Request for Twitter: add all followers

I have 469 followers on Twitter. Very amazing service growth. Many of the world’s technologists are on it. Interestingly enough, the guy who started the company (Obvious) that made Twitter only has 578 followers.

Twitter is like the weird offspring that would happen if blogging mated with IM. It lets me write very short blog entries to my friends, letting them know what I’m doing. It’s addictive, especially when you get friends of your own, cause then you can follow them.

Anyway, I have a few problems with Twitter. First, I’d like to add all my followers to my list so I can follow their lives. Instead I have to add them one-by-one, which, makes my job 469 times more difficult. I can understand that they don’t want to see n*n growth, though. Makes scalability a much worse problem than it is.

On the Followers Page, I can’t see which ones I’ve already added as friends. It would be really neat to put a little icon next to each of my followers saying “add as friend.”

Also, I keep forgetting to use Twitter. I set it to automatically SMS me if I forget for 24 hours, but I’d like a toolbar app or something that lets me enter right from the desktop. I know some developers have been working on such Twitter apps, anyone know which one is the best? Since I use Mac and PCs now, which is the best on either platform?

Anyway, I find I keep coming back to Twitter. It’s an interesting way to keep in touch with the lives of your friends, or followers, as it were.

Eric Rice starts new “virtual world/gaming” show for PodTech

The good news for PodTech keeps rolling along. For those of you who don’t know Eric Rice, he’s the one who got me into Second Life (haven’t been back since my son got kicked out, though) but his skillz are extreme (he has built entire islands of cool stuff including a conference center, a city that included my “very large and evil” software company, and islands for corporate clients.

Today he announced that he’s doing a video show, named “Rezzing,” for PodTech. Virtual Worlds and Gaming won’t be the same.

Oh, and someone asked what the business model of PodTech is. I’ll work on a more complete and in-depth post on that with my management, but really it’s the same business model that content businesses around the world have. Build audiences and introduce those audiences to corporate clients. You can call it advertising. A Second Life interactive world. Or sponsorship. Or BlogHausing. Corporate blogging. ScobleShow. Or a number of other things.

Basically we’re just copying everything that Jason Calacanis does (he proved that networks of social media sites, er blogs, podcasts, etc, have value when he sold Weblogsinc to AOL). Oh, wait, he does a podcast for PodTech too.

Adobe enters feed reader race

My coworker Jeremiah Owyang says he’s not switching from Google Reader until at least a few other people in his trusted network switch too. In reaction to news that Adobe has entered the feed reader race with “myFeedz”. I briefly checked out the Adobe Reader. It’s missing three things that I find addictive about Google’s Reader: well-thought-out keyboard commands, “read-all-feed-items-at-once in a ‘River of News'” and ability to share feed items with others. If your feed reader has those three things, then I want to hear about it and try it out and see how it compares with Google’s Reader.

By the way, I’m using Google Reader right now to build my link blog. If you haven’t checked out my link blog, I think you’ll find it unique. I go through 541 feeds. In the last month I’ve read 21,991 items and shared 1,169 items. You’ll find that it’s totally different from Digg (cause the only one voting here is me, so you get to see what interested me in the feeds) and TechMeme (which only shows you the most popular stuff — I pick technology items. Really I’m doing this for programmers like Chris Messina and Dori Smith, and busy executives, like my boss who don’t have time to dig through thousands of items trying to find what’s good to read).

How do I do my link blog? I set Google Reader to automatically open in the “All Items” view. That’s the “River of News” view. Then I use the keyboard commands to go through my feed items one-by-one. “J” key goes forward. “K” key goes back. “Shift-S” shares an item.

I wish there were a directory of other people’s Link Blogs. Anyone want to start one on a Wiki?

UPDATE: ironically enough, today Google’s servers are misbehaving and aren’t accepting my shared items. Will try again later.

Note to Steve Jobs: unions are only half of school’s problems

Steve Jobs is right that unions are corrosive on the quality of our schools. Our schools are bad because we can’t get rid of bad teachers. But, it’s worse than that — Steve Jobs’ fix wouldn’t fix the total problem. Patrick’s Mom was a teacher for a while. She left for a variety of reasons, but partly because the pay is so bad for the work you put into that job.

If you want better schools, pay teachers $80,000 a year or more, AND give the staff power to get rid of bad apples (bad pun, given the cause of today’s post, I know) and you’ll see school quality turn around in an instant.

The problem is that the political system here won’t allow politicians to increase taxes to pay for higher school wages and the unions won’t allow reforms to get rid of bad teachers. Instead we get stupid patches to the system like the “no child left behind” initiative which tries to improve results by mandating tests (most teachers I talk with say that initiative is a disaster).

Translation: the school system is just going to keep getting worse and worse. It’s so bad in my neighborhood that people openly talk about how bad it is and most parents here drive their kids 30 to 50 minutes to private schools in Silicon Valley.

We all know the school systems here (especially in California, where per-school spending is behind most other states) sucks. We just aren’t willing to do the things that need to be done to correct the problem.

Steve Jobs deserves praise for at least speaking half the truth.

Aside: he also says that he expects to lose some business because of his stance. I think he’s being disingenous there. I was on the technology committee at my son’s school. The teachers had almost all the power. If the school bought technology they didn’t like (hint: it almost always was Apple tech) they rebelled against it and caused the school management a lot of trouble.

Teachers don’t like this system either, which is why they cheered Steve Jobs’ remarks. Think about it. If you worked with someone dragging your profession down (or, worse, ill preparing kids in a grade before yours) wouldn’t you want to get rid of them too?

UPDATE: Dan Farber says pretty much the same thing I do too. So does Don Dodge, who then goes further and says the problem is a lack of incentive. I totally agree with that too. I know many college professors who are teaching the same class they did years ago. There’s no incentive to innovate, even when the world is changing around them.

We won’t hear much more about Aaron’s Google story

I met with Aaron Stanton yesterday, who is visiting the San Francisco Bay Area with the goal of getting Google to build his idea (his home is in Idaho, and this is the first time he’s been to SF/Silicon Valley since he was younger and visited with his parents). I see Mathew Ingram is asking “now what?”

Trouble is Aaron signed an agreement not to talk further about the process on his Web site, or with anyone in the media (including me). So, now we won’t hear much more. I guess if he says he’s a Google employee we’ll know how the story turned out, but I doubt he’ll know such a thing this week.

I found Aaron to be interesting and smart, but I wasn’t able to learn what his idea was because of the agreement. He told me he wanted to stick to his goal: getting Google to use the idea (which, he admitted, was actually a combination of three ideas that he’d written a prototype for, and prepared a presentation about). Not to make his Web site popular (he was quite surprised at how popular it had gotten, in such a short period of time. That didn’t surprise me, though. The word-of-mouth network is quite efficient now and ideas spread fast). Funny enough he said most of his early traffic came from within Google and after that it got on Digg and TechMeme and other popular blogs, which brought waves of traffic.

That’s typical too. If one guy in a big company finds something interesting they email it around and you can get thousands of visits in an hour. I remember one time when I emailed something around one of the bigger lists at Microsoft and the blog owner asked me what the heck was going on, cause he had gotten 2,000 visits in a few minutes. Turns out big company employees are email happy and click on links in email at a ferocious rate.

Anyway, Aaron said his trip had already succeeded and that he was going to stick around a few more days and see Silicon Valley’s sights (I told him to visit the Computer History Museum before he goes home, especially since that’s only a couple of miles from Google’s campus). Oh, and he also told me he’s been working on the idea for several years, and that Google is best positioned to make his idea happen (he’s considered going the venture capital route, but that Google with its massive new data centers is able to take advantage of the idea right now, vs. a few years from now).

Actually, that’s the best reason to go to work for a big company. IF you can get them to implement your idea (not easy at all, as I covered yesterday) your idea will get resources that a smaller company can only dream about (and most VC’s won’t be willing to fund).

More links on this over on TechMeme.