Just 600 miles from here the Rally has started. I'm hit with an awful flu, not feeling great and still wishing I was at Cordoba. This is the second year in a row I miss the Argentinean Rally. Ugh.
My sole comfort is that I'm watching it live on TV. The special super-prime held at a stadium is a very nice opportunity to watch this beasts run amazingly fast.
If I spot a video of it on YouTube I'll post it here.
Lately I've seen quite an increase in traffic directed to this blog by the term "Esteban Panzeri". That IS my legal name. On the web I have always gone by "Glas", under the forms of "stevie glas" or "esteban glas". That's my mom's surname, and given my personal background I feel more "Glas" than "Panzeri" (now there's something to talk with a Shrink, as if I would ever go to one).
"But I Digress"
I'm not "famous" by any means, not on a conventional way and not on a "web2.0ish" way. Then why are people searching for me? I can't possibly tell.
I have very recently commented about my involvement on Lenovo's Olympic Podium. It is a very complex project, full of different angles to work with. One of the core drivers will hopefully be the gadgets.
As a regular iGoogle user, my iGoogle Page has 9 tabs with all sorts of different stuff in them; and being of the geeky sort I was quite familiar with the concept of gadgets. At least from the end-user perspective, not quite so from a "driver's seat" perspective.
What makes a gadget cool? what makes it stay on iGoogle or other portals? what makes people share them?
Over and over again the word "live" hit my mind. This is no static page. No written-in stone HTML. What makes a keeper in the case of gadgets is never-ending freshness. The reason anyone has iGoogle, myYahoo, windows live or any similar system as their default homepage is because the frame is the same, but the content is always changing. A gadget that stays still will, most certainly, get removed.
The live nature yields another question: identifying good data sources. Fortunately things have shifted in the past years and any good site provides RSS feeds. On the grim side of things you have what people (or CMSs) do to RSS and Atom. That dreadful ![[CDATA tag is probably one of the worst things ever to happen to XML, and it is quite contrary to the original and founding concept of "just content". For those not on the Technical side of things what CDATA allows is to insert all sorts of HTML rubbish inside XML.
Striping off all that other non-content stuff to be able to massage and present data as intended is just painful, not to mention the additional bandwidth required to retrieve things that will, ultimately, not make it into the final view.
I would suggest to all content owners to provide both "rich" and "basic" feeds.
Before anyone points it out: yes, this blog abuses CDATA as well... I promise I'll fix it!
102,887 spam comments in about 1 year and a half. It is too much. Needless to say I have stopped verifying what akismet identifies as spam comments to see if it caught any real comments months ago.
I have considered putting a captcha in the comments (for first time comment posters) for quite some time now, but I don't want to be a pain to people who want to make legit comments. What would you do?
Now that the word is officially out, I think I can share a bit more openly what I've been involved with for the last months. David made an excellent job pitching the whole concept of Lenovo's long tail web marketing move for the Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
I have to admit took me a couple of weeks to get the full picture and all the implications clear in my mind. It wasn't that I didn't trust into what we were going to work towards, but rather that I couldn't quite see all the different pieces of the machinery fitting together.
Fortunately, the state of dumbness lasted just long enough to see me fully committed to the project by the time I was required to. Believe me when I tell you it has took us quite a lot of work since the last months of 2007 to get to the current state of affairs. The tough thing is that after that much work I know that we have only scratched the surface.
The boldness and live nature of the idea are what have appealed me most. After all, who in their right mind would picture a blogging program and an interactive portal with open-access, community-driven services (such as YouTube) as the backbone for an Olympic Partner Web startup in the scenario of an Olympiad held in China?
Athlete blogs aside, the portal (2008.lenovo.com) is one of those ideas that seem so obvious that one can only wonder why no one ever did it before. I must write a post on gadgets, their development and nature. For the time being I'll just say that this little thingies are only cool when they are live and broadcasting. I can imagine few things more boring than a static gadget. Continuously changing content insufflate life to the gadgets.
The concept is brilliant. That makes it hard. I have turned mediocre ideas in the past to somewhat-acceptable successes, but when the original conceptualization is this good one just knows that failure can only come from poor execution. If this thing fails to meet my expectations I'll always know I was accountable for a great deal of that. That idea keeps me busy and working hard, it is accountable for one or two sleepless nights as well.
Needless to say: I'm taking one hell of a vacation next September.
Although I did come back from vacation a good two weeks ago I haven't posted (or felt much like it) since my return.
I have been giving a good deal of thought to a very wide array of ideas. I also saw some very interesting conversations out there on the bloggosphere that I want to reply to.
Hopefully I'll feel more inspired to do some real writing in the upcoming weeks.