Friday, December 28, 2007

Bart vs. Homer

Playing with Hulu and found a neat feature where you can create your own short clip from any episode they have and embed it online.

Quality is pretty decent, and features like this show they realize the need to retain the social aspects if they really want to be the "legit" YouTube.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Alexander Graham Theft

Book argues that Bell stole phone idea

In "The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret," journalist Seth Shulman argues that Bell — aided by aggressive lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner — got an improper peek at patent documents Elisha Gray had filed, and that Bell was erroneously credited with filing first.

I found this line most intriguing:

Bell, not Gray, actually demonstrated a phone that transmitted speech. Gray was focused instead on his era's pressing communications challenge: how to send multiple messages simultaneously over the same telegraph wire. As Gray huffed to his attorney, "I should like to see Bell do that with his apparatus."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Scold the cell squawkers

Scold the cell squawkers
A woman at the Rose Cafe shouted her eyeglass order into her cell -- going into great detail about her family's medical plan (they have flexible spending; they'll pay after the first of the year). So I blogged her conversation, including her phone number, and she got calls from around the world: "Eva, your glasses are ready!" I'm guessing she has newfound respect for others' profound disinterest in her life.

Barry sure does. He shouted his number across a Venice Starbucks. I went home and called it: "Barry, I know everything about you but your blood type." Next time I saw him, he took his calls outside.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Smack The Penguin

It ain't elf bowling, but it ain't bad.

Happy Xmas to all...

Super Smack The Penguin

iPhone Hacking as Internship

Apple hires author of the unofficial iPhone SDK

Lucas Newman of Delicious Monster has been hired by Apple as an “iPhone engineer” according to a post from “Chief Monster” Wil Shipley.

Newman is an avid iPhone developer who worked on the first native iPhone game, Lights Off and helped iPhone Atlas develop their initial 5-step native application install guide back in August.

(Above is paraphrased because, to quote the second commenter on the original article: "Please proofread your posts. This one is utter gibberish.")

Related: Wired puts Jailbroken iPhone on top 2007 gadget list

Friday, December 21, 2007

Video from a Time Traveller

Okay, so this could be hoaxed. But its an intriguing story.

A Norwegian man was working on his kitchen plumbing when he claims he inexplicably travelled into the future and met his future self. Bonus: he has video from his mobile.

Yeah, that could be his dad, I guess. And the story is frustratingly light on the details - did he get back? What did they talk about?

But interesting nonetheless. Maybe interesting enough for Jacob to dig up more...


More at the Retire Trajan blog.

Social Enemies

Parody sites start anti-social networking trend

Tired of phony online friends? Make enemies instead. Riding on the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, new Web sites are poking fun at online friendships that connect you to the people you like, by turning attention to the ones you don't.

"I didn't understand these fake-friend war chests that people were so busy building online," said Bryant Choung, a technology consultant who started Snubster last year.

Kevin Matulef, the creator of Enemybook, said the idea for his Facebook application started as a joke last summer when friends at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were asking if someone was a real friend or a Facebook friend.

"It started basically as a satire, sort of a parody of some of the superficial aspects of Facebook and the connections that you have, but now it's kind of evolved and it allows people to express themselves via their dislikes," said Matulef, 28.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Me too!

I think I've said this before, but the best side effect of Google's innovations is that they light a fire under Yahoo to stop being so stagnant.

Yahoo Maps Gets Drag-and-Drop Rerouting

Props to Yahoo for the comparison of old route vs. new. I also liked the rubber band effect on the drag, but have to agree that Google showing you the name of the street you're dragging onto wins out.

Now, when will someone give me my web based LineDrive directions back?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Copyright Controversy

Controversy surrounding the video Bo previously posted about the tech bubble.

Misunderstanding Copyright Law And Ruining Everyone’s Fun
So the video that everyone has been talking about is history. It is the victim of a bullying tactic by a photographer and her lawyer. Once again, a perversion of copyright is being used to destroy art.

The video, set to the tune of We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel, mocked just about everyone in Silicon Valley as being part of a new technology bubble. But the video has now been taken down, because Lane Hartwell, the photographer who took one of the pictures that was included in the video, complained that she wasn’t paid for her work. She hired a lawyer, and the creators, Richter Scales, decided to take it down rather than fight that Hartwell had no right to stop them from using the image.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Helpful Help

This might be one of the worst website help articles I've ever encountered. I know MySpace shouldn't be required or expected to teach basic html to their users, but a little effort via description or simple tools would go a long way.

How do I add color, graphics, & sound to my MySpace Profile page?

  • Simply go to "Edit Profile"
  • Enter the desired HTML or CSS coding where appropriate.
  • If you do not know HTML or CSS, you can reach out and make a new friend by asking someone who has color, graphics, and/or sound on their Profile page how they did it. People on MySpace are friendly and always willing to help, so just ask! This is a great way to meet new people!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bye Bye Payphones

Um, what took them so long?

Also, remember this database from the Surfboard?

AT&T to Disconnect Pay-Phone Business After 129 Years

AT&T Inc., the biggest U.S. phone company, plans to leave the pay-phone business after 129 years as more people use wireless handsets to make calls on the go.

The first pay phone, installed in 1878, had an attendant who took callers' money, AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said. Inventor William Gray set up the first coin-operated phone in 1889 at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut.

At their peak in 1998, there were 2.6 million pay phones in the U.S., San Antonio-based AT&T said today in a statement. That number fell to 1 million this year, including the 65,000 phones AT&T has in 13 states.

Pay phones, especially those in booths, have played a role in U.S. pop culture for decades. Clark Kent started using them to change into Superman in the 1940s. In the 1989 movie ``Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure,'' a phone booth doubled as a time machine. In 2002, actor Colin Farrell played a man trapped at a phone by a sniper in the film ``Phone Booth.''

It's A Gas Gas Gas

Wis. drivers line up for gas at 33 cents

An employee closing Trig's Minocqua Shell for the night mistakenly entered the price of a gallon of gasoline as 32.9 cents instead of $3.299 on Monday night.

He left about 10 p.m., but drivers could still use their credit cards to buy gas.

Word of the bargain spread fast in the rural northern Wisconsin community, with 42 people buying 586 gallons of gas in an hour and 45 minutes. One person had pumped 27 gallons and two purchased 18 gallons.

"I was very upset that there's that many dishonest people," said store manager Andrea Reuland. "They knew there was a problem, and they took advantage of an employee's mistake and I think that's terrible."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back to...

Back To The Future Flux Capacitor Replica

Three thoughts:

1. Guess what I want for Xmas...

2. $220? My word!

3. needs to work on their "related items" algorithm at the bottom of the page, as it seems to think any other movie starting with the words "Back To" is related to BTTF.

Shift Happens

A little long and slow, but interesting.

The Luxembourg broadband stat was especially surprising to my dial-up using self back in 2003...

The Chuck Norris Effect

Hilarious, but also pandering a bit if something like this can really have an effect on an election. Have to give them credit for the buzz factor though.

Chuck and Huck: GOP's Delta Force?

Here's a Chuck Norris fact you may not know. If Chuck Norris endorses you and appears in one of your campaign's TV ads, you take the lead in an Iowa poll and your Web server crashes.

(In Huckabee's defense, in the article he says "We didn't seek his endorsement, but we're sure lucky to have it.")

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Friendship Bracelets Are the Next Big Thing!

Are we in another bubble?

I believe so, but it's being around to watch it.

(UPDATED 12/20 to new video link)

The Science of Santa

Santa Claus is coming to town -- for 34 microseconds

"We estimated that there are 48 people per square kilometer (120 per square mile) on Earth, and 20 metres (66 feet) between each home. So if Santa leaves from Kyrgyzstan and travels against the Earth's rotation he has 48 hours to deliver all the presents," he said.

"He has 34 microseconds at each stop" to slide down the chimney, drop off the presents, nibble on his cookies and milk and hop back on his sleigh, Larsson said.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The SMS Novelists

I can barely fathom this:

In Japan, cellular storytelling is all the rage

"In just a few years, mobile phone novels - or keitai shousetsu - have become a publishing phenomenon in Japan, turning middle-of-the-road publishing houses into major concerns and making their authors a small fortune in the process.

Remarkably, half of Japan's top-10 selling works of fiction in the first six months of the year were composed the same way - on the tiny handset of a mobile phone. They sold an average of 400,000 copies."

via TechCrunch (with inspiration from Kit)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

From the Future

I know sports isn't usually on topic for our blog, but the technology bits and time travel undertones are quite Towformian...

A letter to the Junior High Sports Guy

Friday, November 30, 2007

DASH GPS device shows off Zillow API Mashup

I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the DASH GPS device and this little preview of it in action just made me want it all the more. I didn't realize they were making it open source.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mobile GMaps & My Location

Great new pseudo-GPS feature in Google Maps For Mobile

Reminiscent of the old AT&T "Find Friends" technology we used to know and love.

New magical blue circle on your map

Plus, I'm starting to really love these new "demonstration" videos Google does when launching new features.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

QL Fanfic Movie

The long rumored Quantum Leap "Bold Leap Forward" sequel series on Sci-Fi sill hasn't quite made it off the ground yet, but now someone is taking matters into their own hands:

QL Fanfilm: A Leap To Di For

Award Winning Filmmaker Christopher Allen has announced the title of his company’s next film production, a fan based effort to re-launch the popular “Quantum Leap” television series that ran on NBC from 1989 to 1993.

“I just want to re-launch the (Quantum Leap) series in some way or another. I don’t care about not making any money on this. It’s not about money... its about quality stories and characters people still care about to this very day. Above all else, it is ultimately for the fans.”

Watch the Teaser Trailer

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Do Not What List?

This is great just for how brazenly ridiculous their loose interpretation is:

DirecTV Telemarketing

DirecTV is defending automated sales calls to Do Not Call List subscribers as "informational," and "not telemarketing." The satellite TV provider recently called customers to say: "Because you are on our Do Not Call List, we can't call you with all of our super-awesome special promotions."

Link includes letter to a customer from DirecTV lawyer explaining the reasoning:

Since our calls were informational in nature, and not telemarketing sales calls, they fall outside the scope of the Telemarketing Sales Rule and related federal and state laws and regulations governing telemarketing sales practices. As such, our calls did not violate any of these statutes or regulations.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pas d'Internet pour vous

France Sets Sanctions Against Internet Piracy
Internet users in France who frequently download music or films illegally risk losing Web access under a new anti-piracy system unveiled on Friday.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gmail Interview (& Parody)

Interesting Lifehacker interview with Google's Product Manager in charge of Gmail.

Gmail Product Manager on IMAP and Greasemonkey

Strange aside:
Direct Lifehacker post links don't seem to be working in the new Tiger version of Safari 3.

Funny aside:
What if Microsoft Designed Gmail?

Windows Live Gmail

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Tryptophan Myth

My favorite iNet Thanksgiving question/answer pair:

Thanksgiving Myth: Turkey Makes You Sleepy

The sleepy-turkey myth lingers around each year because it sounds so logical.

Alas, it is only marginally true. What's making you sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner is any combination of booze, bad conversation and a carbohydrate-heavy meal, but not the turkey itself.

Turkey does have tryptophan. But all meat has tryptophan at comparable levels. Cheddar cheese, gram for gram, has more.

In essence, big meals with any food containing tryptophan can cause sleepiness. The real culprits are all those carbohydrates from potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, bread and pie. The massive intake of carb-heavy calories stimulates the release of insulin, which in turn triggers the uptake of most amino acids from the blood into the muscles except for tryptophan.

With other amino acids swept out of the bloodstream, tryptophan—from turkey or ham or any meat or cheese, for that matter—can better make its way to the brain to produce serotonin.

Bonus Thanksgiving Funny via JibJab

Monday, November 19, 2007


Amazon's new EVDO powered (via Sprint) eBook, Blog, Newspaper, Magazine, and Wiki reader device.

Amazon Kindle

The next iPod? Or the next Newton?

Apple Newton
"Although the Apple Newton was produced for six years, it was never as successful in the marketplace as Apple had hoped. This has been attributed to two primary reasons: the Newton's high price (which went up to $1000 when models 2000 and 2100 were introduced), and its large size (it failed the "pocket test" by not fitting in an average coat, shirt, or trouser pocket)."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Capturing the Power of CAPTCHA

Stumbled into this via a Webware post about Southwest shutting down boarding pass sniping site Pass-a-Matic.

Re-CAPTCHA is a Carnegie Melon University project that repurposes those CAPTCHA verification boxes (last discussed by us here) to help digitize books.

The basic idea is to take words that optical scanners can't recognize, turn them into CAPTCHAs, and then use crowdsourcing ala Mechanical Turk to do the heavy lifting. It's all pretty clever.

More details here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Take TV

Found this in a banner ad of all places...

This is an intriguing device that allows you to take video from your computer and play it directly to your tv. Great design - cool integrated USB/Remote control.

Annoying flash intro - skip right to the demo.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Know When To Say No

Cool SvN post on how to innovate by staying true to your ideas and not being bullied into being something you're not.

How opinionated companies get customers to live without floppy drives, assigned seats, credit cards, etc.

Examples from the story:

" the case of Southwest Airlines, customers who value more of the amenities, policies, and procedures of the legacy carriers aren’t ever going to be passionate about Southwest. Customers who are passionate about Southwest don’t just value the low fares that open seating supports, but have come to expect and enjoy the organized chaos that the experience involves."

If you simply had to have a floppy drive, then that new iMac was no good for you.

You want to open an account with a million dollars? Please find another bank. “Rich Americans are used to platinum cards, special services,” Kuhlmann told me. “The last thing we want in this bank is to have rich people making special demands. We treat everybody the same, which is how we keep things simple.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's not easy being Yahoo!

Interesting blurb of an article on Jerry Yang of Yahoo. Too short, but a good glimpse at his feelings on their history and future.

Yang: Being Yahoo CEO is a 'lonely job'

My favorite throwaway quote:

"Today I'm still not sure why we added the exclamation point."

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Swearing at work boosts team spirt, morale
Regular swearing at work can help boost team spirit among staff, allowing them to express better their feelings as well as develop social relationships, according to a study by researchers.

The pair said swearing in front of senior staff or customers should be seriously discouraged or banned, but in other circumstances it helped foster solidarity among employees and express frustration, stress or other feelings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Best Google Design for SEO Traffic

Let's say that I want our blog to get traffic from people searching on how to get relevant SEO-optimized content that will show up on Google.

Well, I'd make sure to talk about Google and SEO plenty of times, and that we're the best at helping people get great SEO results.

I'd also provide an example of how the Google home page would look if it was SEO-optimized.

Of course, I would need to use some nifty AJAX call-out boxes to guide the user through the steps to creating a relevant, SEO-friendly home page that will get indexed by search engines like Google.

Now just wait several weeks and your site should be picked up by the Google spider and show up in search results when people are searching for "best google optimized SEO".

P.S. I should throw in the original pointer from Slashdot:

"Web developers increasingly grow weary of having to put so much effort into designing their sites according to the whims of the Google search engine. When the most important thing is 'getting indexed' it is increasingly difficult for web site designers to offer the simple, uncluttered user experience they'd like to. Reminiscent of the famed what if Microsoft designed the iPod box here is a humorous look at what would happen to that famed, clean, uncluttered look if Google had to design for the Google Search Engine."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

At least they tried...

New beta version of MapQuest:

Unfortunately they still don't get it...

I know I've been a MapQuest hater forever, but it's always been with good reason. They were first, and they're the most popular, but they still just don't know how to do directions in a useful manner.

People want to redo a route easily with drag and drop. They want to start on a highway without having to fake it. They want simplified line drive directions. They want to find a pseudo neighborhood even when they don't really know what they're looking for. They want to easily skip streets they don't like, and be advised as to "why" something is the best route rather than fastest/quickest via a mathematical stairstepping calculation. They want the simplicity of a Line Drive visualization instead of every intricacy of a turn by turn. They want notes, landmarks, and street level views for visualization.

They want something better than MapQuest.

Google Maps is the best (true that double true.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007


If Gary named iNetNow...

Research Bitch

Aside from the comedic value of the funny name, the voiceover pitch for the site is pretty interesting and not something I've seen before.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Banning the Bomb

Good idea in theory, but...

Experts doubt plan to block bomb recipes on Web

A European Union proposal to stop people from accessing bomb-making instructions online is fraught with technical difficulties, if not downright unworkable, Internet practitioners say.

"I do intend to carry out a clear exploring exercise with the private sector...on how it is possible to use technology to prevent people from using or searching dangerous words like 'bomb,' 'kill,' 'genocide' or 'terrorism,'" Frattini told Reuters in an interview earlier this month.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rotten Neighbors

Stumbled onto this via Lifehacker and think it's an absolutely brilliant idea for a GMaps Mashup:

Rotten Neighbor

Not sure how accurately it's being used, but there's a grain of truth to every story, and a lot of these are hilarious.

If only LinkedIn had a similar feature for "reviewing" the unemployable...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Language Barrier At Risk

Interesting article on how the world's languages are fading away. Not sure if I'm more amazed at how many there are (were?), or how many are at risk. Both numbers are bigger than I expected.

Study finds languages quickly dying out

Half of the world's 7,000 languages are expected to disappear before the end of the century.

"We are seeing in front of our eyes the erosion of the human knowledge base."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dial Directions

Dial Directions

Interesting new directions-by-phone service with a "why didn't I think of that" phone number.

Downsides are the fact that it's voice recognition and uses MapQuest for the actual directions, but reviews are positive and it uses some familiar tricks and tenants based on this WSJ review:

"It's smart enough to ask you if you know how to get to the highway, thus saving you from reading directions you already know."

"Symbols help to shorten the messages, like using "L @ Maryland Ave. SW" to tell a user to turn left at Maryland Avenue Southwest."

"While the mobile versions of these services are improving, the user interface of a cellphone isn't ideal for inputting addresses and extracting directions. Even smart phones with larger screens and full keyboards can be hampered by slow Internet speeds."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Visualizing Search Results

There's quite a few of these alternative search engines now ...quite a lot more than I imagined, actually.

This is an interesting collection of visually based search engines - The crystal one is particularly strange but ingenious somehow at the same time.

Heres a pic of a crystal visual search engine result.

25! :)

Happy Birthday, Smiley

Sept. 19, 1982
"I propose the following character for joke markers: :-) Read it sideways," Fahlman wrote. "Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use :-( "

And my favorite quote from the article:

"Good writers should have no need to explicitly label their humorous comments."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Google, at age 10
On September 15, 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two 24 year-old Stanford University students, registered the domain name of ""


Sort of a Google Zeitgeist for Wikipedia based on edit activity.


(via LifeHacker)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Google In The News

Google Founders’ Ultimate Perk: A NASA Runway
The famous founders seem to have acquired landing rights to a runway that NO other civilian planes can land at, and are only a few miles away from Google's headquarters. The articles says that NASA gets to run scientific missions on their planes, and thus the allowance. Hmmm, I want to see the results of those experiments.

In other Google news, it seems that some confidential Google plans to compete with FaceBook were leaked.

They're allying some of their platform around the Google Reader. I haven't used the reader yet, but I may have to. And some interesting learnings at the bottom of the article:

  • Two thirds of all RSS feeds only have one subscriber
  • Google prioritizes more popular feeds polling every hour for updates, while the two thirds mentioned above are polled every 3 hours.
  • The Google Reader back-end stores a staggering 10 terebytes of data from 8 million feeds

And of course, there's the Moon Prize they announced. I was at the first prize, so I'll definitely try to be at this one, if someone enters.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

MTurk + GEarth = Search and Rescue

Amazon is using their Mechanical Turk service to assist in the search and rescue for missing aviator Steve Fossett.

Got this email from Amazon:

Details of the task to perform are available here:

Steve Fossett Missing: Help find him by searching satellite imagery

I hadn't heard of it before, but TechCrunch has a story on how Amazon did something similar when Jim Gray was lost at sea.

Very interesting and noble use of crowd sourcing.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Great article on the origins of Lost and the Hollywood saga of the original creator.

Cast Away
Every time ABC runs an episode of its hit TV series Lost, Evanston's Jeffrey Lieber gets an onscreen credit and his bank account gets a nice pop. But the twisting tale of his Hollywood triumph has left Lieber feeling a bit ... well, lost.

Apple Adwords Prank

Man buys Google Adwords ad for "iphone price drop" and a comedy of errors ensues.

DYH isn’t funny?

Also interesting in how it shows the lack of basic fact checking when blogs become common news sources.

Bowling and NLP

A couple of random YouTube videos.

First, the winning entry for a guitar-usage competition. I was (and still am a little) a LEGO fanatic.

Second, part of a show about a British NLP expert. Neuro-linguistic programming is what I'd call a minor form of hypnosis used to manipulate people to your desires.

And instead of worrying about what to get someone for a birthday, wouldn't it be nice if they REALLY wanted exactly what you wanted to get them.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

SMS Turns 15

This article has some neat trivia points and quotes even though it follows the overdone "SMS Speak Is Ruining English" theory. But the fact that our loyal friend the text message is about to turn 15 is borderline amazing.

OMG! TXT MSG turns 15!

Fun Fact:

"The British-based Mobile Data Association dates text messaging to December 1992, when a British engineer sent the message "Merry Christmas" to a colleague from a computer to a mobile handset."

Great Quote:

"There's nothing wrong with flip-flops, worn at the appropriate time in an appropriate way. But soccer players don't wear flip-flops in a game."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

360° Light Field Display

A holographic display created using a spinning mirror. Very "Help me Obi-wan Kenobi" sort of feel to it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Earthquake Lull?

Headline caught my eye, though this quote made me want to post it:

"Nature is very much like a 14-year-old boy; it's sloppy and lazy,"

L.A. in 1,000-year Earthquake Lull

Monday, August 27, 2007

When the hell are we?

So, exactly what time does a guy have to get up to see the lunar eclipse tonight?

SF Gate
For the wide-awake, a partial eclipse will start at 1:51 a.m. Tuesday and become total starting at 2:52 a.m. By 4:22 a.m., the total phase will be over, but then as the moon begins to emerge from Earth's shadow, another partial phase will begin. The eclipse will end at 5:24 a.m., just as the sky lightens at dawn.

The moon will start getting dimmer around 4am EDT, with peak shadow about an hour and a half later.

SF Examiner
The moon will just after 7:30 p.m. tonight but will not start passing through the weakest part of Earth’s shadow, or penumbra, until 12:52 a.m. Tuesday, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Voice of America
The eclipse will begin at 0851 UTC and end at 1224 UTC.

If you want to see the spectacular show, they say it will happen at approximately 1:52 a.m. and end at 4:22 a.m.

National Geographic
The eclipse will be visible in North and South America, Australia, and eastern Asia starting at about 3 a.m. PT on Tuesday...

Chico Enterprise Record
Just before 2 a.m. Tuesday the West Coast will witness an astronomical spectacle...

San Jose Mercury News
If you've got insomnia or the inclination to be awake about 3:37 a.m. - you should be able to see a coppery red hue on a shaded moon.
The partial eclipse begins at 4:51 a.m. ET. The moon edges gradually into Earth's shadow.
Total eclipse begins at 5:52 a.m.

LA Daily News
But the best view will be in the West, where it will be viewable from about 1:30-5:30 a.m.

Ventura County Star
...the total lunar eclipse that will be visible in Southern California in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Aug. 28, from just before 2 a.m. to just shy of 3:30 a.m.

And don't get me started on these next ones. Daylight Time! Daylight Time!

Imperial Valley News
Totality begins at 2:52AM PST, and mid-eclipse occurs at 3:37AM PST.

Orlando Sentinal
The viewing begins shortly before 5 a.m. EST.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time Travel Machine Outlined

Former coworker emailed this to me. Love being "time travel guy" in certain circles...

Time Travel Machine Outlined

Internet Knowledge Quiz

I got 82%. BoRyan will probably score better than me...

Mingle2 Internet Quiz - How Much Do You Know About the Internet?

(Also note how the code to add this widget at the end of the quiz tries to sneak in a secret advertisement. Wonder if it's a bonus question to be smart enough to remove it before posting...)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is Google Becoming Evil?

This one surprised me:

"So much for Grand Central’s “one number for life” promise. The company is turning off customer phone numbers and giving them new ones following their acquisition by Google last month...[a user received a notice] advising him that in 8 days his Grand Central number would be canceled and that he would be required to immediately start using a new number allocated to him."

Even worse is the Grand Central posting on their OWN blog on July 12, saying:

"One of the foundations of GrandCentral is the “one number for life” concept. When creating the company we thought about all the pain points of having a new phone number or a number that switches every time your life changes. Go to college? Get a new number. Buy a house? Get a new number. Change jobs? Get a new number. Not only is this a pain for you as you need to now memorize another number for yourself, but its even worse for your friends and family who have to keep up updating their address books to keep track of you. With GrandCentral as your only number, these problems go away."

This follows on the heels of Google removing access to DRM'd videos that one purchased through Google Video. Granted they gave credits to their Google Checkout service, but is that really acceptable given that you purchased the rights to view a video indefinitely?

Is it really impossible to make profits AND be good?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sound Familiar?

Part of this article on the Netflix call center gave me a bit of a flashback...

At Netflix, Victory for Voices Over Keystrokes
"Ms. Funk, 36, said some people call because they are lonely. Her lengthiest call of that kind lasted 35 minutes. Others need basic help with their computers or with the Internet. Some people do not own a computer and call regularly to have a call center employee rearrange the titles in their queue."

The Truth About DRM-Free music?

Not sure I fully understand this, but interesting. Seems they'd be able to track popularity and how viral something is relative to it's original source, but getting it down to the individual user would be difficult and/or expensive.

Could Audio Watermarking Help Make MP3s Free?
Audio watermarking involves taking a song and manipulating it digitally to create an audio pattern that is unmistakable to the right software -- such as Activated's -- though undetectable by human ears.

The tracking technology allows advertisers to gather information about the consumer and the effectiveness of the ad. Such data, according to Silberstein, is so valuable that advertisers would be willing to pay five to 10 times rate of a regular ad for an watermarked ad. That data works particularly well with "call-to-action" type of ads, in which consumers, after listening to an ad, respond or click on a link to buy something or otherwise opt in to the advertiser's campaign, Silberstein said.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Towformian Tendencies Rewarded?

Both unbelievable and sad but true at the same time. Harkens back to the all too true (but presumably fake) quote: "All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Bad bosses get promoted, not punished?
In the study to be presented at a conference on management this weekend, almost two-thirds of the 240 participants in an online survey said the local workplace tyrant was either never censured or was promoted for domineering ways.

"The fact that 64.2 percent of the respondents indicated that either nothing at all or something positive happened to the bad leader is rather remarkable -- remarkably disturbing,"

The authors advocated immediate intervention by industry chiefs to stop fledgling office authoritarians from rising up the ranks.

"The leaders above them who did nothing, who rewarded and promoted bad leaders ... represent an additional problem."

"As with any sort of cancer, the best alternative to prevention is early detection," they wrote.

Power Nap Zap

How to Sleep 4 Hours per Night
Zapping your brain with an electromagnet could do the trick. A good night’s sleep just takes too long. Scientists may soon be able to cut those eight wasted hours down to three or four—by waving a wand, more or less. The technique, transcranial magnetic stimulation, involves an electromagnetic coil that emits pulses of skull-penetrating, neuron-activating magnetic energy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Off-beat idea for iPhone contact photos

Grab a camera and a plate of glass or just shove someone's face onto the surface of a scanner. Voila! When one of your contacts calls you it looks like they're trying to escape from the prison that is your iPhone, or the prison that is your AT&T contract or maybe more like Lady Cottington's Pressed Fairy Book. Regardless, I suggest you stop drinking whatever it is you're drinking before viewing these photos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sprint Gives Heisman

Hilarious, brilliant, CSRs dream, and PR nightmare rolled into one. I still can't believe they went through with this, especially given the suspect criteria used.

Sprint breaks up with high-maintenance customers
On June 29, 2007, Sprint sent letters notifying some customers that their service would be canceled by the end of July due to excessive calls to customer service.

"Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information," the letter reads. "While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs."

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Part II: Apple vs. AT&T - The Activation

We all love cell phone activations, right?

It seems like in the past I've spent more time than I care to in the store when I purchase a phone.

With iPhone in hand, I went home to complete the activation. I had already downloaded iTunes 7.3 in the morning, so I was ready to go.

Unwrapping new Apple products is always a pleasure. They focus on the design, the packaging and how it feels. And I've always noticed that for 1st generations they put much more effort into it. (If you ever bought a first gen iPod, you'll know what I mean).

I plug the phone into the dock, connect to my computer and I'm off and running in iTunes. 5-6 pages later I arrive at the "Complete Your Activation" screen. I'm told it may take up to 3 minutes.

I wait, and wait. And then receive a messages that says "You will receive an email confirmation once your activation is complete." WTF?

Now I have to wait for email confirmation. This can't be Apple. So, I call the 800 number on the screen.

I still don't know if it was an Apple rep or AT&T rep, but the phone rings twice and is picked up - no waiting. Clearly those extra 2000 staffers made a difference. And amazingly the woman was very pleasant and easy to understand. I suspect that the rep was from AT&T, but it was a specially staffed iPhone 800 number. It was just too good for a regular carrier.

Apparently, AT&T is backlogged in new activation requests and it may take 24 hours to receive an email. Keep in mind, that NO iTunes syncing can occur until after your phone has been activated. So, basically I can't even use the phone.

Many compulsive email refreshes later, I receive the email, and my phone starts syncing. I had already setup preferences to sync contacts, calendar, personal email account, songs, photos, and a couple tv shows.

In summary, the activation experience (aside from the waiting) was awesome. I did it all in the course of 5 minutes from my computer.

Word on the internet, is that if you were porting a number from another carrier, the WAIT is much longer.

So, it appears that Apple's design experience and server available were top-notch. AT&T needs to figure out how to activate phones quicker.

Apple vs. AT&T

So, did I get an iPhone yesterday? Read and see.

The Logic
I decided to wait in line at the local AT&T rather than the Apple Store. My reasoning was that the lines were a lot longer at the Apple Store. 300 in my neighborhood vs. 100 at AT&T. And Apple was allowing two phone purchases per person while AT&T was allowing only one.

The AT&T Experience
I had a late work meeting, so I didn't get to AT&T until around 5pm. At that point, I was about 95th in line. The mood of the crowd was reasonably happy, no one here had been waiting for days.

Fast forward to 6pm and the doors open. The line moves up a bit as people crowd forward, but from then on moves VERY slowly. We finally get to a window where we can see inside the store and they have 10-12 stations, but the computers are moving VERY slowly, and it seems to take 10-15 minutes just to get one person done. Apparently, they're doing FULL credit checks.

They won't say much about inventory, but say we should get a phone though it may not be 8GB. This continues for around an hour and a half. Then at around 7:30pm, they say that there's a very low chance we'll get the 8s based on where we're at in line. I waiver, and decide to wait a bit more time. At 7:50pm (with 40 people still ahead of me), they say they're out of 8s and MAY not have any 4s available by the time it reaches me.

To hell with that. I resign myself to trying tomorrow, but decide on a lark to walk down to the Apple Store on the Promenade.

The Apple Experience
I get to the Apple Store at around 8pm. The line has about 150 people. But, it would seem to be moving fairly quickly. There are 10x as many police and the mood is much more festive.

Rumor passes through the line, that there's still plenty of iPhones, both 4s and 8s. But, the Apple employees while nice, won't confirm.

Meanwhile, there's free Starbucks coffee samples AND they start passing out water bottles to people in line.

Every 10-15 min. they're letting in groups of 30 people at a time. They're cruising through.

Around 9pm, about 15 Apple employees clap and cheer as I walk through the doors. I'm siked to hear that they still have the 8s in stock. Going through the in-store line, Apple employees are letting us play with iPhones while we wait to get to a register.

I'm up, I want an 8, and they're done in 3 min. I HAVE the iPhone!

The Moral
When faced with a choice to wait in line at an AT&T or Apple Store. Choose the Apple Store if you want free water.

Friday, June 29, 2007

iTunes 7.3

New iTunes update came out today to support iPhone activations. Probably tweaked some other things as well, but the first one I noticed was a bit weird.

Alphabetical sorting now puts artists and albums with numbers after the alphabet rather than before it, so the 22-20s are now near the end of my library, while a-ha has risen to the top.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


While trying to recall the old Chatsworth address for the Gmaps entry, I stumbed onto this blog post:

when i was staying in hollywood, i took a job at a company called

Gotta love the photo of the pen.

Anyone remember this guy?

New GMaps Feature is the Holy Grail!

Neil sent me a text about this tonight, and I actually left a restaurant early to come home and play with it. (True that double true.)

Hmm, I'd rather take the 405...

Wait, what am I thinking. Surface streets make more sense...

Un-flipping believable!

Play with it here

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

iPhone Video 2: Activation and Sync

Another iPhone video is up, this one about how to activate and sync.

My thoughts/predictions:

-They seem to have done a great job in allowing you to activate at home yourself via iTunes, as this tends to be a long, tedious, and confusing process that was made extremely simple.

-Based on this in home activation, rumors of no removable battery, and no obvious battery door in the other demo, we may have our answer on the "will it work on other carriers" question. My guess is that the way they "locked" the iPhone was quite literal: they locked the SIM in the phone, making it non-removable. (Or at least not easily removable.)

-Synching is iPod simple, with nice touches of being able to auto-sync a Yahoo address book and have POP mail settings synched to the phone as well if the accounts are already on your computer.

-We also have the billing plan answer from the video: $59.99 for 450 minutes, $79.99 for 900 minutes, or $99.99 for 1,350 minutes. All plans include unlimited data, visual voicemail, 200 SMS messages, and the usual AT&T rollover and mobile to mobile minutes. (A little steep, but with my limited talking I could probably get away with the low plan and paying extra for an upgrade on SMS.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

iPhone Video: Check out the UI

Neil tipped me off to the video that Apple has on their home page. It's a 25 min. tutorial of how the iPhone works.

The demo shows a lot of the contextual power of the UI. You have the right buttons that you need when you're performing certain actions. This seems like to be the biggest problems with most software.

Things I liked from the demo:

- easily adding a caller (conference) to a call - this seems like one of the things that regular phone systems never make easy

- different functionality is accessed depending on the orientation of the phone (vertical or horizontal)

- pinch zooming in and out

- they only mention Google and Yahoo as search options. Poor Microsoft.

- my Treo has SMS message threading. But the iPhone UI shows both parties in a bubble talk format

- the biggest problem with the demo, is the unbelievable speed that the internet is accessed. I'm sure it'll be much slower in reality

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The 38th Parody

They say it's the sincerest form of flattery for a reason. It actually is pretty funny. My favorite is the ad at the top of the fake one. "Your mom is looking for a good developer." LOL

37 Signals
SvN: Sketching with a Sharpie
Ballpoints and fine tips just don’t fill the page like a Sharpie does. Fine tips invite you to draw while Sharpies invite you to just to get your concepts out into big bold shapes and lines. When you sketch with a thin tip you tend to draw at a higher resolution and worry a bit too much about making things look good. Sharpies encourage you to ignore details early on.

The 38th Signal
Wireframing with the blood of your enemies
Ballpoints and fine tips just don’t convey the same sense of malice and dominance as blood. Fine tips invite you to draw while blood invites you to visualize your concept obliterating the competition. When you sketch with a thin tip you tend to spend too much time worrying about making it look good. Using blood encourages you to ignore extraneous details and focus on what matters: the annihilation of your rivals and the subjugation of their people. You can almost hear the women weeping.

UPDATE: Fixed the 38th link above to be a permalink to the referenced article, now that they've started adding parody posts to match some other SvN content. Full site here.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Sippy Cup Incident

TSA video counts 'sippy cup' allegation

Woman stopped by airport security for having water in her son's sippy cup. TSA says she can't take it and has to get rid of the water and go through security again. In her anger she walks out of security through the exit, intentionally dumps out the water onto the floor, and tries to go back into security through the exit. A larger incident follows, and in the process she misses her flight. After the fact she claims she spilled the water by accident and was sorely mistreated in an abuse of power.

Rather than just take the heat, the TSA posts the security video on their website, calling her bluff and proving she spilled the water in an intentional episode of immature rage. (As you can probably guess, I love that the TSA posted the video.)

Moral of the story:
Even if you are put off by an arguably overzealous and unnecessary piece of red tape policy, lying will only make it worse.

And big brother is always watching...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Random Site: Forum Search Engine

I randomly came across this site.

From their About section:

"Omgili is a specialized search engine that focuses on "many to many" user generated content platforms, such as, forums, Discussion groups, answer boards and others."

I'm sure there are better examples of sites like this, but I was drawn in by the design more than anything. I don't like the color scheme.

Do a search for "dating" and notice Buzz Meter that shows up on the right side.

I'd love to see Google incorporate historical popularity of search terms next to results, or have it as an option on the Personalized home page. Google already seems a little more cluttered with the new interface.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Browser Wars Revisited?

Does Safari for Windows mean the old browser wars are heating up again?

It's a head scratching move to a degree from a pure web browser standpoint, though it does make sense as an iPhone WebApp development environment, or if the iPhone eventually synchs Safari bookmarks over the air.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Origins of Deja Vu

Vague, but interesting.

Origin of Deja Vu Pinpointed
The brain cranks out memories near its center, in a looped wishbone of tissue called the hippocampus. But a new study suggests only a small chunk of it, called the dentate gyrus, is responsible for “episodic” memories—information that allows us to tell similar places and situations apart.

The finding helps explain where déjà vu originates in the brain, and why it happens more frequently with increasing age.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


This is pretty neat. I can't hear it, but Arlo can.

A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears
"When I heard about it I didn't believe it at first," said Donna Lewis, a technology teacher at the Trinity School in Manhattan. "But one of the kids gave me a copy, and I sent it to a colleague. She played it for her first graders. All of them could hear it, and neither she nor I could."

The technology, which relies on the fact that most adults gradually lose the ability to hear high-pitched sounds, was developed in Britain but has only recently spread to America — by Internet, of course.

The cellphone ring tone that she heard was the offshoot of an invention called the Mosquito, developed last year by a Welsh security company to annoy teenagers and gratify adults, not the other way around.

It was marketed as an ultrasonic teenager repellent, an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer designed to help shopkeepers disperse young people loitering in front of their stores while leaving adults unaffected.

MP3 here.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Become Famous on Google Streets

So, by now you've already heard of Google Street View that was officially announced at the Where 2.0 conference:

Google Maps Street View and Mapplets

However, what I didn't think about was the potential for Google's cameras to find people and things in weird situations. Here's an article on 10 weird sitings:

10 Bizarre Sights in Google Street View

I like the Borat one.

Now, if I can just find out when the Google van is going to visit my neighborhood.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Dream...

I know it's probably unlikely to come true, but one can dream...

20-hour work weeks
CIOs need to prepare for the 20-hour working week as social models and technologies change to promote a work-light future, analyst house Gartner predicts.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Simply Google

Its been awhile...but I found something pretty cool.

Check this out...All of Google's features on one page.

Did you know about Mental Plex, Pigeon Rank, and Google Romance?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Banning the bulb?

LEDs emerge to fight fluorescents
"The light bulb, the symbol of bright ideas, doesn't look like such a great idea anymore, as lawmakers in the U.S. and abroad are talking about banning the century-old technology because of its contribution to global warming."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Home, End, Insert

Some classic observational wisdom from SvN.

Home and End: Two of the most useful yet underrated keys on the keyboard

"They’re small and their function isn’t all that clear. You can just press one to see what happens, but I’ve also noticed people don’t experiment with their keyboards. They use the keys they know and avoid the rest."

I'm surprised the comments haven't delved into a debate over the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the Insert Key, which I find to be a total waste of space.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We listened to songs about fire while Griffith Park burned...

Couple of on-topic discoveries related to the Griffith Park fire.

1. The Los Angeles Fire Department has an official blog, and it's well done and pretty damn informative at that. Gotta love seeing new media put to good use in simple yet unsuspecting ways. Can't wait for the day when it's not so unexpected to see something like this.

2. Sitting down to dinner and wanting to drown out the noise of the helicopters, I opened iTunes, typed "fire" into the search box, and assembled a quickie themed playlist. (Some might remember my "Rain" mix CD that I kept in my car during June gloom a few years ago. I so amuse myself...)

> > Light My Fire -- The Doors
> > Fuel for Fire -- M. Ward
> > Fire Coming Out of the Monkey's Head -- Gorillaz
> > Fire On The Bayou -- The Meters
> > Ring of Fire -- Johnny Cash
> > Firetruck -- Mike Doughty
> > Fire and Rain -- James Taylor
> > Fire -- Jimi Hendrix
> > Ceasefire -- Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
> > Play With Fire -- The Rolling Stones
> > Chinese Firedrill -- Mike Watt
> > Fire In My Head -- Piers Faccini
> > Fire In The Garage -- Papa Grows Funk
> > Fire On The Mountain -- Grateful Dead
> > Fire Tender Red -- Abdoujaparov
> > Firehead -- Devics
> > Fireplace -- R.E.M.
> > Firetruck Remix -- Mike Doughty
> > Friendly Fire -- Citizen Cope
> > I Set The World On Fire -- The Thorns
> > Ring Of Fire -- Social Distortion
> > Lake Of Fire -- Nirvana
> > Playing With Fire -- Stereo MC's
> > This Fire -- Franz Ferdinand
> > The Unforgettable Fire -- U2

As we went through the songs, I realized that some that had fire in the title didn't really fit the theme ("Firehead" by the Devics; "Fire in the Garage" by Papa Grows Funk), and others that had fire in the lyrics should have really been included but weren't due to the nature of the iTunes search function. ("April 29, 1992" by Sublime: "wanna let it burn wanna wanna let it burn"; "Laid" by James: "this bed is on fire...")

And then it hit me how brilliant this rumored deal between Apple and Gracenote to provide lyrics in iTunes could be if done right.

Imagine the mixtape making power of being able to search a music library for words and phrases contained in the lyrics. Or how many more songs you might buy if you could literally search based on "that song that goes..." Filmmakers could import a script into a tool that would spit out suggestions for the soundtrack. Vacation mixes could dig up ditties that reference your destination. The list goes on and on.

It's more than just allowing for an iPod based singalong. This is going to be huge.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Maps: Usability vs. Accuracy

Can He Get There From Here?

Great NYT article (via SvN) about one man's quest to revise and simplify the NYC subway maps.

"He wisely recognizes that usability is more important than geographic accuracy here. Subway map readers want to know how to get from A to B a lot more than they want to know the exact curve of the tracks along the way. Sometimes truth is less important than knowledge."

I completely agree. Reminds me of the magic that makes the old MapBlast LineDrive directions so powerful. A clear blueprint of where you're going is far more important that whether or not the map is "to scale" in a traditional sense.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Very Observant

Hey BoRyan: We were right, and it goes even deeper:

Replays of Red Sox’ Homer Feat Tell Different Story

It was the third inning when Manny Ramírez, J. D. Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek each hit bases-empty homers to put the Red Sox ahead, 4-3. Each one was accompanied by a colorful verbal send-off by ESPN’s Jon Miller.

As ESPN rolled the replay of Drew’s drive, Miller said, “Theo Epstein was watching and was pretty impressed.” In a taped reaction shot, Epstein, the Red Sox’ general manager, appeared to say, “Oh my God.”

A few minutes later, as ESPN replayed Lowell’s shot, Miller said, “Manny Ramírez was watching it from the dugout.” Ramírez jumped off the bench, exultant, and hugged a teammate or a coach.

Then the third inning ended, and ESPN offered a sequence of the four home runs, and this time, Epstein’s reaction no longer came after Drew’s home run, but after Varitek’s, the last in the record-tying run.

In the seventh, the sequence was shown again, and Ramírez’s reaction was shifted to look like he was celebrating Varitek’s shot, not Lowell’s. Epstein’s reaction shot followed, again making him look like he has been stunned by one home run when he was really amazed by another.

In the sequence that ended the broadcast, ESPN shifted Epstein out of his original reality to look like he was reacting to Lowell’s home run, not Drew’s or Varitek’s. He was now unstuck in time, like Billy Pilgrim in “Slaughterhouse-Five.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Gary will appreciate these related random findings in the news today. Maybe Superman is real. First they discover his Achilles, then his home...

I read this in the morning:

'Kryptonite' discovered in mine
"A new mineral matching its unique chemistry - as described in the film Superman Returns - has been identified in a mine in Serbia."

And this the same night:

Potentially habitable planet found
"The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a "red dwarf," is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun."

Saturday, April 21, 2007

DNS Update -

I setup Towform to use the Custom Domain feature that Google provides. You shouldn't notice any differences, but it technically means that you'll want to set your favorites to go to (that is the official url of the blog now).

For now and are redirecting to

Anyways, just geeky stuff that I was playing with.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Save Internet Radio

I don't usually post things like this, but...

Save Internet Radio Petition

Recent legislation has nearly tripled royalty fees for streaming Internet radio stations such as Pandora and, which could be the death of this industry as the fees prevent them from sustaining a viable business.

Signing the above petition sends a customizable email to your political representatives expressing your objection to this ruling.

Special bonus on topic UI coolness:

Love how filling out the "Your Name" box in the signature section of the petition auto parses and populates the first name/last name boxes on the right hand side. Brilliant, elegant simplicity at its best.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day 6: 11pm-12am


Even though the message boards think otherwise.

Brilliant all around, and crazy that it's what the rest of this ok season has been setting up all along.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Let Her Go And Start Over

Interesting blurb about how to revamp the Internet for more security, speed, and functionality in a mobile age.

Researchers explore scrapping Internet

Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government's blessing want to scrap all that and start over.

The Internet "works well in many situations but was designed for completely different assumptions," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, a Rutgers University professor overseeing three clean-slate projects. "It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

GMaps Easter Egg

Funny little hidden "feature" of Google Maps, courtesy of my cousin Adam.

Search for directions from anywhere in the US to anywhere in Europe.

Using this example, read down to step 38 of the directions...

The Kitchen Website

Perfect score on the website creativity meter:

No One Belongs Here More Than You

via SvN

Sunday, April 01, 2007

TC + FC?

Not sure if this one is another prank, or just an ill-timed announcement ala the original Gmail launch.

TechCrunch Acquires FuckedCompany

In some regards it makes sense, in others these seem to be two guys who would enjoy an elaborate joke.

In either case, I did like the subtle teaser on the FC landing page:

Saturday, March 31, 2007

That time of year...

Logged into Gmail tonight and had a quick WTF moment when I saw this announcement, but quickly realized they must have updated the page early on the West Coast...

Gmail Paper

Looks like we get two this year:

Google TISP

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The ePop Oops

Remember all those times you were talking about someone and accidentally ePopped them something you shouldn't have because they were on your mind?

Microsoft Accidentally Sends Secret File On Journalist, To That Journalist

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I found this hard to believe, but it speaks a lot to perspective.

Many Americans see little point to Web

A little under one-third of U.S. households have no Internet access and do not plan to get it, with most of the holdouts seeing little use for it in their lives, according to a survey released on Friday.

PS: I failed miserably at shutdown day, but mainly for work related reasons.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Once You Go Jack...

No, this isn't a 24 post.

Just a friendly announcement that everyone's favorite computer gameshow has returned in a new online beta.

You Don't Know Jack

Ahhh, memories....

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Google Maps Becomes Friendly to Local Businesses

I'm sure you guys will have seen this by the time you're reading.

Google is finally starting to do SiteSearch like things with Google Maps (photos, payment methods, websites, etc.)

And they've even added the ability for businesses to offer coupons directly in their business entries:

Monday, February 26, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Black Wednesday

Bah! The only good thing about V-Day is this site.

Be My Anti-Valentine

Some good new ones this year. The social networking one is great.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Precursor to Mr. Fusion?

Hey team!

I found something fascinating today. Researchers are developing a new generator that eats garbage and "poops" out energy. It is initially a military application for soldiers to produce energy and get rid of their garbage at the same time.

More here.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

PDT meets Y2K

You already know about my daylight savings time pet peeve.

This year there are 4 more weeks for the PST idiots to be wrong.

At least this article is hilarious.

Clocks' Early Spring Forward May Bring About a Few Falls


When few people were paying attention in August 2005, Congress lengthened daylight saving time by four weeks in the name of energy efficiency. The change takes effect this year -- on March 11 -- and it has angered airlines, delighted candy makers and sent thousands of technicians scrambling to make sure countless automated systems switch their clocks at the right moment. Unless changed by one method or another, many systems will remain programmed to read the calendar and start daylight saving time on its old date in April, not its new one in March.

"After building bunkers in the desert for Y2K, we're not even talking about this, and it's happening in less than two months," said Matthew Kozak, an information technology specialist at Rutgers University who monitors numerous sites and discussion groups.

Microsoft cautions that some of its older products -- including Windows XP SP1 and Windows NT4 -- will require manual updates. The company's Web site provides detailed instructions on how to update various products, although it is pushing against the deadline in some cases. Updates and tools "are being developed and tested," the Web site says, and some will "be released through early March 2007."

As a fallback, Microsoft urges customers to double-check meetings scheduled during the four weeks being added to daylight saving time this year.

"Users should view any appointments that fall into these date ranges as suspect until they communicate with all meeting invitees to make sure that the item shows up correctly on everyone's calendar both internally and externally," Microsoft says on its Web site.

If there is a sweet ending to the debate, it will occur Oct. 31. Candy manufacturers lobbied for years to stretch daylight saving time to encompass Halloween. Not only will children have more daylight hours to consume treats, they contend, but they will be safer zipping across streets in their costumes.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Billboards That Talk To You

I wasn't sure how to categorize this, so I'm giving it a new "marketing" tag.

I know we're going to see more of this localized, location-based, Minority Report stuff in the future. For some reason though this makes me uncomfortable. I wouldn't opt in for this type of marketing, but I'd love to see the fool next to me using it...

"The enthusiastic guinea pigs for the Mini experiment will be more than a thousand Mini owners in New York, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco who have signed up for what the company calls "an ever-changing array of unique, personal, playful, and unexpected messages."

The boards, which usually carry typical advertising, are programmed to identify approaching Mini drivers through a coded signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fob. The messages are personal, based on questionnaires that owners filled out: "Mary, moving at the speed of justice," if Mary is a lawyer, or "Mike, the special of the day is speed," if Mike is a chef."

I especially liked the 4th comment down.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sincerest Form of Flattery

Bo showed us ChaCha back in this September post.

Small world, eh?

Tech guru’s ChaCha to have human touch

Tim Durham, one of the wealthy individuals Jones approached for investment in his new search engine, said ChaCha’s business model is similar to one he attempted himself half a decade ago with a company called iNetNow. Now defunct, it also employed teams of college students to surf the Net on behalf of others.

“The difference is, we had a call center and you had to man that call center day and night. That was the bulk of your cost,” said Durham, CEO of Indianapolis-based Obsidian Enterprises Inc. “Scott’s unique approach is to have college students be his call center all around the country.”

Durham said he considered investing up to $500,000 in Jones’ company, but ultimately passed because his money was tied up elsewhere. He said ChaCha would likely be most useful to cell phone users, who could connect with it when they wanted rapid answers to questions like where to find the nearest Italian restaurant or men’s clothing store.

“I think the concept is a great one. Now, whether or not it becomes economically profitable is another issue,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that are neat ideas that don’t make money. I couldn’t get it to make money, but his model is different.”

Thursday, January 25, 2007

SMS: The Novel

Kinda steals my idea of telling the story of iNetNow only in emails...

Text message novel published in Finland

"The Last Messages" tells the story of a fictitious information-technology executive in Finland who resigns from his job and travels throughout Europe and India, keeping in touch with his friends and relatives only through text messages.

His messages, and the replies — roughly 1,000 altogether — are listed in chronological order in the 332-page novel written by Finnish author Hannu Luntiala. The texts are rife with grammatical errors and abbreviations commonly used in regular SMS traffic.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

She Came In Through the iTunes Window

Neat NPR story about meeting a wi-fi freeloading neighbor via the shared iTunes folder they left behind.

How I met my neighbor on iTunes

(Click the "listen" link near the top.)

via TUAW

Thursday, January 11, 2007

iPhone and the Blind

Couldn't resist...

Does the iPhone shaft the blind?

Comments are an especially fun read, running the full gamut from honest to troll to politically incorrect.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Stock Prices

Here's my obligatory iPhone post:

Check out the hourly stock price comparison for Apple, RIM, and Palm.

Wonder what happened midday today? ;)

Also interesting and amusing:

Note the difference in presentation between the Apple and Cingular websites.

Intended for different audiences maybe, but feels like different planets.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Expert Mind

As you can guess, I tend to read Scientific American religiously.

It's a very interesting read on how experts process large amounts of information to come to their conclusions.

It talks about "innate talent" vs. "intensive training", and may give hopes to those of us who want to improve our mental abilities in a particular area.

Google's Hiring Algorithm

This reminds me of taking what we were trying to do with new surfers at iNetNow to the next level (OK, many levels above what we were doing).

"Google has always wanted to hire people with straight-A report cards and double 800s on their SATs. Now, like an Ivy League school, it is starting to look for more well-rounded candidates, like those who have published books or started their own clubs.

Desperate to hire more engineers and sales representatives to staff its rapidly growing search and advertising business, Google — in typical eccentric fashion — has created an automated way to search for talent among the more than 100,000 job applications it receives each month. It is starting to ask job applicants to fill out an elaborate online survey that explores their attitudes, behavior, personality and biographical details going back to high school."

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Interesting post over at TechCrunch theorizing that Web 2.0 isn't actually a bubble, but moreso a return to sanity for venture capitalists.

Bubble, Bubble, Bubble

"Remember that VC’s business models are designed to fail most of the time - the majority of their investments are expected to go belly up, and they hope that just one or two out of ten have a big return. VCs place a bet, and if it fails they move their money and attention elsewhere."

"In Web 1.0 companies didn’t fail (until the crash). They just raised more money, at a higher valuation, and gave it another shot. That isn’t happening today. VCs are letting their startups die, as they should. Things aren’t as exciting as they were in 1999, but it’s a whole lot saner."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Which Superhero Are You?

Gary will love this. I'm Spider-Man:

You are intelligent, witty, a bit geeky and have great power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test