I wrote a blog post back in 2017 about my method of archiving iPhone photos to Amazon S3. Today, I had someone ask me about what my current workflow is, since The Archivist iOS app doesn’t work any more. I use the Dropbox app to sync photos from my iPhone, and then periodically use Multcloud to copy the photos to my own Amazon S3 bucket. Multcloud is fine, but completely handing over your cloud login credentials to a service like this isn’t great. And then I don’t do anything with them, so they really are just backup at this point....
Posts by Year
“…the trust between users and the people who run [Internet services] is breaking down.” — @cdixon, Computers that can make commitments. On blockchain as the beginning of tech that is more autonomous. Permalink
“We’re just as capable of collaborating on our ethics and their implementations as we can on our software.”— Kyle Mitchell, from his Talking Points on Ethical Licenses. Permalink
I’m now at 2 years with Chromebook & iPad Pro as primary devices. @soapdog writes about his post-Mac experiences with Surface devices — including low-powered Surface Go. Permalink
Good explanation by @gruber on Apple’s reasoning around end-to-end (E2E) encryption. From a UX standpoint, the worry is that users would lose their passwords, thus losing access to their data. Permalink
Robin Dechant wrote about the Germany startup / innovation ecosystem. Lots of great reading about the specifics of the problem, from distributed cities, universities, and big company headquarters: While Germany is a powerhouse for research and technology with its scientists and engineers, it’s incredibly challenging to connect all these people and to build bridges. This, of course, sounds incredibly familiar to someone in Canada. I could probably write the same article about the Canadian market and the tension between Vancouver/Toronto/Montreal (never mind smaller cities and regions). Totally agree that each country / region has to figure out how to succeed...
Notes from #ehlist founder coffee at Lost & Found Cafe in Vancouver, January 22, 2020.
Multipass, Ubuntu VMs on your desktop https://multipass.run/: Canonical has developed multipass to easily run one or more Ubuntu Linux VMs on your Mac, Windows, or Linux desktop. Sort of like “local” cloud instances. Permalink
James Wanless covers a move from Vancouver to Victoria — and back again! @jiminalizm includes veggie eats, craft beer, running Permalink
Hometown is a fork of federated social network Mastodon by @tinysubversions. Focuses on local only posts for more private communities, plus inline full length article reading. Permalink
Via Vancouver’s @ScoutMagazine, “An essay in the LA Review of Books on the midlife crisis of the American restaurant review” A lot of this ring true for me. Here in Vancouver’s heavily Asian-influenced dining, most restaurants understand that share plates are a thing. An appetizer-to-dessert review doesn’t make much sense for this. When traveling elsewhere — it has happened to me in Toronto (farm to table small plates) and Berlin (high end Turkish) — I’ve had servers explain sharing plates to me. It never occurred to me that this is something that needs to be experienced or taught, having grown...
“tech” over the last decade went from being perceived as a vertical sector to now being horizontal, where tech has or will permeate most if not all industries, one reason @semil covers in Why Seed Funds Have Scaled Permalink
I grew up on Bowen Island, a small island just off Vancouver. @chriscorrigan writes about The Bowen Island Way — which many will recognize as the story of communities, whether virtual or physical. Permalink
This is the first “Founder Notes” – I share some links and highlights of a discussion with a founder as we talk about their business. As with many things I do, it’s an experiment in “working out loud”. I’ve spent many years in Vancouver working with early stage startup founders, and I enjoy workshopping ideas and sharing useful resources. This morning I sat down to catch up with Tam Kbeili @tammam, founder & CEO of CodeCast. People in Vancouver may also remember Tam as cofounder of CodeCore, one of the first coding bootcamps locally. He sold the school in October...
From @ton_zylstra exploring new apps, user-controlled data is a big deal: “It strikes me as wrong that many applications don’t make very clear where and in which format they store the information you create in them.” Permalink
“Repeatedly choosing to be uncomfortable is the only way to learn how to be uncomfortable and to get good at working through discomfort productively” from @vaughn_tan’s Time for a Change, Uncertainty Mindset Permalink
"I’m defining in 2020 a PWA as a design pattern to develop app experiences using web technologies with different APIs", Progressive Web Apps in 2020 by @firt. Photopea and Tweetdeck are 2 desktop PWAs I have installed on both MacOS and ChromeOS. Permalink
"I value allyship more than anything. Home is people. Safe spaces are people, too. Not all people. But the right ones". Happy 41, @benwerd. Whatever version of the web we're on, we're all in this together. Permalink
“Every time you pip install, go get or mvn fetch something , you’re doing the equivalent of plugging a thumb drive you found on the sidewalk into your production server”, OSS is Under Attack by @lorenc_dan Permalink
s3_email: A serverless email server on AWS using S3 and SES https://github.com/0x4447/0x4447_product_s3_email: "an unmanaged email server with unlimited email addresses that also offers the benefit of easily organizing messages by adding the + character to the email names. The + is converted to a /, which correlates to an object path in S3." via @brianleroux Permalink
I just added jekyll-mentions to my blog: it links usernames that are @-mentions to a social network of your choice. I have mine set to Twitter, but already filed a feature request to support multiple. Permalink
I met some people of German descent over New Years and we did the usual thing of talking about where our families are from. My dad @opahorst is from Berlin. My mom @anneonbowen is from a small village called Limburgerhof, which is in the Rheinland-Pfalz province of Germany. She was raised Mennonite, which got us into a discussion if Mennonites were all like the Amish (not using certain forms of technology). I wasn’t actually raised religious at all and I don’t really know anything about Mennonites. When my mom’s mother, my grandmother, was still alive and came to visit us,...
“Using Google Cloud Platform for Cloud Gaming on Chrome OS” has tips and tricks for running Parsec or new-to-me Rainway. Permalink
11 ideas about the decade that killed iTunes, by @yayitsrob. “Infinite” cloud storage and algorithmic feeds mean we don’t file, but also that “the clock is always running, and that the work will never end” Permalink
We’ve got the Tesla Cybertruck, so I was wondering about the state of “cyberboats”: all electric boats. The Electric boat entry on Wikipedia is a useful starting point for the history, including that the invention of the internal combustion engine put a stop to early electric boat experiments. The Canadian Electric Boat Company has 15-20ft launches for sale, powered by BMW batteries. X Shore, based in Sweden, crowd-funded an investment round, and won a 2020 German Design award. Torqueedo makes various electric powered outboards for power and sail boats. The Boat Trader Hybrid and Electric Boats Guide is a good...
age - file encryption tool & format https://github.com/FiloSottile/age: "A simple, modern and secure encryption tool with small explicit keys, no config options, and UNIX-style composability." Meant to replace the use of gpg for encrypting files, backups, streams, etc. Implementations in GoLang and Rust. Permalink
Saving this dig DNS txt record one liner for posterity.
_dnslink subdomain is used by IPFS as the well known location to look for a content address of a site’s root folder:
dig -t txt short _dnslink.boris.fission.name
More experiments in #opensource licensing. @feross publishing an NPM package under Prosperity license. Permalink
The Return. Of dangerousmeta. To blogging. And self-hosting.
“I don’t care what you use, or how you use it, but get the hell off the commercial social services and get an independent weblog.”Permalink
Pull - a Github app to keep your forks up to date https://github.com/apps/pull: "Pull app will automatically watch and pull in upstream's default (master) branch to yours with hard reset." – does exactly what it says. You can default in a branch on your fork and know that master is the same as upstream master. Permalink
Just figured out how to get @usefathom working with @discourse – it's an SPA so you need to tell Fathom to track the push state Permalink
Chain link fence, cranes at the port, and sunlit mountains Permalink
WeServ - image cache and resizing https://images.weserv.nl/: You can use the hosted service directly to resize & crop images, or run a version of the open source code on your own server. Permalink
I should probably write an actual blog post about how I’ve been enjoying using Discourse forums. Great OEmbed support and auto transclusion / linking between posts. Permalink
Photopea, online photo editor https://www.photopea.com/: Works with Photoshop, Sketch, Illustrator, raw files, and most image formats. Not fully open source, free with ads or $40 / year. Works offline after first load. Permalink
I posted a #cookstorm on Twitter as I made this Chicken Eggplant Coconut Curry tonight. Pretty happy with how it turned out! Permalink
Testing posting from the MicroDotBlog iOS client. Permalink
Sitting in the office at the end of the week sponsoring some cool projects on Patreon and drinking a Brassneck Yuzu beer. Have a great weekend, everyone! Check out #eastsideculturecrawl & @RachaelAshe if you're in #Vancouver. Permalink
This MONOLISK game is pretty interesting. You build levels and other people play them, while you level up different characters with equipment - mage, warrior, etc. Here’s the link for following me. Permalink
“the venture capital industry has evolved in a way that makes the fundamental incentives at work for VCs and founders difficult to align”— Why is venture capital so misaligned? Jodi Jahic by @jodij Permalink
Why yes, I am still experimenting with drinking vinegars. Newest orange-quince + white wine vinegar on the left, orange-ginger + sherry vinegar on the right. More on the new forum at allthebest.recipes Permalink
Diced quince and sugar after 48 hours. Made 2 cups of quince syrup, then added 1 cup champagne vinegar. Voila! Quince shrub. Permalink
Cultivate Tea on Main had a collaboration with Goose, making Onigiri 🍙. Went well with a kombucha flight. Permalink
A lovely summer evening to be heading over to #bowenisland on the ferry. Permalink
Turkish coffee made from Guatemalan beans at Ben Rahim in #Berlin Permalink
Was following a bookmark to Backpfeife bakery and found a whole art / food / drink / hang out space by the Spree #berlin Permalink
New Brighton Park, on the edge of #eastvan, next to the wheat loading port, is an amazing summer evening experience Permalink
People in Berlin talked about using clauses in the German constitution to expropriate privately owned apartments Permalink
Vancouver’s airport, YVR, is a “community-based, not-for-profit airport”. I did not know that, until I watched this promo trying to get @VancityReynolds to be the airport spokesman. Permalink
#Vancouver is so lucky to have this massive selection of craft beer. And! Look at all the colour & design that it’s funding as well! Permalink
Finally getting home Internet switched from Shaw to TekSavvy. Half the price, twice the integrity. Permalink
I’ve been using an iPad Pro 11” as my daily machine for about 2 months now. Here are some of the tools I’ve been finding useful. After using a Chromebook for a year, the thing that made me want to do this is Keynote. My cofounder Brooke and I have been working on one pagers and presentations, and nothing else is better than Keynote. I mean, I know this. In my career, I’ve been an expert at both PowerPoint and Keynote, but really Keynote is just a pleasure to use. I’m productive, quick, and end up with better presentations. I...
A visit to Sawada Coffee in Chicago. @be.zelenka waves. The coffee is a “Black Camo” - matcha + espresso. Permalink
Made it to Lamajoun, the Armenian bakery in Richmond. The “dough boat” is called a pide, house made basturma (cured beef), khinkali beef dumplings, jazzve coffee. Permalink
New business cards! We’re on the road next week in #seattle & #chicago so needed some new ones. And yes, QR codes now that iPhone camera supports them are surprisingly useful! Permalink
Dries Buytaert sent an email to core contributors in August 2010 asking what we though Drupal would look like if it was 10x bigger:
Continuing the discussion of how IndieWeb needs to evolve in order to see adoption.
If this works, it came from posting via Micropub from Indigenous, an iOS app that supports micropub and microsub. Permalink
AWS S3 Manager iOS App https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/aws-s3-manager/id1352683230?mt=8: I previously wrote about using an app called The Archivist for iOS photo backups. I’ve also used Dropshare in the past. Neither are working for me at the moment, and this paid app with a 1-Star rating is actually very good and simple for the task of uploading and downloading files to your Amazon S3 buckets. Permalink
I’m continuing down the road of adding Deploy to Heroku support to various apps, and using my site as a test case for IndieWeb stuff. I went down the rabbit hole today because infominer was looking at the Jekyll IndieWeb template, and I found @voxpelli’s WebMention’s server at voxpelli/webpage-webmentions. I forked it bmann/webpage-webmentions and got Deploy to Heroku working by just adding an app.json.
Made some schug, a hot sauce of fresh parsley & cilantro, with garlic, jalapeño, Thai red chilli, lemon juice, coriander, cardamom, salt, & canola oil. Permalink
Lucky enough to do some test eating @shiok.ca - new cheap & cheerful Singaporean opening on Kingsway west of Victoria. Immediate top 4 #laksa in Vancouver. Permalink
Orientation - Rails app to create internal docs & tutorials https://orientation.io/: Has Deploy to Heroku support, uses Google Auth for login, can group articles as lists to make Guides. The Purpose & Features page has extended info. Permalink
Lots of web designers use SVG for logos by default these days. But many apps don't support SVG natively. I brew installed rsvg to easily convert SVGs to PNGs, including an OS X Automator app. Permalink
For @misobarb’s birthday week, we went to the new Hanoi Old Quarter, 36th & Victoria, Northern Vietnamese style. Counterclockwise from top left: fish with dill, duck & banana stew, appetizer platter & a delicious soup. Permalink
Revolver, right at 7:30am opening. The front porch of Gastown. Permalink
Hipster coffee & tasty breakfast in #Berlin. Including a “ginger shot” that burns so good. Permalink
Joplin: Markdown-based note taking & to do
https://joplin.cozic.net/: Originally design to import Evernote
.enex files. Available on many platforms, including mobile apps and even terminal. Uses different cloud services for synchronization.
Remote working shift start at the beautiful #Vancouver public library. The top floor has work stations and an awesome patio. Permalink
I’ve been using an Asus C302 Chromebook for a year now. The new Asus C434 looks great - a little bigger, much more powerful, & support for Linux apps (which is what I’m missing to complete local development). Permalink
An explanation of different layers of Ethereum Governance: open source collaboration, protocol standards governance, Core Dev coordination, nodes running client software, plus extended reading and links.
Delicious meal at Dosanko in #EastVan. They use rice fungus (koji) to make lots of their own dishes, including this koji-cured beef belly. Permalink
Worked out of Propaganda Coffee in Vancouver’s Chinatown today, & @be.zelenka showed off her ridiculously awesome custom Mac OS + Firefox + tiling WM + mechanical keyboard. Permalink
Early start, prepping for my session. A pastry & coffee on the bench outside a great little bakery. Permalink
Wandered the Paris streets. Found this chill cafe with good music. My first pain au chocolat of the trip. Permalink
A date tart with rose jam at Moltaqa. Permalink
Great story by the founder of creator e-commerce platform Gumroad @shl about his failure to build a billion-dollar company. His learnings about “The market you’re in will determine most of your growth” are especially interesting. Permalink
IPFS Companion Chrome Extension https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ipfs-companion/nibjojkomfdiaoajekhjakgkdhaomnch/: A Chrome Extension that can work with a locally running IPFS daemon. I put instructions on the wiki about running IPFS on Chromebook – good news, it's available via chromebrew! Permalink
You’re working from home & then realize you’ve got Montreal-style brisket to make lunch with. 😍 Permalink
Sunrise on Orcas, looking west over President Channel towards Canada. Permalink
So many delicious baked goods at Bakery Sate. Road trip supplies! Permalink
ProseMirror - toolkit for building rich-text editors on the web. https://prosemirror.net/: Developed by The Guardian and others. From this link: "If you are using ProseMirror to make profit, there is a social expectation that you help fund its maintenance". The Guardian article on moving from their previous editor Scribe to ProseMirror is also a good read. Permalink
Blood oranges are awesome Permalink
Hyper - Electron-based Terminal app built on HTML/CSS/JSS https://hyper.is/: "The goal of the project is to create a beautiful and extensible experience for command-line interface users, built on open web standards." Plugins and themes are published and installed via npm. Permalink
Micro - Terminal-based Text Editor https://micro-editor.github.io/: Static binary with no dependencies so it can run on pretty much any system. Plugin system written in Lua. Full mouse support as well as keybindings. I use this on my Chromebook. Permalink
Deep fried tofu tossed with chili-garlic, quick bok choy & broccoli stir fry with a little soy sauce. Permalink
The infamous, original #eastvan craft brewery: Storm 🍺 Permalink
I’m pretty lucky in my #eastvan neighbourhood to have great businesses close to home. Permalink
Standard Readme https://github.com/RichardLitt/standard-readme: A standard format for README files, designed for open source libraries. Permalink
Experimenting with various services for dealing with my Flickr export backup and moving photos around, resulting in documenting a grab bag of cloud services, protocols, articles and other research.
Trent Rhode from ETHNews sent me some questions around security token standards, so I wrote up a bunch of background.
Shared a selection of appetizers at Moltaqa for lunch. Chicken pastilla, lamb merguez, stuffed eggplant, & white bean stew. Permalink
Cassava cake. Last of the ingredient experiments - grated fresh cassava, coconut, & various canned milks. Permalink
A cold but sunny walk from Jericho to Spanish Banks and back. A view over to West Van & downtown Vancouver. Permalink
I’m exporting my photos off of Flickr ahead of their limits for free accounts. This is an initial experiment of the export files, and how to display them in Jekyll.
Re-reading my 2016 post on moving from Flickr to self-hosted photos. My timer runs out beginning of February 2019. What are you doing to move on from Flickr? Permalink
Christmas braised lotus roots. Main flavours dried sour cherries, maple syrup, and a little sriracha. Permalink
Lotus root soaking in water with lemon & sour cherries. I have no idea if this is going to work out. Permalink
Christmas Eve duck Permalink
German Rouladen just starting to braise. Thin sliced beef filled with mustard, sautéed onions, bacon, & pickles. Permalink
I mean, I only sort of bought turkey. This is what Columbus calls a “turkey hill”. Stuffed with sausage, wrapped in bacon. Permalink
Columbus Meat Market super packed before Christmas of course. I’m pretty happy with the duck, turkey & pork I picked up. Permalink
My first Filipino Kamayan meal - a dinner feast eaten by hand, served on banana leaves Permalink
3Box, social profiles on Ethereum: "We think these capabilities will make it extremely easy to build the next generation of more social apps on Ethereum, and contribute to making web3 a more safe and familiar place for our users and communities." Permalink
A lovely Moroccan lamb tangia at Moltaqa in the winter sun. (Old ACME Cafe location) Permalink
Coming into the dock at cloud island. Permalink
Roast chicken. Kinda sorta spatchcocked. Parsnips & rutabagas. Permalink
Rainy Save on Meats neon, waiting for my bus. Permalink
Really, is there such a thing as too many computing devices? Installing Ubuntu on my old Mac Mini. Permalink
Lots of travel, back in Raincouver at Revolver. Enjoying a duet - a macchiato with the leftover shot on the side. Permalink
Stages 2 - 4 of Pulled Pork: halfway through 6 hours of cooking, “pulled” pork, and dinner tonight. Permalink
The absolute abundance of a California grocery store. Permalink
By @KyleSamani, a post on token distribution models, including @LivePeerOrg's merkle-mine approach: "We encourage every team that’s building a layer-2 token or a PoS blockchain to consider some permissionless way for passionate community members to participate that’s not an ICO" Permalink
Stage 1 of pulled pork. Who says you can’t cook when business traveling? Permalink
"Vigorous copyleft serves not just the currently underserved among open source contributors, but the open source movement as a whole, by preserving the broad base that made it relevant to begin with."Permalink
Grabbing a moment of peace in the crowded Blue Bottle. Working on telling the story of FISSION & collaborating with great people across the Ethereum ecosystem is a lot of work, but is keeping me energized. Permalink
Made a nice piece of halibut with za’atar & sumac & garlic, cooked in butter / olive oil / onions plus fresh lemon juice. Permalink
"Share for gratitude, not for rules and license terms" Alan Levine @cogdog writes The Road to to Sharing is Not Paved with Licenses, referring to CC licenses. The purpose of licensing is top of mind for me recently. Permalink
An important read, Mongo submitting Server Side Public License to OSI. When software is no longer “linked”, but is connected through APIs & network services, copyleft needs to evolve. (via @LicenseZero) Permalink
He was there at the emergence of Seed VCs, and @bryce reflects on that time and where IndieVC-style revenue financing is at. Standardization, collaboration, and metrics are the next steps. Permalink
Back home from our Portland / Eugene trip. These are the condiments from Indigo Traders: Duqqa, Harissa, & Za’atar. Permalink
Super fun local community coffee place. Road trip begins! Permalink
I was reminded today after speaking to Ted Leung that he uses the phrase “commons based peer production” rather than “open source”, because: The problem with the term open source is that everyone means something different when they use it. Some people just mean licensing. Some people think of a particular community’s set of practices. Others think that it means some kind of fuzzy democracy and mob rule. Which of course is exactly what I was trying to capture in my post from last year on Blockchain & Open Source Definitions. Researching that phrase further brought me to a bunch...
Leftover potato dumplings that get sliced up and pan fried in a little duck fat are pretty delicious. Permalink
This started as a short reply to Erlend S. Heggen’s “The Fair Share Clause - A thought experiment for sustainable open source”, and got long enough that I really did want to capture it in its own blog post. Heggen @erlend_sh is a Community Advocate at Discourse, the open source forum software. The description of Discourse’s end of 2017 donations to open source projects they depend on is also a great read. Kyle Mitchell’s writing and his License Zero project are name checked, and I have posted about them briefly recently, but consider this another reminder that you should look...
A great thought experiment by @erlend_sh on how to evolve funding for #opensource, specifically for infrastructure where "SaaS or open core" won't work: The Fair Share Clause, sort of like Fairtrade certification for software. Permalink
This comparison of deployment / hosting options by @hugo__df is exactly what I would have written. I still favour Heroku over Dokku because my time is most definitely worth $7 / month per app I care about. Permalink
We’re meeting next Tuesday, Oct 9th, at 6pm, in #Vancouver to talk #indieweb websites, wikis, and podcasting. @patdryburgh @rtanglao are coming. Maybe @stv @owenmead @apike. Leave a comment if you’re coming. Permalink
Was out on the water last night with my friend Mike. Here’s sunset over the RVYC Jericho docks as we were coming back in. Permalink
Post installation of the @KnowRoaming Global SIM "sticker". It goes on over the contacts on your existing SIM card. Going to be doing some more travel soon & this is easier than SIM swapping. Permalink
From meeting @kemitchell, it's clear to me that open source licenses are going through a time of innovation. Check out License Zero and also Kyle's writing. No, really, go read his last 10 blog posts. Permalink
“The web is the way now that we distribute information. We will need the web pages we create now to be readable in 100 years time, just as we can still read 100-year-old books.” — The 100 Year Web (in praise of XML), Steven Pemberton Permalink
Blockchain Governance 101 - Vlad Zamfir’s current thinking on the topic of blockchain governance, with a couple of different flavours possible. “if a coordination mechanism is legitimate, people will (justifiably) act like it’s a fact that people will use it” Permalink
"Following someone on twitter is like having a direct line into their brain" @borismus in Make twitter great again?, with some further notes on the broken RSS ecosystem & Twitter design choices. Permalink
OK! I now have 1) micropub clients talking to 2) a micropub glue server, 3) pushing to git, pushing to Netlify, which builds my Jekyll blog, producing feeds that 4) @microdotblog cross posts to Twitter, Medium, and LinkedIn. Full write up here Permalink
As part of my dive back into open source, I took a look at my blog, social networks, and other tools I’m using. Well, maybe that’s not quite true. I’ve been tinkering with my blog for 16 years, I doubt I’ll ever stop, regardless of how I’m spending my time! Twitter all the things I’ve stopped using Facebook, Tumblr, Medium, and Instagram and doubled down on using Twitter for my “whole self”. Which in my case means posting cooking storms, long threads on travel, as well as lots and lots of tech. For this post I’m not going to get...
Setting up the office with proper supplies - ramen, Kind bars, Ethernet cabling & a few crypto specific items ;) Permalink
It's past midnight, is it working yet? Permalink
I may quite possibly be posting this via micropublish.net, to my own micropub server on Heroku, which turns it into Jekyll compatible md file and posts it to Github, which sends it to Netlify, which creates a feed for MicroBlog. Permalink
I got asked about my personal CRM post on LinkedIn: I stumbled across your blog today, specifically a post about choosing a personal CRM from 2016. As a fellow tool junkie it was really exciting to see the different options available at the time broken down that way. It also made me curious about your current workflow. Has anything changed? I’m always changing up tools that I use or trying to get better with the ones I keep using. A lot of it is based on a deeper understanding of how I work best, and the rest of it is...
I’m going back to my roots in open source and co-founding the Special Projects & Decentralized Engineering Company, or SPADE for short.
Rather than treating attendees just as an audience for lectures, conferences should be a community gathering that invites people to make it an awesome experience. Here are some thoughts on how to include community in your traditional conference format, starting with a bit of history about unconferences.
I’ve been in Berlin for about a month now, minus a side trip to Rotterdam and a conference in Algiers. Here are some of the notes and observations I’ve made about the city that have stood out to me.
The Narcissus is a little cafe at the north end of Commercial, across from our storage unit. Run by Japanese owners, they are doing “matured” fruit drinks, which sit in simple syrup & are then served as sodas or flavoured lattes. @ The Narcissus Permalink
Today was not a good Monday Permalink
Starting to think about food & cooking oriented projects for 2018. This is a spaetzle maker, for making German egg noodles. Could we build a kitchen library in Vancouver for sharing space & under-used tools? Tag something you might want to share with #vancouverkl Permalink
This post was written as a response to Trent McConaghy’s post, Blockchain as a Field. He starts with this statement: “blockchain” is best used as a label for a field, just like “AI” is the label for the field of artificial intelligence. It was Lisa Cheng1, who opened my eyes to the multiple definitions of blockchain. Roughly paraphrased, here’s what Lisa used as a framework for defining blockchain: Lisa is co-founder of Vanbex; I was an advisor & early investor there. ↩
How To setup an Amazon S3 account and use it to backup photos from your iPhone iOS device directly, all hosted on your own domain.
A response to Doc Searls on moving on from Flickr to think about self-hosting photos.
I’ve been once again looking for a personal CRM. Something that gets to do’s out of my inbox, collects data and messages on the people that I’m interacting with, and generally keeps me informed and up to date in my communications. Here’s a review of past tools and analysis of my choice.
I’ve been asked by a number of people what I think the “tech platform” should be for parties running for the City of Vancouver’s November 2014 municipal election. I feel under-equipped to tease out the intricacies of economic and civic policy, so I can only speak to what I’ve observed, what my gut says. At the same time, I’m not sure what municipal-level policies can actually do for tech ecosystems, other than many of the things that anyone working in any industry wants from a livable, vibrant city. Can the City of Vancouver help with increasing the salaries that private...
We are always learning. Whether we search for the answer to a question we have or an error we’re having in a piece of code, that practice of what to search for and sifting through the results is learning. Some of the time the answer might be obvious, we solve our current problem and move on. Other times, we have to look in 2 or three different places, synthesize the answer, and apply it. What are you doing to capture that type of learning? How do you share it with others, including your future self? The above is the outline...
I’ve been asked by a number of design agencies, development shops, and other consultants how they can work with startups. Part of this is understanding what types of services startups need and what their budget is. The other part is these firms thinking of themselves as investors, and wanting to have a piece of a product company that may pay off beyond just hourly consulting fees. Much of the material is slanted towards design services, but is generally applicable to any service provider. Early stage tech startups don’t have a large budget for brand design, and since their customers and...
I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. It’s 2014, 10 year since I returned to Vancouver. 10 years of working with web technology and community building. What has changed about Vancouver, and where is it heading? How long does it take to level up a startup ecosystem?
You’ve got a freshly built OS X Mavericks 10.9 system and it’s time to start loading up the usual apps you use and setup your development environment. Luckily, there are lots of great developer tools for automating this task. I learned some new tricks (e.g. Homebrew Cask) from Tadej Murovec’s post. And, my Macbook Air is now 2 years old and all the command line tools / versions have changed, so I needed to re-document this for myself. App Store Your first stop is the App Store, where you can visit the Purchases tab and re-download items you’ve bought. You’re...
How much to raise and what stage your company is at is a constant question asked by founders and investors alike. Describing the stages of tech investing is my attempt to categorize what I am seeing in the market today. For any new business, traction will trump everything, with lots of customers using the product on a daily or monthly basis being a great indicator. There are many “it depends” for these stages and dollar amounts, and they also reflect common numbers in Vancouver / Canada. For example, a business model that focuses on Enterprise sales is going to need...
One of the many tricky things about building a web startup is that you can’t outsource product. As a web startup, your web or mobile app is your company, your sole purpose for existing. Why do you think you can outsource it? When you outsource building your product, your company is missing out on most of the important things that go into building a successful company. Sure, you can hire freelancers or a consulting shop to build you something. And that’s what you’ll get: something. As long as you keep paying the bills, the typical consulting shop will write code...
Disclaimer: I’m an investor in Input Logic, makers of Postachio.
Last Thursday, Jesse Heaslip wrote ‘Two Problems with (Vancouver’s tech community) and Three Ways to Fix it’. If you don’t know Jesse, know this: he’s crazy-irrational-passionate about the Vancouver tech community. For proof, I offer the fact that he organized 40 tech events that were attended by 1600 people in 2011. Talk about impact! Jesse lists the two problems as: 1. How do we get companies to the stage where there is interest from acquirers? and 2. How do we get those companies to stay? First of all, for a really great backgrounder on startups in Vancouver and the various...
I just saw this GrowLab post about an initiative to get local companies to get listed and link to a directory of Vancouver companies. Now, I definitely think we can do more to celebrate being based here in Vancouver, as we digital creatives go out to sell to the entire world, but I hate seeing us once again starting yet another directory from scratch!
I had a brief clip air on Global TV BC this evening, commenting on the news that Facebook is opening a temporary office in Vancouver. Here’s a link to the written article. Thanks to Greg for tracking down the Global TV News Hour clip (starts at 15:20). I do think that the difficulty in getting a US Visa is a contributing factor to make Canada / Vancouver an attractive place to put an office. It was back in July 2007 that the Microsoft opening an office news broke. Looking back, the Microsoft office out in Richmond was basically a non-impact...
Gowalla is like Lego used to be—it’s a tool without any rules.Travis Smith Inspired by Travis' post about How To Play Gowalla, I present you with my version for Instagram. What is Instagram? It’s an app for the iPhone that lets you apply effects to pictures you take and post them online. As well, it’s very easy to share those pictures on other social networks. For me, Instagram has become the most fun and engaging online community experience since I started using Flickr just as it was getting started. I think it’s no accident that both center around photos. So,...
It’s that time of year again, when I face the same question: my Flickr Pro subscription has expired, and I need to pay so that all my photos are accessible online. But maybe I should self host? Is paying for a Flickr Pro subscription still worth it? Don’t get me wrong - I think the “Flickr deal” is still fantastic: about $2 per month for unlimited storage of all my photos. From a pure storage perspective, even Amazon S3 would cost me more than that. Flickr was one of my first loves when it came to online community. When I...
I’ve been working with Contractually for the past 2 weeks1. I’ve always loved Martin’s vision for Contractually2 – both the concept of moving past “digital representations of paper” to more fluid, data-native documents, as well as modernization of the legal business. Broadly speaking, I’m doing Business Development. I’ve been trying the role title “growth hacker” on for size, but the phrase is a bit problematic. It has gone from a useful description for a role that understands digital tools & metrics and pairs them with more traditional marketing and business development straight to a buzz word akin to “social media...
I’m just getting back from 2 days in Seattle. In general, I’m trying to spend more time there, getting to know what’s happening in the Seattle community and seeing if Vancouver can connect more regularly (Cascadia!). Startup Riot is actually run by a team from Atlanta, with Sanjay Parekh playing the front man. The event is run as a pitch contest, including feedback from experienced entrepreneurs as judges, plus several keynote talks and lots of opportunity for connecting with other attendees. Here’s the description and agenda for the day. I loved the event. It was well run, it was curated1...
As I’m sitting here manually adding blocks of “break” time to my calendar around meetings I’ve booked, I’m getting a little frustrated. I’ve used Tungle for several years now, and it’s quite a good tool. Rather than playing the are-you-free-on-Wednesday dance (or as I like to call it, “Calendar Tetris”) with multiple people, you can quickly find time when everyone is free to meet.
My friends at Common Craft have a book called The Art of Explanation coming out this fall, and it will include QR codes. In the book, there are multiple references to Common Craft videos, and Lee wanted to make it easy for people to go from reading a page in the book and then easily viewing the referenced video. These QR codes link to the explanation videos on their website. Since there is only one chance to get the codes right before they get printed, we talked about different ways to generate & track QR codes1. Short URLs and QR...
I gave a quick 10 minute lightning talk at the HTML5 Vancouver Meetup group about static site generators (SSGs). I ended up putting the presentation together using Hekyll, which is, itself, an SSG for making presentations using impress.js. impress.js is an HTML5-based clone of Prezi, the panning / zooming presentation app; I just opted for simple presentation mode. Check out the SSG Lightning Talk or view it in the iframe below (use arrow keys to advance). This presentation needs work (never mind the fact that using my new machine to do a presentation caused a bit of a fumble). I...
I attended day 1 of Northern Voice 2012, including Moose Camp, which is a block of time that is run unconference style. I hosted a discussion on the concept of web literacy. I went into the discussion thinking along the lines of being a web maker - being able to understand HTML and code. But as we tossed concepts back and forth, it’s clear that web literacy is a very broad term, and that there are different levels of literacy. I’ve added a link to this blog post on the Northern Voice wiki – please add your own notes and...
I’ve long used Norse Mythology to name my computers. The tiny but powerful 11” Macbook Air got named after Skidbladnir, Freyr’s collapsible ship.
I had a great discussion yesterday where the phrase “the post I didn’t write” came up. This is a fantastic phrase, and led me down the route of examining why and when I don’t publish posts, and thinking about why others – especially in the context of working for an organization – don’t publish posts.
I used Storify to collect a number of the reactions that have been ricocheting around the web in response to Microsoft’s announcement of the all new Surface tablet. I am puzzled by their pre-announcement, happy to see more competition in this space, and really hope they succeed in shipping. Welcome to @Microsoft #Surface. Coming Soon. http://www.Surface.com https://pic.twitter.com/rLYDtge7 Windows It’s been fascinating to see the story of the “all new” Microsoft Surface evolve since yesterday afternoon. I posted a short link blog this morning. Boris Mann’s Link Blog Awesome. This is MSFT stepping up to the plate. There are many (many,...
If you’re not embarrassed when you ship your first version you waited too long. Matt Mullenweg I had a great off-the-mic talk with Eric Woodward. We’re really aimed at the same thing, just that I try and encourage people in public and crush their dreams in private. Eric is right about fast follow / barrier to entry, but I think this tension of shipping quickly and iterating is still important. I remember a time when Leonard Brody suggested getting a bunch of engineers together in a room and coming out 18 months later. This was, of course, something like 5...
My first experience with node.js was following the ‘hello world’ tutorial on the front page, which I then extended to experiment with writing in Markdown and creating HTML pages on the fly. Not quite a static site generator, but a fun experiment in learning during the Mozilla Polyglot Hackathon. I’m currently using Octopress to power this site as well as bmannconsulting.com (see my migration write up), but one of the things I’d like is the ability to not have to have access to my dev environment in order to publish pages. That is, right now I can create/edit Markdown files...
In the past, the starter stack for web programming was LAMP. The ‘P’ originally stood for Perl, and then became mainly PHP. Today, with $5/month shared web hosting and thousands of PHP-based scripts & applications, this success is hard to argue with. But the truth is, managing even a shared hosting account is hard, never mind an entire VPS. You need to know the OS, the web server, the language, and the database. Revision control? Especially because of PHP’s ease of deployment and editing, revision control is an advanced topic. This leads to things like “just edit it on the...
Moving from services work to having a successful product is probably one of the hardest things to do. Well, perhaps no harder than doing any startup from scratch, but the benefit in doing it from a services company is that you have a built-in way to bootstrap yourself. As a single consultant or small development shop, you work for a number of clients on different projects. You might become known as an “X” shop, where X is some particular framework or programming language, being the go-to team when the complex or large projects come up. You get to learn about...
Allen Pike posts about how important homes for startups are and what his experience has been like here in Vancouver. Here’s the closing sentence: Bringing startups close to one another is, dollar for dollar, more helpful to the Vancouver ecosystem than tax breaks ever could be. Allen Pike, Homes for Vancouver Startups Once again, I realize that my gut agrees with this 1000%, and it has for years.
Let me start by saying that it feels like we’re actually in a golden age of great online support & feedback tools. I’m sure there are more than the ones that I’m listing here. Also, at different times, I’ve recommended each of these tools for a specific purpose - many of them have broad feature sets. With that in mind, I recently did a mini-analysis of 5 different services that provide support & feedback functionality. I was analyzing from the perspective of a small company that is just starting out, for a mainly B2C product, with desired features covering both...
Brad Feld is finding a lot of noise in the system, saying he is noticing: …lots of drama that has nothing to do with innovation, creating great companies, or doing things that matter. I expect this noise will increase for a while as it always does whenever enthusiasm for startups and entrepreneurship increases. When that happens, I’ve learned that I need to go even deeper into the things I care about. Brad Feld What I'm Obsessed About At Work So, he identifies areas that he is obsessed about, and is going to dive deeper into them. It’s pretty easy to...
Brent Holliday writes about what is needed for BC’s technology industry to succeed, which is itself a follow on to Jevon’s StartupNorth post on Canada’s next 5 years. I have some further thoughts on the five areas that Brent discusses:
I need to migrate my old blog posts off Posterous. I need to migrate my Drupal off Drupal. All will likely end up here. Current thinking is that I will run three sites:
I’m the host at the iQmetrix offices today for the Open Data Hackathon put on by Jesse Heaslip and company. I’m also a judge at the endy of the day, so I’m mainly hacking on a few things of my own. Andrea Reimer helped pitch the city ideas at the beginning of the day, and will be a judge at the end of the day as well. One of the ideas contributed by the city was the concept of cataloging a neighbourhood's assets. That is, why do people love living in an area? Is it heritage homes, some cool retail...
Mitch Joel laments the ‘Death of the Unconference’, saying “This past month, I’ve seen a handful of events that are billing themselves as unconferences when, in reality, they’re just very shabby and cheap events.” I don’t doubt that the term unconference has been co-opted. But I disagree with Mitch’s take on what the one, true unconference actually is and means. Maybe we should backup at this point and actually explain the core concept of an unconference. An unconference typically starts the day by gathering all the participants in one room, and those that want to lead talks pitch their sessions....
Sadly, no matter how much you might want it, you can’t will an innovative eco-system that generates new companies into existence, you have to let one grow. As Dave ten Have said recently, entrepreneurial activity doesn’t come from central planning. So, while it seems like a lot is being done, in my opinion at least, it is mostly splashing and thrashingand not much forward momentum for the people that all of this is supposed to be helping. via rowansimpson.com I agree with virtually everything stated in this article. Some particularly good parts to expand on: Both incubators and accelerators have good definitions....
This may be obvious to many nerds, but another huge advantage of running your own site, and choosing your own CMS carefully is how you can optimize for readability and page load performance. via zerodistraction.com Any platform you choose really only needs to support two things: Using your own domain name Ability to export I’m not too concerned about hosted platforms - fact is, they make it exponentially easier and faster for many more people to be publishing. (aside: you’re talking about choosing your own CMS and you’re using URLs that end in .html?) The concept of readability is interesting:...
Since mid-September, I’ve gone through several rapid changes in how I share links, how I blog about them, and how I tweet those links. In mid September I wired up If This Then That (IFTTT.com) to Twitter favorites and Google Reader shared items. At first I thought I’d push them here, to my Posterous-powered blog, but I would then never get around to expanding them. As well, the links were “lost” in the main body of the blog post. (aside: remember mid-September? Google Reader still had social waaaay back then) I went back and pretty much immediately rejigged things to...
I wrote a couple of weeks ago asking whether Google’s changes to Google Reader were going to destroy an entire ecosystem. Many others wrote articles about their usage of the Google Reader social features. From meetups to marriages, a whole world of stories were uncovered about the personal connections that people had made through Reader. I got emails and Twitter messages from a number of people in response to my own post. One of those messages lead to a meeting where many ideas were shared, and a desire to scratch our own itch. What if there was a Google Reader...
I am a voracious reader. When I am in “reading mode”, I can consume 3 books a week. I’m not reading that much right now, which means I “only” read about a book a week or so. When I first got my iPhone 4 (a little less than a year ago), I experimented with all the different ebook stores. Eventually, due mainly to availability, I settled on the Amazon Kindle store as the main place where I buy ebooks. I’ve bought a handful of 99¢ books as experiments. I find reading on my iPhone convenient: the Retina-quality screen, auto-dimming when...
That last one’s important. We’re not communists, we’re not anti-capitalists and we’re not running some kind of pep club. It’s just that we’ve thought about it. You cannot make a profit selling community. via williamtozier.com I saw this via Dave Pollard on G+ and nodded my head most violently as I read through the whole thing. (I could spend a week just posting each of the paragraphs of of Tozier’s post) Tozier starts by talking about how different labels / terminology start getting corrupted in a mass market to mean different things. It has happened to coworking, and it is...
There, I said it. I really needed to get that off my chest. It’s 2010. We don’t have hoverboards, but we sure as heck should know how to run large scale interactive websites.
In 2009, Portio Research counted the global value of ‘non messaging’ premium content (music, gaming, news, etc) downloaded or consumed on phones and sold to them worldwide, to be worth 85 Billion dollars. Yes, 250 times bigger opportunity for any content owner like say a Disney or TimeWarner or Turner etc to make money today, on ALL phones, not those few iPhones that are in pockets of some 4% of Americans and less than half of one percent of the rest of the world. Understand how enormous this number is. Just ‘premium’ mobile data income (I am excluding messaging) is bigger than ALL internet content...