March 2007 Archives

March 31, 2007

there's lotsa wifi 27 stories up

i was at a meeting the other day on the top floor of a hotel in Midtown Atlanta trying to connect to the wifi router over in the corner of the room.

It was a bit of a problem, though, because from 27 stories up, I could see 52 wireless networks.

I did figure it out.

March 11, 2007

A vox blog for me

I've started up a new blog on Vox.

I'm not getting rid of this one, but this one is probably going to be focused a little more on technical stuff. I'll use the Vox blog to for more personal posts.

There are lots of things that are important to me that I would never write about here. This blog is wide open to the world. That's the biggest reason why I haven't posted here much at all in the past few years. Much of my focus has been in those personal areas.

Vox will allow me to mark posts as restricted to friends, so if I want to talk about something that I wouldn't want Google to repeat, I can do it. (If you're a friend and want to be part of my in crowd, email me and I'll invite you in.)

The other reason I'm using Vox is that it makes it much easier to include photos in posts. I've got something over 20,000 photos now, so I'm looking forward to that.

Movable Type, the system I use for this blog, doesn't make it nearly as easy to include images. I know it's possible, but I've never gone to the trouble to figure it out.

So come on over and check it out:

March 10, 2007

Enso brings back the keyboard

I've been following Humanized Weblog for a while, and I didn't realize that the authors work for a software company. (Probably because I've been using the Google reader to read them, so I didn't see the dead giveaway at the top of their weblog that talks about "our products".)

In fact, they do: Humanized is the name of the company, and they've just come out with their first products: Enso Launcher and Enso Words. I'll talk about Launcher; it's a little more mature than Word.

Enso Launcher is easier to use than it is to describe. It is what it says: Launcher helps you open applications, documents, and web sites more quickly. I have a start menu that must have hundreds of items in it. Right.

With Enso Launcher, if you want to start a program that is running hold down the caps lock key and start typing the name of the program. As you type, the names of possible programs flash up at the top of the screen in nice, pretty, transparent type. When you've typed enough to select the program that you want, you let go of the caps lock, and the program you've chosen starts up. Viola!

When I’m looking at a new software product, I don’t look at what it does now, but what it may become. Where's it going? What's its potential? And most critical of all, what does the software say about the people who wrote it?

Enso Launcher says a lot. Humanized has only four people. As I’ve tried out the software, I’ve found bugs, and noted things I thought might work better. I’ve passed those things on in email, and I've received back replies from three of Enso’s four employees.

These guys get it. The details of how a program works are critical. Doing things simply is hard. It's like a piece of craftsmen furniture: everything is on display, everything counts.

Still, it’s a work in progress. I've been using a much less elegant launcher called Find and Run robot. Find and run robot works in a superficially similar way: you hit escape, and start typing, hit another character to start your program, and away you go. The Humanized guys would note that hitting escape takes your fingers away from the home row, and they'd be right. But then you put your fingers back on the home row, start typing, and the program seems to be a little smarter about figuring out which program I'm after.

Right now Launcher is a little clumsy. I find myself having to backspace too often to get what I want, and it hasn't yet become a habit for me to reach for the caps lock. Still, I will almost certainly buy the program, because I think it's heading in the right direction and I want to encourage Humanized in their efforts.

New EarthLink VP Jonathan Young's house ..

Jonathan Young recently joined EarthLink as a VP overseeing, among other things, our security products.

I've known Jonathan for over 10 years now, and been friends with him since he took the momentous step of moving from his beloved New York down to Atlanta. We both worked for CNN; me up until 5 years ago, and him until just a few months ago.

Jonathan is a high mucky-muck now, but I was still surprised when I looked at Dave Coustan's EarthLink blog and found a very nice piece featuring Jonathan talking about about how a computer security expert deals with home security..

The piece is centered about the funky place Jonathan bought after he tired of living the life of an apartment dweller. Atlanta is a town of traditional suburban homes, but Jonathan managed to find a place that would look right at home in Manhattan.

If you read the piece, you might get the impression that Jonathan likes tinkering with his tech setup. No kidding! Of all the people I know, Jonathan always has the coolest stuff. Even all those Next cubes in the closet - and old Sun gear, too? - are pretty cool. I love going to visit him to get up on the latest cool stuff.

Oh, and Jonathan's comments are right on, I think. Security is about a balance between risk and cost. You have to be able to live with the overhead; going paranoid, in computers or homes, leaves you a prisoner of your fear.