Monday, January 31, 2005

Mercury News Article

Got a quote here. One point of clarification was the lawsuits weren't UMG specific it was the sum of all the litigation not any one label.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

New York City

Off to NYC for the week. So to put this in perspective, I ran along the coast today in shorts while pushing my son in a jogging stroller. I don't think its going to be above freezing in NYC this week. Ouch. It should be a busy week so posting may be light.

The $250 Million Radio Show #15

Show #15 here. Notes here.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Smarter Child Pt. 2

Ok so this ended quickly. The thing I was interested in gave me a server busy. Then I had this conversation:

brikdoien: do you like music
SmarterChild: Yes I do! Music is one of my favorite art forms!

>>> Ask me for info such as news, sports and movies!
brikdoien: punk rock?
SmarterChild: Punk music is a great music genre.

>>> Remember, you can adjust the size of your window to read my messages easier.
brikdoien: what punk rock do you like?
SmarterChild: Wow. Interesting. I'm just not sure!
brikdoien: are you lame?
SmarterChild: Lame? I don't know. You think I am?
brikdoien: i am starting to think so
SmarterChild: Is starting to think so fun?
brikdoien: no, i am starting to think that you are very lame
SmarterChild: OK! Well good luck starting to think that I'm very lame then.

Ok so I am lame for having this conversation with a bot, but I tried to ask it about some stuff like RSS etc. and had similar results. This at least had some sick satisfaction.

Smarter Child

I saw a Doc Searls post about Smarter Child, an IM bot. Thought it would be cool to check out. I went to the page and the clear simple marketing copy said add SmartChild to your buddy list. This didn't work. Hmmmm. I read the FAQ. You have to put SmarterChild into your buddy list. Ahem. Someone needs to tell the marketing person....


From the ealry videobloggers comes a new application called ANT. ANT is basically an iPodder like client for video. I am dying to use it but I am not a mac user. :-( I am checking with the makers to find out when I can get in on the Windows alpha....

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Los Angeles Train Tragedy

I left San Diego this morning to head to LA and extolled the virtues of train travel on a videoblog post I recorded while riding up the coast. I spent some time writing a post and catching up on email. I took a bunch of pics I sent to Flickr. I got to Union Station and received a call from my breakfast appointment wanting to make sure I was OK. He said that 9 people had been killed in a train accident. I was shocked. Turns out it was 10 and 200 injured. Wow, what a senseless tragedy.

Evolving Media Infrastructure Thoughts

I was speaking with a good friend yesterday in the UK who shares my fascination with media and technology, both their evolution and transformative power on each other. He mentioned that recently my blogging had become more stream of consciousness rather than my normal commentary on subjects. I think this is partially a reflection of the craziness at home and work, but I also think it is an indication of a growing sense of ‘something’ I am feeling when I look at all the change around me.

I first started using the Internet around mid 1994 and really more frenetically around the end of 1994 and early 1995. I recall vividly at the time the excitement I felt. Each day new forms of software were coming out. In rapid time things moved from FTP to HTTP. Using a browser became something you took for granted when you sat down at a computer. Being connected became something you took for granted over time.

I personally didn’t know where it would all go, but as someone who was more interested in Justin’s Links to the Underground rather than space pictures at NASA, I knew that ‘something’ was happening, I just wasn’t sure what. I knew though I wanted to immerse myself in it and I wanted to understand it in whatever way I could.

Today feels like that all over again. The largest barriers to media beyond music has been bandwidth. Peer to Peer technologies are creating distributed file swarms that are moving video distribution away from a world where the cost of incremental users destroy any possible business model to a world where distribution costs are becoming more bearable. Enabling technologies like RSS are allowing people to become information programmers delivering news, music, audio and video to their device in a self constructed manner.

People are picking up their technology and are creating art or content or whatever they want. Watching a videoclip today may feel sort of weird, but its just a matter of time where the baseline quality of edge of the network producers are making higher quality content that those at the center of the network. Hell, there is already arguably much better isolated pieces of content and clearly much more creative pieces in general depending on your perspective.

I don’t think that any of us can digest it all when one considers the range of interests and technologies. Rather I think that periodically we should turn on the fire hydrant of change and ideas and then turn it off and reflect on the possible futures. As I sit on the train this morning making a up and back commute to Los Angeles, that’s what I am doing. In addition to reading my RSS feeds, Chatting on IM, Sending Pictures to Flickr, Updating my blog, making a video clip….

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Skype & VOIP

Ironically independent of the Google speculation and rumors, I found myself today firing up Skype for the first time since October. I had a call with someone in Europe and have found that a lot of the Europeans I interact with use Skype.

There were some strange echoes and noises periodically but generally it felt like an in stereo conversation. And it was free.

Right after that I had a call with another friend in the UK, who hasn't installed Skype yet. We hadn't talked in a couple of weeks so we spent a good amount of time chatting on my Vonage line for pennies a minute.

These calls were either free, or really cheap and the quality was more than acceptable. I would hate to be a fixed line carrier today.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Exeem Part. 2

Robin Good has a better overview of the significance of Exeem that I glossed over.

The elimination of the tracker and the ability for anyone to publish whatever type of media file is by far the most interesting to me.

Podcast + Flickr + Mappr

I haven't been listening to the Sound Seeing Tours that Adam Curry has been doing since the Florida trip. Today he mentions someone who combines a podcast with Flickr for a visual accompaniment. It will be really cool when you can add the map component aka Mappr to show where the picture was taken.


Slashdot had a post announcing the release of Exeem, from the creators of Supernova, a leading BitTorrent search engine that got shut down by the MPAA. I checked it out over the weekend and it is kind of cool in that it creates a P2P universe that fuses the best of search technology with BitTorrent distribution. Two problems with it though. First, if you download the .2 Beta they have Cydoor embedded in the client so prepare for the ads. Second, a check this morning of the most downloaded files range from a lot of porn, to a lot of first run movies currently in the theater, to TV shows, to music, etc.

I am not sure how any of these great vehicles for grassroots distribution are ever going to get a foothold as long as everyone using the tools are breaking copyright law.


As readers here know, I love Flickr. From the folks that brought you the great photo site, now we have Mappr. Mappr taked the meta tags you create on your flickr photos and maps them to places. I need to explore it some more but it looks pretty cool. I have frequently taken pictures of places I go as sort of a visual documentation of what I see as I walk around. This adds a really cool new dimension. Assuming you do the whole tagging thing. This is where you get a good visual overview of it.


Friday, January 21, 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005

rel="no follow" part 2

Actually this is a great article from John Battele on the matter.

What I missed

Being without your technology can be tough. The following covers what worked and what I missed:

What Worked -
1. P910 did a great job of keeping me in touch with email.
2. Gmail as an archive was great for the things I really needed.
3. Cheesy desktop replacement was fine given the different webmail accounts I had.

What I missed -
1. RSS feeds - Bloglines didn't have a full copy of my OPML files so I was reading a very small subset of feeds. Need to make sure that next time I import my full OPML file.
2. Archived email. There were a lot of things I needed to get to that I hadn't considered. Although I backed up my email, I didn't reinstall as I figured it would be too much of a hastle to POP my email and then resynch.
3. Ipod. No new podcasts until today.
4. Flexibility. I am kicking back in the den right now working. I couldn't really try to pull that off with a roomful of kids. "Hey honey I think I want to go work in the other room, those kids you have been dealing with all day, keep up the good work." Yeah. Like that would ever happen.

Technology Hell - Gateway: The Conclusion

My 4-5 calls and inquiries on the Gateway website were very unsatisfactory. I had abandoned hope until next week to get my machine back. Tonight when I walked into the house from work I was SHOCKED to see a box from Gateway in the entryway. MY MACHINE WAS BACK! And it is working really well.

It would seem that the website order tracking system isn't working at all. And whatever system is used by the customer service agents isn't worth much either. I have to think that the calls I made probably ate any margin that they had in doing the repair, if there was any margin to begin with.

Oh well, I am back in business and that's all that matters.


Apparently a lot of people are up in arms both for and against the implementation of this. As I am not a heavy trafficked site or even a lightly commented site I don't get this. If I comment on someone's site its because I have something to say. I could give a rip if it changes my google or yahoo or whatever ranking.


One of the really cool things about working at an exciting startup like was getting to meet a bunch of really entrepreneurial people who are ambitious and smart. Many of us have gone on to do our own thing, including of course Michael Robertson with Linspire and Sipphone.

A group of the smartest engineers that I knew fairly well (Joshua Stephens, Brian Degenhardt, and Tristan Degenhardt) went on to found a company called Four Loop. They started out doing a variety of consulting gigs and ultimately decided to create a VOIP product that is built upon asterisk. The product is called Switchvox. We are currently testing it as a beta customer and I think its really cool. I have never set up a PBX, but it works really well and we have a really fun configuration. We have a Vonage line coming out of our router into a cheap Dell box that is running their software. I currently access my phone line via a softphone on the desktop PC I am using. I haven't gotten very far yet, but if you want a giggle dial our office at (858)964-5119.

They are debuting the product at the Desktop Linux Summit which will be here in San Diego.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Our Connectivity has been up and down all day. We have resorted to using the smartphone and keyboard and our cell phone for a conference call. The downside of Voice Over IP and our broadband dependence. Posted by Hello

Phone Starup Project Clip #7 Coastal Ride - Trying to use Quicktime Pro conversion of Sony MPEG 4 and publishing with Picasa 2 and Hello. Posted by Hello

Uncle and Auntie with the triplets - testing Picasa 2 and hello Posted by Hello

Technology Hell - Gateway Computers Pt. 2

My 3rd daily call results in no new information. Did I mention that this is my last purchase from Gateway? 10 minutes later and a request to talk to a manager tells me that the monitor will be in around January 24th and will be shipped back to me shortly thereafter. Sigh. Somehow I think that this isn't true either.

BitTorrent Made Even Easier - Prodigem

I saw a bunch of comments on yet another one of those mailing lists about Prodigem as a BitTorrent solution. I didn't pay attention until I saw another post on the Pho list and decided to check it out. I sent them an email to set up an account and I am either going to put up a torrent of my last podcast or use it to distribute the combined videoblog file I plan on making.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Virgin Flasher V7

Picked this up the other day. Here was an interesting article about it. I am going to be doing some testing here with the pictures, etc.

Technology Hell - Gateway Computers

I purchased a very large multimedia computer two years ago. Sometime this last spring I noticed a hairline crack in the back of my monitor near where the monitor connects to the laptop base. I freaked out. I didn't repair it at first because there were no visible issues and I figured I would just be careful.

Over the following 6 months or so I didn't notice anything unusual until about a month ago. I began having serious problems with my video display. I finally relented and shipped the machine to Gateway to have it repaired.

My computer has now been away for 10 days. My goal to get through whatever this time period would be was to use a combination of my P910, my home desktop and a desktop I bought for the office. For the most part it has worked until this last weekend. Although I backed up all my docs and critical files, I opted not to reinstall Eudora on my work desktop and rather keep the email on my various accounts until my machine came home.

The P910 has been great for staying current with email although I haven't used it much to reply. The home desktop has been a bust. I can't work at home. If I had my laptop I could move around with the kids etc. But to break away and try to work in another room with all the chaos at home hasn't made much sense.

This morning, with webmail accounts bulging and my P910 holding hundreds of messages and me needing to get access to old emails for a variety of purposes I called Gateway. They said that they don't have an update for completion of my repairs. AAAARRGGGGGHHHHH.

Deep breath. You never know how dependent you are on your technology until you don't have it.

Friday, January 14, 2005

RSS with Enclosures or MRSS

One of the groups I am on had an accidental post from another group. These groups were a certain discussion on Ourmedia, Videoblogging and MRSS. I hadn't heard of MRSS, but they pointed to the specification here.

It will be interesting to see if a distributed media RSS war develops along the lines of MP3, Real Audio, WMA circa 1999.

San Diego Blogger Con

Some of the people at San Diego Blog are trying to set up a San Diego Blogger Con. That's cool. After attending BloggerCon III it felt like doing something locally would be really fun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Safe and Sound Nannies

On the topic of customer service, we hired an agency to assist us in finding a nanny last year when we lost our son's first nanny. We obviously had some challenges and I won't claim that we don't own part of the problem. When we got to the start of the year, I shared with the company that we had hired that we had just had triplets, my wife had been hospitalized, my son had gotten very sick etc. I also said we want to sit down with them to discuss our needs. The principal of the company said she was glad to but wouldn't be in San Diego until the middle of February. When we had problems before and I had requested to meet with her, she had told me she couldn't as she was in Colorado at the time. When I realized that she was in Colorado for most of the first two months of the year I left her a message stating that we wanted a refund on a prorated portion of her fee and that we wanted to part ways. I got this response:

From: Ann Wycoff, Ph.D. []
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 6:01 PM
To: ''
Subject: nanny conflict

Dear Derrick,
In response to your phone message of January 4, 2005 where you requested a pro-rated refund I would like to review the following events:
You signed a fee agreement with Safe and Sound Nannies on April 19, 2004. We began a search for a qualified nanny for your family at that time. We sent you Person A, an experienced nanny, on or about April 25, 2004 but because of your family's travel plans, you were unable to make a decision regarding her because your wife was out of town and was unable to meet her in a timely manner. In the meantime, Person A was hired by another family. We then sent you Person B information on May 7, 2004. Person B has been a nanny since l994. We placed her in her last nanny position and she worked for that family successfully for 3 years. You interviewed Person B and hired her. She started working for you in June, 2004. In late June I called you to check on her performance and collect our placement fee. At that time you said you were unsure about whether you wanted to keep her. I told you to take your time to be sure she is the right fit for your position before you pay our fee. I did not charge our fee at that time. I called you again approximately 2 weeks later and you still were unsure about whether you wanted to keep her. I told you at that time that it was probably best if you did not hire her and did not pay our fee, and we could stop there. We had other families who were interested in Person B. You said you would call me in a few days and make a decision. You called on July 12, 2004 and said you wanted to keep Person B as your nanny and pay our fee. We billed our placement fee to your credit card on July 12, 2004. You called me approximately 2 weeks later, on or about July 26, 2004, and said you were unhappy with Person B and needed a replacement nanny as soon as possible. Although Person B expressed complaints about working conditions to me, I supported your decision completely and promised you I would make you our top priority and find you a qualified replacement. You made it clear that you needed a replacement as soon as possible. You reiterated that this was a busy time for you and you needed a nanny very soon. It is rare for one of our nanny placements to not work out, and we take our replacement policy very seriously. We (Safe and Sound Nannies) immediately spent substantial funds advertising extensively and spent substantial time interviewing nannies for your position. Because our screening process is thorough, and because we only send qualified nannies to our clients, we usually interview at least 15 nannies by phone before we find 1 whom we are interested in pursuing further. Of those whom we pursue, usually 1 out of 5 pass the standardized, statistically validated personality screen, have excellent references (which we speak with personally), and give us an excellent in-person interview. In addition to meeting those qualifications, the right nanny for your position needed to be open to working 50 hours per week, have flexibility in her schedule, have the energy, willingness and ability to handle triplets and another child, (or be willing to work with another nanny) be willing to commute to Cardiff, and desire a long term commitment. Knowing that you were in a hurry, we put other families' needs aside so that you would not be inconvenienced, and we concentrated on finding qualified candidates for you as quickly as possible.
On August 4, 2004, we e-mailed information to you on Person C, including her application, references, and phone number. Person C had worked with children since l996, had a college degree, an excellent personality screen, excellent references, an excellent in-person interview, and was interested in your position. She also lived in Encinitas, which is close to your home. We find very few qualified nannies who live in Encinitas and we were excited to have found her. In addition to sending you the e-mail, I also called you to let you know about Person C. You agreed to call her but you did not.
On August 7, 2004, we e-mailed information to you on Person D. Person D had 10 years of experience, 22 child development college units, 4 excellent references, an excellent personality screen and an excellent interview. She was interested in your position. We had placed her in her last position of 2 years and the family gave her a beautiful reference. You did not call Person D either.
On August 10, 2004 I called you again and asked you if you were going to call our candidates. You expressed dismay that Person D was asking for $14/hr but that is the same hourly rate that you had offered and agreed to pay Person B. You said you were going to hire a family friend temporarily and would need a nanny sometime in November. You wanted to put the search "on hold". I mentioned that we had gone to extensive cost and effort to find you qualified replacements and you hadn't called either candidate, although you had told me you needed a replacement as soon as possible. You made no justification for failing to call the candidates. You sent me an e-mail the next day expressing your dismay that I had brought up the effort we had expended on your behalf. Although we had met our commitment to you as set forth in our agreement by sending you 2 qualified replacement candidates, I was willing to accomodate you over and above the parameters of our contract, and I told you we would search for a nanny to start in November. You did not call me in November. In December you sent me an e-mail asking me to call you after the New Year. I called you on Monday, January 3, 2005 as you had requested and you said you "may have decided" that you need a live-in nanny; you weren't sure what you wanted and would talk with your wife and call me on January 4, 2005. We don't place live-ins, and you and I discussed that in-depth during our first conversation in April, 2004. At that time you hired us to find you a live-out nanny. On January 4, 2005 you left a phone message saying "my wife and I can't work with you because you're not located in San Diego" and you wanted a pro-rated refund.
Safe and Sound Nannies operates a fully staffed office in San Diego. Although I spend a portion of my time in Colorado, my home is in Carlsbad and I participate fully in screening, checking references, and interviewing every nanny candidate who passes our initial criteria. I personally review every psychological screen on every candidate. I employ an experienced, trained, full-time assistant who is physically working in our San Diego office Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. and often on Saturdays. My assistant was trained personally by me and has participated in over 500 in-person intervierws with me in our San Diego office. She and I continue to interview candidates together in-person in our San Diego office. In the event that I cannot interview a nanny in-person, my assistant interviews her in-person in our office and I participate fully through a webcam and speaker phone. Every nanny is interviewed by both my assistant and me so that we have the perspective of 2 interviewers for each candidate. Every family who uses our service works directly with me.
Please refer to our fee agreement which states: "Safe and Sound Nannies agrees that should the service relationship between client and selected candidate be terminated before the 180th calendar day following the candidate's start date, Safe and Sound Nannies will present at least 2 additional qualified candidates, OR, at Safe and Sound Nannies' sole discretion, provide a pro-rated refund. This paragraph is not applicable if the service relationship is terminated because the position is eliminated..."
Safe and Sound Nannies provided "at least 2 additional qualified candidates" to you. Also, your position was eliminated when you hired a family friend. We accomodated you within the paramaters of our contract. We have hereby fulfilled our obligations to you and you are therefore not entitled to a pro-rated refund or any further actions on our part. Please direct any questions to my controller, Stephen Parker at (619) 987-4894, who will be happy to discuss the matter further. He will also be happy to provide you with his e-mail address upon request. I will not be involved in or respond to any further comunication on this matter either by phone or e-mail.
Ann Wycoff

BitTorrent Made Simple?

I am eager to see how BitTorrent plays out as a distribution mechanism for media. This article by Marc Eisenstadt is a worthwhile, if long read if you are interested in the topic. If you are more interested on a quick hands on how to, he points to this article which gives a nice step by step. I haven't tried it yet, but as soon as I get some free time I will see if I can BitTorrent my podcast.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Wireless Sensor Networks Pt. 5 - This technology in action

Longtime readers have seen previous mentions of wireless sensor networks and motes by companies such as Ember and Dust. My last comment was here. One of the pilot projects has made really good progress and currently they have an online reporting system that tracks the status of temperature within a perishable pile of organic material to check for hot spots and spoilage.

If the company can find early indications of spoilage they can attempt to arrest the issue before the loss grows. Look at this report. If you navigate to layer 4, you can see a hotspot where the temperature is significantly higher than the surrounding sensors.

The application of these types of sensors in manufacturing and agriculture holds great promise for understanding environments at a system level and determining ways to solve problems before they start. Maybe this is why Robert Metcalfe of Metcalfe's law and Ethernet is spending his time on this kind of technology.

Triplet Video Post

Posted a triplet video here. Thought it was worth sharing.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dave Harper - WinkSite

Two months ago, almost to the day, Dave Harper sent me a link to an article he posted regarding User Generated Content. I had intended to make a specific comment to his post, i.e., where I agreed and disagreed. I unfortunately didn't get around to doing that, and as I go through my drafts cleaning up some unfinished quotes I returned to the article today.

The topic, which is of course what I have focused on in what I am doing around blogging/podcasting and now video blogging, seems poised for a lot of attention this year as more tools of self publication and more methods of deriving and aggregating distribution appear.

Instead of commenting on Dave's post specifically, I would refer you to look at the article, but more importantly to the list of discussions and references Dave cites. Dave has provided links to 11 articles, one of which is mine, that talk about various aspects of user generated content. If you take the time to read my blog and are interested in this area, I think it is a worthwhile investment to read the article and the links provided.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Other Media Stuff - Podcast page and Videoblog experiment

I kind of like to keep things separate so I set up a new page for The $250 Million Radio show. I will announce new shows here but pretty much everything else will be there. The feed will remain the same.

I also wanted to play with videoblogging and didn't want to just talk into my camerphone and I didn't want to mix it in with my normal blogging, so I decided to do a cheesy phone based documentary piece at The Phone Startup Project. I even went in and edited the dircaster php script to create an RSS 2.0 feed for the 'project'. The RSS feed for this can be found there as well.

When I more completely understand videoblogging I will post the occasional piece here, but for the most part I will limit it to the other page for the time being.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Been reading in my feeds a lot of buzz about video-blogging etc. I finally went over to the site for Vloggercon and was amazed at the in page video integration of the video blog. So I joined the Yahoo group and swear that sometime in the next week or two I am joining the Vloggers with video posts here. I highly recommend checking it out. I need to see if I can play it on my phone though....

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Real Time Media Prosumers

Anyone who reads this blog knows that recently my wife and I welcomed three new additions into our family. I like to keep the blog focused on the intersection of user generated content, technology and media, but occasionally take the liberty to intersperse the personal. As this was a unique event, I thought it worthy of sharing.

When my first child was born, I documented, rather a friend documented the event with a DVCam. Several months later I spliced together various cuts and made a DVD using Pinnacle software for our various family members. This was personal media creation and sharing. At the time I thought this was really impressive as I had spent some time working with Super 8 film and found the editorial process of this medium not really well suited to me.

The revolution in desktop video is being led by Apple and Pinnacle and others as they put professional, or arguably professional quality tools in the hand of consumers. If you take the time to get familiar with the tools, you can get a product that is definitely worth sharing with others.

Fast forward two years. As I waited in the prep room with my wife, I was armed with the same DVCam, a Sony Cybershot camera, and a Sony Ericsson P910. As we waited for the appointed time for the c-section, I periodically snapped pictures with the cell phone and immediately posted them to Flickr. I had told friends and family to look at my blog on the photostream section and they could see the event happen in as real time as I could provide. Periodically I fired up Opera on my cell phone and added some blog posts for commentary.

During the delivery we filmed a good portion of the time immediately after the babies arrived with the DVCam and then resumed stills with the cell phone and the camera. That night as I returned home I uploaded images from the camera to Flickr and then used the cross posting capabilities to post back on blogspot.

During this time period I had as many visits to my blog as I have had when I have had posts covered by Unmediated or Waxy or Dave Winer. Theses were not bloggers, rather they were family and friends sharing in a real time way an event that we wanted to share with others.

During the holidays in between feedings I reflected on how transformative this ability to use network connected personal media devices to create information to share with others. When you consider this type of activity and blogging and podcasting and a host of other activities, I think that we are clearly at the dawn of a period where media turns in on itself and we all become Real Time Media Producers and Consumers or Real Time Media Prosumers.

JD Lasica wrote a great post today that got me to the keyboard to write this. It will be interesting to see how the mainstream market adapts to these concepts and decides what are the right tools/software/services/distribution channels for this type of media.

Monday, January 03, 2005


I have been doing some standards research for some technologies that may or may not be important to the some of the products we are developing. One of the areas I have been looking at is FOAF. After filing out my profile on Friendster, LinkedIn, Orkut,, and way too many other services that have the same profile information over and over again, the promise of one FOAF file that I can use for all these types of services certainly holds out some promise.

Right now it looks kind of lightweight to me, but when they finish this version of a FOAF creation tool, then this will be interesting.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


originally uploaded by brikmaster.
This is just funny.