Kayaking Sunset Harbor

I picked up kayaking as a hobby last summer thanks to my friend Jill. Her and Her running team would hit Sunset Beach a few times over August, and I got to come along.

Sunset Harbor is a great place to pick up kayaking. The water is about as peaceful as you can ask for, and except for the main channel, you’ll really never encounter any wakes or chop that’ll keep you on edge.

Kayaking Sunset Beach Harbor

Continue reading Kayaking Sunset Harbor

Create Smart Playlists in iTunes to Find Forgotten Tracks

I’m a big fan of discovering new music. I really miss my XM radio that I had for years in the mid-00’s. But recently I realized that my own music collection – compiled from plenty of iTunes purchases, Amazon.com purchases, and mostly from my historic grunge rock CD collection – was full of tunes that I’d neglected. Okay, it’s true, most albums have a ton of junk in them, but every now and then a deep track pops up that is totally fresh to the ears and really makes my day: “Holy crap, that’s a great song that I’ve owned for like 15 years!”

So, I started playing around with iTunes’ Smart Playlists, and I wanted to share a couple that I’ve built. I think they’re handy, and a great way to discover tracks lurking in your collection.

The two Smart playlists that I’ve created are Never Played and Occasionally Played. Setting up Smart playlists in iTunes is pretty easy. Continue reading Create Smart Playlists in iTunes to Find Forgotten Tracks

Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan – @dannysullivan
posted late yesterday, How Being “Friends” On Google+ Leads To Better Rankings http://selnd.com/o2m3mk – this surprised me.

Danny Sullivan’s article here stoked some interesting questions about Google’s search results – questions I’ve had for a couple weeks now, after experiencing “social search” modifications to my search results. My initial reaction was blase – so my search results would be tweaked based upon what my friends, followers, and social connections have marked. No big deal.

But the more I think about this, the more I think this is a HUGE deal. I think Google may be playing with their entire brand & business.

Think about this: Google has spent virtually their entire existence reinforcing the concept that they’re the information portal. Continue reading Social Search might kill Google’s Integrity

Google Plus Circles Visualized

Just playing around today, trying to better visualize Google Plus’ circles-based sharing mechanisms.

I’m still on the fence about how sustainable Google+’s circles will be in the long run. I’m comfortable with thinking that Dunbar’s number applies for individual one-to-one relationships, but how effective are we at managing groups of relationships? Paul Adams’ (@Padday) slideshare is one of the most traveled examinations of complex real-life social networks, and has been referenced by a ton of other sites when Google+ launched (not surprising since Paul is an ex-Google Facebook-er, and ergo as close to an expert on this stuff as it comes).

View more documents from Paul Adams
But more to the point – are “circles” effective and sustainable? Dunbar’s number assumes that we can manage 150 independent relationships, but how many simultaneous groups can we hold together? My guess is that the number is something on the order of 4-6.

Why do I say that? Total speculation – but let’s think about most peoples’ lives. We typically associate with only a handful of active groups at any given time. I’d guess that for most folks, those groups would be: Continue reading Google Plus Circles Visualized

OCWP Developer Day 7-11 Edition

Kicking off the second OCWP Developer day, here on international slurpee day. Is there no holiday sacred from WordPress developers?

alex vasquezalex vasquez – @alexjvasquez
You know it’s developer day when… @zengy is wearing a thong #ocwp

So, things started off debating the difference between undergarments and sandals. The jury’s still out on this one. Let’s just hope this stays PG.

Loren kicked things off by covering some challenges with WP Touch Pro. It looks like there is a potential glitch in the way that WP Touch uses its own get_posts() function. The peanut gallery’s opinion included tweaking the arguments for number of posts; but it doesn’t look like that did the fix. The real big question – when is WP Touch going to get ousted as the preferred mobile theming solution for WP? It’s not very attractive. Who’s got a real competitor in the works? Continue reading OCWP Developer Day 7-11 Edition

Why Amazon’s Change is Important

Updated [7/3]: Angel Djambazov had an excellent writeup at GeekWire titled “A Guide to Why Amazon is Losing the Tax Battle” that I had to include in this post. Go check it out, it’s well worth the read.

It’s been a busy day or two for affiliate marketers… I caught this tweet earlier, and wanted to add my commentary.

Danny SullivanDanny Sullivan – @dannysullivan
106 comments later, people really have a lot of opinions on the Amazon Affiliates closing in California, it seems. Whew http://bit.ly/jBZxOX

Danny’s argument is that Amazon is in the wrong here – by not giving enough fair warning to affiliates, and then by not just owning up to the issue by just paying the taxes. Though I agree with him that the warning provided by Jeff Bezos was virtually instant and therefore not very helpful, I disagree with him wholeheartedly on the “just pay the taxes” argument.

Furthermore, I think my real issue with Amazon’s termination of their program lies in the fact that they could have changed their existing referral model to a CPM or CPC program virtually instantly, thereby providing CA-based affiliates at least some value in retaining their referral links (until they moved their physical location). Seems to me that the issue here was based on commission-based sales referrals. But would the law still affect people who were reclassified and compensated as marketing partners?

ReveNewsReveNews – @Revenews
New Post: Commission Junction Responds To California’s New Nexus Law http://t.co/2HcL2UU

Though there’s not a whole lot of detail, Commission Junction (a massive player in the affiliate marketing industry) obviously sides with Amazon’s argument. There’s a strong sentiment that this isn’t a “net-zero” activity – ie: a loss of income-tax revenue is offset by the increase in tax collection. Instead, it appears that the expectation on the part of affiliate managers and merchants is that this will lead to a vacuum of revenue – fewer sales, fewer commissions, and fewer programs willing to undertake the task of coordinating 50-states worth of tax law headaches.

And that, by the way, is the crux of Amazon’s argument. A business such as theirs should be governed by the state(s) they directly operate in, as well as the federal government as the group charged with the responsibility of interstate commerce. If Amazon left their program open, they’d set precedent that they really don’t want to make.

Google Plus is …

I was going to write a pithy title for the article, and to kick it off I wrote “Google Plus is” and sat for a moment to let my brain figure out what was next. Turns out, it’s exactly what I wanted to say.

In case you were on a non-wifi airplane for the last 48 hours, yes, Google has a social network. It’s called Google+, which I think says a lot.

Google Plus is an all out effort. This ain’t Orkut. This ain’t Wave. This is GOOGLE with a freaking ‘+’ sign next to it. They’re aligning this effort at their core brand. If they botch this up, it’ll be a lot more difficult to admit failure and walk away.

Google Plus is missing the “Beta” tag. I’m just saying, I think my gMail account still comes with a Beta tag. Those guys love that tag. From a design perspective, maybe they’ve given up on labeling things as “Beta” and have just finally gotten enough people to believe the mantra: A Google product is never, ever finished. Continue reading Google Plus is …

OCWP RoundUp – June 27

A great evening here in Orange County to geek out on WordPress for a few hours! As always, special thanks to the Zeek boys for hosting this awesome event.

Jason TuckerJason Tucker – @jasontucker
We’re streaming now at Orange County WordPress meeting officially starts at 7pm http://bit.ly/lQs0XR #ocwp

Jason came through with a complete streaming setup for the event. Could this help put Orange County on the WordPress map for good? Does anyone even watch live streaming? 😉

Jon BrownJon Brown – @jb510
Am I the only one hearing cello in the background? #ocwp

Jeff Tuner decided to kick us off with some YoYo Ma… Apparently needed some music to soothe the crowd.

20110627-070306.jpg

Jeff started off the evening demoing a pretty cool plugin called Front-end Editor. The editor allows you to make some modest changes to the posts, sidebars, and some other elements in real time, directly from the front end. Continue reading OCWP RoundUp – June 27