Category: Technology

The Planet Bad, StatCounter Good

I was affected by this outage at The Planet last week. Outage is understatement of the month, the server disappeared on Saturday, came back up on Tuesday night, was gone again on Monday morning, and stayed that way until Wednesday. The line of problems was horrendous, and although DR procedures were way off the mark, in truth The Planet had a very unlucky succession of failures the like of which we haven’t seen since… well, since a somewhat similar event in the mocky-ah capital above there on the east coast.

There was an outpouring of screaming and shouting by customers, and you can understand why: two big data floors were offline, which took down dedicated racks, dedicated servers, reseller accounts, businesses and end users. A whole vertical was shouting at them, including people that weren’t even their customers. Me, I didn’t bother, I’ve dealt with them before and I know what they’re like: I moved the last two users I had on a box in H! to a machine in CIX, wiped the box and handed it back to them. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Meanwhile StatCounter was feeling the burn. At least internally. Did they get shouted at? Not really, in fact for the most part they were heaped with praise for their actions and communications. Know why? Because they give a crap about their customers, they talk to them, and it’s obvious in everything they do. The Planet is their diametric opposite — customers come way, way below the bottom line, they’re simply an annoyance that only deserve scripted responses.

If you want to learn about the web business, come away from the YUI docs and put down the Symfony manual, and read the comments on StatCounter’s blog. Then go explore the rest of their site, and their forums, and learn why they got that reaction. That’s how you’ll create a successful web business. If you build it they might come, but they won’t stay unless you run it like Aodhan and his team.

4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Cell Phones

I was just telling Walter that I don’t come across anything worth blogging these days – christ, I’m liveblogging now – when lo and behold this pops up:

  1. Luxembourg’s mobile phone penetration rate is 158%. 158 active cell phones for every 100 people.
  2. 15-19 year old Koreans send an average of 60 texts a day.
  3. You’re not the only one that uses your phone as a torch. Not by a long shot.
  4. Half of Japan’s top fiction was written on mobile phones.

(The article lists 10, but the rest or ho-hum.)

Content Aware Image Resizing

(Another one stuck in the flush mechanism.)

The narration is textbook nerd, but get over it and watch the whole thing. These guys and their technology are going places. Gone places actually, one of them’s already been snapped up by Adobe.

14 Years Ago

I’m more impressed than the commentors on IP, but Bob Frankston has it right: we’ve made this progress despite the likes of AT&T, not because of them.

HTML updates at last!

Although I can understand why the W3C went the XHTML route several years ago, I think it was a distraction from the beautiful simplicity of basic HTML, which essentially made the web what it is today. If it wasn’t for <B> and <I> and their ilk – yes, even <BLINK> – people like me wouldn’t have been interested in playing with HTML, creating the silly little websites we did, and in time moving onto to new toys like Javascript and Perl.

It was those toys – I’m sure the likes of Justin would crucify me for calling Perl a toy, but that’s what it was for me at the outset – that led people like Rasmus Lerdorf to create new toys like PHP, and XMLHttpRequest, and Ruby on Rails. And it was those toys that led to the likes of Digg, and Flickr, and YouTube, and thousands of other sites that you use every day. They’re not basic HTML by any stretch of the imagination, but their foundations are.

Now it looks like we’re going back to our roots, with HTML 5. New elements will be added to the spec, simple and easy-to-understand elements like header and footer, aside and figure, audio and video, details and datagrid. Guess their purposes, you’ll probably be right or not far off.

Hopefully the new generation of web addicts will embrace HTML 5 like we embraced it’s forerunners, breaking away from walled gardens like Facebook and MySpace and building their online presences in their own space, linked together with open standards like SIOC and it’s cousins. It’s not hard. If I can do it…

Dual Network Handsets

Indian handset maker Spice Mobile has introduced two new mobiles, both of which can handle dual connections: GSM + CDMA for the D-88, and GSM + GSM for the D-80. It’s not clear if they take two SIMs or handle the second virtually, or even if it’s just an extension of the clunky dual-SIM addons you’ve been able to get for years, but it’s a major step forward either way simply because it comes as part of the package. It’s just a pity they decided to rip off or licence already dated Moto designs and not come up with a new design to go with it.

Spice Mobiles

Of course Nokia, Motorola or any of the other handset makers could have done this years ago, but they like to pick and choose where they innovate, and where they help the networks retain their cosy little cartels.

Alarm Rings

I’m not sure this’d wake my mot* from the depths, but dammit if it’s not a great idea for Normal People [TM].

Alarm Rings

* I don’t want to say ‘partner’, because, you know, I’m not a langer.

FIC/OpenMoko Neo v1 July 9, v2 October

I’ve been watching this phone like a hawk for some time, because it’s open standards across the board; i.e. both the software and hardware are – generally speaking – open.

This might not solve the horrendous problems mobile power users have to deal with overnight – proprietary connectors, proprietary synchronisation, etc – but in time it might just provoke the Symbians and the Nokias of this world to pull their heads out of their asses and realise that, really, proprietary is a dirty word; and that there’s plenty of money to be made out of compatibility. And, you know, happy customers.

There was always a slight worry that this might be another Optimus Maximus, but it looks now like that might not be the case, as the developers tell us that 400 first generation handsets are ready to ship in China, and another 600 are on the way. The price seems a bit cheeky at $300, and we don’t have much of a spec to go on, but remember this is a SIM-free Linux-based phone. The possibilities are endless.

That’s the first generation phone though, the next generation is slated for October and that currently has a price tag of €450. Ok, it’ll have 802.11b/g WiFi and upgraded hardware, but there’s no mention of a 3G radio – the 1st gen is 2.5G – and again, we still don’t know what the final OS will look like. I’m not sure I’m going to want to lash out that kind of money, after just spending a hefty whack of dosh on a Treo 680.

Hopefully they’ll spot this nasty hole in their spec before the 2nd gen handset is finalised, and I’ll be watching OpenMoko’s YouTube channel for a half-decent video of the handset in the meantime. Hopefully it’ll be pornographic enough for me to be naughty and actually buy one. And hopefully, fingers crossed, it won’t be another Sharp Zaurus.

FIC Neo