Airports Blog and Online Highways Blog

Well, I’m going blog crazy these days and hope I can keep up the writing pace needed to maintain a bunch of blogs related to website projects. For me, the blog format makes it a lot easier to write a lot. Perhaps this is because I’m a very fast writer but somewhat design challenged. Blog content management allows me to focus only on the words and ideas and not much on the navigation, design, or overall site structure.

The new Travel blog is Online Highways, a companion to our mega travel site. I’m also starting an Airports Blog
as a companion to my languishing Airports website project which *will* get a major overhaul as part of this process.

The President Picker blog is one I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up. Here I will try to keep current with the latest presidential stuff though president news is so overwhelming so early in the process I’m hardly providing much of a service here.

More likely to get maintained will be the Prescription Report blog. This will be a companion to the Prescription Report website. The idea here is simple – whenever I see an advertisement for a new prescription drug I’ll review the drug, trying to provide information about the basics of the drugs include the safety and about the pros and cons of the prescription drug as well as links to company sites and sites with alternative views about the drug.

Another one I have yet to start will feature detailed travel tips from Oregon. This is an area where, theoretically, I’m a big expert so you’d think it would be going by now … but … it’s not. Soon though, soon!

Facebook – Myspace = 100% revenue share

Josh at Redeye VC has some *excellent* points about the coming big battle between Facebook and Myspace for web developers:

If you ran a venture-backed company and had to decide whether you wanted to focus your effort on: (a) a property that welcomed you in and let you keep 100% of the revenue you generate or (b) a company with a vague policy that doesn’t let you generate any revenue, which would you choose? I don’t think it’s even a decision. It’s an IQ test.

However, it is significant that Myspace remains far larger than Facebook in terms of a user base and also important is that users, not developers, have driven the success of Myspace.

Facebook is hard to analyze because until very recently they had a much more restrictive policy on new accounts, opening them only to groups associated with businesses or universities. To join Facebook I initially had to contact my old alma mater – University of Wisconsin – to get an alumni email set up, then redirect that to my current mail. No big deal but certainly a barrier to entry. Facebook now (wisely) has opened itself up to everybody and (also wisely) is pursuing a very open approach to API usage and social media. Most importantly Facebook is going to allow those who build applications around Facebook to keep 100% of the revenue those create.

I think this “100% revenue share” is a brilliant approach because the Facebook “whole” will be much greater than the sum of these parts. Thus Facebook can make a *lot* of money through the extra traffic and advertising created by websites and developers and users gravitating to the Facebook social media ecosystem. The loser in this equation would be Myspace and other sites (that would be MOST sites) that try to create social media environments but don’t share much of the revenues.

Extraterrestrial Tourism and the Alien Abduction Roller Coaster

Extraterrestrial Tourism really is considered a niche market, but it’s not really named properly as that would involve visits to other worlds. Roswell New Mexico is the best example of ET Tourism. For decades the city of Roswell has based much of its tourism economy on the mysterious crash back in 1947 that some claim was an alien spacecraft with aliens aboard. Most Roswell conspiracy theorists also hold that the US Government covered up the evidence of the Alien landing.

Now Roswell is stepping up to the Extraterrestrial Tourism plate with a new amusement park that will feature an Alien Abduction Roller Coaster ride as well as other Alien themed rides and attractions.

I just hope they give free parking for all the UFOs that are sure to land there regularly to ride the ET coaster.

Searches, Searches, get ya 1% of all searches for a billion dollars!

Don Dodge is always doing great, straightforward biz math over at his blog and today is no exception. He looks at Search biz and search revenues and concludes that one percent of the search market is worth about a billion bucks.

I think that the key concept in play right now is “advertising”. This is contrary to many silly protestations of the big players who claim that “user centric computing” is the key to success. I do think that many on the development teams actually believe their own hype, but it’s clear from the behaviors and allocations of resources that ads are the online king and will remain the key development driver for some time.

Can you have ads and good user stuff? Of course you can. Google has done the best job with this though I think they are now on a slippery slope with more ads, more ambiguous ads, and considerable collateral damage in the spam wars, but can you blame them when, as Don points out, there are billions on the table and a lot of potential players waiting for a piece of the search action.

Chip your pet? Why not chip yourself?

One of my most viewed posts is a discussion of the Home Again PET ID system, where you implant an ID chip in your dog or cat so you can recover them if they get lost.

VeriChips are implanted in about 2000 people worldwide. They contain information about a person and allow quick medical info retrieval if a person is unconscious or unable to communicate. A debate over their use is starting now and will be another interesting peek into how we are going to relate to technologies that can help us, but have potentially scary “big brother” uses.

Local Voices Needed – Apply Here… or There….

Got a blog? Want to start blogging?

Locals know the best things to do, places to eat, and more about their regions. We’re looking for a few … hundred thousand … who want to tell the world about their own town in their own way.

Yes, we want you!

Click here to sign up

Hey, what kind of nut would write a pitch like THAT?  Oh, it’s me.
I’m still not sure if Facebook is the best platform for the local blogger project I’ll soon start in earnest but it seems like a good place to start the search for other local voices.

One great aspect of blogs and the internet is the ability to connect locals to visitors before, during, and after a travel experience.   I’m big on blogging and travel and would love to join with others who share that interest in an effort to eventually “cover the globe” with local voices from every region.

I think the key to success will actually be the *lack* of formal structure for the project, though obviously it’ll be helpful to have a site that will allow easy navigation to the various blogs and will mashup travel information about the regions along these lines.

P.S.  If you are interested in this and don’t want to join facebook or don’t have a blog yet that’s fine – send me an email:   I think we can find a good way for  everybody who is interested to participate in the project.

Facebook Rules!

Today Facebook launches a social media initiative that is significant enough to possibly become a web milestone, depending on how the developer community views and uses all the new capabilities that Facebook is offering to them.

Rafe Needleman‘s got a video of the conference today and Techcrunch will, as usual, have insightful summary of the implications of all this.

Based on my quick first look into what they are up to this really looks like a brilliant move, and a sign they won’t be selling to a bigger player, rather trying to rise up and eat the bigger fish.

If Facebook can capture the imagination of enough developers and become “the” key platform for social media they’ll likely be very glad to have turned down the billion+ dollar buyout offers earlier this year.

At the least Mark Z and his crew deserve huge props for going for the gusto and offering to take the development community along for the ride.  This is not only great stuff for Facebook and social media evangelism, this appears to be consistent with the grand and open internet community vision that one hopes will ultimately prevail.

Wagner Street Talent – roof and porch repairs almost done

Tomorrow we’ll finish roofing the section that needed repairs. The strand board had some warping but it flattened out nicely with screws.

The website is a great resource for this type of old house remodelling. Lots of 1-2-3 step by steps with pictures.

Today was nice weather-wise but on the roof I was baking my butt so we quit early and will start tomorrow morning earlier than usual to get this done in the cool of the morning.

An Ashland friend has convinced me I should add a staircase up to the very large attic space so this becomes a more valuable feature of the house and I think he’s right, but finding the right place for the stairs is a challenge. The risers can only be about 9″ maximum height and the height to the next floor is about 9 feet 6″, so I need about 13 feet along a wall for the stairs. Also, attic is only high enough to stand near the middle so there are only a few appropriate places for the stairs unless I put in a roof dormer and I’d like to avoid that for now.

Update:  Roofing done.  I am SO sore.  How do people do this stuff all year long?

Jimmy Wales on Charlie Rose

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, discusses his Wikia search projectand the internet. He’s the chairman of Wikia, Inc. He thinks it’ll be 2-3 years before they have a robust product.

“Democratic, participatory” search project.
“Google, Yahoo, Ask” have similar, proprietary and closed search. He wants to break up the idea that a few companies should be so dominant.

Making search ubiquitous. He thinks Google may not have problems with WIKIA because they can keep matching up ads, advertisers, and buyers as they have been.

Wales thinks Facebook made the right decision to turn down Yahoo’s billion+ offer for Facebook, calling it an “interesting gamble”. “He’s a pretty sharp guy” (Zuckerman), and Wales thinks that unlike Myspace, Facebook is doing right by the customers. Notes increase of spam and advertising intensity of Myspace.

Wikia major initiatives: Search, Reference Works for humor, opinion, sports. 66 languages plus a “Klingon language” project. “Roll this revolution” into many other areas. What makes the internet great is that it’s a “global platform for people to share knowledge”. Keeping it “open” appears to be a key guiding principle for Wales, and his admirable efforts at Wikipedia support his sincerity in that mission.

Wales suggests that Firefox is the best browser, primarily due to features that he sees as the result of the open source development model that created Firefox.    He says that monopolistic activity by Microsoft has slowed innovation, but feels that Google is a friend of Open Source.     Wales recounted telling Bill Gates at Davos that Microsoft search is so bad people are switching away from it as the Vista default, and suggests that he’ll have fun trying to build a better search than Google with Wikia.