Sincerely, Me: What Our Email Sign-offs Say About Us

For us web workers, where our communication is digital more often than not, the way we sign our emails may (or may not) reveal certain clues about what we’re trying to accomplish. Let’s poke around at a few of the most common sign-offs/closings.

UK Survey Indicates Palm Pre More Anticipated Than the iPhone

Market Research group TNS has published the results of a survey that finds the Palm Pre, due to be launched in the UK later this month, is more positively anticipated by consumers than the iPhone was in 2007.

Reported today on Electronista, the survey from TNS claims that of the 1,000 UK residents polled, a whopping 26 percent claimed they will buy, or probably will buy, a Palm Pre following its debut on the O2 network on October 16. That’s compared with only 16 percent who expressed a desire to buy the iPhone when it was launched two years ago.

Furthermore, a stunning 32 percent of consumers currently signed to other carriers expressed a desire to switch to O2 in order to get their hands on Palm’s beleaguered new device. Read More about UK Survey Indicates Palm Pre More Anticipated Than the iPhone

Making Lemonade: What to Do When a Contract Ends

Web workers are often hired on on a contract basis. The benefit, and the failing, of contract work is that it is not permanent, and almost always ends. Sometimes you may have ample warning of a contract’s end date if you’ve established a set term beforehand, but sometimes the end comes unexpectedly, and you should always be prepared for that unfortunate possibility. Here’s a guide to the steps you should take when a contract closes.

A Meditation on the Pending Starbucks Closings

Starbucks logoHow is my life as a Web worker affected by the closing of 600 Starbucks nationwide? Let me count the ways. But seriously, I’m sure there are many a Web worker lamenting the possible closure of their corner Starbucks due to the company’s “re-organization” strategy (no store locations have been revealed at press time). Do they not know the important role each and every Starbucks plays in the day-to-day lives of Web workers all over?

I mean, having a Starbucks on practically every corner in some cities is the kind of convenience that we’re all used to getting online where if one Web site or Web app isn’t exactly what we need when we need it, another is only a few mouse clicks away. A few steps to the next street corner is only slightly more strenuous than those mouse clicks. And now, we’ll have to actually walk whole blocks to get to a Starbucks that hasn’t been ripped from our streets in the name of improved profit margins for the ubiquitous coffee haven. Well, what about our profit margins as Web workers? Without those 600 Starbucks, how will we survive? Read More about A Meditation on the Pending Starbucks Closings

Google the Next .Mac?

People are looking for a cheap, preferably free, way of getting universal access. Question is who will achieve it first, and who will get it right?

Cloud computing seems to be all the rage these days, from business collaboration tools, like Document & Spreadsheet apps, to the YouTube’s and Flickr’s of the web. Either way you look at it, it would appear that universal access is getting nearer and nearer. Eventually cloud computing will be the only computing, and the only OS you’ll need will be completely location independent. But for now, there are a few choices to get started with. Between Apple’s .Mac service and Google Apps, which is more likely for consumers to choose?

Let’s breakdown the basic features and compare the two:

Basic Features .Mac Google Apps
Online Storage 10 Gigs Shared Unknown
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Syncing check.png x.png


Since the most recent update, .Mac has brought new and exciting features. The .Mac Web Gallery offers unparalleled ability to share photos and slideshows. Users now have 10 gigs at their disposal to share between Mail and storing files. One feature that has most intrigued me is “Back To My Mac.” Currently it lets .Mac users access any of their computers from outside their own network. If I’m at home, I can access my work computer and vice versa. What interests me most is my hope of one day seeing very similar features across the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms. Imagine throwing in a bit of Front Row access, and you’re streaming your favorite videos or music from wherever you are. .Mac also offers a complete Backup and Restore utility, the ability to Sync iCal and Address Book across multiple Macs, which can come in handy especially if you’re on the go. In total these features will cost you $99 a year.

Google Apps

Currently Google offers 5.6 gigs for Gmail and has announced GDrive, their answer to online storage. Currently the amount of online storage space is unknown but I imagine it to grow similar to Gmail. Knowing Google, this probably won’t be your average online storage. Perhaps online sharing and then some? Currently is my choice for online storage. They offer the capability of sharing as well as document editing. With Google you know if they introduce something new, it’s going to go above and beyond what you expect.

Google also has Picasa and Blogger under their belt. With Picasa users can currently store and share one gig worth of photos online. Page Creator lets users create websites and upload them to Blogger. Google also features Google Docs & Spreadsheets for online editing. While you may not be able to cross sync computers, or access another computer, having your Calender and Documents stored online makes remote accessibility easy. Having everything edited and stored online means you never have to worry about syncing computers to get the most up to date information. Other features include Google Talk for online communicating, Google Reader, and your own personalized homepage. Naturally the most attractive feature offered by Google is having all these utilities completely mobile and completely free.

One Google to Rule Them All?

Gmail is the true gateway drug. As soon as you switch, you feel compelled to use all the other Google utilities and features available before you. Whether your poison is Google Reader or iGoogle, there’s a strong platform to expand on. With their rate of acquisitions, Google can only stand to gain more ground. So for this user, while .Mac may look pretty and be feature friendly, but I’m sticking with Google. You can’t beat free, and you can’t be mobile the way Google achieves it.

However, I think it’s interesting to note that the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, is also on the Board of Directors for Apple. So while they may be competing for universal access, maybe they really are just be building off of one another.

Another Exec Out at Babelgum

Internet television platform Babelgum has lost another top executive — its CTO, Mallku Caballero. (Thanks for the tip, commenter Rumpelstiltskin.) Caballero, who left the company about a month ago, told paidContent:UK: ”Let’s just say that I did not fully adhere to the vision and to the management style brought in by the new CEO.”

As we reported in October, Babelgum co-founder Erik Lumer, who was demoted from his CEO position when the company brought in new CEO Valerio Zingarelli this year, also left the company. Lumer, according to a press release he emailed to us, left to become CEO of RawFlow. But RawFlow has yet to update its web site to acknowledge this information.

Babelgum may outlast the turbulence of its executive departures simply by virtue of how much money it has. Silvio Scaglia, who was CEO of Omnitel when Zingarelli was there, co-founded Babelgum with Lumer. Scaglia funded the company with $13.2 million of his own money, and told BusinessWeek he plans to spend $130 million more over the next few years. Notably, however, competitors such as Joost and Veoh have massive war chests of their own.

The GGG: For Plane Trips More than People

Semantic web believers including Tim Berners-Lee and Nova Spivack like to say that the social graph is part of their semantic world: the Giant Global Graph (GGG) as coined by Tim Berners-Lee. But the Giant Global Graph itself is like Dustin Hoffman’s autistic savant character Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 movie Rain Man. Raymond knew all about plane trips but couldn’t make sense of human relationships.
Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee uses the Social Graph meme to rebrand his semantic web efforts, writing in a blog post, “I called this graph the Semantic Web, but maybe it should have been Giant Global Graph!” Berners-Lee thinks there could be big payoff in adding a layer of meaning atop the documents of the World Wide Web:

So, if only we could express these relationships, such as my social graph, in a way that is above the level of documents, then we would get re-use. That’s just what the graph does for us. We have the technology — it is Semantic Web technology, starting with RDF OWL and SPARQL. Not magic bullets, but the tools which allow us to break free of the document layer. If a social network site uses a common format for expressing that I know Dan Brickley, then any other site or program (when access is allowed) can use that information to give me a better service. Un-manacled to specific documents.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that special time of the year for spending time with friends and family once again. Kevin and I wish all of our readers in the US a very Happy Thanksgiving!   For those of you outside the US have a great day too! 


Find that tune with GoFish

Silicon GoFish, started by the founder of the now-defunct Musiclocker service, allows people to simultaneously search for songs from Napster,, iTunes and a host of other online music merchants. The site also looks for audiobooks, video, ring tones and games.