Can you believe that it's been two weeks since I posted something of any import? (By my standards, at least. I doubt any of you can distinguish between the crappy drivel and the mediocre drivel on this tabby).

Well, it's 3am and I can't sleep, so here's an original rambling post!

. . .

I have been Twittering a bit lately, which has cut into some of the creative juices which would normally manifest themselves here (I'm using the phrase "creative" quite liberally here, bear with me). I'm a fan of impermanence, but Twitter takes it too far to the extreme. The problem with Twitter is its value rapidly diminishes about 30 seconds after you post. You could write the world's best tweet, and after 10 or so tweets, nobody can find it again (unless they fav-ed it). A great blog post, though, lasts for a long, long time.

Twitter, in essence, is a dumbed-down blog engine - it was created to be simple by design (limiting to 140 characters per post, or whatever the number is). None of the ideas behind Twitter were very novel - all the early generations of weblog engines pursued those ideas ... with the tendency to overengineer. I mean, even I wrote about posting via email (== SMS) back in 2003 for Tabulas. Seeing your friends' tweets (posts)? Done in LJ and in Tabulas through the "friends" page. Opening up an API? Done a long time ago with MetaWeblog. I won't write a whole treatise on this, but the reason I suspect Twitter became such a huge success is that its limitations and simplicity let people not worry about actually composing worthwhile posts. Secondary to that was the easy ability to respond to posts with the "@user" feature - it's easy to get those addicting fixes of self-importance that is not as easy to get while weblogging. Number 1 reason people stop blogging? No comments. The very reason I love writing in this Tabulas ("Nobody will dare to read this embarassing crap"), other people use as an excuse to stop writing. I'll never understand it.

. . .

Something that triggered my "something is fundamentally changing with the web" spider-sense (Amazon's S3, Akismet/TypePad Anti-Spam, Yahoo's Term Extraction API are all members of this family) is the Universal Edit Button.

The idea is simple enough: You install a browser plug-in (one day you won't have to), and on any page that is editable, an icon appears in the same spot in your browser:

From a technical perspective, it required all of 3 lines of code inside MindTouch Deki, so I added it pretty quickly. The idea stuck around, though.

What if every CMS added this capability? (Expect it for Tabulas, shortly). And what if, instead of sending it to Tabulas, it automatically populated a wiki page with your contents? I'd imagine the user experience to be something like this:

  1. I write a post in Tabulas, and click a checkbox that says "Publish to my personal wiki"
  2. Post gets published on my Tabulas, and a page gets created on my wiki as well
  3. Anytime somebody visits my page, they see a little "edit" icon (see above) which lets them "edit" my post ...
  4. ... which takes them to my personal wiki, which has my post already published. You sign-in to the wiki and edit my post ...
  5. ... which might (or might not) automatically update my Tabulas entry over the MetaWeblog API (of course, the author would have the power to approve changes or not)

This ties together much close blogging and wiki editing, which amplify the benefits of each platform. Nobody can dispute that wiki pages can create the most rich and diverse content that no other CMS can match. The huge benefits of blogging is that topics and content get pushed to you. Whether you want to or not, I'm going to push to you (through friends/RSS/email notifications, whatever) what I want to say. Now imagine if I started the outline of a blog post (for example, a "release notes" for a MindTouch Deki product release) and people filled in the content with links in our user documentation... money.

I like this idea, because each step already exists ... the hardest part is tying together the user experience and the data transfers. I'm pretty sure, given a week, I could hack up a prototype, which would be pretty awesome. Maybe I can tear myself away from my lazy machinations and get something done.

. . .

Going back briefly to the Universal Edit Button ... this type of UI unification in the chrome of the browser ("chrome" as opposed to "content") is something that's very exciting. There's no reason you couldn't do the same with logging in across applications, too (PLEASE GOD, LET'S TRY TO FIGURE OUT SINGLE SIGN-ON SOMETIME THIS DECADE).

. . .

Holy crap, "Always on my Mind" by Pet Shop Boys just came on my iTunes. It's a pretty awesome song. And yes, I still love Smirnoff Ice.

. . .

So what have I been up to lately? Nothing at all. I fell off the gambling wagon for about three weeks - I played a lot of $10 SNGs on PokerStars and made a nice return ... but I cashed it all out, so as to not be distracted from the more important things in my life. Been watching a lot of movies and TV shows lately (I watched all seven seasons of West Wing over the past few weeks)... absolutely in love with Rose Byrne, in case you hadn't noticed:

. . .

Work is going well. As always, I find myself doing too many things at once... but I'm just trying to do my part in getting MindTouch in the right place to be successful. I've been a bit distressed at the increasing role business decisions have been affecting Deki lately, so I'll have to do my best to make sure I voice my concerns when necessary.

These last few weeks have the first times I've realized that I can't do everything at once. Sure, in the past, I've felt overwhelmed ... but I always felt that given enough hours, I could do it all. Not so much anymore. I've been playing so many roles lately: I do a fair amount of development as a software engineer, I obsess over the UI as a user experience engineer, I mentor others as a dev lead, I oversee the Deki releases as a product manager, I run the dev meetings as dir.eng, and I manage most of our non-Deki engineering projects as dir.eng. Unlike what I originally believed, each promotion hasn't freed me from the burdens of my previous positions, but rather just added another responsibility. I know I've been letting some of the PM responsiblities slide (like overseeing the Russians and driving the product's direction). C'est la vie. But you know what's great about this? It's always a challenge. I sometimes wish I had a mentor who could guide me from point A to point B faster ... but overall, I've been learning a buttload. I just have to remember to write about what I've learned more often here.

. . .

A coworker said he was disappointed in me cause I had the capabilities of being a weblebrity but I wasn't one. All silliness associated with that phrase aside, I think he was saying I wasn't reaching up to my full potential. I don't know if he was being serious, but maybe that's the root of my self-loathing. I choose not to reach cause I'm scared I'll fail. Or maybe I'm simply too exhausted from dealing with everything at MT to deal with my own stuff in my spare time. Who knows. All I know is I have awesome ideas, and I'm letting them all wither on the vine. I'll have to do something about that.

. . .

Still no dating for me :( The last girl I liked was in 2006. Holy crap, that's a long time! Before 2006, I crushed like crazy. Of course, as in all things, that last situation in 2006 turned me into an emotional mess, so maybe it's good I've stopped trying to find a relationship for myself. I'm not even sure how I'd deal with "not being alone." I oftentimes joke about my distaste for women due to past experiences ... I hope that hasn't dripped into my subconscious. The problem clearly is me (to the extent that I will avoid people altogether on the offchance I meet a girl I like!), and I don't really care to fix it.

. . .

Fact: This entry took an hour to write. Sweet. I will leave you with this wonderful (uplifting) track by Nina Simone:


Posted by roy on June 23, 2008 at 03:59 AM in Personal, Ramblings, Poker, Tabulas | 2 Comments

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Comment posted on June 23rd, 2008 at 11:31 AM
I oftentimes joke about my distaste for women due to past experiences ---how bad your experiences were?

aiz (guest)

Comment posted on June 23rd, 2008 at 06:01 AM
nice entries...

well written!