Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Venice Project Invites

I have had a couple of people ask me for invitations to the Venice Project. I don't have any yet but when I am blessed with a couple I will gladly send them out to those who asked on a first come first served basis. Maybe the invite gods will smile upon me soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Attention Warfare

Over the last six months or so I have been evangelizing to the people I know about the Attention Economy and Attention Trust. It's a funny thing to do because the conversation sounds like this, "See in the future you will record your attention and then broker it yourself instead of going through Yahoo etc." That ends up in people rolling their eyes or giving me a strange look. I think, soon you will see...

At any rate I am still convinced that this is one of the most important things going on in technology, media and advertising. In that same conversation I tell people that I have been recording my attention since July and I have it stored somewhere for when I need it. I guess that too sounds a bit bizarre. The physical representation of that is the What I'm clicking on badge on the right hand side of the blog. A couple of weeks ago I noticed that out of the blue, the most visited site that I go to each day is If you go to that link you will see that it is a 1 pixel gif image served up by a company by the name of Atlas Solutions. Ah, marketing folks.

I found myself both concerned and annoyed that somehow some spyware had infected my laptop. I am pretty diligent in doing my virus scans and I think that Firefox has been really good at keeping my computer virus free and spyware free. I was at a total loss for how this thing had infected me and I wasn't sure when it started. I went into Firefox and blocked the domain atdmt from serving cookies. I figured that I was done and moved on.

About a week later, I looked at the badge and to my surprise atdmt was still at the top. I was pretty mad about that and had to dig in to figure out what was going on. I fired up Norton for a full scan. I did a Google Desktop search for *atdmt*. My mouth dropped to the floor. 71 emails contain links that reference the atdmt cookie. Some fine companies such as Sportsline, American Airlines and Microsoft apparently work with Atlas Solutions. I asked my internal guys about getting rid of this plague from my computer and their suggestion was to run a spyware program. I told them that I didn't care for spyware and thought that Norton should be enough. They said that in fact I should run a separate program. I asked which one and they said unanimously that I should use Windows Defender because Microsoft is taking over the spyware market. There were a number of other things that they said that is worthy of a different post that I will follow up on later.

I ran a full Norton scan, I ran a Windows defender scan and nothing came up. Very disappointing. Maybe Atlas isn't spyware, maybe its valuable marketing intelligence. I think not. I went into my root account and turned off logging for the domain. I also spent some time looking on websites for information about atdmt and one of the most interesting things that came up was that when you download IE 7 you are redirected to the Atlas Solutions domain during the download process. It was theorized that the reason was to track downloads. I am not certain that this was the source of the infection, especially given the wide availability of the tracking cookie with other companies I do business with but I was very unhappy that I had no knowledge of this.

This morning I went back to Firefox and doubled checked my prohibited domains. I was blocking but I didn't have Atlas Solutions blocked. I added them. I also went to look at my cookies and realized that I hadn't deleted the atdmt and atlassolutions cookies. I fixed that this morning and hope that for now the problem is gone.

In summary, this long narrative was an expression of what happens when you start to realize what is going on behind the scenes with your data. Certainly most people wont go through all this trouble and effort. At one point Shawn asked me if this was a good use of my time. In fact, generally I would say no but given the gradual slowdown of my computer over time it felt like an important thing to address. As more and more people become aware of their attention and the value of it, I think stories like this and what I would expect to be a backlash will become more prevalent.

Blogger out of Beta

The changes to Blogger that went into beta last summer are now going live. I was happy to switch over but figured out this morning that because I have a large blog I have to wait a bit longer. Drats.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Triplet Birthday Vid

Case Camp in Second Life

I had the good fortune of being selected one of the 40 people to attend the inaugural Case Camp in Second life. One of the organizers has a good post here with much linkage to writeups etc. I was busy at work and had to drop off half way through, which was a bummer, but I really dug what they were doing and hope I can participate in something like that again. It was one of the first meaningful uses of Second Life I have seen. Imagine a shared whiteboard with people walking around and interacting much like you would in real life. Except some people have tails.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mallory, Tucker and Brit turn 2

Today is the birthday of our little babies. They are no longer very little and although they have gotten easier than they were as tiny babies, we have the new found joy of sharing among triplets. It reminds me a little bit of A Clockwork Orange and a little of the old ultra-violence.

It has been a blast having them in our lives and although I couldn't comprehend life with triplets, I can't imagine life without them. They are each so different and special and fun.

Happy birthday to my babies, Mallory, Tucker and Brit.

Korv Party

December 14 2006 008
December 14 2006 008,
originally uploaded by brikmaster.
Lot's of family stuff going on in the background so I thought I would share a bit. This year we hosted the annual Lindgren Korv making party. Here my son Tate is proudly displaying his capabilities at the sausage meat grinder.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Venice Project - Screenshots

The Venice Project Folks gave the greenlight to blog about the service. I will do that later. In the meantime they also sent out a number of screen shots for people to check out. Blogger isn't letting me upload very easily but I put one here. You can also go here to check out some more.

Testing the P990 Video

The Venice Project

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for someone to help us with something technical and I thought of our friend Sander who I figured would be bored now that Divx had gone public. Clearly he was bored because he had already departed and began work on The Venice Project.

It sounds like a really cool effort given the pedigree of the various players (here is a Business Week link). If you don't want to follow the link then know that their previous projects include the companies behind Kazaa and Skype. Sander is really smart and I am sure it will be a great ride.

To my surprise last night I got a beta invite and started playing around this AM. There is a non-disclosure associated with the account so I can't say much until I am told explicitly otherwise but I recommend going to the site to sign up for the beta. I think this is going to be pretty cool.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Sean (The other Shawn) told me over lunch a couple of months ago now about the site Prosper. I think it came up because the Nobel Peace prize was awarded to a person behind micro loans in Africa. Prosper allows people to borrow and lend money to other people through a marketplace format. People can create groups to lend money to other people. The concept is really powerful and reminds me a lot of the ideas that come to mind when I think about the Attention Economy ideas. I plan on spending some time playing with this some more during the holiday downtime.

Fantasy Football 2006 Epilogue

All my fantasy football leagues have come to a close for the year with the exception of the playoffs. It was a great year of football watching and I have to say that it is sort of bittersweet to know that I am heading into the sports blackhole that is life without football. Sigh.

So as it stands currently I am in the final four playoffs of my Keeper league with a strong team but with equally strong opponents. I ended up with the best record in the regular season.

In my normal league I am in a bowl playoff for 3rd and 4th place. Not too shabby considering I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention.

My lone disappointment was my dynasty league where I had the distinction of a 5 way tie for last place, which I of course won and have the honor/distinction/shame of the first draft pick in next years rookie draft. Although I got my butt handed to me, I really like the team I have going into next year and think I have a shot to contend next year.

P990 Review

This should be easy. I LOVE my new phone. I have the opportunity to check out so many devices that I think I have a good perspective on what is good and what is not good but more importantly I have good perspective on what I like. So before I gush too much let's do the bad.

The Bad.

Cost. This phone is EXPENSIVE. When you can buy a computer or a really neat smartphone, it better be good. I think the P990 hits the mark but its certainly not for everyone.

Buggy UI. The P990 is Symbian 9 and UIQ 3. There are clearly some strange software issues that aren't up in your face but they do surface periodically. Besides the bugginess, which I assume they will fix in an update soon, there was definitely a learning curve in switching from my P910 to the P990. It didn't feel as seamless as I would have expected. I am certain that there are a number of features that I will discover in the future but right now it's just getting back into the old grove with the phone.

Edge. It's probably a carrier issue, but I don't have high speed access on the device(3G network). I am sure Tmobile will get there soon. They just bought a ton of spectrum so its mostly a time issue.

Powercord. After owning 4 Sony Ericsson devices over the last 4 years, they went and switched the power cord. Throw away multiple power cords (home, car, etc.)

The Good.

This phone truly rocks. Rss feed support? Got it. WiFi support? Got it. Multiple audio file support? Got it. Word, PPT, XLS, PDF Support? Got it.

The Very Exceptional.

There are a handful of things that have blown me away. They are...

Battery Life. Something must be terribly wrong, but this battery lasts longer than any power hungry phone I have played with. It also recharges in record time.

WiFi. Trust me, when you get WiFi on your phone, it is going to change your life. I sent 2 megabyte files to my Flickr account over GPRS. Painful. I did it over WiFi. Instantaneous.

Display Quality. The P990 comes with some pre-installed games. I don't play games on my phone (much) but when I checked out the Vijay Singh golf game my jaw dropped. The display is simply insane.

Over the coming months I plan to work the device in a way that maxes out the multimedia capabilities as well as explore new software as it becomes available. Skype please? Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


4 children stand stage left of the microphone...

One of two uncannily similar looking boys walks up to the microphone.

Brit: Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? Good. My name is Brit. My mom told me that this dad has this thing called a blog. I am not sure what that is but he does spend an inordinate amount of time at the keyboard. Mom said we can talk on Dad's blog this year to say hi to everyone and since I am the spokesman of my triplet siblings I thought I would say hello first.

I had a good year this year. I sleep. I eat. I play. I occasionally pull my brother or sisters hair and sometimes take a swipe at them with my chompers. It's hard keeping them in line you know? Although dad says I am a bit aggressive I am also really into cuddling, Mom says that I have a really innocent look on my face when I am in trouble. She is easy.

I love trains. A lot. I can't seem to get them out of my head.

Tucker: Ok, Ok enough already. I am Tucker. My year was pretty good as well. I like to hang out with my siblings a lot but I also like to figure things out. Like that time when I was 15 months old and I figured out how to climb out of my crib. Or when I took the blender out of the pantry and tried to plug it in. Or when dad found me standing on the book case doing a Vulcan mind meld with the big screen TV.

I really like to climb the most. I can climb the exterior of the staircase bannister. I can climb the armoire and turn on and off the television. My nannies call me "Spiderman". I don't know who he is but Tate thinks he is pretty cool. Like Brit I share a deep love of trains.

Mallory: My TURN! I can't believe those guys. Mom and Dad tell me that they are my brothers and while I have to admit that we share the same room, and have the same birthday, I can't believe that these two knuckle heads could be my siblings. Brit seems to think he is in charge but in reality I only allow him to think he is in charge. You see, I am the uber child who pulls the strings.

So my year...where to begin...I like pretty dresses, and I like football jerseys (Dad is a sucker for football). I like watching my mom get ready in the morning. When the other guys stay downstairs with the nannies in the morning, I sneak upstairs and take a bath when mom or dad are getting ready. I like blankies, and babies and my morning bottle. Most importantly though, I LOVE MY NOOKIE. I wish I didn't but often times there I am thinking about it. Wanting it. Knowing it will calm me down. Sigh. I bet that's going to end soon.

Tate Hi Mally! Ok enough of them. So I am the big brother. As you can tell, I have to share a lot. Mom and Dad have their hands pretty full with the wild ones. I don't mind too much as I get a lot of special time with Mom and Dad. I am in school right now and I really like it. I take an art class on Tuesday and have some really cool paintings I have made. Right now I am playing soccer and my dad is coaching. He is funny.

Our year was good and some of my favorite times included going to Palm Springs with the family and my Grandma and Grandpa. I love them a lot. I really like it when they come and see me or when I get to go to their house. Dad hooked up a video thing so I can talk to them on my computer and can see them on the screen. Dad says they are still in North Dakota when I see them on the screen but I am not sure.

Mom is still working a couple of days a week as a lawyer at Elan Pharmaceuticals. The days when she doesn't I get to hang out with her and do things. We have our special times like yesterday when we went and saw How the Grinch Stole Xmas. I like to cuddle with my mom in the morning.

Dad works on this thing called Rabble. The Rabble guy looks really funny. Dad also has a whole bunch of phones. He has the Sidekick phone and the Rabble phone and the TV phone and some others that I am not sure what they are called. Dad and I spend a lot of time together on the weekends. We go for rides on trains and go to football games and hang out a lot.

Well, we have to go play now. We hope you all have a happy holiday season and that 2007 if full of health, wealth, and success.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Sony Ericsson P990

Last week my new Sony Ericsson P990 arrived. I have been spending a chunk of time figuring it out. Expect a review later this week.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mobile Executive Blog

Andy Nulman, President and co-founder at Airborne Entertainment caught the blogging bug and his blog can be found here. Add it to your blogroll.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Virtualness - CC Chapman

I have been thinking about this post for some time. I knew I wanted to write about people transacting business in place removed environments and I kept wondering how to describe that. I kept circling around the word Virtualness as a way to describe what seems like a new way of doing things that I haven't heard described elsewhere. Before sitting down to do this post I did a quick Google search and there are apparently 23,000 references to this word. I imagine it really means what it means to me as well.

So virtualness, where to begin. My father in law, who lives in North Dakota has been trying to get me to set up home videoconferencing on my PC for something like 3 years. Knowing the state of PC based over IP video, I punted. That was until this year when we set up video for two remote guys we work with. I became very impressed with the setup using a Mac and iChat or Skype. I posted about this previously although I am not going to go back and find the link.

We set the machines up a couple of weeks ago and have started having regular video calls. To me it wasn't earth shattering but there were some subtle things I hadn't considered. My daughter would sometimes clam up on the phone when talking to her grandparents because she was shy. On the phone, this was lost to them. On the video camera this is adorable and it really transcends the communication experience by allowing them to share a moment that would otherwise be missed or taken out of context. I thought that this is a powerful change in the way we communicate. In fact at work, it's as if our remote people are in the office. We can wheel around the workstation with a monitor on the face of one of the guys. Its kind of freaky but it certainly works. My son initially asked me where his grandparents were. I told him that they are still in North Dakota. He didn't seem convinced.

Back in 2002 when I was running Vivendi's Internet music group, I originally had 4 offices from the various companies. We consolidated into two locations and I think we did a decent job of running a distributed office for a while. Ultimately though, we had to put some people on the ground from the other places to make it really work. I realized then that it was very difficult to run a distributed enterprise and that it required a lot of physical presence. These examples above have made me reconsider that belief and I have now crossed over to the other side and I think that with the right infrastructure you can really effectively run things in a distributed fashion.

The more I thought about this concept, the more I thought about CC Chapman. I met CC in the fall of 2004. The two of us were early music podcasters who came together when we formed AMP. With the setup of AMP we started using Skype for conference calls and a variety of shared tools. Before I journeyed into a year long hiatus with podcasting, I had established a strong friendship with people like Chris Macdonald from Indie Feed, Jason Evangelho from Insomnia Radio and Matt Galligan. I also kept in touch with CC when he went off to work with Podshow. Based on the initial interaction with CC I ended up meeting with him in Boston when I was traveling and got to see him at the first PME.

I ended up getting busy with the company and CC was busy with his job and podcasting. I hadn't paid attention but he started doing shows beyond music that were focused on marketing. Sometime a couple of months ago he sent me an email that said that he had quit his job at Babson college and was working fulltime with a new marketing company called Crayon. I thought this was great but what I hadn't realized was that this new company was comprised of a couple of guys located around the globe. To conduct business and to have company interactions, the principals work inside Second Life.

I had spent a lot of time on Second Life after SXSW. Eric Rice had gotten me intrigued after I said I didn't get it. I spent some initial time back then and hadn't really looked at it recently as I didn't have the time. During the holiday break I was thinking about CC and I fired up my account. I had accumulated a lot of Second Life money so I bought some land, set up a home, and purchased some art. As I traveled around Second Life I still came away with the feeling that it is still too geeky and too porny for most people. With the exception of what Eric is doing with his Slackstreet Island I still didn't see it.

Recently I was hanging out at the Crayonville office in essence stalking CC to say hello. I didn't track him down but I did run into a bunch of people hanging around the Crayon office chatting about marketing podcasts and new media marketing. It was pretty impressive. A good handful of those people were big CC groupies. I laughed my ass off. Not that it isn't warranted because I think that CC is a smart guy and doing a lot of things right, but because none of these people knew CC, or rather none of them have ever met CC. They knew him through the media he created. By his own hands.

Now I know that fame doesn't require a personal connection and I also know that I can be a fan of someone like Jon Kraukauer (who really turned me off when I saw him live on TV) or an athlete like Peyton Manning but a lot of these people are built up by the mechanism of marketing or the mechanics of fame. And here I was in a virtual world chatting with a bunch of people who I don't know and we all know this virtual person named CC that everyone is a fan of. To me it is a personal testament to the power of an individual taking control of the tools around them and building a following through whatever connections are available to them be it a podcast, a blog or an imaginary avatar in a virtual world selling eyeballs to big brands. It really is impressive and I am very glad that along the way I have come to know CC although not as closely as I would like.

I wish him and his friends much success as they proceed with their company. I think they are definitely doing some pioneering work that today is not broadly understood but in the future will be a common way of transacting business. I think that we will all find that the world continues to shrink and that there are aspects of ourselves that will increasingly become organized around ideas or concepts using tools that today we can hardly imagine. We will bring together people and ideas by the means of our virtualness or our virtualability. It should be a big adventure.

Corporate Branding

When we started Intercasting, one of the core concepts that we embraced was populist media. When we started work on corporate identity and branding we wanted something sort of nationalistic and iconic. Ultimately a lot of the look and feel came out as what I would call friendly nationalistic.

I was in a meeting today and when I returned to the office one of the guys had posted this image on my door. I think it is awesome and I wanted to share.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

PSP 3.0 Upgrade

David just alerted me that the PSP 3.0 firmware just came out. I upgraded but haven't played with it yet but it is a major update. Here is a piece with lots of details. The official Sony doesn't have an updated feature list but the big thing is hard core linkage to the PS3. Think playing PS1 games on the PSP via the PS3. Very cool.

Rabble 2.0

Launching a mobile application isn't as simple as turning on a website. You have to roll things out handset by handset. So we are currently in the process of doing that. In conjunction with that we just rolled out the new website which you can see at There will be more soon but at the very least those of you who have never seen Rabble can get a sense from the flash demo we have on the website.


All I can say is thanks for all the kind wishes and words around my birthday. It was a special weekend for me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Derrick 4.0

So tomorrow I turn 40. Today it doesn't seem like a big deal. A couple of months ago though 40 got into my head. I spent a bit of time thinking about my accomplishments or lack thereof. I also spent a lot of time thinking about my family and my health. I found it to be an interesting period of self reflection and pausing. All in all I think it was a good thing and I think having gone through that time period makes the actual date something that isn't necessarily all that remarkable relative to the years of things that have transpired in your life.

Derrick 2.0 was a time that was kind of wild and a lot of fun. I spent most of that decade working for studios, learning how to manage people, and starting on the journey of life with my wife Jessica. Derrick 2.0 was a total blast. I had an earring. I liked to hike a ton. I listened to loud aggressive music. I was clearly doing as much as possible to not grow up but also was trying to savor the flavor of life which is your 20s.

Derrick 3.0 was about growth. Big time growth. As much as the first 20 years of my life seemed to pass in a blip, the last 10 years feel like 25, and I think that is a good thing. My personal life has been blessed with a wonderful relationship with my wife that has stood the test of time. And I am not talking like 2-5 years time, I am talking 10+ years of time. I have been blessed with a gigantic family of four healthy kids. I have been given the opportunity to grow professionally in so many ways. I have worked in a startup, created a startup, been an officer of a public company, helped to sell that company to a media giant, and have been able to work in a field of business that I find rewarding, dynamic and challenging. Not many people have the opportunity to say that. I have loved Derrick 3.0. In some ways I am going to miss it a ton. Besides the family and professional aspects the friendships I have grown have been just amazing and something I treasure deeply.

So tomorrow I start Derrick 4.0. It may not have the rounded edges, the glossy look, the soft colors, or the mirror reflection of Derrick 3.0, but I have a sense that as fondly as I looked back on my 20s while in my 30s, I am certain I will also reflect on the 30s with a greater sense of understanding, compassion, and a desire to better myself and those around me. And I know at this point that in general those reassuring words of others who have crossed over to the other side of 40 must surely be true and that other than some aches and pains, the 40s are also a lot of fun.

Birthday presents

So tomorrow is my birthday. More on that later. What to get for my birthday as this is a special birthday? It seemed like destiny to me that the launch of the Playstation 3 on my birthday was an omen that I should get one. What a slick device! Unfortunately Tate has shown an acute interest in video games to the point that my outright purchasing one is verboten. Maybe Sony could send me one to test out? That would be hard to pass up...

So, since a new gaming machine in a house of four kids is out of the question I am putting my order in this morning for this other Sony product, the P990. I can't wait.

Mylo Review Part 2

It's been several weeks now that I have had the Mylo and I have a few things to add.

First, the new firmware upgrade that installs the Tmobile Hotspot support is great. When you get near a Tmobile Hot Spot and the Wi-Fi is on, the device logs you in quickly with no username or password. I was using my cell phone at the Starbucks near Sand Hill Road and the reception was terrible. I grabbed the Mylo and called out to the person I was talking to and it was crystal clear.

There are two things on the Mylo that didn't jump out at me at first that I think are worth noting. First, the Wi-Fi sucks an unbelievable amount of juice. It's almost like you can watch the battery drain while Wi-Fi is on. That has to get fixed. I doubt that I could leave a fully charged device on Wifi on all day.

The other item is media handling. I am pretty bummed that the only way to get content to the device is through the USB port and the PC software. I assumed that I could take MP4 video on my Sony Camcorder and pop it into the Mylo and play it back. Nope. It has to go through some strange conversion. Download an MP3? Nope. The PSP came up with improved support over time. I hope that this is on the roadmap. There may be a reason why they set it up this way but it only seems like a barrier to me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


I received an email from one of the people involved in aniBOOM the other day. They are creating an aggregation site around animation that is user generated content/user created media/ whatever you want to call it. Stuff that people like us make. But it's animation. And they are going to pay some people money in a competition which I assume is a content acquisition play. I am not sure where this fits into the massive world of Googtubeevvermixatomfilms, but you get the idea. Although they don't have 100 million videos of half naked co-eds, the quality of what I checked out was really good.

It looks like a lot of fun and I have to recommend that you go and check out Urbunnies. It is very Ren and Stimpy. If celebrity bashing is more your style check out See Paris Die.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mylo Firmware 1.200 Available

I just upgraded my Mylo to the new firmware that was released yesterday. The improvements appear to be minor with the exception of the Tmobile Hotspot support. I will get to try that out today and will do an updated review of the device.

Weddings and Sand Hill Shuffle

Late last week a chunk of my family headed down to Cabo San Lucas to participate in Shawn and Natasha's wedding. It was a great time and a well needed break. There are some photos that I took pre-wedding down here on my blog.

Yesterday and today are a full day of doing the Sand Hill shuffle. More later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A new nephew

Although my brother in law Alex was devastated by the crushing defeat of the Republicans in the election yesterday, him and his wife welcomed into this world their first child a boy that was born weighing 7 lbs 11 oz and 20 inches. Pictured here. Name unknown. Developing...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Moderate Party

I was in San Francisco and Silicon Valley yesterday. Today I am in Los Angeles. I wanted to make sure I voted before I got on the road so I hit the polling spot early. I don't remember if I ever talked about my early experiences with politics but this morning Jessica suggested that we take our son Tate with us to the polling location. Since I was in a rush I wasn't able to go with but I think she is going to take him.

I was introduced to politics at a very early age by my "grapes of wrath" great grandparents. They had grown up around Hanford, California. My great grandmother Henrietta Castillo was born in the US but her family had come over from Mexico just a couple of years before she was born. She spent most of her life in the central valley of California and in San Bernardino.

They were very poor and growing up I spent a ton of time with them. Without a doubt they were the people I most identified with in terms of family. They thought Republicans were evil and said as much. They loved FDR. I would sit with them at a very early age and watch the news and especially watch the election returns. Their influence set me on a course that was left of center.

Over the years I have done campaign work for candidates as well as some party organizing work. Most of that work has been with either moderate left of center candidates but occasionally very left wing causes that were focused on the environment which is a big issue to me.

I generally refrain from discussing politics these days as I find myself disgusted by the lack of civility and the lack of a desire by either side of actually doing something meaningful that normal middle of the road Americans want. I find myself torn between my sense of civic responsibility to try to make this a better place for my children and the desire to tune out these annoying politicians. It is sad to me that I have come to this place.

I hope that sometime in the near future somebody sets on a course to set up The Moderate Party. The Moderate Party would be a party that balances personal liberty, financial responsibility, and a concern for the welfare of future generations. I think that there are a large number of us in the Western and Mountain states that fit that description. Unfortunately there aren't many political parties that embrace those values. When someone starts up that party I'd love to help out. Until then I won't hold my breath and I will hope that the vast middle of the American population decides that their personal annoyance with politicians is something that they can overcome and they will place votes to elect people who fit that mold. One can hope...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Music Stuff

Been a busy week. Rather than talk about tech today I thought I would say a bit about whats in my car/ipod/laptop. First if you get a chance go check out this Music Map application from Dimvision that you can find here. I know there are others out there but this one is pretty hot and I think it integrates with Amazon APIs. I used it to pick up some new tunes. So what's in my audio playback device du jour?

Yerba Buena - Love this. Mexi pop-rock meets electronica. I can't get enough of this. Definitely a bit more down home than say Ozomatli but if you have latin rhythms in your body do check this out.

Nortec Collective - Tim turned me onto this and the Music Map thing recommended this based on my interest in Yerba Buena. More electronic and less Mexi-pop.

Mastodon - Wow. Gus told me to run out and get this and CMJ had a really nice write up so I picked it up. I can't say that this is the next Metallica from a style perspective but these guys rock very hard and sound really good.

The Mars Volta - The new one isn't as good as the last one but it is worth a pickup nonetheless.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Upgrade Day

I had read some posts over the weekend about Firefox vs. IE and so I spent about 15 minutes this AM upgrading to Firefox 2.0, IE 7.0 and Skype 2.5. My computer still appears to be working.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Flash Epilogue

Sometime between 24 and 48 hours I was emailed the binary for the Flash player and was good to go. It was niece to see a couple of readers reach out to people they knew at Adobe but I think that the customer service rep who finally figured it out got it all taken care of. The 2.0 stuff is really cool. I am sure I will have more on that later.

Mobile Social Networking Article

Tomi Ahonen wrote this great piece on mobile social networking as the killer app for 3G. Aside from my bias, it is a well written piece and if the topic is of interest to you it is a must read.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Speaking of Flash

On a lighter note from the previous post, we have been a little busy as you can see here.

Flash Mobile Update - Customer Nightmare

In my previous post about Flash I held out that Adobe is putting unnecessary barriers in the way of developers for charging for the Flash light player. While looking at some application and development options I decided that I needed to get Flash 2.0 on one of the Nokia handsets in the office to look at some things.

I went to the handy dandy Adobe store to by the 2.0 version. $9.99 again. Sigh. Ok. It's not that it's the money, it's the barrier, but I digress. So I buy it and head to the download page. I click on the download link and the javascript/ajax thing pops up and low and behold there is a message. It states that the download store is not available and that I should try back later or call one of two phone numbers if the problem persists.

I wait for a couple of hours and try again. Same thing. I call the first number. It is disconnected and I am instructed to go to the main Adobe number. I call the second number it is disconnected and says to go to the main Adobe number. Clever. I decide that my trip to the Midwest for fun is more important and I will resume this exercise the following week.

Flash forward to yesterday (pardon the pun). I try to download yet again. No pop up thing and no download. No nothing. I try this across Firefox/Safari and I/E across windows/linux and Mac. Nada.

I go to the website. If you want support for your purchase of a Flash product you have to go to another website that only allows customer support for corporate customers. I go back. I try multiple navigations and realize that I just have to call.

I call the main number from the speakerphone at my desk and continue working as I suspect that the call will take a while. I couldn't have imagined what a while meant. I wait in queue forever. I get to talk to a friendly Adobe rep who decides that it is not a problem she can help me with. She transfers me to someone else. After a long delay and a couple of questions this person determines that it is something a download tech has to help me with. I get transferred to the download tech. After another significant hold time he quickly decides that he can't help me and that it is a flash problem. He sends me to some hold queue where I keep the phone on for the next 30 minutes or so before I hang up on my way home. I think I may have burned through that $9.99 in customer service time so I am starting to understand why they charge people.

This morning I had a long meeting scheduled in my office so I thought I would continue where I left off. I call the main number. Long hold. Talk to friendly rep. Explain long sordid story as detailed above. She sends me back to download guy. Slight hold. Download guy. New Download guys says its a flash problem. He proceeds to transfer me to the same disconnected number from the previous week. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go back to start. I am in tears with laughter.

I continue on. Friendly customer service guy comes on after about a 10 minute hold. I tell him I have a really long story. I detail all the above in a painful recital. This guy is actually better than friendly. He is smart. He says, "How about I try to download it." Great idea. I give him my account information and he tries. He asks me to hold. Disappears for a while. He comes back and asks me if I was able to download 1.1. Yep, no problem. He says he can't download either. Ouch. He tells me that they are going to email me the binary in the next 24-48 hours.

I am sure that there will be some more to come but I hope not. It seems astonishing to me that their site would be down for almost a week like this and they hadn't figured it out but given the march of death customer service circle of hell I could see how they might not be getting to the root cause more quickly. Just a thought.

I want to like Flash, I really really do...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Investing in the Mobile Space

Although I am clearly biased since I work with Shawn, I think that his latest post here is one of his best. Go check it out.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mylo Review

While I was in San Francisco last week I strolled by the Sony Style store and saw that they had the Mylo on sale. I had read a hypey write up of the Mylo on one of the mailing lists I am on and decided to grab one. So here is my abbreviated review:

Form Factor/Industrial Design - Big points. The Mylo is slightly smaller than the Sidekick 3. Rather than the tricky but cool swivel action of the Sidekick, it has a slider action similar to the Cingular/Windows Mobile 8125 with slicker action more similar to the Helio/Pantek Hero. Both the Hero and the Mylo have kind of a switchblade locking action.

The keyboard on the Mylo isn't as good as the Sidekick 3 and both of them are inferior to the Sidekick 2 although they are all better than a normal phone. The tactile response of the Sidekick 2 with the rubber buttons was just amazing.

The screen size on the Mylo is decent, certainly nothing compared to the PSP but comparable to the video Ipod and some other smallish devices. One of the coolest features of the Mylo is the ambient color action that switches from a soothing blue when Wifi is enabled to a subtle orange when adhoc networking is invoked.

Features - The Mylo supports audio, video, web browsing and a variety of other things. After a couple of hours playing with it I came to the conclusion that it is mostly one thing the most and that is a Wifi communication device. It comes preloaded with Skype, Google Talk, and Yahoo messenger. Sitting in a Starbucks connected to wifi I can scroll through my list and call my buddies with better than cellular sound quality. I was really impressed with this while trying it out.

Summary - When I originally bought the device I choked on the $350 price tag. Cough, Cough. $100 more than a PSP? Are you crazy? Well maybe not. What I didn't know at the time was that you get a years free access at any Tmobile Hotspot. That about covers the cost of the device. Also you currently get unlimited Skype Out calling (which also applies to all computer users currently). I had an aha moment when I realized that you can bundle enough services to offset the initial sticker shock although I have to believe that if you could get a wifi device down to about $150 you could get some serious adoption. I am sure that will come. Clearly the necessary connection to the wifi coverage is both a drawback and a bonus. At most times at work or home I now have this really cool looking Skype phone that people can call me on. On the road it is a bit of a pain. For pulling down some web content quickly, the data rates kick butt on anything over my all my current carrier backed devices. For now.

When I was talking to Michael Robertson a couple of weeks ago he made a pretty strong argument for hybrid devices and I think generally I would concur, but it seems that there is a small window of opportunity for a number of players to collaborate to try to get a wifi network and device combination to get a jump on where Wimax plans to be. At the very least it is an interesting customer acqusition strategy for players like Skype, TMobile and Sony.

If you are a gadget freak like me I think it's worth checking out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flash for Mobile

About a year ago we were talking about some of the various platforms for mobile and took turns prognosticating on who would win. Windows Mobile with a ton of devices flooding the market? Symbian? In North America? Really? Flash. Now Flash is interesting. You get the filesize optimization. You have an army of graphic artist/developer types that many claim number north of 2 million people. Verizon is aggressively rolling out Flash (or is it Flashcast?).

After going through several different product cycles with disparate platforms that require development to the specific device, I long for the "write once run everywhere" that Java and others have promised. The big concern I raised when we were discussing this was Macromedia's acquisition by Adobe. Although I use and love products from both companies, Adobe's generally proprietary approach to things gave me pause. There is very little free in the Adobe world. When you combine that with the potential for disintermediating hardware OEM's and tripping over carrier sensibilities, it makes their presumed success less than a foregone conclusion.

At any rate I hadn't really spent much time with Flash as the current device support back then was limited. Fortunately since then they have rolled out more handsets and are up to version 2.0. I thought that I would try to take a spin with one of my devices. For Flash 2.0, the usable version, they only support Nokia devices. Bummer. I guess I can go grab one from the vault in the office but that kind of ruins the fun. My P910 is one of the supported devices for 1.1 so I went to download it and found my Adobe comments coming back to haunt me. For the low low price of $9.99 I could download the Flash player. Wait a second. I am a developer. I want to use your platform, albeit one that isn't the most current nor one that supports the handsets in my target audience. Grrr. I paid. I checked out some content and found that the Slot machine simulator was the best so far, which isn't saying much.

All my griping aside, Flash looks really cool on a mobile device and I certainly have really high hopes for Flash as a platform. There is no question that for application developers like us, we will be able to do some really cool things as the platform matures and the handset penetration grows. How Adobe chooses to balance widespread adoption versus unit based economics will certainly be one factor in addition to some of the handset and carrier sensitivities mentioned above.

Twofones - Greg Clayman

Greg Clayman from MTV started a blog recently called Twofones. Greg is a hard core early mobile pioneer going back to his work at UPOC. Shawn has known him for a long time and I first met Greg at CTIA several years ago. Greg has amazing perspective on mobile in general, community in specific, and as a digital media head has great curiosity and commentary around a wide ranging set of topics that are very similar to my interests. Greg writes long form and is a must add to your news aggregator.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Proliferation of Connectivity Part 3

My two earlier posts on this subject were about spreading my connectivity to other places in an adjacent area (Skype Phone) and also tapping into my content or programming by using connected devices that are at some distance from that content or programming (Location Free and PSP). Both of these examples are extremely profound to me and have implications that are obvious yet powerful for how they will impact consumer behavior in the future.

A couple of weeks ago I received a phone from Sprint as part of their Ambassador program. The phone is an LG Fusic, which is a really nice device. Most of the service offering is similar to what I had with the last phone they sent me, the Samsung A920. One interesting cosmetic thing that has been included is the inclusion of the Qualcomm UI One functionality that allows you to change the themes on your phone in a pretty profound way. I haven't spent enough time with it to say much other than it holds some really great promise for personalization of the most personal device that many of us have.

The feature that I thought was really interesting is the inclusion of an FM transmitter in the phone. While use of transmitters have been around in a lot of other devices including Ipod peripherals and other related devices, the transmitter on the phone got me to thinking a lot about the evolution of devices and consumer experience. To me some of the most important functions of what we call PMD's or personal media devices (the device formerly known as the phone) include messaging/communication, sharing content and viewing others content.

When we started our company one of the ideas that was core to our vision was that we will come to a time when there are a billion broadcast nodes walking around with production studios in our pockets. Although a small FM transmitter is certainly a far cry from that, when you start looking at the ad hoc gaming networks of the PSP or some of the other ad hoc media sharing networks the frameworks is starting to emerge. I don't have any particular insight into how it will unfold but it will certainly change the world in big ways. Without question to me the biggest change will be the change from big M media as the dominant media type to the emergence of small m media as the dominant media type in the coming years.

Blogging Break

I took an unintended blogging break over the last couple of weeks. Since it wasn't an intended break it wasn't as enjoyable as I would have liked. Frankly, I don't recall a busier time at work. That said I have about 6 posts to put up that I have either done or have been thinking about so hopefully I get back on track. Separately, if you or someone you know wants to help do some really amazing things in the mobile world send me a resume or CV ASAP.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Facebook Open To All

It probably doesn't bear repeating but for those of you who haven't received multiple invitations to Facebook yet, they have opened their site to anyone. I haven't signed up yet. I think I was fascinated by the exclusivity of it all. When I check it out I will post comments if there is anything noteworthy in my opinion.

The Hub is Dead

Walmart shut down their social networking site the hub after about 6 weeks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Usertainment Blog

Lester Craft formerly Chief Editor of Upside just started a new blog called Usertainment Watch that discusses opportunities for content creators to make money from their content in this growing world of user created media. Add it to your readers.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Proliferation of Connectivity Part 2

In my last post I wrote about how our connectivity that we use can be extended and allow us to free ourselves from the tied to the computer experience. Although my Skype phone gives me the freedom to leave my computer and walk around the room like I am using a normal phone, I am still linked to my device through a USB transmission hub. Hopefully in the next week or two I will pick up the Net Gear Wi Fi phone which disconnects the handset from the device. While I am waiting for this device, I have another device that I have written about that adds a bit more color to this discussion. That device is my PSP.

Several weeks ago our family made the trek out to the desert for a quick get away. On Sunday morning we took all the kids out to the community pool where we were staying. My kids were very hungry right around the time of kick off for football. While the kids were snacking on chicken fingers, I reached into my bag and pulled out my PSP. I fired up the device and started looking for available wifi networks. Immediately, I saw that the bar area had very open, very strong public wifi.

I configured the device to log onto the network and I fired up the Location Free interface. Within a couple of seconds, my PSP was showing the NFL Red Zone Channel from Directv on my device by the side of the pool. Can you beat that?

Conceptually to me this is another example of the intersection of devices and our connectivity and the types of services that become available as more bandwidth surrounds us and our devices can leverage the network. To me it is a very powerful experience when I can take my media experience, that previously has been confined to my house, wherever I go with the aid of a small portable device.

In the last post and this one I have talked a bit about some practical uses and examples of how I can take my connectivity and share it with a detached device ala Skype to a handset, or more broadly how I can take my programming with me anywhere in the world with the use of my PSP and my Location Free server. In the next post I will talk about how the next phase is looking at the device not from a downstream perspective but as an upstream or broadcast style device to extend the experience in the opposite direction.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Proliferation of Connectivity Part 1

Recently I had lunch with Michael and got to chat a bit about Gizmo and other VOIP stuff. I am also secretly coveting the about to be released Net Gear Wifi Phone. While waiting for it to come out I decided to take a peek at what else is in the market.

Although I use Skype a fair amount, I have a specific issue that I am sure is shared by some others. My laptop has the headphone attachment at the front of the keyboard. If that isn't enough of a deterrent, I also find that if I have headphones on that I am listening to music as a force of habit. What this means is that my ever ringing phone goes unanswered as long as I have the headset on. Because of that, I don't use headphones and also don't really use Skype as much as I would like.

My first look at what was available was USB connected phone devices, you know, kind of like a headset except it is a phone. I am not sure how that was going to help me. I decided to pass on this. I came across the Linksys CIT 200 Skype phone after digging around and thought that this was an interesting idea. This device allows you to connect a USB broadcast node to your PC or laptop that communicates with a wireless phone base station that can be anywhere within 150 feet or so. Although I don't really like the idea of another device connecting out to my laptop as an aftermarket part (it should be baked in) I was immediately attracted to the idea that I could now disembody a phone from my PC and use Skype.

A bit about the phone. It looks like a phone. I can dial numbers and such although I don't plan on doing that in the near term because I have these things called cell phones that I have on me at all times. At the bottom of the dialpad is a button that says Skype. When you pick up the phone and click on the icon, the device connects to your PC and Skype client and your buddy list is populated on your handset. How cool is that? You can then scroll down to the person that you want to call, click on them, and presto, free VOIP calling.

I haven't really taken the phone through a lot of uses so far but within the first day of setting it up, I spent 45 minutes or so talking to a potential hire from London and I have to say it was crystal clear. I wandered the office chatting like I was on a call except it was international and it was free.

I have to say that I am very fascinated by the idea that we are developing combinations of hardware and software platforms that not only allow us to do interesting things because of our connectivity but that we are increasingly able to proliferate or redistribute that connectivity in new ways. Although to say that I am becoming a Skype broadcast node for my office is a slight stretch, it isn't too far from the truth. In fact I have a couple of other examples of this proliferation of connectivity in two follow up posts to this one coming soon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Speaking at MIT today

I am speaking at a class today at MIT where I am giving a slightly modified version of this presentation that Shawn gave at BREW this past summer.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sprint Ambassador Program

I got the email today saying they want to send me another phone. I must say that I LOVED the last phone. It is amazing marketing for Sprint to reach out to bloggers and to get us to try out all the things you can on their devices and their service offering. I would recommend that other companies follow this kind of lead and to get outspoken people to try out and use their products.

Myspace Using UIevolution for Mobile

Josh pointed out this press release here that I haven't heard anyone talk about. Seems strange that nobody has covered this given all the noise around Myspace going mobile.

Eventful Raises $7.5 Million

Local friends and partners Eventful raised $7.5 million recently. Press release can be found here.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rabble on Cellular South

Last week Rabble launched on Cellular South. That brings our current coverage to Verizon, Cingular, Metro PCS, Cricket, Verizon Puerto Rico and now Cellular South.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rabble Mention in Loopt launch article

I was interviewed last week for a TBD launch of another mobile social community, which turned out to be Loopt. The article is here and it included a nice screen shot of Rabble!


I missed the early / pre day at CTIA but am headed up on the train this AM. It should be a busy couple of days of meetings in my old hometown. I can't wait to hear what big announcements come out of this session.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Radiate / Flipt / Loopt launches

The LBS Mobile application formerly known as Radiate, then Flipt, now Loopt launched tonight on Boost's network. Details on the companies now unveiled website can be found here.

Valleywag Publishes Myspace Expose

Check out the story here. I don't think the story is a big surprise for anyone who knew the eUniverse story but the News Corp pursuit to silence the story makes for an interesting angle.

Facebook on Cingular

At the end of last week, I was looking around the deck on Cingular to see where things are categorized. While looking at the Media Net / WAP section I ran across Facebook. Facebook had previously launched their WAP site several months ago but this is fully baked into Cingular's deck. I will have to grab one of the youngsters in the office to login and check it out. I haven't heard any buzz about this which is pretty consistent with Facebook so far. On the mobile side I think Facebook has actually moved the ball forward more than Myspace to date without any of the publicity. It's good to see the category starting to develop. I predict that mobile social activity will be pretty frothy this fall.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Server Log Nuggets - Alexaholic

I had someone ask me the other day how we track our press clippings etc. Our PR firm does most of that and for cyberspaceyosphere stuff I use a combination of technorati,, and Google alert. Strange as it sounds though, it doesn't cover everything. One tried and true way to find some nuggets is to look at your server log for referrals.

While doing so this last week I saw some refers from a Seth Godin Alexaholic chart that you can see here. It is a really cool chart in that you can see all the various companies that are broadly lumped into the Web 2.0 category. We are included somewhere in the 600s. I have a prediction that we will be moving up in the chart shortly and in a big way. Hmmm...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

wget Music Goodness

Lifehacker had this great article about a week ago that allows you to use idle computer cycles to do a variety of tasks in the background. One of the suggested background activities was to download music from your favorite MP3 blogs. I spent some time last weekend digging into the mechanics. I installed wget on my PC and checked out one of my favorite MP3 blogs 3hive. I fired up wget and all of a sudden tons of files of music goodness began filling up my hard drive. Yummy.

I modified the site list to include 20 or so really good MP3 blog sites and set my machine off and running for the day. I came back later in the day and found somewhere around 500 tasty MP3 files that had survivied the editorial filter of some of the best music heads out there.

One of my frequent criticisms of most digital music companies was that there was an excessive focus on programming as the key ingredient. In reality, the key ingredient was and always has been content. Getting music is what people want to do, not read editorials. Editorials are for music heads. Sorry.

The beauty of using wget is that I get a ton of content, that I believe is generally legal, as I believe the tracks are almost all promotional tracks, that have passed a level of filtering by some great tastemakers. I haven't spent as much time as I would like with the tracks but I would say that immediately I ran into two amazing tracks. One was Cobrastyle by Teddybears and the other was an amazing mashup of an old track with new Hip Hop beats called Fever by Rhymefest.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Quien es mas macho? Windows Mobile or Symbian

I spent some time last week with the Cingular 8125 Windows mobile device. One of our handset developers has been raving about Windows mobile so I figured I should take it for a spin. I spent the better part of a week with the device and came to a couple of conclusions.

The 8125 is a computer that also has phone capability. It is not a phone that has smartphone capability. To me that is an important distinction as the device I carry around with me is preferably a phone in my case. What do I mean by that? Well the most important thing I do with my phone is call people. I also happen to use it to check email, occasionally surf the web, and sometimes use it as a modem. When I use my Symbian based phone, all the smartphone stuff is subordinate to the phone stuff. I have to dig to get to the power user features. I actually like this because my primary use case is phone.

The Windows mobile device is just like your desktop. The start button and everything is always resident in it's passive state. At first I thought that was really cool. The responsiveness was fairly good and the qwerty keyboard is roomy. I imported my 1500+ contacts into Outlook and set up my email. I was very excited. That was until I had to make a phone call. Aarrghh. No numeric pad. Also navigating in and out of the base OS was fairly clunky. At the end of the week. I reset the device to the factory settings and returned it to the development pile.

To summarize and to be fair, I followed up with Josh and asked him how he could be excited about Windows mobile. He stated that there are two distinct flavors of Windows mobile and that the 2125 smartphone has the operating system flavor that is more phonelike. I may pick one up in the coming weeks to revisit, but until then, I am very happy with my Symbian device and if I has to replace my device today it wouldn't be with the Windows smartphone I used.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


One of our board members, Steve Tomlin, recently unveiled his new contraption, The Chumby. He has been talking about it for a while and put it together with a merry band of part timers and geeks. They had their debut this last weekend at Foo Camp.

I ran by his office today and grabbed one to play with. Here it is on my desk displaying the latest headlines from Make Magazine (One of my new favorite sites/magazine)

I can't wait to dig in a little and see what we can do with it. Can you say Rabble widget?

It's great to see all the buzz they have gotten since giving out prototypes at Foo camp. It will be fun to say what kind of hacks and other neat things that come from the Chumby. When I walked into the Chumbalow to get one, I immediately saw a plush Tinky Winkie doll with a Chumby screen embedded in his chest. Nice.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fantasy Football

And so last night another season began. I think I have been playing fantasy football pretty consistently since 1998. Each year it has ramped up a bit more in terms of my engagement. Two years ago I went beyond the normal fantasy league and joined a keeper league. This has been by far the best experience so far as it requires me to always have some kind of background thoughts that are engaged with football all year round.

Last night was a draft for a Dynasty league, which is a league where you keep almost all of the players for good. It will be interesting to see how this pans out. I was dicey on keeper and have really enjoyed it. Dynasty will place a big premium on focusing on new incoming players out of college.

The tools that are used for fantasy football have continued to improve as well. The news services, the draft tools and the various communication tools are just amazing. I believe that our choice to use AIM for our draft was directly responsible for 6 new people in their 30s to start using instant messenger. Last year I believe that there were 3 of us using IM. Now it is 12. I wrote back in April of this year, this post, that talks about how the NFL drives technology adoption. I think Sprint is doing some smart things with their various NFL Tie ins.

I frequently cite fantasy football as an example of user created content that is a big driver of consumer entertainment. Although the primary content is the actual sport/game itself, we fantasy football nuts spend a massive chunk of time looking at stats, arguing over rules, making trades with other players, paying for services, and buying every channel that Directv will offer us for pro, college and any other kind of football. As more of us non Gen Y folks take control of our entertainment experience, whether it is through things like fantasy sports or other things, we will continue to see and understand that media is undergoing an unparalleled paradigm shift where the users are in charge.

My.MP3 launch video

Sander sent me this link to a page where the video of the My.MP3 launch is memorialized. Shawn has a couple of appearances in the video.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Anti-Telemarketing Script

Lifehacker linked to this script to use when telemarketers call you. This is one of the funniest things I have seen in a while.

Regarding Operating Systems

I spend some percentage of my time trying new things in technology. For example right now I am spending some time with the Cingular 8125 Windows Mobile Device. It is always hard to overcome the bias you get from being wedded to a way of doing things. I really like how Symbian works and have to figure out how to not let that bias color my impression of Windows mobile.

Although most of my experimentation has been around mobile devices and related web based technologies, my recent purchase of a Mac Mini for home has given me a recent renewed interest in operating systems. As a bought in Windows user for the last 10+ years, it never occurred to me to spend any time looking at operating systems as new versions rolled out.

My previous experiment with operating systems goes back to around 1994. I had an earlier computer phase back in high school and early college and then took a long break from computers until around 94. In 1994 I decided that I was going to build a computer and try out some different operating systems such as Slackware. My initial impression of Slackware was that it was interesting but I hit some pretty nasty problems trying to configure PPP so I ultimately punted on the experiment.

This time around, the breathtaking look and usability of OS X piqued my interest to see what else is out there. I had installed Windows Vista on my old broken down laptop and it has performed well. It really is a nice improvement from XP but it feels more incremental than an overhaul. I am guessing that when you use it day to day that it might feel a little different but right now it is hard to say.

On my Mac Mini I installed Parallels to run Windows XP in a virtual machine and I have to say that I have only fired it up a couple of times. I have found that most of the things that I do are net related and haven't required invoking my windowness to get things done.

With all the niceness and coolness coming from my Mac, I asked around the office about how far Linux has come. Ben showed me the Linux GUI XGL which, simply put, is insane. Seriously insane. I tried to make a run at using it on my old home computer (1999 Gateway Pentium 3) to no avail. I then tried a plain vanilla install of Ubuntu and also Open SUSE using a wireless network card. Wireless isn't all it's cracked up to be on Linux.

Today I finally gave up and dragged the old beast over to an Ethernet connection. Once there I got Ubuntu up and running and plan on giving it the rounds here and there in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Two weeks ago I read a newspaper article about people using the Internet to search for their family tree. In the article they gave much praise to I hadn't spent much time looking at my family tree in the past as there were a number of gaps that I hadn't desired or been able to walk through.

My father and my mother divorced when I was two years old. Although they were divorced he was stationed almost always on the west coast which meant he was around a lot. My father's sister had tracked back the Oien family to Norway back to the early 1700s which I thought was really impressive. As of the last time I checked they hadn't done that on his mother's side. Their family name was Venn. I need to give her a call and get some details.

On my mother's side there were two branches, one of which I knew and one which I didn't. The one I knew went back to Mexico fairly quickly and then presumably went to Spain. My great grandmother, who I spent a large amount of time with growing up had the maiden name of Castillo. Other family names were Figueroa and Valdespino. My mother's father was estranged from our side of the family by my mother's choice if I recall.

So I sat down with a trial account of Ancestry and a couple of family names going back. I won't bore you with any more details about my family but I will say that the tools that are available are amazing. ESPECIALLY the census data. I was checking census records back to the 1860s which blew me away.

When I sat down I thought that my family was all Norwegian on one side, and then a mix of Spanish, German, Irish and English on the others. In reality I ended up realizing that I am 1/2 Norwegian, 1/4 Irish, and 1/8th Spanish and 1/8 Swedish. Not what I expected. I managed to track back every side out of the country, with most branches going in the 1880s and one branch going back to the 1850s (Irish potato famine refugee I assume). I did this in 2 hours. I don't plan on going beyond that our getting all the details together but when I do decide to do that I know that there are some amazing tools online today.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Facebook APIs

Marc Canter reports that Facebook has opened up APIs for developers. Woot! You can find the developer information here. Looks like there is some work to be done. As Marc says, expect others like Myspace to open up as well. I am not sure that this will happen quickly given their market position but it will certainly act as a point of differentiation if they don't.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Rabble Integration Manager Revamp - Flickr and Spaces

Last weekend we pushed out significant changes to our integration manager on Rabble. What is the integration manager? Our not so well named integration manager allows Rabble users to publish content between the mobile and web environment in either or both directions. Our first cut, while functional was a bit clunky. The new changes make the process of setting up your accounts a lot more easy than it used to be and it also sets us up for the changes we will be making when we roll out version 2.0 of Rabble mobile and web in the near future.

A really cool part of this rollout for me was the addition of Flickr and MSN/Live Spaces. Flickr had taken us a long time to get permission and now that we have it I can use the 1400+ photos I have on Flickr with Rabble. Here is a screenshot of setup screens.

With these rollouts we currently support - Blogger, Live Journal, Movable Type, Typepad, Webshots, Flickr, Zoto, Eventful,, Travelpod and MSN/Live Spaces. More to come soon.


I have robots on the brain right now. I blame Tate. This weekend we were at Circuit City and I glanced over that the robot section with Tate. Right next to the Robosapien were two different models of the Roomba.

I had heard people talk about the Roomba but had never seen one in person until I was at SXSW at the Lifehacker party. When we walked into the bar where they were having the party I glanced over at the pool table and on top of it were two modified Roombas dueling. It was quite a strange sight, not unlike two giant roaches in a courtship dance. It smacked just a bit of Survival Research Labs.

At any rate I bought the Red Roomba to see how it worked. So far so good.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I am working on another post about my current fascination with operating systems and old computers that is borne out of my switch to the Mac and my re-provisioning two old computers to run Windows Vista and Ubuntu.

In the process of spending a little time at night tinkering with these things I was inspired to dig out the copy of Make magazine that I received at Gnomedex. What a great magazine! I subscribed.

In the issue I have (#6) there is a good section on robots. I think that the BEAM robot materials are just fascinating and if I can learn to use a soldering iron I may build some to play with my son. While looking around briefly and trying to understand the lay of the land I came across the new Lego Mindstorms NXT system of robotics. Wow. Super cool. I want one of these. I think I need to go get one...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Zamboni Machine Driver

This morning when I was driving me son Tate to pre-school he called out to me in the front seat.


"Yeah" I said.

"When I grow up, I want to go to an ice skating rink and I want to drive a Zamboni."

"Yeah? That's pretty cool."

"Yeah, when I grow up I want to be a Power Ranger and I want to drive a Zamboni machine"

"Well Tate when you grow up, you can be whatever you want. If you want to drive a Zamboni, I think that's cool."

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

San Diego MoMeMo

I spaced out the inaugural MoMeMo event in San Diego last month but plan on being at the next one which is on August 21 at 6:30 PM at Estancia. If you are in San Diego and are into mobile come and check it out.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Geekd in our office sent an email out about the site TurnHere that has short films about various neighborhoods and communities for people to watch. I love this idea and it reminds me a bit of what the guys at Videonary are doing. My community of Cardiff is featured here.

The AOL Data Leak and Attention

The Attention Trust Blog reports some of the details of the AOL user data leak in this post here. Imagine if everything you ever searched for on Google, Yahoo, MSN or AOL became available to people. Looking up old friends? Searching for some ahem something you shouldn't be? Are you trying to lose weight? (I am). Etc. etc.

What I have discovered since installing the Attention Recorder on my browser is that there are times when I stop myself and hit the pause button before I continue on to the next site. This awareness becomes even more important when you think not only of the personal things you do but also the competitive or business related things you do. I have a badge on the right hand side of this blog that shows a list of the top sites I clicked on and the gainers and losers. VCs? Competitors? Business Partners? It's easy to get a sense of what one is doing with click data. Installing the recorder has allowed me to become more cognizant of the power of that information. It has also made me even more cognizant of all the data the various portals have on my combined surfing history going back a long time. I think at some point a lot of people are going to wake up to this and start becoming more vocal in word and deed about how information about them is collected and how they can take control of that information.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I Went Apple / Mac

I can't believe that I am writing this. If you had told me a year ago that I would buy a Mac I would have told you that you were insane. I frequently referred to Mac's as computers for people who don't like computers. But Saturday morning there I was walking into the Apple store to buy a Mac Mini. What sort of strange series of things had occurred to make this surreal event happen?

There were a number of things over the last year that happened that made me make the commitment involved in learning a new OS and all the things associated with it. To recap, the following things occurred:

1. Video Conferencing - My father in law has been pinging me for many years now about setting up web cams for him to talk to our son Tate. I have constantly been telling him that the quality just isn't there. Earlier this year, we installed a Mac Mini in our office to video conference in our Seattle and Montana based employees. When I was told that we were going to conference people in via video, I thought it would be a big waste of time. What it has been though is simply amazing. At any given time I can stroll over to the Mac mini in our office and plop down and start a conversation with one of our remote employees. And it is REALLY REALLY good.

2. Intel Core - Our home computer has been a real workhorse and I am embarrassed to say that Jessica bought the top of the line home PC in early 1999 and we are still using it today. I mean, as of yesterday. When I spoke with our Systems guy, who is a Mac fan, he walked me through how I can use both the Mac OS and Windows XP on the Mac Mini. I have been charged with getting a new home computer but one of the key requirements was that Jessica wouldn't have to learn a new OS. No computer had really gotten me excited until now. With the new machine I set up last night, we can easily switch between the Mac and Windows world.

3. iTunes Buy In - I took the leap and digitized all my CD collection over the last six months as I have been using the Shuffle when I run.

4. Geek Buy In - All the geeks in my office are big fans of the Mac as it supports UNIX. If they can be into the Mac then I know my time to look at it is here.

So it's still early for me, but I can tell you that I m really excited and look forward to the new computing experience in the months ahead. I am sure there will be some god stories as I settle in.

Friday, August 04, 2006 liquidation photos

It's funny that people just resurrected the photos from the liquidation sale that can be found here. His editorial reflects a lack of understanding of the context of the business but I think it's hilarious.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Michael Goldhaber Presentation

Earlier today I spent a little time walking through the presentation that Michael Goldhaber gave at a recent conference that you can find linked to from his most recent post here. I continue to find his materials compelling and certainly a different perspective on what we have been thinking for a while in the development of our company. If you have any interest in the Attention Economy this is a must read.

VMix in USA Today

Local pals and former alums Vmix were mentioned in this piece here in the USA Today.

PSP 2.8 Upgrade

Last night I noticed that PSP firmware 2.8 became available. There are a number of minor features but the biggest one is adding RSS support for video. I was unable to get Rocketboom or Ze Frank working but figure it must be user error.

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Mo List -

Shawn and I share an office. It's kind of small and we have this really junkie table piled high with junk and mail on it where we set our laptops and do work when we aren't traveling. The other day Shawn remarked how there isn't anything in the mobile industry like the Pho list. We talked about it for a while and agreed that a Pho list in mobile would be something that would be fun to participate in.

The Pho list, for those of you who don't know was/is a digital music mailing list that was ground zero for digital music discussion during the late 90s through today. I still subscribe although I haven't posted in probably a year. When something ground breaking or controversial was happening in digital music, the discussion happened on Pho. It wasn't always pretty, and there certainly were a variety of characters who either participated or lurked. I recall posting something once and then getting an email from a label executive who told me I should be careful about what I posted because everyone reads the Pho list. I thought that was hilarious but it really spoke to what Jim Griffin and John Parres did in gathering the various tribes that make up digital music.

When we started Intercasting in 2004 the only thing that resembled Pho was the Unwired list that John Parres and Hal Bingham set up. The Unwired list, and I believe the Pho list currently, is a closed list. Although having to read the random postings of everybody and their brother on the Pho list was occasionally annoying, it really created a meeting place for everyone. The Rabble if you will. If you didn't like it you could leave. I personally have been reading the Pho list for I believe 7 years now. Annoying or not. To me it doesn't have the value it once had, but it still has a lot of the people I find interesting and the topics are important to a variety of media types and digital music heads.

I am not sure why but for whatever reason the Unwired list isn't anything like Pho. I suppose that one could argue that the conversations have migrated out to the various mobile blogs and other gathering places but the problem with that is that there isn't a place for a community conversation per se where everyone can speak up etc.

So with great nods to John, Jim and Hal we bought a domain and set up a list server at You can go to that URL and sign up and get yourself added to the mailing list. Alternatively you can send an email to .

It is our hope that we can get some of the various characters, players and geniuses of the mobile world to get together and have some open conversations. And maybe there will be some good heated discussions. And maybe we can get Russell Beattie to sign up so he may occasionally opine on all things mobile since he isn't blogging anymore. At any rate, come on in and check it out. You can always unsubscribe.

US Cyworld is live

I didn't see or hear anything about it until a friend mentioned it today. Sign up at

I haven't spent anytime with it yet so I don't have any feedback.

12th Anniversary

Yesterday my wife Jessica and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. I owe my success to her love and support especially over the last two plus years while we have been getting the company off the ground and juggling the things in life that come when you unexpectedly end up with triplets.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Message from a Rabbler...

While taking a peek at some posts on Rabble earlier today, I ran into the following post that had me laughing really hard. Kind of.

this is a test transmission from the year 3018AD, it is intended to be a warning transmission, due to the intricacies of electronic space time travel, this is a reproduction of 1 trillion messages, and it is hoped that a member of the human population is now reading this,you may see this message elsewhere and in another time, infer only the aforementioned in this case. this message is intended for the whole of the human population, for it is the whole of the human populations existence that is in jeopardy, this messages point of origin is extraterrestrial in nature, we have detected the self inflicted nuclear destruction of your planet, physical laws of the universe bar the possibility of ever being able to transfer mass through time, and as such we will be unable to save you from destruction. it is sincerely hoped that you will receive this transmission, and be able to avert what ever accident has lead to your destruction, with that hope, we look forward to greeting you in the future.

Helio Review

I read a pretty good Helio review in the Washington Post today that you can see here. On whole it appeared pretty balanced but I think he missed the UI of the handset which I think is a big plus.

Quien es mas macho? or Microsoft

Over the weekend when I was reading my clips, I saw a link to this Business Week article that you can read here. While scanning the article I came upon this quote from Greg Wilfahrt (Our former PR guy at until after the Vivendi acquisition):

"Besides, these social networks, typically catering to 18- to 35-year-olds, could make additional money off the ringtones, games, and music downloads this demographic favors. "We could be bigger than Microsoft," contends Greg Wilfahrt, co-founder of Clearly, that's a bit of an overstatement, even if's sales have been growing 50% a quarter for the past two years."

I am betting that Microsoft isn't too concerned about just yet. :-)

Friday, July 21, 2006

NCAA 2007 - OMG

This is the most amazing thing I have ever seen on my PSP. I haven't played with it much but I got some time on the plane. My gaming interests are pretty specific. FPS, football and occasionally some other sports games, and strategy. I haven't had anything yet that blew me away on the PSP. NCAA 2007 does that. I am not sure if Madden 2006 was a bad port of the PS2 to the PSP but it was not a good experience in general. It had lagginess and had that notorious bug that wrecked all your presets. Occasionally I had Japanese characters pop up. How cool. Not.

NCAA 2007 is a stand alone kick ass football game. Hands down. If you haven't had the reason to get a PSP yet, and you have any interest whatsoever in sports gaming, you now have a reason. As a side note, that game registration site still isn't letting me in. Frown.

Google WiFi

Been traveling and have been meaning to post but have been too busy. One quick thing though. I was in SF for a couple of days this week and stayed at a hotel overlooking Union Square. Before I fork over my $14 to Starwood for Ethernet, I like to browse the local wi-fi networks. Once in a while you get lucky. This time what to my surprise on the top but Google Wifi. Nice. It had a great signal but for some reason I couldn't connect and Starwood took my money anyways. It got me thinking a lot about how different things will be when there is broad based availability of free wifi to everyone. Lots of implications and opportunities.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

EA - A Little Help With QA on NCAA 2007 Please!

I love EA. I think they are the best publisher of games in the world. Larry Probst was on our board at and I thought he was a great board member. I know a couple of other people there who are super high quality people. Demanding. Winners.

I am so addicted to their football franchise that I went out tonight and grabbed the inaugural version of NCAA 2007 Football for the PSP. I must add that the NCAA Football franchise is without question the BEST football gaming platform ever. Madden may be more well known but NCAA takes the cake hands down.

The packaging for the PSP was great and while flipping through the document I came to the registration page on the back where I was prompted to register and get cheat codes and other stuff. Tired, but eager to make sure that I maximize my game playing experience, I go to the website and run into the screen above. At step 1, I can't register my game. Done. End of story. The game not listed here link is of no help and basically tells me that I might have made a mistake on platform or game name. Or your QA staff or website production staff didn't make the necessary updates. So please fix that, I need some cheats, fast.

I can't wait to see how this year's version plays out!

The Hub - Walmart's Myspace Alike Site

Walmart rolled out The Hub recently, which is a Myspace alike site. Given all the uproar over public safety and profanity, Walmart is uniquely positioned to create a kinder safer Myspace alike given their reach into the pockets of so many Americans. The question is, will the cool kids hang out there?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sidekick III - Review

Actually review is probably the wrong title for this post. It's really more impressions and thoughts.

So my new Sidekick...

Let me start by saying that I think the Sidekick/Hiptop is one of the ultimate devices. I carry around 7 devices in my bag at all times and there are two that I use all day long, the P910 and the Sidekick. The p910 is my primary communication device as well as email. The Sidekick is my mobile web browser and IM client. It may be unique, but that's how I am configured. I say this to illustrate that I am not a typical Sidekick owner and that there are a number of features on the Sidekick III that don't hit my radar. With that in mind let me give the following good/bad and summary.

The Good.

-1.3 Megapixel camera.

-The overall general industrial design is clean and has some wow gadget feel. The previous version looked a bit Fisher Price (Although I admit that I liked it personally).

-Integrated Instant Messaging. All of the Instant Messaging platforms supported are accessed through one place on the device.

-Edge. I have noticed quicker speeds but I have also been having some intermittent connecivity issues that are probably network related.

-Migration. I moved the SIM from one device to the next and everything was there. Email etc. This was very impressive. I have never had a smoother move.

The Bad.

-The keyboard. I have big sausage sized fingers that worked really well with the old device. I haven't had too many problems with the new keyboard but it certainly is not my preference between the two.

-Swivel action. My old device seemed to have a slightly smoother open action. The new device seems like I am going to break something with the "clack"noise it makes when it opens now.


In general the move from the II to the III felt like an incremental upgrade for me. Keep in mind that I am not using it as a phone so Blue Tooth doesn't help me. I am not playing music on it and haven't tried that out yet.

If you are new to the Sidekick I think you are going to dig it. If you are upgrading I think that in general you will be pleased but you will probably have some nits depending on what you do with the device. After waiting a long time for this device I can only say that still it is one of my most favorite devices and I can't wait to see what Danger comes up with next.

Windows Vista Beta 2

At Gnomedex, attendees were given a copy of Windows Vista Beta 2. I generally stay away from Beta versions of Microsoft software but having an old laptop lying around (That has really sound technical specs) I decided to give it a go.

The laptop in question had a bunch of old family stuff on it including pics, music, and most importantly several years worth of emails. The laptop had a power issue that caused the computer to die if you hit the power cord. It didn't happen often, but enough to put some pretty good hurt on the OS. After some massive slowdowns and some OS not found errors (That eventually recovered) I decided to move onto my current laptop.

I did all the usual backup things and somewhere on a hard drive I have pretty much all of the stuff that was there in the past. With that in mind I felt it was safe to proceed. Note I didn't have everything but let's just say 90%.

I started on the upgrade path for Vista. I will spare you the details but will give some highlights:

-Lots of drivers don't work (This wasn't a surprise)

-The UI is beautiful and it seems like in general the OS is more responsive than XP

-I lost everything (As I said before I had it backed up but I would occasionally pull the beast out to find an old email address. That won't be happening ever again)

-The OS diagnoses problems and in fact claims that there is a bunch wrong with my current installation that includes both driver issues as well as OS issues. That's kind of funny, sort of like Windows telling on itself. I like that concept.

As I did with XP, I won't install Vista on any device that doesn't come pre-installed. I will probably upgrade devices sometime within 6 months after Vista goes live though. It looks like there are a lot of cool new features especially around collaboration that I look forward to using. I am trying to get my head around the Windows Live stuff but have to admit that I am a bit put off by the credit card requirement no matter what version you are using. I may break down and give them one this week but in general find that a more intimate relationship than I would care to have with a software vendor.

Friday, July 14, 2006

PSP Software Upgrade 2.71

I just noticed that PSP software Upgrade 2.71 became available. The two main features are Game Demo downloads and improved video display on Location Free. NCAA 2007 is coming out for the PSP in 5 days. I can't wait! Football season must be on the way.