Monday, June 30, 2003

Department of Family Ties 1: We're all wired world

Down in Florida for the weekend for a family birthday. My mother-in-law, Lita Jarrett, turned 75 and the family convened in Sarasota for a 4-day party. We had a great time, hanging out, swimming. talking, and-of course--eating. My nephews, Phil Bloom and Dan Jarrett, were both there, as were my sister-in-law Ellen, her sweetie Arthur, and my husband Spencer, and son Zack. (I wrote that sentence so I could enjoy how many hyperlinks there were--more proof of how wired we all are.)

Alec Klein: Like Father, Like Son

It's a little-known fact that investigative reporter Alec Klein's following in a family tradition by writing about the economy, news, and public affairs--with a healthy dollop of gossip. Klein's father is Ed Klein, the former editor in chief of The New York Times Magazine, who has been writing a gossip column for Parade Magazine as "Walter Scott" for the past ten years. Klein pere has written several books about the Kennedy's, including All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy (1996) and Just Jackie: Her Private Years (1998), both full of juicy--and well-researched tidbits.
Klein fils is a Brown graduate who worked as a newspaper reporter, at the Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk) the Baltimore Sun, and The Wall Street Journal, before moving onto the Washington Post.

On Alec Klein's AOL Book, "Stealing Time"

Alec Lein's book is gathering press. In the news recently--
Jennifer Files, in the San Jose Mercury News:
"From the naive vantage point of 2000, America Online's $112 billion deal to buy Time Warner -- the largest merger in U.S. history and the subject of Alec Klein's interesting new book, ``Stealing Time'' -- looked like the New Economy's coming of age.
The Internet upstart would buy the old-school entertainment behemoth and reshape it in its own image. The Web had won: America's up-and-comers need never again wear suits to work, or wait, like their parents did, until they grew gray to grow rich. Silicon Valley had believed this for years, of course, but AOL Time Warner hammered home the point for the rest of the nation.

Today's AOL Time Warner symbolizes the opposite. The New Economy was largely the Fake Economy; thousands of failed companies and hundreds of billions of dollars in accounting write-offs proved that. People don't sneer at corporate dinosaurs anymore. They call them survivors. And investors want regulators to protect them because by now they know too much about how the era's fastest-growing firms did business.
More here.

The Miami Herald also says Klein "does the best job yet" of explaining AOL.
"In July of last year, Washington Post writer Alec Klein broke the now well known story of AOL's accounting irregularities. He uses this scoop as the centerpiece for his new book, which also recounts the history of America Online (with a few surprises, as above), along with a pocket profile of Time Warner and events at both firms leading to their furtive mating dance and subsequent merger."
More here.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Department of Big Dogs Moving In: RSS Syndication standards

from John Robb:
RSS and Echo. Well the big companies have finally made their move in the weblog world with Sam Ruby being directed by IBM to take control of an emerging syndication standard. Why now? Big publishing companies are starting to think about using RSS (really simple syndication) not only to automate the delivery of news to readers but also to automate the production of news. IBM is very interested in this given their longstanding and extremely lucrative relationship with the WSJ ($500m over the last three years) and other publishers. It would be against their interest to let a simple syndication standard emerge that didn't require lots of IBM iron and software expertise. RSS had to die. Also, if you small vendors or individual contributors think that you are gaining some say or freedom with the development of Echo, think again. The big companies are going to roll right over you as the push this forward over the next couple of years.

Department of Only in New York

Via Gawker and 601am Lizzie Grubman, of "Fuck you, white trash" fame, is teaching a class at the Learning Annex on "How to succeed in public relations."
Would that be professional or personal PR?

Thursday, June 26, 2003

New funds for NYC schools?

New York State's highest court ruled today that New York City has failed to provide "sound basic education" to a million New York City school children. The ruling should mean more money for the cash-strapped city schools.
"Tens of thousands of students are placed in overcrowded classrooms, taught by unqualified teachers and provided with inadequate facilities and equipment," Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote for the court. "The number of children in these straits is large enough to represent a systemic failure."

Media: Bonnie Fuller gets the last laugh

Bonnie Fuller, the editor in chief of US Magazine, resigned today to become editorial director for David Pecker's American Media, the company that publishes The National Enquirer and other gossipy, mass-market rags. Rumors swirled a few years ago that Fuller, who has worked at Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and YM, among other magazines, was pushed out of Conde Nast because she angered Anna Wintour and was perceived as too ambitious. At American Media, Fuller will reportedly receive a package worth more than $1 million, an equity stake in the company and bonuses for overall company performance on the newsstand.
There's no question that Fuller is a brilliant and hard-driving editor who turned US around and that she is a perfect fit for Pecker's ambitions, but the really fun part of this is Fuller bucking proving herself to the old guard magazine world of Conde and Hearst and then throwing over that system to become the visionary for an ambitious tabloid company--it's too delicious.

Light blogging weekend

Travelling down to Florida for a family weekend to celebrate my mother in law's birthday.
Back in force on Monday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Cassandra Pages

Instructor & Three Graduates with Diplomas and Geraniums (Tuskegee Institute, Alabama)
Gelatine-Silver Print, circa 1905, 4 x 5.5 inches

Cassandra, via Steve Yost: "From the exhibition The Face of Slavery and Other Early Images of African Americans at the American Museum of Photography

Today's affirmative action ruling and a thoughtful post on the subject from mysterium got me thinking about racial inequities in our educational system, and how conditioned we are to glossing over them or looking to solutions like affirmative action, when actually the problem is far more complex."

AOL to go for speed

Will you keep paying that monthly remit to AOL if you get a fast accelerate to speed up your surfing time? I might, especially if I was on a dial-up connection. According to today's news reports, AOL is planning to announce a download accelerator, celebrity expressions, and new email features as part of July's launch of AOL 9.0.
So many people I know have left the service, it's chilling. Only my friends and colleagues who have worked there seem to want to keep their accounts, and that's about everyone from the old job knowing your AIM and screen name, nut using anything inside the service.

Local History: The San Jose Acid Test

It turns out the the neighborhood we are moving to, Naglee Park, had quite an active scene back in the 60's. The Grateful Dead's first show took place 12/4/65 in Big Nig's house in Naglee Park.
One of my soon to be neighbors in SanJo has been recalling the local pyschedelic scene back then.
He writes:
In the 70's the Hog Farm had several different Downtown SJ addresses...I
stayed for several days at a house on S 13th and another on S 16th, (where
the bus was parked being fixed ,as always) , in the Fall of '71, one of a
string of homes from Oregon to New Mexico, all the way East to NYC and up to
northern...extreme northern...Canada was across the back fence...Vermont. A
network of literally thousands of people, if a bus broke down or someone got
popped or hurt, anywhere, the Hog Farm had a friend who would drive the 50
miles, put us up, help us fix it...if you had a phone you could always call
Louie or someone who could call Louie and he would get out the "Book" and
make some calls. Lawyers, doctors, mechanics, moms, ex-girlfriends as well
as musicians, artists, publishers, promoters, loan sharks, famed chefs with
fancy restaurants, actors and actresses, writers, filmmakers...everybody was
in the "Book" and help was on the way. Of course you were in the "Book" also
and would get your calls as well...

As to the SJ Acid Test...we were told by those older and wiser that the 16th
St. house was the "house", where the Tests took place, one, I was told, of
many (I will remind all that Friday comes once a week) weekly
occurrences..., so we tested it also, just to be sure the vibes were still
right...Of course the legend says house the Dead lived in was on S. 12th...

Also a couple of houses in LG, Neal Cassaday's and the spot on HWY 17, just
past Glenwood, where a small church is now shuttered...lots of Acid
Tests...after Wolfe and 60's the perception of it all changed, into some
party or somethin', too sad... I was on Haight St. after Garcia's
"Funeral", hordes of teensomethings in tie dye with candles in vigil, three
decades later. Long strange something, that's for sure...alas the true
History will have to be written by investigating police records, 'cause them
that was there, they forgot the I did.

I am planning to move to S. 16th Street...wonder which house they're referring to?

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

New York City in July: Bikram yoga without the yoga.

It was 101 degrees in New York today.
Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance.
The Producer's Project student film screening was at the pier right next to Chelsea Piers, on a gently rocking boat. Many people's faces in the audience were red and sweaty because of the heat. After the event, we dove into a cab and soaked up the air-conditioning.
Hey, that's New York for you. Last Friday I was bitching about the cold weather and remarking on the high black boots so many New York women were clomping around in.
Now, I'm going to make snide remarks about the heat and intense humidity.
No, I'll skip them and let you imagine what I might say.

New York bonus posts (even wierder than I am):
via Gawker: Apartment share ad for out of work beekeper (are these people insane, or what?)
"There is one catch you should be aware of. I am a professional bee keeper. I maintain a rather large hive of Africanized honey bees. Due to the economic downturn and the reduced demand for honey I was unable to maintain my work studio and therefore I now work from home. The hive is located in the living room."
(via NY Times): Big bugs are gonna suck your blood.

Meetings in NY, then The Producer's Project

Light blogging day...meetings in New York all day. Tonight, going to screenings of student films created by The Producer's Project, Wendy Dubit and Yvette LeBow's organization.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Marc North is great

One of Marc North's pictures from today. Click here and see it larger.

Lily the Exhibitionist's blog

Don't ask how I found this one.
Hi, my name is Lily! This is the first part of a two-part guide for exhibitionists, and anyone interested in the subject. I've been showing myself off for years, and I'm using this as an easy way to share hints and tips, not to mention a few juicy examples, with anyone who can benefit from my experience. This volume includes ideas for basic-level exhibitionism. What the basic means is exhibitionism that's usually tamer than intermediate and advanced levels, but more importantly it always appears unintentional. Basic, intermediate, and advanced refer to the levels of risk in what's being tried, in other words how risky it is.
With basic exhibitionism, clothes become you're most important tool, besides location. This may seem to be the opposite of what it should be, but you don't have to be completely naked to show off.

More here. WARNING: This page gets very racy as you scroll down...

How People Hug (Tim Bray)

Via Ming the Magnificent, oop,s I mean the Mechanic:
Tim Bray sat in an airport and studied how people hug or not.
People who are culturally non-huggers suffer for it; you will see what looks like a reunion after long separation between a grown daughter and a grown mother, and they will stand face to face, eyes full of tears, and almost quiver it seems.
Non-hugger displacement activity includes reaching out to touch the other only for a moment, and quickly turning to walk side-by-side.
Some groups cheek-kiss, one side then the other, the number of kisses can be two, three or even four, and there seems no doubt or hesitancy how many there will be.
Japanese people and those who meet them bow of course; those whove spent any time in Japan wont be surprised at how many shades of meaning and style can infuse a bow.
More here.
Since it takes courage to hug, at least for me, this is interesting.

Addicted to the Blogosphere: Is my brain going to explore?

I'm up to 168 blogs on my newsreader, plus the one such as Gawker and Geisha Asobi that don't have feeds.
The endless run of interesting people and ideas is a fatal mix for someone like me, who worked in a library all through college, loves data, and is always seeking new ideas. Between the announcements of new cool projects, and the writing of new cool posts, the blogosphere feels like a virtual coffeehouses aka Library of Alexandria, with amazing ideas, facts and people around each corner--but with no good map to use to chase them down.
I'm lucky I have lots to do in the real world, surfing blogs could become as addictive as playing web-based multi-layer games.
I sit down at night and read my newsreader, catching up before I power down, and basically, I look at items and click into blogs until my eyes get too tired. But geeze, it's great--the energy, the ideas, the voices--bloggers are the musicians of the written word, putting their voices out there to be heard.

Mindjack: Next generation BoingBoing?

Postings around the blogosphere for a new blog/mag just announced: Mindjack. According to their daily blog, their board is Joi Ito, Gareth Branwyn, Mark Frauenfelder, Mikki Halpin, Jon Lebkowsky, Howard Rheingold and Douglas Rushkoff. Great guys minds, all, but where are the rest of the women, fellas?
Neverthless, magazine looks excellent..maybe I can start reading this instead of Gawker in the morning. Lots of BoingBoing energy here, as well.

SocialText gets funding

Blog and wiki tools are becoming investment opportunities, a great sign both for the health of the consumer-toolset tech sector, and for community-focused software. First Moveable Type got funding, now Ross Mayfield says SocialText has raised some money from:
Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn and former EVP of Paypal
Joi Ito, Venture Capitalist with Neoteny
Mark Pincus, former co-founder, CEO and Chairman of SupportSoft
Erik Josowitz, former VP of Product Strategy of Vignette
Oakstone Ventures
Freedom Technology Ventures
Let's see what happens next--the passion is definitely there--will the quality and ease of use of the products draw consumers and enterprise customers?

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Sleeping with the Sheep: Comptche Tales

My friend D moved to Comptche, in the redwoods east of Mendecino, about two years ago. This week she emailed a picture she'd just taken, and the following note:
"i'd just finished cutting this pasture... put a couple water containers
in it... the evening hay... and finally got all the ewes and lambs in
there. What a racket! If they don't all go together... the ones who miss
out (because they freak out) go nuts and take (what seems) forever to
figure out how the others got to the field out yonder. It can be
frustrating, but... its still great!

As you can see, the lambs are almost a big as the ewes. Shearing has
really changed the colors of the ewes... the browns looked mauve right
after shearing... now, its hard to tell what's going to happen to their
color. I want to go for more brown fleeces and thinking of getting a
moorit ram from someone (who specializes in 'browns') down closer to the
Bay Area.

I'll keep both of the ram lambs this year because I want to see what
comes out of them. They are both black badgers which is black legs and
underbelly, white (or cream) on top with scattered brown markings/spots
(one more than the other) and badger faces. They both have 4 horns...
one has the fused double horns, like his father, the black ram... the
other has two horns growing straight up fron the top of his head, plus
horns growing out each side of his head... more or less straight out.
This ram lamb already broke of one side horn and one top horn, but they
are continuing to grow out, so he will look a little lop-sided... probably.
sheep sheep sheep!"
Her sheep look like little old men, village elders with amazingly individual faces, but all of the wizened, squinty persuasion.

Here's the picture she sent me--this is right outside her window.

Contrast this to my life in New York/New Jersey, getting on the train, driving through the Holland Tunnel, pushing past people on NYC streets (it's push or be pushed sometimes).

5ive: New business ideas

Working with a colleague on some very exciting new business ideas for brand extensions and new products/new revenue streams for the kids and school/classroom market. Focus is on a set of business strategies and products/services for Pre-K, upper elementary and middle school, toddlers, children, tweens that we can help companies employ to generate new revenue.

Sunday dinner: What I cooked

In the grand tradition of nice Sunday night dinners, a simple culinary exercise:
--Three-green salad with sweet onion, olives, red pepper, avocado
--Linguine with sundried tomato/baby spinach/fresh mozzarella with garlic
--Home-made garlic bread (Zack told me how to make this based on what they do at Arturo's Pizzeria, the coal-oven spot in Maplewood where he's working part-time.)
--Fresh raspberries, strawberries, blueberries tossed in balsamic vinaigrette--the balsamic vinegar brings out the sweetness

Sunday morning, still raining, plans for the day

Breakfast with Spencer at Arneta's, the North-Carolina-style diner up to road in Newark, NJ. This is the kind of place where gospel music pumps out on the sound system on Sunday morning and everyone is loading up on eggs, gritts, ham, bacon, biscuits, sausage, pancakes, etc. before and after church. We skipped church, but ate like it was a sinner's last meal.
Heading into Manhattan this afternoon to meet my sister and her family in Chinatown, where I will pick at lunch, then head over th The Firehouse Museum in Soho, which my 6 year old nephew should LOVE.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Dept. of Getting & Spending

Drove into Manhattan today--in the rain-- to buy some things. First stop, J&R, where we picked out a digital camera. Got an Olympus Stylus 400 Digital , small, with good resolution, and a memory card. Since we're going to Florida soon to celebrate my mother-in-law's 75th birthday, plus Spencer spends a lot of time with some amazing blues and gospel greats, there's a family wish to have a digital camera. And of course, now we can take constant pictures of our dog and our son, at least till the novelty wears off.
I'm a pretty dreadful photographer, and I greatly admire bloggers like Tony Piece and Mark North, who snap great street shots and post them, so I am hoping practice with this camera will improve my skills..I need it.
After that, it was on to Howard Street, where we went into Ted Muehling to look at the amazing jewelry this designer fabricates and sells. My mother-in-law bought some of his earrings about 20 years ago, and they've remained favorites, so this seemed the right place to look for a gift.
Short version, I wished I could buy half the contents of the store. Or, maybe I could have just moved in. Muehling's speciality is an exquisite, highly refined simplicity, with a sophisticated use of natural materials such as mother of pearl and shell. The word "organic" has been so over-used to be meaningless, but Muehling's earrings have names such as gnat, moth, shell, melon--and you can see why when you look at the curves, colors, and textures of the shapes.
We picked out something wonderful, which she should love, but I can;t say what it is cause she reads the blog sometimes--so Mom, you have to wait!

But here's a picture of one of Muehling's porcelain pieces, just to give you a feeling for his work.
Meanwhile, here's what I did NOT buy:
Muehling earrings for myself--$110.00
Fujitsu Lifebook laptop--$1700.00
Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life--$27.99 (!)

Friday, June 20, 2003

Alec Klein: Stealing Time

I spent a day with Alec Klein back in 2001, when I was at Netscape. Alec was interested in covering our dynamic young president, Jim Bankoff, a long-time AOLer who'd come West to help steady and grow the brand. Alec was interested in seeing Jim in action, so the PR department arranged for Alec to shadow Jim. One day, Jim, myself, Alec, and the PR guy spent the day in a series of meetings in Mountain View and Los Angeles, with the economy travel showing Alec was a down to earth company we were.
Here's the thing that was so interesting Klein's a superb reporter who uses silence and a cover of sleepiness to gather information. Although his writing is as sharp as it comes, Klein's persona that day was low-key and definitely naive.
Clearly, it was a tactic that worked, because in addition to the sweet feature he turned out on Jim for the Washington Post (unfortunately it ran the same day AOL announced layoffs of about 300 people), he went on to report on the company's financial and business practices, stories which led to investigations by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

When AOL Let the Dogs Out

Super piece with no byline in the London Times on a situation where AOL's BA teams bum-rushed the Wembley Stadium crew in order to book $16MM plus in ad revenue before the quarter ended, and ended up reportedly lifting artwork to make banner ads promoting a to-be-launched dog racing site, running the banner ads, everywhere, and crashing the Wembley dog-racing site.
This author gives Alec Klein a run for his money (hey, maybe it is Alec Klein) in producing a well-written, carefully researched and pretty scaldalous account of how business was conducted. For AOL-watchers, a must-read.
Yep, this is probably by Alec Klein--his book Stealing Time, was just published in the UK anbd is getting good press.

Hollywood BoyToys go for Grown-up Gals

Seems like the latest proof of manhood in Hollywood is bedding a more mature star. If you're 25 or less, proving you can attract a major movie star shows you have the goods.
Ashton Kutcher, 25, is reportedly dating Demi Moore, 40. Supposedly, Justin Timberlake, 22, and Cameron Diaz, 30, have hooked up. Strokes dummer Fabrizio Moretti, 22 is dating Drew Barrymore, 28.

Blogging: The power of linking

Spent part of last night reading comments about the New York Times story on various blogs. Jarvis commenting on how "a blog he knows"--I assume mine, that linkmiser--got so much less traffic based on the Times piece than he gets in links from Instapundit. JD Lasica commenting on how he seems to know everyone quoted in these pieces--we're old friends and I think he's a superb journalist.
Photodude picks up and posts about the link thing and adds his views. He writes:
"On Tuesday, I got one link from Instapundit during the sea of mockery over Bill O'Reilly, and garnered 967 hits that day. From that one link (Glenn's stats show he had about 85,000 visitors that day). Michele's link to the same piece brought 334 visitors.(BTW, Michele writes a mean About me...girl's got attitude in a major way--course, she's from Long Island.)...You don't have to be a professional writer or a journalist with the backing of a major newspaper ... to write a link."
My old friend, Nava, who now runs a marketing newsletter, blogged me, too.
Dave Sifry, the Technorati whiz who started this all--I posted on his site in response to an invite/query he was handling--has a great entry on the Times story, etc. today.
What's interesting is that when I talked to Catherine Greenman, two of the people/sites I emphasized were technorati, which I check at least twice a day, and megnut, because Meg Hourihan is my model of a good blogger and her book, We Blog, was a great help (which I told the reporter, BTW). Her comments here.
Wonderful kudos from friends on the mentions on The Busy Mom's Site.

If this seems like self-congratulatory navel-gazing to you, well, maybe it is, a little, but it's also the joy of people in a far-flung community connecting to one another. Many of us live far apart, have never met, and yet we send out voices out into the air--and this is a way to know we're linked and talking with other real people.

Morning news

It's raining in New York. What a surprise! Nothing to do this am but read the news. Thank God I took the dog out while it was still a light mist. It's a curtain of wetness now. Here's what's caught my eye--so far.
Broadband connections grow 49% this year
CNET is finally going to raise some money
They surf too much porn over at the IRSActress Kate Hudson, 24, is pregnant
Is Whitney Houston pregnant, too?
Harry Potter about to hatch; new book is best one. There now are 10,000 Harry Potter listings on eBay; Scholastic's order 8.5 MILLION copies for the first run.
Spike TV ain't gonna be--not till case is resolved.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

The Third Nigerian Email Conference

Saw this last week and lost it, blogging it now so I can find it again.
" I am Mr. Laurent Mpeti Kabila, a senior assistant leader of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone.

I present to you an urgent and confidential request: I request your attendance at The 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your distinguished colleagues, learn new marketing techniques, and spend your hard-earned money. Attending this conference demands the highest trust, security and confidentiality between us."

AOL and WSJ team up in IM data feed

Via Heath Row's Media Diet:
The Wall Street Journal Online has launched a new feature on AOL Instant Messenger that allows you to get the latest news using this real-time tool.

By sending an instant message to screen name "WSJOnline," you can read continually updated summaries of top U.S. and global business news, and get updates on the markets and the technology sector. You can also access stock quotes, get the very latest headlines on companies and more. Links take you back to the Online Journal Web site so you can get full news and in-depth company research.

This is just another version of the Smarter Child/Active Buddy and the bot thing.

Today's Blogosphere Faves

Some Geniuses: The wonderfully modest undergrad, Ezra Klein, has a new blog with some friends. Not Geniuses is mighty-fine. I love the fact this guy goes to UC Santa Cruz--he's sharp as a tack and he's at this laid back, hippy, Slugs school. Good readin' here.

Neva, Ms Feva, Blogging: Neva makes Portland seem as interesting as, say, New York. Now I know what Portland is really nice, and Neva's blog seems livelier than Portland. Sample:
Thanks to the Bookslut, I have been introduced to a new blog called Amazon World. It's a blog totally devoted to posting the best-of-the-worst Amazon book reviews.
JD Lasica: I'm kind of amazed that as the blogging world gets bigger and bigger (400,000 to 1 million active blogs, at last word), I seem to always know the people quoted in these articles. This one quotes my friends Susan Mernit (who began blogging earlier this year at my prodding), Meg Hourihan and David Sifry, and mentions Doc Searls. Looks like big media picks up on the blogosphere's small self-referential world.
Venture Blog: Know your burn rate, and what VCs look for in a company.
Sean's CheeseBikini: Do you now what flash moblogging is? Film right here.
"Here's photographic evidence of the flash mob's successful takeover of the Manhattan Macy's fancy-rug department, courtesy of (above). Visit that site, as well as Satan's Laundromat, for more photos.

New Yorkers used e-mail to coordinate a huge, instant gathering of people around a particular rug. Participants were instructed to tell questioning salesmen that they all lived together in a Long Island warehouse, and they were considering purchasing the item for use as a "Love Rug" back at the house. After precisely ten minutes the crowd dissipated."

Another event I missed (okay, that was a joke.)

Also: Matrix Mobs Take Osaka....more mobblogging in the real world.

A year in Rarotonga: Good luck, Mark!

Mark Frauenfelder and family are picking up amd moving to the South Pacific for a year. I've been getting their weekly emails about this trip for a few weeks now, and it seems they're just about to leave LA and head West. Their web site/blog and emails about The Island Chronicles are something I look forward to getting every week.
"Two more days before we fly off to Rarotonga. At this point, there's not a lot to do besides wait. A couple of days ago, we gave Sarina's (our five year old) last remaining pet, a firebelly toad, to her friend, India. I told India's mother how she would have to drive to the pet store once a week to buy live crickets. I also gave her the "Cricket Corral," cricket food and "cricket hydrator" (which looks like globs of orange Jell-O). She was surprised when I told her the frog might live 20 years or more. "Don't worry," I told her, "it'll probably escape like the other one." More here.

Department of How the world has changed via blogging

I posted a couple of days ago about going over to my friend's house and making dinner for her and her family so she could have a break (her father is dying). So, last night, as we're all clicking away on our computers, my son says, "Mom, come see this.
This is a blog by my friend's son, a high-school senior, who has a blog and who has posted: This is why Susan Mernit rocks hardcore (she is Zach Jarrett's mom and i've known her for many many years):
Because she knows about my dying grandfather and because she is really sympathetic, she brought over food and made us a nice dinner tonight. Susan, you are awesome.

Now this made me feel really great, of course, but I also thought it was amazing that Matt has a blog.
And not only does Matt have a blog, but all l his friends at Columbia High School have blogs (I would give you the links, but they're pretty, well, high-schoolish, for the most part).

Then, last night I had dinner in Manhattan--Mesa Grill--with a friend. She said, "I like to read your blog to see what you're up to and what you're thinking."

So on one hand, this means that we can all read posts by one another obsessing about tests, and calories, and presents for relatives--things it might be better not to share--but on the other hand, we have this really cool, somewhat personalized, external communications tool.

Is this any different that the oersonal home page fad of a few years ago?

What do you think blogs are best used for? What kinds of blogs do you read?
If you feel like using this new comments feature I put in to add your 2 cents, please do so.

I made the Times!

Woke up this morning, checked the email per usual, and in the middle of deleting spam about growing my penis, etc. got a note from someone who said, "I saw your blog in the piece in the Times".
Short version: I've got alot of quotes in that article. Very cool.
Jayson Blair-esque fact-checking errorL don't live in San Francisco, never lived in San Francisco, don't plan to live in San Francisco.
South Orange, NJ is my current place of residence, with move back to Silicon Valley planned for later this summer.
Oh wel,, no real complaints, just being a little snarky.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Preserving the technology past

Ramana Rao: Brewster Kahle's Box
Brewster's Box

One morning a few weeks back, I ran into Brewster Kahle at the SFO airport before an early morning flight. The 2nd such coincidence of SFO x Brewster, the previous event being last January. I was off to a sales call in Arkansas, and he was off to testify at a DMCA hearing in Los Angeles. We were both tight on departures, but that didn't stop Brewster from steering me to the nearby waiting lounge.

"You've got to see this, it's really cool." He proceeded to pull an aluminum-cornered hardcase box from his back pack. From the box, he lifted out an original VisiCalc package still in shrinkwrap. "Look at this, this started it all. They want us to destroy it. They don't want Libraries to preserve it!" (He also showed me a box of MS Basic for an Atari.)

Also, Before the Web, Taylor Walsh's wonderful oral histroy project has pre-Mozilla war stories.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Cruising the Blogosphere

Would Mark North teach me photography? His street shots always make me look twice.
More photos here.

Google vs. Ebay: Distribution channel rivals?

Smart piece by Bambi Francisco explaining that Google Search and Ebay stores can be regarded as competing paradigms for serving surfers buying needs--and therefore potential rivals. More here.

News flash: Overture sells AltaVista Search, a mostly enterprise little product, to FAST, Press release here.

Bunker Hill: Battle anniversary--and AOL 9.0 code name

On this day in 1775, near Boston, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought. The battle, which actually occurred on Breed's Hill, was a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses while dislodging the rebels.
Okay, boys and girls, the AOL 9.0 beta client has the internal code name "Bunker Hill." Does anyone in the class think that maybe AOL represents the Americans, and Microsoft are the British, and the Hill is actually the wallets of suburban Americans?
Yes, Johnny, you say that any consumer with his head screwed on straight isn't going to pay any of those guys for access, they all cost too much?Mary, yes? Oh, your Dad said that AOL had a bunker mentality because they still thought it was the glory days of 1998 and refused to believe anyone would pay an additional $14.95 for their add on broad-band service...
Spike, yes?...Never mind, son, we're not talking about TV networks now...

Helping out a friend

Spent part of today shopping and cooking for an old friend whose father is dying. He's 80, lives a few hours away and has been in poor health for quite a while. After the last bout of problems, he began to think about stopping dialysis--he made that decision in the past week and now the family is waiting for him to die.
I lost both my parents within two years of each other, one to a lingering illness, the other suddenly, so I want to be as supportive of my friend as possible.
Today, that turned into buying 4 lbs of roast chicken, orange juice without pulp, bananas, crunchy granola bars and other things her family needs, then stopping by with the groceries and making them a nice dinner.
I've had a strong feeling her father is going to die the day of her son's graduation party; hope that's not the case. These difficult situations remind me how lucky I am to be in a position to help someone else.

Rowling to read Potter live on web

Great news for the development of streaming media:
"A special Harry Potter event starring JK Rowling at the Royal Albert Hall is to be broadcast live on the Internet

The boy wizard's creator will read extracts from her eagerly awaited fifth book and answer questions from an anticipated global audience of millions.

The one-off London show will be held on June 26, five days after Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix hits the shops."

One of the disappoints of thedot com bubble bursting has been the slowness for broadband and the web to develop a viable business model for live webcast events. Live events permit an interactivity with the audience that most TV doesn't support, and can be repurposed as VOD after the event, but media companies have been slow to embrace the form. While it's true the Rowling event is purely a marketing event, it's exactly the kind of live programming I'd like to see more of.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Anniversary: 4 month blogging anniversary

I started this blog four months ago today. Looking back on the early entries, I see some differences--as in I didn't know what the hell I was doing (but I knew that).
--Used lots more pictures in the beginning.
--Had this idea everything should be titled with active verbs: Reading, Writing, Thinking, etc. That was going to be a signature (didn't last).
--Wanted everyone to think I was really smart (got over that one).
As I told the New York Times reporter, this is a hobby, and a way to communicate. I've already published more that 20 stories and articles in media outlets with circulations over 2 million, and I've run one of the biggest portals on the web--so blogging is not about getting myself a platform I didn't have before, or couldn't have otherwise.
It's about the pleasure of taking one of the walls away from the people I write for, and about writing as a form of talking and communication, rather than a carefully crafted series of articles. With the addition of the comments forms, it's hopefully more of a dialogue as well.
Thank you for reading this, and hope it's worth your time.

Driving your SUV to the dump & other Bay area recycling stories

Good issue of San Francisco Magazine this June, with a special focus on the impassioned yet contradictory behaviors of Bay area environmental activists, a distinct group. SF Mag did in-depth interviews with 22 top Bay environmental leaders and reports on the results as part of their research. One interesting finding: 25% of these heros drive SUVs.
Some quotes:
Paul Hawken: We have to be able to imagine a life where having less is truly more satisfying...I buy organic food, walk to work, buy used clothes, shop at Rainbow Co-op, and don't subscribe to newspapers,. I don't do this for moral or ethical reasons. I do it because I like to live this way. It's freeing, lovely, and exciting."

Googlisms: "He's just a big baby."

Pit Bull Rescue: Poseidon and Neptune find new homes.
Bo the Wonderdog: A black Lab sniffs out drugs in Valparaiso

14-year old boy and his dad's girlfriend
: He isn't violent or doing drugs; he's just a big baby. ..I want to send him to one of those Boot Camps. Does anyone know if those are any good?
Scottie Pippen: You've got the ever unsatisfied Scottie Pippen, who has proven that without Michael Jordan, he's just a big baby who's crying for attention.
Jack Nicholson, in About Schmidt

Good n' Plenty: Aphrodisiac and SARS-killer?

About a week ago, my husband started buying Good & Plenty, the sugar-coated licorice candy we ate when we were kids. "Hey, you want some?" he kept asking.
Yesterday, he confessed that the Good & Plenty was an experiment; he'd read an article that said that the smell of licorice, specifically Good & Plenty, boosted sexual arousal in women.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, a neurologist and psychiatrist at Chicago's Smell and Taste
Treatment and Research Foundation, conducted a study involving 30 women, aged 18 to 40, and discovered that while some men's colognes impaired women's physiological sexual responses, some food odors increased them. The winners? Good & Plenty combined with cucumber.

Did it work on me? I'm not telling.

In related news, an ingredient in licorice has shown to be successful in fighting severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), at least in the lab. German researchers, reporting their results in the latest issue of The Lancet, say that the compound, glycyrrhizin, was effective in stopping the SARS virus from reproducing, according to an Agence France Presse account.
More on that here.

San Jose Weekend: Food, house hunt, people

In San Jose for the weekend, looking for houses in Naglee Park, a urban neighborhood with amazing architecture and a strong sense of community.
Fueling the hunt with some really good meals--bun ga (chicken with rice vermicelli) on North 1st Street at Pho Banc; bean curd with green onion, fish in wine sauce, baby bok choy and black mushrooms at Sheng Deng; chicken burritos and jarritos at a little taqueria on Park Avenue; more bun--with shrimp grilled on sugar cane--back on North 1st Street.
Everything freshly made, flavorful, and inexpensive.
In the process of house-hunting, I've noticed that people on the East and West coast approach these transactions differently. We spent much of the weekend talking to people about houses they owed and we he West Coasters see the disussions as a chance to interact and learn about the other people, very proicess-oriented, while the East Coasters are more focused on the transaction--ie, the result.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

READING: VURT by Jeff Noon

Just finished VURT. My first Jeff Noon book, and now I have to read them all. Noon is in the tradition of my favorite trippy writers, notably Tim Powers and now Michael Faber, with homage to Borges, Pynchon, Farina, and of course Lewis Carroll.

What Noon says
"But the main thing about how Vurt came to be, is that when Steve asked me to write a novel, I'd actually started to write a play called "The Torture Garden."' And The Torture Garden is a novel written in 1899 by a guy called Octave Murble. He was a kind of anti-authoritarian, anarchist kind of figure -- a bit like de Sade, but not as mad. Basically, he wanted to bring down the authorities, and he did this through satire. The Torture Garden is a garden in the middle of a prison, where every Tuesday, the bourgeoisie can go along and watch the prisoners being tortured. The garden is described incredibly well. It's beautiful. And the actual tortures are written about in a very lovely way -- reminded me a lot of Ballard when I read it.
And I'd wanted to do this as a play ever since I read the book, but I couldn't work out how to do it. And then, I was reading a textbook on virtual reality, and the introduction was by William Gibson. It was only about a one-page piece, but in it, he just throws away this line, which says that some of the characters where playing a game called "the Torture Garden."
And then it suddenly clicked to me that the Torture Garden is in virtual reality -- the rich people could visit virtual reality to experience this torture. And that's when I started to think this is what I could do to make this a play, and also make a play about virtual reality, which no one had done at the time.
So I put this idea to a director I knew, and he was into it, so I started to write the play. About half way through it, Steve turns to me in the bookshop where we were working, and says, "Write me a novel."' So, I started to write this novel, and forgot about the play. But it kind of grew out of the play, the novel did. I didn't realize it at the time, but when I finally finished the novel and went back to the play, there was so much in the play that went into the book. "

VURT--Music Noon listened to while writing
Ambient Dub
Higher Intelligence Agency
Original Rockers
Guerrilla in Dub

What is Vurt about?
Some Australians run a gaming site called Vurt, and they say:
"Jeff Noon is perhaps one of the more iconoclastic SF writers of the era.
To call Noon's fiction cyberpunk is akin to calling anything by Terry
Brooks readable. His writing is apocalyptic in feel, describing a gritty
futuristic world in which dream meets reality. His first book "Vurt,"
covers the searching of Scribble for Desdemona, superficially a
traditional love story. But it has a twist: Desdemona, Scribble's sister
has been lost to the shadowy world of "Vurt," a psychedelic reality woven
from the desires and dreams of the populace, only accessible by vurt
feathers, drugs of mind-weirding quality."

What Noon readsNoon's top 10 favorite works of 'fluid fiction are
Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges
The Annotated Alice by Lewis Carroll, edited by Martin Gardner
Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R Hofstadter
Digital Leatherette by Steve Beard
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Rock Springs by Richard Ford
The Age of Wire and String by Ben Marcus
The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven by Rick Moody
Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath
A Humument by Tom Phillips
I've read Borges, Carrol, Plath, and Ford, and some other Rick Moody, so this list can keep me going for a while.

Why am I going on about this?
Wonderul fresh point of view, powerful writing, sharp edge. The man's got something.

The first road trip

San Jose Mercury News: One hundred years ago, Horatio Nelson Jackson drove a used car with no roof and
no windshield from San Francisco to New York -- 5600 miles, most of them unpaved -- in 63 days.
It was the first successful road trip across America, and the subject of a new documentary by Ken Burns.
Read the amazingly cool story in the Merc.
Check out Floridian Charles Wake--from Sarasota, to be exact--who will, along with family and friends drive two vintage Winton automobiles cross-country from San Fran to NYC to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first such endeavor, starting on June 17th, and ending July 26th.
See the show Horatio's Drive on public television in October.

Stripperella & Schlepperallas:Family of (Wo)man

The Schlepperellas: Two Bay area moms gone mad rag on the world in their comedy show.
Stripperella: Mad-ass mom Pamela Anderson is the voice of Erotica Jones, stripper by night and superhero Stripperella sometime right after that.
The Schlepperealla are two domestic CEOS, bemoaning eveything from teen angst to upper-arm flab. Stripperella is an agent for T.H.U.G.G. and a superhero who fends off nasty villains such as Dr. Cesarean, a plastic surgeon whose evil plans involve giving unexpected women explosive breast implants made of nitroglycerin, and Cheapo, a super-villain on a budget who makes his henchman share a gun. Seperated by 20 years and 60 lbs, whose to say they're not sisters under the skin?

Department of Celebrity Gossip

You're not Spike: Fiesty director Spike Lee blocks men's channel name Spike Lee is mad and he's not gonna take it. On Friday, a judge supported his petition to block using Spike TV as the name for its new men's channel, pending a trial. State
Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub ordered Lee to post a $500,000 bond in case the network wins the case. Lee says Spike TV trades on his celebrity and that's not right.
Suntimes and many other news sources report.
Like a Virgin: Affleck loves Lopez's innocence Jen's been with five guys in her life and I love her for is pretty much what reports Affleck saying. "There aren't many virgins in their thirties,' Affleck reportedly said. 'Jen's about as close as you're likely to find, certainly in Hollywood.'

Dial up subscriber base continues sliding down the drain

Mediapost: Reuters reported on Friday that Kaufman Bros. analyst Mark May's latest research note predicts that dial-up Internet subscriber losses will continue unabated for several more quarters at AOL Time Warner Inc.'s America Online, MSN, EarthLink Inc. and other major players. May estimated AOL, MSN and Earthlink combined will lose 675,000 subscribes in the second quarter, with MSN posting the largest losses as it loses its rebate customers to high-speed or value-priced Internet service providers.

Becoming bi-coastal, some thoughts

How did I turn into a bi-coastal person? And how unusual is my situation?
Five years ago, I was living happily in New Jersey, running the new media group for a very large publishing business, and having a great time in New York. So great, I thought I'd never leave.
Soon after that, I moved to California to run programming, production and design at Netscape, post-AOL acquisition, when the goal was to make Netscape the free "flanker brand" to the paid AOL service and the showcase for great services and information.(Yeah, I know, that didn't last.)
During my Netscape years, I traveled regularly to NY and Virginia to work with partners, go to executive summits in Dulles, get budgets approved, etc. Then, the year of 9/11, I accepted a job that meant spending a HUGE amount of my time at AOL in Dulles---even thought I was living in California and based there. During that year, I became a 1K flyer.
As much as I said I didn't want to do that level of traveling, I must have gotten used to it, because I've continued to have lives on both coasts.
There's my Bay area network, amazing people doing very interesting things, mostly with technology, RSS, blogs, browsers, information and data. Then there's the New York group, bright and productive, very involved with publishing, media, streaming, broadband, museums, retail, marketing and premium services. People involved with education and nonprofits on both coasts.
My hope is to spend more and more time working with coien

Friday, June 13, 2003

More tk

In San Francisco this am, heading back to to the Valley. More later on VURT, an amazing novel and on the Left Coast.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

On the road: offline most of tomorrow

San Jose, here I come.

Puppylicious, the blog

My American bulldog, Winston, loves attention, but he's "just a big baby," in truth, which is something all owners of lazy dogs say about their charges. Winston likes to flop down at my feet and sleep looking like nothing so much as a great white blog.
Now Dog Tales: weird, inspiring dog tales, offers me a chance to read other people's blogs about their pets.
Blog Dog--photoblog by dogs for their masters
The Dog's Blog--Arlo plays Heaven on his Xbox, woof
Wwoof's Blog: 4-footed zen master

BOOKS: Just finished

Under the Skin by Michael Faber. This 2000 first novel by the author of the recent and much-acclaimed The Crimson Petal and the White, a wonderful novel now being pitched as a movie vehicle for actress Kirstin Dunst, is troubling and sharp. While far from the jumbotronic, Baz Luhermanesque flash of the second book (underscored by shrewd characterizations) Under the Skin has a troubling afterglow that's hard to shake.
A science-fiction parable set in the wilds of Scotland, not far from Inverness, Under the Skin, is as spiky and pointed as Orwell's ANIMAL FARM, but as modern as the White Stripes. It's not so much that I enjoyed this book as I can't stop thinking about it. Original, wonderful, and smart.

Making Peace with the Things in Your Life, by Cindy Glovinsky, CSW. I don't have a problem with organizing objects or throwing stuff away, but two of my best friends do, so I was curious to read this book by a licensed psychotherapist and organizer. It's pretty good, and seems like it could persuade even the worst hoarder to start double-bagging some of her excess.

being zen: bringing meditation to life, by eric bayda. Opening yourself up and finding inner piece by a man who seemed amazingly uptight and not open. Abandoned half-way through.

Baroque-a-nova by Kevin Chong. This first novel could be better, but I'm digging it. Set in Vaqncouver, it's the story of 17 year old Saul and the adults in his life, all of whom are wacky old hippies. Steve Urkel meets Running with Sissors.

Cruising the blogosphere this morning

Media Diet by Heath Row: I hope to meet Heath one day. I think I'll like him--and he is blogging the hell out of the Jupiter conference on blogging. Entries right here.
Kevin Kelly, Whole Earth and high tech genius, has new Cool Tools (thanks BoingBoing) Kevin also has a great page asking questions of readers, right here.
Dave Sifry is my hero! I am already addicted to Technorati, and it appears that Dave created a full-text search for Technorati. Now you can search the complete text of over 300,000 blogs, and all matching text posted two hours ago or more will be returned. Link to the beta search is here. (Thanks again, BoingBoing)
Diary of a lost girl: Christine is 30-something, clinically depressed, home with an eating disorder , hella smart, and a new blogger. Girl, welcome to the world.

Silicon Valley/New York City : Job losses slowing?

According to USA Today, job losses in Silicon Valley, while continuing, are slowing from the pace of the previous 2 years. The valley and San Francisco together have accounted for nearly one of every seven jobs cut nationwide in the past two years. The only region to lose more jobs than San Jose has been New York City, where 186,000 jobs were cut in the past 2 years. Also, more people have been moving out of the region than moving in.
According to a recent US Council of Mayors report, overall employment growth in the 20 largest metropolitan areas in 2003 is predicted at 0.1 percent with nine of the areas experiencing either no job growth or continued job loss. That figure is a significant downward revision from a January report, which predicted a job growth rate of 0.9 percent this year

Pizza leads to capture of San Jose child kidnapper

Pizza Delivery News: San Jose police officers arrested the kidnapper of a 9-year-old girl by using delivery records from a Little Caesars pizza store. According to multiple press reports, the alleged kidnapper dropped the girl off at a convenience store on June 8. During a conversation with the convenience store operator, the girl recalled that a pizza was delivered to the home where she allegedly was held for two days.

AOL: Does only the spam gets through?

I have a routine: every morning, I get up, go over to my PC, and check out the emails that came in the previous night. These days, I spend a lot of time deleting spam offering online drugs, lowered mortgage rates, free vacations, and all sorts of sex and adding the senders to my blocking list. But these days, I'm also worrying about who's NOT getting through--such as the friends trying to email me from Comcast, Earthlink. iVillage and god knows where else. You see, I have an AOL email address (left over from my days as a staffer), and AOL's spam filter has blocked them out. The problem, according to ZDNet, is that tactics to thwart spammers include requiring large Internet service providers such as Comcast to register their e-mail server configurations to communicate with AOL--and then blocking mail from those sources if there are any changes to the configurations.
Do I ride this out, or do I switch?
AOL mail seems laughably unprofessional to some folks, but my email address is simple and easy to remember. Plus, I've had it for 4 years. Also, I am enough of a rebel to enjoy the downscale aspect...Having an uncool email address feels cool to me, like wearing KSwiss and Puma sneakers before they came back.
Still, if folks mail can't get through...That's bad...Yet another reason to join friends leaving the service for cheaper utilities.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Monday and not raining

It's Monday in New York and it's finally not raining. Not raining is a new condition of weather that overrides whether it is sunny, grey, cold, hot, windy, dry, humid, etc. Not raining is great in comparison to raining, the constant condition of the Eastern Seaboard for the past 30 days.
Not raining means:
1) Wearing a skirt--no chance of getting my legs splashed in a downpour
2) Not wearing black--it's not summer white, but at least there's no need to mask mud puddle splashes
3) Smiling--Less reason to feel sleepless in Seattle, or like a rainforest refugee
4) Better living through dog walking--Winston and I can go on long, meandering walks, and even head over to the woods, in between stints of work and life
Will it last? Nope, rain predicted for tomorrow.
Does it matter right now? No, it's sunny

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Social Network Sites: How hard to let go?

Ben Hammersley writes: In my current unsubscribing frenzy, I've started trying to leave all of the social networking sites I've joined in this past year. It's an interesting thing to attempt, and instructive as to how these sites deal with the request. Friendster, for example, allowed me to cancel my account from the site. A couple of button pushs and I'm outtathere. But both LinkedIn and Ryze tell me to email customer support and beg them to remove me. I wonder how long it will take. More here on a fascinating topic, how to get the hell out of dodge.

The blog stylings of

Tristan Louis on Microsoft and AOL
Megnut on food: French Laundry and former lit agent John Hodgman, yum
Joshua Allen: I Live in a Motel, in The Morning News. I am heading this way myself, it seems....
Dave Winer: Business as Publications: If I were starting a new company in 2003, I would put in the charter that, in addition to whatever else my company did, the new company would be a publication. I'd hire an editor in chief, parallel to the CFO and CTO. This person's charter would be to cover the company, much the same way the editor of the San Jose Mercury News covers Silicon Valley.
Dog News: What really matters
Jay Fienberg on The Planetwork Conference in San Francisco this weekend, via Marc Canter
12 weeks of weight: Can ya lose it?

Damn, when is the sun coming out?

"I'm sick and tired and don't want to take it anymore."

Jen Chung: The nice Elizabeth Spiers?

Two of the blogs I read daily are Gawker and Gothamist. In fact, the truth is that I am obsessed with both Gawker and Romenesko, as I have said before. But I also love Gothamist, which is wonderfully written (Jen, you are an excellent writer)
Recently, I have been feeling that Gothamist was being unduly influenced by Gawker, and I've been a bit concerned about it--I don't want to have to read through the Gawker School of Blogging--that would be about as bad as having to read all the Iowa School Poets again. So it was great tonight to see this entry by Jen Chung about meeting Jeffrey Steingarten, the Vogue food critic and realizing that Gothamist will never really be like Gawker, because Jen Chung is just too nice. Elizabeth Spiers, the Gawker, editor, would never say anything nice about anyone who wrote for Vogue, let alone Jeffrey Steingarten, the one food-loving, well-padded straight guy on the masthead.

Who will stop the rain?

There is no way to begin to describe how tired of rain I am. I am now glad that I never lived in Seattle, because if the weather there is similar to the past month of rain in New York, I would have gone off a bridge by now. Although I am glad New York is not going to have a drought, the unrelenting wet grayness is so drab. And I haven't had a chance to wear any of my spring clothes!
In a week or so,. New York's climate will lurch into summer gear: 95 degrees and up, humid, and smoggy. Everyone will be too cold on the subway and in the office, and covered with a fine film of aromatic sweat up on the streets. The beaches will reek of coconut oil and the sand will be filled with the rubbed-out ends of filter cigarettes and pop-tops. Everyone who can afford it will leave New York for the weekend, but head back in Monday morning to make their cash. The suburbanites will head home on the train, dreaming of air-conditioning, wishing they didn't have to mow the lawn, and anticipating the time the kids head off to camp. On Monday mornings, they will remember the week they spent on vacation in the Hamptons or Fire Island, and the sheer joy and exhilaration they felt every day at 10 am, when all those poor bastards their friends were at work and they were with the rich, at the beach.
The rain is saving us from all this, but it is also preventing me from going outside for any length of time, and enjoying the weather is one of the key aspects of my weekend. Arghhh. I am glad I don't live in Seattle...

Friday, June 06, 2003

Why I wish Netscape had survived

Why I wish Netscape had survived:
...Will the end of Netscape mean the end of third-party browsers? No. It just means that the best one is gone and that Windows is now, for all intents and purposes, a non-MS-browser free zone. The only alternative browsers I can think of are Opera and Mozilla, neither of which I think about very often. There's nothing wrong with these other browsers, but nothing so incredibly right that I want to use them.

AOL: Where's the Bottom?

The Washington Post reported this week that over 1 million subscribers had left AOL, according to CFO Wayne Pace, who spoke at an industry news conference. According to the article, AOL is rapidly losing customers to NetZero and other lower-priced bare-bones Internet services, as well as to higher-priced high-speed cable and telephone providers. Pace also said the falloff in subscribers is much steeper than AOL had projected, so that the only way for the Internet unit to meet cash-flow targets for the year is to cut costs relentlessly.

I remember being at a meeting in Dulles last summer when AOL convened the Top 200 Managers, as they called us, to gather in Dulles and met Jon Miller, who had just been appointed to run the service. At that gathering, Ted Leonsis ambled to the front of the room and told stories about the AOL crisises he'd weathered: the move to flat-rate pricing and the subsequent access problems, the need to get more network capacity, fast, the threats to the business from MSN and others eager to get their subscriber base. The stories were funny and inspiring, and at the end, Leonsis slammed his hand on the podium and roared, "The worst is over, we've hit bottom this time and we're only going up!"
By last fall, it was clear bottom was further down and we'd sink a bit more before we got to move up. I left the company in January 2003, and it seems clear that AOL perhaps has not yet found the bottom.

Back on line at last--thank you, Jason and Eric

After half a week of being unable to publish, I sent a note to the folks at Blogger, who got the Blogger control guys to expedite. Seems like a couple of thinks may have gone wrong when my blogs were migrated to the new backend and templates. Anyway, I'm back--thank you, Jason and Eric.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Blog Publishing has been broken for two days!

Arrghhh--the publish for this site is broken! I emailed Blogger control but nothing has happened yet in terms of fixes--and my tricks are not working. Blogger, you are unstable!

Story: If Netscape has survived

David Coursey: Now that Microsoft and AOL have reached a settlement, it's time to take Netscape off life support
The settlement of the legal battle between Microsoft and AOL Time Warner means Netscape can now be taken off life support and the body harvested for any useful parts that remain.

The romantic in me says this is a terrible fate for a company whose Mosaic/Netscape browser changed the technology world so much. The realist in me responds that this only proves how overrated "first-mover advantage" really is. How many of the first companies to do anything are still in business when the industry matures?

More here.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Latest AOL 9.0 Beta Omits Realplayer, no blogging visible

The folks at Neowin watch AOL's software releases, so we don't have to.
The Neowin tester says that this build offers a different client interface, and
New member animation emphasizes secure connections for AOL email and a limitless filing system for mail; a PC computer checkup that will monitor your system for you (interesting), server side address book available with long in from any machine.
Other interesting things: Real Player doesn't seem to be bundled in--is this because AOL's team was preparing to support Windows Media player instead?There's an extendable bar on top, center, that mixes community/tech services with transaction services such as Moviefone.
A new area AOL has been discussing for at least 16 months is on the bar. Called "Buzzline" this is the "What are AOL members talking about right now?" data-display area, where quotes, polls, and other data are centralized for viewing pleasure.
No sign of any blogging tools on the Neowin screen shots, although I'd heard blogging might be included in the 9.0 release. Well, there's still plenty of time.

Reality Bytes: More high-tech CEOs now deciding to step to the side

Interesting article in the Boston Globe today on how several high-tech CEOs have recently left their posts and then said, "Hey, I'm done with that," when they had a chance to run other large companies.
Ed Zander, former COO of Sun:
''After running 40,000 people -- and maybe I wasn't CEO, but I was sure close to it -- it dawned on me that just going back and running a company, any company,
wouldn't be good,'' Zander said. ''If several years from now I have that desire, yeah, I'll do it. But right now I just don't.''

Bob LoPresto, president of the high-tech practice of Rusher Loscavio & LoPresto, an executive recruiting firm with offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Palo Alto, California: "It's s no fun to be CEO of a public company anymore.''

More here. including quotes from Jim Barksdale, formerly of Netscape, Raymond J. Lane , formerly of Oracle, and Bob Davis, formerly of Lycos.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Nemo & Six Feet Under

Good media day--saw Finding Nemo this afternoon--thought it was better than Toy Story; great animation, wonderful voices, Ellen Generes saves her career with this one. Tonight, watched the seasonal finale of Six Feed Under--it was a fast-paced, dramatic ensemble piece. A bit too much whining from Nate, the hero in incoherent pain, but the rest of it outside of that was terrific.

Dinner: What I Cooked

When I left AOL, before I really moved into the work I am doing now, I was delighted to have more time to cook. Over the past few weeks, as 5ive and my consulting projects have picked up, I've done much less interesting cooking. I did make a great dinner this weekend, though:
Artichoke dip and cheese on Portguese bread
Composed salad with fresh herbs and avocado
Grilled salmon
Basil Thai Noodles (one of the dishes I mastered this year, courtsey of Mark Bittman, my favorite cookbook author, is Thai Noodles. I can make Pad Thai, Basil Thai Noodles, Curried Rice Noodles, etc.
Fresh lychees
Vanilla ice cream with fresh raspberries, Scottish shortbread, and ginger creme cookies

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