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New on my wishlist - a tablet pc?

27.02.2005 / filed under default

We know, Cameron loves his gadget, but there are limits:

I was excited about Tablet PC when it launched and I've even MORE excited about it now that I have one. Get a Tablet and play with ArtRage and tell me that isn't the single most exciting thing to happen in PC-land in many years. Microsoft made the Tablet happen. They innovated. It's easily as exciting as XBOX. But when was the last time you saw them tell anyone about how it could change their life? Where are the TVC's showing people HANDwriting emails and IMs? Where are the ads showing people creating art in their spare minutes ON THEIR LAPTOP? Such a waste...
Handwriting emails or IM's? Uh, I don't think so.

The few times I used my palm to note something, I used the built in keyboard because I am much faster in typing than in writing by hand. Even if I have to tip the characters on a displayed keyboard. Writing longer texts? Forget it.

The reason I love typing on keyboard is speed. I am about 10 times faster in typing with the keyboard as I am by handwriting. And I can write for hours on my keyboard whereas I get exhausted just after a half hour of writing (not to mention, if I have to write 'readable', this takes even more time) .

And people love me typing, because they are able to read my typed stuff. My first teacher assured me, I had an awful handwriting from day one. My aunt, expecting hand written letters from everyone, 'ordered' me to use my computer because she could not read it. I do believe in the power of computer when it comes to recognition, but I would give voice recognition more chances.

But, all this talking about the fun of a tablet PC (the infamous trio of evangelists raving about it in my reading sphere: Scoble of course, Mick, and Cameron) got me looking into this gadget. [more ...]

video blogging as booster for technological progress

26.02.2005 / filed under default

I just commented on Scoble's Blog where he asked "Is videologging the next big hype storm?".

It has it's place, defenetly, and surely will take off. But as thrilled as I am with podcasting, I am not with videos - they don't kick in with me. But with many others.

But, and this is the part where I do like vlogging: It will accelerate the progress of technology. Look where we have been with Music and Players and where we are now with Podcast. The many ventures out there don't spring off new music deals, but clever podcasts.
I think it will take longer than with podcasting, because

  • the charme of podcasting is delivery to a mobile player - not much of affordable mobile players out there and

  • the equipment needed for recording is much more expensive than just a headset and

  • it will be much more complicated to make professional video than audio

  • because there is another (visual) angle involved.

Nonetheless it is an interesting development and I am sure they will be enough people out there who can produce quality video - just take a look on what good photos you can see at Flickr and how some of the Podcasts really have quality both in production and content.

The days of centralized media are not over yet, but it won't take long until new markets emerge to deal with all those content everywhere.

February 2005 - the month the business blogging industry took off

26.02.2005 / filed under default

Yes, I know, blogging is already a business. It has been before Jeremy's Ebay auction. But I think that auction got something started. Because since then, the business blogging world expanded. Big times, together with podcasting.

And the last weeks, heck, the last days have been amazing. I just found another great example: Paul Chaney from Radian Marketing Group will open up "Bloggeropoly: World's First Blogger-for-hire Agency"

Before long, there will be enough companies large and small -- not to mention existing and yet-to-be developed blog networks like Weblogs Inc and Creative-Weblogging -- needing freelance bloggers that the demand will quickly overcome the supply. These companies are going to have to find bloggers somewhere. I would just as soon they find them at Bloggeropoly.
A great idea and I think this will bring movement to the blogosphere, both in energy and in quality.

There is still room for the diary of a teenager - but the business market is the bigger partner. I was tempted to write "the bigger fish" but that is not true. This time feels as if we are cooperating and will be partners.

And from the same weblog comes another great news. Come and meet BizBlogBuzz:
I just reserved the domain name for a new blog I'm developing to be called BizBlogBuzz. As the name implies, it's a blog that will talk about the business of blogging, with an emphasis on business blogging news and developments. I'm going to really have to keep my ear to the ground for this one.
I love talking about blogs. And I am all for Business and using these too things. Many people whine "oh, why do you all talk about blogging and not about topics" - hell, because to me it is interesting to talk about it. There are actually even more people who want to do so. Have fun doing it and earn money by doing it. Search engine industrie is a notable business, why should blogging not be?

But that is not the fun part. This is:
Part of the plans for the blog include a weekly interview-style podcast with business bloggers. I already know enough people to do six-months worth.
Very cool. Can I please have the feeds so I can subscribe? Perorder the feed? :o)

Cameron said, that this is feeling like 1995 all over again - I was not part of that movement and also not of the dot com. But today, this feels exciting. Energizing. Making me smile - and I am just tipping my toes a little bit in the water.

But I have to look overseas to have this vista; this part of the earth is far behind ... *sigh*

Watching TV Shows on the net - Scifi.com to offer the first episode of Galactica for free online

26.02.2005 / filed under default

Usually I don't reblog things I wrote on my German blog, but this one is something I would like to hear your opinions on my speculation.

Scifi.com has always been a very clever channel from my perspective and now they go a step further. eclecticism writes:

This is incredibly cool: The Sci-Fi Channel has posted the first episode of Battlestar Galactica season one (not the miniseries that’s currently available on DVD, but the currently-running TV series) on their website, free, uncut, and without commercials.



Just go to the Battlestar Galactica site and click on the banner at the top of the page. You’ll need RealPlayer, unfortunately, but that’s the only downside I can see.
You will get the first episode and some deleted scenes.

Which is great if you would like to take a peak - but from my point of view, there is MUCH more behind it. I think they are testing if the world is a possible market.

To understand my excitement, please remember I am sitting in Germany, Europe.

The country where everything in television is dubbed. We don't have Tivo. We don't have all the shows - we only get them years later if they are picked up by a channel. My most loved TV Show West Wing will probably never appear on German screens (on the other hand, the synchronisation would suck anyway). The only way to get the shows is buy DVDs, which also have to be the correct region code - and therefor have to appear in Region 2 ...

But that is so 20th century. I am talking to people all over the planet, timezones being the biggest problem. We want TV shows, and 'we' means 'the world', not only the U.S. So if a channel takes his own productin and offers the first episode for free, this speaks to me as:
Would you like to watch the show via internet? Would you pay for it?
And my answer is YES. Thank you for expanding your market worldwide.
The rest is to be negotiated. Your take on this?

I'm interested in people, not topics.

25.02.2005 / filed under default

Of course I do read blogs on special topics, but the charme of the blogospere to me is building relationships with people through reading their blogs, commenting, mailing, and even more. From very close connections to very loose ones.

Heather, one of the Microsoft recruiting bloggers, is a loose connection to me. I read her blog and sometimes comment on it - but still, for me this is a kind of relationship, as I get to know her through her blog.

Now she will change her job a bit and asks in Are two blogs better than one?

Anyway, so here's my question...given the fact that I'm still going to be blogging, what do you think about this being a marketing and finance blog? Taking into account blogger fatigue if I were to have 2 blogs, of course....plus that fact that a lot of what I blog isn't specific to one discipline or the other. Would I lose readers if I blog about both? I was thinking about tweaking the design a bit anyway...what do you think?
It got me thinking. I might have been initially attracted by the topics described or by links from other blogs with a text like "this blog is about - go read it". If this would be a professional blog on marketing and recruiting, I might be disappointed, and look out for a new blog on this topic.

But Heather's blog is not a blog on that topic - it is her blogging about these topics, clearly stated through her headline: " Marketing, Careers, Recruiting, Microsoft and other bright shiny objects that caught my attention". A small but important difference.

If I stay with a personal blog, it is because the blogger makes it fun and worthwile to read. I read the entries and they are connected with this person. And I get to like the person behind it - for the part he or she is showing to me. As usual, there is much, much more behind a person than is shown on a blog.

And because it is the blog of a person, of course it changes and evolves over time. I would be more disappointed if not. Either way, some people will leave when changes happen (or not). And new readers will come.

I just unsubscribed from several blogs, because they are not interesting to me anymore. And subscribed to new ones. In Heather's case, I am looking forward for the changes to come. :o)

Of little girls and pythons ...

24.02.2005 / filed under default

Wanted to post this a long time ago and had a really good laugh when I got this from my best friend.

And it is meant to be a shout out to all those python developers out there - the nice ones, who make proper keyboard shortcuts and such stuff. (But you know already, what I want from you *gg*)


This posting is from Dino Müller and was published in de.alt.sysadmin.recovery (Message-ID: <160p8zocs2aaf$.1exyn9bc4tcml.dlg@40tude.net>)

A precious little girl walks into a pet shop looking for a Christmas
gift and asks in the sweetest little lisp between two missing teeth,
"Excuthe me, mithter, do you keep widdle wabbits?"

As the shopkeeper's heart melts, he gets down on his knees
so that he's on her level and asks, "Do you want a widdle
white wabbit, or a thoft and fuwwy bwack wabbit, or maybe
one like that cute widdle bwown wabbit over there?"

She, in turn, blushes, rocks on her heels, puts her hands
on her knees, leans forward and says, in a quiet voice,

"I don't think my python weally gives a fuck."
*grin*

Bush in Germany - lock-down for the region.

24.02.2005 / filed under default

As President Bush visits Germany, some parts of Germany are really in 'shut down mode' - which is in no way acceptable for a single person just visiting a little bit. Or as Heiko puts it in his post "Bush bollocks":

JFK will be remembered for his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in front of thousands of enthusiastic Germans in the center of Berlin. Ronald Reagan will be remembered for "tear down this wall", a speech delivered in front of a public audience at Brandenburg Gate. Even President Clinton will be remembered for warmly shaking many hands of ordinary people while visiting Germany - just like any other world leader, from Chirac to Putin, does.



George W. Bush will be remembered for insane security measures and fear of the public. Or what justifies closing down Frankfurt Airport (which is the busiest airport in continental Europe) for two full hours just because Air Force One gets parked?
If you lived in a special area, you where not allowed to open your windows during this visit, had to give notice if you wanted to stay or leave your appartment and so on ...

To get some impressions of the visit in Mainz, Gerrit has posted some pictures in his flickr.

How to get a Tablet PC as a toy for some days.

23.02.2005 / filed under default

I somehow have the feeling, that a little tablet pc might be a good toy for me, because I have a special kind of remembering things. I don't remember "8:00 pm, Thursday", I remember the weekly view before my inner eye (preferable the one with Mo-Wed on one side and Thu-Sun on the other side) as 'there in the upper corner was something'.

One of the benefits of working in a bigger company is sometimes the easier access to some toys. Not to get them, but to have a look at them. As it turns out, it might be possible to get my hands for a day or two on a tablet and to play around with it. And if I like the touch and feel of it, I might be tempted to install a wifi and buy one of these - and this coming from a woman who hates laptops and has no use for wifi at the moment.

Wish me luck that this works out. ;o)

A Nerd, a Canadian and a Quaker

23.02.2005 / filed under default

Meet the guys from NCQ Talk

Welcome to NCQ Talk where a Nerd, a Canadian and a Quaker talk about the intersection of technology and learning. We’re very excited that you’ve taken the time to find us.
Kris' has had both on his show and I am interested in how this will develop with their view on education etc. The first show is already up:
Today’s Title: The Portable Prof

Students can listen anytime/anyplace. Concerns? Is that a good thing? How can you make a podcast fit in the learning cycle and be a positive experience? Podcasting should be one of many instructional strategies.
:o)

The 25th podcast - served with a cold

22.02.2005 / filed under podcast

As most of you listen to my voice and not to the content, I figured it would be good to have some real content this time because my voice is not the best at the moment ... :)


38 min, 22 MB (right-click and say 'save link as')




Not in the list, but waiting for the feed from Curt Rosengren.

Of course, my favorite aussies from G'dayworld, now presented with their own 'branch' in my bloglines folder

and, last but not least, Croncast with Kristopher Smith (don't eat and listen to this show!). Good luck with his newly founded palegroove studios.

And now I am off listening to futureshock's Hiding! :)

Passion Catalyst Curt Rosengren joins podcasting

21.02.2005 / filed under default

Curt from The Occupational Adventure has posted his first podcast a few days ago (I am still in catching up mode and it does not help that my cold is getting worse ...).

It is short (about 1:40 min) but sounds very promising for further podcasts. Just needs a feed and some little other adjusments, but as usual, the most important thing is the content.

And so I don't have to research that long again, this is the perfect post to point to another ressource: perfectcustomers.com

I have not read the book, but the text about the lighthouse test on their page is such a strong image and metaphor, that you will start looking out for beautiful lighthouse images to remember it all the time. Read "The six standards of strategic synchronicity" and "Attracting Perfect Customers and Clients.

They are not long and in short they say: You need to be like a lighthouse so people know where save land is.

The knowledge to be gained from this type of experience is to listen for that "inner voice" and its warning signal when you encounter a "less-than-perfect" customer. This is the signal that your own distinctive light has gone out....or perhaps that you forgot that lighthouses do not wade out into the water looking for boats to serve.

It is your responsibility to stand still and keep shining your own distinctive light, to keep polishing the lens to ensure that your light has the power and brilliance to break through the darkness to attract the attention of only perfect customers and clients who are a "perfect fit" for you, your company, your products and services.
This last sentences works good as printout on your wall.

And if you don't want to use such text, take a picture instead: They have Ligthhouse Art available", or take a look at the Flickr page for lighthouse (Feed is here).

The best photos on Flickr to represent the essence of this image are from someone called Green Destiny and especially this one!

The good thing about Music Trivia on DSC?

20.02.2005 / filed under default

You are remembered of many good songs. :o) I'll have to dig out my Scritti Politti LP (and then find a way to get a LP-player)

If you like french in a podcast ...

20.02.2005 / filed under default

Olivier Anh (you remember, the one from Bordeaux) has updated his pages and you have now feeds for every flavour available: french, english and both languages. :o)

While I had french for several years in school, I don't speak or understand it in more than a basic way, but imagine a german speaking woman to listen to a french podcast while trying to write an entry in english - you can probably guess, how my writing looked like ;)

5 million pages link to CC licences

19.02.2005 / filed under default

From the creative commons blog:

At the end of 2003, we were proud to announce that over 1 million web pages had linked to Creative Commons licenses. Today, we are even more proud to say that this number is now well over 5 million web pages. Thanks to you, a vibrant base of free culture is flourishing.
I have not figured out which I would like to have, but am also thinking about it.

World is changing. Old mechanisms need to adapt or there will be new ways to deal with them. I'm interested how many we will see by the end of this year.

Tune in to Claybourne at the podcastnetwork!

19.02.2005 / filed under default

This is really exiting! The guys have launched another show in the network: the radio drama Claybourne.

“Claybourne” is our latest show addition. It was a sci-fi / supernatural thriller /soap opera radio drama, recorded and broadcast nationwide in New Zealand in the late 1990s.

A total of 96 shows were produced by Andrew Dubber (who will be hosting one of our music shows for us) and Belinda Todd. It premiered on New Zealand radio in 1998 (1999 perhaps?), was made with the help of New Zealand On Air and also won an award as the Best Dramatic Production at the 1999 New Zealand Radio Awards.
Start your clients and grab the feed!

The Nigelblog

19.02.2005 / filed under default

Number two reason to maintain a blog [after Narcism? ;o)] In case you get this as an answer on your comment:

Sorry but the total effect of your comment's actions and conduct during the successive phases of its existence, did not justify giving it a second chance in this world of pain and misery...

In other words: it got trashed.
Bad Karma, man, bad karma...
you just blog it yourself.
Steve Valentine is not a computer expert, but he plays one on NBC’s "Crossing Jordan." His character, criminalist and forensics expert Dr. Nigel Townsend, uses scientific techniques and outstanding computer skills to help Boston medical examiner Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh solve crimes, and that’s where Nigel’s newest hobby comes in, blogging, with a real life blog called Nigelblog, with posts asking for information on an unsolved triple homicide in Boston’s Beacon Hill neighborhood reports Earthlink.
The Blog Herald " in "Crossing Jordan features blogging"
First West Wing, now Crossing Jordan - like it. :o)

As blogs grow slowly into the daily life of Joe User, it is only natural they appear in TV shows. Imagine X-Files would still be running - Mulder would be all over it :)

Where is the "Prevent Autolink"-Tag?

18.02.2005 / filed under default

Steve Rubel asks in "Google Gets Away With What Microsoft Couldn't"

How come nobody is crying foul here? ...
They shouldn't get away with what Microsoft was unable to. It's not fair and it shows that no matter what Google does, they can do no wrong in the eyes of the American public - at least for now.
(Hey, I am still trying to catch up being a week away from my computer)

I am. And I am really astonished that Google is doing something so stupid, because they could have learned from Smarttags . If this would be something you can turn on and modify it - perhaps this might have been a good idea. But autoforced? No way. What would be the next step? To rewrite my links to amazon with my id (not that I have one at the moment) with another? Remove links in my page to 'indecent' content?

I do see a point in providing more service to my customers, but bloggers are Google's customers too. I surprisingly get the feeling, that blogs are not really understood at Google ...

And: I immediatly want the "Prevent this linking"-Tag or even better: Is it possible to detect whether or not this toolbar is installed? In case yes, could someone please come up with a detection snippet in php (hell, I would even take an Javascript-solution) for it so I can add something like this to every page:
No Autolinking!
I am sorry, but this webpage is not available to be seen with a Google toolbar with autolinking activated. It modifies the context of my webpage in a way I do not want it.
Who will fill the first law suit against google because of modifying the content of a page in an unallowed way? And to avoid misunderstanding here: There is a difference between a plugin programmed by someone to do such a thing and Google pressing it's own services into the market earning money with it.

As someone said in Steve Rubel's comments: If they earn, I want my share too..

Not amusing, but scary.

17.02.2005 / filed under default

Darren Barefoot links in "Mildly Amusing Distractions" to this

Cool, huge satellite photo of The Gates in Central Park.
I would say: It's quite scary what can be seen on these satellite photos in such detail ...

But I am not that impressed with the gates on this photo (of course it is a great display of the complete art work), I am looking forward to photos from the ground. But the color of the little lakes (ponds?) in the park plus the absolut strict arrangement of the city and it's street - unbelievable!

[btw: message to my girl is again running in repeat mode - I absolutly dig this song!]

This is a message to my girl ...

17.02.2005 / filed under default

So I sing it to the world ...
simple message to my girl ...


There is an easy way for me to determine if I really like a song. It's when it is time to go to bed and I notice that I have listened to one song for the last hours on constant replay. Because I like it so much. This time I noticed this earlier, because I had to find the start of it - "Message to My Girl" - ENZSO (originally Split Enz) from the latest Coverville.

This is such an enjoyable song - and I really like the classical instrumentation of it. Reminds me a bit of a German band called Dune who made covers of classic songs with the London Synphonic Orchestra. Hm. I might as well let you hear them on Coverville - that's what Coverville is there for.

Nicole, signing off, listening to this song for the 15th time now ...

Useful Sounds No. 24 - the brummbrumm Autobahn-Podcast

15.02.2005 / filed under podcast

The beginning is a bit too loud but it gets better after a short while. Hear me getting back from my trip!


18 min, 10,9 MB (right-click and say 'save link as')




  • A podcast recorded on the road!

  • Blinker is 'turn signal'?

  • how to not get blitzed in Germany

  • Chris Pirillo in March 2004 about his future on IT Conversations

  • The Blogoscoped Interview is out - that was some work ...

  • back-handed compliment Mr. Reilly? I would not insert the new shows from thepodcastnetwork if I did not like it

  • I was thinking of a wiki for example for G'Dayworld or IT Conversations for the shows with links and qoutes to the shows, with timestamps etc.

    I often feel like "oh, oh, I have to write that down!!" but you can't note something when you are in the car. After each show, people could type down their favorite quote / question / answer; this would be a way to invoke the net with their
    work capability instead of just some people doing the work. Heck if there are transcripts from TV Shows, why not from on the pod and other shows like it?

  • My Aunt was trying to understand "who wrote this on wikipedia"
  • If you go on vacation: Take your passwords with you ...

  • Trying to remember when I first encountered Lockergnome

  • It's cold outside ....

Days without broadband and no, I am not blonde ...

15.02.2005 / filed under default

I just was 5 days without a usable computer (my aunt only has a laptop - I hate those keyboards) and without proper bandwith (dialup. not even isdn). But now I'm back! :o)

And what is nearly the first thing I get told when I'm back in the arms of the net?

You look different than I imagined by your voice. I imagined you as a blonde
I'm crushed. I think I need some new podcast feed input now.

A new Dan Klass is waiting - and at least he likes brunettes!

The shiny toy interview about podcasting ;o)

09.02.2005 / filed under default

One of the reasons why I did not made my usual sunday show was because I was working on this text, an Interview of me at Google Blogoscoped.

The fact I am happy most about ist not (as you would probably asume) to see this published, but because answering these questions helped me to get a clearer picture of some of the things I am working on, which I like, etc. The published interview does not contain all of the text, so there was more for me to work on. And it feels really great to have more focus now on some things.

And when I want to send this link out to friends (I tried to restrain myself and only sent some mails *g*), it is not so much about "look at me, look at me" but "Look! I figured out some things about myself, which I knew where in there but I could not describe them before! And now I am proud to see the result of it.". Plus of course I enjoy it to see this interview over at Philipp's page, I am not that humble. :))

And just to make a statement here: "shiny toys" is just a lousy translated word for "Obstkiste" = fruit boxes, because most of the time people don't get the joke. ;o)

ipodblog.co.uk goes for this bait and writes:

Popular German podcaster Nicole Simon has said in an interview over at Google Blogoscoped that she feels that the Apple iPod is nothing more than a "shiny toy" and people only buy them because they’re attractive.
No, I did not say that. I said that people buy it for this reason first - I said nothing about if the hardware is good or not. :)

A really big thank goes out to Phillip, not only for interviewing me, but also for translating the text; and especially to one of my best friends for helping me on this piece. If you find yourself wondering, why there is such a break in style between the interview and my text - you guess where this comes from. As the corrections on this blogs sometimes. If you are ever in need of a very talented writer both in German and in English with a brilliant mind - contact me, I'll hook you up.

[pssst - Even though I don't use an apple, it does not mean, my podcast does not likes to be played on one. :o)]

Useful Sound No. 23 - Fired employees, superbowl ads and more

09.02.2005 / filed under podcast

Weblink fixed, don't know why I took 7 instead of 9 - thanks for the mails :o)


27 min, 19 MB (right-click and say 'save link as')




Have fun :)

Some small adjustments

09.02.2005 / filed under default

I am still in the process of rethinking the general structure of my blogs (I want a template to use everywhere) but for a start I edited a bit of the colors here and took out the logo, because it consumed too much traffic. This is not finished, but I have to see things to work with them. Please bear with me - otherwise go and just read me in your feedreader. ;o)

Thanks to my editor, named Google ...

08.02.2005 / filed under default

Often, I find myself ranking it good positions in Google. Like number two for "reading habits". Only that I did not write habits, but habbits. Must have something to do with hobbits.

What to do? Just correct them and try to be perfect? Or get the nice Google traffic from my mistakes? But perhaps I should add an "About me" at the top and state I am from Germany ...

[And if you could look at the text I am just reading - it's my ideas, my answers, my thoughts - only it has been edited by someone who truly knows a) how to write good text and b) is absolutly fluent in well writen English ... *sigh* But you will be able to enjoy that text too in a nearer future. :)]

I'm down to 5 Gmail invites!

07.02.2005 / filed under default

While everybody is complaining because they can't get rid of their 50 Gmail invites, I am down to five!

Okay, to be more precise: I am still at five, for the last 2 months and before I got rid of them via the Isnoop spooler. So the way to go not receive more invites seems to not invite people. :o)

But, and this is why it makes worth an entry: You can now collapse your labels and the gmail invite box, didn't saw that before. So to get rid of your invites: Just collapse the box. :)

Update: I also have 50 now - yeeeeah! Hm. And now? ;)

This damm echo ...

06.02.2005 / filed under default

This is how it looks when a man with his toys wants to record a skype call - but can't get rid of the echo. But, he helped me in finding out why I had an echo on Skype.

Now I only need to figure out a way to route the Skype calls through my Tascam and the mic input back. *sigh*

Dear Amazon

05.02.2005 / filed under default

Dear Amazon, I've told you that my location is Germany. And still you try to encourage me to get your Amazon Prime programm - but as you state down in your terms of conditions, I can't use your programm sitting in Europe. So would you please just give me my usual starting page and do not remind me of the fact that your shipping costs are ridicolous?

Thank you. Because you do understand the nature of my visits to your site, because the next thing you tell me is "Treat Yourself " and add some of my latest entries of my wish list - probably knowing, that most of us use the wishlist as constant reminder what we still want to shop. But then you do it again: "Save Big on Super Bowl DVDs" and "Barbie Collector Silver Label - Legends of Ireland - Spellbound Lover - Third in the Exclusive Limited Edition Collector Series" - have you not seen my selection and can't you see the paths I am taking through your shop?!

And I would really like to shop DVDs from you - for example season 5 from West Wing, first season of Murder One, the Star Wars 4 DVD Set (even when it is modified) and many others, but you only have region 1. No, I don't blame you so much on that, but still ...

And the fact that the only time I used my credit card on amazon.de led to an credit card fraud of 2.000 Euros was no fun - and it is not reassuring either that there is no way I could get someone to talk to about it, because the chances of an by accident credit card fraud are absolutly zero. This happened one month after I used my credit card for the first and only time. Which was ridicolous anyway: You have permission to draw money from my bank account for my Grman purchases since oh so many years, why do I have to shop this through a credit card?

So dear Amazon, even as I love you dearly since many years, there are still many ways for you to improve. And could I please have a checkbox where I tell you that I am not into jewlery, baby and wedding stuff, Toys & Games, Kitchen & Housewares, Music or Tools & Hardware? Thank you.

MSN Search commercials - One good, one ugly

05.02.2005 / filed under default

If you don't know it by now: I love good commercials. The Cannes Role? Love it. Shows just made out of good commercials? Love it. In fact, when I am at my mom's home, I am the one sitting in front of the TV and mainly switching around (the programm is crap most of the time anyway) to search for commercials. This even more because I rarely watch TV; last year I had a more frequent phase because of the Olympic Games and a whole night of TV because of the election in US. This somehow describes the complete time I had my TV on last year.

But since the election I have turned on my TV for two times: To see if I really was cut down from 7 programms to 3 with the start of DVB-T in my region (yes) and to watch Dinner for One on New Year's Eve. Since then - nothing. I do watch DVDs from time to time, but mainly on my computer, as I don't own a DVD player. in fact I'll probably go out today and buy me one of my favorite Billy Wilder movies today: One, two, three. (It is a black and white movie and one of the funniest - if you don't know it, go see it.)

My mom has satellite and she has QVC and HOT on it - I absolutly love how they present overpriced crap for 10 minutes explaining all the beautifull aspects of it. And when they present technical gadgets or computers etc I am sitting there giggeling. But back to commercials. How do I watch commercials, when I don't watch TV? I download them (preferred) or see them at websites.

I frequently check the IBM Germany website on their tv commercial page and have a collection of them on my harddisk - back in the days they offered all of them. I don't have all, but some of the most precious. The overall archive is about 2 GB - and just been added have two MSN Search commercials which I found at Mick's principius page:

Now that MSN have officially launched the non-beta version of MSN Search, they have made some TV ads to go along with it…the “Basketball” (.wmv file 1.03MB) ad is nice, but i like the feel and impact of the “A New Way to Search” (.wmv file 1.46MB) ad…
I disagree with 'nice' - the basketball ad just screams Nike all over it (yes, I have them too and like them) and does not involve feelings for the new search. But the second one is a clever one: Go to MSN Search and you will find everything in it.

This is defenetly going out to Joe User, who most of the time does not even understand the difference between the search entry box and the adress box at the top of his browsers. Now he is assured: If I go there, there is everything in it. And I also heard some judgement about "MSN Search finds more than google" - most of the time it does not, but Goolge just displays pages above a certain rank. Joe User just compares 1 Mio entries against just 500.000 - MSN is better.

So the emotional impact on the second ad is great. But I still can't figure why the hell the new MSN has such an ugly layout? And the "add to MSN"-button too? Is this a new style loved in the US? *brrrr*

Be careful. Skype Voicemail beta might breakt your skype at all :o(

04.02.2005 / filed under default

After getting more and more 'jealous' on people's having the Skype voicemail beta, some good soul invited me (after some bribing). But now I can't login any more - and not go back to the old version. You think you might be able to install such a software in a different location from the non beta - no way.

I can't even try some of the recording features - because some versions ago, Skype moved the option panel to be only accessible when you are logged into - and there you go. So how am I supposed to do my scheduled weekend work when I am not able to connect to them? *arg*

We will have to see how long it will take Skype to answer on such a answer request; I hate it. :(

Join the "don't steal my focus" initiative!

01.02.2005 / filed under default

Just received a call from Garth, probably because I announced "why I hate developers if you don't have good keyboard support" as one of my next podcasting topics and he brought one absolute user interface nightmare of windows to my attention. The thing I get upset about at least 5 times a day. He writes:

I can't cope with this one any more: applications can still steal focus with an alert. If I'm typing, by the time I've noticed the alert appear I've already dismissed it and I don't know what I just told it to do. It might be half an hour before I realise it's deleting everything to free up disk space.
I have turn off that free diskspace wizard, but the moment he mentioned "do you multitask and did it ever bothered you ..." I screamed YES YES YES!. Can someboday please stop this madness?

Some people call me obsessed but I beg to differ: I am just a woman who knows how to handle things like her keyboard and I don't like being handled by a stupid application screaming "Look at me! Look at me!". I try each day to ban this frustrating experience (which happens to me each day several times) from my memory, but it is really something I get angry about. [Hear me ranting about things before? You've heard nothing yet.]

Just to give you two examples from my daily experience:

  • each damm download from IE is cancelled bevor being copied to the desired location and I have to grab it out of the temp dir, yes each download at work

  • I still have not found all switches for skype about calls
Whoever designed that concept needs to be punished - hard, very hard.

It seems to me as if the designers of such "Non User Interaction" stood under the impression that a user would a) just use one application or b) just would click around with the mouse and c) wait after each click somewhere until it really is finished. I am a keyboard junkie and while downloads take their time, I do things. And I type fast. I have presed several times space until I *hear* the pop up sound sound of that window which indicates "Copying now, Cancel?". The window does not even appear most of the times!

And no, I don't want to hear about registry setting number 2134, I want this thing to be turned off. Forever. Keep it in the background, where it belongs.

Until some minutes ago, I felt helpless. But Garth reminded me of the power of the blogs. So let's try if we can get rid of it and I ask you to join Garth and me on this crusade for a usable windows UI. Garth again:
I figure that if anyone whose attention I can grab for 15ns can push this one along to the point of being fixed in (say) Longhorn, it's Robert Scoble. I also figure that getting Mick Stanic and Nicole Simon in on the action will help: Mick because he's good at griping, and Nicole because she's as obsessive about user interaction and keyboard control as I am. I'll keep you all posted on how we do.
As Garth does not have a proper blog with comment function or trackback, you might use this blog if you like, but the main thing is: blog about it.

Does someone feel like making a button? :o)

Update: We are not the only ones, take a look at this "Don't steal my focus" piece by J. Scott Johnson - and it is from 2002 ...

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I am Nicole Simon, 34 years old and located in Lübeck, Germany. This is my English blog with the Useful Sounds podcast which is now newly located at usefulsounds.com)

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