Thursday, August 31, 2006

Product blogs: NY Times First Look works

I keep a running list of product blogs, many from Yahoo, and check into them occasionally--and every time I do, I'm disappointed at how weak (and boring) most of them are, day to day.
Just shows that although the concept of keeping in touch with your customers is wonderful, figuring out how to talk to them on a daily basis can be challenging.
One of the product blogs I always enjoy is from flickr-- heather and stuart know how to package ideas and news.
The latest product blog to capture my attention is First Look from The New York Times--this deliberately small scale effort seems like a nifty way for the Times to launch and discuss new features and products. Richard MacManus points to their discussion of the new Times Reader, a new NYTimes/Microsoft app that lets users read the NY Times electronically using advanced screen reading technology from Microsoft--and the First Look discussion seems just right.
Yep, it's going on the blog roll.

Quote of the Day

"As a sex writer and online sex personality, I'm not any kind of "safe" pastiche you see in mainstream media; I have chipped black nail polish, work on lethal robots for fun, have tattoos, am a fetish model, am a pro-porn pundit, a tech fetishist, and make no apologies about sex. .... On a personal note, I'm mulling over the fact that I grew up a dirt poor, hungry, homeless, family-less teen on San Francisco streets. I've worked tirelessly to spread a sex-positive, nonjudgemental message about sex around the globe, online, in iTunes and with my many books. And now I write a column for the Chronicle."

--Violet Blue, birthday girl and new SF Chronicle sex columnist

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NYTimes: Why the economy is NOT doing better for everyone

We've got a nice bubble going in the Valley, but it ain't rosy everywhere. The NYTimes reports on census bureau stats:

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quote of the day

"What would happen if Coke loosened its grip on its formula? . What if it allowed fans and chemists alike to concoct a derivative version of the soda pop, credit Coke and keep the train moving by using a Commons License to pass the recipe on and on and on."

--Frances Katz, Harvard Law blogger, writing about Free Beer, a brewery that "applies modern free software / open source methods to a traditional real-world product (beer)" so that anyone can make--and mash up--free beer.

Lisa Williams does 100K bike race; proves super-girl status

My friend Lisa Williams just did a 100K bike race! While I was lazing on the beach, Lisa was pedalling along doing 100 miles. Wow.

Bonus Links: Short film--Citizen Journalism, from Pamphlet to Blog, made by a Cambridge Community Televison class in Massachusetts working to create a short documentary on citizen journalism (Via legally brunette de)

Update--Okay, it was 64 miles!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yahoo: Hack Day Sept 29-Oct 1

Chad Dickerson and the rest of the Developer's Network Yahoorati (like that one?) are holding the first ever external Yahoo Hack Day in Sunnyvale on September 29 to October 1.
Expect creativity, sleeping bags, singing and technology innovation.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ev Williams: Great rules to live (and work) by

Just came across a post by Ev Williams with some rules to live by that I thought were pretty useful--a couple of them are the following:

(Susan sez: I recognize it's partly my perfectionism that consistently draws me to these kinds of lists, but it's also my ability to learn from other people--and this is good advice.)

Founder Mark Pincus returns to lead Tribe

Matt Marshall's SiliconBeat story confirms Mark Pincus is back with tribe. I am eager to see what Mark does with the amazingly powerful Burning Man and alternative communities who are totally embedded with the service and the tools-
Is there a business there no one else could imagine?
And how big a business might that be?
When folks get back from Burning Man, guess we'll find out...I think Mark is going to have a pretty interesting run with this one...and I wish him all the best.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Google, we want to ride up front, with you, not locked in the trunk, with uncertain air supply. "

--Developer Dave Winer, explaining why Google seems to be more and more like the mid-90's incarnation of the *evil * Microsoft as they develop more and more of their own APIs...rather than help create open source standards.


Scarborough Research white paper: Web-only newspaper readers are typically between two and fifteen percent of a newspaper brand?s total audience--and they're younger and more affluent than the print base. (Susan sez: Of course audience in other categories is growing far more rapidly, right?) (Via Paid Content)
Ad Age: Will myspace launch a print magazine? (Susan sez: And will it make (enough) money from advertisers?)
NYTimes: Breaking news story--couples take laptops to bed! (Okay, I wanted a third link so I could publish this..story is insipid but cute.)
kottke: What's a tumbleblog?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

My vacation update, aka Hamptons report

So I've been in the Hamptons with the family for 5 days now, going to the beach, walking, eating, talking, seeing friends, etc.
I was a tad ambivalent about this trip before I came out, because last year I had three instances of tourist rage aka bad visitor attitude in four days--a woman threatened me in the checkout line in Old Navy, for example--but this time, everything has been amazingly mellow and calm.

The basic routine is get up, walk, have breakfast, read the paper, check email, go to the beach or some other activity, eat a late lunch, more beach, shower, casual dinner, walk or hang out a bit before going up to the room, read blogs, check email, go to sleep.

In other words, mellow and relaxing.
Still have a couple days to go, but definitely starting to think about heading back home--and anticipating getting back to work.

Blogging outside the Silicon Valley Bubble--my rant on how to get there

Every morning when I get up, I go online and read news.
For me, that usually means the NYTimes and Techmeme as two starting points.
I'm finding these days that the more I read TechMeme, the less I want to write about emerging technology, social media, product development and most of the other geeky things that float my boat.
Well, inside the Silicon Valley bubble, events happen at the (breathless) speed of light.
And the bubble needs to hype itself.
Many people are looking to generate as much buzz as possible, as quickly as possible, as a means of driving viral marketing or customer acqusition or some sort of a quick score (funding, potential acquisition).
So every new product is great, amazing, revolutionary or brilliant.
To live up to that billing, categories are sliced and diced into niches narrow as needles, then companies are covered, evaluated and discussed.
So what if the market share is miniscule, or the product is barely beta?

It's the bubble, baby, an emerging markets monster that has to be fed in anticipation of a future liquidity event.

Needless to say, for me, opinionated, stubborn and working for a big company,the razzle-ride on the SV Bubble express train ain't happening.
My interest in the new tech geniuses of the last 5 minutes is flagging, and the breathless noise makes me want to hold my breath (and scream loudly).

Soooo..I am going to try a little experiment.
No more TechMeme for 2 weeks. No digg and no Slashdot.
Back to reading blogs the semi-old fashioned way--in my newsreader.
I want to see if stepping back from the hype edge revives my interest in favorite tech topics--or if I'm just ready to move on to new ideas.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Noer article: If Forbes editors worked at AOL, they'd have to resign

From the same tribe of lugnuts who believe that global warming doesn't really exist comes this Forbes story advising men not to marry career women. (Note, link has been pulled but story is posted here.)
"The more successful she is the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you."

If the editors who approved posting this pathetic piece by one Michael Noer worked at AOL Search, they'd all be fired ASAP (or leave to pursue other interests) so appalling is the lack of judgement in every letting this silly and misguided story see the light.

Technorati links here.

Update: Dossy points out Forbes has respun this story and reposted it with a he said-she said debate....Is this new packaging a case of putting lipstick on a pig, aka shameless driving for page views? (Susan sez: Sure it is, but so what...)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Quote of the day

"I want things. I want blood oranges for breakfast and thick steaks of seared, sashimi-grade tuna. I want a fresh pedicure each week, my toes shiny and painted like little lollipops, and hands that don't sport 1,000 nicks and cuts from the inevitable manual labor involved in all of my work. I want fine, clean linens on an accommodating mattress in a spotless apartment in a safe neighborhood with the proper locks on the door where someone is waiting to wrap me in their arms. I just want to assuage a dull, aching need that feels like it's been there forever...just to not feel hungry or tired or dirty or burnt out or scared for a few glorious hours a week.

Other people have these things. Why can't I?

My blessing is the company that I keep. I don't know how I stumbled into such an eclectic mix of dreamers, thinkers, idealists, and brave warriors, but how grateful I am to be surrounded by these people. These people who love me, and don't judge my vices or the work I do. The ones who have my back, my hand, and a shoulder. I am so very grateful."

--Erotic NYC blogger CherryBomb, reminding us the tech boom doesn't fund everyone, but that good friends are crucial, no matter what your passion is.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quote of the day (and the moment)

"The TechCrunch August Capital Party last night was a big success (if you define success as the police showing up at a top tier venture fund?s offices at midnight to shut a party down)."

--TechCruncher Mike Arrington on his recent party, affirming that yes, the Silicon Valley bubble is back and that this time it's also about fun.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

On vacation, starting now (with blogging included)

Today was the first day of my official summer vacation. I've been in NYC for the past couple days, working from Yahoo offices and seeing friends in the evenings. After 6 months in the Valley, it feels great to be back in NY.
Tomorrow, I take the bus out to the beach, for a week with family. I expect to do more blogging, more reading, and more walking than usual--since I get to do much less work (make that almost no work...)
At this very minute, I am at a relative's house, listening to the kids melt down on their way to bed time and remembering why NYC apartments can be challenging places for families.
Plan for this week is to hang out, see friends, enjoy the beach, get lots of exercise and have a great time writing blog posts and developing some ideas I haven't had time to work on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Steve Gillmor says nice things about me and I link to that

Steve's holding forth on what data matters, and it looks like I've made the cut in his pantheon.
Even better, he's pegged me as "the synthesist" while Calcanis is "the lightening rod."
Thanks, Steve.
It is fun to watch Steve hold forth in net spaces that are increasingly his own, spinning his lore till the language reaches a pinnacle somewhere between NeoPrimitive VRMLer Mark Pesce and gonzo journaliste Hunter S. Thompson, while the younger guys in sneakers first snicker a little and then hungrily ask for more.
Sometimes I feel like I get Attention, other times it feels like the Emperor's New Clothes, but yes, I care what this man has to say--and it's usually pretty interesting, thought-provoking, and okay, sometimes obtuse.
As people in the Valley ponder the new mediarati--the Arringtons, Maliks, and the swam of snarkers in their wake--Steve's move from tech columnist to finger in many pies maven needs to be noted as well.

Quote of the day

" All too often, people point to all that psychological research that indicates that teens are experiencing extensive hormonal rushes that impair their judgment. And then i go home to my 30-something friends who see a baby and start cooing as their biological clock begs for attention. And then i talk to people my mom's age going through menopause and being about as coo-coo as they come. And then i get calls from my older male friends who are experiencing their midlife crisis and think that trading in their wife for people my age is a good idea.

--I don't think that teenagers are the only population facing impaired judgment. In fact, i'm curious at what age one's judgment is really all that functional. "

--danah boyd, writing on the life lessons teens should be taught--and that the rest of us learn somehow

Scenes from the highway in Northern California

The woman screaming curses at me as I, a little lost, merge into her lane.
Her bumper sticker: NO FUR: Be Kind to Animals.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday night supper: Napa

Spent Sunday in Napa visiting some old friends who swapped Park Slope, Brooklyn for the wine country and a chance to go to cooking school.
Of course, we made dinner, and the collaborative effort was as follows:
Cheese, olives, salami
Grilled hanger steak
Hungarian-style califlower
Roasted asparagus
Baked potatoes with (real) sour cream
Westwood Winery Grenache Rose
Fresh strawberries, english toffee and almonds in dark chocolate


Friday, August 11, 2006

Quote of the Day

"It's a fundamental policy dispute about the allocation of resources. Nick has decided to spend the money on a direct-mail campaign for the magazine, in hopes of saving subscription revenue. To me, that sounds like something out of the 19th century. He's taking the one, fresh, smart thing he has and gutting it."

--Former online Web Editor in Chief Steve Lovelady, who resigned after CJS Dean Nicholas Lehmann cut the web site budget to fund a direct mail campaign for the print edition (via NYTimes)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

TechCrunch begats CrunchGear; empire spawning

TechCrunch impresario Mike Arrington's just launched CrunchGear, the latest in his stable of geek blogs and it's a blast to see someone smart follow in the footsteps of Nick Denton, Jason Calcanis and other blog network founders.
It's a dirty job, starting a digital media empire, but someone's got to do it, and it's a wise mood for Mike to capitalize on all the traffic he's getting and spread the franchise out a bit--time will tell whether CrunchGear pulls audience away from Gizmodo, Engadget and other gear blogs and/or brings in their own new aficionados.

Burning Man mashups

Now, this is cool--Burning Man Beatmaps (via Google Maps Mania). Christine Herron writes: "This tool combines Google satellite maps with Burning Man's schedule of events, a user-generated tagcloud, etc. Registered beatmaps users can add themselves...."

Nifty, huh?

Dept. of Do you think this is true?

"Most analysts and investors are not looking at Yahoo to grow from growing their network partners. They are looking for Yahoo's growth to [be in] improving their search monetization platform and increasing the amount of money they generate from their own site."

--Mark May, analyst at Needham & Co, quoted in a BusinessWeek story about Google's lucrative new deal with NewsCorp/MySpace.

Logical argument--or defacto rationalization?
Seems like a bit of both.

Busy, busy, busy

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few days--I have been slammed with work. I'm heading to NYC--first time in six months!--next week, and there is a lot to do before I head out.

(Susan sez: I'll be working in the city for a couple days, then heading for a family vacation. I may be one of the few people on the planet who contemplated the Hamptons with my sibling or Burning Man with friends as the August vacation choices. This year, family won. Next year...)

Monday, August 07, 2006

Search: AOL lets search data loose

Privacy? Who cares? One wonders if that was the conversation happening in AOL's executive offcies when the search team proposed releasing searches by thousands of users--and then did exactly that.
Given that what we are able tol look at is Google search used by AOL members, one wonders exactly what the team releasing this data meant to acconmplish. The quote:
"AOL just released the logs of all searches done by 500,000 of their users over the course of three months earlier this year. That means that if you happened to be randomly chosen as one of these users, everything you searched for from March to May (2006) is now public information on the internet."
The links are down this am, but this sounds like a big mistake.

Quote of the day

"I blog because I want a chance to learn and dream. I work on BlogHer's conference, community site and ad network because I want to have and to support conversations that I am not seeing on op-ed pages, in most of the daily news products put out by mainstream media, at tech conferences and even in Silicon Valley boardrooms.
I blog to know myself better. I blog to keep myself intellectually honest. I blog to question my own assumptions. I blog to open my mind. "

--Blogher co-founder and president reviewing comments on the recent BlogHer conference from attendees and the blogosphere.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Quote of the Day, 2

"...every guy who's talked with me about Bloggercon has talked about how *I* was fierce and scary on the IRC channel - because I pointed out sexism - and even then I hear how they're surprised that they consider me nice-looking, or that I'm smiling at them, or they even flirt and tell me that they wonder why they are always attracted to fierce scary feminist women: they make sure to let me know that even my empowerment and anger, to them, is a sexual commodity.
There is a subtext in what Dave says that if women aren't sexy, flirty, smiling, glad to see him, and good-natured, then they're not worth listening to, or they're not going to be listened to. There is a message for women in that pervasive societal message. I feel sure he didn't mean that - but honest to god that's how it comes off to me. "

-Liz Henry, taking a jab at regendering post-BlogHer comments and aligning them to a larger perspective of how men's expectations sometimes trivialize women (and singleing out one blogger to make her point is a way that probably isn't totally fair...)

Quote of the Day

"That's why BlogHer was so revolutionary, not a word I use lightly. Over and over I was told how glad people were that I came. When I asked why, they said something that made a lot of sense. They were flattered that I was interested in what they had to say.
I needed reassurance that my presence was welcome, after a lifetime of being told to shut up. Gradually, if the door stays open, something great is going to happen. "

--Dave Winer, working through ideas about sexism and gender, post BlogHer

Susan sez: Anyone who encourages open and equal conversation has my support--and I think Dave--and many of the men who came to BlogHer--were actively listening and looking to learn.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Bizweek: A gushy story on digg's kevin rose and other "punk millionaires." Like, breathless.
CrunchBoard: TechCrunch spawns an insider's jobs board. $200 and your job is inside.
Ted Leonsis: Ted takes over 2,0000 words to tell why AOL giving up its access business is great news.
Washington Post: Reporter takes 1200 words to explain why this great news means AOL is laying off 25% of its workforce.
Battelle's SearchBlog: Realtime and virtual: Others Online launches--a high class way to be stalked or the coolest thing since, uh, Orkut?
Lisa Williams:
How many blogs about real places are out there? Lisa bets she can find 1,000.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yahoo in da (blog)house

How about seeing what some Yahoos , an editor, a kick ass designer, a photog and a couple college interns can pull off in a few weeks when it comes to one big banging Yahoo! blog?
A corporate blog that tries not to be corporate and that speaks the truth of 20-year olds to kick itself off?
In this case, that would be the brand-new and shiny Yodel Anecdotal, the Y! equivalent of 10,000 Sun Micosystems blogs and hundreds of Microsoft Channel 9 blogs when it comes to ripping the covers off what Yahoo is really like.
(We're super nice, are you surprised?)

Congrats to Havi Hoffman and everyone else who pulled together this sunny bit of shiny parts--it's your flag and long may it wave. Now the truth about those mounds in front of Sunnyvale's Building G is going to be revealed, right?

Quote of the Day 2

"By throwing in the towel on its access business, AOL/Time Warner is telling all its $25-a-month paying customers: you can give this money to our competitors such as AT&T or Comcast, just keep using our friendly services. Either this is an incredibly astute strategy or simply the biggest corporate bungle since, well, AOL & Time Warner merged."

--Journalist Om Malik, wondering if AOL's big bet will go wrong.

(Susan sez: I feel exactlythe same way as Om...this is risky business...but they know that.)

Quote of the Day 1

"If we did not change we'd be giving up 30-40 billion page views this year. It's the equivalent of 10 percent of Yahoo, 20 percent of MSN, it's one-third of Google, all of IAC, it's almost four CNETS, that's what we'd be giving up if we didn't change this practice today."

--Time Warner COO Jeff Bewkes, explaining why AOL is changing their strategy in no longer charging subscribers for services such as e-mail, software, and safety and security services and looking to advertising as the big revenue driver.

(via Paid Content)

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