I call it “Relief”

IE6 and IE7 in between 10 and 20%? I call it “relief”. And I also call it, “not fast enough”.

Still, IE6 being used more than IE7 is a kind of a perversion.

The End of an Era: Internet Explorer Drops Below 50 Percent of Web Usage | Webmonkey | Wired.com.


Hootsuite can post to a WordPress.com blog

Hootsuite can post to a WordPress.com blog.

I am really impressed by this feature. And the reason I am writing this post is to explore the capabilities.
Does the twitter character limit apply?
Can I upload pictures and videos?

Update 1: The character limit does not apply as you can testify from this post

New identi.ca rocks

Today identica rolled out a new, well, a new bit of everything: new version, new interface, new functions and features, new optimism on the field.

It’s been sometime since I last checked so I am not 100% sure what was already there and what appeared today, but I am pretty sure that the ‘groups’ are brand new!
Yeah, you got it right: groups! Birds  of a feather etc. Anyone can open a new group and anyone can join.
When posting, by prefixing the group name with a “!”, one can send an update to all the members of the group, regardless if he is subscribed to them. Feels like a hybrid of friendfeed rooms and facebook groups and it can be extemely useful for noise reduction (or amplification), if left untouched by spanmers. Because it is the kind of functionality they would drool upon.

Other goodies?

  • Autofollowing your subscribers (recommended for bots).
  • SMS updates (lots of carriers supported).
  • Twitter cross posting and autotracking and following your twitter friends in identica.
  • PMs and Favs for those who can’t live without them .
  • IM interface.
  • A new pretty functional design.

And, finally, a few bugs.

I am sure I missed things as I was hastily checking between dining and packing.

The important thing is that identica is moving to the right direction.

No, it won’t replace twitter but might shake it out of its inertia.

Remembering that identica is based on laconica, which is open source and supports federation, what i expect it to become, is a community tool. The evolution of a forum.
And since microblogging is already making advances in the corporate environment, I expect it to be a viable alternative to the likes of yammer.
This is already a lot.

(apologies for the abse

nce of links, I am writing this on my iPod touch)

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Techmeme vs Google


Just read the news: Techmeme will abanbon its three year legacy of aggregating tech news in an automated way and become a hybrid (human eidited -auto aggregated)  news site.

I gave a quick look to how techcrunch and readwriteweb present the news and I bed to differ in my judgment.

IMHO the main reason that Gabe Rivera took this decision is the recently launced  Google Blogsearch.
Regardless how brilliant an engineer Gabe might be, he is all alone, and it is futile to compete against Google in its own turf. Adding the human flavor might make techmeme look more susceptible to bias, but in the end of the day, bias is a factor that can be only reduced. Not eliminated. And, as social bookmarking sites have shown as, human judgment is not trivial.

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Akismet goes Statistic!

Seventieth anniver...

Image by Getty Images

via Daylife

Care to know how much spam you missed? Not really.

But it is an educating exercise nevertheless. And if you happen to have a hosted wordpress blog, then Akismet, the spam filter, can be of use as  Akismet now comes loaded with stats.

Since I happen to own one (hosted wordpress blog), I had a good look at it.


The canned meat in the picture above is ham. But ‘ham’ according to Akismet is a comment that is the opposite of spam. A proper one.

This leads to a ham to spam ratio calculation.

Still there?

If ham were spam none would starve (commentwise, I mean). See this yummy pie from my Greek blog stats and you will understand.

Jokes aside, Akismet does a pretty good job. Yet, for me, it is not the overall stats that are of interest.

The new Akismet offers an insight into two other more important metrics:

  • Missed Spam, the spam that made its way to a post.
  • False Positive, the real comments that were mistaken for spam.

Of the two, I value more the second, because it reveals a real problem: I am sure you have experienced the small frustration of leaving a comment and seeing it disappear. This can drive a new visitor away for good. That’s why I would like these stats to include the actual comment links. An examination of a relatively large number, might reveal a pattern as to why this happens, a pattern that can be reported back to the Akismet team.

I only hope the team is listening 🙂

LHC = Large Hacker Collider

When  the scientists in CERN pressed the button to kick start the experiment of the century that is widely feared as the Doom’s day come, they, in fact, accelerated to the speed of light the ambitions and the animosities of a small greek hacker group against another. Because, contrary to what Roger Highfield of Telegraph seems to imply, the hacker attack was not caused by fears that:

…the machine could trigger a black hole to swallow the earth, or earthquakes and tsunamis, despite endless reassurances to the contrary from the likes of Prof Stephen Hawking. 

Of course, to assess differently one had to actually read the hacker message that was in Greek, which is precicely what I did and what Panayotis Vryonis did  too. Panayotis has shed some light on the issue posting a number of clarifying point. Number 3 of his points, is the most important: 

3. The main “message”, is nothing radical or extreme. It is more or less an internal debate of the Greek Hacking Scene.

That is, one hacker team was trying to  to prove to another they are more adept and skilled. CERN was simply chosen for the entailing publicity. 

Now, I do not really know whether it was a big deal in terms of hacking virtyuosity to break in the CERN system, or, whether there was a black hole in the security policy of the organization, but, assuming that the attack could lead critical equipment astray, with  fatal  consequences for the mankind and the universe as we know it (ok, I said  ‘assumming’), what has been proven beyond doubt by the attack  is that human stupidity will be the last to perish.

The screen shot is from the aforementioned Telegraph article.

identi.ca: Is there a business model for federated microblogging?

Nine building ...Image via Wikipedia

In the past two days a wind of optimism blows over the tech blogosphere: identi.ca, the  microblogging service of Evan Prodromou, made  it’s debut,  throwing the dice for two very important issues: Scalability  and innovation.

Scalabitity has been tantalizing twitter to the point of causing a mass user exodus.

Twitter competitors (Pownce, Jaiku, Plurk etc) have not brought really important new features to microblogging. It is also  debateable whether the ones they brought have the power to attract some of the fleeing twitter users in the long run.

In contrast, identi.ca, or rather, the underlying laconi.ca, the open source platform  identi.ca is built upon, has brought in the scence two things long desired and awaited: federation and open source.

Federation in microblogging means microblogging services ‘talking’ to each other, i.e. users of one service befriending or following users of another and vice versa. A federated microblogging ecosystem is the answer to the scalability issue.

Open source means innovation, means that now there is a platform the thousands of briliant developers around the world can peep into, in their free time, and contribute tons of new code and new ideas.

In the microblogging world to come, there will be no single big provider that dominates the game, but rather small or medium ones, spread all over the globe.

Yet, however appealing this vision might look, one has to think the mundane realities: how are these service provides going to make a living? In other words, what business model is appropriate for them?

Twitter has no business model. And so do many other web 2.0 ventures. As an answer to this, we hear pretty often that it does not need any. Once a sizable community is formed around twitter, the business model (or, rather, the advertsers) will follow.

The same line of thought cannot be applied to federated microblogging though. With practically not existent barriers of entry, new microblogging services can sprout like mushrooms everywhere, each attracting a small number of users and, therefore, never attaining the magnitute twitter aims for.

What are the options then? I would say only three, none looking  a really viable solution:

  • Charge for premium  services
  • Revenue sharing for SMS originated updates
  • Whatever ad revenue stream can be generated (i.e. adwords)

The first option should rather  not be  accounted for: extra storage or page customization or high profile accounts (: the wordpress.com model) are not a serious bait for users to spend their bucks.

Revenue from SMS updates,shared with the telcos, can be a serious source of income. Yet, the proliferation of smart phones and the affordability of data plans, will eclipse this kind of revenue in the near future.

Text and banner ads are gradually losing power. Yet, text adds for a text service sounds like the the appropriate ad type.

Banners are largely ignored, especially by  a crowd so diverse as  microblogging users, which cannot be targeted easily. Text analysis tools, that can extract meaninful information (like one’s preferences, buying patterns, spending power, age etc), need to be developed.  Such tools  would also need to perform their analysis throughout various microblogging services, and target users throughout  the microblogging ‘federation’.

How much ad revenue can make a microblogging service break even? Not too much, given the low setup and zero development costs. Even so, will it be  generated? It better be or the ‘federation’  will go bankrupt.







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Technorati authority for wordpress.com blogs

This has been bugging me for sometime now: how to display the technoratiy authority in a wordpress.com blog?

The chicklet provided by Technorati is, of course, working with Javascript, which means is useless for wordpress.com blogs.

Technorati has a rich api, but it requires some programming to use it. The solution cannot be programmatic, as we have no access to the .com blog code, and cannot employ external servers, because it is not a wordpress.com solution then.

After experimenting a lot with XSLT and producing an XSL document capable of giving the proper authority number for a blog, I dumped this approach, because, again, there is no way of incorporating the XSL solution in a wordpress.com blog.

I turned them to Yahoo pipes having in mind to transform the authority number into a feed and display it through a wordpress.com feed widget.

Since I am a newbie in Yahoo Pipes, I looked around for similar solutions and found the many pipes provided by engtech.

Then I was able to construct the one I wanted!

a. You need to sign up in Technorati and get an API key.
b. You need to open a yahoo account (if you don’t have one already) and register for yahoo pipes.
c. Create a new pipe following the diagram below. The two points that you need to differentiate yourselves, are the API key (enter the one provided to you by Technorati), and your blog url.

d. Run the pipe and get the RSS feed url.
e. Enter the feed url in a wordpress rss widget, add the title of your liking and there you are!
You can check mine at the bottom of the sidebar. Of course, it need some formating to look like the real chicklet, but I will leave that for a future post.

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Startups by the sea: the OpenCoffee/Techcrunch event in Athens

My home country is renown for two things: its antiquity and its islands (a favorite destination of millions of tourists in the summer).
Yesterday, I think, we started to change this picture, a bit. We did not eliminate the sea element, but we scrapped the views that Greece is an ancient country with no startups.

OpenCoffee Greece and Techcrunch UK organized an event by the sea, in a very summer-like and relaxed place (as you can testify by the short video below). A bunch of Greek startups had the opportunity to present themselves and become a little bit more known to a larger puplic.
From my small participation in the preparations, I happen to know that it was arranged and organized in record time: only a month from decision to the actual event.

An enthusiastic crowd of around 200-250 people managed to gather at Bocca Beach, and follow patiently the presentations to the end, despite the long delay caused by the failure of some sound equipment, the nervousness of the presenters and the constant beer distractions.

I managed to attend too, despite (or against) my raging flu, and I do not regret it.

Mike Butcher, of Techcrunch UK, kicked off the event, presenting the general trends regarding VCs, startups and investments in Europe. The whole thing can be summed up in one sentence: the future of the European startups is mobile, something that I strongly believe also.

I will not go through the startup presentations, one by one. I will blog about them in the near future.
For those interested, here is a quick list of the startups.

Blymee (more)
Photo Frame Show (more)
Slideflickr (more)
Sojourner (more)
Transifex (more)
Askmarkets (more)
Wadja (more)
Qualia (more)
Product Madness (more)

The greek budding startup ecosystem was one of the reasons I decided to blog in English. Technology, internet and startups are, by definition, global things and English in the lingua franca of nowdays.
So, stay tuned! More startups to come. 🙂