A View from Elsewhere

John Montgomery's Weblog

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  • Blog Post: Alas Poor Houseplant, We Knew Him

    My wife has had a houseplant for the past ten years. It's one of those plants with huge leaves that thrives on being ignored. Despite ridiculous underwatering and one notable experience where we left it in the sun for a couple of days and it started to turn brown and crispy, it has done exceptionally...
  • Blog Post: Pandora and Classical Music

    When Pandora launched it garnered a lot of coverage in the mainstream press. I tried it then and found, as with most music sites, that its classical knowledge wasn't very good. I went back today, propelled by I don't know what, and found it much, much improved. Just in case you were wondering.
  • Blog Post: Comcast Music Choice vs. XM Radio Web Sites

    When traveling, I often like to listen to music. Unfortunately my choice of music tends to be classical. Classical music listeners are a minority, and most places have at best one classical station and that will be filled with commercials. One of the reasons I love XM Radio in my car is I get two good...
  • Blog Post: Surprising Family with Food

    Every time I'm out visiting my mom, I cook a few times. I'm not sure why, I just do. This time I made something that I thought was simple -- home made marinara sauce with grilled steak, fresh mozzarella cheese, and lightly-dressed arugula . To me this is a simple dish. To my sister, her husband, and...
  • Blog Post: RSS Bandit "Phoenix"

    I'm an RSS Bandit user. I have been for years -- before I knew it was written by Dare Obasanjo . He and his RSS Bandit team on Sourceforge have been working on it for years. It has one deficiency that I haven't liked: I read feeds on multiple computers and they would get out of sync. Read some at the...
  • Blog Post: "To Truly Understand What It Is to Be an American You Must Eat Wonder Bread"

    Earlier this week, two engineers from Microsoft in Germany (Sebastien Peray and Marcel Tilly) joined the Popfly team to work on adding a feature to Popfly. They invented a clever way to substitute one Popfly block for another a few months ago and were able to come out to Redmond to integrate the code...
  • Blog Post: Why Build a Game Creator?

    Several people have asked me, "Why would we do this?" They imply that there are so many better things to do. I typically speak about it in terms of increasing the potential universe of people who can create -- developers of a sort. And I've made the argument in the past that something like...
  • Blog Post: Popfly on Moonlight

    I'll be darned. Daniele Muscetta has Popfly running on Moonlight . Technorati Tags: Popfly , Virtual Earth , Moonlight , Silverlight , Mashups
  • Blog Post: Turing

    And this is an interview question how?
  • Blog Post: The Art of the Demo

    A conversation on Twitter got me thinking. That's kind of rare. Thinking, I mean. At least for me. In my time, I've given a lot of demos. I am not a demo god. Don Box is a demo god. Scott Guthrie simply exists on a separate plane. I mostly note what they do from the sidelines. I've picked up a few things...
  • Blog Post: It's About the Data

    Popfly , a mashup tool, depends on three things: data that is simple to access programmatically, interesting, and available under terms that enable users to work with it. As with most software endeavors, you can pick two. The government has a huge amount of interesting data that's available under really...
  • Blog Post: What Happened at the Beginning of 2006?

    I got hooked on plugging sites into Alexa a couple of nights ago, and started to see some patterns. Mostly, I saw that a lot of large-volume sites saw their peak at the beginning of 2006 and have been tapering off since, but a few others have grown ridiculously. Notably, Amazon and eBay , and digg and...
  • Blog Post: Taking Down Christmas Decorations

    When is the right time to take down Christmas decorations? Growing up, my parents typically did it just after New Years. My wife and I had our tree up until this past weekend (more as a result of laziness than any statement we were trying to make) and I still have the lights on the tree in front of our...
  • Blog Post: Flexible Priorities

    I start every day with a list of things I need to do. Generally, this lists comprises a collection of email messages, Outlook Tasks, meetings and calendar items, TFS work items (oops, better check those), things that are just in my head that I haven't noted down anywhere, and things my wife asks me to...
  • Blog Post: Change of Plans

    After many ruminations and a second drive of the Mazda3, I changed my mind, but not for a reason I was expecting. You see, last Saturday my wife and I went to the Mazda dealership to buy a Mazda3. We had everything ready. We just needed one last test drive. So I took the car out and onto I5 northbound...
  • Blog Post: New Car

    For years I was a happy Mazda Miata owner. Though I bought it when I lived in California (total days with top down: 300) I kept loving it even when I moved to Seattle (total days with top down: 20). But the little things added up: the rear-wheel drive slipped in the rain, the interior was loud, having...
  • Blog Post: Social Networking is a Feature

    In February, Om Malik wrote " Are Social Networks Just a Feature? " I didn't think much of it at the time, but as other posts started to appear such as Jon Udell's Critical mass and social network fatigue and Tim O'Reilly's Social Network Fatigue and the Missing Web 2.0 Address Book , I realized that...
  • Blog Post: Diminishing Returns

    I read " Product Management is Politics " with some interest. James's post covers several areas that are perpetual (frustrating) truisms of product development, including the time-quality-features-people (pick two) dilemma. It got me to thinking about my own experience and perceptions. The natural behavior...
  • Blog Post: Can Marketing Learn from Development Teams?

    About two years ago I decided to move from product marketing to a development team to ship something (at the time I was a bit vague on what exactly I'd be shipping, but it eventually clarified to become Popfly ). Crossing over opened my eyes to some cultural differences and misunderstandings that marketing...
  • Blog Post: Stephen Shankland's Blog

    My friend Stephen Shankland now has his own blog over at CNET covering open source software, digital photography, and science. Kind of an odd group of stuff, but all things he's both knowledgeable and passionate about. Technorati Tags: CNet , Stephen Shankland
  • Blog Post: Jury Duty in Kent

    Like voting, jury duty is one of those low-effort ways of doing the right thing. For the second time in three years I've been called to jury duty. And for the second time in three years I've been summoned to Kent, about 30 miles from where I live in Seattle. I won't ever complain about being summoned...
  • Blog Post: Coding Best Practice

    Courtesy Smalltalk Tidbits : Technorati Tags: humor , coding
  • Blog Post: Windows Live Writer Updated

    Nice improvements to Windows Live Writer with version 12.0.1183.516 : new menus, improved performance, inline spell checking, better category support, paste special, the ability to set publish dates, better previewing tools. This is a must-have. Technorati Tags: Windows Live Writer , blogging , tools...
  • Blog Post: Not Well Met

    I can't imagine what it's like to come back to Microsoft, write up something you thought was confidential , and have it make Slashdot and Mary Jo Foley. I wondered what was happening when I was forwarded the email (complete with names). Not good form on the part of the first person to forward it. Technorati...
  • Blog Post: And Now a Word from Gartner

    Everyone loves the iPhone, so of course Gartner had to go and spoil it for us . Technorati Tags: iphone , gartner
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