Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Google Apps need

A way to sync labels across applications: Gmail, GDocs, and perhaps Blogger. And maybe labels for calendar items (rather than Google's preferred way, which is to create separate calendars). That would go a long way toward improving its project management support.
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Google Docs looking more like older versions of MS Word

If this trend continues, I expect it to start to look like WordPerfect 6 soon. Maybe we will be able to see the underlying HTML by pressing alt-F3.

Official Google Docs Blog: New Toolbar and Menus
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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clinton, snipers, YouTube

CDB dissects the current snipers-in-Bosnia story that is dogging Hillary Clinton. Like CDB, I don't take sides on the campaign. The more important and interesting question is how distributed tech will continue to disrupt campaigns and their attempts to build ethos.

Communities Dominate Brands: Truth police catch up with Hillary Clinton's Bosnia sniper story
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Archiving text messages

They're currently ephemeral, but at least one service aims to change that:
As more important communications take place over SMS, SMS apps will inevitably need to improve text management and desktop backup. In the meantime, Treasuremytext fills the gap nicely.
Yes, you should be able to get to your text message archives the way you do your email. Data storage is cheap.
SMS: Archive Your Text Messages with Treasuremytext
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The Lifestreaming Backlash

Via John Jones' friendfeed, an article on how we are (supposedly) drowning in activity stream data. The comments are interesting too.

My take: Lifestreaming apps need filters and visualization tools to produce aggregate views. Those tools should be able to summarize history and make comparisons across streams (users/personas).

The Lifestreaming Backlash - ReadWriteWeb
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Phone bill turns into social network

This sounds fascinating and useful, though I am not willing to give up my Sprint login for it. Why don't telecomm companies do something like this themselves?

Skydeck Helps You Manage The Social Network Locked In Your Phone (500 Invites For Private Beta)
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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Email drops another notch on the communication hierarchy

2,433 Unread Emails Is An Opportunity For An Entrepreneur
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Reading :: The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing
by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, Michael LeBoeuf

Professors like to believe that since we know a lot about one subject, we know a lot about other subjects too. Obviously that's not so. There's nothing more humbling than realizing that you're way, way over your head in a different area of your life, and at those times, it's a relief to find a clearly written guide to help you through those difficult concepts that everyone else seems to understand.

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing is one case in point. Investments confuse me. But the authors manage to lay out the basics of investing and a particular investment philosophy in clear, understandable terms that even a rhetoric professor can follow. The book is named after the authors' investment mentor, Vanguard founder John C. Bogle, who pioneered the no-load mutual fund and introduced the first index fund. Bogle's philosophy is fairly simple: rather than trying to beat the market and trust in active managers, buy mutual funds that represent the market index. The markets tend to rise over time, and active funds have trouble beating the market in the long run, so investors in indexed funds tend to come out ahead -- and they don't have to pay steep management fees.

The book also has a lot of advice that makes intuitive sense. Spend less than you make. It's not how much you make, it's how much you keep. Stay out of debt. Pay yourself first. Buy used items, including clothing and cars (this from three authors who are millionaires). Commit future pay increases to investing. Diversify, making low-cost indexed mutual funds your primary investment. Establish a stock-bond-cash allocation and stick with it, rebalancing every 18 months even when your stocks are going through the roof. Get a Roth IRA as soon as you can and let the magic of compound interest work. Put windfall funds away for six months before touching them so that the excitement wears off. Write down your major financial goals on one piece of paper.

Reading this book hasn't made me an investing expert. But it has given me some solid advice and some basic tools for managing my small investments, and some confidence in how to proceed. Check it out.