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How’s Your Vocabulary?

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Here’s some fun facts for Friday from Stuart Flexner’s I Hear America Talking book.

According to Flexner, there are an estimated 600,000 words in our English language — but the average American only understands around 2 to 3 percent of them and actually uses only half that amount. Flexner says, “Just 10 basic words account for over 25% of all speech and 50 simple words for almost 60%, with between 1,500 and 2,000 words accounting for 99% of everything we say.” The most commonly used word is I, followed by you, the and a. Of our written language, Flexner says, “is only a little more varied than our spoken one, 70 words making up 50% of it.”

Five Horrific Things You Can Do To Kill Off Your Community

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Running a community site can be absolute murder sometimes. Keeping the balance between a happy operator and happy users is a deadly dance. Being the owner/operator of a now comatose niche community site has given me the supernatural power to see into the future and warn you about the baleful consequences of ignoring the blood-thirsty mob. Here are five grisly mistakes you can make when running a community site, be it a blog, social network, or message board:

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More Standards Please

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Can we get some standards people?

The Web Standards Project (WaSP) fights for standards within the web industry. They lobby on behalf of all web developers to have browser companies adhere to community developed standards. Whether the browser companies actually listen to them is another story, but at least there is an organization that works for the people. It seems to me we need MORE of these types of organizations because things are getting out of hand.

Here are just a few areas that come to mind that could greatly benefit from some standards:

Memory Cards

The most common types of flash memory cards for digital cameras are: CompactFlash (CF), Secure Digital (SD), Memory Stick and xD-Picture Card. The type of memory card you’ll need is determined by which digital camera you use.

Can we not just have one format please? I bought a new Cannon camera and now all my old memory cards from my old camera, a Kodak, don’t work. Thanks people.

Also, as long as we’re talking about digital cameras and standardizations – how bout you standardize on batteries too? Are you in the battery business or the camera business?

Printer Ink Cartridges

This is all #()%#@ up. Not only does every printer company use its own proprietary ink cartridges, but there are actually different cartridges WITHIN the same company! Why?

Let’s face it, there isn’t a lot of technology involved in the actual cartridge — they’re just little holders of ink. Why can’t they all just standardize and place their focus on making a better printer?

Motherboards

Why so many different motherboard variations? The use of different chipsets for each motherboard really limits you from upgrading your computer. And should you decide to upgrade, you have to take your entire computer apart. It would be really nice to see some standardizations here.

HD DVD

High definition movies are barely out of the gate and that horse is down. Nothing has hurt this more than the lack of standards. Blu-ray or HD DVD? Neither! I’ll wait to see who wins first.

What areas do you see that could benefit from some standards?

I’m Having an Affair

Friday, October 19th, 2007

gaspThis just in, “I’m Having an Affair”!

I was doing my usual daily blog reading last week when I came across one of those posts, “I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a while…”. We all know the posts and typically I just skim right through them and move on. This post got me thinking though. The author explained his absence was due to him spending too much time on other projects. All of the sudden, I knew what was happening; I knew the signs. This guy was cheating on his website, and so was I.

One of my first websites was my personal blog (beware, it’s the land of the elephant graveyard). Now this isn’t some great fancy website but it is the first one I created for myself. I had done plenty of websites for clients, but none for myself. ilovecode (yes, she has a name) was my first love and the first website that got me thinking about more websites I could build for myself. ilovecode was a labor of love. I had a lot of things happen there behind the scenes that the public wasn’t aware of. I got into heavy experimentation with different methodologies and different techniques. This was really a learning opportunity for me; much as most first loves are. You make mistakes, you learn from them and try not to repeat them. When I would break her (and I broke her often), I would do whatever I could to fix her.

One day though, I had an idea for a new website. I spent most of my time thinking about this new idea and was consumed with it. Thoughts of it constantly ran through my head. My fire to develop was reignited and it was due to this new site being in my life. See, I told you I was cheating. I continued to cheat, repeatedly. In fact I am still cheating and have a new love that I spend all of my time on: my blog forum and resource site.

I’m going to bet that I’m not alone in my infidelity. I know sometimes when working on one project for too long, you can get lost in the monotony of the day-to-day. Once the excitement has worn off you find that a new project can really get you excited again. I don’t mind my website infidelity although at times it feels more like a polygamous relationship. I’ve got several wives (or husbands) who all pull together for the community or our relationship by promoting each other and linking to each other.

I must say, when Mark told me to write something “light” for a Friday post and I told him my idea, I think he thought I was a little crazy (or maybe a lot) but I don’t think he got the comparison between owning websites and relationships. So I leave it to you to prove one of us wrong (Mark). Do you see the comparison and more importantly, have you experienced it as well?

Vision of The Environment…

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day. It’s a day where bloggers around the web will unite to post on a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment.

You will no doubt see a wide variety of opinions throughout the web on this issue. I expect there to be a lot of finger pointing — it’s the democrats fault or it’s the republicans fault, or it’s the SUVs fault, or it’s because people are having too many kids. Whatever. People will then say that we need to do something, we need to write to congress and the President and demand action.

Of course the environment is a huge topic for the 2008 presidential candidates. Each candidate has their own plan or program to solve the problem. You can read about them here.

But, I believe —

If the world is saved, it will be saved not by old minds with new programs, but by new minds with no programs at all…

Every culture is a collection of individuals, and each individual has in his or her head a complete set of values, concepts, rules, and preferences that, taken together, constitute the building plans for that particular culture. This is known as the cultures Vision.

Vision is to culture what gravity is to matter. When you see a ball roll off a table and fall to the floor, you should think, “Gravity is at work here.” When you see a culture make its appearance and spread outward in all directions until it takes over the entire world, you should think, “Vision is at work here.”

Vision is the flowing river. Programs are sticks set in the riverbed to impede the flow. What I’m saying is that the world will not be saved by people with programs. If the world is saved, it will be saved because the people living in it have a new Vision.”

Every year, without fail, we outlaw more things, catch more people doing them, and put more of them in jail. The outlawed behavior never goes away, because, directly or indirectly, it’s supported by the strong, invisible, unrelenting force called Vision. This explains why police officers are much more likely to take up crime than criminals are to take up law enforcement. It’s called “going with the flow.”

If the world is saved, it will be saved because people begin to think in a different way about the world and humanity’s place in it.

Most of this is from the mind of Daniel Quinn. Author of Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit and The Story of B.

Please take 10 more minutes and continue reading here!

If you want even more reading, try this.

I highly recommend his books. They will change your way of thinking…

When to Fire a Client

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I’ve been working with clients for almost five years and have had varied experiences with my clients; some good, some average and some I hope to never work with again. All that said, all of my clients have been satisfied with my work. But last month I did something that I haven’t ever had to do before, I fired a client.

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Community – It’s Everything

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Do you know why you work so hard? No community – it’s the price you pay for being independent.

If someone told you that you are a very independent person you would probably take that as a compliment. It means that you rely upon no one for anything. In today’s culture that is looked upon as a positive quality. But, I believe there is a price to pay for being independent — and we’re all paying it.

You and I work hard because we have to support ourselves entirely. I need my own house, my own car, my own computer, my own microwave, washer, dryer, television, xbox, lawn mower and all the rest. And you need these things too, because after all you want to be independent don’t you? You wouldn’t want to have to ask your neighbor if you could use theirs. Chances are if you are like most people, you probably don’t even know your neighbors well enough to feel comfortable to ask them for something. You don’t need to, everything they have, you also have. You don’t need your neighbors for anything — and they don’t need you.

In order to acquire these things you need to work for them and I need to work for them and so does everyone else. But, if you really thought about it – why do each of us need to own these possessions? I only use my microwave from time-to-time; same with my lawn mower — only on Saturday mornings do I use it. In fact that’s true for just about everything I own. Why couldn’t we share the lawn mower? In reality our entire block could share a lawn mower and just about everything else. But that’s not how independent people work.

In the average neighborhood in America, every household owns the same essential things.

Why is that?

It didn’t use to be this way and in some parts of the world there are people that still don’t live this way. Our textbooks call these people tribal or some even use a more derogatory term — uncivilized. We civilized people don’t need a tribe. We rely upon no one – for anything.

And because we rely upon no one we have no one to rely upon. You need to work hard so that you don’t need to ask for anything from anyone and so do I.

Why do I tell you such things? Well because I’m a big believer in being part of a community and have experienced the benefits that come with it. Being part of a community is more than just for the purpose of sharing things, ultimately it’s about being stronger as a group instead of as individuals.

Now to try and relate this to blogging…

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