Saturday, December 30, 2006

Assault on a Battery

This would have come in handy when we were looking to power the CatchPhrase timer on Xmas.

Why I Never Pay For "AAA" Batteries

(via Lifehacker)

And speaking of CatchPhrase, check out the new electronic version...

Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Zeitgeist

It's that time of year again...

2006 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

Still blows my mind that people do google searches for things like "myspace" or "wikipedia" rather than just using the URL. Plus the queries with "Who is..." or "Where is..." in front of them.

That said, I will concede the usefulness of "how to" and acknowledge the brilliance of the Google "define" command.

Should I be embarrassed I've never heard of Bebo?

Now with more spam!

Unbelievable. Or, believable that it's true, but unbelievable that it's come to this.

"On average, spam accounted for 87% of e-mail traffic this year, a 30% increase over a year ago. Spam rates, however, varied considerably by user and organization. Some small enterprises had spam rates as low as 45%, while large free e-mail providers got pummeled with rates as high as 98%. In general, business e-mail accounts received a smaller percentage of spam than consumer accounts."

(From InformationWeek, via TUAW)

Saturday, December 23, 2006


The annual DVD rip of the 24 "prequel" bridge between seasons is floating around the net. Most of the links I found to it were dead, but this one was still live as of last night:

24 Season 6 Prequel

Agree with most of the Internet chatter that the RAV4 product placement here is pretty lame. Otherwise it's entertaining to get a little sneak peek that's part of the official canon yet not as spoiler-filled as the trailers/commercials that I can't stand to watch, even if it has no "real" bearing on the story other than a couple of minor hints of background and timing.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New Version of Blogger Ready...Almost

Psst...Bo. We're ready to upgrade to the new version of Blogger, but you have to initiate the change as the owner/admin. Pretty please?

Money from Home

How flippin' cool is this?

USAA Federal Savings Bank Allows Customers to Send Deposits Electronically from Home

"Starting today, home banking takes on a whole new meaning for members of USAA Federal Savings Bank ("USAA"). USAA is now the largest nationwide bank to offer an easy-to-use, secure new service that enables its customers to deposit checks into their bank accounts using a scanner and an Internet connection."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Philosophy of Google

Never noticed this page on the Google Corporate site before:

Ten things Google has found to be true

"Google has persistently pursued innovation and pushed the limits of existing technology to provide a fast, accurate and easy-to-use search service that can be accessed from anywhere. To fully understand Google, it's helpful to understand all the ways in which the company has helped to redefine how individuals, businesses and technologists view the Internet."

Follow link above for a paragraph on each, but the list is:

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It's best to do one thing really, really well.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There's always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn't good enough.

Pretty inspirational stuff...

Also amusing (and true) disclaimer on the bottom:

* Full-disclosure update: When we first wrote these "10 things" four years ago, we included the phrase "Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat." Over time we've expanded our view of the range of services we can offer –- web search, for instance, isn't the only way for people to access or use information -– and products that then seemed unlikely are now key aspects of our portfolio. This doesn't mean we've changed our core mission; just that the farther we travel toward achieving it, the more those blurry objects on the horizon come into sharper focus (to be replaced, of course, by more blurry objects).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No More Answers

Google is shutting down Google Answers.

Adieu to Google Answers

Remember the buzz around iNet when this service was born? We encouraged all of the Surfers to utilize their skills and sign up as a side project (I registered too), but not a single one of us was accepted.

Is this the first Google product to be retired?

(I mean actually retired, rather than never graduating from the lab or being banished from the front page.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Deja Vu (and Internet too)

Saw Deja Vu on Friday. Eagerly anticipated after the teaser trailer due to my well known time travel fascination, but went in skeptical based on the big budget blockbuster vibe and a feeling that the full trailer gave it all away. (Both trailers are here.)

My thought process during and after went something like this:

-Loved the movie while I was watching it, but thought the ending was lame, too Hollywood, and obviously a rewrite.

-Started to deconstruct the time travel in my head and felt it started to fall apart and not make any sense.

-Picked apart the time travel a little bit further and suddenly realized the underlying story and plotting was absolutely brilliant (including the ending, but excluding the laser pointer), and especially impressive given the big budgetness of it.

-Probably the best non-indie time travel flick since 12 Monkeys and BTTF, and even holds it's own against Primer and Donnie Darko.

The other tangential thought I kept having during the movie was this:

How the heck did Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives end up as part of the same government agency? Wikipedia to the rescue.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Slippery Ships On Air

This is a more scientific article than usual, but it does have implications for energy conservation and global commerce.

"YOSHIAKI KODAMA is weaving a magic carpet large enough to carry a ship. Conjured up from thin air at the flick of a switch, this slippery blanket will help transport a fully laden tanker or container ship across the ocean at higher speed, and using far less fuel, than ever before."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Choices = Headaches

I read this blog frequently, and I liked this particular article.

The fellow runs a software shop, but they get other aspects such as UI, marketing, etc. Maybe a little like 37 Signals.

The article discusses the many choices in turning off a computer using Windows Vista.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My New Movie

I'm Gonna Kill You Saturday Night is a short film I shot in September. It's a dark comedy described as follows:
"When Jimbo and Stu, two stoner roommates, receive a threatening card in the mail all hell breaks loose as the clock ticks down to Saturday Night."

Check out the website and trailer, linked above. You can get to the trailer quickly by mousing over and clicking on the remote.

We're having a premier in Hollywood on December 5th in the evening (time TBA) so please keep that free - you are all invited!

Yes, shameless plug. BTW, my director designed the website as well -- pretty slick, huh?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Features: "A Collection of Hacks"

Great article about the creator of Firefox's next project -- untangling the loose alliance of applications and hacks that hold the web/desktop interface together to create a more unified system.

Thought this was appropo and similar to Google's approach of making what they have work together better.


The answer, he and his programming partner, Joe Hewitt, decided, resided in the gap between the desktop and the Web. “Right now, people want to shuffle around content,” he says, “but the world’s fused together by a collection of hacks.” Something that should be simple, say, getting photos from a digital camera onto the Web, is a Sisyphean task for most people. “Step back and ask, ‘What’s wrong with this picture?’” Ross says.

The problem, according to Ross, is there’s no simple, cohesive tool to help people store and share their creations online. Currently, the steps involved depend on the medium. If you want to upload photos, for example, you have to dump your images into one folder, then transfer them to an image-sharing site such as Flickr. The process for moving videos to YouTube or a similar site is completely different. If you want to make a personal Web page within an online community, you have to join a social network, say, MySpace or Friendster. If you intend to rant about politics or movies, you launch a blog and link up to it from your other pages. The mess of the Web, in other words, leaves you trapped in one big tangle of actions, service ­providers, and applications.

Ross’s answer is named Parakey. As he describes it, from a user’s point of view, Parakey is “a Web operating system that can do everything an OS can do.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Features, not products

Wake up call over at Google? Though a little saddened that the quick surprise releases of new cool things will slow down or stop for now, I do agree that some fine tuning and improving of their core will be very welcome.

Interesting how it somewhat mirrors the old Surfboard strategy too. At first it was more sites, more categories, more sections. But later it turned to more automation, tighter Zuma integration, better usability.

Google Puts Lid on New Products

In another sign of Google Inc.'s growth from start-up to corporate behemoth, the company's top executives said Thursday that they had begun telling engineers to stop launching so many new services and instead focus on making existing ones work together better.

The initiative's primary goal is to make Google products easier to use, especially by packaging disparate products. For example, said Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, Google plans to combine its spreadsheet, calendar and word-processing programs into one suite of Web-based applications.

The company does not plan to tell engineers to halt all new products, Google said, nor does it plan to kill little-used services.

Rather, the effort is more focused on future development. After launching the initiative this summer, Schmidt said, Google canceled several services in development — which he would not describe — and instructed their creators to instead make them features in other products.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Networking and LinkedIn

Newest episode of Venture Voice is an interview with the founder of LinkedIn. I found most interesting the discussion on what I feel is the biggest problem to the legitimacy of LinkedIn: Mediocre workers with glowing testimonials bringing down the value of a referral by mis-using the networking concept.

It goes into some interesting ideas on how they plan to handle it in the future and how they intend for it to be handled today if people utilize the tool properly.

(If you don't want to listen to the whole thing, this part starts around the 33 minute mark).

Venture Voice #40: Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

Monday, November 06, 2006

Simple Organizing: Scrybe

G. and I were just talking about organizer type applications the other day.

I came across this one, which seems like it's in closed beta currently.

They're doing a cool marketing campaign, where they're using YouTube to do different product demonstrations before they launch it to the public.

I like the PaperSync towards the end.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Time Machine Video

Found a great (though somewhat cheesy)time machine documentary on google video.

The theory is that time travel into the past on very small particles is now feasible. If we could encode information onto said particles, then we could technically send information into the past, but only so far back as the "time machine" has been invented.

Thus, when it is finally created, it may suddenly be flooded with messages from the future. This scientist's theory is that Einstein was correct about black holes - but that laser light itself is actually much more effective at twisting space/time.

Thought Jake of All Trades might really appreciate this. The video is 45 minutes.

Time Machine

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Microsoft Installation Woes

Great SvN Post on the frustrations of installing software on Windows, including an almost comical screencast video.


The 37Signals "Getting Real" $19 PDF book is now available in a free online HTML version, as well as a $29 print on demand paperback from my future publisher Now there's no excuse not to read it if you've been too cheap or too lazy. (I'm the latter.)

Getting Real: The Book

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Small Number of Video iPods Shipped With Windows Virus

This little jab on the official Apple release about the iPod virus is awesome:

"As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it."

(via TUAW)

The 100th Post - Cool Gadget Search

Apparently, I'm lucky enough to be posting the 100th entry on this blog. Kudos to J. for having contributed more than his fair share to get us here.

Anyways, just saw an article for this site:

It's a targeted search engine for gadget-o-philes. I like the dual-paned "preview" interface. Admittedly, I haven't done enough searches to see how much easier it is to find information than Google.

At a minimum it does seem to make it easier to filter out the true reviews from the proliferation of shopping price engine sites that usually come up when you search Google.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Google boss warns politicians about Internet power

Google boss warns politicians about Internet power
"Many of the politicians don't actually understand the phenomenon of the Internet very well," Schmidt told the Financial Times. "It's partly because of their age ... often what they learn about the Internet they learn from their staffs and their children."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fun With Verification Boxes

Saw this SvN post, which led me to this Jeteye site. Some interesting/amusing word choices in the infamous verification box. (Keep hitting refresh on your browser to change the word.)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What Might Have Been

Think Neil mentioned before that he thought if iNetNow were still around today the Surfboard, etc would be more Wiki based. Sounds like the rest of the world is starting to agree. The Google profile page sounds a little like an advanced version of our old employee page intranet.

Web 2.0 entering corporate world slowly

How The Maps Are Made

Interesting article on the behind the scenes world of online map database making and techniques. Too bad they chose the worst one for the title ;)

Map Quest

Some interesting tidbits:

-Williams stares at his email inbox: a solid wall of news alerts from Yahoo and Google. His search terms aren't the usual fare, like "Hilary Duff." They're more like "Tulsa city one-way" – queries that will help Williams track down announcements of road changes reported by local newspapers. Today has been slow, but suddenly he lights up. An email has arrived containing a newspaper report that a particular one-way road segment in northwest Indiana is changing from westbound to eastbound. Sweet!

-GDT acquired detailed aerial photography of major cities. "We could look at a street and see which way cars were parked, even tire rubber going into intersections, and deduce 85 percent of the turn restrictions and one-way attributes,"

-"We've had projects with pizza-delivery companies where we've printed out for them a big wall map of their 30-minute delivery area. The guys mark things that are wrong and send it back to us," says former GDT president Mike Gerling, who now heads Tele Atlas' North American division.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mobile providers lock away GPS on phones

An interesting NPR story on the power of GPS in mobile phones and why many cell providers lock it away from the users. Still doesn't explain why AT&T use to have the find a friend mode but then got rid of it.

Power of GPS Phones Locked Away from Most Users

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Can't See The Target

From Consumerist, via LifeHacker:

The image with the article is priceless...

Target Still Being Sued For Having Website Blind Can't See

"The class action brought by the ADA on behalf of Bruce 'BJ' Sexton, a student in California, contends that is problematic for blind people because, "alt-text is missing from images, preventing screen readers from describing them to blind users; purchases cannot be completed without a mouse because keyboard controls do not work; image maps are inaccessible; and headings are missing that are needed to navigate."

For a blind person, Brian can sure see bad web design darn good."

To Blog or Not To Blog

Maybe this explains the low post rate around here lately...

How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dot Bomb 2.0

11 Suggestions for not being a dot.bomb

Great stuff here, and compelling reading for all of us that went through the first hype wave right before the crash of 99...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Web 2.0 Logo/Dossier List

I found this yesterday after Boryan posted; it was a link somewhere else on the "Death by Google Calendar" page.

I spent almost two hours playing with this last night. This is a list of the most popular "Web 2.0" applications by popularity and logo. I particuarly like "Rollyo", but the list here is comprehensive. Still wading through it, but some really great ideas.

Check it out.

Search Powered By People

New Engine 'ChaCha' Offers Real-Time Answers From Live 'Guides'

I think this has too much overhead to be successful, but it's fairly close to the user-supplied search and text message idea we discussed a couple of month's ago. I think you have to find a way to recruit "guides" and provide them with non-financial incentives only.

I liked the "best LA hotel to stay in with kids" questions. It's those kind of questions that highlight the limitations of search even in this day and age. Unless you've stayed at such a place, chances are you meet the asker's expectation.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Death By Google Calendar

Just re-posting an article on Slashdot.
"I find it utterly stupid that people display their lives online. As a simple study, I did some digging on Google Calendar. Now, keep in mind that I am somewhat tech-savvy but I used no skills for this. Everything I found in this case was simply a result of a Google Search, an additional search on Travelocity and a 411 call. There was nothing to this at all."

I like Google Calendar and use it, but in this age of Myspace tell-it-alls, there really needs to be a class in junior high or something that teaches kids how to maintain their privacy.

After all, the magic sword is forever imprinted in my past...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Stupid "9" tricks

Search Terms:
stupid 9 outside line


“Now the last piece is this: You may think that in-band signaling is a thing of the past, but it isn't. In the telecom company's infinite wisdom, they have overloaded this switch-hook depression to an extreme degree. It can be a hang-up request to "start over", it can be a rotary "1", AND, if you happen to have already connected to a party, it is now the "flash" signal, a request to put the first caller on hold, and get a new line, for three-way calling, etc.

So, here is what I think happened. I dial
1. "9-1",
2. aw shit, I'm not at work
3. -- Just completed 911 due to rotary compatibilty mode!
4. don't hear dial tone (because we are connecting to emergancy dispatcher!)
5. (3-way calling mode, dispatcher now on hold, which they refer to as an "open line")
6. Dial my lady... yack away... moments later, troops arrive!
Just to let you know to be cautious in a similar circumstance.”

Also found this link, from the same page as above. If you’re brave and really want to find out, maybe you can under the “North American Numbering Plan Administration.”

The North American Numbering Plan Administration? Really? We have an organization just dedicated to this? Sounds like a horrifically boring job...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Smart Phone

Another one courtesy of SvN (aren't they all these days? I'm starting to feel like a plagiarist when I'm inspired by my RSS list...):

Cooper Consulting does their conceptual take on a better UI for an office telephone. Brilliant and long overdue. How much of a pain in the butt is figuring out (and correctly performing) common tasks like conference calls, call transfers, or even navigating voicemail on a typical office phone or cell phone? Too bad it's not real.

Once again it makes me want to wax nostalgic about how far ahead of our time we were with web based phone switch integration, shortening the complicated key presses for iNetBlind call transfers into an elegant "highlight-->right click-->listen for ring-->click ok to confirm" experience.

And speaking of phones, who was the moron who decided 9 should access an outside line when it means virtually every call from an office phone will start with 9-1, giving good odds of a single miscue to reach the emergency operator? I must be losing my touch, since I can't find an intelligent answer to this question anywhere on the Internet.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Simplicity is Complex

Great post over at Signal vs. Noise documenting the creative process of building a simple interface. Reminds me of some iNet brainstorming sessions on BoRyan's pimp-lounge couch.

Would be neat to see an archive of Surfboard development with comparative screenshots such as this...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Search Trinity Broken

I know the changes to the Google front page are getting a lot of criticism. My two cents:

How could they pull Groups off of the front page and add an extra click to access it via the "more" button? Web, News, and Groups are the big three/holy trinity of useful information search. (I might call images a darkhorse #4.) Bumping books and Froogle makes sense, but Groups?


Imagine you're searching for Fantasy Football Draft Strategy. Where will the best info be? Web and News and Groups. Images aren't very helpful. Maps are useless. Books and Froogle are helpful, but more from a secondary standpoint if instant gratification fails. I'll concede that Video may be useful here one day, but only one relevant hit right now and still a secondary tier for quality info in my mind. Blogsearch doesn't even get an official front page nod and has better results.

I know they probably want to make room for Maps and Video as their "hot" products on the front page, but that seems really ill conceived and off brand. Couldn't they at least try to group things into related buckets? Or set a preference to choose what options each user wants displayed? Or would it kill them to add 3 more links, sort of how "Desktop" search magically appears if you have the application installed?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Google Image Search 2: Coming Soon?

Google acquired a company called Neven Vision, an image recognition software company. Could have some interesting implications. From the Google Blog:

"Neven Vision comes to Google with deep technology and expertise around automatically extracting information from a photo. It could be as simple as detecting whether or not a photo contains a person, or, one day, as complex as recognizing people, places, and objects."

The Neven Vision site has the usual "Hooray, Google just bought us" veil of silence post sale, but a trip to the wayback machine shows some hints at what may be to come.

"Interact using enhanced visual messaging for desktop or mobile platforms.
> Visual Messaging
> Video Gaming
> Avatar-Based Chat

Explore the hyper-linked world with object recognition and visual search technology.
> Image-Based Search
> Mobile Travel Guide
> Comparison Shopping

Identity verification with industry leading face recognition technology and biometric solutions.
> Access Control
> Credit Card Authorization
> Mug Shot Matching"

Monday, August 14, 2006

Are You A Basket Case?

Some interesting articles are popping up discussing the search data that AOL disclosed to the world.

This is my favorite so far:

Maybe AskJeeves could help with this one...

"i hurt when i think too much i love roadtrips i hate my weight i fear being alone for the rest of my life."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

To the point

Remembering how useful it came in on 9/11, I was curious how Daypop was handling today's news. I don't know if this just happened today or if the site has been like this for awhile, but I respect a straight and to the point error message such as this:

Text reads: "Daypop down until further notice... Sorry for the inconvenience. After adding a bunch of submitted sites, Daypop no longer has enough memory to calculate the Top 40 and other Top pages. If there's no simple fix, Daypop won't be back up until a new search/analysis engine is in place. A new engine will take at least a month to get online."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Why we don't get the (text) message

Great business 2.0 article on why SMS hasn't taken off in the US as it has overseas. Or at least not with most. I'm usually over 1000 per month counting inbound and outbound (largely thanks to 4info and Google SMS), especially during baseball season.

Why we don't get the (text) message

Interesting snippets:

Ecuador, with a per capita GDP of $4,300, has the United States beat when it comes to a critical wireless technology. Americans may be 10 times as wealthy, but Ecuadorians send four times as many text messages.

Users in Ecuador and the Philippines send north of 200 SMS messages a month and the Danes and Irish average 100 a month, while Americans manage to tap out fewer than 50.

In cell-phone-swamped Finland, there are popular TV programs where you can send texts that scroll onto the screen in a live chat, and others where you direct a character via SMS.

The right way to think about text messaging for now is to bring successful SMS services tested elsewhere to the United States. Google gets this - which is why it's basing much of its wireless development in London, not Mountain View.

Exponentia, a startup in Vancouver, British Columbia, has a service that allows Canadians to predict the next play by SMS in everything from golf to hockey.

Rather than substituting for PC-based communication, as it does in poorer countries, mobile messaging Stateside will untether commerce, social networks, and other applications originally tied to PCs. When smart innovators translate services originated abroad to America's cell phones, we'll really get the message.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Apple Phone at last?

Rumors are heating up. Saw this iChat Mobile post at Engadget earlier today, and 37 Signals comments as well saying the cellphone is still up for grabs. Great quote:

"They’ve had years to get it right, but still no one has. The UIs suck."

Will Monday be the day?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Craigslist Scammer Defense

It's not about the blind, but this is a riot.


Scientist thinks invisibility possible in future

Dr Ulf Leonhardt, a theoretical physicist at St Andrews University in Scotland, believes the most plausible example is the Invisible Woman, one of the Marvel Comics superheroes in the "Fantastic Four."

"She guides light around her using a force field in this cartoon. This is what could be done in practice," Leonhardt told Reuters in an interview. "That comes closest to what engineers will probably be able to do in the future."

"What the Invisible Woman does is curve space around herself to bend light. What these devices would do is to mimic that curved space," he said.

Although the devices are still theoretical, Leonhardt said scientists are making advances in metamaterials -- artificial materials with unusual properties that could be used to make invisibility devices.

"There are advances being made in metamaterials that mean the first devices will probably be used for bending radar waves or the electromagnetic waves used by mobile phones," he said.

The devices could be used as protection mechanisms so the radiation emitted from mobile phones does not penetrate electronic equipment. It is guided around it.

"It is very likely that the demonstration for radar would come first and very soon. To go into the visual will take some time but it is also not so far off," Leonhardt said.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Imagining the 10th Dimension

I found this last week and have watched it about 5 times. This is a site dedicated to the book "Imagining the 10th dimension." There's a flash animation you must watch explaining each dimension, starting with 1 all the way to 10. I think previousy the furthest I've been able to contemplate (according to this site) is the 5th dimension. This is absolute mind-blowing brain candy, and I think you'd all get a kick out of it. Particularly well done and simple animation as well. Check it out.

Google Mobile with Real-Time Traffic

For those of you with a cell phone that runs Java-based apps, check out this new version of Google mobile. (you can browse to this from your phone)

"Real-time traffic: New! See where the congestion is, and estimate delays in over 30 major US metropolitan areas."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 launches Digg Labs

The popular social news networking website has debuted Digg Labs to showcase some of the new features they're working on (ala Google Labs). My favorite is Digg Swarm, it gives you a realtime visualization of the activity on the Digg website. Stories appear as circles...oh whatever, it's better if you just check it out than read my paltry description.

They're suffering from a bit of the digg effect themselves so it may have sporadic outtages.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monopoly Debit Cards?

I always liked dealing with cold, hard fake cash. It gave a tangible feeling to "learning" about money management as a kid. We truly are moving towards a credit driven society when Monopoly gets a cash card.

Monopoly Replaces Cash with Visa
"Monopoly board game players can now pay for properties with debit cards. Game makers Parker have phased out the standard multi-coloured cash in a new version. Players will instead use a Visa mock debit card to keep track of how much they win or lose... The new electronic Monopoly reflects the changing nature of society and the advancement of technology."

And on a separate rant that wasn't worthy of it's own post...

I hate websites that don't correctly setup their DNS records so that BOTH and work.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Please don't send me Microsoft Word documents

A philosophy I've had for some time, very eloquently stated. Text in the body of an email is just so much more convenient and easy to manage. Nothing worse than opening a Word Doc containing half a page of bullet points and that's it.

Please don't send me Microsoft Word documents

Friday, July 21, 2006


BoRyan and I have been talking about cars a bit this week, making this fitting. Also on topic here as a parallel to September 20, 2001, the red letter date in the history of iNetNow...

The ONE key thing to know about negotiation

"In negotiation, the one thing that really strengthens your position is the ability to walk away from the deal.

My current vehicle is a Chevy Avalanche. When I was shopping for it, I went to my local Chevy dealer, picked out a truck, figured out what I wanted to pay, and made an offer.

The sales guy smiled at me and said, "That's absurd."

I calmly replied, "I am quite certain you will make a profit if you sell me this truck at the price I have offered. It won't be your most profitable deal this month, but you'll make money, and you'll get a vehicle off your lot. But either way, I am going to buy a Chevy Avalanche. Somebody is going to accept this offer. The only question is whether it's going to be you or somebody else."

Protein DVD Memory

Weird. New genetically engineered protein capable of storring massive amounts of digital data.

Reminds me of the biological machinery we were talking about in Vegas.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

37 Amazons

(Sorry, I'm too tired to be clever in the post title.)

Anyways, this seemed to be cool news:

Bezos Expeditions invests in 37signals
"We’ve never been interested in the typical traditional VC deal. With a few exceptions, all the VCs could offer us was cash and connections. We’re fine on both of those fronts. We don’t need their money to run the business and our little black book is full. We’re looking for something else.

What we’ve been looking for is the wisdom of a very special entrepreneur who’s been through what we’re going through. Someone who sees things a little differently and makes us feel right at home. Someone with a long term outlook, not a build-to-flip mentality. We found a perfect match in Jeff. Jeff is our kinda guy."

Dumping Unprofitable Customers

Cingular has an entire theorum - complete with fancy metrics charts and cold calculations - on how to determine "customer value".

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

AOL Retention manual Revealed

Heh-heh. Niice. AOL gets some comeuppance for its hostile "retention" policies. Somebody over there went turncoat and sent the the whole retention sales manual.

Also notice what the article says about the CRM they use -- pretty interesting how it is automated.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


This is really cool -- and could have been an interesting next step if we were still using the surfboard.

This was on 37 signals a while back - a visual news aggregator.

Have fun with it. I, personally, think its brilliant.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Term Trail 2.0

Saw a post over at TechCrunch about a coming-soon service called ClickTale that actually records movies of a user's behavior on your website and analyzes the data, allowing you to redesign and tweak based on actual visuals rather than just raw statistics of click totals and time spent.

Besides the great usability aspects, seems it would have great applications as a "Term Trail 2.0" in call center software. Hear about a bad call, and incorrect order, or any other type of mistake, then just pull the video of the session from the archive to get the real story and decide if it's best fixed by software changes, training, or a bit of both.

Decision and Choice

SELECT ALL: Can you have too many choices?

Cool article/book review in the New Yorker for The Paradox of Choice, a book about how having too many choices can paralyze you, something that I'm often guilty of.

A great quote in the intro:

"A radio producer in Washington, D.C., got a promotion a few years ago on the grounds that he was a “good decision-maker.” Self-deprecating to a fault, he reminded his bosses that many of the decisions he’d made since joining the station hadn’t exactly worked out They didn’t care. “Being a good decision-maker means you’re good at making decisions,” one executive cheerily told him. “It doesn’t mean you make good decisions."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

iNetNow: Born Again?

Got an email from my mom about this after she read about it in the Delta Airlines magazine. "It's like iNetNow reborn!"

Info Angels

(Note 5/1/2009: Info Angels changed their name to Maestro sometime after this post was written. I've updated the link but left the rest of the post intact.)

"To use Info Angels all you need to do is call our toll-free number and, within seconds, our live Angels will be able to answer any questions you may have. Our Info Angels are trained web experts, giving callers instant access to any web-based information. From phone numbers to current eBay bids to price comparisons to real estate listings, Info Angels will offer a wide range of information only limited by your imagination. Even better, we will immediately text message and email you the query results after each call is completed...All your queries will be kept in your own Info Angels webpage accessible at any time. If you need to make an online purchase, Info Angels will provide you with your very own purchasing assistant that will be able to buy anything you request online."

Sound familiar? Interesting pricing plans, including calling cards.

At least I can take solace in the fact that they can be added to the list of Daylight Savings Time violators.

UPDATE: Check out their Job Posting for an Info Angel.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Google Plane

Google founders spar over 'party plane'
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin need more adult supervision than previously thought.

While the two billionaires agree that they both love colored balls, they can't agree on what types of beds should be placed in their Boeing 767 wide body corporate jet. Brin and Page broke out in a dispute over whether or not Brin should have a long California King size bed in their plane, according to documents tied to a lawsuit over the jet. Ultimately, Google CEO Eric Schmidt had to chime in and make the bed decision for the youngsters.

"Sergey, you can have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you can have whatever kind of bed you want in your bedroom. Let's move on," Schmidt told the pair, according to the court documents.

Friday, July 07, 2006

High Times vs. The Onion

"High Times" and "The Onion" have softball teams that recently squared off in Central Park in a long-standing feud. Hilarious. Filmed in black and white with a 1930's style sports announcer.

Apparently, the "Bonghitters" play better when stoned...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Simplified Spelling

Never knew until reading this article that Roosevelt tried to convince the government to start publishing official documents in a "simplified spelling" format. It's quite amusing when the article repeatedly throws in paragraphs like this:

"Carnegie tried to moov thingz along in 1906 when he helpt establish and fund th speling bord. He aulso uezd simplified speling in his correspondens, and askt enywun hoo reported to him to do the saem."

It gets old after awhile (and feels like reading an SMS from a 13 year old), but the story is still pretty fascinating. Plus, I always love Wikipedia articles that have the dreaded "The factual accuracy of this article is disputed" tag at the top.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Evolution "Debate"

So -- here's that Doonesbury cartoon I was discussing earlier about evolution -- which antibiotic do you prefer?

Thought you all would get a kick out of it, fantastic reasoning.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cow Pie Electricity

Okay boys -- I'm on. Sorry I'm so slow.

This is cool. A Vermont Dairy Farm collects its manure and turns it into electricity - which it sells to the neighboring community. How cool is that? It powers about 400 homes.

This could actually work for alot of rural Idaho and Utah communities. What do you think, Bo?

Check it out here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

How Pandora Works

Been using Pandora since Neil turned me onto it last year and really love it. Great way to find good music, and fascinating how the "Music Genome Project" sounds like a simple analogy at first but then goes really deep and makes a lot of sense as the ultimate recommendation engine.

Stumbled onto their official blog while playing with the new Backstage feature and it led to a trail of interesting bits on how it all works. The podcast below is especially good.

Pandora's Box (article)

Founder Tim Westergren interviewed on Behind the Net (podcast).

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bible quote database built with Amazon Mechanical Turk for $75

The Standard Bible Society used the "crowdsourcing" of's Mechanical Turk to produce an English Standard version of the bible at $.02 a verse and 98.3% accuracy. I had forgotten all about the mechanical turk until I read this article. Some highlights from the article.

  • Inexpensive. We got a database for about $75 that, as far as we can tell, no one has created before for the Bible.

  • Fast. We uploaded one HIT every five seconds over six hours. Workers performed these HITs almost as fast as they were uploaded. Seventy-eight workers participated.

  • High quality. We only rejected 1.7% of submissions, an excellent figure by any standard.

  • No developer sandbox. We had to upload funds and grab a HIT ourselves to make sure everything worked OK. We would have liked a place to test our programs without having to expose them to the world (and without having to pay).

  • Funds have to come from a bank account. We had to get special authorization to withdraw funds, and it took a week after initiating the transfer for the funds to show up in our Mechanical Turk account. We would’ve preferred to pay with a credit card, even if that meant buying $20 blocks of Mechanical Turk credits at a time.

  • Limited formatting options. We would’ve liked to be able to put the quotation in bold; instead, we had to indicate it with brackets: We would prefer to use XHTML, as the limited formatting restricts the type of application we can develop with Mechanical Turk. Some enterprising individuals have worked around this limitation by asking people to visit a different website, answer the questions there, and enter a code from the other website. It works, but it’s not ideal.

Wiki and "Evolution"

I was originally going to post this as a comment under the previous Web 3.0 entry. But, I thought it might get better visibility this way.

It's a bit esoteric, but here's an interesting article about visualizing Wiki contributions over time.

I can't find the original article that linked to it, but it mentioned that the "evolution" wiki is updated within 5 minutes of a defacement.

Speaking of user-generated content. A fellow I work with mentioned that in a recent meeting with top Silicon valley venture capitalists they outlined "user-generated content" as being one of the top 5 criteria that they currently use for deciding on ideas to fund.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wikipedia 3.0 and the semantic web

Interesting article on Web 3.0 aka the "semantic web".

The problem with the Semantic Web, besides that researchers are still debating which design and implementation of the ontology language model (and associated technologies) is the best and most usable, is that it would take thousands or tens of thousands of knowledgeable people many years to boil down human knowledge to domain specific ontologies.

However, if we were at some point to take the Wikipedia community and give them the right tools and standards to work with (whether existing or to be developed in the future), which would make it possible for reasonably skilled individuals to help reduce human knowledge to domain-specific ontologies, then that time can be shortened to just a few years, and possibly to as little as two years.

In a way, and certainly not surprising to anyone who was involved, iNetNow was an attempt at the semantic web and had the company and/or service lived on, I imagine the surfboard might have adopted a sort of wiki philosophy to the design, usability and content.

Are you a bad customer?

Great MSN article on the ways some companies "dis-incentivize" their problem customers.

My favorite?

Long Holds
Many banks and brokerage firms have established special, faster phone lines for their wealthier clients. Some go even further: They figure out which customers cost them money -- regardless of their total account balances -- and shunt them to the back of the line. Fidelity Investments took this approach several years ago to customers who were tying up their phone representatives, including one client who called thousands of times a year. Fidelity then focused on teaching these folks how to use the company’s Web site and automated phone systems.

I can think of one or ten iNetNow customers I would have liked to "dis-incentivize".

Belgium adopts open office doc format

Belgium adopts open office doc format
Belgium has become the first country to mandate the use of the OpenDocument format (ODF) for office files, albeit tentatively.

From September next year software in all Belgian government departments must be able to read ODF files. If the experiment is successful, ODF will become the standard interchange format - although departments will still be able to exchange office files in proprietary formats internally.

Happy Birthday, Neil!

The great part about having a blog with limited readership is the ability to pull off something like this without annoying people who are looking for content ;)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More Fan Mail

Remember the post about our fan?

There's more:

quixi, infone and inetnow
"These companies were all providing an ON*STAR type service and failed. Called Enhanced Information Services, they were a human serach engine. I am looking to find out why they failed because apparently, it was not lack of money."

Posted: 09 Feb 2006 11:02 PST
Asked by: wrytry1-ga


Waxing nostalgic and came across our first bit of press from back in the day.

March 2, 2000
Leave the surfing to the pros, please

What struck me the most was this closing line:

"As well as iNetNow works, I'd like to think that there's something wrong with the search engines and Web browsers, not the people using them. While iNetNow may have discovered an untapped market in serving busy travelers, it could end up making much more by designing a smarter search program."

It's close to spot on, but just off center. The magic was in the software, period. The service was convenient, the idea brilliant, and the passion of the people on the front lines kept us alive. But what we were actually onto was so far ahead of its time we never realized it, even in the end. Smarter interfaces make smarter people. The Surfboard gave birth to that, and where the customer care/tracking/automation bits of Zuma ended up all but nailed it. If only we knew...

There is no wheel!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prototype 3D desktop for Windows

Very interesting video demonstration of a 3D desktop for Windows called Bumptop. It tries to emulate some of the messy, but intuitive, organizational aspects of a real world desk.

I'm not sure it has much of a chance of supplanting the every day computer desktop, but it's certainly an innovative concept and has a very Apple look to it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How to Cancel AOL

This is great!

AOL Cancellation Audio

Apple website auto"magically" entices potential switchers

I just noticed this last night. When you visit the Apple website with Safari, you see a standard Apple front page. However, visit the site with Firefox or Internet Explorer and one of the amusing Get a Mac ads automatically plays. Now when do I get my iPhone!?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

That was fast...

Remember the post about the Single Status site that monitored the "relationship status" of a MySpace profile?

Cease and desist from MySpace after only 2 weeks of operation. (Or maybe they were acquired by a certain shameless plugger and this is all a smokescreen...)

On the bright side, check out the kick-ass response to the legal letter written by the site's creator, as well as a similar site with some tongue in cheek requests to be shut down if MySpace sees fit.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Google Cars, etc.

Lifehacker had a post about this, pretty neat.

Search for used cars on Google, and get a box to narrow things down at the top, and then an "official" Google Maps mashup powered by Google Base.

Digging in deeper, there are similar integrations for things like Apartments and Jobs.

More and more like the surfboard every day, eh?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Baseball and Video iPods

Very cool use of technology.

Video iPods helping Rockies get into the "swing" of things

"The Rockies have downloaded video clips into the iPods of 14 players so far. For the hitters, they'll store every at-bat and download performances of upcoming pitchers. A 60-gigabyte iPod can hold roughly five seasons' worth of a player's at-bats. Pitchers can get all their performances, along with opponents' at-bats.

Jones has permission to take iPods from players' lockers to update them, and when the Rockies are on the road he compiles DVDs of their play and loads video onto the iPods when they return home."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What users hate most about Web sites

Too many sites are low on usability and high on annoyance

Interesting article on what users hate about websites. The obvious flash intros and intrusive ads (I won't assault you with a sample). The not so obvious observation is "right side blindness"; people are started to ignore the right side of pages because that's typically where ads appear.

I know when I was redesigning the Avtech Research site I thought back to my days as a surfer and remembered how much I hated it when a company buried their contact information in some obscure section of the site. Even with my VERY limited experience with web design I knew that was going to be a cornerstone of the site.

If at first you don't succeed...

Netscape Reinvents Self, again
Netscape, which started life as a web browser company and then evolved into a media destination site, is being reinvented once again to merge news reporting and blogs with the latest internet trends.

On Thursday, the revised will begin a public test of what its new general manager, dot-com news entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, said might reinvent the modern news service.

The new marks the rebirth of a first-generation internet brand. Netscape the brand, like AOL, was synonymous with web browsing a decade ago. It was bought in 1999 by AOL and after its browser software was crushed by competition from Microsoft, the brand was reborn first as an internet portal and again as a discount internet access provider.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Google "Onebox" Results We Still Need

Some interesting examples (with mockups) of desired Google "onebox" results.

Chat with a Googler...yeah RIGHT! "My page rank has fallen you bastards! Why???"

Sunday, June 11, 2006

My YouTube Obsession

I've become hooked to YouTube recently. Always find myself drifting there when I have time for good old fashioned surfing. Much better in execution than Google Video. Some highlights:

The Message
Keep the sound on for the background music

Al Gore Reflects on his Presidency
Classic SNL

Thursday, June 08, 2006

24: The Movie

Hit TV show '24' coming to big screen

Most disturbing quote in the article is this:

"However, the paper said the "24" movie would likely abandon the TV show's distinctive real-time conceit, meaning that all the murder and mayhem will no longer be squeezed into one day."

I mean, what's the point? The only way to do this right is similar to how the X-Files did it. Make a 22 episode season, and have the last 2 realtime hours be the movie. Or make the movie the first two hours. Or make it first or last, but "bonus hours" of a 26 hour day.

You could even do it as the bridge between seasons like they do in the 12 minute DVD things, with a semi-related real 2 hours between seasons. (It would be perfect to do it this way right now. 2 hours on Jack's escape from the cliffhanger predicament, clearing the way for "normality" by 24 standards to start next season.)

If this turns into "CTU: The Movie," all they'll do is alienate fans.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Move Over Excel...

Google Spreadsheet to launch beta tomorrow in the lab, according to Yahoo News.

Aside: I love the mis-use of Yahoo's automated finance integration in the article. Notice how the parenthetical "CSV" after "Comma Separated Value" turns into a hyperlink to check a stock quote or news for ticker symbol ^CSV.

Yes, I'm easily amused.

Single Status

Acquisition target for BoRyan's company?

Single Status monitors any MySpace profile and notifies you when the relationship status field changes from "in a relationship" to "single."

Diabolically clever in a very simple way.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

LAPD Crime Maps

Thought this was sort of neat, and it's not even a GMap Mash Up:

LAPD Crime Maps

Map of crimes in the last 1-7 days in a 1-5 mile radius of a given street address. Mouseover the dots for details.

Parking Spots

I was just thinking the other day how it would be neat if you could have some sort of Cellphone/GPS based tracking system linked to parking meters/parking spots to let you know where available spaces were in certain areas, but decided it didn't make feasible business sense for anyone to actually do it.

I like it when I'm wrong.

Searching for Parking? Try Online

Friday, June 02, 2006

Credit Card Number Portability

An interesting idea over at Signal vs. Noise

Changing your phone number vs. changing your credit card

Now that everyone in the US can change their cell/land phone carriers and keep their number, it’s time the credit card industry follows suit.

Even when you stay in the same credit card company, but you change card types, your card number changes. So, if you go from a Citibank cash rebate card to a Citibank American Airlines rewards card your card number changes. This didn’t used to be that big of a deal, but now with so many recurring monthly services (cell phone, web apps, cable, health club, satellite radio, tivo, etc…) being automatically billed to your credit card a card number change becomes a Big Deal.

Fan Mail

Google Answers post from last year that I recently stumbled upon:

Personal Assistants
I am looking for market research studies on a business providing
"having your own personal assistant" virtually from any phone. It is
more than a concierge. I think having a virtual assistant is more
like it. I am talking about picking up the phone and being connected
to a live person who will find the information that the caller is
looking for in real time, ie ASAP. A couple of years ago, had this service and they went out of business.

Posted: 03 Aug 2005 09:14 PDT
Asked by: wrytry-ga

Saturday, May 27, 2006

They Stole Site Search! (sort of)

Finally have some good old fashioned surfing time and am catching up on my blog reading and blog posting...

Saw a Lifehacker post about new local brick and mortar search engine Yokel. They provide listings of items in local stores, as well as hours, directions, and other tidbits. Still in beta, but definitely a useful idea.

What struck me were the abilities to search or browse for stores by location, as well as add new stores, all of which are very reminiscent of the old iNetNow "Site Search" database.

(Humorous aside: Remember when Bo got around to adding a state field to the search? I wanted to name the new version "Stite Search" but he wouldn't let me.)


Been using this CallWave Mobile voicemail service for a few weeks now and am really digging it. Made by the company that used to do the "internet answering machine" that would redirect your calls while you were on dialup internet service, but modernized for cellphones. Emails you your voicemails as attachments, sends SMS notifications of messages or missed calls, lets you redirect cellphone calls to a landline or other number, and has a really neat "call screening" feature.

Whenever you get a call that you reject or don't answer, CallWave routes the caller to voicemail and immediately calls you back. Upon answering, you can eavesdrop on the caller as they leave their message "live." If you decide you want to answer, press one and it instantly connects you.

I originally thought the call screening would be more fun than useful, but find myself loving it in practice. It gives you a little extra time to answer the phone before missing a call, as you still have a chance to pick up during the voicemail part. It's also great when you really don't want to talk to someone, but worry the call might be important. (For example: "I don't really want to talk to my mom right now, but I guess I should make sure someone didn't die...") Lastly, it's great fun to hear the confusion in someone's voice when you pick up in the midst of them leaving you a voicemail.

The standard version is free, with the only restrictions being a 20 minute limit on calls redirected to another phone and a 3 minute limit on voicemail messages. (Though I think if someone leaves a message longer than 3 minutes, you probably don't want to talk to them anyways...)

Definitely worth checking out.

Jungle Disk

Interesting service utilizing Amazon S3 for super cheap web based storage, only 15 cents per gigabyte.

Jungle Disk

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Apple and Nike

Though I don't know that I'd use it, this is a very cool integration between the iPod and a Nike running shoe.

Basically, you buy the special shoes and adapter kit and your "running" information is wirelessly transmited to an iPod.

Imagine dating advice "on demand" based on your emotional state. You wear a special device that monitors your perspiration and heart rate. Then, David D. (shameless promotion) provides you with sage pick up advice.

Low heart rate = "Dude, you're a chick magnet. Go over there and use your magic."

High heart rate = "Dude, she's out of your league. Splash some cold water on yourself."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Google Trends

I may be behind the curve on this, but I hadn't seen this particular Google beta yet (Sorry J. if you mentioned it to me before).

I co-worker sent me a link to his friend's blog that has an interesting post about how the friend used Google Trends to draw some interesting conclusions:

25 Things I Learned on Google Trends

Friday, May 12, 2006


From a GQ article, found via SvN:

"Less is not simply more. Less is every goddamn thing that matters."

Saturday, May 06, 2006


For the last year or so I thought I'd developed a new disease: Phantom SMS Vibration Syndrome.

As I fell further and further into SMS junkiedom (especially during baseball season...I was on pace for 1000 messages last month), I'd feel my phone vibrate against my leg but have no new message when I pulled it out to check.

At first I thought it was a defect in the device, but then it would happen when my phone wasn't even in my pocket. Muscle spasms? Psychosomatic signs of addiction withdrawal? What could it be?

According to the comments in this Lifehacker post, it's not just me. Good to know I'm not alone.


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New Apple TV Ads Poke Fun at Wintel Machines

The new Mac TV ads have a delightfully snarky take on the differences between Wintel machines and "Mactel" machines. A little hypocricy perhaps but still very funny.

P.S. I'm now officially a "blogger"...and yea the heavens wept and the world was never the same.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Microsoft Mac Lab

My cousin Adam emailed this to me. Very detailed summary (with photos) of the Macintosh Lab at Microsoft, plus a follow up post answering questions.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Baseball and IT

Interesting story on the role technology has in the day to day operations of the Boston Red Sox, including the 2004 World Series run.

Red Sox SAN Makes Travel Squad
"The Red Sox consider video archives a crucial part of their success. Management identifies it as a major reason for Dave Roberts' stolen base in the ninth inning of a victory over the New York Yankees when Boston trailed the playoff series three games to none. The triumph started Boston on an eight-game winning streak that carried through the World Series.

In the sixth inning of that game, Dave Roberts pulled up every at-bat he could find of [Yankees reliever] Mariano Rivera pitching with a runner on first base," Conley says. "He played that on a loop. He was trying to gain an edge. Then he went in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning, stole second base and scored, and we turned things around. Having that video was another tool in the shed."

And I always thought the magic started at BoRyan's housewarming party...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Future of Maps

Nice comparison of the top mapping services over at TechCrunch, with lots of good additional discussion in the comments. As much as I love Google Maps, I do agree that the new beta version if Yahoo tends to be better, and that the helicopter bird's eye photos on the new Microsoft Maps are more useful than a satellite map in most real world cases. Sad that nobody mentioned the simple elegance of the old Mapblast Line Drive Directions, which I fear will become extinct once Windows Live comes out of beta.

As I said in my comment over there, the real killer app is true route customization. More than just shortest/fastest/avoid highways, but a true "send me this way" or "don't send me that way."

I'm imagining checkboxes or buttons next to each step along the route allowing you to eliminate and reroute accordingly, and maybe a "via" box to add a street or freeway that you want to take to push the application in the right direction. Integrating with live traffic data would be the next logical step, automating the rerouting based on live or historical traffic conditions.

Hear that BoRyan? It's our destiny calling...

Netflix Evolution

Neat photo slideshow on the evolution of the Netflix mailing envelope.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Venture Voice

Been digging the Venture Voice podcast lately. Found it via 37Signals, and was hooked by the John Bogle episode. Really interesting interviews, tips, and anecdotes about the ups and downs of starting your own business.

A very Towformian concept...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Game 6 Recreated

Great article about a guy who gets a job by recreating Game 6 of the 1986 World Series in the old RBI Baseball video game and posting it to YouTube. Although the subject matter isn't my favorite, have to give him props.

Also interesting is the fact that Yahoo embedded the YouTube video in the middle of the article text. Perhaps a precursor to the acquisition rumors?

‘Origami’ Stumps CEOs in Jobs-Style Presentation

‘Origami’ Stumps CEOs in Jobs-Style Presentation
Samsung Electronics, Intel and Microsoft have been promoting their joint project ``Origami'' mini-laptop PC since they first showed it last month.

In fact, the new PC proved to be too revolutionary, enough to baffle the three firms' executive officers who publicly tried to demonstrate how to use it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

For Rich Morons

(I'm beginning to think that Shaky Jake and I are the only ones trading stuff back and forth. Where's N and G?)

I've finally found the ultimate status symbol. I'm sure you'll quiver with envy.

Here's an excerpt from their site:

"Do you belong to high society? Then take this chance to demonstrate your position in an unambiguous manner. Sign up for an email address at The overall number is limited to only 10,000 worldwide and membership is available for US$ 399.00 monthly... Again, what is the point of a yacht in Monaco, a villa in Beverley Hills, or a Bentley in your garage when you are just one out of the billions on the Internet? ... This is like a virtual diamond ring. To guarantee the exclusivity of the desired email address the number of members is limited, to the most elite ten thousand individuals worldwide. Can you can afford it? Show it!"

(as written about on Gizmodo)

I/O Brush

Very cool. Words won't do it justice unless you've watched this first:

I/O Brush Video (via YouTube)

I/O Brush Website
"Most drawing tools/pens we use today allow only a one-way flow of ink, and we are oblivious to how the content of the tool came to exist inside. What if we could not only have control over the outflow of the ink, but also have influence on what goes inside?"

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Like My Man Jack Bauer

Thoughts on yesterday's episode of 24 below, specifically the 2 pieces of this season that don't quite fit and will hopefully be explained in coming weeks. I know it's technically off topic for the blog, but I've always wanted to post spoilers in secret white text on white background blog style. Highlight below to read:

Also leaving spoiler space here, as I'm not sure how an RSS reader will handle the white on white hidden text. If I ruined the episode for you, leave a comment with the name of your RSS reader and how it handled things.

(Incidentally, the RSS thing may have brought this back on topic, though we still need to define what "on topic" is since we haven't really been discussing Towform in the acronym sense of the word...)


1. I'll suspend my disbelief enough to allow that Evelyn recorded a conversation, but how did she manage to leave, open a safety deposit box, hide the tape recorder, and come back to the retreat without anyone from the conspiracy having any idea where she hid the evidence? If they were able to find out she had it, they had to be able to find out what she did with it during the her extended lunch/dinner break.

2. With what we learned from the tape and other conversations, President Logan and Christopher Henderson had been conspiring for some time to supply terrorists with nerve gas and use it on American soil. David Palmer found out about the plan, so they decided to kill him. Suspecting (or likely knowing) that Jack Bauer was still alive, they also decide to kill Tony, Michelle, and Chloe since they (along with Palmer) are the only ones who know Jack is alive in an effort to draw him out of hiding. If you know Jack as well as Henderson seems to and as well as Logan should, isn't this the worst plan ever? The last thing you want is to pull Jack out of hiding and set him up.

Irregardless of the above, this season probably ranks 3rd in my book so far as a whole behind seasons 4 and 1, though the first two-thirds of season 2 are still the finest hours.

Download the Internet

OK, I may be missing something here, but this seems like a stupid idea.,1895,1948362,00.asp

Basically, they're saying you can maintain an "offline, cached" copy of a portion of the internet on your computer. Again, if you know ahead of time you may need information from a travelsite, etc., then this may be useful. There's been software to do that for a long time.

But (at least for me) I find that much of the time I'm actively searching sites that use databases to dynamically present information on the page.

I liked this quote from Webaroo's website:

"It's fast -- searches run and pages load instantly at memory speed"

I'll wait for the version that searches at ludicrous speed.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Standard Daylight Time

Remember the famous interview question about Daylight Saving Time? It started because this has been a pet peeve of mine for years.

Why do companies feel compelled to list their hours of operation in "Standard Time," ie EST, MST, CST, PST?

Do they realize this technically makes the hours wrong for 6 months out of the year (soon to be over 7 months), including right now?

A short list of offenders:

Delta Airlines Group Sales
Harvard University

Would people really get confused without the 'S' in there?

Maybe they really stay open an hour later during the summer months, but hope that the confusion will prevent phone calls since they don't expect the consumer to do the time zone math to figure it out. "Let's see, open until 10pm PST. It's 10:30pm now but we're in daylight time, so it's 9:30pm standard time. They must still be open!"

Is it over concern for friends in Arizona or Hawaii (and formerly Indiana) who may get confused due to non observance?

Less is more. Clarity is better. Just ET/MT/CT/PT will suffice.

This concludes my rant of the day. Back to normal life in Pacific Time.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Windows on Apple Condoned

Very exciting...

I'm going to try to install this on my mini this weekend.

I've dreamt of the day that Mac OS and Windows can co-exist peacefully on the same machine.

I got a kick out of this text on the Apple site:

"Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries."

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More From Google

Google is doing more of their own mashup type sites using GoogleBase.


Real Estate

(Jacob may have already mentioned these)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day: The Glog Comes of Age

Baseball is back! Trying hard to stay on topic, I'm very excited to see the CBS Sportsline Glog feature in action for a full baseball season.

I first noticed the Glog -- short for "Game Log" during the NFL playoffs. Basically it's a blog around a specific sporting event, filling in commentary and enhanced play by play from a real person where the traditional java game trackers fall short. An intriguing concept that seems like it was created with baseball in mind.

Baseball has so many nuances that a standard, database driven textual play by play online doesn't do it justice. It's certainly better than nothing, but so much of the flavor is lost. Was a groundout a spectacular play or a routine dribbler? Was an infield single a generous scoring call on a borderline error or due to a hustling runner? Did a home run barely make the seats or land deep in the upper deck? Did an umpire blow a call? The glog has the power to fill in these blanks, as well as the potential to pull off the classic baseball insight regarding how good a batter is with two strikes and runners in scoring position during a night game on grass vs. a lefty. I can't wait!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Romance for Fools

New Google Product: Google Romance

Exploring the nooks and crannies is fun, especially this page with links to a history of other Google Products released on this date in history.

It's a shame though, as I was hoping they'd pull a Gmail and finally release the Google Calendar, aka CL2.

UPDATE: Didn't notice before, but Gmail has a special birthday logo today after you log in. It's the little things that make me so happy.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Why Didn't I Think of This

This is how we should be making money...

Do the following in order:

1) Take a look at this website (no downloads necessary):

2) Read this:

3) Go to and look at this website's traffic ranking.

4) Do some mental math.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Agreements for Sale

I'll take the bait and post first, setting a dangerous precedent...

Lenny texted me today asking for the address of our old office on Wilshire. My steel trap memory is dulling, so I couldn't recall off the top of my head. But my steel trap search skills are still running strong, so I knew a simple iNetNow Wilshire googling would nail it, which it did.

Top result was from, a site that resells copies of contracts and other business agreements. Not all that unheard of in the age of Fucked Company or The Smoking Gun, just a bit unexpected.

A click and a site search box query later brought these.

It's a small internet.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Jacob's been reminding me about this for a while.

Well, I've finally gotten my act together and setup the "" blog.

Post at will...