Tag: MSN

Web Services

So AudioScrobbler is in the midst of some Planned Downtime (as is ‘sister’ site Last FM) and HaloScan is currently having a few issues since introducing a new server. Blogrolling seems to be the most stable of the bunch now, but then there is a business behind that service.

One thing that everyone who uses these things (and this harks back to the initial BlogShares offering as well) needs to clear on is that, on the whole, they are NOT being run by large, funded corporations. In fact they aren’t being run by small, un-profitable companies.

AudioScrobbler has been asking for donations (although I’m not clear on exactly who is behind them and if there is a business model), and by his own admittance, HaloScan is NOT a business it is run by a full time college student (I often wonder if Jeevan has a life at all as he’s constantly answering questions in the forums).

The obvious downside of these scenario’s is that, whilst they appear to be a ‘product’ that has been researched, designed, planned, and is being maintained, and whilst they appear to be complete and fully functioning, they are not. What they lack, and what a business plan would’ve accounted for is scalability. It’s a common theme and completely understandable.

scenario: You come up with a ‘killer’ idea for a web-based thingymejig, you ponder it a bit, maybe code up a demo to see if the idea works, then you polish it, publish it and announce it to the world. You are working alone and do all this when not working/studying. Naturally you do wonder what would happen if hundreds of thousands of people started using your new thingymejig, and you probably have an idea of what server load will be required to handle all that traffic. In fact you may even have a highly detailed plan of how to scale your new thingymejig but that doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s only you. You aren’t going to spend too much of your own hard-earned cash on this are you? You don’t even know if it will catch on, so you try and attract people to your new service and spend the next year firefighting. /scenario

OK, I’m making several assumptions but you get the idea. None of the people involved in these services wants to let people down. They are, rightly, proud of their creation and want it to grow.

Now, take a ‘funded’ web service. Let’s take something well-known and widely used and backed by a few billion dollars – MSN Messenger.

Ever tried to sign in and not been able to?

My point is this: web services fail sometimes. Ranting and raving about it won’t stop that happening. Granted the ‘small guys’ suffer more failures than the big guys (I don’t ever remember Google giving me a 404) but when you use their services you need to buy into the idea of the service as much as the implementation. Support the little guys, for one day they may be bigger than you.

Big Ugly Nosed..

To biguglynosedguy AT hotmail.com:

I sent you an email. Can you please respond. I have no idea who you are, and until you answer that I won’t be adding you to my MSN Messenger list. Sorry.




I don’t pay much attention to Spam, if they make it to my mailbox (which they do at work as they won’t let me use MailWasher.. pah!) I usually just Shift+Delete the buggers.

But then I installed Office 2003, and Outlook has a new message notification thingy – it’s quite smart actually – which pops up a little box with the subject and the first line or so, in a little semi-transparent box – a bit like an MSN Messenger message notification.

So I have to admit when I saw the first line of a recent, spam, email I was a little intrigued:

Her baby-conscience was rather tough and elastic, and I suppose she would have felt no more scruples about nibbling nice things, than an unprincipled little mouse.


Word Association


(If you want an impromptu game, grab me on MSN Messenger: snowgoon2206)

Blog to the Future?

The recent Bloggers Xmas Party (in London), and an aside by Lori has pinged a little light bulb in my head. I doubt I’m the first to think of this…

By all accounts, the Bloggers Xmas Party was a huge success, and already there are little in-jokes springing up, jokes that, if you weren’t there, you won’t get. Next up, Lori mentions Lyle, both of them attend a Manchester meet recently.

And this gets me thinking – how long before the blogging world starts to splinter into geographically focussed ‘groups’ (or cliques if you prefer?). And have we already?

Let’s back-pedal a little first.

Someone asked me on Friday night “Why do you blog?” and I gave my usual answer of “I started before blogs, and er… ” followed by a fumbling response consisting of ‘for my own record’ and ‘but referrer logs…’ and other mumblings that didn’t really answer the question. Anyway, one thing I can’t add to that list, not completely anyway, is that I’ve met new people. Now, I have (and do) chat occasionally to some of you on MSN (snowgoon2206 AT hotmail.com if you wanna say hi), but that’s not really much removed from reading that person’s blog. The connection is still mine to manage and control, to the extent that it’s not really a friendship but a pastime. I need to be sitting at my PC, and willing to interact before I visit a blog or respond to an instant message.

Hmmm I’m not sure I’m making my point very well, maybe I’m slightly jealous. A lot of the blogs I read (check my blogroll) are based in South-East England… and right there is another interesting thing, I still have separation between blogs and their authors. There is no gap, GreenFairy is both a person and website, as is Hydragenic, etc etc (Vaughan is just obfuscating).

So without having met Gert, I judge her personality from what she says on her website, and the comments she leaves on others, same for Adrian, and countless others. And that is the thing that will start to change the layout of weblogs as we know them, personal information, connections, “real” connections to your peers.

I’m not saying this will be a conscious decision, or even that it will be all encompassing, but it is slowly starting to happen anyway (it’s human nature to talk about what you know). The question is, how can we harness it and gain benefit from it? Or need we try? Weblogs are the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth, and a damn efficient version they are too, but as they become more and more popular, we will tailor our content based on feedback (comments) and slowly the splinters will appear. Why read about another adventure on the Tube, when I can read about an adventure on the Clockwork Orange? A farmer’s market in Camden, or Stirling? No it won’t be a wholesale switch, our innate curiosity will make sure we keep reading sites from places other than our locale, but I’m sure those numbers will shrink.

What say you?

Contact details

Continuing the theme…

For those of you on MSN Messenger, I am frequently contactable at: snowgoon2206 [at] hotmail.com.

Drop by and say hi! I’m a poet and I… don’t understand why.


I can’t be bothered. Don’t worry this isn’t another “Ohhh it’s soo hard to think of things to say, and I’ve lost sight of … blah blah blah” diatribe. I’ve lost focus is all. Think I’m visiting too many sites or something, which is a good thing in some ways (especially when you are in the midst* of re-designing your own site), but leaves me wondering what to post… it’s about approach I think.

Another factor, I think, is my increased usage of MSN Messenger. Don’t get me wrong (before I insult virtually everyone on my Contact list) I love it when that little window pops up, but I just need to learn to switch it off more. Ohh that reminds me, if for some obscurely bizarre reason, you would like my MSN details, drop me a line.

* in the midst as in – have scribbled 307 different layouts on paper


I have never tried AOL, I use Hotmail, but not MSN, and I’ve only a vague idea of the components of each. This little tool seems very clever though, I wonder how AOL will hit back. (via Evhead)