Friday, February 22, 2008

MS Project for personal goals and milestone management

I am a personal systems guy. I'm up to system number 4222.1 from my early days with DayTimer pocket books to the "What they don't teach you in Harvard" rolodex card system, to a custom filemaker database of to dos and projects to palm then treo then GTD then paper and round and round...

....and after all that one thing is true.

The most inspiring thing is to have a goal and to knock off the steps until you get there and to see how your actions affect WHEN you'll get there.

Enter Microsoft Project.

Not for corporations, not for business... just for plain personal goals.

I just started recently putting in a simple goal like "Having a 5 days holiday with my wife in Florence Italy" and using Projects many tools to prioritize and manipulate the various factors until I have a holistic view of the many things I'd love to do balanced with the things I have and need to do, to start to get a clearer idea of when there is chance these might happen....

This is especially rewarding when you can do scenarios where other things get in the way and your deadlines and milestone dates get pushed... it helps so much to prioritize and make good decisions...

If you like the idea I can share a template with you.. feel free to comment if you want and Ill send you one...

10/6/08: Due to popular demand a template for what I am talking about is available here.

Click here to see some notes about the template.

SEO Healthcheck website idea: realtime ranking warnings

I have yet to fully research what is out there, but I really see a need for a web service that monitors your web sites ranking on the big web sites and warns the site owner or anyone else that wants to know about changes to their sites net visibility. Ideally Id like to include a main report page with changes and date time that the change recorded. Also email messages, sms notifications or RSS feeds that tell the subscriber about changes.

The engine would take the search phrases you enter and the web site domain or page that you want to monitor and parses the data to give the ranking of the highest ranked page or domain listing that meets your criteria... ie if no results in page 1 then go page 2 etc... of course the engine would only search the first 100 entries...

The project may also be useful in monitoring changes to the way the Google engine works...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New concept: Right-click any word to research a purchase

Way back around 99, I worked with IP law firm Akin Gump to try for a patent in the area of bridging supplier web sites (like Nike.com per se) with retailer sites (such as footlocker.com) so that anyone looking at a supplier site could be easily linked to a retailer site without the need for the supplier setting up a retailer database, or the retailer having to convince the supplier to link to them... in my ideal world, a trusted accounting firm such as Ernst&Young would run the site and all the suppliers in the world would have a little icon attached to every product page that would link to the E&Y database that in turn linked to a list of retailers search-able by price and distance.

On the retailers side all they needed to do was publish their inventory to E&Y as a backup of their existing inventory control system and voila... an internet surfer could look at the Lays website for the flavor potato chips they like and then with one click know the nearest 711 that had it in stock and what price they were asking.

That idea got shelved.. until this morning.

Laying in bed at 5.30 I started thinking about how to sidestep the whole Google search/ advertising monopoly and tap into the communal collective that has so far been so effective in places like blogs, wikipedia and ebays rating system...

So here's the idea.

A user is reading an article that mentions a product name or keyword that they are interested in investigating with an aim to purchasing. They simple double click to select the keyword or drag to select the relevant expression and then right-click.

What appears on the right-click menu is a function called shop4this that appears because the user has loaded a browser extension to add this capability at some previous time. Upon selecting shop4this the word or selection is copied to memory along with a snapshot of the surrounding text so that an intelligent anticipation can be made of what the user is interested in researching to buy.

The user is taken to the shop4this.net web site. Why a dot-net rather than a dot-com site? Well firstly because the dot-com site was already owned, but also because the concept behind the idea is a network of people, not a single entity/ company. Anyway I digress...

The shop4this web site is displayed in a new window or tab and shows the user the best results for the search it can find. Options are new, used or both and to search by price or location assuming the user has supplied their zip code as a reference.

This is where it gets interesting... if there are no entries (or not the right kind of entries) for the item, the user is invited to share their research with the other users of the shop4this site in return for credits generated by advertising income from the site. So the agrees to go into monitor mode (which I haven't worked out exactly the best way to do yet) and searches the web until they find a good solution. Then, possibly using a right-click selection again, the user links their original search phrase with their desired found result for others to use and for them to get credit for finding.

Using a reputation system, and self editing along with a reward system that sees 50% of the advertising revenue return to searcher and the other people who use his or her search results, this thing may have some legs.

Business Model
Of course advertising can play a part in this. Google Ads-ish sidebar text ads etc are a no-brainer. But sellers on the web can also sponsor their links from the shop4this site. The links would be highlighted as sponsored so that people know they will get credits for following that link compared to others. So the site makes money three ways.
  1. Direct competitive advertising a-la Google
  2. Indirect/ related advertising a-la-Google. and...
  3. Link sponsership where a portion of the retailers sales are shared back with the searcher who originally found the item/ search link and the followers who followed the path to the retailer.
How about these metrics:
  • A web site owner pays $20 per month to sponser links to their product pages. The sponsorship includes up to 2000 pass thru links and up to 100 products.
  • The shop4this site keeps a flat 20% for themselves for operations
  • The original searcher links to one product on the sponsers page. At this time there are 50 other searchers who have linked to various other products/ pages on the sponsers web site.
  • The searchers get to share 50% of 80% ie 40% of revenue from the site owners $20.
  • The other 40% is shared amongst the followers who use the link.
  • So if 50 searchers share the 40% at a ratio equal to the number of total visitors that used the searchers link (ie one searchers link represents 20% of the sites link traffic) the searcher would get 20% of 40% of $20 (or $1.60) in credits.
  • When the credits hit $30 they get a check or a Paypal credit. Plus they get 60 days to claim.
  • When a follower links to the page for the first time, and a total of 1000 hits link to the site over the month, they receive as credits 1/1000th of 40% of $20 which is 0.8cents for the visit.
What do you think? Has this got legs... why not leave a comment to say whether you would try something like this...

Note: Ric is actively working on this project with a view to securing a patent for some or all of the ideas expressed in this blog entry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hotswap battery story hits Engadget.com

This article about one of our recent rojects called Hotswap Batteries just hit Engadget one of the most popular technology sites on the web:

Hotswap laptop batteries let you keep the juice flowing - Engadget: "Sure, most laptops let you swap out a battery while the machine's asleep, but sometimes you need things to stay running while you switch out powerpacks -- which is where inventor Ric Richardson's hotswap batteries come into play. In addition to their traditional contacts, the cells have a small extension that plugs into your machine's power jack, allowing you to take out the dead battery and plug in the new one without having to shut down. It's a deceptively simple idea, but Richardson's got a patent on it, and he says he's talking to various companies like HP and Lenovo about using it in consumer laptops. We're definitely intrigued -- but here's hoping there's a good way to stow that cable afterwards."

Hotswap laptop batteries let you keep the juice flowing - Engadget

This article about one of our recent rojects called Hotswap Batteries just hit Engadget one of the most popular technology sites on the web:

Hotswap laptop batteries let you keep the juice flowing - Engadget: "Sure, most laptops let you swap out a battery while the machine's asleep, but sometimes you need things to stay running while you switch out powerpacks -- which is where inventor Ric Richardson's hotswap batteries come into play. In addition to their traditional contacts, the cells have a small extension that plugs into your machine's power jack, allowing you to take out the dead battery and plug in the new one without having to shut down. It's a deceptively simple idea, but Richardson's got a patent on it, and he says he's talking to various companies like HP and Lenovo about using it in consumer laptops. We're definitely intrigued -- but here's hoping there's a good way to stow that cable afterwards."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

ReputationDefender > Search and Destroy

This is an idea who’s time has come… site does reputation management, privacy advocation and online child identity protection.



We search across every corner of the web to make sure you know everything that's said about you. We do this using best-in-class technology to identify where your name or images of you exist. Our expert Reputation Specialists will investigate social networking sites, blogs, new articles, web pages, reference souces and all other forms of online content. Then we'll present the information to you for your review and consideration. We'll also help you understand what might be damaging to you and if you don't like what you see, we'll go back to work for you!

The Destroy process is all about returning you your good name. We will work 24 by 7 to remove and rework unwelcome information. Restoring your privacy and your good name is our chief goal!
So try us out now, and see what Search and Destroy can do for you.


ReputationDefender > Search and Destroy.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

FileMaker Skype Plugin... Skyping up my 3G laptop....

Found this great plugin for Filemaker.. it may be the missing piece in my attempt to build a 13” touchscreen screen 3G enabled laptop-based answer to the iPhone… only better.



FileMaker-Skype Integration

Use FileMaker to make or answer calls directly in Skype.

Control your calls

The product is a plugin for FileMaker. It enables you to make or answer calls directly from FileMaker using Skype. You can control your contact list in Skype or use its possibilities to make conference calls or sending and receiving voicemails and chatmessages in your solutions.


FileMaker Skype Plugin.

Wifi on a 2GB SD Card... excellent idea


Eye-Fi still hasn't taken the world by storm, but the company is hard at work improving the WiFi-enabled SD card, which is now available in Ritz Camera outlets. The newest feature for the cards, due on February 12, is called "Smart Boost," which will intelligently prioritize where data is going to improve battery life. If your computer is on or awake, the Eye-Fi will send photos across the LAN to the client software, which will then handle the upload to your fave photo service, but if the Eye-Fi doesn't detect your machine, the chip will send images the service directly. Of course, this is all assuming you're still on your home network, so the practical effect is pretty low, but it's nice to see the company trying -- just let us know when the Eye-Fi can use open hotspots, okay?


http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/227645700/

Google Webmaster Guidelines... know thy target

Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise penalized. If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on Google.com or on any of Google's partner sites.

Webmaster Guidelines.


After reading much of the book ‘search’ (muchly about Google) I have been working out how to get zkimmer pages to blast up the pagerank on Google searches… some very interesting reading amongst these links at the bottom of the Guidelines…



Quality guidelines - specific guidelines



If you determine that your site doesn't meet these guidelines, you can modify your site so that it does and then submit your site for reconsideration.


All the above I got from a reference to the Google Webmaster Guildelines in the Google Search book.

Palm 755p still not 3g capable... everyone except AT&T

The smartphone you love. The speed you demand.

The Palm® Treo™ 755P smartphone delivers everything you need in one go-anywhere, Palm OS® device. It combines a smarter phone with wireless email2, a built-in web browser,2 and rich media capabilities—all at blazing, broadband-like speeds.3

Palm - Products - Palm® Treo\.


I have 3g for my laptop.. it screams.. but still have boring old CDMA for my AT&T cell… one day soon I am going to work out how to get a palm that is 3G capable and hack a copy of skype so that a data plan and a 3G sim will unleash me from the celullar networks and charges forever… still dreaming.