Marc Hedlund

Marc Hedlund is an entrepreneur working on a personal finance startup, Wesabe where he is Chief Product Officer. (He also blogs at Wheaties for Your Wallet.) Before starting Wesabe, Marc was an entrepreneur-in-residence at O'Reilly Media. Prior to that, he was VP of Engineering at Sana Security, co-founder and was CEO of Popular Power, a distributed computing startup, and founder and general manager of Lucas Online, the internet subsidiary of Lucasfilm, Ltd. During his early career, Marc was Director of Engineering at Organic Online, and was CTO at Webstorm, where he wrote one of the Internet's first shopping cart applications in 1994. He is a graduate of Reed College.

Code review redux (good news from GitHub)

Code review redux (good news from GitHub)

I wrote in 2008 about Review Board, a code review package I’d tried and liked. Unfortunately our developers didn’t like it as much as I did, and having learned my lesson (thanks, FogBugz), I declined to impose a tool choice on them. They chose Gerrit, instead, which is more tightly bound to Git, and has some nice features related to that (such as pushing to master from a button in the UI when the review is complete). The rest of the UI is very unpolished, but has been getting progressively better.

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A Story Before Bed

A Story Before Bed

I’m totally gaga over Jackson Fish Market‘s new site, A Story Before Bed. This might be one of those things that parents and grandparents will flip out with happiness about while everyone else scratches their heads, but as a new parent, finding it made me feel like a special delivery had arrived expressly for my daughter. The idea of the site is to make it easy for people far from kids they love — grandparents in another city, parents on a business trip, soldiers in training or deployed — to read a story to a child. But you really have to watch a demo video to see what a jewel of a product they’ve made.

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Peter Seibel’s Coders at Work

My friend Peter Seibel’s new book Coders at Work (published by Apress) went to press today. I’ve been reading a preview copy he sent me, and it’s fantastic. The book follows the style of the earlier Apress book Founders at Work, presenting interviews with notable programmers, asking them how they work, about their careers, their thoughts on the software profession, and whatever other topics come up along the way.

Comments: 3

Peter Seibel's Coders at Work

My friend Peter Seibel’s new book Coders at Work (published by Apress) went to press today. I’ve been reading a preview copy he sent me, and it’s fantastic. The book follows the style of the earlier Apress book Founders at Work, presenting interviews with notable programmers, asking them how they work, about their careers, their thoughts on the software profession, and whatever other topics come up along the way.

Comments: 3

Bravo, Snaptalent

I really liked the original Snaptalent product (sort of an AdSense for recruiting). Apparently the product didn't succeed — I can imagine working on a recruiting product during this recession must have been frustrating. I'm even more impressed, though, with how the Snaptalent team decided to shut down the company: by posting their post-game analysis on their home page: Its…

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The Promise and Peril of MobileMe

Anyone tried MobileMe? Last night, I signed up for the free trial, got it syncing between my laptop and iPhone, and was incredibly impressed by how well and quickly it worked. An appointment added on one nearly instantly showed up on the other — so much better than having to fire up iTunes to have my schedule in sync. The power of the cloud! Or whatever. You know, useful.

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App Growth, PalmOS vs iPhoneOS

App Growth, PalmOS vs iPhoneOS

There's a chart I've been meaning to put together for a while to explain why I'm expecting the iPhoneOS to be the dominant mobile platform for at least the next decade. I've been thinking of the role third-party applications played in helping Palm maintain its mobile platform dominance for about that same period, from 1996 to 2006. If you believe…

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Four short posts: 12 May 2009

[Stealing Nat's "Four short" format again...] I went to Google and searched for a non-location-specific term today (I can't be more specific since the search was for a birthday present for my wife, but let's pretend it was "baseball cards," since that was the general form — a noun with nothing geographically-specific about it). On the first page of results…

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Four quick posts: 11 April 2009

Four quick posts: 11 April 2009

[I love Nat's "Four short links" format and am ripping it off to try to get myself blogging again. Instead of links, these are four blog posts I've been meaning to write but haven't.]

  1. It turns out Facebook is not completely useless if you’re married! And no, I’m not talking about the world’s most overvalued Scrabble platform, and I don’t mean “I’m in an open relationship.” Instead, I was shocked this week to find that Facebook is better than Flickr for sharing private photos. I’ve considered myself a member of the Flickr generation for some time now, but when posting pictures of my daughter, I set them to “Friends and Family” only. My Flickr contacts seem to get pictures mostly via RSS, and since no RSS message is posted for private photos, they never see my shots. Facebook, though, by making their Newsfeed a site-only feature, brings people to their site every day, which in turn lets them see my private postings. I posted a picture on Flickr and wound up with zero favorites and one comment (as it turns out, from a Flickr employee who happens to be a contact); I later posted the same picture on Facebook and got 8 favorites and 11 comments. Flickreenos: you should put a message in RSS feeds that says, “Marc just posted a private photo — click here to see it.” Or, you know, add a Scrabble app.
  2. Is there any doubt the iPhone has totally won the mobile platform war? I don’t really get why Palm is even bothering to launch the Pre. “It’s the App Store, stupid.” It took the original Palm OS about 12 years to reach 50,000 applications developed for Palm OS; in under a year, the iPhone OS already has 25,000 applications available. The App Store promises to fulfill many developers’ dream — to work alone and strike it rich. Palm is competing by trying to match the UI, and that won’t work. The Android team made a smart move recently by working on a home automation platform; changing the playing field is probably their best bet.
  3. Related: the App Store has an inscrutable, time-consuming, whim-dependent approval process. The App Store newsgroup postings are full of angry claims that this is a bug, but I bet it’s a feature. If you can’t get an app approved until it’s working perfectly, and you have to wait a week or two — or more — between approval rounds, you’re much more likely to put a lot more effort in up front to get it right. That raises the quality level across the App Store. Palm is talking about lowering the bar for development of apps, and I bet that will fill their platform with crap-ass, low quality one-offs, and people will learn to distrust apps as being valuable; instead they’ll just be widgets.
  4. Nearly all of the things that have gotten me excited online over the past year involve making media faster and easier to consume over the air (OTA): Boxee, Roku, Kindle for iPhone, even sad-sack Hulu. A lot fewer Amazon boxes are showing up at my house, even though I’m buying plenty of media from them through Kindle and Roku. OTA-media FTW! Now we just need a DRM revolution so I can actually own this stuff instead of getting a lame-ass license.
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Kindle Above the Level of a Single Device

Hey, I'm happy to see this in the news today: Amazon.com will begin selling e-books for reading on Apple’s popular iPhone and iPod Touch. Starting Wednesday, owners of these Apple devices can download a free application, Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch, from Apple’s App Store. The software will give them full access to the 240,000 e-books for sale on…

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