Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Social Networking Software

I don't remember when, but it must have been around a year ago, I was exposed to Social Networking software. I remember getting an email for something called Ryze. I wasn't sure what it was, but decided that I would go ahead and sign up for it. I filled out the profile and sometime over the next couple of weeks or months rather, I managed to "connect" with 9 people I know. I wasn't really sure why, but what the hell.

Ok, so here I am a year or so later and as part of my continuing education I have signed up for the following services and have connected with the following number of people directly and indirectly:

Linked In Direct Connections - 21 / Indirect connections - 230,000
Zero Degrees Direct connections - 6 / Indirect connections - 10,307
Orkut Direct connections - 46 / Indirect connections - 357,738
Friendster Direct connections - / Indirect connections -

Um - I guess I will update the post with the numbers as Orkut and Friendster seem to be having database problems right now.

So my opinion? Linked In seems pretty cool for business serious connections. I have been trying to use it today to help us find some talent for our new company Intercasting. It hasn't been terribly useful, but it could be because of the type of talent we are looking for.

Zero Degrees tricked me into doing something with my Outlook and it has taken over. I don't think I like that so I don't plan on using it much beyond what I have so far.

Orkut is cool. It feels kind of light and fluffy but also has a serious side.

Friendster is for single people. It feels really fun. I wouldn't take anyone seriously though who would contact me through it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Open Source CMS

I went to work at in July of 1999. It was a great experience. Back then, we had to build all kinds of stuff to be able to host all of the content of the artists who posted their songs on After I left in April of last year I was working on a TV Pilot idea with a couple of friends called Low Def TV. We sent out a select number of DVD's to people and hopefully some day, it will get picked up by the likes of a Fuse or MTV, etc.

Anyway that wasn't the point of the post. When we set out to do the show we knew we didn't want it to be a web show, but we knew that we wanted a marketing presence online to help drive content for the show. When I thought about putting up a site I was concerned that it would be too expensive given what we budgeted for the show. Dan O'Neill, my buddy from pointed me in the direction of WebGUI.

I instantly became a fan of open source content management. It is amazing what you can do with open source content management and its even more amazing how fast it is growing. I would check out CMS Matrix if you are interested in what is out there. If you are considering putting something up that is powerful and easy to maintain I would consider this as a first option.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Recent Influences from Media

Television (I mean TIVO) - Deadwood

Books - Smart Mobs, Da Vinci Code, Not on My Watch - Hollywood Vs. Technology

Music - Remix of A Flock of Seagulls, Punta Music from Belize

Movies (I mean DVDs) - Matrix Revolutions

Videogames (I mean PS2) - Madden 2004 (Can't wait for NCAA 2005 and Madden 2005)

Sports - Triple Crown, NFL Europe, A little Basketball (I am from LA)


We recently traveled to Belize for vacation to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We also left behind our soon to be 2 year old so we could travel to a slightly more exotic place than we would with children. We have a ton of friends who have been to Costa Rica, but I am not a big plants and animals vacation kind of guy. I am more into history, etc. so the attraction of Belize was the Mayan ruins in Belize and also nearby Guatemala.

We stayed at two different resorts in Belize owned by Francis Ford Coppola. The first one located in the jungle is called Blancaneaux. What a treat. I will post some pictures when I find a free photo hosting site, but the website gives you a flavor of the place. It ruled. It was near the Mayan ruins at Caracol, which is the largest set of ruins in Belize. It was really impressive and an interesting combination of ruins that are excavated and buried under the jungle. I now understand why many of these ruins lay untouched.

The next part of the jungle portion of the trip included a trip to Guatemala to visit the ruins in Tikal. This was really cool. It was similar to Machu Pichu in that it has been largely excavated. If you like archaeology and want to take a quick trip I would recommend this portion of our trip. Although I haven't been to Chichen Itza, I am sure that this area feels a little more exotic and definitely has small crowds relative to what I imagine in Mexico.

After hanging in the jungle for four days, we flew to the other resort at Turtle Inn in Placencia. This place was amazing. It was built two years ago after a hurricane destroyed everything. It was the best. While there we did little, but ended up doing a snorkeling trip and actually got to swim with Whale Sharks, which cannot really be described. All in all it was the best trip in a long time. Check out Belize!

RFID Tags and Micro-sensors

My father and brother in law have been working on a business for the last 9 months or so. Apparently the local university NDSU has obtained a contract to do some manufacturing of RFID tags that are made by a company called Alien Technologies. This got them thinking about ways to use RFID tags which quickly morphed into using microsensors for a variety of agricultural applications.

I have spent a little time helping them with this project which is sort of fascinating because it has an interesting application. They are deploying sensors into certain commodities to monitor environmental conditions in order to allow producers to take action to prevent shrink. In the course of this research, they have started working with a couple of companies that are very fascinating. The leader in the micro sensor space and the people who I believe coined the word "smart dust" is a company called Ember. In the time since we contacted them they have appeared in Fortune twice and really have quite a buzz. Their seed investor is Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet and Metcalfe's Law. There is really a lot here that is probably good fodder for a later post.

The other two companies that I will mention in closing that compete with Ember are Crossbow Technologies and Millenial Net.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


A little while ago I was turned on to RSS readers. I wasn't sure of why it was valuable to me, but I decided to download a couple and try them out. After trying a couple I ended up using SharpReader. At first I had the impression that it was an abbreviated way to review the various news sites and blogs I started reading. I found that this resulted in my saving a lot of time just looking at the same websites each day. Over time what I found that was even cooler was that it essentially allows me to archive old articles which is really cool if you are traveling etc. and it also gives you a method of searching through a large chunk of information if you are looking for articles on specific subjects.

I think that the use of these RSS readers and the eventual ability to parse through articles and sites using something like Blogpulse will start to make blogs much more useful.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004


I recently purchased a fancy Sony Ericsson cell phone to get familiar with some of the multimedia capabilities of newer phones.

The one feature that I wasn't interested in was Bluetooth. I recall dismissing Bluetooth in a discussion as a stupid technology that never lived up to its potential. That was before I bought my wireless Bluetooth headset. All in all it has been probably the coolest technology I have used since WIFI. I recommend checking it out.

Voice Over IP

Around a year and a half ago, Shawn Conahan and I were looking at opportunities in VOIP. We attended a conference in Miami and realized the lack of any marketing people indicated that this space was still early. The problem with VOIP from a business standpoint is that it seems to be a race to the bottom in terms of your ability to price your product. From a consumer perspective everything is going to get cheap and powerful. That said I am an avid user of VOIP and am working on a different business.

I have been a customer of Vonage for over a year. The price continues to drop and the virtual phone numbers are very cool. I have numbers in 310 and 858 area codes and just added a new fax line today. The best part is that as we move into our new office in the next couple of weeks, I just take my Cisco ATA with me and plug it into our network and I have phone service. Very cool.

Recently I read this article by Clay Shirky, whose writings I love.

Because of this article I downloaded and set up an account on Skype. The potential of Skype is awesome to me. The problem is I only could find one person I know to talk with. It was kind of cool, but not useful unless there are more people to talk to. I guess its like an early IM. If you sign up my, username is brikmaster.

My old boss is doing some VOIP stuff to at Sipphone. I am not using it, but I am sure that its interesting.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Psychological Warfare

A friend whose name will go unmentioned sent me a link to the Nick Berg video. I think that the media claims of how brutal this was really intrigued me as I couldn't possibly believe it could be anything worse than what you see in shows and in movies. I was wrong. I wouldn't recommend that you try to find it nor will I provide the link.

It is a shame that this guy decided that going to a place that is that unstable was a good idea, and it's even more of a shame that there are sick bastards who are given a stage to send their message.

It's even more of a shame that I don't see any end in sight.

Mormon Temples

I attended a wedding of a friend this weekend in Park City, Utah. I don't recall ever spending anytime in Utah as my childhood recollections of passing through there reminded me of a really ugly and hot version of the area where I grew up, Rialto, California. Not that Rialto was less hot or ugly, more that it was just the same.

As an adult I was surprised that it didn't look as bad this time around. What I found even more surprising was how beautiful Park City is.

The wedding was great and lots of fun. On the way back we had some extra time so I stopped by to get a peek at the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City

Unfortunately it wasn't night, so it wasn't as impressive to me. I am amazed at how this religion is the fastest growing in the world.

I think that the Mormon temple in La Jolla is much more impressive.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

It begins

Not sure why people do this. Thought I would start typing things and see what comes to me.