Capster: run a program at startup

Capster: run a program at startup.

Here’s a cool tool. Capster lets you run a program at startup, but only when the Caps Lock key is on. One of the things I’ve always wanted in Windows is a Startup Manager like the Mac OS offered (in Classic Mac OS 9 and earlier). This 5K program is a partial solution.

For example, I run ZoneAlarm when I’m connected at home or out and about but don’t really need it when I’m connected at work. All I do is press Caps Lock when I boot up at home and ZoneAlarm launches.


[Marc’s Outlook on Productivity]

Another useful friction remover from Marc.

A fix for text-only links

A fix for text-only links.

How many times have you seen a URL that wasn’t coded properly to be a clickable link? You have to highlight the text, copy, go to the address bar of your browser, paste, and hit Enter (or click “Go”). I just came across a neat script called BrowseTo (via Daily Rotation) that fixes this small but annoying problem.

Install BrowseTo and you can now highlight a text-only link, right click and choose Browse to… to open a new window containing that page. You can even use it to highlight a clickable link and open a new window if you use HotMail or other frames-based web sites that make opening a link in a new window difficult (or impossible).


BrowseTo requires Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5.0 or newer.

The author has definitely got a sense of humor. You’ve got to read some of his copy. And, he must be a jazz fan (his site name is

[Marc’s Outlook on Productivity]

Here’s a useful little tool that solves a problem I run into multiple times a day.

ActiveWords wordbase for OneNote

ActiveWords wordbase for OneNote.

Fred Zimmerman has created a OneNote ActiveWords wordbase file for ActiveWords Plus. This came about from a conversation Buzz Bruggeman of ActiveWords and I were having that we sucked Fred into.

The wordbase offers a number of really helpful AW shortcuts including:

  • “onsn” — ActiveWord to launch OneNote SideNote
  • “onsnip” — ActiveWord to snip selected text from any app and paste it into OneNote — courtesy Buzz Bruggeman and Dennis Kennedy
  • “onaudio” — ActiveWord to turn on OneNote audio recording in current page

Nice work Fred! You just made one of my favorite apps even better!

[Marc’s Outlook on Productivity]

Buzz walked me through some of this the other day. I expect I’ll be installing OneNote shortly. For all the productivity I already get out of ActiveWords, I’m always amazed by the tricks that Buzz gets it to do. He chips away at little irritations in the way that Windows can be an invisible drag on productivity and over time turns an out of the box laptop into a highly personalized and tuned information appliance.

Blogging to Radio UserLand from FeedDemon

Blogging to Radio UserLand from FeedDemon.

Chris Brody shared the following tip in our newsgroups about posting to Radio UserLand from FeedDemon:

RadioExpress allows you to post content from any web page to your blog:

Once installed and configured as you want, add the following command line to
FeedDemon’s blog publishing tools:$ITEM_DESCRIPTION$&u=$ITE

Note that I don’t use Radio UserLand, so I haven’t tried this myself.

[Nick Bradbury]

I have tried this and it does work. I do want to go in and tweak the RadioExpress bookmarklet a bit, but this does make it possible to use FeedDemon with Radio.

Russell Ackoff resources on systems thinking

Like Jerry Michalski I’ve long been a fan of Ackoff’s. Here are two posts of Jerry’s from October that provide access to some of Ackoff’s insight and wisdom about how to think about complex design problems. All of these items are worth your time.


I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I’m a big fan of Russ Ackoff’s thinking. Frustrated because I couldn’t find a description of his methodologies for interactive planning and idealized redesign, I got permission to post a paper describing those processes (pdf format).

I began to write a summary, but it is so crisply written that I recommend you read it yourself. What I will say is that idealized redesign made me realize that if you never take the time to imagine what you really should be doing, as an individual or organization, you’ll never get there. It also brought home to me just how difficult a process redesign is, because we are so wedded to assumptions we don’t notice, historic business models and other, often dysfunctional baggage we take for granted.

The discipline Operations Research (OR) has been highly influential. Robert McNamara and his Best and Brightest used OR techniques to plan and justify the way the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations ran the Vietnam… er, situation. (Eventually McNamara resigned, troubled by LBJ’s decisions.)

In 1979, Russ Ackoff wrote a paper that was a milestone in management thinking, though it is little known. Published in the Journal of the Operational Research Society at the height of OR’s influence, The Future of Ooperational Research is Past (pdf) indicted the ways that OR had come to be used by its many practitioners. Ackoff followed that paper with a more hopeful one, titled Resurrecting the Future of Operational Research (also pdf).

Shortly after he published these papers, Ackoff started the discipline of Social Systems Science and founded the Busch Center at Wharton, funded largely by Anheuser-Busch, one of Russ’s major clients over time. Russ now heads Interact Design in Philadelphia.

Like the idealized redesign paper I just posted, I have permission to post these two papers here. It’s not every day you can see history change just a bit as you read an article.

12:25 PM

[Jerry Michalski’s Home on the Web]

How Many Social Nets Are Too Many?

How Many Social Nets Are Too Many?

Posted Jan 28, 2004, 8:33 PM ET by Judith Meskill

Today in Wired News, Leander Kahney has a story Social Nets Not Making Friends in which she talks about: an SNS backlash brewing; Jason Kottke s parody job listing on; and the fact that the social networking service field has ballooned to include about 20 different services.

Well Leander, by my count, there are more than 100 social networking services that I have been observing cruising past my virtual radar gun in the past few months. I have been tracking this burgeoning growth of services aspiring to help discover and connect my friends, potential partners, business cohorts, and various levels of acquaintances and I have this scary feeling that I am only carving shavings off of the tip of an iceberg with this list.

Here is a copy of my accounting replete with links of this daunting deluge of SNSs:

Affinity Engines,, AsiaFriendFinder, Backwash, Backwash for Pets, BuddyBridge, BuddyZoo, Chia Friend,, Community Zero, Company of Friends, The Conneck, Contact Network, Corporate Alumni, CraigsList, Delphi Forums, Dude Check This Out!, easeek, ecademy, eFriendsnet, 8minuteDating, Eliyon, enCentra, Eurekster!, everyonesconnected, Evite, First Tuesday, FriendFinder, Friendity, Friend Surfer, Friends Reunited, Friendster, Friendzy, GermanFriendFinder, Globe Alive, GoingProfessional, gradFinder, Growth Company, HeiYou, HelloWorld, hipster, Huminity, IndianFriendFinder, InterAction, ItsNotWhatYouKnow, KnowMates, LianQu, LinkedIn, Living Directory,, The Lunch Club NYC,, matcheroo, Mediabistro, MeetUp, Monster Networking, mrNeighborhood, MyEMatch, NetMiner, Netmodular Community, Netparty, Netplaya Burning Man Community, Networking For Professionals, Nerve, Online Business Networking Resource, The Opinion Exchange, orkut, PalJunction,, peeps nation, PowerMingle, qpengyou, RateOrDate, RealContacts, ReferNet, RepCheck, Ringo, Ryze,, SeniorFriendFinder, Shortcut, Silicon Valley Pipeline, Small World Project, Social Circles, Social Grid, SocialTree, Sona, The Spark, Spoke Software, StumbleUpon, Sullivan Executive Networking Community, Talk City, There, Tickle by Emode,,, UUFriends, Visible Path, Wallop, WisdomBuilder, WorldShine, YeeYoo, YOYO, Zdarmanet, and Zerodegrees.

[The Social Software Weblog]

Judith was certainly busy compiling this post!

While I am inclined to agree with those who argue for weblogs as a more robust medium for active social networks (see, for example, Jon Husband’s, Scoble’s, Dina’s, and Lilia’s comments for starters) I don’t think this is just a matter of VCs with money burning a hole in their pockets. Nor is it simply a matter of too many programmers with free time on their hands and a copy of Linked nearby.

We’re social animals and were long before writing was invented. Connecting has always come before content. Failing to understand that was the downfall of many early online experiences. One way to think about what’s going on now is that we’re in the midst of making new and more intereting mistakes than we have in the past.

50 book challenge

50 book challenge. It seems that the “50 book challenge” has become all the rage on the net this past week. (One version of it here.) The idea is to read 50 books in a year and, in some versions, blog about them.

This is roughly what I did last year with my reading, primarily as a way to keep track of what I read but I slacked off from blogging toward the end of the year, as things got a little too crazy. It looks like I read about 80 books last year but forgot to blog about them for the last few months. (My list of reading for 2003.)

Despite this, I’ll try again and see if I can manage to keep a more complete record of my reading. I’ll review some here, or just add brief comments at least. At times, the complete reviews will appear at Bookslut, the premiere book review magazine on the web. (Some might say I’m a little biased…)

My other blogging is going to be a little spotty as I prepare to move across the country to a new job… more about that later.

[David Harris’ Science & Literature]

This was something I had hoped to do more successfully last year. I read plenty of books, but was less than diligent about recording my reactions and assessments. I’m posting this, in part, as a bit of a forcing function. David also offers some suggested rules for the challenge, although I can only promise that I will abide by Rule 6.

Word of the day. Misologist

Word of the day. Misologist. Hatred of reason, argument, or enlightenment. In clearer terms, a person who wants to win an argument more than learn the truth. I deal with these people regularly. [Paul Thurrott’s Internet Nexus]

I deal with too many of these people myself. All the more reason to appreciate AKMA and the quest for truth that drives his work. While misologists generate quite a bit of heat and noise, you can find those who seek truth if you look.

Happy blogiversary AKMA!

Come On In.

Today s my second blogiversary, and all day friends have been virtually wandering through, helping themselves to drinks at one of the bars (there s an ample supply of juices and sodas in one of the rooms, for friends who don t drink), making pizzas for themselves and eating other people s pizzas, gobbling up lots of fruit and vegetables, and especially having lots of chips with one of Margaret s spectacular dips (she makes superb pesto, luscious hummus, and excellent guacamole). Wireless all over the place. Interested employers in casual, but animated, conversation with opportunity-seeking blog-neighbors. A stealthy philanthropist and an alert VC listen intently to impassioned descriptions of projects, visions, plans, and ventures. Every now and then, raucous laughter erupts. Furious arguments flare with conflicting certainties, then dissipate in respectful acknowledgment of deeply-felt, well-thought-out divergent convictions. Children of all sorts of ages run among our legs,, and I look out for Si to make sure everyone s having a good time.

The party s so big that not everyone would get along well if they had to hang out in the same close quarters, but that s one of the beauties of digital media: no one has to cross anyone s path if they don t want to. There s plenty of invigorating conversation where you want to find it, and you can just not go where you don t want.

Thank you all so very much. Stay as long as you like. It s a privilege to have a chance to visit with you.

[AKMA s Random Thoughts]

Congratulations to AKMA on his second blogiversary.

A wonderful soul who makes the blogosphere a better place and the quintessential example of the wonderful serendipity that the net makes possible. AKMA and I crossed paths initially by way of one of my rude comments which he answered in his characteristically gracious way. Today I count among the many fascinating people I’ve come to know through the net.