Who is the Silicon Lumberjack?

Today a new voice joined the Portland-area tech/startup news scene: the Silicon Lumberjack.

I think it’s a voice that needs to be heard. Bad news isn’t popular, and critique of pet projects that fail often ruffles feathers. I received quite a bit of grief when I expressed displeasure at the ThrivePDX effort for example. Everyone jumped all over me in comments here and on Twitter, but the event (and the whole effort with the indie techies and SAO) failed in a big way.

Ideally we can have open, honest discussion about not just successes but also failures. And in the spirit of openness and honesty, I’d like to ask the author of the Silicon Lumberjack to identify him or herself. Please don’t be that passive-agressive stereotype.

Presenting at WordCamp Seattle: Intro to Blog Monetization

I’m excited to be heading up to Seattle in April for WordCamp Seattle 2011. I’ve been selected to present “An Introduction to Making Money With a Blog”. Aimed at an audience that’s curious about how to start bringing revenue with a blog, we’ll cover the following:

  • Prerequisites – things to think about as you plan to make money. A quick overview of some considerations that will help guide your monetization strategy.
  • Revenue Sources – options for income and a look at the plusses and challenges of each one. I’ll talk about advertising, sponsorship, affiliate programs, membership sites, and product sales.
  • Lists – a quick look at email lists and how to effectively tie one into a blog revenue stream.
  • Resources – where to go, what to read, and who to follow to learn more about making money with a blog.

Tickets are on sale now for WordCamp Seattle and I’d love to have you join me for what should be a great event.

If this sounds vaguely familiar it might be because this presentation will be similar (but not identical) to a talk originally presented at the Portland WordPress User Group earlier this year. That talk was very well received so I’ll start with it as a foundation and incorporate some improvements as well.

Notifications, and Why I Think Marco and Ben are Wrong About Them

One of the key reasons why I can’t see myself owning a current-generation iPhone is the horrible notifications system. To be honest, the flexible/powerful notifications provided by Android are one of the huge selling points of the phone OS.

Recently Ben Brooks and Marco Arment have commented on notifications and I think that while they miss the point, they’re too jaded by iOS experiences to understand how the Android notification system, when configured what I’ll term as “correctly”, just works.

Both Ben and Marco make the point that if everything becomes an in-your-face notification, then any notion of importance is lost. They’re right. The other notion is that notifications should be easily ignored/dismissed if desired.

The Android notification system allows the user to control these things on a granular basis. In my case, the only time my phone will buzz is with a (relatively rare) SMS message. It doesn’t buzz me for Twitter mentions, emails, or anything else that’s likely not of urgent importance. If you want it to bug you constantly, you can configure it that way, but that’s not required. To address the second issue, it’s easy to drop down and view, or shove up and hide, the notification list. There’s a “Clear” button if you want to dismiss them all, but if you want to scan quickly through the notifications and pick out certain ones, you can do that as well.

In short, I think the Android notification system (when setup as desired) addresses the concerns. That said, those in love with iOS might think that the vast amount of configuration options for notifications would be quite un-Apple-like. The problem with Apple’s one-system-fits-all approach is that a single system won’t ever make all happy.

Email and My Full Circle

In the olden days, email was the way that information was conveyed online. I’m talking 1997ish.

Later (let’s say early to mid 2000s), spam became a problem and most email management tools, well, sucked. As a result, I started consuming information via other methods including RSS. I hated dealing with email.

Fast forward to 2010. Gmail (and especially Gmail with priority inbox) rocks. Spam is filtered. People are getting smarter about how to send email.

I like email again. I’m encouraging people to send email. I’m subscribing to things via email. With the right tools, I enjoy using email again.