Wednesday, November 5, 2008

iGoogle Collectibles Gadgets

Colnect has just released 3 iGoogle gadgets that you can see right here on the side of this blog. Read all about these cool collectibles gadgets.

Here's the description:
A cool gadget for collectors! See a new random collectible item. Click the picture to see complete information about the item: which memebers of Colnect Collectors Community have it on their collection, swap or wish list. You can easily manage your personal collection on Colnect and find swap buddies from all around the world. The huge catalogs on Colnect are created by collectors for collectors. Join Colnect now. It's fun, it's quick and it's free! Happy Collecting :)

Some personal thought about the current crisis

The economy fluctuates. It's actually a part of the bigger truth saying "the only constant thing is change". As with every change coming, you can either fight it or embrace it. Since fighting many times does no good, IMO one should embrace change and see how to get accustomed to new situations as they arise.

Colnect is embracing the change in the economy. So far it has maintained a positive cash flow and will continue to do so in the future. Now is probably not the time for big spendings or risk takings. Now is the time to spend less but do more with the resources available.

An interesting campaign I've came across made me even more aware of how some companies (as well as some people) do not try to prepare for a gloomier future although the writings are clearly on the wall. The campaign was for mobuzz.tv, which I haven't known before. Apparently, they're burning 50 grands a month in producing 5 daily shows a day and now they're vying for donations because they've ran out of money. They expect to raise Euro 120K in one week with donations of 5 Euro. Yes, they really expect 24,000 people to donate them 5 Euro each in a week. They just need it for 3 months and then they'll get the funding they need.

Pardon me cynicism, but I'm not even sure that FaceBook, with its huge worldwide users community, would have been able to raise 24,000 donations in a week. There are probably much sadder things happening in the world today to which one would donate. Skinning living dogs & cats is one of them.

The truth is that although I have no idea about mobuzz's business, it seems (at least on the surface of it) that someone there has not done a brilliant job planning the business side of the company. How do you get to run out of money in a week? Can't you tell when you have only 6 more months to live and then do your best to raise capital alongside with cutting expenses sharp? How can you be sure to get funding in 3 month? In a happy market you can't be sure about it, so now?

The technical side might have flows as well since there was no link to their shows to see what it is we're supposed to help with. Also, the video took very long to load.

My guess is that mobuzz isn't the only company that's about to close its doors soon due to problematic financial planning. As times get rough, survival of the fittest prevails once more. Heed the warnings out there and be ready for the future. Every storm eventually ends. Good luck to everyone.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who hacked the network on Google Developers Day 2008 in Israel?

Though the event seemed to be organized quite well, there were network problems occurring which were the reason for me leaving the gathering earlier. At some stage I've got a warning on my browser about invalid certificates for Google.com and naturally didn't decide to accept the invalid certificates. I've told others around me that someone has probably been hacking the network but seemed most people were reluctant to believe it.

Turns out I was right, here's the email sent form "The Google Developer Day Team":


Developer Day
3 de noviembre de 2008 11:02
PLEASE READ: Unauthorized network activity at Google Developer Day

Dear attendee,

First of all thanks for attending Google Developer Day yesterday, we hope you found it useful. Unfortunately, we need to let you know about an incident which took place during the conference which you may need to take precautionary action on.

We identified unauthorised activity on the public wired Ethernet network which was provided by the convention centre for conference attendees to access the Internet. This may have affected a limited number of attendees accessing websites and online applications through the wired Ethernet connection. We have no evidence so far to suggest that the wireless network also provided at the event, and which was used by most attendees, was affected.

Due to the unauthorised activity, there is a chance that if you used the wired network, any user name and password entered to access a website may have been put at risk. When trying to access a secure website (a website using https), you may have received an alert indicating that the page had an invalid security certificate. In any case, we advise users as a precaution to change the passwords for any websites or services they accessed through the wired connection during the conference.

We're really sorry that this has happened but we believe that the vast majority of attendees won't have been affected by this incident. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at future events very soon.

The Google Developer Day Team

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Google Developers Day 2008 in Israel

Google's Developers Day 2008 tour has landed in Israel today. Google is looking for developer love and is doing their best to attract it. The main message coming from Google is "Let's work together to make the Internet a better place. The better it is, the better we're all off". Not forgetting that we're talking about a commercial company, not a charity foundation, their approach is, at least on the surface, quite amiable.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of the day, in regard to Colnect, were related to OpenSocial. From their website: "OpenSocial defines a common API for social applications across multiple websites. Built from standard JavaScript and HTML, developers can create apps with OpenSocial that access a social network's friends and update feeds. By using a common API, developers can extend the reach of their applications more quickly, yielding more functionality for users."

What does it really mean? As I see it, FaceBook has taken too big a share of the social networks world than Google (and others) think they deserve. One of the main reasons for the success of FaceBook is the FaceBook applications written by developers and extending FaceBook's functionality in many different directions. The problem is that developers are mostly unable to devote many efforts to writing their social applications to all social networks out there and would thus focus on the biggest ones. Orkut (Google's social network) is surely not the biggest and so the way to convince developers that they should write Orkut-complaint applications, we now have OpenSocial.

OpenSocial supports other networks as well which altogether (according to their figures) serve nearly 500 million users worldwide. Though I'm skeptical of how someone knows my Linked In and Orkut accounts are of the same person (they probably don't share email addresses around), it's still quite a big figure which should be a motivation enough for a developer to focus on it instead (or in addition to) FaceBook.

Colnect is about to release some social applications to the social networks world to assist collectors integrate their collectibles hobby with their other activities and help spread the word about Colnect to fellow collectors. OpenSearch seems an appealing choice since it involves many networks which cater to different crowds which altogether might coincide better with Colnect's target crowd than FaceBook.

Last but not least, there's the issue of Chrome, Google's new browser. While promoting it as simply a means to make your surfing better, it would still have been a bit more amiable and transparent to say "we've made our own browser so that we can make Google search the default search engine and not allow you to block AdWords ads with some addon". If Google really would have cared just for the web users community, it would have simply put more efforts into the existing open source browsers. In my experience, Chrome is still much inferior to FireFox.

Link and Search

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