Archive for August, 2010

The Purple Cow of GNOME

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Several months ago I bought the book Small is the new Big by Seth Godin. The book is a collection of his best blog posts which you can read also read on his blog and got it’s title because of this post. I really became a big fan of his blog and books. On his blog Seth every day has new insights on how you need to market products and services. His post are fun to read and thought provoking. I definitely recommend subscribing to his blog.

Some of the concepts Seth is promoting are the following:

A product needs to be a purple cow. When you are driving and see black and white cows you won’t notice them. However if you all of sudden see a purple one you might stop because a purple cow is remarkable. When a product is remarkable it is worth talking about and it spreads. One of his earliest books The Purple Cow describes this.

Seth has the opinion that advertisement on TV and in newspapers don’t work anymore. Basically because there are many more choices we need to make and much more advertising than there used to be and we have less time that’s why we ignore most advertising. So instead of spending loads of money on advertising he advises to spend the money on making a remarkable product. However being remarkable is seen as risky by many (big) companies. So most companies choose to make average products and advertise them. However average products do not get noticed and talked about.

The Purple Cow of GNOME

After reading The Purple Cow it got me thinking what the Purple Cow of GNOME is? It certainly is a nice desktop environment (at least that is my opinion), but is it remarkable when you compare it to MacOS, Windows 7 or KDE? If GNOME is remarkable what is it then what is the remarkable thing?  Is that something that spreads? How can we make GNOME more remarkable?

Finally two nice videos of talks of Seth Godin

Click here if you can’t see above videos


Saturday, August 28th, 2010

A while a go I noticed a Flattr button on the blog of Seif Lofty. Out of curiosity I clicked on it and ended up on the Flattr website. Flattr is a micro donation service. You setup a monthly budget (minimal 2 euro) and that money is divided over all articles and things you Flattr. In the official Flattr video they use birthday cake as a nice metaphor.

Click here if you can’t see the video above

Flattr already seems to gain quite some momentum. E.g. when you google Flattr you get over 2M search results.

It’s funny to see that in a time where people like Rupert Murdoch are talking about pay walls because good news can’t be for free according to him something like Flattr is starting to catch on. Setting up pay walls for news will not be a success in my view, because there always will be a source where they get the same news for free.  I believe more in the model of Flattr where the content is free and people can make a donation. However I’m not sure if this would work Rupert Murdoch’s Times Online. Would somebody really consider donating money to Rupert Murdoch?

Flattr’ing GNOME

We could start adding Flattr buttons to the GNOME website or in About dialogs of applications such that people can show their appreciation of GNOME applications.  Thinkin about this a bit more the About dialog could also have a Paypal donation button. With these donations the GNOME foundation can fund hackfests and conferences.

Make portable hotspot with GNOME Network Manager

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Yesterday I blogged about making a portable WiFi hotspot with Connectify on Windows 7 and that it would be really nice to add this functionality to GNOME Network Manager. In one of the comments it was mentioned that GNOME Network Manager already has the functionality. See a video on how to use it on this page. You can make an AdHoc network with network manager by clicking on “Create new Wireless Network” in the Network Manager Applet.

I’ve probably seen that menu item at least a hundred times but never got the idea that I could use that for sharing my Internet connection with my other WiFi devices. I think a better text would be “Create New Wireless Hotspot”. I think that is a lot clearer. However network manager does not create a real wifi hotspot but an adhoc network. My Nexus One does not see any adhoc networks. Furthermore when I try to connect with another laptop it does not get a valid IP address (It gets assigned a 169.x.x.x address). Maybe that has to do that it does not work well on my distro (Ubuntu 10.04) or wireless card (Intel WiFi Link 6000 Series with iwlagn driver). In order to be really useful the following features should be added.

  • Ability to make full WiFi hotspot out of your network card such that you don’t have issues with devices that can’t handle adhoc networks and that it gets recognized as just another WiFi network
  • Ability to make hotspot out of your wifi adapter while it is connected itself to another hotspot. (If that’s supported by the WiFi card)

To make the functionality more easier to use I recommend

  • Rename “Create New Wireless Network” to “Create Wireless Hotspot”
  • Instead of showing by default the window shown below where you create a new Network you show the settings of the last network/hotspot that was used.

Make a portable hotspot of your laptop: Connectify

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Connectify Screenshot

Last week when I met a business partner he mentioned how cool Connectify is in case you are traveling. Basically it makes a full WiFi hotspot out of your laptop. Which is really handy and can save you quite some cash in case you are traveling and for example your hotel only has wired or paid internet and you have multiple WiFi devices with you (laptops, iPads, mobile phones etc.). Connectify even works if your laptop is connected via WiFi to the Internet as it uses Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter to use your WiFi card as a both a receiver and a hotspot at the same time.

Setting it up is also really simple. You basically fill in your SSID and password and click on “Start Hotspot”. The current stable version did not work for me because DHCP requests from my wireless devices were blocked by the Windows Firewall. After an email to their support I received advice to install their latest beta and that works like a charm.

What’s also pretty nifty is that you can see which devices are connected and you can block devices to connect to your hotspot.

Only disadvantage is that Connectify only works on Windows 7. I’d love to see this hotspot feature being added to GNOME Network Manager

Paying with your Mobile: Bumping money with PayPal

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Last year I mentioned on this blog that I found Bump an innovative product. With Bump you can exchange information (e.g. contact information or files) between two cellphones by bumping them against each other.  A competitor of Bump is Hoccer. With Hoccer you don’t bump but you “throw” data to a phone and the other one has to “catch” it. Though both products are quite innovative and have a certain cool factor, I guess they haven’t had much practical use yet. You don’t go and ask somebody you meet can you Bump me your contact details, because probability is high that the other person doesn’t know what Bump is.

You have your phone always with you. So it would be handy if you can use it to pay certain things e.g. your tab at a bar, your groceries, the parking meter. Paying with your mobile is also a holy grail already for many years. Several things have been tried. With most you have to sign up to some service and after that you can pay with SMS . Other initiatives require NFC (Near Field Communication) chips, but very few phones have NFC chips at the moment. So far these initiatives have not really caught on because they are not really handy.

Bump did a very clever thing by opening their API for 3rd parties (open is usually a good idea if you want your product or service to spread) and stroke a deal with Paypal. So if you now install a PayPal app on your iPhone or Android you can transfer money to another person by simply bumping your phones against each other. I can see something like that also work for paying drinks in a bar,  parking meters, small shops etc.

As the number of smart phones is quickly growing Paypal+Bump might have a change to disrupt big existing players in this areas such as banks and credit card companies. What do you think of this?

Below a video on how Bumping money works

Click here to view embedded video

GNOME Amazon Referral Fees July 2010

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

gnome-amazon In July 2010 the GNOME Foundation received the following Amazon referral fees

This totals to approximately $231 (up from $186 in June). Compared to other months we see that finally some GNOMEys in France are buying stuff at Amazon. Let’s see if this month we finally get some significant referral fees from the Canadian store

Keep on spreading the plugins to friends and family

Below and in the GNOME Amazon Store you find the links to install the GNOME Amazon Search Plugin of your favorite Amazon store. NOTE the links below might not work if you read this post in an RSS reader, because it needs a javascript command to install the search plugin. Just install the search plugin by going to this post directly.




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