Easily the best design satire I've seen. Watch this 6-minute infomercial to get a sense of what it is often like to build web and print campaigns.
I have the incredible privilege of joining Josh Williams and the Firewheel Design team. I've known Josh for about 5 years - he's one of the best and brightest of the web world. In fact, he's leading a half-day workshop at the Future of Web Design in New York next month and speaking at Web Directions North this January in Vancouver. A year ago, he was kind enough to contribute to The Blogging Church. Look for his excellent piece in the final chapter, The One Thing.
More importantly, Josh is a first-class individual and he's built a team of the same - top talent who are also top people. I'm truly humbled to be part of this group of artists — illustrators, designers, and developers alike, including Scott Raymond, author of O'Reilly's Ajax on Rails.
Firewheel is the company behind Blinksale, the easiest way to send invoices online, IconBuffet, a social site for buying and trading fantastic icons, and endless high-quality work for some great companies. In our offices in beautiful Southlake Town Square, we're feverishly working on some amazing new stuff. If you want to know what, sign up and you'll find out soon.
I'm so thankful for this opportunity and the amazing things that lie ahead. It's going to be an incredible ride!
Note: Today's post is brought to you by the Grateful Dead and the song Estimated Prophet, which is what plays in my mind every time I think of Firewheel and provided the title.
Daniel Henninger in his Wall Street Journal column on Rudy Giuliani and social conservatives:
In the "60s, the left introduced the "non-negotiable demand" into our politics. It's still with us. It's political infantilism. In real life, the non-negotiable "demand" usually ends about age six.
Well worth a read.
Gmail now supports IMAP, which makes it truly the ultimate free email solution [post]! This means you can now use Gmail seamlessly on your iPhone. I set it up in 60 seconds and it works perfectly. This means I no longer have to go through the web browser to check email, though Google greatly improved that interface recently. Plus, writing new messages just got much easier. Of course, you can also use a desktop mail client like Apple Mail as well.
While waiting for Gmail to add IMAP support, I experimented with using Yahoo mail just for use on the iPhone and was very disappointed. I would often not receive messages for more than 24 hours, then suddenly receive a batch all at once. Hopefully, Gmail will be much more reliable.
If you don't have the IMAP option [article] within your Gmail settings yet, try logging out and logging back in. That worked for me.
I think it sucks because it isn’t scalable and falls apart at 5,000 contacts. It pisses me off more and more every day because of that scaling wall.
Damn I wish I hadn’t locked my rolodex in this trunk.
I’ve been on Facebook, what, about six weeks? I have more than 4,000 friends...
I LOVE WHEN PEOPLE GIVE UP ON FACEBOOK!
Why? Because Facebook is now a media distribution network (among other things).
I’m in the media creation and distribution business.
In fact, I can’t add more than 5,000 friends in Facebook so the audience size of any one person will always be small. But the passalong is huge. The app platform there works the same way — virally.
Sometime in August, Scoble first hit the limit on how many friends a person can have on Facebook. Since then, he has been on an increasingly caustic campaign to have the limit changed. This is a remarkably skewed perspective.
Facebook has well over 36 million members and 300+ employees. According to him (via Facebook employees), thousands have also hit the 5,000 friends limit, but still a very small percentage. I'm truly amazed that Scoble expects the company to move this request to the top of their priority list. Obviously, he has remarkable influence, but this strikes me as an abuse of that influence.
First, he was aware of the limit long before he reached it. In fact, it appears to have struck him as a reasonable limitation at the time.
Second, he first reached the limit and began requesting that it be increased in August. It has been just two months since he started pushing for the change, yet he is so frustrated with the limit that he has greatly reduced his use and relentless promotion of Facebook. Twitter is his current love (understandably so), but Twitter can only hope they don't misstep or otherwise impede his use of their (free) service. The web hath no fury like Scoble scorned.
In a follow-up post today, Scoble reports that Facebook employees have told him hat the friend limit is due to scaling problems which occur when a friend list reaches that level. Does he expect that an issue that only became remotely common recently should be immediately resolved? He surely understands the level of complexity involved in such a change and the company's obligation to the other 35+ million users to maintain a growing, stable platform. The fact that the company has built such a remarkable site and application infrastructure that has handled unprecedented growth is a phenomenal accomplishment. They are obviously aware of the current limitations and are determined to address them. I think patience is appropriate at this stage.
Imagine if I signed up for the free version of Basecamp from 37signals, used it for a couple of months, discovered a missing feature or limitation (not a bug), and requested a solution. This is all pretty standard behavior. After two months of waiting, though, the feature still hasn't been added and now I'm angry. I begin criticizing the company at every turn and threaten to leave if they don't address this immediately. "It's been 60 days! How much longer do you expect me to wait?"
If I went around saying such things, they'd put me away. I have complete confidence that 37signals wouldn't listen to my demands, and thank God for that. I don't want the software companies I depend on to drop everything because a few vocal users say "Jump!" and threaten to leave with they don't get "How high?" as a response.
Demands, remember, about a free service.
I have no doubt this Facebook limitation will be addressed as Facebook continues to build its infrastructure to handle 100 million user or more. I think it's a reasonable request that will improve the service for a small, but significant, number of users.
As much as I respect Robert, though, such a reasonable request is a completely unreasonable demand.
If you've been curious about Twitter, this is the best introduction I've found. It's by Adam Engst of TidBITS fame and is especially good because he started out as a skeptic, like most people. If you don't have an account yet, now is a good time to create one. They've made some very nice design improvements lately and the overall stability is much improved.
Often when I run into a friend or exchange emails, they will kindly ask about the book. Usually along the lines of "How's the book doing?" or "I haven't heard much about the book lately." I always appreciate the question. It feels a bit like they're asking for an update on my child, as in "How's Ben doing in school this year?", which is fine with me. In many ways, The Blogging Church does feel like a baby of mine (if I were to regularly sell my child for money to complete strangers, which I do not condone). Here's the latest.
I think most authors will tell you that the first three months after a book is published are the most crucial and entertaining. I'm referring here to a normal book, not one destined for the best seller list and backed by a major marketing campaign. The Blogging Church was published at the end of January and had a great launch (thanks to many of you). It briefly landed in the Top 200 on Amazon's best seller list and had a huge number of great reviews and feedback across the web. Those first few months involved a lot of work doing interviews, following up with readers, and promoting the book in various ways.
The book has continued to sell well since then, but after the initial push, the publisher's involvement basically ends and it's up to you and your readers to spread the word. Many of you have done just that - thank you for helping ignite a blogging revolution in churches across the country!
To continue to sell high numbers, you really have to be willing to promote yourself and the book nearly full-time (though you are always limited by the natural size of your audience). This includes pursuing speaking and writing opportunities at every turn and regularly promoting yourself and your consulting services. These are good ways to build your brand, open the door to additional books, and get yourself closer to being a full-time writer/consultant. That's not my focus right now, though I plan on writing another book in the future. My focus is on my career and my family - your time, attention, and passion can only be divided so many ways.
Nearly every day I receive an email from someone who recently read the book and started a new blog or has some questions. It's been incredible to see the impact of the book in so many different churches, denominations, and areas of the country. Many of you are really pushing the envelope of what a church blog can be.
If you've purchased the book in the last few months, let me say thanks! If it helped and entertained you, stop by Amazon and post a quick review. And please continue to share your story, and the story of your church, through blogs, podcasts, Facebook, Twitter, and the next big thing.
David Pogue has a great article and video on the XO laptop being introduced by the One Laptop Per Child organization. This group has been working for years to create a low cost, innovative, and incredibly durable laptop that could be used by children in the developing world. It looks like they've succeeded.
The truth is, the XO laptop, now in final testing, is absolutely amazing, and in my limited tests, a total kid magnet. Both the hardware and the software exhibit breakthrough after breakthrough — some of them not available on any other laptop, for $400 or $4,000.
The laptops cost approximately $200 and feature so many robust, terribly clever features that you'll have to read about it to get the full picture. The software itself is entirely open source and is written to encourage interaction and programming.
In order to guarantee a strong launch and as much attention as possible, the organization is making the laptop available to the more fortunate among us. Starting on November 12, you can purchase two laptops for $400, one for yourself and one to donate to a child in the developing world. This is a brilliant move that is sure to be successful. You can do a good deed and still be able to play with one of the most original pieces of technology in a long time. Learn more.