Mike in Vietnam:
"I spent all day trying to figure out why my account kept showing that I had no minutes left even though I had spent 200.000 dong earlier in the morning updating my account. Later I realized that I had not checked to confirm that my phone was actually updated while in the store. Clever trick. Employee acts like he is adding minutes. (But he is not). I pay. Then he hands me the phone, says I have new minutes, and then I walk out of the store, hop on a motorbike and go to work. When I get to work, oops, my account is not working. No minutes. I was duped."
This is one of the things that always irks me about traveling in the Third World — as a conspicuous honkey foreigner, one is likely being deceived and tricked in just about every transaction one makes. Poverty drives people to dishonesty; they're fully aware they're doing it, and that it's wrong, but they do it in order to eat, to feed their families.

As Ghandi said, "Poverty is the worst form of violence."


Mosh. Vote.

Danah's right, Eminem's new video really hits home:
"Regardless of what anyone things of Eminem, i've always loved his willingness to fight, to be resistant to contemporary society even while being framed as mainstream. This video, put out by the Guerrilla News Network shows the anger and frustration of poor and marginalized populations, upset with Bush for the way that he's destroyed the fabric of this country. It is a call to action, urging people to get out and vote. It is a rhythmic composition of completely radical and political rhetoric. It is a call to action for youth and for the disenfranchised. I sure hope that the youth get out to vote this time."
Check it out:
Eminem - Mosh


John Battelle:
"For some reason, I grow uneasy if I have more than ten emails unanswered in my inbox. I'll stay at my computer late, I'll forego creature comforts, if it means I can get the message queue down to ten or less before I sleep."
Me too — my inbox has been hovering ~ 40 ever since returning from India and it's driving me nuts!


Coalition of the... willing

Lie Girls is hysterical — "you forgot Poland!"

Thanks Chuck!


It's Drafty

FreewayBlogger: Stop the Draft Day Pictures

My favorites are, "Draft Beer, Not People" and "Bush/Orwell '84"


Delicious Monster's Library app looks extremely cool — it should be part of iLife... I wonder how long it'll be before Apple either buys them or pulls a Watson?


Votin' fer Kerry

Dom wrote a song about it... wanna hear it?

My favorite line:
Vote for John Kerry and John Edwards.
Instead of being backwards we'll be going aheadwards!
Great work, Dom!

An IM conversation...

... with Ms. O'Brien:

iChatting with Willo

But she didn't come rb. Maybe this is the online equivalent of, "I have to go to the bathroom... <gone>"?



Andre Torrez:
"I knew this was going to be a good day.
Netflix releases RSS feeds."

"I think they should do more to educate people about RSS though. I think Blogger has done the best job at that with their styled Atom feeds."
Props go to Shellen for the idea, Sutter for the CSS, SteveJ for the engineering, and Biz for the Help article.


MattH on Ev

Matt Haughey says some very kind words about Ev's departure; I especially liked this bit:
"... And after slogging through year after year of struggle, Ev pulled through, took it to Google, and really raised it to a whole other level. Blogger is now a juggernaut, and rightfully so."

"I believe Blogger really has changed the world. It has given a voice to millions and every day seems to seep further into popular culture..."


... and the propagation thereof.

Watch this video. (5.1 MB)

[via BoingBoing]



Our current VP and our next VP
[via MBostock.]


The Basics

Learning to code can be surprisingly entertaining:
#! /usr/bin/python

resp = raw_input("What's your name? ")
print "Hi, %s, nice to meet you." % resp

G5:~ eric$ python yadda.py

What's your name?
Hi Eric, nice to meet you.

G5:~ eric$


The Age of the Essay, in which Paul Graham explains how the majority of High School English composition instruction is, well, the result of a series of mistakes...
"The most obvious difference between real essays and the things one has to write in school is that real essays are not exclusively about English literature. Certainly schools should teach students how to write. But due to a series of historical accidents the teaching of writing has gotten mixed together with the study of literature. And so all over the country students are writing not about how a baseball team with a small budget might compete with the Yankees, or the role of color in fashion, or what constitutes a good dessert, but about symbolism in Dickens."



Crazy Apple Rumors, Application Upgrade Allows User To Achieve Nirvana:
"BBEdit user Matthew Sadowski achieved total nirvana earlier today after downloading, installing and using Bare Bones Software's latest upgrade to the popular text editing application. Somewhere between using the documents drawer and the built-in HTML Tidy Tool, a bright, white light bathed over Sadowski and his consciousness became one with the universe."


"'This is bullshit,' said Keith Marsh, a college buddy of Sadowski's. 'Matt used to be a great guy. He used to like to play video games and drink beer and cruise for chicks. OK, we never cruised for chicks, but he used to be fun to be around! Now it's all... "ooh, guess what the unlimited nature of existential being is?" Hell if I know.'"
Funny, I bought the upgrade as soon as I got home from India and this hasn't happened to me yet either. Sigh.

[via Daring Links]

Himalayan Pundits

Mike in Vietnam:
"Over fried squid and a plate of greens, my poor friend had to listen to me rant and rave and theorize and bullshit 'till she was too tired to respond. During the course of the evening, I managed to formulate a Mid-East peace plan, discuss the political climate in Haiti, and quote Aristotle. So yeah, I was talking out my arse. Half the time I didn't even know what I was sayin' but I'm an opinionated man so I just kept on talking. Next time, perhaps my friend shall be wise enough to stick a beer in front of me to shut me up."
This is exactly the kind of nonsense we seemed to find ourselves engaged in every night while trekking. If Tom (the lone conservative) hadn't been along, it would have just been a bunch of preaching to the choir...


Something Daring

The Coolest T-Shirt Ever Made goes to 20,000 ft:


Where: Stok Kangri, Ladakh, Northern Indian Trans-Himalaya. More shots from the summit are available, as is a panoramic 6.4 MB/27-second video clip.



Note the Hipster Bingo Sushi/Jesus fish t-shirt
(originally uploaded by evhead)
As some of you may have already seen, Ev just announced that he's moving on. Ya know it's funny — I've been reading EvHead (his blog) for ~5 years, when he and the Pyra gang first released Blogger. I was a nerdy college kid at the time, who read every issue of Wired I could get my hands on and dreamed about living and working in Silicon Valley some day. Then hipsters like Ev and Meg and Matt and PB started blogging, and I started reading them. Religiously. I mean, they were the people doing the innovating on the web, and were actually talking about it as they were doing it!

Fast forward a few years to February, 2003 when Ev announced that Google had acquired Blogger. I was sitting in an Internet café in Bangkok catching up on tech news, freshly back from a month in Burma and a week at the Vipassana Center in northern Thailand. The news was a huge shock, and as soon as I got home I wrote KatieB (who'd been working at Google for a while already) about open positions on the Blogger team. The stars must have been in alignment or something, because I started a few weeks later.

I felt like a nervous groupie the day I started. "OMG, I'm gonna meet Ev! I hope he doesn't fire me when finds out I jumped ship to MT the day it was released..." (I finally came back to the fold in 5/2004). He turned out to be a totally cool, down-to-earth, funny guy — an exciting person to just be around. It's difficult to describe how incredibly fortunate I feel to have gotten to work with him over the past year and a half. He's always been receptive, encouraging and helpful with whatever I've been working on.

While I'll definitely miss his presence around the office, I'm truly excited for him. He's finally gonna have time to do some traveling, which he's soooo gonna dig. And read, and think, and plan his next great adventure with all the wisdom and insight from the past six years of hard work.

Cheers Ev — thanks for everything!

More folks: Biz, CW, Danah, Matt Haughey, Ovidiu Predescu, Sarah Hatter, Shellen, SteveJ, Sutter, Tony Pierce | Metafilter, Technorati


Flickr Feature Requests

I absolutely adore flickr, and thus have a number of feature requests directly proportional to my love for it. (and I'm sure Stewart *hearts* me for this — I send them his way daily.)

First, image exclusion for badges, feeds, etc. When I want to make a post here that includes an image (Napoleon, for example), I send the image to Flickr so I can link to it there. This way I don't have to deal with filenames and paths and img tags and such. (And I think an image on Flickr is better than an image not on Flickr, because it can be tagged and exist as part of a greater whole.) But as soon as the image is uploaded, it appears in Flickr badges and feeds, and might even be spliced into other feeds. Visitors and readers end up seeing the image more than once, which isn't intended. There could be a tag ("exclude" perhaps?), which when used automatically filters images from syndication, but still keeps them public. It'd also make for fun browsing.

Second, Get Code in addition to blogging. I want to use Blogger's rocking WYSIMWYG editor for composing posts, and easily copy and paste chunks of Flickr href and img code into it for adding images to those posts. Right now I tell Flickr to post them to a blogspot.com test blog, then View Source on the MuleBlog and copy and paste the relevant bits. I'd like a "Get Code" button in Flickr, which lets me pick a template then shows me the code...

Thanks gang!


Napoleon Dynamite:
Napoleon Dynamite

My cousin Ben, 2001-07-21:
Ben & Me

(re: Mary Ellen's post on the subject)