Monday, March 29, 2010

We be takin' Apps OLD SKOOL!

I apologize for what's about to follow:

Maaaan, Apps be the hottest shit yo! You can gettem on yo' iPhone, and now forz your BB, you see? Some whack assholes even be trying to push 'em for the Twitter!...THE TWITTER! But I bet you didn't see this comin' yallll!


say whaaat?!

That's right Homes, we takin' it back (waaaay back), right back to when you didn't even call em apps anymore because they's was all like just programs and shit. fer real?


Sorry for that, but when I see this new service called Smish ( WTF get a better home URL??), that's the only thing that plays in my head to make up for how ridiculous the concept is. I mean seriously, you are making an app store for a computer? Mobile devices? Those are so yesterday, it's time to bring those users home to their PC's because they're just too dumb to use the Internet and download real programs or buy software like we've been doing for the last 30 years. Time to buy a WordPress App on the PC app store because I can't go to and download the free plugins or extensions or program suggestions. Time to download a million and one small useless apps to clutter up my PC when I can just use a full size browser and my favourites bar! Hmm maybe I'll download some new accelerometer app some guy made to..., oh wait...Damn my useless stationary overpowered full screened fast internet computer with an ever improving user experience and great input devices!

For those who can't figure out how to use anything but their phones, now you can make your full PC act like one! Tweetdeck, Word, Firefox, RSS readers, Email, Facebook, browser bookmarks, embedded web flash games, basic downloads and installs, eCommerce? Who can figure those complicated fuckers out! It's time to bring it all together into one Adobe Air app that uses a 1/4 of your desktop screen! I'm just not sure how they are going to download the Smish app without going to some sort of PC app marketplace, and if they make one, then we'll need another marketplace to download that marketplace, and then we've hit an infinite loop!

If you can figure out how to download the Smish App, you probably don't need Smish. Granted there are a lot of people out there who don't know how to use computers, but if you can use your phone that well, is there no transfer of technical knowledge?

Steam is great, Impulse is a clone with some more desktop software, but obviously those are more game focused and are great for what they do, they make sense, but Smish? Seriously?

The sad thing is that probably a ton of people will download and use it, and the next thing you know we are all asking ourselves why don't we just fashion a Smish OS out of Linux and beat their pants off? We can package it with underpowered notebooks and cool looking but discount PCs!

How the F did they get $4,000,000 in funding? Is it any wonder why they didn't detail where it came from? And now they are making it easy so developers can transfer iPhone apps into PC apps! What a world! What a fucking world! Aren't iPhone apps made to not use Flash, but PCs can easily support it?

Let's see: SmartPhones were made to be like mini-computers, but since they sucked we were forced to make hard to install programs that work with limited processing power, screen size, input functionality, and bandwidth, basically "Apps" that are underpowered versions of what you can already do on your computer. App stores came to be as an easy way to distribute, install and earn revenue from your hard porting and constraining work. Sure you can do some cool new stuff now that you have access to a GPS and accelerometer, but really, why would you then want to port these already gimped apps back onto a fully fledged system where in 95% of the time they would get no value from the GPS or accelerometer because they don't exist on that machine? Why would you want to pay for things that are free and share all your personal information with Smish through their Adobe Air app so they can resell it to marketers and ad firms?

It's like staying in a tiny Japanese hotel room, then going home to your 5 bedroom house, building a replica of that small hotel room in your house, then only living in that, ignoring the rest of your house (and you have to pay for all the renovation and addition of plumbing).

An app store running on a system that lets you freely and easily download and run apps where everyone already knows how to do it, how Meta! It's like the guy who decided to start selling bottled water, perhaps I'll start selling Canned Air!

I don't know what more to say right now other than Wow!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How to promote a cool web service and show off how you are better than everyone at the same time!

Ok, so yesterday I saw some Lifehacker link to this cool sounding service, Preceden, which lets you chart timelines easily in an attractive manner. It sounded like something I could use for fun and business! So I scroll down the home page to take a peek at the goods and lo and behold, was an example timeline! It looked cool and had lots of stuff that lets you scroll to see more information.

I noticed that it was called "Autobiography" and figured this must be the founders own actual timeline, lets investigate a little closer to see how I match up to this guy! I could see right off the bat he was your typical smart guy U.S.A. startup scene techie, as he lived in Boston and San Francisco, and I also saw the comp sci masters! I can see he started dating some Jennifer, then got engaged and married after typical, seems like the story of so many people these days and days past. Let's see when he got his start and how old he is; I scroll back a few years.

WTF? This guy's just a kid who was born a year later than me!? (ok, maybe 6 months, but still 84 to 85!) ...Something doesn't seem right, he's already got his masters and he is married and he's younger than me? WTF is that? I scroll back and notice that some how this kid started University in the motherfucking year 2000! I was near the top of my class through high school but at that point I (and some way way smarter friends[top UW engineers]) were still only going into grade 11 when he started, and then he's fucking done his Masters before I'm even done my undergrad?! Then he gets married? Well, I guess we've found one of those smart super kids or something who got into MIT at a young age I guess. Now I know those people exist out there, I've never met them and I mostly try to believe they don't exist, or if I do meet them, I'd just rather not know, but this just pisses me off! And to boot, somehow in the middle of his undergrad he took almost a complete year of vacation in Poland and still finished on time? Then he stays in Netherlands for at least a month or 2 right after getting married? Man that sure would be nice!

I wouldn't care if he made this site and was the same age as me or a year younger, but knowing that he's some super whiz kid to boot who's been all over the world doesn't make me as happy to try it out. The fact that he used his own life on the home page as an example either tells us two things: he didn't think much of it and didn't realize that he might alienate early adopters who think they're pretty awesome only to find out they suck compared to him OR he knows and wants to sneak it in there in a subtle and innocent way, such as using his own life as an example, like most of us might do!

It makes me feel like despite all that I believe I've accomplished so far I'm still nowhere near where this kid's at in life and he's younger than me! Now I don't think "I'm all that", I understand there are tons of far smarter and more ambitious people out there, and I'm fairly happy with where I'm at so far, but I don't think that most people like to run into those individuals who are seemingly so far ahead in certain ways that it just seems impossible! I'm sure there are much more successful systems I use everyday made by people like this kid, but they don't usually put it out there and let me know.

I think what bothers me as well is that it's just another example of some super whiz kid in the States who gets swept into the Valley and is seemingly successful, continuing to perpetuate the mythos of how super duper the Valley is and that's where all the great people go. As 90% of the stuff I read is startup related, and 90% of that is all about people in the Valley or from the Valley, it just makes it seem even more compelling than I know it actually is. I love Waterloo and want this to be a great place for startups; our own "Valley" in Canada. I know some people like to say that it is, but others who've been there know better and say it hardly compares.

I just did a bit of research and found the founder online, and it looks like he's always been some smart hacker kid and got to go through the Y-Combinator school (which would make most young entrepreneurs very jealous!). I don't actually hate this kid or anything, he seems very successful and I just wish that I could be that far ahead as well, I just don't like the (potentially) inadvertent boasting in this autobiography on his front page that when dug into seems unrealistic at first, but turns out to actually be true! No one likes having their bubble burst, and most people wouldn't care to know that kid invented that site, but it's a reminder to me that these are the types of people who I'm going to have to compete with on a daily basis when I go into business.

I want to show people that I can be just as successful* up here in Canada, far away from the Valley, and that I can do it despite not having a comp sci masters, multi-continent experience, and a wife by the age of 22.

It's a big world out there, and there are lots of smart and successful people, you just gotta be who you are and keep pushing for the top!

* I realize this kid hasn't actually hit it big yet, but I can see that he's very firmly planted on the roadway to getting there

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Most Pathetic and Hilarious Commercial Ever!

I almost died laughing last night, and so did Sarah.
We were watching TV (very rarely do this live), so I experienced some commercials, some horrible, some just goddamn awesome!

First the warm-up, there were 2 commercials that were fairly awesome, although I can't remember what the second one was for.

The first one was about Scotch-Koreans and Starburst as a contradiction, and now as I Google it I realize it's been out for awhile, but nonetheless a good change from the regular crap. The commercial is found here.

The second one is hard to find because I can't really remember it, apart from some guy stuck in a tube on a gameshow talking about his cell phone contract I think, and then dancing Indian women and a guy from a completely different country/culture. I think he was talking to call techs from India in some sort of gameshow.

Anyways, on to the truly classic stuff, and I wish, I really do, that I could find this commercial online, but I just can't (it might be quite new and time sensitive).
EDIT: FOUND IT!!!! Horrible quality, but it's here! (I think they changed the Walmart talking part in this one so it sounds a lot longer)

The commercial starts and there is some young girl, a tween, and her mom on a couch leaning forward, really intently watching some movie, it zooms to the girl's face and tears are running down her cheeks, and she whispers, almost trembling, "I Love You" along with the voice in the tv. The commercial than zooms out and says: "Twilight: New Moon, coming to Walmart at 12:01 am date x!" and then the commercial ends! That's it, it was like 15 seconds, and there was no joke!!!

I was just waiting for something stupid to happen, for someone to mock her or make fun of her, or for there to be some sort twist, but there wasn't! That was just it, that was the commercial! It was just some little girl who was so pathetically giving her life into this movie, crying and taking on the role (of either the male professing his feelings or the female shell returning it) whispering "I Love You". I was waiting for the parody in the commercial, it felt so much like it deserved to exist and it took me a few seconds to laugh the first time I watched it, because I didn't know what hit me, I had to take time to process what actually just happened; and I believe the marketers at Walmart have outdone themselves! They've in fact created a parody of life itself, so true, yet so sad, and they managed to put it on prime time television without anyone noticing! They sold a dream to young tweens, an outlet for them to play out their fantasies and not be alone. They've found a way to pull moms and their kids out to midnight madness sales for the release of this dvd/bluray. I think anyone outside the intended audience would die laughing, such as myself, realizing that there was no kicker, they are just blatantly pointing out how utterly pathetic these kids look! For Profit! And they are trying to be completely serious about it!

They really seem to be shamelessly pushing for that emotional buy combined with an opportunity for fangirlism to the extreme at a midnight release!

I was truly delighted to see Sarah's reation, it was so great, she watched it, and about 5 seconds into the next commercial she just started laughing uncontrollably, and it kept going, I could feel her catch on that that was it, that the commercial was over and there was no kicker, it was just that sad display! It is truly something to marvel at, and again I wish I could link to it, but I cannot find it. If you find it, please post it in the comments! I'm wondering if it may be more funny viewed live, because you cannot believe your eyes and it's mixed in with other real commercials.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Into Heavy Metal and Twitter?

I'm a huge Metalhead, and that's no secret! Most people can tell by looking at me or by my multitude of tour shirts I wear when not at work. Well, as a huge user of Twitter, I've been a part of the #Metal community for awhile and I'm always looking for ways to enhance it. This lead me to many adventures and one particularly great endeavour that resulted in quite the acquisition (if I do say so myself!).

I am now the proprietor and operator of the World's first, only, and >>BEST<< Heavy Metal URL Shortener!

Akin to the likes of,, and tinyurl who provide much of the shortening of links via Twitter, I have brought to the list!

If you are a Metalhead, please feel free to make use of it, and if you know of any other Metalheads, please share the word!

The site features a bookmarklet for shortening pages on the fly, and now we have released a WordPress plugin which upon publishing a new post will automatically shorten the URL and tweet it for you along with the post's title and any other information you choose! We even have an API you can take advantage of!

So far it's been a pretty big success I think and more and more people are starting to use it.

Anyways I realize I haven't posted in awhile, and just wanted to keep some of you in the loop as to what I'm up to.

For those of you who are curious, I have tried to get the domain, the owner is currently a rich lawyer who runs his own firm, he said when I can make him an offer in the low six digits, he'll talk!

I'll write another post one day about how I obtained the URL, it wasn't easy and took a long time, but totally worth it!