Sunday, April 30, 2006

One-button easy

The secret to success is to make everything one-button easy, then get out of the way. If you think collaborative architecture matters more, click the charts: The same Alexa plots that show MySpace and YouTube obliterating top sites reveal that Flickr, Digg and have plateaued with audiences barely bigger than Slate's. Photos, news, and other people's bookmarks just aren't as interesting as bootleg TV and checking out the hotties. The easier it gets to use, the less geeky the Net becomes, and the more it starts to look like real life.

Yes! Real life! Mom, here's a photo of us at the beach. Friend, I'm so wasted right now. Lady-friend, here's a kiss.

Friday, April 28, 2006

New pods

The pods have arrived! Soon the Sharpcast busy bees will move in from the old office next door.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Peter gets a demo

Friend-of-friend Peter came by Sharpcast the other day to see a demo and met a lot of the company. He sent a nice email and I thought I'd share it. He's planning on going to Microsoft when he finishes his master's, but we tried to convince him that Sharpcast might be a better choice... :P

Hi Adam,

Thank you for the tour yesterday. The demo was awesome -- you guys really got the interaction right -- and with such minimal latency. It must be a pretty tough problem to get all of that working with such good responsiveness. To me the whole thing just makes a lot of sense and the platform definitely "feels" right.

Thanks also for introducing me to everybody. It was cool to see what the Silicon Valley startup life is like. It seemed like there was lots of excitement everywhere and that people were really into making a cool product.

Okay, well I think you guys definitely have a great idea and have just submitted my email for a beta request!

-- Peter

Sync and Syck

Take a look at Syck, a YAML serializer/deserializer. I love why the lucky stiff. He sees Rails come out, so he writes his own framework that's 4k in size. He's so awesome. I want a chunky bacon t-shirt.

I'd love to plug YAML into Sharpcast's object system. Then any language could generate YAML and could be sync'd--is that the correct form of the verb?--via Sharpcast. Maybe it's one level too indirect, but it might be a nice lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Event systems and journalism

I'm working on a better monitoring and event system for Sharpcast's underlying platform. Per-machine metrics like the number of current connections are good, but we also want to record user events like someone creating an album or sharing a photo so we can better understand our users behavior and create a better product.

It's easier in some ways to store events as they happen, rather than query the entire database for aggregate behavior. So I need to define what an event is. Generically, events are almost exactly the classic elements of piece of journalism: who, what, where, why, when and how. For us, this translates to
  • Who: user id
  • What: the action taken and any parameters
  • Where: IP address
  • Why: (very hard to compute a user's intentions)
  • When: timestamp
  • How: client (photos desktop, photos mobile, photos web)
I'll see how this turns out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 as a proxy for me

I'm giving myself 15 minutes to write an entry each day. This morning I was pondering what to write about, so I looked at my collected links in, presented in reverse chronological order, and was struck by the fact that it mirrors quite well what I'm working on at work, coupled with what I'm currently interested in.

(This is simply because I often bookmark answers to my own work questions, probably a common practice among software engineers.)

I think an excellent feature for would be a "tag stream", akin to David Galernter's Lifestreams, where your link tags would be clustered over time and you could get a sense of how your focus has shifted from topic to topic.

It would also be an excellent proxy for a resumé, or at least help you maintain one.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Starting to blog for work

Shel Israel has been educating our executives at Sharpcast about blogs and talked us last Friday as a company. I liked his talk, mainly because I too hate marketing and blogs are a good way to market yourself and your company and be kept somewhat honest about it. I volunteered to start a blog and won a copy of Shel's book for doing so.

I want Sharpcast to succeed, so I thought I'd write short entries about my work and any other interesting things that come across my plate. I have good blog mentors in kwc and bp.

Maybe I'll read Shel's book too.