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Showing posts from February, 2007

And breathe out ...

Not sure about that week ... but I certainly will tell ya about it once I get my head around it.

Initial ideas:
life is better when it's realconnections with people that you can call/touch are more important and real than those that you can'tthe 'realness' is bigger and more important than I can describe
most of the stuff I read/comment upon (this blog) isn't worth the electrons used99.9% of people don't know or care about technology and never willI missed blogging/emailing now and again but never ever in a "life or death" mannerI can count the number of blogs I have enjoyed catching up on on the fingers of one hand and would love them to be printed in a mag and posted in the mail
In a nutshell - I waste too much time online ...

I'm going offline for a week - starting today, 2:30pm

After seeing this article, Forbes Managing Editor Attempts Techno-Cold Turkey for a Week on NBC, over at Gizmodo I'm up for giving it a go.

I will be off-line for 7 days. NO Web surfing which means:
NO bloggingNO FlickrNO emailsNO instant messaging
I don't have a mobile or Blackberry or the same so that's not a problem. I will be answering landlines (work and home) and I will be answering internal emails here at work as I haven't given them enough warning.

Here's how the Forbes Editor did (I'll let you know how I went):


See you next week ...

Seven steps to remarkable customer service

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Cracking read over at Joel Spolsky's blog.

His headings (which you'll really need to read the article for are):
Fix everything two waysSuggest blowing out the dustMake customers into fansTake the blameMemorize awkward phrasesPractice puppetryGreed will get you nowhere(Bonus!) Give customer service people a career path
Some of the ideas from his article that resonated with me:
We treat each tech support call like the NTSB treats airliner crashes. Every time a plane crashes, they send out investigators, figure out what happened, and then figure out a new policy to prevent that particular problem from ever happening again. It’s worked so well for aviation safety that the very, very rare airliner crashes we still get in the US are always very unusual, one-off situations.

...

Instead of telling them to check a setting, tell them to change the setting and then change it back “just to make sure that the software writes out its settings.”

...

When customers have a problem and you fix it, they…

wellingtonista: Cheap and Cheerful: Offbeat Originals

Cheap and Cheerful: Offbeat Originals
This week’s Cheap and Cheerful is written by SindyWhere: Offbeat Originals, Left Bank, Cuba St
What: Burger, toasted sandwich, milkshake
How much: $9, $4, $4 respectivelyOffbeat Originals plays on the same 20-something’s sense of nostalgia that so many other places are cashing in on at the mo – they got their spaceman cigarette candies, their giraffe-brand milkshake cups, and their toasted sammages. But Offbeat seems sincere with their use of kiwi-kid icons and don’t charge an arm and a leg for your own memories. [Read more]

Exam answer: Find X

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Ha ha ha ha ha - more ...

JonnyB hits' the mark one more time - is this you coming home pissed?

I'm not sure how to get over just how wonderful this posting is ... um, read it!

It starts off:
“Hello, I’m back from the Village Pub,” I whisper.

“Will you at least whisper?” she hisses furiously.

“Sorry.”

“Did you have a good time? Did your friends enjoy it?”

“Yes, although there weren’t ma...”

“Good. Now go to bed.”

“Oh. Ok.”

I leave the Baby’s room, where the LTLP has set up a temporary hospital camp. But a thought occurs to me.

“Do you need a hand with the Baby?”

“I can manage perfectly all right, thank you. Now go to bed.”

“Yes.”

I remember something important.
...

And on he goes describing something that we've all, in one form or another, been through.

Pirate toast - bookmark it for September 19th

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Remember this for, Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th!

Guinness-flavored Marmite for St Paddy's

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I'm not sure what else I can say ... if you manage to get one (of the limited 300,000) then enjoy!?!


Hat-tip Boing Boing

Strange Games

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When I had MyBlogLog listed to the left* one of the more interesting visitors was Montegue Blister from the Strange Games blog

If nothing else I had to visit because of the name.

And at the site there are posting ("articles", "blogs") about strange parlour games you can play ... fascinating stuff and bound to be useful in the future. Example:
In January it was reported that there is a trend towards increasingly lavish children's parties - we are talking stretch limos, hiring of pop musical beat combos, nintendo DSs in the party bags and more, all to make it an unforgettable experience. The sad fact is that all you need to spend is a few pounds on some rolls of gaffer/masking tape - then you can play Human Fly.
Split the players into groups of 4 or 5. Give each group a high stool and some wall space. The teams select one of their number (usually the lightest) to sit on the stool with his back against the wall. They then proceed to tape him as firmly as possible to t…

The many types of Wellngtonians - DUMPED IDEA

One of the ideas I had floating around in my head that I'm just never gonna get to:

Walking around the harbour I see the following "types" - what are you? I am a XXXXX

20-29 year old office work, female

25-32 year old IT dude

Weekly poll: Best ambiance for a 1970's party ... you decide

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(last weeks poll results at the bottom of the page)



It's a 1970's party, you've been invited and you're ready to party until it's 1979 - what would you expect as you stumble in wearing your suitably tight 70's costume?

TV of the time, ie The Good Life
it's a sophisticated 70's dinner party with Margot. Or it's crazy Sweeney type antics. Maybe Steve Austin can run verrrrry slowly/quickly into the party!

Glam Punk meets the Disco Ball
Music all the way - loads of sparkles, lots of music and more "uniforms" than you could shake a rhythm stick at.

Fashion! turn to the right. Oooh, fashion!
Go for the sights and not the sounds

School's out for Summer!
I was 10, I was at school ... I'd expect to see school day items and girls in pigtails! If I was really going for it St Trinians would be high on the fantasy list.


Take the best of each - known as "other"
"What are you thinking, you've completely missed the 70's vibe!" - t…

Virtual Super 14 - MiramarMike is BACK IN the competition

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[Updated] Oh! So I've obviously signed up twice! When, who knows - how, who cares. So one of me is back in the competition

A MiramarMike progress:
Week 3 - points for the week 26, total 73, position 52,278 up 15,230 places
Week 2 - points for the week 13, total 47, position 67,508, dropped 63,009 places
Week 1 - points for the week 34, total 34, position 4,499, --

I thought it was a wee bit weird! I kept receiving the, "You've not done your picks" emails, even though I had. The picks seemed to be correct but somehow subtly different. Even when I emailed myself my picks my point tally didn't quite tally with my memory.

And now this:
We didn't get your picks for Miramar Mike this week, and you've already used your two chances for default picks. There's still plenty of time left to pick up the points you need. The Hurricanes are showing promise and so is Miramar Mike. You scored 0 points this week bringing your total score to 49 points.
But I did ... and people …

Jack and Liz at the ranch

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Half the gang ...

Jack and Liz at the ranch - Originally uploaded by Miramar Mike.

Happy New Year to all the pigs out there

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Wellington buses - what the fuck is going on!?!?

[Updated] Check out the Scoop article, Stagecoach Wellington must improve:
Greater Wellington councillors have warned bus operator Stagecoach Wellington that it was failing its customers and that its poor service during the last two weeks would no longer be tolerated.

#31 Express to Miramar - not enough, not following the timetable and therefore full!

Wellingtonista noizyboy has the wonderful Bus angst posting which includes an excellent 'bus related' story from Kane Ross within the comments.

Strange Statues and the Dirt Car Art Gallery - more fun from the interweb

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Enjoy the statues - I liked (click on them for larger versions):

There's looooads though, check 'em out

As for Scott Wade's Dirt Car Gallery - amazing, here's just one to make you go, "Wow!", again click on it to see it full size


Have a grand weekend everyone!

Ecofriendly - how to do it in Wellington

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Tom's posting Little Footprints over at the best Wellington focussed blog* in the world, WellUrban, tells it all.

As a quick link (for me really), here's the sites Tom mention but read his posting for the context:
ShoppingFixSustainable FutureThe Brown Paper Bag CompanyBagsNOTWorkshopLet Use ItGreenpeace'sClean Energy GuideMeridian
Powerswitch
* Followed closely (if not neck and neck_ by the Wellingtonista**
** Of which I am a member

Crash! Anywho - Netvibes gone, Google Reader/Homepage arrived

Had a great post about this but the browser crashed (I think it's the Google Browser Synch thing and so it's gonna be taken outside and shot in a few minutes!).

Nutshell: Not using Netvibes anymore but miss it as it looks great. Using Google Reader because it's the best at feed reading and that was 95% of what I used Netvibes for. Plumped for Google Homepage as integration between Docs, calendar, email etc etc is just getting better and better.

Use Google Reader.
Use Netvibes until Google Homepage gets a sexier look-and-feel.

How to run a birthday party AND a business

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One of the well known analogies used by Dave Snowden to how knowledge management works well within companies/organisations/communities is the "Child's Birthday Party".

He recommends They did not respect or sit still for the devotional sacrifice as the 'definitive' reworking of that analogy (original here in a PDF).

In a nutshell:
... we have a birthday party strategy. The goal is for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time. We have specific and measurable objectives we want to accomplish. We have identified the key milestones from now until the party. We have a timeline to follow, including a tabletop exercise. We are assuming a three-hour operational phase followed by a two-hour recovery. That evening, we will conduct a hot wash to identify any lessons learned to build into next year’s birthday party planning.

...

Socrates: It did not go well?
Glaucon: Let me count the ways. It rained for most of the day. More children and parents attended than we planned for. Some…

Wellingtonista: Bus Angst #32 / Fair season / Costume Cave 2 sale

More from Wellingtons favourite and most popular blog (about Wellington):
Bus Angst #32
Fair seasonCostume Cave 2 sale

Never underestimate the importance of training

Pies I've enjoyed and where you can buy them

Dinky-Di Pies - Sydney
A while ago since I was introduced to them by Lynda but I suspect they're as good as ever (check out the comments here). All I can say is try them!

View Larger Map
525 Old South Head Rd Rose Bay NSW 2029 - tel: 02-9371 6715


Harry's Pie Cart - Sydney
The original pie for pissed people. But don't think the pies are of a "pissed people" standard, they're not ... probably ... to be fair I always ended up there with a skinful and whilst they were of an exceeding high standard they could've been made with kangaroo and rubber - I don't think they were. The experience is a must!

View Larger Map
Woolloomooloo, Sydney, NSW 2011 - tel: 02-9357 3074


"The Pie Shoppe"* - Reading
You know what, I have no idea where in Reading this is or what the real name is*. I had met a gal, I was visiting for the first time and she took me along to this amazing pie shop(pe). It was the first time I exclaimed, "Holly fandangle, this is an amazing pie!!…

You're invited to a lunchtime picnic on the waterfront TODAY

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[Updated 12:50pm] Nice turn out and a stunning walk along the harbour ... niiice

What a stunning morning - flat, calm harbour, beautiful men and handsome women all in this amazing harbour city!

So let's all get out there at 12pm with our lunch boxes and enjoy the views, the sun and the company.

See you somewhere on the wee waterfront wall along from Len Lye Whirlygig thingy waterfront side of Frank Kitts Park - 12pm

I'll be the one smiling at life.

Wellingtonista: Tiki-Tiki! / Make with the funny

More from Wellingtons favourite and most popular blog (about Wellington):
Tiki-Tiki!Make with the funny

It's annual performance review time again so let's all do a Keith

I have been through many an PDR ("performance and development review") at many a company and have never got anything out of them ... the worst was the NZ Ministry of Health which was just a paper shuffling exercise as far as I could see.

Budgeting process has been, for many organisations particularly governmental, something similar.

I will be endeavouring to not think of The Office during my review

I no longer work for Synergy

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But this time it's not a wild family trip to far flung areas, they've merely (!) changed their name to Fronde. So, I now work for Fronde.


What does that mean to you, dear readers, nothing I suspect.

They had a breakfast launch at Te Papa last week which was well received and there's even a few blog postings out there about it:
Rod Dury: Marketing is broken
Kiwiblog (David Farrar): Fronde

This weeks poll: This weather is ...

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Last weeks results:


And now, for this weeks question:

Yahoo! Pipes - technical bloggers go wild

It's cool, probably, it's gonna change how you get info, possibly, and it's giving all techie bloggers a chubby, definitely.

Oh, and it's constantly down due to demand - or as they put it, their pipes are blocked.

What is it - this stolen from Richard at Read/Write Web:
- Is that a pipe in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?; as expected, geeks (myself included) are drooling over Yahoo Pipes, the new RSS Remix service. Indeed the demand has caused some outages. I particularly recommend the following coverage: O'Reilly Radar (although "milestone in the history of the internet" is possibly overstating it), Dave Winer ("Pipes users are likely to be fairly technical scripting-level users"), Anil Dash ("Yahoo has stepped up to provide an essential platform in a way that seems open and approachable"), Nik Cubrilovic ("The fact that they include Google Base as a default source in Pipes shows that the web is much more about inter…

Creating Passionate Users - joint blog of the week

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Another new (to me) blog that I would recommend is Creating Passionate Users expertly and wittily written by Kathy Sierra. She not only knows her stuff but has the skills and, dare I say it, passion to get it out to everyone.

As an example of the postings check out Who'd you make smile today
...
Really, though, there's one really simple thing that we can do to make someone else smile.

Smile.

We've talked before about how scientists know that smiling produces physiological changes in your body. And thanks to mirror neurons, we know that seeing someone else smile or laugh can trigger the same neurons reponsible for making us smile.

But this cannot be faked:

Or what about, Don't ask employees to be passionate about the company!
...
The company should behave just like a good user interface -- support people in doing what they're trying to do, and stay the hell out of their way. Applying the employer-as-UI model, the best company is one in which the employees are so engaged in t…

The BBC talking about streaming/downloadable TV/content

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According to this What America Could Learn From The BBC ZDNet article from last week the BBC seem to be doing all the right things when it comes to video and keeping ahead of the game. I especially concur with:
The biggest Web 2.0 explosion in the next two years will be the advent of video on demand. Whatever you want, whenever you want it. Cable television adoption will slow and start to recede, as more and more content becomes available online. The BBC recognizes this is what people want and is thinking of the audience first and foremost
Hence Google having YouTube and trying it's darndest to get its video search as good as its web page search.

If you want to see what the BBC has been asked to do in detail check out the BBC Trust reaches Provisional Conclusions on BBC on-demand proposals press release.

When we were over there one of the, "Wow!" moments I had was discovering BBC Interactive (BBCi) which is the new millenium replacement for Teletext if you received your TV d…

$4bn ... did the US army look down the back of the sofa?

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Wow ... that's a lot of money to just fitter away! I've looked and I was never a beneficiary of this military fritterage ... darn.

Looks good though, all the US$100 bundled up and piled onto palates weighing a measly 363 tonnes, lahverly. D'ya think anyone opened up a bundle and threw them in the air a la most "got rich' Hollywood films (Richard Pryor comes to mind for some reason - Brewsters Millions?)

MiramarMike new logo in all it's Web 2.0 glory

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Fine isn't it - generated using Web2.0 Logo Creator*




* This is the working version of the original but don't bother, the original is broke

Information overload is an old old problem

Indexed - simple diagrams for everyday situations - you will smile, read on ...

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I rarely now step outside of the blog-world that I know and love (check down the left side for my regular reads*) but a new one (to me) that I have been enjoying over the last few weeks is Indexed.

Here's an example of a complete posting:



Jessica has many like that posting around 3 a day. Very rarely do I not smile and many a time I sit back in my chair with total recognition.

So, enjoy her diagrams over a Indexed, her feed is at http://indexed.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

* The feed of my Regular Reads feed from del.icio.us doesn't seem to come through correctly as it's only showing 15 of the complete set of 18 ... a pain

Funny animals video

If you're scared of dying in an earthquake then let this take your mind off it all - it's generally just a giggle but I laughed out loud at the cat that jumps out at the kiddie from behind the bushes:


Hat tip to Caro at caroscom.

Ooh, felt that tremor

Sitting on Queens Wharf is gonna be fun when the earthquakes come ... as a tremor just did (1:45pm) with a nice after shake.

Queens Wharf = reclaimed land (liquefaction) + some bits on stilts (fall-in-water-ificaton)

Ick ... is this you?

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From Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon via Dave Snowden regarding your body (and mine, I s'pose):
The room contained a few dozen living human bodies, each one a big sack of guts and fluids so highly compressed that it will squirt for a few yards when pierced. Each one is built around an armature of 206 bones connected to each other by notoriously fault-prone joints that are given to obnoxious creaking, grinding, and popping noises when they are in other than pristine condition. This structure is draped with throbbing steak, inflated with clenching air sacks, and pierced by a Gordian sewer filling with burbling acid and compressed gas and asquirt with vile enzymes and solvents produced by many dark, gamy nuggets of genetically programmed meat strung along its length. Slugs of dissolving food are forced down this sloppy labyrinth by sterilized convulsions, decaying into gas, liquid, and solid matter which must be regularly vented to the outside world lest the owner go toxic and drop de…

Happy Waitangi Day

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For all Kiwi's the world over - have a cracker of a Waitangi Day, enjoy the sun (snow) and don't stress too much about the politics BUT do remember what it's all about.

To learn more check out info at Waitangi.net and Wikipedia.

If you're in London then you'll probably be wanting to go on the Waitangi Day pub crawl.

And there'soodlesto do here in the summer sun of Wellington!

Flickr banner - yet another Flickr app

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Flickr apps are becoming as common as Google Map mashup ... anywho, here's the latest, Profile Widget, I've used over at fd's FLickr Toys

Wellingtonista: We ask: Boy and dog?

CYFSWATCH New Zealand

[Updated 5-Feb-2007] Two things - one, I don't really like the way this blog is encouraging personal attacks on others which I don't believe is a solution based approach and much more a blame-and-vent approach -but in the spirit of, "I hate what you say but I will defend your right to say it" I'll leave the link up.

Secondly, whilst it seems Google is listening to the NZ Government it will be interesting to see their response to the "Why?". I would imagine that, like most contracts, it's flexible enough for Google to look after their interests by not seeming to be 'evil' - or is it?

Aha, on reviewing the blog it's obvious that they have spelled out the relevant parts of the Blogger Terms of Service (ToS) and specifically the Blogger Content Policy ... however I can actually only find this that Google might be referring to (Content Policy):
Users may not post other people's personally identifying or confidential information, including bu…

This weeks poll: Rugby, is it doing it for you in your neck of the woods?

Help find Jim Gray

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This is how technology can enable people to help each other:

Computer science icon Jim Gray mysteriously disappeared after a solo trip with his sail boat outside San Francisco Bay. The coast guard has been searching for 4 days but has not been able to locate anything, not even debris. On Thursday 3 private planes searched through the coastal areas and they also returned unsuccessful.

Through a major effort by many people we were able to have the Digital Globe satellite make a run over the area on Thursday morning and have the data made available publicly. We have split these images into smaller tiles that can be easily scanned visually and stored into the Amazon S3 storage service. We then created tasks for reviewing these images and loaded then into the Amazon Mechanical Turk Service.

This is where you come in. We need your help in reviewing these images to see whether you can locate Jim’s boat in any of these images. Please go to the Amazon Mechanical Turk site and help us find Jim Gra…

Whatever happened to the UK plane bomber terrorists?

They were arrested and ... well, what happened next? Did a trial occur and I missed it?Anything ... anyone?Or has it gone the same way as all the other 'terrorist scares'?

Update on the awesome Julian Beever and his 3D street art

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[Updated 19-Feb-2007] Received a link to this YouTube vid:
My agency recently worked asked Julian to create the “Fountain of Youth” in Union Square in NYC a few weeks ago. We recorded a video of how he works and posted it on YouTube. You can check it out here:



If you've not seen Julian Beever'spavement art the you're in for a pleasant surprise with loads of, "Wow! How does he do it!?" type phrases to be spoken.

Since I last visited he's added a few - my favourite is [full size]:

That hose, water and drain isn't real ... he isn't really holding anything!

But I urge you to visit and wonder at the rest - even better, commission him and keep him employed doing this for as long as you can afford!

[Updated 9-Feb-2007] Check out these links filched from James Brunskill over at James' Ramblings blog:
For those who still want to know more, Eric Shackle has an interesting article, relating to Julian's recent pavement drawing in New York's Union Square.

Se…

Noah K Everyday - the changes as they slowly happen

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Interesting to see that the changes between each month are relatively small with it being hard to really tell the difference (how does he manage the same expression and the same pose?) if you compare photo's far enough apart you can see aging happening.

Here's the first (1st Oct, 2000) and the current photo's with the video of all following:



everyday on Vimeo

Hat tip to Flickr blog for link, read during the Flickr system upgrade.

He's not the only one - there's also Jonathan Keller - check out his video:


Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project on Vimeo

Our breathing earth

How bad is it, this bad

This is how computers should work: "Minority Report becomes reality" video

Weekly Poll: What was the craziest Sevens costume?

Microsoft website blooper update #1

Despite me sending feedback the blooper still exists

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows published July 21st

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News alert ends

Giant penis as seen from space

As I always tell people, when you're out for a walk or just pottering around in the garden, look up and wave as it might be right at that moment that the satellite taking pictures is flying over head!

Timing is everything and certainly was for this school prank - story from Boing Boing:
Some years ago, teenage schoolboys at Bellemoor school, Southampton, UK played an end-of-term prank on their teachers. Specifically, they burned a 20ft-long cock into the school's grass lawn using weedkiller.

The teachers had it reseeded, and the incident passed into memory. However, in the interval between the grass dying and the restoration work...

Enter an aerial survey! More importantly, an aerial survey that would later sell its imagery to Microsoft's Virtual Earth Google Maps clone.

Hence, the giant cock was preserved for ever in the soft threads of the Net. It can be viewed at this URL.
...

Hat-tip Boing Boing

Links on this blog - preview the page before clicking

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If you hover over any* of the links on this blog you will now see a preview of the web page you would end up on if you clicked. Preview the destination and letting you decide whether it's worth clicking.

Here's an example: hovering the mouse over the 'add to del.icio.us' link at the bottom one of my posts - click for bigger picture


The technology being used is supplied by Snap Preview Anywhere, is free and easy to install on any website.

Personally I like it and find it very useful** but noteveryone likes this technology and so I am keen to find out whether it's actually useful. Give it a whirl people (hover your mouse over any link in this posting but don't click) and leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

I suspect it's not something that'll not work the RSS feed, may slow down load time (experiences anyone) and might get in the way of content as your reading - you tell me with a comment!

* Not every link is Snap Previewed - leaving a comment, …