Google promises Safari compatibility with GMail

When Internet search engine giant Google launched its free 1GB email service, Gmail on April 1, 2004, they did so without support for Apple Computer Inc.’s Safari Web browser. The browser requirement page on the company’s Web site lists several compatible browsers for the beta of Gmail, but Safari is still not among them. All of that will change before Gmail is available to the public, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. [MacCentral]

The Power of Walt Mossberg

Thursday is the best news day because I get Circuits from the NYT and Personal Technology from Walt Mossberg in the WSJ. The current issue of Wired has a great article on Mossberg and his power and influence in the tech space. It will be online eventually and I’ll try to remember to go back and link it here (just added to Tasks), but if you subscribe or get it at the newsstand, you should check it out.

UPDATE – May 4Here’s a link to the article

The Ebb and Flow of Manners…

I am consistently amazed at how people behave around you when you have a small child. Hannah is 5 months and is always with us, either in the Bjorn or her stroller. We always run into people. I mean literally. People walking and even in cars seem to steer right at you. Every so often, you get surprised with a kind gesture or even a simple courtesy…

Saturday we were at Gramercy Park, which is usually closed (it’s a private park), and having a good time. When we left, I was waiting for my turn to push the stroller through the gate, when a woman literally squeezed in front of us to get in. It’s not like they were about to run out of free money… it was just a beautiful day outside.

On any given day, as we go in and out of stores, we find that 99.9% of people will not hold the door for you when pushing a stroller. It’s great when you have a door to push out and you are trying to manage an awkward load like a stroller with a small child… My favorite move is when the person actually visually acknowledges you first, then lets the door slam in your face.

Of course cars always have the right of way here, (especially when the walk sign is lit) but we find a pretty significant percentage of traffic likes to creep or speed up behind you so that you almost get side-swiped as they make their turn behind you.

Every now and again you get pleasantly surprised… today for example I was in the grocery store with Hannah in her stroller and was greeted at the register by a very helpful checkout girl, who took the basket from my non-stroller hand and then proceeded to efficiently zip me through the line and even packed the bag in a single, though full bag so I could cruise through and easily manage to maintain control of the stroller. Hannah was sleeping at the time so I seriously appreciated her efforts.

I’m sure I am noticing things more as a parent now, but it just continues to amaze me how people ignore that there are others around – especially here in NYC when you are only alone at home.

Omarosa, You’re Fired!

From what I understand Thaler has already shot the spot and used Omarosa in a recent AAAA presentation. This only confirms what I’ve known all along… Omarosa is un-hireable. She’s burnt too many bridges, lied and lied about lying. No one could possibly hire her and believe she was going to make a trust-worthy employee. Not exactly a great person to have represent your brand…

In what has to be some of the worst brand management in recent history, Clairol is toying with the idea of placing Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, the deceitful “The Apprentice” contestant, in some of their Herbal Essence commercials. Surely, it’s a bid to capitalize on her 15 minutes of fame but one that could go sour as consumers threaten to boycott Clairol products if the company makes this brainless move. [Adrants]

Techno File

Just added to my aggregator…

“Techno File” is a new big-media-blog authored by TIME Magazine writer Eric Roston, described as “a daily commentary on the technology that will carry us through tomorrow – and the stuff that keeps us stuck in yesterday.” [Boing Boing]

maintaining the dialogue

There are a variety of ways for blogs to communicate and even publish information with simple protocols in semi-automated as well as manual ways. The great thing is that they all offer ways to let the original author/poster know you thought what was said was worthwhile. As I am sure I’ve mentioned previously I am not a developer so the definitions and interpretations are purely from a user perspective. I am far from an expert on these topics, but was thinking about how it all works and truly find it intriguing. One of the more fascinating things about maintaining a blog is checking your traffic patterns and discovering how people are finding you – and then what they might be saying about you.


Referrals are the most basic way you can see that someone has linked to you and requires you check your traffic logs to see that in fact people are coming to your site from another. You can see whether it’s a straight link or even whether someone has searched for specific terms in a search engine which led to you.

You can use a tool like Refer to track referral traffic to your site without pouring over the logs, but you’ll find (as discussed below) unfortunately people know how to take advantage of this system.


Many blogs include a link to comments which let you leave your thoughts about what you’ve read right there connected to the post. In most cases, the blog system allows the author to be notified via email when someone has left a few words for them.


Trackbacks are where things start to get interesting. If I see something on a blog I find of interest and the system is in place I can refer to the post on my blog and send a trackback over to the original blog. The trackback will post a comment directly on the other blog — assuming that is how things have been configured. This is similar to a comment except you post simultaneously on your blog as an original post with a cookie trail back on the referred site.

You can find Trackback development information here


When I started using WordPress, I noticed something called a Pingback, which can be activated and used on any post you make with a referenced URI. From what I can tell, the pingback basically says “Hello” to the referred author and does not post anything on the other site as a comment, though I am pretty sure it can be configured to work that way. This seems to be more like a private comment, between you and the person you have referenced on your own site.

The spec is published here. I am not sure what happens or who wins if a post received a pingback and a trackback. UPDATE – I now know that Pingback and Trackback both publish on the noted site (see below) which now has me believing that they are really competing bits of technology. Probably to move things to a more open platform, beyond Moveable Type where I think things started with Trackback.


Unfortunately just like in email, people have figured out ways to take advantage of the system to promote sketchy enterprises – generally spam engines and porn – by utilizing automated systems to leave comments on (primarily moveable type) blogs. A comment spam blacklist was designed to delete and then block attempts to do this. The main reason for referral and comment spam seems to be much more than just getting whatever traffic happens to be on a site to see the post for viagra or whatever the porn site du jour happens to be.

Behind all the blogs is an amazing system of sites culling what’s being said and creating smart directories so users have a way to search the conversations. You can check out Technorati, Feedster, Daypop, Popdex, Blogdex and Blogosphere to get yourself started … What you will find is that this spam collects enough traffic by referral to create it’s own buzz. The more links to a site there are, creates more notice and therefore more alleged priority.

The SixApart people, who developed Moveable Type have created a new way to stop comment spam called TypeKey which is a universal registration system for blogs (primarily MT sites) which will allow you to comment without saying who you are each time and for the authors to believe you. We’ll see if it works. There are plenty of people for and against this.

WordPress was smart enough to create some rules for filtering comments which on my site so far has allowed for no comment spam. My older site which is based on MT still gets a fair bit of comment spam and unfortunately requires I run the blacklist plugin to manually delete it each time this happens.

Kill Bill

I have yet to see Kill Bill as it did not make the cut for ReelMoms so we’ll have to find some time for the DVD…

how can one envision bringing together with an almost comic book cinematic style, kung fu, samurai sword fighting, rare and deep soul and funk music, a tragic love story, overwhelming love for one’s child, southern red neck culture (the pussy wagon anyone?), even an early pregnancy test and its ad slogans and of course some of the deepest and most sadistic violence. [snoozebutton]

To Quote or Not to Quote

Leaving a reference to a post on another site is not just a good idea, but in my mind is a requirement – like citing a reference in a book or research paper. I’ve been trying to not only cite the quote with a (CSS) style on my blog, but also lead you to the page if you want to read more. I also use features of most blog systems called trackbacks which allows an auto-comment to get posted on the blog with a reference back to me and often a small piece of my post as well. There seems to be a derivative of the trackback called a pingback, which seems to just send a note back to the author without a post on the other site.

My point in bringing this up is that often times I will use a piece or even the entire post of another person here as my entire post making it as clear as possible that in fact I am not the original author.

Tonight I was browsing through my aggregator and was convinced there was a glitch as a post I know I read previously was showing up on another blog. I checked it out and sure enough there it was in full (and it’s long) with no blockquote styling, just a simple linkback (not even to the actual post, but rather the home page) at the end. Sure it’s judgement on how you do things, but it really seemed in this case that the post was being stolen – or at least used in a more than grey way.

This is not a post taken from my site and in thinking about it I think it gets to me more because I respect the person who wrote it and the information provided in the post itself.

Out of Hollywood and into Video Games…

NYT has an interesting article running about movie directors wanting to get in on game direction. They cite the Wachowski brothers, Ridley Scott, John Woo and Peter Jackson all pushing what were previous career (and earning) limits.

The Wachowski brothers are the only ones who have produced a successful movie with matching game, though Peter Jackson is working on a deal for King Kong now…

RSS 101

I’ve got an issue with this article from today’s MediaPost on a few levels…

Hespos says that XML Syndication currently faces a standardization problem. “There are plenty of readers but no killer apps.” Hespos notes that XML Syndication is still very much in the early adopter stage. “All I see is a lot of bickering in the early adopter community,” he says. “[XML Syndication] lives in blogging communities. If Microsoft were to take it up that would be a good thing, because it would speed up the adoption process.”

Rick Bruner, president, Executive Summary Consulting, agrees. “It comes down to what Microsoft does with it. Longhorn is expected to come with an RSS reader. At that point, it could go mainstream–it could become a viable ad medium then,” Bruner says. [MediaDailyNews]

My issues here are that the writer claims (in the article, but not quoted here) that Atom will soon overtake RSS, which is interesting because based on the number of Atom feeds and the release level of the format it is still very early. Sure Google is the main backer, and apparently it’s easy to say they’re major so therefore it will win. This brings me to my next issue which is right in the quote above…

Both Hespos and Bruner claim that it is Microsoft who is holding adoption up based on their general lack of support. This is total bullshit!

The adoption rate, first is significant, both on the content generation side and also on the aggregation side. I’ll let you decide which number scale is more correct – Bruner in another article states according to research it is somewhere between 2.5 Million and 8.8 Million. It’s big. (There is no study on usage of these feeds… just that certain blog systems generate multiple formats.)

Microsoft does not have an aggregator and has not integrated RSS into the browser or the OS. but waiting for Microsoft and Longhorn will only delay what is already happening. People are finding ways to use RSS – though it needs to be made much easier to do so. Longhorn is not coming tomorrow or even this year… waiting on that will just have you listening to the hold music…

In thinking more about it, I think it’s going to take an AOL-like experience to make this take hold on a mass-scale – again assuming it should be used by all. Imagine the AOL UI with an RSS aggregator within. They could deliver their ads in a sane way, but enable a great number of people to read a huge amount of content within an efficient timetable. Maybe this hurts their ad model, as less time on is going to reduce the number of ad impressions, but perhaps they’ll just have to rethink the way things are served…

Dave Winer covers the software claims quite well (as you might expect) on his site.

The Spyware that Loved Me

Brought to you by the letters IE…

CNET sleuth John Borland wanted to see what would happen to his PC if he loaded rogue spyware apps onto the machine. That’s when all hell broke loose. [CNET]

Yahoo hints at social networking service

No avoiding the heat I guess…. social networking continues to draw interest from the Majors…

Yahoo on Wednesday dropped hints of growing interest in social networking services for search, coming after announcements of efforts from rivals Google and Microsoft.

o’s vice president for search, said the company sees a future in which people can share their Web searches with friends.

“A lot of the Web is about sharing,” Cadogan said, speaking to an audience at Stanford Business School’s first annual technology conference.

He pointed to a fairly new feature from Yahoo that lets people in remote locations search simultaneously by using IM environments in Yahoo instant messenger. “This is just the beginning. A lot more will come from that,” said Cadogan, a former executive at Overture Services who joined Yahoo when it bought the commercial search pioneer. []

The New Yorker: Neck Face

In my neighborhood, these graffiti tags are everywhere… I see them on the street, on walls and in random surprise locations as well. I’ve been wondering what the deal was for a long time and now I finally know… except of course who the guy really is…

For the past year and a half, a mischievous presence has been asserting itself on the city’s street lamps, doorways, traffic-light-control boxes, and any other visible surface that it is in no one’s interest to monitor or clean too diligently: drawings of snaggletoothed monsters and hairy limbs with sharpened nails, and oblique yet strangely pointed phrases such as “beat with the ugly stick.” These images are often signed “Neck Face,” in angular capital letters that look like the work of an angry toddler or of Danny Torrance in “The Shining.” [The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town]

Thanks to Anil for the tip!

Browser Redux

So I’m back to Firefox (I know you care) after a few days of obsessively using WordPress which is ideally blogged from the browser. Sure you can use tools like NetNewsWire (which I do for article and link posting) or ecto (though there are some quirks with the current daily builds that should be resolved in the 1.2 final release), but the browser is pretty sweet.

As a recent Moveable Type convert, I am still amazed at the just longer than instant post timing. There is no rebuild with a change and you can easily add an array of tags as you can see from the graphic right here:

WordPress Quicktag button bar

Another great feature is how drafts get integrated into the UI:

draft post link

I like to use the bookmarklet which lets me have highlighted text from a page automagically appear in the body of a new post with a crediting link back to the site I happen to be on. Again, this is not a new feature, but I don’t always post these things right away, instead I’ll save them as a draft. When I enter the admin UI, I immediately see my waiting draft post which is great… I’ll just click it and begin editing for the final posting.

The main reason though, I can’t use Safari for all this is simple. Safari does not seem to be able to realize where the cursor is within a text box (like where I am currently editing) so when I choose to add a link to text I have highlighted (or just where I happen to be) it gets added to the end of all my text instead. Initially, this was a bummer as I really like Safari, but Firefix has been growing on me these past few days…enough to overlook a few details that absolutely need to be resolved and not as hacks or add-ons.

Firefox needs to get some real keyboard shortcuts for things I know I’ve certainly come to take for granted within Safari…

  • Home – how could this not be there? Hitting Command+Shift+H
  • The Search Box – In Safari you hit a Command+Option+F
  • Commands to hit single bookmarks in the bar
  • Form Auto-Fill

Beyond the keyboard shortcuts, I’d really like to see a spell-checker, which is sorely missed. Not sure what it takes to get the system to see what you are typing, but on Mac I’ve become quite accustomed to that as a cushion. The real killer though is the ability to direct external links to new tabs or even a new window (personally I prefer the tab option). There are a few extensions that add features to tabs, but I’ve found that they alter too much of the basic tab behavior and tend to mess up my browser rather than make it easier for me to use.