Who Needs To Step Down In Oregon?

After a terrible rollout from which the .gov site is improving at last, the official in charge of the rollout is stepping down.

My only question is, who needs to step down in Oregon? Who was responsible in Oregon? Who can be held responsible for selecting Oracle instead of one of the myriad capable young and growing dev businesses right here in our own state?

And how can we make sure that IT management in the state government does not allow people without understanding of the process to make these decisions, or be tasked with these responsibilities in the future.

The roll of IT and infrastructure in government is only going to increase over time, and we cannot afford to squander state money that should be going to services. Nor can we afford to squander the time that is wasted as services are delayed or kept less accessible for citizens. This is why a stink needs to be made about this botched rollout. So get your pitchforks out. And sharpen them.

Original story > http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/healthcaregov-rollout-official-steps-down-101607.html?hp=t3_3

Ladies & Gentlemen, Your Linkedin Passwords

Ever since I read about the LinkedIn Password breach I couldn’t stop thinking that there was a blog post in it. Yesterday I figured it out and set the JESS3 team to help me with it. We dug through the Leakedin.org tool for checking whether your password was in the set of compromised ones and sought out the goofiest, most inappropriate and funniest passwords we could find — that someone actually used. My favorite was “junkinthetrunk”. What’s yours?

Read the full list of our favorite LinkedIn passwords on the JESS3 blog >>

Nobody Some People Use QR Codes

The conventional wisdom has been for some time that QR codes are a waste of time and money. Just for example, this gem that was passed around the JESS3 office to hearty guffaws: http://picturesofpeoplescanningqrcodes.tumblr.com/. Well, things might be changing.

Many continue to argue that the only thing QR codes are good for is to communicate to the viewer that you and your brand or whatever you represent are savvy enough to use QR codes. And what does that tautology earn you? A big fat pat on the back from yourself, and maybe a short stint in one of these fine publications:

Believe it or not the joke may be losing steam. No – SRSLY!! TechCrunch reported on a recent survey by Accenture that showed that on-screen social media icons during commercials actually worked – prompting viewers to go online and follow brands even though they had to do so on a completely separate screen (up to 20% conversion for Facebook). Surprising.

But there was a second, and maybe even more surprising finding:

11% of viewers scanned a QR code while watching TV

Stunning. Really. In the grand scheme of things that is a pretty large convergence rate, even if they were doing so to retrieve discounts or coupons or other incentives.

I’m still not bought into the QR code, but I am willing to give it a second glance. And I will certainly be on the lookout for more figures like this as the smartphone revolution continues and people and apps grow more comfortable dealing with QR codes. And one day, just maybe, I might even recommend them as a solution to something.

The Most Interesting Thing Ever

And you can’t see it. What if that most interesting thing ever were the internet, or whatever it is that you were trying to find on the internet today? This censorship would be the reality.

SOPA and PIPA are two bills made by old congressmen who don’t understand young technologies. Lots of money has been thrown at them by special interests who are trying to make money by limiting access to information. That’s anti-American. If you think the government has no place telling you what you’re allowed to read, see or think, then you should be aware that these bills are an audacious and insane over-reach of power.

Here are some places where you can find more information about them and other sites supporting the SOPA/PIPA blackout and awareness day today:

Joe Hewitt, Meta Developer – Leaving Facebook

Joe Hewitt leaving Facebook may be one of the best things to happen to HTML5 in a long time. He’s taking off to return to his roots (as in Firebug) in order to focus on solving problems for developers working with the nascent and developing languages like HTML5, the cloud and mobile.

“Technologies have a way of growing faster than the ecosystem of tools needed to support them.” – Joe

I have no doubt that in this role as a meta developer, a developer developing for developers, Joe Hewitt will have a significant and sustained impact on helping new platforms be used to their fullest extent. It’s a lofty goal. Good on ya. Here’s to not just making a great app, but making tools that help an army of others make a volume of great apps – for all of us.

Good luck, Joe.

Color Me In – Let’s See Where This Goes

Color, the new geo-social-media-sharing app is being underrated by all the haters. I’m all for some good hilarious snark like the much lauded review of the app on iTunes. But we’re all forgetting that just because something does happen to contain all of the hottest trends and social elements doesn’t mean it doesn’t also have some really interesting stuff going on.

The most recent TWiT had a pretty even-keeled discussion of Color by Leo Laporte, Marshall Kirkpatrick, Xeni Jardin and Baratunde Thurston that managed not to totally pan the app, but couldn’t foresee many applicable use cases. Kirkpatrick brought up the idea of music festivals as somewhere it might become useful, and all could agree that nobody knew what the hell Twitter would be good for either when it first hit, and also that there’s a high likelihood that Color is going to have a serious data mining aspect that leads to revenue tucked somewhere into its back end in order to take advantage of the data all the prophesied users are going to be pumping into it.

Here’s the thing – I don’t think it’s all that hard to see the potential utility of this app. Continue reading

This Efficiency Is Killing Me

Efficiency (noun) \i-ˈfi-shən-sē\

(1) : effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, and money)

(2) : the ratio of the useful energy delivered by a dynamic system to the energy supplied to it

(from Mirriam-Webster’s)

Has modern efficiency created the capability to attain levels of perfectionism such that their attainment leads to more hours working than had we not been enabled by the efficiencies to begin with? And is attention to detail in a world of intricacies a new form of artisanship or just the new tediousness of production line work? Continue reading

Google Chat Adoption Anecdote

This is the first time this has happened to me:

I’ve had lots of friends available on chat for a long time, but this is the first time there were many available, and all had video chat enabled. Google’s push for increased adoption perhaps along with the need to install video chat to use the “call within Gmail” feature that was recently introduced may be driving this. But whatever the cause, it’s pretty cool.

Kiss your phone numbers goodbye… sometime in the not-so-distant future.

Google Instant Kills SEO If You’re Terrible At SEO

Google Instant Search is the first thing in a long time that has made me want to go to Google.com rather than just search fromt the Chrome URL bar. That in and of itself is quite a feat. Really. But, oh man… every time Google makes a change to search people (mostly people who don’t really understand SEO) come out yelling about how this is “going to kill SEO.” And it happened again this week with Google’s release of “Instant Search.” But Instant Search is only going to kill SEO if you’re terrible at SEO. For the rest of us it represents more opportunities and targets to optimize for, and even thought the analytic tools may not quite be there yet to break down user behavior to a point that makes it completely easy to take advantage of, there is still plenty that can be done. And I’d love some discussion or feedback on this one, so hit me up with comments here or via @supnah on Twitter.

What is Google Instant Search?

Google Instant Search basically means that when you are performing a search from google.com Google will start serving results to you before you hit the “return” button – while you are still typing in your search term. Google effectively tries to guess what term you are ultimately going to type in and serve related results for it before you’ve even finished in order to help you save time. Google will also serve up recommended search terms that it thinks you might be aiming for so that you can quickly select one of those with one click rather than having to finish typing all of the rest of the letters in your search term. Here are examples of both… (click for enlarged view) Continue reading

Angry Cows Prove Gmail Calling & Google Voice Useful

Google recently introduced free calling from within Gmail – allowing users (in the U.S. at least) to call domestically for free, and call internationally for very cheap. Here’s why this is interesting:
• It’s a play at Skype and “SkypeOut” – their VoIP to phone service. Google is trying to get the huge user base of Gmail accustomed to chatting, video chatting, and even making phone calls through Gmail.
• It’s defense against Facebook whose chat services are being adopted and used a ton by Facebook users (i.e. everyone). You’d also better believe that Facebook is going to continue to improve its messaging feature, which one day may rival full feature email services like Gmail.
• This is the beginning of the end of phone numbers as we know them.

Continue reading

Verizon + HTC Incredible + Froyo = Big Fail

Note to social media managers: If you see a big chunk of your user base getting really really excited about something you’re not going to deliver, you should reach out and tell them that it ain’t gonna happen. And you should do it as soon as you possibly can or else the anticipation will continue to grow, and the pending disappointment will grow along with it, delivering a much more substantial blow when it finally arrives.

This is a short lesson for us all about how telling the simple truth early can save untold headaches later. On August 13th rumor leaked from Mashable.com – a fairly reliable source – that Verizon was going to push the much awaited update to Android 2.2 Froyo to their HTC Incredible devices on the 18th. Continue reading

Chatroulette Breaks the Web’s Fifth Wall of Content Production

Chatroulette is a phenomenon that is sweeping the web like countless memes before it. There was the dancing banana animated gif that started the whole thing off, and ever since then we’ve all been elbow deep in memes. But chatroulette is different – it represents a true breakdown and symbolic revolution of the relationship between content producers and consumers.

If that sentence didn’t make much sense, and it very well might not have, let me back up a second and try it another way… Memes are shared ideas that can achieve deep cultural penetration through viral sharing. These ideas are cultural units, and they have value.

Chatroulette is one of the newest memes on the web and in the world, and although the technology behind it is nothing new, it has tapped into the spirit of the new web – specifically, the idea that we are all content producers now, and that the barriers have been lowered to a laughable extent in terms of who is able to create content. Chatroullette is a video chat site that randomly connects two guests to each other from anywhere around the world. It is dominated by young single white men and perverts, but deep within the layers of perversion there is something beautiful and wonderful there. It was all explained extremely well by Casey Neistat in this awesome video (that you may have already seen): Continue reading