Free Wifi Sometimes Really is Free

While the Board of Supervisors in San Francisco keeps arguing about who should own the free wifi network that Google and Earthlink are offering to build for all the residents of the City, and subsequently nothing is getting built, another company called Meraki is going out and actually building it.

On a serious note, there are actually some really good issues to be debated about the Google/Earthlink proposal, but like most things in politics what ends up getting debated is really a proxy fight about something else. This case is no different. The losers here are the residents of SF who pay higher taxes, absorb a higher cost of living, and end up leaving the City in droves when they start to have families, and in this case can’t even take advantage of something that companies are willing to give them for free.

Tom Foremski recently wrote about a public policy event that featured low turnout from tech companies. It’s not that there is a pandemic of disinterest in public policy among tech companies, indeed some of these executives and companies are the most informed and engaged of any private sector cross section, but there is widespread distaste with the process of public policy. Silicon Valley is about change, at least that’s what it’s supposed to be about, while politics at all levels is about status quo. Knowing what you know about SF politics, would you want to be involved in it?

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Business Practice vs. Business Process

“The business processes that’s not even called Business Process. The process orphans. The nuisance. The stuff that actually take most of our time. What I’d call Business Practices.”

Business process is how other people define the jobs they don’t do… business practices (aka tasks) are what people actually do when they work.

Business practices are far more interesting than processes, and that’s why Sig does what he does and why I decided to go do SMB. Of course, it’s all kind of related, isn’t it? Just a matter of how you want to get there.

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Cause Marketing

But is the rise of philanthropic fashionistas decked out in Red T-shirts and iPods really the best way to save a child dying of AIDS in Africa?

No, but the pairing of celebrity and marketing is really about optics over substance.

Want to save the world? Great, start in your own neighborhood one kid at a time. Want to cure a disease? Support any of the fantastic organizations that are dedicated to specific illnesses.

Want to feel good about yourself… go buy a yellow wristband, a red RAZR, and a few carbon credits.

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Read more on IPod Effect at Wikinvest

Qumana – Smart Offline Editing and Ad Placement

As I have written about on many occasions, I use Ecto to write my blog posts. I really like this application for it’s ease of use, additional features (like Amazon and iPhoto search and embed), and tags. Most of all, I like how Ecto handles images, both converting non-jpg formats to JPG and uploading the image files to my server. The “ectoize” bookmarklet for Firefox is one I use daily, and right-clicking on a piece of text to make a link with whatever is in the clipboard is very very handy.

Life is not all good with Ecto though, there has been a promised v3 upgrade that has yet to materialize. In all fairness to the guy that writes this wonderful piece of software, Adriaan Tijsseling, he does have a day job with Technorati Japan and appears quite busy.

Having said that, there are some things about Ecto that drive me nutty, like not having trackbacks on the editing window and the technorati tags get rather unmanageable in the sidebar list after you get a few hundred of them (would much prefer just having a field to type in tags separated by commas). The image resizing handle is very fickle and rarely works the first time, and when enterering multiple tags you can easily get a tag called “puppy” if you aren’t careful (Ecto users will know exactly what I am talking about).

I started to look at different offline blog editing tools, having evaluated Mars Edit before choosing Ecto I thought I would revisit that but Newsgator had just sold the product to another company. This is probably good for Mars Edit but I wanted to wait until the handoff had shaken out to see what they have in store for the product.

Qumana is another application that I found and having played with it over the weekend I think it offers some really compelling features. The most interesting feature set is the tie in to Agenta’s advertising network, which means you can place advertising inline with post by simply clicking a button. While not particularly motivated by the need to place ads on my blog, I have to say that if it’s as easy to do as Qumana makes it, then I would consider it.

I’m not impressed with the way that Qumana handles images, and quite honestly I have yet to figure out the “Drop Pad” feature that is supposed to make this easy. There does appear to be a preference to Windows with some features in the Windows version not available in the Mac version. You can insert and upload images with a toolbar link, and that’s pretty straightforward as far as I can tell.

BTW, this is the first post I have published with Qumana. No surprises and quite easy to use for my first effort. I will keep Ecto on my hard disk and await the v3 release (I did pay for it, so I’ll certainly keep a copy).

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