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Are Tivo and LinkedIn run by the same idiots?

Dear Reader,

DISCLAIMER: I have 2 Lifetime Tivo subscriptions and have been a member of LinkedIn since it was in beta.

I know a lot of you out there right now are scratching their heads and wondering what a Networking site and a PVR/DVR have in common. Here is what they have in common, ranks of upper management with closed minds.

Tivo

I was out at tivo.com yesterday and the first thing they did when I hit the page was ask if I would answer a survey after I finished my business. I of course agreed (I’m just that kind of guy) and so when I finished, I filled out the survey.

I gave them the usual answers anyone visiting tivo.com would.

  • 30 seconds is too long to wait for a page to load
  • Your site navigation is goofy
  • Your documentation is incomplete

However, the question they did NOT ask me is “What could we do to make your Tivo more useful to you?” See that’s a question I could write a book on. However, I won’t here, I’ll boil it down into a single concept. “Open it up and let me discover new ways to use it.”

I’m a programmer, when I look at a box like that (or my XBox 360) where the mfgr has obviously gone to great lengths to make sure that I can never run “unapproved” code on it, it just makes me sad. Open it up a bit. Let me build services that can interact with my Tivo. I understand your issues with copyright and I’m not trying to steal content. but hell, it’s a Linux box. Let me write a service that feeds a widget on my blog that shows what I’m watching at the moment. Let me suck down the data on what it’s recording and slice it and dice it myself. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a better way to recommend new shows.

There are hundreds of thousands of ideas for product enhancements that you don’t have to write, we, the hordes of hobbyist programmers and 21 Century tinkerers will make the Tivo an indispensable piece of equipment if you quit locking us out and realize that the Tivo can be so much more than an appliance, it can be a platform.

Oh and it’s ok if you don’t make any money off of each and every service written…make your money on the stuff you do and don’t try to charge me for the privileged of making your device better. Get it together Tivo, if you open up and let us help you, then Hollywood can’t stop you. You can either be the big dog, or stay a whipped puppy.

LinkedIn

These guys still don’t get it. (This is getting to be a regular topic for me.) I’m on LinkedIn and FaceBook both for very different reasons. However, I’m on facebook 3-4 times a day and linkedin 1-2 times a week. See the difference LinkedIn? Pictures in my profile aren’t enough, I want to actually DO SOMETHING with the data I’ve been giving you all these years. We’ve had this discussion before, “Why LinkedIn Sucks (and why I’ll keep using it)”, “LinkedIn Rant – Part II” and you’ve even promised progress but so far…nothing. Open up, let me do what I want with my data and all of a sudden you are useful enough for me to start paying for your service. Have you ever stopped and wondered why you aren’t growing as fast as facebook? It’s not the teens and tweens on facebook, it’s the fact that on facebook, people have freedom to experiment. On LinkedIn, I still can’t write a program that allows me to simply figure out which of my friends know each other…hell on facebook it’s a game!

If Facebook ever wises up and decided that it wants to be the big dog in your yard, you are so toast. Don’t wait for OpenSocial, give me an API and give it to me now. Anything I can do via a web page should be doable from an API. Do that and do it NOW and it’s a good start…it’s only a start but it is a start.

To both tivo and linkedin, I write this post, not because I’m a disgruntled user but because I really like both of you. Both of you however, need a swift kick in the ass to get you moving before you are relegated to the pile of other services I liked once but are now gone. (anyone remember GEnie? I LOVED GEnie!) Come on guys, closed is so last century, open up, let us into the playground and I guarantee that what we create will do more for your bottom line than any overpriced CEO will ever do.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
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The Death of Civility

Dear Reader,

When did we become a rude nation? I mean we are not France rude, but none-the-less, we are rude. I’ve give you 2 examples.

Language

I’m on my way back from a great time in California. I love the weather there (except today because it’s got me socked in at SFO) I’ve truly had a great time. But it struck me while I was out here that people out here cannot express a thought without punctuating it with a “fuck” or a “goddamn”. It’s like an epidemic out here. Casual conversation out here is R-rated and it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. I can remember when foul language was relegated to movies and late-night TV. I had lunch one day with a couple of colleagues. One of the members of our party could not find a way to talk in a conversational tone or complete a sentence without a profane punctuation. Even in California, people were starting to turn and stare.

People like to make fun of southerns but at least we still hold to the concept of “polite company” and temper our language when it may offend others.

Respect

In the past 2 jobs I’ve had in California, I’ve been the “Red State” on the org chart. it’s not quite that bad where I work but I am the vocal minority. However, there is one that, Democrat, Republican, or thinking voter, all used to agree on. When refering to a president, past or present, we use the honorific, “President”. I was listening to a conversation the other day between two people who were not not native Americans. One said something about conferences not being in America and the other immediately said “yeah, because of Bush”. (IMHO, ROW does not dislike America…Europe does. For some reason they feel they can speak for ROW.) To the point though, it’s “President Bush” not “Bush”. The Democratic party has produced the two most embarrassing presidents in my life time and I still have the civility to refer to them as President Carter and President Clinton. It’s not a sign of respect for the man, it’s a sign of respect to the office.

Anyhow, just felt the need to rant. If you think you recognize the people in this post, I can guarantee you that you don’t. Quit trying to guess and just flame me for having the audacity to have an opinion.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

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I’m twittering

Dear Reader,

At Web 2.0 Expo, I finally got around to setting up a twitter account. (http://twitter.com/calevans) I’ll be honest, I think it’s a fad. I don’t see it as becoming a serious Internet tool/toy. but I’m going to play with it while I’m on the road. I do see some interesting things you might could do with it, none of them commercially viable.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

=C=

I <3 SF!

Dear Reader,

Actually I love this entire side of the country. I can feel my energy level rise as the plane got farther and farther west. Of course that was a false feeling, as soon as 10:00 PM arrived and I realized it was midnight at home, my energy level dropped back to normal. Even so, it’s great to be back out here.

I’ve got to make time this trip to visit SFMOMA. I’ve been coming to conventions at Moscone for 7 years now and never bothered to visit. (I have, however, been to the Sony store in the Metreon several times.)

Anyhow, to all my west coast homies, I’d say give me a ring and we’ll hook-up but I left my cellphone back in Nashville, so it wouldn’t do you much good. (You can, however, still call it, wife 1.23, the lovely and talented Kathy, has it and you can always talk to her.

Make sure you have the DevZone feed in your feed reader because I’ll be blogging the conference over there.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

Web 2.0.3

Dear Reader,

Once again, I am in San Francisco for 2.5 days of buzzword laden sessions. This is the 3rd Web 2.0 conference put on by O’Reilly. The first one I enjoyed only by podcast but I listened to every one I could get my hands on. The second one occurred while I was actually residing in the bay area. I was working for a boss whose wallet was bigger than his brain and he let me attend. This year, Zend has seen fit to have someone attend and “represent”. So here I am again, in a city steeped with memories for me, some bad but most good. My last trip here was with Wife 1.22, the lovely and talented Kathy and it was a wonderful time of sightseeing and romance.

The first Web 2.0 predicted the Social networking trend. I listened to the podcasts with interest but I was working at a hosting company and so couldn’t directly apply the concepts. However, by-in-large, the trends they were predicting were accurate.

Last year was all about Video on the web. This young upstart named youtube.com was just breaking on the scene and IPTV was the buzzword. Ok, so the IPTV trend has yet to mature but overall, Web 2.0.2 was on target with Video on the web.

This year, I can already see that the buzz-word is Mobile. We’ll see what happens. Make sure you check “DevZone”:http://devzone.zend.com for daily updates. Until then let me leave you with these 2 thoughts.

To my wife and kids, if you get a chance to see the Titanic Exhibit, I highly recommend it. it’s stunning.

To everyone (Except Fred, I already told you this) You have to appreciate a conference that hands out Cosmopolitan Martinis in the registration line. If the line had been much longer, I would have had to have help getting to my room. Some people know how to throw a conference.

Until Next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)

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