Thursday, September 30, 2004

Clusty categories

Playing with Clusty, the new search engine that groups results in clusters and am delighted to find out it has tabs for gossip and shopping (powered by Biz Rate), as well as an encyclopedia tab that features Wikipedia. The service allows you to add additional tabs for eBay, blogs and some other things, and to build your own searches, specify your sources from a list, and add then as custom tabs.
Only issue is that some of the data looks a little funky--Richard Avedon's stroke ended up in a list with AJ McClean and the Beastie Boys, somehow...but hey, it's beta.
(Oh, and by the way, the logo is wonderful--looks like a retro hipster/trucker hat patch.)

Dylan speaks

"..Privacy is something you can sell, but you can't buy it back."
--Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Vol.1, Simon & Schuster, 2004
(Via Newsweek)

Help wanted: AOL to launch teen radio

Came across this today:
JOB DESCRIPTION: RED, America Online's service for more than 5 million teens, is seeking two NYC-based DJs to develop and host their own shows -- each a live, unique program targeted to a young, hip, music-crazy online audience aged 13-17.
State-of-the-art studio located at exciting and interactive Times Square location. Successful candidates will have peerless knowledge of teen culture and teen music. Credibility with and respect for teen audience is imperative. We're looking for a sharp & cool older sibling type that will play the music teens want and also let them know about even cooler music that exists just outside of the MTV playlist. Males: think Jon Stewart meets Carson Daly. Females: Tina Fey meets Maria Menounos.
Shows will be webcast live seven days a week for 4 hours a day.
DJs will alternate doing three and four days a week. On-air self-operating experience a must, but lack of a lengthy resume not a dealbreaker.
We're looking for talent first, followed by ambition, charisma and self-sufficiency. Production experience a must.
In addition to on-air hosting and prepping format for 4-hour daily live show, production responsibilities will include: maintaining playlist, wrangling and processing listener requests, interfacing with AOL Music and AOL Integrity Assurance, booking and preinterviewing guests, soliciting giveaway prizes, managing technicalrelationships with AOL audio streaming department, working with AOL Press to secure promotion in national media.
This is an amazing chance for recent or soon-to-be grad or someone who's been "paying his/her dues" at entry-level to get on air.
SKILLS:Comfort/ability to conduct on-site and pre-recorded celeb interviewsWorking knowledge of ProTools, Sound Forge, AudioVAULT or similar edit/braodcast hardwareFamiliarity with broadcast digital audio equipment (automated non-digital board, managing/
TO APPLY:Interested candidates can apply via e-mail to (include links to air checks if you have themposted online, or attach mp3's). Alternately, send a hard copy of resume, references, and audition reel to RED Radio, 22265 Pacific Blvd., Dulles, VA 20166.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Ecommerce: Site search drives sales at PacSun

Internet Retailer has an interview with Stacy Clark, director of e-commerce at Pacific Sun, a teen clothing chain, explaining how Atomz-powered site search is driving sales on the PacSun site. Apparently, the more detailed, ranked search results permit a level of discovery that has translated into a 25-50% pop in sales. I'd like to know if PacSun's done any site surveys exploring how this level of control over search results has affected teen buying habits. Are the increased sales coming from established buyers, typically over 18 and with their own credit cards--or is this level of discovery pushing more teens to grab the 'rents' cards and transact on the spot? If the latter is true, does this mean that providing a free Froogle search layer across ecommerce sites could also drive increased sales? Inquiring minds would like to know.

Will the earth shatter?

Is anyone besides Stephen Saban terrified that California's about to have a series of earthquakes? Is the earth gearing up for the big one? Ugh.

Bill Day named CEO at When U

Just when you thought the search field was maturing, something new happens(thank god!). WhenU, a "desktop advertising network"similar to Claria--has just named former CEO Bill Day as their CEO. Bill is not only a smart guy, he's one of the people who formed Sprinks, now a part of Google, which in turn spun off the new Kanoodle. Althought this is starting to sound positively bibical, it means WhenU merits watching...

When media mavens marry

NY Magazine editor Chris Lehmann, on his 4 and 1/2 year marriage to Anne Marie Cox, aka Wonkette: "Our marriage proves that you can talk slutty and still be a devoted spouse."
(Via Richard Lieby, WashPo)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Politics & the Net: Free online discussion this Tuesday

There's a free online discussion on The Impact of Participatory Media on Election 2004 happening this Tuesday, October 5, 2004 from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. Eastern U.S. Time
Brought to you by The Media Center, a think tank examining the intersection of media, technology and society, this public webcast focuses on the impact of new technologies and participatory media on the Nov. 2 U.S. election.
Join bloggers, cable news, and print journalists to discuss the transformation in information flow and the rise in grassroots activism demonstrated during this election.
Participants include Markos of DailyKos, Retha Hill from BET, the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin, and Jehmu Green, prez of rock the vote . Jason Calcanis is the host.
I am dreaming that Dave Winer and Dan Gillmor are in the audience, along with many others who have much to say. Maybe you?
Register here.

The earth moved: 6.0 Cali quake

The porch shook...sideways...and again.
I sat up. It kept shaking.
'Just like last time. It's an earthquake,' I told myself.
And it was.
6.0 on the Richter scale, epicenter near Pasa Robles.

Multichannel media: Rugrats and Spiderman jump the track

Nick Records, a new music brand for kids and tweens, is the new child of Viacom's Nickelodeon and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Now that the Olsen twins are all grown up, there's money to be made mining hit shows like Dora the Explorer and Rugrats until the next tween sensation is created. Great minds must think alike, because Marvel and Meredith Publishing have also publish a series of kids books based on Marvel Classics. If you've ever wished your baby could have a story book with
the sounds "Ouch" "Yow" and "Argggh" embedded, this may be your chance.

Wireless fun: OGO

AT&T just launched this new wireless messaging device called the OGO.
Infosync says: "Targeted at the youth and enthusiast market, the OGO includes a multi-IM client that supports the AIM, MSN, and Yahoo instant messaging protocols as well as SMS messaging. It also includes an integrated e-mail client that supports any POP3 account and can connect to AOL, MSN, and Yahoo mail systems for a monthly fee. The device includes a unified inbox for both incoming instant messages and emails. "
Here's a pix:
Isn't it cute? And only $69 after a $30 rebate. Anyone have one yet? I am definitely tempted.

Copy this: BBC Newstracker

Finally! BBC News has begin to integrate news and blog feeds along side published stories. Drawing on feed from Moreover,the staff's created a box to run with specific articles labeled From other news sites.

Robert Andrews has a nice writeup of the new product, called Newstracker, and Heibo Hebig takes note as well.
The BBC's model of complementing their product and user experience by linking out is a model that everyone in the online information business should look at closely.
The BBC implementation shows one aspect of the power of syndication/RSS/XML and suggests ways that content can be repackaged dynamically with timeliness, influence, and relevance as factors.
American publishers: How about some news entities be as brave as CNET and the BBC and open up your news experience using the new search & directory tools? Why not try giving the engaged audience what they want and adding some (additional) value to your online products?
This is what intelligent users want--and if you don't provide it, they will spend less time on your site so they can get it elsewhere.
Anyone who wants to talk about this, contact me. I'm obsessed.

Monday, September 27, 2004

More ecommerce

Paul Kedrosky on Watchcow, a service that tracks price-changes at Amazon on wish-list items and then syndicates it back via RSS. (Susan says: So,where's the eBay version--you need an open API, doncha?)
Neiman Marcus has a new SVP for strategy and multichannel--Steven Dennis, from Sears.
Social Networking Auction: launches a new aution site with a social network twist--buyers and sellers are joined in a Business Network with eBay like ratings and the ability to invite friends.
Moreover opens up RSS feeds to public--with ads inserted.

Anthony Townsend: Imagining the ubiquitous city

Via Howard Rheingold, links to a talk by NYU-based Fulbright Scholar Anthony Townsend on "the ubiquitous city," a Korean vision of city life that is "efficient, convenient, safe and achieved through deployment of mobile, wireless and broadband technologies."
Townsend says that Korea is a leader in creating new online social spaces and explains how a networked city will move virtual experiences offline and into the physical world. He identifies privacy as one issue to deal with, and wonders how ubiquitous computing--which is what this is--changes the value of urban spaces, particularly in Seoul. His preso is easy to read, has great graphics and is--compelling and smart.
Definitely want to learn more.

Sunday dinner

Baby lettuce salad with garlic/mustard dressing
Grilled masala wild salmon filets
Roasted asparagus with parmesan
Roasted endive with blue cheese
Cibiatta bread w/ butter
*Real* baked potatoes (as in the oven)
Apple brown betty with fresh raspberries and cinnamon and Mexican chocolate ice cream.
(Note: Our friends J &G from NY are in the Bay area for a few days, and we had a chance to make them dinner: It was good. )

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Noted: Ecommerce

Reuters: Will shopping comparison engines spike retailer's winter holiday sales?, and offer price-conscious consumers a way to grab deals.
Merc News: Daily Candy launches SF edition; leads as weekly regional shopping guide.
Froogle SEO: Somacon launches new service to get merch into site. offers similar (new) tool for additional shopping portals.
Yeald, DE: Excellent piece on how Amazon is committed to becoming the web's best multi-channel retail enabler, server and platform for everyone who is tracking and participating in e-commerce.
Metrowest Daily: TJMaax now selling merch online...but where's their web site?
Albany Times Union: Cafepress is home to lots of political bumperstickers--all for sale.
Entrepeneur: The October issue features a solid piece on ecommerce and preparing your site for holiday buyers. Quotes from Donna Hoffman (remember her?) at Vanderbilt.

The Media Circus

Aussie paper: Britney Spears is telling friends she's pregnant. Oy.
Newsweek: Excerpt from HIP: THE HISTORY, new book on hipness from former Details editor John Leland doesn't seem that cool.
Seattle Times: On-demand book publishers help authors get the word out.
E&P: Steve Outing notices that Craig's List is trouncing online newspaper classifieds. Uh. Duh. When will online news publishers stop whining and just improve their products to serve wired audiences?
LA Times: So-called edgy bloggers, recommended. Not.

One last Yom Kippur insight

It's not enough to care about family and friends-- have compassion for those you do not like, as well.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Thoughts for the Holiday

Tonight is the start of Yom Kippur.
One of the principles of Yom Kippur is to ask forgiveness of people you have wronged.
I've always felt this was a good exercise, but I kind of shied away from really having to tell some of the people with whom I'd been less than stellar with that I was sorry.
This year, I'm in either a more reckless or honest frame of mind, so I would like to use this post to apologize to anyone (everyone) to whom I was a major pain, irritating, impatient, or a poor listener during the past year.
Spencer and Zack, you are the best! Nancy, Ralph, Sidney and Amy, I am blessed to have you in my life.

The A to the G: Amusing redesign

How could I miss this hysterical item from Anil Dash (via Liz Lawley)

Dave does DRM and the big guys don't get it

Dave Weinberger goes to New York to talk with senior folk in the Entertainment and Media section of a World Economic Forum meeting this past Tuesday and reports back: When it comes to digital rights and online distribution, the big guys don't get it.
Quick quote:
"Sure, there will be sophisticated hacks and analog holes and guys in back alleys with soldering irons who'll remove the hardware restrictions so your kid can include a snippet of a movie in her social studies paper. But that's exactly what losing looks like.
Depressed? You betcha. But then I think: That's why G-d put Canada right there to our north. "
Full post and good discussion on his site.

Google news and the objective algorithm

JD Lasica's got a story on OJR this week questioning whether the Google news algorithms somehow squew to the right.
The conclusion? Google New's organizing principles may favor the search terms used by smaller media, who more often write about John Kerry (as opposed to Kerry). Lasica also looks at the human-edited Yahoo News, which has a small, focused team managing the output, and lets those folks have the last work. Says Yahoo News Product Manager Jeff Birkeland: "It would be extremely challenging to write a program that catches up to what we're able to do on a daily basis."
Conclusion: John Henry wins. No journalist will ever agree that a machine could do a better job--and why should they?

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Is there a Google browser?

Evidence that Google does indeed have a browser in development is piling up bigtime and bloggers are going nuts.
Anil points to a Kottke post that shows Google registered the domain this past April, and a Blogzilla post posits that recent hires would certainly provide the talent to launch a browser, a theory detailed in a recent BBC story.
Assumption, of course, is that that excellent open source Mozilla code would be key.
Robert Scoble's interesting comment: "I'm expecting something bigger than a browser..."

It's tempting to think bloggers are uncovering evidence of Google plans, but the reality is that a large--and wealthy--company like Google can afford to do all sorts of neat development projects and support meetings and seminars for nonprofits such as and The Media Center without it meaning that they're launching browsers or media web sites anytime soon.

On the other hand, we all know that Google is systematically building a complete user experience and that it's just a matter of time before the web and the desktop are unified through some cool new app they launch.

So this browser news feels right, even if the product in development turns out to be something different.

Mrs. Federline: Spiritually married?

So Britney and Kevin aren't really married--yet--but Britney says ".."in a real sense, a spiritual sense, we're married. We're just following our lawyer's advice."
What is this with celebs and fake weddings?
First Brandy Norwood had fake nuptials, a spiritual marriage--and a baby--and now Britney's fakin' it.

Shopping: Back to school, online

Books, clothing, and schoolsupplies were the big categories for students shopping online as they headed back to school this fall, according to Claria's Sales of clothes(54 percent) were up almost 20 percent over last year's figures and book purchases(62 percent) were up 5 percent.
Stories from Internet Retailer and iMedia included these nuggets:
--Textbook shopping saw an 89 percent increase from June to August 2004 with taking the lead as the most popular Web site for textbooks/books. was the most popular apparel Web site for consumers with 44 percent surveyed answering that they bought or were planning to buy clothes from Second and third in the clothing category were and
--In school supplies, led with 22.2 percent of the total category traffic.
Most importantly, while not all kids are buying online, 63% in the study said they turned to the web for pricing information or research on a product.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Do you use Scoop?

Anyone out there using Scoop?
I'm doing a project for a nonprofit and am exploring platforms--the ideal system for their needs would have aspects of both a blog and a wiki.
Any thoughts on difficulty to maintain? Strengthens and weaknesses? I've emailed some folks who use it, but if anyone else has info to share, please do so.
Anything else we should look at?
Advice and ideas welcome.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Noted: Media news

YM is for sale. Should be a good acquisition for another player in the teen girl category.
The Wall Street Journal Online and announced an agreement to integrate content into each other's subscription sites. This is a shrewd way for CR, which does not take advertising, to expand its revenue and user base.
Wikipedia: Wikipedia has one million articles! They say that nearly 2,500 new articles are added to Wikipedia each day and that Alexa reports it as one of the most popular web sites (not that Alexa's data is so sound). Like Craig's List, the Wikipedia is going to have a strong impact on established media--just watch.
Media Week: American Media's launching a shopping magazine--to be edited by Victoria Gotti (okay, not really).
Shopology: Another luxy mag for NYers planned. Is this YASM (yet another shopping mag?)
Via Paid Content: Newsgator CEO comes from Ziff Davis.

Monday, September 20, 2004 does portal deal with

In a sign that the next generation of search and directory is rapidly growing up comes the news that is announcing a portal deal with Ask Jeeves tomorrow am. Ask Jeeves will integrate search results and incorporate their search algorithms, providing the site with a richer data set of local news.

Koan: Deep fried oreos

Julie Leung couldn't get off the island (literally, perhaps) so she made deep fried oreos with her girls.
Shows what a meaningful community we have--the Oreo meme goes from one another..and onward...probably right into the NY Times food section.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Briterati, redux

Britney got married this weekend.
Great satiric piece on MSNBC, pix on stereogum.
These two will never be boring...not till the novelty wears off, at least.
Monday update: Do you want to read scornful articles with trashy photos and great, ridiculous details (like what the letter on the back of the bridal party's tracksuits said?)
If yes, click here, here, here, here and here.

New and noteworthy is building out their categories and content bundles--check out their Gadgets feed, and the new education hierarchy(this is great!). The home page has some tweaks, too.
--Firefox is out and getting tons of downloads. I haven't spent enough time with it, but my Mozilla bud, Rafael Ebron, is proud. Live bookmarks sound very useful.
--The Newspaper Association of America has released the findings from a study called Targeting Teen Consumers. Intended for newspaper executives, it has good data for all of us interested in this audience.
Coastsider is a new(ish) local site for Montara, Half Moon Bay and other coastal towns south of San Francisco. Mediasavvy's Barry Parr runs the site.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Noted: Meaningless gossip

What do schlongs and salami's have in common? Al Goldstein, former porno king, who's just taken a host's job at the 2nd Ave Deli, according to Curbed.
Madonna has two commandments for the press covering her Israel trip: Wear white--and use no writing implements in the presence of the holy of holies!
Britney's belly: It's not that fried chicken and mac and cheese--the girl's incubatin', says The Sun.
WOW: David Meanix is the artist really behind Claire's art on Six Feet Under.

Just noticed Google Accounts integration with news alerts

Google's much speculated upon integration of services seems to have moved forward a step with the further integration of Google Accounts, a control center for those of us who subscribe to any combination of gmail, Google groups and Google search or news alerts.
Apparently, this new feature's been live for a week, but I was shocked when I tried to sign up for a news alert and Google immediately defaulted to my gmail account--not the place I'd planned to put it.
Clearly, the moment when gmail is the underpinning to link all the services together--including Blogger, Picasa, and Froogle--is coming closer., And that is going to make A LOT of people pay attention.
And if Google syndicates those services through partners--as they do with most established Google products--well, the thought is daunting in terms of their market domination and scale(not that it isn't huge already.)

Update: Commentators noted that Accounts is nothing new--Pamela Parker wrote this up in May, so I have changed this post from an earlier version.
What is new is that Google defaulted to my gmail account when I tried to fill out a news alert--two other bloggers commented on that in the past week, but that feature/integration doesn't seem like it was around before--anyone?

Big portals compete in music space

Somewhat naive but interesting piece in CrainsNY on the competition between AOL Music and Yahoo's music services. (Caught my interest because I worked at AOL and have some related experience.)
As Crain's points out, in recent months Yahoo has eclipsed AOL Music in a big way--AOL Music had 17.5 million unique users in July, according to ComScore Media Metrix, but Yahoo had 25.1 million uniques, a number they apparently reached, in part, through linking Launch Radio, part of their music product, to Yahoo Messenger's toolbar.
AOL, however, has a broader and more diverse set of products--and a variety of revenue streams from them. AOL has been working on building a strong music platform and strategy for the past 4 years, ever since Kevin Conroy came from BMG; for AOL marketers, music is one of the key benefits to retain AOL subscribers at 23.95 a month.
AOL's artist-focused products include First Look (new releases from known artists), Breakers(new and emerging artists--they helped break Michelle Branch in a big way), and Sessions@AOL (streamed and VOD shows and interviews). In addition, there is a strong streaming Radio product, a well-integrated music search and ecommerce offering, and pay for play music downloads.
AOL's sales teams have also focused on music and entertainment as powerful sales categories. Deals with Coke, Volvo, Doritos and American Express and Burger King have all been driven by strong AOL Music hooks. In addition, AOL's strong music product has brought in demographically focused music and entertainment advertising from Paramount, Universal and other studios. And, as Crain's points out, AOL Broadband--where Kevin Conroy moved last year to act as COO--has developed a whole new set of music products positioned as core to the Broadband offering.
Yahoo's Launch site has a similar set of offerings to AOL Music--radio, video, sample, purchase, search, buy. In some ways, it seems like a less robust offering--but it's free and open to all, whereas AOL Music's 17MM are a (hefty) subset of their subscriber base, with (some) additional users rolled in from their Netscape product. Furthermore, most of the risen in numbers has been driven by the integration of Launch Radio with Yahoo Messenger, which provided Messenger's 22MM users with easy access.

The big news here, however, is investment--which the Crain's piece NEVER mentions. Yahoo's purchase of MusicMatch this week shows they are serious about skin in this game--not only do they get the core base of 60MM current users--they get the third-most-popular destination for music in August, with 9.8 million visitors, according to Nielsen--And they get a store that can bolster them as they sell against Apple--another player Crains' reporter didn't focus on.

(BTW, for consistently through coverage of news in the digital music space, check out Paid Content--Rafat does an excellent job!)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Dept. of if you believe this: "Newspapers are the best ad medium"

Gavin O'Reilly, first vice-president of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), says: "Newspapers are simply the best advertising medium."
At the International Advertising Association's 39th World Congress in Beijing last Friday, O'Reilly told attendees, "The newspaper is the new mass-market medium," and called media analysts statements about newspaper's decline exaggerated.
This may be true in some countries, but it ain't true in the US, where newspapers are losing ad revenue and facing increasing production costs even as their 22-45 age audience wanders away to other media.

AOL Sports radio show launches

Just read that The Kicker--a live, daily radio sports show--is launching on AOL.
Also available for replay on demand, the show features live spots with star sports personalities such as HBO commentator Bob Costas and NASCAR driver Rusty Wallace(both work at TW connected properties, of course.)
Interestingly enough, the idea for this show started in development almost two years ago, back when AOL (briefly) revived AOL Live and began having huge success with their music program, Sessions.
Mernit comment: AOL may be big, but hey, they're still not nimble.

New: Search Engine Blog

SEO's Danny Sullivan's just launched Search Engine Blog. Why a blog? He writes: "About 130,000 people get ( the) newsletter, so the items are well seen. However, it takes a month to see them, and the newsletter format makes it difficult to reference an item you may want to share with others...(snip)...It's easier in my view to blog a news tidbit and not feel compelled to dive into an entire article about the subject. The format and style of blogging also lends itself to more informal reviews of topics and provides a more personal tone than a regular article allows."
(Via The River)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Off the record and Happy New Year

Spent much of yesterday at The Media Center's off-the-record seminar on monetizing the web, held at InfoWorld in San Fran. Would love to blog it, the record was the deal.

Today is the start of Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish New Year.
Happy holidays and best wishes to all who celebrate.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

(Google) Size Queens

Auren Hoffman's written a post about the fluctuation in Google data/results on his own name. Stowe Boyd responded with a post checking numbers on his name.
My first response to these entries is to compare my Google and Yahoo numbers to theirs to see whch of us has the most results--
Auren, everyone who reads your post is going to turn into a size queen first--and then think about the comments you're making!

Monday, September 13, 2004 revamp takes lessons from AOL Welcome Screen

The site redesign is rolling out in a beta test and looks like it's borrowed heavily from some of AOL's welcome screen refinements of the past 2 years.
--Flash content box/window with 5 different rotating features.
--Personalized medalist--taken from the My sites--integrated into the page.
--Extensive customization features: users can set high or low bandwidth, customize the page, edit modules, turn auto-rotation for flash features on/off
--Click and drag icons to add additional elements to page (this looks great!)
--Ability to click and collapse/extend page
--Clean, bright and easy to read interface with minimal clutter

CNET's got a story that emphasizes how AOL's tried portals--like, but always poured the $$ into their dial-up service.

This design looks good to me...let's see how they position the site once it launches.

Oh, and Weblogsinc launched their new templates/redesigns as well..

Sunday, September 12, 2004

5ive site and email working again

Update: Everything is working again.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

How true: Life in 2004

My friend Seth sends jokes and funny stories around. Just got this, on living in 2004
1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
19. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Thanks, Seth!

Noted: Links

Jason Chervokas, The Fear President: "Craven, despicable, transparent fear-mongering--that is what the Bush administration has finally resorted to in it's re-election campaign."
Su Charman, Strange Attraction: "Blogs are Tamagotchi."
Jim McGee, What disasters have to teach about organizations: "... More of our organizational life is coming to resemble crises in one form or another and that we need to incorporate that reality into our ways of working."
MediaPost Daily, Online classifieds for employment now bigger that offline--and still growing.
Engadget: Is Yahoo launching a consumer electronics line? Looks like yes.
Team Fishcake, Big Wet Doggie: This MPEG from a Brit comedy team is a bundle of fun. (Via b3ta)

In Memoriam

We remember.

9/11: Falling

New York Times piece yesterday on the people who fell--or jumped from the Towers on 9/11.
Sat on the plane back to California reading it and crying.
1,000 degree heat in the buildings.
Windows blown out.
You know the rest, but this article has a new level of (terrifying) detail.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

In search of: ad sales rep for blog

A friend is looking to turn her blog site into more of a business and would like to work with a top-notch salesperson who can sell ads onto her highly targeted and influential site.
Are you already selling blog or niche online ad space?
Would you like another blog property to add to your portfolio?
If yes, email me-smernit at aol dot com.
Resume and URLs appreciated; NY, LA, SF preferred locations.
(Note 1: My friend's site was launched this summer and already has about 30,000 unique visitors a month. Demos are upper-income, 55% female.)

Whine & Jeez

I'm not getting enough sleep this trip.
That means I behave as though I have jetlag, even if I don't.
--Blank on someone's last name the minute I have to introduce them to someone else--Did that twice today.
--Forget things-- I bought new clothes in a shop tonight and then left the bag on a NYC bus (never done that before)
--Feel irritable. Really irritable. Really, really--oh, shut up already! irritable.

Okay, enough whining. Back to work.

P.S. (12:30 am) : Just broke the bottle of perfume I got at the Shop Etc party. Jeez.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Google AdSense:

John Battelle tangles with the Google ad police.
Fred Wilson's blog (was) non-compliant as well.
Cory Doctorow comments: "It is a bad idea to put Google in charge of editorial decisions on your blog."
(Note: While the notion of a customer care person sending a rote letter about a minor violation is amusing, what makes it funny is that he sent it to John Battelle, big journo writing a book abut search. The fact I find this funny embarrasses me a little...The real point is that Google is so rigid they single out a blogger, not that they didn't recognize a well-known writer.)

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

NYC: Dinner with Dean

Had dinner tonight with Dean Landsman, whose blog I read but whom I didn't really know (in the real world). How did it go? Well, it was one of those times that exemplies how great the blogging world is--Dean and I had tons to talk about and got along so well we spent about 5 hours together--closed down the restaurant.
You see, meeting Dean was far more special than I could have known.
It turns out we went to school together 10,000 years ago!
It was a small private school on Long Island that was housed in an old Gold Coast mansion and catered to "smart kids." (We both knew it really catered to the parents of 'smart kids' checkbooks.) The odds of meeting anyone else who went to this now defunct, little school are small, but hey, a fellow blogger, really surprising. And with that old yearbook, everyone's name came back--and we could reminisce (okay, gossip) about them.
Of course we talked about ideas--ubiquitous computing and wireless broadband are Dean's current passions--along with blogging --and sushi. Best of all, Dean's a natural storyteller, whose weaving threads come back and hit the mark.
Fun evening.
Let's do it again, maybe with more blogfolk?

Monday, September 06, 2004

In New York, can't sleep

Flew into New York today; will be here all week.
Had a great dinner with friends--J is an amazing cook who fed me a great dinner; we talked about her interest in getting more involved in blogging and all the great trips we want to take.
Her partner G, also a writer, works part time in the food business, so we talked about food, restaurants, food blogs. Very nice.
Of course now I am in my room and wide awake at 1:30PM EST--if I get to sleep by 2 I will consider myself fortunate.

California burning

It's fire season, and there are fires. The Geyser fire is raging in Sonoma County not far from where we drove through last week; the Chronicle reports that Alexander Valley is full of 'acrid smoke.' Since Sunday more than 14,000 acres have burned.
Blogger Dori Smith lives nearby; she's writing and worrying...the California Fire Department has 2,6000 people working and says it will be 100% contained by Tuesday.

Craig Newmark in NY Times

Craig's mom must be so proud--her boy is the subject of an article in the New York Times. Nice picture, too.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

King of (Political) Comedy

My friend Richard Grayson, fiction writer, lawyer, and comic, is the cover story in an issue of New Times this week.

What's the claim to fame? Richard has this thing about running for office. In the past 15 years, he's run for Vice President, Town Council in Davie, and US Congress (three times). He's also an accomplished short story writer--for more, read the piece.

Dept of Big News (Not): AP covers local blogs

The Associate Press filed a story this weekend on locally-focused blog sites such as Gothamist and Metroblogging. This reader (aka Miss Cranky at the moment) wonders whether the reporting desk at New York Times or the AP is more behind the curve on (gasp!) discovering cool digital things and writing wide-eyed stories about them. (I think the AP is the winner, but this story is better constructed than some of their new media pap.)
A better story, IMHO, would be "Why do the local newspapers that belong to and fund the AP continue to focus on the international stories they hope will win them Pulitzers and ignore the whole local blogging movement?
Of course, there are still many cities where the topic could be "Why, more than ten years after NANDO, are there newspapers whose daily editions have almost NO RELATION to the web sites that bear their name."
(Okay, I told you I was cranky tonight.)

Sharing the G

I've just gotten another batch of gmail invites and of course have no idea which friends:
a) Have it and don't use it
b) Use it as a filing system/storage service
c) Don't wanna have Gmail
d) Want to have it and just never got an invite.
If you are in the last group and you want an invite, here are some ground rules:
a) First come-first served--I will delete this post when I give away the goods.
b) If I know you, you get preference.
c) No invites given to anyone with an anonymous name--if I don't know you, I want to know that you are real and this is for your personal use

Emails to smernit at aol dot com to request one of the accounts.
Responses within 36 hours.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Cabbage Patch: Parents eschew offspring, raise doll

Who needs to bother with kids--or pets--for that matter? This couple reportedly addressed their nuturing impulses in an interesting way--they've parented a Cabbage Patch doll for 17 years.

Noted: Links

What stands out after a week off? Some links of note:
WWD: Fashion sites(and blogs) mix ecommerce referral and style advice.(Via Paid Content)
Netcraft: The price of success--Blogads experiencing outages?
Fast Company: Interview with Craig Newmark. If you're a fan of Craig's List, you will enjoy.
PR Newswire: I'll be advising the Media Center as a senior fellow. An honor and a chance to help make good things happen. Yea. Market research in the blogsphere. Someone had to do it. (Via Resource Shelf)
Low Culture: Bush in New York.
Steve Rubel mobblogs Clinton bypass--who knew--way cool, Rubel.
Travis Smith: Ten reasons I am moving to Vancouver. (If Bush is re-elected, you should have lots of company.)

Friday, September 03, 2004

Ecommerce watch: Paris does Amazon

Noticed Amazon's announcement of the Paris Hilton Collection, a jewelry department Amazon exclusive. Given that Amazon has something like 44 million registered (female) users, this kind of product development and promotion is amazingly shrewd and right on--Amazon is able to market the product/ brand to its audience through its own site--driving potential customers off the main page of the Jewelry section, as well as from the Teens area--oops, I forgot, they don't have a teens area--but they should, shouldn't they (as in teen girls)--along with some other lifestage/demographic entry points.
Seriously, recruiting a celebrity name is exactly the right move on Amazon's part--they create a new brand that can drive traffic, generate buzz, and help build their image with the young shoppers they want to acquire. At the same time they continue to recruit established fashion brands onto their platform, broadening and upgrading their style image.

BTW, what is it with Paris and baby pink..the girl is obsessed.

Back on the grid

Yep, back to reality.
Vacation was great--more than a week offline w/o cell phones, email, blogs, web pages, or news.
We were in a northern Humboldt County, at a place called the Sandy Bar Ranch Cabins, swimming in the Klamath River, hiking a bit (it was kinda hot), making dinner with fresh-picked local produce, reading, and drinking Herradura Reposado tequila(we brought that from San Jose.)
Read A Widow for One Year, Peter Coyote's Sleeping Where I Fall (which has a great deal of info about Orleans, Soames Bar, After Such Knowledge and Natalia Ginzburg's A Place to Live--and the 600-page September issue of Vogue, which took days to get through.
(And by the way, Doc Searls--KMUD is a terrific radio station.)
Mostly, it looked like this:

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