Thursday, November 30, 2006

WiFi protection guidelines become law in California

Greetings Your Day listeners. On the air today we talked about a forthcoming law to protect you from inadvertently opening a free WiFi hotspot at your house. Since that recording this has become the law of the land in California.

From The Register:
From 1 October 2007, manufacturers must place warning labels on all equipment capable of receiving Wi-Fi signals, according to the new state law. These can take the form of box stickers, special notification in setup software, notification during the router setup, or through automatic securing of the connection. One warning sticker must be positioned so that it must be removed by a consumer before the product can be used.

We are next live on 12/14/2006!

qv: [The Register]

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Podcast: We answer your tech questions in November

Phil Yanov and Eric Rodgers and talk about the Wii, Digital Cameras, Buying a computer, buying a GPS, X-Box 360 over heating, and more...

I have not yet put together the show notes but they will be posted here when I get to it.

By the way, we include a plug for the GSATC Gadgetfest lunch on December 13. Please come and see us if you are in the area!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Google Maps for Mobile adds GPS, but where is the Blackberry support?

Google has announced GPS support for their Google Maps for Mobile. Alas, only the Samsung Helio is supported in this initial release. I have used Google Maps on my various Blackberry phones with great success. I have been amazed at just how slick they have been able to make the Blackberry Client. Pan, Zoom, routed directions, and the satellite view all work to the amazement and delight of anyone I show it to. The satellite view really is amazing when you are in an area with good pictures. The only missing feature is the ability to start routing a map from wherever you are, especially if you don't know exactly where that is. I understand that keeping the GPS unit on in the Blackberry would be an incredible drain on the battery, but allowing the software to just ask "Where am I?" on an as needed basis would be a great help with much less impact on battery life.

Blackberry owners unite! Beg Google for GPS support for the Blackberry!

qv: [Google Blog - Get Lost]

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Yet another cool reason to use Flickr for sharing photos

Yanov. Get yours at guys at Flagrant Disregard keep pumping out cool new ways to play with your Flickr photos. Now they let you build a badge that is mostly intended for use in your Flickr profile, but can be pasted anywhere you'd like to advertise your Flickr prowess.

qv: [Flickr Profile Maker]

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

If Jack Chick and Stan Lee had a baby... comic

This won't make much sense to you unless you have seen and remember Jack Chick tracts lying in a truck stop, laundromat, or all you can eat buffet restaurant. These little comics are designed primarily to scare the Hell out of you so that you will start going to church, buy some tracts of your own and start leaving them around the truck stops, laundromats, and buffets you frequent most. It was viral marketing before the web. The message was easily remembered "You are going to Hell unless you do what this tract says" and easily replicated, "send us a few bucks and we'll send you a bunch of these tracts." It's a high fidelity chain letter that promises great riches, albeit in the hereafter.

Jack Chick and his famous pamphlets probably deserve a deeper treatment in this blog. They aren't going to get it today. Instead I point your attention to a rather clever parody of Jack Chick's work that alerts us to an entirely new Armageddon scenario.... We are all going to be eaten by a giant guy from outer space.

Read this and be saved: Galactus is Coming!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Yahoo swallows Bix -- Indigestion to follow?

Online contest and social networking website Bix has announced their intention to be gobbled up by Yahoo. Bix allows members to post contests and then have the community vote on the winners. Contests range from karaoke to poetry, from photography to stand-up comedy. As can be imagined, the range of quality of the submissions is dramatic. While the best stuff seems to be lifted from the usual suspects like YouTube and MySpace where they were previously lifted from the actual copyright holder, there are original photos, poems,and even stand-up comedy routines on the site. In August, when Bix came on as a sponsor to GigaOM, Om Malik ran a $100 contest where the lucky winner was able to post an entry on his GigaOM blog.

Bix has captured one very identifiable slice of Web 2.0 and user generated content and Yahoo decided they would like to own that slice.

Apparently the sale has brought them a boost to traffic, take a look at the Alexa traffic report:

qv: Bix

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Google, Yahoo, Micrsoft Agree on sitemaps -- Hmm....

The Press Release starts:

In the first joint and open initiative to improve the Web crawl process for search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft today announced support for Sitemaps 0.90 (, a free and easy way for webmasters to notify search engines about their websites and be indexed more comprehensively and efficiently, resulting in better representation in search indices. For users, Sitemaps enables higher quality, fresher search results. An initiative initially driven by Yahoo! and Google, Sitemaps builds upon the pioneering Sitemaps 0.84, released by Google in June of 2005, which is now being adopted by Yahoo! and Microsoft to offer a single protocol to enhance Web crawling efforts.
Now added to The Infinite List Of ToDos --create sitemaps for my websites.

qv: Sitemaps

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I am my own Grandpa!

As thoughts turn to family for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday, the following video makes me appreciate that my family isn't as complicated as it could be:

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flying Foam Circus Girls!

You heard right! This desktop cannon will fire foam darts bearing the likenesses of circus dolls up to 10 feet. That range should allow you to attack co-workers two cubes away! The real trick of this baby is that it is Universal Serial Bus connected to your computer, thus allowing you to aim the cannon via your PC keyboard. It's just one more reason security wonks everywhere are trying to lock us out of corporately owned USB ports.

qv: Firebox

via Greg

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wonderboy Revisted - Fall Brawl III

Three years ago today, I helped Ray Thompson promote a kickboxing event at the Palmetto Expo Center. It was fun and definitely exciting. After the event, I pulled together some of the best pictures taken by our event photographer and put them in a slideshow with some music.


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

57 Million Blogs and counting...

Some highlights from Dave Sifry's most recent state of the Blogosphere:
  • Technorati is now tracking more than 57 Million blogs.
  • Spam-, splog- and sping-fighting efforts at Technorati are paying dividends in terms of the reduction of garbage in our indexes, even if it does seem to impact overall growth rates.
  • Today, the blogosphere is doubling in size approximately every 230 days.
  • About 100,000 new weblogs were created each day, again down slightly quarter-over-quarter but probably due in part to spam fighting efforts.
  • About 4% of new splogs get past Technorati's filters, even if it is only for a few hours or days.
  • There is a strong correlation between the aging and post frequency of blogs and their authority and Technorati ranking.

qv: State of the Blogosphere (with Charts!)

Make yourself useful - celebrate usability

"A cell phone should be as easy-to-use as a doorknob."

It's World Usability Day! It seems like a lesson we could carry with us every day, but it is nice to know that there are people, in this case, the Usability Professionals Association who have taken on the mission of reminding us that some of the stuff we use is harder to use than it should be and that we should celebrate those things that are actually a delight to use.

The UPA offers a conference, webcasts, and official proclamations in support of World Usability Day 2006. They even suggest that you carry a red balloon with you as you photograph items in your neighborhood that are notable for their usability (or lack thereof.) Photos to be uploaded to their Flickr group, of course. Got a full schedule, but still looking for a way to support usability everywhere? Sign the charter.

qv: World Usability Day

We'll be LIVE on November 20

Due to scheduling conflicts previously mentioned, we have been wiggling about a bit on the schedule for our Live radio call in segments. This is a reminder that the next one will be next Monday. Below is an excerpt from the official Press Release:

The following "Your Day" radio programs from Clemson University Radio Productions are scheduled to air on South Carolina ETV Radio for the week of November 20, 2006. The program airs from noon to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Listeners can call in during a "live” show by using the toll-free phone number: 1-888-539-8859.


A sea change in Congress. Dr. Bob Becker, Director of the Strom Thurmond Institute on Government and Public Affairs at Clemson University looks at the historical precedents and possible implications of the midterm elections with Dr. Adam Warber, a professor in the Clemson University Political Science Department.

Berkeley County Blueways. Bob Schuster talks with Berkeley County Supervisor Jim Rozier about the Blueways, a 175 mile system of kayak and canoe trails.

A live call-in segment on the Internet and related technologies. Eric Rodgers hosts Internet expert and blogger Phil Yanov, executive director of the GSA Technology Council. Listeners can call in via the tollfree number 888-539-8859 to ask questions about using the Internet, computers, new digital devices, and related topics during the second half of Your Day.

Mark your calendar and give us a call!

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First post with new Google Beta Blogger

It looks like Google has made the new version of Blogger available for all blogs now. This blog is posted via ftp to my own hosting service, a configuration not previously was not supported by the beta Blogger while they were testing. Google says it works. I guess I'll know in a minute or two. This is my first post using the new version of Blogger.

ps: Google still refers to this new version of Blogger as Beta Blogger. Wasn't the last version of Blogger a beta as well? And doesn't this name sound like some sort of heart medicine?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Statewide SC CIO Conference a success

I just got back from South Carolina's first state wide CIO conference. There were over 126 CIO and IT Executives at the opening of the event and additional execs came for day two. The event organizers, Marc DiFrancisco and his crew our of Portland, Oregon did a fantastic job of pulling the event together. I got to meet a lot of fascinating people and got involved in some wonderful discussions surrounding IT, Security, and better ways to measure and manage the risks of IT projects.

The upstate of South Carolina was well represented! I found it gratifying to see so many of our local IT Executives in attendance. Kudos to them for taking the time to invest in a bit of learning and networking.

I plan to write a bit more about the conference over the weekend, but I mention it now just in case you wonder where I have been for the past couple of days.

I've got an excuse.... I was Conference Director of the first annual South Carolina CIO Forum and Executive IT Summit in Columbia,SC.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Something new for Phil Yanov!

View Phil Yanov's profile on LinkedIn
I am fortunate to announce that I am now with The Kidder Group. As many, some, or perhaps just a couple of you know, in the hours I am not blogging, podcasting, hosting the radio show, or working with the GSA Technology Council and the IT Leadership Council, I connect IT professionals with companies that could most benefit from their expertise. I am now doing exactly that with The Kidder Group as a Vice President. The Kidder Group has been doing business, primarily with engineering professionals, in Greenville for over 9 years, and I am excited to now be leading the charge for their IT Division. Simply put, they are good people and I am honored that each of us has developed such mutual admiration for the other's methods and values as to allow us to forge this alliance.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Zune.NET is launched -- Zune cometh on 11/14

Microsoft is launching their new Audio player on November 14, a day marked with mirth and frivolity for those who observe Phil Fest!

Other than the chocolate color, the Zune device doesn't seem to have much sizzle. I am guessing that it might all come in the software and user interface. The idea of being able to zune / squirt / shoot a song to a friend using the WiFi signal seems like a fun way to share music. I'd like to give it a try myself.

It reminds me in a way of the first days of my Palm PDA with infrared beaming. As soon as I saw someone new, I would beam them my contact info so I would be in their address book and would then invariably show them how to set up their business card so that they could send their info to others later. It was always a fun conversation and I enjoyed helping people get more out of their PDA. I hope the Zune is as much fun.

Until the 14th, you can see what Microsoft has has planned for Zune at

I am currently working to get an evaluation unit that we can talk about on the radio show. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Google Goes Solar -- in a big way

According to RED HERRING: "Google has ordered the largest corporate solar installation in the world."

Over 9000 panels will be installed, powering about a third of their offices in Mountain View, California.

Clinton Police Officer Resigns Over Page

A Clinton Public Safety officer resigned Thursday after being questioned about things he posted on the popular Web site

... page contained sexually explicit images and profanity.

He also talked about 'white power.'
People seem to be surprised to find out that their online contributions to social networking websites are available to the public. This is despite the many articles appearing about potential employers scanning MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook before making hiring decisions. To most I offer the advice of carefully considering who might be looking and what they might think if they see your photos, opinions, and ideas posted online. To the guy referenced in the news story, I'd suggest getting some professional help.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Paypal HQ goes boom!

Reuters at Wired:
An explosive device blew out a thick, plate-glass window Tuesday evening at the Silicon Valley headquarters of PayPal, the online payments unit of eBay.

We'll hope it was just a Dell laptop someone left next to the Window.

via: Wired News

How to make great photo calendars in 2 simple steps.

Kathryn Calendar - November 2006
Steps to making a great Photo Calendar:

1) Take a great photo.

2) Follow this link to Flagrant Disregard's Calendar Maker and follow the simple directions there.

I have been making at least one calendar a month every month since the birth of my daughter and this one page tool has made them all. It's simple, easy, and elegant.

qv: Create custom calendar from a digital photo

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The real monsters at - they're looking to scam you.

Phil Yanov - as seen on TV.Tim Waller and I got together last week and taped a segment on the perils of using the internet to look for a job. It seems that some unsavory types are using internet job boards to scam people into giving up their personal info. It's bad news. Be sure to watch Tim's piece at the WYFF website.

qv: Buyer Beware: Be Careful Sharing Info With Potential Employers

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pants make the man.... YouTube Style

There is something to be learned here:

Haggar has put a series of these adverts up on the web. They are well done, longer than you'd get to see in a commercial on TV and so funny that you are likely to pass them on to your friends. What do you suppose this is costing them?

I know one thing -- next time I need to kick some ass, I am going to make sure I get some Haggar pants first. They're tough.

qv: Haggarfilms on YouTube

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Is this the future of news?

From Northwestern University's Infolab:
News At Seven is a system that automatically generates a virtual news show. Totally autonomous, it collects, parses, edits and organizes news stories and then passes the formatted content to an artificial anchor for presentation. Using the resources present on the web, the system goes beyond the straight text of the news stories to also retrieve relevant images and blogs with commentary on the topics to be presented.

Did they say "totally autonomous?" Automating any one of the elements of presenting a newscast seems possible, but automating all of them? The effect as demonstrated by the video above is mesmerizing. I guess we should take solace in the fact that the original inputs to News at Seven are the stories written by people who gather news, sift through the facts and create stories from them. The implication of this system is that much of what we see on a newscast could be automated.

qv: News At Seven

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