Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let Them Sing It For You

Just when you think you've seen every cool thing there is on the Internet, something like this comes along...

Let Them Sing It For You

(via All Songs Considered)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

How To Use Wave In a Life or Death Situation

(from Gizmodo)

If you appreciated this, then head on over to your Wave account and respond to Gary! Otherwise, I'll have to pull out Ezekiel on you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Web Publishing Experiments

Traditional publishing model with some interesting twists (targeting a literary crowd) - began in 1998.

Interesting site and design:

New iphone subscription ($5.99 for 6 months):

  • mini-subscription to a variety of McSweeney's content
  • access to the free stuff that the website posts every day
  • every week you get a "Small Chair" update. These will be articles from the print versions of McSweeney's or The Believer or a short video from Wolphin. This weekly content is not available on the website, just in the various hard-copy versions of their publications.
I like the blend of traditional paper-bound content, print subscriptions, free online content and newer tech mobile delivery. The key will be if they can find the right balance of price points.

(and for those who like design - here's the Danish designer -

Monday, September 21, 2009

The 3 Most Important Things You Need for a Startup (and one of them is not money)

Having lived in the Bay Area for over a year, I've been exposed to more people who have been part of startups (mostly failed).

This article nicely summarized a Meebo founder's take on making it past early startup phase:
  • a great startup team (< 4 people)
  • just get your product out the door
  • get a good mentor
While I haven't taken the plunge on an early startup, I can say that some part of me resonated with:

"No office. No phone system. No hiring. No press. No legal muck. No raising money. No looking for partnerships (who’s going to partner with you anyway?). The success or failure of the adoption of your product is what will create 99% of the initial value of your company. If no one ever uses your product, you have no value"

Monday, September 14, 2009

MIT students photograph near space for $150

A group of M.I.T. students used a weather balloon, a digital camera, a pre-paid cell phone, a beer cooler and a couple of hand warmers to capture photographs of the blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Techcrunch Follows My Lead

On Sep 11, 2009, at 6:36 AM, BoRyan wrote:

Yeah Ok, So Facebook Punk’d Us

This reminded me of the magic sword. It's good to know that even big tech companies still have a personalized sense of humor (and PR folks hold some sway with the tech geeks).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Triumphant Return

I've been away...

Jeeves Has Retired
"Jeeves, after years of loyal service is taking the opportunity to hang up his butler suit and take retirement."

...but now I'm back:

Why I'm Back
"I popped out three years ago to travel the world in a quest for knowledge and I've returned to Blighty armed with answers."

(with apologies to the Jesus and Mary Chain & Mazzy Star)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


Had to come out of Towform hibernation for this:

For the 'funemployed,' unemployment is welcome

These jobless folks, usually singles in their 20s and 30s, find that life without work agrees with them. Instead of punching the clock, they're hitting the beach.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

DST - 56 Ways

EDIT: Feb 2023. Blogger took down this 14 year old post for violating content guidelines. Best guess was one of the acronyms cited here could make a bot think it was a different kind of blog. I tried redacting part of the word before resubmitting in case that was in fact the technicality that triggered the takedown. (Blogger mods—if it’s something else please comment with the specifics!)

Rather than recount my annual rant, this year I thought I'd present a list of other DSTs.

I suppose this could also be titled "Acronym Overkill"

DST Daylight Saving Time
DST Destination
DST Destination Host
DST Direction De La Surveillance Du Territoire (French MI-5)
DST Department of Science & Technology
DST Dedicated Service Tools
DST Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc
DST Dexamethasone Suppression Test
DST Drill Stem Test (Oil Field)
DST Decision Support Tools
DST Doença Sexualmente Transmissível
DST Digital Signature Trust (Zion Bankcorporation)
DST Discrete Sine Transform
DST Double-Shell Tank
DST Drive Self Test
DST Dynamical Systems Theory
DST Directorate of Science and Technology (US CIA)
DST Data Storage Technology
DST Decision Support Template
DST Deep Space Transponder
DST Dynamic Stress Test
DST Digital Signature Trust Company (Salt Lake City, UT)
DST Dynamic Solvency Testing (actuarial/insurance)
DST Deployment Support Team (US Army)
DST District Support Teams (Army Corps of Engineers)
DST Data Storage and Transfer
DST Doctor of Sacred Theology
DST Deputy Sheriff Trainee
DST Data Support Team
DST Double Set Trigger (target rifle feature)
DST Direct Support Team
DST Defense Suppression Threat
DST Data Systems Test
DST Diode Split Transformer
DST Device Signal Tag
DST Data Systems Technician
DST Dynamic Screen Transparency
DST Daughters of Saint Thomas
DST Dedicated System Time
DST Downsized Tester
DST Disaster Services Technology (American Red Cross)
DST Daily Slot Tournament (seen in casino ads and signs)
DST Digital Serial Transceiver
DST Dependent Student Travel
DST Defense & Space Talks
DST Denford Small Tools
DST Dirty South Thugs
DST Dissemination Services Team
DST Dog*** Style Tattoo (tattoo on the small of the back)
DST Designated Surface Target
DST Digital Switch Terminal (Alcatel)
DST Digital Serving Test Center (AT&T)
DST Discarding Sabot with Trace
DST Division Summary Tool
DST Define Substrate Technology (assessment of the potability of drinking water)
DST Dominion Soil Thunder Bay (Canadian engineering firm)

(via The Free Dictionary)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Airplane Food

You haven't read a customer complaint letter until you've read this...

Virgin Atlantic's 'Culinary Journey of Hell'
I’ll try and explain how this felt. Imagine being a twelve year old boy Richard. Now imagine it’s Christmas morning and you’re sat their with your final present to open. It’s a big one, and you know what it is. It’s that Goodmans stereo you picked out the catalogue and wrote to Santa about.

Only you open the present and it’s not in there. It’s your hamster Richard. It’s your hamster in the box and it’s not breathing. That’s how I felt when I peeled back the foil and saw this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post Office Reform

I've often said I'd never complain about spam email again if I could guarantee that I'd never receive another piece of paper junk mail. Last night I took that one step further and started debating with my wife why the US Post Office continues to exist today.

It seems to primarily deliver junk mail. "Direct mail" has a typical response rate of 1-2%, and 5% or above is both phenomenal and unheard of. This means that 95% of all "direct mail" requires employees to sort it plus trucks (and fuel) to cart it around so it can immediately be thrown in the trash upon receipt. And that makes sense how?

Did a little research and found some cool articles and studies on post office privatization and the challenges in getting such a project going. This quote about summed up my perspective:

Don't Bail Out The Mail
"And they certainly won't address the Postal Service's underlying problem, which is that only grandparents, banks and junk-mailers actually send letters anymore. If U.S. autoworkers are hard-pressed to compete, it's a thousand times worse for mailmen, who sell the epistolary equivalent of an overpriced horse-and-buggy."

I haven't fully thought this out, but wouldn't it make more sense to outlaw junk mail, sell off USPS assets to UPS or FedEx, and use the money saved to subsidize Internet access (with low cost computers as needed) for all Americans so they can have access to email and online bill pay, eliminating the majority of day to day practical mail service needs?

More: Postal Chief Warns of Service Cuts

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fools Rush In

Verizon and RIM "rushed" buggy Storm to market
Insiders claim the Storm—slammed by reviewers and users alike for its sluggish, glitchy performance—barely made it to stores in time for Black Friday last year, and as a consequence, it wasn't quite ready for prime time.

To its credit, Verizon released a software update in December that smoothed out some of the Storm's kinks. However, while the firmware fix was certainly welcome, the whole "release it now, patch it later" thing is an insidious habit: It encourages sloppiness in the race to hit a looming release date, and it's seriously disrespectful of customers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Google Axes

Not even Google is immune to the recession. Announced today, 6 Google products are being either shut down or scaled way back.

Webware has the details, but I thought I'd call out a couple that held a special place in my heart:

Google Catalog Search
Although I understand that it was becoming less and less useful in this day and age, I've loved having this as a secret weapon ever since we stumbled onto it in the iNetNow days. I believe Scott Whinery gets the credit if I recall correctly. This was one of the first secret "lab" type Google projects we were ahead of the curve on and it always came in handy for really obscure product requests from clients. (I actually used it a couple of weeks ago while researching gourmet pepper corns.) Plus it really gave us clout as Internet experts to throw out "Have you tried Google Catalog search?" every now and then.

Google Notebook
Eerily similar to the Zuma "track URL" functionality, though I never really got into using it for real world projects. This isn't actually being shut down, but active development is stopping. It has more or less been replaced by some combination of, Backpack, or Google's own bookmarks and search-wiki type structures nowadays, but I definitely recall the "we were on to something!" elation when Notebook came out and and it mirrored a lot of the whistles and bells regarding excerpts that BoRyan had built into latter day versions of Zuma's first killer feature.

So long, dear friends. We'll never forget you...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Downloading Is Wrong

So technically I suppose this would be considered using a virus for "good" purposes -- at least in theory.

Trojan Blocks The Pirate Bay and Mininova
A new trojan popped up at several torrent sites a few weeks ago, one that blocks access to The Pirate Bay and Mininova, while informing its victims that “downloading is wrong.” The trojan edits the hosts file on Windows machines, and redirects the BitTorrent sites to localhost, making them impossible to load.

Max Barry on Piracy

Nice "open letter" to Warner Bros. regarding their misguided DVD piracy strategy.

Max Barry - Dear Warner Bros.
I’m writing because yesterday I rented The Dark Knight, and I couldn’t watch it. I tried. But when I popped that DVD into my home theater PC and snuggled up on the sofa with my wife, it wouldn’t play.

At first I thought the disc must be damaged. I tried it in my laptop: no dice there, either. So I took it back to the video store and swapped it for a new one. They were very apologetic, by the way, Warners. I guess they understand that physically traveling to a bricks-and-mortar store is kind of a pain, and when you’re in business against digital downloads, you don’t want to make your transactions more difficult than they already are.

Home with my fresh DVD, I tried again. But still: didn’t work. A little Googling later, I discovered the disc was indeed damaged, and by who: you. You’ve installed some new anti-piracy protection onto The Dark Knight DVDs, which prevents the disc from playing in my PC.