This is a list of books currently on my To Read shelf... literally. I do not suggest or anti-suggest any of them at this time as I haven't read them yet.
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In reading Peter Kim's post on "Social Media Predictions 2009", it was interesting to read some similar points to things I said here almost two weeks ago. It means either I'm reading things correctly or the Social Media guys are making the same mistakes that I'm making in my analysis.
After all of that, I realized that there's still a fundamental disconnect in what companies think and how reality works...
I've worked with numerous companies on their [choose one: blogging, Twitter, social media, Facebook, etc] strategy. Many of them still believe that [choice from above] is supposed to be used predominantly to share press releases. More interestingly, the effort is led by the marketing team with oversight from the legal department.
First of all, you don't get [choice from above] entries. You get "content" or "copy". You get things that have been scrubbed through marketing and legal and offer nothing of value to the outside world.
Yesterday I noted how good and useful forks in Open Source Projects could be. Well, it turns out I was horribly wrong and I'm using this space to admit it:
Forks are the highest order of evil and a plague on our society.
First, it's a way to divide the attention of the community. Instead of having a single project/effort to watch, the community has to evaluate both and figure out which one works for them. If there are feature differences - or module support differences - they'll have to figure out which ones do or don't work... or worse, which ones partially work.
At php|works last month, Jay Pipes had the closing keynote where he talked about forks in reference to Open Source Projects... just to (not!) go out on a limb here and say: I agree!
There are a variety of reasons that it makes sense to have - and sometimes actively encourage - forks...
First, it's a way to inject new life into a project. There are many Open Source Projects which are out there with a handful of commits and almost no activity... or worse, there are even more that move quickly for a while and then crumble into nothing. The couple of people that come together to work on the release don't ever pull it together and actually make that release.
In my regular web wanderings recently, I found a great post entitled "The 7 Worst Verbs Programmers Use In Function Calls" and couldn't help but be reminded of a system that I worked on a few years ago. The core function of the system was named - no kidding - "doStuff". Everything in the application led towards that, used it, and then did other things as a result.
There are lots of reasons this is a bad function name...
First, there's the obvious one: it doesn't mean anything. "do" doesn't tell you whether it's uploading, downloading, processing, saving, deleting, updating, or anything else. It's an empty word. You don't "do", you "do something".
About 20 months ago, I underwent a procedure. Although my life was never in danger and I didn't have to spend a single night in the hospital, the procedure was not without pain or difficulties. Regardless, the last 20 months have been like a whole other world. I benefit from greater flexibility, better vision, and a better resistance to virii. All in all, I will never regret the final step of dropping Windows - and more importantly Internet Explorer - for Ubuntu Linux.. and more importantly Firefox.
Let's face it, we do have some things to thank Microsoft for in IE6... namely the XMLHttpRequest object. This concept was copied by all the other browsers and eventually became the Ajax that we know and love. Without Ajax, the web would not be as much fun and we'd still be all web1.0 and junk.
But haven't we suffered enough?
Any and all discussion and information in this post should be taken as professional commentary and analysis for a US-based audience, not legal advice. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. When in doubt, talk to an attorney. When not in doubt, talk to an attorney. Either way, do some research first and have intelligent questions for them. It will save you time, money, and stress.
Every so often in my professional life, I get a Non-compete Agreement across my desk. The vast majority of them are along the lines of "you can't solicit our customers, we can't solicit yours for N months/years". A few are along the lines of "any inside information learned from us cannot be used for anything other than what we authorize".
I find both of these to be reasonable and normally sign them with little - if any - hesitancy.