- CNN: Where you Fall in Poll of U.S. Reading Habits – “The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.” – Via TDavid. Yikes, that’s bad. I definitely go through a book per week, and more when I am traveling. Kids are the same.
- IBM developerWorks: Second Life client, Part 1: Hacking Second Life – “The open source release of the Second Life viewer program by developer Linden Lab offers a rare opportunity to peer into the comparative strengths of closed and open source development models. This article, the first in a series gives an overview of some of the differences between these development styles, and talks about what’s involved in setting up your own build environment.” Don’t forget Part2 or Part 3.
- YouTube: worlds Craziest Job – “There’s only three things I’ve ever been afraid of: electricity, heights, and women.“
- Jeffrey McManus: ALZIP is Good Zipping – “Ever since WinZip began charging for upgrades that don’t add much value to the product, I’ve been looking for an alternative. The good folks at Lifehacker recommended ALZip, which is basically a WinZip clone. I installed it on one of my machines and have been using it for a few weeks; it’s good software.“
- YouTube: Z Corp. ZPrinter 450 Introduction – “See how to turn 3D CAD data into color 3D models and prototypes in just hours. Introducing the world’s first automated color 3D printer.“
- Z Corporation: Rapid Prototype 3D Printers for Concept Modeling – “The fastest way to create physical color models from CAD data.“
- Mark Cuban: Solution for the Real Estate Market ? Take Your House Public ? – “Why can’t home owners sell some percentage of equity in their homes on a listed exchange ? Why can’t I “Take My House Public ?”“
- Patty Seybold: Has Your Firm Adapted to the Blurred Boundary between the Internet and Your Products and Services? – “I predict that the most profitable businesses in the future will be the ones that have taken a strategic Internet-services approach to business design, rather than a business process approach to business design. They’ll design their businesses from the outside in, focusing on the e-services that are most strategic to customers. Ideally, these services will be understood and leveraged across all of the functional areas in the business.“
- Anne Zelenka: The Email Minimalist – “Why not a minimalist approach to email? Keep it simple and flavorful and effective. Don’t put too much hassle or expectation onto it, because just like making dinner, it’s something you have to do almost every day. Leave the complex layered flavor for other settings or only for special occasions.“
Can you call someone your neighbor if they never moved into their house?
We’ve got a “situation” in our neighborhood, one that is being repeated time again across the country as houses depreciate, homeowners don’t pay their mortgages, and houses fall into foreclosure and then disrepair.
Two years ago we had a real neighbor living in this house. Oscar and Gloria actually occupied the house, maintained it, and kept it full of life. They decided to move to Arizona and put it up for sale in early 2006, and it sold quickly. The new owner showed up and immediately started on a series of cosmetic improvements. He cleaned up the back yard, created a raised-bed garden, and built a nice roof over his patio. As is our custom for new neighbors, we baked them some cookies and went over to introduce ourselves. We met him and his wife, who was from Thailand.
My wife Carmen happened to notice that our neighbor actually had his house listed in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) while he was living in it. There was no for-sale sign out front, so this was a “quiet” listing. We were puzzled, and decided that he was a “flipper” — someone who buys houses, makes some minor improvements, and hopes to sell it at a profit within a very short time frame.
The house went quiet and dark, and we heard indirectly that he went to Thailand with his wife. Time passed. From time to time a pickup truck would come by and remove a piece of furniture or two. A lawn service would cut the grass every so often as well.
At the end of 2006 a foreclosure notice showed up on the front door and the house was sold at auction in March of 2007. It was then re-sold the next day (or so it seems based on the information in Zillow) for $85K more than the auction price.
Days after the sale, some work crews showed up and there was a buzz of activity around the house. We were eagerly anticipating the arrival of some new neighbors.
After a few weeks the work slowed and then stopped entirely and the house grew quiet. Time passed. We noticed the lack of activity and decided that something wasn’t right. I peeked in the front and side windows early in the summer and found that the work crews had stopped in mid-project, leaving their tools behind. I’ve been watching the front door and have seen the disconnection notices for the water and the gas already. Because the doorbell still lights up, I believe that the electricity is still on. Also, the previous owner had set up a wireless network and I can still see it from my laptop!
It is now 6 months since the last sale and the house has been sitting there unloved for months. The backyard flowerbeds are overgrown with weeds, but the grass is getting cut.
A month or so ago I managed to track down the lender and sent an email to the senior loan officer. I put delivery and read receipts on the message and both came back, so I know they received and read my message. I basically told the loan officer that the house was sitting empty and that it was a fire and safety hazard. I did not get a response from the lender.
At this point I don’t know exactly who owns the house, so I can’t even invite you to come and be my neighbor here in Sammamish. Most likely, the owners are not paying the mortgages (there are two, adding up to 100% of the purchase price) and the lender will have to foreclose on this house again.
Update 1: After some digging and Googling and changing one owner’s name into an informal equivalent I found a blog which may be theirs! I scrolled back and there’s nothing about buying a house in the last year, but they do live in Seattle and this is the only match for their names. The blog noted that they are both on Facebook so I sent notes to each of them. Let’s see what happens!
- Raj Setty: Making the Most of Your Time: Going Beyond To-Do Lists – “Rajesh Setty returns with a new set of suggestions for optimizing your abilities. He asserts that even though everyone is given only 24 hours in a day, the most successful people are those who make every minute count. Here, he tells you how project management, understanding your abilities, investing in relationships and making a difference are just some of the ways you can make the most of your time.“
- Hack’s Haven: Second Life Metrics for the Masses – “Maya Realities is happy to announce a new $L1 Second Life analytics solution. This proximity sensor collects basic information about a land parcel and is perfect for those groups not ready to take the plunge into our premium services. The information collected includes the number of unique avatars visiting, total time spent on a land parcel, and average time spent per avatar.“
- Steve Nelson: Quick and Dirty Web Page Viewer for Second Life – “Inspired by Jeff Barr’s experiments and investigations into HTML on a prim in Second Life, I threw together a quick hack to view web pages following the method he suggested at last year. Here’s a more detailed recipe for doing this:“
- Tao Takashi: SLCC Business Track Observations – “People who have read the Cluetrain Manifesto should have guessed what is missing here: Conversation. The internet these days is clearly about conversations about all and everything.“
- YouTube: Science Learning Opportunities in Second Life – “A brief overview of science and research education in Second Life, highlighting Science School, Genome Island, Research Park, ISTE Island and more.“
- YouTube: Wiki at Shimmer Island – “In this 3D representation it is immediately obvious what’s taking place.” – Via Mal Burns. More info here. The actual Wiki is located on Daydream SE Islands, 351 meters above sea level.
- Deborah Kurfiss: Guide to Doing Business in Second Life – “How do people make money in Second Life? The possibilities are almost as endless as real life, but following are some of the primary avenues.“
- Wall Street Journal: Condo Troubles Further Squeeze Property Lenders – “The condo market, while tied to the housing market overall, behaves differently under stress. While a single-family home builder generally constructs units as orders come in, a condo developer builds all at once and hopes for the best, adding risk. So while the speculative overhang of newly constructed single-family homes may have peaked in many markets across the country, the full force of the condo glut is starting to hit now.“
- Tao Takashi: SLCC: Keynote of Philip Linden – “According to Philip this simply was necessary because the critical mass was missing. There was no time to make proposals, discuss these in depth with everybody, refine them and at some point finally implement them. Instead they just implemented.“
I was lucky enough to meet several of the folks behind Pleiades Consulting when I was at the Second Life Community Convention this past weekend. it was good to be able to finally meet James, Ian, and Jonathan face to face. I also met John Hurliman, lead developer of LibSecondLife and part of the Pleiades posse.
These folks have been cooking up some really cool stuff – first LibSecondLife and now RESTbot.
LibSecondLife is a very nice .Net interface to Second Life. Applications built on top of it log in using the name and password of an existing avatar, which then appears “in-world,” under the complete control of the application. It can move, gesture, chat, manipulate the avatar’s inventory of objects and textures, and so forth. The resulting avatar is a “bot” (short for robot). The logged-in avatar is identified with a unique session key.
Earlier this month Pleiades announced RESTbot. RESTbot implements a web server on top of LibSecondLife. The web server responds to a set of simple REST-style requests. The requests each include a session key so that a single RESTbot server can manage any number of avatars simultaneously — an army of robots, or a dance troupe, for example. The requests are clean and simple; each one returns an XML document with the results of the request.
The RESTbot distribution also includes a number of Perl applications to exercise each web service. Each application is a web service client to the RESTbot. For example, botlogin.pl accepts an avatar first name, last name, and password as arguments, and displays a session key as its result. This key can then be passed to the other applications — bot_sit.pl to sit, bot-teleport.pl to teleport to another region, bot-rez.pl to rez (create) new objects, and so forth.
Here’s how it all fits together:
The RESTbot client application + RESTbot + LibSecondLife are the functional equivalent of the Second Life Viewer. Either one can connect to the Second Life server, log in, and control the actions of an avatar, one programmatically and the other under the control of a human being. The client application connects to RESTbot (usually over the internet, but optionally within a single machine via localhost), RESTbot calls LibSecondLife, and LibSecondLife calls the Second Life Server.
Net-net: You can now control a Second Life avatar using very simple web service calls or a shell script. That’s really powerful and I am sure that some very interesting applications will be built on top of this before too long.
I really like my Toyota Scion Xb. It is a very practical and competent car. It is comfortable, runs well, and people always ask me about it when they see it in a parking lot. The back seat is fairly roomy — three of my teenagers will fit there without much in the way of complaining or fighting.
In fact, I like the car so much that I would really like to have a slightly bigger version for those too-rare occasions when all seven of us need to go to the same place at the same time. While driving home from the airport last night, my son Steve and I decided that it wouldn’t be too tough to build a stretched Scion. Today I asked my daughter Grace to work some Photoshop magic on a stock Scion and here’s what she came up with:
I really, really want one of these! Of course we’d need to beef up the engine and the brakes a little bit, but that wouldn’t be a very big deal. I honesty don’t think that this would be too hard to pull off. The Scion is front wheel drive; we’d have to extend a fuel line, some wires, and a couple of brake lines. There’d be some body work, but not a whole lot because the car is basically square.
Steve and I also talked about the possibility of using the leftover parts from one of the cars to create a really short, 2-door version!
Earlier today I learned that ABAP is a COBOL-like language used to customize SAP’s business applications. After seeing a Twittered reminder, I decided to attend a Second Life chat about the book, which is called Next Generation ABAP Development . The meeting took place in SAP’s Community Office on the Silicon City island.
I listened to Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman talk about the process of deciding to write the book.
Thomas wrote the outline and then Rich decided to step up to the plate committed to take on his fair share of the writing. They each wrote chapter drafts and traded them back and forth, completing the entire book in about 3 months. Rich spent about 5 hours per weekday on the book, and more on the weekends. Thomas was working at a client site for 2 out of the 3 months, so the book gave him something to do during the evening.
One thing that impressed me about SAP is the degree to which their site and the chat itself referenced their developer community. This should bode well for their Second Life presence, since person-to-person connections and community development are probably the true “killer app” of Second Life.
The book has been selling well, clocking in 1613 sales for the month of June, making it the best-selling SAP Press book for that month.
They also discussed SAP Link, an ABAP code repository built by the SAP developer community.
Here are some pictures:
- Jeremiah Owyang: Web Strategy: Integrating a Social Media Strategy – “As your programs become more sophisticated your organization will use social media tools first in a one-off then isolated method. As you progress learn how the tools are different, and start to plan to integrate them, linking to each other in tandem. Be sure to allow for flexibility as the process will never be as planned and each situation will be different.“
- Martin Heller: Process Monitor – “There are lots of times when I need to figure out how Windows, IE, Firefox, or some application does something, or where the app in question stores a configuration setting. These days, the first diagnostic tool I reach for in those situation is Process Monitor (Procmon).“
- Lifehack: 18 Tips for Killer Presentations – “Becoming a competent, rather than just confident, speaker requires a lot of practice. But here are a few things you can consider to start sharpening your presentation skills.“
- New York Times: Drop Foreseen in Median Price of U.S. Homes – “The median price of American homes is expected to fall this year for the first time since federal housing agencies began keeping statistics in 1950.“
- Life Crawler: Event Cam – “Webcast your Second Life event.“
- Virtual Worlds News: Blogging the SLCC: Developers in Second Life – “Glenn Fisher, who heads the Developer Program in Second Life, gathered Jeff Bar, Amazon’s Web Services Evangelist, Sitearm Madonna, the man behind the very popular Dublin in SL and Diegoland, as well as two developers from Involve Medium to discuss the roles of developers in Second Life.“
George of the Jungle was a short-lived cartoon series in the late 1960′s. In the introduction to each episode, George would swing from tree to tree, and while smiling for the camera, would slam face-first into a tree:
This is what it feels like to come back from vacation to face multiple (work and personal) stuffed inboxes, a table full of paper mail, and a news aggregator with thousands of unread items. We said goodbye to Cabos just 24 hours ago and now reality is beginning to set in.
Even though I am officially on vacation until the end of the month, I need to switch back into work mode for a few days. I am presenting at the Second Life Community Conference this weekend and I need to create my presentation and make some changes to my travel plans. I also have a bunch of other work and personal items on my TODO list for the day.
As part of my personal inbox cleanup, I will probably unsubscribe from a newsletter or two. Being away from email for a while can give you some perspective on what’s really worth reading and what you’ve simply been reading out of habit. I’ll do the same for my feed list. For example, I’m already planning to unsubscribe from ValleyWag. After reading about 100 back posts last night, the snarkiness and the negativity really got to me.
Once I get back to the office on September 2nd, I will block off a day or two for cleanup. I’ve got another European trip coming up later that month and I also need to nail down travel plans, presentations, and so forth.