Give Me Your Ideas, Get Google Wave Invites

Google-Wave-1I currently have a total of almost 50 Google Wave invitations available, and I’d like to give them away to our readers. All I’m asking in return is for you to post a comment telling me what kinds of tutorials and articles you’d like to see on HTMLCenter. It’s as simple as that. I’m always looking for ideas on what articles and tutorials I should be writing. What better place to ask than right here on the blog?

It should be noted that it can take Google anywhere from two to six weeks to actually send out the invitation once you’ve been “nominated,” so please be patient once you post your comment. Also, please be sure to provide your real email address in the “email” field when posting your comment. Otherwise, I won’t be able to send the invitation to you.

Amazon Lowers Prices for Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances

Amazon’s Web Services division has announced a new pricing model for EC2 reserved instances today. The reserved instances offering launched earlier this year and is basically a pre-paid option for the EC2 service. Amazon offers a lower rate in return for you locking into a one or three year contract.

From what I can tell, the pricing dropped quite a bit (some in the comments say 30%) – for example:

  • small instance one year price dropped from $325 to $227.50 and three year price dropped from $500 to $350

There’s no doubt that Amazon wants to own the web services market and continuing to provide more service for lower prices keeps the momentum moving forward. Check out my notes from the Amazon web services seminar earlier this year.

Interview with CSSMania Founder Gabriel Segura

Over the past year I’ve had several sites listed on a variety of CSS galleries. CSS Mania has always provided the most traffic and comments/votes and I thought it would be interesting to chat with the founder, Gabriel Segura. Gabriel was kind enough to answer our questions and the transcript is below.

Allen: Can we start with a brief overview of yourself?
Gabriel: My name is Gabriel Segura. I was born in 1975. I am a telecomunications engineer (working at Ericsson during the day), flash designer, front-end web developer and CSS Mania’s father (at night). Married with a beautiful woman, Susana, and father of a “real” daughter Claudia (3 years old). We also have a Himalayan Persian cat at home called “Yuna” (Final Fantasy X). God gave me a wife that loves to play PS3/Xbox/Wii more than me.

Allen: What is CSS Mania?
Gabriel: We believe that CSS Mania is the largest CSS showcase in the world.

Allen: Why did you start CSS Mania and when did it launch?
Gabriel: CSS Mania was born in March 2004 as a section on my personal blog as I loafed around the few CSS Showcases that existed during that time. In 2005, before our admired Paul Scrivens sold CSSVault to Jacob Gower, we realized that other CSS Showcases sites, except ours, weren’t updating very regularly. We know that updates are what make a difference to readers.

We aren’t interested in the geek insights or trivial discussions common on other similar sites. We are interested in learning what any CSS afficionado or professional might want to learn.

Are Teens Using Twitter?

I see so many different blog posts telling me that teenagers just are not using Twitter. In my own house, this holds true. My teenage kids are still using MySpace almost exclusively, popping onto Facebook every once in a while just to make sure they didn’t miss anything. However, I also live in an area of the country where there are almost as many teens without a computer in their house as there are with. The fact that we have two computers (three if you count my work laptop) is virtually unheard of in our area.

I have to wonder how much of this “teens don’t use Twitter” stuff really is true and how much is based on inaccurate or misinterpreted data. Looking at my followers, and their followers, I see quite a few teens using Twitter and they are doing so extremely frequently.

My thoughts on the matter are as follows:

  1. There are quite a few teenagers using Twitter.
  2. Twitter doesn’t ask for your birthdate, so how are we tracking the data of teenagers that use or don’t use the service?

I honestly do believe that there are not nearly as many teenagers using Twitter as there are using Facebook or MySpace. But, to say they’re not using it at all is preposterous. There are quite a few reasons for teenagers ignoring Twitter in droves, though.

Facebook Creates Usernames

The team over at Facebook has enabled the ability to create your own unique username, which then allows you to direct people to a vanity URL like

Twitter users should be fairly accustomed to this treatment, as that’s the way Twitter has been set up for quite some time (possibly since it’s inception). The major difference, at this time, is the fact that Facebook still requires you to input your e-mail address to actually login. Therefore, the only major change is the vanity URL. For most people, including myself, this doesn’t seem like that major of an upgrade to the Facebook service. Still, it makes it easier for people that spend a lot of time directing people to their Facebook pages.

I look at it as kind of the difference between giving someone your phone number and telling them to look you up in the phone book.

Amazon Cloud Computing Seminar Recap

amazon web servicesThis morning I attended Amazon’s Executive Cloud Computing Workshop. I was able to snap some photos and jot down some notes I’d like to share. The presenters included Werner Vogels – VP & CTO at and Marten Mickos – Sun SVP. I very much enjoyed Werner’s discussion – he basically took us on a tour of the history of AWS (ec2, s3, etc) and some examples of how customers are utilizing their cloud infrastructure services.

Werner explained that using Amazon web services (AWS) helps companies move from capital expenses to variable costs. The basic idea is that instead of buying enough hardware to make sure you can handle spikes, AWS can grow and shrink as needed.

Here you can see how fast AWS is growing and how in mid-2007, AWS bandwidth passed the bandwidth used by Amazon itself. Werner said if they showed 2008 on the chart, the Amazon line would be gone as the growth has been that big. In fact, he said that Amazon’s ecommerce sites combined is only a moderate customer of AWS.

amazon cloud computing workshop