Tuesday, August 31, 2004

We just got a sign for our office. Nice Picture from the Sony Ericsson T610. Not. Posted by Hello

Friendster Fires Blogger

Apparently, Friendster just fired one of their employees for blogging about some changes to the architecture of the site. Funny, I thought her post was simply meant to say that Friendster was now working because they migrated from JSP to PHP. I don't think firing someone for telling people something they could easily figure out will do much to help them with the larger issue of what is their business.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

My Terrible Time Posted by Hello


I think the most powerful part of any Olympics for me is the marathon competition. All of the other events have their drama and history, but the Marathon is timeless. A messenger running a great distance to relay the results of a battle and then collapses and dies. Every time this event takes place in the Olympics I think that it is truly a historical event that transcends the actual running.

Back in 2000, my wife and I completed the Honolulu Marathon. I am not ashamed of the pathetic time that I logged that day, which was something north of 6 hours which I could blame on an improperly cut toenail if you were to believe my excuses. More important to me than the time was the actual finish, which I viewed as a personal accomplishment much greater than my attendance at Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, The Rose Parade, getting good grades, etc.

On that day, I could really understand what it could be like to run 26 miles, deliver a message, and die.

Congratulations to Athens on a wonderful 2004 Olympics. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, August 27, 2004

YASN - Yet Another Social Network

I wrote about my first experiences with Social Networking Software a little while ago. An update is that I have continued to add people to LinkedIn, but don't really use any of the other ones. I still don't know what I am going to get by continuing with LinkedIn, but it feels like it could be useful.

Yesterday I read a post by Stowe Boyd about another post calling for a Social Networking Manifesto (which sort of reminded me of ChangeThis, but I digress). I really liked these articles and some others I have read in various places.

I know that there is a move to unify the pain of joining the various sites by people like the FOAF project and ShareID, but I still keep asking myself, "Where is the value, where is the utility?"

I guess we need to keep busy with what we are working on!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


So a bad thing about RSS readers is that I am taking in so much information each day that I frequently see an article, do something, and then forget why I did it. Today I read something which got me to think I should download Mozilla, then I couldn't remember the source. Here I am 6 hours later and I rediscovered the article that prompted the download. Ok, so the browser is cool but I need to spend more time with it before I can give a real opinion. Any trend that shows a movement away from total Microsoft product domination is worth a little investment of time.

User Generated Content: Wikipedia Update

Saw this today on Techdirt. It cracked me up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I like what they are doing here. If you are a fan of Tom Peter's like I am, you will find this interesting.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Wireless Sensors part 3

Following a New York Times article, Alex got a nice mention in the local paper.

Coming to a stop Posted by Hello

The Budget Counter Posted by Hello

The Red Line Posted by Hello

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Los Angeles Subway

For 6 months last year I was consulting in Los Angeles with Echo Networks. I decided that the only way to go was to take Amtrak. Last week I was in LA for the day on business and decided to use my pathetic camera phone to snap these pics shown above of my trip.

Anyone who goes between SD and LA should consider the following:

Train between San Diego and Los Angeles.

From here you can either rent a car from Budget, or take the Red Line subway to the 7th street exit, and walk over to the Standard Hotel. They can arrange to have a rental car available for you in the morning.

It really is the only way to travel. A couple of hints, reserve the cheapest car at Budget. They are set up for excursion travel and many times I get a Town Car or a convertible Mustang for the price of a Hyundai. The other hint is that all the rooms at the Standard are great. I stayed last week for $99 and was instantly upgraded to a medium room. I love this hotel. The rooftop bar is a must see and it is almost always 'going off'.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

RSS Calendar

At MP3.com we had an amazing intranet that combined some home grown tools with some off the shelf tools. Sitting in our new offices, I really wish I had some of the amazing Gotham tools we had. Our friend Ian is creating an equivalent of Drop Box, which was an internal and external file distribution mechanism to overcome the size issues associated with mail gateways.

The piece that I have been missing the most for coordinating dispersed people is the calendaring tool we used called Ctime. Someone told me Oracle bought the company, and since we are a startup, no thanks for the Oracle licensing fees that I can only imagine. That's why I was really happy when I heard about RSS Calendar. Not only is this cool because it is a free (for now) web available calendaring tool, but it also is a great application of using RSS for purposes other than reading blogs, or reading blogs from my phone. I am certain that there are going to be tons of cool RSS / Webservices concepts that come out in the next year.

User Generated Content: Wikipedia

What is a wiki? I don't remember who it was that told me about wikipedia, but I have got to say that this may be one of the coolest forms of user generated content. I can't find the quote, but if I am correct, wikipedia has on average, like 5 to 10 times the number of articles of traditional encyclopedias. To me it is one of the most powerful examples of creating a context, and then allowing users to create their own narrative, although unlike some other examples I have cited, this is less narrative or entertainment, and lots more about knowledge and information sharing.

Friday, August 13, 2004


Yesterday I bought my first item on ebay. It was a propaganda art poster for our office. I could see how eBay could become a problem for people.....

MIDLog - Phone toy for the week

When pics get integrated to midlog, wow!

Thursday, August 12, 2004

XP SP2 - Couldn't wait

XP SP2 - I am sitting here typing on my cell while waiting for my computer to install the monster upgrade.
I hope it works. :-)

What I am playing now

NCAA 2005 - The hands down best sporting game on a console device ever created is EA Sports NCAA football. The 2005 version keeps building on what I discovered last year to be the best re-creation of football that I have ever seen. Forget Madden, this is the real deal. On nights when I am to tired to update the project plan or work on research, its me and my opponent for a little four quarter combat.

Vans Warped Tour CD 2004 - For a fresh view on the state of punk/rock/emo music, I always find this annual compilation to be a good refresher course on what is vital to skater/surfer/hipster kids that isn't hip hop. Some of my favorites included on this years CD are Alkaline Trio, Thursday, Coheed and Cambria, NOFX, Flogging Molly, From Autumn to Ashes, and Fear Before the March of Flames. Definitely not for everyone, but if Led Zeppelin has got you down, try something new.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Bluetooth Keyboard

Its hard to escape your roots. When I was in high school I was a super geek, doing assembly language programming on the TRS-80, the Commodore Pet, and the Apple II. Ok, so assembly was more about trying to trick out the computer beyond what you could do with BASIC, but the Z-80 and 6502 were fun to screw around with.

Over the last couple of days I have been spending some time doing some serious research on J2ME implementations on handsets and PDA's. Specifically looking at RSS readers and 'moblog' tools. I hate that word. Part of the research has involved loading a variety of applications onto my handset using Bluetooth. I can't continue to rave about this enough, I am a huge Bluetooth fan.

Working on the handsets I get so excited to see the app come across, but then I am back typing on a numeric keypad and I can't seem to get beyond how slow it is. This mobile keypad is the answer to my prayers. I will be buying this at the end of the month when it comes out. If I can use this to type into my handset, the spontaneous nature of moblogging seems as promising as I think it is.

MIDLog Test

Midlog test

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

My First Internet Post

Its funny how the Internet doesn't forget anything you have ever done. A couple of years ago I was trying to remember when I first was on the Internet. It was in 1994. Here is the first post I made to Usenet some 10 years ago now. A word to the wise, think before you post, I have some funny ones I hadn't recalled.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Safe Sex Computing

I used to be real flippant about computer security. Last year though all the worms and viruses and Trojan horses made me take a lock down approach to all my computers, to the point that I don't let guests use my home computer. I installed McAfee anti virus and firewall on my home computer, and Norton Internet Security on my laptop. I have preferred Norton, but both have worked very well.

Yesterday a friend, who I will not mention, brought over a brand new computer to help him with some editing software. Last year when we were working on Low Def TV, I became familiar with the various packages and wanted to help him out with a project he was working on.

His computer was really slow. I couldn't see the wireless network in my house and thought something was wrong. I tried to go to Symantec to download a new antivirus program but I couldn't get to the website. I also couldn't get to McAfee, or Pand, or you name it virus company. I could get everywhere else, just not anti-virus sites.

Ok, 6 hours later, after I had found the worm that had locked down his computer, we had it back and running. He resolved to never surf porn or download free music ever again. Do not access the internet without a firewall, ever, ever, ever.

Friday, August 06, 2004

RSS Reader for my phone

In May I was raving about RSS readers. As part of my ongoing geek research, today I found an example of a J2ME application that I can download to my Sony Ericsson phone that allows me to read RSS feeds on my handset. A guy named Mark Allanson wrote an application called the mReader that does this.

Its not fast, but its a lot better than just reading the news that TMobile wants me to read through T-Zones.

Here is the latest Ultrasound. Triplet C is one of the twin boys and Triplet A is the girl. Posted by Hello

Thursday, August 05, 2004

User Generated Content: Everquest

I saw this article that is rather old, but is one of the best stories I have heard of online gaming. It is entitled I Saw God and I Killed it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Triplet Update - Two Boys and a Girl

Ok. I will send an ultrasound later, but the newest news is that we are expecting twin boys and a girl. Hmm. So now Jess and I will lock on the names in prolly the next 24-48 hours. Three boys and a girl. Seems like 4 guys and 2 girls in a house is an even match. :-)

User Generated Content: Fantasy Football

Following up on my posts on user generated content from June and July, I thought that I would talk a little bit about one of my favorite versions of user generated content, which is fantasy football.

In 1998 while bored out of my skull in my apartment in San Jose on assignment at Sun Microsystems, I was introduced to fantasy football. I have always liked football, but nothing could have prepared me for the insanity which comes with fantasy football.

For those who don't know, fantasy football is a game where usually 8-12 players have a draft and select different players from actual NFL rosters to be on their 'team' during the football season. During each week of the season 'teams' face each other in a head to head competition with a lineup of players. Each player earns points that week for TDs, yardage gained, etc. At the end of the week the scores are tabulated and your team either wins or loses.

For the normal football fan of a team, each week of the season usually involves watching the game of your team of choice, in my unfortunate case, that has historically been the Minnesota Vikings. For the next level of fan, usually those who gamble on every game each week, football involves being glued to the set on Sunday's and hoping each team beats the other team by a designated point spread usually determined by Vegas casinos. This gets kind of twisted because you aren't necessarily interested in who wins or loses, but by how much.

Then there is fantasy football. This takes sickness to a whole new level. A fantasy player doesn't care at all who wins or loses a game, or by how much. They care how certain players perform in a game. In fact there are times where you want your team to get destroyed early so your quarterback can put up huge yardage numbers trying to catch up. A classic awesome game of two strong defenses is a fantasy nightmare.

Fantasy football is a awesome example of user generated content. The interesting thing is that people have created a whole form of entertainment that is derivative of the actual games. There is a framework that is applied over the football games that includes a draft, scoring, trades, and head to head competition with your friends. The by product of this is the creation of THE most knowledgeable fans of football on the planet, and some of the most un I have ever had in playing a game.

An even more interesting by product of this is the economy and derivative businesses that are created. TO begin with each year players pay a fee for a league that goes into a pool for the winners. This ranges from a small amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Then there is a fee that goes to sites such as ESPN that run the backend for the leagues. There are the fees for the services that provide you with inside information, drafting advice and weekly matchup data and advice. My favorite is The Huddle. Then there is the satellite service called Sunday Ticket from Directv that allows you to see EVERY game.

So you get the idea. The fascinating thing about fantasy football as user generated content is the level of engagement that it creates in a user, and more importantly it follows the construct that users want to be given a framework where they can create the narrative of their entertainment.


I have been using my Vonage account for a long time now. In the office we wanted to figure out a way to use Vonage and avoid setting up phone systems so that we can be flexible as we grow the business and move into different space down the road. So the good thing about Vonage is that it just plugged into our router and then into a phone and a fax. Sweet. No PBX, no phone company etc. Change the message and away we go.

Well not so fast. What if you want call routing, or IVR, or conference calling? Ok. so here Vonage falls down. Its great when I don't answer at my office that it forwards to my cell phone, but what about everyone else in the office. So I called a couple of friends and have been doing some research. It seems to me that we are going to give asterix a try.

If anyone has experience with anything else - shoot me an email.

Monday, August 02, 2004

What I am reading

Currently reading Lawrence Lessig's book entitled Free Culture. I like it a lot. It's the intersection of technology and copyright. Highly recommended.

I am also reading The Influentials. Not as crisp. Lots of data. Not much you wouldn't know if you have read things like The Tipping Point, but worth a read if you are going deep on trend spotting.