Monday, December 31, 2007

Loic Le Meur’s Ten Rules For Startup Success

Included in the article are his ten rules for startup success. Reprinted below.

  1. Don't wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible
  2. Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.
  3. Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.
  4. Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.
  5. Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.
  6. Be the first to recognise a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.
  7. Don't spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.
  8. Don't obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.
  9. Don't plan a big marketing effort. It's much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.
  10. Don't focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.

Web 2.0 for Designers

The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we're looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways.

In Web 1.0, a small number of writers created Web pages for a large number of readers. As a result, people could get information by going directly to the source: Adobe.com for graphic design issues, Microsoft.com for Windows issues, and CNN.com for news. Over time, however, more and more people started writing content in addition to reading it. This had an interesting effect—suddenly there was too much information to keep up with! We did not have enough time for everyone who wanted our attention and visiting all sites with relevant content simply wasn't possible. As personal publishing caught on and went mainstream, it became apparent that the Web 1.0 paradigm had to change.

Enter Web 2.0, a vision of the Web in which information is broken up into "microcontent" units that can be distributed over dozens of domains. The Web of documents has morphed into a Web of data. We are no longer just looking to the same old sources for information. Now we're looking to a new set of tools to aggregate and remix microcontent in new and useful ways.

These tools, the interfaces of Web 2.0, will become the frontier of design innovation.

The evidence is already here with RSS aggregators, search engines, portals, APIs (application programming interfaces, which provide hooks to data) and Web services (where data can be accessed via XML-RPC, SOAP and other technologies). Google Maps (in beta) provides the same functionality as similar competing services but features a far superior interface. Flickr 's interface is one of the most intuitive and beloved around. Del.icio.us offers personal and social functionality, and reaches far beyond its own site. Interfaces like these are changing the way we store, access, and share information. It matters very little what domain content comes from.

Web 2.0 has often been described as "the Web as platform," and if we think about the Web as a platform for interacting with content, we begin to see how it impacts design. Imagine a bunch of stores of content provided by different parties—companies, individuals, governments—upon which we could build interfaces that combine the information in ways no single domain ever could. For example, Amazon.com makes its database of content accessible to the outside world. Anyone can design an interface to replace Amazon's that better suits specific needs (see Amazon Light). The power of this is that content can be personalized or remixed with other data to create much more useful tools.

There are six trends that characterize Web 2.0 for designers. In this introductory article we'll summarize each of those trends and give brief examples. In upcoming articles we'll explore each trend in more detail.

Writing Semantic Markup: Transition to XML

One of the biggest steps in realizing Web 2.0 is the transition to semantic markup, or markup that accurately describes the content it's applied to. The most popular markup languages, HTML and XHTML, are used primarily for display purposes, with tags to which designers can apply styles via CSS.

These markup languages are not semantically dead, however. Designers can describe content, but only to the extent that it fits within the (X)HTML tag set. For example, designers can mark up content as headers, paragraphs, list items, citations, and definition lists using the <h1>, <p>, <li> , <cite> and <dl> tags, respectively. For some simple documents, these tags are adequate to describe content effectively. For most documents, however, there is no way to accurately describe the content with the (X)HTML tags we have available. In Web 2.0, this description is not only possible, but also critical.

Though HTML and XHTML give us only a glimpse of what it means, there is one technology demonstrating clearly the power of semantic markup. RSS is an XML format for syndicating content. It is an easy way for sites to tell people when there is new content available. So, instead of browsing to your favorite site over and over again to see if something is new, you can simply subscribe to its RSS feed by typing the RSS URI into a feed aggregator. The aggregator will periodically poll the site, notify you if something is new, and deliver that content. It's a real timesaver.

Providing Web Services: Moving Away From Place

During the early years of the Web, before content had semantic meaning, sites were developed as a collection of "pages." Sites in the 1990s were usually either brochure-ware (static HTML pages with insipid content) or they were interactive in a flashy, animated, JavaScript kind of way. In that era, a common method of promoting sites was to market them as "places"—the Web as a virtual world complete with online shopping malls and portals.

In the late 90s and especially the first few years of the 21st century, the advent of XML technologies and Web services began to change how sites were designed. XML technologies enabled content to be shareable and transformable between different systems, and Web services provided hooks into the innards of sites. Instead of visual design being the interface to content, Web services have become programmatic interfaces to that same content. This is truly powerful. Anyone can build an interface to content on any domain if the developers there provide a Web services API.

Two great examples of the shift away from place to services on the Web are Amazon.com and eBay, both of which provide an immense amount of commercial data in the form of Web services, accessible to any developer who wants it. An interesting interface built using eBay's Web services is Andale, a site that tracks sales and prices to give auction sellers a better idea of what items are hot and how much they've been selling for.

Remixing Content: About When and What, not Who or Why

Associated Press CEO Tom Curley made an important and far-reaching keynote speech to the Online News Association Conference on Nov. 12, 2004. In it he said, "… content will be more important than its container in this next phase [of the Web]… Killer apps, such as search, RSS and video-capture software such as TiVo—to name just a few—have begun to unlock content from any vessel we try to put it in."

Curley was specifically addressing journalists and the media industry, but this insight applies equally to the design profession. Web design during Web 1.0 was all about building compelling places (or sites) on the Web. But content can no longer be contained in a single place—at least not without going against the nature of the social Web and locking up your content in a secure site.

Web design in Web 2.0 is about building event-driven experiences, rather than sites. And it's no coincidence that RSS is one of the key building blocks. RSS feeds enable people to subscribe to your content and read it in an aggregator any time, sans extraneous design.

Searches can also be mixed with RSS to let people subscribe to content via topic and tag RSS feeds (from PubSub or Feedster, for example). These so-called "future searches" not only let people mix content from various sources, but end up being yet another way for users to bypass a site's visual design.

Because content flows across the Web in RSS feeds and can be remixed along the way, Web designers must now think beyond sites and figure out how to brand the content itself.

Emergent Navigation and Relevance: Users are in Control

As a result of the remixing aspects of Web 2.0, most content will be first encountered away from the domain in which it lies. Thus, much of the navigation that is used to reach a specific item might be far removed from the navigation specifically designed for it. This "distributed" navigation might come in the form of a feed reader, a link on a blog, a search engine, or some other content aggregator.

One of the side effects of this is that the sources of and pathways to useful information will continually change, and users won't necessarily know where to go to find it. Fortunately, content aggregators have a built-in answer for this—they can track what people are doing. By recording what pieces of microcontent are most often visited, aggregators can use past user behavior to predict what users will find most relevant in the future. This is very apparent in Daypop, Del.icio.us, and Blogdex feeds. What people have found relevant in the past is likely to be useful in the future.

With relevance decided within these third-party interfaces, users might even be able to read content without ever visiting the domain it comes from. Navigation schemes, as we know them, will be used less. The most traveled navigation paths will emerge from user behavior instead of being "designed" specifically for it.

Adding Metadata Over Time: Communities Building Social Information

One feature of Web 1.0 that seemed to change everything about publishing was the ability to make changes to the primary publication at any time. There are no "editions" or "printings" on the Web like there are in the print world. There is simply the site and its current state. We are used to this paradigm now, and an optimist can hope that Web content will only get better with time: metadata will be added, descriptions will get deeper, topics more clear, and references more comprehensive.

What we see happening in Web 2.0 is a step beyond this, to where users are adding their own metadata. On Flickr and Del.icio.us, any user can attach tags to digital media items (files, bookmarks, images). The tagging aspect of these services isn't the most interesting part of them, though. What is most interesting are the trends we see when we put together everyone's tags.

Let's say, for example, that we tag a bookmark "Web2.0" in Del.icio.us. We can then access del.icio.us/tag/Web2.0 to see what items others have tagged similarly, and discover valuable content that we may not have known existed. A search engine searches metadata applied by designers, but Del.icio.us leverages metadata applied by folks who don't necessarily fit that mold.

Shift to Programming: Separation of Structure and Style

In Web 1.0, there were two stages to visual Web design. In the early years, designers used tricks like animated GIFs and table hacks in clever, interesting and horrible ways. In the last few years, CSS came into fashion to help separate style from structure, with styling information defined in an external CSS file. Even so, the focus was still on visual design—it was the primary way to distinguish content and garner attention.

Enter the Web 2.0 world, which is not defined as much by place and is less about visual style. XML is the currency of choice in Web 2.0, so words and semantics are more important than presentation and layout. Content moves around and is accessible by programmatic means. In a very real sense, we're now designing more for machines than for people. This may sound like we're in the Matrix, but in the words of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, "Web 2.0… is about making the Internet useful for computers."

What does this mean for Web designers? It means designers have to start thinking about how to brand content as well as sites. It means designers have to get comfortable with Web services and think beyond presentation of place to APIs and syndication. In short, it means designers need to become more like programmers. Web 2.0 is a world of thin front ends and powerful back ends, to paraphrase Bezos.

Summary

The effects of Web 2.0 are far-reaching. Like all paradigm shifts, it affects the people who use it socially, culturally, and even politically. One of the most affected groups is the designers and developers who will be building it—not just because their technical skills will change, but also because they'll need to treat content as part of a unified whole, an ecosystem if you will, and not just an island.

To summarize, these are what we see as the six main themes covering design in the Web 2.0 world:

  1. Writing semantic markup (transition to XML)
  2. Providing Web services (moving away from place)
  3. Remixing content (about when and what, not who or why)
  4. Emergent navigation and relevance (users are in control)
  5. Adding metadata over time (communities building social information)
  6. Shift to programming (separation of structure and style)

Our purpose in this column is to analyze those themes and figure out what Web 2.0 means for designers. We'll explore the new technologies that are making it happen, take a closer look at the new interfaces that demonstrate its power, and ponder the social effects it has on the people who use it.

As we move along, we hope that designers who may be wary of the promises of new technology help us focus on the practical aspects of this one, the subtle but real changes that Web 2.0 is having (and will have) on design.

Office and conference FlickrFans

I don't have an office, and I'm not running a conference, so I hope to hook up with someone, hopefully in the Bay Area, with either of these, to try some experimentation with FlickrFan.

First a little background...

My first glimpse of how wonderful news photography and screen savers are together was when I visited Andy Rhinehart at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal on 2/15/05. He had to go to a meeting, and left me in his office to check email, update my blog using my laptop. HIs PC of course went into screen saver mode, and started showing pictures of various political leaders in meetings around the world and sporting events, people digging out of snow storms. It didn't take long before my eyes were fixed on his screen.

Later I found out that everyone at AP does this too.

If you have a folder of new pictures on your LAN it makes a fantastic source of distraction. But it's different from video because it's silent. You can have a conversation about what's on the screen without interfering with it, or try to have a conversation about something else entirely.

This is something we noticed about podcasting too, that sometimes less is more.

Because there is no video you can: 1. Use your eyes for something else, like driving, walking, doing housework. 2. Use your imagination in ways you can't with video, imagine what the speakers look like, where they are, who else is there. Once your imagination is activated in one direction it goes off in others.

So photocasting or picturecatching, whatever it ends up being called, has a similar "less is more" dimension.

So then I tried an experiment, I put an early version of FlickrFan on a 46-inch screen in my den, and when people would come over to visit I'd leave it running and we'd talk about whatever we were going to talk about, and I wasn't surprised to see the attention drift over to the TV. It's captivating.

So I'd like to try it in two new venues to see what happens.

1. In a reception area in an office. Imagine one of the buildings at Microsoft. Or a doctors office, or the lobby of a VC firm. Install a big flatscreen TV on the wall, with a Mac Mini behind it, with a net connection, and let it run. See if people don't gravitate to it. See if people don't want to have meetings in the lobby. (I think some might.)

2. At a conference, like Demo or Davos, scatter four screens around the main lobby (not the meeting room), with one Mac driving them all or each with its own Mac Mini. Again see how it affects the dynamic. You might want to show pictures taken at the conference for a unique recursive effect. Or just use the AP news photo feed. Either would be sufficient to learn how it works. I bet we would learn a lot.

Let me know if you decide to give it a try, and by all means please blog about your experiences, share what you learn with the rest of us.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 by Dave Winer.

Linux Put Open-Source in the Spotlight

The creator of Linux sees his operating system project as an exemplar of the merits of the open-source development model.

In an interview with APC Magazine, Linux kernel developer Linus Torvalds says, "Linux was instrumental in making the whole issue of Open Source move into the mainstream software development consciousness."

He also points out the key divisions within the open-source movement -- between those who want to ensure software's freedom and those who just want to make software that's "technically better" -- and questions the value the more vocal, ideological approach brings to the table:

I dislike the frothing-at-the-mouth ideology (to me, ideology should be something personal, not something you push on other people) and I think it's much more interesting to see how Open Source actually generates a better process for doing complex technology, than push the "freedom" angle and push an ideology.

And I think that pragmatic approach was what made Linux and Open Source also much more palatable to many more people, and helped make it mainstream.

396pxlinus_torvalds_talking.jpeg

Torvalds has a point here. Not to say that proponents of free software have any less belief that an open-source development model produces a better end product, but the "frothing-at-the-mouth", dogmatic statements made by some on behalf of the open-source software community probably slowed the software's adoption by larger corporations and business-minded IT folks shopping around for a better server installation.

There's always been a debate about the merits of "free" in the open-source crowd, but when a big name like Linus throws a statement like that out there, it's bound to elicit a strong reaction.

But Linus does say some things that everyone can agree on -- the overall advantages of allowing programmers to futz with the code however they see fit, for example.

"If some experimental kernel shows that it was actually the right direction, we don't end up having psychological road-blocks to switching over or to merging the code," he says. "May the best code win."

Twenty Top 10's of 2007

Top 10 lists of 2007 @lifehacker

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Building an Online Empire

Types of Websites You Can Create to Make Money.

  1. Affiliate Review Website. Create a website that reviews affiliate products like make money online programs, web hosting services etc. Run it on Wordpress and update it everyday with affiliate feeds or articles. How much you'll make depends on how thick (amount of content) the website is.
  2. Product Fan Blog. Create a Wordpress blog around a popular product and update everyday with news about the product. The iPhone is a good example of a hot product to choose. Traffic will be quite decent over time if the product/s have longevity.
  3. Auction websites. Create a website that is similar to eBay to allow users to sell and buy products from each other. You will generate income by monetizing through ads and drawing a commission through each sale. You might get some steady revenue if you sell high ticket products or go niche enough to get a loyal user base.
  4. Dating Websites. Dating websites are communities which allow users to register, chat with and meet other interested users. They can be easily setup with turnkey scripts although you'll really need a customized template and some coding work done to make it competitive or attractive enough to get some users. Markus Frind is currently the biggest individual Adsense publisher and makes well over $10K a day from his free dating site, Plenty of Fish.
  5. Made for Adsense Websites . These are websites with a keyword domain and they come with a bunch of pre written articles around a specific topic. Examples of common topics include acne, cancer, health and finance. These are generally boring, low maintenance sites that are plastered with contextual ads. Incredibly easy to create using the Wordpress platform.
  6. Affiliate Product Website. This is a salespage which sells an electronic product like an eBook. Create the product, buy an existing one or just get someone to do it. The main way to make money is to drive or buy traffic to your salespage and make money when they buy your eBook or opt into your email list. This is an easy way to generate some real income, especially if you are have a great niche product or am skilled in promoting your personal brand and salespage.
  7. Online Games/Arcade Sites. Get someone to develop an online game that is for members only and earn money by selling points, which allow users to unlock extra options within the game. Arcade sites are simply sites with a collection of flash or online games. They are monetized through display ads. Games can spread quickly if they are very well designed and appealing.
  8. Forums or Social Network. Pick a topic that is able to attract a decent amount of users and create a forum or social network. Income will not come quickly and a lot of work is needed to build the community. Create a blog on the same domain and use for promotional purposes. There is a potential to earn a good amount of money when the forum gets big or popular.
  9. Specialized Search Engines. Build a search tool that allows visitors find media of specific types. Include your adsense ads within the search pages. This sort of tools usually don't do very well unless you provide additional value on top of search. Examples of things to add include ajax search, folksonomy and recommendation engines.
  10. Paid Membership Site. These are membership sites which provide ongoing educational lessons on a specific topic or offer a large archive of resources, along with a forum. An example of this is the Teaching Sells website. Members will pay a fixed fee every month to maintain their membership.
  11. Design/Coding Service Site. Create a website that offers customized logo or website design, alongside coding for PSD to XHTML, Wordpress and Joomla. Hire freelance coders and designers and manage them. Pay them a portion of each sale and promote your website through blogs and webmaster forums.
  12. File Hosting Website. Set up a file host which allows users to upload and share their files online with other users. There's a tremendous amount of competition in this niche so its very difficult to make some real money unless you innovate on features or market it well.
  13. Web Directories. A web directory provides listings for websites and makes money from both display advertising and sale of premium listings. Most of the work needs to be focused on marketing and branding the site. Niche directories with a good reputation might find it easier to make money.
  14. Online Web tool. This includes URL shorteners, spell checkers, picture editors, file converters and various webmaster tools (keyword volume, link popularity). Visitors will often return to your site to use these tools if they are comprehensive enough or if your site is well designed and genuinely useful.
  15. Proxies. Proxies are websites which allow a websurfer to not only surf anonymously but bypass certain filters which prevent one from viewing a site. They are popular with the Myspace crowd and will often require a dedicated server. There are many proxies on the market but they may be worth exploring. Income is largely passive.
  16. Commercial Template Sites. Basically this involves the creation of readymade website templates for sale. They can be bundled up into sales packages and traffic can be obtained through PPC advertising. If you're not interested in producing original templates, you can run the site using affiliate feeds from the other more established template websites like Template Monster.

Top 10 Most Popular Torrent Sites of 2007

Here is the list, as of December 29, public BitTorrent sites only.



1. Mininova

Without a doubt the most visited BitTorrent site. In November, Mininova reached a milestone by entering the list of the 50 most visited websites on the Internet.

Alexa rank: 46

2. IsoHunt

IsoHunt continued to grow this year. In September they were forced to close their trackers to US traffic because of the issues they have with the MPAA, but this had no effect on the visitor count.

Alexa rank: 143

3. The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay has been in the news quite a bit this year and remains not only the most used BitTorrent tracker, but also one of the most visited BitTorrent sites. At the moment they are fighting with IsoHunt for the second place in this list.

Alexa rank: 147

4. Torrentz

Torrentz is the only "torrent site" in the top 10 that doesn't host .torrent files. Several improvements and new features have been introduced over the past year such as a comment system, private bookmarks and a cleaner layout.

Alexa rank: 160

5. BTjunkie

BTjunkie was one of the fastest risers last year and continued to grow throughout 2007. Last month they were, like many others, forced to leave their ISP (LeaseWeb), but the transition to a new host went smoothly and didn't result in any downtime.

Alexa rank: 445

6. TorrentSpy

TorrentSpy was the most popular BitTorrent site of 2006, but dropped to sixth place due to legal issues with the MPAA. To ensure the privacy of their users, TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US, causing their traffic to plunge.

Alexa rank: 461

7. TorrentPortal

Not much news about TorrentPortal this year, but that probably is a good thing. Like most other sites they have grown quite a bit in 2007.

Alexa rank: 481

8. GamesTorrents

It's quite a surprise to see GamesTorrents in the list of 10 most popular BitTorrent sites of 2007. This Spanish BitTorrent site had a huge dip in traffic earlier this year but managed to secure 8th place.

Alexa rank: 583

9. TorrentReactor

TorrentReactor.net has been around for quite a while, four years to be exact, and is still growing.

Alexa rank: 604

10. BTmon

BTmon was one of the newcomers in 2006, and it is the youngest BitTorrent site in the top 10 this year.

Alexa rank: 673

Honorable Mention: Demonoid

For being one of the most visited BitTorrent sites until they pulled the plug in November.



Top 5 Newcomers

1. SumoTorrent

SumoTorrent launched this April and quickly became one of the more popular BitTorrent sites.

Alexa rank: 1021

2. SeedPeer

SeedPeer launched in September and is formerly known as Meganova.

Alexa rank: 2924

3. Zoozle

A BitTorrent meta-search engine, launched in January.

Alexa rank: 2987

4. Extratorrent

Launched a year ago, it got a serious traffic boost earlier this year.

Alexa rank: 5304

5. BitTorrent.am

BitTorrent.am is also indexed by Torrentz.com, and was launched early 2007.

Alexa rank: 6903

Time's Person of the Year: You

The "Great Man" theory of history is usually attributed to the Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle, who wrote that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." He believed that it is the few, the powerful and the famous who shape our collective destiny as a species. That theory took a serious beating this year.

To be sure, there are individuals we could blame for the many painful and disturbing things that happened in 2006. The conflict in Iraq only got bloodier and more entrenched. A vicious skirmish erupted between Israel and Lebanon. A war dragged on in Sudan. A tin-pot dictator in North Korea got the Bomb, and the President of Iran wants to go nuclear too. Meanwhile nobody fixed global warming, and Sony didn't make enough PlayStation3s.

But look at 2006 through a different lens and you'll see another story, one that isn't about conflict or great men. It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.

The tool that makes this possible is the World Wide Web. Not the Web that Tim Berners-Lee hacked together (15 years ago, according to Wikipedia) as a way for scientists to share research. It's not even the overhyped dotcom Web of the late 1990s. The new Web is a very different thing. It's a tool for bringing together the small contributions of millions of people and making them matter. Silicon Valley consultants call it Web 2.0, as if it were a new version of some old software. But it's really a revolution.

And we are so ready for it. We're ready to balance our diet of predigested news with raw feeds from Baghdad and Boston and Beijing. You can learn more about how Americans live just by looking at the backgrounds of YouTube videos—those rumpled bedrooms and toy-strewn basement rec rooms—than you could from 1,000 hours of network television.

And we didn't just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars and reviewed books at Amazon and recorded podcasts. We blogged about our candidates losing and wrote songs about getting dumped. We camcordered bombing runs and built open-source software.

America loves its solitary geniuses—its Einsteins, its Edisons, its Jobses—but those lonely dreamers may have to learn to play with others. Car companies are running open design contests. Reuters is carrying blog postings alongside its regular news feed. Microsoft is working overtime to fend off user-created Linux. We're looking at an explosion of productivity and innovation, and it's just getting started, as millions of minds that would otherwise have drowned in obscurity get backhauled into the global intellectual economy.

Who are these people? Seriously, who actually sits down after a long day at work and says, I'm not going to watch Lost tonight. I'm going to turn on my computer and make a movie starring my pet iguana? I'm going to mash up 50 Cent's vocals with Queen's instrumentals? I'm going to blog about my state of mind or the state of the nation or the steak-frites at the new bistro down the street? Who has that time and that energy and that passion?

The answer is, you do. And for seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, TIME's Person of the Year for 2006 is you.

Sure, it's a mistake to romanticize all this any more than is strictly necessary. Web 2.0 harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.

But that's what makes all this interesting. Web 2.0 is a massive social experiment, and like any experiment worth trying, it could fail. There's no road map for how an organism that's not a bacterium lives and works together on this planet in numbers in excess of 6 billion. But 2006 gave us some ideas. This is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them. Go on. Tell us you're not just a little bit curious.

10 Reasons Commenting is Good For Bloggers

  1. It's the right thing to do - people complain about not enough comments on their own blog but don't take enough time to comment on others. We all like some attention or an occasional pat on the head for a job well done. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself!
  2. Make friends and influence people - Blogging is partly a networking activity. People are more likely to link to you (or more) if they have heard of you. Get yourself out there, make friends.
  3. Clicks - People click your link to see what other interesting stuff you write about. Obvious but true.
  4. Develop a Bloggers Eye - Find the point of interest in a story. By commenting you are training your brain to think of something interesting.
  5. Create Commentable Content - By observing which posts you commented on and which you did not (or couldn't no matter how hard you tried!) you develop an awareness of what works to attract comments.
  6. Comments = Ideas - You managed to comment. Could your comment be expanded into a post …?
  7. You never know who is reading - It amazes me who reads my comments on obscure blogs that I thought only myself and a handful of others read. My comments on one blog lead to a consulting gig. You never know unless you try.
  8. What you give you get more of - I strongly believe what you put out comes back to you. You will get more comments yourself. Try it.
  9. Keep Match Fit - Exercise your writing muscles, the more your practice the more you improve. Comments should be short, fast, to the point and make an impact. They are excellent tests of your writing skill.
  10. Comment on Fresh Blogs For Fresh Perspectives - If you are always among the same crowd you will find inevitably the same thoughts being reflected back over and over. Break out! I advise people to comment on new blogs every day. By not commenting on the same old blogs, or especially setting a goal to comment on more blogs than the day before, you will be forced to leave your blog-reading comfort zone and visit new blogs. This exposes you to new ideas, different ways of looking at things, and hopefully a way out of the echo chamber.

10 great Web site designs/redesigns of 2007

Twitter

Twitter, which has really taken off this year, took a page from some popular blogging services like Wordpress and Blogger to let users tweak and style the way their user pages look. Beyond that, the service has a lot of character and a simple design that's easy to use.

Apple .Mac photo galleries

Apple's .Mac service got a considerable upgrade earlier this year, and even non-members can enjoy the new photo galleries. These things are gorgeous, and can be tweaked for both color and presentation by whoever is looking at them.

Continue reading to see the rest...

Google Docs and Spreadsheets

While the editing tools have remained the same, the front end for managing your online documents on Google's Docs and Spreadsheets service was given a massive overhaul in late June. Gone went the simple pastels in place of a whole lot of blue and a new management and sharing system that made it easier to organize documents and who you're sharing them with.

Adobe Buzzword

While Google mucked around with a front end of Docs and Spreadsheets, Adobe Systems Inc. was busy acquiring Virtual Ubiquity--the makers of Buzzword, a simply stunning Adobe Flash-based word processor. While we had (and still have) our reservations for using Buzzword over some of the other solutions out there, it's gorgeous, and makes the best use of fonts and design elements that we've seen in a Web based text editor.

Pownce

Pownce owes its stylized, yet simple look to Daniel Burka, who designed the understated Digg.com. Pownce does a lot of things right, including user-selectable themes and packing a lot of items in to a small amount of space without cluttering things up.

Vimeo

Vimeo.com's redesign in late June (their fifth total) shares a lot in common with Twitter and Pownce. There are rounded corners all over the place, and lots of big, simple text. We're also big fans of the layout, which is easy to dig through, and even better looking with the addition of videos in high def.

Picnik

Picnik. The first time we played with Picnik we were floored on how good it looked. Not only that, but how fast everything loaded. For the editing newbie, its clean and simple interface is a whole lot easier to approach than some desktop software when it comes to editing photos. Flickr users get the added benefit of having it as their default photo editing tool, as seen in the screenshot above.

Current

Media company Current TV, which is partially owned by former Vice President Al Gore ditched the TV moniker and went with the simpler Current.com for its new site that launched this past October. Besides having a slick layout, check out the " On TV" section, which serves up the latest live video in a really neat looking swooping channel guide.

Facebook for the iPhone

Facebook for iPhone. There are a ton of iPhone apps out there, but one of the most beautiful is the mobile version of Facebook. The site was designed from the very beginning to be make use of your fingers, and the app ends up being even prettier than the regular version of the site. Things like no page refreshes when clicking a link, and built-in slideshows make it functional and beautiful.

Fluther

Fluther. Got a question? Avoid the mean green of Yahoo Answers and check out Fluther's soothing aquatic-themed questions and answers site. Besides having a jellyfish mascot who wears glasses, the design is wonderfully simple, and pulls you into reading what others are talking about right away. The site's iPhone app ain't too shabby either.

11 Top New Web Apps of 2007

Because I love you, lifehack readers, here are 11 of the best web apps released in 2007!

  • bubblus
    bubbl.us: Flash-based mindmap creator bubbl.us allows you to quickly and easily make effective, attractive mindmaps that can be exported as images or as HTML outlines, or shared with others who can add new items or draw new connections between existing ones.
  • buzzword
    Buzzword
    : I've raved about Buzzword before, but it bears repeating: this online word processor is both gorgeous and a joy to use. Running in Flash, as you'd expect of an Adobe product, Buzzword works well and has a pretty full set of features already, and promises off-line functionality and PDF export in the near future.
  • empressr
    Empressr: Another Flash-based app, Empressr allows users to create and share slideshows using text, images, videos (including webcam captures created on the fly), and other rich media. Presentations can be shared on the Empressr site and can also be embedded in users' own pages.
  • highrise
    Highrise: From the good folks at 37signals comes Highrise, an enterprise-grade contact manager and customer relations manager. 37signals sets the standard for web 2.0 apps, so you know it's good: clean design, a highly functional interface, and interconnectivity with other 37signals apps.
  • jott
    Jott: A combination of speech recognition and live workers backs this "note to self" service, allowing Jott to produce remarkably accurate transcriptions of your spoken messages. Originally Jott simply recorded your message, transcribed it, and sent it to you to someone in your contact list, but their new Jott Links service connects up with various web services allowing you to post to blogs, add appointments to your online calendar, tweet with twitter, and add todos to your todo list.
  • mint
    Mint : Online money management made almost frighteningly easy, Mint allows users to add all their bank accounts, credit cards, stock trading accounts, and other financial information into a simple, clean view. Although some have raised concerns about the security of all this sensitive information, Mint's model was impressive enough to garner the TechCrunch40 Top Company Award (and $50,000 seed money).
  • nozbe
    Nozbe :Modeled on David Allan's "Getting Things Done" approach, Nozbe aims to be the ultimate GTD app. With easy-to-add next actions associated with contexts and projects, Nozbe comes pretty close!
  • sandy
    Sandy: Sandy is a virtual assistant centered on your email. You email Sandy with (almost) natural language statements, like "Remind me to call John Smith at 8am tomorrow", and Sandy emails you a reminder at 8am tomorrow to call John Smith. Coupled with Jott, Sandy is a really exciting service!
  • scrybe
    Scrybe
    : The much-anticipated release of Scrybe left some feeling let down, but hype aside, Scrybe could well become the online calendar of choice. Flash-based Scrybe uses a natural-language parser similar to Sandy's, allowing new entries to be created quickly and easily. The developers say they're hard at work on integrating Scrybe with Outlook, which would make Scrybe a hard one to beat.
  • todoist
    Todoist : Billing itself as "useful, fast and easy to use", Todoist can be nothing more than a todo list — you start typing into the text box, select a due date, hit enter, and move onto the next. With a little specialized syntax, though, you can format lists, search for multiple criteria, manage your lists from Gmail, and integrate with external services like Launchy and QuickSilver.
  • vitalist
    Vitalist
    : Another contender for the GTD app, Vitalist also offers next actions, projects, and contexts (unlike Nozbe, you can create your own contexts), as well as a virtual "tickler file" and a mobile-optimized version. GTD apps are a highly personal product — one person's way of getting things done might be nothing but a series of obstacles for another — so it's good to see so much competition and innovation in this space.

Ten Tips To Web 2.0 Your Office

Tip #1 - Disassemble the cubes

Sure, you don't need any privacy! Calling mom to check on when she's picking you up? You best head into the one conference room with walls and a door!

Tip #2 - Pillage the fallen for cheap furniture

I remember my first day at CKS in the mid-90s. They had 2 Aeron chairs for me at my desk area (it was very long with 2 work stations). I actually hate that chair - it was never comfortable to me and always made me feel like i was going to be thrown 40 feet in the air at any point. But it sure did say, "we know how to spend money!"

Tip #3 - Blacket the walls with whiteboards

Yea, nothing says Web 2.0 like whiteboards. When the press comes in, write up some code or some marketing lingo and draw some arrows. And put words like "acquisition" and so forth on the board. Then look at it in horror and erase it quickly. Would throw off those press types. If you do plan to use a whiteboard, USE AN ERASER. See Scoble sessions for why.

Tip #4 - Your company logo in the entryway

They are right - spend tons on the sign in the front - will make you appear 2 legit 2 quit. Though no name on the door can mean stealth startup and make employees feel more like a CIA agent. Add a secret number keypad for bonus points. Biometrics are so Web 1.0.

Tip #5 - Nerf balls

Let the boss win once in a while. Cuz when the funding is lower than expected, you know the person who dunked over the boss while everyone was watching is first to go.

Tip #6 - Project away

If you plan to use a projector - get one that can do more than 800x600 - that makes you look like a marketer. Anyone in the tech world should be using at least 1920x2500 on a projector!

Tip #7 - Circus Cookies & Diet Dr. Pepper

"Keep 'em eating sugar and they will work 20 hrs a day" said a CEO to me at a conference. Why not add on some B5 vitamins hourly?

Tip #8 - Miles of disorganized wires

The true Web 2.0 shop has 14.2 miles of wires. Yes, I have done the research.

Tip #9 - Turbo coffee machine with never ending bean supply

Jason Calacanis believes this is his tool to keep his Mahaloployees happy. I won't name the agency but one of the larger agencies in NYC has an actual coffee bar with barista inside the office for its employees. I'd prefer a lemonade bar.

Tip #10 - Lots of Headphones

I've been doing this for years. It's the best conversation deflector there is! Even if there's no sound, keep them on and the office gossip will stay away and so will your boss. If the boss breaks in, it is safe to worry that there's something bad coming. Just keep the sound on loud and they too will go away.

30 Weblogs with Grid Based Design

http://www2.jeffcroft.com
http://ryanbrill.com
http://www.subtraction.com
http://www.bs-markup.de
http://www.alvarocastano.com
http://www.achtentachtig.com
http://eswat.ca
http://5thirtyone.com
http://www.peterpixel.nl
http://blog.criticalwebdesign.co.uk
http://www.youtilize.com
http://warpspire.com
http://www.emanuelblagonic.com
http://www.andyrutledge.com
http://jonasboner.com
http://journal.barleyhut.com
http://www.quicksprout.com
http://intensify.org
http://www.gapersblock.com
http://dfckr.com
http://meiert.com/en
http://usabletype.com
http://ideasonideas.com
http://intensify.org
http://www.jambor-ee.com
http://www.buzzingo.de
http://svenigson.com
http://riverfrontpark.com
http://design.weblogsinc.com
http://www.invalidresponse.com

... more

The Top 10 Heartbreaking Gadgets of 2007

1. Wii
2. Orbo
3. HD DVD
4. One Laptop per Child
5. HTC
6. Vista
7. Canon EOS-1D Mark III
8. Palm Foleo
9. Apple TV
10.Amazon Kindle

Play Free or Die

Great Web games you don't have to pay for.

Best old-school side scroller: No, the Tall Stump does not have advanced texture modeling, but its charms are plentiful. Rejoice as you navigate through a charmingly cartoonish land of passageways, tunnels, and tubes, jumping, shooting, and collecting coins in an attempt to free your girlfriend from her pink candy prison. Sound familiar? It should: It's pretty much Super Mario Bros., but with paper hats and cacti instead of plumbers and broad Italian stereotypes. Mamma mia, this is a great little game!

Best all-purpose corporate game site: Who besides the Doublemint Twins would've thought that a chewing gum company would boast one of the Web's best gaming sites? There are dozens of games at Wrigley's Candystand—sports games, arcade-style games, puzzle games. All of them are easy to learn and fun to play, and none of them have anything to do with chewing gum. That's a serious flaw, to my mind; I have long dreamed about the possible ways in which Juicy Fruit's citrusy tang might translate into video-game form.

Best sports game: Crave a workout but too busy or apathetic to leave your chair? The best sports-themed games can fool your brain into thinking that you're actually playing a sport, instead of clicking a mouse and eating beef jerky. England Academy, a rugby game on the BBC's Web site, is the best in show here. When I first played this, I had no idea what I was doing or what the rules of rugby were. Several dozen attempts later, I'm still clueless—it has something to do with dropkicks and enthusiastic group hugs—but it's still fun as hell, and the mental gyrations required to follow along will get you close to actually breaking a sweat.

Best puzzle game: Thought that the era of locked-room mysteries died off with John Dickson Carr? Think again: The locked-room puzzle, wherein you start inside a sealed room (or car, or closet) and find your way out by virtue of your puzzle-solving skills, is alive and well on the Web. (I don't know why most of these games come from Japanese studios, but I suspect it has something to do with those creepy capsule hotels.) A lot of these games have a limited appeal, because all it takes to win is random mouse-clicking. But the best one I've found, Guest House, strikes the right balance between clicking, solving, and creepy blue-skinned women in futuristic iron lungs. I'm still waiting to find the cheat code that lets you blast your way out with a rocket launcher.

Best retro lo-fi game: Gamma Bros. brings back memories of Galaga, Centipede, and similar Golden Age pizza-parlor arcade classics. You're a spaceman who has to fight an unending fleet of pixelated enemy starships. That's it. Best played in leggings, Zubaz, or an Ayatollah Assahola T-shirt. 2008 is the new 1985!

Best simulation of your boring life: For some reason, there's a wildly successful subgenre of casual games that simulates the completion of mundane service-industry tasks: making and serving pizzas, for instance, or hamburgers. (To read more of my thoughts on the perils of such games, click here.) I'm not sure whom this stuff appeals to, but I suspect there's some sort of global conspiracy afoot involving Aramark and Tricon Global Restaurants. Choosing the best one of these games is sort of like choosing the best type of heart surgery, but if I had to choose, I'd go with Miss Management (requires download), which puts you in the role of a harried office manager tasked with, um, managing an office. A paradox: This is the one game in this list that you can play openly at work, but you might find actual work more entertaining than this game. Damn you, cruel irony!

Best text-based game: Text-only games—beloved by those who spent their high-school math classes playing Drugwar on their TI-82 calculators—are still around, even though they're now as anachronistic as floppy disks. Aunts and Butlers embraces this anachronism like no other text game I've found. Written by one Robin Johnson, a man who has modified his computer to resemble an old-timey adding machine, Aunts and Butlers features a Wodehousian plot involving miserly aunts, invaluable valets, and delightfully loopy ways to die: "A serial killer leaps out, effects an expert murder upon your person, and buries you on the nearest moor." Losing a game has never been more charming.

Best game with a social conscience: No matter how bad things are going, you could always be a subsistence farmer in Haiti. (To our Haitian subsistence-farming readers: God bless.) Ayiti: The Cost Of Life makes the Oregon Trail look like Candy Land. The game puts you in control of the lives of a Haitian family of five. You have four years to guide the family through a catalog of privations and calamities: hurricanes, robbers, depression, illiteracy, and on-the-job injuries. Ideally, you'll find education, prosperity, and health, but you'll probably just come down with malaria and die.

Best game in which I'm a character: Throw Shoes At Stu! (click through to "Arcade"). My friend wrote this game, based upon an independent movie in which I appeared. The object of the game is to throw sandals at my head until I am dead. Don't trip on any of the boxes that I scatter in my wake, however. If you do, you'll blast off into space. This really makes more sense if you've seen the movie, which you almost certainly have not. It's still fun to throw shoes at my head, though.

The Year in Online Video 2007

Where would we have been in 2007 without the power of online video? It made us
laugh, it made us cry, and most importantly it made us laugh at crying people. Without it, we may very well have never known that prisoners in the Philippines like '80s pop, that prairie dogs look an awful lot like Alfred Hitchcock, and that somewhere out there an ottoman is seeking therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder...

... look

YouTube Videos of the Year - Most Memorable Weren't the Most Viewed

Top 10 YouTube Videos of All Time

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Citizens as Voluntary Sensors: Spatial Data Infrastructure in the World of Web 2.0

Michael F. Goodchild

National Center for Geographic Information andAnalysis, and Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara,CA 93106-4060, USA.

good@geog.ucsb.edu

pdf

freeware-software.org

Best Free and Freeware Software for Windows™

2007: The Year in RSS

This past year was a big one for RSS. RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, was the backbone of all early developments in the new era of the internet. It made blogs readable, podcasts subscribable, wikis trackable and search persistent. While explicit, knowing adoption of RSS is often said to be dismal ("it's too complicated, it's just more info overload" etc.) - I think we may be underestimating the extent of adoption. Here's my list of highlights from 2007, what's yours?

Three years after a 2004 Pew study found that 1 out of 20 people online said they used an RSS aggregator to read content online (in 2004!) - RSS was in 2007 the 3rd most searched for "what is" term on Google all year. Only "love" and "autism" were looked up more and RSS beat out both "emo" and "HPV."

For whatever reason, it's the consumer space where RSS remains the strongest. It's been more than a year since pundit Steve Gillmor argued that any corporate executive worth anything was already getting their news by RSS. Enterprise adoption seems in reality to be lagging far behind where it ought to, though. Each of the leading enterprise RSS vendor startups has had to raise a pile of money over the last 14 months.

Thus our look at the major events in 2007 for RSS and syndication focuses almost entirely on the consumer market. This list was assembled with the help of tens of people who edited it with me on a wiki.

The Big Events in RSS for 2007

  • Facebook Introduced Millions of People to Syndication
  • No single event probably came close to the impact of Facebook's explosion in popularity in terms of popularizing the concept of syndication and feeds. While the application platform is of debatable utility, the News Feed is one of the defining elements of the world's hottest social network. Almost all other social networks have followed with similar functionality and explaining RSS is now as simple as saying "it's like the Facebook News Feed."

    • Google Bought Feedburner
    • This Spring Google bought RSS publishing and analytics service Feedburner for a mere $100 million. While the rise of Google Reader helped the advertising giant capture a huge portion of reader Attention Data and trend information - buying Feedburner extended this knowledge all the further. Feedburner was a brilliant business that was ahead of its time and probably ought to have waited out the market until it could have commanded a much higher price. What do I know, though?

    • Google Reader Takes the Lead
    • In February, both Feedburner and rival RSS ad network Pheedo published reports about RSS reader market share. Both companies demonstrated that the new Google Reader was a dominant product but that the still innovative Bloglines and the fall-off-a-log-simple MyYahoo! retained substantial market share. They used to be the leaders, though.

      Google Reader is a very nice product that keeps on innovating, most recently with the addition of some simple social networking functionality and an off-line mode. 2007 was also the year that Google Reader finally added search! The product is not well suited to the rare freaks among us with more than 1000 subscriptions, however.

    • Feed Services Began to Tackle Prioritization
    • For some crazy reason the world is full of people who still feel morally obligated to read every single item in their feed reader. These people, probably the majority of RSS users in fact, complain that RSS is becoming a big source of information overload. (Hint: it's ok! Just read what you can and don't worry about the rest!)

      For anyone who reads feeds, though, prioritization and personalized recommendations are two things that hold a whole lot of promise.

      In 2007 both Bloglines and Newsgator were among the companies who moved towards implementing a simple, open Attention Data standard called APML. A wide variety of other companies began experimenting with other methods of systematizing and automating prioritization and recommendation as well. Expect this to be even bigger in 2008.

    • Cross Platform
    • Google Reader, Newsgator and Netvibes all began offering mobile versions of their feed readers in 2007. Google Reader went offline using the new Google Gears.

    • Yahoo! Releases Pipes
    • In early 2007, Yahoo! released an RSS mashup and service suite called Pipes. While there's a long, long list of services built on top of RSS (my favorite is Dapper) the fact is that this major brand recognition brought a new validity and new user numbers to this very useful class of tools.

    • Feed Publishing Continued to Expand
    • The list of institutions now making RSS feeds available continued to grow rapidly over 2007, as the utility of the offering is undeniable. While no hard and firm numbers are available, one good source to get a feel from the breadth of feed publishers is the RSS Compendium Blog. From Dubai newspaper the Khaleej Times to to The American Academy of Family Physicians - all kinds of organizations started publishing RSS feeds in 2007.

    Big thanks to the many people who helped me put this list together in a wiki over the past few weeks. I love RSS and hope that next year will be an even bigger year for this world-changing medium.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Images

If you’ve ever tried to design a website or blog, you’ve probably felt the need to add images to your creation. It can be easy to see the Internet as a free-for-all, but images belong to the people who created them. Staying legal means you’ll have to either create your own images or buy them from stock sites. Fortunately, there are a number of sources for free images, and we’ve collected them here. So read on for 100 sources where you can find free stock images: and don’t worry — they’re all legal!

Most Popular

These resources are some of the most popular free stock image sites on the Web and with good reason. If you’re looking for some mainstream images, these are the first place to try.

  1. FreeFoto: FreeFoto.com claims to be “the largest collection of free photographs on the Internet.” They’re available for offline projects as well, as long as you’re not using them to make a profit.

  2. KAVEWALL: Look for images and textures in unique categories like tattoo, smoke, and food.

  3. Digital Dreamer: Free, royalty-free stock images can be found here.

  4. Free Photos Bank: This features a handful of the newest photos in their directory, so check back often.

  5. Free Digital Photos: Find gorgeous, easy-to-download photographs in categories like animals, celebrations, home & garden, and lots more.

  6. PD Photo: Browse through the categories and subcategories in this site’s database, most of which depict the urban and rural landscapes of the United States.

  7. Visipix: Search over a million photographs and fine art pieces.

  8. Cepolina: On cepolina, you can choose to save photos in up to five different formats.

  9. DexHaus: A wide array of beautiful images are found on this well-organized site.

  10. FreeStockImages.net: Chances are you’ll find whatever it is you’re looking for on this terrific site.

  11. TurboPhoto: TurboPhoto has 10 categories keep the high res photos easy to find.

  12. Yotophoto: An immensely popular site, Yotophoto is worth checking out.

  13. Stockvault: Search by photo subject or by the newest and most popular photos on Stockvault.

  14. Dreamstime: While most of the photos on this site cost a fee (some as low as $0.26/image), Dreamstime provides a few free stock photos.

  15. Open Stock Photography: This site offers over one million images for you to download and use however you want.

Community-Powered Content


In addition to being a great source of images, these sites host forums, file sharing and other features designed to nurture community spirit.



  1. Image After: Search tons of free photos on this site while meeting other photography lovers on the forum.

  2. Unprofound.com: Use the images however you want, just make sure you let them know where you’ve published it!

  3. Font Play: This site has nearly 10,000 free photos for you to use any way you want. Look under the “Guests” heading to search by your favorite contributor.

  4. Studio 25: This attractive site lets you upload and search images.

  5. Vintage Pixels: Share your archived photos with other users. Download images that work for your Web site or blog.

  6. Abstract Influence: Search for the stock images you want while talking about photography with other visitors on the site’s forum.

  7. amygdela’s atmosphere: This site hosts a forum and a blog, as well as tons of stock images.

  8. Every Stock Photo: A forum and blog keep this stock image site fun and informative.

  9. Photocase: The good people at Photocase are “prettying up the world.” Check out their great library of stock images.

  10. deviantART: Provocative photos spawn great debates on the site’s forum.

Artists Welcome


It’s probably pretty safe to say that every stock image site on the Web needs the help of photographers to keep it running. The following sites, however, really cater to the needs of photographers, designers, and other artists even though they’re donating their photos for free.



  1. Stock.xchng: Check out the gorgeous shots organized into lots of different categories, making your search as easy as possible.

  2. Morguefile: Browse thousands of beautiful photos in this site’s archives, but don’t miss their job board either!

  3. Woophy: This site organizes photographs by geographical location. Enter into their contest for a chance to win great prizes.

  4. The NOAA Library: Breathtaking science and nature shots are available at this site. Don’t forget to check out the “Meet the Photographers” page which includes short bios and descriptions of the featured photogs.

  5. Pixel Perfect Digital: Get tons of free stock images and read the latest in photography news.

  6. Free Range Stock: Photographers are rewarded for giving away their pictures by getting a percentage of the site’s total ad revenue.

  7. AMG Media: As long as you give credit to the photographer somewhere on your site, these images are yours for the taking.

  8. Free Photographs Network: Submit photographs for others to see, or download some for your own use.

  9. FreePhotos.com: If you’re a photographer, submit your best pictures for a chance to win cool prizes.

  10. PhotoRogue.com: If you can’t find a picture of anything you want, go to PhotoRogue.com and make a request for whatever it is you’re thinking of. Photographers will take pictures for you — and it’s still free!

  11. Graphicsarena.com: Submit your photos for consideration.

  12. Fotogenika: Send in your photos for other visitors to use on their personal sites.

  13. Image Temple: Send in your own photos to be included in this site’s gallery.

  14. Flickr: Most of the photos on this site are not free, but a clever search will turn up some real goodies.

  15. FreeLargePhotos.com: Downloaders must link their chosen photo back to the site, which gives the photographer credit.

Less is Sometimes More


Just because the sites listed in this section aren’t as expansive as some of the others on our list doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. Sometimes less can really means more, especially when it comes to narrowing down your search or coming across hard-to-find treasures.



  1. Mayang’s Free Texture Library: Download high-res textures from this site, which has categories like architecture, buildings, plants, wood, and stone.

  2. Liam’s Pictures from Old Books: Discover hard-to-find illustrations from old books, “most with multiple high-resolution versions.”

  3. Texture Warehouse: Find interesting textures at this great site.

  4. Free Stock Photos: Nature shots and religious themes are abundant at this free stock photography site.

  5. BurningWell: Totally free images are organized into categories like animals, bugs, cityscapes, people, plants, and textures.

  6. Design Packs: New images and themes are added monthly, so this site may not be a well kept secret too much longer!

  7. Amazing Textures: This site is a web designer’s dream. Browse hundreds of high res textures and backgrounds.

  8. Aarin Free Photo and Digital Images: These site boasts nearly 1,000 fantastic images for you to choose from.

  9. Image Base: On Image Base, breathtaking photographs are organized in categories like nature, concept, people, and city.

  10. Majestic Imagery: All the photos on this site were taken by the host.

  11. diwiesign studio: All the images are free, but if you’re a frequent user, you might want to consider making a donation to this photo entrepreneur.

  12. Zurb Photos: Photographer Bryan Zmijewski uploads his own images onto this site.

  13. tOfz.org: Find urban images for free, but consider making a contribution to this artist’s cause.

  14. LIGHTmatter: These gorgeous photos were all taken by the same artist, who also hosts the Web site.

  15. Insect Images: Find all kinds of photos of creepy crawlers here.

Stock Images Plus


There is a lot more to legal stock images than just a bank of free photos. The sites in this section all go beyond being a basic stock photography resource by offering more services that will help improve your search for and use of stock images.



  1. Creative Commons: This nonprofit site shows you how to license your images once they’ve been uploaded onto your site.

  2. Free Images: This British site offers free images as well as wallpapers, desktops, and a section of ideas and tips that will help you customize your image experience, whether you’re a photographer or not.

  3. Creating Online: This stock images site is an excellent resource for any new blogger or Web site developer. Learn about editing your images, hosting, domains, and more.

  4. ArtFavor: Find stock images, fonts, sounds, flash clipart, and more, are all on this terrific site.

  5. Geek Philosopher: Find hilarious and beautiful stock images side by side. Also check out the site’s blog and web hosting capabilities.

  6. Gimp Savvy: In addition to finding great images, Gimp Savvy also gives tips on photo touchups, making a collage, and more.

  7. Creativity 103: Find free abstract images and videos on Creativity 103.

  8. Afflict.net: Search photos and textures while learning about images in the tutorials section.

  9. One Odd Dude: Download photographs, wallpapers, textures, and more on One Odd Dude.

  10. Discover: Search for your favorite subjects or web sites, and hundreds of free icons, stock images, and other designs will appear.

  11. Photoshop Support: On Photoshop Support, browse photos, read the tutorials, and check out the great imaging tools.

  12. AncestryImages.com: Search antique portraits and use the geneaology resources link to connect you to even more tools.

  13. Free Media Goo: Download free stock images, audio, and video on Free Media Goo.

  14. National Park Service Digital Image Archive: Check out beautiful pictures taken for the NPS. This site also provides a link to the NPS official site.

  15. <New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Browse through thousands of prints, illustrations, and photos. Read the photographic services and permissions page for more information on downloading high-res files.

Miscellaneous


These image sites don’t necessarily fit into one particular category, but they’ve still got a lot to offer.



  1. Backgrounds Archive: Find beautiful backgrounds for your desktop or MySpace page.

  2. USDA Agricultural Research Service: The government’s Agricultural Research Service sponsors this “complimentary source of high quality digital photographs.”

  3. Holy Land Photos: Poignant photos of the Holy Land are available here.

  4. Stockcache.com: This site makes organizing your downloads easy.

  5. Four Bees: Browse through the stock images directory, or download royalty free music and video on Four Bees.

  6. Clipmarks: Search for free stock images with this handy tool.

  7. Yellowstone Digital Slide File: These beautiful shots of Yellowstone National Park are available for use by the media and public.

  8. Plants of Hawaii: Perfect for any botanist, this site has over 45,000 images of Hawaiian plants.

  9. Microshots: This site specializes in microscopic images.

  10. IN TEXTURE: Free stock textures are plentiful on this site.

  11. Trip Album: This site is all in French, but the photos are divided into categories based on country, making it easy to figure out.

  12. Orange Trash: Find pictures about Hungary on this Web site.

  13. Public domain stock photos: Browse categories like backgrounds, food, nature, objects, and seasonal on this site.

  14. BAJstock: Written in both French and English, this stock image site has tons of photos for you to use for free.

  15. NWYK Stock Image Library: This hilarious site provides free images that capture the drudgery and playfulness of office life.

General


These stock image sites offer a wide range of photo subjects, perfect for casual browsing or a way to get ideas before you plan out your site.



  1. Public Domain Photos: Check out these gorgeous pictures of animals, cities, landscapes, and more.

  2. Bigfoto.com: Find photos of beautiful places all around the world, as well as fun shots in the Christmas, grafitti, or food categories

  3. Photogen: Look through the Top 10 gallery to find the most popular downloads in a preview-friendly thumbnail format.

  4. Free Pixels: Find free photos, logos, or other images on this site.

  5. DHD Multimedia Gallery: Search through thousands of basic photos.

  6. PIX: This site is so easy, you don’t even have to register to download.

  7. Photo Rack: New photos are featured at the bottom of the page, so check back often to make sure you don’t miss anything great.

  8. Free Stock Photos: On Free Stock Photos, each image comes with a description detailing its size.

  9. Barry’s Free Photos: This is a great site for finding all different kinds of images for your Web site.

  10. Cromavista: This site is all in Spanish but still easy to navigate if you’re not a native speaker.

  11. IronOrchid: Several different categories allow for an efficient search on IronOrchid.

  12. Image Blowout: Have fun looking through these unique photos.

  13. FreeImages.com: Tons of categories and subcategories make searching for photos on this site simple.

  14. ilovefreePhoto: This fun, attractive site makes searching for that perfect photo a little less frustrating.

  15. Free Photo Station: Loads of great photos are all free on this site.

By Laura Milligan via

10 Commandments for Facebook Applications

10 Commandments for Facebook Applications... if you want a successful application. If you don’t want a successful facebook application; ignore at your own peril.

1. Make it simple. Users DO NOT read.
2. Don’t give users more than 2 choices for navigation on a page
3. Make invites part of the process for using the application initially
4. Use viral carriers: Mini-Feed, Notifications, invites, Messages, etc.
5. Give users a reason to come back
6. Let the application be the viral carrier
7. Focus on User Engagement
8. Start with Limited functionality
9. Always measure: adds, deletes, blocks, invites, page views, length of visit, etc.
10. Never stop iterating and changing your app.

There are another 20 commandments for facebook applications. But this should keep you on the path initially.

Time:50 Top 10 Lists of 2007

News
The powerful, the profound, the painful and the peculiar: These are the most noteworthy news events of the year

Arts & Entertainment
Here's our list of the year's most exciting artistic achievements

Science
A look back at the scientific community's year of significant advancements

Business, Tech & Sports
Here are the best deals and the biggest flops, the hottest tech toys and the most magical sports moments of 2007

Pop Culture
The year's most notable quotes, sordid breakups, appalling awkward moments and unexpected slogans

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Google:Software Principles

At Google, we put a lot of thought into improving your online experience. We're alarmed by what we believe is a growing disregard for your rights as computer users. We've seen increasing reports of spyware and other applications that trick you in order to serve you pop-up ads, connect your modem to expensive toll numbers or hijack your browser from the site you're trying to visit...

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Google:Our Philosophy

Never settle for the best

"The perfect search engine," says Google co-founder Larry Page, "would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want." Given the state of search technology today, that's a far-reaching vision requiring research, development and innovation to realize. Google is committed to blazing that trail. Though acknowledged as the world's leading search technology company, Google's goal is to provide a much higher level of service to all those who seek information, whether they're at a desk in Boston, driving through Bonn, or strolling in Bangkok.

To that end, Google has persistently pursued innovation and pushed the limits of existing technology to provide a fast, accurate and easy-to-use search service that can be accessed from anywhere. To fully understand Google, it's helpful to understand all the ways in which the company has helped to redefine how individuals, businesses and technologists view the Internet.

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