2008-04-28

Coachella

Friday
Saturday
  • VHS or Beta: first encounter with them, they were solid and rocked. And they're from Kentucky! Viva la midwest
  • Kavinsky: great DJ dancing
  • MGMT: sleepy at first, but they saved the best for last
  • Boyz Noize: more great DJ dancing
  • Kate Nash: was running low on energy when they started, but they grew on me
  • Hot Chip: more great dancing, need to check out their latest album
  • Kraftwerk: my first encounter with them; I think they were just IMing up there
  • Yelle: OMGZ!!! this was hands-down the best show we saw
  • Prince: I only went because @anildash would kill me if I didn't go
Sunday
  • Stars: first time seeing them live, loved them
  • Gogol Bordello: second time seeing them live, not much different from my first time at last year's Coachella
  • Metric: pure awesomeness
  • My Morning Jacket: solid and rocking; also from Kentucky
  • Roger Waters: EPIC; was my first time seeing any Floyd live, and was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time
  • Justice: crazy hella fun dancing to cap off a wonderful three days
The LA Times has some solid Coachella coverage, as does Sir Tony Pierce.

[sidenote: I'm still amazed that one can purchase DRM-free music from all these artists at Amazon (and probably elsewhere) — the music industry has come a long way.]

Frightening

Clay Shirky:
"So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project--every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in--that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it's the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.

And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that's 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus."
Am definitely looking forward to reading his new book.

2008-04-26

ydnar + me



ydnar + me @ Coachella

2008-04-19

Cabel Sasser is my Hero

Steven too. I've been a fan of theirs since their earliest days (has it been a decade already?), and am a registered user of just about all their apps. Cabel's blog, of course, is just as fantastic as his work. And it turns out he's as great a presenter as he is a writer. Check out his utterly-entertaining C4[1] prezo:



[link]

Salmonella Dub


I've been a fan of these kiwis' music since I first heard of them while backpacking around New Zealand in 2002. Heal Me is their first new album since 2004, and it's exceptional. Other favorites include Inside the Dub Plates, One Drop East, and Mercy.

2008-04-13

<3 Paul Graham

Some gems from Paul's recent piece:
  • "A job at a big company is like high fructose corn syrup: it has some of the qualities of things you're meant to like, but is disastrously lacking in others."
  • "If people have to choose between something that's cheap, heavily marketed, and appealing in the short term, and something that's expensive, obscure, and appealing in the long term, which do you think most will choose?"
  • "An obstacle downstream propagates upstream. If you're not allowed to implement new ideas, you stop having them. And vice versa: when you can do whatever you want, you have more ideas about what to do. So working for yourself makes your brain more powerful in the same way a low-restriction exhaust system makes an engine more powerful."

2008-04-04

Five Years - Next!

(this is an abridged version of the email I sent to my co-workers)

After college I spent all of 2002 backpacking around the world, logging into Internet cafes in different cities to update my weblog about the trip. In early 2003 I'd just gotten back online in Thailand after spending a month without Internet access in Burma, and I read news of Google's acquisition of Blogger. This'll sound way geeky, but it really felt like one of those, "Where were you when ___ happened?" moments. Overnight it legitimized and validated what a small-but-growing number of people like me were doing back then - publishing and sharing our thoughts and lives on the web.

My friend Katie was working on AdWords at the time, and I emailed her right away. "Katie — lemme know when Blogger starts hiring! It doesn't matter what for — I just wanna work on it!" I'd been a Blogger user since 2000, and had just moved to my Aunt's couch in Woodside after my travels wound down (meaning: I'd spent all my cash on the road). Katie invited me to lunch at Charlie's (at the original GooglePlex), and showed me the little room in Building π where the Blogger guys were hacking away on their laptops. We bumped into Shellen in a snack room, and I interviewed with the team a few weeks later.

I joined Google in April, 2003 as a member of Blogger's Support Team — we answered lots of email tickets, and built out a fantastic Help site. I took on additional responsibility whenever I could though - Jason Goldman asked me to help with some project management, starting with our first pass at localization. I lead the testing team when Kimmy went on leave. I made lots of mocks with Biz. I helped with several acquisitions, and liaised with Karen to help with PR's corporate-blogging efforts. I represented Blogger and Google at several conferences around the world, speaking about the democratization of the web and our efforts to spread web publishing far and wide.

I became Blogger's Product Manager after Goldman left Google in August, 2006. I'm rather atypical as far as Google PMs go — I studied Classics in the mid-west, and aside from the learning-by-doing I'd done thus far at Google, I had no prior experience with software engineering. I'm incredibly thankful to have been given this opportunity, and trusted with the role.

April, 2008 marks five years for me at Google, and it's time to move on — April 11th will be my last day working here. I've worked with an amazing group of people, and couldn't possibly list them all here. Y'all know you who are — thanks for your mentorship, excitement and energy! I'm especially proud to have been involved with a few specific projects:
  • i18n: Blogger is available in 40+ localizations, including three Right-to-Left languages and transliteration in 5 Indic dialects. Given that at heart I'm a backpacker, global reach and accessibility was always near and dear to me.
  • Play: an incredibly simple yet slick photo scroller, showing in real-time the photos people are sharing on their blogs. It's a fascinating way to observe humanity's pulse, as events happen at micro- and macro-levels around the world.
  • OpenID: Every Blogger-hosted URL can be used as an OpenID anywhere on the web, and Blogger can accept OpenID-signed comments from any other service. Commenting is just scratching the surface of what OpenID will ultimately enable.
  • ???: all the awesomely exciting stuff that's currently in the works, due to ship throughout 2008 and beyond!
What's next for me? I enjoyed (beyond words) the freedom I experienced during my Jan-Feb sabbatical, as well as hearing about all the neat webby things people are doing. New web APIs seem to be popping up every few days, and they're just itching to be tinkered with. I'm looking forward to collaborating with friends on interesting projects, and I'm available for consulting. Eventually I'd love to settle down again with a small, focused team to build something nifty, but there's no rush.

Fred Brooks sums it up well:
"Not only is the end not in sight, the pace is not slackening. We have many future joys."
As do Stewart Brand and Steve Jobs, as my Mom thinks I'm crazy for leaving one of the best companies the world has ever seen:
"Stay hungry, stay foolish."