Archives For Web/Tech

Which may say a lot about my personality type. Or not.


But the info comes from plugging my birthdate into Wolfram|Alpha.

Which also tells me I was born on a Tuesday.

Though I must be the exception to the rule that “Tuesday’s child is full of grace.” (I used Google for that reference.)

Wolfram|Alpha ain’t Google, but it is a cool “computational knowledge engine” with a healthy portion of Wolfram Mathematica under the hood.

Stephen Wolfram is the genius behind this computational knowledge engine. He’s 12 days younger than Imbi and born on the same day as Rebecca de Mornay. Imbi, by the way, was born on a Monday. And “Monday’s child is fare of face” certainly applies to her. (When I plugged Monday’s Child into WolframAlpha, it came back confused. “Wolfram|Alpha isn’t sure what to do with your input.” Google to the rescue.)

When I type Toronto, Ontario (my home town) into Wolfram|Alpha, I discover the city has 4.612 million people with the Metro area being 6.324 million. Chicago has a smaller city population of 2.843 million people – but it’s metro area is almost a third larger @ 9.278 million. All this info just by plugging the city and province/state into Wolfram|Alpha. W|A also tells me that Chicago is 4ºC warmer today. But I bet it’s windier. 6 meters/sec windspeed in Chitown. W|A doesn’t say for Toronto.

Go have some fun.

UPDATE: More (and better) Wolfram|Alpha blogging here.

Found this via a tweet from @ccarmichael. It’s a must watch if you are remotely interested in social media and the digital generation. Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, interviewed by Allan Gregg. Click here if you don’t see it in the RSS feed.

Missional Tribe site is down

kinnon —  March 1, 2009 — 3 Comments


We have a sad cat on our hands.

It would seem our host, Media Temple has had a major crash – taking us, along with Brother Maynard and many others, offline.

This isn’t supposed to happen.

Built in redundancy and all, you know.

So much for that.

We are looking @ alternate hosts and do hope to be back up very soon. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.

Why I Love Facebook

kinnon —  February 28, 2009 — 3 Comments

Or not.

I don’t do FB much right now. Not enough hours in the day or desire to further the data riches of Zuckerman et al. But the above truly cracked me up. I’m sure most of the diggerati have already seen it, though. Forgive me for wasting your time. (How arrogant of me to assume any diggerati actually stop by here, eh!)

The Power of Twitter

kinnon —  February 17, 2009 — 11 Comments


I’ve been on Twitter for a while now. I think it was Darryl Dash who called it the “new front porch” based on a conversation he’d had with Jordon Cooper. It’s a great analogy.


I picture myself walking down the street past my friend Ed’s house. Ed calls out to me and I ask him what’s been happening in his life. He tells me briefly about his travels and how it’s good to be home. I share a little of my own story and then continue my walk. A few hours later Ed wanders by my place while I’m out on the porch and says, “Hey, did you hear about…” and begins to tell me about something he found interesting. I tell him that I’ll check it out. And off he goes.

Ed is a neighbourhood friend who keeps me in touch with what he’s up to, his travels, how he’s coping as a husband and father and the cool things he’s come across. I try to do some of the same with him.


But let’s say I walk by Fred’s house. Fred’s says, “Hey, Bill did you see my book? Dya’ wanna buy my book? Ernie just reviewed my book. Me. Me. Me. Me.”

Ever freakin’ time I go by. It’s about nothing but Fred. I’d quickly find the best ways to avoid Fred.

In January, Doc Searls wrote an important post on signal vs noise regarding Dave Winer’s new approach to Twitter. In Screw Popularity. Just Make Yourself Useful, he says this,

“Friends” and “followers” aren’t what matter. If you want substance, you need useful inputs. Not volume. Not style. Not popularity. Those have their places, just not in your face when you’re looking for useful and interesting stuff.

That’s what I want out of Twitter. Not just to be the waist in an hourglass where a pile of god-knows-what flows from Following to Followers.

And later,

The result of Dave’s work is a pared-down Twitter stream, reduced to people who Dave knows have substantive things to say. They’re not just naming their socks or reporting that the light just changed. They carry news. They provide links. They make themselves useful.

Perhaps this makes Twitter a little more utilitarian than you might like, but it’s one heck of a lot better than non-stop self-promotion. If what you are doing and how you are living life is interesting and informative, tweet on. But if you’re just trying to sell me something…including yourself, I’ll be defollowing your tweets. As I said on Twitter yesterday,

Twitter can be a place of insight in 140 characters – or a place where certain people market themselves 24/7. I am so tired of selfpromos.

Let me end by saying that some of my favourite Twits are Darryl Dash, Jordon Cooper, Ed Stetzer (as in Ed above), Bob Hyatt, Joe Thorn, Steve McCoy, Glenn Hatcher, the iMonk, Ed Brenegar, my Missional ‘gator buddies and just recently my friend, Gary Lindblad. And of course the incomparable Doc Searls and Kathy Sierra.

Once Again: Facebook is Evil

kinnon —  February 16, 2009 — 4 Comments

Mashable links to a Consumerist article that talks about what, at first blush, seems a slight change to Facebook’s TOS agreement. (Terms of Service Agreement.) The gist of Facebook’s new TOS:

All your base are belong to us!

Facebook’s new TOS according to the Consumerist and Mashable states,

…all of the content you’ve ever uploaded on Facebook can be used, modified or even sublicensed by Facebook in every possible way – even if you quit the service.

From FB’s Terms of Use page:

You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.

So, all you soon-to-be-famous people who are busy publishing all of those great stories, shots and videos of yourself now, Facebook looks forward to selling them to the highest bidder when you hit the bigtime. Let me know how it works out for you.

UPDATE: Steve Knight has started a Facebook Group: “Facebook – Change Your TOS Back Now!

Google "missional" and you'll get 1,200,000 hits. Search "missional" at Amazon and 1,238 missional products appear before your very eyes. It's the Western Church word of the moment. The key to all that ails the church. The promise of a bright future – beginning with a bold tomorrow. That is, if we only knew what it meant.

This recent quote from a church website accurately demonstrates "missional" confusion.

We have made a commitment to being a Missional Church, reaching into the community and inviting people to come and experience what we are doing. We should have "standing room only" Services every Sunday. There should be a buzz in the Community about ____ and all the wonderful activities available for most people's needs and wishes.

Well, not so much.

Last June, in response to this kind of confusion, Friend of Missional's Rick Meigs challenged the blogosphere to respond to the question, "What is Missional?"

I have a continuing concern that the term missional has become over used and wrongly used.

I think it is time to make a bigger effort to reclaim the term, a term which describe what happens when you and I replace the "come to us" invitations with a "go to them" life. A life where "the way of Jesus" informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture. It speaks of the very nature of the Jesus follower.

To help reclaim it, I propose a synchronized blog for Monday, June 23rd on the topic, "What is Missional?"

50 bloggers responded with their understanding of the word – and a lot more conversation was generated both in real life and on the web. Brother Maynard did a great summary of the missional excitement. There was a sense of accomplishment – the 50 people and the hundreds of commentors had refocused the word "missional."

But then each blogger wrote other posts – dislodging their Synchroblog posts from the lead position. Soon the Synchroblog posts disappeared from the front pages of 50 blogs – only accessible if one knew exactly what you were looking for. The sense of accomplishment was ephemeral.

A few of us who had met in real life at the Allelon Missional Order event in Seabeck, WA the year before talked about the best way to keep those posts and ideas evergreen. We'd also been part of the Wikiklessia Project: Voices of the Virtual World. Perhaps a book would be effective. By the fall, seven of us were in ongoing conversation around how best to serve the "missional" mission – Peggy Brown, Brad Sargent, Kingdom Grace, Brother Maynard, Sonja Andrews, Rick Meigs and me, Bill Kinnon.

MT-blog-button125sq-1 Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody and Seth Godin's Tribes helped to inform our discussions. Missional Tribe's first iteration was as a Wiki. Then the mini blogstorm around Out of Ur's Dan Kimball Missional results post convinced us that what the conversation needed was a place to discuss, share stories, watch videos, ask questions, and grow together. Where all of this can easily be tagged and indexed for rapid access in the future. The Missional Tribe social network was born.

Less than two months after the decision to launch a social network, the beta of the Missional Tribe site launches today – Epiphany, on the church calendar. We would like you to join us in being a part of this non-heirarchical network.

From simply reading and commenting on posts and in the Forums, to creating your own blog or posting a video – Missional Tribe is a place to track and expand the missional conversation – as we follow the Lord back into the neighborhoods where he has strategically placed each one of us.

One might think that, the online ecard version of the well known greeting card company, American Greetings, has a favorite Eagles song line, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” They do their very best to make that line comes true when you want to cancel your ecard subscription.

You see, unlike most online subscriptions that let you cancel online (golly, since they let you signup online, now didn’t they),, the online version of American Greetings, forces you to call a phone number. But, when they use email (golly, another online tool, n’est-ce pas) to let you know they will be charging your credit card once again (because you were foolish enough to give it to them in the first place), but this time for $2.00 more than last year which you’d only know if you checked last year’s bill – since they don’t mention an increase anywhere, they also are kind enough in that email to tell you,

If you do not wish to continue your membership, instructions on how to cancel can be found in our Help pages. Go to, sign in , and click on ‘All About my Paid Membership’ [BTW: Last year’s email, that told you about the charge that was $2 less than this year does have the phone number in it, just in case you were wondering. Maybe it cost a lot of money to remove the phone number from the email]

Once you search through the section, find the All About My Paid Membership (strategically placed far down the left column) get asked with every page load to let the site use Google Gears, you finally discover a number, 1-800-711-4474, that you can to call to cancel. Because, even though American Greetings’ subsidiary, is space-age technofied enough to allow you to sign up for a “membership” online, they just don’t trust those newfangled interwebs to let you cancel online. It’s all for your personal safety, of course.

And when you call that number, you are greeted with the latest in voicemail technology – a system that claims to respond to voice commands. I guess my Canadian accent was too hard for the system to understand – as it kept repeating the same message over and over again. “Just say….”

My advice to you, if you’re thinking of getting someone a card, go out and buy them one, address it, put a stamp on it and put it in the mail. That’s only a little more low-tech than is when it comes to cancelling your “membership.” (And remember, there are lots of other greeting card companies so you won’t need to necessarily buy one from parent, American Greetings.)

Or just send someone a nice email – maybe with a picture from your digital camera attached – if you really want to be as technologically advanced as

I think I’ll go listen to the Eagles Hotel California – the Joe Walsh/Don Felder guitar duel solo is crushing.

Oh. And, subsidiary of American Greetings, in case you were wondering, I really wasn’t happy with the way you made it difficult for me to cancel my two year old subscription – the one I used maybe twice and the one that you increased by $2.00 year over year – without easily allowing me to opt out. It is truly a slimy way to operate – though I’m sure you’ve crossed all your legal t’s and dotted your legal i’s – I wouldn’t want to accuse you of not using the very best legal advice money can buy to ensure you operate within the letter of the law. Have a nice day.

Bill Kinnon is now friends with…

kinnon —  November 13, 2008 — 2 Comments


If you wander through the hallowed halls of these once achievable ends, (now just simply you'll find me expressing rather extreme displeasure with the data scraping tendencies of the Book of Faces. Well. I've been assimilated. Though careful with the amount of data I give them to scrape I've enjoyed the reconnection with many friends. (Certain of whom in South Africa would ONLY talk to me via FB.)

But this whole "is now friends with" nonsense is so stupid. At one point, Facebook was announcing that "Bill Kinnon is now friends with Imbi Medri-Kinnon." Well. Actually. She's my wife. We've been friends (at least most days) since very early in the '80's – when the Facebook founders were but gleams in their parents eyes.

Perhaps it's time for FB to grow up and acknowledge that friendships did exist before FB. As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "Idiots!"

Ubiquity and My Inner Geekiness

kinnon —  September 1, 2008 — 1 Comment

The Scoble-bunny pointed to Ubiquity, a cool game-changing Firefox plug-in, last week and I’m enjoying it. If, like me, you suffer from a little inner geekiness, you might want to play too. (I should note also that my buddies, Ed Brenegar and BigDaddo also pointed it out.)

Ubiquity is a 0.1 release that promises to bring web mash-up tools to everyone. Below is a simple map search (of the Centre of the Universe), that provides the ability to embed the map in an email. (Watch this video.) This doesn’t even scratch the surface of Ubiquity’s power. (Check this out for a lot more info. And come play with me.)