• That Made My Head Hurt

    It started as a joke to Noel about the spam I get touting 532 nanometer green lasers available in bulk. That ranks up there with the spam for industrial conveyor belts. Do people needing large numbers of green lasers and industrial supplies go looking around in spam for their purchasing needs? Rolex watches, sure. Scam credit relief, sure. Porn, definitely. But industrial supplies? I just can’t comprehend what chain of events would lead to that spam generating the required return for the generations of the emails to be worthwhile. Some poor schlep wanders into their bosses office to be brought up short with a request to come up with “a few dozen green lasers, STAT!” The schlep sits down at their computer, the Mentos commercial music starts playing, and magically an email appears to answer their sudden and pressing laser needs? Far fetched at best. And Noel replies with “Or radioactive isotopes.” Yep, you got that right. Radioactive fricking isotopes.

  • KRON Blogger Meetup

    We went over to the blogger meetup at KRON yesterday. It was pretty much what I expected out of the event. The KRON folks were surprisingly and refreshingly honest in saying they had no idea what to do about blogging, but they want to start getting involved in the community. They’re going to be maintaining a list of Bay Area bloggers. Courtney already has a site called that lists bloggers from the Bay Area, it would be cool to see them throw some support her way instead of starting up another list. KRON is also going to be aggregating posts from the local blogs and providing some metacommentary. Would be nice to see the information flow both ways. Niall mentions getting KRON to use Creative Commons on some of the content it releases, I think that would be a fantastic way to kick it off.

  • Tag Tuesday

    I saw Tantek’s post about Tag Tuesday. Cool stuff! There are a whole bunch of gatherings and get-togethers and parties and roundtables, it just feels like a very exciting time. Unfortunately I can’t make it to all of them, but I will be at the Tag Tuesday meeting. Feedster has been doing some work on tagging, and although it falls outside of what I’ve been working on it is an area I’m interested in. Unfortunately Tony won’t be in town next week, I’m sure it’ll be a great time to meet a big chunk of the people working on the topic.

  • Technorati Beta

    Niall messaged me last night to show off the beta site they’ve been working on at Technorati. Very cool stuff!! One of the first things I noticed was the subscribe option for tags, so that you can get items associated with a tag output as RSS. I like the layout of the results page too. With the images down the side and the posts as the main body it provides a great summary page for events in particular. The “most discussed” lists and hot search terms are always interesting, although I know that I personally don’t actively use them often. I’m generally much more interested in what my friends are talking about than the sum of what everyone is talking about. The tab layout is interesting as well. I’ve seen that implemented poorly quite often, but the implementation they have is very solid and clean. When I took a look at the source and saw an AJAX Javascript library I assumed it would be for the search box, to provide a completion list of commonly used terms and sources. I didn’t see that in using the interface however. None of the mobile browsers I’ve tried out yet support the features necessary to use AJAX, so I’ve been trying to pay some attention to where it shows up. Wherever it is, it doesn’t seem to impact using the site from a Treo or when using Skweezer.

  • Open Source Blogging App for Palm

    I pulled all the registration code and have posted both executable and source code for Vagablog. It’s a simple blog posting tool for Palm devices. I’m actually posting this from my 650 to test out the latest build. There’s a lot more functionality that should be in there. But you know what they say, release early and often.

  • Missed Mobile Monday

    Hey all, sorry I wasn’t able to make the Mobile Monday meeting last night. I set it all up, but then I wasn’t able to make it myself. I just had way more than is reasonable or humanly actionable to do at work. Kinda makes me sad, but mostly makes me filled with murderous rage. That’s just the way it goes however. Some people say when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. I say when life gives you lemons just jump up and scream “Hey! What’s with the lemons!?!? This isn’t what I asked for!!” and start chucking lemons at anyone that comes into view. They really hurt apparently. Always makes me feel better at least. I find it helps to have a blog to vent into also. We have a very kick ass new addition to Feedster however, so hopefully not only will my workload be getting somewhere more near normal, I might not be ignoring things in order to get it there. I would like to get things normal enough that we can have the mobile homebrew meetings again. I think that was a good idea, we just needed a little more practice with it.

  • Testing out some tools

    If you can see this it worked, which hopefully means I’ll be releasing some stuff soon. Yes, that’s right, it’s all about the free stuff. Free beer, free speech, free Willy. But mostly free software - in both the beer and speech senses.

  • Cha-Ching!!

    So you probably didn’t hear it here first, but Feedster has closed a round of funding! Nothing like a little bank to help power through some issues. And things do seem to be powering along. I have no idea if I’m allowed to mention who’s joined up recently, but there are some kick ass folks joining the team. Definitely sorely needed. And there are others in line on the way in. Having a solid team come together was a major concern for me. It’s hard to ramp up such a small group. Mixing in two people to a group of ten is one kind of problem. Mixing in more than half the original group size gets into some strange group dynamics. So the next few months should be really telling. The systems have decomposed so far into completely distinct territories. One engineer worked on one system, and in general the systems broke down along well defined API boundaries. That’s not going to be the case any more, and the kind of engineering capability required to deal with that is much different than what we’ve practiced so far. I’ve been an avid user of revision control systems (CVS, Subversion, and most recently GNU Arch), that just grew naturally out of participating in a bunch of open source projects. As it turns out, those systems are an enormous boost when everyone knows how to use them already. But most people that I know get familiar with the “concurrent version system” methodology working on some side project and then carry it back into their work environment (classic disruptive behavior, I love it, but that’s another story). A bunch of the startups I’ve been at actually have that whole methodology baked right into the corporate DNA. The core of engineering work flows through that shared revision control system. And after a little while the concurrent version system becomes your primary collaboration tool. There’s less and less email, fewer calls, and no one throws things over the cubicle wall to get your attention any more.

  • Kinesis Keyboard With a PowerBook G4

    After staying up till 5am this morning trying to get myself a bit caught up on news and various bits of hackery, my hands were killing me this morning. I normally use a funky ergonomic contour keyboard from Kinesis. It’s a complete lifesaver. I can’t live without it apparently. I tried last night, and have proven that statement to be absolutely true. I need that keyboard in order to work for long stretches without causing problems. I stopped using the keyboard when I made the switch because I didn’t know how to use it with the Mac (Powerbook, running OS X). Odd that one should have issues like “how to use a keyboard”, but unfortunately it is true. Lots of operations on a Mac require use of the apple/funky-squigly-four-leaf-clover-dealie key. Apparently called the “command” key in Mac parlance, but labeled only with pictograms. Lets call it the branding key, cause I think that’s what it really is. And it’s more descriptive than the “command” key, which I would expect to be labeled with something like, oh.. “Cmd”. When I say “branding key” to people who have no idea what I’m talking about, they spot the apple key pretty quick. When I say “command key” they just can the keyboard over and over, eventually asking “You mean the control key?”

  • Mobile Talent And Then Some

    Mobility is a really hot topic now in the valley, and people always ask me if I know any good talent they can try to tap for their new product/service/startup. Well folks, here you go. Christian Lindholm is looking for the next thing, having successfully brought Lifeblog from concept to standard component in the new NSeries of Nokia phones. Folks simply don’t come any more mobile savvy, enthusiastic, and insightful than Christian. I hope someone in the Bay Area can attract his attention, we need people like this.

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