Saturday, January 31, 2004
Blogger/Media dinner-February 18th--Cafe Bastille 7 PM--Note changed date!!
We'll let people know who's planning to attend as the time gets closer---just a chance to hang out and talk...
Note: We changed the date by a week so the eTech folks could come. Hope everyone else can still make it!
Directions to the cafe are here, btw. And here's the menu.
What a week--and soon back to NY
On the plus side, some great projects potentially coming together, and the chance to deliver solid and useful work on the current projects.
More time out talking with people--I really need that stimulation.
Also, I am getting involved with a very interesting conference--once I get clearance from the organizers, I'll talk more about it.
And so on..The life of a this-and-that'er, which is another way to think about doing consulting, is full of juggling actual projects and possibilities.
On the down side, I'm not thrilled about having two trips to NY so close together, and the 'terrorists want to use a plane as a weapon' news scares me. Still, I', going, and will use the time to see my partners, some friends and clients, and hang with family. Plus, a great friend of mine(way cooler than me) from the West Coast will be in the city all week, so it's my fantasy that we will go out and have fun together--one of the best times of my life was going with him to The Top one weekend--inside me is a person who loves to stay out till 3 am; I'm just usually not in touch with her!
YASN: Will Google launch Orkut mail?
What an amazing way for Google to enter whole new sectors of the market--and have great spaces for their personal data-mining search tools--as well.
If Google pulls off entry into the consumer market in a whole new way via Orkut, it may also prove that hiring brilliant engineers pays off as a product development strategy--who needs those editorial and marketing folk when you have Orkut B.?
Extra: Cory D on YASN, wise doubts about orkut from Roland Tanglao,, Headshift, and comments on the sheer fatigue and overwhelmingness of it all from Judith Meskill, via McGee., inspired by a Leander Kahney Wired story on backlash.
Amazing moments in the blogosphere
Wow. I am speechless. Thank YOU for whatever good thing it was I was able to do, Patricia...thank you.
My secret life: Hanging with the harmonica cats
Tonight we went up to Redwood City for a "Harmonica Blues Summit" featuring Gary Smith, RJ Micho, Andy Santana and Red Archibald. Johnny Cat and Mike Phillips, guitar and bass, backed everyone up.
It was a blast! All these guys are really solid players and the crowd loved it.
(Of course, I always get off on what everyone looks like--software engineers out on a binge, guys wearing Hawaiian shirts as a daring fashion statement, and aging Pink Ladies and Jets...it's not a music for the under 30-crowd, for the most part, it seems.)
Friday, January 30, 2004
Now it can be told: 18th birthday surprise party
And did I mention Zack was totally surprised? As in he really believed we were only going out to dinner...
We had a complete meal, but here's what they actually ate:
Veggie chicken sesame stay
Veggie spring rolls
Veggie egg rolls
Birthday cake and ice cream
M&Ms, almond and crispy
Spinach broccoli dip (we tossed that mayonnaise-fest)
Cold sesame noodles
Home made guacamole
Veggie curry chicken (some instinct must have made EVERYONE avoid this...)
What they listened to: Mike Ness, Sublime, Atmosphere, Common, and some emo stuff I tried to avoid. B
Best music: Hugh flowing to the beat, freestylin.
Thursday, January 29, 2004
Did the teachings of Kabbalh influence Britney's quickie marriage?
Looks like fun, but guys, why don't you have an RSS feed?
Spalding Gray story
The Gray piece ends:
"...Throughout most of Tim Burton's film, the character of the son is trying to cut through the haze of his father's tall tales, dissecting the brilliant myths his father has spun to find the real man within. In the end, however, the son is won over by his fatherÂs imagination. As the old man lies dying in the hospital, he challenges the son to summon his own fantasy of his father's death, one in which the ailing man strolls down to a riverbank in his native Alabama and, before a gathering of a lifetime of friends, throws himself into the roiling water. Miraculously, the dying man then morphs into a giant fish and swims away and out of sight.
"Some friends said I shouldn't see it, but I had to, I went last night,"says Russo. Holding back the tears again, she adds softly, "You know, Spalding cried after he saw that movie. I just think it gave him permission. I think it gave him permission to die."
AOL: Bottomed out again?
Given that AOL has been telling staffers "this is the bottom" since at least Summer 2002, one wonders when the TW unit will get tired of owning the biggest and the--hardest to fix?--dial-up service. Knowing the NY and Dulles guys, one hope may be to sell enough ads on MovieFone, Mapquest, and other hitherto secondary properties to offset the AOL service problems. And then make AOL Latino really work(seems like a great oppty there).
A nice joint venture with a big telco, retailer, or tech company wouldn't hurt either--Oh yeah, they tried all of those and none of them helped...Well, maybe it's time to bring back those adult chat rooms with a private label service.
More from the NY Daily News: "The online giant kept bleeding, losing 400,000 more subscribers. And AOL spooked investors by reporting that among its 24.3 million members, 431,000 aren't paying."
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
You know you're in Silicon Valley when...
There's a trail of orange peels on every street from people picking and eating oranges from the trees in the front yards as they walk along.
Many of your neighbors bought their houses with stock options before the bubble burst.
The health of the local economy is measured by the traffic slow-downs around Palo Alto.
Belonging to a Ultima Online or Dungeons & Dragons type gaming group is as acceptable as joining a book club.
People actually browse the Linux books in Borders.
At an after-work meeting at the local high school, 2/3 of the parents show up in jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. Many of their teens are wearing sandals--in January.
Every single house has a cat, a dog, and six different kinds of recycling.
Obsessive-Compulsive over Orkut
Orkut has so many neat little features that make it fun to use.
I particularly like the ability to see a friend's network as a set of stacked names and photos;the playful colors and expressive icons, the I am a fan capabiity (this is a great way to give whuffies to pals), and the neat, orderly list of friends, with their email right at hand. I can tell there are a lot of other neat features in which I have not (yet) invested any time.
The challenge is going to be learning it well enough to meet new people--on Ryze, I actually meet people through the site, which hasn't happened with Tribe and LinkedIn. That ability to discover people is part of what I like best about Ryze, so Orkut will need something equivalent to keep me enthralled.
Dept. Of it sure could get worse: AOL losses continue, profits go up
I'm tempted to ask how much of that operating profit had to do with the third year in a row of layoffs. Cutting the ad sales group(reportedly down to 80 on the national sales team) and the Mountain View campus (350), plus other unannounced cuts in the Studio and elsewhere had to help drive costs down. It's to AOL's credit that the AOL 9.0 client has so many cool things about it given the reductions in force, but one wonders if, internally, staffers feel like they've cut muscle and bone--or if the place was so bloated for so long, many of the cuts didn't hurt remaining staffers that much.
What to expect from a VC: Kawasaki interview
"As long as things are going well, a venture capitalist will leave you alone. Understand a venture capitalist's life: He's on as many as ten boards that meet at least quarterly and sometimes once a month; he has to raise money to invest and keep about 25 investors informed and happy; he's looking at several deals a day; he's dealing with five other partners. He doesn't have the time to micromanage you--and if he thought he'd have to, he probably wouldn't have invested in you. "
"Whatever the first offer, ask for a 25% higher valuation because you're expected to push back. In fact, if you don't push back, you may scare the venture capitalist if he thinks you're not a good negotiator. It would be nice to have some arguments to show why you believe your valuation should be higher--saying that this book told you to push back isn't sufficient.
At the end of the day, though, if the valuation is reasonable, take the money and get going. You'll see that you either make more money than you ever thought possible or your organization will die."
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Why Orkut rose so fast
Topix: "We now have the largest number of RSS feeds on the Net"
He also says, "I told Dave Winer about it ... but he flamed me. He said I had used the wrong version of RSS, and would never henceforth utter the name 'Topix'. Sigh. (so much for perl -MCPAN -e 'install XML::RSS')"
My net access was unbelievably slow last night, so I never got to use my newsreader, but I do plan to add some of Topix's feeds later today and check'em out.
Discovering Danny Gregory
He's a nimble, passionate artist...perfect antidote to a cold and rainy California afternoon (yeah, I know, the East Coast is loaded with snow...)
Monterey Bay Aquarium issues national seafood guide, will put 2 million in public's hands by Earth Day
According to a recent press release, "The guide, modeled on the aquarium's West Coast pocket guide first issued in 1999, will reach 2 million people by Earth Day 2004, including 770,000 cards distributed in the January issue of Sierra magazine, and another 600,000 in the April/May issue of National Wildlife magazine. The cards are also available through partner organizations across the country, and on the aquarium's web site."
MUG: Fact(s) of the day
For the past couple of years it's been a (free) email newsletter and web site.
Today, it's got some playful data:
The two most powerful NYC earthquakes: Dec. 19, 1737 and August 10, 1884, both 5.2 on the Richter scale. The most recent: April 20, 2002 (a 5.1, centered near Plattsburgh, NY but felt in the city.)
Number of Arrest Warrants Outstanding for Osama Bin Laden
Three: MADRID (COURT NR 5) / Spain, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK / United States, TRIPOLI / Libya. According to Interpol, "Person May Be Dangerous." Thanks for the heads up.
Most Popular Baby Names in NYC
(Source: NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene)
Other recommendations are equally eclectic--and lots of them are web-based, meaning you don't have to go to NY to take advantage.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Punk'd: Fast Food Poison
Also read Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed, Patricia Cornwell's account of how and why she determined Victorian painter and man of letters Walter Sickert was also the brutal serial murderer Jack the Ripper. Excruciatingly detailed, full of forensic data, and completely grisly, this is not a book to read alone late at night---I did, and regretted it.
Also: Judith Moore's The Left Coast of Paradise(didn't care for it), Ann Barry's At home in France: Tales of an American and her house abroad (eh), Loss within Loss: Artists in the Age of Aids, edited by Edmund White(a superb book!), Naked in the Promised Land, a Memoir by Lillian Faderman, and Silicon Valley, Women and the California Dream by Glenn Matthews(this is a great book, will post more on it this week).
Congrats: Betsy's anniversary
Shirky: Did believing instead of voting) sink Dean in Iowa?
"Would you vote for Howard Dean?" and "Will you vote for Howard Dean?"
are two different questions, and it may be that a lot of people who
"would" vote for Dean, in some hypothetical world where you could vote
in the same way you can make a political donation on Amazon, didn't
actually vote for him when it meant skipping dinner with friends to
drive downtown in the freezing cold and venture into some church
basement with people who might prefer some other candidate to Dean.
What I wonder is whether Dean has accidentally created a
movement (where what counts is believing) instead of a campaign (where
what counts is voting.)
And (if that's true) I wonder if his use of social software helped
create that problem."
Cooperative encyclopedia to post 200,000th article
Gillmor writes: "Wikipedia is based on a kind of software called Wiki. A Wiki allows any user to edit any page. It keeps track of every change. Anyone can follow the changes in detail.
A Wiki engenders a community when it works correctly. And a community that has the right tools can take care of itself.
The Wikipedia articles tend to be neutral in tone, and when the topic is controversial, they will explain the varying viewpoints in addition to offering the basic facts. When anyone can edit what you've just posted, such fairness becomes essential."
Check it out if you have not seen it.
The dish on Orkut
-- -- 1,244 items on Orkut indexed on feedster on Monday
-- -- Early frenzy for invites on Jeremy Z's blog
-- -- Orkut the man's Stanford home page and resumeand photos.
-- --What's really scary--here's a cell phone number.
iMedia relaunches site
Hey, put me on that list, Lee!
Golden Globes redux: All about the boobies
And a bonus: photo of round Renee, who looks curvylicious.
Time of the Toolbars: Microsoft introduces new resource
Gruner & Jahr: What's next?
At the time, buying Fast Company for $360 MM and turning Mc Call's into Rosie--who was beloved by AOL members, a talk show star, and a middle-market goddess--may have seemed grandiose, but so did Yahoo's plans to keep its market lead through introducing scores of new services.
(Of course,on the other hand, getting into a legal battle with Rosie, allowing circulation to be misstated, etc. are fatal errors in any era, especially when revenues are dropping. And Brewster's reign did not seem to right itself or recover quickly from these mistakes.)
A NY publishing friend mentioned to me that Michael Clinton, EVP at Hearst, would be a great candidate for this job. And of course the NY Post has already identified lots of potential candidates. Says Ganz: "We just need to find somebody who knows this business, who is down to earth, and has a vision for this company."
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Saturday stuff: -10 below in NYC
What I learned:
The bowling alley says it's a 30 minute wait, but they lie.
While waiting an hour for a lane, you spend $15 on video games, and $10 on kid food.
Everyone around you is doing the same thing--but some look happier about it than others.
I suck at bowling--my nephew got a better score than I did (okay, he had bumpers, but even still...)
Friday, January 23, 2004
Want to blog a conference? Invite bloggers
Jeff says people like to contribute to their own blog. I'd add that the groups blogs I've read from conferences (and I've been studying this recently for a possible project) have most of the contributors lined up in advance, and that all of the core posters have blogged before--the passerbys use the comments feature if the trolls don't get it first. The AdTech MarketingWonk conference blog was a good example of this form.
Jeff also says that the point is to have multiple bloggers blogging: "Now, instead of making everyone come to one place for one source of news, news is everywhere; there's more news than ever; it's just a matter of finding it (and finding the right news). It's also a matter of enabling these many, diverse, and decentralized sources of news -- these citizens -- to work."
I'd say that we did this at BloggerCon on Boston, and it has been done at many other conferences, and it also works really well, especially with a master page and RSS feed to make the bloggers unified and accessible.
I would like to here from the smart and hardworking NAA staff what they thought about the experience and why it didn't take off. Hopefully, this won't stop them from another effort next year, just set up differently.
Washington-- Wonkette launches
Ana Marie Cox writes: "We like recall movements, illegitimate children of senators coming forward after 50 years, wrestler-style wild screams of rage and the endorsement of Dennis Kucinich by Grandfather Twilight."
Oh goody, sounds like fun---and could you cover AOL too, please?
You know you're in New York when...
The woman in your friend's nice loft building seems afraid to ride the elevator upstairs with you and your luggage.
Everyone says that Judy Steinberg, Howard Dean's wife, seems exactly like someone from the Upper West Side.
In fact, some add, they're both from New York originally.
Your birthday cake is from Grunenbaum's Bakery, not Whole Foods.
It doesn't matter that it's 20 degrees because you're spending all your time inside, anyway.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Light posting next couple of days
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Analyze This: Social Networks in the Value Framework
I'm not sure I have the fortitude right now to read this academic-sounding piece, but I am attracted by the organized list of 9 sites and their attributes that Scott presents in his post.
Perfect for a night when I have insomnia.
Dogster: Friendster for dogs
Jasper Marie, Madison, and Rocky are puppy buds, for example, and their owners are...
Oh forget it, who are we kidding, you have to be insane to do this more than once!
If you like scrolling through dog photos, this is your site, otherwise, 2 seconds will do ya for life.
E&P: Fewer people find jobs through newspapers
E&P says " Respondents to the survey aid 31.8% of jobs were filled from the Internet, which was up nearly five percentage points from 2002. Employee referrals accounted for 28.5%.Newspapers, on the other hand, accounted for just 3.8% of new job hires, down from 4.8% the previous year."
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Technorati's gotta beta
Blogger/media dinner Feb 11th
Everyone is welcome...bloggers, media folk, tech folk and none of the above. More info to follow. Send one of us an email or post here if you're interested in taking part.
Is Dan Brewster out at Gruner & Jahr?
Update: NYTimes reports Brewster says he expects to be fired.
And a piece in the NY Post today saying potential replacements for Daniel Brewster include Time Inc.'s Michael Klingensmith, Fairchild's Mary Berner, former Time International chief Michael Pepe and Hachette's Jack Kliger.
Are you a start-up CEO? Read this
"Q: "...WhatÂs the hardest lesson for a startup CEO to understand?
Answer: "Time and time again, it is the lesson of the true cost of the under-hire. The CEO fills a role out of desperation, or recruits a buddy who is not quite the right fit but will do for now, and then that person in turn takes the organization down the wrong paths, hires the wrong people, et cetera.... My advice to CEOs is to hire the very best, act as if your life depended on every person you bring on your team, and put a ton of cycles into finding, referencing, recruiting, and retaining those people."
Monday, January 19, 2004
5 houses in 8 years
The irony is that for at least fifteen years before that, we lived in the same apartment in Brooklyn, but since those days, we haven't stayed in any spot more than four years.
That means our son, who goes off to college next year, won't have the experience we both had of saying "Yeah, I grew up here., in this house." Instead, he'll say, "Well, we moved around alot, from here to here to here."
Although we think he's benefit from moving, he would probably disagree--and the truth is, we ended up moving a lot more than we had planned to.
Funny thing is, now that we've moved so much, I kind of like it--as much as I want to put down more roots, the feeling of change is exciting.
Happy Birthday to-Me
Already, this birthday is shaping up to be better than last year's.
For one thing, my husband came home from New York with an armful of birthday presents he gave me early cause he didn't want to wait: among them are a funny Thai tin toy of two fighting kickboxers, assorted sizes of Chinese Hell money, and a beautiful pair of earrings, which came disguised in an (emptied out) canister of Mango Tea.
These gifts were so right on, it was wonderful.
For another thing, it looks like I will celebrate my birthday twice--once here in California with my family, and then again in New York over the weekend with my siblings and their kids.
How good is that?
I have a lot to be grateful for.
Noted: Media News
(Via Paid Content)
Consumer Reports: Reuters rreports that the awesome Elizabeth Crow will be the new editorial director for Consumer Reports.
The Newspaper Association of America's annual Connections conference opens today, and this year has a conference blog, written and edited by Melinda Gipson.
Yellow pages company DexMedia , has converted all of its 240,000 yellow page display ads into searchable online content. The company publishes 270 directories in 14 Western and Midwestern states(Via iMedia)
Mediapost: Local alternative newspapers growing at twice the rate of daily newspapers.,
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Earthquake Special: RSS Feed
Note: More sources--and a more correct breadcrumb-- on the blog to blog transmission of this info.
Gotham Gal hits Economy Candy
Economy Candy is the old immigrant candy store of the 1950s Lower East Side, and it's one on the few things to survive gentification.
"Floor to ceiling candy of every kind. It is overwhelming. Huge Pez's, rope of licorice tied together, 10 lb. bags of jolly ranchers (I bought that for my husband's office), high end chocolate bark, caramels, chocolate covered pretzels, candy necklaces, reese peanut butter cups. It's all there. "
If anyone knows a place like this in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, etc. please tell me. Sometimes I have to feed my inner Hungarian grandma.
Congratulations, Eryth! US Soldier First to Marry in Baghdad
She and her new husband are the first soldiers to do so.
According to the story in the Rocky Mountain News: "Zecher...enlisted two Iraqi friends to help her find a wedding dress. They brought her only one to try on, a gown imported from Lebanon....What her groom did not know...is that since the Army has a no-lingerie policy, beneath all that finery, she was wearing boxer shorts. And upon her feet, the feet hidden by the long drape of tulle and beaded lace, she wore sweat socks. "
Eryth, congrats to you and your new husband! Hope you both stay safe and well.
Living Room=Electronic hearth?
Walking my dog the past few nights, the number of glowing TVs set center stage in the living room, literally broadcasting out into the street--has surprised me. It seems as though, for many people, sitting around watching a screen or playing a game has replaced face to face conversation. Now, instead of being the main event, conversation is the filler in between innings, a request for something in the kitchen, or a comment on the screen.
This is not a good thing. We should find one another to be of greater interest than mass media.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
Dinner party in Belmont
One thing that becamse obvious is that we all share a love of eating well--each guest brought one course. So from the appetizer starters of assorted olives, great sheep and goats milk cheeses (including my favorite, Humboldt Fog), artichoke dip, crackers and veggies--to the stellar main course of panfried and sauteed salmon (or chicken breast) with red and yellow pepper coulis, throgh the broccoli garlic and green bean/carrott/walnut butter dishes, to the "Maybe I can have just one more piece" indulgence of raspberry and blueberry lemon custard tart--we all outshone ourselves.
The conversation was also interesting--from SARS and civet cats to (predicatably) politics to colonizing Mars.
Bring on the navels
In the past 24 hours, I've picked approximately 150 oranges, given about 100 away, and eaten 3. Plan to eat lots more.
Irony is that my neighbors on both sides also have navel orange trees, as does the many two houses down on the corner, only none of them seem to be picking the fruit. My neighbor says "We're just not orange people," but she also didn't pick the figs her tree grew, or the Meyer lemons. To me, growing oranges---good ones--in your backyard is one of the miracles of California--it doesn't get more local than this.
It was tremendous fun today to give oranges away--a new friend and her daughter came over and helped me pick and walked away with some bags, I gave some to friends from San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. To me this is all amazing novel--and tasty--but then, I'm new here.
More tech toys to play with: Stumbleupon & Furl
The stumbleupon about page says: Founded 2 years ago, Stumbleupon has developed a patent-pending community-based websurfing system which now supports over 70,000 members. Our goal is to build an emergent media referral system which automatically matches the right people to the right content."
Furl says it is "an online filing cabinet." I haven't really used it yet, but plan to fool around with both in the next few days.
Gnome Girl: Waitress Dreams
"...I write about her because I drove home across the
bridge wondering if I was fooling myself to think I could
make it in this world doing something I love or would I
have to go back to an office everyday in order to exist?"
Friday, January 16, 2004
Writer/actor Spalding Gray still missing.
John Barlow has a beautiful essay about his friend.
Google to develop email ad product?
As the Reuters story points out, it may be that Google is also planning to launch its own free (and presumably guaranteed spam-free) email service at www.googlemail.com. Given the number of Google users, it's likely that a free-and service-rich email service--could quickly rival Yahoo and MSN's.
Dept of Getting Out: Internet Archive lunch
After the go-rounds, people broke into small groups and talked more.
When I left at 2:30, there were knots of people having meetings all over the first floor of the office and I had met some interesting new people, reunited with an old friend from WAIS days, and had a productive meeting with some folks.
Election 2004: Interactive tools reach young people online.
Did threats of legal action push out AOL's Lisa Brown?
A memo reportedly sent by some of her (unnamed) senior staff to AOL HR and executive management reads in part "The general tenor of her behavior is filtering throughout the company. She... makes working within IM [interactive marketing] a nightmare for so many people it really needs to be dealt with.... If we lose the very fine talents of the currently exasperated, it will be a damn shame."
One wonders if some of the currently exasperated (and presumably abused) were contemplating legal action because they were bedeviled on tape. After all, Brown may have only been in her current position for six months, but she joined the company as a senior sales executive soon after former colleague Jon Miller became head of AOL. Was this (yet another) example of an abusive exec only dealt with when exposure was threatened?
No one knows.
Final words from one staffer: "Let's face it, this company is an old-boys network. Things will be a lot smoother with the old boys in charge."
Blogging the diet
Have cut out more carbs--bread and pasta and rice in particular--and have lost 4-5 lbs, but have to start exercising more to see results..and have to remain consistent, always a challenge..and keep portions down. At least I've started...can only get better
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Yahoo Take All: Directory is top web destination
Do you go to Yahoo?
(Side note: I wonder how miuch of that traffic is to Yahoo mail, Hot Jobs, and personals.)
AOL News: Mark Glaser takes its measure
Dept of Getting Out More, North Berkeley division
Of course, the blogmeisters have already chronicled the talk over lattes, but I have to say how much fun it was-- One of the reasons I wanted to move back to the Bay area was the amazing creativity here around community and technology. New York is the home for media, fashion, and commerce, all very compelling to me, but there is a kind of creative development--technology meets the consumer--that I haven't experienced in other places to the extent I experience it here, and I find it very stimulating.
Later in the day, I spent some time with Peter Merholz, and had an another wonderful time.
Peter's both high-energy and laid-back; he's a partner in Adaptive Path, a user experience -focused company that has grown since it started three years ago and is branching out into workshops and publications. Talking with him, you can see why the company's been so successful---he's spot on in his thinking.
Of course, the tradeoff for all this daytime fun is I have to do a bunch of work tonight, but so be it.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Dave Winer: More fun with OPML Share
...And if you are of the techie persuasion, be aware that Dave's back there in the tech kitchen crafting some nifty capabilities developers can play with.
He writes: "I've spent the last few days coding a new flow of static OPML files. (snip)
...When it's released we'll have sample code for Python, Tcl and UserTalk and perhaps a few other languages. It's all XML so it's easy to work with. And then, when you have an idea for an app that builds on the Share Your OPML flow, you can ask any developer with a scripting language to develop it for you, not just me."
JD Lasica: Personalized news sites
JD also references Memigo and Gixo, other personalized news sites.
UCLA World Internet Project--report out
Very much worth checking out for the global stats.
Dept. of getting out: Lunch with Deeje Cooley
Charging for online content: What Rafat Ali thinks
Says Ali: "The big problem this year is a lack of strategic thinking. Everything everyone is doing is simply about tactics. Most are only pursuing whatever is considered to be the 'next thing.' Most publishers are focusing on just one thing; not enough are trying to diversify their revenue streams."
Topix.net: Where Local News Rules
Similar to Google News in many respects, Topix is built on a detailed, custom taxonomy that classifies every story according to content type and geographic location. Focusing on 4,000 news sources (including a few blogs).Topix offers users the ability to track updated news on very specific terms;the more localized, the better.
One way to take a look at what Topix offers compared to Google News is to run two different queries and check results.
First, Britney Spears, one of the top ten search terms of 2003. The top story this morning on Topix.net's Britney Spears page is from the Detroit Free Press and is entitled Stop Britney Before She Goes Too Far ; the next story is from KSAN, a local news station, and is about Britney's new video.
Google New's Britney page , in contrast, leads with Canadian site Chart Attack's story Britney Spears Brings Her Darkest Secrets to Canada , one of many about an upcoming concert tour. The top story doesn't even show up on Google New's results list for Britney news.
Next, let's run a search for a particular place--South Orange, New Jersey, where I lived on the East Coast. The Topix.net page has eight stories drawn from local news sources and run in the past 20 hours. While none of them are specifically about South Orange, they are about events happening within a 5-mile radius, and therefore, of interest.
The Google News page has 15 stories, none of which are from today, and several of which focus on Seton Hall's college sports competitions. Only one story, running in the New York Times on Dec. 25th, is specifically focused on a South Orange topic.
There's no question that while the Britney query results on Google have more sizzle, the local town search on Topix has far more relevance than the Google page. One of the key differences is that Google New's search algorithms are keyword driven, offering up the most relevant instances including a specific term. Topix.net'ss keywords, on the other hand, are mapped to both content type and geolocation, allowing the service to weight results in a different way.
When Google launched back in the day, users had to learn the different between a relevance-driven search algorithm and an edited directory, it will be interesting to see how users distinguish between Google News and Topix-generated news pages.
Summary: One of the best and most interesting launched I've seen in a while, but they need to put the pedal to the metal in terms of improved user features, navigation, alerts, and RSS/newsreader feeds to fulfill their potential and gain a substantial user base.
Also, early indications are that--like about.com--Google results will be an important entry point for them for topic-driven search queries. See Social Software News and Drink Wine for examples of the kinds of pages Google is likely to discover.
Note: I did an interview with CEO Rich Skrenta yesterday, which I will blog later today--more details on the search algorithm and the business plan to come in that piece.
AOL: Another reorg for sales organization
The release says:" Mr. Lebow will have the title of Executive Vice President/General Manager, AOL Media Networks. He will oversee the management of partner and member-facing traffic and inventory across AOL's properties; the development of media plans and research for partners advertising in those properties; marketing and events aimed at the advertising community; radio network development; AOL.COM; and Member Education. His group will also continue to use the AOL network of inventory to promote and increase usage of Company products including premium services, AOL for Broadband and others."
And "Mr. Barrett has been named Executive Vice President, Sales and Partner Marketing, with responsibility for agency sales, partner sales, category sales, customer relations, sales training and specialist activities."
In addition to managing the assets and inventory for all AOL-owned properties, from Mapquest, to Netscape.com, to ICQ, and so on, this group will continue to manage the advertising, search and ecommerce revenue for Time, Inc. and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. online properties.
Will this reorg do the trick? The leaders are all company insiders --and all guys--so there's no question the company is feeling comfortable, and the centralized organization should offer improved efficiency of scale, but this group needs to be able to sell into the market, as well as stay in tune with the administration in Dulles--and a whole other set of players in New York.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Digital music: Ringtone sales taking off
Smithsonian to sell digital music downloads online
I savor the idea of being able to download songs from The Alan Lomax Collection, Indonesian gamelan music, and all the odd and interesting pieces that Smithsonian musicologists have been collecting since the '30. Probably some great spoken word in there as well...like Zora Neal Hurston reading aloud.
(BTW, the current search through their music catalog is here.)
Monday, January 12, 2004
New Pew Report: People increasingly turning to Internet for campaign news
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Good reading: Journalism, media and social issues
Also, Jay Rosen urges citizens to keep watch on the press, How? Adopt one writer and monitor the hell out of him/her.
Being yourself and PLINK/Foaf
He writes, "...When Plink polls my FOAF file, it recognizes my name as "Greg," but when it hits anyone else's FOAF file, and they happen to have used my full first name, Plink replaces what I state with what others have stated." Greg goes on in more detail about PLINK and generating FOAF files and the idea that you should have the ability to define the FOAF file you create as the "main' one.
There are a couple of FOSF files for me on PLINK...Only one of them has the 'right' data, however.
UPDATE: As Ben Hoskens points out, my picture has disappeared...I am now represented by a picture of --Mitra--go figure!
You coulda been there: San Francisco Red, Custom and Motorcycle Show
This was the place to see totally redone '41 Fords, '55 Chevys, 60's Woodies,70's GTOs and customized bikes of every persuasion, plus the tattoo-adorned, moustache-sporting, long-hair sporting, fringed leather and skull and cross bones t-shirt adorned men who love them--not to mention the motocycle chicks for a day who put on very specific and funky costumes to accompany their swains to this event.
If you're getting that fish our of water vibe, you're reading me correctly--although a lot of the cars were intensely cool, I felt seriously out of place--and it wasn't just the two Hooters girls posing to sell their calendars, or the boys enviously eyeballing the flame-painted toys--it was the 'hey this is serious' vibe from our companions.
Every time I walked past a car and said "Hey, I like that!" to the folks we we were with, there was no response, the subtext being "She doesn't know what she's talking about."
Zack, on the other hand, had a blast, talking knowledgably about hemis and manifolds and things in that family.
Saturday, January 10, 2004
Dept. of some people should not have pets
Blogging awards: Help Phil Wolff make a list
Thank you, thank you: subscribers list
I also checked out the subscription lists from Jeff Jarvis, Scott Adams, , Julian Elve, Chris Gulker, Ross Mayfield, Betsey Devine, Danah Boyd, Gwen (great list)..and then my head started spinning, and I....stopped.
This is so completely a blast!
Just like your parents: a little aha moment
I replied, "Sure, whatever you want to do, dear," and suddenly flashed on my mom. She cheerfully tolerated my dad's small-town doctor obstetrician/gynecologist solo practitioner insane schedule, cooking breakfast, dinner, and (hot) lunch for him for most of their life together--and I realized, at that moment, that I sounded just like her. Here it was Saturday night, and I was being completely mellow about hanging around the house (and blogging), instead of going out.
Because my mother died a few years ago, this one was of those little 'aha' moments when I felt an aspect of her living on in me.
Judith Meskill takes over Calcanis blog
Search Ad Revenue: Drilling down into local
"What search engines such as Google and portals such as Yahoo! and AOL are doing to address these local search deficiencies is integrating more structured content (ala Yellow Pages) into Web search results."
" ...in many ways, Citysearch is already the model of search and directory convergence. While not perfect, Citysearch presents a hybrid approach that combines pay-per-click advertising for local businesses, with a keyword search-driven interface over a structured local database. That provides the ease of use of search with the reliable structured data offered by Yellow Pages."
This article does a good job of explaining why paid local search is definitely one of the emerging opportunities for 2004.
(Via John Battelle)
Open Source paper: Blogging the Market
(Via Roland Tanglao)
Laugh-a-lot: Paul Katcher Britney caption contest
54 books, 26 shirts, 11 pairs of pants and shorts, 14 pairs of underwear
Even assuming he has another 10 boxes of stuff, such as photo albums, hockey skates, and etc (which he may not), this shows incredible discipline(not to mention asceticism).
Being incurably attached to my grandmother's wedding china, my ten years of journals in notebook form (HS and college), and a small collection of American art pottery picked up when I lived in Ohio, I am impressed at Erik going through this exercise. I throw out and pare down 3X a year, but would have to think about my life differently to get down to this small an amount, which is exactly the point.
Friday, January 09, 2004
Russell Simmons cashes up
Hope Simmons uses the cash to run for Mayor in the next NYC election.
AOL Ad Chief stepping down after six months; revolving door continues
The WSJ story says that executive management is talking to TW ad guy Mike Kellyabout overseeing the unit. The Journal also reports that the well-respected Michael Barrettmay assume more of her responsibilities on a interim basis.
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Craig Newmark on Craig's List
(Via Anil and Marc's Voice)
Had Zack's girlfriend and her dad over for dinner tonight and piled the food on, but stayed off the non-veggie carbs.
Roasted turkey breast
Candided sweet potatoes
Steamed string beans
Chocolate pudding(yeah, I ate some...)
Best new tool in the last few days: OPML share
Former AOL partner sentenced to jail; AOL exec named in court docs
Mark Hurst: Blogs are just content management systems
"...Blogs are actually just an easier-to-use version of the content management system, a tool that (albeit in a harder-to-use form) has been with us for years, in many environments, with a far greater impact than the online diary.
"...Watch this year - oops, is this a prediction? - for blog companies to pitch their software as CMS tools, not "blogs."
Bob Pittman's new (master) plan?
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
More from the department of Media goes tabloid, big time
It is terrifying that grown men and women are (figuratively) gobbling this crap up, but hey, we also elected Bush president(well, not exactly, but kinda.)
Stanford Daily Editorial Board: The lessons of Britney
It begins "Britney’s short-lived marriage offers a number of valuable lessons, some of which might come in handy to students planning upcoming weekend getaways to Las Vegas" and goes on to discuss her life under a microscope, her disregard for the sanctity of marriage, and her importance as a roll model--oops, I meant role model--to millions of girls.
For more of this story, written by students at a college the Brit probably couldn't get into, click here.
Om Malik: Nortel Rising
And when you're done with the serious stuff, check out Om's NRI (stands for Not Really Indian, a phrase that becomes clear after about 3 secs of browing this really clever site)
Yafro: Dat big cute photo album, yeah
Check out profiles and photos from some members to get the flavor.
(Translation from the politese: While this site makes me shudder, I think it is fabboo for some folks--those who are younger, better looking, and far less serious, for starters.)
Blogoise update: Posts about Yafro started when it launched end of October, with the definitive Clay Shirkey yet another friendster ripoff piece in November.
Well it is a copy of Friendster but it had 20,000 users in November, and if the guys can get this out to college and HS kids, they could have some success...it feels friendly and fun..and far less crowded.
TCS: Are social networks snoops' paradise?
...With a $12 million dollar federal grant and co-operation from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a company called Seisint is working on a system named MATRIX (Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange) to compile an electronic dossier on every person in the nation.
I joined Friendster, Ryze, Linked-in, Tribe.Net, Yafro, Plaxo and Spoke and stand amazed at the amount of data they hold."
For everyone involved in social networking who is worried about the privacy implications, this is a useful and interesting article...take a look.
Wheeling, WV declares bulldogs vicious
This kind of news ticks me off no end--dogs behave the way their owners train them to behave, and type of breed is not the key determinant---training and temperament are what matters.
Another example of city government addressing a symptom, not a cause, just to say that they are taking action.
Cool Tools: Amazon's 800 Number 800-201-7575
Also, books on homebrewing, bike tires for snow and ice, and more unique stuff on the product tip.
Dolce: We've all gone tabloid
On tabloid journalism: "All media have gone more tabloid, certainly. Tabloids are gutsy and break news. In that way, television news has taken on a more aggressive stance. And that's one reason why the tabloids have a problem in the marketplace today, because many magazines and television news have taken on a tabloid voice. They've diluted what the tabloid once was."
On the new Star and its competititors: "The new Star Magazine fills a gap. If People is the granddaddy of celebrity magazines and Us Weekly is the upstart adolescent, then there's an enormous gap between those two. And In Touch is sort of just a fake magazine, right?.....(snip)...So there's a huge place in the middle -- between the grandfather and the upstart adolescent -- to fill....(snip).. Us Weekly is very geared to a young audience. We'll cover young stars as well as celebrities like Roy Horn [of Siegfried & Roy], Liza Minnelli, David Gest ... "
The new (glossy paper) Star launches in limited markets this week. Let's see how it sells. And what their web strategy is, assuming they have one.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Brieflyweds: Jason hits the media circuit
Seems like these two punk'd each other and now get to have their own reality TV show of sorts.
The sad thing is, if Britney wasn't rich and famous, it sounds like they might have given this impulsive marriage a shot.
Malcolm Gladwell: Big, Bad Road Killers
This is a must-read piece...in fact, this is a terrific New Yorker issue.
Dept of Only in San Francisco, MacWorld division
It struck me that there are not that many places I know, besides the Valley, where MacWorld is so eagerly greeted as a main event, equal in star-power to the opening day of baseball or first night at the Opera. These folks all took the afternoon off to walk the convention hall, and they seemed quite satisfied with what they had seen.
Dept of as the Internet goes, so goes AOL
We all know that online advertising in general--and AOL's in particular--bottomed out in 2003, but how about subscription acquisition and renewals?
Did they bottom as well?
As AOL gets into the integrated services and transaction business--becoming the Sears of the online market--offering computer tuneups, spyware detectors, parental controls, and a snazzy recipe area that can even sell you a grill--will low-end consumers have renewed interest in their narrowband offering? And will the Broadband service, with its iTunes shop, AOL radio, movies clips, etc. pull in the teens and the affluent suburbanites?
That scenario would be great for my still underwater and rapidly expiring stock options..the challenge, as always, will be how AOL messages and executes on the plan.
Monday, January 05, 2004
More like that: Writing on assignment
In the past year, I've written almost daily in this blog, and really come to enjoy posting. I've also rediscovered my own passion for organizing data and doing research, key part of my consulting work. These facts, combined with the fact I go to new places and instinctively think about story ideas, have made me decide to do more writing outside of the blog in 2004.
What and for whom have yet to be decided, but I am going to talk to some of my more active journalist friends and get their POV on editors to talk with. If anyone reading this has suggestions or possible assignments, let me know...would like to hear your thoughts.
Britney: The Annulment
Highlights--Brit attests she was "incapable of agreeing to the marriage before agreeing to the marriage," and that "upon learning of each others desires, they are so incompatible there was a want of understanding of each others' actions in entering into this marriage."
More giggly details here and here.
Sunday, January 04, 2004
The Simple Life: Britney's Groom
Bill Grosso and Scott Rafer
Sunday dinner, once more, with salsa
Tilapia with Green Sauce, Mexican-style (this came out really well)
Spinach salad with sliced avocado
Fresh corn tortillas
Pinto beans (canned)
Salsa Ranchero (ditto)
This was the Winter Break is over and time to get back to work/school meal.
Now Zack is off practicing bass, Spencer is doing some work, and now that I have finished creating a FOAF entry for Plink, I will watch Sex and the City at 9 pm, then get back to work tomorrow am. No more holidays!
I'm a Bride4U: Britney weds--and annuls
Mapping the friendship grid
Social networks also have value in suggesting people you might want to know. who have common interests and who share--and sometimes are writing about--similar concerns. I've met some very smart people in this fashion, people who continue to affect and sometimes influence my thinking to various degrees.
By exposing the connections--at least some of them--those people hold--sites like Ryze and Tribe give me ideas about whom my friends and colleagues know, and help me consider what I might have in contact with these folks (or not).
Projects like PLINK or the PeopleAggregator provide a similar service of showing connections, minus the blog or networking tool. As Jeremy Zawodny points out in a recent post (thanks, Kevin), a tool that shows the friendship grid would be very useful.
Jeremy describes it as FriendRank, or depth of connections between people, but it's also a way to map reputation, something Kevin Burton is interested in as well. I'm eager to see these kinds of tools move forward, to add more relevance to the social networks,and also to provide a more behaviorally-based alternative to them.
PS Marc Canter has some interesting comments on Jeremy's post as well--also check out the comments on his blog for this entry.
Saturday, January 03, 2004
The Diet: Starting Line
The chips and salsa at lunch somehow bypassed my conscious mind and got scarfed down, but I'm not going to fall for that trick again. The fish soup was protein and veggies. And when I got home I ate...an orange. For dinner...chicken and veggies. For a late-night snack, a cup of tea.
I'll keep the reporting on this sparse, so I don't bore everyone, but yes, I am really dieting...and will start spending more time exercising starting this Monday.
Ah, those New Year's resolutions..I'd like to make this one stick.
Blog Search Engines--Do you wanna list?
30 sites, 14 of which have the word blog in their name.
Peoplelink.org: Have you seen it?
"Plink, short for People Link, lets you find connections between people using its simple search interface, and the simple, friendly interface hints at a new breed of FOAF application, aimed more at regular users than the geeks and developers who've been working with the format thus far."
The site looks great, offering an elegant interface for a personal identity application--the only catch is that you need to upload a FOAF.rdf file somewhere on the web to make the indexing work.
(The difficulty in my posting this kind of file becomes another reason for me to move off blogspot onto my own site, clearly an emerging theme of 2004.)
The founder of this site is a Brit, Dom Ramsey, and it looks amazingly cool--interestingly enough, it seems like some of the names in the directory are there because they've been generated from other's FOAF files--as people someone knows. Also, interestingly, the RDF files expose the email addresses of some friends, not a good privacy thing.
Anyway, this is really interesting...more comments from Battelle, Feedster and Technorati searches.
All Consuming: Most linked-to books of 2003
Even given the fact Erik tracks Amazon links, clearly not enough people write about the books they are reading.
If there are a million active weblogs, and this book is at the top of the best seller lists, that suggests that either only a very small selection of the total sum of readers of the latest HP are bloggers, or that many bloggers do not post about what they read.
On Feedster, there are over 18,879 references to Return of the King, and 3,255 references to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Many people are sharing their blog lists...how about more book info, as well?
The New York-California thing
When I watch these flicks, I inevitably start rationalizing and justifying my decision to move to California, which is just about the most New York thing I could do (a typical New Yorker hates her apartment, but will not leave because a) it's rent-controlled , b) she'd have to leave Manhattan, Park Slope, wherever else she is to afford something the same size (never mind she could also find bigger in a less cool area) c) she is leaving, she just hasn't decided when, so stop asking).
Then, when the movie ends and I go out and walk the dog in the clear air, actually able to see the stars (unless it's raining), the question of which coast to live on suddenly becomes an obvious non-question--I'm here, it's beautiful, and why worry beyond that?
Via Anil: Cool NY photos from the '40s
This photo is fairly typical of the collection--I like the simplicity and directness of the image--and the fact it was taken more than 60 years ago is neat.
Friday, January 02, 2004
RSS_Discussion, Top 100 Feeds Subscribed to
He's just posted the results--specificaly, the Top 100 subscribed-to feeds-- and it's a list worth reviewing, both for interesting blogs to read, and to compare this list with other lists of Top 100 blogs at Technorati, Blogstreet, etc.
I read many of the blogs on this list, but found some I wasn't familiar with, either because they're Mac-focused, or they're just new to me...
BTW, as Bill Kearney points out, similar lists live at Syndic8
Thursday, January 01, 2004
Science Daily: The Navy Tests Blogging
Traction press release on this here from back in November.
The Feature: My name is Howard
Thanks and Happy New Year
Happy New Year and Best wishes to everyone...we're off to see the third Lord of the Rings installment this afternoon, just like a goof 20% of the planet.
NY Social Diary:Christmas cards of the rich and social
Who are these people? Don't have a clue, but they clearly vacation in the Hamptons, Bermuda, and Paris (France, not the party girl).
Only spotted one teen with tattos, but tons of Ralph Lauren Polo shirts and sweaters.
George Simpson's 2004 Media Predictions
--"At 3:09 (EST) on June 14th, blogging comes to an abrupt end when the last person writes the last thing they can think of. The sun comes up as usual on June 15th. Jeff Jarvis asks his wife if a tree falling in the woods still makes a sound if no one hears it.
--Time Warner bites the bullet and sells AOL to a group of private investors that include Steve Case, Bob Pittman, and Michael Wolff."
And so on......mucho fun.
Evaluating the September 11th Fund: Adminstrator looks back
I'm not in a postion to judge how well this fund ran, or if it could have run better, but this seems like an interesting, and relatively measured story.