Back by popular demand

O’Reilly is hosting another "Tools of Change for Publishing" conference, this time in New York, February 11-13, 2008.

I enjoyed the conference last year, and was flattered to be invited back to reprise my presentation "Business Models that Guarantee Profitability". If you’re interested in the future of publishing, TOC is the place to be. I just wish I wasn’t presenting at the same time as Seth Godin; it’s hard to run back and forth between two breakouts when you’re the one up front…

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Windows Live Writer: blogging help at last…

I’d never used any of the blog-posting software tools because they never seemed to work with our corporate blog configuration. I assumed there was something wrong with our multi-blog setup, so I didn’t spend much time on the problem.

Then I met Joe, from the Windows Live Writer team, and found out that when you enter your account details, you need to provide the Movable Type API Password, not the password you use to login via the browser. It had never occurred to me that there’d be a different password.

So one more obstacle to frequent blogging is removed; only laziness remains!

Smart resizing for photographs

How many times have you been using an image that just didn’t quite fit? Seam carving is the easiest way I’ve seen yet to give something that little tweak without losing key elements of the photograph. (And it’s really cool!)
Sure, you could use Photoshop, but that’s a complicated and expensive tool. Sometimes (especially when laying things out with stock images) I just need a little more background to lay some text in, or I need to shrink an image in one dimension without cropping. This looks like the perfect solution.
The easiest place to try it is at rsizr.com, where you can be resizing your own images (or deleting people!) in just moments.

Space to think

BankFloorplan.jpgI stumbled across this 75 year-old floorplan of the directors’ floor in a bank.
Life on the directors’ floor looked pretty nice, with the fancy lobbies, meeting rooms, and private dining. But it also looks cut-off from what was happening in the bank, being so removed and isolated from the floors below. How did they stay in touch?
I imagined men ensconced in plush offices with private washrooms and 1930’s office technology, sitting alone in deathly quiet rooms for hours on end. I imagined quiet conversations in the dining room and mail arriving once a day. No email. No instant messaging. No interruptions. It seems so slow, so dull, so wonderfully productive…

Streaming video needs fast forward

I think Microsoft’s Silverlight is pretty cool, and I’m glad we’ll have a way to leverage XAML/WPF/C# for rich UI on the web.
But the trend towards Flash and Silverlight video players is killing my favorite feature: “Play Speed > Fast”
Being able to watch one-hour technical talks at 1.4x speed is real value-add. The presenters may be brilliant,but they are rarely concise speakers. And when they start coding a sample live…it’s a lot like watching grass grow. Or watching someone type.
Ctrl+Shift+G (in Windows Media Player) and we’re in hyperdrive. Everybody sounds smarter, and I get change from my hour investment.
Channel 9, Google Tech Talks, every conference session video… don’t leave me in real-time! Please don’t go to Flash or Silverlight without fast playback.

What is hard work today?

Wow… what a great post by Seth Godin.

Sure, you’re working long, but “long” and “hard” are now two different things. In the old days, we could measure how much grain someone harvested or how many pieces of steel he made. Hard work meant more work. But the past doesn’t lead to the future. The future is not about time at all. The future is about work that’s really and truly hard, not time-consuming. It’s about the kind of work that requires us to push ourselves, not just punch the clock. Hard work is where our job security, our financial profit, and our future joy lie.

As Logos gets bigger, my days get filled with lots of conversations. I don’t sit and write code anymore; I talk to people. But are they productive conversations? Are they the hard ones?

BibleTech 2008

I love conferences! Not just for what I learn from the speakers, but for the ideas I have about other things while I am listening to the speakers, and for the conversations I have with people at meals and in the halls between the sessions.
I go to conferences on publishing, Biblical scholarship, and technology, and I get something out of all of them. How much more would I get out of a conference that touched on all these subjects, and on how they intersect and relate?
I want to find out! So Logos is going to host BibleTech 2008 in January, where we will explore the intersection of the Bible and technology.
We have already received tentative commitments from a great list of speakers, and there is still room for you to suggest your own presentation.
Is this just about Logos Bible Software? No! It’s for everyone interested in the Bible and technology – commercial, open source, academic, hobbyist, etc. — and I am looking forward to meeting and exchanging ideas with an incredibly diverse group.
I’ll see you in Seattle!
Technorati tag: bibletech08

“It’s a small town, after all…”

Yesterday I read Thomas Friedman’s column “The Whole World is Watching.”

“Three years ago, I was catching a plane at Boston’s Logan airport and went to buy some magazines for the flight. As I approached the cash register, a woman coming from another direction got there just behind me – I thought. But when I put my money down to pay, the woman said in a very loud voice: ‘Excuse me, I was here first!’ And then she fixed me with a piercing stare that said: ‘I know who you are.’ I said I was very sorry, but I was clearly there first. … If that happened today, I would have had a very different reaction. … We’re all public figures now.”

Watch out, the whole world’s watching / blogging / snapping-cam-phone-pics / googling-your-stupid-college-days. The whole world is a small town with a permanent electronic memory. Interesting, but not particularly relevant to me, right? I’m no celebrity, and Bellingham’s not a small town (pop. ~80,000).
That night I was stopped at a red light and heard someone shout my name. It was a high-school kid I didn’t recognize. (I’d spoken to his class, he told me.)
An hour later I was on my way home and stopped at another red light. The driver in the car next to me (who I didn’t recognize) said “Hi, Bob… did you enjoy the fireworks?”
Friedman is right. No more running red lights, kicking puppies, or buying Ben and Jerry’s after midnight for me….