“The Family Man” Network
This is another part of the study on doing a good job in home networking. I did this work for Dynacenter as they figure out the top tasks that folks will have. If you have random thoughts send them on to Steve.
It seems to me that for the family scenario, we are talking about the Dad who buys a machine for someone with a family. In case your wondering, the title of this comes from a great Nicholas Cage/Tea Leone movie of the same name so I’m not being sexist. Here are the things that I would want to do in no particular order.
- Sharing the broadband connection. There are going to be more than one PC around. At least one for Mom and one for Dad and ones for the kids before you know it. Our kids got them so early it is amazing. Calvin could say, “www” when he was five. Of course, he is crippled by having a geek dad, but its a sign of the times. He says “google” at six. Main issues are make it easy with all those darn TCP/IP and other connections. Should just plug and go.
- Family Photos (Analog camera style) on a web site. Steve is going to understand this as he has his new baby, but I think that this is an obvious one. The main issue is that if you have an analog camera. Something Connie still prefers, even though we send it to Photoworks, the work of actually transfering it to somewhere useful rather than directing people to see it immense. The web based software is slow even with a broadband connection. I haven’t tried Ofoto or the others, but it is hard to believe it could be faster than a 2.4GHz Pentium IV with a 120GB hard drive. A kind of standard machine now. So, the main thing for analog is to automagically suck down those websites and get the jpegs for publishing. Second, is that the thumbnail and web conversion tools are really awful. I’ve used Video Editing Meets DVD Authoring for some data on this. I’m going to use Pinnacle for this and have tried Ulead which was clumsy but it worked and was super task based. Now with DVD editing, IMHO, you have to have a home web server to serve up the videos over the Internet. And that is something that will neve be hosted.
- Kid diaries and Christmas letters. Some folks may not believe this but I think there is small minority of folks who will want to have diaries about their kids. Personally I’ve tried this and I think the once a year Christmas letter is all most people can stand. I know Steve thinks he’ll do it more regularly, so I’m probably in the minority. To me, these diary things are actually more in the young adults and kids target audience than in the “family man” one.
Real Family Man sites
It’s interesting to note how many of those folks who are 30 and 40 have similar sites to Tong Family. Here’s a list for you to look at that I did by just going through the list of people I knew with sites and then tracking down references to other folks. That probably gets you most of what the enthusiasts are doing. Then, did a google search and started with the most popular family sites:
- Bill Baker. Bill was the guy who started me on the family web site path. His is now password protected. He’s still over at Microsoft and it is interesting to note that the two items with much stuff are Photos, News and Calendars. And that he has password protected his stuff. By the way, I do think that passwords or some sort of protection is important. I like the magic cookie URL that you can mail around the best. Folks are used to saving emails with links in them and that works better than my poor dad trying to remember a password. I have not found any easy to use package that generates this for you though. I’ll also bet you a zillion dollars that only the photos have much content and they are way out of date. Bill by the way is the guy who got me to do a site. Interesting to note, he turned me on to getting a name. I have tongfamily , he has bakerfamily and also a hoster, so the word of mouth thing is very strong.
- Mike Nash Family. Mike is my fellow enthusiast and yet with all the resources at hand working on Windows, it ain’t the prettiest site in the world. The FrontPage stuff tends to have the best prettiness to work ratio, but most folks just slam stuff up there. Also note that this mainly has photos of his baby. I also thought it is interesting to note that he has a hot list and like mines, it hasn’t been updated since he created the thing. Still talks about Windows 2000 for instance. Points out that if we really did hot lists right that they would somehow know how to update. The Blogrolling is a big step in the right direction. But still requires religion to hit the button but at least there is not publishing to be done. And like most sites, most of Mike’s pictures are a year old.
- Craig Fiebig. He’s turned off his site. Don’t know why, too bad. Would be interesting to call him and ask.
- Chris Sevak. Linked from Mike’s site. Interesting to see that it is a new baby site too. Boy are Abigail and Emma cute. Note also that this is a FrontPage site, but that he just put gigantic JPegs up there because it is so hard to do thumbnails. Also the pictures are few and old. No security.
- Chris and Kira Jones. Chris Jones runs the Windows client group and believe me could do an awesome job at a site if he wanted. Interesting to note again that it is a pretty lean site and has baby pictures of Kate mainly. This is another FrontPage photo gallery based site. That is a pretty good tool. I did notice that the content drops off exponentially since January of this year.
Google Search. Interesting to do a search on the Google site. Interesting to see what the most hit web sites have.
- Teel Family Web Site. For this site, it is clear why it is hit alot. There is genealogy. That’s a pretty prevelant sub theme amongst certain sites. Much of it is trips and things that people have done. So there is the diary aspect and the photos are everywhere.