Movin' On Out

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I have finally re-established my relationship with Slicehost (oh, you didn't know I left. Well, it had nothing do with them; it was a personal decision on my part to leave temporarily). And now that I feel that this time I will be sticking with Slicehost more permanently, it is time to do some housekeeping.

One item on the agenda is to move this blog from wordpress.com to Slicehost.

There may be some intermittent downtime, but hopefully I can get this all up and running by the end of this week.

As I understand it -- joelmarcey.com will remain, but be stale (with this as the last post). That is, of course, unless I delete the old blog.

joelmarcey.com will be transferred to the new host where you will see all of my previous posts, including this one, and all new posts.

We'll see how it goes!

See you on the flip-side.

My First Micro-ISV Product Ideas

[Note: I have a phone meeting on Wednesday with an old colleague where the result could change my plans. I will keep you posted]

OK, here it goes....for better, worse or the other, I am letting the world know my first product ideas. We'll see if announcing these now was a good idea or not. ;-)

Before reading my specific ideas, make sure you obtain some context by reading my previous post about goals.

As you will notice below, I am entering into pretty saturated markets (i.e much competition exists). However, I have subscribed to the theory that while a totally unique idea that is a hit may provide the best overall outcome, those come very far and few between. Instead, it is much more normal to add value to existing ideas, and let the execution and marketing of the added value bring success. Looking at it from the glass half full perspective, having competition means that people want the product or service (i.e. there is a market).

Also, I have a motto that I want to develop products that *I* will use on a daily basis. That is important to me because it makes me my own customer -- and I don't want to use crappy products either.

So without further ado, here are my product ideas for the next year or so. Again, these products align with my goals.

 

RSS Reader (Desktop)

Yes, there are many RSS readers out there, both web (e.g. Google Reader) and desktop (e.g. FeedDemon) based. I am going to enter my hat into the desktop ring. I will offer the basics, of course. But, I do have some ideas that I hope, in conglomeration, will differentiate mine from others. One is having both a Mac and Windows reader, with the same user experience. The second is being able to sync your feeds (e.g. read/unread) so you can be up-to-date no matter which computer you use the reader on (this requires some sort of web-based storage solution, probably). The third is being able to....well, I don't want to give this one away yet :-)

Business Model: Free basic version; Fixed-price premium version [Note: I am still working out if the free/premium model is the best way to go.]

 

Fantasy Football Information Web Site

Two of my many passions are sports and technology. I figured, hey, why not merge the two. I love playing fantasy football (NFL). There are many fantasy football websites that offer information about who are the best players to play during a given week, game previews, answers to emails, draft software, etc. Some of these sites are from the big boys (e.g. ESPN) and some smaller, yet popular, folks (e.g. Fantasy Football Today). I figured I would offer the same sort of valuable information and tools, but try to do it better and/or differently. In the end, when it comes to sites like these it is all about providing good, relevant and as accurate as possible information.

Business Model: Advertising

 

Package of Tools and Utilities for Windows

I have always like building small tools and utilities. Most of the tools I have built, either for my own uses or for work, I was doing back in my corporation days. I have had folks appreciate the tool work I have done. So I figured why not come up with a list of (hopefully) useful tools and utilities and offer them up free for people. I don't consider any of my ideas here earth shattering, nor unique, but just things I have found a need for. I don't plan for these tools to make money, nor get bought out by Microsoft like SysInternals. I just want to provide them for fun and test an open source business model -- where my goal wouldn't be to make money, but more just get my name out there. Here are a few examples I am thinking of implementing (and, yes, initially these will be Microsoft centric because that is what I know)

  1. An Outlook mail component that makes sure you actually have an attachment in an email that is supposed to have an attachment.
  2. A component for IE7 that automatically puts widely used links in the Links portion of the IE7 browser and makes sure they are bubbled to the "top" of the Links portion (e.g. they are visible in the max screen browser window)
  3. A small utility that allows a user to increase/decrease the number of simultaneous downloads allowed from IE7
  4. A tool that finds all the files where there are multiple instances on your computer (this could be Mac and Windows)

Business Model: Free, Open Source

 

I will provide specific details on each of these efforts as I move along the development path. Right now, I think I am going to work on the Fantasy Football website first so I can have it ready in time for the next NFL Fantasy season, which begins in full force around August.

So there you go. The cat is out of the bag. :-) Now it comes down to execution. Also, I am not adverse to discussing/collaborating/partnering on these ideas or any other ideas. So if you have any thoughts you want to share with me personally, feel free to contact me by email or leave a comment.

Marking All RSS Feeds As Read With IE7

I tried, I really tried, to use IE7 as my RSS Reader. Integrated into the browser, feeds right there. Easy. Well, one *necessary* feature is suprisingly missing: "Mark All Feeds As Read". You have to click on each individual feed to have it automatically mark it as read. If you are like me, you are subscribed to a bunch of RSS feeds, and clicking on all of them is quite cumbersome. So here is a kludge workaround to mark all feeds as read if you use IE7 as your RSS Reader:

In your Feeds section of your Favorites Center in IE7, right click and create a folder(s) in which to put all of your feeds. Highlight the folder with your feeds and click on the arrow that appears to the far right in that feeds window. That will open up all your feeds in separate tabs, and in the process, mark all of them read (assuming you have that preference turned on -- if you don't, right click in the feeds section and click Proprties. Then click on Automatically Mark Feed As Read When Reading a Feed).

Yes, this is ugly. But it is faster than going through all of your 50s or 100s of feeds one by one. Just make sure  you don't break IE7 by opening up too many tabs ;-)

By the way, I now use Dare's RSS Bandit.