Amberjack opens up the site tour to non-geeks

One of the challenges of launching a new community or social networking site — or introducing new users to an existing site of more-than-modest complexity — is turning people on to the various features and areas. Any community site owner can rattle off a dozen "How do I — ?" questions that came flooding in to them in the first days and weeks of a public launch. (Even worse are the expected questions nobody is asking, because nobody has discovered that cool new widget or feature that apprently is languishing in obscurity.)

Ideally, good design can avoid the more obvious questions like, "How do I sign up?" But even the best-designed social networking site or online community is going to need some sort of introduction to its (hopefully) rich features. After all, new tools, ideas, widgets and usage trends are emerging every day, to the point that new sites almost always reach into feature areas that, for many, if not most, users were until that point largely unknown.

Firefox 2.0 not the website breaker like IE7 [updated]

[Update: I removed the direct link to the ftp site because, as small as rare pattern is, every little bit counts, and I don't want to hurt Mozilla.]

Get Firefox
As I write this, it's still not "officially" released yet, but I've just installed Firefox 2.0 after downloading it from the Mozilla FTP site (Mac versions here), and I'm loving it. I've not yet explored the preferences and all that, but so far nearly all of my extensions still work, including the web developer tools, Performancing and weather.

And so far no websites are breaking. Aren't web standards wonderful? I'm good to go. I can keep working (or writing this blog post), and not have to fret about mysterious problems.

We Are the Web (and never mind the tights)

[Flash video would not cache. Follow link below.]

More info here [Warning: This is one of those all-Flash "web 1.0-style" websites that starts talking at you by default as soon as the page loads, so you might want to turn down your speakers. Enjoy the cheese.]

Via Jeffrey Zeldman.

Technorati makeover

Technorati's new look
[image: "Technorati's new look", posted by scattered sunshine]

This will take some getting used to....

...but I think I like Technorati's new look. More colorful, less of that ugly green, and a little gel-effect to the graphics. Nice!

As for usability, it's much more personalized, less general, on the home page. But I think that's a good thing.

"Net Neutrality" loses in the House

Net Neutrality San Jose
["Net Neutrality San Jose", posted by jimiinc]

The news is not reassuring for anyone who counts on unrestricted and uncensored access to the internet.

Despite the flurry of phone calls, emails, videos and pleas from a wide base of passionate pro-Net Neutrality constituents, representing hundreds of thousands of people from all political persuasions and hundreds of consumer groups, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives crushed an amendment to safeguard an equal opportunity Internet.

With a coalition that includes ninja, anything is possible

It's not very often that you see, the Christian Coalition, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Gun Owners of America, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Library Association, and Craig Newmark of Craigslist on the same side of the political fences. (Where's the ninja? Read on....)

Today was a small victory:

The broad, nonpartisan movement for Internet freedom notched a major victory today, when a bipartisan majority of the House Judiciary Committee passed the “Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act of 2006″ — a bill that offers meaningful protections for Network Neutrality, “the First Amendment of the Internet.”

20 members of the Commitee (6 Republicans and 14 Democrats) voted for the bipartisan Bill, and only 13 against.

Today’s vote would have been unthinkable three weeks ago.

Have you experienced the Comcast flip-flop?

I'm talking about the DNS hinky jinky that Comcast offers up when a website changes its server (and thus its DNS settings). We experienced that all day Friday: We see the old site; we see the new site; we see the old site; we see the new site; old site; new site; old site; new site; old; new; old; new....

...all via the same ISP: Comcast. From no other ISP have I ever seen the DNS confusion Comcast's plethora of DNS servers have offered up with each and every site migration we've overseen. Even perennial loser Qwest did better with its DSL service, where its DNS updates may have been slow, but once they happened, they happened across their system, with none of this confusing flip-flopping Comcast offers up.

Wiki way the winds blow

Wikis are hardly a new thing, but it seems that in 2006 we're seeing the more widespread adoption of wikis outside of the tech-savvy realm. Wikis are going big.

The Wikipedia (today) defines wiki as:

a type of website that allows users to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit all content, very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative writing.

Of course, the Wikipedia is itself a wiki ... and is something I find myself using daily, especially to look up technical jargon and specifications. But what about in politics, public health and shopping? Read on....

Another case of the inherent vulnerability of centralized apps

In short:

You don't own it = you don't control it.

If your stuff is on someone else's turf, you have to realize that you are at an inherent disadvantage when conflict arises. They say possession is 9/10ths of the law. That is as true on the internet as it is in the "real world."

Consider Bob, who discovered that Google went and deleted his entire GMail account without warning.

...By then I sensed that something was terribly wrong, as the Google folks rarely took > 12 hours to fix such a problem. I accessed the Google Accounts page (, and saw the following message:

The account you attempted to access has been deleted. You may click here to sign up for a new account.

A nightmare come true?! I tried logging into my Google Account via but was presented with an invalid username/password error.


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