Discussing software, the web, politics, sexuality and the unending supply of human stupidity.

I've just signed up for Social Voicemail. It currently looks like vapourware. What we really need is a system independent from Skype which lets you sign up, set up a link on your site saying "voice feedback" or something. Apparently, Odeo are doing that.

I'm enjoying GeekBrief.TV. I's a very short video podcast (rarely longer than ten minutes - usually three to five) that discusses new products, talks about geeky stuff and so on.

OPML Business of the Day

First off, I've created the OPML Wishlist, which is hosted over on Ning. If you've got an idea of what you'd like with OPML, go there, register and post away. Use it as an OPML fantasy land. It's not for bug reports, it's for feature requests. It would be great if we could have a few of the gang using it.

I've released some hacks for NewsRiver (one to add 'spyglass' support for the feeds page, the other to reverse the Delete and Unsubscribe buttons on ?xmlUrl spyglass pages, so that when you hit enter in Safari, you submit 'delete' not 'unsubscribe'). If you want them, just download my updated version. See my post to OPML-Newbies for details.

I've put up a page for my documentation. Ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This bookmarklet will be useful for NewsRiver users.

theOffice looks like a cool idea. Perhaps I should start one in London. I've always thought a BlogBar would be neat, basically a tiny little coffee shop where everyone's talking tech all day long.

If you employed a nurse caleld Jesus, would you ask him to change his name to Manuel? Of course not. If I was called Jesus, I'd grow long hair and spook out old people by saying stuff like "I'm Jesus, I'm an atheist" and "Trinitarianism ain't true, suckers. The Unitarians and the Jews were right..."

Whine 2.0

Scott Heiferman describes my response to his 50 reasons as "whiney". Well, I prefer the insult to the usual "soothing, humorless monotone of the mission statement". Everything has it's genealogy, and my whininess must be a built-in function of Frontier (it would explain a few things if it was).

Let me expand my reasoning. I've been invited to run a meetup group, and I really want to. I like Meetup, and I go to a number of meetups in London every month, two organised by, the rest organised manually.

Meetup charges too much for newcomers. If someone has an established meetup going, there really is no problem. Paying $12 to keep it ticking over, with everyone contributing a few pence in the jar is no problem. You've had time to set up, and that's fine.

But when the meetup is only small, or trying to get off the ground, charging the the rates that meetup do discourages groups from setting up. How about this: if a meetup has under fifteen people signed up, the charge is halved. $12-19 is too much to plonk down with the hope that someone might turn up. $6 is not.

When the group starts being successful, jack the price back up and start charging the monthly fee.

This will make it so that the monthly fee isn't being split too widely between a small number of users - and that the monthly fee remains consistent as membership grows.

Six dollars works out to be £3.44. If five people turn up, that works out as 69p each. When the group grows in to double digits, the membership fee goes from Starter level up to Standard level.

This encourages Meetup to provide some service that's valuable to the user. The user is not going to be 'unmotivated'. He's not going to say "Well, we've currently got 9 people going. Let's try and stop a tenth person coming, so we don't have to pay any more."

Running a Meetup shouldn't be a risky enterprise. I don't mind paying, but the amount Meetup charges for groups who have yet to establish themselves is too much, especially now that sites like upcoming let us share events and get-togethers with people through a combination of the social network and the groups. It has RSS feeds and much more.

Upcoming is a more pleasant experience to use than Meetup, which I find very confusing (just like I find MySpace confusing).

Charge away when we're off-the-ground, but cut the current barrier to entry.

Oh, and start accepting PayPal or cards that aren't Visa, MasterCard and Amex. Some of us are trying to live frugally and avoid credit cards in favour of debit cards (like Maestro - which is now a pan-European standard).

Is that a whine, or is that constructive criticism?