Pogoplug

Where do you store your data, and how do you get it there? This problem has been approached with many solutions. Personally I use a combination of local USB hard drives, Dropbox, and a thumbdrive. It’s not the worst situation, but the local hard drives are always a point of frustration. If I have my laptop away from the house and I need someone that’s stored on those drives I’m out of luck.

Pogoplug

Pogoplug is a $130 product that has potential to bridge the gap between data storage and mobility. It connects your external hard drives to your network, for NAS goodness. Where it takes the extra step, though, is in how it connects this storage space to the web. You can connect to this storage from any outside connection thanks to a service from Pogoplug that handles all of the dynamicDNS type issues for you. If you buy the Pogoplug unit the service is free for the lifetime of the product.

I haven’t had a ton of time to look into the details of the product, but at first glance it looks like it would be a great link between my laptop and my bank of USB hard drives I keep in my office at home. It should be shipping in mid-December, but all of the images I can find on the website so far are Hypershot renders.

ocell.net Mobile

ocell.net Mobile

Lately I’ve been working on making my websites more accessible for advanced mobile devices. I started with an iPhone theme for my blog, then got my industrial design portfolio mobile. Last weekend I sat down and tried to tie it all together.

Now my main www.ocell.net landing page is very mobile friendly thanks to the iWebKit development package. This links to my design and photography portfolios which are mobile thanks to iShowPro. I used to use iWPhone to format my WordPress blog (what you’re reading now) for the iPhone, but when I realized it wasn’t testing for the Palm Pre and Android browser user agents I went out in search of an alternative. Now I am finally on the WPtouch bandwagon, and I have to say, I’m extremely impressed. In fact, the WPtouch version of this blog has more functionality than the desktop version… something I hope to address in the future.

ocell.net mobile on a Palm Pre

Also, thanks to @vara411 for confirming that the mobile version of www.ocell.net does load properly on a Palm Pre. The phone call link even launches the Pre’s phone app. You have to love when standards are honored across platforms.

Part of my focus on getting the loose ends tied on my mobile interface is because of the 2009 IDSA National Conference in Miami next week. I’m hoping that having a viable mobile site will give people an easy way to see my work and interests from their mobile devices, on location.

Yip: Growl Notifications for Firefox

If you’re using a Mac, and you’re not using Growl, you should go grab that right now. I’ll wait until you come back to continue.

Great, now that you have Growl installed, I want to tell you about the Yip Firefox extension. Yip lets you get Growl notifications from websites that have  notifications enabled using the Prism and Fluid (those are apps that let you run websites as if they were desktop applications) APIs. I found out about the Yip plugin from the Meebo blog, and Meebo seems like one of the web apps to benefit most from Growl notifications.

So head over to the Yip homepage and install the plugin to see what sites are pushing notifications that you didn’t even know about.

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RTM Push Notifications

I don’t have a real solid task management system in place right now, but I’m still a big fan of Remember the Milk (RTM) and still use it pretty frequently. The RTM iPhone/Touch app [iTunes Link] recently got an update that added push notifications, so now you can have task reminders sent directly to your mobile device. For me, this is killer. You could have RTM remind you of things through e-mail before, but with push notifications your todo reminders can live in their own space without invading your e-mail inbox. Notice that I can now select my iPhone as my notification destination in the RTM Reminders settings.

RTM Reminders Settings

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Twitter Kills the Party

Tonight the Twitter team made, what they claimed to be, a ‘small’ change to the notifications tab inside of a user’s Twitter settings. To quote the Twitter blog post:

We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option.

From what I understand, hiding @replies to people you didn’t follow from your home screen was already default for new Twitter users. Users had to actively go into the notifications settings and enable @replies to everyone to show up on their home screen.

I had mine set to show me all @replies. @replies have actually been my primary method for finding new interesting people to follow. Someone I know would start having a discussion with someone I didn’t know, and if the discussion was interesting and relevant to me, I’d often start following the other participant. It’s how I found some of my favorite Twitter people. Now, I don’t even have the option to see these replies and discussions. There’s no way to opt back in. That’s absurd.

A couple other blogs have illustrated the issue much better than I have… be sure to read Jared Smith’s post and Read Write Web’s post about the issue.

In the meantime, putting any character infront of an @reply on Twitter will make the message show up for everyone following you, but does break the “in reply to” link feature on Twitter, as well as subject everyone to the message, regardless of what their “@replies from people I don’t follow” option was set to in the past. I’m using the #fixreplies tag to talk about the issue on Twitter, and it has apparently been the tag that has trended to the top tonight.

I generally embrace change, especially in online tools and communities. But this isn’t a change or addition, it’s actually taking away something that everyone seemed perfectly happy with. And for many of us, it was the mechanism that really made Twitter the interesting, useful, and exciting tool it has become.

The Twitter team has already updated the official blog post, trying to claim that there are plenty of other methods for discovering new and interesting users on Twitter. This is pretty ineffective damage control right now though, and I hope that we’ll see the system revert back to the flexibility and customization that we were used to soon. I’ve read speculation that the change was made to relieve server load for Twitter, and that makes sense, but getting rid of such an integral behavior is not the way to go about it. It feels like taking the engine out of a car because you’re trying to get 5 more miles per gallon.