Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kindle books I can loan

People with Amazon Kindle Books can lend them to friends. The recipient has one week to accept and two weeks to read. If you want to borrow them (and I know you!), contact me through email or Twitter.

This is the list of Kindle books I have that are loanable:

Non fiction:
(Current as of April 20, 2011)

Friday, April 08, 2011

Distributed identity management

Contact and address book management is annoying and over manual - this should be automatable. Here are a few cases that highlight the redundancy and time wasting right now:
  • Mike changes his phone number. Mike either hopes people notice the change or he emails out his new number to people he thinks have his old number. Wouldn't it be better if wherever you had Mike's number, it automatically became the new number?
  • Jane wants to use Facebook as her address book. But there's no way for Jane to add a phone number to a contact such that only Jane can see it. Even more difficult - Jane's grandmother isn't on Facebook. Jane can't create an address book entry for her grandmother.
I don't know exactly what the proper solution is, but I'd love to see some kind of distributed e-identity system that allows for notification of changes with minimal interaction. I see it working somewhat as following:
  • I have a list of contacts. For some contacts, it's information they curate. For others, it's information I enter - maybe they've never participated online in this system before.
  • I can see who's got me listed as a contact. (Or I can see who's listed me as a contact and opted into me seeing that they've listed me)
  • When I change some detail about myself, I can select whom I'd like to notify about this.
  • When users get notifications about a change (maybe email), they can choose to accept or ignore the changes. Or if a user doesn't act on it immediately, the information is annotated with the change and the user can accept it or reject it later.
  • I can choose to trust people's changes - I don't even see their update notification, their contact info is gracefully changed.
Some solutions get close - most notably Plaxo. Plaxo charges $60 a year for the sync, though, and I don't think an external service is necessary for this. Address Book's use of vCards allows me to send out a vCard when I change my information, but vCard doesn't seem seamlessly integrated into other services and isn't as graceful as I'd like.

I'd love to see better integration across different services and applications on this. I'd love to see my Google Contacts knowing about people's Facebook information. I'd love to see this taken from an occasional sync to a gracefully pervasive and integrated system.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

I'm not quitting, I'm declaring victory and moving on.

I sent this out to my coworkers and friends at Google a couple weeks ago:

Hey everybody,

I'm not quitting, I'm declaring victory and moving on.

My last day at Google will be Friday, April 1. It's been an honor to have worked at Google over the last 5 years. There's a real wealth of intelligence, passion, talent, generosity, and big hearts here, and I'm hoping for your continued success.

A big, genuine thank you to everyone, especially the official and unofficial mentors and the people who went out of their way to help even when they didn't have to.


Wait, I thought you resigned last fall!?

That was Ian Langworth! I still can't escape the Ian-Matt-Lan-Rob confusion!

What are you going to do next?

I'm going to Disney World! No, seriously, I'm going to Disney World in May. I'm taking about a month and a half off. After that, I'm going to work at Palantir on their Finance product. I'm excited about what they're doing and the approach they're taking.

Will there be drinks?

Yes! Details forthcoming!

How can I reach you?

Twitter @mlroach

I wish you all the best,


P.S. If I may quote Kevin Stephens quoting someone else, "I've been offended by not getting people's farewell emails before, but now, facing up to the task of not spamming and not leaving anyone out, I see it's a daunting one. If this reached you and you don't give a hoot that I'm leaving, sorry for the spam. If this was forwarded to you and you're offended at being left off the list, sorry as well."