Author Archives: Sharon Sarmiento

5 More Mozilla Thunderbird Email Tips

Mark Stosberg write:

As an internet professional, I use e-mail constantly. Mutt, a popular e-mail client for command line geeks had been wearing on me. I found Thunderbird 1.5 a capable replacement for my needs, and have since cut the average size of my Inbox in half. Here are five tips I use to get the most productivity out of Thunderbird.

The Principle of Least Astonishment

From the world of systems design and usability comes the principal of least astonishment – or I’ve also heard it called the principle of least surprise.

When two elements of an interface conflict or are ambiguous, the behaviour should be that which will least surprise the human user or programmer at the time the conflict arises, because the least surprising behavior will usually be the correct one.

A littlie more detailed from another site:

The Principle of Least Astonishment states that the result of performing some operation should be obvious, consistent, and predictable, based upon the name of the operation and other clues.

I like this. And it makes me want to use the snarky retort: “This is my surprised face.”
It reminds me a bit of Occam’s Razor:

“The simplest explanation is the best one”
“The simplest answer is usually the correct answer.”
or as Einstein put it
“As simple as possible, but no simpler”
(gross simplifications, here’s the whole thought)

Distributed Computing, Ubiquitous Computing and Cloud Computing

  1. Read the article in Wired this month about Google’s massive data centers.
  2. Muse that we started with mainframes as super processing centers networked to dumb terminals, then microchip manufacturing got cheaper/faster and we had smart terminals connected to a ‘dumb’ network (the internet, ‘dumb’ because it is an open, failure-friendly protocol) and now we are moving back into the realm of massive data centers to hold our data, handle our lives, backup our systems and even rent out computing power (SETI@home was a great example of this).
  3. Go read about Amazon’s computing cloud allowing:“Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use.

This dorky stuff blows my mind. I wish I knew enough to toy with it. 🙂
The computer was the network. The network is the computer. The network is a service that scales. The death of products and the migration to services predicted by futurists everywhere.
Update: Here’s a good description that explains why Amazon’s EC2 system could change the way applications are deployed.

Text-Link-Ads Launches Feedvertising for RSS Advertising and Marketing

Those crazy TLA guys are at it again:

  • Flat rate pricing. Feedvertising is not based on page views or cost-per-click. It’s about “cost-per-influence” and reaching your target audience.
  • Targeted ad buys. With Feedvertising, you get to choose the exact blogs where your ad will appear. You’ll never have to worry about ending up on low quality sites because you are in control.
  • Reach a “tough to reach” crowd. Many savvy Internet users never even visit their favorite blogs. Instead, they read all of their content inside their RSS reader. Feedvertising allows you to target this audience by having your ad appear directly inside their RSS reader!

Using WordPress to Create an Online Store

I’ve toyed with this a bit too – glad to see a full tutorial:
How to turn a normal WordPress installation into a working online shop (without too many tears)

Loads of people I know would like to set up shop online, and either don’t have the time or money to have a designer / programmer come in and do the job for them. I was helping someone do exactly this, and I thought I would share the technique with everyone.

Calculating the ROI of Business Blogging

Charlene Li and friends need your help:

The working idea is to create a framework for measuring the ROI of external blogging efforts for medium- and large-sized companies. Below is an outline of ingredients for the framework.  Please help us by fleshing out sources, providing examples, and adding/editing our ROI factors – feel free to add comments to this post or to email us directly (if you’d prefer, we’ll keep specific numbers and examples confidential and use them only as background).