Friday, June 21, 2013

ABFloods twitter feed

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another Social Media post

Okay, so I was really addicted to Empire Avenue... For a couple days. I was ready to invest a bunch of time into this site and off to the races I went. I mean, my stock has shot up from 10.00 to over 18.00 in a couple days. I'm doing great! I'm now in the top stocks on the site!

What's next?

I could continue to invest a tonne of time into EA, drive up my stock price, but to what end? And if I miss a day, or worse, one of my investments miss a day, my stock dives or my portfolio does. Twitter and Facebook both don't require me to do anything at all on a day to day basis. I can check when I want, contribute when I want and ignore both when I feel like it. Foursquare and Empire Avenue are both quite addictive for the first little while (EA a few days and Foursquare a few weeks). After that, they lose their appeal. There just doesn't seem to be much to entice me to come back over and over. I've figured out the system and moved on, before my invites have even all been sent out... Not a good thing.

For a social site to be successful it needs one of two things (in my mind):

1. The flexibility to come and go as I please and not suffer when I miss a day or
2. Enough game mechanics to sustain interest and keep building upon my addiction.

Thoughts? What's your experience with EA (Or other social game sites) like?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Social Media... Help!

My name is Laurence and I am a social media addict.

Empire Ave seems to be the newest social media site on the market and I'm addicted already. There site can be described (In their words):


Our theory goes like this: if you've ever told someone to watch a movie, buy an album or eat at some restaurant, you're using influence. Being the generous people we are, we thought we'd give you a way to measure that influence and stack it up against anyone else. Nothing like a bit of friendly competition among friends, social networks and complete strangers, right?

The idea is to drive up your stock price by having others buy your stocks, linking in your other social sites and getting points. Trust me, this is highly addictive, stay away if you value you free time. If you're up for a new addiction, drop me a comment here and I'll hook you up with an invite. Invites are limited, so post a comment quick for an invite.

Empire Avenue or #empireave on Twitter

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Agile... what's next?

I think we are on the verge of something happening in the software development industry. I don't really have anything to back up this feeling, but I can just see the ripples beginning to develop. Agile has been the big idea on the block for quite a while now, but are we sure it produces the best solution to a given problem?

Kanban seems to be picking up steam and helps address some of the realities of software development, but I think we're moving to something more in the future. The big question for me is always "How do we ensure that we have the best solution for a given problem"?

I always look to the natural world for synergies and creative ways of accomplishing tasks. I started thinking about how evolution produces some amazing products and the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder how we could take key principles of evolution and apply them to software development. A search for evolutionary software development brings up a whole host of interesting pages and research. All of them going back to iterative development, which essentially speaks to me as one of the ways of delivering an agile project.

Evolution to me means more than just being iterative and releasing to a client often. Evolution is about branches, about experimenting, about taking risks, about killing off unsuccessful combinations, about tracing back lineage and most importantly it is about the unique assembly of given problems. It is the survival of the fittest.

If you are going to create an environment where only the best solution will survive, then you need to create an environment that has the following conditions:

1. More than one solution
2. A method to measure the success of a given solution
3. A way of quickly combining solutions to create a new, unique solution to the same problem

Many years ago I remember reading a research paper from a scientist that had created a chip that was able to evolve and recombine its own circuits to solve a problem (If I remember correctly it was comparing to audio signals to see if they were the same). After many generations the scientists looked at the circuitry and discovered that they chip was now utilizing unique methods they had never dreamed of (There were some electromagnetic properties now at play with the configuration of the chip - See for more information).

If in the 90's we as a global community could produce a chip that could evolve, self develop and ultimately leave researchers baffled as to how it functioned, couldn't we do the same with software? Instead of doing paired programming, couldn't we come up with two unique solutions, which are then measured, combined, discarded or built upon?

If you take an idea like Test Driven Development, utilize it with a technology like GIT and take the above suggestion you end up with:

1. More than one solution
2. A method to measure the success of a given solution
3. A way of quickly combining solutions to create a new, unique solution to the same problem

What are your thoughts? What's next after Agile?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Game changer - Google's turn by turn

Well, I think we've just witnessed a shift in the GPS industry with Google's launch of their free turn by turn service on the Android platform.

Google is now offering not only free map functionality found on competitor devices, but a free turn by turn navigation application that we have all grown to love (And we are used to paying for). The equivalent applications on the iPhone cost around $99 from the App Store, but they are absolutely free on the Android platform. Not only is it free, but it now links in to Google's traffic data, helping route you around congested routes (In supported cities).

Google is able to do this because they have spent the time developing their own data to pull from, rather than relying on the two providers of turn by turn data. All other GPS manufacturers and iPhone app developers have to license this data from one of two companies. This means that if Apple wants to have a similar application free on their device, they are going to have to take a loss on the application because they will have to pay for the data the application will use.

Not only do users get the application for free, but Google (From what I've heard, but I can't confirm this) will be paying the carriers a portion of the Add revenue generated from the use of Google's application, Search and related advertising. This is a less than free model that Apple and RIM can't compete with. As a carrier, why would you chose differently? You can charge a customer for the handset AND get a portion of the add pie from Google.

If I was Apple, RIM or a GPS manufacturer, I would be scared for the future, especially with the costs of producing these handsets coming down. Why would I have a GPS and a phone, when I can have an Android handset with both?

Personally, this is causing me to wait to buy a smartphone. I'll be happy to replace my Blackberry with a Android device when the timings right. Sorry Apple.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Have fun with VoIP at home

Well, for the last week I've been off of work on vacation and I've been using the time to work on my basement. Today was my first day off from basement work and I spent a little time in the evening playing with VoIP. Together with and, I now have a Washington state number setup that will ring on my PC. On top of that, through, I can dial number, which will record my voice and post it to twitter in seconds. Interesting what you can do in a couple hours :)

Check out and - you can be receiving calls from your friends in seconds...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The changed world

Wow, what a difference a year can make. I remember trying to hire people 12 months ago and it was painful! It is still painful now, but in a completely different way. Our team has only had one opening in the last few months and we were flooded with resumes. Before we'd be lucky if we had two qualified applicants and they would expect the world. Now we have a dozen over qualified candidates competing for a job that will come with a $20,000 wage decrease. As someone in the position to hire, it is hard to tell all these people "No, sorry, we won't be offering you the position." You think about their family and the impact of either getting or not getting the position will have.

On the personal side, our family is holding off on the big purchases, the over seas vacations and staying at home. Even next summer we're planning on sticking closer to home and camping more with our kids.

This really brings me to the point of this post! I'd like to hear from everyone how the economic downturn has effected you personally and how you've reacted to changing circumstances. What innovative ideas have you seen or been a part of? How has you approach to innovation changed with a changing economic situation?
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