around the Google+ rollout by making the invites scarce. If this had no marketing angle to it why do all the pundits and ‘tech celebs’ get an invite first? I don’t think anyone would begrudge Google for attempting to create more interest by rolling the service out slowly, but at least admit it.
So here’s a simple question: if we can extrapolate the huge ramping-up of tablet/smartphone usage into the future, and if ‘app-like experiences’ are better suited to handheld devices than trying to read website content through a browser, is web design becoming less relevant? Will it matter so much in five years what my website looks like if ultimately its look will be customized depending on the screen, device, or app through which visitors accessed it? OK, that’s two questions.