Monthly Archives: January 2007

Caching vs Copyright

news2.jpgOne of the top requests we get for NewsBreak is that we download and cache the web pages that the “Read More” links go to. The reason people want this is that many news feeds don’t provide the full story. They just give you a teaser. If you’re off line this means you can’t read the entire story without going back online. Annoying, I know, especially for those feeds that only give you like one line of the story.

So why don’t we do it? I’m glad you asked! Read on for the full story…
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ePochette-eMappe-eCarpeta: Translating Software

translate.jpgLots of people want to know if we’re going to release localized (that’s the same as “translated” for those of you not in the biz) versions of our software. So far we’ve always said “Sorry, not yet.” Of course this leads to the inevitable response of “WHY??” Good news! I’m about to tell you!

It comes down to one simple thing. Support.

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Tag – I’m It Too!

Blog Tag!Ellen walked into my office this morning and told me I’d been tagged, and I had no idea what she was talking about. It sounded like a bad thing at first, but I’ve found out that it’s just my turn in an online game of tag that’s been going on for a few weeks now. Doug over at Just Another Mobile Monday chose me. The rules are pretty simple, I have to tell everyone five things about myself, and then I get to choose five unsuspecting bloggers to tag next. It’s like a big ol’ chain letter. So here are my five things; I’ll try to make it as fascinating as possible:

  1. This June, I will finally get my Bachelor’s Degree in web development, after eight years of going to college full-time. That’s right: I’ve changed my major four times, and dropped a heck of a lot of money in the process, but it’s almost over, and I can’t wait. I actually want to take a year off and then start working on a Master’s, but I haven’t found a program yet that interests me.
  2. I love to read. I don’t get a chance to do it while I have classes, but I read three books while I was on my winter break. I read Lamb and Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore, and Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
  3. I have two cats. Seuss weighs 22 pounds likes people food, including lettuce and pasta. Campbell weighs 14 pounds and does not like people food. Unfortunately, he eats everything else, inlcuding duct tape, wood, and plastic. (Don’t call the Humane Society – he has a chewing addiction. I’ve tried several methods to stop him, but none work. He was never weaned right. If anyone has ideas, I’m not kidding, I’d love to hear them.)
  4. I had my dad make me a wooden Christmas tree this year, so Campbell wouldn’t eat the branches. It was pretty darn cool, too, but the cat still chewed through three of the limbs. That’s determination!
  5. I collect Converse hightops. Right now I have eleven pairs. I’m trying to pick a favorite pair as I’m typing, but that’s too hard. I think it’s a tie between the red plaid, the ones with comics printed on them, or the black ones with little skull and crossbones on them.

So, there you have it. That’s me, in a nutshell. So now I get to tag five more people. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy trying to think of five people – this game has been going on for a few weeks now, and a lot of bloggers have already been tagged! I chose:

  1. Jimmie Geddes (GadgetsontheGo)
  2. Sammy McLoughlin (PalmAddict)
  3. Todd Ogasawara (MobileViews Blog)
  4. Warner Crocker (GottaBeMobile)
  5. Doug Miller (Daily Gadget)

Tag, guys, you’re it now! 

Tag, I’m It

So apparently there’s this new game among bloggers where someone “tags” another blogger. If you’re tagged, you have to post 5 facts about yourself that most people don’t know, and then tag 5 other bloggers. I just got tagged by spmwinkel at solsie.com who had been tagged by Patrick from JustAnotherMobileMonday.

OK, this is going to be pretty easy, and fun. First, the interesting people I tag are:

Dan Hanttula a hugely interesting person who has more credentials than I’ll even try to list.

Hal Goldstein, editor-in-chief of Pocket PC and Smartphone Magazine.

Jen Edwards, the Pocket Goddess, which title I wish I could have.

My good buddy and sometime competitor Alex Kac (I hope this counts; he calls it a blog though it’s a blog in a forum format).

Howard Tomlinson, founder and CEO of Astraware.

And 5 things about me, in no particular order, are:

One, I’m in the small group of people who are huge fans of musicals. Oddly enough, both Dan and Hal, above, are also in that group, so when I write them that I’m going on vacation to watch people kill people while singing, they know just what I’m talking about.

Two, I am one of the original founders of Ilium Software, which, to a large extent, I started because I didn’t want to work for anyone any more. It’s managed to keep me out of a “real” job for over 9 years, which I’m pretty happy about.

Three, I got interested in mobile computing when I worked at what’s now AT+T, and they handed me a Newton and sent me to the first (and, I think, only) Newton Developers’ Conference. I think I still have the t-shirt, though the Newton was stolen in a break-in at our “headquarters” at the time. (Working at AT+T was a big factor in convincing me that I never wanted to work for anyone again.)

Four, I am also involved with Bits du Jour, a one-deal-a-day site for Windows and PDA software.

And five, I consider the name “Ilium Software” as my biggest business mistake. Here’s what I learned: never, never, never start a company or a website with the letters i L i. Or even i L, or L i unless it’s a really well-known word. Nobody can distinguish ili from illi from lli from lil in those little tiny fonts without serifs. Ilium is Greek for Troy – I was working in Troy, Michigan at the time, and liked the sound of the name Ilium, but never thought about the readability issue until it was way, way too late. It’s not my biggest life mistake, but definitely a candidate for the bad company name awards.

Where’s my template editor?!?

rant.jpgEvery time we release a new version of the software we not only get to announce what new features we added, but everyone quickly finds out which features we didn’t add. This makes a new release the best thing in the world for some people and a real frustration for others. For those of you who are frustrated, we hear you. It’s always annoying when a product you really like does an upgrade, and you discover that they didn’t include that one thing you’ve been asking for since 1997!

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Giving Stuff Away

carrot2.jpgThere’s a lot being written right now about Microsoft’s giving Vista PCs to bloggers, and the ethics of the bloggers taking them. If you’ve managed to miss it, there are a few links at the bottom of this post that you can read, but frankly, I’m already tired of the whole subject, and imagine that many other people are too.

But since I’m no longer averse to stealing good ideas (way too many of mine have been lifted), and since we’re trying to drum up more activity on this blog (both posts and comments), we’re going to start a monthly giveaway to people who comment on the posts.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Around the first of each month, we’ll give away one of our titles (recipient’s choice, and you can choose one of our suites, so you’d essentially get 3 or 4 programs) to someone who has commented on any of the posts in the previous month. People who have all the software they want can instead get some of our swag, which right now is still just stylus pens, though I’m thinking hard about getting something else.
  • We’ll pick the winner each month using a random number that we map to the comment IDs.
  • To be eligible, comments just need to be legitimate, and somehow related to the original post.

To help this along, I’ll encourage everyone here to post a lot more, so there’s more content to respond to.

And, as promised, here are the links to a few of the articles about the Microsoft giveaway:

I Started Something
Jason Dunn
Ed Bott
Joel on Software

There’s a lot more that’s been written about this, but starting with the above will probably lead you there.