Archive for December 11th, 2006

A look at Mugshot 2.0

A few weeks ago the Mugshot team released v2.0 of their software. The online UI is now richer, users can only post items to the groups they belong and not to “the world”, but the Windows client is buggier (insists of using IE, even if it’s not the the browser of choice and it doesn’t work well on dual screens like mine).

For a few months now I am trying to find a good name to describe Mugshot accurately. We all know the “it is social networking” and “no, it is not social networking” arguments. Basically, what Mugshot really is, it’s a “social networking aggregator“. What this means is that it re-uses data from other public web sites that you are a member of, and then stacks that information in your personal Mugshot page. For example, if you are a Flickr member and you just uploaded 5 pictures there, plus you had a blog post, plus you made a post on Facebook, all these will show up on your Mugshot page. It’s a single page that your friends can keep up with all your online social activities — it’s similar to what RSS has achieved for news web sites. Additionally, via OS plugins, usage patterns on your PC can also be monitored and made public if desired (e.g. the three last videos watched on your desktop media player).

This is why Havoc Pennington was making such a big fuss about “freeing data is more important that freeing source code” a few months ago on a blog post of his. Having access to the data of other web sites is very important for his Mugshot project. Havoc has also said that when Mugshot was announced in June 2006 they were at least a year off of what they really wanted it to be. Now, 6 months in that roadmap, v2.0 is released and it’s more clear where the project is going.

Problem is, after using Mugshot for months now, I still can’t find a good reason to use it. It’s not enticing. I can live a perfect life without it, without losing out (but then again, I say the same thing about myspace and yet myspace is so extremely popular). Maybe this is because most of my friends and family don’t have Facebook or Myspace accounts so I don’t have to keep up with them in this manner. Maybe it’s because I still use bookmarks and IM for my social activities. Maybe it’s because Mugshot is not full-featured yet. Or, maybe because it’s just not as useful as Red Hat think it is.

Anyways, I have 5 invites left, let me know if you want to experience Mugshot first hand and I will send you an invite.

Getting a new laptop

It’s been a bit over 2 years since I got the LinuxCertified LC2430 laptop, but yesterday I discovered that its battery is misbehaving. According to Arch Linux, when using the laptop on battery it says that I have… 46 hours of life left (in reality the laptop could never do more than 1 hour 15 minutes under Linux’s crude power management methods), the charge goes below 10% in about 2-3 minutes of battery usage, or in some cases the laptop just turns off itself. However, when you reboot and you try to recharge the battery, it says that it will rechage in about 5 hours time, but about 5 minutes later it says that it’s already on 100% of charge. This leads me to believe that the battery itself still holds the charge as it must, but it’s reporting erratic numbers to the kernel driver — maybe because of a faulty connector. Or, it could be a Linux driver bug. I will have to check with YellowTAB Zeta to see if it’s the battery’s fault or not (I have no Windows on that laptop).

Anyways, I will have to sell that laptop now and get a new one. Dell doesn’t sell Vista laptops yet, and especially for the Christmas period they have jammed up their prices about 10%. Getting a good Dell laptop with Vista Home Premium will cost me about $750 in January, but it will cost me over $1500 if I get a Macbook+Vista copy (I need Vista in one way or another). Personally, I prefer the second option (because my 3-year old Powerbook is getting old too), but that’s pretty expensive when you consider that you can do at least as much at half the price with a Dell. While for high-end machines Apple is on par with Dell on prices, for low-end ones Dell still rules. Decisions, decisions…