The Other Shane Adams

I used to think that my first name afforded me an amount of uniqueness in the world. I never really met a lot of Shanes, let alone a lot of Shane Adamses. But just my luck…there are like half a dozen of them that are active on the internet.

Great.

Now I realize that I’m probably not doing myself any favors, since I’m currently fourth on the Magnificent Google List despite having been online for longer than all of them.

But I just can’t help myself.

(reposted from my Tumblr)

Topulist

Besides The Catcher in the Rye, my all-time favorite book is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. The main character (played by John Cusack in the movie version) is obsessed with making lists.

I love making lists. In fact, one thing that I like to do when interviewing people I will potentially work with is I ask them their top five movies of all-time. Say what you will, it’s my version of a personality test and I think that your top five movies say a lot about who you are as a person.

My love for making lists is what led me and my brother to name our company topfivedesign.

So when my friend Allen came to me with his idea for a site – a place where people could list their favorite of anything.

“I always seemed to be looking for recommendations from people on products and places and wanted a site where I could easily find something like ‘Favorite brand of refrigerator’.”

I’ve been beta-testing Topulist for the past several months. It’s a straight-forward website that’s easy to use and very addicting. Think of it as a social networking version of Consumer Reports, only it’s not limited by anything. You can list your favorite Marvel Comics character, your favorite game for the Wii, your favorite hybrid car or even your favorite McDonalds Dollar Menu item.

You can create your own Topulist and Allen’s ninja Rails skills make sure that it’s not already up there.

It’s a cool site and you should totally go check it out.

The MySpace Experience

I had a MySpace account for all of about 3 days. I signed up because my cousins in California had them, my brother has one, and they all said it was the hip thing to do. (Nevermind the whole stigma about it it being a haven for sexual predators…)

Anyway, I thought I would try it out, just to see what it was like.

I didn’t like it. I just felt like everything it offers, I already had (a place to share pictures – flickr, a place to share thoughts – this site). The only thing that I don’t have already is the whole “social” aspect of it. There are over 50 million users on MySpace, all linked through “friendships” and schools and groups and other connections.

What always bothered me about it was how ugly every site that I saw was. Not only that, but even ones that used these so-called MySpace templates STILL looked crappy. So I promptly deleted my account.
Today, Mike Davidson, the CEO of Newsvine, put forth a MySpace effort that is clean, respectable and wicked worn.

For the first time, I reconsidered my decision to delete my MySpace page, download his CSS hack, tweak it up and go back, but ultimately, MySpace isn’t really my scene. I found 1 or 2 people on there that I wouldn’t have otherwise, but to be honest it wasn’t worth the effort.

Maybe after their new security advisor gets things into order, I’ll go back…but for now, I’m dedicated to this site (and topFIVEdesign, of course).

Web as Platform

*placing hand over heart*

I am a geek.

Now I don’t know if I was born a geek or if I grew gradually into geekdom, but I am 100% geekalicious now. I love computers and technology and I get excited about stupid things like Apple’s latest product release and Yahoo!’s purchase of Flickr (although I was somewhat skeptical about the latter…so far Yahoo! hasn’t screwed anything up).

The phrase “Web 2.0” gets thrown around the blogodome a lot these days. Let’s assume for a sec that you are familiar with what Web 2.0 is (a collection of web sites and web applications designed to cater to consumer needs and wants in a browser environment rather than a desktop-based one), or at least that you are familiar with one or two Web 2.0 applications (WordPress, the CMS that this site is built with, is one, as are the aforementioned Flickr, Yahoo!, and other stalwarts such as Blogger, Google, MySpace, etc.).

About 2 months ago, some news came to the forefront that Google, the “Microsoft of Web 2.0”, was purchasing a company called Writely, Whose Web 2.0 product is a web-based word processor, essentially Microsoft Word for the web.

There was some geekish fanfare (a story was dugg, it probably was SlashDotted), but it was mostly ignored. Now, with the announcement of the beta Google Calendar program, it appears that Google may be going after the evil Redmond, WA giant Microsoft after all. You see, much of the reason that everyone uses Microsoft is that their productivity products (Microsoft Office, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, etc.) have completely saturated the market and most people are comfortable with them. But people are getting comfortable with the web now and most people feel differently about Google than they do about Microsoft (mostly because it is FREE). Google’s calendar service and mail service are extremely usable and TOTALLY INDEPENDENT of the computer…they exist in cyberspace (oooooo…spooky…).

I really like it. Particularly since I use a bunch of different computers (typing this one on my wife’s Mac Powerbook laptop, work on a dual AMD Windows machine, and my main computer is an iMac G5). As much as I like to write, I think that a product like Writely is going to be wildly popular.

37Signals is all about productivity applications like this. Ta-da Lists are geinus, Backpack is cool (but I haven’t really used it yet), and I’ve heard that Campfire is cool too. I don’t really like their Writeboard product that much (basically a collaborative writing environment).

Anyway, I think that once that Google releases Writely into the wild with the full power of the Google brand behind it, it is going to do really well. Seriously…this Web 2.0 thing is really cool.

P.S. Sorry if this is disjointed…I’m a little scatterbrained.