Workopolis jumps the shark.

Workopolis is a job search site in Canada. I signed up years ago and they occasionally send me list of open positions. But tonight they sent me a particular job advertisement that started off this way:

We only promote those opportunities which are legitimate. We are very passionate about protecting you from companies that don’t deliver what they promise. We understand that our reputation is at stake.

Sounds serious. Let’s read further:

Be among the FIRST in your area to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Make More Money
Be Your Own Boss
Work When YOU Want to
Live the LifeStyle You Deserve

And here’s the job description:

Agent’s work consists in receiving payment from customers (Royal Bank of Canada or TD Trust Bank bank transfer or direct deposit) and making further payments to our main office or to one of our regional affiliate departments, depending on the customer’s location.
Being a part-time job, it should not take more than 2 hours per day.
Agent’s commission is 6% from each transaction (for instance: you receive $1500.00 to your bank account, you will withdraw the money and keep 6% as payment for your service). All further money transfer charges and fees are covered by our company. So you will be responsible just for making proper payments in time.

Ah, so Workopolis is now hyping “Get Rich Quick on the Internet” schemes. So much for their reputation.

Eating your own dog food.

Since yesterday I’ve been using my own client to post to my blogs. Of course I’m adding features and fixing bugs as I go, but it is working out pretty well.

It lets me post the same entry to multiple blogs, preview it, and see it in a browser when I’ve posted it. It also lets me type in a list of tags.

So far it supports Blogger and Movable Type, since those are the only blogs I have, but it uses the Blogger and MetaWeblog interfaces so it should support pretty much anything.

Pretty nice so far though.


Classic software mistakes.

Andrew at Bound By Gravity lists some classic software mistakes. I’ve seen these a million times in almost as many companies. This is my favorite:

In Case Study 3-1, Bill had no reason to think that the Giga-Quote program could be developed in six months except for the fact that the company needed it in that amount of time. Mike’s failure to correct that unrealistic expectation was a major source of problems. In other cases, project managers or developers ask for trouble by getting funding based on overly optimistic schedule estimates. Sometimes they promise a pie-in-the-sky feature set. Although unrealistic expectations do not in themselves lengthen development schedules, they contribute to the perception that development schedules are too long, and that can be almost as bad.

Go read his post. You’ll probably recognize the mistakes too.


Whither freedom of speech?

Apparently Catholic high school students in Sparta, New Jersey, aren’t allowed to blog:

The Reverend Kieran McHugh stunned the 900 students of the private Pope John XXIII Regional High School at a recent assembly when he told them that, effective immediately, they would have to dismantle their personal pages on sites such as and and any other blogs, or face suspension.

McHugh said he was taking the unusual measure to protect students from online sexual predators who may be lurking in cyberspace looking for personal information on children, including their pictures, diaries and gossip, according to a report in New Jersey’s The Daily Record newspaper.

A comment from the principal suggests that the reason is more than just to protect students from sexual predators:

“I don’t see this as censorship,” McHugh told the Record. “I believe we are teaching common civility, courtesy and respect.”

Kevin Bankston, staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, had this to say:

“If you look at the policy itself,” said Bankston, “it’s not preventing children from releasing personal information in a way that might be harmful to them. It’s trying to restrict information related to the school and its staff on the Internet, including private communication, like e-mail. So it’s a blanket ban on discussing school at all using the most common modern medium for discussion of things.”

The new thing.

I’ve been playing around with a new blogging client that I’m posting from now. Actually I’m coding it as I go, but this is the first successful post to my live blog – hopefully.

I’ll let you know more as it happens.

It’s all Rick Segal’s fault. He said “go code something“.

True milestones are rarely discussed.

The featured item on right now is about the deaths of US soldiers in Iraq. The article is titled ‘Everyday folks’ dying in National Guard:

It is an unwelcome, sorrowful number: 2,000. That is the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq. One of the faces behind that number is James Kinlow. During his 18 years in the Georgia National Guard, Kinlow settled into a peaceful, small-town life focused more on being a citizen than a soldier. Before he deployed to Iraq, he wrote his own obituary.

There is a single line of text below about Iraq’s constitution entitled Iraq: Draft constitution passes:

More than 78 percent of 9.8 million voters in the October 15 referendum approved the document, officials said Tuesday. Turnout was 63 percent.

It’s easy to see what the media want you to think.

Rob at Say Anything mentions the comparison as well, and notes that the military would prefer this not be viewed as a milestone:

“The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations,” Boylan wrote.

[U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, director of the force's combined press center,] complained that the true milestones of the war were “rarely covered or discussed,” and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country.

I wonder how many people died in the process of making the United States a free and democratic country? Where would we be today if Benjamin Franklin covered all of the bad news and none of the successes in his paper?

Perhaps ScrappleFace is most appropriate:

“The Bush foreign policy continues to be fatally-wounded by clarity of purpose, dogged persistence and a pathetic failure to capitulate in the face of opposition,” the source said. “At a time when a real leader would be paralyzed with self-doubt over the meaningless deaths of 2,000 American troops, Bush continues to act as if freeing 25 million Iraqis from decades of oppression, torture and death is somehow worth the price paid by those who volunteered to fight.”

The GoogleBase.

John Battelle points to a screen shot of what seems to be a new service – the Google database – which may or not be there when you check.

Google Blogoscoped has a little more detail.

Update: Charlene Li points to a WSJ article that refers to Google Base as “the long-anticipated Google classifieds and listings service”:

The WSJ’s take is that this is Google’s assault on eBay. Others will be sure to look at it as a way to link classifieds and the anticipated Google Wallet. But I think it’s actually much, much bigger. Google’s main search index relies on spiders to crawl the Web and the much bally-hooed Page Rank system to understand relevancy. Neither work well in a database environment where pages are generated dynamically and linked pages don’t exist. I believe this is Google’s way to not only build a lucrative listings business but also to flesh out other areas like Froogle and Local with deep content that’s otherwise inaccessible or just plain doesn’t exist.

That seems a bit odd considering this snippet [emphasis mine]:

Examples of items you can find in Google Base:

• Description of your party planning service
• Articles on current events from your website
• Listing of your used car for sale
Database of protein structures

Just what is Google selling here?

Making my life easier.

Dave Winer doesn’t like Google Print. In fact, lately he doesn’t like Google much at all:

When I watch them aggressively push the toolbar, in distribution deals with Sun (for example) I wish they would just die, because I so detest how they’re exploiting the web.

But Dave correctly points out that the card analogy most people use to describe Google Print is a poor one. A card catalog only contains information about the book, and not the contents.

But that is just a technology limitation. We couldn’t include the entire book contents in the card catalog, even if the card catalog is electronic. Yet even when I seemingly have the appropriate book according to the card catalog in the library, I still look in the book (if it is available) to see if it has what I need. If it isn’t available then I’ve wasted a trip to the library, and I’m all the more frustrated if my local bookstore doesn’t carry the book for me to check there.

The other day I bought two books from Amazon on wireless technology. I spent about $275, but I ended up returning one of the books. Why? Because it just didn’t have the detail I needed, though the contents and index certainly suggested it would. Had I been able to search to contents of the books I might have chosen a different book entirely. And a lot of the content of the books is already available on the web, but I wanted the books for reference purposes.

The ability to search for what I want in a book will just allow me to purchase books more effectively. It will help me in the research I do, and it might help sell more books. But I think it is really about better ways to find information. Especially for out-of-print books or books that my local bookstore does not carry. Isn’t that the long tail? Books with niche audiences and no marketing; books that I would never know about.

Eric Schmidt wrote about the mission of Google Print:

That’s the heart of the Google Print mission. Imagine the cultural impact of putting tens of millions of previously inaccessible volumes into one vast index, every word of which is searchable by anyone, rich and poor, urban and rural, First World and Third, en toute langue — and all, of course, entirely for free. How many users will find, and then buy, books they never could have discovered any other way? How many out-of-print and backlist titles will find new and renewed sales life? How many future authors will make a living through their words solely because the Internet has made it so much easier for a scattered audience to find them? This egalitarianism of information dispersal is precisely what the Web is best at; precisely what leads to powerful new business models for the creative community; precisely what copyright law is ultimately intended to support; and, together with our partners, precisely what we hope, and expect, to accomplish with Google Print.

What would have happened 10 years ago if the owners of web content had to opt in for search engines to work? The web would be a pretty lonely place if you couldn’t find anything. Search engines, and not just Google, made a business out of advertising sales by pointing people to information they were looking for – from the full content of every page.

One could argue the semantics, but as long as they are not giving away the book content, how is this different?

Much like record companies, is this a case of an industry trying to protect an outdated business model? There is at least one author who feels differently. iTunes is a bad comparison here as well because it is a store – it wants to provide the product as well. Google just wants to find what you want and send you to it.