In my 16 years of working on the web, I had never once visited what I think of as the heart of Internet: the actual datacenter facilities that host the websites we love so dearly. Sure I had seen servers before and have interacted with a couple Network Operation Centers (NOCs) in the past (via email), but I had never actually been inside a full fledged facility before.
So I gave my friends at DF Colo a call and asked them to give me a tour of their seattle-area colocation facilities. After a tour of their Tukwila datacenter, I asked if I could bring a camera along and tour their newest location, a datacenter in downtown Seattle that opened in September 2012.
I was able get great footage of most of the colocation facility and learned quite a bit from the highly knowledgeable COO, Tim Doherty (sorry, no close ups of customer servers). If you’ve never visited a datacenter before, here’s your opportunity:
Clearly I spend a lot of time online. Most of it occurs in my home office or around the house. Occasionally I connect in coffee shops (usually free) or at the airport (usually for a fee). As part of the Clear Heros program, I have been blessed with a 4G wifi hotspot that I can use myself, and share with others. Having high speed internet access wherever I go has benefited me in a lot of ways. Here are a few situations where it has come in handy, so far:
Conference Connectivity: Like many conferences, people are on a tweeting & email checking rampage. The complimentary wi-fi is inevitably overloaded and slow. By having my own access point while at a conference I gained a client, and saved another attendee from losing one (she couldn’t email them the dinner plans). More recently at Startup Weekend EDU, I was able to read tweets just after our presentation to judges like Michael Arrington in a conference room where there was no internet AT&T connectivity on my iPhone. During break, I was able to meet up with a well-connected attendee who complimented our pitch, which may lead to our first source of revenue.
Traveling Flexibility: Over the summer, my family made a trip to Florida for vacation. I was able to sit on the beach and conduct a meeting with one of my clients on a site redesign. Without being able to see their live site, I never would have been able to conduct this meeting. One thing we forgot was our camera charger. I quickly hopped online and had a charger sent to us before we ran out of juice, allowing us to take capture important moments, like our first trip out to the Florida keys and our children’s first experience with dolphins in the wild. Later in the trip I was able to save $75 on my hotel stay since I didn’t need to pay for the daily $25 internet access fee.
Helping Others: I was with a filmmaker who had a hard deadline to upload a client’s video before the press release hit. Trouble was the coffee shops internet access was sporadic and slow, causing his video upload to fail over and over. Within 5 seconds I got him online and he was able to meet his deadline. Another time I was riding on a bus destined for Seattle and a lady was literally in tears because the bus was running late & she wouldn’t be able to give her boss the fixed powerpoint presentation in time for his big meeting. I asked her if she would like to give it to him right now & she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.
Information Anywhere: This has probably come in handy more times then I can remember, but one situation was a serious stress reliever for me. I bought an expensive new camera and was filming my child’s science presentation at a science fair. My camera’s LCD screen had several dull gray band floating across it and I thought for sure I had already broken my camera. Turns out the cheap florescent lighting in the building had a “cycle” that competed with the camera’s shutter rate. I would have stressed out until my next filming date if I didn’t have that information at my finger tips.
Cue the dramatic music as I slip on my mask, tie on my cape, and pull on my gloves in preparation of finally living out my boyhood dreams as a REAL hero… kind of.
For the next six months, I now no longer represent just myself. I will be living a double life as myself and the CLEAR Hero for the Seattle area. I won’t be battling street crime (we’ll leave that to my wife, the forensic scientist), but I will be “rescuing” people who need Internet access in some of the toughest neighborhoods for obtaining 4G Internet Access.
As part of the hero assignment, CLEAR will be lending me a Spot Device with free service, which will allow me to connect up to 8 distressed victims at once. I’ll be incognito, secretly armed with the full power of Internet access, looking for opportunities to help people out in various coffee shops, airports and web conferences, all in the name of good Karma for CLEAR.
It’s a very cool program and I’m excited to be a part of it! Down the road I’ll post a recap of a few of my hero-esque moments.
Just over a month ago, I was shocked when I was force-fed a twitter screen takeover while looking at my domain names registered at GoDaddy. Immediately, I did some news searches to see if GoDaddy had purchased Twitter because it seemed very out of place. There were no such announcements. In fact, there was verylittle news about this development.
Every time I’m in my account tweaking my domains, I can’t help but notice the twitter promotion overload. I can’t help but wonder why GoDaddy would take such a keen interest in helping to fuel more twitter accounts. From a service perspective, it is pretty lame because it is already incredibly easy to check name availability and sign up for twitter. I could think of a hundred other features GoDaddy should build and promote instead. If it were a two-way arrangement, where Twitter promotes domain registration for Twitter user names, then I could see the benefit.
So why do you suppose GoDaddy is pimping Twitter so much? Is GoDaddy going to buy Twitter? Is Twitter paying GoDaddy for this treatment? Is GoDaddy’s product development team overly caught up with Twitter & group-think led them to believe this add on would separate them from other registrars? I have no idea, but it will be interesting to watch this over time.
Here are more screenshots showing how much GoDaddy is pimping out Twitter within their domain dashboards:
As lame and as stale as many of their sites were, I still faintly remember the first GeoCities site I created in ‘96 or ‘97. I wish I could dig it up, but I have no idea what happened to it, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it were one of their better sites ;)
Yahoo announced they’ll be closing it with no buyer, just 10 years after they bought it for $3 billion. It’s really sad Yahoo didn’t improve the service and keep up with the times.
For those who still have Geocities sites they care about, check out the Free Geocities Migration services Wetpaint has offered up.
If you are on Facebook and haven’t had the pleasure of reading a 25 Random Things About Me note about one of your friends yet, you are missing out. Normally not a fan of chain letters or tagging memes, I will admit the 25 Things activity on Facebook is fascinating.
History of Facebook 25 Things Notes
Facebook notes were launched on August 22, 2006, but didn’t receive heavy usage until 2009 thanks to a new viral phenomenon that started off as “25 Random Things About Me.” Memes using notes on Facebook are nothing new, entire websites have been put together to catalog and inspire various memes-most as lame as the emails that have been going around for over a decade.
The Velocity of 25 Things
The earliest entries I can find via various search tools for 25 Things is mid-January. I really saw it taking off in my personal network starting in February. Using Google trends, I compared 25 Things searches to searches for an older site people might be familiar with: 43 Things.
As you can tell from the chart, 25 things searches increased rapidly, easily overshadowing 43 Things despite the fact that users won’t find Facebook notes entries doing this search, nor will they find definitive information about the origins of it.
How to Find 25 Things Notes
If you do want to find all your friends 25 things postings, I suggest you follow these steps:
1. Login to Facebook and make sure you are on the main page (click Home if you are not sure).
2. Click the drop down arrow for more feeds (blue arrow next to live feed button)
3. Choose notes.
4. Scroll down and you will likely see activity around 25 Things postings.
5. Click show more posts at the very bottom if you want to look for more postings.
Facebook 25 Things Learnings
There are things we can all learn from Facebook’s 25 Things success:
Patience is important in business. Facebook could have easily scrapped notes long ago due to low activity.
Never underestimate user-generated content.
Viral successes are often luck
Providing a platform where UGC viral successes can happen is important
I noticed a lot of people commenting on how Facebook didn’t make sense to them until they started reading other people’s 25 Things posts – this simple meme has created an amazing amount of value for Facebook and their traffic reflects it:
Caught this today when performing a search for other engines while on Yahoo. First time I’ve seen an engine attempt to keep their users from jumping to another engine, which is very common practice as indicated by my Actual Top 10 Search Terms of 2006 post.
I was performing a search for MSN search (or “Live”) in Yahoo because I didn’t have it in my Firefox search dropdown.
Here’s what I saw:
I wasn’t paying very close attention and started typing in my search into the Yahoo shortcut search box shown above. Notice it says: “You could go to MSN. Or you could stay here and get straight to your answers.”
I can’t recall seeing this before, so I decided to see if they were doing the same thing to Google (which has got to be one of the 10 most popular search terms on Yahoo):
Again, notice it says: “You could go to Google. Or you could stay here and get straight to your answers.”
Seems strange to have a Yahoo shortcut for something you were already immersed in. What do you think about this? Is it right? Would Yahoo be pissed if Microsoft or Google did the same?
Note: I was one of the bloggers to help chose the blogger award winners
I suggest you take a look through the list, you might discover some interesting sites or services you may not have discovered before – I know I discovered a few new sites going through the judging process.
In an effort to get more entries into the 2009 Webby Awards, the Webby Awards teamed up with some online video rockstars to promote entering. Eventually there will be five videos, but here are the first two:
I’ve had the pleasure of judging the Webby Awards, the Web 2.0 awards, an international pageant, and now the Mashable Open Awards.
Like many awards, there is the judges choice and the people’s choice (both an honor to win for any website). Below is the form you can use to submit your choice (cast your vote before midnight Sunday, November 30th):