2005-02-28

Starbucks needs a blog

Nathan's doing some great blogging from SES; here's a good bit:
"Gary posed to the panel the problem of natural Google Bombs, where a negative site (IHateStarbucks.com) turns up as number 2 in a search for a brand (Starbucks). Steve noted that Starbucks' mistake is not having a blog, and not bringing this guy on to talk to him. Either he'll come off as a kook and lose his credibility, or the company will look better by showing their interest in what consumers have to say."

2005-02-27

A TED moment

(scene: checking in to the Monterey Marriott last Wednesday, for TED)
Me: Hi! I'm here to check in for my room.
Reception: What's your last name, Sir?
Me: Case.
Reception, looking at computer screen: Steve?
Heh.

The Cosmic Game

Thievery's new album is awesome.

The Cosmic Game

2005-02-25

Odeo!

Ev & Noah's new deal: Odeo

It's hot.

2005-02-23

TEDBlogging

A bunch of us are blogging TED:

http://tedblog.blogspot.com/ (feed)

The FeedBurner dudes have also whipped up an über TEDFeed, comprised of the feeds of as many attendees as we can cram in there. Enjoy!

http://feeds.feedburner.com/TEDfeed

2005-02-22

LJ'd

Apparently somebody LiveJournaled me:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/verdana_net/

Heh.

Crazy Address Book Services

I keep getting emails from friends who've sold me out and entered my email address into nutty services like these:
(why do all their names have two syllables and end in the letter 'o'?)

I thoughtfully reply each time I receive one, saying something along these lines:
Hi _____,

Unfortunately I don't trust services like this to not send me junk mail and email spam. All my old email addresses still work, so lemme know if you ever need my mailing address / phone #. :)

How are things, otherwise?

Cheers,
E
Update: Forgot to mention the totally wack sms.ac.

Kottke Goes Solo

Jason's taking kottke.org full-time.

Awesome.


I am a kottke.org micropatron

Discovered!

About six years ago, my mentor (and favorite professor!) in the Miami Classics Department proposed a summer project on which we could collaborate. Our proposal was accepted, and we spent a few months of Summer '99 working on it.

See, ancient sculpture used to be fully painted with vibrant colors. But this paint has worn off all the columns and temples and sculpture you see in ruins these days. Therefore, sculpture has pretty much just appeared white in popular culture — movies, architecture, painting...

We wanted to scan some photos into Photoshop (which we were both learning) and see what they might look like, in full color. The result is the Virtual Sculpture Gallery. (a disclaimer about the site: the design is frightening! Though CSS existed, no browsers supported it. Thus we let GoLive CyberStudio make tables for us... *shudder*)

Unfortunately we haven't updated the site since then. Our goal was to raise awareness, and hopefully inspire other folks to pick up where we left off.

It remains popular and widely-linked though. A few weeks ago I got email from a lady at discovery.com who was rather enthusiastically preparing an article about it. I answered her questions, but she sounded kinda bummed to hear that the site was, frankly, old and out of date. She said she was still planning to try and run the story, given the appearance of painted sculpture in some recent big media.

I hurriedly pasted a stat-tracker into the site's html, in case the story ran.

It did: Discovery Channel News, Color Restored to Ancient Sculptures

(here's a local copy, in case the permalink breaks)

The stats went nuts. It used to average ~500 hits/day, but on the 17th it almost hit 28,000 (!).

VSG stats

A MeFi thread even popped up, and the majority of the comments are (surprisingly) positive!

There's obviously a lot of interest here... I'm thinking about registering an actual domain for the project, and updating the template & sticking a blog in it for updating news. I'll need to draft some other folks to help update it though...

2005-02-21

Laughter

IMG_4689

Sunday brunch @ Herbivore, photo courtesy of Mai.

That's Goldman standing behind me. Inevitably, he was teasing Livia about this, since she used to volunteer as a cook there...

2005-02-20

Re: Blogger Comments

Marc Brown asks a few questions about Blogger's commenting system; here are some answers.
"Can someone explain why when i post a comment on a Blogspot blog, I need to use my 'blogger profile' rather than just link directly to my blog."
This is up to the blog owner. The Settings | Comments tab lets the user select who can comment; the "Anyone" setting means you get to enter your name and URL.

Blogger comments

"And now that i'm stuck with my Blogger profile, why is that page so wack? Here is my User Profile. First off, you are limited to a 50k jpg image for your profile, and the URL has to be less than 68-characters in length (and they dont' even host it)"
These are both bugs of which we're already aware, and will be fixed soon.
"At least let me put my RSS stream from Buzznet on it."
This is an excellent idea; I'll pass it along to the team.
"How come the only blogs that show up are Blogger driven blogs?"
Because this is your Blogger Profile. And because info about those blogs comes straight from Blogger's database — there's no way Blogger could know those details from another blogging system. There is a field, however, where you can enter your blog's URL:

Blogger profile editor
"Blogger should definately allow a little more customization of this page after all, this is way cooler than my TypeKey profile page (i'm not even sure where that page lives)."
Indeed. It's a tough call though, deciding where to devote engineering resources in cases like this (enhancing functionality that's "good enough" vs. building awesome new stuff — the old commenting system was definitely not good enough).
"Back to my blogger profile, I dunno what the "piles of wood" entries are about, somehow that blog has left the building."
Those posts will go away once we re-enable post stat collection. They're currently disabled for database performance reasons.

2005-02-19

Anniversary

Tony Pierce: "two years and two days ago today Blogger got bought."

2005-02-17

The Daily Show on bloggers

This clip is hysterical — "Post away, Atrios at blogspot.com!"

New Blogger Comment Hack

Graham just whipped up a fantastic new Blogger Hack: "How can I use Blogger's comments but keep my old comments on my old posts?"

It essentially turns the <BlogItemCommentsEnabled> tag into a post-level conditional tag, and takes advantage of the fact that Blogger Comments on all your old posts are turned off by default.

The hack is explained in Blogger Help, and you can see it in action on this monthly archive page — nice work, Graham!

TEDsters

Next week Biz, Goldman and I are heading down to Monterey for TED, to represent the B. I'm really excited — it'll be my first time attending, and I hear the schwag bag is fully stocked. It's a shame their whole site is in Flash, else I'd link to the awesome Speaker list and schedule.

If you'll be there, look for the big orange B and say Hi.

2005-02-16

Transmit 3!

The best Mac ftp client just received a hella-upgrade; I promptly registered my copy, and here are my favorite features:
  • Support for WebDAV, including iDisks
  • Tabbed sessions
  • Column view
  • Finder-like Sidebar for frequently accessed folders, local or remote
Nice work, Panic dudes!

2005-02-15

Radio Free Blogosphere

Looks like it's hitting the fan in Nepal.

Fortunately, Radio Free Nepal is blogging...

Update: it got BoingBoing'd, including a link to this interview with its author.

2005-02-10

Shipped!

Today we shipped a drastically-improved (and much-needed) overhaul of Blogger's commenting system — props to the whole team for a job well done! Features include:
  • Comments are now listed on the comment posting form (duh!)
  • Profile photos
  • Comments in popup windows (this is a setting)
  • A Blogger account is no longer required to leave comments (this is a setting)
Oh, and Ottmar — you can now date posts back to 1990.

Enjoy!

2005-02-08

It's Powerbook Day!

Gosh, it's been a while...

Because I'm a geek, here's a list of everything I'm installing:

Google Maps!

Maps is way, way cool: http://maps.google.com/

Keyboard shortcuts:
  • arrow keys pan left, right, up and down
  • pan wider with page up, page down, home and end keys
  • zoom in and out with the (+) and (-) keys.
Posts from other folks: Kevin Fox, Evan Martin, Chris DiBona, Tony Chang, Anil Dash, Matt Haughey, Blake Ross, Google Blog, Rafe Colburn

2005-02-06

How Shuffle Works

Steven Levy:
"... when an iPod does a shuffle, it reorders the songs much the way a Vegas dealer shuffles a deck of cards, then plays them back in the new order. So if you keep listening for the week or so it takes to complete the list, you will hear everything, just once. But people generally listen only to the first few dozen songs. In theory, that sample should be evenly distributed among all the artists and albums in their collections."
I'm totally sold on the iPod ShuffleDom brought his on our Squaw road trip yesterday and it was way cool. He wears it snowboarding too, which I wanna try some day.

2005-02-03

iTunesScrobblin'

Dear Apple,

Have you seen AudioScrobbler? It's a webapp that keeps track of all the music I've listened to. Combined with a social network, it purports to recommend music and do lots of other fun stuff. While a wicked cool idea, it seems like they're struggling to scale it, and I've never actually gotten a recommendation out of their system. (though I do drop them a few bucks each month because I dig what they're doing).

You should build this functionality into iTunes, and automatically create users.itunes.com accounts for all of us iTMS purchasers. Though I love what the Scrobbler folks are doing, I think you could do it better.

You could recommend artists based on what I've purchased and been listening to. You could let me keep a friends list and let me know what my friends have been listening to, like AllConsuming does for books.

You could load the whole site up with feeds like the Flickr folks have done, so I could get updates each week in my aggregator. And the URLs could be nicely rewritten:

users.itunes.com/eric/...
/artists - artists I've been listening to recently
/albums - albums I've been...
/genres - genres I've been...
/ratings - aggregated ratings data from my iTunes
/playlists - playlists I've created in iTunes
/imixes - iMixes I've created on the iTMS
/wishlist - songs & albums I want to buy
/stats - statistics of my listening habits
etc.

Monetizing the site shouldn't be too tough... ;)

Can't wait to see it!
-E

Update: Tags in iTunes are a must-have, and here are two music recommendation sites: MusicMobs & Goombah.

Weekends Rock!

Friday night: B-Boy/B-Girl Breakdancing Jam

Saturday: Snowboarding at Squaw with Ryan & Dom

Sunday: Surfing & Super Bowl party at Stein's place in Palo Alto

2005-02-02

Accessorize

All you hip-sters ordering your unlocked GSM Treo 650s, don't forget your eGrips! They're essential for Treos, along with screen protectors.

2005-02-01

Localization

Martin Pittenauer: "The quality of German localization of Apple products, particularly the German website, seems to be in free fall for quite a while... I begin to ask myself if Apple Germany offshore-outsourced the website to some Indian company that is using Babelfish to translate the thing."

Overheard at the office today

Jason Goldman: "Mad is the East Coast hella."

Just like The Onion

Good Morning Silicon Valley's headlines always crack me up:
"HP plans gala retirement party for Moore's Law"

"TiVo president quits to spend more time with family, backlog of recorded programs"